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Subway Settles Class Action over its Footlong Sandwich
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On October 21, 2015, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman of the Eastern District of Wisconsin preliminary approved a settlement in the lawsuit against Subway involving allegations that the fast food giant’s six-inch and footlong sandwiches did not measure as advertised. The class action suit originated in 2012 after Subway customers voiced complaints on social media about the unsatisfactory length of their sandwiches. The plaintiffs asserted the company’s business practices violated state consumer
$8 Million Verdict in CA Risperdal Lawsuit
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On October 16, 2015, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded $8 million to Marion Liu in her action against Janssen Research & Development LLC, arising from the 2009 death of her son Augustine. At the time of his death, Augustine, a 25 year-old diagnosed Schizophrenic, had been participating in a company-sponsored clinical study of the antipsychotic medication Risperdal. Augustine Liu died of cardiac arrest less than one week after his first injection of the drug.  Liu argued that Jansse
LinkedIn Settles ‘Spam’ Claims for $13 Million
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
LinkedIn, the blockbuster professional networking site, has agreed to pay $13 million to certain of its current and former members who used the company’s ‘Add Connections’ feature—a process that imports a member’s contact information from external email accounts and then invites the imported contacts to connect on LinkedIn via an initial email and up to two reminder emails. The settlement, which was preliminarily approved by U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh on September 15, 2015, provides awa
Apple’s iOS9 Feature Provokes $5 Million Class Action Suit
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On October 23, 2015, a class action lawsuit, Phillips v. Apple Inc., was filed in California federal court against Apple over the company’s new mobile operating system, iOS9. The plaintiffs in the action allege that the company did not adequately warn users that its i0S9 default feature, called “Wi-Fi Assist,” caused devices to switch automatically between using wi-fi and mobile data. Consequently, the plaintiffs in the litigation contend that the default setting, which leads to more cellular d
Does Using LinkedIn Impair Your Job Prospects?
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
forbes.com At least four people apparently believe it does. Within the past week, LinkedIn made headlines over a class action suit filed in the Northern District of California concerning a product offered to the social networking site’s premium account holders, which purportedly has cost the four named plaintiffs job opportunities. The product, called “Reference Search,” provides those members who purchase a subscription the ability to search for and, through internal messaging, contact individu
Amazon.com Drivers Sue Company Over Unfair Working Conditions
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
marketbeat.com On October 27, 2015, four former drivers for Amazon.com filed a proposed class action lawsuit in the Superior Court, Los Angeles. Plaintiffs allege that the company misclassified them as independent contractors rather than full time employees. By classifying drivers as independent contractors, Amazon.com was able to deny them the benefits of California employment laws such as minimum wage, overtime pay, meal breaks and reimbursement for work expenses. Plaintiffs allege that altho
$9 Billion Punitive Damages Award Upheld in Actos Bellwether Trial
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On August 28, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Doherty declined to overturn a Louisiana jury’s award of over $9 billion to plaintiffs Terrence and Susan Allen in the first federal bellwether trial over claims that the diabetes drug Actos increases the risk of getting bladder cancer. The verdict, which according to data compiled by Bloomberg was the nation’s second largest in 2014, and sixth largest in U.S. history, slapped Actos manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceuticals with $6 billion in puni
Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Spurs Class Action Suits
Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations
In the wake of Volkswagen’s admission on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, that 11 million of its vehicles worldwide were equipped with software that could be used to dupe emissions control tests, the German auto manufacturer is facing a barrage of class actions, as well as investigations by U.S. authorities that could lead to as much as $18 billion in civil penalties. The Volkswagen emissions scandal initially gained widespread media coverage after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a
Judge Approves $415 Million Settlement in Tech Companies Anti-Poaching Suit
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
