Week Adjourned: 3.26.10

Top Class ActionsWasn't TARP supposed to help? BOA WA customers want to know...

One Percent Solution? Wasn’t it about this time last year when the big bank bailouts were front page news? You know, billions of tax payers’ dollars forked over to some of the biggest lending institutions in the country to help stave off complete economic obliteration stemming from bad lending practices and resulting mortgage foreclosures? 

Well, sadly, and the cynic in me says predictably, it seems the bailout bucks may not be reaching their intended destination. Washington homeowners are suing Bank of America claiming the lending giant is intentionally withholding government funds intended to save homeowners from foreclosure.

The lawsuit claims that Bank of America systematically slows or thwarts Washington homeowners’ access to Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds by ignoring homeowners’ requests to make reasonable mortgage adjustments or other alternative solutions that would prevent homes from being foreclosed.

FYI—Bank of America accepted more than $25 billion in government bailout money financed by taxpayer dollars purposely to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. Apparently, one in eight Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 3.26.10”

Week Adjourned: 3.19.10

WTF eBay? Top Class Actions

Hey eBay, maybe try Email? eBay’s in trouble this week—facing a class action brought by a deaf woman in Missouri on allegations that the online auction site is discriminatory regarding its telephone registration system.


Apparently, Melissa J. Earll of Nevada, MO, tried multiple times to register to sell items on the site but couldn’t because the company requires sellers to verify their identities via telephone using PINs (short for pain in (@##$)). Despite Ms. Earll’s numerous attempts to explain her hearing issue to the company over email and online chat support asking for an alternate method to authorize her account, eBay reportedly refused to accommodate her.

Now, you can’t blame eBay for requiring security, and rest assured they would likely be sued if they didn’t have any in place. But really, the phone?

It strikes me that there are a couple of interesting assumptions here, the first and obvious one being that everyone should be able to use the phone—to hear instructions—and the second is that you’ll be able to understand those instructions when you hear them—and that has nothing to do with how well you can hear. What about people with cognitive dysfunction?

Ms. Earll’s lawsuit is being filed on behalf of all deaf or hard-of-hearing persons who have been prevented from registering as sellers with eBay as a result of this phone registration policy.

Chantix, Champix, Schmampix…call it what you will but… After years of witnessing Chantix lawsuits get filed in the Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 3.19.10”

Week Adjourned: 3.12.10

Uhh...but did you pay your taxes?Top Class Actions

Net Taxes Paid? Well, seems like they shouldn’t a been.  AT&T is facing a class action lawsuit—and no you’re not experiencing déjà vu—this lawsuit is over allegations that the Internet access fees the company charges its smart phone customers is in violation of the law.  

Apparently, the boffins that make law up on the hill had a flash of wisdom years ago, and made it illegal for taxes to be collected on internet access service. Of course, there were no such things as smart phones when the Internet Tax Freedom Act came into being in 1998. Nevertheless, it has been updated several times and suffice to say is good until 2014. 

Apparently, the suit states that AT&T’s Internet access tax is listed as a separate line item on monthly bills. Naughty, naughty. Actually, really naughty—one media report states that “AT&T says in a court filing that 40 class-action suits have been filed in 37 separate districts.”

If you had to pay tax for internet access on top of all the other charges tacked on to your phone package, would you bother with the service?

Top Settlements 

Dying to lose weight? Be careful what you wish for. Very sadly, a young woman who signed up to shed the extra pounds through LA Weight Loss Centers Inc, subsequently died from liver failure as a result of taking some diet supplements that had not been tested or regulated by the FDA, but were apparently recommended by the ‘professionals’ at LA WLC. 

Pamela Hoppe’s sister brought a lawsuit against LA WLC on behalf of Pamela’s estate. The suit was settled out of court for $700,000, half of which will be split between Pamela’s two surviving children. 

Freight Co. Older and Wiser Now, Too? This case reminds me of that wonderful film “Up in The Air”…the story line part…not George Clooney, sadly. Mr. Donald Wayne Smith was laid off by his employer, Central Freight Lines Inc, after 45 years of service. He was a dockworker, and 62 years old at the time he was laid off. That should have made finding another job a piece of cake…Not. 

And so, Mr. Smith sued his ex-employer alleging age discrimination. In his suit, Mr. Smith alleged that during his last months of employment he received a disproportionate number of disciplinary write-ups and that the company changed its layoff guidelines. Ummm. 

And he claimed that new guidelines were introduced that exempted part-time and supervisory employees, to ensure he was laid off while younger workers with worse work records remained employed. 

But wait—Central Freight was just cutting costs—it was a legitimate business decision they argued. Wouldn’t it cost the company less in the long run to keep their experienced employees on who don’t make mistakes—or likely make fewer mistakes? 

Well, anyway, unlike Up in the Air, this story has a happy ending. Mr. Smith won his suit and was awarded $257,500.

That’s it for this week—see you at the Bar!

Week Adjourned: 3.5.10

Should it have a Clock on the Door...in case you forgot after 8 hours?Top Class Actions

New Wash Setting: Extra Sure Beyond Any Doubt Clean. What would you do if your washing machine took eight hours to do one load? Just to put that in perspective, you could to fly to Europe in the same time it would take to wash your sheets—depending on where you live. Ummm…doing the laundry or flying to Paris—that’s a tough one. 

But you could only fly to Paris if you could trust that your washer would do the job properly in your absence, and Ms. Riva, who filed a class action against Sears recently, was not feeling the love. 

No doubt. 

Among the litany of problems both she and her machine were experiencing on washday—or would that be wash week—were a high-pitched squeaking noise, the machine stopping mid-cycle for no apparent reason, and then displaying the rather cryptic message, in washing machine secret code, “F1 or F51″—your guess is as good as anybody’s as to what that means. 

Ms. Riva paid $1000 roughly for her new washer in 2006, and Sears issued a recall of the instrument panel in that particular model some time after that. But she didn’t find out about the recall until after she’d paid to have the panel replaced, by Sears, who didn’t mention the recall, but charged her for the replacement because the washer was no longer under warranty. 

You know, I’d be suing too. If she wins, maybe she can take a trip to Paris and do her laundry.

Top Settlements

Medical Malpractice in the News… This is a rather tragic cautionary tale about a 47-year old woman who Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 3.5.10”