Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Sonic Corp. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio

January 16, 2020

IN RE SONIC CORP. CUSTOMER DATA SECURITY BREACH LITIGATION (FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS)

          ORDER, [RESOLVING DOC. 227]

          JAMES S. GWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         In 2017, not yet identified third parties accessed Sonic[1] customers' payment card data. The hackers obtained customer payment card information generated at more than three-hundred Sonic Drive-Ins. This litigation followed.

         On December 18, 2019, Sonic filed a motion to compel Alcoa Community Federal Credit Union (“Alcoa”) to respond to outstanding discovery requests.[2] Plaintiffs oppose the motion.[3] Sonic replied.[4]

         With the filing of the First Amended Complaint on October 21, 2019, Alcoa Community Federal Credit Union, one of the original named plaintiffs, voluntarily dismissed itself from the litigation.[5] Alcoa is no longer a named party to this lawsuit.

         Before its exit, Alcoa served discovery requests on Sonic and participated in the parties' mediation session. At the time Alcoa withdrew with the amended complaint, Sonic had already served Alcoa with interrogatories and two sets of requests for production. Alcoa objected to some of the discovery requests on the grounds that Sonic was improperly seeking protected mediation materials. Now, Alcoa objects to the discovery with the argument that Sonic must obtain leave to conduct discovery of an absent class member. Sonic seeks to compel Alcoa to respond to the discovery.

         I. Alcoa Is an Absent Class Member.

         Sonic argues that Alcoa should be treated as a named class member, rather than as a unnamed member of the class or an “absent” class member.

         Sonic argues that Alcoa's case tactics continue a pattern of misbehavior. For instance, Alcoa, who has joined many data breach litigations, earlier removed itself as a named plaintiff in Arby's data breach litigation, only to later opt back in as a named plaintiff, make the defendant suffer through additional discovery, and then later reveal that its customers had not been impacted by the Arby's breach.[6]

         In essence, Sonic argues that Alcoa should not be allowed to initiate the litigation and then recuse itself as a named class representative to avoid discovery.[7]

         Although Sonic's briefs paint this as a continuing pattern of gamesmanship on Alcoa's part, Alcoa does not appear to have violated any rules of civil procedure in removing itself as a named plaintiff, nor does Sonic accuse it of doing so. Sonic contests Alcoa's characterization as an absent class member based solely on Alcoa's earlier participation in the case and its behavior in previous litigations.

         Despite Sonic's arguments, Alcoa is not a named plaintiff in the amended complaint. Although Alcoa was previously named, it does not currently, nor will it moving forward, play the named plaintiff role in the litigation. As such, treating Alcoa as a named plaintiff would ignore the litigation realities in its current state.

         II. Alcoa Is Not Immune from Discovery.

         Alcoa's status as an absent class member, however, does not prevent discovery from Alcoa. Sonic may conduct discovery of an unnamed member of a proposed class, such as Alcoa, if Sonic can show need in accordance with the Manual for Complex Litigation's particularized need test: “Discovery of unnamed members of a proposed class requires a demonstration of need. If precertification discovery of unnamed class members is appropriate, the court should consider imposing limits beyond those contemplated by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.”[8]

         Sonic argues that it needs the requested information for its class certification opposition.[9] It says that Alcoa alone controls information regarding Alcoa's damages and documents underlying its settlement demand.[10] Sonic says that it needs Alcoa's information because it might reveal ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.