Consumer Protection

Theranos Walgreens Blood Test Consumer Fraud

Theranos blood kit consumer fraud

Issue: Consumer Fraud

Case Update

In October 2016, U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland consolidated four proposed class action consumer fraud lawsuits against Theranos in Arizona federal court and appointed Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP as interim co-lead counsel in the coordinated litigation.

Nature of the Theranos Consumer Fraud Case

Lieff Cabraser represents consumers across the United States in a class action fraud lawsuit against Theranos, Inc. and Walgreens regarding alleged misrepresentations the companies made about the accuracy of Theranos’ “Edison” blood tests and related unfair practices.

First offered to consumers in 2013, Theranos and Walgreens advertised the Edison blood tests as being revolutionary—allowing a wide range of vital tests to be accurately performed using a smaller needle and a smaller blood sample size than traditional blood testing devices. According to reports, more than 1 million consumers paid to have their blood tested by Theranos, submitting their blood samples at Theranos facilities and at dedicated Theranos stations set up at Walgreens pharmacy locations in Arizona and California.

In May 2016, after media reports called into question the accuracy of the Edison tests and after federal regulators began investigating Theranos’ testing facilities, Theranos voided all test results for blood tests performed at its Edison facility in 2014 and 2015, and revised the test results for thousands of other blood tests it had conducted. As alleged in the lawsuit, not only did consumers who paid for these blood tests not get what they paid for, but many consumers relied on what turned out to be inaccurate and unreliable test results in obtaining medical treatment that was unnecessary or in not pursuing treatment that was necessary.

The lawsuit seeks damages, including reimbursement of the amounts paid by consumers for the voided tests, as well as an injunction to prevent Theranos and Walgreens from engaging in further misrepresentations and unfair conduct.

Contact National Consumer Protection Attorneys

If you have purchased a Theranos blood test, either directly from Theranos or at a Walgreens pharmacy location, our consumer fraud attorneys would welcome a chance to speak with you about your experience. In addition to your possible recovery for the fraud, information about your experience will help us hold these companies accountable and prevent further deception. The information you provide will be held in the strictest confidence, and there is no fee or obligation for our review of your case.


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Fraudulent Tax Filings

Fraudulent tax filings

Issue: Fraudulent Tax Filings

Lieff Cabraser has heard from people across the country who have received the shocking news that criminals have filed fraudulent tax returns using their name and identity. Invariably, legitimate tax-paying citizens endure extraordinary inconvenience and stress, incur significant costs to fix this problem, and delays in tax refunds, all of which can persist for years. Lieff Cabraser is dedicated to investigating the potential claims of these victims of tax fraud.

Taxpayers can learn that they were victims of tax fraud in one or more ways. Some taxpayers try to file their tax returns, only to learn from the I.R.S. or their state taxing authority that a tax return had previously been filed for that year under their name or social security number. Others may try filing tax returns using a tax preparation service — like Turbotax or H&R Block — only to be told by the service that someone has already used that very same service to file a return using their identity. Some taxpayers may unexpectedly receive a bill from these tax preparation companies, even though they never used their services, and find out that it’s a bill for the fraudulent tax return. Indeed, most often, victims report learning that the fraudulent returns themselves had been electronically filed through tax preparation services, like Turbo tax or H&R Block.

Fraudulent tax filings cause victims to incur significant expenses and spend hours dealing with the IRS, state tax authorities, their accountants, and others. In many cases as a result of the fraudulent tax filings, victims become ineligible to e-file tax returns, but must instead manually file their returns, for years to come.

Multiple lawsuits were filed in 2015 against one tax preparation company, Intuit, Inc., regarding fraudulent tax returns filed with Turbotax. Those lawsuits allege, among other things, that Intuit maintained inadequate security protocols that enabled fraudsters to open false accounts and file fraudulent tax returns in other peoples’ names through Turbotax. These cases seek monetary relief for the victims, and to force Intuit to make necessary improvements to its security to prevent the fraud going forward. More information about these cases is available here.

As the 2016 tax filing season (for tax year 2015) has gotten underway, Lieff Cabraser continues to receive reports of fraudulent tax filings, including fraudulent filings occurring through electronic tax preparation services.

Contact us

If you have had a fraudulent tax return filed in your name, we are interested in hearing about your experience. Please use the form below or you may call us toll-free at 1 800 541-7358 and ask to talk to a Lieff Cabraser consumer protection attorney. We will review your claim without charge or any obligation on your part.


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Workers Comp Premium Fraud

employees

Allegation: Reporting failures, inflated premiums

Workers’ Compensation Premiums Fraud

Lieff Cabraser represents businesses in a class action lawsuit against one of the nation’s largest insurance companies for its widespread reporting failures which have caused many businesses to pay artificially inflated workers compensation premiums.

