Week Adjourned: 11.15.14 – Honda, Barnes & Noble, Lean Spa

The week’s top class action lawsuits and settlements. Top stories include Honda, Barnes & Noble, Lean Spa

HondaTop Class Action Lawsuits

Airbag Alert. Heads up—thought the avalanche of defective automotive class action lawsuits was over? Think again!

This week Japanese parts supplier Takata Corporation and automaker Honda Motor Co., got hit with a lawsuit over recent rash of recalls due to faulty airbag inflators installed in millions of vehicles in the United States. Yup—millions of vehicles. Bet that makes you happy.

Bottom line, according to the lawsuit, Takata embarked on a concealment campaign, designed to cover-up evidence of airbag defects. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on November 7, 2014, claims that Takata withheld knowledge of the airbag defects from federal regulators and ordered its technicians to destroy data evidencing any housing defects, including video and computer backups.

Instead of safely deploying airbags to protect vehicle occupants, the defective Takata inflators, installed in millions of Honda vehicles, explode, sending metal and plastic shrapnel into the vehicle cabin, according to the complaint. The defective Takata inflators have caused multiple injuries and fatalities.

According to legal representatives for the class, in 2004, Takata and Honda were made aware of a dangerous propensity for airbag inflator explosion in vehicles equipped with Takata airbags—a driver in Alabama was severely injured from metal shrapnel during an accident.

The suit seeks to represent anyone in the United States who purchased or leased a Honda vehicle with a defective Takata airbag and that has been subject to an airbag-related warning or recall.

The complaint has eight named plaintiffs from California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Washington.

The suit accuses Takata of manufacturing cheap airbags that “blew up like hand-grenades, sending lethal metal and plastic shrapnel into the vehicle cockpit and into the bodies of the drivers and passengers.”

Pass it on…

Could you recite these complaints chapter and verse? Barnes and Noble behaving badly…and the bookseller is facing an unpaid overtime lawsuit to prove it. The potential class action is seeking nationwide certification. The lawsuit was filed by the company’s assistant store managers who allege they were misclassified as exempt from overtime and that their primary role was not to supervise other employees but rather to provide customer service. The lawsuit alleges violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for a nationwide class.

According to the plaintiffs, B&N assistant store manager positions are misclassified as exempt under state and federal law. Specifically, while some managerial work is required, assistant store managers have been “primarily engaged in the same routine tasks as hourly employees.” Those tasks include helping customers find merchandise, working cash registers, stocking shelves and helping out in the store’s cafe area, the class certification motion states.

According to the complaint, B&N assistant store managers spent between 75 percent to 90 percent of their time completing the same types of “hourly duties” that other employees were required to perform. Further, the plaintiffs claim that the work required of assistant store managers was governed by B&N’s nationwide policy, making the case ripe for class certification. “At B&N, all ASMs are required to follow closely circumscribed corporate policies and rules established by their store manager,” the motion said. “These policies are implemented across the B&N brand and ASMs are prohibited from deviating from these guidelines.”

The motion is seeking class certification of New York assistant managers who worked at B&N between January 25, 2007, and July 2010 and conditional certification under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act for a nationwide class. B&N reclassified the assistant store manager position in June 2010.

The case Steven Trimmer et al. v. Barnes & Noble Inc. et al., case number 1:13-cv-00579, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

Top Settlements

Lean Spa getting off Lite? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the State of Connecticut have reached a settlement with LeanSpa for allegedly engaging in consumer fraud by using fake news websites to promote acai berry and “colon cleanse” weight-loss products, making deceptive weight-loss claims, and telling consumers they could receive free trial products by paying a nominal fee for shipping and handling.

In addition to allegations of creating fake new websites, the deceptive marketing class action also claimed that the marketers of the weight loss supplement LeanSpa falsely informed consumers that they could receive a free trial of the weight loss products if they paid a small shipping and handling fee.

However, the lawsuit contends that consumers in fact paid nearly $80 for the “free” trial and were signed up for monthly subscriptions that were difficult to cancel. Consumers reportedly paid more than $25 million to the defendants.

The FTC and the state of Connecticut shut down the alleged LeanSpa scam operation and charged the defendants with violating portions of the FTC Act, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, in 2011. Then, in January, 2014 an agreement was reached between the parties in which the marketers of LeanSpa supplements have agreed to pay up to $7 million in consumer refunds.

Eligible consumers include people who bought LeanSpa weight loss or other LeanSpa health supplements such as LeanSpa; LeanSpa with Acai; LeanSpa with HCA; LeanSpa Cleanse; NutraSlim; NutraSlim with HCA; QuickDetox; and SlimFuel.  

Hokee Dokee…time to adjourn for the week. Have a fab weekend–See you at the bar!

2 thoughts on “Week Adjourned: 11.15.14 – Honda, Barnes & Noble, Lean Spa”

  1. On Oct. 4, 2009. My son rode as a passenger in his 2002 Honda civic. My son Anthony Crouse Jr. and his friend the driver Matt Flowberg perished when the car went out of control and hit a guard rail. The Tanaka airbags deployed but projectiles pierced the airbags rendering them useless. The drivers hands and fingers were embedded into the steering wheel. If the airbags worked correctly, the drivers hands would have been pried off the steering wheel and the 2 boys would have been cushioned and alive.

    1. Honda sent us recalls in 2011, 2012, 2013. and upset us as they don’t show any sympathy for our son and his friend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *