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LinkedIn’s Launches New Marketing Solutions That Could Bolster Your Firm’s Brand
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On Thursday, February 19, 2015, LinkedIn unveiled its newly enhanced platform of business-to-business lead generation products. The launch follows the $175 million acquisition of Bizo, a company devoted to helping advertisers reach businesses and professionals, in August of 2014. LinkedIn utilized Bizo’s team and technology, as well as partnered with AppNexus, to bring to life what the company promises is a suite of products that will provide “a faster way to reach, nurture, and convert high-qu
Fantasy Football Giant Hit With Potential Class Action for False Advertising
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
One of the most prominent players to emerge in the burgeoning “for profit” fantasy football industry has become the target of an action that seeks class certification for false advertising claims stemming from a promise to double users’ cash deposits. DraftKings, a platform that permits registrants to play fantasy sports and win cash prizes, is the defendant in Aguirre v. DraftKings, Inc., a case which seeks remedies for claims under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Florida
Value of Attorney Advertising On Display at Risperdal Trial
Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations
The pharmaceutical drug Risperdal, prescribed by physicians as an antipsychotic, has caused a particularly embarrassing and emotionally scarring side effect in thousands of its male users. The drug is alleged to have caused thousands of boys and grown men alike to develop breasts, a medical condition known as gynecomastia.    Despite widespread claims of this side effect by Risperdal users, many injured parties may not know the causal relationship between use of the defective product and an inj
California Bar on Blogging 101: Mind the “Call to Action”
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
The pervasiveness of blogging and social media was bound to raise ethical questions over when an attorney’s public statements intertwined with the law cross the line from free speech to attorney marketing and, as a result, regulated speech. The California Bar Association recently weighed in to provide some guidance on when attorney blogging constitutes “commercial speech” and is subject to ethical restrictions. The opinion reiterates the U.S. Supreme Court authority that an economic interest al
NYC to Pay $5 Million to Relatives of “Mafia Cops” Victims to Resolve Municipal Liability Claims
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel A $5 million settlement has been reached between victims seeking redress for wrongful death after their loved ones were murdered by rogue NYPD detectives, Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, acting as hitmen for the mafia in the 1980s. The settlement comes four months after a federal judge granted the city’s summary judgment motion on state law claims but denied with respect to federal municipal liability claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. As reported by the New York Law Journal on t
Standard & Poor Settles Suit Over Inflated Ratings for $1.375 Billion
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
Having been in business for over 150 years and with 26 offices worldwide, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services touts that it provides “high-quality market intelligence in the form of credit ratings, research, and thought leadership.” Nevertheless, the company, a unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc., became the adversary in a legal battle with the U.S. Department of Justice and 19 states and the District of Columbia, which resulted in a settlement of $1.375 billion. The lawsuit, filed nearly two
Facebook: A Decade Later Attorneys Still Have Cause for Concern
Rachael Bhola
On February 4, 2004, Mark Zuckerberg and his Harvard University roommates launched the social media website, Facebook. Although Facebook was initially limited to serving college students, the website now has an incredible variety of users, some of whom are professionals. Unlike most other occupations, the legal field is subject to certain ethical guidelines and professional standards, such as those enumerated in the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (the “Model Rules”), which can present
Plaintiffs’ Counsel in Zoloft MDL Obtain a “Daubert Do-Over”
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On Thursday, January 8, 2015, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, who is presiding over the multi-district litigation involving prescription antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride), granted the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee’s motion for leave to identify and present a new general causation expert. Previously, the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (“PSC”) offered four witnesses to testify as to whether Zoloft caused birth defects in babies born to mot
Counsel Financial’s Loan Portfolio Expands During Productive Summer Season
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
Specialty finance company furthers its leadership role in the plaintiffs’ firm lending industry
Popular Podcast Fuels New Trial After Man Served 16 Years of a Life Sentence
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On June 30, 2016, Adnan Syed was given something that he wanted for 16 years—a new trial. Judge Martin Welch, from the Baltimore Circuit Court in Maryland, vacated Syed’s 2000 murder conviction based on cell phone tower evidence that was not introduced in the original trial. The murder itself sparked national attention via the popular podcast Serial. The first season of the show covers the story of Syed’s conviction following the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. On January 13, 1
Class Action Suit Filed After Refrigerator Fires
