Week Adjourned: 4.2.16 – Facebook, Gun Safety, Corinthian College

facebook logoTop Class Action Lawsuits

Facebook Data Mining for (Ad) Dollars? This is very disheartening, if the allegations are proved true. A privacy class action lawsuit has been filed against Facebook and several high profile cancer institutes, alleging FB mined private health data from websites of the cancer institutes to generate advertising campaigns.

The cancer institutes named as co-defendants in the proposed class action are: the American Cancer Society Inc., American Society of Clinical Oncology Inc., Melanoma Research Foundation, Adventist Health System, BJC Healthcare, the Cleveland Clinic, and the University of Texas-MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Filed by Winston Smith, a registered Facebook user and Missouri resident, the 88-page complaint claims the medical institutes’ websites include a secret “Facebook code” that allow users’ data to be transmitted to Facebook, which then creates targeted advertising campaigns.

“Without the knowledge, consent, or any action of the user, the entire process happens in milliseconds,” the complaint states.

According to Smith, he searched for lung cancer information on the American Cancer Society’s website, Cancer.org. The information he sought and any links he clicked then were sent to Facebook without his knowledge and without his consent.

“Despite Cancer.org’s Privacy Policy, the Plaintiff’s communications to and from Cancer.org were contemporaneously re-directed to, tracked, intercepted, and acquired by Facebook through the process described above,” Smith alleges. “Upon these and other communications, Plaintiff’s cancer-related communications were disclosed to, tracked, and intercepted by Facebook through cookies and other identifiers.”

In the complaint, Smith asserts that users of such websites “trust” that their personal details of their cancer-related searches and browsing with not be shared with third-parties. The complaint also notes that Facebook, itself, does not disclose in its data and privacy policies that it tracks and collects such “sensitive information.”

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Gun Safety Gone Wrong? This one kind of redefines defective products. A class action lawsuit has been filed against the gun manufacturer/importer Century Arms, alleging the safety levers on certain models are defective. Terrific.

Specifically, the Century rifles lawsuit contends that numerous Century-branded AK rifles and pistols are equipped with a safety selector lever that can be pushed above the “safe” position. In turn, a user can then unknowingly disengage the safety mechanism and accidentally discharge the gun without pulling the trigger.

According to the complaint, the problem is linked to the firearm’s “inadequate design, manufacturing, and testing,” and adds the feature “will not prevent and has not prevented accidental discharge of the guns.” 

Further, the plaintiffs cite a YouTube video which shows the alleged defect as being the result of Century maintaining a full-auto safety selector rather than modifying it with a semi-auto safety selector, much like its competitors.

Based in Delray Beach, Florida, Century is a known importer of Russian surplus weapons including AK-47 rifles. According to federal law, the company must modify the firearms to comply with U.S. regulations before entering them in commerce.

The plaintiffs contend that Century is aware of the defect as it changed the safety selector on current models. However, the lawsuit notes, Century has never issued a warning to the public or recalled defective models.

“Century is aware that the Class AK-47 Rifles and Pistols have fired as result of the Safety Selector defect, and it is only a matter of time, if not already, before individuals are seriously injured or killed,” the lawsuit states.  At a loss for words here.

The class consists of plaintiffs from across the US who have experienced an unintentional discharge with their Century firearm due to the safety lever. In most of the cases, the safety lever advanced beyond the safe position to cause the gun to fire without the pull of the trigger. In one case, a round discharged inside an apartment, ripping through the wall and entering the neighboring unit. None of the instances resulted in injury or death.

The class action suit accuses Century of violating 10 counts of state and federal laws that protect consumers. 

Top Settlements

Corinthian College Takes a $1.1B Hit. And justice prevails…in the form of a $1.1 billion judgment handed down against the for-profit Corinthian Colleges Inc. (CCI), for its alleged predatory and unlawful business practices. It’s about time.

The lawsuit was filed by the office California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.

The now defunct CCI allegedly misrepresented training programs and job placement rates, and pushed students into high interest loans. A lawsuit was also filed by Attorney General Martha Coakley, against the school.

According to Harris’ office, CCI intentionally targeted low-income, vulnerable Californians through false advertising and aggressive marketing campaigns. The organization purportedly misrepresented job placement rates and school programs. It conducted this false advertising via the Internet, telemarketing and television ad campaigns. 

Ok, that’s a wrap folks…See you at the bar.

