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Major Data Breach Results in Representative Action Against Marriott International

Related Lawyers: Michael Bywell, Genevieve Anouck Labbé, Tim Brown, Rachael Baillie, Hana Tawfik, Nabil Charkaoui , Alexandre Predal, Josie Greener
Related Practice Areas: Technology Disputes, Commercial Disputes, Consumer Claims

London – 18 August 2020 - Hausfeld filed a legal action in the High Court against Marriott International on behalf of millions of affected individuals concerning a major data breach.

Following a data breach involving the Starwood guest reservation database, unknown persons gained access to hundreds of millions of guest records between July 2014 and September 2018. The case seeks compensation from Marriott International on behalf of millions of hotel guests domiciled in England & Wales who made reservations at hotel brands within the Starwood hotel group, now part of Marriott International. 

Hotel brands where affected guests stayed include: W Hotels, St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Element Hotels, Aloft Hotels, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Le Méridien Hotel & Resorts, Four Points by Sheraton and Design Hotels. 

Background

The systems of the Starwood hotel group were compromised following a hack on its reservation network, which is believed to have first occurred in 2014. Marriott International acquired the Starwood Hotel group in 2016 but the exposure of customer information was not discovered until 2018. The guests’ personal data affected by the breach included information such as guests’ names, email and postal addresses, telephone numbers, gender and credit card information.

On 9 July 2019, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (the “ICO”) issued a statement of its intention to fine Marriott. In the statement, the ICO said: “The ICO’s investigation found that Marriott failed to undertake sufficient due diligence when it bought Starwood and should also have done more to secure its systems.”

The claim

The Claimant is Martin Bryant who brings a representative action on behalf of the affected hotel guests. Commenting on the case, Martin Bryant said:

“Personal data is increasingly critical as we live more of our lives online, but as consumers we don’t always realise the risks we are exposed to when our data is compromised through no fault of our own. I hope this case will raise awareness of the value of our personal data, result in fair compensation for those of us who have fallen foul of Marriott’s vast and long-lasting data breach, and also serve notice to other data owners that they must hold our data responsibly.”

Michael Bywell, Partner at Hausfeld, added:

“Over a period of several years, Marriott International failed to take adequate technical or organisational measures to protect millions of their guests’ personal data which was entrusted to them. Marriott International acted in clear breach of data protection laws specifically put in place to protect data subjects.”

As a result of Marriott’s breaches of the GDPR and/or statutory duty under the DPA 1998, Martin Bryant (the “Representative Claimant”) and those whom he represents, claim damages for loss of control of their personal data. The claim is being brought as a representative action under Rule 19.6 of the Civil Procedure Rules. Everyone with the same interest as Martin Bryant is included in the claimant class, unless they opt out.

Claims of this size and nature are difficult to bring and sustain without the benefit of litigation funding. The claim is financed by Harbour Litigation Funding.

Eligibility

Guests domiciled in England and Wales who made a reservation to stay around the world in one of the former Starwood brand hotels listed above before 10 September 2018 will automatically be included within the class.

The hotel guests on whose behalf the claim is brought will not pay costs or fees to participate in this legal action and have no financial risk in relation to the claim.

For additional information or to register interest, please visit the MDB claim website www.marriottdatabreachclaim.co.uk.

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Media enquiries

DRD Partnership

MarriottDataBreachClaim@drdpartnership.com

Lawrence Dore +44 (0) 7958 329309 or
Kate Miller +44 (0) 7720 593428

Notes to Editors

About Martin Bryant

Martin will be representing the hotel guests within the claimant class affected by this breach. Martin aims to support affected customers and hold Marriott International accountable for their failure in protecting their customers’ information.

Martin is the founder of technology and media consultancy Big Revolution, which works to help technology companies craft a narrative around their products and business. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of international technology publication The Next Web, and Community Editor at Tech North, where he shone a light on the stories of start-ups and entrepreneurs in the North of England.

About Hausfeld

Hausfeld is a leading law firm specialising in litigation, with 7 offices in Europe and 5 offices in the U.S. Hausfeld possesses significant experience in all aspects of collective redress and group claims – often acting against some of the largest corporations in the world. The firm pioneered the trucks competition litigation in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. It has acted on some of the most complex damages claims of the last decade: on the ‘Interchange Fee’ litigation against Visa and Mastercard, in ‘Google Shopping’ claims on behalf of price comparison websites against Google; against Mercedes Benz relating to the emissions scandal and against 6 financial institutions over their participation in unlawful price-fixing of the foreign exchange currency markets.

About Harbour Litigation Funding

Harbour is the largest privately owned dedicated litigation and arbitration funder in the world. Since inception in 2007 it has funded in excess of 120 disputes across 15 jurisdictions and six arbitral fora. Consistently ranked “Band 1” by Chambers & Partners, Harbour is a founding member and current chair of the Association of Litigation Funders of England and Wales.

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