Last Wednesday, September 2, 2015, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh approved a settlement that requires Silicon Valley tech companies Google, Apple, Intel, and Adobe to pay out $415 million to employees in an anti-poaching lawsuit. Plaintiffs in the class action claimed that executives at the tech companies conspired with each other to hinder the job mobility of their most talented engineers, designers, analysts, and other professionals, thus stifling any attempts for those employees to earn higher
Plaintiffs Win Class Certification in Target Data Breach Litigation
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
comsumerist.com On September 15, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Magnuson granted class certification to all entities that issued payment cards that were compromised during Target’s 2013 holiday shopping season data breach. The widely reported incident lasted for over three weeks, and as a consequence, computer hackers were able to steal the financial information of more than 40 million Target customers. Both consumers and financial institutions sued Target Corporation after the company
J&J Risperdal Abuses in Focus in Huffington Post Exposé
Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations
Online news source The Huffington Post is currently running a multi-chapter piece detailing the horrific impact of the drug Risperdal on consumers and highlighting the corporate maneuvering behind the drug’s blockbuster growth. The series titled “America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker,” authored by Steven Brill, is a sobering view of the relationship between corporate profits and mass torts in the United States. For background, Risperdal is an antipsychotic medication developed and marketed by Jans
Patent Infringement Ruling Involving Cancer Drug Favors Pfizer
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
usnews.com U.S. District Court Judge Gregory M. Sleet ruled against generic drug maker, Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., in a patent infringement action brought by plaintiffs Pfizer Inc., Pharmacia & Upjohn Company, Pharmacia & Upjohn Company LLC, Sugen, Inc., C.P. Pharmaceuticals International C.V., Pfizer Pharmaceuticals LLC, and PF Prism C.V. (“Pfizer”). The litigation arose out of Mylan’s alleged encroachment on Pfizer’s three legally issued patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 6,573,293, 7,125,905
GM Agrees to First Major Settlement in Faulty Ignition Switch MDL
Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations
Average Settlement Values Could Top $400,000 Per Claimant GM announced today that it reached an agreement to settle approximately 1,380 individual death and personal injury claims. Though the actual settlement value was not disclosed, GM indicated that it will record a charge of $575 million in the third quarter of 2015 as a result of the settlement, which would translate to a total value in excess of $400,000 per claimant. Noted in its deferred prosecution agreement with the Office of the U.S.
Amarin Win Likely Points to Increase in Mass Tort Litigation
Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations
A recent ruling on the First Amendment rights of drug companies may be a stimulus for future mass tort claims. On August 7, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Amarin an injunction against the FDA from criminally prosecuting the drug manufacturer for communicating truthful, non-misleading information about off-label use of drugs, holding that the First Amendment rights of the company protected it from such prosecution. Amarin Pharma, Inc v. FDA, No. 15 Ci
Bard Settles TVM Claims for $200 Million
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On August 11, 2015, C.R. Bard, Inc. announced a $200 million settlement with more than 3,000 plaintiffs (approximately 20% of all cases) who claimed the company’s transvaginal mesh devices caused severe complications, such as excruciating pain, infections, nerve damage, and multiple surgeries. Pursuant to the agreement, the average award to each plaintiff is $67,000. The average award is subject to increase or decrease based upon a number of factors as set forth in the settlement agreement. Th
$235 Million Mortgage-Backed Securities Settlement Approved
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On July 31, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Polk Failla approved a $235 million class action settlement involving Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Goldman, Sachs & Co., and UBS Securities LLC, over mortgage-backed certificates issued by Residential Accredit Loans, Inc. (“RALI”). In the litigation, plaintiffs contend that Citigroup, Goldman and UBS, as the underwriters of the mortgage loan collateral, conducted inadequate due diligence in originating the loans at issue and made “mate
Jury Awards $100 Million Verdict in Mesh Trial
James Verrico, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On Thursday, May 28, 2015 a Delaware State Court jury held that Boston Scientific Corporation must pay $100 million to 52-year-old Delaware resident, Deborah Barba, who claimed permanent injury resulting from the company’s vaginal mesh inserts. The award included $25 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages. The jury’s award came at the conclusion of a two-week trial and seven hours of deliberation. Barba, a former bank teller, who was implanted in 2009 with the comp
Compensation Fund and Lawsuits in Store for General Motors
Joseph Kasouf, Esq.
