Source Naturals a little light on the content? According to a consumer fraud class action lawsuit filed this week, it is. The plaintiff alleges the amounts of vitamins and minerals in the vitamins are inaccurate.
In her Source Naturals complaint, Jennifer Dougherty alleges she purchased the products online for about $20 in November. According to the lawsuit, Source Naturals advertised that its multivitamins contained 12,500 IU per serving of vitamin A. Dougherty claims that the amounts of the of six vitamins and minerals in its multivitamins were off by as much as 90 percent, which was shown in tests. Those same tests also revealed that the vitamin B-3 contained in the product was about 19 percent less than represented; calcium per serving was about 22 percent less; zinc was under by about 24 percent; manganese was under by about 36 percent; and magnesium was under by about 12 percent than what Source Naturals claimed, according to the lawsuit.
The Source Naturals lawsuit is seeking class action status for those that purchased the multivitamins and seeks less than $5 million plus court costs. The $5 million figure represents a threshold for removal under the Class Action Fairness Act.
Southwest Early Bird Check-In a scam? At least one passenger thinks so. Teri Lowry filed a consumer fraud class action lawsuit over allegations the airline misleads customers into purchasing early flight check-ins, billed as “Early-Bird” priority boarding.
Specifically, the Southwest Airlines lawsuit contends that the airline deceived her into purchasing an “Early-Bird” priority boarding cost for a flight she took in March 2014 from Los Angeles to Indianapolis.
Lowry claims she purchased a “Wanna Get Away” ticket offered by Southwest, and then added on the “Early-Bird Check-in” feature for $25 roundtrip. She states in her lawsuit that she purchased the feature based on previous experience when she traveled with Southwest and received a “B” boarding group assignment.
The lawsuit states that when Lowry contacted others who had received a higher boarding position than she did for her trip to Indianapolis, none of them had purchased the “Early Bird Check-In.”
According to the complaint, Southwest Airlines allocates boarding in the order in which a customer checks in online, with boarding broken into three groups of about 60 board positions each. According to the lawsuit, Southwest Airlines’ website states customers can obtain an A boarding position by purchasing an “Early Bird Check-in.”
In her complaint, Lowry alleges Southwest’s website says customers who purchased “Anytime” fares receive priority over other fare types including “Early Bird Check-ins.” The lawsuit alleges that contradicts other areas of the website that say “Anytime” or “Wanna Get Away” fares don’t have priority over other fares.
A $4.5 million settlement has been reached in a consumer banking deceptive practices violations class action lawsuit against a unit of Morgan Stanley (Saxon). The lawsuit was filed by homeowners who allege the finance company denied thousands of California homeowners new terms through the federal Home Affordable Modification Plan (HAMP), which they claim resulted in some people losing their homes.
The Morgan Stanley HAMP settlement is preliminary and requires final approval, which, if granted, would pay the approximate 2,705 class members an average of $1,663 each. According to court documents, the settlement represented about 15 percent of the roughly $30 million in total trial payments made by the class.
According to the lawsuit, plaintiff Marie Gaudin alleged Saxon delayed processing her loan while urging her to make trial payments as part of its Home Affordable Modification Program, meant for homeowners who were behind on loan payments. Saxon later pulled the offer of permanent loan modification without cause, according to the lawsuit.
If approved, 1,365 class members who lost their homes after Saxon denied them permanent loan modifications would be paid back. All class members would receive a base award of approximately $184, with tiered payments being made to those who lost their homes in foreclosures or short sales without being offered loan modifications, and to those who entered into alternative modifications elsewhere.
The class is defined as California borrowers who entered into HAMP TPPs with Saxon through October 1, 2009, and made at least three trial period payments but did not receive HAMP loan modifications.
Ok—that’s it for this week—see you at the bar!
Have your hangovers been getting worse recently? Ok—you don’t have to answer, but maybe—just maybe—it’s not only you… A defective products class action lawsuit has been filed against 28 California wineries alleging that they produced wine which contains dangerously high levels of arsenic, in violation of California law. Nothing like a bit of poison to help the relaxation process.
Don’t know how the ball got rolling, but someone/entity had a total 1,306 different types of wine tested by BeverageGrades in Denver. The results showed that 83 wines had dangerously elevated levels of inorganic arsenic. Two additional labs confirmed the results. According to the arsenic in wine lawsuit, some of the wines contained arsenic levels in excess of the safe daily intake limit by 500%. Oh great.
