Uber Drivers being taken for a ride? Maybe… Uber Technologies got slapped with a class action filed by a Boston cabdriver who alleges the mobile app-based car service routinely violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by using background checks without applicants’ knowledge or authorization to make hiring decisions.
Filed on behalf of lead plaintiff Abdul Mohamed, the Uber class action claims that by failing to obtain his authorization for a background check and not disclosing that the company would check his background when he applied for a job as an “Uber X” driver, Uber, its wholly-owned subsidiary Rasier LLC and their employment screening agency Hirease LLC knowingly violated fair credit reporting laws in Massachusetts and California in addition to the FCRA.
The lawsuit also claims that Uber violates the FCRA and state credit reporting laws by using background checks in hiring decisions without providing applicants with copies of their reports.
“In direct violation of the FCRA [and state laws], whenever adverse action is taken against an applicant on the basis of information disclosed on a consumer report, the defendants fail to afford the applicants the procedural safeguards mandated by law… including by failing to provide pre-adverse action notices and a reasonable opportunity to dispute information in such reports before taking adverse action,” the complaint states.
According to the Uber lawsuit, Mohamed applied to be an Uber X driver in September, after having previously worked for Uber as an “Uber Black” driver using his own car. Uber told him he must purchase a new car for the position, which he did at a cost of $25,000. Mohamed then began working as an Uber X driver in early October. However, on October 28, Mohamed received an email from Hirease stating that his contract with Rasier was terminated because of information obtained through a consumer reporting agency, the complaint states.
“[Uber and Rasier] terminated Plaintiff because Hirease’s consumer report concerning Plaintiff indicated he had a minor criminal record that, in fact, stems from his seven children receiving much-needed Medicaid benefits,” the lawsuit alleges. “[Uber] termination of Plaintiff deprived him of his livelihood and left him without an alternative means of providing for his family, including his seven children.” Mohamed alleges that despite an email stating he had received a copy of his consumer reports and rights under the FRCA, he did not receive the described materials.
Further, the lawsuit states that Mohamed did not have an opportunity to review the information on his consumer report and discuss it with Uber and Rasier.
As part of its employment screening services, Hirease provides a package that automatically generates pre-adverse action and adverse action notices to an applicant, along with a copy of the consumer report, whenever Hirease makes an adverse hiring decision based on pre-determined criteria.
“Consumer reporting agencies routinely provide a similar service and many employers purchase it,” the lawsuit states. “Uber and Rasier could have easily and cost-effectively complied with the mandates of the FCRA, CCRAA, and MCRA by purchasing such services, but failed to do so.”
The case is Mohamed v. Uber Technologies Inc et al., case number 3:14-cv-05200, in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California.
Dollar General Can’t Cheap Out on Its Staff. An $8.3 million settlement agreement has been approved by a federal judge in Alabama, potentially ending an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit pending against Dollar General. The Dollar General lawsuit alleged the discount retailer failed to properly pay store managers for overtime, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The lawsuit dates back to 2006.
Specific allegations against Dollar General and its subsidiaries and sister companies, are that they required the store managers to work as much as 90 hours per week and misclassified them a exempt from overtime, even though they generally spent less than 10 hours weekly performing managerial duties. The settlement will cover some 2,722 individual claims.
According to the complaint, most of the store managers’ work hours involved non-managerial tasks such as operating cash registers. As a result, Dollar General allegedly short-changed the employees on overtime pay, according to the suit. Dollar General denied that it had misclassified the workers.
U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler granted approval of the settlement stating “The court finds that: the amended settlement agreement is fair; it reflects reasonable compromises of issues actually in dispute; the settlement was reached in an adversarial context in which the plaintiffs were represented by competent and experienced counsel; and the totality of the proposed settlement is fair and reasonable.”
The case is Richter v. Dolgencorp Inc. et al., case number 7:06-cv-01537, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.
Settlement Takes a Bite out of Apple…Final approval of a $450 settlement has been granted ending an antitrust class action lawsuit against Apple Inc. The lawsuit alleged that Apple conspired publishers to raise e-book prices. While all the publishers settled their claims, only Apple went to trial.
The lawsuit was brought by the US Department of Justice and 33 states and claimed that in 2010 Apple signed distribution deals with five top publishers, namely Simon & Schuster Inc., Penguin Group USA, Macmillan Publishers USA, Hachette Book Group Inc. and HarperCollins Publishers LLC, that raised the prices for digital books from $9.99 to as much as $14.99. This resulted in consumers paying hundreds of millions of dollars. In July 2013, Judge Denise Cote ruled that Apple had “played a central role in facilitating and executing” the conspiracy. The company has since appealed that decision to the Second Circuit.
