Sour Apples? Apple found itself on the end of yet another defective products class action lawsuit this week over allegations that the MacBook Pro series of laptop computers are defectively designed, causing the computers to malfunction.
Filed by Los Angeles resident Armen Soudijan, the Apple MacBook lawsuit claims that Soudijan purchased a MacBook Pro laptop in 2013, which came “with a defective graphics processing unit and/or defective graphics card implementation.” Specifically, the lawsuit claims that the defect “breaks the computer screen, causes computer freezes, crashes, and ultimately renders the laptop computers unusable.”
In the complaint Soudijan alleges “he was subjecting the laptop to normal use, including use of video processing, when he experienced a range of screen malfunctions, freezes, and ultimately crashes….The frequency and severity of the problem continued and increased. ”
According to the lawsuit, Soudijan’s MacBook Pro belongs to a line of Apple laptops released in 2011, which includes the 13 inch, 15 inch, and 17 inch screens. “Each of these products is designed, manufactured, marketed, sold, and built with a similar graphic processing unit and graphics processing card implementation and design, which is flawed and defective and causes the machine to unreasonably fail,” the lawsuit claims.
“Symptoms of failure include, but are not limited to, lines on the screen, garbled text, colored lines, rendering of the screen useless, freezes, shutdowns, and crashes, including data loss and full hardware malfunction,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that the problems associated with the MacBook Pro have been reported by numerous customers through online and print forums, and that people experience these problems shortly after purchasing their Apple computers. The lawsuit further claims that “Apple is aware of the issue and had not take[n] adequate steps to remedy the situation either through warranty claims, recalls, or otherwise.”
The lawsuit against Apple in this MacBook Pro lawsuit cites violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law, breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, and unjust enrichment, and is seeking damages and injunctive relief, and prevention ofApple from selling defective products.
The Defective MacBook Pro Class Action Lawsuit is Soudjian v. Apple Inc., Case No. BC562621, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.
What was that about Accountability? At Charles Schwab & Co., they say it exists. But…yet another unpaid overtime class action was settled this week—this one filed by financial consultants who allege they were misclassified and subsequently denied overtime by Charles Schwab & Co.
A $3.8 million settlement has been approved, potentially ending claims that Charles Schwab & Co violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by classifying its international CDT financial consultants and associate financial consultants as exempt from overtime pay. They are responsible for cross-selling financial products to existing brokerage and banking customers.
According to the complaint, the consultants alleged that they did not fall under any federal or California exemptions to overtime laws. They allege that they were encouraged by the defendant “to work beyond their scheduled shifts without compensation, failing to allow them to record overtime hours they worked and failing to compensate them for overtime hours they worked,” according to the complaint.
Charles Schwab agreed to settle the complaint just days after it was filed. According to the terms of the settlement two thirds of the funds will be distributed among hundreds of employees working as financial consultants in Charles Schwab call centers around the country. The settlement covers work performed between November 2009 and February 2014, or in the case of the international consultants, between November 2010 and February 2014.
Named plaintiffs Dana Aboud, William Hicks, Michael Porowski and Albert Schweizer will each receive $7,500 as compensation for their part in the unpaid overtime class action.
The case is Aboud et al. v. Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., case number 1:14-cv-02712, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Driving checks to the banks. A $53 million settlement has been reached in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit pending against Hertz Corp, and two Nevada airports brought by plaintiffs who alleged they were unlawfully charged undisclosed fees.
The Hertz settlement received final approval on October 30th, and contains $43.2 million restitution for Hertz customers who were billed for “airport concession recovery fees” at airports in Reno or Las Vegas between October 2003 and September 2009. Way to go!
The back story—the lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs Janet Sobel and Daniel Dugan, alleging Hertz violated a Nevada Revised Statute that requires car rental firms to include all charges in the rates they advertise in order to make rate comparisons reliable for those looking for the best deal. Specifically, Hertz allegedly tacked on a recovery fee separately from the rate it quoted its customers. The complaint stated that Hertz used that extra fee to pass along to consumers an assessment imposed on the company by the airports, which charge Hertz and other rental car firms a percentage of their gross revenues for the right to operate on site.
Hokee Dokee- Time to adjourn for the week. Have a fab weekend–See you at the bar!
You’re Fired! No wait—that’s the wrong show. This show is in fact a legal one—a consumer fraud class action lawsuit alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) filed against Donald Trump. And it just got certified baby! by U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel.
