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$24.9 Million Settlement Over Siri Technology
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
Computer technology giant, Apple, recently agreed to a $24.9 million settlement with New York engineering school, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (“RPI”), who claimed that one of its professors developed the technology that Apple uses in its personal assistant application, Siri. Plaintiffs in the suit include RPI, which employed Professor Cheng Hsu and his doctoral student, Veera Boonjing, and Dynamic Advances, a Dallas, Texas based company that purchased the technology from RPI in 2011. Plai
Suit Filed Against U.S. Government Over No-Fly List
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On April 5, 2016, the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group, filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of Americans placed on the “No Fly List” created and maintained by the United States government. In the suit, which is pending in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, Plaintiffs allege that persons were placed on the list, including a seven-month-old baby, even though it was clear they were not terrorists. They claim that nominat
Edible Arrangements Faces Class Action over Text Messages
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On April 5, 2016, Christopher DiStasio brought a class action suit against Edible Arrangements, LLC over the popular fruit franchise’s marketing via automated text messages. In the complaint, DiStasio, on behalf of himself and those similarly situated, alleges that the text messages sent by Edible Arrangements to his cellular device within the last four years were not authorized. Further, he argues that the messages he received from Edible Arrangements were fully automated, as the content was “
$11.1 Million Pelvic Mesh Verdict Upheld in NJ
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On March 29, 2016, a New Jersey state appeals court decided to uphold the $11.1 million verdict in the pelvic mesh suit, Gross v. Ethicon. The three-judge Appellate Division panel chose to uphold the 2014 Atlantic County Superior Court decision, which awarded $3.35 million in compensatory damages to Plaintiff, Linda Gross, and $7.76 million in punitive damages to Gross and her husband. The panel determined there was substantial evidence to show that the defendant knew of the potential dangers a
Plaintiff in First Paxil Case Fights Against Nonsuit Ruling
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
As a result of his serious medical condition, Braden had to undergo two open-heart surgeries since his birth in 2004. Rader alleged that officials at GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturers of the drug, were aware of the dangers the drug posed to unborn children, and yet did not inform the medical community of the risks.  In the post-trial motion, Plaintiff’s counsel argued that Judge Powell misinterpreted the 2010 case management order governing the Paxil mass tort cases when he granted GlaxoSmithK
Leading Personal Injury Firm, Gianni ♦ Petoyan, Obtains Victory in Birth Injury Case
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel The plaintiffs’ law firm financing company, California Attorney Lending, announced today that one of its clients, Gianni ♦ Petoyan, successfully resolved a birth injury case resulting from an obstetrical failure to diagnose intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)—a common prenatal condition. As a result, the child suffered a hypoxic injury in utero resulting in periventricular leukomalacia and cerebral palsy. The profoundly disabled child will require lifetime care. The case resol
Flint Residents Seek $220 Million in Damages Against EPA in Toxic Water Lawsuit
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On April 25, 2016, named plaintiff Jan Burgess and 513 other current and former residents of Flint, Michigan filed a notice of class action against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In the complaint—filed almost two years after city officials decided to save money by switching Flint’s water source from Detroit’s municipal system to the Flint River—the plaintiffs assert that the EPA was negligent, which contributed to the dangerous levels of lead in the city’s water supply. They seek $22
$1.35 Million Settlement for Cosmetology School Class Action
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
Philadelphia cosmetology school, The Jean Madeline Aveda Institute, has agreed to settle class claims alleging that the school overcharged customers for cosmetic services performed by students in violation of Pennsylvania state law. Lead plaintiff, Sophia Krivy, claimed that The Jean Madeline Aveda Institute charged her $12 for a haircut performed by an unlicensed student. Krivy argued that $12 was significantly higher than state law allows such a service to cost. According to Pennsylvania stat
Class Action Status Preserved By Ninth Circuit in Allstate Lawsuit
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On April 12, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a putative class action could proceed despite a defendant offering judgment on a named plaintiff’s individual claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68. In the case, Chen, et al. v. Allstate Ins. Co., named plaintiffs Richard Chen and Florencio Pacleb filed a class-action complaint against Allstate Insurance Company alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer protection Act (“TCPA”) after recei
Sony Agrees to Settle Antitrust Claims in Lithium-Ion Battery MDL for $19 Million
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On February 16, 2016, Sony became the first defendant to settle claims in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) alleging that lithium-ion battery makers including Sony, Toshiba Corp., NEC Corp and LG Chem America and others, violated antitrust laws by fixing the prices of lithium-ion batteries sold to both direct purchasers and consumers. The litigation was consolidated into an MDL in California federal court under U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in 2014. In the settlement agreement, So
$151 Million Settlement in Foam Multidistrict Litigation After Six-Year Battle
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
After six years of litigation, parties in the polyurethane foam multidistrict litigation have agreed on a $151 million settlement. Plaintiffs in the suit claimed that the defendant manufacturers, Carpenter Co., Leggett & Platt Inc., Mohawk Industries Inc., Woodbridge Foam Corp., Hickory Springs Manufacturing Co., Future Foam Inc., FFP Holdings LLC, FXI Holdings Inc., Vitafoam Inc. and Vitafoam Products Canada Ltd., conspired to illegally fix the price of polyurethane foam from 1999 to 2012.
