Overview

Mark Melodia is a privacy, data security and consumer class action defense lawyer in Holland & Knight's New York office and serves as the head of the firm's Data Strategy, Security & Privacy Team. Mr. Melodia focuses his practice on governmental and internal investigations, putative class actions and other "bet-the-company" suits in the following areas: data security/privacy, mortgage/financial services and other complex business litigation, including defamation.

Mr. Melodia has defended more than 80 putative class actions – including as lead defense counsel in multiple multidistrict litigations (MDLs) – arising from alleged consumer privacy violations, data incidents and allegations of data misuse. He routinely represents clients responding to government privacy investigations before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Office for Civil Rights, state attorneys general and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). He has guided clients in a wide range of industries through several hundred data incidents over the past dozen years. He advises clients on their obligations and helps them operationalize the requirements of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as well as federal and state laws in the U.S. He consults with boards and executive teams on these issues.

Mr. Melodia has been an instructor of Information Security Law in the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Executive Education and Certification Program at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College, as well as a guest lecturer at Seton Hall Law School and New York University School of Law.

Mr. Melodia served as a law clerk for the Honorable Timothy K. Lewis of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Experience

  • Thomas Roger White Jr., et al. v. Sony Electronics Inc., et al., Case No. 2:17-cv-01775, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Defending smart TV manufacturer in putative national class action alleging violations of federal privacy law (VPPA, CFAA, ECPA), New Jersey consumer protection laws, contract law and common law
  • Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Company, et al., Case No. 2:14-cv-06476-JHS (E.D. Pa.), (granting summary judgment to defendants, denying class certification as moot), reconsideration denied, 2017 WL 3727033 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 29, 2017), aff’d, Nos. 17-3153, 17-3256, 2018 WL 3060098 (3d Cir. June 20, 2018). Enslin v. Coca-Cola Co., 136 F. Supp. 3d 654 (E.D. Pa. 2015) (granting in part motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim). Successfully defended against alleged privacy violations under federal and state law in connection with the theft of 55 laptops containing employee information, including violations of the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)
  • Graczyk v. West Publishing Corporation, 660 F.3d 275 (7th Cir.); Young v. West Publishing Corporation, 724 F.Supp. 2d 1268 (2010) (S.D. Fla.); Johnson v. West Publishing Corporation, 801 F. Supp. 2d 862 (W.D. Mo. 2011), reversed without opinion by, Johnson v. West Publishing Corporation, 504 Fed.Appx. 531 (8th Cir. Apr 09, 2013) (No. 12-1172, 12-1176). Successfully defended West in putative national class actions under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act, obtaining dismissals of all cases
  • Beam v. E-TRADE Financial Corporation, Case No. CV-2011-64-7 (Ark. Cir. Ct.); Baxter v. Skype, Inc., Case No. CV-2011-56-7 (Ark. Cir. Ct); Baxter v. Philips Electronics North America Corporation, Case No. CV-201105402 (Ark. Cir. Ct.). October 6, 2011. Secured voluntary dismissals for clients E-TRADE, Skype and PENAC in multimillion-dollar "flash cookie" privacy class actions
  • In Re: Countrywide Financial Corp. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, 2012 WL 2873892 (W.D. Ky.). Defended client from more than 40 putative class actions arising from the alleged theft and resale of mortgage-related consumer information; putative national class settlement for class exceeding 17 million persons given final approval; opt out litigation dismissed on our client's motion in Holmes v. Countrywide Finan. Corp., 2012 WL 2873892 (W.D. Ky. Jul. 12, 2012)
  • Rowe v. UniCare Life and Health Insurance Company, Class Action Case No. 09-CV-02286 (N.D.IL). Secured final approval for nationwide class action settlement; in Rowe, plaintiffs alleged that the defendant had improperly set data security permissions, resulting in the exposure of healthcare, insurance and payment information for about a quarter-million insureds
  • Saenz v. Kaiser Permanente International, Case No. 1:09-05562 (N.D. Cal.). Obtained voluntary dismissal for client in putative class action alleging violation of California privacy law resulting in hundreds of alleged identity thefts from a population of approximately 29,000 employees
  • Lockwood v. Certegy Check Services, Inc., No. 07-CV-01434 (M.D. Fla.). Defended a series of five putative national class actions arising from the theft of consumer information; plaintiffs sought to impose up to $8.5 billion in statutory liability under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); proposed favorable settlement given final approval; settlement class includes in excess of 30 million consumers
  • In Re: LendingTree, LLC Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, MDL 1974 (W.D.N.C.). Obtained two decisions compelling eight putative national class actions to individual (non-class) arbitration
  • Giordano v. Wachovia Securities, LLC and United Parcel Service, 2006 WL 2177036 (D.N.J. 2006). Established as a matter of first impression the Constitutional point that increased risk of identity theft is not an injury-in-fact and cannot confer federal court subject matter jurisdiction
  • Jurgens v. J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc., Case No. 12PH-CV00900 (Mo. Cir. Ct.). Negotiated and secured approval of a nationwide class action settlement for J.C. Penney over its use of HTML and Flash Cookies / Local Shared Objects (LSOs).
  • Wood v. Macy's, Case No. 12PH-CV-00952 (Mo. Cir. Ct.). Negotiated and secured approval of a nationwide class action settlement for Macy's over its use of HTML and Flash Cookies / Local Shared Objects (LSOs).
  • Bell v. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., Case No.: 12-CV-09475 (C.D. Cal.). Successfully defended worldwide video game developer and publisher in nationwide class action over its alleged data security practices in relation to an alleged breach
  • Obtained dismissal with respect to 31 of 33 claimants on behalf of a major insurance, systems and information technology vendor for the federal government in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving eight privacy class actions seeking to impose billions in liability against the company under the FCRA, state consumer protection statutes, and common law theories following the loss of tapes containing protected health information (PHI) and other sensitive personal information on millions of adults and minors

