Week Adjourned: 12.18.15 – Scottrade, GM Pickups, Security Guards

ScottradeTop Class Action Lawsuits

Not a Fair Trade? Here’s one that nearly slipped under the radar…Scottrade, the discount brokerage service, is facing a data breach class action lawsuit filed by a woman in Florida who claims the personal and financial information of herself and potential millions of others has been compromised as a result of the breach.

Filed by Angela Martin, individually and for all others similarly situated, the Scottrade lawsuit states Scottrade’s failure to protect and adopt adequate security, best practices and industry standards regarding data security and retention, has resulted in millions of customers’ sensitive personal and financial information being compromised.

Scottrade currently operates an online trading website, which was hacked over the course of several months from late 2013 to early 2014, the complaint states.

Further, the lawsuit states that Scottrade itself estimated nearly 4.6 million customers have been affected by the data breach. However, the company has only bgan notifying customers of the data breach in October, but its notice is deficient and fails to fully explain the nature and cause of the breach.

The lawsuit claims breach of express and implied contract, violation of consumer fraud laws of multiple states, and negligence. The lawsuit is Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florida Case number 8:15-CV-02791-SCB-EAJ.

General Motors being Generally Dishonest? Maybe just a little bit? Yes—according to a nationwide consumer fraud class action lawsuit filed in California federal court this week, alleging the auto maker promoted two types of pickup trucks that don’t live up to their advertised towing capacity.

According to the GM pickup lawsuit, filed by Richard Quintero who drives a GMC Sierra, at the end of 2014 the auto maker alerted owners of 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Series and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup trucks across the country that GM had miscalculated the trucks’ towing capacities and that the actual amount they could tow was about 2,000 pounds less than advertised.

“Had plaintiff and class members known the 2014 GMC Sierra’s and the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado’s actual towing capability at the time of purchase, and the safety hazard posed by towing loads in excess of a vehicle’s capacity, they would not have bought the class vehicles or would have paid much less for them,” Quintero states in the complaint.

Quintero accuses GM of breach of express warranty, negligent misrepresentation and of violating California consumer protection laws and seeks to represent all owners and lessees of the two truck models.

Quintero states in the complaint that he visited his local GMC dealership in California during the summer of 2013, originally intending to buy a 2013 Sierra. However, the complaint notes, after learning about the purportedly superior towing capacity of the 2014 model, Quintero purchased the newer, more expensive truck.

The complaint notes that Quintero owned a 5,000 pound trailer, which he used to haul a 1,000 pound golf cart. But, after seeing GM advertisements that said his new truck could haul 8,800 pounds, he decided to upgrade and bought a new 6,700 pound trailer to haul the cart.

After he bought the trailer, Quintero got the letter from GM telling him his truck could only pull 6,700 pounds, not enough capacity to tow the new trailer with the golf cart inside, the complaint states.

“This towing capacity reduction followed uniform and pervasive representations to the contrary from defendant to plaintiff and class members,” Quintero states. “Prior to GM’s precipitous recalculation, GM expressly and repeatedly touted the towing capacity of class vehicles, and its representatives confirmed that towing capacity is a material, and often dispositive, consideration for pickup truck consumers.”

The case is Quintero v. General Motors Company et al., case number 5:15-cv-02530, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. 

Top Settlements

They owe, they owe—it’s to the bank you go!!! Well, if the settlement deal is approved. A preliminary $11 million settlement has been reached between AlliedBarton and a class of workers who filed an employment lawsuit against the security services company alleging it failed to provide meal and rest breaks, to pay adequate wages and did provide inaccurate wage statements, in violation of California labor law.

According to the terms of the AlliedBarton settlement, each of the three named plaintiffs would receive $30,000 in service payments. The approximately 43,893 non-exempt hourly employees who worked for AlliedBarton in California from April 2004 through January 2015 would share the net settlement amount on a prorated basis, based on the number of weeks they worked, according to the proposed deal.

The lawsuit was filed by lead plaintiff Gregory Dynabursky in 2012 on behalf of thousands of security officers, alleging that AlliedBarton violated California labor and business laws by requiring guards to perform work duties during meal breaks. He also asserts that the workers had to sign a related on-duty meal period agreement.

The case is Gregory Dynabursky et al. v. AlliedBarton Security Services LP et al., case number 8:12-cv-02210, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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

Week Adjourned: 10.9.15 – Subaru, Scottrade, LinkedIn

SubaruTop Class Action Lawsuits

Subaru Flipping You One? Just when you though it might be safe to get back into your car…guess what? Not if you own a 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca, apparently. A defective automobile class action lawsuit has been filed against Subaru of America Inc, alleging certain of its vehicles have a design defect that causes the hood to fly open when the affected vehicles are traveling at high speed. This can result in cracked windshields and danger to the drivers, in addition to diminishing the value of the vehicles.

Filed by Sharion Hadley, the Subaru complaint asserts that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has 17 complaints about the hood of the 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca unlocking and smashing the windshield while being driven. However, Hadley claims Subaru won’t do anything to fix the alleged defect.