Week Adjourned: 3.6.15 – Facebook, Celgene, Tech Workers

FB Dislike buttonTop Class Action Lawsuits

Is it Facebook’s Time to Face the Ringtone? Maybe…the social media giant is facing a proposed Telephone Consumer protection Act (TCPA) class action lawsuit alleging it sends unwanted text messages to peoples’ cellphones notifying them that their accounts have been logged into. The $5 million complaint alleges that Facebook knowingly violated the TCPA by sending these unwanted text messages. According to the Facebook lawsuit, Facebook provides an “extra security feature” in which it sends log-in notifications to alert users when their account is accessed from a new device. However, these text messages are allegedly sent, in some cases several times a day, to people who haven’t given Facebook authorization to do so, who have asked Facebook to stop this practice, and who allegedly do not even have Facebook accounts. Question—how does FB acquire emails of people who don’t have FB accounts?

Servicing over a billion Facebook accounts worldwide, Facebook’s automated systems are powerful and, when used improperly, capable of extreme invasions into the privacy of American consumers,” the complaint states. “Facebook operates a sloppy system and in doing so shows complete disregard for the privacy of consumers.”

According to lead plaintiff Noah Duguid, Facebook began sending text messages to his cellphone in January 2014, without his having given his cell phone number to FB, or his having had any business dealings with the social media company. Oh, you just gotta love that.

After Duguid allegedly sent the defendant a detailed email in April 2014 complaining about the messages and asking that they stop, Facebook replied with an automatic email telling him to log on to its website to report the problematic content. This continued until the following October when Duguid allegedly responded to an Facebook text using the word “off”. After this, the company replied “Facebook texts are now off. Reply on to turn them back on.” Regardless, the company continued to text Duguid, according to the complaint.

The proposed TCPA class action lawsuit seeks to represent a class of individuals in the U.S. who didn’t give Facebook their cell number and received one or more of the accused texts within the four years before the filing of the complaint, and a class of individuals who received texts in the same time frame despite telling Facebook they didn’t want them. Plaintiff seeks at least $500 in damages for each violation of the TCPA. Go baby go!

FYI—the case is Noah Duguid et al. v. Facebook Inc., case number 3:15-cv-00985, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

How Much is the Medicine Worth? There’s the $65 million dollar question facing Celgene Corp. They were hit with an antitrust class action lawsuit filed by The City of Providence in New Jersey, alleging the pharmaceutical company monopolized the market for two of its blockbuster cancer drugs by blocking its competitors’ access to samples necessary to bring generic versions to market.

According to the potential class action, Celgene is using risk evaluation and mitigation strategies, a federal drug safety measure, to prevent competitors such as Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. from gaining access to samples for Thalomid and Revlimid. Those samples are necessary for the Food and Drug Administration test for generic equivalency.

According to the lawsuit, “Due to Celgene’s monopolistic and anticompetitive conduct, plaintiff, and all other consumers and third-party payors, paid higher prices to treat leprosy and multiple myeloma than they otherwise would have absent Celgene’s conduct.” Specifically, the plaintiff alleges those prices have risen upwards of 3,400 percent since the initial approval of the treatments by the FDA in 1998. The lawsuit contends that one Revlimid pill sells for approximately $500.

The suit is City of Providence v. Celgene Corporation, case number 2:15-cv-01605, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. 

Top Settlements 

I’m betting there’s a lot of happy tech engineers in Silicon Valley this week. A $415 million settlement has received preliminary approval ending a closely watched antitrust class action lawsuit filed by tech workers in Silicon valley. The lawsuit alleged that Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp., and Adobe Systems Inc., conspired to refrain from poaching each other’s employees thereby limiting job mobility and, consequently, keeping salaries at a standstill. Nice.


The antitrust class action lawsuit was filed in 2011, and was based largely on emails in which Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, former GoogleChief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt and some of their rivals detailed plans to avoid poaching each other’s prized engineers.


Nearly 64,000 workers are affected by the case. They accused the companies of a corporate conspiracy to make it difficult for tech workers to negotiate better jobs at rival companies.


Judge Lucy Koh said she was satisfied this week after the companies increased their earlier offer of $324.5 million. Let’s hope this deal get’s final approval.

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


Week Adjourned: 1.3.14 – Facebook, Hyundai Kia, Royal Health

Top class action lawsuits and settlements for the week ending January 3, 2014. Top class actions include Facebook, Hyundai, Kia and Royal Health.

FB Dislike buttonTop Class Action Lawsuits

Hashtag Privacy Please! Naughty, naughty! Facebook’s allegedly been peeping into your privates—messages that is…which, a potential class action lawsuit claims, is in violation of federal and state laws.

Filed by two Facebook users against Facebook the lawsuit alleges the social media platform scans messages between users labeled “private” for links and other information that can be sold to third parties including advertisers, marketers and data aggregators. The Facebook lawsuit is seeking class action status, with a potential 166 million Facebook users in the US eligible to join the class, if it is certified.