  • U.S. Bank v. Guillaume, 209 N.J. 449 (N.J. 2012). Represented U.S. Bank, N.A. and obtained a favorable ruling on a challenge to the sufficiency of the pre-foreclosure breach letter; the Court found that pre-foreclosure notice defects are not jurisdictional, overruling a prior appellate decision; the ruling will assist with clearing up the backlog of frozen foreclosure cases in New Jersey
  • Salley v. Option One Mortgage Corp., 925 A.2d 115 (Pa. 2007). Lead counsel in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court case holding that arbitration agreements in form mortgage contracts are not per se unconscionable because certain creditor remedies are carved out from the requirement to arbitrate; overruling or limiting prior state court decisions
  • Glukowsky v. Equity One, 848 A.2d 747 (2004), reconsideration denied and certiorari denied 125 S.Ct. 864 (2005). Lead counsel in the New Jersey Supreme Court's preemption-based dismissal of the putative statewide class action challenging the right of state housing creditors to collect prepayment fees from residential mortgage borrowers; the Supreme Court reversed a unanimous appellate panel that had thrown out as ultra vires and void an Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) regulation upon which the mortgage lending industry had long relied; the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari, leaving this New Jersey victory intact
  • Gras v. Associates First Capital Corp., 786 A.2d 886 (N.J. App. Div. 2001). Won, with co-counsel, the then-leading appellate case in New Jersey on the interaction between class actions and mandatory consumer arbitration clauses
  • Represented one of the world's largest consumer finance companies in a confidential mediation involving approximately 1,000 mortgage loans to individuals claiming violations of Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), state fraud laws and federal and state fair lending laws
  • In Re First Franklin Financial Corp. Litigation, 2010 WL 961649 (N.D. Cal. 2010). Represented multiple national mortgage lenders in class actions alleging racial discrimination, including winning Post-Dukes denial of class certification to potential disparate impact claims In Re Wells Fargo Residential Mortgage Lending Discrimination Litigation, 2011 WL 3903117 (N.D. Ca. 2011), and securing approval for national class settlement
  • Alexander v. PSB Lending Corp., et al., 800 N.E. 2d 984 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003). Obtained early dismissals for one of the largest purchasers of second mortgage loans in the United States from 13 putative class action cases asserting "predatory lending" claims in Colorado, Indiana and New Jersey on the basis that the named plaintiffs all lacked standing to bring suit
  • Represented a well-known national consumer lender in Truth in Lending Act (TILA) "mass actions" filed in Florida, North Carolina and California
  • Obtained denials of class certification in putative class actions filed against bank clients in Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland and Alabama alleging that the payments of yield spread premiums from lenders to brokers were illegal "kickbacks" under RESPA
  • Beneficial Consumer Discount Company v. Vukman, 77 A.3d 547 (Pa. 2013). Succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to review and unanimously reverse a precedential decision of the Superior Court that had held that a form of pre-suit notice used by the entire mortgage industry for more than a decade that failed to include information about credit counseling and loan modification opportunities stripped the trial court of subject matter jurisdiction, thereby throwing into question the finality of final foreclosure judgments in the Commonwealth
  • Horsch et al. v. Wells Fargo, Case No. 2:14-cv-02638-WY (E.D. Pa). Obtained dismissal of FCRA claims on behalf of Wells Fargo in a putative class action alleging that the bank was not reporting post-bankruptcy payments made to avoid foreclosure and did not add payment details or mark accounts as disputed in response to disputes; remaining claims were resolved on an individual basis
  • In Re Document Irregularities, No. F-059553-10. Represented mortgage lenders, servicers and trustees in "robo-signing" and other foreclosure-related matters, including Wells Fargo Bank in the New Jersey Order to Show Cause, Docket No. F-9564-12 proceeding

