Week Adjourned: 9.4.15 – Ashley Madison, Safeway, Schneider Drivers

ashley madisonTop Class Action Lawsuits

It Takes a Brave Man… A brave folk has manned up and filed a lawsuit against Ashley Madison in the US—this one in Alabama. The data breach class action, filed  in federal court, claims the site and its owners and operators failed to protect its customers’ data or promptly alert them of the data hack that occurred in July. You think? The cyber attack publicly exposed information on 37 million Ashley Madison members. Oh yeah baby—that’s bad.

The lead plaintiff, who filed under the pseudonym “John Doe,” is claiming that Toronto-based Avid Life Media Inc, the parent company of Ashley Madison, was negligent and violated Alabama state and federal laws by not implementing proper security measures to protect its customers’ information and by not deleting its members’ data even after they paid $19 to have their information taken off the website.

According to the Ashley Madison lawsuit, in 2012 the plaintiff created an account with Ashley Madison. At that time he was not in a relationship, currently he is engaged. He states he became aware his information had been made public on August 21, roughly the same time his friends, customers and neighbors alerted him they were aware of his account. Doe contends he and his fiancée have also received a number of embarrassing messages from friends and family through social media. Ok—that’s not nice.

“Plaintiff was not in a relationship at the time he accessed the site, however, he is now in a committed relationship with his soon to be wife, and they have suffered much embarrassment and emotional distress as a result of Ashley Madison’s failure to protect Plaintiff’s private information,” the complaint states.

Doe claims that by allegedly misrepresenting to him that it had protected his data and deleted his account information when it hadn’t, Ashley Madison has violated the Federal Stored Communications Act and Alabama’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Doe is also asserting breach of implied contract, bailment, conversion, fraud and misrepresentation and seeks compensatory and punitive damages. The case is John Doe v. Avid Life Media, Inc. et al, case number 6:15-cv-01464, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

You know, the truth really is stranger than fiction—you just can’t make this stuff up.

Top Settlements

Would you Like Those Delivered? Hell yes! And make sure the check’s in with the groceries. A big win for consumers who purchased groceries for delivery from Safeway—a federal judge in California has ruled that Safeway must pay about $30 million in damages to named plaintiff Michael Rodman and class members, because the grocery chain has been found liable in a breach of contract consumer fraud class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was brought by Rodman and fellow customers who allege the grocery chain overcharged for groceries purchased for delivery: it has promised price parity with store bought merchandise.

In the ruling, U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar held that $30 million is roughly the sum of what Safeway made by concealing markup prices for groceries delivered to class members from April 2010 to December 2012.

However, Judge Tigar ruled that Safeway was not liable for customers who used its delivery service prior to 2006 when the service was run by a third-party vendor.

“Class members are entitled to recover the aggregate amount of the difference between the prices charged during the class period for items purchased in the online store as compared to the price customers would have been charged for those items in the physical store from which they were selected and delivered,” Judge Tigar ruled.

The case is Rodman v. Safeway Inc., case number 3:11-cv-03003, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Truck Drivers Gettin’ a Break… Now here’s a result—to the tune of $28 million—a settlement has been reached in an employment class action lawsuit pending against Schneider National Carriers Inc. The lawsuit was brought by more than 6,000 California truck drivers who alleged the company had violated state wage-and-hour laws and failed to provide meal and rest breaks.

The plaintiffs are California-based truckers who worked for Schneider as intermodal, dedicated or regional drivers from November 2004 to the present.

As a class, they have asked the court to approve the settlement, thereby ending the litigation which began in 2008. A final hearing is scheduled for late September.

Under the proposed Schneider National Carrier settlement terms, 73 percent of the $28 million, or about $20.5 million, will be paid to settle claims made by the so-called dedicated and intermodal driver subclasses. The remaining $7.56 million would be used to settle the claims of the regional driver subclass.

“This settlement represents a substantial recovery for the class, and a well-crafted compromise of the divergent positions of the parties,” the motion states, and: “clearly meets, and exceeds, the standards for preliminary approval.”
The case is Morris Bickley et al. v. Schneider National Carriers Inc., case number 4:08-cv-05806, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Ok—That’s a wrap folks…Happy Labor Day—See you at the Bar!