Week Adjourned: 7.17.09

glasscrackedSo much for the lazy days of summer—it’s been a busy week!

Top Class Actions

Kindle cracking up? Unfortunately that’s not in a “ha-ha” kind of way. An unhappy customer in Seattle filed a federal class action lawsuit against online bookseller Amazon, this week, over his cracking Kindle.

A Kindle, for those of us technophobes, is an electronic book reader, and has proved tremendously popular for a variety of reasons. Mathew Giese is a convert, he bought a Kindle 2 in February, and a protective cover for it. After 3 months of use his Kindle started to crack in the areas where the cover was attached. The cracks grew worse until one day the screen froze and the Kindle seemingly stopped working.

When Geise contacted Amazon to make warranty claim, he was told by a company representative that Amazon would cover the cost of the frozen screen, but not the cracks, as the warranty apparently doesn’t include damage made by the protective cover. To make a long story short, Mr. Giese was told that the repairs would cost $200.  Yes, you read that correctly. And did I mention that you can get a new Kindle 2 for $299?

But this is not an uncommon problem, apparently. Giese’s lawyer believes there may be hundreds of people with cracking kindles who are faced with repair bills because Amazon had reportedly refusing to cover the cost of the damage caused the protective covers.

Of note, engadget.com (the site for tech gadget obsessives) reported yesterday that Amazon is dropping the $200 repair fee—to zero. But apparently this won’t put the brakes on the class action suit.

Got a defective product? Find out what you can do about it.

Immigration inflation? On July 9, a federal judge for the Northern District of California certified a national Immigration Fees class action that could positively affect thousands of immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, and wind up costing the Feds millions.

Originally filed in 2007, the suit alleges that immigrants applying to the US government for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), have been illegally charged for biometric information, which is fingerprints, an electronic signature, and a photograph. The fee—which has reportedly grown from $25 to $80 since 2001—is what the US government charges for registration or re-registration of TPS in addition to the $50 registration fee.

The class certification order is relevant for immigrants who applied to register or re-register for TPS since August 16, 2001. The legal counsel representing the plaintiffs estimate that as many as 400,000 immigrants may have been overcharged as much as $100 million. Hey, muéstrame el dinero!

Find out more about your rights and immigration law 

Top Settlements

Not a pretty picture at Kodak? Eastman Kodak Company and Employees Committed for Justice, an organization of African American current and former employees of Kodak, announced this week that after several years of bitter litigation, they have agreed to settle.

Filed on July 30, 2004, the suit alleged racial discrimination around the employee promotional mechanisms, pay and hiring practices at Kodak.

The agreement stipulates that Kodak will establish a settlement fund of $21.4 million to be used for payments to the plaintiffs and class members. Kodak also agreed to conduct an examination of its policies relating to certain employment practices and to engage outside experts who will make recommendations for improvement. Just one question—what took them so long?

Read more about employment law

That’s a wrap—see you at the Bar!

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