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…]

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…]

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…]

Takata to Pay $1 Billion in Defective Airbag Lawsuit

Takata to Pay $1 Billion in Defective Airbag Lawsuit

Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp. pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in Michigan federal court on Monday in the lawsuit over its allegedly defective airbags. Takata will pay nearly $1 billion for hiding test data and reports on the deadly airbag inflators and will repay those injured by the airbag defect. As reported by CNBC, “the penalties include $850 million in restitution to automakers, $125 million for victims and families, and a $25 million criminal fine.” [Read more…]

VW Litigation Update: Judge Approves $1 Billion 3-Liter Engine Settlement in Emissions-Cheating Scandal

Judge Approves $1 Billion 3-Liter Engine Settlement in Emissions-Cheating Scandal

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has granted preliminary approval to a new $1 billion settlement involving 78,000 Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche diesel owners in the infamous VW emissions-cheating scandal. Under this newest settlement in the litigation, Volkswagen will compensate owners of these 3-liter diesel engine vehicles, and repair or buy back as many as 20,000 Touareg and Audi Q7 SUVs. [Read more…]

Bosch Agrees To $327.5 Million Settlement in VW Diesel Emissions Fraud Case

Bosch Agrees To $327.5 Million Settlement in VW Diesel Emissions Fraud Case

German auto electronics supplier Robert Bosch has agreed to a $327.5 million settlement for Volkswagen owners and the United States Federal Trade Commission over claims the company helped develop secret software for Volkswagen that was used to cheat on U.S. standard emissions tests and violate the Clean Air Act. [Read more…]

Increased Active Participation of VW Class Members Sheds Light on Changes in Big Litigation

Increased Active Participation of VW Class Members Sheds Light on Changing Court System

Class member participation in the Volkswagen diesel emissions consumer fraud litigation has been increasingly active, and the court system has taken notice. VW diesel owners have robustly engaged in social media discussions, emailed the courts on a regular basis, and even called class counsel on their personal cell phones. [Read more…]

Environmental Protection Agency Accuses Fiat Chrysler of Cheating Diesel Emissions Laws

Diesel Emissions Fraud

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a notice of violation to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for allegedly cheating on federal emissions standards and contributing to pollution, in violation of the Clean Air Act. At least 104,000 diesel vehicles have allegedly been programmed with secret software that allowed for illegal excess emissions of nitrogen oxides. These vehicles include light-duty model year 2014, 2015, and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks equipped with 3.0-liter diesel engines sold in the United States. [Read more…]

Lieff Cabraser and LA City Attorney Office File Four False Reference Pricing Consumer Fraud Lawsuits in California State Court

Lieff Cabraser and LA City Attorney Office File 4 False Reference Pricing Consumer Fraud Lawsuits in California State Court

Lieff Cabraser announces that today, as co-counsel with the Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, it has filed four consumer fraud civil enforcement actions against national retailers: J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, and Sears. These cases allege that to increase sales each of these companies has pervasively used “false reference pricing” schemes — whereby the companies advertise products at a purported “discount” from false “original” or “regular” prices — to mislead customers into believing they are receiving bargains. [Read more…]

Wells Fargo Seeking to Force Defrauded Customers into Arbitration in Attempt to Sidestep Lawsuits over False Accounts Scandal

Wells Fargo Seeking to Force Defrauded Customers into Arbitration in Attempt to Sidestep Lawsuits over False Accounts Scandal

Banking giant Wells Fargo is attempting to sidestep a multitude of fraud lawsuits by forcing banking customers instead into private arbitration. Under the bank’s widely-reported false accounts scandal, some two million sham accounts were opened under customers’ names without their knowledge or consent. As noted by the New York Times, “This is not the first time Wells Fargo has been accused of trying to use arbitration to its advantage.” [Read more…]

Wells Fargo Loses Arbitration Bid Over Deceptive Overdraft Fees

Wells Fargo Loses Arbitration Big Over Deceptive Overdraft Fees

Mega-bank Wells Fargo has lost a bid to force multidistrict class action over overdraft fee abuse claims into arbitration. The San Francisco-based bank is dealing with numerous lawsuits accusing it of manipulating debit card purchases to maximize overdraft fee revenue in violation of consumer protection laws. Law360 has reported that “the bank has moved to compel arbitration several times with regard to two cases that originated in Florida and California.” [Read more…]

Spokeo Still Standing: No Sign Of A Circuit Split

Spokeo Still Standing: No Sign Of A Circuit Split

In an expert analysis article published by Law360 (subscription) entitled “Spokeo Still Standing: No Sign Of A Circuit Split,” Lieff Cabraser attorneys Nicholas Diamand and Andrew Kaufman review the U.S. Supreme Court’s May decision in Spokeo Inc. v. Robins, et al. The decision “reaffirmed that, under principles of federal jurisdiction, invasions of privacy give plaintiffs standing to assert their rights in federal court,” wrote Diamand and Kaufman. [Read more…]

$68 Million Settlement in LifeLock Identity Theft Protection Fraud Case

$68 Million Settlement in LifeLock Identity Theft Protection Fraud Case

Lieff Cabraser represents consumers in a nationwide class action lawsuit charging that LifeLock, Inc. defrauded them with regard to identity theft protection services. A California federal judge has granted final approval to a $68 million settlement of this lawsuit, based on consumer complaints centering on accusations that LifeLock delivered false statements about its services and failed to alert customers on a timely basis of potential identity theft. An estimated 3 million consumer class members will each receive $20 as part of the settlement. [Read more…]

State Farm Racketeering Case Now Set As Class Action Suit

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court

Lawsuit alleges State Farm campaigned illegally to elect a judge to vote against previous $1.05 billion judgment against the company

As reported by Law360 (subscription) and other news outlets, U.S. District Court Judge David Herndon has granted class action status to a lawsuit brought by Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel on behalf of 4.7 million State Farm policyholders that alleges State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. carried out a racketeering enterprise aimed at defrauding the policyholders of a $1.05 billion judgment by getting a new judge elected to the Illinois Supreme court who would rule in State Farm’s favor to scuttle the judgment, previously approved by the Illinois appellate court. [Read more…]

Bosch Said to Have Played Critical Role in Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Scandal Since 2008

Bosch Involvement in VW Diesel Emissions Scandal

Auto supplier Robert Bosch has been accused of conspiring with Volkswagen to produce the technology that would help the German automaker fraudulently pass standard emissions tests in its diesel vehicles. Numerous media outlets, such as The New York Times, Fortune, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, and Jalopnik, have reported that Bosch asked VW to provide legal protection while the emissions cheating software was in development eight years ago. Despite VW’s reported refusal to indemnify Bosch, Bosch continued with the production of this defeat device. [Read more…]