Dee Miles, head of our firm’s Consumer Fraud Section, has been named to the Financial Institution Cases Steering Committee for the Multidistrict litigation (MDL) surrounding the Target data breach. Dee was appointed by U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Magnuson, who is overseeing the MDL in United States District Court, District of Minnesota.
Target Corporation, which is headquartered in Minnesota, suffered a massive data breach that is believed to have taken place primarily between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013. It was originally believed to have affected about 40 million Target shopper accounts including credit and debit card information. However, after further investigation, Target officials revealed that hackers stole not only information from cards used by shoppers at Point of Sale (POS) machines, but that other information was compromised, including names, phone numbers, email and mailing addresses from more than 100 million other customers.
Our law firm filed two class action lawsuits in the wake of the Target data breach, one on behalf of consumers whose information was compromised, and another on behalf of Alabama State Credit Union as lead Plaintiff representing credit unions, banks and other financial institutions. Financial institutions are burdened with the extravagant costs of closing accounts and reissuing debit and credit cards as a result of Target’s failure to secure its data.
Reports by the Consumer Bankers Association and the Credit Union National Association in February estimated the cost of the data breach for financial institutions had already surpassed $200 million. That number was expected to grow as more customers requested debit and credit cards tied to stolen information be replaced.
In addition to his role leading the firm’s Consumer Fraud Section, Dee has a proven track record of leadership in MDL cases throughout the country. He has been selected by Federal Courts to leadership positions in previous MDL cases, and the firm has been selected to 16 different Plaintiff Steering Committees on MDLs ranging from the recent Toyota MDL to the BP MDL. Dee has also served as lead or co-lead counsel in national class actions.
Perhaps most significantly, Dee recently completed serving as lead counsel on behalf of eight separate states and their attorneys general (Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah) in the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) / Medicaid Fraud Litigation. This effort resulted in $1.5 billion to the states by way of settlements and judgments. Without any doubt, these cases have made a significant social change in the way our Medicaid program operates nationwide.
Dee is also specifically suited for this Target Data Breach Litigation as it relates to financial institutions. Prior to attending law school, he gained experience as a Corporate Internal Auditor for a major financial institution before attending law school (AmSouth Bank, now known as Regions Bank), which makes him uniquely qualified for the financial institution side of the case.
This is very important litigation that exposes the critical flaws in the way credit and debit card systems operate in the United States. Because Target failed to maintain adequate computer data security, it exposed millions of people to the risk of fraud and identity theft, and violated their privacy rights. Since Target admitted its security breach, more retailers came forward and also confessed to similar data security thefts. Unless something is fundamentally changed, consumers will continue to be at risk.
It is an honor to be selected by the federal court to serve in leadership on any MDL cases, but Judge Magnuson’s appointments in this Target MDL is a special honor considering that more than 100 lawyers from all across the country were seeking one of the 19 positions the judge created. We are honored that Dee was selected. He will work hard to see that this MDL gets a badly needed job done.