Heads up you pizza delivery folk!! Another proposed wage and hour class action lawsuit has been filed against 70 Domino’s Franchises stores, this time in California and Arizona, by a delivery driver who alleges Domino’s fails to reasonably reimburse drivers for the costs of using personal vehicles for work, in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California labor laws.
Field by driver Derek Gibbins, the Dominos delivery lawsuit alleges franchise operator Hishmeh Enterprises Inc. uses a flawed method to determine reimburse rates. Specifically, it typically pays $1 per trip whch that does not accurately reflect costs incurred by drivers.
The complaint further claims that Hishmeh’s “systematic failure” to provide adequate reimbursement constitutes a “kickback” such that hourly wages paid to its drivers are not free and clear, resulting in net wages that fall beneath federal and state minimum-wage requirements in violation of the FLSA and state labor codes.
“The net effect of defendant’s flawed reimbursement policy is that it willfully fails to pay the federal and state minimum wage to its delivery drivers,” according to the complaint filed in California federal court. “Defendant thereby enjoys ill-gained profits at the expense of its employees.” Otherwise known as screwing your employees—allegedly.
The complaint alleges all Hishmeh drivers have similar experiences because they operate under the same reimbursement policy. The suit seeks to include an estimate of several hundred current and former Hishmeh delivery drivers in California over the past four years.
Wen will my hair stop falling out? Wen you stop using the product, although this has yet to be established. Wen Hair Products and marketing company Guthy-Renker got hit with a defective products class action lawsuit this week over allegations the line of products cause hair loss. Oh. Not so good.
The Wen haircare lawsuit, filed by women living in Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, New Jersey and North Carolina, the plaintiffs all allege they have suffered severe hair loss after using ‘Wen Hair Products’.
The Wen line of products is designed, manufactured and sold by Chaz Dean, a Hollywood hair stylist, and Guthy-Renker. The defendants claim that the Wen hair products condition the hair, and limit or repair damage caused by regular hair treatments and daily styling. However, not advertised is the alleged severe and possibly permanent damage to hair, including hair loss to the point of visible bald spots and severe breakage, according to the plaintiffs.
According to the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, many of the women who have suffered damage called the companies for help, only to be told that their complaints were unusual. However, the companies had received prior, similar calls, which they did not disclose. You think?
And the fallout from the 2008 mortgage-backed securities financial crisis continues… this week with final approval of a $970.5 million settlement granted by a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Yes folks, this effectively ends the securities litigation brought by shareholders of the insurance giant American International Group (AIG). Remember them?
The securities lawsuit alleged that AIG misled investors about the subprime mortgage exposure that led to a liquidity crisis and over $180 billion in federal bailouts, to put is very simply. The investors alleged AIG failed to disclose risks it took on through its portfolio of credit default swaps and a securities lending program, leading them to buy stocks they otherwise would not have bought.
This settlement is among the largest class-action settlements to result from litigation of mortgage-backed securities and the 2008 financial crisis. The judge noted that no potential class member objected to the terms of the deal, leading her to determine it was “fair, reasonable and adequate.”
The settlement affects shareholders who bought AIG securities from March 16, 2006, to September 16, 2008.
Hokee Dokee—That’s a wrap folks…Time to adjourn for the week. See you at the bar!
Uhh…Maybe not Everyone Deserves a Happy Home? You’d think with a name like ”Homejoy Inc”, there’d be a lot of joy to go around. Well, maybe for the customer and business owners, but maybe not so much for the workers. The company is facing two potential employment class action lawsuits, alleging the company is in violation of California labor laws.
The house-cleaning business allegedly fails to pay its workers minimum wage or overtime, denies workers legally mandated breaks and requires house cleaners to incur their own business-related expenses, among other infractions, according to one lawsuit. Specifically, the lawsuit claims Homejoy misclassifies its workers as “cleaning professionals”–as independent contractors–rather than employees.
Additionally, the lawsuits allege Homejoy workers must wear a shirt with the Homejoy logo on it while servicing homes and can be subject to “performance improvement plans” if their ratings are too low. The complaints further claim that “cleaners are an integral part of Homejoy’s business of providing cleaning services, among other services, to its customers.”
