Much of today’s data are generated by the everyday activities of consumers as they communicate, shop, travel, work, or engage in routine interactions with other consumers, businesses, and government entities through digital systems, platforms, and social media. Given this massive accumulation of information, the opportunities for disputes over the use or misuse of consumer information continue to increase. Cornerstone Research has experience in high-profile data privacy and data breach matters, addressing a wide range of damages methodologies and analyses commonly used by plaintiffs in class actions in the United States. Our experience covers all stages of litigation, including pre-litigation assessment of exposure, support for mediation, and expert testimony support at the class certification and merits phases. We also have substantial experience assisting clients in regulatory proceedings relating to data privacy or data breach issues in the United States and Europe.

View Selected Experts

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Lorin M. Hitt

Zhang Jindong Professor of Operations, Information, and Decisions,
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania;
Senior Advisor, Cornerstone Research

Professor Lorin Hitt is an expert in applied econometrics and the economics of information and information technology. He focuses on the role of information in consumer behavior, firm organization, and market structure.

Professor Hitt researches how information and technology create economic value, how goods and services are priced, how competition works in information intensive industries, and how consumers search and use information in their decision-making, among other topics. His academic research and teaching cover a variety of empirical methods used in economic research, including models for estimating demand and supply, pricing products, measuring the effect of external events on market prices, and valuing individual product features in differentiated products.

Professor Hitt’s research has been published in leading economics and management journals, including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Economic PerspectivesBrookings Papers on Economic ActivityManagement Science, and Information Systems Research.

At the Wharton School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Professor Hitt has taught courses on competition and customer pricing, information systems management, the economics of technology, and data analysis. He has won the annual Wharton Undergraduate Teaching Award more than ten times, and has also been honored with the Wharton-wide Hauck Award and the University of Pennsylvania-wide Lindback Award for distinguished teaching.

Professor Hitt has been retained in numerous product liability, intellectual property, antitrust, and breach of contract cases. He has testified in several high-profile matters, including the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Litigation (Nemet et al. v. Volkswagen); Johannessohn et al. v. Polaris Industries Inc.Buckeye Tree Lodge and Sequoia Village Inn LLC v. Expedia Inc. et al.In Re TFT-LCD (Flat Panel) Antitrust Litigation; and Stragent LLC et al. v. Intel Corp. In Nemet et al., the judge dismissed the case, finding the plaintiffs’ analyses to be unreliable and inadmissible due to critical flaws that Professor Hitt identified.

In multiple product liability matters, Professor Hitt has analyzed the value of a product or product features. He has substantial experience addressing class certification and damages issues, including analyzing market price data and evaluating proposed damages methods such as hedonic price analyses, difference-in-differences regression analyses, and conjoint analyses.

Professor Hitt has also served as an expert witness in antitrust matters involving allegations of price fixing and collusion. In intellectual property matters, he has opined on patent damages and on methods to assess the value of alleged infringed product features.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Justin McCrary

Paul J. Evanson Professor of Law,
Columbia Law School;
Senior Advisor, Cornerstone Research

Justin McCrary is an expert on statistical methods and economic modeling at the intersection of law and economics. Professor McCrary has testified on issues related to class certification, antitrust, labor, and statistics. His experience covers a range of industries and markets, including healthcare, life sciences, labor, telecommunications, high tech, and retail.

Class certification

Professor McCrary provided testimony in two seminal no-poach litigation matters involving the McDonald’s and Jimmy John’s franchises. In both matters, he analyzed the potential procompetitive benefits of the challenged clauses and opined on issues of class certification. Class certification was denied in both cases, with both U.S. district court judges relying on Professor McCrary’s analyses in their opinions.

Professor McCrary has testified on class certification issues in a high-profile gender discrimination case focused on pay and promotion outcomes at a large U.S. retailer. He has also filed reports on class certification issues in false advertising, product liability, and breach of contract matters.

Antitrust

Professor McCrary has extensive experience as an expert in antitrust cases. In a significant matter in a high-tech industry, he addressed allegations of conspiracy to fix prices, as well as analyzed and rebutted an opposing expert’s damages model. He has analyzed damages resulting from alleged collusion among pharmacies in South America. In AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile, Professor McCrary served as a consulting expert for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Statistical methods and analysis

An authority on high-performance computing and statistical techniques, Professor McCrary has testified at deposition on sampling, probability theory, and statistical methods. His experience includes multiple mortgage-backed securities and insider trading matters. He has also examined the statistical evidence for alleged overbilling of Medicare by healthcare providers in both government audit and False Claim Act matters.

