Oh Yoo-Hoo Yahoo! This One’s for You! Yahoo following in Google’s footsteps? Umm, maybe…Yahoo got hit with a proposed Internet Privacy class action lawsuit this week, in case you missed it.
The Yahoo privacy lawsuit alleges Yahoo illegally reads, copies and analyzes emails in direct violation of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act and the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
Specifically, John Kevranian and Tammy Zapata, named plaintiffs in the action, allege Yahoo accesses Yahoo Mail users’ emails in order to make money on targeted advertising, profiling, data collection and other services.
According to the lawsuit, entitled Kevranian et al. v. Yahoo Inc., case number 5:13-cv-04547, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Yahoo put in place a new email system which became the default interface for all Yahoo users in May 2011. At the time, Yahoo said the system could “look for keywords and links to further protect you from spam, surface photos and in time, serve users with Internet-based advertising,” the lawsuit states. After a short grace period, all Yahoo email users were switched to the new version. Any of this sounding familiar?
Short version: The lawsuit states that Yahoo told its email account holders that the new email search capability looks for patterns, keywords and files in users’ communications, and that the automated system would scan and analyze all incoming and outgoing email, instant messages and other communications content sent and received from a user’s account in order to personalize his or her experience. “In employing the above described device, plaintiffs and the class allege that Yahoo intentionally intercepts and reviews the content of their electronic communications for financial gain.”
Not surprisingly, the plaintiffs allege “Yahoo’s acquisition and use of content from plaintiffs’ and class members’ email sent to Yahoo Mail users, and those emails sent from Yahoo Mail users to plaintiffs and class members, is not necessary to the transmission of email or to the operation the electronic communication service known as Yahoo Mail,” the lawsuit states.
Might be time to start writing more interesting emails…
LG Spinning Washer Efficiency Claims? And now—from “dirty laundry” to clean—or not…LG Electronics USA Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp got hit with a defective products class action lawsuit this week, alleging the companies manufactured and sold defective washing machines.
The LG defective washer class action lawsuit, entitled Laury Smith v. LG Electronics USA Inc., et al., Case No. 4:13-cv-04361, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleges the defendants misrepresented LG’s top-loading washing machines as being “high efficiency” , claiming the machines featured “extra high” spin speeds of 1,050 to 1,100 revolutions per minute. The lawsuit contends, however, that the machines tended to fall apart at high speeds. That’s useful!
The defective washing machines named in the class action are LG models WT5001CW, WT5101HV and WT5101HW; and Kenmore Elite brand models 29002, 29272 and 29278.
And the laundry list of charges (ok—that’s bad) are… unjust enrichment, breach of warranty, violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and California’s False Advertising Law. Got all that?
Who Knew? Even Bankers get Screwed on Unpaid Overtime…This week, an $11.5 million settlement was proposed in an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit pending against RBS Citizens Financial Group Inc. The lawsuit is brought by employees against the financial institution and two of its subsidiaries alleging they failed to adequately compensate employees for overtime pay.
All six of the complaints, which have been consolidated into one lawsuit, entitled Cuevas v. Citizens Financial Group, Inc. et al., 1:13-cv-03871, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, alleges RBS violated federal and state laws throughout New England and the Northeast and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
One of the lawsuits, filed by Kevin Martin in Pennsylvania in 2010 on behalf of all nonexempt employees working at Citizens Bank retail branches and its two subsidiaries, RBS Citizens NA and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, alleged Martin worked in excess of 40 hours per week but RBS prevented him from recording the additional work hours. Martin also alleged he was required to work through his breaks without pay, and that the institution erased or changed his recorded time to reduce his reported overtime hours.
The class or collective members involved in the litigation include some 5,827 employees such as assistant branch managers or hourly employees. Under the proposed settlement terms, the payout will cover class members’ payments, attorneys’ fees, litigation costs and enhancement awards, with assistant branch managers averaging an award of $2,000 and hourly employees averaging an award of $850.
Additionally, the 10 plaintiffs named in the action and who initiated the six lawsuits, will each receive $7,500. A further 36 people who testified at or provided a deposition for one of the case’s three-week jury trial will receive $1,500. Well done!
Big News for Vytorin. This one’s definitely a biggie…: A $688 million Vytorin settlement has been approved by a federal judge effectively ending claims that Merck & Co. Inc. and its subsidiary Schering-Plough Corp. concealed test results on the efficacy of their anti-cholesterol drug Vytorin.
Back in 2008, New York Attorney-General Andrew Cuomo began investigating whether Vytorin’s marketing campaign violated the state’s laws regarding false advertising. Specifically, officials were concerned that, despite results from a study that found Vytorin was no more effective than generic drugs.
This whopper of a settlement was initially proposed in February—interestingly—just prior to the class action’s trial date. Neither Merck nor Schering-Plough admits any wrongdoing—why would they?
The settlement will end claims against the companies for the vast majority of the class, except for 187 plaintiffs who opted out, according to court papers.
Ok Folks, That’s all for this week. Have a good one—see you at the bar !