Under the terms of the settlement, consumers will receive $400 million. According to court documents, a claims administrator and e-book retailers have sent emails or postcards to almost 23 million addresses of people eligible to receive compensation.
The settlement contains a provision allowing Apple to pay $50 million to consumers and $10 million each to the states and class counsel if Judge Cote’s 2013 decision finding Apple liable is vacated and remanded on appeal or reversed and remanded with instructions for reconsideration or a new trial. If the decision is simply reversed, Apply will pay nothing.
The cases are In re: Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, case number 1:11-md-02293, and State of Texas et al. v. Penguin Group (USA) Inc. et al., case number 1:12-cv-03394, both in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Hokee Dokee—Time to adjourn for the week. Happy Thanksgiving!! Gobble Gobble!
A roundup of recent asbestos-related news and information that you should be aware of. An ongoing list of reported asbestos hot spots in the US from the Asbestos News Roundup archive appears on our asbestos map.
US Navy Veterans are at a particularly high risk for asbestos-related disease, due to their asbestos exposure while working on navy ships undergoing refits. But because asbestos-related disease can take up to 30 years or more to manifest, it is often detected long after men have left the Navy.
The states with the most US Navy Veterans include California, Florida, New York, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, Massachusetts, Washington, Maine, Oregon, Arizona, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Montana, Kansas, North Dakota, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Mississippi.
US Navy Veterans are not the only group of workers at high risk for asbestos exposure. Men and women who worked in power plants, manufacturing factories, chemical plants, oil refineries, mines, smelters, aerospace manufacturing facilities, demolition construction work sites, railroads, automotive manufacturing facilities, or auto brake shops may also have been exposed to high levels of asbestos.
St. Clair County, IL: Jeanne Belman, special administrator of deceased Marcella Goedeke estate, has filed an asbestos lawsuit against CSX Transportation, alleging the company is responsible for the developing asbestos mesothelioma and Goedeke’s subsequent death.
Filed a lawsuit March 14, the lawsuit claims the railway allowed its employees to be exposed to asbestos despite being aware of the associated adverse health risks.
Specifically, Belman alleges that Goedeke suffered second hand asbestos exposure to asbestos fibers that clung to her husband’s work clothing. Goedeke’s husband worked at The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. When Goedeke’s husband came home, she inhaled and ingested the asbestos fibers that were on his clothes, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit claims that the asbestos mesothelioma caused Goedeke great pain and disability, and that she endured serious mental anguish and extreme nervousness and incurred significant medical costs, the suit states. She passed away on March 18, 2012, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit claims Goedeke’s asbestos disease could have been avoided had The Baltimore and Railroad Company heeded the advice of experts in 1935 who warned the railroad to educate all its employees about asbestos fibers. According to the complaint, the experts also advised the company to get rid of asbestos dust, to sprinkle the working area with water, to have employees wear inhalers and to have frequent analyses made of the dust content of air at different times during work hours.
Instead, Belman alleges the railroad negligently exposed Goedeke’s husband to asbestos, allowed him to carry the asbestos with him into his home, failed to warn him that it could cause disease, failed to prevent him from being exposed to the asbestos, failed to provide him with protective clothing and allowed unsafe work practices to become routine.
Eventually, The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company was taken over by CSX, which Belman named as a defendant in her complaint that seeks damages under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Belman is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs. (madisonrecord.com)
St. Clair County, IL: Nicole Lockett has filed an asbestos lawsuit naming 21 defendant corporations which, she alleges, caused the Randle R. Lockett Sr. to develop mesothelioma after his exposure to asbestos-containing products throughout his father’s career. He subsequently died of his asbestos disease.
According to the lawsuit, Randle R. Lockett Sr.’s father worked in the military and at ICBM and Minuteman and MX missile site maintaining and repairing silos. The defendants should have known of the harmful effects of asbestos, but failed to exercise reasonable care and caution for Mr. Lockett`s father`s safety, the suit states. As a result of his asbestos-related disease, Randle R. Lockett Sr. became disabled and disfigured, incurred medical costs and suffered great physical pain and mental anguish, the complaint says. Additionally, he was prevented from pursuing his normal course of employment and, as a result, lost large sums of money that would have accrued, the lawsuit states.
Nicole Lockett is seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, compensatory damages of more than $200,000, punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish the defendants for their misconduct and other relief the court deems just.(madionsrecord.com)
St. Clair County, IL: An asbestos lawsuit has been filed by Betty G. Crutchfield naming 41 defendant corporations, which, she claims, caused Donald Crutchfield Sr. to develop lung cancer after his exposure to asbestos-containing products throughout his career. Mr. Crutchfield died from his asbestos disease.