Research and teaching

Professor McCrary has published research on econometric methods for measuring damages in antitrust litigation. In addition, his scholarship covers a wide range of topics, including employment discrimination, high-frequency trading, financial market structure, and monetary policy. A prolific author and co-author, his work has appeared in leading journals, including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Econometrics, and the Review of Economics and Statistics. Professor McCrary is a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Prior to joining Columbia University, Professor McCrary taught at the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the founding director of the UC Berkeley Social Sciences Data Laboratory, or “D-Lab,” which focuses on emerging big data techniques in social science research.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Victor Stango

Professor, Graduate School of Management,
University of California, Davis

Victor Stango specializes in retail banking, consumer finance, and behavioral economics. He has served as an expert witness in matters involving consumers’ experiences, usage, and understanding of various financial products, including consumer finance class actions related to disclosure statements and agreements. Professor Stango has testified in deposition and at trial.

Professor Stango’s current research focuses on consumer financial decision making over both short- and long-term time horizons. He has also examined consumer financial products such as credit cards, demand deposit accounts, ATMs, and payday loans. His other current work examines how information technology outsourcing affects firms and consumers in the financial services industry. Professor Stango also analyzes issues related to data breach and data privacy.

Professor Stango was formerly a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago and New York. He has earned recognition for outstanding teaching and is an associate editor of the International Journal of Industrial Organization. His writing has appeared in major news outlets, and his research has been published in leading academic journals, including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Finance, and the Review of Financial Studies.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Lesley Chiou

Professor of Economics,
Occidental College

Lesley Chiou addresses the antitrust, privacy, and copyright implications of search engine and social media business practices. An expert in the economics of the internet, Professor Chiou focuses on consumer behavior, firm competition, and implications for government regulation of online markets. In these contexts, she has addressed vertical integration in search markets, content aggregation by platforms, the use of trademarks in online search, and the effects of digital advertising on consumer behavior.

Professor Chiou applies her econometric expertise to address various issues related to frictionless commerce, such as bidding behavior in internet auctions, the impact of paywalls on demand for online news, and consumer responses to pricing changes. In addition, Professor Chiou has analyzed competition between online and offline firms. Her industry expertise includes arts and media, consumer goods, and retail.

Professor Chiou presents her research in governmental and academic settings. She has spoken at the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission on topics related to competition in digital and print advertising markets. She has also participated in panels and presented her work at leading universities and conferences in the United States and Europe.

Professor Chiou’s papers have been published in the Journal of Economics and Management Strategythe Journal of Law, Economics, and OrganizationMarketing Science; and the Journal of Econometrics. She has coauthored working papers on search engines and data retention; how advertising on social networks can disseminate fake news; and internet access and inequality, among other topics.

At Occidental College, Professor Chiou teaches courses in econometrics and industrial organization. She has held visiting academic positions at UCLA and Boston University.

Data Privacy and Data Breach Capabilities

Our staff and experts have an in-depth understanding of the academic literature, proprietary data, and research on data privacy expectations, as well as the potential negative outcomes resulting from data breach incidents. We have addressed issues relating to a wide spectrum of personal data, including demographic information, financial information, app and device user data, geolocation information, and individual behavior (such as smart-TV viewing habits).

We have worked on data privacy disputes and data breach matters involving many industries, including major technology companies, app developers, smart device manufacturers, financial institutions, magazine publishers, national restaurant chains, credit reporting bureaus, and healthcare companies.

Cornerstone Research staff and experts have experience rebutting the methods plaintiffs use to value private data and determine alleged harm.

  • “Market price”-based methods: Plaintiffs in data privacy and data breach class actions often use so-called “market prices” and rely on transactions on the dark web or prices advertisers pay for targeted advertising. We have extensive experience in rebutting such methods.
  • Conjoint analysis: Conjoint analysis is another method used by plaintiffs in data privacy and data breach class actions to quantify the alleged overpayment for products and services. We have extensive experience with conjoint analysis and have rebutted such methods in disputes involving personal data.
    Learn more >
  • Contingent valuation: Plaintiffs in data privacy and data breach class actions have proposed contingent valuation surveys to assess, for example, how much consumers value their data or how much they would pay to protect their data. In these cases, we have evaluated the survey instrument and assessed the reliability of the results. As part of our analysis, we relied on academic research that demonstrates biases generated by contingent valuation surveys, including the susceptibility of such surveys to the “privacy paradox,” the well-known discrepancy between consumers’ stated privacy preferences and actual behavior.

