Judge Rakoff Calls Consumer “Consent” to Online Arbitration Agreements a Legal Fiction

Scales of Justice in courtroom

In a court ruling regarding alleged Uber price-fixing, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff states in no uncertain terms that when it comes to online arbitration agreements, consumer consent is nothing more than a “legal fiction.” [Read more…]

Court Grants Preliminary Approval to $14.7 Billion Settlement in VW Diesel Emissions Scandal

VW Diesel Emissions Scandal Settlement

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and numerous other outlets, U.S. District Judges Charles Breyer has granted preliminary approval to a $14.7 billion settlement in the Volkswagen diesel emissions case, where more than 500 federal lawsuits have been filed and consolidated into one complaint against the automaker for its “dirty diesel” vehicles. In late 2015, the German carmaker publicly admitted that it had rigged emissions production in the diesel engines of approximately 11 million vehicles worldwide. [Read more…]

Nicholas Diamand Elected Chair of AAJ Consumer Privacy/Data Breach Litigation Group

Nicholas Diamand Elected Chair of AAJ Consumer Privacy/Data Breach Litigation Group

At the American Association for Justice’s 2016 annual conference, Lieff Cabraser partner Nicholas Diamand was elected Chair of the AAJ’s Consumer Privacy/Data Breach Litigation Group. [Read more…]

Volkswagen Audi 2.0-Liter Emissions Settlement – Substantial Compensation to Owners and Lessees

Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-Liter Emissions Settlement

Class and government settlements create funding pool of up to $10.033 billion for affected consumers plus $4.7 billion for environmental impact to hold VW accountable for emissions conduct

San Francisco, CA — A class-wide settlement filed June 28, 2016 by the consumer plaintiffs in the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation will provide owners and lessees of Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles substantial compensation through buybacks and lease terminations, government-approved emissions modifications, and cash payments, while fixing or removing these polluting vehicles from the road. [Read more…]

Compensation for Volkswagen’s Diesel Emissions Victims

Compensation for Volkswagen's Diesel Emissions Victims

Working with plaintiffs’ counsel and lawyers for Volkswagen, the federal government has reached a $14.7 billion settlement in the Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal, deemed “one of the largest consumer class action payouts in American history” by the New York Times. Owners and lessees of VW and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles will be provided with substantial compensation through buybacks, lease terminations, government-approved emissions modifications, and cash payments. As noted by the Times, the settlement “should also act as a deterrent to future bad behavior by companies that deliberately violate rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment.” [Read more…]

Blue Shield of California May Be Shortchanging Consumers

Blue Shield of California May Be Shortchanging Consumers

California’s third largest healthcare plan, Blue Shield, is under scrutiny for allegedly shortchanging consumers by not adequately paying back policyholders for excessive administrative spending in 2014. About 3.4 million customers that participate in Blue Shield of California health plans, but these charges only pertain to the nearly 500,000 Californians who are on an individual plan, as opposed to one purchased through an employer. [Read more…]

Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-Liter Emissions Settlement Provides Substantial Compensation to Owners and Lessees, Removes Polluting Vehicles from Road, and Remediates Environmental Damage

VW Diesel Emission Vehicles

Class and government settlements create funding pool of up to $10.033 billion for affected consumers plus $4.7 billion for environmental impact to hold VW accountable for emissions conduct

San Francisco, CA — A class-wide settlement filed today by the consumer plaintiffs in the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation will provide owners and lessees of Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles substantial compensation through buybacks and lease terminations, government-approved emissions modifications, and cash payments, while fixing or removing these polluting vehicles from the road. [Read more…]

VW Emissions Settlement Proposal Receives June 28 Extension Due to “Highly Technical” Nature of Case

VW Emissions Settlement Proposal Receives Week Extension

U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer issued a June 15 order giving the plaintiffs’ steering committee, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission until June 28 at noon – a full week longer than the original deadline – to file for preliminary approval of a proposed emissions fraud case settlement agreement with Volkswagen. [Read more…]

Forced Arbitration Steals Consumers’ Rights

Forced Arbitration Steals Consumers’ Rights

Lieff Cabraser partner Mark P. Chalos has written an article for The Tennessean discussing the mandatory arbitration clauses hidden in an astonishing number of financial service and product contracts that ultimately deprive consumers of their basic constitutional rights to justice when something goes wrong. Chalos’ “Forced Arbitration Steals Consumers’ Rights” piece also signals a call to action for consumers to voice their opinions to federal and state legislators now, during open review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) newly proposed rules. [Read more…]

Spotlight on Spokeo: A Win for Consumers (Expert Analysis in Law360)

Nicholas Diamand and Andrew Kaufman on Spokeo

In an expert analysis article published by Law360 (subscription) entitled “Spotlight on Spokeo: A Win for Consumers,” Lieff Cabraser attorneys Nicholas Diamand and Andrew Kaufman provide a detailed review of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision with respect to Spokeo Inc. v. Robins, et al. The decision has been hailed as a win for the plaintiffs bar, reaffirming that individuals harmed by illegal conduct have the right to defend their privacy rights. [Read more…]

