• Donna L. Wilson

    Chair, Privacy and Data Security
    Co-Chair, Financial Services Litigation
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    Los Angeles
    Direct: 310.312.4144
    General: 310.312.4000
    Fax: 310.312.4224


    University of Virginia, J.D., Order of the Coif.


    Member, Managing Board, Virginia Law Review.


    The George Washington University, B.A.

    Bar Admissions


    District of Columbia

    • Profile
    • Representative Matters
    • Honors & Awards
    • Publications
    • Memberships & Activities
    • Speaking Engagements


    Donna L. Wilson is the chair of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips' Privacy and Data Security practice and the co-chair of its Financial Services Litigation practice. Ms. Wilson advises clients with overall consumer protection-related and financial services disputes and compliance issues, and provides integrated advisory services to assist in the mitigation of the risks associated with data security, information governance and privacy issues. She has been recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Women Lawyers in California (2013 and 2016), as a Leading Attorney in Privacy and Data Security by the Legal 500 (2012-2015) and by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the Most Influential Lawyers in White Collar and Cyber Crime (2015).

    Ms. Wilson is a seasoned trial lawyer whose practice focuses on data security and privacy and other consumer protection issues in consumer class and individual actions. She has a lengthy track record of successfully representing clients facing government enforcement actions related to both state and federal consumer protection statutes including the Song-Beverly Act, TCPA, RESPA/YSP, ECOA/FHA, FCRA, FDCPA, HOEPA, TILA, as well as alleged statutory and common law consumer privacy violations. Ms. Wilson counsels clients with respect to risk identification and mitigation by conducting reviews with respect to fair lending, UDAP, and other regulatory compliance issues. Her work on behalf of financial institutions, retailers, auto finance companies and other commercial clients has established her as a nationally recognized leader in the field with respect to consumer lending, privacy, and other consumer protection issues.

    Ms. Wilson routinely counsels clients on privacy and data security issues, including those relating to third-party and business partner contracts, data security planning and incident response, the development and implementation of new products and services, insurance coverage and coordination, and compliance and gap auditing.

    Recent representative matters include:

    • Successfully defending a financial services institution in a putative federal class action that resulted in a nuisance value settlement after prevailing on several issues of first impression under FCRA and California state law.
    • Representing a national bank and national businesses with respect to alleged violations of consumer privacy under the TCPA.
    • Defending a nationwide payments processor in a putative federal class action alleging violations of California state law.
    • Leading responses to various information security incidents, in the areas of retail, hospitality, government, financial services, and e-commerce by coordinating the investigation of the data security incident with various third party specialists including forensics and public relations firms and negotiating with card brands, banks, and government regulators.
    • Defending national retailers with respect to various California and Massachusetts putative class actions alleging violations of consumer privacy under applicable state law.

    In addition, Ms. Wilson:

    • Served as lead counsel for a national telecommunications provider in a complex, multiparty California state court action brought by homeowners and the California state government asserting tort, nuisance, and other claims arising from the Malibu Canyon fire, resulting in a highly favorable settlement.  Ms. Wilson also advised the client with respect to related government enforcement proceedings.
    •  Led the trial team defending an international manufacturer and its subsidiary against actions by a California state regulatory agency.  The multiweek trial involved claims brought by her clients alleging various violations of administrative law and the California state constitution and counterclaims by the regulator for over $200 million in statutory penalties.  The litigation settled midtrial during her presentation of the clients' case.  The result was a highly favorable settlement providing the client with the equitable relief it sought from the regulator and with the regulator obtaining less than 1% of the statutory penalties it sought.

    As a recognized thought leader on consumer protection issues and privacy, Ms. Wilson has authored numerous articles and is asked to speak on a variety of cutting-edge legal matters, and regularly quoted by various media, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Daily Journal, and many others.  