Causation is at the forefront of data breach class actions, as plaintiffs allege the breach caused fraudulent use of their data. However, because consumers may typically share the same types of data with multiple parties (e.g., payment card data) and because concurrent data breach incidents have become increasingly common, it can be difficult to establish a link between fraudulent activity and a particular data breach incident.

In data privacy cases, linking economic harm to the alleged misuse of personal information may be further complicated if such information was already in the public domain, or if consumers benefitted from the company’s use of such personal information (e.g., by receiving more tailored products or services).

Litigation relating to personal data usually involves an assessment of how consumers would respond in the but-for world to information regarding the use of their personal data. In many instances, key events can be used as natural experiments to analyze consumers’ real-world responses to such information. For example, statistical analysis can be used to analyze consumers’ product usage or product purchase decisions before and after a privacy-related disclosure by the company. Similarly, statistical analysis can be used to analyze consumer complaints about fraudulent payment card activity or consumers’ decisions to sign up for identity theft protection services before and after the announcement of a data breach incident.

Our expertise with processing and analysis of large datasets enables us to study such real-world behavior.

We conduct rigorous consumer surveys to address a variety of issues that may arise in litigation related to personal data, such as:

  • Consumer expectations, awareness, or understanding of the types of data companies at issue collect, store, use, or share with third parties
  • Consumer expectations, awareness, or understanding of targeted advertising
  • Materiality of disclosures regarding targeted advertising and the types of consumer data that are collected, stored, used, or shared with third parties
  • The nature and extent of consumers’ data-sharing behavior with third parties

Cornerstone Research staff and experts have prepared expert reports during the class certification stage and merits phase of data privacy and data breach litigation. We have experience developing affirmative surveys and rebutting surveys, including conjoint studies, and have successfully rebutted various “market price”-based and other approaches to calculating damages at both the class certification stage and merits phase of class actions.

A variety of economic and legal issues have arisen in data privacy and data protection litigation as a result of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the UK’s Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018). The right to compensation under these two laws has, by design, introduced a significant risk of damages actions following allegations of unauthorized use of, or access to, personal data. The emerging but nascent stage of such litigation in the UK means that experience from other jurisdictions and practice areas can provide significant insight into the likely challenges and opportunities when responding to such damages actions. Cornerstone Research staff and experts have assisted clients in proceedings in front of European data protection authorities.

Featured Cases and Publications

31 March 2022

The Weak Foundations of Conjoint Analysis

David Gal of University of Illinois discusses the methodological limitations of conjoint analysis for assessing consumer preferences and estimating...

17 November 2021

Damages in Consumer Class Actions

The authors discuss methods such as conjoint surveys and regression analysis in the ABA’s A Practitioner's Guide to Class Actions.

8 November 2021

Estimating Harm in Invasion of Privacy and Data Breach Disputes

The authors discuss the recent developments in the UK and the US in invasion of privacy and data breach cases.

23 February 2021

Cornerstone Research Experts in Focus: Lesley Chiou

Professor Lesley Chiou of Occidental College speaks about her current research on two-sided platforms and competition in the digital space.

16 December 2020

5 Questions with Anja Lambrecht: Digital Advertising, Targeting, and Apparent Bias

We interview Professor Lambrecht, an authority on digital marketing related to online advertising, promotion, pricing, and consumer behavior.

3 November 2020

Legal and Economic Analysis of Personal Data–Related Collective Actions in the UK

The authors discuss how the right to compensation under the GDPR and DPA 2018 has introduced a significant risk of damages actions following allega...

8 October 2020

Economic and Legal Issues in Data Privacy and Data Breach Group Litigations: Key Takeaways

At a July 2020 event, speakers discussed economic and legal issues arising in data privacy and data protection litigation.

21 August 2020

Invasion of Privacy Consumer Class Action

The court rejected the plaintiffs’ proposed conjoint survey in an invasion of privacy class action, and denied class certification in a related fal...

9 July 2020

Assessing Health Data Privacy Damages During A Pandemic

The authors discuss how increased telehealth and contact tracing could open the door to class actions related to data privacy and data breaches.

7 July 2020

5 Questions with Donna Hoffman: How Technology Is Changing the Consumer Experience

Professor Donna Hoffman, of George Washington University, shares insights into the impact of technology on consumer behavior.

How can we help you?

For more information or assistance with a specific matter, please contact us.