PORTLAND, Maine (7/23/08)--More than 20 attorneys from throughout the U.S. met Monday at a U.S. District Court in Maine, for the first conference in a class-action lawsuit filed against grocery chain Hannaford Bros., which was the target of a data breach earlier this year. The data breach affected store customers, including credit union members, in New England, New York and Florida. It prompted credit unions and other credit and debit card issuers to reissue cards compromised by the data theft, which occurred while store customers swiped their cards to pay for groceries (News Now March 19). Two groups competing to become the lead counsel in the lawsuit argued their positions before U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby Monday. More than nine lawsuits were filed, but the court consolidated the cases in April (News Now April 17). Judge Hornby heard the arguments and said he will issue an order designating a lead counsel and establishing a case schedule case this week (Boston Globe and Portland Press Herald July 21). The two groups are competing to lead what is one of the largest data breach lawsuits in history. The first group is Portland-based Murray, Plumb & Murray, and Lewis Saul & Associates, based in Portland and New York City. The other group is Ben Barnow of Chicago-based Barnow & Associates; Lance Harke of Miami-based Harke & Clasby in Miami; Sherrie Savett of Philadelphia-based Berger & Montague; and Thomas Shapiro of Boston-based Shapiro Haber & Umy. The Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford Bros. said the breach resulted in the exposure of 4.2 million credit and debit card numbers to potential fraud (Times Herald-Record April 16). The breach occurred between Dec. 7, 2007, and March 10. It was discovered Feb. 27, and the breach was made public March 17. The breach affected about 300 grocery stores in the Hannaford Bros. and Florida's Sweetbay chains, plus a number of independent grocers.