And the news gets worse, because the majority of the wines listed in the complaint are inexpensive white or blush varieties, including Moscato, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. Popular brands named in the lawsuit include Franzia, Sutter Home, Wine Cube, Cupcake, Beringer and Vendange.
The lawsuit is seeking “injunctive relief, civic penalties, disgorgement and damages.”
Time to take up cocktails.
“All aboard whose coming aboard”…The operators of two cruise lines were hit with a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action lawsuit, alleging they’ve been sending unsolicited text messages to thousands of people’s cellular phones. And that’s not annoying, right?
Consolidated World Travel Inc., which does business as both Holiday Cruise Line and Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, is the named defendant in the suit, which was filed by plaintiff Jason Huhn. The cruise text complaint alleges the Florida-based company sent Huhn an automated text message on his cellphone in March 2014 offering a free cruise. Free cruise? Really?
Huhn alleges the company never asked him for his consent to send him advertisements. “Defendants sent similar text messages to thousands of individuals nationwide using an automatic dialing system and without the consent of those individuals,” the complaint states. “At no point did plaintiff consent to receiving such text messages. At no point did plaintiff enter into a business relationship with defendants.”
According to the complaint, CWT sends automated text messages to individuals advertising a “free cruise” and providing a phone number that an individual must call to redeem the cruise. When the number in the text message is called, the caller is connected with a company identifying itself as “Travel Services.” The operator explains that he or she sees the caller is calling about a free cruise, and immediately “transfers” the caller to “Holiday Cruise Line,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit also names the cruise line’s Tampa-based marketing firm, Elite Marketing Inc., as well as CWT owner James H. Verrillo as defendants.
Who said what you don’t know can’t hurt you? Well, Expose did sing it but…who knew about this? AT&T must pony up $25 million to resolve claims by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that the phone carrier failed to adequately safeguard personal data of approximately 300,000 customers. The data was stolen from call centers in Mexico, Colombia and the Philippines. Read: massive data breach.
According to the FCC, employees at call centers used by AT&T in the three countries accessed records belonging to roughly 280,000 U.S. customers without authorization. Those records were accessed without authorization, in order to obtain names, full or partial Social Security numbers and other protected account-related data. Terrific.
FYI—Those data are also known as customer proprietary network information, which require requests for handset unlock codes for AT&T mobile phones.
The FCC alleged in its complaint that the call center employees provided that data to unauthorized third parties, which included an entity that went by the alias El Pelon in Mexico, who appeared to have been trafficking in stolen or secondary market phones that they wanted to unlock. That entity allegedly used the information to make more than 290,000 unlock requests through AT&T’s website. Ringing any bells?
According to the terms of the settlement, AT&T, in addition to the $25 million penalty for the alleged violations of Sections 222 and 201 of the Communications Act, must also improve its privacy and data security practices by appointing a senior compliance manager who is a certified privacy professional, conducting a privacy risk assessment, implementing an information security program, preparing an appropriate compliance manual and regularly training employees on the company’s privacy policies and the applicable privacy legal authorities. You think?
Hokee Dokee- That’s a wrap folks…See you at the Bar!
How weird is this? A woman in Utah sued herself for killing—accidentally—her husband. Got it? Yeah? No? Ok.
So here’s the skinny. Barbara Bagley wanted the insurance money payable upon her hubby’s death. Problem is the insurance company didn’t want to pay.
How did she accidentally kill her husband? (Heads up, this could be useful). One night in November, 2011, Bagley was driving with her husband, Bradley Vom Baur, the passenger, when she lost control of the vehicle. The car subsequently rolled over, and her husband later died in hospital from his injuries.
Now, Bagley is the executor of her late husband’s estate (plaintiff) and the person responsible for his death (defendant). In order to get the insurance company to play ball, she was forced to bring a wrongful death and survival action against the driver (defendant) owing to the driver’s negligence causing her husband’s death. She has one very savvy lawyer.
Theoretically, by bringing a successful lawsuit against herself as the defendant, the insurance carrier would have to cover the cost for her negligence while driving. According to CBS Money Watch, the insurance company would then pay plaintiff Bagley as the personal representative and heir of her husband’s estate.
Still with me?
