Judge Grants Preliminary Approval to Wells Fargo’s $17.85M Deal to End 6 TCPA Lawsuits

Robocall

As reported by Law360 (subscription), Judge Manish S. Shah of the Northern District of Illinois has granted preliminary approval to a $17.85 million settlement with Wells Fargo over consumer claims that the bank violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) by improperly sending unsolicited and harassing prerecorded messages to cellphones about mortgages, home equity loans, credit card accounts, auto loans, student loans, and fraud alerts. [Read more…]

First Amended Complaint Filed in Select Portfolio Servicing Mortgage Fraud Litigation

High-cost mortgage loans

Lieff Cabraser has filed the First Amended Class Action Complaint on behalf of plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit in New York alleging that Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. is defrauding customers through improper interest rate change calculations and illegal collection of late fees on post-acceleration mortgage loans. As a result of the improper practices detailed in the complaint, SPS customers are overpaying for their mortgage loans. [Read more…]

California Federal Judge Rules DIRECTV Cannot Avoid Robocall Lawsuit

California Federal Judge Rules DIRECTV Cannot Avoid Robocall Lawsuit

As reported by Bloomberg Law (subscription), on Friday March 29, 2019, U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Central District of California certified two proposed plaintiff classes in a federal lawsuit against DIRECTV over allegations the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) by directing debt collection companies to make unwanted telemarketing phone calls to consumers on their behalf. The Court found that questions common to all class members outweigh any individualized questions of possible consent to the calls. [Read more…]

Judge Gives Preliminary Approval to $5M Proposed Settlement in Nationwide Insurance Robocall Class Action

Robocall

As reported by Law360, a federal judge has preliminarily approved a $5 million settlement in the class action alleging that Nationwide Mutual Insurance violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending harassing repeat auto-dialer calls, texts, and voice messages to consumers without their consent. [Read more…]

Judge Grants Final Approval to $250 Million State Farm RICO Lawsuit Settlement

Final Settlement Approved in State Farm RICO Lawsuit

As reported by Law360, U.S. District Judge David Herndon has granted final approval to a $250 million settlement in the class action lawsuit brought by State Farm policyholders accusing the auto insurer of using campaign donations to buy the vote of an Illinois Supreme Court Justice. [Read more…]

Judge Orders Fiat Chrysler and DOJ to Meet With Settlement Master in Emissions Fraud Suit

fiat chrysler emissions fraud

As reported by Law 360, after significant delays in the settlement process, a California federal judge has ordered Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and the U.S. Department of Justice to meet face-to-face with a court appointed Settlement Master in order to reach an agreement to end the government’s suit over the automaker’s excessive diesel vehicle emissions. [Read more…]

State Farm Settles Rigged-Judge Auto Parts RICO Fraud Trial for $250 Million

State Farm Settles Rigged-Judge Auto Parts RICO Fraud Trial

Hale, et al. v. State Farm, No. 3:12-cv-00660 (S.D. Illinois) began over 20 years ago with a class action suit by State Farm insureds alleging State Farm wrongly replaced their post-accident vehicle parts with non-OEM in violation of the terms of their insurance policies. In 1999, an Illinois state court jury awarded plaintiffs $456 million for breach of contract by the company, and the trial judge added $730 million in punitive damages. An appellate court reduced the verdict to $1.056 billion, at that time one of the largest class-action verdicts in U.S. history. [Read more…]

Hundreds of Wells Fargo Customers Lose Their Homes to Foreclosure Due to Bank’s Mistakes and Aggressive Actions

Hundreds of Wells Fargo Customers Lose Their Homes to Foreclosure Due to Bank’s Mistakes and Aggressive Actions

Homeowners’ homes foreclosed on after Wells Fargo’s software incorrectly denied available mortgage modifications

News sources have revealed that more than 600 Wells Fargo customers were incorrectly denied loan modifications under a federal assistance program set up by the Treasury Department in 2009, with 400 of the owners ultimately losing their homes to bank foreclosure. The bank claims the loan adjustment denials were the result of a “computer error.” [Read more…]

Fiat Chrysler & Bosch Try to Escape RICO Claims in Emissions Fraud Litigation

Fiat Chrysler & Bosch Try to Escape RICO Claims in Emissions Fraud Litigation

Fiat Chrysler and Bosch are trying to convince a federal judge in California to throw out RICO claims brought by drivers in multidistrict litigation centering on claims that the companies cheated on vehicle emissions testing. The companies argue that only regulators, and not the consumers bringing the current lawsuit, are entitled to relief under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, as the consumers who purchased affected vehicles were not direct victims of the alleged misconduct. U.S. District Court Judge Edward M. Chen seemed to disagree with the companies’ argument, noting that, “At the end of the day, they [the consumers] paid for a car that they didn’t get.” [Read more…]