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On June 24, 2016, owners of Dometic Corporation gas absorption refrigerators filed class-action claims against the company, claiming that the refrigerators leak flammable gas and cause fires.  The lawsuit alleges that Dometic knew that the defective refrigerators, mostly found in boats and RVs, have caused more than 3,000 fires since 1997, resulting in over $100 million in property damage and personal injuries, but failed to address the defect and/or provide consumers with adequate warnings. Ho
Class Action Filed After Violence Erupts at Trump Rally
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On July 14, 2016, fourteen supporters of Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against the San Jose police department, claiming that the police failed to protect them from violent protestors at a June 2, 2016 Trump campaign rally. The fourteen named plaintiffs are seeking class action status on behalf of all Trump supporters who were attacked at the rally. Around 300 to 400 anti-Trump protestors were outside the venue, allegedly pelting eggs and glass bottles at supporters. On the day of the event, San
Florida Residents Contemplate Class-Action Lawsuit After Algae Infestation
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
Residents of the waterfront community of Cape Coral, Florida are making it known to lawmakers in Lee County that they want their taxes lowered in response to the sudden infestation of foul smelling blue algae that has surrounded the community. Residents allege that the taxes they pay are high due to their close proximity to the water. However, now that the putrid smelling algae has moved in, homeowners and business owners say their properties have lost significant value. If the local government
$70 Million Verdict Awarded in Fifth Philadelphia Risperdal Trial
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On July 1, 2016, the fifth case to go to trial in Philadelphia’s mass tort litigation involving the antipsychotic drug Risperdal resulted in a $70 million verdict against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. In the case, the family of Andrew Yount claimed that Risperdal caused their adolescent son to develop female breasts. Andrew, who was born in 1998, began taking the drug manufactured by Janssen in 2003 to medicate his severe psychiatric problems, which were later
Netflix User Sues Over Monthly Fee Increase
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On June 29, 2016, disgruntled Netflix user, George Keritsis, filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the popular movie-streaming site in California federal court. Keritsis’ suit seeks class-action status for all Netflix users who entered into agreements with the site, promising to lock them into a fixed, low subscription rate only to be told their monthly subscription rates have increased over time.  Currently, more than half of Netflix’s 81.5 million U.S. subscribers have grandfathered a
GM Barred from using its 2009 Bankruptcy as a way out for Ignition Switch Claims
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals on July 13, 2016 found that the claims against General Motors (“GM”) regarding its faulty ignition switch could proceed. Approximately 1,000 lawsuits were brought against the company in 2014 arising from claims that the ignition switches on the GM’s vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion, were prone to slipping out of their run position, causing the vehicles to suddenly stall and preventing airbags from deploying in the event of a crash. Some o
Ginsberg v. Trump: A War of Words
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
A very public verbal battle emerged between esteemed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. The controversy began after Justice Ginsberg made several clearly partisan comments to multiple media outlets, including The New York Times, regarding Trump’s suitability to be president. Ginsberg’s disdain for Trump was evident when she gave the media a point-by-point explanation as to why she believes “he is a faker.” She admitted that she feared
First Bondholders Class Action Filed in VW Emissions Scandal Litigation
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
Boston Retirement System, a public pension fund for Boston municipal employees, has filed the first bondholders class action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against German automaker, Volkswagen (“VW”), relating to the company’s emissions scandal. Plaintiffs allege that Volkswagen, Volkswagen Group of America and Volkswagen Group of America Finance purposefully mislead the public by releasing false and misleading information, causing VW bonds to trade at artifi
Three Class Actions Present Big Trouble for Arizona Blood Testing Company
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
Three class-action lawsuits in Northern California have been filed against the Arizona-based blood-testing firm Theranos. The first and third class actions were filed May 26 and May 30 respectively, alleging that Theranos falsely advertised its products to consumers. The second class action was filed May 27, alleging that the company breached its contract with customers by not providing what had been promised—a minimally invasive procedure and accurate test results. Theranos specializes in “no
Parmesan Cheese Filler Class Actions Consolidated in Chicago Court
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On Thursday, June 2, 2016, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered the transfer of more than 50 class-action lawsuits—alleging that several brands of Parmesan cheese, which had been labeled as 100% grated Parmesan cheese, contained wood-pulp and cellulose as fillers—to U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman of the Northern District of Illinois. Defendants in the suit include Kraft Heinz Co., Target Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. private-label Parmesan cheese and Supervalu Inc. Plai
New Lawsuit Claims McDonald’s Drive-Thru Violates Americans with Disabilities Act