Jury in GM Ignition Switch Trial Finds Car Unreasonably Dangerous, but Ice at Fault
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel On March 30, 2016, a jury in New York City found that the ignition switch in a General Motors’ vehicle was not proximate cause of injuries sustained by driver Dionne Spain and passenger Lawrence Barthelemy after an accident. The eight-person jury, however, did conclude that the car was unreasonably dangerous. On January 24, 2014, Spain and Barthelemy were driving a 2007 Saturn Sky on Crescent City Connection Bridge in New Orleans when it spun out of control and hit a jersey bar
Insurance Agents Win Class Certification in Employment Status Dispute
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
A federal judge granted class certification on March 2, 2016 to insurance agents who claim that the company who hired them, American Family, mislabeled its sales force as “independent contractors” to avoid compliance with the requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). Walid Jammal and Dana LaRiche, on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated, filed the lawsuit in February 2013. In the class action, the plaintiffs assert that American Family hired insurance a
Fantasy Sports Site Class Actions Consolidated to MDL in Massachusetts
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On February 4, 2016, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) announced they would consolidate around 80 actions in thirty districts against popular online fantasy sports sites, FanDuel Inc. and DraftKings Inc., into a multidistrict litigation in the District of Massachusetts. Plaintiffs’ allegations generally fall into one of three categories. First, Plaintiffs are accusing the companies of insider trading. Plaintiffs contend that had they known employees were participating on the
Facebook Class Action Filed over Birthday Texts
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On February 12, 2016, Colin R. Brickman brought a class action lawsuit against Facebook, Inc. seeking to permanently halt the social media company’s practice of sending unsolicited birthday text messages. Brickman, on behalf of himself and each member of the potential class, is also pursuing an award of statutory damages of up to $1,500 against the company for every birthday text transmitted by Facebook without a recipient’s prior express consent. In the class action complaint filed in the Nort
Final Approval Granted for Electrolux Settlement
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel On February 10, 2016, U.S. District Judge Noel Hilman of the District of New Jersey gave final settlement approval in the Electrolux Home Products class action litigation. The settlement has the potential to be worth up to $20 million. The class is made up of around 100,000 members who claim that the Electrolux ice makers they purchased failed to provide “ice at your fingertips” as it had been marketed to do and instead began leaking just months after purchase, causing damage to the refr
Second Circuit Affirms Apple E-Book Settlement
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On February 17, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a class action settlement of two antitrust lawsuits involving claims that Apple Inc. fixed the prices of electronic books. Specifically, in the lawsuits, the State Attorneys General in 33 jurisdictions and individual consumers in 23 other jurisdictions alleged, among other things, that Apple and five book publishing companies conspired to “raise, fix and stabilize the retail price for newly released and bestselling
Lead Counsel Selected in Airline Price Fixing MDL
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel On February 4, 2016, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly appointed Washington, D.C. attorneys Steve Williams and Michael Hausfeld as co-lead counsel in the airline price fixing multidistrict litigation (MDL), In re: Domestic Airline Travel Antitrust Litigation. Judge Kollar-Kotelly also approved Williams and Hausfeld’s recommendations of Elizabeth Cabraser, Robert Kaplan and Warren Burns as executive committee members. According to lead counsel, the executive committee was p
$27.5 Million Settlement Reached in Bank of America Overdraft Class Action
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On January 18, 2016, Defendant Bank of America (“BOA”) agreed to pay $27.5 million to settle class action claims that it violated consumer protection laws when it unjustly charged overdraft fees to BOA debit card users. Members of the class include BOA checking account holders within in the U.S. since May 25, 2011. With the help of both Magistrate Judge Wells and Judge Phillips, a settlement was reached after nearly two years. Per the settlement agreement, none of the $27.5 million settlement w
Class Action Suits Filed Against Michigan State Officials Over Contaminated Water
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On Friday, January 15, 2016, two class action lawsuits were filed by residents of Flint, Michigan against Michigan Governor Rick Snyder; former Flint emergency managers, Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose; the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality; the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services; and Genesee County, alleging that the defendants knowingly concealed the severity of the water contamination problem in Flint from residents. The contamination crisis began in the spring of
Bair Hugger Litigations Consolidated into Multidistrict Litigation in Minnesota
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
