Week Adjourned: 2.6.15 – Birchbox, Toyota, Bayer

The week’s top class action lawsuits and settlements. Top stories include Birchbox, Toyota and Bayer.

birchboxTop Class Action Lawsuits

Birchbox not a Beautiful Thing? Ah, no—you can’t automatically send me stuff and charge me for it without telling me first….According to an unfair business practices class action lawsuit filed against high end cosmetics retailer Birchbox Inc, that’s exactly what the company has been going on. Birchbox, an online subscription-based cosmetics seller that allows customers to sign up for monthly boxes of cosmetic samples based on their preferences. According to the lawsuit, the company is in violation of California state business laws because it fails to disclose to its users that their shipments automatically renew.

Tiffany Lapuebla, the plaintiff who filed the Birchbox class action, purchased a subscription to Birchbox in January 2013. According to the suit, Birchbox failed to show Lapuebla the renewal terms clearly. They charged Lapuebla’s credit card without getting her affirmative consent to the automatic renewal terms and failed to give information about how to cancel the service. The lawsuit also claims there is no disclosure in Birchbox’s acknowledgment for free trials about how to cancel before getting charged for the recurring subscription.

Lapuebla is also accusing Birchbox of violating the state’s unfair competition statute based on the name of the subscription in her shopping cart: “Women’s Rebillable Monthly Subscription.”

The proposed class includes any Birchbox subscribers since 2011 and seeks unspecified damages. 

Top Settlements

The Long Road to Justice—this is amazing! An $11 million verdict was handed down to the plaintiffs in a Toyota sudden acceleration personal injury lawsuit resulting from a defect in a 1996 Camry. The jury ruled that the defect contributed to an accident which left three people dead and two seriously injured.

While the jury found that the Camry’s driver, Koua Fong Lee, was 40% responsible for the crash, they cited Toyota as being 60 percent responsible. In the 2006 crash Lee rear-ended an Oldsmobile after exiting a highway. The driver of the Oldsmobile, Javis Trice-Adams Sr., and his son were instantly killed. His niece, also in the Oldsmobile, became a quadriplegic as a result of the crash and died 18 months later. Trice-Adams’ father and daughter were also injured.

The jury awarded both families a combined $11.4 million, though due to Lee’s partial responsibility, his $1.25 million award will be reduced to $750,000, according to his lawyers.

This is incredible—in 2008, Lee was convicted of negligent homicide and sentenced to eight years in prison. However, his conviction was overturned after Toyota’s recalls of later-model cars for acceleration defects, tied to floor mats and pedals, brought new attention to the case. Lee had claimed that the Camry started to accelerate by itself and that the car didn’t respond when he hit the brakes. Prosecutors declined to re-charge Lee, who served more than two years in prison.

In 2010, the Trice-Adams family sued Toyota claiming a defect in the Camry caused it to suddenly accelerate. Lee and his family intervened as plaintiffs later that year. The plaintiffs argued the accelerator got stuck in a “near wide-open position,” calling other Camry owners to testify at trial that they experienced similar problems.

It’s all very hush hush…but a potential settlement has been reached in a discrimination class action lawsuit facing Bayer Corp. Brought by former and current employees, the $100 million lawsuit alleges Bayer Corp. and four other Bayer HealthCare entities engaged in systematic discrimination against female employees.

The Bayer discrimination deal, if approved, could end the three year legal battle. The plaintiffs have agreed to dismiss the suit with prejudice in a short stipulation filed in New Jersey federal court on Friday, though the terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The class action, originally filed in 2011, claimed that male employees greatly outnumber female employees in management positions at Bayer, and discrimination regarding pay, promotion and pregnancy bias claims.

Hokee Dokee- That’s a wrap folks…Time to adjourn for the week.  See you at the bar!


Week Adjourned: 11.2.12 – OTC Medicine, Bayer Aspirin, Burger King

This week’s wrap of top class action lawsuit news includes OTC Medicine expiration dates, Bayer Aspirin, and Burger King discrimination–the top class actions for the week ending November 2, 2012.

Top Class Action Lawsuits

What’s in an Expiration Date? According to three separate consumer fraud class action lawsuits filed this week, a whole lot of questionable motivation.