When Insurance Companies Fail To Report Reimbursements On Claims Paid The Premiums Businesses Must Pay For Workers Compensation Increases

The complaint charges that the insurance company regularly failed to account for monies it recovered from third-parties. These monies were reimbursements from third parties at least partially responsible for an injury in the workplace.

State regulations require that the reimbursements be reported. The reimbursements are taken into account when insurers calculate businesses’ workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

Accounting for these third-party payments has the effect of reducing the premiums businesses must pay. Doing the opposite, not crediting the employer for these payments, inflates the business’s premiums, hurting businesses and unjustly enriching the insurance companies.

How Insurance Companies Manipulate Workers Compensation Rates

As an example, if an employee of Company X was injured at a roadside construction site due to a passing driver’s reckless driving, the Company X’s workers compensation insurance carrier will make a payment for the injuries the worker suffered. The workers’ compensation premiums for Company X will then increase due to the accident.

The insurance carrier, however, can pursue a claim against the reckless driver to recover some or all of the money it paid to the worker for the injury. This is called a subrogation claim. Any amount that the insurance carrier receives on the subrogation claim must be reported, and when reported will have the effect of reducing the workers’ compensation premiums for Company X (just as the accident raised their premiums).

Again, when the insurance company fails to account for monies it receives from third parties, the employer’s workers’ compensation premium is artificially inflated. We believe this alleged fraudulent scheme extends across the insurance industry and businesses nationwide have suffered losses.

Contact Lieff Cabraser

Employers whose workers compensation premiums have been increased purportedly due to workplace accidents are welcome to use the form below to contact Lieff Cabraser by email or call attorney Roger Heller at 1 800-541-7358 for a free, confidential, and no obligation review of the how your insurance premium was calculated.

We will assist you in determining if you have paid higher premiums than you should have due to your insurance carrier manipulating the factors allowed under the law to calculate your premium.


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Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) Cases

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) Cases

Result: Over $300 million in settlements

Lieff Cabraser has spearheaded a series of groundbreaking class actions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), which prohibits abusive telephone practices by lenders and marketers, and places strict limits on the use of autodialers to call or send texts or robocalls to cell phones.

Settlements in Lieff Cabraser’s TCPA Cases

CaseYearSettlement Amount
Wells Fargo2018$77.6 million
Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.2017$10.5 million
American Express2016$9.25 million
State Farm2016$7 million
Capital One2015$75.46 million
JPMorgan Chase2015$11.67 million
Bank of the West2015$3.35 million
HSBC2014$39.98 million
Bank of America2014$32.08 million
Discover Financial Services2014$8.70 million
Carrington Mortgage Services2014$1.04 million
Sallie Mae Telemarketing2012$24.15 million
TOTAL$300.81 million

The settlements in these cases have put a stop to collectively millions of harassing calls by debt collectors and others and resulted in the recovery by consumers across America of over $300 million. In 2012, Lieff Cabraser achieved a $24.15 million class settlement with Sallie Mae – the then-largest settlement in the history of the TCPA. See Arthur v. Sallie Mae, Inc., No. C10-0198 JLR, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132413 (W.D. Wash. Sept. 17, 2012).

In subsequent cases, Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel eclipsed this record, including a $32,083,905 settlement with Bank of America (Duke v. Bank of America, No. 5:12-cv-04009-EJD (N.D. Cal.)), a $39,975,000 settlement with HSBC (Wilkins v. HSBC Bank Nev., N.A., Case No. 14-cv-190 (N.D. Ill.)), and a $75,455,098.74 settlement with Capital One (In re Capital One Telephone Consumer Protection Act Litigation, Master Docket No. 1:12-cv-10064 (N.D. Ill.)).

In the HSBC matter, Judge James F. Holderman commented on “the excellent work” and “professionalism” of Lieff Cabraser and its co-counsel. Lieff Cabraser’s twelve class settlements in TCPA cases have collectively resulted in the recovery by consumers of over $300 million.

Contact National Consumer Protection Attorneys

Lieff Cabraser is currently investigating complaints that other financial institutions and companies are making pre-recorded phone calls related to loans or credit card offers to customers’ cellular phones without their prior express consent. If you have received such a call, or similar text messages, please use the form below to submit your complaint to Lieff Cabraser.


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Nationwide Insurance Robocall Complaints

Smart phones text message abuse

Issue: Automatic unconsented repeat calls and texts

Lieff Cabraser is investigating consumer complaints that Nationwide Insurance is illegally harrassing them with repeat auto-dialer calls, texts, and messages without first obtaining their consent. Without a consumer consenting to such calls, these abusive calls are in direct violation of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The TCPA prohibits these and numerous other abusive telephone practices by marketers, lenders, and debt collectors, among others, and places strict limits on the use of autodialers or prerecorded voices to call or send texts to cell phones.