The plaintiffs are seeking damages in the amount of unpaid overtime compensation, unpaid minimum-wage compensation, unpaid reimbursed business expenses, one hour of additional pay for each workday completed without meal breaks and another hour of compensation for each work day without rest breaks” all with interest. The Private Attorneys General Act action seeks civil penalties and attorney fees. Go get’em!
Heads up all Target Customers: A $10 million settlement has been reached in the Target data breach class action lawsuit. If approved, the settlement will resolve multidistrict litigation (MDL) resulting from one of the largest data breaches to date, affecting as many as 110 million Target customers.
The data breach occurred late in 2013—one of many data breaches we’ve been reporting on recently—and compromised customers’ personal information including bank and debit card information. The settlement motion requests certification of a nationwide class of an estimated 110 million consumers whose credit or debit card information or other personal information was compromised following the breach.
If you ever needed a reason to keep your paperwork—this would be it. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, affected Target customers who can document their losses will be eligible for up to $10,000 in damages. For those who cannot produce documentation, a payment will be made from the remainder of the settlement fund, once outstanding costs are deducted. The remaining balance will be divided equally.
Additionally, the agreement stipulates that Target makes a greater effort to safeguard its customer data, which would include appointing a high-level executive as chief information security officer and maintaining a written information security program, as well as a process to monitor for information security events and to respond to any such events determined to present a threat.
Well, the proof is in the doing… we can only wait and see.
Sheetrock Settlement. A $55 million settlement has been reached in an antitrust multi-district litigation (MDL) alleging price-fixing among companies that make gypsum board, commonly called drywall, sheetrock or plasterboard. While that might seem like a lot for drywall—it’s reportedly a $5 billion dollar a year industry in the US.
Preliminary approval was granted by US District Senior Judge Michael Maylson of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He has been overseeing the case since consolidation two years ago.
The defendant TIN has agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle claims from direct purchasers of drywall and $1.75 million to settle with indirect purchasers. Similarly, USG has agreed to pay $39.25 million to settle with the direct purchasers and $8.75 million to settle with indirect purchasers. The action isn’t quite over yet—as several defendants still need to settle.
Judge Baylson has also certified several classes of plaintiffs for the explicit purpose of facilitating the settlement and without having any effect on the still-ongoing litigation.
According to the complaint, the defendants account for more than 99 percent of drywall sold in North America. They are USG, National Gypsum, CertainTeed, Georgia-Pacific, American Gypsum, Lafarge, Temple-Inland (TIN) and PABCO. Well, if it wasn’t price-fixing it was certainly one hell of a coincidence.
Hokee Dokee—That’s a wrap folks…Time to adjourn for the week. See you at the bar!
Come on baby, light my fire—oh—wait—did we mention there’s a charge? Tinder got hit with a consumer fraud class action lawsuit this week by a disgruntled user who alleges the social media company lures customers into signing up for its dating app by advertising it as being free and later charging customers if they want to continue using the app.
Filed by California resident Billy Warner, the Tinder lawsuit states the Tinder is running “a classic bait and switch” program, which results from the company’s recent announcement that it will begin charging customers $2.99 per month. Warner claims that he is “entrenched in the use” of the app and had he known that Tinder would charge for it, he would not have downloaded it. Really? Unlimited opportunities to hook up for less than the price of one designer coffee? You do the math. But the issue isn’t about whether they should charge…
“Defendant offered these free services with the goal in mind of enlisting a user base of tens or hundreds of millions of users, with the ultimate goal of later changing the rules of participation and deceptively and forcibly migrating a substantially percentage of its user based to a paid subscription model,” the complaint states.
Warner contends that “Had Defendant warned Plaintiff that additional fees may apply, Plaintiff would have reconsidered Plaintiff’s use of Defendant’s app….Failure to disclose that additional fees may apply unfairly induced Plaintiff’s downloading of Defendant’s app, as he reasonably believed it to be a ‘free’ service.” That’s the issue.
“Tinder has, up until now, allowed users to enjoy unlimited free swipes and has been a free app,” according to the lawsuit. “Tinder has never advertised, represented, or otherwise indicated to its customers, including plaintiff, that the use of its services will require any form or payment.”
Warner discovered that he would have to pay $2.99 per month to continue using the app when he was notified that he was out of “likes” and that he could purchase unlimited “likes” for $2.99 per month.
“[Tinder’s] abrupt policy change constitutes an unfair and deceptive trade practice, put into place to forcibly migrate users to paid subscription services, in order to receive the same services that had previously been provided and advertised free of charge,” the class action lawsuit states.