Plaintiffs Matthew Campbell from Arkansas and Michael Hurley from Oregon filed the lawsuit in a US district court in Northern California, alleging Facebook data mines “private” messages without disclosing it does so, or seeking users’ consent. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges Facebook’s intercepting and using links in “private” messages between users is in violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and California privacy and unfair competition laws.

“Facebook’s desire to harness the myriad data points of its users has led to overreach and intrusion … as it mines its account holders’ private communications for monetary gain,” the lawsuit contends.

Great start to the New Year guys!

Top Settlements

Holy Hyundai! (ok, bad, I know) A preliminary $395 settlement has been reached in a consumer fraud class action pending against Hyundai Motor Corp. and Kia Motors alleging gas mileage rating were overstated by the automotive manufacturers. The settlement will affect some 600,000 of Hyundai’s 2011-13 models and about 300,000 of Kia‘s 2011-13 models in the US.

The back story? ….In November 2012, Hyundai and Kia Motors agreed to restate expected gas mileage for 1.1 million vehicles in North America, following an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency. The automakers admitted they after overstated mileage claims on vehicle window stickers for 900,000 vehicles in the United States. The settlement impacts about 600,000 of Hyundai’s 2011-13 models and about 300,000 of Kia‘s 2011-13 models in the U.S. Hyundai’s settlement is valued at up to $210 million, while Kia’s is valued at $185 million.

The 2012 restatement reduced Hyundai-Kia’s fleetwide average fuel economy from 27 to 26 mpg for the 2012 model year. Individual ratings, depending on the car, will fall from 1 mpg to 6 mpg. Most vehicles saw combined city-highway efficiency drop by 1 mpg, the Detroit News reports. Exact figures will depend on how many customers elect to participate in the settlement’s one-time lump sum payment option or remain in the lifetime reimbursement program, the automakers said.

The Hyundai Kia settlement will resolve more than 50 lawsuits filed across the country to address the issue. Hyundai agreed to add the option of taking a lump sum payment. The proposed cash amount, which varies by vehicle model and ownership type, will result in an average payment of $353 to Hyundai owners and lessees. For example, an owner of a 2012 Elantra would receive a lump sum payment of $320 minus any previous reimbursement payments. For Kia owners, the proposed average cash lump-sum amount will be about $667.

A federal judge is expected to review the proposed settlement for preliminary approval in early 2014. If approved, settlement notices will be sent to individual class members. To get the full skinny on initial details of the settlement, you can visit hyundaimpginfo.com or www.kiampginfo.com.

Royal Health to Shell Out a Royal $1.94 Million …in unpaid overtime. Yup. A preliminary settlement has been reached in an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit pending against Royal Health Care of Long Island LLC. Employees who filed the class action alleged the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York state labor laws by not paying them overtime pay.

In their employment lawsuit, the 411 plaintiffs allege Royal Health misclassified their positions as Representative, which are exempt from the overtime provisions stipulated under the FLSA and NYLL, and thereby failed to pay Plaintiffs overtime when they worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek.

Under the terms of the Royal Health settlement, the Royal Health will pay $1.94 million to plaintiffs who worked eight weeks or more, between May 2006 to May 2013. If approved, funds will be distributed proportionally among the Class Members based on number of weeks each worked at Royal Health Care. An incentive award of $10,000 each will also be given to the four original named plaintiffs.

A Fairness Hearing is scheduled for January 6, 2014. The Royal Health Care Unpaid Overtime Class Action Lawsuit is Chandrakalli Sukhnandan et al. v. Royal Health Care of Long Island LLC, Case No. 1:12-cv-04216, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Ok Folks, That’s all for this week. Happy New Year! Here’s to a peaceful and prosperous 2014 for all.

Week Adjourned: 12.7.12 – Rimmel London, Toys R Us, Facebook

Beauty Blunder! I love this one… A class action lawsuit has been filed alleging that Coty’s Rimmel London Lash Accelerator mascara is misleading to consumers as it falsely claims it enhances eyelash growth. Really? Find this and more in our weekly class action lawsuit wrap, Week Adjourned.

Top Class Action Lawsuits

Beauty Blunder! I love this one… A class action lawsuit has been filed alleging that Coty’s Rimmel London Lash Accelerator mascara is misleading to consumers as it falsely claims it enhances eyelash growth. Really?

