Fired Wells Fargo workers fight back with federal lawsuit

Fired Wells Fargo workers fight back with federal lawsuit

Wells Fargo workers are fighting back.

Marc Primo is reading…http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/26/investing/wells-fargo-fake-accounts-worker-lawsuit/index.html

Six former Wells Fargo (WFC) employees filed a class action lawsuit on Monday in federal court against the bank seeking $7.2 billion or more for workers nationwide who were fired or demoted after refusing to open fake accounts.

The action builds on a class action lawsuit that was filed last week by two former Wells Fargo workers in California, opening it up to employees around the country.

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The federal class action suit accuses Wells Fargo of orchestrating a “fraudulent scheme” to boost its stock price that forced employees to “choose between keeping their jobs and opening unauthorized accounts.”

“We’re being inundated with emails. Every minute there’s new people, new stories and new allegations,” Jonathan Delshad, the Los Angeles attorney who launched the class action suits, told CNNMoney.

In a statement, Wells Fargo said: “We disagree with the allegations in the complaint and will vigorously defend against the misrepresentations it contains.”

It’s the latest legal headache facing Wells Fargo, which earlier this month wasfined $185 million for inflating sales metrics with creating as many as two million fake bank and credit card accounts. Wells Fargo also faces ahearing in the House, an investigation from theDepartment of Justice and is still reeling from agrilling by the Senate banking committee last week.

Related: Wells Fargo CEO could walk with $200 million

Wells Fargo has said it fired a stunning 5,300 employees since 2011 for the improper sales tactics.

But dozens of former Wells Fargo workers have reached out to CNNMoney to say they were fired after refusing to open unauthorized accounts – or even after they called the ethics hotline about what they were seeing.

Alexander Polonsky and Brian Zaghi, two former Wells Fargo employees from Los Angeles, say they were terminated after failing to meet unrealistic sales goals of opening 10 accounts per day.

Related: Workers say fake accounts began years earlier

Last week, the two filed the lawsuit in California Superior Court alleging “wrongful termination/retaliation,” violations of California labor code, failure to pay wage and other charges. The suit represents California employees who worked at Wells Fargo in the past 10 years or who continue to work there and were fired, demoted or forced to resign due to not meeting their sales quotas.

Employees who refused to take part in the scam were “systematically and routinely terminated,” while those who did open unauthorized accounts were often promoted, the lawsuit alleges.

Nearly a half-dozen Wells Fargo employees even reached out to CNNMoney to say they were fired after flagging unethical sales tactics by calling the company’s ethics hotline.

The federal class action alleges Wells Fargo violated several laws, including Dodd-Frank and the section of Sarbanes-Oxley that prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers. Additionally, the lawsuit claims Wells Fargo made employees work beyond eight hours a day without paying overtime, violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Both suits said Wells Fargo workers suffered damages including loss of income, back pay as well as “emotional distress” and “mental anguish.”

Related: I called the Wells Fargo ethics line and was fired

Wells Fargo, in a statement, said it “works hard to foster a culture that is centered on doing what is right for our customers and exhibiting high ethical standards and integrity.” The company added that “the vast majority of our team members serve our customers’ best interests every day in every interaction.”

U.S. Appeals Court Rejects Class Action Lawsuit Filed By Immigrant Kids

Marc Primo is reading http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/09/20/494788619/appeals-court-rejects-immigrant-kids-class-action-lawsuit

A federal appeals court panel in Seattle has ruled that immigrant children under the threat of deportation may not sue the government for legal representation as part of a class action. The ruling is a significant setback for the legal rights of immigrant minors.

A group of minors ranging in ages from 3 to 17, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and other immigrant rights groups, filed a lawsuit two years ago arguing that the government should provide them with court-appointed lawyers. They claim their due process rights are being violated because they cannot adequately represent themselves in deportation hearings where they are opposed by government-trained attorneys.

Immigration judges, who work for the executive branch of the federal government, not the judiciary, do not have the power to appoint legal counsel for the children.

