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!
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 !
Minor League Baseball Players Hoping for Home Run? A federal class action lawsuit was filed this week on behalf of minor league baseball players who allege they are paid less than the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) federal minimum wage. Aaron Senne, former Marlins player and lead plaintiff in class action, together with Co-plaintiffs Michael Liberto and San Jose Giants pitcher Oliver Odle filed the lawsuit, which claims: “Most minor leaguers earn between $3,000 and $7,500 for the entire year despite routinely working over 50 hours per week (and sometimes 70 hours per week) during the roughly five-month championship season. They receive no overtime pay, and instead routinely receive less than minimum wage during the championship season.” Who knew?
Here’s the skinny—according to the minor league class action—“Since minor leaguers do not belong to a union, nothing has prevented the defendants from artificially and illegally depressing minor league wages. Indeed, MLB’s exemption from antitrust laws has only made it easier. Given that MLB carefully controls the entryway into the highest levels of baseball, and given the young minor leaguer’s strong desire to enter the industry, MLB and the defendants have exploited minor leaguers by paying salaries below minimum wage, by not paying overtime wages, and by often paying no wages at all.” The lawsuit is seeking class certification and damages for FLSA minimum wage and overtime violations, recordkeeping requirements, state wage and hour violations, payday requirements, waiting time penalties, itemized wage statement violations, unfair business practices and quantum meruit.
The plaintiffs are also seeking an injunction preventing the defendants from implementing their unlawful practices and requiring them to pay all wages pursuant to state and federal law.
The named plaintiffs all wish to represent to Minor League Collective class, and classes that play in Florida, North Carolina and New York (Senne), Arizona (Liberto), and California (Odle). This should be interesting.
Is Jimmy Johns Under-Delivering on Wages? The delivery drivers think so. They filed a federal unpaid wage and hour class action lawsuit against Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich shop this week. In fact, it was filed by Scott Lewis of Witchita, a delivery driver from Witchita, Kansas. The Jimmy John’s lawsuit alleges that Bushwood Investments LLC, which owns and operates more than 30 Jimmy John’s restaurants throughout the country, failed to properly compensate its 300 delivery drivers for the use of their own vehicles, and numerous other allegations. Read on.
According to the lawsuit (Lewis v. Bushwood Investments LLC, Case No. 2:13-cv-02610, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas), Bushwood, which operates more than 30 Jimmy John’s restaurants across the country, makes its delivery drivers “use their own automobiles to deliver sandwiches and other food items to customers…Instead of compensating delivery drivers for the reasonably approximate costs of the business use of their vehicles, defendant used a flawed method to determine reimbursement rates.”
“[Jimmy John's] delivery drivers incur costs for gasoline, vehicle parts and fluids, automobile repair and maintenance services, automobile insurance, depreciation, and cell phone use while delivering sandwiches for the primary benefit of the defendant,” the lawsuit states.
AND—the lawsuit states that Jimmy John’s delivery drivers are allegedly required to cover the costs of maintaining their vehicles in safe and in good working condition as well as paying for insurance coverage for the automobiles.
AND the lawsuit claims that Jimmy John’s does not reimburse its delivery drivers for insurance costs nor does it provide its drivers with GPS systems to use while driving but rather leaves drivers to rely on GPS systems the driver’s cell phones, for which they are also not reimbursed. Additionally, the lawsuit claims the defendant pays its employees through direct deposit or a payroll card from inTrust Bank, and so do not receive a paycheck stub which details how deductions and reimbursements are made. In order to get this information, the drivers must make special requests from the defendant.
RBS Pays Up on Mortgage-Backed Securities Fraud….A consumer financial fraud class action lawsuit pending against Royal Bank of Scotland Group, PLC has reached preliminary settlement,with the bank agreeing to pay $275 million.
The lawsuit was brought by New Jersey Carpenters Vacation Fund et al against the financial institution alleging it misled investors regarding mortgage-backed securities.
Specifically, the lawsuit relates to over $15 billion of the issued mortgage-backed securities which the plaintiffs claimed were sold despite not meeting underwriting guidelines. No comment.
Ok—that’s it for this week—see you at the bar!
Crafty Hackers? Another week—another data breach class action lawsuit. This one targets Michaels Arts and Crafts stores—where maybe there was a bit too much creativity happening, and not on the sales floor. The company is facing a federal data breach class action lawsuit following the release of its statement announcing customers’ personal information may have been stolen.
