Kenneth Cole bagging profits at customers’ expense? At least those are the allegations in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit filed against Kenneth Cole Productions Inc.
Specifically, the Kenneth Cole Outlet lawsuit alleges that the retailer misleads customers into believing they are purchasing items at a savings at its exclusive outlet stores by listing artificially high “suggested retail prices” on its product tags next to the term “our price” which is significantly lower. The lawsuit claims that because these products were never for sale in any other store, Kenneth Cole is in violation of California and federal laws.
“The plaintiff, in short, believed the truth of the price tags attached to the products she purchased at a Kenneth Cole outlet, which expressly told her that she was getting a terrific bargain on her purchase,” the complaint said. “In fact, she was not getting a bargain at all.” Filed by lead plaintiff Peggy Cabrera, the lawsuit asserts that Cabrera was induced to purchase a sweater and shirt top from a Kenneth Cole Outlet store in California after noticing significant differences in price between the “MSRP” and “our price” label, particularly after observing that not all product price tags made this distinction.
“In reality, Kenneth Cole never intended, nor did it ever, sell the item at the represented ‘MSRP,’” the complaint states. “Thus, plaintiff was deceived by the false price comparison into making a full retail purchase with no discount.”
In the lawsuit, Cabrera contends that Kenneth Cole is taking advantage of the term “outlet store” because the idea of shopping there conveys to reasonable consumers that at least some products comprise merchandise formerly offered for sale at full-price retail locations, which is not the case at exclusive Kenneth Cole outlets.
Further, the complaint states that the Federal Trade Commission explicitly describes the fictitious pricing scheme employed by Kenneth Cole as deceptive, making it a violation of the FTC Act, as well as the California Business and Professions Code.
Pure Leaf Iced Tea = Pure B.S.? While we’re on the subject of consumer fraud…Unilever United States Inc. and PepsiCo. Inc. are facing a putative class action alleging false advertising regarding their jointly produced Pure Leaf iced tea products. Specifically, the lawsuit claims the teas are falsely branded as “All Natural” and free from preservatives when in fact they contain a non-naturally produced citric acid as a preservative.
Named plaintiff Momo Ren alleges that the defendants engaged in an aggressive marketing campaign that claimed the teas are “nothing but all natural, freshly brewed tea from tea leaves,” which was designed to attract consumers seeking those types of products.
According to the Pure Leaf lawsuit, citric acid is no longer made from fruit but rather manufactured through citric acid bacteria fermentation. It is classified by the USDA as a “synthetic allowed” substance. Therefore, PepsiCo. and Unilever, through a partnership with Unilever-owned Lipton Tea conspired to produce Pure Leaf, the advertising for which is in violation of federal and state consumer protection laws against misbranding.
“By marketing the products as being ‘All Natural’ and free of preservatives, defendants wrongfully capitalized on and reaped enormous profits from consumers’ strong preference for food products made entirely of natural ingredients and free of preservatives,” the suit states.
The plaintiff has filed claims of deceptive trade practices, negligent misrepresentation, breach of express warranty and unjust enrichment and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Toyota Power Steering… Don’t have a dollar figure for this one BUT 800,000 Toyota customers are going to sleep easier as a result of a settlement reached with the car maker in a pending defective automotive class action lawsuit. The suit, filed in California federal court, claims that the power steering systems of some Corollas caused the vehicles to drift out control.
According to court documents, lead plaintiffs Irene Corson and Susan M Yacks, and Toyota, sought preliminary approval of the deal in March, the terms of which state that Toyota denies any defect with the electronic power steering system in the 2009 and 2010 model year Corollas at issue.
Under the terms of the settlement, class members who have complained about the on-center steering feel of their vehicle will have their retuned electronic control units installed at no cost. For those who haven’t previously complained, the retuned electronic control unit will be available at a 50 percent discount. Class members who paid out-of-pocket to have the returned electronic control unit installed may be reimbursed up to $695, according to the settlement memorandum.
Court documents show that The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration opened an investigation in February 2010 of the electric power steering system in the Corolla and Matrix models. The investigation revealed related consumer complaints dealing with operational issues, not failure of steering elements. The investigation was closed by May 2011.
Under the terms of the deal, class counsel can ask for attorneys’ fees and expenses, and class representative incentive awards up to $750,000. The case is Irene Corson et al. v. Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. et al., case number 2:12-cv-08499, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Ok—that’s it for this week folks—see you at the bar! And Happy 4th of July!