The government contested the lawsuit arguing that immigrant minors don’t have a constitutional right to government-provided legal counsel. In fact, the key witness for the government, longtime immigration judge Jack H. Weil, testified in a deposition that he could teach 3- and 4-year-olds all the immigration law they needed to represent themselves.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly of Seattle ruled that the lawsuit could proceed as a class action. But a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed that decision, ruling that such suits cannot move forward as a class action. The judges ruled that such claims must be filed individually and directly to the federal appeals court only after their deportation proceedings are concluded.

However, the judges emphasized that their ruling addressed only the jurisdictional claims over a lower court’s power to decide whether a minor has the right to a government-appointed lawyer. They said in their written opinion that they were not addressing the merits of the minors’ claims.

In her concurring opinion, Judge Mary Margaret McKeown said she recognized “the plight of unrepresented children who find themselves in immigration proceedings.”

“I write to underscore that the Executive and Congress have the power to address this crisis without judicial intervention. What is missing here? Money and resolve – political solutions that fall outside the purview of the courts,” she wrote.

Advocates for the minors said they will appeal the ruling.

“The judges recognize the gravity of the minors’ legal dilemma,” Matt Adams, legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, told the The Associated Press. “But the court has the responsibility to resolve an issue where there’s no other meaningful forum. You can’t duck the matter by saying, ‘Well Congress can fix this, the president can fix it.’”

First Lawsuit Over Wells Fargo Sales Practices Filed

Marc Primo is reading …
http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/09..

Wells Fargo & Co. was sued by customers in what may be the first of many lawsuits to come after disclosures that employees created unauthorized accounts to boost the bank’s fees.

Three Utah customers sued the bank Friday in federal court, blaming the scandal on the lender’s push to increase the number of accounts held by clients to an average of eight — its “gr-eight” initiative. That strategy led to customers’ money being transferred without their authorization to accounts created without their knowledge, and then the bank charging fees on those accounts.

“Wells Fargo quotas are difficult for many bankers to meet without resorting to the abusive and fraudulent tactics,” the customers said in their complaint. “Those failing to meet daily sales quotas are approached by management, and often reprimanded and/or told to ‘do whatever it takes’ to meet their individual sales quotas.”

Wells Fargo agreed to pay $185 million in fines and penalties in a settlement this month with federal regulators. The San Francisco-based bank didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing as part of that agreement. The bank has fired 5,300 workers — about 10 percent of whom were managers — and said it would eliminate sales goals linked by regulators to its cross-selling strategy.

A group of Democratic U.S. senators, led by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, asked Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf in a letter dated Thursday whether the bank will claw back top managers’ pay following allegations involving millions of unauthorized accounts. The lawmakers called out Carrie Tolstedt, who led the unit where the alleged misconduct occurred, saying there seems to be ample justification for recouping at least some of her compensation.

‘Chief Sandbagger’

Tolstedt, 56, was head of community banking until July, when the bank announced she was retiring and would be replaced by retail brokerage head Mary Mack. She is described as the “chief sandbagger” in the Utah lawsuit, referring to what it describes as Wells Fargo’s practice of failing to open customer accounts in a timely fashion, instead stockpiling them until the next sales reporting period.

Wells Fargo could recoup about $17 million in unvested shares from Tolstedt, according to a Bloomberg analysis of figures compiled from regulatory filings. Cash and stock she already owns — including about $51 million of shares amassed during her 27-year career and $36 million in previously vested stock options — aren’t eligible for claw back, according to the filings.

Wells Fargo shares fell for the sixth straight session Friday, dropping 1.6 percent to $45.43. The stock has tumbled 16 percent this year, the worst performance in the 24-company KBW Bank index. Since the settlement with the U.S. regulators, Wells Fargo lost its ranking as the world’s most valuable bank. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. have now both eclipsed it.

The plaintiffs in the Utah lawsuit seek to represent other customers in a class action and to recover at least $5 million in damages from the bank. They said the company also should have to pay punitive damages for its failure to alert customers to the abuses for more than a year after it was sued by the Los Angeles city attorney.

‘Plausible Deniability’

Bank executives were aware employees were gaming the system but failed to intervene, according to the lawsuit. Instead, executives including Tolstedt were rewarded and promoted for bolstering the bank’s numbers, the plaintiffs allege. Firing more than 5,000 employees after the scandal became public was merely “cosmetic” and intended to provide “plausible deniability,” they said.

