Week Adjourned: 6.19.15 – Shutterfly, Michael Kors, Hip Replacement

Shutterfly logoTop Class Action Lawsuits

Shutterfly may have its wings clipped. The company that developed the facial recognition software has been hit with a putative class action lawsuit over alleged privacy violations—actually—violations of Illinois state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Filed by Illinois resident Brian Norberg, the Shutterfly complaint asserts that online image publisher Shutterfly and its subsidiary ThisLife LLC collect facial recognition data from user-uploaded photos without first notifying individuals and receiving their written consent, and by failing to inform them how long the information will be stored and how it will be used.

“Specifically, defendants have created, collected and stored millions of ‘face templates’ (or ‘face prints’)—” highly detailed geometric maps of the face—” from millions of individuals, many thousands of whom are non-Shutterfly users residing in the state of Illinois,” the complaint states.

“Defendants in this case made no effort whatsoever to obtain consent from unwitting third parties when they introduced their facial recognition technology,” the complaint state. “Not only do defendants’ actions fly in the face of FCC guidelines, they also violate the privacy rights of Illinois residents.”

Notably, Illinois law also prohibits companies that collect biometric data from selling it to third parties.

Heads up—Norberg is seeking $5,000 for each intentional and reckless violation, and $1,000 for each violation resulting from defendants’ negligence. Go get’em!

The case is Brian Norberg v. Shutterfly Inc. et al., case number 1:15-cv-05351, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Top Settlements

Settlement in the bag…to the tune of $4.88 million. That’s the number reached in a preliminary settlement between Michael Kors Holdings Ltd and plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit alleging the company engages in consumer fraud.

Ok—you’ve read this song sheet before. The specific allegations are 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.

Under the terms of the preliminary Kors settlement Michael Kors will replace “MSRP” with “Value” on its price tags and display signage explaining that term, or stop using reference prices for products made exclusively for its outlets.

If approved, the settlement will include shoppers who bought products from Michael Kors outlets in the four years ending July 25, 2014.

The case is Gattinella v. Michael Kors (USA) Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-05731.

Here’s one for the record books…  A jury hearing the first product liability lawsuit against Wright Profemur hip replacement systems has awarded the plaintiff $4.5 million in damages. Brought by Alan Warner, the lawsuit is the first of several hundred to go to trial with allegations that the hip replacement Warner received failed after just three years: the average life span of the system is between 15 and 20 years.

There are over 1,200 similar defect product lawsuits pending against Wright Profemur hip replacement alleging the plaintiffs suffered health problems when the modular femoral neck stem broke.

Warner’s trial lasted two weeks and is the first case to go to court. It is not part of the federal MDL.  

Hokee Dokee—That’s a wrap folks…See you at the Bar!