Week Adjourned: 2.10.17 – Yahoo, Raisinets, Deja Vu Dancers

Top Class Action Lawsuits

Yoohoo! Another Data Breach Lawsuit for Yahoo….Cast your mind back to 2015—end of the year—and an announcement by Yahoo concerning two major—and I do mean major—data breaches. Well, the Internet giant just got hit with a class action lawsuit brought by a small business owner in Texas who alleges his identity and information for his websites and online advertising, which he runs through Yahoo, were compromised during the two large data breaches the Internet giant disclosed in 2015. You knew more were coming…

Specifically, Brian Neff claims that Yahoo and its subsidiary, Aabaco Small Business LLC, breached its contract and negligently allowed hackers to access data on a billion Yahoo users during the two breaches.

Filed in California federal court, the lawsuit claims Yahoo failed to protect the “treasure trove” of personal information he provided to the company in order to set up and pay for an account in 2009. The theft of that data has resulted in a number of fraudulent charges on his bank accounts, as well as an unauthorized card being opened in his name.

In September 2015, Yahoo announced that in late 2014, information from 500 million accounts was stolen. While that Yahoo data breach was considered to be the largest in history, in December Yahoo then revealed that in 2013, hackers had stolen account data for one billion of its users in 2013.

Neff alleges that while Yahoo claims that the data taken was just email addresses and passwords, not bank account information, at this early stage it is unknown whether Yahoo’s descriptions of the breadth of the breaches are accurate.

“Given that more than three years elapsed before Yahoo disclosed the 2013 data breach and more than two years passed before Yahoo disclosed the 2014 data breach, Mr. Neff is rightfully skeptical of Yahoo’s self-serving statements,” the complaint states.

Neff states that in addition to paying Yahoo thousands of dollars “for services that subjected him to a security breach,” he was also the victim of actual identity theft as a result of either or both of the hacks. According to the complaint, Neff has incurred fraudulent charges on his Capital One credit card and his Chase debit card, both of which were on file with Yahoo to pay for the website services. Yahoo was the only company to which Neff had given that information to, the complaint alleges.

Further, the Yahoo lawsuit states that concurrent with the fraudulent charges, an unauthorized credit card account was opened at Credit One Bank in his name, and additional charges were made to that account.

The complaint includes claims for breach of contract, breach of implied contract, negligence, fraudulent and negligent inducement, and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law.

Head’s up, Neff is seeking to represent a national class of Yahoo and Aabaco small business customers whose personal identifying information was disclosed in the 2013 or 2014 data breaches.

The case is Brian Neff v. Yahoo Inc. et al., case number 5:17-cv-00641, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

And what about those Raisinets? No—not talking about exotic dancers or cheerleaders, but the little chocolate covered goodies contained in arguably short supply but a rather large box. Read on.

Nestle is facing a consumer fraud class action lawsuit filed by a customer who alleges the company under-fills its boxes of Raisinets, deliberately deceiving customers as to the quantity of product they are actually buying.

Filed by Plaintiff Sandy Hafer, the Raisinets lawsuit asserts that the opaque packaging of Nestle USA Inc.’s Raisinets candies leads customers to believe they are buying a full box of the chocolate-coated raisins. According to the lawsuit, however, the boxes are only 60 percent full. Hafer claims that this underfilling is intentional and enables Nestle “to reduce its food product costs to the detriment of unwitting customers, who are not receiving the full benefit of their bargain.”

“Unbeknownst to consumers, who cannot see the contents inside the products’ packaging at the time of purchase, approximately 40 percent each [Raisinets’] packaging is non-functional slack-fill, empty space which serves no functional purpose under the law,” the complaint states.

Hafer claims that had she known that the Raisinets box she purchased was underfilled, she would not have bought it. This deception, she asserts, is a violation of California’s false advertising and unfair competition laws.

Hafer, a California resident, is bringing the putative action on behalf of herself and other Raisinets consumers who have similarly found their candy boxes underfilled. Hafer wants the court to restore the money she and consumers allegedly lost as a result of such deceptive practices.

The case is Sandy Hafer v Nestle USA Inc., case number 2:17-cv-00034, in United States District Court for the Central District of California. 