Mary Eshet, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Stephen Christiansen, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he believes his case is the first class-action against Wells Fargo since the U.S. Justice Department investigation began. He said Tolstedt and other employees may be added as defendants.

In their suit, the plaintiffs seek to force Wells Fargo to claw back compensation from “those who profited personally from the illegal behavior.”

Privacy Invaded

The plaintiffs, who contend the group might cover 1 million customers, said the bank invaded customers’ privacy and “failed to protect and safeguard” their confidential information. “The highest-ranking executive members of Wells Fargo, which may have included Carrie Tolstedt,” knew about that failure, they said.

Some customers learned of the unauthorized actions only by, for example, receiving welcome e-mails from Wells Fargo congratulating them on opening new accounts, according to the complaint. Others got calls from collection agencies warning them they were overdrawn on accounts they didn’t recognize.

The bank is also accused in the suit of misleading customers to force them to open new accounts, sometimes falsely stating that they would face penalties without additional products.

The case is Mitchell v. Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, 16,-cv-00966, U.S. District Court, District of Utah.

First Lawsuit Over Wells Fargo Sales Practices Filed

Marc Primo is reading …
http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/09..

Wells Fargo & Co. was sued by customers in what may be the first of many lawsuits to come after disclosures that employees created unauthorized accounts to boost the bank’s fees.

Three Utah customers sued the bank Friday in federal court, blaming the scandal on the lender’s push to increase the number of accounts held by clients to an average of eight — its “gr-eight” initiative. That strategy led to customers’ money being transferred without their authorization to accounts created without their knowledge, and then the bank charging fees on those accounts.

“Wells Fargo quotas are difficult for many bankers to meet without resorting to the abusive and fraudulent tactics,” the customers said in their complaint. “Those failing to meet daily sales quotas are approached by management, and often reprimanded and/or told to ‘do whatever it takes’ to meet their individual sales quotas.”

Wells Fargo agreed to pay $185 million in fines and penalties in a settlement this month with federal regulators. The San Francisco-based bank didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing as part of that agreement. The bank has fired 5,300 workers — about 10 percent of whom were managers — and said it would eliminate sales goals linked by regulators to its cross-selling strategy.

A group of Democratic U.S. senators, led by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, asked Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf in a letter dated Thursday whether the bank will claw back top managers’ pay following allegations involving millions of unauthorized accounts. The lawmakers called out Carrie Tolstedt, who led the unit where the alleged misconduct occurred, saying there seems to be ample justification for recouping at least some of her compensation.

‘Chief Sandbagger’

Tolstedt, 56, was head of community banking until July, when the bank announced she was retiring and would be replaced by retail brokerage head Mary Mack. She is described as the “chief sandbagger” in the Utah lawsuit, referring to what it describes as Wells Fargo’s practice of failing to open customer accounts in a timely fashion, instead stockpiling them until the next sales reporting period.

Wells Fargo could recoup about $17 million in unvested shares from Tolstedt, according to a Bloomberg analysis of figures compiled from regulatory filings. Cash and stock she already owns — including about $51 million of shares amassed during her 27-year career and $36 million in previously vested stock options — aren’t eligible for claw back, according to the filings.

Wells Fargo shares fell for the sixth straight session Friday, dropping 1.6 percent to $45.43. The stock has tumbled 16 percent this year, the worst performance in the 24-company KBW Bank index. Since the settlement with the U.S. regulators, Wells Fargo lost its ranking as the world’s most valuable bank. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. have now both eclipsed it.

The plaintiffs in the Utah lawsuit seek to represent other customers in a class action and to recover at least $5 million in damages from the bank. They said the company also should have to pay punitive damages for its failure to alert customers to the abuses for more than a year after it was sued by the Los Angeles city attorney.

‘Plausible Deniability’

Bank executives were aware employees were gaming the system but failed to intervene, according to the lawsuit. Instead, executives including Tolstedt were rewarded and promoted for bolstering the bank’s numbers, the plaintiffs allege. Firing more than 5,000 employees after the scandal became public was merely “cosmetic” and intended to provide “plausible deniability,” they said.

Mary Eshet, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Stephen Christiansen, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he believes his case is the first class-action against Wells Fargo since the U.S. Justice Department investigation began. He said Tolstedt and other employees may be added as defendants.

