Week Adjourned: 1.27.17 – Charles Schwab, Jimmy Choo, Telemarketers

Top Class Action Lawsuits

Charles Schwab caught with their hands in your pockets? Maybe. At least according to a class action filed this week alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). It was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against the Charles Schwab Corporation (“Schwab”) and certain of its subsidiaries on behalf of the participants in the 401(k) plan Schwab offered to its employees.

Short story: the complaint claims that Schwab included among the plan’s investment options certain mutual funds and collective trusts that were affiliated with Schwab, which allowed Schwab and its subsidiaries to collect unreasonable and excessive fees from its employees’ retirement savings. The complaint further alleges that Schwab imposed improper charges through a self-directed brokerage program, and used for its own purposes unallocated cash belonging to the 401(k) plan.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that Schwab’s conduct violated the fiduciary duties and prohibited transaction rules imposed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).

Heads up—participants in the Schwab 401(k) Plan may be members of the class.

Top Settlements

Jimmy Choo to pay YOU—possibly. A $2.5 million settlement has been agreed by Jimmy Choo, potentially ending a privacy class action lawsuit alleging the luxury shoe manufacturer printed its customers’ sensitive data on credit card receipts, putting them at risk of identify theft, in violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA).

Filed by Plaintiff Kerri C. Wood in October 2015, the Jimmy Choo lawsuit claims the defendant printed credit and debit card expiration dates and other sensitive information such as home addresses, phone numbers and cashiers’ names on its store receipts, in violation of FACTA.

Wood alleged that despite having had years to ensure it was in compliance with the FACTA amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Jimmy Choo deliberately chose not to comply.

According to the terms of the proposed Jimmy Choo settlement, Jimmy Choo would set up a $2.5 million fund to compensate opt-in class members who received point-of-sale credit or debit card receipts from a Jimmy Choo store containing a card expiration date between October 27, 2013, and November 2, 2013.

The estimated number of Jimmy Choo customers affected is 135,588. Depending on the exact number of the settlement class, each member could receive between $75 and $175 as compensation. Nice one.

The case is Kerri C. Wood v. J Choo USA Inc., case number 9:15-cv-81487, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Meanwhile, back at the Call Center… Frontier Communications Corp agreed an $11 million settlement proposal this week, potentially ending a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The lawsuit was filed by Diana Mey in 2013. In the complaint, Mey claims that she and thousands of others received automated telemarketing calls that were commissioned by Frontier and placed to them by Virido on the Five9 predictive dialer pursuant to a contract between Frontier and Virido using a list of telephone numbers that Frontier provided.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, each member of the settlement class will get a base payment of $90. The balance of the fund will then be divided on a per-call basis to class members who received multiple calls.

The settlement class consists of any person or entities who received a cellphone call placed by means of what the plaintiff contends was an automatic telephone dialing system, or who received two or more calls in a 12-month period on a number that had been on the National Do Not Call Registry for more than 30 days at the time of the calls.

In court document presented by Mey, there is a proposed class of individuals and entities that own 36,219 unique telephone numbers that have been identified as having received allegedly unlawful calls from Frontier.

Mey also pointed out that the proposed payments to potential class members exceed those handed out in other TCPA pacts that have been given court approval. She specifically cited four settlements reached since 2010 that have offered claimants payments ranging from $15 to $61.49. 

Ok…That’s a wrap for this week. See you at the bar!

Week Adjourned: 11.7.14 – Apple, Charles Schwab, Hertz

The week’s top class action lawsuits and settlements. Top stories include Apple, Charles Schwab and Hertz.

Apple logoTop Class Action Lawsuits

Sour Apples? Apple found itself on the end of yet another defective products class action lawsuit this week over allegations that the MacBook Pro series of laptop computers are defectively designed, causing the computers to malfunction.

Filed by Los Angeles resident Armen Soudijan, the Apple MacBook lawsuit claims that Soudijan purchased a MacBook Pro laptop in 2013, which came “with a defective graphics processing unit and/or defective graphics card implementation.” Specifically, the lawsuit claims that the defect “breaks the computer screen, causes computer freezes, crashes, and ultimately renders the laptop computers unusable.”

In the complaint Soudijan alleges “he was subjecting the laptop to normal use, including use of video processing, when he experienced a range of screen malfunctions, freezes, and ultimately crashes….The frequency and severity of the problem continued and increased. ”

According to the lawsuit, Soudijan’s MacBook Pro belongs to a line of Apple laptops released in 2011, which includes the 13 inch, 15 inch, and 17 inch screens. “Each of these products is designed, manufactured, marketed, sold, and built with a similar graphic processing unit and graphics processing card implementation and design, which is flawed and defective and causes the machine to unreasonably fail,” the lawsuit claims.