The Trump U lawsuit alleges that through false claims Trump made regarding Trump University LLC, he would gain tens of millions of dollars from attendees who believed they would learn Trump’s real estate secrets. (isn’t Trump University an oxymoron?)
The judge decided that California businessman Art Cohen, the lead plaintiff in the racketeering class action, had provided sufficient evidence that the marketing of the allegedly fraudulent live events, including mailers with prominent pictures and quotes from Trump, as well as a coat of arms and educational language, resulted in thousands of people to pay to attend.
In the lawsuit, Cohen accuses Trump of failing to teach the students his investment secrets, failing to contribute in any meaningful way to the curriculum for the live events or choose the seminar instructors and mentors. Moreover, the New York State Education Department warned the defendant that using the name “University” was illegal without a license, while multiple attorneys general launched investigations into the deceptive practices, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit further alleges that Trump uniformly misled Cohen and the class that they would learn his real estate secrets through him and his handpicked professors at the elite Trump University, which is now named the Trump Entrepreneur Institute. Cohen alleges he attended a free seminar after receiving a “special invitation” in the mail, then paid almost $1,500 to attend a three-day real estate retreat, where he paid almost $35,000 more for additional training.
In his certification, Judge Curiel wrote, “Although [Trump] may yet show that plaintiff and the putative class members knew or should have known that defendant had devised a scheme to falsely market Trump University via mail or wire prior to October 2009, the court is satisfied that determination of defendant’s statute of limitations defense in this case will not defeat the predominance of common issues in this case.”
Judge Curiel also ruled that Cohen’s claims were typical of those among other proposed class members because plaintiff’s description of his experience with Trump University matched the allegations alleged on behalf of the putative class in his complaint.
The case is Art Cohen et al. v. Donald J. Trump, case number 3:13-cv-02519, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
Asbestos Settlement Stands. Asbestos—the problem that will not die. But here’s a good result from a bad situation. An $18 million dollar asbestos settlement will stand, as ordered by the judges involved in the Izell case in California. The lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs Bobbie and Helen Izell alleging Bobbie developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposure to defendant Union Carbide’s products, resulting in his death.
Until 1985, Union Carbide was a supplier of asbestos to companies that made and marketed products for the construction industry. According to their lawsuit, Bobbie Izell owned a construction company and built about 200 homes in California between 1964 and 1994. While he did not work as a laborer or supervisor, the plaintiff alleges he often visited the jobsites.
At the time the lawsuit went to court, just five defendants remained, including Union Carbide. The trial took four weeks and the jury found for Izell, awarding the plaintiffs $30 million in compensatory damages and $18 million in punitive damages. The award consisted of $5 million in past and $10 million in future non-economic damages and $5 million in past and $10 million in future loss of consortium damages. The jury assigned 65 percent liability to Union Carbide. However, the award for compensatory damages was reduced by $24 million to $6 million.
Paper carriers taking checks to the bank! Read all about it! Yup—they won their employment lawsuit against the publishers of the now bankrupt North County News in San Diego. The $3.2 settlement ends claims against Lee Publications Inc, alleging the carriers they were misclassified and undercompensated as independent contractors, and unfairly dinged for missed or wet papers.
The lawsuit was filed in 2008 by plaintiffs seeking to represent roughly 800 home-delivery carriers who alleged the publisher treated them like employees but paid them like contractors. The lawsuit further claimed Lee personnel supervised, trained and otherwise treated them like employees but, in violation of California labor laws, denied them overtime, meal and rest breaks, and other employee benefits, according to their complaint.
According to the complaint, the company also docked its carriers up to $5 for each customer complaint about damaged, wet or “allegedly undelivered” papers, which, the plaintiffs argued was an attempt by Lee to make the plaintiffs unlawful insurers of the company’s merchandise. Allegedly, the carriers were given more papers than they had customers on their delivery route, and then Lee would deduct from their compensation the cost for each extra paper. Nice bunch to work for, not.
In the settlement, the class members will be eligible to receive shares in the $3.2 million fund, minus plaintiffs attorneys’ fees and costs, and $36,000 total for eight lead plaintiffs. Bet they’re celebrating this weekend.
Hokee Dokee—Time to adjourn for the week. Have a fab weekend—See you at the bar!