Filed in federal court in California, the consumer fraud class action lawsuit, entitled Algarin v. Coty Inc., Case No. 12-cv-2868 JAH JMA, claims Coty deceives consumers by advertising that Rimmel London Lash Accelerator mascara with Grow-Lash Complex lengthens eyelashes by 37 percent within one month, and, with ‘regular use,’ increases their number. (The implications, if this is true, are a little worrying).

This is the latest in a rash of lawsuits aimed at wording/false advertising and generally misleading advertising tactics employed by our captains of industry. What I want to know is how much  Rimmel London Lash Accelerator mascara actually ‘accelerated’ Zooey Deschanel’s lashes? And are there unretouched photos somewhere to prove it? Just asking. (Ms. Deschanel, btw, for those who don’t pay much attention to these things, is the Rimmel model for Lash Accelerator).

Back to the lawsuit. Filed by plaintiff Yanira Algarin, the class action states that the mascara does not physically grow or multiply eyelashes and certainly not within the 30-day timeframe advertised. (Have to say I am slightly relieved about that). Instead, the lawsuit states, “As a result of Coty’s deceptive grow lash claim, consumers — including Plaintiff and members of the proposed Class — have purchased a product that does not perform as advertised,” the Rimmel mascara class action lawsuit states. “Moreover, they have paid a price premium for Rimmel Lash Accelerator over other mascaras sold by Coty and its competitors that do not claim to physically grow or multiply eyelashes in 30 days.”

The Rimmel mascara lawsuit is seeking $5 million in damages for thousands of consumers who were allegedly mislead into purchasing Rimmel London Lash Accelerator mascara. It is also asking that Coty immediately stop marketing the mascara as having the ability to lengthen and multiply eyelashes and provide refunds to consumers. Sign me up!

Top Settlements

Toys R Us R All Over the News this Week – and not in a good way. News that a $1.1 million settlement was approved by a California judge in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit pending against the toy retailer was reported earlier this week.

Note, this is not a settlement for the Toys R Us bait-and-switch class action lawsuit filed by an angry customer who feels he was duped over the Thanksgiving weekend. That lawsuit alleges Toys “R” US engaged in a bait-and-switch scheme that lured in online shoppers with offers of valuable free gifts but turned out be small or non-existent, and it is alive and well.

The Toys R Us lawsuit that looks as if it may finally be resolved was the one filed by lead plaintiff Laura Maybaum in November 2009 and is entitled Laura Maybaum v. Toys “R” Us Inc., et al., Case No. BC466115.

In it, Maybaum alleged customers who purchased products that offered free gift cards, buy-one-get-one 50 percent-off discounts or other benefits, received less money than the full purchase price on returns. This was in directly violation of a California law, the lawsuit states, which prohibits retailers from giving less than full cash or credit refunds unless a more restrictive policy has been put in place.

Under the Toys “R” Us consumer fraud class action settlement, Class Members will receive a voucher for $10 off a purchase of $50 or more. Class Members include all California consumers who purchased products from Toys “R” Us stores since January 1, 2008 that qualified for a promotion and subsequently returned one or more items. One down. One to go. So far.

If it’s on Facebook – it Must be True… Right? Well, the news is preliminary approval of a $20 million consumer fraud class action lawsuit pending against Facebook was granted this week. The settlement seeks to resolve allegations that Facebook used its ‘users’ names, photos and identities to advertise products on the social network, without those ‘users’ permission. Remember this one?

The Facebook lawsuit, entitled Angel Fraley, et al. v. Facebook, Inc., Case No. 11-cv-1726, alleges the advertising program violated users’ right to privacy by publicizing their “likes” without asking for permission or offering compensation.

Facebook has agreed to pay $20 million to settle the class action lawsuit, which will be split amongst charities, attorneys and the 125 million US Facebook users who appeared in Sponsored Stories without their consent. If approved, class members may be eligible to receive up to $10 each.

As part of the settlement, Facebook has also agreed that users will be allowed to exclude themselves from the advertising program.

And on that note—I’ll see you at the bar—as planning for the “deck the halls” thing. Have a great weekend!

Week Adjourned: 5.25.12 – Facebook IPO, AllianceOne Calls, Asbestos

Weekly wrap of class action lawsuits and settlements for the week ending May 25, 2012. This week’s highlights include Facebook IPO, AllianceOne Cell Phone Calls, and Asbestos Lawsuit Settlement.

Top Class Action Lawsuits

With Friends Like These…So who hasn’t heard about the Facebook IPO lawsuit feeding frenzy set off this week by allegations that Mark Zuckerberg’s social media platform may not have as rosy a future as originally perceived?

In a nutshell, the allegations boil down to claims that Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the underwriters—Morgan Stanely—misled thousands of shareholders in the $16 billion IPO when they “selectively disclosed” information about an analyst’s downgraded revenue forecast only to “a handful of preferred customers.”