The class seeks to represent a California class of Tinder users, who downloaded the app before March 2.
Warner is charging Tinder with violating the California False Advertising Act and unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent conduct according to California’s Unfair Competition Law. U.S. District Court for the Central District of California case number 2:15-cv-01668.
Heads up Mexican Nationals who have traveled home since June 1999… A consumer fraud class action lawsuit has been filed against several airlines by a group of Mexican nationals who allege they have been forced to pay a “Mexico tourism tax” they weren’t obligated to pay. The plaintiffs claim they have paid millions of dollars in this tax to airlines including United Airlines Inc. and Delta Airlines Inc.
The Mexican tourist tax lawsuit claims violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, specifically that the airlines wrongfully charged the plaintiffs, including children under the age of 2 who took flights between the US and Mexico, $20 to $25 for the Mexico Tourism Tax. They allege the airlines fraudulently represent to passengers that the Mexican government requires them to collect the tax, then keep the proceeds.
The Mexican tax is mandatory charged to certain travelers who arrive in Mexico on flights originating outside the county. However, Mexican nationals, residents and children under the age of two are exempt from the tax, according to the suit.
According to the allegations, an arrangement was reached between the airlines and the government in June 1999 to collect the tax but was actively concealed from the public by the defendants for many years. The airlines knew which passengers wouldn’t be subject to the tax because they would know their passport numbers and nationalities once they purchased their tickets, according to the complaint.
“Under the agreement, the defendants agreed to have mechanisms in place to distinguish the cases in which the Mexico tourism tax does not apply,” the suit states. “Since 1999 (or about the dates that each defendant began operating flights to/from Mexico), rather than collect only the tax that should have been charged … the defendants on information and belief, have obtained, retained, and reinvested those improperly collected taxes into their respective operations.”
Other airlines named as defendants in the proposed class action are American Airlines Inc., AeroVias de Mexico SA de CV, Concesionaria Vuela Compania de Aviacion, SAPI de CV, ABC Aerolineas SA de CV, and US Airways Inc.
The plaintiffs seek to represent a class of Mexican nationals, guardians of children under the age of two at the time of travel and foreigners with resident status in Mexico who flew between the U.S. and Mexico beginning in June 1999.
The case is Almanza et al. v. United Airlines, Inc. et al., case number 2:15-cv-00033 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.
Mesh mess continues… Ethicon, the division of Johnson & Johnson that makes TVT Abbrevo, one of many transvaginal mesh products that are the subject of several thousand lawsuits, has been found liable and ordered to pay $5.7 million to plaintiff Coleen Perry.
The jury hearing Perry’s case deliberated for three days and found that Ethicon’s conduct regarding the TVT Abbrevo vaginal sling amounted to “malice,” her lawyer said. They awarded Perry $700,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $5 million in punitive damages.
This Ethicon verdict makes the fourth against the company. Currently, over 36,000 lawsuits have been filed against the TVT manufacturer in both state and federal courts, all alleging the devices, which are used to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, are defectively designed and result in significant personal injury.
Perry claimed the Abbrevo mesh began to erode in her body, causing pain that she said she expects to last the rest of her life, Reuters reported.
The FDA approved Abbrevo, one of Ethicon’s newer models of mesh products, in 2010, specifically to treat stress urinary incontinence. Perry, received her implant in 2011. She said she began experiencing a “pulling-type” pain almost immediately after surgery, Reuters reports.
The case is Perry et al v. Luu et al, Superior Court of the State of California, Kern County, No. 5-1500-CV-279123.
Hokee Dokee- That’s a wrap folks…Time to adjourn for the week. See you at the bar!
Is it Facebook’s Time to Face the Ringtone? Maybe…the social media giant is facing a proposed Telephone Consumer protection Act (TCPA) class action lawsuit alleging it sends unwanted text messages to peoples’ cellphones notifying them that their accounts have been logged into. The $5 million complaint alleges that Facebook knowingly violated the TCPA by sending these unwanted text messages. According to the Facebook lawsuit, Facebook provides an “extra security feature” in which it sends log-in notifications to alert users when their account is accessed from a new device. However, these text messages are allegedly sent, in some cases several times a day, to people who haven’t given Facebook authorization to do so, who have asked Facebook to stop this practice, and who allegedly do not even have Facebook accounts. Question—how does FB acquire emails of people who don’t have FB accounts?
