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Eighth Circuit Remands Target Data Breach Settlement

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The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) received an important ruling today in its appeal of the settlement regarding the much-publicized 2013 data breach at retail giant Target Corporation. The Eighth Circuit remanded the case back to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, finding that the lower court abandoned its ongoing duty to ensure class certification was proper when it failed to consider CEI’s objections. Additionally, the judge reversed the lower court’s ruling for an unlawful appeal bond and ordered that $46,872 be returned to CEI.

“Over 99 percent of the Target data breach class gets nothing in this multimillion dollar settlement, so we are glad that the Eighth Circuit recognizes that the District Court cannot rubber-stamp settlements where class counsel cuts corners on procedural fairness so they can get paid quickly and generously,” said Melissa Holyoak, an attorney with CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness.

“Striking down $46,872 of the unlawful appeal bond is a major victory for objectors in the Eighth Circuit because it prohibits class counsel from using excessive appeal bonds to block an objector’s appeal,” said Holyoak.

The settlement will now return to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota for reconsideration.

About CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness

CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness represents class members against unfair class action procedures and settlements. Originally founded by Ted Frank in 2009, the center has won millions for consumers and shareholders and won landmark precedents that safeguard consumers, investors, courts, and the general public.

Unfair settlements generally serve self-interested lawyers and third parties at the expense of absent class members, whose rights are traded away to settle a class action. The class lawyers want their fees and the defendants want to cheaply and quickly end the lawsuit, but the class’s interests often take a back seat in the process. The Center seeks to solve this problem by representing class members pro bono and presenting judges the other side of the argument. When the Center prevails, lawyers get less, class members get more, and the rule of law is strengthened.