Seasoned trial lawyer Doug Meal defends clients targeted by litigation and government investigations stemming from major privacy and cybersecurity incidents. According to Chambers USA 2017 companies select Doug because he is “regarded by market sources as the leading privacy litigator in the USA”; in 2019 Chambers USA confirmed that assessment by naming Doug as the first-ever, and only, nationwide “Band 1” litigator in the Privacy and Data Security category.

As the lead outside lawyer handling claims stemming from the data security breaches suffered by Target, Neiman Marcus, The Home Depot, Hilton Worldwide, Landry’s, Arby’s, Supervalu, Sally Beauty, Sony, Heartland Payment Systems, TJ Maxx, Hannaford Brothers, Aldo, Genesco, and Wyndham Hotels—some of the most highly publicized data security breaches in recent years—Doug has become the national leader in defending companies that suffer significant cybersecurity breaches involving consumer information against the ensuing claims and regulatory investigations. Doug’s recent successes include leading the team that prevailed in the closely-watched LabMD v. FTC, convincing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to become the first court ever to overturn a cybersecurity enforcement action by the Federal Trade Commission.

    • Aldo Group. Lead counsel in Aldo’s ongoing defense of card brand and card issuer claims resulting from an alleged data security breach that the retailer discovered in early 2010.
    • Arby’s Restaurant Group. Lead counsel in defending Arby's against all third-party claims arising from a payment card incident announced in February 2017.
    • Destination Hotels and Resorts. Lead counsel in DH&R’s defense of the card brand claims stemming from the data security breaches suffered in 2010 by certain hotels managed by DH&R. 
    • Fortune 100 Insurance Company. National coordinating counsel with respect to the litigations and regulatory inquiries arising from the criminal cyber-attack on a certain portion of a Fortune 100 insurance company’s computer network.
    • Genesco. Advising Genesco on how to address its various legal obligations and exposures resulting from a substantial data security breach that Genesco discovered in late 2010.
    • Hannaford Brothers. Lead counsel in Hannaford’s defense of the card brand claims stemming from the data security breach announced by Hannaford in 2008.
    • Heartland Payment Systems. Lead counsel in Heartland’s ongoing defense of the card brand claims, the card issuer class action, and the FTC investigation stemming from the data security breach announced by Heartland in 2009. The card brand claims were favorably settled, and the court dismissed all the card issuer claims.
    • Hilton Worldwide. Lead counsel regarding potential card brand claims stemming from two separate data security incidents that affected certain Hilton-branded hotels around the world in 2014 and 2015, and also in litigation against Hilton's former payment card processor in connection with a commercial dispute relating to the data security incidents.
    • The Home Depot. Advising and representing Home Depot in responding to card brand inquiries stemming from the data security breach that Home Depot announced in September 2014.
    • LabMD. Represented LabMD in its successful petition to the U.S. Court of Appeals resulting in the first-ever court decision overturning an FTC cybersecurity action.
    • Landry's. Lead outside counsel for Landry's on third-party claims brought by Landry's against two major card brands arising out of their allegedly unlawful conduct in imposing substantial assessments on Landry's acquiring bank as a result of a data security breach suffered by Landry's.
    • Neiman Marcus. Advising and representing Neiman Marcus in responding to card brand inquiries stemming from the data security breach that Neiman Marcus announced in January 2014.
    • Sally Beauty Products. Advising and representing Sally Beauty in responding to card brand inquiries stemming from the data security breach that Sally Beauty announced in March 2014
    • Sony. Global coordinating counsel with respect to the multiple litigations and investigations that have arisen from the criminal cyber-attacks on certain of the Sony’s computer networks.
    • Supervalu Inc. Lead outside counsel for Supervalu in defending and responding to all litigation claims, and regulatory inquiries stemming from the data security breach that Supervalu announced in August 2014.
    • Target. Lead outside counsel advising and representing Target Corp. in responding to card brand inquiries and defending card issuer litigation stemming from the data security breach that Target announced in December 2013.
    • The TJX Companies. Lead counsel in TJX’s defense of the card brand claims and the card issuer class action stemming from the data security breach announced by TJX in 2007. The card brand claims were favorably settled, and the trial court dismissed almost all the class action claims and thereafter denied class certification of the few non-dismissed claims. The ensuing First Circuit appeal resulted in a substantial affirmance of the trial court’s decision by means of a groundbreaking opinion in the area of data security breach law.
    • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. Lead counsel in Wyndham’s ongoing defense of the card brand claims stemming from the data security breaches suffered by certain of the Wyndham-branded hotels in 2008–2010; co-lead counsel in Wyndham’s defense of FTC enforcement action stemming from these intrusions.

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