Week Adjourned: 9.18.09

A properly run Dutch auction...taking notes Wachovia?Top Class Actions 

Forgot their Dutch lessons? Perhaps the folks at Wachovia didn’t spring for a trip to Holland to learn how to run an auction. So if you bought Wachovia stock between March 19, 2003 and February 13, 2008 you may be interested to know that Wachovia Corporation was served with a potential class action this week. What did they do? Well, the complaint alleges that throughout the above mentioned period (the class period), Wachovia Securities and A.G. Edwards “engaged in deceptive and manipulative tactics directed at ARS investors to create the appearance of a functioning auction market.” That doesn’t sound good, never mind legal.  

If you own this stock you may want to follow this one.

Top Settlements

DanActivate that Settlement! Dannon has been ordered to pay up in a class action settlement alleging misleading advertising about its Activia and DanActive yogurt products. You mean pro-biotic yogurt can’t cure everything that ails you?  Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 9.18.09”

Week Adjourned: 9.11.09

Corporate bling at banks lately?Top Class Actions

White collar lies? Another bank is facing a securities class action this week. This time it’s Pacific Capital Bancorp. The suit alleges that PCB and certain of its senior executive officers issued materially false and misleading statements and/or concealed material information relating to the Company’s reserves for losses on its loan portfolio, which, you guessed it, is in violation of the law. How unusual. 

If you have some of this stock in your portfolio or stashed away for retirement, check out when you purchased it. The class period for this case is between April 30 2009 and July 30 2009 (was anybody buying stock then?)

Top Settlements

Who says you can’t sue the government? More than 53,000 drivers in the Fargo, North Dakota area would argue, reasonably, that you can, and you can win… I love it… Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 9.11.09”

Week Adjourned: 9.4.09

Some SunTrust HELOC customers found themselves minus a line of creditIt was a big class action week on the home front…

Top Class Actions

Sun Trust HELOC: Now you see it, now you don’t? A potential class action suit was filed this week against Sun Trust Bank over allegations that the financial company decreased, froze or terminated thousands of Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) in ways that may have violated its contractual obligations to its clients. 

In a nutshell, HELOC loans provides credit up to a stated maximum amount within a certain term, the loan collateral being the borrower’s equity in his or her home. 

One 82-year old lady had secured a HELOC of $500,000 against her home, only to have it Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 9.4.09”

Week Adjourned: 8.21.09

So much for the dog days of summer…it was a busy week.

Top Class Actions

[Pay]check is not in the mail? It seems every week a major brand is in the news for some alleged type of labor or wages violation. This week it’s UPS. The global courier company is facing a potential class action lawsuit over allups-legal-envegations that it withheld as much as $100 million in overtime wages from its account managers.

The suit alleges that UPS is in violation of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act and California’s wage and hour laws. The suit also alleges that UPS does not provide employees with mandatory meal periods and rest breaks and fails to keep adequate records of the hours the employees work. Who said management had it good? I would think that unpaid management overtime is a silent epidemic.

Vanishing home equity? Have you checked your home equity line of credit lately? Maybe you should. Michael Hickman of Illinois did, and got quite a nasty shock. Hickman alleges that he had Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 8.21.09”

Week Adjourned: 8.7.09

rosecoloredglassesWhat a week for securities class actions!

Top Class Actions

Too much of a positive outlook? Seems this telecom company had to take off the rose-colored glasses. Comtech got hit with a class action lawsuit this week, alleging that certain of the company’s officers and directors violated federal securities laws by producing overly positive statements regarding the company’s revenue, and future earnings prospects. Apparently the mobile communications business could be doing better. The class period for the suit is between September 17, 2008 and March 9, 2009, inclusive, and anyone who purchased common stock in the company during that time could be eligible.

Top Settlements

Wal-born is Wal-dead? If Wal-born isn’t protecting you from the cold or flu, then perhaps a free flu shot will. Walgreens has agreed to reimburse consumers who purchased Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 8.7.09”

Week Adjourned: 7.24.09

baconAnother busy week at the bar!

Top Class Actions

The fast food industry came under fire this week in a big way with two class actions filed, one against Denny’s alleging the restaurant chain conceals the amount of sodium in its menu items from its customers, and another against McDonald’s in Illinois over alleged hepatitis A virus (HAV) contamination.

