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Summary Judgment Motions Dismissed in Tylenol MDL Bellwether
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel On November 13, 2015, U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied Defendant McNeil Consumer Healthcare’s motion for summary judgment in the Tylenol MDL’s first bellwether case. Defense counsel argued that summary judgment should be granted because the suit was time-barred by Alabama’s wrongful death statute, which demands that such actions must be brought by a personal representative of the deceased within two years of the date
Los Angeles Settles Sidewalk Accessibility Class Action for $1.4 Billion
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On January 8, 2016, the City of Los Angeles executed a proposed class action settlement agreement that will require the City to pay approximately $1.4 billion over a 30-year period to make its public sidewalk and crosswalk system accessible to persons with mobility disabilities. The agreement, which provides relief to an estimated class of 280,000 people, requires the City to “install, repair and upgrade curb ramps; repair sidewalks and walkways damaged by tree roots; repair broken or uneven pa
The U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Issue of Whether a Named Class Representative Receiving Full Relief Precludes a Class Action From Continuing
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel On October 14, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez on the central issue of whether a class action suit becomes moot when the named class representative receives an offer of complete relief on his claim before the class has been certified. On May 11, 2006, Defendant Campbell-Ewald sent Gomez an unsolicited text message as a part of a recruitment campaign for the U.S. Navy. Gomez filed a class action lawsu
Yahoo Faces Class Action Suit for Violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On Monday, January 5, 2016, U.S. District Judge Manish Shah granted class-action status to a lawsuit alleging that the Internet giant, Yahoo Inc., sent unsolicited text messages to Sprint customers. The class could potentially include more than 500,000 members. Named plaintiff, Rachel Johnson, claims that she was sent an unsolicited text in March 2013 via Yahoo Messenger from a fellow Yahoo user who was advertising debt reduction services. After she received the spam message, Johnson claims Yah
Fantasy Sports Sites Face 40 Class Actions
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
Popular online fantasy sports sites FanDuel Inc. and DraftKings Inc. are facing around 40 class action lawsuits in 13 different states. Plaintiffs are accusing the sites of false advertising and consumer fraud, and in some cases, consumers are seeking to be reimbursed for losses incurred on the site. Participants on the sites create fantasy sports teams, mainly football, and hope to win enough points to be awarded prize money based on the real-life performances of the athletes on their fantasy
Tech Rivals Jawbone and Fitbit Clash in Antitrust Suits
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel Fitness tracker competitors Jawbone and Fitbit, Inc. have been engaged in a series of escalating legal battles since May 2015. In its latest legal salvo filed on October 30, 2015, Jawbone alleges that Fitbit has filed a series of meritless legal actions, has stolen Jawbone’s trade secrets and has poached its employees. Jawbone insists that Fitbit’s actions are all in an effort to maintain an illegal monopoly over the fitness tracker industry. Fitbit, the clear leader in the ind
$1.75 Million Risperdal Verdict Awarded to Maryland Man
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On November 9, 2015, a Philadelphia jury ordered drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson to pay 21-year-old Nicholas Murray $1.75 million after finding that the company’s antipsychotic drug Risperdal caused Murray to develop male breasts. In the case, Murray alleged that J&J’s subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the company that manufactured the drug, failed to adequately warn patients and doctors of the risks of taking Risperdal, which included developing gynecomastia—a condition in whic
Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee Selected in VW MDL
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On January 21, 2016, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer announced his appointments for the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Volkswagen multidistrict litigation (“MDL”). Breyer named San Francisco plaintiff’s attorney, Elizabeth Cabraser, as the head of the committee of 22 attorneys. Cabraser is a co-founder of the firm, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, and has been a leader in 17 other MDLs. In his order, Judge Breyer said, “Ms. Cabraser will effectively represent and guide the plai
EPA Announcement Broadens the Scope of VW Emissions Scandal
Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel
On November 2, 2015, the U.S. EPA announced new findings expanding the Volkswagen emissions scandal to include not only additional Volkswagen models, but also models of Porsche and Audi. The EPA now maintains that emissions defeat devices were used in VW’s 2.0-liter diesel models, the 2014 VW Touareg, the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, Q5 and the 2015 Porsche Cayenne. According to the EPA, the emissions defeat devices could detect when the vehicle was undergoing an emissi
Trial Dates Set in Xarelto Bellwether
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On October 22, 2015, U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon, of the Eastern District of Louisiana, announced the dates for four bellwether trials in the Xarelto multidistrict litigation, the first of which will take place on February 6, 2017. Xarelto is the second-most popular blood thinning medication in the United States–generating billions of dollars in revenue each year. Plaintiffs in the consolidate litigation allege that defendants, Janssen Research & Development, Johnson & Johnson and
Over $1 Billion Settlement Reached Between Stryker and Thousands of Hip Implant Patients
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On Monday, November 3, 2014, Stryker Corporation announced it would pay at least $1 billion to settle cases brought by thousands of patients over injuries sustained by faulty hip implants manufactured by its subsidiary, Howmedica Osteonics Corp. In June 2012, Stryker voluntarily recalled its subsidiary’s Rejuvenate and ABG II devices and terminated global distribution “due to the potential for fretting and/or corrosion at or about the modular-neck junction, which may result in adverse local tis
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 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 Drivers Sue Company Over Unfair Working Conditions
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel On October 27, 2015, four former drivers for 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, 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
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
$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
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 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 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