Week Adjourned: 7.29.16 – Kroger, T-Mobile, Enbridge Energy

krogerTop Class Action Lawsuits

Good Food Gone Bad…it’s the subject of a food poisoning class action lawsuit filed against the Kroger Co., The Pictsweet Co. and CRF Frozen Foods LLC and frozen vegetable manufacturers over allegations that the family of Roger Coffelt Jr., was made sick from Listeria contaminated foods. That’s not funny.

Coffelt Jr. filed the complaint alleging the peas his family ate caused illness to and Listeria infection of Coffelt Jr.s’ family members. He claims The Kroger Co., The Pictsweet Co., CRF Frozen Foods LLC are responsible because the defendants allegedly had grown, processed and sold the adulterated subject frozen peas and maintained their food production and packing facilities in an unsanitary and unhygienic condition.

Coffelt, and all those in the class, are seeking damages for not more than $30,000,000 plus penalties, attorneys’ fees and costs and for such other and further relief as the court deems proper. The case is US District Court for the Central District of California Case number 5:16-cv-01471.

Orwellian Credit Checks by T-Mobile? According to an unfair business practices class action lawsuit filed by a consumer, yes.

Filed by Erik Shapiro on behalf of all others similarly situated, the T-Mobile complaint states that in February 2014, Shapiro contacted the defendant to inquire about its phone plans and the possibility of switching his provider to T-Mobile. He alleges that the defendant performed a hard credit check on him, rather than a soft credit check as they stated they would do. As a result of the defendant’s action, the plaintiff sustained damages.

The plaintiff holds T-Mobile USA Inc. responsible because the defendant allegedly misrepresented to plaintiff that they would only do a soft credit check but did a hard credit check without plaintiff’s permission and consent. If true—really not good.

Heads up—the case is US District Court for the Central District of California Case number 2:16-cv-04698-RGK-MRW.

Top Settlements

Oil Spill Settlement…A long time in coming—but at least it’s here—a $177 million settlement agreement has been reached between Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership and the US federal government regarding the 2010 oil spills in Michigan and Illinois.

The US Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced a settlement with Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership and several related Enbridge companies to resolve claims stemming from its 2010 oil spills in Marshall, MI and Romeoville, IL.

Enbridge has agreed to spend at least $110 million on a series of measures to prevent spills and improve operations across nearly 2,000 miles of its pipeline system in the Great Lakes region. Enbridge will also pay civil penalties totaling $62 million for Clean Water Act violations—$61 million for discharging at least 20,082 barrels of oil in Marshall and $1 million for discharging at least 6,427 barrels of oil in Romeoville.

In addition, the proposed settlement will resolve Enbridge’s liability under the Oil Pollution Act, based on Enbridge’s commitment to pay over $5.4 million in unreimbursed costs incurred by the government in connection with cleanup of the Marshall spill, as well as all future removal costs incurred by the government in connection with that spill. The settlement includes an extensive set of specific requirements to prevent spills and enhance leak detection capabilities throughout Enbridge’s Lakehead pipeline system – a network of 14 pipelines spanning nearly 2,000 miles across seven states. Enbridge must also take major actions to improve its spill preparedness and emergency response programs. Under the settlement, Enbridge is also required to replace close to 300 miles of one of its pipelines, after obtaining all necessary approvals.

Ok, that’s a wrap folks… See you at the Bar!

Week Adjourned: 7.18.14 – Subaru, Kroger, Ralph’s, Sony PlayStation

Top class action lawsuits and settlements for the week…top stories include Subaru, Kroger, Ralph’s and Sony PlayStation.

Subaru Forester 2014Top Class Action Lawsuits 

Suing Subaru… that’s right folks…if you own or lease certain Forester, Legacy, Outback, Impreza and Crosstek models you can join a Subaru class action lawsuit alleging the company knowingly sold vehicles containing a defect that causes the cars to consume excessive amounts of oil. Also known as consumer fraud…

According to the complaint, filed by Lead plaintiffs Keith Yaeger and Michael Schuler, Subaru concealed from consumers the fact that certain Forester, Legacy, Outback, Impreza and Crosstek models have defective piston rings that prevent the engine from maintaining the proper level of oil and cause an abnormal amount of oil consumption, leading to engine failure and increasing the risk of accident.

“Not only did Subaru actively conceal the material fact that particular components within the class vehicles’ engines are defective, they did not reveal that the existence of the defect would diminish the intrinsic and resale value of the class vehicles and lead to the safety concerns described herein,” the lawsuit states.

