Week Adjourned: 12.29.17 – Apple, Testosterone, CSC

Top Class Action Lawsuits

High-Speed Slow-Down? Fair to say – can’t end the year properly without a class action lawsuit against Apple? Try nine and counting! Unless you’ve been directly involved in space exploration—it is highly unlikely you’ve missed this little scandal. Apple’s been hit with a litany of allegations including consumer fraud following the tech giant’s admission in mid-December that it deliberately slowed down certain iPhones, including the iPhone 6. The slowdown was managed through Apple’s software updates. Apple claims the software was intended as a fix to deal with degraded lithium-ion batteries that could otherwise suddenly die. Ain’t that handy.

Other allegations include Apple’s failure to disclose its messing with your mobile in a timely fashion, and the fact that its software updates deliberately slowed down older-model phones so batteries would last longer. Apple said it released the fix for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE and later extended it to iPhone 7, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Filed in US district courts in California, New York and Illinois, the iPhone slow-down lawsuits all allege that Apple’s failure to notify customers of the battery issues, and subsequent software slowdowns, led iPhone owners to wrongly conclude they needed to buy newer, more expensive iPhones instead of simply replacing the battery.

Allegations include consumer fraud, unfair business practices and breach of implied contract, specifically, asserting that when people buy iPhones, they do so with the assumption that Apple won’t “purposefully interfere with” the phones’ “usage or value.” The lawsuit states Apple did not get iPhone owners’ consent before interfering, through software updates, with the phones’ speed. Another lawsuit claims fraud, false advertising and unjust enrichment.

North Carolina resident Kirk Pedelty, a plaintiff in the Illinois lawsuit, contacted Apple when he noticed his phone slowing down. However, the lawsuit states: “Nobody from Apple customer support suggested that he replace his battery to improve the performance of his iPhone. … Frustrated by slowdowns and intermittent shutdowns of his iPhone 7, Pedelty purchased an iPhone 8.”

Every year we say this—and it remains true this year—you just cannot make this stuff up.

Top Settlements

Testosterone Deal. A global settlement deal has been reached by Eli Lilly and plaintiffs in multidistrict litigation alleging the company’s testosterone replacement therapy is associated with cardiovascular adverse health events.

The testosterone lawsuit deal comes about one month before the first bellwether trial was set to go to court. The judge cancelled two upcoming trial dates in January and March over Tracy Garner and John DeBroka Jr.’s cases alleging that Eli Lilly’s Axiron caused them to suffer from a heart attack and deep vein thrombosis, respectively.

More than 6,000 cases are pending against Eli Lilly, Auxilium and several other pharmaceutical companies in the MDL, all alleging the testosterone replacement therapies caused serious if not irreversible adverse health effects.

The MDL is In Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation, case number 1:14-cv-01748, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Overtime just in time! Here’s hoping it’s the way forward for 2018. A jury has found in favor of current and former employees who filed an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit against Computer Sciences Corp (CSC). The plaintiffs alleged the defendant had misclassified them as exempt from overtime pay.

According to court records, the jury deliberated for just two days before finding “unanimously” for the employees. The employees alleged that CSC classified certain so-called system administrators as exempt from overtime pay under federal and state law. In fact, the plaintiffs should have been classified as non-exempt and compensated for time worked that exceeded 40 hours per week.

Damages have not yet been established, however a news release by the employees’ counsel states that the jury found CSC’s violations to be willful, which triggers additional damages.

CSC system administrators provide support to clients, including installation and maintenance of computer hardware and software, in addition to server maintenance and troubleshooting, according to the new release.

The case is Strauch et al. v. Computer Sciences Corp., case number 3:14-cv-00956, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

So folks – on that happy note – this year’s a wrap –A Very Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous 2018 to All!!

Week Adjourned: 8.1.14 – Michael Kors, Testosterone, Unsolicited Phone Calls

The week’s top class action lawsuits and settlements. Top stories include: Testosterone, Michael Kors, Unsolicited Phone Calls

Michael Kors logoTop Class Action Lawsuits

Michael Kors Creative Merchandising? Michael Kors LLC may be getting more than it bargained for—the retailer got hit with a consumer fraud class action lawsuit alleging the discount prices it offers at its outlet stores and which are marketed as providing deep discounts over the suggested retail prices, are based on fabricated original prices. Surprised?