The Bair Hugger operates like a forced-air heater by carrying warmed air through a hose to a disposable blanket that is placed over the patient. The Bair Hugger helps to maintain the patient’s body temperature during surgery; due to several factors including anesthesia, IV fluids or a cold operating room, a patient’s body temperature can drop by up to 35 degrees in the first 35 minutes of surgery. Plaintiffs alleged that when the product circulated unsterile air from the surgery room floor to t
Starbucks Customer Sues Company over Hot Coffee Burns
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On January 6, 2016, Florida resident, Christopher Romano, filed suit against Starbucks Coffee Co. in Broward Circuit Court. Romano claims that he suffered second-degree burns to his groin when the barista working the drive-thru window at the Pompano Beach Starbucks failed to make sure he had a proper hold on his cup. Romano is seeking damages in excess of $15,000, alleging that the coffee he was served was excessively hot and, therefore, dangerous for human consumption. Romano’s case is bringin
New Study Links E-Cigarette Use to Harmful Lung Condition
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed serious health risks associated with the use of e-cigarettes, including an enhanced risk of developing a serious respiratory disease. While e-cigarettes have often been promoted as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, this research, published on December 8, 2015 in Environmental Health Perspectives, proves otherwise. Accordingly, researchers found that the chemical diacetyl, which is contained in 75% of e-cigarette fla
$15.5 Million Risperdal Verdict for Kentucky Attorney General
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On December 22, 2015, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced that the ongoing consumer protection suit against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”), over its anti-psychotic drug Risperdal, settled for $15.5 million. Risperdal is a second-generation antipsychotic prescription drug that was initially approved by the FDA in 1993 to treat symptoms of psychotic disorders. In the early 2000s, the drug’s approval was more specifically designated to the treatment of schizophr
$830 Million Settlement to Vioxx Investors
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
Pharmaceutical manufacturer, Merck & Co., has agreed to pay $830 million to settle a federal class action lawsuit brought by investors who claimed that the company misled them in regards to the safety of the painkiller, Vioxx. The company said the settlement will be paid out to investors who bought Merck stock between May 21, 1999 and October 29, 2004. Merck has also agreed to pay attorneys fees, but has not admitted to any liability or wrongdoing. Vioxx, which debuted on U.S. markets in 19
$1.8 Million Settlement in Uber Class Action Over Airport Fee Tolls
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On November 20, 2015, after 45 days of negotiations, Uber Technologies Inc. reached a $1,785,913 settlement over claims that the popular ride-sharing company misrepresented airport fees it charged to consumers in California. It is estimated that in 2013 and 2014 more than 350,000 Uber riders paid the company between $1.25 and $4.50 per trip to and from various California airports for “airport fee tolls.” Uber claimed that the airports charged the tolls it collected, however, the lawyers in the
Department of Justice Files Suit Against VW over Environmental Violations
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel On January 4, 2016, a new development in the Volkswagen emission scandal emerged when the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) filed a civil complaint against the German company on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleges that the company violated the Clear Air Act by installing emissions defeat devices in up to 11 million diesel engine vehicles worldwide, nearly 600,000 of whi
Venue Selected in Federal Volkswagen Emissions Litigation
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
cbc.caOn December 8, 2015, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation designated the Northern District of California as the venue for the Volkswagen A.G. emissions litigation. Judge Charles Breyer will preside. The litigation is made up of more than 500 class actions originally filed in 60 different federal courts. The plaintiffs in the actions allege that Volkswagen intentionally deceived consumers by advertising its vehicles as clean diesel cars, while in reality the vehicles emitted
Xarelto Outlier Case Transferred into Multidistrict Litigation
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On December 2, 2015, Philadelphia Judge Arnold New ordered the case Mothena v. Janssen Research & Development to be transferred to the Xarelto multidistrict litigation pending in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Mothena is different from the majority of plaintiff claims in the Xarelto MDL, which allege that the drug causes excessive bleeding, because David Mothena is claiming that the drug does not protect against blood clots for the advertised 24-hour period. Xarelto is the second-most
$1.7 Million Awarded by Pennsylvania Jury in First Asbestos Trial Against Employer
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
After a three week trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, a jury found that ESAB Group was 100% liable for a factory worker’s death from mesothelioma, a deadly cancerous condition typically caused by exposure to asbestos. The verdict is the first asbestos case to be tried to verdict against an employer in the state of Pennsylvania. The jury awarded $1.7 million in damages, with $1 million going to the deceased plaintiff John Busbey’s widow and $700,000 to his estate. In July 2012, 72