As a result of his asbestos-related illness Donald Crutchfield Sr. became disabled and disfigured, incurred medical costs and suffered great physical pain and mental anguish, Betty Crutchfield claims. In addition, he were prevented from pursuing his normal course of employment and, as a result, lost large sums of money that would have accrued to him, the lawsuit states.
Betty G. Crutchfield is seeking a judgment of more than $300,000, compensatory damages of more than $100,000, punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish the defendants for their misconduct and other relief the court deems just. (madisonrecord.com)
New York, NY: A $980,000 judgement has been upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit entered against defendant Cleaver Brooks. The court found that the plaintiff presented enough evidence at trial to support a causal link between the defendant’s asbestos-containing boilers and the deceased Kit L. McCormick illness.
Kelly McCormick filed the asbestos lawsuit on behalf of her husband, Kit L. McCormick, who was injured allegedly as a result of asbestos exposure. (harrismartin.com)
Fitbit ‘n Burn? We all know the benefits of exercise, and let’s face it—anything we can find to help motivate us has to be a good thing, right? This week, the makers of an activity tracker got hit with a class action…Fitbit, the manufacturer of the Fitbit Force, is facing a consumer fraud class action lawsuit over advertising claims that the device is an “advanced activity tracker.” The device was recalled following reports of skin irritation including blisters, rashes, burns and more. The firm has received about 9,900 reports of the wristband causing skin irritation and about 250 reports of blistering.
According to the lawsuit, Fitbit advertised that the Force is a safe, comfortable, nonhazardous device but at no time during the promotion or marketing of the Force product did Fitbit warn its customers or the general public of any adverse health consequences.
“Fitbit promoted, marketed, advertised, distributed and sold the Fitbit as a health and wellness product to consumers specifically interested in tracking, monitoring, measuring, and improving their overall health and wellness,” the lawsuit states. “When worn and operated as intended, the Force product causes physical injuries included but not limited to skin irritation, rashes, burns, blisters, cuts, boils, open wounds, redness, itching, cracking, peeling, or any other physical injuries.”
The lawsuit, entitled The case is Jim Spivey v. Fitbit Inc. et al., case number 37-2014-00007109, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Diego, seeks class action status and damages for consumers who bought the Force as a result of Fitbit’s alleged misrepresentations about the product’s safety.
More for McDonald’s….McDonald’s got served with two wage and hour class action action lawsuits in Michigan claiming the fast food giant is systematically stealing employees’ wages by forcing them to work off the clock, shaving hours off their time cards, and not paying them overtime among other practices.
In the lawsuits, filed against McDonald’s Corp., its U.S. subsidiary and two Detroit-area franchisees, workers assert McDonald’s regularly forces workers to show up for work at a scheduled time but then has them wait without pay until the store gets busy enough, and that it routinely violates minimum wage laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Michigan’s minimum wage law.
The suits contend that, using McDonald’s franchisor standards and corporation-provided software, McDonald’s franchisees closely monitor the ratio of labor costs to revenues. When it exceeds a corporate-set target, managers tell workers arriving for their shifts to wait for up to an hour to clock in, and sometimes direct workers who have already clocked in for scheduled shifts to clock out for extended breaks until the target ratio is again achieved. Workers are not paid for these wait times, and McDonald’s Corporation knowingly tolerates this practice, in violation of federal labor law.
The lawsuits also allege that McDonald’s forces its low-paid workers to buy their own uniforms. Because McDonald’s restaurants pay at or near the minimum wage, this drives some workers’ real wages below the legal minimum, in violation of federal labor law.
Canon Techs Win preliminary wage and hour settlement… Preliminary approval has been granted for a $4.4 million settlement in a wage and hour class action lawsuit pending against Canon Business Solutions. The lawsuit was brought by a group of service technicians who alleged the defendant docked workers for lunch breaks they didn’t take and failed to pay them for overtime worked.
The lawsuit, Steven Jones, et al. v. Canon Business Solutions, Inc, case number 2:12-cv-07195, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, was filed by named plaintiffs Steven Jones and Javier Crespo, who will each receive $8,500 in incentive awards. Filed in July 2012, the lawsuit claims Canon violated New York labor law as well as California labor laws, in addition to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The plaintiffs also allege that Canon’s time-keeping system automatically accounted for breaks of 45 minutes, even in the event the service technicians took shorter breaks. In some cases, the lawsuit contends, the workers “took no meal period because [Canon’s] practice of scheduling work assignments, and its own directives to [the workers], did not permit them to take those meal breaks.” Even in that instance, they said, Canon docked the workers’ pay.
The settlement, if approved, will establish a fund of $4.4 million for the service technicians in the class, and lawyers’ fees. Cha Ching!
