Week Adjourned: 9.23.16 – SoftSheen, Chicago School, Domino’s

7528500842Top Class Action Lawsuits

Heads up—literally… for anyone who’s used SoftSheen-Carson Optimum Amla Legend No-Mix, No-Lye Relaxer. A defective products class action lawsuit has been filed by two women in the US against L’Oréal alleging the hair relaxer kits causes hair loss and scalp burns. Ouch!

While the advertising claims it helps Afro-Caribbean hair to feel fuller and silkier through the inclusion of amla oil from the Indian amla super fruit, the plaintiffs allege that thousands of women who bought and used the product have suffered distressing injuries including hair loss and breakage, and scalp irritation, blisters and burns.

According to the SoftSheen Relaxer complaint, despite not listing lye as an ingredient, the inclusion of lithium hydroxide can cause damaging effects like those experienced by the women who used the product. Further, it’s also not clear as to whether the product truly is a ‘no-lye’ relaxer as the retail lists sodium hydroxide in the products’ ingredients online.

Dorothy Riles, one of the key plaintiffs behind the lawsuit, claims that when she used the product she was left with bald patches, burns and scabs forcing her to wear a wig.

Another key plaintiff claims that when using the product she immediately experienced scalp irritation and, after washing it out, she saw “significant” hair loss.

The plaintiffs are demanding that L’Oréal is tried by jury and are seeking compensation on the grounds of false advertising, unfair competition, consumer fraud, deceptive business practices, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, unjust enrichment, fraud and negligence.

Top Settlements

Shrinking Credibility at School? A $11.2 million settlement in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit pending against The Chicago School of Psychology has received final approval. The lawsuit was brought by students who alleged they were provided with misleading information regarding the school’s accreditation and their job prospects after completing their courses.

The Chicago School settlement will provide financial recovery for 87 students who are class members. The average payout will be $95,000 per student.

Plaintiff Miranda Joe Truitt and other students filed the complaint in November, 2012 claiming they invested in a worthless education. They wanted to study at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and were encouraged to attend classes at the graduate university’s Los Angeles campus, which was falsely promoted to them as being prestigious and accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

According to the settlement documents, the plaintiffs were “either negligently lured” to enroll at the Los Angeles campus or were caused to stay “by a series of statements or omissions allegedly made, issued or approved by defendants.” In 2013, Tara Fischer filed a similar class action which was later consolidated with the Truitt’s complaint.

According to Truitt’s complaint, the administration of the Chicago School of Psychology led the Los Angeles campus students to believe that they would get APA approval before their graduation.

The case is Miranda Jo Truit et al v. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, number BC495518, in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles.

Domino’s Pizza drivers got a delivery this week …in the form of a $995,000 award in a wage and hour lawsuit in Georgia. The action was brought against Domino’s franchisees Cowabunga Inc. and Cowabunga Three LLC, by drivers who alleged the franchisees shorted their drivers on vehicle expenses, resulting in the drivers’ pay going below below minimum wage in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The named plaintiff, Chadwick Hines, will receive a $7,500 service award. The final approval of the settlement  ends the lawsuit filed against Cowabunga in 2015. Cowabunga, one of the largest singly owned Domino’s franchises in the U.S.

A total of 565 Cowabunga delivery drivers opted into to the case. The drivers will receive damages from the $995,000 settlement in exchange for waiving their wage and hour claims against Cowabunga. The average award per driver is $1,138.

Well, that’s a wrap for this week. See you at the Bar!

Week Adjourned: 3.27.15 – Dominos Pizza, Wen Haircare, AIG

DominosTop Class Action Lawsuits 

Heads up you pizza delivery folk!! Another proposed wage and hour class action lawsuit has been filed against 70 Domino’s Franchises stores, this time in California and Arizona, by a delivery driver who alleges Domino’s fails to reasonably reimburse drivers for the costs of using personal vehicles for work, in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California labor laws.

Field by driver Derek Gibbins, the Dominos delivery lawsuit alleges franchise operator Hishmeh Enterprises Inc. uses a flawed method to determine reimburse rates. Specifically, it typically pays $1 per trip whch that does not accurately reflect costs incurred by drivers.

The complaint further claims that Hishmeh’s “systematic failure” to provide adequate reimbursement constitutes a “kickback” such that hourly wages paid to its drivers are not free and clear, resulting in net wages that fall beneath federal and state minimum-wage requirements in violation of the FLSA and state labor codes.

“The net effect of defendant’s flawed reimbursement policy is that it willfully fails to pay the federal and state minimum wage to its delivery drivers,” according to the complaint filed in California federal court. “Defendant thereby enjoys ill-gained profits at the expense of its employees.” Otherwise known as screwing your employees—allegedly.

The complaint alleges all Hishmeh drivers have similar experiences because they operate under the same reimbursement policy. The suit seeks to include an estimate of several hundred current and former Hishmeh delivery drivers in California over the past four years. 

Wen will my hair stop falling out? Wen you stop using the product, although this has yet to be established. Wen Hair Products and marketing company Guthy-Renker got hit with a defective products class action lawsuit this week over allegations the line of products cause hair loss. Oh. Not so good.

The Wen haircare lawsuit, filed by women living in Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, New Jersey and North Carolina, the plaintiffs all allege they have suffered severe hair loss after using ‘Wen Hair Products’.

The Wen line of products is designed, manufactured and sold by Chaz Dean, a Hollywood hair stylist, and Guthy-Renker. The defendants claim that the Wen hair products condition the hair, and limit or repair damage caused by regular hair treatments and daily styling. However, not advertised is the alleged severe and possibly permanent damage to hair, including hair loss to the point of visible bald spots and severe breakage, according to the plaintiffs.

According to the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, many of the women who have suffered damage called the companies for help, only to be told that their complaints were unusual. However, the companies had received prior, similar calls, which they did not disclose. You think? 

Top Settlements 

And the fallout from the 2008 mortgage-backed securities financial crisis continues… this week with final approval of a $970.5 million settlement granted by a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Yes folks, this effectively ends the securities litigation brought by shareholders of the insurance giant American International Group (AIG). Remember them?

The securities lawsuit alleged that AIG misled investors about the subprime mortgage exposure that led to a liquidity crisis and over $180 billion in federal bailouts, to put is very simply. The investors alleged AIG failed to disclose risks it took on through its portfolio of credit default swaps and a securities lending program, leading them to buy stocks they otherwise would not have bought.

This settlement is among the largest class-action settlements to result from litigation of mortgage-backed securities and the 2008 financial crisis. The judge noted that no potential class member objected to the terms of the deal, leading her to determine it was “fair, reasonable and adequate.”

The settlement affects shareholders who bought AIG securities from March 16, 2006, to September 16, 2008. 

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