“Congress recognized that these types of marketing calls — made to consumers’ cell phones at all hours to solicit business, without any prior business relationship — are particularly unwelcome,” commented plaintiffs’ counsel Jonathan Selbin. “Through the class action mechanism, consumers can band together and compel companies to comply with the law.”

Contact Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser represents consumers who have received insurance sales, debt collection, credit, marketing, or other harassing pre-recorded calls to their cell phones without consenting to receive these calls. We also represent consumers who received unsolicited text messages.

If you received such calls or messages from Nationwide or another auto insurance company, we welcome the chance to discuss your your rights under the law. Use the form below or call us today toll-free at 1 800 541-7358. There is no charge or obligation for our review of your complaint.

We have repeatedly and successfully represented student loanholders and other consumers who received automated calls on their mobile phones without their prior express consent in class action lawsuits against numerous companies.


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GM Ignition

Vehicle ignition

In Re General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, 14-MD-2543 (JMF); 14-MC-2434 (JMF)

Lieff Cabraser represents proposed nationwide classes of GM vehicle owners and lessees whose cars include defective ignition switches in litigation focusing on economic loss claims.

On August 15, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Jesse M. Furman appointed Elizabeth J. Cabraser as Co-Lead Plaintiffs’ Counsel in the litigation, which seeks compensation on behalf of consumers who purchased or leased GM vehicles containing a defective ignition switch, over 500,000 of which have now been recalled.

The consumer complaints allege that the ignition switches in these vehicles share a common, uniform, and defective design. As a result, these cars are of a lesser quality than GM represented, and class members overpaid for the cars. Further, GM’s public disclosure of the ignition switch defect has caused the value of these cars to materially diminish. The complaints seek monetary relief for the diminished value of the class members’ cars.

Life Insurance Surrender & Hidden Fees Investigation

insurance word grid

Lieff Cabraser is investigating allegations of fraud and other deceptive practices in connection with the sale of universal life insurance policies by the following companies:

  • Accordia (previously called Aviva and briefly called Athene)
  • Aegon USA
  • Allianz
  • Allstate Life
  • Midland National Life
  • Minnesota Life
  • NACOLAH Life
  • National Life Group (which includes LSW)
  • Nationwide
  • Old Mutual Financial
  • Pacific Life
  • Penn Mutual
  • Transamerica
  • Voya

Customers report that they have suffered unexpectedly low returns, and in some cases have lost their entire investments and been forced to surrender their policies, as a result of this alleged deceptive conduct.

We are investigating reports that these companies provide customers with promotional and other materials that are misleading about policy returns and hide significant risks associated with these products. For example, illustrations and graphs provided to customers about future returns fail to disclose or adequately disclose that actual returns are subject to market volatility and that market fluctuations can cause customers to receive significantly reduced returns and even to their lose their entire investments and be forced to surrender their policies. Customers also report being subject to additional deceptive practices by these companies, including being charged undisclosed fees that significantly reduce their returns.

Contact a Consumer Protection Lawyer at Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser is a national law firm that represents consumers throughout the United States in fraud and deceptive practices lawsuits, including cases involving deceptive practices by insurance companies.

If you have purchased an universal life insurance policy and were unexpectedly required to surrender your policy, have lost your investment, or have experienced lower than expected returns that you believe may be the result of undisclosed risks or fees or other deceptive practices, we invite you to complete our contact form below.

The information you provide will assist us in learning the full extent of the alleged practices, obtaining relief for affected customers, and stopping improper conduct by the companies going forward. We will review your complaint for free and without any obligation on your part.


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Starbucks Background Check Investigation

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Lieff Cabraser is investigating complaints by Starbucks job applicants that the company violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by conducting background checks without notifying potential employees of these searches, and without obtaining their legally-required consent. Complaints note Starbucks’ failure to provide applicants with a description of their rights under the FCRA.

If you applied for a job at Starbucks within the last five years and were turned down, that decision may have been made based on a consumer background or credit check performed by Starbucks in violation of your legal rights. Indeed, because Starbucks does not properly notify applicants that it conducts background checks, applicants who were denied jobs at Starbucks may not know if an illegal search caused them to lose the job. (One reason that the law requires that individuals know about background checks is to get an opportunity to correct potential misinformation that can appear in such reports.)

Contact a Consumer Protection Attorney at Lieff Cabraser

If you were denied a job at Starbucks within the last five years, we would welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your experience and determine if this kind of illegal background check was a factor in Starbucks’ decision not to hire you. The information you provide will help us in learning the full extent of the alleged conduct and in potentially obtaining damages for victims of the behavior. We will review your case for free and without any obligation on your part.