The securities class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of all persons who purchased the common stock of Facebook, Inc, pursuant and/or traceable to the Company’s May 18, 2012 initial public offering (the “IPO” or the “Offering”), against the Company and certain individual defendants and the lead underwriters of the IPO for violations of the Securities Act of 1933.

The specific Facebook IPO lawsuit allegations are that on or about May 16, 2012 Facebook filed with the SEC a Registration Statement for the IPO. On May 18, 2012, the Prospectus with respect to the IPO became effective and 421 million shares of Facebook common stock were sold to the public at $38/share, thereby valuing the total size of the IPO at more than $16 billion.

The Complaint alleges that the Registration Statement and Prospectus contained untrue statements of material facts, omitted to state other facts necessary to make the statements made not misleading and were not prepared in accordance with the rules and regulations governing their preparation. Specifically, defendants failed to disclose that Facebook was experiencing a severe reduction in revenue growth due to an increase of users of its Facebook app or website through mobile devices rather than a traditional PC such that the Company told the Underwriters to materially lower their revenue forecasts for 2012.

And, defendants failed to disclose that during the roadshow conducted in connection with the IPO, certain of the Underwriter reduced their second quarter and full year 2012 performance estimates for Facebook, which revisions were material information which was not shared with all Facebook investors, but rather, selectively disclosed by defendants to certain preferred investors and omitted from the Registration Statement and/or Prospectus.

As of May 22, Facebook common stock was trading at approximately $31/share, or $7/share below the price of the IPO. Plaintiffs and the Class have suffered losses of more than $2.5 billion since the IPO.

This is going to be interesting…

Top Settlements

Hanging Up on AllianceOne. This is AllianceOne has agreed to a preliminary $9 million settlement this week, of a consumer fraud class action pending against the company. Preliminary court approval was recently given.

The AllianceOne lawsuit alleges that the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by calling cell phones using an automated dialer or with a pre-recorded voice message without the recipients’ prior express consent.

Under the terms of the settlement, AllianceOne denies any liability (of course…does anyone ever accept liability?).

Here’s the facts as you need to know them: the agreement is subject to final court approval. The recovery, less attorneys’ fees and expenses to be paid to Class Counsel, will be distributed to class members who received an autodialed call from the company or their affiliates and agents on a cell phone without their prior consent between February 8, 2004 and November 30, 2010, under procedures to be implemented by the court overseeing the settlement. After paying administrative expenses, attorneys’ fees and costs, a donation to a charitable organization, and awards to class members, the remaining amount in the settlement fund, if any, will be returned to AllianceOne.

For more information about the settlement, go to www.AllianceOneSettlement.com.

Asbestos Lawsuit Settlement. The family of the recently deceased Hannibal “Scottie” Saldibar will hopefully have some closure now, as they have just been awarded a $2.4 million settlement in an asbestos mesothelioma lawsuit they brought.

Saldibar, a tile setter from New Haven, died after contracting the asbestos-related cancer. He was 84 when he died, and had worked as a tile setter for 30 years. He passed away in January 2010, just nine months after being diagnosed with asbestos mesothelioma.

According to a report by the CT Post, it took a Superior Court jury only 3 hours of deliberation before finding the Tile Council of North America liable in Saldibar’s death, and awarding his family $1.6 million. An additional $800,000 was then awarded by the judge, in punitive damages. Tile Council of North America developed the asbestos-containing mortar used by tile setters for many years.

That’s a wrap folks—you at the bar—and have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend as we remember our Vets!

Week Adjourned: 11.20.09

Hey—is it Revenge of the Geek week?It's Geek Week at Week Adjourned

Top Class Actions

Microsoft Boxing Out Gamers? Microsoft got hit with a possible class action this week, over allegations that it unfairly banned Xbox Live Servicefrom subscribers with modified Xbox consoles.

The issues relate to modifications made to Xbox consoles by tens of thousands of Xbox owners, which are against the terms of use for Xbox/Xbox Live, and Microsoft’s decision to ban those consoles. The lawsuit—which is now seeking lead plaintiffs—alleges that the timing of the ban was designed to avoid revenue losses that would have resulted had Microsoft implemented the ban prior to the release of the blockbuster Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 game, or less than two months after the release of Halo 3: ODST.

The class action includes anyone who has had their Xbox console modified and banned from Xbox Live, and did not receive a refund for the prorated time left on the Xbox Live subscription.

YoCash is OurCash Now? Facebook and Zynga are also facing a class action, alleging that they Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 11.20.09”