T-Mobile To Pay $350M In MDL Over Massive 2021 Data Breach

By Dave Simpson

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

T-Mobile has agreed to pay $350 million and boost its data security spending by $150 million over the next two years to end claims in multidistrict litigation from more than 76 million Americans whose data was allegedly exposed during a 2021 breach, the consumers told a Missouri federal court Friday.

T-Mobile will pay $350 million to end claims in multidistrict litigation over a massive 2021 data breach, according to court filings Friday. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

In an unopposed bid for preliminary approval of the deal, the alleged victims told the court that the members of the proposed nationwide class would receive $25 per hour, or their hourly rate if it's higher, for the time they spent missing work to deal with the impacts of the data breach. They can also get up to $25,000 in monetary reimbursement for losses stemming from the breach and a slew of services aimed at ensuring their future protection, the motion said.

"Plaintiffs believe strongly in their claims, and at the same time they understand that the great number of uncertainties and the substantial delay in a final litigated resolution weigh in favor of an immediate, guaranteed resolution of the litigation that provides substantial relief," the alleged breach victims said Friday.

They asked the court to certify, for the purposes of the settlement, a class of 76.6 million U.S. residents whose personal information was compromised as a result of the T-Mobile breach. The plaintiffs also seek the certification of a California subclass.

Under the deal, attorneys could seek up to 30% of the $350 million settlement fund, or $105 million.

T-Mobile confirmed in August that tens of millions of its customers' personal information had been exposed to bad actors who were able to access customer records and credit applications that included names, dates of birth and Social Security and phone numbers. The most affected group of customers, according to T-Mobile, was 41 million people who applied for credit with the tech company.

Dozens of lawsuits followed the announcement. In December, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation finalized its decision to grant T-Mobile's push to consolidate in the Western District of Missouri proposed class actions over the data breach.

The panel decided to assign all the cases to U.S. District Judge Brian Curtis Wimes and agreed with T-Mobile's argument that the disputes shouldn't land in Washington state, where T-Mobile is based and where the bulk of the lawsuits were filed, because of judicial shortages there.

"The Western District of Missouri presents a geographically central and accessible venue for this nationwide litigation," the panel said in a Dec. 3 transfer order. "The district also has the capacity to efficiently manage this litigation."

As of December, 44 putative class actions were consolidated in the Show-Me State.

The 44 suits — which raise claims such as negligence, breach of confidence and violations of California's novel consumer privacy law and the Federal Trade Commission Act — were filed in 11 district courts by plaintiffs from 26 states.

In May, attorneys for the breach victims filed a new consolidated consumer class action complaint.

The alleged breach victims are represented by Norman Eli Siegel of Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP, Cari Campen Laufenberg of Keller Rohrback LLP and James J. Pizzirusso of Hausfeld LLP.

T-Mobile is represented by Michael W. Seitz of Spencer Fane LLP and Kristine M. Brown of Alston & Bird LLP.

The case is In re: T-Mobile Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, case number 4:21-md-03019, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

--Editing by Dave Trumbore.

See original article on Law360.