Servicing over a billion Facebook accounts worldwide, Facebook’s automated systems are powerful and, when used improperly, capable of extreme invasions into the privacy of American consumers,” the complaint states. “Facebook operates a sloppy system and in doing so shows complete disregard for the privacy of consumers.”
According to lead plaintiff Noah Duguid, Facebook began sending text messages to his cellphone in January 2014, without his having given his cell phone number to FB, or his having had any business dealings with the social media company. Oh, you just gotta love that.
After Duguid allegedly sent the defendant a detailed email in April 2014 complaining about the messages and asking that they stop, Facebook replied with an automatic email telling him to log on to its website to report the problematic content. This continued until the following October when Duguid allegedly responded to an Facebook text using the word “off”. After this, the company replied “Facebook texts are now off. Reply on to turn them back on.” Regardless, the company continued to text Duguid, according to the complaint.
The proposed TCPA class action lawsuit seeks to represent a class of individuals in the U.S. who didn’t give Facebook their cell number and received one or more of the accused texts within the four years before the filing of the complaint, and a class of individuals who received texts in the same time frame despite telling Facebook they didn’t want them. Plaintiff seeks at least $500 in damages for each violation of the TCPA. Go baby go!
FYI—the case is Noah Duguid et al. v. Facebook Inc., case number 3:15-cv-00985, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
How Much is the Medicine Worth? There’s the $65 million dollar question facing Celgene Corp. They were hit with an antitrust class action lawsuit filed by The City of Providence in New Jersey, alleging the pharmaceutical company monopolized the market for two of its blockbuster cancer drugs by blocking its competitors’ access to samples necessary to bring generic versions to market.
According to the potential class action, Celgene is using risk evaluation and mitigation strategies, a federal drug safety measure, to prevent competitors such as Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. from gaining access to samples for Thalomid and Revlimid. Those samples are necessary for the Food and Drug Administration test for generic equivalency.
According to the lawsuit, “Due to Celgene’s monopolistic and anticompetitive conduct, plaintiff, and all other consumers and third-party payors, paid higher prices to treat leprosy and multiple myeloma than they otherwise would have absent Celgene’s conduct.” Specifically, the plaintiff alleges those prices have risen upwards of 3,400 percent since the initial approval of the treatments by the FDA in 1998. The lawsuit contends that one Revlimid pill sells for approximately $500.
The suit is City of Providence v. Celgene Corporation, case number 2:15-cv-01605, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
I’m betting there’s a lot of happy tech engineers in Silicon Valley this week. A $415 million settlement has received preliminary approval ending a closely watched antitrust class action lawsuit filed by tech workers in Silicon valley. The lawsuit alleged that Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp., and Adobe Systems Inc., conspired to refrain from poaching each other’s employees thereby limiting job mobility and, consequently, keeping salaries at a standstill. Nice.
The antitrust class action lawsuit was filed in 2011, and was based largely on emails in which Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, former GoogleChief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt and some of their rivals detailed plans to avoid poaching each other’s prized engineers.
Nearly 64,000 workers are affected by the case. They accused the companies of a corporate conspiracy to make it difficult for tech workers to negotiate better jobs at rival companies.
Judge Lucy Koh said she was satisfied this week after the companies increased their earlier offer of $324.5 million. Let’s hope this deal get’s final approval.
Hokee Dokee- That’s a wrap folks…Time to adjourn for the week. See you at the bar!
An Urgent Heads Up for Dog Owners…Nestle Purina Petcare Company is facing a consumer fraud class action lawsuit alleging its dog food Beneful contains toxic substances which can kill dogs. Filed by Frank Lucido, the lawsuit claims that the dog food is to blame for either the deaths or serious illnesses of thousands of dogs.
The Beneful lawsuit claims that while Beneful is advertised as a healthful and nutritional dog food, the Lucido’s experience and others has been the opposite. Specifically, the lawsuit claims that Beneful dog foods contain propylene glycol, which is “an automotive component that is a known animal toxin and is poisonous to cats and dogs.”
Further, the Lucidos claim that Beneful also contains mycotoxins, which are “a group of toxins produced by fungus that occurs in grains, which are a principle ingredient in Beneful.” The lawsuit cites the Association for Truth In Pet Food, which tested “Beneful Original and found that it contained dangerous levels of mycotoxins.”
