Class actions related to Target Corp.'s massive data breach will be consolidated in the retailer's home state of Minnesota.

The decision by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transfers and combines 33 lawsuits across 18 districts, and potentially many more tag-along actions, before U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson. Target supported the move.

Jonathan Kudulis, a partner at Trimmier, Kudulis & Reisinger in Birmingham, Ala., which is representing the $62 million Tuscaloosa CU in Tuscaloosa, Ala. — one of the credit unions involved in the class action suit — says he expected the lawsuits would move to Minnesota given that Target's IT department is located in that state, and the consolidation would speed up a final ruling.

The centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pre-trial rulings, and conserve the resources of the parties and the judiciary, according to the transfer order.

Kudulis says the move "bodes well" for financial institutions. "Minnesota has put in place statutes that make it possible for financial institutions to recover costs related to a data breach, whereas that is not the case in other states that have yet to place such protective laws on the books."

As a result of the data compromise that has affected nearly one in four Americans, lawsuits totaling more than 100 have been filed on behalf of consumers and financial institutions.

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