Heads up—literally… for anyone who’s used SoftSheen-Carson Optimum Amla Legend No-Mix, No-Lye Relaxer. A defective products class action lawsuit has been filed by two women in the US against L’Oréal alleging the hair relaxer kits causes hair loss and scalp burns. Ouch!
While the advertising claims it helps Afro-Caribbean hair to feel fuller and silkier through the inclusion of amla oil from the Indian amla super fruit, the plaintiffs allege that thousands of women who bought and used the product have suffered distressing injuries including hair loss and breakage, and scalp irritation, blisters and burns.
According to the SoftSheen Relaxer complaint, despite not listing lye as an ingredient, the inclusion of lithium hydroxide can cause damaging effects like those experienced by the women who used the product. Further, it’s also not clear as to whether the product truly is a ‘no-lye’ relaxer as the retail lists sodium hydroxide in the products’ ingredients online.
Dorothy Riles, one of the key plaintiffs behind the lawsuit, claims that when she used the product she was left with bald patches, burns and scabs forcing her to wear a wig.
Another key plaintiff claims that when using the product she immediately experienced scalp irritation and, after washing it out, she saw “significant” hair loss.
The plaintiffs are demanding that L’Oréal is tried by jury and are seeking compensation on the grounds of false advertising, unfair competition, consumer fraud, deceptive business practices, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, unjust enrichment, fraud and negligence.
Shrinking Credibility at School? A $11.2 million settlement in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit pending against The Chicago School of Psychology has received final approval. The lawsuit was brought by students who alleged they were provided with misleading information regarding the school’s accreditation and their job prospects after completing their courses.
The Chicago School settlement will provide financial recovery for 87 students who are class members. The average payout will be $95,000 per student.
Plaintiff Miranda Joe Truitt and other students filed the complaint in November, 2012 claiming they invested in a worthless education. They wanted to study at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and were encouraged to attend classes at the graduate university’s Los Angeles campus, which was falsely promoted to them as being prestigious and accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).
According to the settlement documents, the plaintiffs were “either negligently lured” to enroll at the Los Angeles campus or were caused to stay “by a series of statements or omissions allegedly made, issued or approved by defendants.” In 2013, Tara Fischer filed a similar class action which was later consolidated with the Truitt’s complaint.
According to Truitt’s complaint, the administration of the Chicago School of Psychology led the Los Angeles campus students to believe that they would get APA approval before their graduation.
The case is Miranda Jo Truit et al v. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, number BC495518, in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles.
Domino’s Pizza drivers got a delivery this week …in the form of a $995,000 award in a wage and hour lawsuit in Georgia. The action was brought against Domino’s franchisees Cowabunga Inc. and Cowabunga Three LLC, by drivers who alleged the franchisees shorted their drivers on vehicle expenses, resulting in the drivers’ pay going below below minimum wage in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The named plaintiff, Chadwick Hines, will receive a $7,500 service award. The final approval of the settlement ends the lawsuit filed against Cowabunga in 2015. Cowabunga, one of the largest singly owned Domino’s franchises in the U.S.
A total of 565 Cowabunga delivery drivers opted into to the case. The drivers will receive damages from the $995,000 settlement in exchange for waiving their wage and hour claims against Cowabunga. The average award per driver is $1,138.
Well, that’s a wrap for this week. See you at the Bar!
Smart dildos? Be careful what you wish for.
Don’t really know where to start with this one, except to say, you just can’t make this stuff up. A federal wiretap class action lawsuit has been filed against a company that makes “sensual lifestyle products”—including vibrators. The lawsuit is brought by a woman who alleges her vibrator is recording the date and time of each use, together with her selected settings and email address. (Now that’s multi-tasking).
So, first thoughts? There must be something wrong—the product is defective. Realty check—no—the product is working just fine. In fact, just as intended. Next thought—how is this legal and who wants this information? I mean, Really??
The skinny is that the We-Vibe vibrator is made to be operated through a smartphone app. According to the lawsuit, in order to operate the We-Vibe, “users download defendant’s ‘We-Connect’ application from the Apple App Store or the Google Play store and install it on their smartphones.” Easy enough, do it on the subway on the way to work.
