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…]

The FDA Wants Consumers to Report Problems with MedWatch

FDA Invites Consumers to Report Problems to MedWatch

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has enhanced its MedWatch program and is actively asking consumers to report adverse events and serious safety issues with regard to FDA regulated products, whether they be medications, medical devices, or food products. The FDA encourages strongly consumers to use the MedWatch platform, first created in 1993, to report experiences with problematic products that seem to have unexpected side effects, injurious medical errors, therapeutic failures, issues with product quality, and any other safety hazards. [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…]

Daniel Hutchinson Comments on the Fight or Settle Question Facing Offending Companies in TCPA Consumer Disputes

Daniel Hutchinson Comments on TCPA Consumer Disputes

Numerous companies have been hit with lawsuits regarding their alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). In these cases, the complaints involve robocalls, unsolicited text messages, and unwanted phone calls plaguing consumers. The big question for defendants facing these kinds of lawsuits is whether to push back on the accusations of offensive, intrusive spam marketing via litigation or to just quickly settle matters. [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…]

Money Over Cars: 210,000 VW Diesel Owners Decide on Vehicle Buyback

Money Over Cars: 210,000 VW Diesel Owners Decide on Vehicle Buyback

Out of the 475,000 Volkswagen 2.0 liter diesel engine owners, approximately 210,000 individuals have chosen to partake in the $14.7 billion settlement that is awaiting final court approval. Under the settlement terms, VW and Audi owners have the option of selling their cars back to the dealership or having them fixed to meet U.S. environmental standards and clean air laws. In addition, owners will receive $5,100 to $10,000 compensation for their time and trouble during this scandal. [Read more…]

$30.4 Million TCPA Settlement Against Wells Fargo

TCPA Settlement Announced Against Wells Fargo

Judge Richard W. Story of the Northern District of Georgia has granted preliminary approval to a $30.4 million settlement with Wells Fargo on consumer claims that the bank violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) with the use of an autodialer, artificial voice technology, or prerecorded messages to call cellphones about account overdrafts. [Read more…]

Consumers Overwhelmingly Want Access to Legal System Currently Denied by Major Banks

Bank Misconduct

A 2016 study by The Pew Charitable Trusts notes that consumer disputes with banks over fees and policies are on the rise. Of particular concern are mandatory arbitration clauses found in 90% of bank account agreements. These forced arbitration provisions steer consumers to third-party decision-makers whose decisions are usually binding, giving the consumer limited or no opportunity to appeal. Such provisions also prohibit consumer bank customers from seeking any remedy in an impartial court of law. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]