Not surprisingly, I suppose, the district court dismissed Bagley’s action. BUT—you knew there was a but—the court of appeals reversed the district court’s ruling. The whole thing boiled down to language, and not just language—punctuation marks!!! (Yes!)
The court of appeals determined that the “absence of punctuation marks separating” the words “death of a person” from “of another” in the language is read to mean that the two are connected, and “another” only refers to a person other than the decedent, according to the opinion. (Think “Eats Shoots,and Leaves“—not ”Eats, Shoots and Leaves”—an excellent read by the way.)
The wrongful death statute reads:
When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another, his heirs…may maintain an action for damages against the person causing the death. The same separating punctuation is also missing from the survival action statute, which is interpreted by the court as meaning that the “another” is anyone other than the decedent, even if the “another” is both the defendant tortfeasor and the heir and personal representative of the estate, according to an article on this by the National Trial Lawyers.
Believe me, I couldn’t make this up. There’s more, but I’m betting you have the gist of it by now.
Moving on from the grammar and punctuation (do I hear a sigh of relief?) the attorneys provided by Bagley’s insurance company to defend Bagley argued that the reading of the statute to allow for her to file an action against herself, was “’contrary to…basic notions of fairness and decency’ and contrary to public policy.”
However, this was rejected by the court of appeals because the defendant did not define the public policy nor make reference to any policy in Utah regarding the notions of fairness and decency. Instead, the defense only cited cases outside of the state of Utah. Not so bright, in retrospect. But maybe there weren’t any other cases in Utah. I’m betting.
The court said that its proper role was to interpret the “meaning and application” of a statute’s text and avoid “judicial mischief” which they would do by allowing the Legislature to correct any statutory language that may be contrary to public policy.
Just in case you’re interested, the case is Bagley and the Estate of Vom Baur v. Bagley, Case No. 20131077-CA in the Utah Court of Appeals, Third District. And if this baby winds up before a jury, you bet you’d be paying to be on that one—they don’t even have to give you the brown bag lunch! Wonder if there’d at least be costume changes…
Oh saints preserve us! The nuns that own one of New York’s oldest preschools have decided they want to get into the real estate game—shut the school, sell the building, maybe, and pocket several million, most likely. Problem is, the parents are mad as hell and have filed a lawsuit.
The school’s two brick brownstones, located in Chelsea, could be worth a cool $20 million—not exactly chump change, and the possibilities are likely not lost on the Sisters. Located on West 15th Street, the sisterhood bought the facility for $5,000 in 1901 then set it up as a school for the children of women (read single mothers) who worked in the meat packing district. Nice.
Over time the demographics have changed, and the school now looks after 55 little people—2-6 year olds, under the banner Nazareth Nursery Montessori. And it costs—both the parents and the nuns. The parents pony up $10,000 a year per child, which apparently makes it the cheapest Montessori school in the borough. The Sisters employ 14 lay teachers who they oversee.
According to school officials, the facility is losing $100,000 a year. So the school announced it would close in August. The parents, once they had collected themselves, filed for an injunction to stop the closure.
Praise the Lord and pass the Paperwork! According to the parents, the nuns at first gave no reason why the school was closing—it wasn’t until after the announcement of closure that school officials claimed the facility “was losing $100,000” and that “the building structure is precarious.”
The parents also allege that there are no building violations with the city and that the “financial state of the school and the corporation is excellent,” citing IRS documents showing revenue of $570,000 in 2013.
The parents say that “At no time over the past four years was any parent told that the school was having financial problems and might close.” So they have concluded that the only reason for the closure is, naturally, to capitalize on their asset.
“It is clear that the defendants plan to close the school, stop providing education to the children of working mothers, sell the school’s property and transfer the money to the Sisters of St. Francis to use for other purposes, none of which is to educate children,” the Manhattan civil suit says.
So, let’s see, there’s one set of property ownership rules for lay people and another for religious organizations? The primary difference being motive? Really?
A school spokeswoman, one Rochelle Casella, is said to have countered that the litigious Manhattan parents are too wealthy for the nuns’ charity. Well, possibly not the best defense, but there’s likely some truth in it.
“The demographics of the area have changed,” Casella said, adding that the buildings are “not up for sale” but said the nuns have also not decided what they will be used for after the school closes. Casella has reportedly vowed to “vigorously defend our position in court.”