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AT&T Smartphone Unlimited Data

Pile of different modern smartphones.

Lieff Cabraser represents consumers in a proposed class action lawsuit against AT&T claiming that AT&T falsely advertised that its “unlimited” mobile phone plans provide “unlimited” data, while purposefully failing to disclose that it regularly “throttles” (i.e., intentionally slows) customers’ data speed once they reach certain data usage thresholds.

The lawsuit also challenges AT&T’s attempts to force consumers into non-class arbitration, claiming that AT&T’s arbitration clause in its Wireless Customer Agreement violates consumers’ fundamental constitutional First Amendment right to petition courts for a redress of grievances.

The AT&T “Unlimited” Data Lawsuit

The suit seeks to represent a class that could include at least hundreds of thousands of members. The plaintiffs allege they bought iPhone 3G phones in 2008 and 2009 with unlimited data plans and experienced throttling, which company representatives had blamed on system congestion.

The lawsuit comes after the FCC in June 2015 announced a record proposed $100 million fine against AT&T for misleading customers about its unlimited data plan. The regulator’s investigation found that AT&T “severely” slowed the speeds and failed to adequately notify its customers that they could receive speeds slower than the normal network speeds the mobile giant had advertised, the FCC said.

The FCC noted that AT&T’s disclosures about the maximum bit rate policy were not sufficient for customers to make informed decisions about the data plans. The agency said speeds were reduced by as much as 90 percent — making the use of core applications such as maps impossible — and the reductions lasted an average of 12 days in a monthly billing cycle.

Contact a Consumer Attorney at Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser represents consumers in lawsuits nationwide against AT&T, TracFone, and other carriers for alleged deceptive and fraudulent practices. If you are a past or present AT&T wireless customer and believe you have experienced throttling or unfair dealing with regard to an unlimited data plan, we wish to learn of your experience. The information you provide will assist us in holding AT&T accountable and stopping its alleged deceptive or fraudulent practices. There is no charge or obligation for our review of your complaint.


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Annuity Fraud

Finance and Annuities

Lieff Cabraser is a national law firm that represents consumers throughout the United States in fraud and misrepresentation lawsuits, including cases where consumers are subjected to unfair or deceptive practices relating to annuity products.

We are currently investigating reports of undisclosed sales commissions being charged in annuity financial products, as well as allegations of other unfair and deceptive practices by certain insurance companies, including EquiTrust Life, American Equity, Midland National Life, and North American Company for Life and Health, all marketers of annuity products. Customers may not be aware that they have been subjected to commissions and other fees insufficiently, incompletely, or deceptively disclosed in annuity sales and marketing materials. These alleged deceptions can significantly reduce customers’ earnings in the annuity products they purchased.

Contact a Consumer Protection Attorney at Lieff Cabraser

If you have purchased an annuity issued by EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, American Equity, Midland National Life Insurance Company, or North American Company for Life and Health, and believe you may have been charged unexpected commissions or fees or been subjected to other unfair practices that may have reduced your annuity earnings, we invite you to complete our contact form below.

The information you provide will assist us in learning of the full extent of the alleged fraud and in obtaining damages for affected customers, including all profits that may have been unjustly earned by the companies. We will review your complaint for free and without any obligation on your part.


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Rosetta Stone Subscription Renewal Overcharging Complaints Investigation

Rosetta Stone Subscription Fraud Complaints

Lieff Cabraser is a national law firm that represents consumers, including in cases where the consumer was sold services at illegally inflated prices or that were deceptively advertised or marketed.

We are currently investigating complaints of alleged unfair and deceptive practices by Rosetta Stone, the foreign language education company, relating to automatic subscription renewals. Users report being subjected to hidden, inflated auto-renewal subscription charges that are far higher than the charges indicated and paid at the time of their initial subscription purchases. Consumers have also complained that the they were not sufficiently notified that their subscriptions would be renewed at all.

Contact Us

If you have purchased a subscription through Rosetta Stone and experienced unanticipated or inflated renewal charges, or other problems with your account, we invite you to complete our contact form below. The information you provide will assist us in learning of the full extent of the alleged fraud and in potentially obtaining damages, including all profits that may have been unjustly earned, from Rosetta Stone for their subscribers. We will review your complaint for free and without any obligation on your part.


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Daily Fantasy Sports “Insider Trading” Litigation

Apps

Allegation: Fraud & illegal conduct

Lieff Cabraser represents consumers in national fraud litigation for “insider trading”-type behavior within the “legal yet wildly unregulated, heavily criticized” world of Daily Fantasy Sports (“DFS”).

In February 2016, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation announced that the lawsuits against fantasy sports companies FanDuel Inc. and DraftKings Inc. will be coordinated in federal court in Massachusetts. The JPML acknowledged that while the myriad of cases don’t all share the same underlying theory of liability, combining them in Massachusetts will promote efficiency and the overall management of the cases.

