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Hutton v. Nat'l Bd. of Exam'rs in Optometry, Inc.

United States District Court for the District of Maryland

July 15, 2019, Decided; July 15, 2019, Filed

CIVIL NO. JKB-16-3025; CIVIL NO. JKB-16-3146; CIVIL NO. JKB-17-1964

Opinion

ORDER AND FINAL JUDGMENT GRANTING FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AND APPROVING FEES, COSTS, AND EXPENSES, AND SERVICE AWARDS

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' 'Motion for Final Approval of Class Settlement (ECF No. 48) and Class Counsel's Motion for Attorneys' Fees, Costs, and Expenses, and Named Plaintiff Service Awards and Supplement thereto (ECF Nos. 47 and 48).

Procedural History

This case arises out of an alleged data breach of Defendant National Board of Examiners in Optometry, Inc. ("NBEO")'s data systems occurring in or about the summer of 2016. NBEO is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, with a stated mission "to protect the public by accurately assessing the competence of practicing optometrists." Every optometry student must submit their personal information to NBEO to sit for certifying exams, and NBEO retains enrollment data to allow for the credentialing of optometrists [*5]  that move from state to state.

On August 30, 2016, Plaintiffs Rhonda L. Hutton, O.D., and Tawny P. Kaeochinda, O.D., on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, filed a complaint in this Court alleging they had been victims of identity fraud after their personal information was compromised in a breach of NBEO's data systems. ECF No. 1. On September 17, 2016, Plaintiff Nicole Mizrahi, O.D., on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, filed a complaint in this Court making the same allegations. Case No. 16-3146 ("Mizrahi"), ECF No. 1. On October 22, 2016, NBEO moved to dismiss all the claims in both cases under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), ECF No. 11; Mizrahi, ECF No. 9. On March 22, 2017, this Court granted NBEO's motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) for lack of standing. On April 19, 2017, Plaintiffs appealed that decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. See Appeal Nos. 17-1506 and 17-1508.

On July 14, 2017, Plaintiffs Brenda Liang, O.D., Jessica Olendorff, O.D., Kristine Fergason, O.D., Julie Wolf, O.D., Camilla Dunn, O.D., Mark Garin, O.D., Natalie West, O.D., Andrea Robinson, O.D., Priscilla Pappas-Walker, O.D., and Lauren Nelson, O.D., on behalf of themselves and all others [*6]  similarly situated, filed a complaint in this Court making the same allegations against NBEO, with additional factual support and details supporting their claims. Case No. 17-1964 ("Liang"), ECF No. 1. On September 7, 2017, NBEO again moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Id., ECF No. 25. Following briefing, on December 18, 2017, this Court stayed Liang pending the resolution of the Fourth Circuit appeal, concluding the outcome of that appeal would govern further proceedings in that case. Id., ECF No. 36.

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2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120558 *; 2019 WL 3183651

RHONDA L. HUTTON, O.D., et al., Plaintiffs v. NAT'L BD. OF EXAM'RS IN OPTOMETRY, INC., Defendant;NICOLE MIZRAHI, Plaintiffs v. NAT'L BD. OF EXAM'RS IN OPTOMETRY, INC., Defendant;BRENDA LIANG, O.D., et al., Plaintiffs v. NAT'L BD. OF EXAM'RS IN OPTOMETRY, INC., Defendant

Prior History: Hutton v. Nat'l Bd. of Examiners in Optometry, Inc., 892 F.3d 613, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 15748 (4th Cir. Md., June 12, 2018)

CORE TERMS

Settlement, class member, parties, notice, class representative, reimbursement, awards, final approval, negotiations, expenses, attorney's fees, time spent, mediator, personal information, motion to dismiss, claims process, final judgment, class action, out-of-pocket, Predominance, monitoring, appointed, approves, purposes, certify, Costs, cases