According to the complaint, Lucido had a German Shepherd, an English Bulldog and a Labrador. In late December 2014 or January 2015 he purchased his first bag of Beneful dog food which he fed to each dog and which each dog began eating exclusively. On January 15, Lucido’s German Shepherd began to lose a large amount of hair and he began to have an unusual odor. Two days later the German Shepherd became violently ill, the lawsuit claims.
After being examined by a veterinarian, it was determined that the German Shepherd was suffering from internal bleeding in the dog’s stomach and the liver was also malfunctioning, which the veterinarian said was “consistent with poisoning.” Then, on January 23, the Lucidos found their English Bulldog dead in the yard. “Post-mortem veterinary examination revealed signs of internal bleeding in the dog’s stomach and lesions on his liver, much like [the German Shepherd],” the class action lawsuit claims. The Lucido’s Labrador is also now ill and is being tested for similar problems.
According to the lawsuit, the Lucidos “have suffered economic losses including the purchase price of Beneful and veterinary and related medical expenses” as result of the harm Beneful caused their dogs.
The lawsuit states that over 3,000 similar complaints have been posted by dog owners on the Internet “about dogs becoming ill, in many cases very seriously ill, and/or dying after eating Beneful.”
“The dogs show consistent symptoms, including stomach and related internal bleeding, liver malfunction or failure, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, seizures, bloating, and kidney failure,” the lawsuit states.
The Beneful lawsuit seeks representation for two classes, specifically, a nationwide class and a California subclass for dog owners “who purchased Beneful dog food in the past four years and who incurred any out of pocket costs due to illness, injury or death of their dog resulting from the ingestion of Beneful.”
The class action lawsuit claims Nestle Purina is in breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, strict products liability, violating California’s consumer legal remedies act, violating California’s Unfair Competition Law, and violating California’s False Advertising Law.
The Lucidos are represented by Jeffrey B. Cereghino of Ram, Olson, Cereghino & Kopcyzynski, by John Yanchunis of Morgan & Morgan Complex Litigation Group, by Karl Molineux of Merrill, Nomura & Molineux, and by Donna F. Solen of Kimbrell Kimbrell & Solen LLC.
The Beneful Toxic Dog Food Class Action Lawsuit is Frank Lucido v. Nesltle Purina Petcare Company, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Deeply Creepy. A proposed spyware class action lawsuit has been filed against Lenovo and Superfish Inc, makers of software installed on many different types of Lenovo laptops, alleging the companies are in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Federal Wiretap Act, the Stored Communications Act, as well as California’s Invasion of Privacy Act and its Unfair Competition Law.
Filed in California on behalf of a proposed class of Lenovo customers, the class action alleges the company sold computers preloaded with Superfish software which is capable of tracking customers’ online activity and leaving their computers vulnerable to hackers. Nice.
“Lenovo never disclosed the Superfish program and took affirmative steps to conceal it from consumers because the program is generally considered to be spyware, adware or malware and, aside from the fact that it allows companies to spy on user’s every move online, the program also creates serious security issues for any consumer accessing the Internet with a Lenovo notebook computer on which the Superfish program has been installed,” according to the legal documents. Does this nonsense ever end? Where is Edward Snowdon?
The lawsuit is Sterling International Consulting Group v. Lenovo, 15-807, and includes common law claims of trespassing and fraud, as well as a claim of negligent misrepresentation.
The Last Gasp—the Final Puff—? Maybe, just maybe. Big tobacco reached a $100 million settlement this week, potentially ending something like 400 personal injury lawsuits winding their way through a courtroom near you. Well, actually, Florida. The lawsuits are pending against Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Lorillard Tobacco Co, and stem from the landmark Engle v. Liggett Group Inc. class action against tobacco companies that was decertified in 2006 by the Florida Supreme Court.
The potential tobacco settlement resolves only those cases pending in federal court, and if approved, would see R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris each pay $42.5 million, and Lorillard $15 million.
The deal remains subject to the approval of all of the individual plaintiffs in the cases covered by the agreement. In the meantime, the affected cases have been stayed pending approval of the deal.
Hokee Dokee- That’s a wrap folks…Time to adjourn for the week. See you at the bar!