In their suit, the plaintiffs seek to force Wells Fargo to claw back compensation from “those who profited personally from the illegal behavior.”

Privacy Invaded

The plaintiffs, who contend the group might cover 1 million customers, said the bank invaded customers’ privacy and “failed to protect and safeguard” their confidential information. “The highest-ranking executive members of Wells Fargo, which may have included Carrie Tolstedt,” knew about that failure, they said.

Some customers learned of the unauthorized actions only by, for example, receiving welcome e-mails from Wells Fargo congratulating them on opening new accounts, according to the complaint. Others got calls from collection agencies warning them they were overdrawn on accounts they didn’t recognize.

The bank is also accused in the suit of misleading customers to force them to open new accounts, sometimes falsely stating that they would face penalties without additional products.

The case is Mitchell v. Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, 16,-cv-00966, U.S. District Court, District of Utah.

MASSACHUSETTS COMPANIES FACE LARGE PENALTIES FOR OVERTIME WAGES

Marc Primo is reading… https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/342947-massachusetts-companies-face-large-penalties-overtime-wages/

A construction company and a company it used to keep from fulfilling legal obligations are facing $2.4 million in damages and penalties for overtime wages.

In what is seen as a growing trend among employers, Force Corp. and AB Construction Group intentionally misclassified its employees as independent contractors and are now forced to pay penalties for overtime wages.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division investigated and discovered that employers Juliano Fernandes and Anderson Dos Santos wanted to avoid paying overtime wages and other benefits required under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Compounding the situation, the employers used payroll checks, cash and other check payments to pay employees straight time when employees were actually owed overtime pay. Incomplete and inaccurate payroll records and time sheets added to the confusion.

“American workers go to their jobs each and every day and work hard to help their employers turn a profit,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.

“To be cheated out of wages and denied other workplace protections by an employer who deliberately flouts the rules compounds the struggles too many middle class Americans already face. Workers who play by the rules deserve nothing less than to be paid what they are owed.”

Penalties for Overtime Wages

Force Corp. is the construction company, which created AB Construction to provide Force with most of its labor.

The companies must pay a total of $2,359,685 in back wages and liquidated damages to 478 employees. Civil money penalties amounting to $262,900 were also given to the companies because of the “willful nature of their violations.”

Penalties for overtime wages are becoming more common as more companies try to shirk their responsibilities of being full-fledged employers. By deeming someone an independent contractor, the employer takes a huge number of obligations off their plate.

The employee misclassification allows the company to avoid paying unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, Social Security, proper wages and other benefits.

Court Orders Other Sanctions

The penalties for overtime wages go beyond the financial obligation. The department has also obtained a consent judgment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts that orders the defendants to:

Stop evading their responsibilities under the FLSA by misclassifying their employees as independent contractors
Make, keep and preserve accurate records of employees’ wages, work hours and working conditions, as required by the FLSA.
Engage one or more qualified independent consultants to create a payroll system or systems that will ensure that the defendants’ payroll and recordkeeping practices comply with the FLSA. The consultants will also review those practices quarterly and submit reports to the division detailing any problems and corrective actions.
“The misclassification of employees as independent contractors is a serious problem that hurts workers, taxpayers, and the entire economy in multiple ways,” said Michael Felsen, the department’s New England regional solicitor.

“It robs employees of their rights to proper wages, safe workplaces, social security payments, and unemployment and workers compensation insurance. It deprives federal and state governments of needed tax revenues. And, it undercuts law-abiding employers who pay their workers legally and play by the rules.”

MASSACHUSETTS COMPANIES FACE LARGE PENALTIES FOR OVERTIME WAGES

Marc Primo is reading…

Massachusetts Companies Face Large Penalties for Overtime Wages

A construction company and a company it used to keep from fulfilling legal obligations are facing $2.4 million in damages and penalties for overtime wages.

In what is seen as a growing trend among employers, Force Corp. and AB Construction Group intentionally misclassified its employees as independent contractors and are now forced to pay penalties for overtime wages.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division investigated and discovered that employers Juliano Fernandes and Anderson Dos Santos wanted to avoid paying overtime wages and other benefits required under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Compounding the situation, the employers used payroll checks, cash and other check payments to pay employees straight time when employees were actually owed overtime pay. Incomplete and inaccurate payroll records and time sheets added to the confusion.