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On May 26, 2016, Scott Magee from Metairie, Louisiana, filed a class-action complaint against McDonald’s Corporation for alleged systemic violations committed by the fast-food chain against blind persons. The lawsuit arose because Magee, who is blind, approached a local McDonald’s drive-thru window on foot after the restaurant’s lobby was closed last August. The restaurant refused service to Magee, laughed at him and told him to leave.McDonald’s Corporation late-night drive-thru policy provides
Johnson & Johnson Moves to Stay all Future Hip Trials until Appeal is Resolved
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On May 24, 2016, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) requested Judge Ed Kinkeade of the Northern District of Texas to hold all future trials in the multidistrict litigation arising from its DePuy Pinnacle hip devices until certain post-trial motions were ruled upon in the “Aoki cases”—decided just one week prior. In the Aoki cases, which were designated as the second bellwether trial in the MDL, a jury awarded $498 million to five plaintiffs who suffered debilitating injuries as a result of receivi
Proposed Rule Would Ban Consumer Class Action Arbitration Waivers
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
Consumer finance companies have until August 22, 2016, to express their concerns regarding the latest rule proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), which bans class action arbitration waiver provisions in consumer financial products and services agreements. The proposed rule (81 FR 32830) was published in the May 24, 2016 issue of the Federal Register for public comment and, if made final, will be codified in 12 CFR part 1040. Pursuant to Section 1028(b) of the Dodd-Frank
Defendants Score a Stay in Cereal Class Action
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On June 13, 2016, Judge Kevin McNulty granted Defendant General Mills’ request for a stay in proceedings In re General Mills, Inc. Kix Cereal Litigation. Plaintiffs in the suit allege that General Mills purposefully misled consumers by labeling boxes of its Kix cereal as “all natural” when in fact the cereal was made with bioengineered corn. Kix boxes were labeled “all natural” from 2009 to 2013. Defendants requested the stay so the FDA could sift through comments on whether the use of the word
Class-Action Suit Filed Against Carfax Over Arbitrary Increases in Subscription Fees
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On June 10, 2016, an Alabama-based car dealership, Turnbull Automotive, filed a lawsuit against the Centerville, Virginia-based company, Carfax, on behalf of itself and all other individuals and entities who have been subject to intermittent, arbitrary increases in subscription fees with the company over the past four years. Carfax subscribers are given access to information on the repair history of used cars. The plaintiff claims that the defendant, Carfax, has been significantly and arbitrari
Tip for Law Firm Owners: Use Caution When Selecting an Advertising Agency as Ad Fraud is on the Rise
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
A recent report released by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) highlighted the increasing global epidemic arising in advertising that could impact a plaintiff firm’s marketing strategy—due to ad fraud, a huge number of online ads never reach actual humans. The WFA estimates that by 2025, ad fraud will result in losses to companies aggregating over $50 billion annually, which could easily rise to $150 billion if nothing is done to protect consumers against the fraud. Further, the WFA pred
New Study Bolsters Plaintiffs’ Claims in Fitbit Class Action
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
Plaintiffs in the Fitbit class action received encouraging news when the results of a recent study conducted by California State Polytechnic University, Ponoma concluded that Fitbit’s PurePulse pulse tracker does not accurately monitor a user’s heart rate during more intensive workouts. The study, which was commissioned by Plaintiffs’ attorney, Lieff Cabraser, tested the heart rates of 43 adults wearing the PurePulse heart rate monitors and then tested the same people using a BioHarness device
The Effect of 3-D Printing on Products Liability Law
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
With technology advancing at an ever-increasing rate, the law must be continuously reexamined in order to keep pace with society’s needs. Products liability law is currently experiencing this phenomenon, as 3-D printing becomes a reality in many industries. 3-D printing poses a significant disruption to the usual flow of the supply chain on which traditional products liability law is based; now anyone can simply design and manufacture a product from the comfort of their own home. The black and
Volkswagen Reaches Settlement in Emissions Scandal Litigation
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
Under the agreement, announced at a court hearing on Thursday, Volkswagen is to provide “substantial compensation” to owners of over 500,000 2-liter vehicles that were fitted with high-tech software used to evade U.S. emission requirements. The specific financial details of the settlement, including how much each owner will receive, were not provided. Some news sources have reported that Volkswagen will spend just over $1 billion to compensate owners, but exact amounts were not disclosed as neg
First Bellwether Trial in Tylenol MDL Postponed
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has ordered that Terry v. McNeil-PPC, Inc., the first bellwether trial in the Tylenol MDL, be pushed back four months to allow for the resolution of similar Tylenol suits pending in New Jersey. Plaintiff, Rana Terry, filed suit on behalf of her deceased sister, Denice Hayes. In November 2015, Defendant McNeil Consumer Healthcare attempted to get Terry dismissed, arguing that the suit was time-barred by Alabama’s wro