The Panel noted that 80 separate actions have been consolidated or identified as related. Although the cases involve differing claims, they are likely to require testimony from many of the same DraftKings and FanDuel employees. Lieff Cabraser partner Brendan Glackin, who represents plaintiff Alem Belton, noted that the Panel’s order was “absolutely right in terms of the analysis.” Belton was a supporter of the creation of the Massachusetts MDL.

The Daily Fantasy Sports Scandal

As reported by the New York Times, “[a] major scandal is erupting in the multibillion-dollar industry of fantasy sports, the online and unregulated business in which players assemble their fantasy teams with real athletes.” On October 5, 2015, the two leading companies in the fantasty sports industry were forced to release statements defending their businesses’ integrity after revelations of activity that is being described as effectively insider trading within the industry — that an employee of DraftKings, one of the two major companies in the DFS world, had won over $300,000 by placing bets at rival site FanDuel using information not generally available to the public.

As the Times went on to note, the incident “has raised questions about who at daily fantasy companies has access to valuable data, such as which players a majority of the money is being bet on; how it is protected; and whether the industry can — or wants — to police itself.”

What Are Daily Fantasy Sports?

The DFS industry has its origins in informal fantasy games that started decades ago with fans playing against each other for fun concurrent with the regular pro sports seasons.

Industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel have created online versions of those games where large numbers of fans have to pay website entry fees from as little as $0.25 to as much as a thousand dollars to compete for prize pools that can pay literal millions to the winner.

DFS websites such as DraftKings and FanDuel are inherently competitive sites that supposedly have a level playing field, where each participant uses only his or her knowledge or expertise of the sport and players in question to win. If a participant has inside information about the way the site works and acts on that information, the participant gains an upper hand unrelated to his or her knowledge or expertise of the sport. Other players who do not have this inside information, cannot obtain it by better educating themselves on the sport, and who play the game with the expectation that no one else has inside information, might be at a disadvantage.

So when an employee from site A uses insider information he has (for example, if an employee has raw data or knows how the software algorithms are set) to gamble on site B and wins money, those winnings could effectively be coming at the expense of all the other site B customers who don’t have access to the inside information. Absent the employees having inside information, at least some of the participants who did not have this inside information who lost money might instead have won money, or might have won much more money.

If some participants in these online games are leveraging secret proprietary information, many authorities are beginning to see that behavior as similar to illegal insider trading in the securities world.

Contact National Consumer Rights Attorneys at Lieff Cabraser

If you are a Daily Fantasy Sports player and have lost games you feel may be a result of this or other inside information practices, we welcome an opportunity to discuss your experiences. Please call us at 800 541-7358 or use the form below. There is no fee or obligation for our review of your potential case, and all information will be held in strict confidence.

We will review your claim without fee or obligation, and Lieff Cabraser agrees to protect your name and all confidential information you submit against disclosure, publication or unauthorized use to the full extent under the law.

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Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Violations Litigation

Vehicle spewing exhaust

Court Grants Final Approval to 3.0-Liter Class Action Settlement & Bosch Class Action Settlement

On May 17, 2017, Judge Charles M. Breyer granted final approval to the 3.0-Liter Class Action Settlement with Volkswagen valued at $1.2-$4.04 billion, and also granted final approval to a $327.5 million settlement with Bosch, the supplier of the emissions software that was installed in some 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesel vehicles.

Full information on the settlements, including the settlement agreements, class notices, executive summaries and FAQs are posted on VWCourtSettlement.com andBoschVWSettlement.com. Class members should consult the materials on the website for explanations and assistance in recovering their benefits under the settlements. The following videos briefly summarize the options available to class members with Generation One and Generation Two vehicles. Consumers can visit VWCourtSettlement.com to enter their vehicle’s VIN to learn if they have an eligible vehicle and see their range of compensation.

Court Grants Preliminary Approval to Volkswagen, Audi & Porsche 3.0-Liter Emissions Settlement

On February 1, 2017, consumer plaintiffs and the FTC filed settlement agreements relating to affected 3.0-liter engine vehicles. If approved, the settlements will provide owners and lessees of Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche 3.0-liter diesel vehicles substantial cash compensation in addition to buybacks, trade-ins, government-approved emissions modifications or compliant repairs, depending on the generation of vehicle. Preliminary approval of the 3.0-liter vehicle settlement was granted on February 16, 2017. The court will hold a final fairness hearing to determine whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate on May 11, 2017.

Court Grants Final Approval to Volkswagen & Audi 2.0-Liter Emissions Settlement

On October 25, 2016, Judge Charles M. Breyer granted final approval to the historic $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.

