J. Austin Moore, Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP Photo

J. Austin Moore

Attorney

Overview

Austin Moore litigates high-stakes cases. He practices in state and federal courts across the country and regularly takes on major corporations in nationwide class actions, including in the emerging area of data breach and privacy litigation. In 2019, Austin was one of five attorneys named among Law360’s “Rising Stars” in the field of Cybersecurity and Privacy Law, which recognizes attorneys under the age of 40 whose legal accomplishments transcend their age.

Austin focuses his practice on three primary practice areas:

Data Breach and Privacy Litigation. Austin is a national leader in data breach and privacy cases. He has represented consumers in many of the nation’s largest data breach class actions, including lawsuits against Target, the Home Depot, Anthem Insurance, Equifax, and Marriott. Austin has played key roles in these cases including leading plaintiff vetting efforts, chairing law and briefing committees, and negotiating classwide settlements. Austin’s recent successes include helping achieve preliminary approval of the historic Equifax data breach settlement that includes up to $505.5 million in cash benefits and being appointed as class counsel in an “outstanding” $3.25 million settlement on behalf of optometrists who were subject to a breach by the national optometry board.

Consumer Class Actions. A former defense attorney, Austin has significant experience litigating complex cases under state and federal antitrust and consumer protection statutes. Austin has brought class actions on behalf of victims of unlawful debt collection practices under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and inaccurate credit reporting under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Austin has also filed cases against corporate defendants for price-fixing, false advertising, and other anti-competitive practices. As part of his practice, Austin has obtained a number of important appellate victories on issues including the enforceability of consumer arbitration agreements and Article III standing to sue.

Sexual Abuse Liability. Austin advocates for victims of sexual abuse in civil cases against their perpetrators and other negligent parties. He respects the sensitivity of these cases by working with local counseling centers and adopting a trauma-informed approach to his legal representation. Austin’s recent cases include representing a young woman against ridesharing giant Uber after she was sexually assaulted by her driver, representing an underage female employee against her employer after she was sexually assaulted by her manager on premises, and representing victims of sexual abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In June 2019, Austin won a $8.2 million verdict as trial counsel for a sexual assault victim who sued her assailant for civil assault and battery.

Super Lawyers has named Austin a “Rising Star” in class action law every year since 2015. In 2016, Missouri Lawyers Weekly named Austin an “Up and Coming Lawyer.”

Austin received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Mississippi, where he graduated summa cum laude and was selected as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Austin earned his J.D. from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis where he was an editor of the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy and recipient of the Mary Collier Hitchcock Prize, awarded to one student annually for outstanding legal writing.

Before joining Stueve Siegel Hanson in 2013, Austin was in private practice in St. Louis, where he primarily defended class action cases. He credits this experience with helping him understand how defense lawyers will approach a case – and helping him craft litigation strategies that secure a courtroom advantage.

Experience

Experience

Marriott Data Breach Litigation (District of Maryland) – Austin is working with lead counsel representing consumers multi-district litigation against Marriott and Starwood Hotels following a four-year long data breach that resulted in the unauthorized access of 383 million guest records including nearly 24 million passport numbers. Along with Norm Siegel, Austin is serving as co-chair of the law and briefing committee where he served as the primary drafter of the 359-page consolidated lawsuit and is responsible for handling all substantive briefing in the litigation.

Equifax Data Breach Litigation (Northern District of Georgia) – Austin is working alongside co-lead counsel Norman Siegel representing consumers in multi-district litigation against Equifax following its massive data breach impacting 147 million Americans. In July 2019, the Court granted preliminary approval to a historic settlement that includes up to $505.5 million to pay benefits for cash compensation including time spent dealing with the breach, credit monitoring, and assistance with identity restoration. It also requires Equifax to spend at least $1 billion over the next five years to upgrade its data security.

Citrix Data Breach Litigation (Southern District of Florida) – Austin filed the nation’s first class action lawsuit against technology company Citrix, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida after the company suffered a 6-month data breach affecting its current and former employees. The lawsuit asserts that Citrix was negligent in permitting hackers to exfiltrate sensitive files from its systems including the names, Social Security numbers, and financial information of its current and former employees, as well as their beneficiaries and dependents.

TurboTax Free-to-File Class Action (Northern District of California) – Austin filed the nation’s first class action lawsuit against Intuit, Inc., maker of the popular tax preparation software TurboTax, on behalf of low-income taxpayers who were tricked into paying for tax-filing services that should have been free through a government-mandated agreement with the IRS. The lawsuit alleges that Intuit violated its agreement with the IRS by intentionally driving customers away from its free software and programming its website to hide the free filing option from search engines in favor of paid product offerings.

