Week Adjourned: 4.30.10

GM is under fire for miscalculating refunds on its extended protection planTop Class Actions

Is GM cutting corners? Maybe. Certainly Jimmy Hendon believes they are, so he filed a class action lawsuit against the automotive manufacturer, over alleged unfair business practices associated with its extended warranty plans.

Mr. Hendon is claiming that GM improperly calculated his prorated cancellation refund associated with his GM Major Guard Vehicle Service Contract. Hendon purchased the extended warranty in 2006 as additional 12 month/44,000 mile coverage to the GM standard 36 month/36,000 mile factory warranty which came with the new 2006 Chevy Avalanche he had just bought. Hendon canceled the extended warranty in 2009, with 18,483 miles remaining on the contract.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that GM calculated Hendon’s refund by taking the remaining miles divided by the 80,000 total miles under warranty, resulting in a $295 refund. Hendon claims GM should have calculated his refund by dividing his remaining miles by the 44,000 mile extension, resulting in a $580 refund.

The suit claims that GM should be prorating the canceled refund by dividing the remaining miles or days by the number of miles or days that the service contract extended the factory warranty.

While you may think that $200 or $300 may not sound like much for GM—why would they bother?—if you multiply that sum over the potentially thousands of folk in similar situations to Jimmy—well heck, you might just have enough for a bailout payment…

The Gulf of Mexico Tragedy in the Making… Hopefully BP won’t get away with this environmental Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 4.30.10”

Week Adjourned: 4.23.10

Tantalizing property for sale...too bad it isn't "real"Top Class Actions 

Testing the limits of virtual reality… Second Life—you may have heard of it—an enormously popular and just plain enormous virtual reality platform that enables you to totally reinvent yourself—many times over if you wish… (Think Avatar). Well, it’s the subject of a potential class action lawsuit filed this week. There’s a laundry list of allegations, including consumer fraud, stemming from real estate transactions that took place within the platform.

The simpleton’s version (because Second Life can seem a bit non-sensical to those of us with our feet on terra firma), is that people—members—of Second Life who used real world money to purchase virtual real estate within the platform, have been duped. How? The allegations are that “Linden Research induced thousands of people to invest as much as $100 million of real money in virtual properties, then reclaimed those virtual properties from the purchasers without compensation.” There’s nothing virtual about that allegation.

The law suit also claims that Linden Labs stated that it would protect members’ rights to their virtual property, and that those properties could be used as a source of revenue for the owners. However, the plaintiffs contend that members who purchased virtual real estate were in fact increasing the value of Linden Research in advance of an initial public offering or sale of Second Life. And, Linden Labs, at no time, made any attempt to compensate an estimated 50,000 participants who purchased virtual real estate based upon the company’s promises.

None of this sounds even vaguely like science fiction—more like art imitating life…there really is no escape…

Top Settlements

Big Asbestos Settlement in Texas. A 67-year old man was awarded roughly $11 million by a jury this week, in settlement of his asbestos mesothelioma lawsuit. FYI—this is reportedly the largest settlement of its Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 4.23.10”

Week Adjourned: 4.16.10

Next Batch of Census Recruits? (no, but when you hear "Hi Ho" well...)Top Class Actions 

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to court we go….

Census Looking for a Few (Really) Good Men? The feds are in hot water this week, facing a lawsuit—the first of its kind—alleging that the Census Bureau screened out job applicants with arrest records, regardless of whether or not the arrest actually led to a criminal conviction.

This has adversely affected “thousands of African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans,” the suit claims, as they have been “rejected for jobs by the US Census Bureau during the federal government’s massive hiring campaign for this year’s census because of systematic discrimination.” Personally, I wouldn’t have thought the government capable of that level of organization, but hey, it’s possible. And, if it’s true, it’s no laughing matter.

According to a related press release, “Government records show that more than 70 million people in the US have been arrested, but more than 35 percent of all arrests nationwide never lead to prosecutions or convictions,” a sobering statistic indeed. No wonder the police are so busy, busy generating paperwork.

Unfortunately, as the lawsuit points out, African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are far more likely to have arrest records and convictions than whites, and so Census’s hiring policies discriminate against people of color in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Ummm. 

Top Settlements

The Chinese Drywall Homes…Homes Barely Livable…We Can Rebuild Them…Ok, so it’s not quite like the $6 Million Dollar Man, but… Remember all those stinky drywall stories? Well, a critical settlement Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 4.16.10”

Week Adjourned: 4.2.10

Good thing as you won't be getting overtime. (Shirt available at CafePress.com)

Good thing as you won’t be getting overtime. (Shirt available at CafePress.com)

Top Class Actions

Underwriters Underpaid. JP Morgan Chase got hit with an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit earlier this week. Seems to be a pretty common practice these days.

The allegations? Chase had a “common practice” of misclassifying their loan underwriters as exempt and failed to pay them for all overtime hours worked in violation of federal overtime pay laws. In other words, they saved themselves the overtime payments by reclassifying their employees as exempt. 

But it’s not like Chase can’t afford the overtime—especially when you consider that their loan underwriters are pivotal in bringing in the big bucks. Chase is one of the country’s largest commercial banks, and “performs a significant amount of real estate loan origination and underwriting.” In order to do that business, Chase employs roughly 500-1,000 underwriters nationwide, many of whom allege they worked nights and weekends to get the job done. 

Top Settlements

$15M Plane Crash Settlement. Several months ago small plane crash killed 37-year old Michael Waugh, a Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 4.2.10”