Week Adjourned: 9.24.10

Top Class Actions

Don’t Put that Mortgage in Reverse. If there’s any possible way to make a buck off consumers, you better believe the banks will figure it out. It seems there’s just no end to the stuff they get up to. Case in point, a Seattle mortgage lender, The Seattle Mortgage Co, a unit of Seattle Bank, is being sued in California over alleged illegal lending practices.

Here’s the deal, the suit focuses on fees paid to brokers and charges levelled against borrowers in reverse mortgage transactions.

FYI—a reverse mortgage, also known as a home equity conversion mortgage, is available only to people over the age of 62 years, and is heavily regulated by the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—but maybe not heavily enough.

While it is the intent of the regulation to ensure that mortgage brokers provide their customers with the best financial advice based on the customer’s needs, it is possible that the brokers may have been influenced by the fees they receive from the banks selling the loan products. In other words, it may have been in the brokers’ and bank’s best interests for your grandmother to take out a reverse mortgage—but not necessarily hers.

The class is estimated to affect as many as 7,800 seniors, and if the court finds in favor of the plaintiffs, reimbursement of costs and damages may total as much as $56 million, the lead attorney representing the plaintiffs has said. And that’s just one state. Similar practices may be going in on other states… but that remains to be seen.

Top Settlements

Payday Loan Violations Get Settled. And then there’s the pay day cash advance market… Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 9.24.10”

Week Adjourned: 9.17.10

Class Action for Egg Recall under way...Top Class Actions

Wright County Wrong Eggs. A class action lawsuit was filed this week against Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms. This is the not so small footnote to the largest recall of contaminated eggs in recent history.   

In fact, the lawyers who filed the class action believe that there may be as many as 76,000 class members, given that a recently enacted Egg Safety Rule states that for every case reported there may be 38 cases that go unreported. The FDA reports that at least 550 million eggs have been recalled so far. That’s a lot of scrambled eggs!

Wondering if you could be a class member? You qualify, apparently, if you purchased eggs from Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms from April 9, 2010 (Julian date 99) to August 21, 2010 (Julian date 230). Part of what the lawsuit is seeking is reimbursement for the purchasers.

But, the lawsuit also seeks recoveries on behalf of all consumers who died or were injured from salmonella enteriditis contaminated eggs. According to the press release, “The FDA reports that the salmonella infected eggs has sickened nearly 2,000 people… Infections from salmonella enteriditis can spread into the bloodstream, then to other areas of the body, such as the bone marrow or the meningeal linings of the brain. The infections can lead to severe and fatal injuries, including endocarditis. In addition, class members who recovered from salmonellosis may later develop recurring joint pain, reactive arthritis, and Reiter’s syndrome.”

Better check those eggs!

Top Settlements

Kodak Moment? Eastman Kodak has finally reached a settlement in the race discrimination class action brought against it by African American employees.

The settlement also reportedly resolves race discrimination claims made in a related case, Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 9.17.10”

Week Adjourned: 9.10.10

Hopefully Good News for Vets with PTSDTop Class Actions

Veterans PTSD. An announcement was issued this week, about an extension of time for veterans to join or opt in to a class action lawsuit over Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Given that tens of thousands of troops deployed to Iraq are ending their tours, the timing of this couldn’t be better.

The lawsuit that was brought on behalf of veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Air Force and were found by a Physical Evaluation Board (“PEB”) to be unfit for continued service due, at least in part, to the individual’s PTSD, were assigned a disability rating for PTSD of less than 50%, and, as a result, were released, separated, retired, or discharged from active duty on or after December 17, 2002 and before October 14, 2008 (regardless whether such release, separation, retirement, or discharge resulted in the individual’s placement on the Temporary Disability Retirement List), has been extended to November 10, 2010, according to an Order entered by federal Judge George W. Miller.   

Under the Rules of the United States Court of Federal Claims, the Court has reportedly allowed the class action lawsuit to be a class action on behalf of the following individuals who choose to opt in:

All individuals who (a) served on active duty in the U.S. Army, Navy,Marine Corps, or Air Force, (b) were found by a Physical Evaluation Board to be unfit for continued service due, Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 9.10.10”

Week Adjourned: 9.3.10

Top Class Actions

Dishonorable Disbursements? Prudential Financial is facing a potential class action brought by the families of six dead soldiers who allege that the life insurance company is profiteering from the deceased soldiers’ policies with various bookkeeping maneuvers. Specifically, the suit accuses the company of misrepresenting the way beneficiaries could collect lump-sum payouts, and that the company profits from this. Read on.

The lawsuit was filed by parents of soldiers who died in Iraq, Afghanistan, El Salvador and after returning to the U.S. They live in Massachusetts, California, Illinois, Maryland, and Texas. They are claiming that Prudential holds the money in a $200 billion general account which earns five percent to six percent in interest, and that beneficiaries claims are only paid into an “Alliance” account when a beneficiary requests it. The company then pays the claim out at the lower interest rate keeping the difference in interest earned. One attorney for the plaintiffs estimates that the lost interest could amount to as much as $20,000 to $30,000 for families who let the money sit in Prudential’s accounts. That’s certainly worth pursuing.

If the suit is granted class action status, tens of thousands of beneficiaries who received payments under group life insurance policies for military members and veterans created by Congress and administered by Prudential may be affected.

Top Settlements

Frown Lines for Allergan. Big news on the pharmaceutical front this week. Allergan Therapeutic Inc—you may have heard of them—they make Botox—has agreed to plead Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 9.3.10”