ATLANTA — A collective of companies that own the Colonial Pipeline were hit with a putative class action in Georgia federal court on May 18, in which a lead plaintiff claims that the owners were negligent in not sufficiently securing the pipeline’s infrastructure to protect it from the recent ransomware cyberattack that ended up shutting down the pipeline.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — In a May 18 complaint filed in California federal court, a New Jersey man accuses Google LLC of cultivating a vast database of users’ personally identifiable information (PII) that he calls “reminiscent of what George Orwell warned about,” faulting the tech firm for sharing the data with advertisers in its real-time bidding (RTB) process, bringing claims of privacy violations and unfair competition.
NEW YORK — A federal magistrate judge in New York on May 20 granted final approval of a $2.7 million settlement to be paid by a trash collection company to end class claims that it violated New York state law by charging a fee for those customers wishing to receive bills via mail and/or pay by mail; the final judgment and order comes more than four months after the court held a final fairness hearing and issued a minute order approving the settlement terms.
NEW YORK — A former Wyndham Hotel Group franchisee “cannot now complain about receiving advertisements of the very type it expressly agreed to receive” through its franchise agreements with Wyndham, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 13 on class allegations that Lands’ End violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending unsolicited fax advertisements, affirming a federal judge’s grant of summary judgment that dismissed the case.
CHICAGO — The owner of a hotel, restaurant and convention center on May 7 reiterated its argument asking the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s dismissal of its breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that its interpretation of its “all-risk” insurance policy’s business income coverage is reasonable and, therefore, the insurer has failed to establish the “legal insufficiency” of its complaint.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio judge on April 26 certified three classes in a lawsuit brought by a University of Toledo (UT) student who alleges he and other students and individuals paying tuition and fees during the spring 2020 semester were not properly refunded when the school shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
ATLANTA — In a May 19 response to a supplemental authority filed in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals one day earlier by counsel for the original plaintiff in a dispute now centering around whether class representative awards are appropriate and calling an en banc rehearing “an urgent imperative,” counsel for an objector in the case states that the opinions being cited that were issued by district court judges are “‘not binding’” and the unpublished appellate court opinions cited are “thoroughly inconsequential.”
DENVER — In an issue it noted was one of first impression, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 10 ruled that the heightened scrutiny standard must be applied prior to granting final approval of settlement agreements that contain “kicker” and “clear-sailing” agreements and, after considering the scrutiny applied by the trial court to a class settlement in a case over defective Samsung washing machines, determined that there was no abuse of discretion when the settlement agreement was approved.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and an employment staffing company failed to safeguard private health information (PHI) contained in COVID-19 contract tracing lists and then timely notify those affected after a data breach, a Pennsylvania woman alleges in her putative class complaint filed May 5 in a federal court in Pennsylvania.
SAN FRANCISCO — A California man filed a putative class complaint on May 12 in a federal court in California accusing Tesla Inc. of breach of contract and violating state laws, including the unfair competition law (UCL), by changing the terms of solar roof products purchase agreements and increasing costs by as much as 100% often a few days before scheduled installations.
GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina nursing home operated under a business plan that involved “severe systematic understaffing” that predated the coronavirus pandemic and led to one of the largest outbreaks once the pandemic hit, residents and members of residents’ families allege in a class complaint and a motion for class certification filed May 17 in a federal court in North Carolina.
ATLANTA — An en banc rehearing is “an urgent imperative” after a split 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in September held that a $6,000 incentive award for a class representative in a settlement violated century-old Supreme Court precedent as the circuit conflict has been shown to be “stark and concrete” in the time that has passed since rehearing petitions were filed in October, counsel for the original plaintiff writes in a May 18 supplemental authority.
SAN FRANCISCO — In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s finding that unsolicited text messages sent by Facebook Inc. did not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 7 remanded the putative class action to the trial court where it originated, even though the lead plaintiff had voluntarily dismissed his claims more than two weeks earlier.
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on May 6 granted final approval of a more than $710,000 settlement in a wage-and-hour lawsuit by Frito Lay Inc. maintenance mechanics, opining that the amount, representing less than 20% of the maximum possible damages, is “not per se unreasonable.”
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A federal judge in Indiana on May 10 certified a class of prisoners suing an Indiana County and its sheriff over alleged overcrowding and understaffing, finding that earlier issues of commonality and typicality were resolved with declarations and additional exhibits, but deferred ruling on a dispute over administrative exhaustion of claims, writing that the summary judgment stage is the appropriate one to consider such arguments.
BOSTON — Northeastern University did not breach an in-person teaching contract with students or unjustly enrich itself when it halted in-person instruction and closed its campus in spring 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled May 10, granting summary judgment to the school in two putative class complaints.
TAMPA, Fla. — Content moderators employed by a contractor of Facebook Inc. failed to establish harm or negligence from their exposure to graphic content on Facebook’s social network, a Florida federal judge ruled May 14, dismissing their putative class complaint for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.
LOS ANGELES — An attempt by two immigrants to divide their proposed class suing multiple law firms for legal malpractice into subclasses according to which firm represented the putative class members to resolve a standing issue fails as the named plaintiffs still lack standing individually or on behalf of a class to sue a firm that did not prosecute their visa petitions, a California appellate court ruled May 13.
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A federal judge in New York on May 13 consolidated 13 putative class complaints accusing The Hain Celestial Group Inc. of violating various state consumer protection laws by allegedly failing to disclose that its baby food products contain levels of toxic heavy metals.
PITTSBURGH — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on May 10 granted a motion to remand a putative class complaint accusing a beauty store chain of violating state law by collecting sales tax on its sales of face masks intended to slow the spread of coronavirus.