NEW YORK — Miramax LLC, Miramax Film Corp. and Miramax Film NY LLC (collectively Miramax), The Weinstein Co. (TWC) and TWC’s board facilitated and condoned the alleged flashing, fondling, sexual assault and rape carried out by movie producer Harvey Weinstein at offices, in hotel rooms, in his homes and in rooms at industry functions, six women allege in a Dec. 6 complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking certification of a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c)(4) class for liability for violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), battery assault and emotional distress (Louisette Geiss, et al. v. The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC, et al., No. 17-9554, S.D. N.Y.).
CHICAGO — Plaintiffs’ attempt to bring alternative claims under state law in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class suit that alleges that two defined-benefits plans were improperly classified as “church plans” creates an “absolute conflict,” an Illinois federal judge ruled Dec. 5 dismissing the five state law claims (Sheilar Smith, et al. v. OSF Healthcare System, et al., No. 16-467, S.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199805).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 6 unsealed its Nov. 28 opinion reversing summary judgment in the incretin mimetic multidistrict litigation, saying the MDL judge misapplied a U.S. Supreme Court precedent, improperly blocked discovery, misinterpreted what constituted new evidence and improperly disqualified a plaintiff expert (In Re: Incretin-Based Therapies Products Liability Litigation, Jean Adams, et al. v. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., et al., No. 15-56997, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24674).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Less than two years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the concrete injury requirement to establish standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution in a lawsuit over alleged violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the data aggregator defendant filed a renewed petition for certiorari Dec. 4, citing conflicting lower court interpretations of the prior ruling and a remand ruling by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that it says undermines the 2016 decision (Spokeo Inc. v. Thomas Robins, No. 17-806, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO — Dismissal of a securities class action lawsuit against a for-profit college and certain of its current and former senior executives is warranted because the lead plaintiff in the action failed to plead falsity or scienter in making its federal securities law claims against the defendants, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Dec. 6 in granting the defendants’ motion (Pension Trust Fund for Operating Engineers v. DeVry Education Group Inc., et al., No. 16-5198, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200272).
BOSTON — A delivery company has no right to demand arbitration in a proposed class action wage dispute when the lead named plaintiff never signed the agreement containing the arbitration clause the company is now calling upon, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 21 (Djamel Ouadani, et al. v. TF Final Mile LLC, f/k/a Dynamex Operations East, LLC, No. 17-1583, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 23493).
SAN FRANCISCO — Parties in a securities class action lawsuit against a company that sells renewable energy and certain of its executive officers asked a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 4 to determine whether a federal district court erred in dismissing the action for failure to plead scienter under a holistic approach (James Webb v. SolarCity Corp., et al., No. 16-16440, 9th Cir.).
CHICAGO — Three women may largely proceed with their class action claiming that their health insurance company erected insurmountable barriers rendering it impossible to procure in-network lactation services and imposed illegal cost-sharing on out-of-network services in violation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a federal judge in Illinois held Dec. 4 (Laura Briscoe, et al. v. Health Care Service Corp., et al., No. 16-10294, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198452).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge, in an order filed Dec. 1, declined preliminary approval of a class settlement worth up to $7,425,000 offered by Dave & Buster’s Inc. to end claims that the nationwide restaurant/entertainment chain violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by reducing the hours of its work force in 2013 to avoid the costs associated with providing health insurance to its full-time employees in compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Maria De Lourdes Parra Marin v. Dave & Buster’s, Inc., et al., No. 15-3608, S.D. N.Y.).
ROCHESTER, N.Y.— A federal magistrate judge in New York on Dec. 1 approved employees’ motion for final approval of a modified $1.7 million class action settlement that increased the payout to the class members in a lawsuit alleging that their franchisor and franchisee employers violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), further granting the plaintiffs’ motion for attorney fees that awards the attorneys 44 percent less than the original proposal (Adam Cunningham, et al. v. Suds Pizza, Inc., et al., No. 15-6462, W.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198250).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri federal judge in a Nov. 29 text order granted a joint motion to stay a class action alleging that a homeowners insurer committed breach of contract when it unlawfully applied a policy's $1,000 deductible to an actual cash value (ACV) payment in a hailstorm coverage dispute after the parties announced that they reached a settlement (Jean Heckmann v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-04147, W.D. Mo.).
SAN DIEGO — Lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit against SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. and certain of its current and former executive officers over their alleged concealment of the negative impact the document “Blackfish” had on the company’s business and financial condition have met all statutory requirements to certify the class of investors, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 29 in certifying the class (Lou Baker v. SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., et al., No. 14-2129, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196235).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Nov. 17 ordered arbitration of a Starbucks Corp. barista’s claims that she was made to work numerous hours off the clock but denied a motion to dismiss her class and collective claims because no motion for class or collective certification is pending (Ebony Armstead v. Starbucks Corporation, No. 17-1163, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190748).
Recent class action lawsuits filed in federal and state courts across the country include complaints alleging faulty products, an anti-competitive scheme, wrongful debt collection, wage violations and property damages.
BEAUFORT, S.C. — Del Webb Communities Inc. and Pulte Homes Inc. say in an opposition brief filed Nov. 15 in South Carolina federal court that a proposed class of owners of approximately 2,000 homes built over the span of 10 years using allegedly defective stucco systems should not be certified because it is “hopelessly conflicted” (Jacqueline L. Craft, et al. v. South Carolina Plastering LLC, et al., No. 15-cv-05080-PMD, D. S.C.).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on Nov. 20 granted final approval to a $75 million settlement reached between Michael Foods Inc. and the direct purchaser class, an amount that the court noted is the highest thus far in the price-fixing multidistrict litigation against egg suppliers (In re: Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-md-2002, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191285).
SAN DIEGO — A California man who alleges that a San Diego hospital inflates its rates and charges uninsured patients rates that are much higher than those paid by patients with insurance and exceed the actual costs of providing treatment has presented too many individualized issues to be granted class certification, a California appeals panel ruled Nov. 17 (Artur Hefczyc v. Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, No. D07124, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 1016).
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on Nov. 17 denied a motion to dismiss a class lawsuit brought by asylum seekers who have been held in a federal detention facility in Batavia, N.Y., for long periods of time and granted the detainees’ motion for preliminary injunction (Hanad Abdi, et al. v. Elaine Duke, et al., No. 17-721, W.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191568).
SEATTLE — A federal lawsuit alleging collusion between pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and diabetic test strip manufacturers was transferred Nov. 28 from a Washington federal court to a New Jersey federal court to join other lawsuits alleging collusion between PBMs and insulin makers (Jeanine Prescott, et al. v. CVS Health Corporation, et al., No. 17-803, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195188).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A Sacramento fulfillment center for Amazon.com regularly schedules employees to work shifts that are 10 hours or longer and fails to provide the workers with pay for their entire shifts and a third rest break, one of the employees alleges in a class complaint filed Nov. 27 in the Sacramento County Superior Court, alleging various state law violations, including violation of the unfair competition law (UCL) (Romeo Palma, et al v. Golden State FC, LLC dba Amazon.com, et al., No. 34-2017-00222744-CU-OE-GDS, Calif. Super., Sacramento Co.).