According to the terms of the settlement, there are three classes of eligible plaintiffs, namely: New York, service technicians who worked in that state at any time from October 9, 2006, until March 14, 2014; California, service technicians who worked in that state at any time between July 19, 2008, and March 14, 2014; and FLSA, those who worked as service technicians in any other state from June 12, 2010, through to March 14, 2014.
A final hearing is set for September.
Ok Folks, That’s all for this week. See you at the bar!
A roundup of recent asbestos-related news and information that you should be aware of. An ongoing list of reported asbestos hot spots in the US from the Asbestos News Roundup archive appears on our asbestos map.
Many workplaces in the US are now considered to have put workers at high-risk for asbestos exposure—decades ago. These include: US Navy, oil refineries, shipyards, chemical manufacturing facilities, aerospace manufacturing facilities, mines, smelters, coal fired power plants, construction work sites, auto repair shops, plumbers, welders, electricians, and most manufacturing, or industrial plants that were operating in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s.
Sadly, many individuals who served in the US Navy, worked at a power plant, an oil refinery, or a shipyard decades ago are now being diagnosed with asbestos disease—the average age of diagnosis of asbestos mesothelioma is 72 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC).
Although strict regulations about the use of asbestos have been put in place, the potential for asbestos exposure remains. In 2009, the CDC reported:
“Although asbestos has been eliminated in the manufacture of many products, it is still being imported (approximately 1,730 metric tons in 2007) and used in the United States in various construction and transportation products. Ensuring a future decrease in mesothelioma mortality requires meticulous control of exposures to asbestos and other materials that might cause mesothelioma. Recent studies suggest that carbon nanotubes (fiber-shaped nanoparticles), which are increasingly being used in manufacturing, might share the carcinogenic mechanism postulated for asbestos and induce mesothelioma, underscoring the need for documentation of occupational history in future cases.” The full report can be accessed at the CDC’s webpage. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5815a3.htm
Jefferson County, TX: The family of recently deceased William Ray Furlong have filed an asbestos lawsuit against EI DuPont De Nemours and Co. alleging the company is responsible for Mr. Furlong’s asbestos illness and subsequent death.
Virginia Furlong, wife, and Helen Furlong Moity, daughter, allege Dupont knowingly exposed William Furlong to toxic and carcinogenic dusts including asbestos during the time he worked at Dupont’s Works Facility in Beaumont.
According to the suit, William Furlong developed mesothelioma from which he died in 2012.
The Furlongs are seeking more than $100,000 in damages. (setexasrecord.com)
Erie County, NY: A $3 million settlement has been awarded to the family of a man who contracted and died from asbestos mesothelioma. According to the lawsuit, the deceased, Gerald Suttner, worked at the GM Powertrain Facility in Tonawanda, New York, and involved repairing valves manufactured by Crane and other manufacturers, valves which contained asbestos gaskets and packing materials. It wasn’t until after Suttner had retired from the GM plant that he was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. He passed away just 12 months later, at the age of 77. Suttner’s family subsequently sued the companies which made asbestos-containing products.
The plaintiff’s surviving family filed suit in the Supreme Court of Erie County, New York for product liability and wrongful death. The plaintiffs sought recovery for compensatory and punitive damages against Crane and numerous other manufacturers of asbestos-creating products the decedent had been exposed to. The plaintiff asserted that Crane had known as early as the 1930s of the hazardous qualities of asbestos and failed to warn the deceased. (jvra.com)
Philadelphia, PA: A $75,000 award for damages has been granted in a whistleblower lawsuit. Filed by a city police officer, the lawsuit claimed that the police officer’s superiors retaliated against him after he complained of shoddy asbestos removal at the Police Athletic League center he managed in Philadelphia.
The judge hearing the case ordered that Zenak, 44, a 23-year veteran officer, be returned to his job as manager of the PAL center at Wissinoming United Methodist Church, 4419 Comly St., and reimbursed $75,000 for 2711/2 days of leave he used after suing and $411 in medical expenses.
In 2012, Zenak filed suit under Pennsylvania’s “whistle-blower” law, naming the city, Police Department, PAL, church and J. Bailey Builders, the New Jersey-based contractor, as defendants.
According to the lawsuit, Zenak had managed the PAL center since 2008. In 2011, the contractor doing renovations told him there was exposed asbestos wrapping 60 feet of pipe hanging in the room where children did homework. Several weeks later, after Zenak found the pipe insulation gone and a layer of dust everywhere, he complained to his superiors, and he got the first of several reprimands, the PhillyNews reports.
A civil suit is pending which seeks medical monitoring for nearly 100 children who might have been exposed to asbestos while attending programs at the Wissinoming PAL center. (phillynews.com)
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!