  • Nuwave Inv. Corp. v. Hyman Beck & Co., Inc., et al., 2015 WL 2458003,: 114 A.3d 738 (N.J. 2015) Secured unanimous decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court that plaintiff could not reinstate a jury verdict; representing defendant on appeal after three-week jury retrial
  • Treasurer of New Jersey v. AOL Time Warner, et al., Docket No. MER-L-1349-03. Represented Time Warner and various officers as co-defense counsel in a securities fraud class action arising out of the AOL merger brought on behalf of many of New Jersey's largest state pension funds
  • Represented Dell Financial Services in an action brought by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) as well as of consumer protection laws with respect to financing and sales practices
  • In re Patrick, No. 5:04–bk–51796–JJT, 2013 WL 951704 (Bkrtcy. M.D. Pa.) (refusing to certify litigation class of debtors against Dell Financial Services). Defended a national consumer class action filed by a putative class of Chapter 13 debtors in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; violations of Sections 506, 1322, and 1325 of the Bankruptcy Code, as well as state law, are alleged; obtained dismissal of all monetary requests for relief, a decision affirmed by the District Court
  • Agostino v. Quest Diagnostic Inc., 2010 WL 5392688 (D.N.J. 2010) and Agostino v. Quest Diagnostic Inc., 256 F.R.D. 437 (D.N.J. 2009). Represented Quest Diagnostics in putative class action suits alleging improper billing and collection for lab tests
  • Defended CIT (as a lease finance company) in class actions and Attorneys General investigations initiated in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida, Texas, California, Massachusetts and elsewhere arising from the collapse of NorVergence
  • Lum v. Bank of America, 361 F.3d 217 (3d Cir. 2004); 361 F.3d 217, 2004 U.S. LEXIS 4637 (2004), and Karin J. Black v. JP Morgan Chase, et al., 2011 WL 4102802 (W.D.Pa.) and 2011 WL 3940236 (W.D.Pa.). Represented one of the nation's largest banks in joint defense efforts that obtained the dismissal of putative class actions alleging antitrust and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) conspiracies to fix the prime rate and to fix credit prices and availability using Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) and other credit scoring systems
  • In Re New Valley, 181 F.3d 517 (3rd Cir. 1999). Won approximately $3 million after a three-week trial in bankruptcy court on behalf of a commercial landlord and sustained that judgment on appeal before the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • Safeco Life Ins. Co. v. Singer Asset Fin. Co., No. C99-1626 (W.D. Wash. March 9, 2000), advantageously settling a national class action (See, Waldeier v. J.G. Wentworth S.S.C. Ltd., No. 4064 (P.C.C.P. May 24, 2001)), and representing the industry as amicus in the New Jersey Supreme Court. (Owen v. CNA Insurance Company, et al., 771 A.2d 1208 (2000)). Coordinated and implemented a national defense strategy for the industry which created a secondary market by purchasing structured settlement payment streams
  • Trump v. O'Brien _29 A.3d 1090, 2011 WL 3903013 (N.J. App. Div. 2011) and Trump v. O'Brien, 403 N.J. Super. 281, 958 A.2d 85 (N.J. App. Div. 2008). As co-defense counsel, protected confidential sources under the newsperson's privilege and ultimately won summary judgment for the former Warner Books and one of its authors in a defamation case brought by Donald J. Trump in connection with the publication of "Trump Nation"

Credentials

Education
  • New York University School of Law, J.D., cum laude
  • Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, A.B., cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
Memberships
  • The American Law Institute, Elected Member, 2012
  • Law360 Privacy & Consumer Protection, Advisory Board, 2012-2017
  • American Bar Association
  • Bar Association of the Third Federal Circuit
  • New York Bar Association
Honors & Awards
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Privacy & Data Security: Litigation, 2019
  • National Law Journal, Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Trailblazer, 2015
  • Law 360, MVP in Privacy & Consumer Protection, 2011
  • New Jersey Super Lawyers magazine, Class Action and Mass Torts, 2005-2006, 2014-2015, 2017-2018
  • NJ Biz, 40-Under-40, New Jersey's Most Successful Business People, 2003
  • The Order of Barristers, National Member
  • New York University School of Law Moot Court Board, Competitions Director; Executive Committee

Publications

Speaking Engagements

News