The concept behind this product, from the user’s perspective, is to enable the user and her partner, through a “connect lover” feature, to operate the vibrator by remote control using their smartphones, even when they are physically separated. So—down the street, another city—another continent. Maybe even from 35,000 feet up, in the friendly skies. And then there’s the whole distracted driving thing. Hah! The touch screen allows the users to control the type, frequency and intensity of vibrations through 10 modes on a promised “secure connection.”
I’m having a hard time imagining a room full of nerds working on this one. But, thinking about it, maybe not. Wonder how much research went into developing the settings? And how was the research done—or is it all just random? Is there a process for complaints—and can you send the product back if it doesn’t live up to expectations? I digress, but then again—is that even possible anymore?
Meanwhile, back in the basement, the “defendant fails to notify or warn customers that We-Connect monitors and records, in real time, how they use the device. Nor does defendant disclose that it transmits the collected private usage information to its servers in Canada,” according to the lawsuit. Why Canada? Because We Vibe is in fact made by Ontario-based Standard Innovation Corp.
Thinking of Ashley Madison now…another banner Canadian company.
But the really dark part of all this is, according to John Banzhaf, a public interest law professor at George Washington University Law School, who published an essay on this, if a hacker—whether a former lover or a total stranger—intrudes on the We-Vibe information, he or she could conceivably be charged with sexual assault or even rape. “Since the smart dildos are connected to the internet, and can be controlled by someone even on another continent, hacking is an obvious possibility and potential danger,” Banzhaf says. As one writer put it, this brings a whole new meaning to phone sex.
The complaint, filed in Illinois, claims violations of various state and federal laws, alleging violation of the U.S. Wiretap Act, the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute, and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practice Act. It also states these violations constitute intrusion upon seclusion in Illinois, as well as unjust enrichment on their profits.
The plaintiff has an initial hearing scheduled for November 8. Be interesting to see if it makes it to that far.
Don’t know what to say about this. Tyson and Perdue Farms are facing an antitrust class action lawsuit over allegations they engaged in a chicken price-fixing scheme. The lawsuit calls the industry’s means of destroying its livestock “unparalleled.” There are other terms that come to mind, but let’s get to the allegations.
Which are, specifically, that the companies were involved in killing hens and flocks and destroying eggs to limit production and raise the price of 98 percent of the chicken sold in the U.S. by nearly 50 percent.
The lawsuit, filed Sept. 14, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division states that the laundry list of defendants control 90 percent of the wholesale broiler chicken market, an industry with more than $30 billion in annual revenue.
If you purchased chicken from any of the following suppliers, you may be entitled to your money back: Tyson, Perdue Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride, Sanderson Farms, Simmons Foods, Koch Meats, JCG Foods, Koch Meats, Wayne Farms, Mountaire Farms, Peco Foods, Foster Farms, House of Raeford Farms, Fieldale Farms, George’s Farms or O.K. Foods. Find out your rights to compensation.
The Tyson and Perdue lawsuit describes in detail how the chicken industry conspired together to raise prices, stating that in 2007, Pilgrim’s and Tyson attempted to cut production levels enough to cause industry prices to rise, but failed to impact the market due to their market share.
“In January 2008 Pilgrim’s and Tyson changed tactics and concluded that only through broader cooperation among major producers in the Broiler industry could supply be cut enough to force prices to increase,” the suit states.
Pilgrim’s and Tyson publicly told the industry that neither company would continue to cut production while their competitors used the opportunity to take away Pilgrim’s and Tyson’s market share. But a few days after an industry event in late January 2008, things changed. The lawsuit says that “other Defendant Producers followed Pilgrim’s and Tyson’s call to arms and made substantial cuts to their own production.”
After attending the industry event, Tyson’s CEO announced Tyson would be raising prices because “we have no choice.” A day later, a Pilgrim’s executive announced publicly that Pilgrim’s would be cutting its production and “the rest of the market is going to have to pick-up a fair share in order for the production to come out of the system.”
