TD Bank Teed Up for Another Overdraft Fee Lawsuit? If at first you don’t succeed—is that the mantra here? TD Bank got hit with a consumer banking class action lawsuit this week alleging the financial institution continues to manipulate the order of debit card transactions so that it can profit through the maximization of overdraft fees. The lawsuit comes less than a year after the bank paid $62 million to settle a multidistrict litigation alleging the same practice. I’m sad to say I’m not surprised by these allegations.
Filed in Pennsylvania federal court by lead plaintiffs Sheila and Emilio Padilla, the complaint specifically alleges that TD Bank has continued to use a software scheme to illegally collect overdraft fees, and that it assessed the fees even when customers have sufficient funds in their account to cover the debit card payments.
“Defendant employs sophisticated software to automate its overdraft systems,” the complaint states. “These programs maximize the number of overdrafts, and thus the amount of overdraft fees charged per customer.”
The TD Bank class action complaint further states, “Many of the complained of practices continued as before, even after the class action settlement. Shockingly, unlike nearly all other banks sued in the multidistrict litigation, … TD has continued these practices even after it settled claims of wrongdoing based on these very same practices.”
The class action seeks to represent all TD Bank customers who opened a new account after the settlement class period ended on August 15, 2010, and who were charged improper overdraft fees. The class also seeks to represent those customers that had an account prior to August 2010 but were not charged overdraft fees until after that time.
Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s back to court they go!
Pays to Know Who’s in your Network? Well, maybe that’s what Adobe, Apple, Google and Intel thought—they’re facing a potential employment and salary fixing class action lawsuit over allegations they conspired to hire engineers from each other’s employee pools and knowingly shared salary data to establish pay ceilings. Nice.
Filed in California, the engineer and programmer class action lawsuit allegedly follows on from a 2012 investigation by the US Department of Justice which found that these practices were also evident at Lucasfilms, Pixar and Intuit. According to a report by the New York Times, the DOJ’s report suggests as many as 64,000 engineers and programmers were involved, which means the class action lawsuit could see billions in damages, if successful.
Rumor has it the sainted Steve Jobs was involved in cooking this one up. One to watch for sure.
Finally—a Data Breach Class Action Settlement! And a finalized one at that. That’s right, final approval of a $3 million settlement has just been granted, ending the long-running AVMed data breach class action. Cast your mind back to 2009, when health insurance provider AvMed got hit with what was to become one of the first in a string of data breach lawsuits. This one alleged that sensitive data from 1.2 million customer records had been breached from unencrypted laptops. “Sensitive”? I think we’re talking health records, FYI.
Among the settlement terms is the stipulation that AvMed implement increased data security measures including mandatory security awareness training and encryption protocols on company laptops.
The $3 million settlement fund is set aside for plaintiffs to make claims for $10 for every year that they purchased insurance from AvMed, with a $30 cap: class members who experienced identity theft are reportedly eligible to make additional claims to recover their monetary losses.
Reportedly, this is the first settlement of a data breach lawsuit that provides compensation to plaintiffs who did not experience identity theft.
Ok Folks, That’s all for this week. See you at the bar!
A roundup of recent asbestos-related news and information that you should be aware of. An ongoing list of reported asbestos hot spots in the US from the Asbestos News Roundup archive appears on our asbestos map.
Recently, Bayshore Broadcasting published a report about new developments with the demolition of the former Hillcrest Public School in Orillia, Canada. According to the article, asbestos has been discovered and additional funds have been approved to have it safely removed. The structure is being demolished to make way for the construction of a new playground and park.
For many years, asbestos was added to a number of common building materials to increase their strength and durability, and to provide insulating and fireproofing properties. Many older buildings across Canada still have materials that contain asbestos in them. Some of the many materials that may contain asbestos in older structures include:
• Attic and wall insulation containing vermiculite
• Vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring
• Roofing and siding shingles
• Textured paint and patching compounds used on walls and ceilings
• Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves protected with asbestos paper, millboard or cement sheets
• Hot water and steam pipes coated with asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape
• Oil and coal furnace insulation and door gaskets
• Heat-resistant fabrics
When asbestos-containing materials age or are disturbed, they can become friable and asbestos fibers can become airborne. During remodeling and demolition activities, such as at the former Hillcrest Public School, these materials can be easily disturbed and become airborne. If not properly handled, these fibers can pose a threat to workers and other building occupants and in this situation could have created a hazard in the soil of the new playground and park if the asbestos had not been identified and properly managed.
New York, NY: Larry H. Speer has named CBS Corp., Ford Motor Co., General Electric Co., Union Carbide Corp., Ingersoll-Rand Co., and Honeywell International Inc., among several others, in his recently filed asbestos lawsuit. Spear alleges his developing asbestos mesothelioma is directly linked to his asbestos exposure in a variety of products from packing materials to automotive parts to turbines. Spear was diagnosed with terminal, malignant asbestos mesothelioma in December 2013.
