Week Adjourned: 5.5.17 – Honda CR-V, WEN, FedEx

Honda CR-V, Honda.com

Top Class Action Lawsuits

Honda in trouble—again? The got hit with a defective automotive class action lawsuit this week, over allegations of noxious fumes entering into the cabins of its 2015, 2016 and 2017 models of its CR-V sport utility vehicles. Sounds unpleasant, on a number of fronts.

The lawsuit also alleges Honda is guilty of consumer fraud, as it states the automaker knowingly sells cars with a defect causing the passenger cabin to fill with gasoline fumes. Honda has so far refused to take the cars back, or offer to replace or repair the vehicles.

According to the Honda CR-V lawsuit, new Honda vehicles come with a three-year or 36,000-mile warranty that provides free repairs or replacement of the vehicle for problems arising from defects in its design or construction. However, the plaintiffs state that when they complained to Honda about the alleged fumes, the company declined to honor the warranty. The plaintiffs claim the fumes are bad enough to keep them from driving the car, causing them to suffer headaches and stomach pain. They describe the smell as “intermittent and pungent” and doesn’t seem to be affected by the speed or duration of driving. The majority of the plaintiffs claim they first noticed it within a year of purchasing or leasing their CR-Vs.

“Plaintiffs and class members have no confidence and peace of mind in a manufacturer that continues to sell vehicles it knows reek of gasoline yet refuses to repair or replace as required by its warranty,” the lawsuit states.

According to the lawsuit, Honda has received hundreds of complaints regarding the fumes, dating back to July 2015. While Honda has acknowledged the problem, it said it does not know how to fix it.

The proposed class seeks to represent anyone who purchased a 2015, 2016 or 2017 CR-V, who complained to Honda about the leaking vapors, and who did not receive a repair or replacement of the car.

The lawsuit states that Honda is in breach of its own warranty and in violation of several state consumer fraud statutes. It seeks compensatory damages for the class.

The putative class is represented by Alexander Loftus of Stoltmann Law Offices PC. The case is Carol Miles et al v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc., case number 2017-CH-06331, in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Top Settlements

Heads up! —pardon the pun—if you purchased WEN hair products. This week, a $26.25 million settlement was reached in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit pending against WEN by Chaz Dean Inc. and manufacturer Guthy-Renker LLC. The lawsuit alleged that the celebrity stylist’s hair products caused consumers’ hair to fall out.

In addition to hair loss, the plaintiffs alleged the WEN products contained sulfates when they were marketed as “sulfate-free.” Further, WEN and Guthy-Renker were aware of the problems for at least four years due to tens of thousands of customer complaints, yet issued no recall, according to the lawsuit.

The litigation has been going on for three years and involves, potentially, millions of customers. If the proposed settlement receives final court approval, WEN will be required to place a warning label on its Cleansing Conditioner.

The proposed WEN settlement establishes two avenues of compensation for class members: the first, a flat $25 refund for those who bought the products, and the second would be awards of up to $20,000 for those who used the product and experienced hair loss or scalp pain.

The settlement class covers consumers who purchased WEN hair care products between November 1, 2007, and August 1, 2016.

Final court approval is required.

The case is Amy Friedman et al. v. Guthy-Renker LLC et al., case number 2:14-cv-06009, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

FedEx to deliver—on unpaid overtime. Yup. This week, a $227 million settlement agreement received final approval ending an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit between FedEx Corp and its drivers in 19 states. The plaintiffs alleged they were misclassified as independent contractors by FedEx, rather than full time workers, and were therefore undercompensated.

According to FedEx settlement documents, 12,627 drivers are named as plaintiffs in class-action lawsuits in the 19 states. They will receive payouts ranging from $250 to in excess of $116,000, under terms of the separate settlements in each state.

Settlement distributions and resolution of the lawsuits under the terms laid out, are as follows:

Indiana: 791 drivers will divide a settlement of $33.95 million. Average recovery per class member will be $29,520. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $116,028.

Alabama: 375 drivers will share a settlement of $3.2 million. Average recovery per class member will be $5,620. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $20,100.

Arizona: 380 drivers will share a settlement of $4.95 million. Average recovery per class member will be $8,699. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $28,149.

Georgia: 867 drivers will share a settlement of $4.94 million. Average recovery per class member will be $3,785. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $13,711.

Louisiana: 315 drivers will share a settlement of $5.25 million. Average recovery per class member will be $11,061. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $39,743.

Maryland: 533 drivers will share a settlement of $9.4 million. Average recovery per class member will be $12,047. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $29,455.

Minnesota: 455 drivers will share a settlement of $8.3 million. The average recovery per class member will be $12,312. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $44,701.

New Jersey: 901 drivers will share a settlement of $25.5 million. Average recovery per class member will be $19,301. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $71,194.

New York: 1,602 drivers will share a settlement of $42.9 million. Average recovery per class member will be $18,421. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $68,880.

North Carolina: 707 drivers will share a settlement of $20 million. Average recovery per class member will be $19,250. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $53,440.

Ohio: 878 drivers will share a settlement of $8.35 million. Average recovery per class member will be $6,363. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $20,611.

Pennsylvania: 1,265 drivers will share a settlement of $23 million. Average recovery per class member will be $12,442. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $45,647.

Rhode Island: 125 drivers will share a settlement of $1.6 million. Average recovery per class member will be $7,352. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $20,332.

South Carolina: 274 drivers will share a settlement of $3.1 million. Average recovery per class member will be $7,405. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $19,682.

Tennessee: 762 drivers will share a settlement of $12.25 million. Average recovery per class member will be $10,863. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $39,838.

Texas: 1,515 drivers will share a settlement of $8.9 million. Average recovery per class member will be $3,938. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $13,880.

Utah: 171 drivers will share a settlement of $2.4 million. Average recovery per class member will be $9,130. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $28,886.

West Virginia: 107 drivers will share a settlement of $3.75 million. Average recovery per class member will be $22,306. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $76,456.

Wisconsin: 604 drivers will share a settlement of $5.5 million. Average recovery per class member will be $6,126. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $21,842.

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

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