Final Approval Hearing – October 18, 2016

On October 18, 2016, a final approval hearing was held in the Northern District of California as part of the multidistrict litigation currently being overseen by Judge Charles M. Breyer. With regard to the Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter engine emissions settlement, Judge Breyer informed the parties that he is “strongly inclined” to approve the settlement, but will consider the objections and issue an order by October 25, 2016. Read the October 18, 2016 Statement on the Final Approval Hearing.

Classwide Settlement Receives Preliminary Approval

On July 26, 2016, Judge Charles Breyer granted preliminary approval to the $14.7 billion settlement in the Volkswagen diesel emissions case.

Classwide Settlement Filed

On June 28, 2016, a class-wide settlement was filed by the consumer plaintiffs in the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation that will provide owners and lessees of Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles with substantial compensation through buybacks and lease terminations, government-approved emissions modifications, and cash payments, while fixing or removing these polluting vehicles from the road.

The proposed consumer settlement was filed in the Northern District of California as part of the multidistrict litigation currently being overseen by Judge Charles M. Breyer (read the Press Release relating to the Settlement, the Executive Summary of the Proposed Class Settlement Program or listen to audio of the hearing). If approved by the Court, this will be the largest consumer auto industry class action settlement in U.S. history.

Under the class action settlement agreement, Volkswagen will create a funding pool of up to $10.033 billion dollars for the class. The settlement will provide consumers the choice of:

  • A Buyback or lease termination on approximately 475,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles.
  • If approved by the EPA and California Air Resources Board (or CARB), an emissions modification to ensure the vehicle no longer generates excess nitrogen oxide emissions.

Earlier in the VW Emissions Case Timeline

On September 18, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a Notice of Violation to Volkswagen relating to nearly 482,000 diesel-powered cars in the United States since 2008 sold under the VW and Audi brands (Volkswagen owns Audi) on which VW installed software that intentionally changed the vehicles’ emissions production during official testing.

VW programmed the computers in these cars to detect when they were undergoing official emissions testing. Only then did the cars turn on their full emission control systems. The controls are then turned off during actual road use, resulting in better fuel economy and performance, but producing significantly greater pollutants in violation of U.S. clean air laws.

Vehicle spewing exhaust

The cars subject to the violation notice are as follows:

  • Audi A3 (model years 2010-2015)
  • Audi A6 Quattro (model year 2014-2016)
  • Audi A7 Quattro (model year 2014-2016)
  • Audi A8 (model year 2014-2016)
  • Audi A8L (model year 2014-2016)
  • Audi Q5 (model year 2014-2016)
  • Audi Q7 (model year 2009-2016)
  • Beetle (model years 2012-2015)
  • Beetle Convertible (model years 2012 – 2015)
  • Golf (model years 2010-2015)
  • Golf SportWagen (model year 2015)
  • Jetta (model years 2009-2015)
  • Jetta SportWagen (model years 2009-2014)
  • Passat (model years 2012-2015)
  • Porsche Cayenne (model year 2013-2016)
  • Touareg (model year 2009-2016)

How VW’s Deception and Fraud Concerning “Clean Diesel” Engines Harmed Consumers

Many consumers bought the VW and Audi diesel cars subject to the violation notice because they thought they were making an environmentally-sound decision, as the cars were marketed as offering high fuel efficiency while emitting low levels of smog-causing pollutants. For example, VW touted its diesel cars with slogans like, “this ain’t your daddy’s diesel, stinky, smoky, and sluggish.” Both the advertised features — superior fuel efficiency and low pollutant levels — are now in doubt, potentially significantly reducing the resale or trade-in value of the cars.

The EPA states that the VW and Audi diesel cars on the violation notice emit up to 40x the national standard for nitrogen oxide, or NOx, which diesel engines emit more than gasoline engines. Nitrogen oxide is linked to respiratory problems, including asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.

VW has not revealed how it will fix the cars. It is believed that VW will most likely reprogram the onboard computers to restore the full emissions control systems during all driving conditions. However, “the only way to reprogram the engine to get NOx emissions to acceptable levels will be to reduce engine power and torque,” states automotive writer Bill Visnic. “That means on-the-road performance will be compromised. The reprogramming could mean that the diesel engines’ outstanding fuel economy -– the primary reason most people buy a diesel –- also will be reduced.”

As reported by the New York Times, “whatever the technological solution, it will most likely mean reducing performance, driveability, or fuel economy of the cars to meet emission goals.”

Nationwide VW Emission Class Action Lawsuits Filed

Lieff Cabraser represents Audi and VW owners in class action lawsuits filed in federal courts in several states.

At the heart of the complaints is the charge that for over six years VW intentionally and systematically cheated its customers, lied to the government, and misled the public about the efficacy of its four-cylinder diesel engine vehicles sold under the Volkswagen and Audi brands.

