Robin L. Greenwald, head of the Weitz & Luxenberg Environmental, Toxic Tort & Consumer Protection litigation unit, will serve as interim co-lead counsel in the developing Excellus BlueCross BlueShield data breach class action lawsuit.

Ms. Greenwald was appointed to that important leadership position by the judge presiding over the case, Hon. Elizabeth A. Wolford of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.  She will serve with Hadley L.  Matarazzo of Faraci Lange in Rochester.  

In addition to Ms. Greenwald’s appointment, Judge Wolford also named W&L to serve as co-lead law firm, explained W&L.

Greenwald Chosen Due to Extensive Experience and Expertise

Judge Wolford explained in her January 25 appointment order that Ms. Greenwald is highly qualified and will zealously and effectively represent the potential class of plaintiffs.

As interim co-lead counsel, Ms. Greenwald will be responsible for utilizing her expertise to best represent the interests of the plaintiffs, Judge Wolford wrote.

Judge Wolford also said that W&L  was selected for the co-lead law firm position because of the firm’s ”considerable work in identifying and investigating potential claims in this action, demonstrated experience in handling complex class actions,…knowledge of the applicable law, and established…willingness to commit significant resources to representing the class.”

James Bilsborrow, another W&L attorney on this case, also looks forward to working on behalf of class members impacted by the breach: ”W&L owns a strong reputation for experience in data breach actions,” he said. ”W&L also has devoted significant time to working with — and understanding the needs of — the affected community in western New York.”

In particular, Judge Wolford indicated that she was impressed by the comprehensive plan W&L had partnered in formulating for prosecuting the case against Excellus and co-defendant Lifetime Healthcare Inc.  Lifetime is the parent company of Excellus.

Excellus Data Breach was Massive

The class action lawsuit is still in its initial stages. At this point, according to the court order, it includes at least 14 consolidated matters, the first of which was filed in mid-September.

The plaintiffs are among the 10.5 million Excellus and Lifetime customers whose personal information was exposed in a data breach that came to light in August. It is believed the data breach had been ongoing since late 2013.

Among the confidential records illicitly accessed by the hackers who masterminded the data breach were customer names and account numbers, home addresses, phone contact numbers, birthdates, Social Security numbers and personal financial data. All of these data are useful to identity thieves and other criminals, pointed out Bilsborrow.

Part of the reason why Ms. Greenwald makes an excellent choice for interim co-lead counsel is her background in the enforcement of laws.  Prior to joining W&L in 2005 she served as General Counsel for the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of the Interior, explained the firm.

Previous to that, Ms. Greenwald was an assistant chief of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice, in charge of Legislation, Policy and Special Litigation. At the onset of her career she was an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

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