Public Comment Period on Proposed U.S. Agency Rules to Stop Corporate “Contract Gotchas” Begins

Public Comment Period on Proposed U.S. Agency Rules to Stop Corporate ‘Contract Gotchas’ Begins Today

In a move intended to level the playing field between the American public and corporations with regard to contract disputes on financial products, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed new rules this month that would limit corporations’ ability to force citizens away from the court system and into mandatory arbitration. Proposed new rules by U.S. agencies like the CFPB trigger a statutory 90-day public comment period, and for these new rules that period began on May 24, 2016. [Read more…]

Annika K. Martin and Mark Chalos Discuss Supreme Court Decision in Spokeo v. Robins

Annika K. Martin and Mark Chalos Discuss Supreme Court Decision in Spokeo v. Robins

The American Association of Justice (AAJ) presents an online webinar “Dissecting the U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins on May 26, 2016 from 1:00-2:30pm ET. Lieff Cabraser attorneys Annika K. Martin and Mark P. Chalos will be featured as invited faculty on this event. The webinar will focus on the case background, the recent Supreme Court ruling, and how this decision will affect future class action lawsuits. [Read more…]

Daily Journal Selects Daniel Hutchinson for 2016 Top 40 Under 40 List

Daily Journal Selects Daniel Hutchinson for 2016 Top 40 Under 40 List

Lieff Cabraser partner Daniel M. Hutchinson has been named to the Daily Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 list for 2016 [subscription]. Mr. Hutchinson is one of 40 outstanding lawyers in California under the age of 40 honored with this prestigious recognition. [Read more…]

CFPB Rule Proposes to Modify Mandatory Arbitration Clauses in Favor of Consumers

CFPB Rule Proposes to Modify Mandatory Arbitration Clauses in Favor of Consumers

The Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) has proposed a new rule that would modify mandatory arbitration clauses and, ultimately, restore consumers’ fundamental right to class action courtroom trials against financial institutions. In the new proposal, while financial institutions may still impose a requirement of having individual disputes handled by private arbitration, class action lawsuits are no longer forbidden. [Read more…]

Elizabeth Cabraser Comments on New CFPB Proposal Regarding Arbitration Clauses

Judge's Gavel

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed a potentially transformative new rule on Thursday regarding forced arbitration agreements that strip consumers of financial products of their basic constitutional rights. If approved, the proposed rule will bar financial institutions like banks and credit card companies from using forced arbitration clauses to prevent consumers from filing class action lawsuits. These clauses left consumers with no court options and locked them into unbalanced private arbitration to their widespread detriment. [Read more…]

New Rule from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Would Restore Consumers’ Rights to Collective Action Against a Predatory Financial Industry

Banks Get Boot from Forced Arbitration

If the new Rule is approved, banks will no longer be able to use forced arbitration clauses to ban consumers from joining together in class action lawsuits, seen as most effective consumer option in fighting illegal practices

After an extensive new study that conclusively proved how unfair and destructive fine print “forced arbitration” clauses have been for consumers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) has issued a new rule forbidding banks from forcing consumers into non-trial unbalanced arbitration hearings as their only recourse when a bank has cheated them. If approved, this landmark rule will be a huge gain for consumers, who have been suffering from bank schemes and illegal manipulations without any real means to fight back. [Read more…]

Agreement in Principle reached in Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Case

VW Diesel Emission Vehicles

San Francisco, Calif. – (April 21, 2016) – The MDL Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee leading the Volkswagen Emissions “Defeat Device” consumer class action is pleased to announce that they have reached an Agreement in Principle with Volkswagen regarding the claims of all 2.0 liter TDI owners and lessees. The agreement is an important first step in the effort to obtain full compensation for consumers and remediation of the environmental impact caused by excessive emissions.
[Read more…]

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of Wells Fargo Overdraft Fee Manipulation Case

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of Wells Fargo Overdraft Fee Manipulation Case

Over One Million bank customers to finally see payments from 2010 trial victory concerning overdraft fees

San Francisco, CA –April 4, 2016 — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined Wells Fargo’s request to review its 2010 loss at trial, where U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup entered a $203 million judgment against the bank for manipulating debit card purchases to maximize its overdraft fee revenue in violation of California state law. Instead of posting transactions in their naturally occurring, chronological order, Wells Fargo deducted the largest charges first, drawing down available balances more rapidly and triggering a higher volume of overdraft fees. [Read more…]

Volkswagen Given Another Month to Develop Proposal to Fix 600,000 Dirty Diesel U.S. Engines

Volkswagen Given Another Month to Develop Proposal to Fix 600,000 Dirty Diesel U.S. Engines

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer is giving German automaker Volkswagen an additional month to cultivate a proposal to fix its diesel vehicles that violate U.S. emissions standards. The car manufacturer failed to meet the judge’s initial deadline of March 24 to come up with a solution to fix the 600,000 U.S. diesel-powered VW, Audi, and Porsche vehicles still on the road.

[Read more…]