Filed by customer and plaintiff Christina Moyer, the Michaels lawsuit, entitled Moyer v. Michaels Stores Inc., Case No. 1:140cv-00561, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleges the Texas-based retailer was negligent in protecting customer information. Specifically, Moyer, who shopped at Michaels recently, alleges she is now paying for credit monitoring and identity theft protection because of the possible compromise, and that Michaels breached an implied contract with her and others by failing to adequately protect their private information.
Further, the lawsuit claims Michaels “did not adequately monitor their information technology system for the presence of intruders in a manner that would enable them to detect this intrusion, so that they breach of security and diversion of customer information was able to continue unnoticed fora period of time.”
Moyer is seeking a declaratory judgment that Michaels pay for credit monitoring and identity theft insurance, and be ordered to indemnify Moyer and the class for future harm.
Do you Know Where your Loved Ones are? This is deeply creepy—in so many ways…. A $100 million consumer fraud class action lawsuit has been filed against Galilee Memorial Gardens cemetery, its owners M.J. Edwards, N.J. Ford, and two well-known Memphis funeral homes, and any other funeral home that contracted business with Galilee Memorial Gardens after December 31, 2010, which is when its business license became invalid.
The funeral home lawsuit alleges the defendants lost bodies, disinterred bodies, stacked bodies/caskets on top of one another in single burial plots, crushed caskets to enable stacking more than one individual in a single burial plot, and lost track of remains and buried bodies, among other things.
Anyone who buried a body at Galilee Memorial Gardens after December 31, 2010 was doing so in violation of state law. Attorneys for the plaintiffs estimate at least 1,000 bodies were buried there in the past three years.
The lawsuit also states that funeral homes that conducted business with Galilee were on active and constructive notice that the individual who held the business license for the cemetery had died months before the license expired.
The lawsuit seeks to represent anyone with a loved one buried at Galilee Memorial Gardens in the past three years.
Hundreds of NuvaRing lawsuits are about to be settled by Merck & Co. The New Jersey based pharmaceutical company has agreed to pay $100 million to settle the lawsuits, and end allegations it downplayed serious health risks associated with the contraceptive device.
The NuvaRing agreement will settle cases in both federal and state courts, with plaintiffs expected to receive about $58,000 per complaint.
Currently, there are over 1,700 NuvaRing personal injury and defective product lawsuits pending against Merck. They allege the company failed to adequately warn women about the potential increased risk for developing dangerous blood clots known as venous thromboembolism associated with the device. Plaintiffs are seeking damages for a range of injuries allegedly caused by the birth control device, including heart attack, stroke and sudden death.
Available in the US since 2001, NuvaRing is one of several contraceptive products that have been linked to an increased risk of developing blood clots that can cause strokes and heart attacks. As of March 2012, approximately 12,000 lawsuits had been brought against Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the manufacturer of Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Safyral, alleging an increased risk of blood clots (deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE)) and gallbladder problems. Ocella, the generic version of Yasmin, is also associated with serious side effects, some of which are potentially fatal. In 2013, Bayer AG paid $1.6 billion to settle those lawsuits. If the $100 million figure Merck is supposedly to pay proves accurate, it will be a much smaller settlement.
Ok Folks, That’s all for this week. Happy Valentine’s Day! See you at the bar!
From Credit Cards to Health Records…only this was the result, allegedly, of an internal oversight….This week saw a data breach class action lawsuit filed against three Southern California hospitals alleging they released confidential records of 32,500 patients onto the Internet. OMG.
Lead Plaintiff, Kenneth Rice, alleges Cottage Health System hospitals in Santa Barbara, Goleta Valley and Santa Ynez Valley posted four years of patients’ records to the Internet from October 8 through December 2, 2013. According to the complaint, filed in Orange County Court, the hospitals learned of the “enormous” data breach when a man discovered the records online and contacted one of the hospitals.
Insync, a Laguna Hills-based tech company and lead defendant in the class action lawsuit, allegedly created a system for Cottage Health System hospitals enabling the health care provider to access records over the Internet. However, the lawsuit claims Insync did not encrypt the data or take other security measures. Consequently, for eight weeks private health records were “readily available” to anyone with an Internet connection, the complaint states.
