United States District Court, D. Delaware
JULIA A. HARRIS, GRETA MOSS, LARRY PAYNE, DEBBIE CARTHAN, BERNADETTE BEEKMAN, LESLIE LEVITT-RASCHELLA, JOHN CONA, GEORGINA MEDURI, KELLY MCGURN, CASSANDRA MEDURI, AND MARK WADE, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
LORD & TAYLOR LLC, Defendant.
N. Sianni, Andersen Sleater Sianni, LLC, Wilmington, DE;
Janine Pollack, The Sultzer Law Group P.C., New York, NY;
Daniel Tepper, Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP,
New York, NY, Ben Barnow, Erich P. Schork, Barnow and
Associates, P.C., Chicago, IL; Howard L. Longman, Melissa R.
Emert, Stull, Stull & Brody, New York, NY; Charles E.
Schaffer, Levin Sedran & Berman, LLP, Philadelphia, PA;
Jeffrey S. Goldenberg, Goldenberg Schneider, LPA, Cincinnati,
OH; Gary Mason, Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP, Washington,
DC; Laurence D. King, David A. Straite, Kaplan Fox &
Kilsheimer, LLP, New York, NY; John A. Yanchunis, Ryan Mcgee,
Morgan & Morgan, Tampa, FL; Jean Sutton Martin, Law
Office of Jean Sutton Martin PLLC, Wilmington, NC; Lynda J.
Grant, The Grant Law Firm, PLLC, New York, NY - attorneys for
Plaintiffs and the proposed Class and Subclasses
C. Barillare, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Wilmington,
DE; Gregory T. Parks, Ezra D. Church, Kristin M. Hadgis,
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP, Philadelphia, PA -
Attorneys for Defendant
NOREIKA, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant Lord & Taylor LLC's
(“Defendant” or “Lord & Taylor”)
Motion to Transfer Venue Pursuant to Section 1404(a) to The
Southern District of New York. (D.I. 18). Plaintiffs Julia A.
Harris, Greta Moss, Larry Payne, Debbie Carthan, Bernadette
Beekman (“Beekman”), Leslie Levitt-Raschella,
John Cona, Georgina Meduri, Kelly McGurn, Cassandra Meduri,
and Mark Wade (collectively, “Plaintiffs”),
individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated,
oppose transfer. (D.I. 23). For the reasons set forth below,
Defendant's motion to transfer will be granted, and this
case will be transferred to the Southern District of New
April 5, 2018, Plaintiff Beekman filed the instant class
action suit against Lord & Taylor on behalf of herself
and others similarly situated. (D.I. 1). In response,
Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint on the
Grounds of Forum Non Conveniens, or, in the
Alternative, to Transfer Venue Pursuant to Section 1404(a) to
the Southern District of New York. (D.I. 6). On September 14,
2018, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Class Action Complaint
(“Amended Complaint”) (D.I. 16), asserting the
same four causes of action included in the original complaint
- negligence, breach of implied contract, unjust enrichment,
and negligence per se - but adding ten (10) additional named
plaintiffs, a count for declaratory judgment, and nine state
law claims that arise under the laws of Connecticut,
Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and
Amended Complaint alleges that on March 28, 2018, a criminal
syndicate announced the sale on the dark web of credit and
debit card records. (Id. ¶ 2). A cybersecurity
firm determined that the cards were taken in a breach
involving Lord & Taylor retail stores from at least May
2017 through March 2018. (Id.). On April 1, 2018,
Defendant announced that it had become aware of the security
breach “involving customer payment card data.”
(Id. ¶ 3).
& Taylor is a limited liability company organized under
the laws of the State of Delaware. (Id. ¶ 26).
Lord & Taylor is headquartered in New York, New York.
(D.I. 19, Ex. B ¶¶ 3, 4). Lord & Taylor has no
offices, employees, or stores in the state of Delaware.
(Id. ¶¶ 5-7). According to the Declaration
of Anthony Longo (“Longo”), the Chief Information
Security Officer (“CISO”) of Hudson's Bay
Company, the parent company of Lord & Taylor,
“[t]he team that learned about, analyzed, managed, and
communicated about the payment card issue that is subject of
Plaintiff's [sic] complaint are all based in New
York.” (D.I. 19, Ex. C ¶ 3).
are 11 plaintiffs in this action, seeking to represent a
nationwide class of Lord & Taylor customers, defined as
“[a]ll persons residing in the United States who used
their credit, debit, or prepaid debit card at a Lord &
Taylor store during the period from May 1, 2017 through April
1, 2018.” (D.I. 16 ¶¶ 12-22). Five (5) of the
named plaintiffs are residents of New York. (Id.
¶¶ 16-20). The remaining six (6) named plaintiffs
are from Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey,
Georgia, and Texas. (Id. ¶¶ 12-15, 21-22).
At least six (6) of the named plaintiffs used credit or debit
cards at Lord & Taylor stores in New York. (Id.
¶¶ 12, 16-20). Additionally, there are currently
two cases proceeding in separate districts based upon the
same breach complained of here: Sacklow v. Saks
Inc., No. 1:18-cv-00360 (M.D. Tenn.), Rudolph v.
Hudson's Bay Co., et al., No. 1:18-cv-8472
(S.D.N.Y.). (D.I. 19 at 1).
courts have the authority to transfer venue “[f]or the
convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interests of
justice, . . . to any other district or division where it
might have been brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
However, “[a] plaintiff, as the injured party,
generally ha[s] been ‘accorded [the] privilege of
bringing an action where he chooses, ” Helicos
Biosciences Corp. v. Illumina, Inc., 858 F.Supp.2d 367,
371 (D. Del. 2012) (quoting Norwood v. Kirkpatrick,
349 U.S. 29, 31 (1955)), and this choice “should not be
lightly disturbed, ” Jumara v. State Farm Ins.
Co., 55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 1995).
Third Circuit has recognized that
“[i]n ruling on § 1404(a) motions, courts have not
limited their consideration to the three enumerated factors
in § 1404(a) (convenience of parties, convenience of
witnesses, or interests of justice), and, indeed,
commentators have called on the courts to “consider all
relevant factors to determine whether on balance the
litigation would more conveniently proceed and the interests
of justice be better served by transfer to a different
Jumara, 55 F.3d at 879 (citation omitted). The
Jumara court went on to describe twelve (12)
“private and public interests protected by the language
of § 1404(a).” Id. The private interests
“plaintiff's forum preference as manifested in the
original choice; the defendant's preference; whether the
claim arose elsewhere; the convenience of the parties as
indicated by their relative physical and financial condition;
the convenience of the witnesses - but only to the extent
that the witnesses may actually be unavailable for trial in
one of the fora; and the location of books and records