WASHINGTON, D.C. — The settlement of a privacy class action over search query referrer headers appropriately included a payment of $5.3 million to privacy advocate cy pres recipients, Google LLC and the class representatives argue in a pair of March 9 briefs, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to deny a petition for certiorari filed by two class members who had objected to the settlement as collusive and not of benefit to the class (Theodore H. Frank, et al. v. Paloma Gaos, et al., No. 17-961, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Given a recent court decision in which a court found that an arbitration agreement that waives the right to seek public injunctive relief violates California public policy, a California federal judge on March 14 granted a motion to reconsider a ruling compelling class action claims for violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other California law claims against a mobile telephone provider to arbitration (Marcus A. Roberts, et al. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, No. 15-cv-03418, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42235).
DOVER, Del. — The Delaware Supreme Court on March 15 ruled that a longstanding class action over alleged injuries from chemical exposure on banana plantations was not still active because class action tolling was ended when the Texas state court denied class action certification in 2010 in a case related to the one at hand, which involved some of the same plaintiffs (Luis Antonio Aguilar Marquinez, et al. v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 231, 2017, Del. Sup.; 2018 Del. LEXIS 108).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on March 14 dismissed without prejudice products liability claims in a class complaint by consumers accusing The Procter & Gamble Co. and The Procter & Gamble Distributing LLC (collectively, P&G) of selling laundry detergents pods that left noticeable stains on their clothing, but left standing that the remaining claims and denied an alternate motion to strike class allegations (Lisa Guariglia, et al. v. The Procter & Gamble Company, et al., No. 15-4307, E.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42861).
Recent class action lawsuits filed in federal courts across the country include complaints alleging defective air bags, breach of contract, disability discrimination, health hazards and improper debt collection.
CINCINNATI — Two Uber Technologies Inc. drivers, one current and one former, must submit their wage claims to arbitration, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 14, upholding a trial court’s ruling in the drivers’ proposed class action complaint and rejecting the driver’s new argument presented on appeal (Artur Zawada, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 17-1092, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 6298).
SAN FRANCISCO — Five months after preliminarily approving settlement of claims brought against Seagate Technology LLC by a class of employees over a 2016 phishing incident that exposed their personally identifiable information (PII), a California federal judge on March 14 granted final approval to the settlement, as well as to incentive and attorney fee awards (Everett Castillo, et al. v. Seagate Technology LLC, No. 3:16-cv-01958, N.D. Calif.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Common stockholders of a bankrupt insurance and reinsurance services company on March 2 moved for certification of their class and appointment of class representatives and counsel in a Delaware bankruptcy court lawsuit in which the company is accused of laying off employees without proper notice under the Workers’ Adjustment and Retraining Notice Act (WARN Act) (In re: Patriot National Inc., et al., Chapter 11, No. 18-10189, Michelle L. Cole, et al. v. Patriot National Inc., et al., Adv. Pro. No. 18-5, D. Del. Bkcy.).
SAN DIEGO — A trucking company accused of wage-and-hour and unfair competition violations under California law by a class of drivers properly removed the lawsuit to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), a California federal judge ruled March 8 (Eugene Sanders, et al. v. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., No. 17-2340, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38404).
JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi federal judge on March 1 declined to set aside sanctions awarded to the plaintiffs in a wage-and-hour collective suit in which the defendants, a corporation and its president, were found to be in contempt of court (Ashley Brooks, et al. v. Illusions, Inc., et al., No. 16-31, S.D. Miss., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33244).
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota federal judge on March 7 dismissed with prejudice a multidistrict litigation case accusing two supermarket chains of failing to protect customers’ personal identifying information (PII) after their payment-processing network system was breached by hackers, finding that the plaintiffs were unable to amend their complaint to allege standing and injury (In Re: SuperValu, Inc., No. 14-2586, D. Minn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36944).
SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco woman filed a class complaint in a California federal court on March 13 accusing a San Francisco fertility clinic and its parent company of “gross negligence” after one of the clinic’s tanks “lost liquid nitrogen for a brief period of time” and thousands of eggs and embryos were destroyed (S.M., et al. v. Pacific Fertility Center, et al., No. 18-1586, N.D. Calif.).
ATLANTA — A federal judge in Georgia on March 12 preliminarily approved a $4.75 million settlement to resolve a class action suit accusing SunTrust Banks Inc. of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 when managing the plan, finding that the agreement was the result of arms-length negotiations (In re: SunTrust Banks Inc., ERISA Litigation, No. 08-cv-03384-RWS, N.D. Ga.).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — LuLaRoe LLC on March 9 moved in California federal court to compel individual arbitration and dismiss or, in the alternative, stay a class action complaint filed by consultants who accuse the clothing multilevel marketer (MLM) of running an unlawful pyramid scheme (Stella Lemberg, et al. v. LuLaRoe, LLC, et al., No. 17-2102, C.D. Calif.).
SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on March 12 declined to issue a stay in a class suit accusing a home improvement products company of placing unwanted phone calls to cell phones using an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS), ruling that discovery may proceed despite a pending appeal challenging the Federal Communications Commission definition of an ATDS (Lucas Ambezewicz, et al. v. GDFriend, Inc., No. 17-2234, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40267).
CLEVELAND — University Hospitals Health Center Inc., University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center Inc. committed gross negligence when they failed to properly protect approximately 2,000 eggs and embryos stored at University Hospitals (UH) Fertility Center in Beachwood, Ohio, an Ohio couple alleges in a class complaint filed March 12 in the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas (Amber and Elliott Ash, et al. v. University Hospitals Health System, Inc., et al., No. CV18894343, Ohio Comm. Pleas, Cuyahoga Co.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on March 7 dismissed with prejudice a nationwide class and trimmed the claims in a complaint accusing a surveillance system manufacturer of selling defective systems (James Anderson, et al. v. Logitech, Inc., No. 17-6104, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36785).
PHOENIX — A plaintiff on March 9 moved to intervene in the Arizona attorney general’s consumer violation settlement with Theranos Inc., saying a state court should declare that the state settlement does not extinguish claims by a purported class of state citizens who say they were harmed by Theranos’ blood-testing services (In Re: Arizona Theranos, Inc., Litigation, No. 16-2138, D. Ariz., Arizona, et al. v. Theranos, Inc., No. CV2017-006644, Ariz. Super., Maricopa Co.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Plaintiffs in numerous class suits over genetically modified (GMO) corn seeds filed a motion on March 12 seeking preliminary approval of a $1.51 billion nonreversionary settlement to be paid by Syngenta AG to end all but four of the consolidated cases (In re Syngenta AG MIR162 Corn Litigation, No. 14-2591, D. Kan.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal judge on March 8 certified a class of drivers working as independent contractors for a ridesharing company, granted the drivers summary judgment on their claims that changes to fares by including a “Safe Rides Fee” breached the drivers’ contracts and stated that the fact that drivers’ fares remained unchanged was a “red herring” (Chuck Congdon, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 16-2499, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38473).