Week Adjourned: 1.8.16 – FitBit, Amazon, Mini Cooper

fitbitTop Class Action Lawsuits

FitBit not as fit as it claims—apparently. The company is is facing a defective products class action lawsuit alleging the heart rate tracking technology in its fitness watches provides “wildly inaccurate” readings and doesn’t work properly during intense physical activity.

Filed in California by Kate McLellan, Teresa Black and David Urban, the FitBit lawsuit claims that FitBit Inc.’s PurePulse heart rate tracking devices, which are featured in two of the company’s fitness watches, “consistently mis-record heart rates by a very significant margin,” especially during exercise. And just when you thought you were doing so well…

The lawsuit further alleges consumer fraud in that the defendant fails to inform customers that the technology works properly only at low or resting heart rates. Instead, the FitBit lawsuit asserts, it depicts users in its advertisements relying on the trackers during intense physical activity. “The heart rate trackers are effectively worthless as heart rate monitoring devices,” the complaint says.

The complaint states, “This failure did not keep FitBit from heavily promoting the heart rate monitoring feature of the PurePulse trackers and from profiting handsomely from it. In so doing, FitBit defrauded the public and cheated its customers, including plaintiffs.”

Additionally, the plaintiffs allege FitBit’s attempt to bind all customers to an arbitration agreement and a class action ban is an unfair and deceptive trade practice and is “unconscionable, invalid, and unenforceable.”

The three named plaintiffs seek to represent a nationwide class of all customers who purchased a FitBit PurePulse tracker, excluding those who purchased their trackers directly from FitBit.com and who did not opt out of the arbitration agreement. They are also looking to establish three subclasses for consumers in California, Wisconsin and Colorado.

The case is McLellan et al v. FitBit, Inc., case number 3:16-cv-00036, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Amazon not Delivering? Amazon stands accused this week of not delivering on wages and overtime. The online retailer got hit with an unpaid wages and overtime class action lawsuit filed by a group of former delivery service workers who claim the online retailer in conjunction with Courier Logistics Services LLC failed to compensate them for overtime pay and pay them tips paid by customers for the deliveries, in violation of federal labor laws.

The Amazon lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs Daniel Curry, Becky Lawrence, Nicholas Mason and Tyechia Webb, all of whom worked in Arizona for Courier Logistics, which is in exclusive contract with Amazon to deliver packages ordered through its newer same-day service. The suit asserts that the plaintiffs have been denied proper overtime wages as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Further, they were not given the full amount of tips they should have received from delivery customers.

According to the complaint, during the past several years Courier Logistics has had a “consistent policy” of requiring its employees to work nearly 50 hours per week without paying the legally required time-and-a-half overtime wage. Additionally, the lawsuit states that certain employees were misclassified as independent contractors.

The plaintiffs contend that Courier Logistics’ delivery employees are not independent contractors because they are required to show up for work at a scheduled time every day, are paid by the hour, are assigned work and are not allowed to refuse any deliveries.

According to the suit, as joint employers that shared employee-based decisions, Amazon and Courier Logistics “had complete control over the manner in which plaintiffs would complete their work.”

The plaintiffs are looking to recover all unpaid overtime wages, overpayment of income taxes and statutory penalties, along with other unspecified damages and attorneys’ fees. Go get ‘em!

The case is Curry et al. v. Amazon.com Inc. et al., case number 2:16-cv-00007, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

Top Settlements

Mini Cooper…Not so Mini Settlement. A $30 million settlement has been tentatively approved potentially ending a defective automotive class action lawsuit filed against BMW North America. The class action asserts that the engines in its Mini Coopers are defective.

The lawsuit asserts that vehicle owners were forced to pay thousands of dollars in repairs and replacement costs for a defect in the engine which caused the cars to abruptly stop without warning. The proposed class action, filed in March 2013, involved certain Mini Cooper S Hardtops, Clubmans and Convertibles from model years 2007 to 2010, according to court papers.

The backstory… In the lawsuit, named plaintiffs Joshua Skeen and Laurie Freeman state they both bought new Mini Cooper S models in 2007. They alleged problem was a defect in the vehicles’ timing chain tensioner, which maintains an appropriate tension of the engine’s timing chain. The timing chain controls the timing of the engine’s valves, but when the chain doesn’t have proper tension or synchronization, the engine’s pistons and valves collide with great force and the engine components suffer so much damage that the engine seizes and the vehicle loses all power, according to the complaint.

Skeen and Freeman allege that while the Mini Cooper timing chains are meant to last about 10 years or 120,000 miles, they encountered problems with their engines far sooner than expected.

According to the terms of the settlement, the reimbursement amounts for each class member will see BMW paying for out-of-pocket expenses incurred prior to the settlement, including full costs incurred at authorized Mini dealers and up to $120 for timing-chain tensioners and $850 for timing chains repaired or replaced at independent service centers.

Class members will be entitled to up to $4,500 in out-of-pocket expenses incurred before the settlement to repair or replace an engine due to the problems addressed in the lawsuit, according to the opinion, and those who had to sell their vehicles at a loss before the settlement will get up to $2,250. Compensation amounts are subject to changes because of mileage discounts and other limitations, the opinion states. The final amount of the settlement will depend on the number and nature of claims submitted by the Class.

Additionally, class members will receive a warranty extension for the timing-chain tensioner and timing chain for seven years or 100,000 miles from the date when the vehicle was first placed into service, whichever comes first.

The case is Joshua Skeen et al. v. BMW of North America LLC, case number 2:13-cv-01531, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Ok—that’s it for this week folks—see you at the bar! Oh—and Happy 2016!!

One thought on “Week Adjourned: 1.8.16 – FitBit, Amazon, Mini Cooper”

  1. Why don’t you look into defective BMW window regulators? From 2000-2013. I have replaced 11 regulators at $400.00 average each, just to have them break again. All have same factory defect, a plastic part poorly designed.

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