AT&T Data Breach Lawsuit MDL Established in Texas Federal Court for Pretrial Proceedings

Most parties involved in the AT&T data breach lawsuits agreed that consolidation would serve the parties, witnesses and the court through increased efficiency.

A panel of federal judges has determined that all AT&T data breach lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system will be consolidated as part of an MDL (Multi-District Litigation) before one U.S. District Judge in Texas, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

Over the past few months, there have been a rapidly growing number of claims brought on behalf of the more than 70 million customers’ whose personal identifying information was leaked on the Dark Web in a massive data breach. Although information about the breach just recently came to light, lawsuits allege that AT&T knew about the security failure for years, and failed to take steps to protect current and former customers.

Each of the AT&T data breach lawsuits raise similar questions of fact and law, not only seeking credit monitoring and fraud protections for vulnerable customers, but plaintiffs are also pursuing additional financial compensation for damage that has already been caused by the release of their personal information.

Although hackers gained access to the data as early as August 2021, and publicly posted customer information on the Dark Web months ago, AT&T letters regarding the breach just recently started to be sent, so the size and scope of the litigation is expected to continue to increase dramatically in the coming months.

AT&T Data Breach Lawsuit

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AT&T Data Breach Lawsuits Consolidated in Federal Court

In April, a motion to transfer (PDF) was submitted to the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), requesting that all complaints filed throughout the federal district court system be consolidated for pretrial proceedings before one judge as part of an AT&T data breach lawsuit MDL (multidistrict litigation).

The JPML considered oral arguments during a hearing held on May 30, and issued a transfer order (PDF) on June 5, announcing that the claims will be consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas under Judge Ada E. Brown for coordinated and consolidated pretrial proceedings.

The order indicates there are currently 12 class actions filed in three different district courts nationwide. There are an additional 18 similar cases pending in seven other districts.

“On the basis of the papers filed and the hearing session held, we find that these actions involve common questions of fact, and that centralization in the Northern District of Texas will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation,” the JPML wrote. “These putative class actions present common factual questions concerning an alleged data security breach announced by AT&T in March 2024 concerning the personal information of over 70 million former and current AT&T customers released on the dark web.”

Now that an AT&T data breach MDL has been established for the lawsuits, it is expected that Judge Brown will establish a coordinated schedule for discovery to uncover how the customer information was released, steps that could have been taken to prevent the breach and how long AT&T knew about the problem.

If the parties fail to negotiate AT&T data breach lawsuit payouts for individual customers, it is likely that the Court will select a small group of representative cases to serve as early “bellwether” trials, which typically help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.breach settlements during the MDL proceedings, each individual claim may later be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for trial.

Find Out If You Qualify For a AT&T Data Breach Settlement


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