And the doctors thought the patient was a pain in the ass before the colonoscopy? That’s before they got hit with a lawsuit by the patient whose phone recorded some very unsavory (not to mention unprofessional) remarks the doctors made while DB ( the patient/plaintiff) was under sedation. You know, this could be the beginning of something big….I can see the secret listening App now…
Meanwhile, back on the table, the doctors allegedly mocked DB while he was unconscious joking that he has syphilis and talking about firing a gun up his rectum. Oh dear. DB’s smartphone caught the entire conversation and has just paid for itself into the next millennium.
DB sued Safe Sedation LLC and Safe Sedation Management (you gotta love the name) alleging defamation and infliction of emotional distress. OH yeah baby. According to the court documents: “On April 18, 2013, during a colonoscopy, plaintiff was verbally brutalized and defamed by the very doctors to whom he entrusted his life while under anesthesia.”
Specifically, DB claims that Drs. Tiffany Ingham and Soloman Shah, who were not named as defendants, mocked him from the second he was actually sedated. DB claims he had inadvertently left his phone in the room, set to record, having neglected to turn it off after recording instructions for post-operative care. (I wonder if there are lawyers rewriting the law right now to stop this from becoming standard practice—the recording part I mean.)
“The moment that plaintiff became unconscious, Tiffany Ingham, M.D. commented to all of the others in the operating room ‘Oh—Oscar Mike Goss.’ That is a thinly disguised substitute for the expression ‘OMG’, which is an expression of both exasperation and mockery, and is a well-known abbreviation for ‘Oh my God,'” the complaint states. Wait—there’s more—”Tiffany Ingham, M.D. started to mock, and then continued to mock, the amount of medicine required to anesthetize plaintiffs.”
“Referring to plaintiff, Soloman Shah, M.D. commented that a teaching physician known to both him and Tiffany Ingham, M.D. ‘would eat him for lunch.’ Yes, seriously. “Tiffany Ingham, M.D. agreed that plaintiff would be ‘eaten alive’ and also jokingly discussed a hypothetical of firing a gun up a rectum.”
DB claims his phone caught Ingham talking to him while unconscious, saying, “And really, after five minutes of talking to you in pre-op I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit.”
And…”A female medical assistant at GMA recalled that plaintiff had earlier warned that he passes out when looking at the placement of an IV, to which Tiffany Ingham, M.D. asked ‘Well, why are you looking then, retard?’ the man claims. “Tiffany Ingham, M.D. also described plaintiff as a ‘big wimp.'” I don’t think that’s a recommended pre-op approach.
Back to the table…apparently, the docs went on to discuss DB’s prescription medication and an irritation on his penis. “A medical assistant at GMA touched plaintiff’s penis during the colonoscopy,” the complaint states. “Although plaintiff’s penis is not involved in a colonoscopy, the medical assistant noted there was not ‘much of a penile rash.’ Tiffany Ingham, M.D. responded, ‘No, you’ll accidentally rub up against it. Some syphilis on your arm or something.’ Solomon Shah, M.D. responded, ‘That would be bad. That would be real bad.'”
Ok—do these people not golf? Isn’t that what physicians are supposed to discuss while at work?
The complaint goes on to claim: “Tiffany Ingham, M.D. then stated to all present in the operating suite that, ‘It’s probably tuberculosis in the penis, so you’ll be all right.'”
DB denies having either of those diseases, which you think a pre-op medical screen would have caught, had one been done… I digress.
This next big is particularly worrying. According to the complaint, the doctors talked about “misleading and avoiding” DB after he woke up.
According to the lawsuit, the doctors continued to discuss how to avoid DB after he woke up, and mocked him for going to Mary Washington College, suggesting that “it was unsurprising that plaintiff attended a college that at one time was a ‘women’s college,’ a ‘girl’s school,’ and wondered if plaintiff was gay.” Ok—really?
The complaint states: “Tiffany Ingham, M.D. stated, ‘Are you implying that he’s gay? Because I know gay men that have more manliness than’ the plaintiff. ‘And I’m sure I know gay men in the military who just haven’t let it be known that they’re gay who are manly.'”
In a final remark caught on tape, Ingham allegedly said she would make a note on the man’s file that he had hemorrhoids even though he didn’t. Oh, I would so be suing….
Poor old DB claims that he and his wife discovered the recorded conversation during their ride home, I sure hope he wasn’t driving at the time…
“Plaintiff has suffered distress, including embarrassment, loss of sleep, and mental anguish, as a direct and proximate result of the conduct of defendant’s agent Tiffany Ingham, M.D.,” according to the complaint. Ya think?
