February 21, 2020

A Maryland federal court on Friday kept alive multidistrict litigation stemming from hotel giant Marriott International Inc.'s massive data breach, finding that guests had adequately claimed injuries traceable to the company's failure to detect the historic hack or stop the theft of their personal information.

U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm found that guests who stayed at Marriott hotels during the time of the breach, which Marriott says allowed hackers to steal the personal details of up to 383 million guests, have standing to sue the world's largest hotel chain because some already claim to have suffered identity theft, and others have an "imminent threat" of identity theft.

Consumers have also adequately argued that the breach — which U.S. Attorney General William Barr has attributed to the Chinese government — diminished the value of their personal data, caused them to spend time and money mitigating harms, and led to them in effect overpaying for their hotel stays because Marriott did not appropriately secure their data, Judge Grimm wrote.

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Co-lead counsel for the consolidated consumer class, Andrew Friedman of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Amy Keller of DiCello Levitt Gutzler LLC and James Pizzirusso of Hausfeld LLP, said they were pleased with the ruling.

"We look forward to continuing to aggressively litigate this case and to recover meaningful compensation for aggrieved Marriott customers," the attorneys said in a joint statement.

Friday's ruling is not the first unfavorable legal result for Marriott in the case. In September, the same court ordered the company to unseal a third-party report that could reveal key details about the breach. And in December, Judge Grimm found that the city of Chicago has the authority to sue Marriott for injuries to city residents, ruling that a local ordinance allows the city to protect the personal information of residents who provide it to data holders.

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The consolidated class of plaintiffs is represented by co-lead counsel Andrew Friedman of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Amy Keller of DiCello Levitt Gutzler LLC and James Pizzirusso of Hausfeld LLP.

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