J. Austin Moore, Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP Photo

J. Austin Moore

Partner

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. 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 played key roles representing 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’s recent successes include serving as:

  • Co-lead counsel in pending $2.25 million settlement on behalf of employees of Citrix
  • Co-lead counsel in $3.25 million settlement on behalf of optometrists
  • Member of leadership team that achieved historic Equifax data breach settlement valued at over $1.5 billion

Consumer Class Actions. Austin represents consumers who have been harmed by corporate misconduct, including false advertising, unlawful debt collection, and credit reporting errors. Austin recently obtained one of the largest recoveries in history relating to inaccurate credit reports under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, securing $29 million in settlements in two pioneering cases against Experian arising out of the agency’s reporting of delinquent loan accounts.

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 results include:

  • $8.2 million verdict for sexual assault victim who sued assailant for civil assault and battery
  • $1.5 million settlement in nursing home resident sexual assault case
  • Confidential settlement reached against ridesharing giant Uber after female rider was sexually assaulted by driver
  • Confidential settlement for underage female employee who was sexually assaulted by her manager on premises

Austin has been named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” in class action law each year from 2015-2020. 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

Equifax Data Breach Litigation (Northern District of Georgia) – Austin worked alongside co-lead counsel Norman Siegel representing consumers in multi-district litigation against Equifax following its massive data breach impacting 147 million Americans. In December 2019, the Court granted final approval to a historic settlement that includes up to $505.5 million in cash benefits and requires Equifax to spend at least $1 billion upgrading its security over the next five years.

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 compromising 383 million guest records. Along with Norman Siegel, Austin is chairing the law and briefing committee where he served as the primary drafter of the consolidated lawsuit and is responsible for handling substantive briefing in the litigation.

Citrix Data Breach Litigation (Southern District of Florida) – Austin was appointed as co-lead counsel in consolidated litigation against technology company Citrix, Inc. after the company suffered a 6-month data breach. A $2.25 million class action settlement is pending court approval.

TurboTax Free-to-File Class Action (Northern District of California) – Austin is a member of the leadership team appointed to represent consumers in consolidated litigation against Intuit after TurboTax users were charged for tax-preparation services advertised as "free."

OPM Data Breach Litigation (District of Columbia) – Austin is working with lead counsel representing government employees and contractors in multi-district litigation against the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and contractor KeyPoint for failing to 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 reversal before the D.C. Circuit in June 2019.

Recent Litigation Highlights (Sexual Abuse Cases)

$8.2 Million Verdict for Sexual Assault Victim – Austin served as trial counsel on behalf of a sexual assault victim who sued her assailant for civil assault and battery. On June 14, 2019, a Jackson County, Missouri judge awarded the victim 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.

$1.5 Million Settlement for Nursing Home Victim - Austin obtained a $1.5 million settlement on behalf of a client who was sexually assaulted at a nursing home by another resident. The confidential settlement was reached on the eve of trial following extensive fact and expert discovery. 

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 (Consumer Class Actions)

Experian FCRA Litigation (Central District of California) – Austin was appointed as class counsel in two settlements totaling $29 million against credit reporting agency Experian arising out of the agency’s reporting of delinquent loan accounts. Austin led all aspects of the cases including devising the novel case theory, conducting fact and expert discovery, and briefing and arguing substantive motions, including a successful motion for class certification and Ninth Circuit appeal.

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, 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.

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.

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.

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. Austin chaired the team of attorneys tasked with investigating the case and handling all substantive briefing in the litigation.

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 Eighth Circuit affirmed approval of a settlement valued at $23 million that provided for $10 million in cash payments to class members. Austin led nationwide plaintiff vetting and discovery efforts in the litigation.

Appellate Litigation

Reyes v. Experian,773 F. App'x 882 (9th Cir. 2019) – Austin won a victory when a unanimous Ninth Circuit reversed the trial court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of Experian in a class action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act involving Experian’s reporting of delinquent loan accounts. The Ninth Circuit adopted Austin’s novel theory of liability, concluding that a reasonable jury could find the accounts at issue misleading and Experian’s conduct “willful" under the statute.

Hutton v. National Board of Examiners in Optometry, 892 F.3d 613 (4th Cir. 2018) – Austin helped obtain a significant victory for data breach plaintiffs in the Fourth Circuit when the panel reversed the district court’s dismissal of a class action lawsuit alleging that the national optometry board 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 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 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 arbitration 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 Eleventh Circuit addressing the enforceability of loan agreement that required the parties to arbitrate before a panel that stopped accepting consumer arbitration claims. Because the agreement contemplated arbitration before a forum that declined to hear the dispute, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision to deny arbitration.

Affordable Communities of Missouri v. Fannie Mae, 714 F.3d 1069 (8th Cir. 2013) – Austin authored an appellate brief to the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on behalf of a 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 breach of contract claim finding that an ambiguity in Fannie Mae’s loan documents supported the claim.

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)

Super Lawyers Missouri & Kansas “Rising Star” in Class Action Litigation (2015-2020)

Missouri Lawyers Weekly “Top 5 Judgments or Bench Awards” (2019)

Missouri Lawyers Weekly “Up & Coming Lawyer” (2016)

Community

Community & Professional

The Missouri Bar

Illinois State Bar Association

Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA)

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 in St. Louis

J.D., 2011

  • Honors: Dean's List; Mary Collier Hitchcock Prize; 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

University of Mississippi

B.A., summa cum laude

  • Honors:  Phi Beta Kappa; Phi Kappa Phi

Admissions

  • Missouri State Bar
  • Illinois State Bar
  • 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. 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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