“The extent of the breach is enormous. This was not a situation where some isolated medical record was disclosed and released on the Internet,” the complaint states. “The medical files for 32,500 patients who received treatment over a period of over 4 years at Cottage Hospital were taken from the hospital, placed in electronic form on various servers connected to the Internet, where they could be reviewed, copied or otherwise examined by any of the hundreds of millions of people who ‘surf’ the internet every day.”
The records that were posted belonged to patients who had visited the hospital from September 29, 2009 to December 2, 2013. “How was it possible that the medical records could be placed in the public domain Internet, for anyone to view for months, without Cottage Hospital detecting that anyone surfing the internet could view the confidential medical records of 32,500 of its patients?” the lawsuit states.
Rice alleges the “only answer” is that the hospital was “completely negligent,” failing to take appropriate patient protections as stipulated by the California Medical Information Act and The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
The hospital had a legal obligation to “institute sufficient management safeguards to detect and prevent such breaches from occurring,” Rice adds in the complaint.
Domino’s Delivered a $1.28M Bill for unpaid wages and overtime. That’s right, An unpaid overtime, wage and hour class action lawsuit pending against Domino’s Pizza on East 89th Street in Manhattan has finally been settled. It was brought by pizza delivery man Carlos Rodriguez Herrera and 60 co-workers three years ago. But hey—better late than never, right?
In the Domino’s lawsuit Herrera alleged he frequently worked 65 hours a week but was only paid for 45. A co-worker, Anatole Yameogo, remembers working from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. one Saturday, but his pay stub showed he worked five hours that same day. “One manager told me you will work more than 50 hours a week but we’ll pay you for 40,” Mr. Yameogo said. “That helps the managers increase their bonus.”
In their lawsuit, the two bicycle deliverymen alleged the Domino’s franchisee who employed them was in violation of minimum New York wage and overtime laws, among other things. Over the course of time, dozens of their co-workers who worked delivering pizza, joined the lawsuit.
According to the reported terms of the Domino’s settlement, the awards will range from $61,300 to $400 per delivery person, depending on how long each worked for Domino’s Pizza New York (DPNY), which owns four Domino’s in Manhattan.
The litigation took three years, and accused DPNY of numerous wage and hour violations, including not giving a legally required lunch break, not paying for their uniforms, and paying a subminimum tip wage even when the workers did untipped work, like cleaning ovens and floors or distributing Domino’s flyers.
The lawsuit alleged that instead of paying a $5.65 tip wage for delivery workers, DPNY should have paid the full state minimum wage because the company failed to keep proper records of their tipped hours and failed to properly explain tip wages.
Mr. Rodriguez, originally from Mexico, said that in 2007 he complained to his manager that he had been improperly underpaid but instead of receiving fair hearing, he was fired on the spot. He then decided to take legal action. “The boss would always tell people, ‘If you don’t like it here, the door is open to go elsewhere,’” he said.
Notably, Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV of Federal District Court granted the plaintiffs’ request to include the national Domino’s Pizza company as a defendant, after the delivery workers asserted that it was a joint employer that knew or should have known about the franchisee’s alleged wage violations.
Citi’s Turn to Pay in Forced-Place Insurance Lawsuit… Citigroup will pay $110 million to settle a forced-place insurance class action lawsuit brought by a homeowner who alleged he was forced to pay expensive property insurance premiums.
According to the terms of the settlement, class members who were charged for force-placed hazard insurance will receive 12.5 percent of the premium upon submitting a claim. The proposed settlement agreement, which requires final court approval, also requires Citigroup to stop accepting commissions for force-placed insurance for a period of six years from the effective date of the settlement.
According to report by Reuters.com one of Citi’s unit that deals with the insurance received a 15 percent commission on hazard insurance premiums during the proposed settlement class period.
Additionally, Citi will refund 8 percent each of force-placed flood insurance premiums and force-placed wind insurance premiums, even though no commissions were paid to Citi or its affiliates on flood or wind insurance.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs were charged roughly $758 million in hazard insurance premiums and $173 million in flood insurance premiums.
The case is Gordon Casey, Duane Skinner and Celeste Coonan, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated vs Citigroup Inc, Case No. 12-00820, U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York.
Ok Folks, That’s all for this week. See you at the bar !