FRESNO, Calif. — A class of mortgagers on April 1 saw their efforts to have an alleged “successor in interest” to a mortgage company joined to their lawsuit alleging anti-kickback violations tied to the requirement of having private mortgage insurers enter into captive reinsurance agreements with the mortgage company’s affiliated “reinsurer” denied (Efrain Munoz, et al. v. PHH Mortgage Corp., et al., No. 08-759, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57575).
RICHMOND, Va. — A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 13 vacated a ruling awarding summary judgment to a title service company and a real estate brokerage firm and ordered a federal judge in Maryland to dismiss a class action suit with prejudice, holding that a couple failed to allege that they suffered harm as a result of the defendants’ alleged violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) by engaging in a scheme for the payment of kickbacks for settlement services (Patrick Baehr, et al v. The Creig Northrop Team PC, et al., No. 19-1024, 4th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 8117).
Recent class action lawsuits filed in federal and state courts across the country include complaints alleging defective engines, autodialed calls, receipts with too much information, improper wages and wage deductions by a Pennsylvania casino.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia’s Department of Corrections (DOC) is doing “too little and far too late” in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and “experts predict that COVID-19 will ‘spread like wildfire’ in DOC facilities,” four inmates allege in a March 30 class complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking the release of some inmates and basics such as soap, water and disinfectant products for those who remain behind bars (Edward Banks, et al. v. Quincy Booth, et al., No. 20-849, D. D.C.).
BOSTON — A ride-sharing company filed a notice of appeal on March 27, the same day a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled that its arbitration agreement is not subject to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) as its drivers are exempt and that the agreement’s class action waiver is not enforceable under Massachusetts law (Melody Cunningham, et al. v. Lyft, Inc., et al., No. 19-11974, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53653).
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A Massachusetts federal magistrate judge on March 27 granted preliminary approval to an agreement between the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that would settle NAD’s class claims over website inaccessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in exchange for the institute’s commitment to proactively provide captioning for video and audio content posted on its website (National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, No. 3:15-cv-30024, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53643).
WORCESTER, Mass. — A federal judge in Massachusetts on March 23 granted final approval of a $2,275,000 settlement to be paid by Target Enterprise Inc. to end class claims that it placed more than two debt collection calls in a seven-day period to a class of Massachusetts residents but reduced the class counsel’s request for attorney fees of 33-1/3 percent of the total settlement (Gabrielle Carlson, et al. v. Target Enterprise, Inc., No. 18-40139, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49636).
LOS ANGELES — A consumer’s lawsuit accusing Family Dollar Stores Inc. of making it difficult for disabled customers to make their way through cluttered stores belongs in state court as the retailer has not shown that its alleged amount in controversy is anything more than “a number from thin air,” a federal judge in California ruled March 27 (Marisa Martinez v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc., No. 20-2030, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53999).
NEW YORK — A federal magistrate judge in New York on March 26 narrowed the class of female employee suing Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (collectively, Goldman) for gender bias, finding that arbitration agreements entered into by some class members leave individual arbitration as their only remedy (H. Cristina Chen-Oster, et al. v. Goldman, Sachs & Co., et al., No. 10-6950, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53302).
SAN FRANCISCO — On March 31, Zoom Video Communications Inc. was named in its second putative class complaint in California federal court in as many days, with two users of its videoconferencing platform alleging negligence, unfair competition and privacy violations for Zoom’s admitted sharing of certain personally identifiable information (PII) of users operating its app on Apple Inc.’s operating system (iOS) (Samuel Taylor v. Zoom Video Communications Inc., No. 3:20-cv-02170, Robert Cullen v. Zoom Video Communications Inc., 5:20-cv-02155, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — A woman on March 27 filed a class action complaint in New York federal court seeking reimbursement for Belviq, a prescription weight loss drug that the Food and Drug Administration in February ordered off the market due to the increased risk of cancer (Barbara Zottola, et al. v. Eisai Inc., et al., No. 20-2600, S.D. N.Y.).
CINCINNATI — A propane pricing lawsuit brought by the Michigan attorney general on behalf of consumers under the state’s Consumer Protection Act is not a class action for the purposes of removal under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority ruled on March 27, affirming a trial court’s remand order (Dana Nessel, et al. v. AmeriGas Partners, L.P., et al., No. 20-1098, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9627).
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal judge on March 26 granted preliminary approval of a $3.2 million settlement that would end wage-and-hour claims by California correctional officers who brought two class complaints seeking pay for missed meal and rest breaks and time spent going through security checks, but directed the parties to further explain incentive payments for the named plaintiffs that “appear . . . to be somewhat disproportionate” at the final approval stage (Jose Gonzalez, et al. v. CoreCivic of Tennessee, LLC, et al., No. 16-1891, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52840).
TACOMA, Wash. — A federal judge in Washington on March 27 denied a hearing aid company’s motion to strike portions of a class complaint alleging sales calls placed in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and to partially dismiss, finding that the plaintiff’s “allegations are actually consistent with the intent behind the statute” (Mark Hoffman, et al. v. Hearing Help Express, Inc., No. 19-5960, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54048).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Several cancer victims on March 25 reply filed a brief in an Ohio federal court contending that the opinions of an expert for E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. in a joint trial pertaining to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) are “wholly irrelevant” regarding the class membership of one of the plaintiffs and should be excluded (In re: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, S.D. Ohio).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Shareholders in a pipeline company on March 9 filed a class action complaint in Delaware state court contending that the former chairman and chief executive breached their fiduciary duties when they approved a merger with TransCanada Corp., which operates a pipeline that carries hydraulically fractured oil and gas from Canada to the United States (Police & Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit v. Robert C. Skaggs, et al., No. 2020-0179, Del. Chanc., New Castle Co.).
PITTSBURGH — The lead plaintiff in a securities class action against a hydraulic fracturing company and some of its executives for violations of the Securities Exchange Act (SEA) and Securities Exchange Commission regulations on March 6 filed a brief in Pennsylvania federal court contending that the defendant’s motion to dismiss fails “for multiple reasons,” including the fact that it ignores that the company’s alleged false statements “include scores of false claims of purported present fact” (In re EQT Corporation Securities Litigation, No. 19-754, W.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK — The parent company of New York Sports Clubs (NYSC) is engaging in “fraudulent” conduct by continuing to charge members their monthly fees while the gyms are closed due to shelter-in-place regulations as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic and making it difficult for members to cancel, a New York woman alleges in a class complaint filed March 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Mary Namorato, et al. v. Town Sports International, LLC, et al., No. 20-2580, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK — The lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against jewelry retailer Signet Jewelers Limited and certain of its current and former executive officers ask a federal judge in New York in a March 26 motion to grant preliminary approval of a $240 million settlement between the parties (In re Signet Jewelers Limited Securities Litigation, No. 16-6728, S.D. N.Y.).
OMAHA, Neb. — An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 24 reversed a trial court’s class certification order in a suit by workers alleging that their employer’s use of a fitness-for-duty policy constitutes disability discrimination, finding that the policy involves individual assessments and is not appropriate for class treatment (Quinton Harris, et al. v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, No. 19-1514, 8th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9118).