Specifically, the Michael Kors outlet store lawsuit claims that Michael Kors represents on the price tags of its Kors Outlet Products artificial “suggested retail prices” that do not represent a bona fide price at which the designer formerly sold the products. The tags also offer a price termed “our price,” which represents a steep discount off the false original price.

“But the [prices] used by Michael Kors…were a sham. In fact, Michael Kors manufactures certain goods for exclusive sale at its Kors Outlets, which means that such items were never sold, or even intended to be sold at the…price listed on their labels,” the complaint states.

Filed by lead plaintiff Tressa Gattinella, the lawsuit claims that Gattinella purchased a pair of jeans at a Kors Outlet in California earlier in the month for $79.00, believing she was paying significantly less than the original price of $120 listed on the tag, the suit states. That would be a reasonable assumption. But … of course there’s a but…

But… the Kors lawsuit contends that despite the Gattinella’s belief that she purchased the goods at a 33 percent discount, Michael Kors never intended to sell the jeans at the artificial $120 price listed on the tag, the suit says. By listing the false price comparison, Michael Kors deceived the plaintiff into making a full retail purchase with no discount, the complaint alleges.

“Plaintiff would not have made such purchase, or would not have paid the amount she did, but for Michael Kors’ false represented of the former price … of the items she purchased, as compared with the supposedly discounted ‘our price’ at which Michael Kors offered the items for sale,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit is seeking certification for a class of all California residents who purchased apparel from a Kors Outlet store and urges the court to issue an injunction ordering the company to comply with California’s comparative price advertising laws and prohibiting Michael Kors from using deceptive practices moving forward.

The lawsuit is Gattinella v. Michael Kors (USA), Inc. et al., case number 1:14-cv-05731, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

Canada following suit….a class action testosterone lawsuit has been filed by plaintiffs in Canada who allege that they were never warned about the increased risk of cardiovascular events with the low testosterone injection Delatestryl. The case was filed on July 22, 2014 in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

FYI—a multidistrict litigation involving over 150 testosterone lawsuits is also pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The case is In Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Product Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2545).

Testosterone products, used to treat so-called “Low T,” have been linked to serious cardiovascular problems such as pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), stroke, heart attack, and death. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) began investigating the cardiovascular risks associated with testosterone products in late January; the agency reminded consumers that testosterone products are only approved for men who do not produce enough of the hormone due to specific medical conditions. Testosterone replacement therapy is not approved for Low T or other non-medical conditions.

Testosterone safety reviews were also launched by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Health Canada. Recently, the FDA warned the public that there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that testosterone therapy may increase the risk of cardiovascular events in men.

The reviews were prompted by two research studies linking testosterone products to a higher risk of blood clot, stroke and heart attack. One study, published in last November in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that older men were more likely to suffer cardiac death if they took testosterone. Older men and younger men with pre-existing heart problems were more likely to suffer a heart attack, according to another study published January in the journal, PloS.

Top Settlements

Unsolicited Phone Calls Elicit Settlement…Well, it’s not the largest settlement in class action history—but it’s a victory none-the-less. After all, one less unsolicited phone call has got to be a good thing!!! This week, a settlement has been reached in a Telephone Consumer protection Actclass action lawsuit that alleges the polling and public opinion research company Mountain West Research Center LC violated the Act by contacting consumers by phone without their permission.

The preliminary $1.5 million settlement will resolve the class action which was filed by Plaintiff Paul Mankin in September 2013 alleging Mountain West called people’s cellphones without prior express consent, using an automatic telephone dialing system and using an artificial or prerecorded voice.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Mountain West will create a $1.5 million fund to for a settlement administrator, a website, preparing an opt-out list, preparing a list of persons submitting objections to the settlement, and disbursing payments to all class members who do not opt-out.

Settlement members who do not opt out will receive a direct payment via check in the amount of approximately $65, according to court documents.

FYI—the case is Paul Mankin v. Mountain West Research Center LC, number 2:13-cv-06447 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

No info on a fairness hearing date yet—so stay tuned…

Ok – Folks –time to adjourn for the week.  Have a fab weekend –see you at the bar!