OPM Data Breach Litigation (District of Columbia) – Austin is working with lead counsel representing current, former and prospective government employees and contractors in multi-district litigation against the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and government contractor KeyPoint for failing to safeguard and secure the personal information of up to 21.5 million individuals. After the trial court dismissed the case on Article III standing grounds, Austin was part of the appellate team that won a full reversal before the D.C. Circuit in a published June 2019 opinion.

Experian FCRA Litigation (Central District of California) – Austin filed a class action lawsuit against Experian, one of the “big three” credit reporting agencies, for reporting on consumers’ credit reports more than 125,000 delinquent loan accounts from debt collection company Delbert Services for more than a year after Delbert went out of business and instructed Experian to stop reporting its data. Following a successful appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the case is proceeding to class certification and trial in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Recent Litigation Highlights (Sexual Assault Cases)

$8.2 Million Verdict for Sexual Assault Victim – Austin served as trial counsel on behalf of a sexual assault victim referred to as “Jane Doe” who sued her assailant for civil assault and battery. On June 14, 2019, a Jackson County, Missouri judge awarded Ms. Doe more than $8.2 million in damages that included $7.2 million in economic and non-economic damages for her “serious and permanent physical, emotional and personal injuries” and an additional $1 million in punitive damages for the assailant’s “outrageous, intentional, willful, and malicious” conduct.

Confidential Sexual Assault Settlement – Austin represented an underage female employee after she was sexually assaulted by her male manager at work and in the course of her employment. After filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the parties were able to reach a confidential settlement that received final court approval in May 2019.

Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit (Jackson County, Missouri) – Austin filed a lawsuit against Uber on behalf of a young woman who was raped by her Uber driver. An investigation revealed that prior to the assault, the driver had been convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 16 years in prison and other women had complained to Uber about the driver’s assaultive and harassing conduct. After more than 18 months of hard-fought litigation, the case was resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties in February 2019.

Recent Litigation Highlights (Data Breach and Privacy)

$3.25 Million Settlement in NBEO Data Breach Lawsuit (District of Maryland) – Austin was appointed as class counsel on behalf of more than 61,000 optometrists who had their personal information compromised by the national optometry board. Following nearly three years of litigation that included a successful appeal to the Fourth Circuit, the Court approved an “outstanding” $3.25 million settlement which permits class members to receive, among other benefits, $1,000 for self-certified time spent dealing with the breach, believed to be the most in any data breach settlement in history.

$115 Million Settlement in Anthem Data Breach Litigation (Northern District of California) – In August 2018, a federal district court in California granted final approval of a $115 million settlement to consumers whose personal information was hacked from Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance companies in early 2015. Austin was responsible for overseeing the plaintiff vetting and selection process in the litigation and subsequent plaintiff discovery efforts.

Class Settlement in Academy of Art Data Breach Lawsuit (San Francisco Superior Court) – Austin was appointed as class counsel on behalf of current and former employees of Academy of Art University against the school after their personal and W-2 information, including wage data and social security numbers, was compromised in a “phishing” scheme. In July 2018, the court granted final approval to a classwide settlement providing for reimbursement of out-of-pocket losses, three-bureau credit monitoring, and contractual business practice changes.

$29 Million Settlement in Home Depot Data Breach Litigation (Northern District of Georgia) – Austin was a key member of the leadership group appointed to represent consumers in multi-district litigation against the Home Depot following a massive data breach affecting more than 60 million consumers. In August 2016, the court approved a final settlement valued at over $29 million that the presiding judge called an “exceptional result” and observed that it “appears to be the most comprehensive settlement achieved in large-scale data breach litigation.” Austin chaired the team of attorneys tasked with investigating the case and handling all substantive briefing in the litigation.

$23 Million Settlement in Target Data Breach Litigation (District of Minnesota) – Austin was a member of the leadership team appointed to represent a class of consumers in multi-district litigation against Target over its massive 2013 data breach affecting more than 40 million consumers. In June 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed approval of a settlement valued at $23 million that provided for $10 million in cash payments to class members and required Target to significantly upgrade its data security practices. Austin led nationwide plaintiff vetting and discovery efforts in the litigation.