Abercrummy & Fitch…This week’s wage and hour class action involves Abercrombie & Fitch—no stranger to employment lawsuits—over allegations of violations of California labor law and state and federal overtime law. The lawsuit claims the clothing retailer misclassifies its sales and stockroom associates as exempt from overtime wages even though they regularly work more than 40 hours in a week and are often “on call” during other shifts. You’d think they’d know the drill on this stuff by now…
The lawsuit alleges hourly workers at the company’s Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister stores often work overtime hours and are scheduled for certain “call-in” shifts, during which the employees are required to call the store an hour before a shift begins to see if the stores need them to work. The employees must keep the call-in hours open but are not compensated if the stores don’t need them to report for work.
Filed by lead plaintiff Samantha Jones, the complaint states she was employed by the national clothing retailer from December 2005 through to January 2014 in its namesake Hollister stores. She was employed as a brand representative, model, a term used to refer to hourly associates on the sales floor and impact team member, an hourly associate working in the back of the store and eventually was promoted to a manager position.
Jones alleges that she was classified as a non-exempt employee during the entire period of her employment with the defendant that she was paid on an hourly basis and entitled to overtime wage. However, the defendant has a “uniform policy and practice” of failing to compensate employees for all hours worked.
Jones further claims that Abercrombie failed to keep accurate records and pay Jones and the putative class members for their hours worked, including failing to record on-call hours and the overtime hours generated by the on-call shifts.
Specifically, the complaint states: “Defendants, as a matter of corporate policy, practice and procedure, intentionally, knowingly and systematically failed to compensate plaintiff and the class members for all hours worked (for on-call time), and undercompensated them for overtime worked that should have been paid at overtime rates had the on-call time been paid for.”
The lawsuit seeks to represent a nationwide Fair Labor Standards Act class, a California class and a California subclass, composed of individuals who were classified as nonexempt, paid on an hourly basis and scheduled for call-in shifts.
The suit is Jones v. Abercrombie & Fitch Trading Company, case number 3:14-cv-04631, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Verizon to Pay Unpaid Overtime—to the tune of $15 million, according to a settlement agreement reached this week. The agreement will end a wage and hour class action lawsuit brought against Verizon California Inc alleging violations of California labor law. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed Verizon issued inaccurate wage statements that omitted crucial information making it impossible for the workers to determine whether they had been paid properly.
In addition to approving the Verizon settlement motion, Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff certified the proposed settlement class, which consists of employees paid biweekly in California who received itemized income statements from Verizon between April 1, 2009 and May 2011.
Filed by former Verizon field technician Hector Banda in April 2010, the lawsuit alleges Verizon violated the California Labor Code and the code’s Private Attorney General Act by not listing the pay period beginning date, applicable hourly rates and number of hours worked at each rate on the wage statements it issued to employees. A similar complaint was filed by Scott Cerkoney three months after the first lawsuit and the cases were subsequently consolidated in 2011.
According to the complaint, Verizon allegedly issued some 223,000 wage statements to its 6,800 employees during the class period.
The cases are Hector Banda et al. v. Verizon California Inc. et al., case number BC434587, and Scott Cerkoney et al. v. Verizon California Inc. et al., case number BC442358, both in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.
And CVS Caremark, too! Yet another California labor law and unpaid overtime class action settlement to report this week—this one a final $2.8 million settlement for CVS Caremark pharmacists, who alleged violations of California labor law. A California judge approved the settlement of class claims that the pharmacy chain improperly forced hundreds of Southern California pharmacists to work seven days straight without overtime. This is the first settlement of six such lawsuits pending against the retailer alleging unpaid overtime.
The CVS Caremark settlement will provide damages to 627 CVS pharmacists who are or were employed in CVS’ “Region 72,” the Southern California area that is one of CVS’ six regions in that state. The settlement represents roughly 70 percent of plaintiffs’ estimation of CVS’ total potential liability.
Named plaintiff Connie Meneses filed suit in August 2012, alleging CVS was improperly forcing its pharmacists to work seven days in a row without paying overtime for the seventh, in violation of a state law that mandates pharmacists be given a day off after six days of work.
The case is Connie Meneses et al. v. CVS Pharmacy Inc. et al., case number BC489739, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.
Hokee Dokee—Time to adjourn for the week. Have a fab weekend—See you at the bar!
