Week Adjourned: 1.31.14 – Amazon, OxyElite, Hyundai

The week’s top class action lawsuits and settlements including Amazon wag and hour lawsuit, OxyElite weight loss and Hyundai gas mileage.

amazon logoTop Class Action Lawsuits

Discount Wages as Well as Products? Well, we’re about to find out. Amazon got hit with an employment class action lawsuit filed by Plaintiff Kelly Pavuk (“Pavuk”) (Case No. 2013-11565-0, in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas) who alleges Amazon failed to compensate her adequately for time working at the Amazon facility in Pennsylvania. Pavuk makes this claim on behalf of herself and other similarly situated.

Specifically, the Amazon lawsuit claims the defendants failed to comply with the requirements of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (“PMWA”), thereby violating the PMWA by not compensating all Warehouse Workers during the end-of-shift screening process that “approximately takes between 10 and 20 minutes, and, with delays … can last longer.”

Further, the lawsuit claims the defendants violated the PMWA by not compensating all Warehouse Workers for passing through the same screening process during meal breaks or for walking to that screening area. And, the lawsuit claims the defendants “automatically deduct 30 minutes from Warehouse Workers’ compensable time each shift for an unpaid meal break,” “require Warehouse Workers to remain at their work locations within the Facility until the start of the purported 30-minute meal break,” and that “[a]fter the start of the 30-minute meal break, Warehouse Workers walk to the [Facility’s] time clocks and clock-out.”

Okee dokee. One to watch.

OxyElite “light” on the Facts… including possible liver injury? A proposed defective products class action lawsuit has been filed against General Nutrition Center Holdings Inc., and USPLabs LLC, alleging OxyElite Pro energy and weight loss dietary supplements cause liver damage.

Filed by Sandeep Barot, the OxyElite lawsuit (U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey at Camden case number: 1:14-cv-000562) claims that OxyElite Pro is intended to safely provide weight loss, energy and mental focus, however, it instead causes severe adverse health effects.

The OxyElite complaint alleges that USPLabs sells a variety of energy and weight loss and dietary supplements under the brand name of OxyElite Pro through GNC, which are dangerous, sold pursuant to deceptive and unfair practices and are not fit for their intended purpose.

Barot claims that he and all others similarly situated “did not bargain for a product that causes adverse health effects in exchange for their payment of purchase price,” according to the lawsuit. And the lawsuit goes on to state that several adverse reactions, including serious liver injury and wrongful death, have been reported from consumers who have purchased and ingested the product.

According to the complaint, USPLabs and GNC had actual knowledge of the product’s shortcomings, but both failed to timely act to adequately warn consumers of the unfitness of the product, the extreme adverse side effects associated with the product or provide adequate relief to the class of consumers who purchased the product.

Further, On October 11, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to USPLabs regarding OxyElite Pro for its inclusion of aegeline or dimethylamylamine, known as DMAA, the lawsuit states.

Barot claims that he purchased the product based on claims made by the manufacturer that the products would safely produce energy, increase weight loss and increase mental focus so long as the consumer used the product as directed. However, Barot alleges he suffered economic damages as a result of purchasing and using the product. Further, he claims that neither himself nor any other reasonable consumer would have purchased the product had they known about the severe adverse effects the product can cause to humans, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants are in violation of the New Jersey Consume Fraud Act and was unjustly enriched at the plaintiffs’ expense.

Um, back to diet and exercise, I guess…

Top Settlements

Hyundai Canada to Shell out Cash for False Mileage Claims. This week, the automaker announced that it has entered into an agreement with plaintiffs in Canada—representing current and former owners and lessees of vehicles affected by the auto company’s November 2012 restatement of fuel economy ratings. The adjustment affected approximately 130,000 Hyundai 2011-2013 model year vehicles, increasing their combined city/highway fuel consumption by 0.2-0.8 L/100km. While today’s agreement is valued at up to $46.65 million in cash compensation plus other available options, that number is dependent on how many customers elect to participate in the settlement’s one-time lump sum payment option or remain in the existing reimbursement program Hyundai introduced at the time of the restatement.

At the time of the restatement, Hyundai provided a reimbursement program to cover the additional fuel costs associated with the rating change—plus a 15 percent premium in acknowledgement of the inconvenience—to customers for as long as they owned or leased an affected vehicle. Affected owners and lessees are compensated based on their actual kilometers driven and the fuel costs for the region in which they live.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, a single lump sum payment will be provided as an option to the original reimbursement program. The lump sum payments will vary by type of vehicle, and will be reduced for any amounts already received through Hyundai’s existing reimbursement program. For example, an individual owner who purchased a new 2012 Elantra would receive a lump sum payment of $361, minus any previous reimbursement payments. Affected Hyundai owners may elect the one-time lump sum cash payment or remain in the auto company’s ongoing reimbursement program for as long as they lease or own the affected vehicle; the choice is theirs. Consumers can also elect other options, such as a dealership credit of 150 percent of the lump sum cash payment amount, or a credit of 200 percent of the cash amount toward the purchase of a new Hyundai vehicle.

Courts in Ontario and Quebec are expected to review the agreement for approval in early 2014. Assuming approval is granted, notices will then be provided to all affected customers.

Hopefully the snow will have stopped by then—and the roads will be driveable!

Ok Folks, That’s all for this week. See you at the bar!

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