According to the lawsuit, unlike Pilgrim’s and Tyson’s prior production cuts, in 2008 the defendant chicken producers did not rely solely on ordinary mechanisms to temporarily reduce production, which would have permitted production to be quickly ramped up if prices rose.
“Instead, Defendant Producers cut their ability to ramp up production for 18 months or more by destroying Broiler breeder hens in their Broiler breeder flocks responsible for supplying the eggs Defendant Producers raise into Broilers. This destruction of the Broiler breeder flock was unparalleled,” the lawsuit states.
Walmart & Sam’s Club Head into OT (Sort of…) Hey, football season just started up so forgive the pun… So there’s a couple of nice unpaid overtime settlements to report this week. First up…Walmart and Sam’s Club. They were facing an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit brought by certain employees who worked at the big box retailers. The plaintiffs asserted that they were not paid for missed meal and rest breaks or for off-the-clock work while employed by Walmart.
The potential class of plaintiffs in the lawsuit who may be entitled to benefits from the settlement is approximately 187,000 current and former hourly Pennsylvania employees at Walmart of Sam’s Club.
The class period is between March 19, 1998 and May 1, 2006.
The Walmart settlement amount is $62.3 million in statutory damages.
The lawsuit is Braun v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., et al., March 2002 Term, No. 3127 and Hummel v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., et al., August 2004 Term, No. 3757, in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County.
Farmers’ Time to Pay Up. And…a $4.9 million settlement has been reached in an unpaid wages and overtime class action pending against Farmers Insurance Exchange.
The lawsuit was filed by Farmers’ adjusters in February 2014, who claimed that their work volume, deadlines and competitive rankings meant they frequently worked overtime without meal and rest breaks. It also claimed that up to 2015, Farmers had no stated break policy. Farmers’ practices violated state and federal overtime statutes, as well as California meal and rest breaks and unfair competition laws.
Under the terms of the Farmers settlement, the funds will be divided among the 2,114 plaintiffs, less 25 percent to cover legal fees.
The class is made up of claims representatives specializing in liability, automotive damage and residential property who worked in California between September 2011 and August 2016. On average, I is estimated that each plaintiff will receive $2,000, and members who worked throughout the class period could see more than $7,000.
The case is Alvarez et al v. Farmers Insurance Exchange et al., case number 3:14-cv-00574, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Ka Ching! That’s a wrap folks—see you at the Bar.
Mylan Pharmaceuticals may need it’s own EpiPen if this gets to court. The maker of the EpiPen device, is facing a price gouging class action lawsuit. Filed by a resident of Ohio, the lawsuit asserts that the sharp increase in price the company has put in place violates Ohio state consumer protection laws.
Mylan has reportedly raised the US price of the device, which is used to for emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions, from less than $100, when it acquired the device in 2007, to over $600. EpiPen works by injecting a dose of the drug epinephrine into the thigh to counter dangerous allergic reactions to things like bee stings, shellfish and peanuts. It has a 94 percent share of the market for such auto-injector devices.
The EpiPen lawsuit has been filed in the Court of Common Pleas for Hamilton County, Ohio, by Cincinnati resident Linda Bates, whose son requires an EpiPen. According to the complaint, “The outrageous, unconscionable and immoral high prices set by Defendant is nothing more than price gouging.”
The complaint further claims that the price increases violated the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, which prohibits “unconscionable” acts in connection with consumer transactions, including taking advantage of a consumer’s “physical infirmities.”
What can one say?
Some Granola To Crunch On… Here’s another one—General Mills got hit with a consumer fraud class action lawsuit this week over allegations its Nature Valley products contain a chemical that could be carcinogenic. Hey—maybe it adds flavor. Or not. But somehow the descriptive “carcinogenic” doesn’t sound like its quintessentially from an idyllic fantasyland called “Nature Valley”.
Filed by Yesenia Nuez, a resident of New York, the Nature Valley lawsuit asserts that General Mills promoted its Nature Valley bars as “Made with 100% Natural Whole-Grain Oats.” According to Nuez, these claims are false, because the bars contain oats that are not 100 per cent naturally made. Rather, they contain the chemical glysophate. Glysophate is a potent biocide, a probable carcinogen and a human endocrine disrupter, according to the suit. Nuez claims that as a result, the Nature Valley bars could be causing harm to consumers.
