T-Mobile USA announced Oct. 1 as many as 15 million of its customers may have been affected by a data breach at Experian North America, a California-based credit bureau and consumer data broker. Experian handled financing for the wireless service provider. It is believed the data breach may have lasted as long as Sept. 1, 2013 to Sept. 16, 2015, although an Experian spokesperson says the company detected the breach Sept. 15, 2015, and verified the T-Mobile data was stolen on Sept. 22, 2015.

In a statement on its website, T-Mobile CEO John Legere expressed anger with Experian, writing, “Obviously I am incredibly angry about this data breach and we will institute a thorough review of our relationship with Experian, but right now my top concern and first focus is assisting any and all consumers affected.”

Experian says the T-Mobile files stolen did not contain consumer credit or debit card information, or any other banking information. However, the compromised file did contain names, dates of birth, addresses, Social Security numbers, drivers’ license numbers if provided, and any other additional information used in T-Mobile’s credit assessment process.

As a result of the data breach, Experian and T-Mobile may be the subject of multidistrict litigation (MDL). Law 360 reports the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will decide by the end of the week if the pending cases will be combined, along with any future similar cases lodged against the two companies.

“The MDL process is a way to concentrate and consolidate pre-trial motions and discovery before one court,” explains Beasley Allen lawyer Andrew Brashier. “This serves to efficiently handle common issues and disputes instead of litigating those issues across courts nationwide, where different and inconsistent rulings could occur. I believe the Experian data breach cases should be placed into an MDL and am confident that the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) will likely agree. The key question will be, ‘Where does the JPML see fit to place the MDL?’”

If you are a T-Mobile customer and believe your personal information may have been compromised in the Experian data breach, you may have cause to file a claim against the companies. For more information or to talk to a lawyer about your potential claim, contact one of the lawyers in our Consumer Fraud section: Andrew Brashier, Archie Grubb, Larry Golston or Lance Gould. Or, you can call Beasley Allen at 334-269-2343.

Sources: Krebs on Security, Law 360



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