“VW marketed its ‘clean diesel’ vehicles as high-performing, fuel efficient, and environmentally-friendly, and consumers bought them for that combination of features,” explains attorney Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser. “In truth, VW’s clean diesel vehicles are anything but clean. VW sold its customers a car that doesn’t exist, and VW needs to make this right. Owners are stuck — they’re reporting that their cars are unsaleable.”

The lawsuits seek statutory penalties and compensatory, exemplary, and punitive damages for the class members -– all persons how purchased or leased the VW and Audi diesel cars on the violation notice.

The lawsuits also seek several orders, including:

  1. An order compelling Volkswagen to buy back the Class Vehicles on fair and equitable terms; and
  2. A declaration that Volkswagen must disgorge for the benefit of the class members all or part of the ill-gotten profits received from the sale or lease of the violating vehicles, and make full restitution to class members.

Contact Lieff Cabraser

If you purchased or leased one of the VW or Audi cars on the violation notice, you are encouraged to contact Lieff Cabraser. We welcome the opportunity to learn of your experiences with the vehicle and answer your questions. We represent VW and Audi drivers nationwide, and will review your claim for free, confidentially, and with no obligation on your part. Because of the high volume of inquiries, while we will respond as soon as possible, we cannot respond immediately.

We will respond to your inquiry as promptly as possible. There is no charge or obligation for our review of your case. Please note that completion of this form cannot contractually obligate plaintiffs’ attorneys to represent you. We can only serve as your attorney if you and we both agree, in writing, that we will serve as your counsel.

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About Lieff Cabraser

Recognized as “one of the nation’s premier plaintiffs’ firms” by The American Lawyer, Lieff Cabraser has successfully litigated and settled hundreds of class action lawsuits, including cases requiring auto manufacturers to pay for the diminished value of cars due to fraud or defects in the vehicles, and to extend consumer warranties. We have spearheaded litigation against GM for its ignition switch defect and against Toyota for sudden, unintended acceleration accidents.

Trademark Notice

Jetta, Beetle, Audi A3, Golf, and Passat are registered trademarks of Volkswagen Group or Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. The use of these trademarks is solely for company and product identification and informational purposes. Volkswagen Group is not in any way affiliated with Lieff Cabraser Heiman & Bernstein, LLP. Nothing on this website has been authorized or approved by Volkswagen Group.

Online Identity Protection

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Lieff Cabraser is investigating consumer complaints about paid identity protection services offered by IdentityForce and Metlife Defender. We also represent consumers who subscribed to LifeLock’s identity theft protection services in a nationwide class action lawsuit charging that LifeLock defrauded them.

Identity theft protection companies typically promise, in exchange for their fees, “complete protection” that gives consumers “the power to act before the damage is done” and “the power to prevent identity fraud.”Many consumers allege, however, that they received no value for their payments. The identity theft protection promises were untrue, the companies do not protect the personal information of their subscribers from hackers or criminals, and that these companies do an inferior job of providing the same theft protection services offered by banks and credit card companies, often for free.

The lawsuit against LifeLock specifically alleges that, contrary to its advertisements and statements, LifeLock:

  • Lacks a comprehensive monitoring network; and
  • Fails to provide “up-to-the-minute” alerts of suspicious activity.

Contact Us

Please contact an attorney at Lieff Cabraser to report your experience with any of these online privacy protection companies. The information you provide will assist us in learning of the full extent of the alleged fraud and in obtaining damages, including all profits unjustly earned, from these companies for their subscribers. There is no charge or obligation for our confidential review of your case.


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IdentityForce Privacy Protection

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Lieff Cabraser is investigating consumer complaints about IdentityForce’s paid identity protection services. IdentityForce promises “complete protection” that gives consumers “the power to act before the damage is done.”

Consumers complain that these promises are untrue, and that IdentityForce does not protect the personal information of its subscribers from hackers or criminals. Consumers further complain that IdentityForce does an inferior job of providing the same theft protection services that banks and credit card companies provide, often for free.

Contact Us

Please contact an attorney at Lieff Cabraser to report your experience with IdentityForce’s services. The information you provide will assist us in learning of the full extent of IdentityForce’s alleged fraud and in obtaining damages, including all profits unjustly earned, from IdentityForce for its subscribers. There is no charge or obligation for our confidential review of your case.


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MetLife Defender Privacy Protection

Abstract program code

Lieff Cabraser is investigating consumer complaints about MetLife Defender’s paid identity protection services. MetLife promises that it can “stop identity theft before it occurs,” and “detect any exposure of data associated with health records, medical insurance, Medicaid and Medicare information and more.”