“American workers go to their jobs each and every day and work hard to help their employers turn a profit,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.

“To be cheated out of wages and denied other workplace protections by an employer who deliberately flouts the rules compounds the struggles too many middle class Americans already face. Workers who play by the rules deserve nothing less than to be paid what they are owed.”

Penalties for Overtime Wages

Force Corp. is the construction company, which created AB Construction to provide Force with most of its labor.

The companies must pay a total of $2,359,685 in back wages and liquidated damages to 478 employees. Civil money penalties amounting to $262,900 were also given to the companies because of the “willful nature of their violations.”

Penalties for overtime wages are becoming more common as more companies try to shirk their responsibilities of being full-fledged employers. By deeming someone an independent contractor, the employer takes a huge number of obligations off their plate.

The employee misclassification allows the company to avoid paying unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, Social Security, proper wages and other benefits.

Court Orders Other Sanctions

The penalties for overtime wages go beyond the financial obligation. The department has also obtained a consent judgment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts that orders the defendants to:

Stop evading their responsibilities under the FLSA by misclassifying their employees as independent contractors
Make, keep and preserve accurate records of employees’ wages, work hours and working conditions, as required by the FLSA.
Engage one or more qualified independent consultants to create a payroll system or systems that will ensure that the defendants’ payroll and recordkeeping practices comply with the FLSA. The consultants will also review those practices quarterly and submit reports to the division detailing any problems and corrective actions.
“The misclassification of employees as independent contractors is a serious problem that hurts workers, taxpayers, and the entire economy in multiple ways,” said Michael Felsen, the department’s New England regional solicitor.

“It robs employees of their rights to proper wages, safe workplaces, social security payments, and unemployment and workers compensation insurance. It deprives federal and state governments of needed tax revenues. And, it undercuts law-abiding employers who pay their workers legally and play by the rules.”

TAXOTERE CHEMOTHERAPY HAIR LOSS LAWSUIT ALLEGES FAILURE TO WARN

Marc Primo is reading …

Taxotere Chemotherapy Hair Loss Lawsuit Alleges Failure to Warn

Sanofi Aventis is facing a new chemotherapy hair loss lawsuit filed by a South Carolina woman alleging she suffered permanent alopecia after using Taxotere (docetaxel).

Plaintiff Pearl M. agreed to use Taxotere for breast cancer treatment after reviewing the company’s advertisements, and alleges that she had received no warnings or indications of permanent hair loss.

She is filing a chemotherapy hair loss lawsuit after allegedly permanently losing her hair from Taxotere.

Pearl was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2003, after diagnostic screening had found malignant evidence in her right breast.

Luckily she was diagnosed during Stage I, with her treatment prospects stronger. After undergoing bilateral mastectomies, Pearl consulted her oncologist regarding different chemotherapy treatment options.

During this time, her oncologist had not been aware of the possibility of Taxotere permanent hair loss and had no reason not to believe it was a safe and effective.

Pearl underwent four cycles of Taxotere chemotherapy treatment cycles and eventually experienced hair loss.

For years, Pearl had to contend with alopecia, and did not learn of Taxotere’s association with permanent hair loss until 2016.

After the FDA announced that Taxotere may cause permanent hair loss, Pearl had filed her chemotherapy hair loss lawsuit.

According to her chemotherapy hair loss lawsuit, Sanofi Aventis allegedly knew of the drug’s association with alopecia for years.

Overview of Taxotere Hair Loss

Hair loss is a common side effect associated with chemotherapy drugs, as these medications work by targeting rapidly growing cells.

By doing this, the rapidly growing cancer cells are killed off along with other fast growing cells like hair follicles.

However, the hair typically grows back after some point after their chemotherapy treatment, which is one of the things women with breast cancer look forward to.

Taxotere was approved by the FDA in 1996 as a treatment for breast cancer, but has since been approved to treat several other variations.

This medication is typically used for breast cancer treatment, with its medication label indicating that permanent hair loss was only a slight possibility and that the hair would eventually grow back.

This was not the case with Pearl, as she is still suffering from chemotherapy hair loss.

