Week Adjourned 8.12.16: Pokemon Go, Banner Health, Synthes

pokemon goTop Class Action Lawsuits

Pokemon Go Goes North… way north of acceptable it seems. At least that’s what a couple living in a small town—and I do mean small—179 people—claim in their class action lawsuit against Niantic, the makers of the “game”.

The lawsuit has been filed in Calgary, Alberta, on behalf of Barbra-Lyn Schaeffer who lives in Torrington, AB. According to the Canadian Pokemon Go lawsuit, she is suffering as a result of an invasion of privacy, resulting from the game.

In the suit, Schaeffer asserts that both herself and her husband have been inundated by Pokemon Go players at their home 160 kilometers northeast of Calgary ever since it became the site of a Pokemon gym. Schaeffer states that people are trying to crawl over the fence and enter their property, and not respecting their privacy. Ok—seriously people?

The game, which sends players into the real world to search for digital monsters called Pokemon, uses digital beacons called Pokestops and Pokegyms. Schaeffer claims there are several such Pokestops and Pokegyms in Torrington. This is actually quite creepy.

Schaeffer told the Globe and Mail, she sent a request to Niantic asking her home be removed and only received a computer-generated response saying the company would look into it. How helpful—thanks guys.

What’s the betting this is among the first of many such lawsuits…

Banner Health not having a Banner Year it Seems. They got hit with a data breach class action lawsuit this week, brought by Howard Chen, MD, who works at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, AZ.

The Banner Health lawsuit asserts that Banner, which is based in Phoenix, AZ, was negligent in protecting people’s information, essentially allowing the data breach to occur.

Chen is among the whopping 3.7 million patients, health plan members, customers and providers whose personal information may have been compromised in the cyber attack.

According to the lawsuit, the hackers gained access to Banner Health computer servers, including those that process payment card information where food and beverages are sold.

FYI—this is the largest data breach to date this year.

Apparently, as compensation, Banner is offering free credit and identity monitoring to all affected individuals for one year. However, the lawsuit asserts that these steps are not sufficient reparation, because cyber criminals will wait a couple of years to use stolen information, often after monitoring periods expire.

Banner Health owns and operates 29 hospitals in seven states including University Medical Center Phoenix, formerly Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Top Settlements

Synthes Settles… J&J subsidiary, Synthes, has agreed to pony up $5 million  in settlement of allegations it’s been sticking it to their employees. The employment class action lawsuit was filed by outside sales reps for Synthes who alleged the company failed to cover business expenses and illegal wage deductions.

The back story is that Lead plaintiff Troy Lindell worked for Synthes as an outside sales rep between 1999 and 2011 in Fresno County, CA. According to the complaint, although Synthes pledged to reimburse him for the 200 miles a week he spent on the road and for the office supplies and equipment he needed to do the job, the company failed to live up to that promise.

Further, Lindell alleges Synthes cut his wages for failing to provide completed purchase orders or for providing purchase orders with slight errors. Really?

Yup—according to the complaint, “His wages were reduced by 50 percent of the cost of the item sold to the medical facility, even though the item had many times already been implanted in a patient.” Lindell also accused Synthes of failing to provide him with a copy of his personnel file despite two requests.

According to court documents, the parties signed an agreement August 5 that would see each member of lawsuit’s two classes receive an average payment of more than $14,000.

After legal fees and associated costs, the remaining $3.2 million will be split among the 314 members of the two classes in the suit. The settlement still requires final approval.

So folks, on that happy note—this week’s a wrap—see you at the bar!!

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