Marriott Moves to Dismiss Data Breach Complaint

On Thursday, Marriott International, Inc. filed a motion to dismiss Patti Springmeyer and Joe Lopez’s amended complaint, claiming that the plaintiffs lack Article III standing and failed to adequately plead their causes of action. Springmeyer and Lopez previously brought a nationwide putative class action against Marriott over a data breach, during which two Marriott employees “improperly accessed” certain guest information.

The defendants first addressed standing, claiming the plaintiffs have not alleged an injury-in-fact because they did not claim that Marriot’s systems were hacked or vulnerable or that the improper access affected sensitive personal information such as social security numbers, credit card information, passport information and other sensitive information. The defendants also argued that the plaintiffs do not claim that the accessed information has been misused.

Marriott stated that the plaintiffs only asserted that their personal information, such as name, address, birthday, and loyalty number, was compromised. They said this information is often voluntarily disclosed and the plaintiffs did not allege an imminent threat of misuse. Moreover, the plaintiffs cannot create standing by claiming “increased risk of identity theft” or by voluntarily spending money and that the plaintiffs cannot assert “diminished value” or “that they lost benefit of their bargain” because they have not shown that their personal information, such as name and address decreased in value. The defendants also argued that the plaintiffs did not claim that any injury is fairly traceable to the conduct alleged in the complaint. Consequently, the plaintiffs lack standing for an injunction. 

Marriot declared that the plaintiffs’ claims for breach of contract and breach of implied contract fail because they have not alleged a breach of contract or breach of implied contract. Consequently, the claim for unjust enrichment must be dismissed, according to the hotel giant. They also contended that the plaintiffs failed to plead their state law breach of confidence and unfair competition claims adequately. 

Lastly, Marriott added that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring claims for a nationwide class, instead stating that any putative class should be limited to Nevada and California, where the plaintiffs reside. As a result, Marriott argued that the court should not award the plaintiffs’ requested declaratory judgment, stating that it is “not appropriate.” 

Marriott is represented by Jenner & Block LLP. The plaintiffs are represented by Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, P.A. with Morgan & Morgan Complex Litigation Group.