    Ms. Wilson clerked for the Honorable Stanley S. Brotman of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the Honorable David R. Thompson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

    Representative Matters

    • Abdelfattah v. Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC.  Putative class action litigation brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the California state analogue resulting in highly favorable rulings on various issues of first impression.
    • David Shabaz v. Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation.  Putative class action alleging violations of consumer privacy under state statutory and common law, which resulted in favorable rulings on issues of first impression, culminating in federal court approval of one of the first settlements under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) involving a noncash benefit to class members.
    • In re Malibu Canyon Fire Litigation.  Consolidated litigation by homeowners and property insurers against Sprint Wireless and others alleging negligence and other claims arising from the Malibu Canyon fires of 2007, resulting in highly favorable settlements.
    • Korn v. Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation.  Putative class action alleging violations of consumer privacy under state statutory and common law, culminating in a successful settlement.
    • Kuehl v. EMC Mortgage Corp., et al.  Achieved dismissal on demurrer of complaint alleging, among other things, common-law and statutory fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and elder abuse in the secondary purchase and sale of plaintiff's loan.
    • Leslie Johnson v. New York & Company Inc.  Putative class action alleging violations of consumer privacy under state statutory and common law, which resulted in one of the most favorable settlements of its kind in California.
    • Maureena Garcia v. New York & Company Inc.   Litigation of putative class action alleging violations of consumer privacy under state statutory and common law.
    • Peters Real Estate Holdings, et al. v. Falcon Financial LLC, et al.  Litigation seeking declaratory relief and damages in connection with the foreclosure of plaintiff's car dealership.
    • Pinero v. Jackson Hewitt Tax Services, Inc.  As lead counsel, argued and won over a dozen substantive motions in a row in a putative class action arising from an alleged consumer privacy breach.  Successfully dismissed 7 of the 9 counts of the Complaint on precedent-setting grounds.
    • Reade v. Paul Financial, et al.  Negotiated pretrial settlement of action alleging statutory fraud in the origination and securitization of plaintiff's loan.
    • Rizzo, et al. v. Citizens Financial Group, et al.  Putative class action litigation alleging violations of state unfair and deceptive practices act and other claims arising from overdraft fees charged after alleged closure of accounts by customers resulting in a nuisance value settlement.

    Honors & Awards

    Top 75 Women Litigators in California, Daily Journal, 2013 and 2016.

    Leading Attorney in Privacy and Data Security, Legal 500, 2012-2015.

    Member, Skadden, Arps Legal Aid Society Program.

    Named "Knight of the Enterprise" by Lyondell Basell Chemical Company, an honor given to trial counsel who achieve outstanding results on behalf of the company, 2009.


    Co-author, "The Next Big Thing: Enforcing Terms of Service in an Internet of Things World," Bloomberg BNA's Electric Commerce & Law Report, March 11, 2015.

    Quoted, "On Guard: Vendors of Data Companies Likely to Feel Compliance Pressure," Ad Age, January 8, 2015.

    Quoted, "Calif., Mass. ZIP Code Suits Show No Signs Of Expiring," Law360, July 28, 2014.

    Quoted, "Data Breach at Target is Under Close Investigative Scrutiny," USA Today, January 10, 2014.

    "California's Homeowner Bill of Rights," Mortgage Banking Magazine, January 15, 2013.
    "'You Can't Handle the Truth!' Fact, Fiction and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act," Westlaw Journal Bank & Lender Liability, October 22, 2012.
    "Just the FACT(A)s: The Latest in FCRA Jurisprudence," Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions, April 23, 2012.
    "The Precarious Relationship Between Class Actions and Small Claims Courts," InsideCounsel, February 16, 2012. "Courts Take a Broad View of Protected Personal Identification Information," InsideCounsel, January 19, 2012. "Litigation: Recent Developments in Privacy Class Actions," InsideCounsel, December 22, 2011.
    "The Liability Potential of Layaway Revealed," RetailingToday.com,  November 18, 2011.
    "Case Study: Anderson v. Hannaford Brothers," Law360, November 7, 2011.
    "Donna Wilson on Standing to Challenge Fee Award to Class Counsel," Thomson Reuters News & Insight, May 24, 2011.
    "No You May Not Have My ZIP Code," RetailingToday.com,  March 28, 2011.
    "The State Supreme Court Shakes It Up for Retail Businesses," Los Angeles Daily Journal, February 16, 2011.
    "Using E&O Insurance in Foreclosure Litigation," Law360, December 22, 2010.
    "Settling Class Actions: Alternatives to Coupon Settlements after CAFA," Class Action Litigation Reporter, February 19, 2009.

