Wells Fargo Dealer Services Abusive Phone & Text Messaging Settlement Announced

Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Burke Law Offices, LLC Announce Proposed Settlement of Wells Fargo Dealer Services TCPA Litigation

A proposed settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against Wells Fargo Dealer Services, Inc., a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (“Wells Fargo”). The lawsuit alleges Wells Fargo violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) by using an automatic telephone dialing system and/or an artificial or prerecorded voice to initiate calls or text messages to cell phones (“Automatic Calls”) in connection with automobile retail installment sale contracts without prior express consent. Wells Fargo denies the allegations, and the Court has not decided who is right. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. [Read more…]

Reader’s Digest Publisher Sold Michigan Subscribers’ Personal Info, Pays $8.2 Million to Settle Privacy Law Violations

Published materials books magazines digital publications

Trusted Media Brands, the publisher of Reader’s Digest, Country, Simple & Delicious and Taste of Home magazines, will pay $8.2 million in the settlement of a proposed class action that accused the company of selling the personal information of its subscribers. As reported by Law360 (subscription), this is “the largest-ever deal in a case alleging violations of Michigan’s privacy laws.” [Read more…]

Senators Accuse AT&T of Using Forced Arbitration to Overcharge Customers

AT&T Allegedly Using Forced Arbitration to Overcharge Customers

Five U.S. senators claim major telecommunications company AT&T is utilizing forced arbitration clauses in order to sidestep its customers’ efforts to get justice for claims of rampant overcharging. The Dallas-based company allegedly charges consumers for AT&T services at rates significantly higher than those originally offered in a wide range of advertised promotions, then forces customers seeking redress into unfavorable mandatory arbitration. [Read more…]

Judge Hits Dish Network with Unprecedented $280 Million in Penalties Over Violations of Do-Not-Call Laws

Judge Hits Dish Network with Unprecedented $280 Million in Penalties Over Violations of Do-Not-Call Laws

An Illinois federal judge has awarded $280 million to the federal government and the states of California, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio as part of its efforts to permanently block Dish Network LLC and its telemarketing vendors from violating the National “Do-Not-Call” Registry laws. The major satellite service provider allegedly invaded consumers’ privacy by making vast numbers of illegal telemarketing calls without making any efforts to shield recipients who had signed up for the national Do Not Call registry. [Read more…]

New Jersey Added to Growing List of States Considering “Right to Repair” Legislation

New Jersey Added to Growing List of States Considering “Right to Repair” Legislation

As reported by Motherboard, New Jersey assemblyman Paul Moriarty recently introduced a new bill known as the “Fair Repair Act,” passage of which would require electronics manufacturers who sell their products in New Jersey to sell gadget replacement parts to the general public, as well as to independent repair companies. New Jersey is the twelfth state to consider such legislation, which would work to end the stranglehold many tech manufacturing companies have on user repair efforts, requiring the purchasers of modern devices to come directly to the tech giants for repairs. [Read more…]

Elizabeth Cabraser on the VW Diesel Settlements: A Road to Justice for Consumers & the Environment

Elizabeth Cabraser, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein

As a result of Volkswagen’s conduct in installing “cheat devices” in its 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter diesel engines to evade emissions standards, consumers “became unwitting accomplices in one of the biggest auto-related scandals in U.S. history, driving vehicles that were emitting as much as 40 times the permitted levels of nitrogen oxides into the earth’s atmosphere.” In an op-ed piece published today by The Recorder, Elizabeth Cabraser anatomizes the VW case and its attendant historic settlements, unprecedented for their scope and complexity, combining consumer compensation, environmental relief, fines and penalties, coordinated by the Department of Justice, EPA, California Air Resources Board and California Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission and class plaintiffs. [Read more…]

AT&T Facing Thousands of Consumer Complaints About Bait-and-Switch Overcharging

AT&T Facing Thousands of Consumer Complaints About Bait-and-Switch Overcharging for Services

