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. 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.

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

Lorin Hitt is an expert in applied econometrics who works on a broad range of antitrust, product liability, and intellectual property matters. He studies the role of information and information technology in pricing and product strategy decisions, competition, market structure, and consumer behavior.

Professor Hitt’s research focuses on how information and technology create economic value; how goods and services are priced; how competition works in information-intensive industries and online markets; and how consumers search and use information in their decision-making, among other topics. In his research, Professor Hitt utilizes a variety of empirical methods to estimate demand and supply, measure the effect of external events on market prices, and value individual product features in differentiated products.

Professor Hitt has substantial experience addressing class certification, damages, and liability issues. His expertise includes analyzing market data and evaluating proposed empirical methods such as hedonic price analyses, difference-in-differences regression analyses, and conjoint analyses. He has testified in high-profile antitrust, product liability, data privacy, data breach, and intellectual property matters, such as:

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 he has also been honored with the Wharton-wide Hauck Award and the University of Pennsylvania-wide Lindback Award for distinguished teaching.

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 a leading expert on statistical methods and economic modeling, with a focus on antitrust and competition, labor, and consumer product matters. Professor McCrary has testified on class certification, antitrust, labor, and statistics issues. His wide-ranging experience covers numerous industries and markets, such as automotive, commodities, technology, healthcare, life sciences, finance, telecommunications, and retail.

Antitrust and competition

Professor McCrary testifies in complex antitrust and competition matters in various industries. His experience includes:

  • In a significant matter in a high-tech industry, he addressed allegations of a conspiracy to fix prices and also analyzed and rebutted an opposing expert’s damages model. In another matter, he analyzed damages resulting from alleged collusion among pharmacies.
  • On behalf of a global food and agriculture corporation, Professor McCrary evaluated an alleged conspiracy to manipulate wheat futures and options contracts.
  • Professor McCrary has experience in multiple large and complex antitrust class actions involving financial markets. For example, he addressed statistical sampling of alleged cartel communications in In re Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation.
  • Professor McCrary rebutted damages in a case alleging that a large software provider maintained its monopoly position through anticompetitive practices, including exclusionary contracting. The client prevailed in a confidential arbitration proceeding.
  • Professor McCrary has provided testimony in antitrust matters involving intellectual property. For example, in Palm Beach Tanning Inc. et al. v. Sunless Inc., an antitrust counterclaim filed in response to a trademark case, he analyzed Section 1 and 2 tying allegations and issues related to the Robinson-Patman Act.
  • In the telecommunications industry, Professor McCrary served as a consulting expert for the U.S. Department of Justice in its review of AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile.

Professor McCrary has wide-ranging labor markets expertise. His representative experience includes:

  • 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 class certification issues. 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 testified on class certification issues in a high-profile gender discrimination case focused on pay and promotion outcomes at a large U.S. retailer. The judge subsequently denied certification of the plaintiffs’ proposed class.
  • Defense counsel retained Professor McCrary to analyze merits and damages issues in Morgan et al. v. U.S. Soccer Federation Inc., a gender pay discrimination class action. Citing Professor McCrary’s expert report in his order, the judge ruled in favor of the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
  • Defense counsel in Robinson et al. v. Jackson Hewitt Inc. and Tax Services of America retained Professor McCrary to analyze allegations that franchise no-poaching agreements restricted mobility and suppressed compensation.
Consumer fraud and product liability

Professor McCrary has testified in multiple matters alleging product liability, false advertising, and breach of contract. For example, in Beaty v. Ford Motor Company, a product liability matter involving alleged automotive defects, he provided class certification and damages rebuttal testimony.

Serving as an expert in high-profile consumer class actions, Professor McCrary has conducted empirical analyses and provided testimony on issues related to causation, liability, and damages. He has also rebutted damages models using a variety of empirical techniques, including conjoint analysis and hedonic regressions.

Statistical methods and analysis

The founding director of the Social Sciences Data Laboratory (D-Lab) at the University of California, Berkeley, Professor McCrary is an authority on high-performance computing and statistical techniques.

He has testified on sampling, probability theory, and statistical methods. In the closely watched matter, In Re Twitter Inc. v. Elon Musk et al., he was retained to address allegations regarding the statistical sampling methods employed by Twitter in analyzing spam and fake accounts.

Professor McCrary has examined the statistical evidence for healthcare providers’ alleged overbilling of Medicare in both government audit and False Claims Act (FCA) matters. He also has substantial experience with mortgage-backed securities matters, including rebuttals to analyses invoking matching estimators.

Research and teaching

Professor McCrary publishes research on econometric methods, including on 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 coauthor, 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 (NBER).

Before joining Columbia University, Professor McCrary taught at the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Victor Stango

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

Victor Stango has been a leading expert in banking, household finance, and behavioral economics for more than twenty years. Professor Stango has served as an expert witness in numerous matters involving bank fees, credit card pricing and disclosures, insurance, and credit reporting, among other areas.

Much of Professor Stango’s expert work examines consumers’ usage and understanding of financial and nonfinancial products, including how they may interpret disclosures associated with those products. Professor Stango has testified in deposition and at trial.

In his academic research, Professor Stango examines how consumers make short- and long-run financial decisions; learn about and use financial products and services; and interpret financial disclosures and information provided to them by banks and other institutions. He also analyzes issues related to credit reporting, data breach, and data privacy.

Professor Stango was formerly a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago and New York. His research and opinions have been featured in major news outlets and leading academic journals, including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Finance, and the Review of Financial Studies. He has been recognized for outstanding teaching at UC Davis.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Lesley Chiou

Laurence de Rycke 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.
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  • 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.

Government agencies have recently put increased focus on the use of alleged “dark patterns,” or activities by firms that are loosely described as confusing, tricking, or manipulating consumers to take actions they did not intend to.  Allegations related to the use of dark patterns have included alleged hidden fees, unauthorized charges, and obscure privacy settings. Cornerstone Research professionals and affiliated experts have experience designing analysis to evaluate these types of allegations.

Featured Cases and Publications

29 July 2023

The Cambridge Handbook of Marketing and the Law

Cornerstone Research experts and staff contributed chapters on valuation of personal data, brand value, search engine advertising, and marketing an...

18 May 2023

Banking Industry

A look at recent events in the banking industry, what is new and what is familiar.

30 December 2022

Cornerstone Research Once Again Named “Go-To Thought Leader” by National Law Review

Cornerstone Research is recognized by the National Law Review as a “go-to thought leader" in data privacy and energy and commodities law.

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.

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