    Memberships & Activities

    Admitted to practice in the state of California and the District of Columbia.

    Admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of California, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, U.S. District Court, Southern, Eastern, Central and Northern Districts of California.

    Speaking Engagements

    Panelist, "Lawyers Leading the Race to Cybersecurity – How to Help Your Leadership Defend Attacks in 2016," Association of Corporate Counsel, Los Angeles and Orange County, California, April 27-28, 2016.

    Co-Presenter, "HIPAA Audits Are on the Way: What You Can Do to Be Ready," KnowledgeNet Chapter Meeting, San Diego, California, April 26, 2016.

    Co-presenter, “Navigating the Evolving World of Cyber Insurance” webinar, Bloomberg BNA, February 4, 2016.

    Panelist, "Cyber Security: How to Avoid Becoming the Next Contractor That Sets Off a Hacking," Construction SuperConference, December 10, 2015.

    Speaker, "Data Protection & Cyber Security Threats to Consider When Expanding Your Business," ALFA International Law & Women's Initiative Practice Group Seminar, London, England, October 8, 2015.

    Speaker, "Data Security Best Practices for In-House Counsel," Association of Corporate Counsel, San Diego, California, August 6, 2015.

    Moderator, "There Are No Closets in the Cloud – Data Privacy for LGBT Individuals," State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, June 18-19, 2015.

    Speaker, "Data Security Best Practices: Addressing the Threat," US Bank/Manatt Co-Sponsored Luncheon, Los Angeles, California, May 28, 2015.

    Moderator, "How Corporate Counsel Are Managing the Latest Consumer Finance Claims/Class Actions; Compliance Challenges and Enforcement Actions," ACI's 22nd Consumer Finance Class Actions & Litigation Conference, Los Angeles, California, April 13-14, 2015.

    Panelist, "After a Cyber Breach, What's Next?," Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions Webinar, March 26, 2015.