It’s getting hard to stay on top of the number of defective automotive lawsuits, and math was never my strong suit…but suffice to say there are many. Added to the list this week is a putative class action filed against Mazda Motor Company, alleging the automaker hid knowledge that Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 vehicle models have defective dashboards that melt when exposed to sunlight and subsequently give off a chemical odor and become reflective, posing a risk of temporary blindness in drivers. Talk about a one-two punch. Like I said, math is not my forte but even the most basic understanding indicates that selling a product that can injure or kill your customers can’t add up to good business.
According to the lawsuit: “Mazda’s conduct violates multiple state consumer protection statutes. On behalf of themselves and the proposed classes, plaintiffs seek to compel Mazda to warn drivers about the known defect and to bear the expense of replacing dashboards that Mazda should never have placed in the stream of commerce in the first place.”
Filed in California federal court by lead plaintiffs Danielle Stedman, Jody Soto and Gary Soto, the lawsuit claims Mazda refuses to cover repair costs for the melting dashboards in their vehicles because their cars were no longer under warranty. However, the allege that had they known about the defect prior to purchasing their vehicles, they would not have bought those cars in the first place. The consumers say the automaker failed to properly inform them about the defect.
The plaintiffs claim Mazda knew or should have known when it sold the defective vehicles that the dashboards would deteriorate when exposed to sunlight and “predictably high” summertime temperatures, presenting unsafe condition for drivers.
Like all other automobile manufacturers, Mazda has known “for decades” that dashboard reflections can impair drivers’ visions and make it difficult for them to see pedestrians or objects on the road, according to the suit. The information has been even been readily available through research published by the University of Michigan in 1996, the lawsuit states.
The complaint further claims that Mazda has had “extensive experience” working with the materials used in the dashboards and has personnel who specifically evaluate the durability of new vehicle parts, the company knew or should have known about the defect.
“Mazda thus had exclusive and superior knowledge of the dashboard defect and actively concealed the defect and corresponding danger from consumers who had no way to reasonably discover the problem before buying and driving their vehicles,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit seeks certification of a nationwide class of all people who owned or leased one of the defective vehicles, in addition to a separate Florida class of vehicle owners and lessors.
The suit is Stedman et al v. Mazda Motor Corporation et al, case number 8:14-cv-01608, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
And here’s a little more light reading…Toyota also got hit with a defective automotive class action lawsuit this week, filed by an Arkansas man, alleging its 2005-2009 Tacoma trucks are prone to experiencing excessive rust corrosion. Specifically, the lawsuit claims that the trucks were made with frames that are inadequately protected from rust corrosion, consequently, the frames corrode from rust, rendering the vehicles unstable and unsafe to drive. Refer to Math 101 at the top of the article.
The vehicles that experience excessive rust corrosion are essentially worthless, according to the complaint (U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas case number: 1:14-cv-02208.) Lead plaintiff, Ryan Burns, alleges Toyota has, for quite some time, been aware of the alleged defect in the Tacoma vehicles’ frames, and despite this knowledge, has failed to disclose the existence of the defect to him and other class members at the time of sale, has not issued a recall to inspect and repair the vehicles and has not offered to reimburse owners for costs incurred to identify and repair the defect.
The lawsuit contends that earlier this year, Burns took his Tacoma in for service because the fan on the vehicle was coming into contact with the fan shroud. “Shortly thereafter, plaintiff was informed that the frame on his Tacoma vehicle was rusted out and that the vehicle was unsafe to drive,” the complaint states.
Burns alleges he was advised that the frame on his 2005 Tacoma had severely rusted and that it would cost approximately $10,000 to repair. “In… March 2008, after receiving numerous complaints that frames on approximately 813,000 model year 1995 to 2000 Tacoma vehicles had exhibited excessive rust corrosion, Toyota USA initiated a customer support program extending warranty coverage on the vehicles’ frames for frame perforation caused by rust corrosion,” the complaint states. “The program extended warranty coverage on concerned vehicles to 15 years with no mileage limitations.”
Allegedly, the terms of the program are that once confirmation of perforation of the frame due to rust corrosion has been determined, Toyota would either repair or repurchase the vehicle. Burns claims Toyota subsequently altered the customer support program to include 2001-2004 Tacoma models, with the exception that there was no buy-back option.
“In November 2012, Toyota USA recalled approximately 150,000 Tacoma vehicles to inspect and replace the spare-tire carrier on vehicles sold in 20 cold weather states,” the complaint states. “The recall was issued to prevent the spare-tire carrier from rusting through and resulting in the spare tire dropping to the ground.”