In his lawsuit, Speer alleges he was exposed to asbestos in products including but not limited to boilers, compressors, cement pipes, brakes and gaskets, and that he was unaware of the serious health hazards associated with asbestos at that time. Further, he claims the defendants failed to warn him of those hazards.
“In their release of respirable asbestos fibers into the air during foreseeable use or manipulation of these products, the products failed to perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would have expected them to perform,” the lawsuit states.
Mr. Speer is claiming strict liability over the allegedly defective products, as well as general negligence. His wife, Donna Speer, has made claims for loss of consortium.
New Orleans, LA: Frank G. DeSalvo has filed an asbestos lawsuit naming dozens of defendants that he alleges, caused him to develop asbestos-related lung cancer. DeSalvo claims the companies named failed to protect him from exposure to the lethal carcinogen, during the course of his work-related duties. DeSalvo states he was diagnosed with asbestos-related lung cancer in December 2012.
The defendants are: Huntington Ingalls Inc. also known as Avondale Industries, Inc. (f/k/a Avondale Shipyards, inc), Avondale executive officers Albert Bossier, Jr., J. Melton Garrett, Onebeacon America Insurance Company (as successor to Commercial Union Insurance Company), American Employers Insurance Company, American Motorists Insurance Company, Bayer Cropscience, inc. (As successor of liability to Rhone Poulenc AG company), Amchem Products Inc., Benjamin Foster Company, Eagle Inc. (formerly Eagle Asbetos & Packing Company, Inc.), Foster-Wheeler, LLC (formerly Foster-Wheeler Corporation), General Electric Company, Hopeman Brothers Inc., The McCarty Corporation (successor to McCarty Branton Inc. and predecessor and successor to McCarty Insulation sales, inc.), Reilly-Benton Company Inc., Riley Power Inc. (Babcock Borsig Power Inc., DB Riely Inc., Riley Stoker Corporation), Taylor-Seidenbach Inc., CBS Corporation (Westinghouse Electric Corporation), Maryland Casualty Company, Shell Oil Company, Shell Chemical LP, Entergy Louisiana LLC, Chevron Oronite Company LLC, Wyeth Holdings Corporation (American Cynamid Company), Lou-Con Inc. and its executive officer Bernard Lyons and Union Carbide Corporation.
From 1962-1966 DeSalvo worked as a welder for Avondale, during which time he claims he was exposed to dangerous levels of toxic substances containing asbestos. He accuses the defendants of failing to reveal, and knowingly concealing inherent dangers in the use of asbestos, including the ability to expose family members through clothing. Additionally, defendant Avondale is accused of reckless storage, handling and transport of asbestos, and failing to provide safe equipment, proper ventilation and medical monitoring.
In his lawsuit, DeSalvo is seeking unspecified damages for past, present, and future hospital, medical, pharmaceutical and nursing expenses due to his lung-cancer and other asbestos-related conditions he could likely incur, such as mesothelioma. Additionally, he is seeking compensation for his loss of earning capacity and permanent partial disability which will progress to full disability.(Louisianarecord.com)
Is Maximus Maximizing an Unpaid Wages Scam on the Back of Obamacare? A call center unpaid wages class action lawsuit has been filed by employees at an Obamacare call center in Idaho, alleging the contractor, Maximus Inc, miscategorized employees as exempt for overtime, and is in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). So, they clearly think so.
Specifically, the putative Obamacare call center wage and hour class action lawsuit alleges that most employees worked between 50 and 60 hours a week beginning in the summer of 2013, without receiving compensation for the overtime, and that they were made to clock off before they had actually finished their shifts. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges the employees were unable to take mandatory breaks including lunch.
The class action contains two putative sub classes, one consisting of first level supervisors, and the second of call center employee trainers at the Boise, Idaho branch.
Are you Getting Hosed by Home Depot? Home Depot USA Inc is facing a consumer fraud class action lawsuit filed by a customer who alleges the do-it-yourself retail giant sells a line of defective expandable garden hoses that can rupture soon after purchase. An infomercial marketing firm, Telebrands, is also named as a defendant.
Specifically, the Home Depot lawsuit contends that the “Pocket Hose” and “Mini Max Hose” aren’t durable, and are not made of “heavy-duty fire hose construction,” as the companies advertise. Filed by plaintiff Micahel Klemballa, the Pocket Hose lawsuit states “In fact, the design of the Pocket Hose product is fundamentally defective and thus not suitable to be used as a garden hose as advertised.” “When used as instructed, the Pocket Hose will leak and/or burst, rendering the product useless.”
Klemballa alleges that he purchased a Pocket Hose in June which ruptured after he used it just a few times. He contends that thousands of similar complaints can be found on various product review websites and message boards.
