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Katz v. Pershing, 10-12227-RGS (D.ma.; Aug 23, 2011)

Katz v. Pershing, 10-12227-RGS (D.ma.; Aug 23, 2011)

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Court dismisses lawsuit alleging failure to adequately safeguard personal information.
Court dismisses lawsuit alleging failure to adequately safeguard personal information.

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Published by: Venkat Balasubramani on Oct 09, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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In contrast, Pershing safeguards its own internal corporate data with enhancedIT security.UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTDISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTSCIVIL ACTION NO. 10-12227-RGSBRENDA KATZ,on behalf of herself and all others similarly situatedv.PERSHING, LLCMEMORANDUM AND ORDERON DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISSAugust 23, 2011STEARNS, D.J.BACKGROUNDPlaintiff Brenda Katz owns an account at National Planning Corporation (NPC),an “introducing firm” for which defendant Pershing, LLC (Pershing), providesbrokerage clearing services executed on a proprietary software platform calledNetExchange Pro. The platform allows brokerage firms and customers (currently over5,000,000 in number) to access account information, stock quotes, and research toolsover the Internet.
Katz alleges that up to 100,000 users (including key Pershingemployees) have 24-hour electronic access to customers’ non-public personal
Case 1:10-cv-12227-RGS Document 20 Filed 08/23/11 Page 1 of 14
Excluded from the class are “Defendant, including any entity in whichDefendant has a controlling interest, or which is a parent or subsidiary of, or which is
information (NPPI), including Social Security numbers, taxpayer identificationnumbers, and bank account numbers, without robust information technology securityin place. Pl.’s Opp’n at 2. As a result, Katz alleges that customers’ NPPI issusceptible of being downloaded or improperly stored without encryption, making itvulnerable to unauthorized access by third parties, including spyware. Katz claims thatNPC paid fees to Pershing to protect customer data – fees that she believes werepassed on to her and other putative class members.On December 23, 2010, Katz filed this Complaint alleging violations of theMassachusetts Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A;violations of other (unspecified) states’ unfair trade practices statutes; breach of contract; breach of implied contract; negligent breach of contractual duties; unjustenrichment, and other prayers for equitable relief. Katz seeks certification of a classconsisting of all persons in the United States whose [NPPI] is or was maintained on anaccount with a broker, investment advisor, or directly with [Bank of NewYork], its affiliates or subsidiaries that utilizes or utilized Defendant’sclearing or financial services and/or subscribes or subscribed to the useof the [NetExchange Pro], directly or indirectly, during the six yearsimmediately prior to the filing of this action.Compl. ¶ 49.
Case 1:10-cv-12227-RGS Document 20 Filed 08/23/11 Page 2 of 14
controlled by Defendant, and the officers, directors, affiliates, legal representatives,heirs, predecessors, successors, or assigns of Defendant.”
 ¶ 51.
The fault lies with the court and not Katz. The court overlooked anenlargement of the time to file an opposition that it had previously granted to Katz.
On March 11, 2011, Pershing filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint pursuantto Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). The court granted the motion on Rule12(b)(1) grounds before Katz filed an opposition.
Katz filed a motion to reconsideron March 30, 2011. The motion was granted in part, and a hearing was held on June3, 2011, on Pershing’s reinstated motion to dismiss.DISCUSSION
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
“When faced with motions to dismiss under both 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), a districtcourt, absent good reason to do otherwise, should ordinarily decide the 12(b)(1) motionfirst. . . . It is not simply formalistic to decide the jurisdictional issue when the casewould be dismissed in any event for failure to state a claim. Different consequencesflow from dismissals under 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6): for example, dismissal under theformer, not being on the merits, is without res judicata effect.”
 Ne. Erectors Ass’n of the BTEA v. Sec’y of Labor 
Occupational Safety & Health Admin.
, 62 F.3d 37, 39 (1stCir. 1995). A court is permitted to look beyond the pleadings to determine jurisdictionon a 12(b)(1) motion, hence the formality of converting the motion to one for summary
Case 1:10-cv-12227-RGS Document 20 Filed 08/23/11 Page 3 of 14

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