A CBS News investigation has revealed over 4,200 customer complaints that have been filed with the federal government against AT&T and DirecTV relating to false deals, rescinded promotions, and overcharging in the past two years alone. An excellent video report by correspondent Anna Werner lays out the story and describes how the company reportedly overcharges consumers, in part by first offering drastic discounts that disappear once monthly bills start showing up. [Read more…]

Number of Unauthorized Wells Fargo Bank Accounts Significantly Larger Than Initially Reported

Unauthorized Wells Fargo Bank Accounts Significantly Larger Than Initially Reported

Court documents included as part of an imminent class action settlement with Wells Fargo Bank indicate that the banking giant created 1.4 million more phony bank and credit card accounts than it had previously reported. As Law360 notes, “The San Francisco-based bank and a class of account holders estimate that between 2002 and 2017 Wells Fargo employees allegedly opened approximately 3.5 million unauthorized accounts, replacing the previous 2.1 million estimate.”
[Read more…]

City of Philadelphia Files Lawsuit Against Wells Fargo for Discriminatory Lending

High-cost mortgage loans

Lawsuit Alleges the Bank Targeted Minority Borrowers with High-Cost Loans

The City of Philadelphia has filed a federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania claiming that Wells Fargo has engaged in discriminatory lending practices that target minority borrowers. The Complaint alleges that commencing in 2004 and continuing through the present, Wells Fargo violated the federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) by steering African-American and Latino borrowers towards high-cost or high-risk loans even where those borrowers’ credit permitted them to obtain more advantageous loans. [Read more…]

Statement on Court Granting Final Approval of Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche 3.0-Liter Emissions and Bosch Settlements

VW Diesel Emissions Case Settlement

San Francisco, CA (May 11, 2017) – Elizabeth Cabraser, lead counsel for the consumer plaintiffs in the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, released the following statement regarding the Court granting final approval of the Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche 3.0-Liter Emissions Settlement and the related Bosch settlement. The final approval hearing was held today in the Northern District of California as part of the multidistrict litigation currently being overseen by Judge Charles M. Breyer. Judge Breyer informed the parties that orders would be entered no later than May 17, 2017. [Read more…]

FCC Creates Task Force to Block Unwanted Robocalls

FCC Creates Task Force to Block Unwanted Robocalls

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to move forward in its crackdown on unwanted and intrusive robocalls. Consumers find these automated “robocalls” and text messages to be inherently offensive and harassing, particularly when they are made on a repeat basis, often outside of normal business hours. [Read more…]

Court Grants Final Approval to Volkswagen Emissions 3.0-Liter Vehicle Settlement

Volkswagen Diesel Emissions

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer has granted final approval to a settlement over emissions fraud on Volkswagen’s 3.0-liter engine vehicles in the U.S. with a value of at least $1.2 billion. The settlement covers approximately 82,500 cars and suvs with the larger capacity engines, and follows the previous $14.7 billion settlement for drivers of 2.0-liter engines. The new settlement brings the total measure of VW’s civil payments over the emissions scandal to about $17.4 billion. U.S. Justice Department attorney Joshua Van Eaton noted in court that the result “sends a message to Volkswagen and to others who would consider gaming the system that it does not pay to cheat.” [Read more…]

Supreme Court Clears Way for Cities to Sue Major Banks Over Discriminatory Lending Practices

predatory bank lending

On Monday May 1, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that cities have standing to sue major banks over the kinds of discriminatory lending practices that caused significant harm to low-income neighborhoods through and after the foreclosure crisis and the 2008 recession. Until now, the banks claimed that while forbidding racial discrimination, the Fair Housing Act protected only individuals who suffered discrimination, not entire cities. [Read more…]

Mark Chalos in The Tennessean on United Airlines as the Iceberg’s Tip of Bad Corporate Behavior

Mark Chalos in The Tennessean on United Airlines as the Iceberg's Tip of Bad Corporate Behavior