She is filing this chemotherapy hair loss lawsuit against Sanofi Aventis for failing to warn her against alopecia.

Sanofi Aventis allegedly omitted this information from the drug’s warning label to protect Taxotere’s market value.

Pearl stated that she never would have used Taxtotere if she had known of the possibility of permanent hair loss.

This Chemotherapy Hair Loss Lawsuit is Case No. 3:16-cv-02843-MGL, in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina, Columbia Division.

FACEBOOK SAYS USERS CAN’T SHOW HARM IN FACE TAGGING CLASS ACTION

Marc Primo is reading…https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/344041-facebook-says-users-cant-show-harm-face-tagging-class-action/

In a class action lawsuit alleging Facebook improperly collected and retained biometric data from its users, Facebook struck back arguing that the users cannot show they were harmed in any way.

Lead plaintiffs in the class action accused Facebook of unlawfully collecting and storing biometric data from its users through its facial recognition and tagging feature.

The plaintiffs alleged that Facebook violated the Illinois Biometric Data Privacy Act, as well as violated users’ privacy by not obtaining consent to use their data.

The plaintiffs say that use of their biometric data has resulted in tangible and intangible injuries, including loss of their property right to the data.

In its latest motion to dismiss the case, Facebook argues that users have not established how Facebook’s use of their biometric data lowers the value of users’ facial recognition data.

“Even assuming that ‘biometric identifiers are property’ — which they are not — plaintiffs do not explain how the value of their biometric identifiers has been diminished due to tag suggestions,” said Facebook in its motion. “Plaintiffs do not claim that they could sell their biometric identifiers, that they would sell them, or, critically, that the buyers would now pay less for their identifiers because of Facebook’s conduct.”

Facebook points out that it does not sell users’ likenesses for commercial benefit.

Additionally, Facebook argues that the allegation that it violated users’ right to their biometric data is not sufficient without showing that they were harmed by this violation.

“Plaintiffs have not claimed that the mere collection or storage of their alleged biometric identifiers caused them to suffer serious emotional harm; to be caught in a compromising situation that materially affected their reputations, livelihoods or relationships; or to experience identity theft,” said Facebook in its motion to dismiss the class action. “Presumably that is because (1) they did not suffer harm and/or (2) such claims would create a sea of individualized issues, barring class certification.”

Facebook also argued that even if the users have a right under the Illinois Biometric Data Privacy Act, that does not mean they have standing to bring their class action lawsuit.

“Congress’ role in identifying and elevating intangible harms does not mean that a plaintiff automatically satisfies the injury-in-fact requirement whenever a statute grants a person a statutory right and purports to authorize that person to vindicate that right,” pointed out Facebook in its motion.

The class action lawsuit has survived Facebook’s motion to dismiss the case because Facebook argued the Illinois law did not apply. The class action is a consolidated set of cases.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jay Edelson, Rafey S. Balabanian and J. Dominick Larry of Edelson PC, Shawn A. Williams, David W. Hall, Paul J. Geller, Stuart A. Davidson, Frank A. Richter, Christopher C. Martins, Mark Dearman, Travis E. Downs III and James E. Barz of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, Corban S. Rhodes, Joel H. Bernstein and Ross M. Kamhi of Labaton Sucharow LLP, Frank S. Hedin of Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya LLP, and Francis A. Bottini Jr., Albert Y. Chang, Yury A. Kolesnikov of Bottini & Bottini Inc.

The Facebook Biometric Face Tagging Class Action Lawsuit is In re: Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation, Case No. 3:15-cv-03747, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

​#Facebook #classaction #law #consumeradvocate

FRESH MILK PRODUCTS PRICE-FIXING CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT

Marc Primo Pulisci is reading https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/343790-fresh-milk-products-price-fixing-class-action-settlement/

National Milk Producers Federation aka Cooperatives Working Together (CWT), Dairy Farmers of America Inc., Land O’Lakes Inc., Dairylea Cooperative Inc. and Agri-Mark Inc. have agreed to settle an antitrust class action lawsuit that accuses them of engaging in a conspiracy to fix milk prices.

If you purchased milk or other fresh milk products (including half & half, cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt or cream) since 2003, you may be entitled to payment from the milk products class action settlement.

