Law360 (July 28, 2023, 9:56 PM EDT) – Three firms collectively asked a Georgia federal court this week to be appointed as interim co-lead class counsel in a consolidated data breach case against the Georgia software company NextGen Healthcare Inc.
Attorneys from the three firms – The Finley Firm P.C. and The Barnes Law Group LLC, based in Atlanta, and Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP, of Kansas City, Missouri – asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on Thursday to appoint them co-lead counsel under the name The GST Group in a consolidated data breach case filed against NextGen Healthcare in May.
The lawsuit, which centers on NextGen’s alleged failure to properly secure and safeguard personal information such as Social Security numbers, addresses, names, among other information, asks for damages as well as for the court to require NextGen to take various security measures in the future.
According to the motion, The GST Group should be selected as co-lead counsel in the case for a few reasons. For example, the group said it “reflects the diversity” of both the Bar and the plaintiff class for gender, age, geography, background and experience. Further, the motion said, attorneys in the group include leadership from “every major data breach case litigated to date,” including Equifax, T-Mobile, Capitol One, Marriott and others.
“This group came together ‘as a cohesive group that is committed to the team rather than individual play,'” the attorneys wrote in their motion, which also recommended five firms to serve on a steering committee. “It is the right combination of talent, personalities, and data breach experience to prosecute this action most effectively in this Court.”
These recommended steering committee firms include The Miller Law Firm; Lynch Carpenter LLP; The Lyon Firm; Hausfeld LLP; and Morgan & Morgan, according to the motion.
In the motion, attorneys MaryBeth Gibson of The Finley Firm, Norman Siegel of Stueve Siegel Hanson, and J. Cameron Tribble of The Barnes Law Group highlighted their experience with data breach cases as a major reason why the proposal should be granted by the court.
“The GST Group includes lawyers who served in leadership capacities in nearly every large data breach case to date, as set forth in the below brief biographies and attached firm resumes,” they wrote. “These cases have been litigated across the country against defendants large and small. Many have been resolved only after extensive discovery and motion practice (including class certification), providing the GST Group a great depth of knowledge and experience in data breach cases that will be brought to bear for the benefit of the class here.”
The underlying case centers on an alleged data breach that NextGen discovered had taken place between late March and mid-April. The breach, which compromised an undisclosed number of customers’ personal information, was a foreseeable incident that NextGen had not taken the proper precautions to prevent, according to the complaint.
For example, the complaint says, NextGen allegedly had not implemented certain recommended defense measures, including U.S. Federal Trade Commission guidelines, which should have been used considering it was storing all the information itself.
“As a result of computer systems in need of security upgrades, inadequate procedures for handling email phishing attacks, viruses, malignant computer code, hacking attacks, Defendant negligently and unlawfully failed to safeguard Plaintiff’s and Class Members’ Private Information,” the complaint says.
NextGen has yet to file an answer to the plaintiffs’ complaint, according to court documents. An order to consolidate the case, and any subsequently filed related cases, was issued on July 17.
The plaintiff is represented by MaryBeth V. Gibson and N. Nickolas Jackson of The Finley Firm P.C.
NextGen is represented by Eric Breithaupt of Jones & Walden LLC.
The case is Damon Miller v. NextGen Healthcare Inc., case number 1:23-cv-02043-TWT, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
–Editing by Peter Rozovsky.