Yesenia Nuez filed the class-action lawsuit, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, alleging false, deceptive and misleading advertising practices regarding its Nature Valley products. The case is U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York Case number 1:16-cv-04731-FB-VMS
Amgen Securities Settlement. A $95 million settlement has been reached in a securities class action lawsuit pending against pharmaceutical company Amgen Inc.
Brought by investors, the lawsuit claims that Amgen failed to disclose the results of a study known as DAHANCA 10, which tested Aranesp in head and neck cancer patients in Denmark. When Amgen’s failure to disclose was discovered and reported, the company’s stock crashed.
The period in which class members were affected is between April 22, 2004 and May 10, 2007. Under the agreement, Amgen will pay $95 million into a settlement fund to be distributed to class members. The settlement is subject to court approval.
The lawsuit is In re Amgen Inc. Securities Litigation, CV-07-2536 PSG, pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
Ka-Ching! That’s a wrap folks—see you at the Bar.
Is the day to day grind getting you down? Fed up with doing the laundry? Try out a Samsung washing machine—it could put a little Kaboom in your life, and your walls and possibly send a family member to hospital. That’d liven things up!
Yup—Samsung has allegedly cornered the market in exploding, top loading washing machines. Unintentionally, of course. But they’re not really owning the whole issue, well, actually, no part of it all. So, a consumer fraud class action lawsuit has been filed. I know, I know, hard to believe. But Samsung cannot not know about this.
A superquick search on Google (that’s the search where Google finishes your sentence—so you know something’s going on) turns up not one, not two—but dozens of reports of these machines literally exploding. If you’re having a hard time imagining that—just wait. And these reports go back to 2015—possibly earlier. People from across the US–one of the latest out of Bandera, TX—have posted their experiences on You-Tube, local news stations have covered the phenomenon, and CPSC is collecting first hand reports. And amazingly enough, this doesn’t seem to have prompted any action at all—not even a recall.
One news source, applicanceertailer.com, ran the headline: “Samsung washing machines now exploding in the US.” What ? So they had finished their run in Europe? (who writes this stuff?)
One woman counts herself lucky, as she admitted watching her machine at work—literally standing over the glass lid—before it blew itself up. Actually, to be accurate, it blows its sides out, shakes the walls, causing shelving to jiggle and ornaments and pictures to fall. People have thought it was a canon going off, or an earthquake. But there are far worse accounts.
To quote the Applianceretailer.com story…
“The washing machine claimed to have “suddenly and without warning” violently exploded as it completed its final minutes of high-speed spin cycle.” Didn’t know the washing machine could speak as well, but hey—wouldn’t put much past these things.
The article goes on…
“The [Consumer Product Safety Commission] report reads, “The washer lid flew off the machine and slammed into the consumer on her lower back, causing the consumer to collide into a cabinet, where she struck her head, neck, upper body, chin and jaw.
“The entire washer lifted as much as six inches off the ground, spun 180 degrees, striking the consumer, damaging the wall and side of the dryer.”
Holy crap. Not to make light of the situation, but that sounds “Exorcist” worthy. Maybe they’re not defective, but possessed?
The article sites another two CPSC reports, one in which a consumer experienced not one but two explosions “that were felt across the entire house…” The story states that “A safety health and environment professional reported that “all technicians, safety professionals, engineers and laymen were completely impressed with the level of carnage.” Well then. An unfortunate choice of phrasing, but we take their meaning.
The other report indicates that the entire machine exploded and burst into pieces. “The entire top of the unit separated and flew into our hallway, and the unit continued to spin violently around the laundry room, ripping holes in our walls, dryer, cabinets and flooring.” Ok—that’s impressive. At some point you might start to wonder what you put on your Shreddies that morning.
So, no recall, several lawsuits, and some pretty alarming stories.
Wonder what happened to the clothes?
If you’ve experienced your own, personal Samsung exploding washing machine event—we’d love to hear from you.