T-Mobile Agrees to End Data Breach MDL for $350M

Shortly after filing an amended complaint in multidistrict litigation, a group of plaintiffs have come forward with an unopposed motion for settlement over an August 2021 incident that exposed millions of T-Mobile customers’ personally identifying information. Under the proposed settlement, which must first receive court approval, impacted individuals are eligible to receive compensation for out-of-pocket expenses or an alternative cash payment, a two-year subscription to comprehensive identity defense services, and various “restoration services” if need be.

As previously reported, the breach jeopardized more than 75 million customers’ information, including some Social Security Numbers and T-Mobile account information. After complaints streamed in, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred the cases to Kansas City, Mo. for coordinated proceedings.

In May, the plaintiffs’ amended pleading alleged nearly 100 causes of action under state negligence and privacy laws, arguing that T-Mobile did not have robust enough cybersecurity protections in place to prevent the hackers’ unauthorized access of its records.

Now, the plaintiffs, on behalf of a putative nationwide class, ask for preliminary approval of the nine-figure settlement. The filing touts not only the “historic direct relief” to class members, but also T-Mobile’s agreement to “maintain an incremental spend commitment of at least $150 million for data security and related technology for 2022 and 2023 to improve its network and data security and address vulnerabilities that resulted in the Data Breach.”

The monetary relief affords impacted individuals up to $25,000 for out-of-pocket losses resulting from the breach or an alternative cash payment of $25 or $100 for class members who reside in California, the settlement explains. Restoration services are available whether class members make a claim or not, meaning they will have access to a U.S.-based call center to assist in responding to any identity theft or related fraud.

The motion argues that the benefits conferred to class members are both substantial and meaningful with a value of well over $500 million. In view of the risks and costs of further litigation, the settlement terms meet the “fair, reasonable, and adequate” standard, the filing contends.

Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP, Keller Rorhback L.L.P., and Hausfeld LLP, co-lead interim class counsel, also ask that the court appoint them class counsel and approve their yet-to-be-determined award of attorneys’ fees. As to the latter, the filing notes that “an award of one-third of the settlement fund is characteristic of other awards in class action suits in this Circuit and surrounding District Courts.”