Appellate Litigation

Reyes v. Experian Info. Sols., Inc., 773 F. App'x 882 (9th Cir. 2019) – Austin won a significant victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit when a three-judge panel unanimously reversed the trial court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of Experian in a class action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) involving Experian’s reporting of delinquent loan accounts. The Ninth Circuit adopted Austin’s arguments that a reasonable jury could find the accounts misleading and that Experian’s conduct was “willful”– entitling plaintiff and the class to statutory and punitive damages.

Hutton v. National Board of Examiners in Optometry, Inc., 892 F.3d 613 (4th Cir. 2018) – Austin helped obtain a significant victory for data breach plaintiffs in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit when the panel reversed the district court’s dismissal of a class action lawsuit alleging that the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) suffered a data breach that resulted in massive, nationwide fraud. The published opinion addresses the injury and traceability elements for assessing Article III standing in the context of a data breach.

Moss v. First Premier Bank, 835 F. 3d 260 (2d. Cir. 2016) – Austin briefed and argued an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit addressing whether Section 5 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) permits appointment of a substitute arbitrator when the contractually-designated arbitrator declines to hear the case. In a published opinion, the Second Circuit agreed with Austin’s position and held that appointing a substitute arbitrator would be akin to rewriting the parties’ agreement, which would contradict the plain text of the FAA.

Parm v. National Bank of California, 835 F. 3d 1331 (11th Cir. 2016) – Austin co-authored an appellate brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit arguing that a tribal arbitration agreement could not be enforced against his client because it required the arbitration to be conducted under non-existent tribal law and procedures. In a published opinion, the Eleventh Circuit agreed that the agreement was unenforceable because it required the parties to arbitrate before “an illusory and unavailable arbitral forum.” 

Flagg v. First Premier Bank, No. 15-14052 (11th Cir. 2016) – Austin co-authored an appellate brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit addressing the enforceability of loan agreement that required the parties to arbitrate before the National Arbitration Forum, an entity that stopped accepting consumer arbitration claims in 2009. Because the agreement contemplated arbitration before a forum that could not hear the dispute, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision to deny arbitration.

Affordable Communities of Missouri v. Fed. Nat. Mortgage Ass’n, 714 F.3d 1069 (8th Cir. 2013) – Austin authored an appellate brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on behalf of a Missouri real estate developer appealing the dismissal of its lawsuit against Fannie Mae for subjecting it to wrongful loan pre-payment penalties. In May 2013, the Eighth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of the developer’s breach of contract claim finding that an ambiguity in Fannie Mae’s loan documents supported the cause of action.

Publications

The Impact of Scalia’s Death on Forced Arbitration and Consumer Class Actions, Missouri Lawyers Weekly (2016)

Securing Data-Breach Claims, Co-Author, Trial Magazine (2015)

Are Parens Patriae Suits Subject to Federal Jurisdiction under CAFA? Co-Author, DRI Feature Article (2012)

Resale Price Maintenance After Leegin: Why Treating Vertical Price-Fixing as “Inherently Suspect” Is the Only Viable Alternative to the Traditional Rule of Reason, 36 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol’y 289 (2011)

Honors & Awards

Honors & Recognitions

Law360 “Rising Star” in Cybersecurity and Privacy Law (2019). Selection of 175 attorneys under the age of 40 whose legal accomplishments transcend their age. Honorees selected based on career accomplishments in their respective disciplines.

Super Lawyers Missouri & Kansas “Rising Star” in Class Action Litigation (2015-2019). Selection reserved for no more than 2.5 percent of Missouri/Kansas attorneys 40 years old or younger or in practice 10 years or less.

Missouri Lawyers Weekly “Up & Coming Lawyer” (2016). Honorees selected based on their demonstration of excellence and potential to make a difference in the legal profession and their communities. The award recognizes lawyers who are 40 or younger, or within the first 10 years of practice.

Community

Community & Professional

The Missouri Bar

Illinois State Bar Association

Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA); Federal Courts Advocates Section CLE Committee Co-Chair (2016-2019)

Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance (LEAP) for Operation Breakthrough

KCMBA Military Matters providing pro bono legal services to military veterans

Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (MATA)

American Association for Justice (AAJ)

Education

Washington University School of Law

J.D., 2011

Honors: Dean's List; Mary Collier Hitchcock Prize (2011); CALI Award for Excellence in Legal Practice II: Advocacy (Highest Grade in Legal Appellate Writing)

Law Review: Washington University Journal of Law & Policy, Associate Editor, Published Member

University of Mississippi

B.A., summa cum laude, 2008

Honors:  Chancellor's Honor Roll; Phi Beta Kappa; Phi Kappa Phi

Admissions

  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
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