Top Settlements

Deja Vu Dancer Settlement in the Works… These dancers may be dancing for joy soon, or relief perhaps. A $6.M million preliminary settlement has been reached in an employment class action lawsuit filed by dancers at the gentleman’s club chain Deja Vu Consulting Inc. In the more than one dozen complaints, the dancers alleged they were misclassified as independent contractors. The settlement covers between 45,000 and 50,000 dancers at 64 clubs nationwide.

According to the terms of the settlement, the funds will be divided into two pools. The first pool, consisting of $2 million, includes $30,000 in rewards for two proposed class representatives, up to $50,000 in settlement notice and administration costs, and about $935,000 for dancers who opt for cash payments.

The second pool, consisting of $4.5 million, will be divided into credits toward dancers’ rent for stage time or other fees dancers pay the club for the right to perform, depending on the structure of an individual club’s operation. The credit amounts will range from $200 for workers who performed at a club for at least one month to a maximum of $2,000 for dancers who performed for 18 months or longer.

Further, in the hopes of resolving misclassification claims going forward, the settlement also includes injunctive relief in the form of a new process for evaluating employment status. This process involves an evaluation period, after which dancers at the clubs covered in the settlement, will meet with management and answer an economic realities test-based questionnaire designed to determine whether or not a dancer is better classified as an employee or an independent contractor. Those classified as employees will be paid a minimum wage and take home their tips, less the legal costs of their employment and other fees. By contrast, independent contractors will have more freedom to set their hours and pick their costumes.

If the Deja Vu settlement receives final approval, it will cover all former and current dancers who worked at 64 Deja Vu-affiliated clubs across the country, over three class periods that vary depending on the clubs’ geographic location and whether the class members are involved in other lawsuits against Deja Vu.

A fairness hearing is scheduled for June 6, 2017. The case is Jane Doe et al v. Deja Vu et al., case number 2:16-cv-10877, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Ok – That’s a wrap for this week. See you at the bar!

2 thoughts on “Week Adjourned: 2.10.17 – Yahoo, Raisinets, Deja Vu Dancers”

  1. 02/23/2017

    This is in regards to the above article that that commented on the labor practices of strip clubs.

    I am currently an independent (non-employee) entertainer at multiple clubs. I have been in the industry since I was 19 and, 7 years later, I am proud of what I do and the fact that it has provided a great living for my family and child. Even having a “day job” as well, I would never have been able to support my family and our lifestyle without the opportunity.

    I feel that you unknowingly misrepresented the viewpoint of many professional entertainers regarding our employment status, so I wanted to offer some commentary on these issues so that you might understand how most dancers really think, rather than just regurgitating the skewed opinions of lawyers.

    The fact is, most dancers do NOT want to be employees. I am speaking from first-hand experience. Most want to remain the successful, independent businesswomen they currently are. Stripping is a serious career with serious money and the predatory lawyers who spew these lawsuits are ruining our ability to make a living. Here are some reasons why:

    1. Being an employee means that we won’t be able to earn as much money. Employees at any business generally can’t work more than 40 hours per week. Some weeks I have more bills, so I need to be able to work more than 40 hours if I want. I do not want my income capped!

    2. Being an employee means that we won’t be able to travel or work at multiple clubs. One of the biggest benefits to be independent is that I can work in other states or at multiple clubs if I want.

    3. I need flexibility. As a contractor, I can set my own schedule and come and go as I please with the hours I choose. As a single working Mom, I couldn’t survive without this benefit! Employees are scheduled and that’s something that doesn’t work with my situation.

    4. I need cash nightly. Employees get a paycheck. I want to keep getting my nightly cash so I can take care of my bills. Enough said.

    5. I want to be able to do my own creative shows and set my own goals. As a contractor, I get to choose my own outfits and set up my own performances. This individuality is important to me and my income.

    6. I want to be able to keep more of my own money. If we were employees, the clubs would have to keep more of the money that guests give us to cover payroll and administrative fees. I can’t allow the income that I make to go to fund a dumb bureaucracy!

    Being an employee takes away most of the benefits of being a dancer in the first place. It is neither fair nor desirable to us.

    Those are just some of the reasons I am proud to be an independent entertainer. I do NOT want to be an employee, nor do most dancers I know. These lawsuits have to stop so we can focus on taking care of our own business and families. Predatory attorneys cause these lawsuits, try to get dancers like myself to sign up with the “promise” of big money, and then end up taking all of the settlement money for themselves. Leave strip clubs alone!



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