Several consumers filed class actions against Juul and Altria for monopolizing the e-cigarette market. The claims were brought to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California just a few weeks after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed an administrative complaint against both companies for antitrust violations.
Business Insider announced that over the weekend, Tesla filed a lawsuit against Alameda County for prohibiting the Fremont factory from reopening its doors. California Governor's Executive Order N-33-20 exempts 16 critical infrastructure sectors from the sheltering-in-place order issued on March 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its claim, Tesla believed its operations fell under these critical sectors. Thus, it requested a court ruling for a permanent injunction barring the county from enforcing its shelter-in-pace order on the factory.
Latisha Watson a graduate student at the University of Southern California (USC), filed a class-action lawsuit against the college for unwillingness to partially refund students for room, board, tuition and other fees due to the coronavirus pandemic. The school closed much of the campus and in-person activities and moved classes online. Watson and an estimated 40,000 students included the claim believe that since they are unable to access campus buildings, activities, health services, and meal plan, and are experiencing "dramatically lower quality and less valuable education and services now being provided," USC should reimburse them for part of the 2020 spring semester.
The New York Times reported that an Illinois judge approved Facebook users' $550M settlement against the social media giant for secretly gathering biometric data from its Tag Suggestions or Face Recognition tool. The disbursement ranges between $150 to $300 for each class member, or between 15% and 30% of the possible recovery on an individual claim. The deal is the largest of its kind in a U.S. consumer privacy class-action suit.
NPR just announced that Facebook reached a $52M payout following a class action lawsuit for failure to provide a safe working environment for its content moderators. The suit claims that as a result of the repeated exposure to extreme graphic content, many content moderators suffered "debilitating physical and psychological harm," including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The settlement gives class members, consisting of current or former content moderators, $1000 each and up to $50,000 for medical treatment. Facebook also agreed to provide mental health counseling to its moderators.
Four Illinois teens, represented by their parents or legal guardians, took legal action against TikTok for allegedly gathering biometric data through its app without users' consent. The Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) guards against the unlawful collection and storing of biometric information.
Johnson & Johnson decided to discontinue selling its talcum baby powder in the U.S. and Canada due to a significant decline in consumer demand. The company attributes the significant reduction in sales to claims that the product poses a health risk, which has caused an overwhelming increase in the number of lawsuits over the last several years.
As the government shifts its focus from coronavirus containment to restarting the economy, discussions have begun in Congress regarding the second pandemic relief bill, in particular, the issue of providing immunity for businesses from lawsuits related to the pandemic. As companies reopen, employees want to return to work without the risk of getting sick. At the same time, employers want liability protection from workers who might get COVID-19 on the job and decide to sue. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who will oversee much of the coronavirus relief legislation, thinks a lawsuit shield for companies against possible claims must be included.
Consumer Reports reported that a class action lawsuit was filed in Philadelphia against Ikea for marketing and selling dressers that it knew were hazards to consumers, and issuing "feeble" and "inadequate" recalls, which included failing to honor refunds. The lead plaintiffs are Diana and John Dukich, the parents of a toddler who died after being crushed by a Malm dresser.
Seven teens, representing students from Detroit's worst-performing public schools, reached a $94.4 million deal with the state to fund literacy-related programming. The settlement comes after four years since the class-action lawsuit was filed against former Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder. It claimed that students were deprived of access to literacy because of a lack of books, teachers, and poor building conditions.
California drivers have asked a federal judge to certify their consolidated class-action lawsuit. They claim that Uber disregarded a state worker classification law by labeling drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, denying them proper wages, sick leave, and expense reimbursements. California is suing Uber and Lyft for the same reason.
A class action notice is a form of written communication, such as a postcard, email, letter, newspaper or magazine ad, informing individuals of a filed or pending case and the legal rights they may exercise at that time.
California truck driver and Lead Plaintiff Augustus Mondrian filed a class-action lawsuit against Trius Trucking for misclassifying him and other drivers as independent contractors instead of employees. The claim states that Trius paid its drivers on a piece-rate basis and failed to compensate them with minimum wage for company work performed outside of driving.