If this continues, it’s very likely the Sisters of St. Francis will have to sell their real estate to pay their legal bills. Now wouldn’t that be a win-win.
Heads up Toyota Camry owners! The car maker is facing a defective products class action lawsuit alleging the car maker was aware of a defect in its Camry models that causes the cars’ air conditioning system to become moldy, emitting foul odors and potentially causing health problems.
Filed in Los Angeles earlier this week, the Toyota Camry lawsuit claims that Toyota’s 2012 Camry models have a “uniform and widespread defect” in the heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems that causes emissions of noxious and foul odors from the growth of mold in the system.
“Defendant has actively concealed and failed to disclose this defect to plaintiff and class members at the time of their purchase or lease of the class vehicles and thereafter,” the complaint states.
Further, the lawsuit contends that the affected Camry models’ HVAC system contains one or more design or manufacturing defect that causes the emissions of the bad odors from the mold. The plaintiffs allege that exposure to mold and its related smells is “extremely dangerous” and can lead to sickness, nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing and other health problems. Well, if it smells bad, it can’t be good for you, right?
The mold emanating from the HVAC system in the 2012 Toyota Camry vehicles allegedly grows on a part known as the evaporator, which is located inside the car dashboard. When cold refrigerant passes into the evaporator, it absorbs heat from the air in the passenger compartment and collects moisture from condensation, which creates a favorable growing condition for mold, the complaint claims.
When a consumer complains of the mold build-up in his or her Camry, Toyota “merely replaces” the defective HVAC components with the very same components, and doesn’t repair the defect, in violation of warranty, according to the lawsuit.
According to the plaintiffs, Toyota knew, or should have known, about the defect as early as 1997. However, the automaker “actively concealed” the defect and didn’t inform consumers.
Further, the complaint states that Toyota had “already offered” previous model year Camry vehicles that had similar HVAC systems and acknowledged the defects as early as 1997 and as recently as 2009.
The complaint seeks certification of a class of California purchasers of 2012 Camry vehicles.
Who’s really reaping the rewards here? Babies “R” Us, according to a consumer fraud class action lawsuit over allegations its rewards program was misleading and misrepresented what consumers actually receive when purchasing items from the retailer.
Filed by Stacy Tongate, the Babies R Us lawsuit claims that the Endless Earnings program promoted and run by Babies “R” Us offers shoppers up to 10 percent back on registry items purchased. The program, the lawsuit contends , is run in order to attract more customers to use the baby registry services.
According to the complaint, the popular children’s toy store launched the program in April 2014, offering benefits with no limits. However, The company in fact offers five percent of the first $300 spent by consumers. After the first $300, consumers are bumped up to 10 percent, Tongate claims.
The lawsuit is seeking class status for those who made purchases during the Endless Earnings program’s duration.
JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pony up $950,000 …according to the terms of a preliminary settlement agreement reached in a California labor law class action lawsuit.The lawsuit was filed by the company’s California underwriters who alleged the bank failed to pay overtime and provide proper breaks. No comment.
The proposed agreement potentially ends the three-year-old lawsuit, which was filed by two loan modification underwriters who worked at a Chase location north of San Diego. They alleged the bank was in violation of federal and state labor laws and that they suffered from overwhelming workload requirements. Filed in 2012, by plaintiffs Mary Loeza and Angie Reveles, the suit claims that Chase saddled its underwriters with unrealistic quotas for processing mortgage loan modification applications that they could not achieve without working overtime.
The plaintiffs further claimed that Chase had a strict policy on approval of overtime and would punish employees who worked it without authorization, leaving employees to work off-the-clock and through meal breaks and rest periods to meet the elevated quota, according to the settlement agreement.
“Based on their knowledge of this action, plaintiffs determined that the settlement would constitute the best outcome for class members,” court documents state. “Likewise, Chase concluded that this action should be settled in order to avoid the expense, inconvenience and burden of further legal proceedings, and the uncertainties of trial and appeal.”
The proposed class consists of approximately 838 current and former Chase employees who worked at the bank between December 11, 2008, and the date the judge preliminarily approves the agreement. If certified, the settlement will see each class member receive a share of the settlement funds, fees and expenses are paid.
Hokee Dokee—That’s a wrap folks… Happy Easter! Go celebrate!