Federal Judge Remands Experian Data Breach Lawsuit to California State Court

A federal judge in California has dismissed and remanded a suit against Experian Data Corporation and Infosearch LLC concerning an alleged data breach that exposed personal information held the firms’ databases to identity thieves. The judge sent Patton v. Experian back to the state court, stating that the plaintiffs did not show “injury-in-fact” as required by the U.S. Ninth Circuit.

Federal District judge James V. Selna ruled that the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in the case of Krottner v. Starbucks Corp. required evidence of a “credible” and “real and immediate” threat of identity theft to meet the injury-in-fact requirement. According to the judge, the plaintiffs did not allege that any identity thief accessed their personal data as a result of Hieu Minh Ngo’s alleged breach of the companies’ databases. The plaintiffs’ “speculative fear” of ID theft does not meet the “credible” and “real and immediate” threat of harm threshold, so the court dismissed the action for a lack of “subject-matter jurisdiction.”

Judge Selna also stated that the remand to a state court is not futile and that the companies cannot attempt to remove the action to a federal court again, since it has already been established that the district court does not have subject-matter jurisdiction.

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