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LAWSUITS NEWS & LEGAL INFORMATION

Anne Wallace

Anne WallaceAnne Wallace is a New York lawyer, currently living in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. She writes on legal and business issues and teaches at the college and professional level. Anne graduated from Fordham Law School and Wellesley College.


Did Detroit Edison Mislead Retirees about Benefits?

April 13, 2021.
Cincinnati, OH  On March 23, the Sixth Circuit revived an ERISA lawsuit that alleges that Detroit Edison Co. misled plan participants about the benefits they could expect at retirement when the plan design was changed in 2002. The Appeals Court’s decision in Nolan v. Detroit Edison Co. gives the participants a fresh opportunity to show that the disclosure to participants about the plan’s conversion to a cash balance plan failed to meet basic ERISA requirements. Nolan seeks class action status.
Read [ Did Detroit Edison Mislead Retirees about Benefits? ]

Credit Union of New Jersey Hit with Excessive Overdraft Fees Lawsuit

April 6, 2021.
Camden, NJ  Laronda Hickmond filed a bank overdraft fees lawsuit against Credit Union of New Jersey in New Jersey District Court on March 17. Hickmond v. Credit Union of New Jersey alleges that the credit union repeatedly charged Ms. Hickmond $30 overdraft fees even though, according to the monthly account statements prepared by the credit union, her account balance never dropped into the negative. She seeks class action status for the lawsuit on behalf of herself and all similarly situated accountholders.
Read [ Credit Union of New Jersey Hit with Excessive Overdraft Fees Lawsuit ]

Insurer May Renew Defense in Tangled ESOP Lawsuit

April 2, 2021.
Detroit, MI On March 4, The District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan held that Great American Fidelity Insurance Co. (Great American) could renew its argument that it should not be required to defend Stout Risius Ross (Stout) against a claim by Appvion Retirement Savings and Employee Stock Ownership Plan (Appvion ESOP). Great American Fidelity Insurance Co. v. Stout Risius Ross Inc., an insurance contract claim, is one piece of the fallout from the sprawling ERISA lawsuit that includes Appvion v. Buth. The facts are complicated.
Read [ Insurer May Renew Defense in Tangled ESOP Lawsuit ]

Insufficient Funds Charges Threaten Small-Balance Accountholders

March 31, 2021.
Albany, NY Excessive bank fees that are based on insufficient funds (NSF) charges may pose a greater threat to checking accountholders than overdraft fees. Recent lawsuits recognize that, without protections based largely in state contract law, consumers have little protection from NSF fees that result when checks or electronic payments that are presented and re-presented multiple times without the accountholder’s permission.
Read [ Insufficient Funds Charges Threaten Small-Balance Accountholders ]

City of LaCrosse sues 3M Company over PFAS Water Contamination

March 30, 2021.
LaCrosse, WI On March 4, the City of La Crosse filed a lawsuit in the Wisconsin Circuit Court alleging that 3M Company and 22 other defendants produced and marketed products containing perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS/PFOA) with knowledge that these substances were likely to contaminate public and private wells throughout the city.
Read [ City of LaCrosse sues 3M Company over PFAS Water Contamination ]

Claims of Rampant Gender Wage Discrimination at Disney

March 23, 2021.
Los Angeles, CA A two-year old California labor lawsuit just took a new turn. Plaintiffs in Rasmussen v. Disney have been permitted to amend their complaint to add allegations that Disney “maintains a strict policy of pay secrecy” in violation of California labor law. If proved at trial, the allegation could establish a link between prohibited conduct and widespread pay discrepancies between men and women who perform similar jobs at Disney – giving lie to the claim that the pattern can be explained by differences in performance. Pay secrecy is thought to hurt female workers because it deprives them of the information they need to demand equal pay.


Read [ Claims of Rampant Gender Wage Discrimination at Disney ]

PG&E Executives Sued Personally for California Wildfire Damage

March 22, 2021.
San Francisco, CA On February 24, victims of deadly 2017 and 2018 California wildfires filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court seeking to hold former officers and directors of PG&E liable for failing to protect them from the harm that followed from the 2018 Camp Fire and the 2017 North Bay Fires. In addition to devastating personal and property loss, many California homeowners whose homes were burned also found themselves the victims of bad faith insurance denials. Justice John Trotter (Ret.), Trustee of the PG &E Fire Victim Trust v. Lewis Chew seeks to redress these harms in a direct way – by suing those responsible for putting corporate profits and their own financial interest ahead of their fiduciary duty to protect public safety.

Read [ PG&E Executives Sued Personally for California Wildfire Damage ]

Ninth Circuit Upholds Flight Attendants’ Claims for Overtime, Rest and Meal Breaks

March 17, 2021.
San Francisco, CA On February 23, the Ninth Circuit largely upheld a District Court grant of summary judgment to flight attendants in their class action lawsuit against Virgin America. Bernstein v. Virgin America Inc. alleged that the airline had failed to pay minimum wage and overtime and permit meal and rest breaks, as required by California labor law. The Ninth Circuit did, however, reduce certain penalties assessed against Virgin America.
Read [ Ninth Circuit Upholds Flight Attendants’ Claims for Overtime, Rest and Meal Breaks ]

Federal Court Okays Class Action Status for 401k Mismanagement Lawsuit

March 15, 2021.
Philadelphia, PA On March 8, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted class action status to plaintiffs in Boley v. Universal Health Services. The ERISA lawsuit claims that fiduciaries of the Universal Health Services Inc. Retirement Savings Plan mismanaged the 401k plan in violation of ERISA.
Read [ Federal Court Okays Class Action Status for 401k Mismanagement Lawsuit ]

Texas Sues Griddy Energy for Deceptive Advertising

March 12, 2021.
Houston, TX  On March 1, the State of Texas filed a lawsuit in Texas state court, alleging that Griddy Energy LLC misled energy consumers in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices—Consumer Protection Act  (DTPA). In the aftermath of the massive February winter storm, Griddy customers found themselves with the astronomical electrical bills. One Houston resident complained that Griddy debited her credit card $4,677 in one week for electricity in her 800 square foot, one-bedroom apartment: “I do not have the money to pay this bill. We need help.” Griddy also auto-debited hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars from consumers’ checking accounts in a period of days. These massive daily withdrawals triggered cascading bank overdraft fees.

Read [ Texas Sues Griddy Energy for Deceptive Advertising ]

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