The lawsuit, entitled Klemballa v. Telebrands Corp. et al., case number 2:14-cv-01245, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey goes on to states that in its online advertisements and infomercials, Telebrands misleadingly represents the Pocket Hose as “strong enough for any tough job,” backing the claim with a purported demonstration of the hose pulling a 5,000-pound sport utility vehicle.
However, according to the complaint, the hose, which retails for between $12.99 and $42.99, depending on length, is not even strong enough to withstand normal residential use. (Should I be surprised?) Klemballa states that Home Depot adopted many of Telebrands’ false and misleading claims about the product for in-store displays and ads on its website, and reviewed and approved advertising materials that included the retailer’s own logos and trademarks.
“Defendants’ false and misleading claims are in willful and wanton disregard of the interests of the consuming public, and constitute a knowing attempt by defendants to deceive consumers,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit seeks class certification to represent all consumers who have purchased the Pocket Hose in the US, along with a subclass of New York purchasers.
Let’s hope this isn’t a trend. Service Corporation International (SCI) has reached settlement of a consumer fraud class action lawsuit involving allegations its employees desecrated graves at its Eden Memorial Park.
Specifically, the Eden Memorial class action, brought in 2009 on behalf of 25,000 Jewish families with loved ones buried at Eden Memorial, claimed that for 25 years, SCI employees routinely broke open outer burial containers and caskets and discarded human remains in a dump area on the cemetery grounds to make room for more graves.
SCI is a publicly traded company that runs the largest collection of the “death-care businesses” in the U.S. It has 1,644 funeral homes and 514 cemeteries in 43 states and the District of Columbia.
On February 27, the company announced it had reached a settlement of the lawsuit, four weeks into a trial in California state court. SCI said it would create a settlement fund of $35.25 million, of which $25.25 million will be contributed by insurance companies.
SCI denied any wrongdoing.
Ok Folks, That’s all for this week. See you at the bar !
A roundup of recent asbestos-related news and information that you should be aware of. An ongoing list of reported asbestos hot spots in the US from the Asbestos News Roundup archive appears on our asbestos map.
According to a study done by The National Fire Administration/NIOSH, published in the October 2013 issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the rate of mesothelioma among firefighters studied was twice that of the general US population.
The study is one the largest of its kind done to date, and looked at mortality patterns and cancer incidence among career firefighters. The researchers evaluated a pool of approximately 30,000 firefighters employed in San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia between 1950 and 2009.
They found, as have previous studies, that firefighters, through the course of their work, are exposed to known and suspected carcinogens like formaldehyde and benzene. The study shows that such exposure is linked to an increased risk of developing certain cancers. Additionally, the results were consistent with previous studies which show that firefighters experience higher rates of respiratory, digestive and urinary cancers, compared to the general population.
What was new, however, was the nearly doubling of the incidence rate for asbestos mesothelioma among firefighters, compared with the general US population. This had not been previously reported. The study not only strengthens previous evidence for the health risks firefighters are exposed to, but also suggests an association between firefighters’ occupational exposure to asbestos and increased mesothelioma rates, as asbestos is “the only known causal agent of mesothelioma.”
Edwardsville, IL: Video deposition from a man who died from asbestos illness before his asbestos lawsuit was concluded will now be heard by jurors in Madison County, Ill. He filed his lawsuit in Madison County in 2013, just months before he died from asbestos mesothelioma on May 23, 2013. His attorneys recorded Tom King’s video deposition prior to his death. His sons, Tom King Jr and Brian King, now represent their deceased father in the lawsuit.
Tom King, Sr., worked for the US Navy as a machinist mate for the U.S. Navy from 1959-1962 and again from 1965-1969, serving on the USS Forrestal, USS Tallahatchie County and the USS Hollister. He worked primarily in the engine room on each ship, but occasionally helped in other areas of the ship when needed.
Originally, there were 119 named defendants, of which Crane Co., a company that allegedly supplied the Navy with mechanical gaskets and valves, and John Crane, a designer and manufacturer of mechanical seals remain.
King Sr., testified that crew members were required to refer to a manual every time they worked on a piece of equipment regardless of their expertise in the department, and noted that he never saw any warning signs or indications in the manual that respiratory protection was necessary. He testified that for the replacement of old worn-out parts, the manual instructed him to use specific asbestos parts, which he was already supplied with by the Navy. He never deviated from the instructions in the manuals, calling the required specifications the “Navy way.” “We had a chain of command,” he said. “Remember the Navy way? That’s what we were required to do.” He testified regarding his work on pumps, valves and insulation, all containing asbestos.