Lieff Cabraser Nashville office Managing Partner Mark Chalos is no fan of unleashed corporations. As an opinion piece in The Tennessean makes clear, Chalos sees incidents like United Airlines’ recent behavior with respect to a physician manhandled off a flight to make room for an airline employee as emblematic of a system where critical regulation has been steadily eroded, of years of corporate efforts to “eliminate the mechanisms that hold them accountable for their bad behavior.” [Read more…]

Class Counsel Announce Proposed Settlement of Wells Fargo Student Loan TCPA Litigation

TCPA Settlement Announced Against Wells Fargo

A proposed settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (“Wells Fargo”). The lawsuit alleges Wells Fargo violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) by using an automatic telephone dialing system and/or an artificial or prerecorded voice to initiate calls to cell phones (“Automatic Calls”) in connection with student loans, without prior express consent. Wells Fargo denies the allegations, and the Court has not decided who is right. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. [Read more…]

United Airlines Involuntary Passenger Removal Incident Sparks Further Controversy On Flight Overbooking

Air Travel Complaints

The past weekend’s incident on a United Airlines flight where a passenger was forcibly removed by security from an aircraft after refusing to give up his seat to a United employee has shed increased light on the all-too-common practice of airlines bumping passengers off planes when flight are overbooked. The practice is an ongoing problem as so many flights are routinely overbooked. A viral video of the United passenger being violently being dragged off the flight has sparked outrage, concern, and a social media uproar towards the airline and its policies and passenger dealings. [Read more…]

Trump Administration Guts US Internet Consumer Privacy Rules Even as Illegal Harvesting of Children’s Data By Game and App Studios Continues

Help stop illegal child data collection

Even as the Trump administration eliminated significant privacy protections enacted by the FCC under Obama to expose the browsing information of hundreds of millions of Americans, the broadband industry and its Washington insider allies have leapt in to trumpet what a great thing it is to let Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T, et al. monitor and sell info about our every step online. This includes the now-permissible passive tracking of adult activity across apps and devices that is still illegal when applied to kid’s data under special separate laws enacted to protect children. [Read more…]

Elizabeth Cabraser Doing a Q&A Live on Jalopnik Auto News Website Wednesday March 22, 2017

Elizabeth Cabraser, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein

Auto news and culture website Jalopnik will be hosting a live Q&A with Lieff Cabraser founding partner Elizabeth Cabraser at 8 a.m. Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern time) on the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” emissions fraud settlement on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. As Lead Counsel and Chair of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the litigation, Elizabeth spearheaded the development of the 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter Volkswagen Dieselgate settlements, which provide substantial compensation for owners of affected VW diesels as well as significant environmental mitigation plans. [Read more…]

New Videos Explain Benefits Available to VW, Audi, and Porsche Owners and Lessees Under the 3.0-Liter Volkswagen TDI Emissions Fraud Settlement

New VW Videos

Two new videos have been released providing in-depth information on the benefits available to class member owners and lessees of Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche vehicles with 3.0-liter engines affected by the diesel emissions fraud. One video relates to “Generation One” vehicles, Volkswagen Touareg (models years 2009-2012) and Audi Q7 (model years 2009-2012), and a second video relates to Generation Two vehicles, VW Touareg (model years 2013-2016), Audi Q7 (model years 2013-2015), Audi A6, A7, A8, A8L, and Q5 (model years 2014-2016), and Porsche Cayenne (model years 2013-2016). [Read more…]

VW Pleads Guilty in Diesel Emissions Scandal

VW Pleads Guilty in Diesel Emissions Scandal

German automaker Volkswagen pleaded guilty in federal court in Detroit to criminal felony charges relating to its diesel emissions deception. The company was “charged with fraud, obstruction of justice and making false statements about vehicles it imported into the United States, using software designed to cheat on emissions tests during lab testing that helped deceive environmental regulators,” as reported by the New York Times. [Read more…]