Grand Salty Slam? The crux of the Denny’s class action is salt—hundreds, if not thousands of milligrams over the daily recommended intake is being consumed by unsuspecting customers on a daily basis. This is, apparently, putting people who dine at Denny’s on say Moons Over My Hammy or the Super Bird turkey sandwich at greater risk for high blood pressure and heart disease than those who don’t frequent the restaurant. So a consumer watchdog group has filed a class action to force Denny’s to disclose the salt content of their menu items. So much for ignorance is bliss. Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 7.24.09”

Week Adjourned: 7.3.09

clear-air-security-copy1Top Class Actions

Whiz-through security fizzes out? As if air travel wasn’t fraught with enough obstacles, delays, and frustrations frequent flyers last Monday found themselves SOL at Clear Airport Security Kiosks across the country. The problem? They’d closed their doors, gone out of business, shut down. See ya bye.

Clear operated the Registered Traveler program in 20 airports, serving a reported 260,000 customers. The company pre-screened frequent fliers taking fingerprints, iris scans and credit information, which it then gave to the US Transportation Security Administration, in order to fast track people through the security line-ups.

So, Verified Identity Pass, the parent company of airport security provider Clear, was hit with a class action lawsuit over reimbursement of its US$199 annual fee, by one very disgruntled customer. Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 7.3.09”

Week Adjourned: 6.26.09

Top Class Actions

Quiet Company…loud ex-employees? Seems some former Northwestern Mutual (NML) employees missed the “Shhhh!” memo when they worked there. The Milwaukee-based life insurance giant has been slapped with a $200 million class action lawsuit by former employees who allege NML violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and California’s overtime and minimum wage laws. Their complaint also states that NML “intentionally and repeatedly” misclassified sales employees as independent contractors: independent contractors are exempt from federal and state wage and hour laws, while full-time employees are not.

Any of this sound familiar? It should. NML was sued on similar allegations in Pennsylvania in 2008. That time around NML won the lawsuit, which resulted in their being able to maintain their financial representatives as ‘independent contractors.’ According to media reports, NML has about 7,000 “financial representatives nationwide.” Be interesting to see if history does repeat itself here.

Fill ‘er kinda up? If you’ve been running out of gas sooner than expected—and I’m referring to propane here, check your cylinder. If it’s from Blue Rhino and AmeriGas, you might be interested to know that they are facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that they reduced the amount of propane provided in tanks sold as ‘full’ without telling their customers. Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 6.26.09”

Week Adjourned: 6.12.09

matchhuh2Top Class Actions

Miss-Match.com? The Dallas-based internet dating site Match.com is being sued over allegations that it misleads its customers about potential matches with people who are no longer active members.

The suit was filed by Sean McGinn, a resident of Brooklyn, NY, who alleges that most of the profiles on the site are for people who have cancelled their memberships or never subscribed. The complaint reportedly states “When a subscriber cancels their subscription, their profile continues to appear to be that of an active subscriber.” And, “Nothing indicates to the viewer their limited access to read e-mails or respond to them.” Ouch—kinda like the cyber version of a blind date who doesn’t show…

Week Adjourned: 6.5.09

Some generics are better off left on the shelfTop Class Actions

Ask for Generic? Mmmaybe not. Sometimes it’s best to skip the generic version—and such may be the case with Budeprion XL, a generic formulation of the antidepressant Wellbutrin XL; the makers of Budeprion XL are the subject of a class action lawsuit filed this week in California. The problem seems to be that the generic form of the drug is not as effective and possibly not as safe as the patented version, so the suit alleges. The FDA has so far said the drug is safe, but they could order a special clinical trial to better assess the safety and efficacy of the generic version.

Top Settlements

“Expedia-dot-CON?” Maybe that’s how the jingle should go after the recent judgement against the internet travel site. Unhappy customers who joined a class action lawsuit alleging breach of contract will see the travel giant fork over $184 million in settlement monies. What did they do? Expedia bundled the service-fee charges with taxes into a single line item, failing to disclose the separate amounts of each to consumers. Because Expedia only remits taxes based on the wholesale price—which it never disclosed to consumers—the taxes appear higher to consumers than they actually are, and Expedia is able to mask the considerable size of its service fees. Nice.