“Despite longstanding knowledge of the defect through public complaints and internal testing, Subaru has failed to take responsibility for the problem, refusing to issue a recall and denying consumer requests to pay for necessary repairs occasioned by the defect,” the complaint states.

In the complaint, Hadley states that the hood of her vehicle flew open in May while she was driving at approximately 65 miles per hour, cracking her windshield and dislodging the rear view mirror. She goes on to state that she was unable to see the road because of the broken hood. She did manage to navigate the car to the side of the road, where she was helped by passing drivers.

According to the lawsuit, Hadley contacted Subaru about the accident, but the automaker refused to take responsibility for the alleged defect, wouldn’t compensate her for the cost of repairs and refused to even look at the vehicle.

The lawsuit contends that this incident is not isolated. While numerous consumers have complained online about the same alleged defect, the NHTSA has 17 complaints about the 2006 B9 Tribeca describing a similar experience to that which Hadley experienced.

“It is well known that car manufacturers, in general, and Subaru in particular, closely monitor NHTSA complaints, so there can be no doubt that Subaru has long known of this issue from the NHTSA website,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit accuses Subaru of actively concealing the alleged defect, and of failing to disclose that the alleged defect would diminish the value of the vehicle.

The lawsuit seeks certification of a national and Pennsylvania class of drivers who bought or leased the 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca. She said at least 18,000 of the class vehicles were sold by Subaru.

The complaint asserts claims for violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, breach of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, breach of express warranty and common law fraud, among others.

The case is Hadley v. Subaru of America Inc., case number 1:15-cv-07210, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

It Really is Groundhog Day! Another data breach class action lawsuit has been filed this week—who’s counting anymore? This one, against the discount brokerage house Scottrade Inc, alleging the company failed to take adequate action to protect its customer’s data. Scottrade announced last week that between late 2013 and early 2014 approximately 4.6 million users had their personal information, possibly including their Social Security numbers, targeted in a data breach.

Filed by plaintiff Stephen Hine, the lawsuit states that Scottrade was negligent in failing to exercise reasonable security precautions and failing to comply with industry standards for storing confidential and private personal information. Further, the lawsuit alleges Scottrade’s email notification to customers affected by the breach was “woefully inadequate and vague,” given that their information might be sold on the black market or used in stock scams and other financial frauds.

Specifically, the lawsuit states, “Scottrade’s actions and/or omissions occurred despite prior warnings, including prior incursions of their network by third parties, who conducted fraudulent stock trades using Scottrade’s customer’s accounts, and even fines from government agencies concerning its system’s security procedures and oversight.” Seriously, how can anyone still be caught with their digital trouser down anymore?

The plaintiff contends that had Scottrade heeded warnings and taken necessary precautions, the data breach could have been prevented or, at a minimum, predicted it much sooner and reduced the harm to its customers.

In its announcement, Scottrade stated that those responsible for the attack appeared to have targeted names and mailing addresses, but it couldn’t rule out the possibility that email addresses and other “sensitive data” had been stolen.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that many of the customers affected won’t receive email notifications from Scottrade as they have changed email addresses or used a different email address. Furthermore, the emails sent are materially misleading and don’t fully disclose the scope of the threat to Scottrade’s customers, the lawsuit states.

“The database accessed, however, contains, among other things, Social Security numbers, email addresses and other ‘sensitive data’ (which is not defined in the email),” the complaint states. “It is highly unlikely that the hackers, having access to the above information, would only take the affected customer’s name and email address.”

According to the complaint, as a financial institution and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission registered broker dealer, Scottrade had a “special duty” to exercise reasonable care to protect and secure the personal and financial information of its customers.

“Scottrade should have known to take precaution to secure its customers’ data, given its special duty, especially in light of the recent data breaches affecting numerous retailers and financial institutions, as well as from prior direct breaches of its secured networks,” the complaint states. You think ?

The case is Hine v. Scottrade Inc., case number 3:15-cv-02213, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Top Settlements

LinkedIn will pay to play… The social media platform has agreed  to pony up $13 million in a settlement, that could end a Telephone Consumer protection Act (TCPA) class action lawsuit they’re facing over spamming its members.

Specifically, the LinkedIn lawsuit targeted LinkedIn’s ‘Add Connections’, a service that allowed members to import contacts from their email accounts. LinkedIn then sent those contacts an email, according to court documents.

While the court found in favor of the plaintiffs, stating that members did not consent to LinkedIn sending reminder emails to recipients of pending invitations, the company denies any wrongdoing.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, people who signed up for LinkedIn between September 17, 2011, and October 31, 2014, can submit a claim, this includes people who are no longer members.

The payment amount for members of approved claims will depend upon how many claims are submitted but could range from $10 to $1,500. To learn more about the settlement, visit: http://www.addconnectionssettlement.com. Check it out!!

Ok—that’s it for this week folks—see you at the bar! And Happy Columbus Day!