Week Adjourned: 9.14.12 – Chipotle Receipts, Family Dollar, Katrina Victims

The weekly wrap of top class action lawsuits and settlements for the week of September 14, 2012.

Top Lawsuits

Rounding Error? Here’s a new twist on an old theme—can you guess? (yup—consumer fraud). But then necessity is the mother of invention—as they say. A federal consumer fraud class action lawsuit was just filed against the restaurant chain Chipotle, alleging their recently introduced practice of rounding up and down on total amounts on customer receipts not only nickel and dimes customers, but also violates various contract, unfair competition and state consumer protection laws.

Apparently the powers-that-be decided that rounding out the totals on customer receipts would alleviate the need for counting out pennies and small change, thereby reducing line-ups. Now that’s creative! I wonder if that would work with the IRS?

The Chipotle receipt rounding lawsuit is filed on behalf of anyone in California who purchased a gargantuan burrito or other item from any of the chain’s state locations between August 30, 2008 and the present.

The lawsuit seeks a court order to stop Chipotle from engaging in its allegedly “deceptive practices” and requests that damages to be paid to all affected class members.

Top Settlements

Family Dollar to Pay its Family of Employees—unpaid overtime, that is. A preliminary settlement has been reached in the unpaid overtime class action pending against the retailer Family Dollar. The lawsuit is brought by over 1,700 New York store managers who allege they are owed overtime wages.

I find it amazing that nearly every week we report on at least one unpaid overtime class action lawsuit—either in this blog or on our site and our Facebook page. Just so we’re crystal clear on what unpaid overtime is—legally—if you work more than 40 hours per week, you are entitled to overtime pay. Overtime laws contained in the United States Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provide minimum wage, overtime, and child labor standards. Overtime rules ensure that employees who are denied overtime pay can file an overtime lawsuit.

The Family Dollar settlement has yet to be finalized and approved in court, but the existing agreement involves the discount retailer making a maximum payment it of $14 million. Get this—Family Dollar has over 7,400 stores throughout the U.S.

Here’s one a long time in coming. This week, Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp agreed to pay $61 million to settle long-running insurance lawsuits stemming from insurance claims made after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

For all of us whose short-term memories have gone south—way south—Katrina hit New Orleans and surrounding areas on August 29, 2005. As for Rita? She struck in September 2005, and caused $12 billion in damage on the US Gulf Coast.

The settlement will include caps of $4,500 per claim, $150,000 for court costs and $750,000 for administrative expenses.

This settlement follows a $104 million judgment paid by Citizens and will benefit over 18,500 policyholders who sued over slow adjustment claims stemming from hurricane damage. This settlement is meant to cover plaintiffs who weren’t initially covered in July’s settlement.

According to the Associated Press, Citizens CEO Richard Robertson said one lawsuit involves 7,800 claimants and up to 12,000 in the other.

That’s it for this week—See you at the bar, perhaps?