February 1, 2024

Law.com ( January 31,2024) – 23andMe Inc. will participate in an early mediation on Jan. 31 to resolve more than 35 class actions brought over its data breach, but not all plaintiffs’ lawyers are on board.

The mediation, to be held at a Westin hotel in Napa, California, will include most of the plaintiffs’ firms that have filed cases. But Chicago’s Edelson, in a filing ahead of the planned talks, said the mediation was “bound to be inefficient” or, at worst, result in a “sell-out settlement.”

And that’s because of a lack of both leadership and further investigation of the facts, wrote Edelson partner Rafey Balabanian.

“Yet a rudderless crowd of firms is moving forward in the dark on this important case,” Balabanian wrote in a Jan. 26 motion to appoint him interim lead counsel in the data breach litigation against 23andMe.

Balabanian, who is in San Francisco, noted that the hotel conference room in which the mediation is taking place fits only 20 attorneys, even though all plaintiffs firms were invited to participate. Edelson does not plan to participate.

“This early mediation, unfortunately, is going down a path bristling with warning signs for, at best, a wasted opportunity, and at worst, a slap-dash settlement that will be unacceptable to the court,” he wrote.

In an email, Jay Edelson clarified: “We are not arguing to the court that we are the only firm that can lead this case. Instead, we are saying that the court should stop this race to the bottom and appoint strong leads who have a clear track record of delivering outstanding results in novel privacy cases.” Read more here.