Filed against Pfizer (which makes Advil), Bayer (which makes Bayer aspirin) and Johnson & Johnson (which makes Tylenol Cold Multi-Symptom medications), the drug expiration date lawsuits allege the drug makers use “unconscionable, unfair, deceptive, unethical and illegal” means to promote the sales of their products. Specifically, the lawsuits claim that the these means involve the utilization of expiration dates to get consumers to throw away products that have passed their expiration dates, even though the companies know “that if stored properly these medications can and do remain chemically stable, safe and effective long after those dates.”

According to the consumer fraud lawsuits, studies by the Food and Drug Administration, Harvard Medical School, and Johns Hopkins University have found 90% of more than 100 prescription and over-the-counter drugs were fine and could be used for as much as 15 years after their expiration dates: this excludes certain drugs like tetracycline, nitroglycerin, insulin, and liquid antibiotics.

The lawsuit claims that the purpose of the expiration dates is “[T]o increase defendants’ sales and profits because consumers have to purchase replacement medications for those they have thrown out.” The class is seeking actual and punitive damages for consumers that purchased products from Pfizer, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson.

Top Settlements

And Speaking of Drug Marketing… A $15 million settlement has been reached in the consumer fraud class action against Bayer regarding allegations of false advertising around certain combination aspirin products that were sold without FDA approval.

The lawsuit, entitled In re: Bayer Corp. Combination Aspirin Products Marketing & Sales Practices Litigation, alleges Bayer violated state consumer fraud and deceptive business practices acts, express and implied warranty statutes, and unjust enrichment laws in connection with the sale and marketing of Bayer Women’s Low-Dose Aspirin plus Calcium and Bayer Aspirin with Heart Advantage.

If you purchased Bayer® Women’s Low Dose Aspirin + Calcium or Bayer® Aspirin with Heart Advantage, you may be a member of the Bayer Heart Advantage Class or the Bayer Women’s Class (collectively referred to as the “Settlement Classes”) – and thus eligible to receive money from the settlement – depending on (1) which Combination Aspirin Product you purchased, (2) whether you purchased it for personal, family or household uses, and (3) when it was purchased. Each Settlement Class only includes purchases of specific Combination Aspirin Products during specific periods of time.

If you purchased one or more of the Combination Aspirin Products for personal, family or household uses then you are eligible to participate in one or both of the Settlement Classes described in this Notice, provided that your purchase occurred during the time periods specified for each Settlement Class.

Class Members of the Bayer combination aspirin class action settlement include US consumers who purchased one or more of the following combination aspirin products for personal, family or household use during the following time period:

Bayer Aspirin with Heart Advantage Settlement Class: Purchase Date: January 1, 2008 to July 20, 2012

Bayer Women’s Low-Dose Aspirin plus Calcium Settlement Class: Purchase Date: January 1, 2000 to July 20, 2012

To learn more about making a claim and to download forms go to the Bayer Combination Aspirin Class Action Lawsuit Settlement at BayerCombinationAspirinSettlement.com.

Convenience Food not so Convenient… A proposed settlement has been reached in a discrimination class action lawsuit pending against Burger King. The lawsuit, brought by individuals who use wheelchairs and scooters for mobility, allege that they encountered access problems at certain California Burger King leased restaurants.

Specifically, the Burger King class action lawsuit alleges individuals who use wheelchairs and scooters for mobility have been subjected to discrimination at the restaurants that allegedly contain unlawful architectural barriers to access. The Burger King ADA lawsuit sought to remove the alleged barriers, and monetary damages for Class Members denied access to restaurants on or after October 16, 2006.

The proposed settlement terms includes a total of $19 million for monetary relief, which will provide an estimated average recovery per class member of over $8,200, after deductions for attorney’s fees and costs.

Burger King Corporation and the restaurant operators deny they did anything wrong. The parties have reached a settlement of this case. It is now up to the Court approve the proposed settlement.

To find out more and to obtain claim forms for the Burger King wheelchair class action, call 1-888-569-9477.

And on that note—I’ll see you at the bar. Have a great weekend!

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”