Bethany Krajelis Aug. 8, 2013, 7:26am

A federal judge has stayed a briefing schedule in a class action lawsuit over a security breach to Schnuck Markets Inc.’s electronic payment system.

U.S. District Judge Michael J. Reagan last month issued an order granting plaintiff Laverne Rippy’s motion to stay briefing regarding Schnucks’ pending motion to transfer the suit to federal court in Missouri.

Saying that there are several motions to transfer and consolidate pending before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), Reagan wrote in his order he found good cause to grant Rippy’s motion and gave her 14 days after the JPML rules on the motions to file a response brief if it’s necessary.

Also last month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson granted, in part,  Schnucks’ request for an extension of time to answer or respond to the plaintiffs’ complaint. ­The grocery store chain now has until Aug. 16 to do so.

In both of the recently-resolved motions, the plaintiff and defendant point to the pending motions before the JPML as reason the court should grant their requests.

Rippy’s suit, which was brought in May, is one of a handful of federal lawsuits brought against Schnucks in connection with a security breach that Rippy claims may have compromised the credit and debit card information of millions of customers between December 2012 and March 2013.

In a timeline previously released to the media, Schnucks said it found out about the issue on March 15, formed a response team on March 19, contacted police on March 20, and began to identify the problem on March 28. It communicated its concerns to the public on March 30.

The grocery store chain has said that only card numbers and expiration dates were stolen, not cardholders’ names, addresses or anything else.

Rippy claims in her suit that the breach not only compromised her information, but also forced her and other members of her proposed class to spend hours canceling their compromised cards, activating replacement cards and re-establishing automatic withdrawal payment authorizations

Besides Rippy’s suit, Schnucks has been hit with four other similar suits: two in Illinois, one from the Central District and one from Northern District, and two in the Eastern District of Missouri. It also faces a class action complaint in the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis in Missouri.

In June, the plaintiff in one of the Missouri suits asked the JPML to consolidate the five federal suits. According to the panel’s website, a hearing has not yet been set over that motion.

Schnucks in late June filed a motion to transfer Rippy’s suit to the Eastern District of Missouri, which is where the first of the five federal suits was filed.

The grocery store chain asserted in its motion that Missouri’s federal court the Eastern District of Missouri would be “the most logical and convenient forum for this litigation” as it “best promotes the convenience of the parties and the interests of justice.”

Belleville attorney Russell K. Scott, Colorado attorney Paul G. Karlsgodt and Ohio attorney Daniel R. Warren represent Schnucks.

St. Louis attorney Jeffrey A. Millar and Wood River attorneys Thomas and Peter Maag represent Rippy and the proposed class.

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