The lawsuit contends Toyota violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and breached its express and implied warranty under Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. “Toyota USA knew, or should have known, that the frames on…Toyota vehicles were not coated with adequate rust corrosion treatment,” the complaint states. Consequently, Toyota has been unjustly enriched at the cost of class members whose vehicles were damaged, according to the lawsuit. You think?
Burns is seeking class certification, compensatory damages, an order requiring Toyota to repair or replace the frames on the Tacoma vehicles and pre- and post-judgment interest.
I’m not a fully paid up member of the Cycling Taliban, but seriously, these recalls are almost enough to get me back in the saddle.
Ah—One Ringy-Dingy…that will be $45 million please. Oh yes—AT&T is busted. They have agreed to a settlement in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action alleging the company violated the TCPA by placing calls using an automatic telephone dialing system and/or an artificial or prerecorded voice message to cellular telephone numbers without the prior express consent of the call recipients. Phew..that was a mouthful. Like the automated telephone calls themselves…
The lawsuit is led by plaintiff Joel Hagerman. Hagerman brought the suit in April 2013, (U.S. District Court for the District of Montana case number: 1:13-cv-00050). According to the terms of the settlement, the size of the per-call payment shall be determined on a pro rata basis of up to $500 per call, after the attorneys fees and costs, any incentive award to named plaintiff and any settlement administration costs are deducted from the settlement fund and the settlement administrator reviews all claim forms to determine a final number of claimants.
Specifically, the settlement states: “A class member shall receive payment for each call he or she received from [AT&T] or from an OCA acting on behalf of [AT&T] during the class period by submitting a short claim form.”
No more info than that at the moment—so stay tuned.
In the meantime…Time to adjourn for the week. Have a fab weekend–and HappyThanksgiving to all you Canucks out there. See you at the bar!
You Knew this was Coming… Home Depot got hit with a federal data breach class action lawsuit filed on behalf of all customers nationwide whose personal information was compromised as a result of the data breach announced in September 2014.
The Home Depot lawsuit alleges that Home Depot failed to take reasonable security measures to adequately protect its customers’ personal data. It also asserts that Home Depot failed to disclose the data breach in a timely manner to its customers. Well, sadly they are not the first to face these charges, and likely they won’t be the last.
In an official statement on September 18, 2014, Home Depot stated that an estimated 56 million credit and debit cards were exposed during a five-month-long attack on its payment terminals. That is a staggering number. As reported by the New York Times on September 19, 2014, in “Ex-Employees Left Home Depot Data Vulnerable,” former employees of Home Depot who have asked to remain anonymous have alleged that the retailer’s network was protected with outdated software, and that some cyber security team members left after managers allegedly dismissed their concerns. In the same article, the New York Times also stated that the breach may result in up to $3 billion in fraudulent charges.
The Home Depot data breach class action lawsuit is entitled Earls v. The Home Depot Inc., No. 3:14-cv-4315, and is currently pending in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Mesh Mess gets Settlement… Endo made headlines this week after announcing it has reached a settlement agreement that reportedly will resolve most outstanding American Medical Systems (AMS ) transvaginal mesh lawsuits. The medical device manufacturer has agreed to pay more than $400 million to resolve the lawsuits, which claim the AMS vaginal-mesh implants eroded in some women and left them in pain. So far, no details have been released on the settlement.
What we do know so far is that the master settlement will resolve more than 10,000 outstanding AMS lawsuits in the US at an average of about $48,000 apiece, Bloomberg reports. AMS expects to fund the payments under all settlements in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Sources close to the Endo settlement stated that some 5,000 AMS vaginal mesh lawsuits remain outstanding. Stay tuned.
Lenovo Wifi not Working? Hey—there’s a Settlement for that. In fact, there was a consumer fraud class action lawsuit filed against Lenovo that alleged the company knowingly sold Ultrabook computers with a design defect that impacted WiFi reception and accessing speeds.
Specifically, the lawsuit alleged that Lenovo marketed and sold defective Ideapad and “U Series” as being “ideal for any and all mobile needs.” The complaint alleged that in so doing Lenovo violated the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the California Unfair Competition Law and that the company breached express and implied warranties to the purchasers of the Ultrabook computers.
For complete information on the Lenovo Ultrabook class action settlement visit: https://www.lenovolaptopwifisettlement.com
Ok—Folks—time to adjourn for the week. Have a fab weekend—see you at the bar!