Lead attorney named for class-action case against OPM

Millions of federal employees impacted by the Office of Personnel Management data breach have their champion.

Daniel Girard, a San Francisco-based attorney and managing partner of Girard Gibbs, was named lead counsel on Jan. 28 for the class-action lawsuit against OPM. The announcement was made by the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union representing federal employees.

“We intend to make sure that the ongoing risks to the people affected by the breach are addressed to the full extent possible and that they are compensated for any harm suffered from the breach,” Girard said in an email to Federal News Radio. “We intend as well to make sure that measures are in place to protect this sensitive information going forward.”

Girard’s first order of business will be to file an amended consolidated complaint by mid-March, AFGE said. Girard also served as one of the lead attorneys for a class-action case related to the Sony Pictures Entertainment data hack.

AFGE was the first union to file a class-action lawsuit for the current and former federal employees who were victims of the OPM data breach. At the time of the filing, AFGE officials said the union was suing OPM to strengthen its cyber defenses and compensate federal employees harmed by the recent attacks on the agency’s personnel databases.

“It’s only fitting that the attorney handling our lawsuit serve as the lead counsel for everyone who has been victimized by the government’s failure to protect their personal information,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. in a statement released Jan. 29. “AFGE was out in front in representing the interests of the 22 million current and former federal employees, job applicants and their family members whose information was stolen during this unprecedented data breach.”

The National Treasury Employees Union announced in July it was suing OPM, saying the agency violated the constitutional rights of union members by exposing their private information to hackers. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

According to AFGE, nearly 20 other lawsuits have been filed.

“This is an important case and we’re pleased to have the opportunity to represent all of the affected individuals, whether they be current or former federal employees, job applicants or contractors,” Girard said.

Girard said those who received notification letters from OPM can contact the firm at opm@girardgibbs.com.

Read all of Federal News Radio’s coverage of the OPM Cyber Breach.

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