Mandatory Arbitration Clauses Should Be Banned From Insurance Policies

Mandatory Arbitration Clauses Should Be Banned From Insurance Policies

Formal amendment to the Model Unfair Trade Practices Act seeks to prohibit pre-dispute forced arbitration provisions

According to Insurance Business America, pretty much everyone except big business hates forced dispute arbitration, a diversion of adjudication from open courts to closed, one-sided panels that has been shoved down the throats of consumers across nearly every industry. “Over the last 10 to 15 years, the practice of requiring individuals to agree to arbitrate rather than litigate any future disputes (or forgo the product, service or employment altogether) has been heavily criticized by government agencies, the media, academics and consumer groups.” [Read more…]

Judge Holds Racketeering Lawsuit Against State Farm Over Election Manipulations Can Go Forward

Judge Holds Racketeering Lawsuit Against State Farm Over Election Manipulations Can Go Forward

Insurer is accused of secretly and improperly funding state judge’s campaign so it could get a $1 billion judgment against overturned

U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon has ruled that Lieff Cabraser’s class action lawsuit can proceed against State Farm over charges the insurer acted illegally in spending millions on a secret campaign to get a judge elected to state court who would then rule in State Farm’s favor in a massive pending fraud lawsuit. After losing an earlier lawsuit where it was hit with a $1.05 billion judgment, plaintiffs allege State Farm defrauded them of the judgment by “handpicking Judge Karmeier, covertly funneling millions into his campaign and lying about its support for the judge in communications to the Illinois Supreme Court and counsel for the class.” [Read more…]

“Backfired: When VW Lied To America”

Backfired: When VW Lied To America

New Documentary Captures VW Diesel Emissions Scandal & the Clean Air Movement in California

A new documentary titled “Backfired: When VW Lied To America” will soon be coming to TV screens and movie theaters around the country. Produced by Dale Bell, co-founder of The Media and Policy Center in Burbank, California, the film provides the most detailed video examination to date of the Volkswagen diesel emissions fraud scandal. [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…]

Complaints About Automated Robocalls Rose Dramatically in 2017

California Federal Judge Rules DIRECTV Cannot Avoid Robocall Lawsuit

A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report reveals that consumer complaints about harassing unwanted automated telemarketing calls jumped significantly in 2017, and have quadrupled since 2009. There were a total of 4.5 million robocall complaints last year, and the agency received an additional 2.5 million complaints about live telemarketing calls; on average, the FTC received over 375,000 per month. [Read more…]

Fiat Chrysler Hoping for Approval on Vehicle Diesel Emissions Fix

Fiat Chrysler Hoping for Approval on Vehicle Diesel Emissions Fix

A lawyer for automobile manufacturer Fiat Chrysler announced that the company hopes to reach an agreement to fix its diesel vehicles that contributed to pollution in violation of the Clean Air Act by the spring of 2018. At least 104,000 diesel vehicles were allegedly programmed with undisclosed software that allowed for illegal emissions of air polluting chemicals. [Read more…]

New York Times Op-Ed: “Let Consumers Sue Companies”

Scam Fraud Consumer Rights

A powerful op-ed published this week in the New York Times examines recent workings in the House and Senate to fundamentally undermine consumer rights in the United States. The Consumer Financial Protection Board recently created a new rule preventing companies from denying consumers the right to band together and go to court when they are treated unfairly. The rule would act to keep companies from restricting consumer recourse to binding, closed-door arbitration outside the courts and sidestepping the judicial system. [Read more…]

U.S. Regulators Approve of Volkswagen Plan to Fix or Buy Back Vehicles in Emissions Cheating Scandal

U.S. Regulators Approve of Volkswagen Plan to Fix or Buy Back Vehicles in Emissions Cheating Scandal

Volkswagen and U.S. environmental regulators have announced the government’s approval of the agreement for the German automaker to fix or buy back the diesel vehicles involved in VW’s illegal emissions cheating scandal. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the plan will involve approximately 326,000 VW vehicles sold between 2009 and 2014, “the first generation of the ‘Clean Diesel’ cars with 2.0-liter TDI engines, including the Jetta, Golf, Beetle and Audi A3.” [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…]

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…]