Experian obtains complete defense victory in one of the largest data breach cases ever to proceed to trial
Clients Experian Data Corp.
Jones Day successfully defended Experian Data Corp. in a government enforcement action seeking injunctive relief and civil penalties based on Experian's purported failure to give notice to victims of a decade-old data breach. The action followed a nationwide class action that was filed in 2015, alleging that Experian allowed a 19-year old Vietnamese identity thief to access and sell more than 200 million consumer records between 2010-2012. After successfully moving to dismiss the bulk of the class claims, including the California-based claim, the remaining claims were settled on an individual basis.
Shortly thereafter, the San Diego City Attorney, acting in concert with the same private plaintiffs' attorneys that brought the class action lawsuit, filed an action on behalf of the People of the State of California under California's Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”). After years of exhaustive discovery and extensive motion practice, including cross-motions for summary judgment, Experian moved in limine at the outset of the trial to exclude all evidence of civil penalties as barred by the statute of limitations. In a case of first impression, the Court adopted Experian's argument that equitable tolling principles do not apply in UCL enforcement actions seeking civil penalties. Consequently, because San Diego filed its statutory notice claim more than four years after the claim accrued (a key admission elicited during discovery), the Court concluded that San Diego's claim was time-barred. San Diego subsequently filed three successive motions--a motion for reconsideration, a motion to file a third amended complaint, and a motion for discovery sanctions--all of which were denied. On March 14, 2023, the Court entered judgment in Experian's favor, resulting in one of the most significant defense victories in a data breach case.
The People of the State of California v. Experian Data Corp., No. 30-2019-01047183-CU-BT-CXC (Cal. Super. Ct.)