Week Adjourned: PetMatrix, Shop-Vac, HSBC

DreamBone dog treatsTop Class Action Lawsuits

Heads Up Dog Owners…Dog food manufacturer PetMatrix LC got hit with a consumer fraud class action over claims its dog treats could pose a health hazard for animals.

According to Charlotte Docken of California, who filed the proposed class action, her dog required surgery to clear an abdominal obstruction, allegedly after consuming one of the defendant’s treats.

Docken claims that advertising for the PetMatrix Dream Bone dog treats state that the products do not contain any rawhide but do contain 99 percent digestible ingredients. However, Docken claims the treats do contain a large amount of partially or completely indigestible ingredients, allegedly with the full knowledge of PetMatrix. So not cool.

The case is US District Court for the Central District of California Case number 8:16-cv-00994.

Top Settlements

Shop-Vac Settlement on the Way…A proposed settlement has been reached in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit (In re: Shop-Vac Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL No. 2380) about certain advertising related to Shop-Vac® brand wet/dry vacuums (the “Vacuums”).

In the class action, the plaintiffs allege that defendants Shop-Vac Corporation and Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC misrepresented the peak horsepower ratings and tank capacity of the Vacuums. Defendants deny these allegations.

Under the terms of the proposed Shop-Vac agreement, the manufacturers would extend their warranty on the motors of the Vacuums for at least 2 years. The proposed Settlement also includes changes to the descriptions of peak horsepower ratings and tank capacity on marketing materials.

The “Settlement Class Members” are defined as each person in the United States and its territories who, from January 1, 2006 to May 26, 2016, either (1) purchased a Vacuum, or (2) received a Vacuum as a gift, or (3) acquired possession of a Vacuum through other lawful means, other than for resale or distribution.

Settlement Class Members do not need to do anything in order to qualify for the settlement benefits. The manufacturer’s warranty extension will automatically apply and the changes to the peak horsepower ratings and tank capacity descriptions will be made.

HSBC Gets Slammed. Here’s a whopper—almost 15 years in the making! HSBC has agreed to pony up a massive $1.575 billion settlement ending a securities class action lawsuit pending against a unit of HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA.L). The 14-year old lawsuit stems from the Household International consumer finance business that the British bank bought in 2003 for $14.2 billion.

The settlement agreement effectively avoids a second trial, scheduled to begin last week in the Chicago.

The lawsuit (Jaffe et al v Household International Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 02-05893), was filed in 2002, by shareholders who alleged the company inflated its share price by concealing its poor lending practices and loan quality. The HSBC share price fell more than 50 percent between mid-2001 to October 2002, when the defendant agreed to pay $484 million to settle predatory lending claims brought by US state regulators.

By March 2009, HSBC shut down much of its US consumer finance business having taken tens of billions of dollars of write downs for bad loans associated with its subsidiary. 

Ok, that’s a wrap folks…Have a good one. See you at the Bar!

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