PHILADELPHIA — The Allegheny County Employees’ Retirement System (AERS) on Jan. 21 moved in a Pennsylvania federal court for the Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico to be appointed as lead plaintiff in a class action against a hydraulic fracturing pipeline company, the executives of which the plaintiffs say committed securities fraud and coerced a Pennsylvania agency to get approval for the Mariner East 2 pipeline (Allegheny County Employees’ Retirement System v. Energy Transfer LP, et al., No. 20-200, E.D. Pa.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a Jan. 20 amicus curiae brief, the attorneys general (AGs) of nine states urge a California federal judge to deny final approval to a proposed $13 million settlement of a consolidated privacy class action over Google LLC’s “Street View” feature, objecting to the earmarking of most of the settlement fund to cy pres recipients without “cash or other direct compensation to class members” (In re Google LLC Street View Electronic Communications Litigation, No. 3:10-md-02184, N.D. Calif.).
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A federal judge in Puerto Rico on Jan. 10 ruled that his court has no subject matter jurisdiction over a class complaint filed by three individuals against their former class counsel in a lawsuit over an oil refinery explosion accusing them of unlawfully taking settlement funds for overhead costs (Héctor Martínez, et al. v. Law Offices of John F. Nevares & Associates, P.S.C., et al., No. 18-1400, D. Puerto Rico, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4784).
LOS ANGELES — California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement (DLSE) filed separate objections on Jan. 8 and 9, respectively, to a proposed settlement between Riot Games Inc. and a class of female employees pending in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, calling the $10 million amount well below a fair settlement and separate, individual settlement agreements negotiated by the named plaintiffs “potentially mislead[ing]” (Melanie McCracken, et al. v. Riot Games, Inc., et al., No. 18STCV03957, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Jan. 8 — in a case that made its way all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court in an appeal over equitable tolling and the lead plaintiff’s appeal of a class decertification decision — reinstated the original 2014 class certification order in the case challenging the labeling of dietary supplements (Troy Lambert, et al. v. Nutraceutical Corp., No. 13-5942, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6391).
Recent class action lawsuits filed in federal and state courts across the country include complaints alleging unsolicited faxes, deceptive marketing of dog treats, toxic levels of mercury in beauty products, wage violations and a website that is inaccessible to the blind.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Dec. 10 granted preliminary approval of a $962,500 settlement to be paid by Coinbase Inc. to a class of individuals whose bitcoin were allegedly stolen from them by Crypsty, a cryptocurrency exchange; a nearly identical class previously settled with Crypsty and Paul Vernon for $796,000 (Brandon Leidel, et al. v. Coinbase, Inc., No. 16-81992, S.D. Fla.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A trial court erred when it applied California discovery rules in a case over bedding thread counts and ruled that the lead plaintiff could obtain a list of the proposed class members from the retailer he was suing prior to class certification being granted, a split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 13, granting the retailer’s petition for a writ of mandamus and ordering the trial court to vacate its order (In re: Williams-Sonoma, Inc., No. 19-70522, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 1046).
LOS ANGELES — The parties in a lawsuit against the University of Southern California (USC) for alleged decades of sexual abuse by the school’s gynecologist filed a joint notice on Jan. 13 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that their settlement agreement, which includes a $215 million settlement fund, has been revised according to the court’s instructions at a Jan. 6 hearing (In re USC Student Health Center Litigation, No. 18-4258, C.D. Calif.).
SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Jan. 6 granted final approval of a class settlement between consumers and coconut oil makers that will result in changes to health claims on the labeling and a $1,850,000 payment (Sherry Hunter, et al. v. Nature’s Way Products, LLC, et al., No. 16-532, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1706).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Jan. 10 decertified a class of Eddie Bauer LLC employees in California in a lawsuit seeking compensation for time spent undergoing security inspections, finding that based on the current record before the court, a jury would have to make decisions related to each employee’s experience with exit inspections as there was no uniform policy (Stephanie Heredia v. Eddie Bauer LLC, No. 16-6236, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4627).
SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Jan. 14 certified a class of asylum seekers in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody in California who have retained counsel and have allegedly been denied access to that counsel while undergoing non-refoulement interviews and, in a separate order, granted a classwide preliminary injunction barring government officials from conducting those interviews without allowing for in-person attorney access before and during the interviews (Cristian Doe, et al. v. Chad F. Wolf, et al., No. 19-2119, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6373).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Jan. 10 denied a motion to dismiss a putative class complaint by a consumer over a sandwich shop chain’s use of “natural” when marketing and labeling its products and ordered the parties to engage in limited jurisdictional discovery to allow the court to determine the makeup of the putative class and whether the court had subject matter jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) (Skylar Cunningham, et al. v. Pret a Manger [USA] Ltd., No. 19-2322, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4993).
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A federal judge in Minnesota on Jan. 21 denied a Minnesota city’s motion to intervene in a class complaint over a rendering and waste-oil processing facility’s allegedly noxious orders, finding that the motion, filed as the court was about to grant preliminary approval of a settlement, was not timely (Patricia Keech, et al. v. Sanimax USA, LLC, No. 18-683, D. Minn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9752).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on Jan. 21 stripped plaintiffs suing their insurer over lactation services coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of their expert witness testimony for lack of reliability and then denied their bid for class certification for lack of common issues (Laura Briscoe, et al. v. Health Care Service Corporation, et al., No. 1:16-cv-10294, N.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9447).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A former Wyndham Hotel Group franchisee that executed a franchise agreement permitting the franchisor’s affiliates to contact it via facsimile has no grounds to sue Lands’ End Inc., one of those affiliates, for sending faxes in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) while it was a franchisee, a federal judge in Connecticut ruled Jan. 16, granting Lands’ End’s motion for summary judgment in the class complaint by Gorss Motels Inc. (Gorss Motels, Inc. v. Lands’ End, Inc., No. 17-10, D. Conn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8908).
LOS ANGELES — Plaintiffs in a class action alleging that Northrop Grumman Corp. breached its fiduciary duties in its management of the company’s 401(k) retirement savings plan contend in a Jan. 13 motion for preliminary approval of a settlement filed in California federal court that an almost $12.4 million settlement is fair and reasonable to all class members (Clifton Marshall, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., et al., No. 16-6794, C.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Facebook Inc.’s interlocutory appeal of a class certification ruling in a privacy lawsuit over its face-tagging feature will not be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which on Jan. 21 denied the social network’s petition for certiorari in which it raised questions about standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution (Facebook Inc. v. Nimesh Patel, et al., No. 19-706, U.S. Sup., 2020 U.S. LEXIS 538).
PHILADELPHIA — Managers formerly employed by Aramark Corp. filed an unopposed motion in a federal court in Pennsylvania on Jan. 15, seeking preliminary approval of a $21 million class settlement that would end their complaints alleging that they were not paid all owed bonuses (Henry J. Lacher, et al. v. Aramark Corporation, No. 19-687, Michael Mercer, et al. v. Aramark Corporation, No. 19-2762, E.D. Pa.).
SAN FRANCISCO — “Incomprehensible” denial letters sent in reference to out-of-network lactation care form the basis for class certification, but allegations claiming that an insurer’s “woefully inadequate” efforts constituted a uniform effort at evading Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) standards fail, a federal judge in California held Dec. 23 (Rachel Condry, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., No. 17-183, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 220287).