Week Adjourned: 11.7.14 – Apple, Charles Schwab, Hertz

The week’s top class action lawsuits and settlements. Top stories include Apple, Charles Schwab and Hertz.

Apple logoTop Class Action Lawsuits

Sour Apples? Apple found itself on the end of yet another defective products class action lawsuit this week over allegations that the MacBook Pro series of laptop computers are defectively designed, causing the computers to malfunction.

Filed by Los Angeles resident Armen Soudijan, the Apple MacBook lawsuit claims that Soudijan purchased a MacBook Pro laptop in 2013, which came “with a defective graphics processing unit and/or defective graphics card implementation.” Specifically, the lawsuit claims that the defect “breaks the computer screen, causes computer freezes, crashes, and ultimately renders the laptop computers unusable.”

In the complaint Soudijan alleges “he was subjecting the laptop to normal use, including use of video processing, when he experienced a range of screen malfunctions, freezes, and ultimately crashes….The frequency and severity of the problem continued and increased. ”

According to the lawsuit, Soudijan’s MacBook Pro belongs to a line of Apple laptops released in 2011, which includes the 13 inch, 15 inch, and 17 inch screens. “Each of these products is designed, manufactured, marketed, sold, and built with a similar graphic processing unit and graphics processing card implementation and design, which is flawed and defective and causes the machine to unreasonably fail,” the lawsuit claims.

“Symptoms of failure include, but are not limited to, lines on the screen, garbled text, colored lines, rendering of the screen useless, freezes, shutdowns, and crashes, including data loss and full hardware malfunction,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit goes on to claim that the problems associated with the MacBook Pro have been reported by numerous customers through online and print forums, and that people experience these problems shortly after purchasing their Apple computers. The lawsuit further claims that “Apple is aware of the issue and had not take[n] adequate steps to remedy the situation either through warranty claims, recalls, or otherwise.”

The lawsuit against Apple in this MacBook Pro lawsuit cites violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law, breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, and unjust enrichment, and is seeking damages and injunctive relief, and prevention ofApple from selling defective products.

The Defective MacBook Pro Class Action Lawsuit is Soudjian v. Apple Inc., Case No. BC562621, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles. 

Top Settlements

What was that about Accountability? At Charles Schwab & Co., they say it exists. But…yet another unpaid overtime class action was settled this week—this one filed by financial consultants who allege they were misclassified and subsequently denied overtime by Charles Schwab & Co.

A $3.8 million settlement has been approved, potentially ending claims that Charles Schwab & Co violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by classifying its international CDT financial consultants and associate financial consultants as exempt from overtime pay. They are responsible for cross-selling financial products to existing brokerage and banking customers.

According to the complaint, the consultants alleged that they did not fall under any federal or California exemptions to overtime laws. They allege that they were encouraged by the defendant “to work beyond their scheduled shifts without compensation, failing to allow them to record overtime hours they worked and failing to compensate them for overtime hours they worked,” according to the complaint.

Charles Schwab agreed to settle the complaint just days after it was filed. According to the terms of the settlement two thirds of the funds will be distributed among hundreds of employees working as financial consultants in Charles Schwab call centers around the country. The settlement covers work performed between November 2009 and February 2014, or in the case of the international consultants, between November 2010 and February 2014.

Named plaintiffs Dana Aboud, William Hicks, Michael Porowski and Albert Schweizer will each receive $7,500 as compensation for their part in the unpaid overtime class action.

The case is Aboud et al. v. Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., case number 1:14-cv-02712, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Driving checks to the banks. A $53 million settlement has been reached in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit pending against Hertz Corp, and two Nevada airports brought by plaintiffs who alleged they were unlawfully charged undisclosed fees.

The Hertz settlement received final approval on October 30th, and contains $43.2 million restitution for Hertz customers who were billed for “airport concession recovery fees” at airports in Reno or Las Vegas between October 2003 and September 2009. Way to go!

The back story—the lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs Janet Sobel and Daniel Dugan, alleging Hertz violated a Nevada Revised Statute that requires car rental firms to include all charges in the rates they advertise in order to make rate comparisons reliable for those looking for the best deal. Specifically, Hertz allegedly tacked on a recovery fee separately from the rate it quoted its customers. The complaint stated that Hertz used that extra fee to pass along to consumers an assessment imposed on the company by the airports, which charge Hertz and other rental car firms a percentage of their gross revenues for the right to operate on site. 

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

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