If approved, this antitrust settlement will resolve a class action lawsuit that accuses the defendants of participating in a nationwide conspiracy to limit the production of raw farm milk by slaughtering cows prematurely, causing the price of milk and other fresh milk products to increase.

CWT was developed by the National Milk Producers Federation with the stated purpose of strengthening and stabilizing milk prices. Founded in 2003, the CWT reportedly involves dairy producers located throughout the United States which produce close to 70 percent of the nation’s milk.

According to the milk antitrust class action lawsuit, the dairy farmers participating in the alleged antitrust conspiracy with CWT agreed to prematurely slaughter the dairy cows in their herds and, as of Apr. 1, 2009, they agreed not to reenter the dairy farming business for at least one year.

“The principle purpose and effect of this contract, combination and conspiracy has been to reduce the supply of milk, eliminate competition, and significantly reduce the number of dairy farmers competing in the market in order to increase the price of raw farm milk,” the milk products price-fixing class action lawsuit states.

The defendants deny the allegations but agreed to settle the fresh milk products class action lawsuit to avoid the expense and uncertainty associated with ongoing litigation.

The fresh milk products price-fixing settlement received preliminary approval on Aug. 25, 2016.

If you would like to object to or exclude yourself from the milk products antitrust class action settlement, you must do so no later than Oct. 28, 2016.

UNUM DISABILITY INSURANCE LAWSUIT FILED BY N.J. MAN

Marc Primo is reading https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/342001-n-j-man-files-unum-disability-insurance-lawsuit/

A New Jersey man filed an Unum disability insurance lawsuit against the life insurance giant, claiming Unum wrongfully denied his claim for disability insurance.

Plaintiff Dealin L. worked for Saks, Inc. when he became limited in his ability to perform his regular job.

In August 2015, his fibromyalgia condition became too problematic for Dealin to perform the substantial and material duties of his regular occupation.

Fibromyalgia is a debilitating, autoimmune condition which is incurable and causes great and diffuse pain throughout the body.

The disability insurance policy that the plaintiff had through his employer with Unum allowed for benefits to be paid if he became unable to “perform the substantial and material duties of his regular occupation.” The policy also allowed for benefits to begin 180 days after the elimination period ended in February 2016.

Allegations in the Unum Disability Insurance Lawsuit

According to this Unum disability insurance lawsuit, because the plaintiff was then eligible for payment of his long-term disability benefits, he submitted a claim to Unum.

A letter from Unum dating June 1, 2016, showed that Unum refused to pay the plaintiff’s claim. Just 9 days later, on June 10, Dealin appealed the decision by the insurance company but he was denied in another letter from Unum on July 27, 2016.

The Unum disability insurance lawsuit claims that the reasons given by Unum for denying payment are “inconsistent, not supported by substantial evidence, and were simply used as a pretext to support Defendant’s decision to deny payment.”

This letter, dated July 27, 2016, stated that the plaintiff was not disabled after he was discharged from physical therapy on February 2, 2016, but then contradicts itself by saying that because he is disabled, he should engage in daily aerobic activity, cognitive therapy and use neuropathic pain medications.

According to this Unum disability insurance lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that given the nature of fibromyalgia, neither aerobic activity, cognitive behavior therapy nor pain medications will be in any way effective.

He claims that because he is covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and Unum is a plan fiduciary of ERISA, these “meaningless” suggestions by Unum was simply in order to deny payment. He states that there is no evidence any of these supposed solutions would work.

Dealin claims that Unum’s decision to terminate payment is not reasonable and was not supported by any evidence. The Unum disability insurance lawsuit states that the plaintiff is disabled under his Unum plan and is therefore entitled to payment of long-term disability benefits.

The plaintiff accuses Unum of breaching its fiduciary duty by “failing failing to fairly review and reasonably interpret the reports prepared by Plaintiff’s treating and examining physician and failing to consider material information relevant to Plaintiff’s medical condition.”

What is owed to the plaintiff, according to the Unum disability insurance lawsuit, is $1200 per month until he is age 65.

However, Dealin is asking Unum to pay his long-term disability insurance benefits from February 2016 when the 180 waiting period ended at a rate of $1900 per month until he is no longer disabled.

This Unum Disability Insurance Lawsuit is Case No. 3:16-cv-04897 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.