King Sr., testified that in order to replace gaskets, it was necessary to clean the excess asbestos off the valves with a wire brush. The cleaning process created a lot of dust, he said. The case is ongoing. (legalnewsline.com)
Pittsburgh, PA: Milton M. Schuster Sr. filed an asbestos lawsuit alleging exposure to the lethal carcinogen through his work as a machinist. In his complaint, Schuster claims he was exposed to asbestos-containing products manufactured and distributed by the defendants from 1954 through 1985. The lawsuit states Schuster was diagnosed with asbestos-related lung cancer, on December 12, 2013. The illness is a direct result of his exposure to asbestos.
The defendants are: CBS Corporation, Crane Company, Foster-Wheeler Corporation, General Electric Company, General Electric Co. Switchgear Department, General Electric Capital Corporation, General Electric Capital Corporation, Goulds Pumps Inc., Honeywell International, also known as Allied Signal, Ingersoll-Rand Company, John Crane, Houdaille Inc., John Crane Inc., Owens-Illinois Inc., Union Carbide Corporation and Warren Pumps Inc., citing asbestos exposure. (philadelphiarecord.com)
Jefferson County, TX: An asbestos lawsuit has been filed by Virginia Furlong, wife, and Helen Furlong Moity, daughter of recently deceased William Ray Furlong. They name E.I. Dupont De Nemours and Co. as the defendant.
Specifically, the asbestos complaint alleges Dupont knowingly exposed William Furlong to toxic and carcinogenic dusts including asbestos during the course of his work at Dupont’s Works Facility in Beaumont.
According to the asbestos lawsuit, William Furlong developed mesothelioma from which he died in 2012. His widow and daughter seek to hold Dupont liable for William Furlong’s death. The Furlongs are seeking more than $100,000 in damages. (setexasrecord.com)
Over the last 15 years, Kip Scott has set aside his law practice on three separate occasions, packed up and gone to work as a disaster relief volunteer. His latest sojourn was to an area around the city of Tacloban in the Philippines where thousands of people were left homeless and in desperate need after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged part of Southeast Asia last November.
“Some people ask ‘why don’t you just send the money’?” says Scott. “The answer is you don’t know how much those people appreciate seeing an American face there. It tells them ‘we have not forgotten about you’.”
Scott has trained as a volunteer disaster relief worker with the Salvation Army and had real-life on-the-job experience in New York during 9-11 and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
“I actually had never been to New York before 9-11,” says Scott who heard the news and within days was on his way to the site of the Twin Towers attack in Manhattan. “I was attached to the New York Medical Examiner’s Office and my job was to be a driver and deliver supplies to different locations around ground zero.”
“It was very difficult,” says Scott. “They considered the area to be an open grave and people were very angry that their friends and family had been murdered basically. Hurricane Katrina and Typhoon Haiyan were natural disasters but there was still a lot of hurt and sorrow and loss.”
Kip Scott specializes in personal injury law. Although the situations are profoundly different, his clients are often being tossed about in a firestorm of devastating personal circumstances. “Many of the people I see in my practice in Irvine, California are going through the worst time in their lives. Many of them can’t work, they have huge medical bills, and they are in emotional pain or physical pain. We try to find them a way out and help them rebuild their lives.”
In the Philippines, three months after Typhoon Haiyan, search and rescue teams continue to look for bodies of the missing and dead. Typhoon Haiyan (which translates to Typhoon Yolanda) killed more 6,000 people and hundreds of thousands are still without running water and electricity. It was the strongest typhoon ever recorded with sustained one-minute wind speeds of 195 mph.
On the ground for several weeks last November, Kip Scott and others from his church group at home in California hooked up with the Philippine Red Cross, Unicef, local community groups, and hundreds of other relief workers from around the world.
“We just said, ‘what do you need’?” says Scott.
The community they arrived in had water—but shelter was in short supply. Scott and his group got a hold of hundreds of sheets of roofing material, provided a truck, a driver and two haulers and began distributing the building materials to 73 families in a small out of the way place called Barangay San Jose.
“It was very inspirational to see people from countries around the world coming together to help,” says Scott. “In other ways it was difficult to hear the stories of the survivors and the stories about those who didn’t survive.”
Scott’s group helped hundreds of people recover from a devastating storm by providing food, clothing and shelter.
“These people have gone through a tremendous ordeal and you want to be respectful. In our disaster recovery training we were taught to never say ‘I understand what you are going through’, because you really don’t,” says Scott.
All in all, Scott and his team were able to serve 870 individuals including providing new roofing for 73 families. Reflecting on his experience Scott says, “There are just overwhelming needs. We worked every day we were there from 8 a.m., getting back to our place about 8-9 pm. We all wish we could give more and do more but our time was up.”
Kip Scott is a senior partner with the Personal Injury Law Center in Irvine, California. The firm serves southern California from Santa Barbara down to San Diego. The firm has recovered millions of dollars for persons injured through no fault of their own. Scott has been recognized for his volunteer work with homeless children, Hurricane Katrina, and the Ground Zero Recovery Team.