Consumers complain that neither promise is true, and that MetLife Defender does not protect the personal information of its subscribers from hackers and criminals. Consumers further complain that MetLife Defender does an inferior job of providing the same theft protection services that banks and credit card companies provide, often for free.

Contact Us

Please contact an attorney at Lieff Cabraser to report your experience with MetLife Defender’s services. The information you provide will assist us in learning of the full extent of MetLife’s alleged fraud and in obtaining damages, including all profits unjustly earned, from MetLife for its subscribers. There is no charge or obligation for our confidential review of your case.


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Verizon Mobile Privacy Complaints

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Issue: User data tracking & profiling

Numerous news outlets and security experts have reported that Verizon mobile subscribers’ web browsing was subject to tracking and profiling due to unique ID headers Verizon injected into its users’ browsing sessions. According to these reports, at least one third-party advertising firm used these codes to build consumer profiles for use in targeted advertising, without users’ knowledge. These codes effectively allow Verizon and third-party vendors to keep tracking visitors even after they work to delete their digital footprints, for example by deleting their cookies. These “supercookies” or “zombie cookies” appear to circumvent the data privacy settings that exist to protect consumers’ privacy online.

Contact National Consumer Attorneys About Your Verizon Privacy Violation

Lieff Cabraser is a national law firm that represents consumers in Internet privacy violation cases. As noted, it has been widely alleged that Verizon made its mobile subscribers vulnerable to covert tracking and profiling by third parties by injecting unique codes into subscribers’ browsing sessions. Security experts have reportedly found that at least one third party online advertising firm, Turn, Inc., has allegedly been tracking Verizon mobile subscribers using these unique codes.

If you had a Verizon data plan for your phone or tablet at any time from 2012-2014, we would be happy to provide you further information on your rights and remedies under the law. Please contact us by using the form below, or call us toll-free at 1 800 541-7358. There is no charge or obligation for our review of your Verizon privacy violation case.


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Student Loan Servicing Complaints

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Issue: Allegedly deceptive loans

Lieff Cabraser is investigating complaints by borrowers of student loans concerning loan servicing companies.

Borrowers have alleged that certain companies — when they took over the servicing of the repayment of the loan — cancelled promotional interest rates the borrowers were entitled to, or refused to honor borrowers’ rights to pre-pay on their loans.

Contact Us

If you have or had a student loan and experienced these or similar problems with your loan servicing company, please use the form below to submit your complaint to us. There is no charge or obligation for our review of your complaint.


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Hospital Overcharging and Doctor Excessive Billing Complaints

hospital

Issue: Alleged overcharging

Consumers Allege Overcharging by Hospitals in Balance Billing Cases

Some doctors and hospitals engage in a practice known as “balance billing,” where they will bill an unexpecting patient for extra or “out-of-network” amounts that the patient’s HMO or PPO insurer will not cover. Lieff Cabraser is investigating widespread patient complaints about this practice.

Submit Your Hospital Overcharging/Excessive Billing Complaint

If you had a surgery or other procedure at a hospital and you received a bill for medical services not covered by your HMO or PPO insurer, please use the form below to contact a consumer protection attorney at Lieff Cabraser. We will review your case for free and without any obligation on your part.


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Google In-App Purchases Investigation

Apps

Issue: Insufficient purchase authentication

Google In-App Purchase Deceptive Marketing Complaints

Lieff Cabraser is investigating claims that Google engages in deceptive marketing practices to sell in-App purchases to children playing games on Google phones, without requiring a PIN or password to complete the transaction. Popular games, such as Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds, are free or inexpensive to download. However, while playing these games, users may easily make in-App purchases for virtual currency or other virtual items by (1) using credit card information stored in Google Wallet from previous transactions, (2) without entering a PIN number or password.

One parent summarized the steps their child made to purchase $100.00 worth of virtual acorns without the parent’s knowledge:

I was shocked at how they are using these games to prey on children and their unsuspecting parents. The game is called Bug Village and apparently they use “acorns” as currency in the game. When you click on the little acorn bar, a box pops up with pictures of acorns with the quantities underneath. In tiny print on the bottom of the box, it tells you that you will be charged real money for this purchase. Obviously most kids either can’t read at all or wouldn’t bother to read any fine print. All he had to do was click on the box with the biggest number of acorns and the money came directly out of my account due to the fact the Android market is linked to my Google checkout, which has my information already stored in it. … These apps do not require any sort of confirmation password or anything to yank the money from your account. Anyone who has your phone could run up hundreds of dollars in a matter of seconds.

Contact Lieff Cabraser

If you or your child has made any inadvertent in-App purchases while playing an Android game, please use the form below to contact us for a free case review.


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This website is sponsored by Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, a national plaintiffs’ law firm, and is not affiliated in any way with Google.