Fitbit Slammed for Arbitration “Gamesmanship” by Federal Judge

Fitbit Slammed for Arbitration “Gamesmanship” by Federal Judge

Court finds bad faith by Fitbit and its counsel in class action over allegedly malfunctioning heart rate monitors; notes Fitbit’s conduct bolsters the perception that “arbitration is where consumer lawsuits go to die”

A San Francisco federal judge has ruled that Fitbit Inc. and its lawyers acted in bad faith reflecting an “absolutely unacceptable level of gamemanship” in machinations over arbitration and arbitration fees after a plaintiff declined a settlement offer over allegations of defects in its heart rate monitors. As reported by Law360 (subscription), the judge sanctioned Fitbit for acting in bad faith, saying it owes attorneys’ fees “after getting a proposed consumer class action removed to arbitration only to reveal they had no intention of arbitrating the claims.” [Read more…]

Fitbit Gets Extreme Exercise Backpedaling on Its Own Statements on “Irrationality” of Consumer Arbitration

Fitbit Gets Extreme Exercise Backpedaling on Its Own Statements on ‘Irrationality’ of Consumer Arbitration

After effectively undermining its own case by forcing disgruntled consumers into arbitration it then tried to escape because such proceedings would be “irrational,” digital fitness tracker manufacturer Fitbit found itself having to do some serious explaining in federal court last month. As reported by Reuters, at a May 2018 hearing before U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco, Fitbit’s lawyers stated that “no rational party would pay hundreds of dollars in fees to initiate arbitration over a $162 fitness tracker.” They made this claim after a plaintiff rejected the fitness product company’s settlement offer of more than $2,800 to drop the arbitration case, Fitbit decided that the customer’s American Arbitration Association proceeding was therefore officially “concluded.” [Read more…]

Federal Court Denies Fitbit’s Motion to Dismiss Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Gross Inaccuracies and Recording Failures in PurePulse™ Heart Rate Monitors

Federal Court Denies Fitbit's Motion to Dismiss Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Gross Inaccuracies and Recording Failures in PurePulse™ Heart Rate Monitors

San Francisco, CA—On June 5, 2018, Judge James Donato of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order denying Fitbit’s motion to dismiss the class action lawsuit alleging that its PurePulse™-equipped devices are grossly inaccurate and frequently fail to record any heart rate at all. The lawsuit brings claims for false advertising, unfair competition, common-law fraud, fraud in the inducement, unjust enrichment, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranties under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and under the consumer protection statutes of California and Arizona. While the court removed plaintiff’s unjust enrichment claim, the motion to dismiss was otherwise entirely denied, subject to plaintiff’s agreement to amend the complaint to include product packaging statements and further allegations of reliance. [Read more…]

Consumers Reach Deal in Exploding Samsung Top-Loading Washers Case

Consumers Reach Deal in Exploding Samsung Top-Loading Washers Case

Consumers have reached a settlement in the multidistrict litigation against Samsung and retailers over exploding top-loading washing machines, which consumers report can vibrate and blow themselves apart. Some owners of affected machines may receive a new Samsung or other brand washing machine, rebates, or a “free in-home repair to reinforce their washers’ top.” [Read more…]

Court Says Fitbit Gameplaying Around Arbitration Efforts Could Lead to Contempt

Court Says Fitbit Gameplaying Around Arbitration Efforts Could Lead to Contempt

Fitbit may be facing civil contempt charges for what U.S. District Judge James Donato says is “gamesmanship” after the company leveraged an arbitration agreement to shrink the class action lawsuit over alleged deficiencies in its heart rate monitors then quit the arbitration when the plaintiff didn’t like its settlement offer (hearing transcript). As reported by Law360, Judge Donato had directed Fitbit and the arbitrator to determine whether 12 plaintiffs’ claims about the Fitbit devices, which consistently mis-record heart rates, particularly during the vigorous exercise for which many consumers purchase the devices, should be heard in open and fair court or just in closed arbitration. [Read more…]

New California Federal Court Decision Denies Mercedes’ and Daimler’s Attempts to Dismiss Moldy Vehicle Air Conditioning Lawsuit

Mold in vehicle air conditioning

On April 16, 2018, Judge Terry J. Hatter, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued an Order rejecting defendants Mercedes-Benz USA and Daimler AG’s motions to strike and dismiss plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint in the litigation over allegations of defective, mold-harboring climate control systems in numerous Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The defendants had moved to strike the claim for damages under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and to dismiss the common law implied warranty claims and all of the express warranty claims, along with all amendments to the original filed complaint. [Read more…]

Annika K. Martin Named Co-Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs in GM Air Conditioning Defects Litigation

Annika K. Martin Named Co-Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs in GM Air Conditioning Defects Litigation

On April 11, 2018, Judge Matthew F. Leitman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan issued an order appointing Lieff Cabraser partner Annika K. Martin as Co-Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs in the consumer fraud class action lawsuit against General Motors Company in federal court on behalf of all persons who purchased or leased certain GM vehicles equipped with an allegedly defective air condition system. [Read more…]

Judge in Mercedes-Benz Moldy Air Conditioning Case Validates Plaintiffs’ Claims that Mercedes Cheated Customers

Vehicle Air Conditioning Mold Defects

Decision Rejects Mercedes’ Attempt to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Claims that Mercedes Knowingly Sold Them Cars With Defective, Mold-Harboring HVAC Systems

On March 13, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg of the Northern District of Georgia issued an order denying most of Mercedes’s arguments attempting to dismiss Plaintiffs’ putative class action against Mercedes over allegations of mold in Mercedes vehicle AC. At the same time, the Court confirmed the validity of plaintiffs’ claims that Mercedes-Benz misled its customers by selling them expensive cars Mercedes knew to have defective, mold-harboring climate control systems. “Plaintiffs just want Mercedes to do right by its customers,” noted Lieff Cabraser’s Annika K. Martin, who represents the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit. “The Court’s opinion today is another positive step towards holding Mercedes accountable for cheating its customers.” [Read more…]

Lieff Cabraser Announces That New University Study Finds Fitbit Charge 2 Can Underestimate Heart Rates by As Much As 30 BPM (UPDATED)

Lieff Cabraser Announces That New University Study Finds Fitbit Charge 2 Can Underestimate Heart Rates by As Much As 30 BPM

New Independent Study Confirms That Fitbit’s Heart Rate Monitors Are Highly Inaccurate

SAN FRANCISCO−A team of researchers from the University of Leeds (UK) and TSW xp LAB in Italy have published a new peer-reviewed study on the Fitbit Charge 2 fitness tracker that confirms findings in previous studies that the “PurePulse™” technology used in Fitbit’s popular fitness trackers can be extremely inaccurate during moderate and high-intensity exercise. [Read more…]

Lieff Cabraser Files Consumer Protection Lawsuit Against General Motors in Federal Court in Tennessee Alleging Air Conditioning Systems in Certain GM Vehicles Are Defective

Lieff Cabraser Announces Filing of Vehicle Air Conditioning Product Defect & Fraud Lawsuit Against GM in Federal Court in TN

Lieff Cabraser and Bruno Newsom filed a consumer fraud class action lawsuit against General Motors Company in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee today on behalf of all persons who purchased or leased in Tennessee certain GM vehicles equipped with an allegedly defective air conditioning system. The lawsuit claims the vehicles in question have a serious defect that causes the air conditioning systems to crack and leak refrigerant, lose pressure, and fail to function properly to provide cooled air into the vehicles. These failures lead owners and lessees to incur significant costs for repair, often successive repairs as the repaired parts prove defective as well.
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