DB was looking for $1 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages for defamation, infliction of emotional distress and illegally disclosing his health records. And he got $500,000 including $200,000 in punitive damages awarded by the jury hearing the case. Ok—where’s that App?
Fans of Sunday Night Football are making an end run at the NFL and DirecTV, having filed an antitrust class action lawsuit, over the bundling of games in the NFL Sunday Ticket package. Specifically, the lawsuit claims that Sunday Ticket subscribers should not be forced to pay several hundred dollars for the NFL’s entire spectrum of out-of-market games just so they can follow one team or see an individual game.
Filed in California by Thomas Abrahamian, the NFL Sunday lawsuit states: “The league and DirecTV offer NFL Sunday Ticket only as all-or-nothing….Purchasers of NFL Sunday Ticket must buy all out-of-market games for all teams even if they are only interested in watching the games of a particular team. Likewise, consumers must buy the complete season of games and may not purchase individual games.”
“A Cleveland Browns fan living in California cannot watch the Browns play, except occasional games on network television, unless he purchases the entire package of League games from NFL Sunday Ticket,” according to the complaint. The lawsuit is Case 2:15-cv-04606-BRO-JEM.
I’ll Drink to That! A settlement has been reached in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit pending against Beck’s Beer. The lawsuit alleges that the beer is produced in St. Louis and brewed with water from Missouri, not imported from Germany, as customers may have been led to believe.
Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Beck’s, ‘tricked’ consumers into thinking Beck’s was a German beer, according to the lawsuit. The beer used to be brewed in Germany by its German owners until 2002 when it was sold to Belgium’s Interbrew, which then merged with Brazil’s AmBev, to become InBev, which in turn acquired Anheuser-Busch. Production of Beck’s moved to St. Louis in 2012, according to the lawsuit.
According to the Beck’s settlement terms, eligible class members are entitled to a refund of up to $50. Settlement class members include customers who purchased Beck’s beer, including Beck’s Dark and Beck’s Light, since May 2011. The settlement has yet to receive final approval but if approved, class members can fill out an online form to claim a refund. Beck’s drinkers can get 10 cents back for every individual bottle purchased; 50 cents for a six-pack or $1.75 per 20-pack.
Refunds will be capped at $50 for claims backed by a valid proof of purchase. Consumers who didn’t keep receipts are entitled to no more than $12. Full terms will be made public upon final approval of the settlement.
Additionally, under the settlement terms, Anheuser-Busch agreed to make labeling adjustments. A statement on the bottle saying it’s made in the USA will become more visible. The green boxes in which the bottles are packaged will also say the beer is made in the USA. So much for “who reads the packaging anyway?”
Patient Privates Undergo “Review” During Colonoscopy… You can’t make this stuff up! An unidentified patient in Virginia has been awarded $500,000 by a jury hearing his medical malpractice lawsuit which claims his anesthesiologist made defamatory comments while he was under sedation for a colonoscopy. The award includes $200,000 in punitive damages.
The unidentified plaintiff, referred to as DB, had left his smart phone on record so he could ensure he got his doctor’s post-surgical instructions, according to the Washington Post. (What ever happened to the patient consult?) However, during the procedure his trousers were placed under him, (Why?) which resulted in the inadvertent recording, court papers indicate.
When DB listened to the recording on his way home from the surgery, he discovered Dr. Tiffany Ingham mocking and disparaging him. Among the comments was a referral to a rash on the plaintiff’s penis, which Ingham incorrectly suggested indicated syphilis and tuberculosis. Nice.
The jury awarded $50,000 in compensatory damages for defamation for the doctor’s remarks about each of these diseases, and another $200,000 for overall medical malpractice. Ingham also allegedly said she was going to note in the man’s chart that he had hemorrhoids, which he didn’t.
DB also sued a gastroenterologist, Soloman Shah, who, while present for the procedure, did not directly participate in most of the commentary by Ingham. Smart…That portion of the case was dismissed.
And it’s off to the rodeo!
That’s a wrap folks…See you at the Bar!
Shutterfly may have its wings clipped. The company that developed the facial recognition software has been hit with a putative class action lawsuit over alleged privacy violations—actually—violations of Illinois state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act.
Filed by Illinois resident Brian Norberg, the Shutterfly complaint asserts that online image publisher Shutterfly and its subsidiary ThisLife LLC collect facial recognition data from user-uploaded photos without first notifying individuals and receiving their written consent, and by failing to inform them how long the information will be stored and how it will be used.
“Specifically, defendants have created, collected and stored millions of ‘face templates’ (or ‘face prints’)—” highly detailed geometric maps of the face—” from millions of individuals, many thousands of whom are non-Shutterfly users residing in the state of Illinois,” the complaint states.
