PITTSBURGH — A fast food chain has agreed to pay $50 million to settle financial institutions’ class claims against its franchisees in connection with a data breach first reported in 2016, according to a motion for preliminary settlement approval filed Feb. 13 in a Pennsylvania federal court (First Choice Federal Credit Union, et al. v. The Wendy’s Company, et al., No. 16-506, W.D. Pa.).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A putative class on Feb. 13 sued Monsanto Co. in Missouri federal court seeking compensation for money spent on the herbicide Roundup, which the class contends Monsanto falsely advertised as safe for humans when the company knew that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, targets an enzyme used by beneficial gut bacteria that is “critical” to human health (Lisa Jones, et al. v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 19-102, W.D. Mo).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal district court did not abuse its discretion in ruling that a pharmaceutical company and certain of its senior executives failed to rebut the presumption of reliance in attempting to show that their alleged misrepresentations pertaining to the likelihood of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the company’s adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD) drug had no price impact on the drug maker’s stock, lead plaintiffs argue in a Jan. 16 appellee brief filed in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Aeterna Zentaris Inc., et al. v. Gregory Vizirgianakis, et al., No. 18-2474, 3rd Cir.).
Recent class action lawsuits filed in federal and state courts across the country include complaints alleging trespass by Apple Inc., fraudulent throat drop labeling, employee background checks without proper authorization and improperly withheld tips.
SAN DIEGO — Ruling on several disputes concerning class notice in a lawsuit accusing a juice maker of misleading consumers with its labels, a California federal judge on Feb. 5 ruled that class notice on the company’s website would be appropriate, but not on its social media pages (Crystal Hilsley, et al. v. Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., et al., No. 17-2335, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18477).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Feb. 12 declined to dismiss federal class claims against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey alleging that it records medical exams of employees without their consent (Charlese Talarico, et al. v. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, No. 18-909, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22766).
LOS ANGELES — Plaintiffs who allege in five consolidated cases that they were sexually abused by former University of Southern California (USC) gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall filed a motion on Feb. 12 seeking preliminary approval of a $215 million class action settlement (In re: USC Student Health Center Litigation, No. 18-4258, C.D. Calif.).
RICHMOND, Va. — Plaintiffs leading a proposed class action suit accusing a North Carolina nursing home of breaching the terms of resident contracts by failing to provide sufficient care tell the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Jan. 30 response brief that a federal judge’s ruling remanding the suit should be affirmed because he did not err when finding that nonsignatory defendants are alter egos of one another that can be bound to a forum-selection clause in the contracts (Joseph J. Pfohl, et al. v. Saber Healthcare LLC, et al., No. 18-2335, 4th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 12 agreed to approve a supplemental distribution of leftover settlement funds to class members who filed claims in a lawsuit accusing Ascena Retail Group Inc. and Tween Brands Inc. (doing business collectively as “Justice Stores”) of deceptive marketing once a specific accounting of what remains is provided (Carol Rougvie, et al. v. Ascena Retail Group, Inc., et al., No. 15-724, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22386).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Yale University and its fraternities turn a blind eye to an “ongoing epidemic of sexual harassment and assault” at all-male fraternities while at the same time denying female and nonbinary students the social and economic opportunities fraternities provide to male students, three students allege in a class complaint filed Feb. 12 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut (Anna McNeil, et al. v. Yale University, et al., No. 19-209, D. Conn.).
OMAHA, Neb. — A Nebraska federal judge on Feb. 5 certified a class of railroad workers suing over changes to their employer’s fitness-for-duty (FFD) program and ruled that a hybrid trial plan would be the best way to proceed (Quinton Harris, et al. v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, No. 16-381, D. Neb., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17917).
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — An Arkansas federal judge on Jan. 31 certified a class of residents in a drug rehabilitation program seeking wages for work they were required to perform in exchange for a spot in the program, room and board, clothing and other necessities (Mark Fochtman, et al. v. DARP, Inc., et al., No. 18-5047, W.D. Ark., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16816).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb.12 declined to remand a class complaint accusing a cable television provider of misrepresenting to customers that they must lease multiple set-top boxes to access the service on multiple televisions, ruling that the requirements for invoking the local controversy exception have not been met (Christopher Kelly, et al. v. Verizon Pennsylvania, LLC, et al., No. 16-5672, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22382).
SEATTLE — A Washington hospital’s participation in litigation by a proposed class of nurses alleging that they were denied breaks was a waiver of its right to invoke arbitration, a Washington appellate panel ruled Feb. 11 (Jeoung Lee, et al. v. Evergreen Hospital Medical Center, No. 77894-1-I, Wash. App., Div. 1, 2019 Wash. App. LEXIS 341).
SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court on Jan. 30 denied a petition filed by two condominium owners claiming that their homes were damaged as a result of defective valves and caps made by Kohler Co. that sought review of an appeal’s court’s ruling that the Right to Repair Act does not allow the plaintiffs to pursue class action claims against the manufacturer because the product was made offsite before being installed in the homes (Kohler Co. v. Superior Court, No. S253173, Calif. Sup., 2019 Cal. LEXIS 711).
CAMDEN, N.J. — A securities class action alleging misrepresentation in underwriting and risk management techniques and a reinsurance portfolio’s risks, was filed Feb. 11 in a New Jersey federal court against a reinsurance company and former executive officers by a plaintiff seeking to represent purchasers of the reinsurer’s common stock and seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Michael Wigglesworth v. Maiden Holdings Ltd., et al., No. 19-05296, D. N.J.).
NEWARK, N.J. — A complaint alleging that a class of truck drivers was misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees and seeking to recover wages for those workers belongs in state court, not federal court, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Feb. 11, adopting a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation (Pedro Roberts, et al. v. Tribeca Automotive, et al., No. 18-8330, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21208).
CHICAGO — Citing problems with the manageability of individual issues and the plaintiff’s adequacy, an Illinois federal judge on Feb. 8 denied a motion for class certification filed by an Illinois man in a lawsuit accusing a vacation marketing company of sending unwanted text messages to thousands of individuals (Richard Gordon, et al. v. Caribbean Cruise Line, Inc., No. 14-5848, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 20604).
MUSCATINE, Iowa — An Iowa state judge on Feb. 5 granted final approval to a settlement estimated to be worth at least $51.5 million that will end a class complaint over smoke, odor and haze emitted by a corn wet-milling plant in Muscatine (Laurie Freeman, et al. v. Grain Processing Corporation, No. LACV021232, Iowa Dist., Muscatine Co.).
FRESNO, Calif. — An insured on Feb. 8 filed a notice to dismiss with prejudice his putative class lawsuit against his life insurer a little more than two weeks after a California federal judge granted the insurer's motion to dismiss his claims for unfair business practices and financial elder abuse (Gerald B. Rhinehart v. Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company, No. 18-01391, E.D. Calif.).