General Motors (GM) is facing thousands of personal injury and economic loss claims arising from the American manufacturer’s production of vehicles with faulty ignition switches. The ignition switches on vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5 and Saturn Ion, were prone to turning off power to the engines if the steering column was jostled or the key ring was too heavily weighed down, preventing airbags from deploying in the event of a crash. At least 13 deaths and 54 accidents have
Parents File Class-Action Suit Against Snapchat Over Explicit Content
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
A class-action complaint was filed on July 7, 2016 against the popular photo-sharing app, Snapchat. The source of the complaint stems from the app’s feature, Snapchat Discover, which often promotes suggestive and offensive content without warning. Snapchat originally rose to popularity due to its unique disappearing messages, which set it apart from other social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook or even SMS. However, Snapchat diverted slightly from its original user-driven content platform
Facebook Posts Used to Convict Gang Member Upheld as Evidence
Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations
npr.org The Second Circuit recently ruled that a criminal defendant’s First Amendment rights were not violated by introduction of Facebook pages containing a rap song and images of tattoos at his criminal trial. Defendant Melvin Colon, a member of violent street gangs known as the “Courtlandt Avenue Crew” and "God's Favorite Children," was convicted in 2013 of multiple felonies including racketeering, murder, drug trafficking and illegal firearms possession. According to the New York Law Journa
California Supreme Court Permits Challenges to Pay-For-Delay Settlements
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
AudetLaw.com In a unanimous opinion, the California Supreme Court held that pay-for-delay or reverse payment settlements are “not immune from scrutiny, even if they limit competition no more than a valid patent would have.” Accordingly, the Court concluded an illegal restraint of trade occurs when parties “privately agree to substitute consensual monopoly in place of potential competition that would have followed a finding of invalidity or noninfringement.” The pay-for-delay settlement at issue
Securities Class Actions Alive, but on Life Support
J. Cullen Byrne, Esq. | Staff Writer
On June 23, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that dealt a near-fatal blow for plaintiffs in securities class action suits by making it harder for investors to collectively sue corporations for fraud. In an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, the court unanimously held that defendants at the preliminary class certification stage could refute the plaintiffs’ presumption of reliance on an efficient market if they can show that an alleged misrepresentation did not affect the com
$2.4 Billion Settlement in Actos Product Liability Suits
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
kansascity.legalexaminer.com Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company Limited, together with its wholly-owned subsidiary, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc., have agreed to pay $2.4 billion to resolve thousands of product liability lawsuits pending in the U.S. involving allegations that the companies’ prescription diabetes drug, Actos, caused cancer. The settlement, announced by Takeda on April 29, 2015, will only become effective if 95 percent of current litigants opt into the agreement. According to t
U.S. Supreme Court Denies Big Tobacco’s Appeal of Florida Decisions
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On Monday, June 10, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, refused to entertain ten appeals by the nation’s largest cigarette manufacturers, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris USA Inc. and Lorillard Inc., which would have affected more than $70 million in verdicts against them. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling denying the appeals allows the Florida Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., et al., to remain intact. In Engle, the Florida Supreme Court reversed a
$25 Million in Punitive Damages Awarded in Engle Progeny Case
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
csnews.com On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, a Florida jury decided R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. must pay $25 million in punitive damages to Thomas and Bettye Ryan for injuries sustained as a result of Thomas smoking the company’s cigarettes. The verdict came just days after the jurors awarded $21.5 million in compensatory damages to the Ryans, following a finding that R.J. Reynolds was 65% liable for Thomas’ development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In the suit, which is one of thousands in
Wearable Device Data as Evidence
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
Although U.S. courts are typically slow to adopt technological innovations, there has been a recent push to allow the admission of wearable device data into evidence. [1] Most prominently, it has been discussed in the context of personal injury litigation as a means to show notable changes in a plaintiff’s physical fitness or behavior after an injury. For instance, a plaintiff could support claims that their activity levels decreased after an injury by utilizing several months or even years’ wo
AMS Transvaginal Mesh Litigation Cases settle for $830 million
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
Endo International Plc, along with its subsidiary American Medical Systems, Inc., have agreed to pay approximately $830 million to resolve nearly 20,000 claims by individuals who suffered severe complications from the use of AMS’ transvaginal mesh medical device. The settlement, reached only in principle, covers the majority of the mesh-related litigation against the companies and was entered into with several plaintiffs’ law firms, including Motley Rice LLC, Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & As
Facebook Facial Scan Technology Leads to Biometric Privacy Class Action
Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations
Facebook image processing software and algorithms that are known to users as a way to identify individuals in photos uploaded to the application have been targeted in a new class action for violating privacy protections under Illinois law. In 2008, Illinois passed the Biometric Information Privacy Act (the “Act”) which seeks to set standards for collection and use of certain personally identifiable information and curtail unscrupulous use of such information.   Under the Act, a "biometric iden
Judge Denies BlackRock’s Motion to Dismiss Excessive Fee Suit
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
A New Jersey federal court denied the motion to dismiss filed by subsidiaries of BlackRock Inc. (“BlackRock”) in an action involving allegations that the company charged excessive advisory fees to BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, Inc. and the BlackRock Equity Dividend Fund (together, the “Funds”). The plaintiffs, who are shareholders that filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Funds, claim that by charging such fees, BlackRock has breached its fiduciary duty under Section 36(b) of the Investment C
StubHub Sues NBA Team for Stifling Competition in Ticket Resale Marketplace
Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations
StubHub, the burgeoning online ticket exchange for sports and entertainment, is suing the Golden State Warriors and Ticketmaster for antitrust violations in the Northern District of California. StubHub alleges that the Warriors and Ticketmaster have unlawfully colluded to restrain competition by telling season ticket holders that they can only resell their tickets through Ticketmaster. The complaint alleges that the Warriors have threatened to revoke the season tickets of any individual that f