“Symptoms of failure include, but are not limited to, lines on the screen, garbled text, colored lines, rendering of the screen useless, freezes, shutdowns, and crashes, including data loss and full hardware malfunction,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit goes on to claim that the problems associated with the MacBook Pro have been reported by numerous customers through online and print forums, and that people experience these problems shortly after purchasing their Apple computers. The lawsuit further claims that “Apple is aware of the issue and had not take[n] adequate steps to remedy the situation either through warranty claims, recalls, or otherwise.”

The lawsuit against Apple in this MacBook Pro lawsuit cites violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law, breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, and unjust enrichment, and is seeking damages and injunctive relief, and prevention ofApple from selling defective products.

The Defective MacBook Pro Class Action Lawsuit is Soudjian v. Apple Inc., Case No. BC562621, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles. 

Top Settlements

What was that about Accountability? At Charles Schwab & Co., they say it exists. But…yet another unpaid overtime class action was settled this week—this one filed by financial consultants who allege they were misclassified and subsequently denied overtime by Charles Schwab & Co.

A $3.8 million settlement has been approved, potentially ending claims that Charles Schwab & Co violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by classifying its international CDT financial consultants and associate financial consultants as exempt from overtime pay. They are responsible for cross-selling financial products to existing brokerage and banking customers.

According to the complaint, the consultants alleged that they did not fall under any federal or California exemptions to overtime laws. They allege that they were encouraged by the defendant “to work beyond their scheduled shifts without compensation, failing to allow them to record overtime hours they worked and failing to compensate them for overtime hours they worked,” according to the complaint.

Charles Schwab agreed to settle the complaint just days after it was filed. According to the terms of the settlement two thirds of the funds will be distributed among hundreds of employees working as financial consultants in Charles Schwab call centers around the country. The settlement covers work performed between November 2009 and February 2014, or in the case of the international consultants, between November 2010 and February 2014.

Named plaintiffs Dana Aboud, William Hicks, Michael Porowski and Albert Schweizer will each receive $7,500 as compensation for their part in the unpaid overtime class action.

The case is Aboud et al. v. Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., case number 1:14-cv-02712, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Driving checks to the banks. A $53 million settlement has been reached in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit pending against Hertz Corp, and two Nevada airports brought by plaintiffs who alleged they were unlawfully charged undisclosed fees.

The Hertz settlement received final approval on October 30th, and contains $43.2 million restitution for Hertz customers who were billed for “airport concession recovery fees” at airports in Reno or Las Vegas between October 2003 and September 2009. Way to go!

The back story—the lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs Janet Sobel and Daniel Dugan, alleging Hertz violated a Nevada Revised Statute that requires car rental firms to include all charges in the rates they advertise in order to make rate comparisons reliable for those looking for the best deal. Specifically, Hertz allegedly tacked on a recovery fee separately from the rate it quoted its customers. The complaint stated that Hertz used that extra fee to pass along to consumers an assessment imposed on the company by the airports, which charge Hertz and other rental car firms a percentage of their gross revenues for the right to operate on site. 

Hokee Dokee- Time to adjourn for the week.  Have a fab weekend–See you at the bar!

Week Adjourned: 1.14.11

Top Lawsuits

Still Bugged by Similac…Remember the Similac recall in September? Well, a class action lawsuit was filed this week over the beetle-laden baby formula.

Plaintiffs, John L. and Jennifer M. O’Neil filed the suit against Abbott Laboratories Inc. (Delaware) and Abbott Laboratories, the makers of Similac baby formula, claiming that the Similac Isomil Sensitive formula they gave their two-month old baby in September made the child sick with diarrhea. So, they wisely switched formulas on the advice of their doctor, and low and behold their infant recovered.

At the end of September, Abbott issued a voluntary recall order after small common beetles were found at its Michigan manufacturing facility. The O’Neils claim that the products were contaminated to such an extent that their baby became ill, and consequently required medical treatment.

Heads-up—the proposed class includes consumers who purchased Similac Advanced, Similac Sensitive and Similac Go and Grow in 2010 and who fed the Similac product to infant children who then subsequently became sickened. 

Top Settlements

National City Bank Overdrew on Overdrafts…It looks like 2011 is going to be all about going after financial fraudsters—including banks. This latest settlement of a class action filed against National City Bank is no exception. In fact, it’s a preliminary $12 million settlement brought by Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 1.14.11”

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”