“Defendants in this case made no effort whatsoever to obtain consent from unwitting third parties when they introduced their facial recognition technology,” the complaint state. “Not only do defendants’ actions fly in the face of FCC guidelines, they also violate the privacy rights of Illinois residents.”
Notably, Illinois law also prohibits companies that collect biometric data from selling it to third parties.
Heads up—Norberg is seeking $5,000 for each intentional and reckless violation, and $1,000 for each violation resulting from defendants’ negligence. Go get’em!
The case is Brian Norberg v. Shutterfly Inc. et al., case number 1:15-cv-05351, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Settlement in the bag…to the tune of $4.88 million. That’s the number reached in a preliminary settlement between Michael Kors Holdings Ltd and plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit alleging the company engages in consumer fraud.
Ok—you’ve read this song sheet before. The specific allegations are that Michael Kors represents on the price tags of its Kors Outlet Products artificial “suggested retail prices” that do not represent a bona fide price at which the designer formerly sold the products. The tags also offer a price termed “our price,” which represents a steep discount off the false original price.
But the [prices] used by Michael Kors … were a sham. In fact, Michael Kors manufactures certain goods for exclusive sale at its Kors Outlets, which means that such items were never sold, or even intended to be sold at the … price listed on their labels,” the complaint states.
Under the terms of the preliminary Kors settlement Michael Kors will replace “MSRP” with “Value” on its price tags and display signage explaining that term, or stop using reference prices for products made exclusively for its outlets.
If approved, the settlement will include shoppers who bought products from Michael Kors outlets in the four years ending July 25, 2014.
The case is Gattinella v. Michael Kors (USA) Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-05731.
Here’s one for the record books… A jury hearing the first product liability lawsuit against Wright Profemur hip replacement systems has awarded the plaintiff $4.5 million in damages. Brought by Alan Warner, the lawsuit is the first of several hundred to go to trial with allegations that the hip replacement Warner received failed after just three years: the average life span of the system is between 15 and 20 years.
There are over 1,200 similar defect product lawsuits pending against Wright Profemur hip replacement alleging the plaintiffs suffered health problems when the modular femoral neck stem broke.
Warner’s trial lasted two weeks and is the first case to go to court. It is not part of the federal MDL.
Hokee Dokee—That’s a wrap folks…See you at the Bar!
A 17-year old girl, sorry, actress, who was arrested last August for possession of alcohol by a minor and disorderly conduct, is suing the NYPD for false arrest. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, Winnifred Bonjean-Alpart alleges the evidence was planted. Noteworthy here, is that the charges against her were dropped by Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Ann E. Scherzer.
Winnifred, a “rising star in feminist theater and star of Slut: The Play” (source NYPost), (soon to be Slut: The Movie? – I think that one’s likely been done, but maybe not from the feminist viewpoint) isn’t satisfied with getting off ‘scott free’ as it were (pardon the pun). She and her mother, a lawyer (is that the sound of a penny dropping?) are alleging the NYPD violated Winnifred’s constitutional rights and planted evidence in her purse.
The backstory, Winnifred had a few friends over and they were drinking. Apparently it got loud and a neighbor called the police, as one does. When the police arrived they asked for identification from the party-goers but Winnifred apparently took it upon herself to inform her guests that they didn’t have to comply with that request.
Big surprise, the police responded by arresting Winnifred, claiming they found a fake Maryland’s driver’s licenses in her purse and a couple of empty bottles of booze. She claims the booze and ID were planted because she asserted her First Amendment rights. Um. Possible. But is it probable? Or does it even matter now?
Apparently it does. Winnifred and her mother have filed a civil suit. I guess she really does want her day in court. She and her mother are alleging the police cuffed her too tightly, slammed her against a wall, and put her in a holding cell with men for 18 hours in central booking. Mother and daughter are suing the city for $2 million. Wow—that’s some payday.
Only problem, mummy forgot to get the filing in by the deadline. Jennifer Bonjean, an experienced defense attorney who has apparently won lawsuits against the authorities in the past, missed a 90 day deadline. Seems, in New York, you must file a Notice of Claim with the city within 90 days of the incident. Once the notice is filed, you have one year to actually file the lawsuit. Bonjean missed the 90 day deadline. Now, she must petition the court for permission to proceed with her lawsuit against the city, according to the Post.
So will Winnifred fire her mother—or wait to see if the situation improves? We’ll have to wait and see. One thing’s for sure—the publicity can’t be hurting her. Might even improve ticket sales—or launch a sequel.