Week Adjourned: 11.10.17 – Lyft, PNC, Chase

Top Class Action Lawsuits

Not wanting to hear from Lyft? Lyft got hit with a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action lawsuit this week, alleging that ride sharing app, and employment social network Jobcase engaged in sending unsolicited text messages to prospective drivers.

According the complaint, filed by Mary Fente, Lyft and Jobcase, which also runs a subsidiary company that posts jobs called jobhat, sent spam text messages to Fente’s phone using an automated dialing system, in violation of the TCPA. The purpose of the text messages was to persuade Fente to become a driver for Lyft, she claims.

According to Fente, she had accessed Lyft’s website through an ad posted on Jobhat, previously.

The Lyft complaint cites the texts as reading “Maria, START NOW: Drive with Lyft, up to $1500/wk,” and the message contained a link to Lyft’s website. Fente said she did not consent to receiving text messages.

The proposed number of plaintiffs could be “in the several thousands, if not more,” and seeks class certification for any potential Lyft driver who received an automated text going back to August 10, 2013. Further, Fente seeks to enjoin Jobcase and Lyft from sending the texts, and asks a judge to triple the $1,500 statutory damages under the TCPA for each message.

In the proposed action, Fente states that the spam texts caused her “actual harm, including invasion of her privacy, aggravation, annoyance, intrusion on seclusion, trespass, and conversion.” Additionally, the unsolicited texts caused her to check her phone at work, which meant she had to stop what she was doing to check her phone.

Lyft has an agreement with Jobcase to pay the company a fee based on how many prospective drivers Jobcase steers to Lyft’s website, the complaint states.

The case is Fente et al. v. Jobcase et al., case number 1:17-cv-24082, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. 

How do you define unjust enrichment? A national consumer banking class action lawsuit filed against PNC Bank is alleging a version of it that goes like this: according to the complaint, customers with delinquent loans are being charged fees by PNC’s mortgage servicing unit, repeatedly, for “unreasonable and inappropriate” drive-by property inspections. Drive by inspections? Read on.

Filed in federal court by Rosemary Marsh of Bremerton, WA, the complaint asserts that she was charged for six drive by inspections, at $12 each, over a span of 17 months, after she fell behind on her mortgage in 2013.

“The inspector drives by the property ostensibly to assess whether the property is occupied, being maintained, and has not been damaged,” the complaint states.

According to the PNC mortgage property inspection lawsuit, the bank automatically orders the property inspections at regular intervals without regard to whether they are needed or reasonable.“Property inspections are even performed when PNC is aware that a property is not vacant,” the plaintiff asserts. By way of example, in the case of a borrower who only misses one month’s payment but continues to make regular monthly payments, “PNC’s system will continue to generate work orders for property inspections until the initial default is cured,” according to the complaint. “These computer-generated inspections are unnecessary and unreasonable, confer no benefit to the lender and serve no purpose other than to generate revenue for PNC,” the lawsuit states.

Marsh alleges that even after verifying she was occupying the home, and after she had resumed making monthly payments on her loan, PNC ordered and assessed inspection fees.

The lawsuit claims unjust enrichment, and violations of the Washington State consumer protection laws.

Marsh contends that Class Members have suffered injury-in-fact and/or actual damage, and as a result, Plaintiff and the Class Members are entitled to a disgorgement of all amounts by which the Defendant has been unjustly enriched, as well as their actual damages, punitive damages, among other relief.

Marsh brings this action seeking injunctive relief and damages on behalf of herself and the hundreds of thousands or millions of borrowers who have been victimized by PNC’s uniform practice of charging for unreasonable and inappropriate property inspection fees. The lawsuit seeks certification of a national class and a Washington class. 

Top Settlements

Chase to settle overtime lawsuit… Bet these plaintiffs are celebrating. JP Morgan Chase & Co has agreed to pony up no less than $16.7 million as settlement of an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit.

The settlement address claims made by assistant branch managers that Chase misclassified them as exempt from overtime, in violation of federal and state employment laws.

There are four classes of plaintiffs, one which brings claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and three putative classes, which claim violations of New York, Connecticut and Illinois laws respectively. Under the proposed deal, plaintiffs should receive an average of more than $3,000 per class member, in respect of unpaid overtime dating back to 2012. The deal covers approximately 5,400 employees.

The class action was filed in March 2014 and certified in September 2016. The putative classes filed a lawsuit in April 2015 after attempting to negotiate directly with the bank, according to the agreement. The two lawsuits were eventually consolidated by the court, following certification of the FLSA class.

“Given all the risks plaintiffs faced (obtaining class certification, maintaining collective action certification, defeating the class and collective action arbitration waivers, winning liability, proving damages, winning the appeal, etc.) and recognizing that plaintiffs did not work overtime in multiple weeks per year when they took time off or when there were bank holidays, an average gross settlement of about $3,086 is reasonable in this highly-contested matter,” the proposed Chase settlement agreement states.

The cases are Taylor et al. v. JPMorgan Chase & Co. et al., case number 14-cv-01718, and Varghese v. JPMorgan Chase & Co. et al., case number 1:15-cv-03023, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

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

Week Adjourned: 1.6.12

A wrap of the week’s top class action lawsuits and settlements for the week ending January 6, 2012.

Top Class Actions

Pay your staff overtime? Just do it! A former employee of the San Francisco NikeTown Store has filed a wages and overtime class action complaint against Nike alleging that the sporting goods manufacturer failed to compensate him for overtime, meals and rest breaks as well as any additional shifts he worked. The lawsuit has two (2) potential classes: “All employees of Defendants who worked as Sales Associates, or any other non-exempt job position, who were subject to Defendants’ policy of searching Defendants’ employees upon exiting one of Defendants’ store locations in California from December 28, 2007, to the date of filing this Complaint.” This group is hereinafter referred to as the “California Class.” This period of time is hereinafter referred to as the “California Class Period.”

And, “All employees of Defendants who worked as Sales Associates, or any other non-exempt job position, who were subject to Defendants’ policy of searching Defendants’ employees upon exiting one of Defendants’ store locations in the United States of America from December 28, 2008, to the date of filing this Complaint.” This group is hereinafter referred to as the “Nationwide Class.” This period of time is hereinafter referred to as the “Nationwide Class Period.”

The employment lawsuit was filed by Webster Proctor, on behalf of himself and behalf of others similarly situated. According to the complaint, Proctor was employed by Nike from approximately April 2010 until approximately May 2011. During that time he alleges in the lawsuit that he generally worked four (4) 8-hour shifts per week and was deprived of pay for all the hours he worked, meal and rest breaks, and proper overtime pay.

Specifically, the wages and hour class action lawsuit alleges: failure to compensate employees for all hours worked; failure to pay overtime; failure to provide meal and rest periods; failure to furnish accurate wage statements; failure to maintain employee time records; and unfair competition.

Top Settlements

Is it snake oil? An unfair business practices lawsuit against dietary supplement distributors Iovate Health Sciences Inc., and Iovate Health Sciences USA Inc., look certain to be settled as the companies have agreed to pay $1.5 million in civil penalties and costs. This is reportedly the second largest multidistrict attorney dietary supplement settlement of its kind in California.

The lawsuit was brought by the District Attorney’s Office in Santa Cruz, Napa, Alameda, Marin, Monterey,

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”