LOS ANGELES — The University of Southern California (USC) on Oct. 19 announced that it has reached an agreement in principle to settle claims by hundreds of current and former students who allege that they were sexually abused by the university’s former gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall (Jane Doe J.L., et al. v. University of Southern California, et al., No. 18-6115, C.D. Calif.).
SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on Oct. 16 granted a consumer’s request for class certification of a case, in which a consumer alleges that a restaurant violated California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other California laws by adding a surcharge to its bills, holding that a class action was the superior method for adjudicating the dispute (Kathleen Holt v. Noble House Hotels & Resorts Ltd., No. 17-cv-2246, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145566).
Recent class action lawsuits filed in federal courts across the country include complaints alleging misbranded chocolates, defective engines in Hondas, force-placed insurance policies, unwanted faxes and unlawful debt collection.
ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 3 rejected challenges filed by two objectors to a $6.3 million settlement to be paid by Godiva Chocolatier Inc. to end class claims that it printed more than five digits of customers’ credit and debit card numbers on receipts in violation of federal law (Dr. David S. Muransky, et al. v. Godiva Chocolatier, Inc., Nos. 16-16486 and 16-16783, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27980).
SAN FRANCISCO — Logitech Inc. filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 9 requesting that it be allowed to settle a false advertising class lawsuit with consumers (In re Logitech Inc. v. United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco, No. 18-72732, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A district court erred when it failed to treat $20 credits for class members in a settlement over a membership program enrollment and billing as coupons under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) when it came to calculating the attorney fee award, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 3, vacating an $8.7 million attorney fee award and remanding for recalculation (In re EasySaver Rewards Litigation, No. 16-56307, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28000).
PHOENIX — An Arizona federal judge on Oct. 9 granted a motion for extension and gave the parties in a class lawsuit over guest lists being voluntarily turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents by Motel 6 Operating L.P. and G6 Hospitality LLC, doing business as Motel 6, until Nov. 2 to move for preliminary approval of a class settlement (Jane V., et al. v. Motel 6 Operating L.P., et al., No. 18-242, D. Ariz.).
PHILADELPHIA — An employer’s decision to continue requiring new employees to sign arbitration agreements, agreements that would preclude them from becoming part of a class in a pending wage-and-hour complaint, does not constitute misleading or confusing behavior, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Oct. 4, denying a motion for sanctions (Nancy Gauzza, et al. v. Prospect Medical Holdings, Inc., et al., No. 17-3599, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172159).
CINCINNATI — Home Care Network Inc., an employer accused of failing to change how it paid its home health care workers after the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations changed on Jan. 1, 2015, will pay $113,224.67 to settle overtime class claims, according to a settlement agreement granted final approval by an Ohio federal judge on Oct. 3 (Rhonda Dillow v. Home Care Network, Inc., et al., No. 16-612, S.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170579).
DETROIT — A former employee filed a class action suit in Michigan federal district court on Oct. 15 against franchisor Domino’s Pizza Franchising LLC and other related entities, alleging that an employee no-poach and no-hiring agreement with franchisees violated the Sherman Act, causing job-related harm to employees (Harley Blanton, et al. v. Domino’s Pizza Franchising LLC, et al., No. 2:18-cv-13207, E.D. Mich.).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on Oct. 16 granted final approval of a class settlement in a lawsuit over box sets of James Bond movies touted as complete even though they were actually missing two movies, but nearly halved the requested attorney fees, which would have constituted more than 93 percent of the recovery (Mary L. Johnson, et al. v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., et al., No. 17-541, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177824).
TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Oct. 16 granted a motion to remand a class action lawsuit accusing a real estate broker and an individual in the senior housing industry of engaging in a scheme to market and sell 22 Florida nursing facilities they knew were operating without valid licenses; however, the judge also issued an order on the same day granting a motion to stay remand for either 70 days or the completion of any appellate remedy (The Estate of Shirley T. Cox, et al. v. Marcus & Millichap, Incorporated, et al., No. 18-381, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177224).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A purchaser who alleges that he relied on false statements about heart-health when purchasing a supplement on Oct. 12 waived his right to respond to a vitamin maker’s petition for a writ of certiorari, seeking review of an appeals court ruling that reversed denial of class certification of the purchaser’s claims for violations of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) (Pharmavite LLC v. Noah Bradach, No. 18-449, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 3694).
SAVANNAH, Ga. — A Georgia federal judge on Oct. 12 granted a motion to remand a class complaint by students and potential students over the closure of a Georgia law school, finding that any question about diversity of citizenship is solved by the class definition limiting it to residents of Georgia (Caitlyn Cliff, et al. v. Savannah Law School, LLC, et al., No. 18-104, S.D. Ga., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176074).
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A Montana federal judge agreed with a magistrate judge on Oct. 15 and remanded to state court asbestos liability class claims against a railway that had been stayed by the bankruptcy case of W.R. Grace & Co. pursuant to the local controversy exception to federal jurisdiction (Korey L. Aarstad, et al. v. BNSF Railway Company, et al., No. 4:17-cv-72, D. Mont., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176843).
HOUSTON — A federal judge in Texas should approve a more than $146 million settlement in a securities class action lawsuit against an energy company, certain of its officers and directors and others because it has met statutory and Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals standards for approval, lead plaintiffs argue in an Oct. 12 motion for preliminary approval of settlement filed in Texas federal court (In re Cobalt International Energy Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 14-3428, S.D. Texas).
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — While the Prison Litigation Reform Act bars a court from ordering an Indiana county to build a new jail or cap the capacity at the existing jail, an Indiana federal judge on Oct. 10 granted a motion for partial summary judgment by a class of current and former inmates suing over overcrowding and poor conditions and ordered that ongoing constitutional violations at the existing jail be remedied “as quickly as possible” (Jauston Huerta, et al. v. Greg Ewing, et al., No. 16-397, S.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174120).
SEATTLE — Current and former loan officers may proceed with collective and class claims for all but one proposed subclass, a Washington federal judge ruled Oct. 10, finding that class certification requirements were met for three of four proposed subclasses in a complaint alleging that they were denied pay for off-the-clock work (Kelly Bolding, et al. v. Banner Bank, No. 17-601, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174510).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Monsanto Co. and the cancer victim who won $289,254,882.32 in damages against it related to exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, on Oct. 12 filed proposed orders in California state court arguing their respective positions regarding whether the judge in the case should order a new trial (DeWayne Johnson v. Monsanto Company, No. CGC 16550128, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois college’s decision to no longer hire retired state employees who were collecting annuities based on a change in law that imposed a penalty on covered employers did not constitute age discrimination or retaliation because the reason for the decision was one not based on age, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 11 (Barry Dayton v. Oakton Community College, et al., No. 18-1668, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28674).