Yaeger and Schuler bought new Subarus in 2012 and 2013 respectively, after which they independently noticed their new vehicles were consuming engine oil at an “unacceptable” rate. They were forced to add oil to their cars between Subaru’s recommended engine oil change intervals in order to avoid engine failure, the complaint states.

Further, the lawsuit states that both plaintiffs took their vehicles to their Subaru dealerships for repairs, but despite extensive servicing, the Subarus continued to burn through oil rapidly.

The plaintiffs allege Subaru has known of the oil consumption defect in model years 2011-14 Subaru Forester 2.5L, 2013 Legacy 2.5L, 2013 Outback 2.5L, 2012-13 Impreza 2.0L and 2013 XV Crosstek 2.0L vehicles, for some time, through numerous complaints received from dealers and consumers through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Regardless, the lawsuit states, Subaru actively concealed the defect from consumers. The company has also “routinely refused” to repair the vehicles without charge, according to the complaint.

Subaru updated its online information to acknowledge that certain vehicles run through oil quickly, but has not recalled the vehicles to repair the defect, offered its customers a suitable repair or replacement free of charge or offered to reimburse customers who have paid to repair the cars, the lawsuit states.

The putative class alleges violations of New Jersey and California consumer protection laws, breach of express warranty, common law fraud and more. The complaint asks the judge to certify a nationwide class of current or former owners or lessees of the affected vehicles, in addition to California, Florida and New Jersey state subclasses.

The lawsuit is Yaeger et al. v. Subaru of America Inc. et al., case number 1:14-cv-04490, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Got it? 

Overworked and underpaid… The grocery chain Kroger Co. and several of its units are facing a wages and overtime class action lawsuit filed by its delivery drivers in California. According to the putative class in the Kroger lawsuit, the workers weren’t fully paid for the many overtime hours they worked. Know this story?

Defendants Kroger and its units Ralphs Grocery Co., Foods Co. and two Food 4 Less entities allegedly failed to pay more than 1,000 drivers, dispatchers and delivery-support staff wages and overtime, while requiring them to work extra hours the complaint states.

Lead plaintiff, Jesse Blanco, alleges the stores “routinely required plaintiffs to work more than eight hours per day and, in some instances, more than twelve hours per day, and more than forty hours per workweek and, in some instances, seven days for extended, ongoing time periods.” Further, Blanco claims the companies cut wages by rounding time; “failed and refused to pay overtime”; and cheated the workers of meal and rest breaks required by California law.

FYI—the putative class includes all hourly delivery drivers, dispatchers and support staff employed by the stores in the four years leading up to the complaint. The plaintiffs are asking for a permanent injunction, compensatory damages and a variety of penalties. Yeah Baby! 

Top Settlements

Sony singing the “I will pay you” blues…to the tune of $15 million—at least according to a preliminary settlement reached in the pending data breach class action lawsuit. If approved, the settlement would see $15 million in games and online currency made available to class members as well as identity theft reimbursement. The lawsuit was brought by PlayStation Network (PSN) users affected by a massive 2011 Sony Corp. data breach.

Eligible class members include all persons residing in the US who had a PlayStation Network account or sub-account, a Qriocity account, or a Sony Online Entertainment account at any time prior to May 15, 2011, when it was revealed that hackers had broken into Sony’s network and obtained data on as many as 31 million account holders.

According to the Sony settlement agreement, Sony will provide affected consumers with “various benefits,” depending on the type of accounts they had and if they can prove that their data was misused, to resolve the dispute over the 2011 breach.

Following the discovery of the data breach, Sony offered its PSN users free identity theft protection, among other benefits. However, under the terms of the settlement agreement any class members who didn’t take that deal can choose two items from a mix of games, online display themes and a three-month subscription to Sony’s PlayStation Plus service, with a cap set at $6 million.

For those class members who did take Sony’s initial package, they will receive one of the items, with a cap set at $4 million. Class members who weren’t part of PSN but had accounts for a different Sony gaming service will get $4.50 of in-game currency, with a $4 million cap.

Sony agreed to reimburse up to $2,500 per class member for the identity theft claims, up to $1 million. It also allowed users to transfer any unused online currency into cash and give some class members a one-month subscription to its music streaming service.

Sony customers that fall within the class definition will be automatically bound to the settlement unless they opt out. Class members who wish to opt out from the settlement class have 21 days prior to the date of the final fairness hearing in May to notify the court of their intention to opt-out.

The case is In re: Sony Gaming Networks and Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, case number 3:11-md-02258, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Ok FolksWe’re Done HereHave a wonderful weekendwe’ll see you at the bar!