Mondelez Contests Lawsuit Over Data Breach, Citing Lack of Concrete Employee Harm

Mondelez Global LLC is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit tied to a data breach at Bryan Cave Leighton Palmer LLP, arguing that affected company employees haven’t suffered tangible injury, therefore lacking standing to sue. The motion to dismiss, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, contends that the absence of concrete harm precludes the employees’ legal claims.

The lawsuit stems from a cyberattack in February targeting Bryan Cave, Mondelez’s external legal counsel, resulting in the exposure of data belonging to over 50,000 employees. The compromised information encompassed personal details such as dates of birth, addresses, marital status, employee IDs, retirement and company thrift-plan data, and Social Security numbers, as detailed in the breach notification letter.

Although Bryan Cave isn’t directly involved in this lawsuit, it’s concurrently defending a related case brought by different Mondelez employees.

Mondelez’s motion underscores the employees’ failure to establish claims, citing the absence of a legal obligation for employers to secure the computer systems of their external legal representatives. Additionally, it invokes the economic loss doctrine to counter the plaintiffs’ tort claims and points out deficiencies in several other claims asserted in the consolidated would-be class action.

The range of claims put forth by the plaintiffs spans negligence, negligence per se, unjust enrichment, breach of implied contract, invasion of privacy, and alleged violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

The core contention of Mondelez’s motion centers on the absence of discernible harm resulting from the breach, emphasizing the lack of reported instances of identity theft, fraud, or financial detriment among the affected individuals after a nine-month period.

The motion challenges the plaintiffs’ assertions regarding time spent monitoring accounts and potential expenses for future credit monitoring, dismissing them as insufficient to establish standing. It argues against “manufactured standing” based on hypothetical future harm that lacks certainty.

Representing the plaintiffs and the proposed class are Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman PLLC and Daniel Srourian of Los Angeles, while DLA Piper LLP (US) serves as legal representation for Mondelez in this ongoing legal dispute.

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