    Speaker, "Is There An Ethical Duty to Protect Client Data?," ALM's Cybersecurity and Data Protection Legal Summit, New York, New York, December 2, 2014.
    Panelist, "Data Security/Privacy Class Actions: Identifying and Mitigating the Expanding and Evolving Risks," Strafford Webinar, November 13, 2014.
    Moderator, "The Rapidly Growing Minefield of Data Security and Data Breach/The Role of Smart Devices and The Internet of Things," 36th Annual BAA Marketing Law Conference, Chicago, Illinois, November 5–7, 2014.
    Speaker, "Hackers and Other Cyber Risks That Can Kill Your Company," California Capital Summit Breakfast, Los Angeles, California, October 17, 2014.
    Panelist, " Digital Media for In-House Counsel: Everything You Should Know About New Media But Were Afraid To Ask," The Association of Media & Entertainment Counsel (AMEC), Los Angeles, California, September 25, 2014.
    Panelist, "Dodd-Frank Developments and Trendspotting," 2014 Lavender Law Conference, New York, New York, August 21–23, 2014.
    Panelist, "Using Diversity to Build a Book of Business," 2014 Lavender Law Conference, New York, New York, August 21–23, 2014.
    Speaker, "All About the Telephone Consumer Protection Act," Bridgeport Continuing Education's Advertising, Marketing & Media Law Litigation and Best Practices Conference, July 25, 2014.
    Panelist, "Recent Developments in Data Privacy Class Actions and Insurance Coverage," ABA Section of Litigation Class Actions and Derivative Suits Committee, the Consumer Litigation Committee and Mass Torts Committee, San Francisco, California, June 19, 2014.
    Speaker, "Implications of 'Big Data' for the Consumer Finance Litigation Sector: What Financial Services Companies and Their Outside Counsel Now Need to Know Given the Progress that the CFPB and OFR Have Made," American Conference Institute's 18th National Forum on Consumer Finance Class Action & Litigation, Los Angeles, California, April 8–9, 2014.
    Speaker, "Growing Class Action Threat: Breaches of Consumer Personally Identifiable Information, Minimizing Litigation Risk and Maximizing Insurance Coverage," Strafford Webinar, March 18, 2014.
    Cochair and Speaker, American Conference Institution's 13th Annual National Forum on Residential Mortgage Litigation & Enforcement, January 16, 2014.
    Speaker, "Litigation Trends and Developments: What Every Bank CEO Should Know," Banker Roundtable Discussion, California Bankers Association 2014 Bank Presidents Seminar, Santa Barbara, California, January 9–11, 2014.
    Panelist, Strafford Webinar on Privacy Class Actions, November 12, 2013.
    Speaker, National Association of Women Lawyers' 9th Annual General Counsel Institute, November 7-8, 2013.
    Speaker, "Responding to Stepped Up Litigation and Enforcement Being Brought at the State Level, With an Emphasis on California, Florida, New York, Illinois, Texas, and Nevada." ACI's 12th National Forum on Residential Mortgage Litigation and Regulatory Enforcement, September 26, 2013.
    Speaker, "Driving Positive Change in Payments Acceptance Through Partnership: American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant," Merchant Advisory Group Webinar, August 14, 2013.
    Panelist, Second Annual Roundtable on Current "Hot Topics" and Legal Developments Facing the Retail and Fashion Industries, March 7, 2013.
    Speaker, The California Homeowners Bill of Rights: What Does It Mean for Your Business? January 31, 2013.
    Speaker, Privacy Class Actions: Latest Developments in International Privacy and Negligent Data Breach Litigation, January 24, 2013.
    Speaker, 2012 CFPB and Top Regulatory and Enforcement Issues Conference, April 24, 2012.
    Moderator, "Banks Under Scrutiny: The Civil, Criminal, Regulatory, and Insurance Fallout from Mortgage Foreclosures and Bank Failures," ABA Litigation Section Annual Meeting, April 18, 2012.
    Speaker, FCRA and FACTA: Leveraging New Developments in Certification, Damages, and Preemption, March 21, 2012.
    Panelist, "The Credit Crisis and D&O Insurance Coverage: Challenges Facing Insureds, Insurers, and Regulators," ABA Section of Litigation Insurance Coverage CLE Seminar, March 1, 2012.
    Panelist, Round Table on 2011-2012 Legal Developments and Trends for the Retail and Fashion Industries, January 19, 2012.
    Speaker, "Legal Actions by the FDIC to Recover Losses of Failed Banks: The Potential Liability of Officers and Directors," American Association of Bank Directors Webinar, December 7, 2011.
    Speaker, Class Actions on Data Breach and Privacy on the Rise, December 7, 2011.
    Speaker, Emerging Class Action Threat: Consumer Personal ID Data Strategies to Minimize Litigation Risks, May 24, 2011.
    Speaker, FCRA and FACTA Class Actions, April 26, 2011.
    Speaker, West Coast Mortgage Lending and Servicing Today Conference, April 11, 2011.
    Panelist, "Responding to the Latest Cyber Threats: Mobile Workforces, Technology, Data Thefts, and Cloud Computing." ACI's Privacy & Security of Consumer and Employee Information Conference, January 26, 2011.
    Speaker, Data Privacy and Information Security Conference, June 3, 2010.
    "Privacy, Data Security, and Data Breach Litigation Nationally and Internationally," 2010 Fair Lending Today Conference, April 19, 2010.