At a March 16 hearing, U.S. District Chief Judge Phyllis Hamilton heard arguments from user and company attorneys with regard to whether or not she should certify a class action against Facebook Inc. for claims of privacy violations. Plaintiffs accuse the social media giant of unlawfully scanning users’ personal and private direct messages without their consent to capture data on web links.
As mandatory arbitration clauses become more prominent within company contracts, “attempts to protect businesses at the expense of consumers are underway,” according to an opinion piece by law professor Jeff Sovern published by USA Today. Consumer laws have historically been enforced in two ways – through the government and via lawmakers. [Read more…]
A specter is haunting consumer contracts. In the last few years, there has been a veritable explosion of forced arbitration clauses thrust into contracts in industries ranging from banking to insurance, medical to retirement care. GrubHub food delivery service just updated their user agreement to force their customers into mandatory arbitration over any disputes that might arise as a result of their using the service to get Chicken Masala or local pizza. This routine addition to many companies’ dealings with customers has resulted in the deprivation of consumers’ basic constitutional rights, as these forced arbitration agreements require individuals to give up certain fundamental legal protections, including the right to a fair court trial in front of a neutral judge.
German publication Die Zeit recently published an in-depth profile of Lieff Cabraser partner and co-founder Elizabeth J. Cabraser, newly appointed sole lead class counsel in charge of conducting the U.S. nationwide multi-district litigation on Volkswagen’s “clean diesel” emissions fraud. Chosen by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, Ms. Cabraser was one of more than 150 attorneys seeking lead roles in this litigation. The profile was then picked up and translated for English-language publication by Handelsblatt Global Edition.
President Obama is requesting additional funding to bolster the government’s for-profit college investigative unit following increasing reports alleging that for-profit colleges are defrauding American students, U.S. taxpayers, and the federal government. As reported The Chronicle of Higher Education this week, the $13.6 million request, part of the annual budget proposal to be submitted to Congress next week, will boost the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Aid Enforcement Unit, which investigates alleged for-profit education schemes.
During the January 21, 2016 hearing in San Francisco, it was calculated that the number of diesel vehicles in the U.S. affected by the Volkswagen emissions fraud amounted to a total of 575,000, higher than previous estimates. The German car manufacturer currently faces hundreds of class action lawsuits from consumers who were harmed by VW’s deception and fraud concerning deceptively “clean diesel” engines in their vehicles.
Law360 reviewed the landscape of 2016 consumer protection litigation, focusing in part on the Volkswagen diesel emissions fraud scandal and the more than 500 lawsuits filed on behalf of affected Volkswagen Porsche and Audi owners nationwide harmed by the company’s installation of scamming software designed to bypass federal emissions standards in its 2.0-liter diesel vehicles. [Read more…]
The chairman of Volkswagen’s supervisory board has admitted that Volkswagen employees began cheating on emissions tests more than a decade ago, after they determined they could not meet clean air standards in the U.S. legally. Board Chairman Hans-Dieter Pötsch admitted that the wrongdoing began in 2005 when the company decided to make diesel cars the focus of its United States marketing. Volkswagen saw diesel, which it promoted as delivering superior fuel economy and acceleration, as a way to set itself apart from competitors. The fake emissions testing results allowed the vehicles to pass U.S. clean air regulations. [Read more…]
On Tuesday, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated more than 500 lawsuits accusing Volkswagen of cheating on vehicle emissions standards. The JPML stated that federal court in San Francisco would serve as the best venue, given that nearly one-fifth of the emissions fraud cases against Volkswagen had been filed in California. [Read more…]
In what could become one of the largest automotive lawsuits in recent years, consumers have filed more than 480 federal cases against German car manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) over its much-covered diesel vehicle emissions scandal. The consumer fraud litigation involves half a million American automobiles that have been sold since the year 2008. [Read more…]
The upcoming congressional budget bill includes a provision to amend the Federal Communications Act to allow the government to collect federal debts — such as federal student loans, mortgages, and taxes — through means that include the use of automated calls to consumers’ cellphones. [Read more…]
As reported in the Daily Journal, on October 7, 2015, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a proposal that would bar class waivers as a way to regulate forced arbitration clauses in contracts. Lieff Cabraser attorney Elizabeth J. Cabraser commented on the issue, noting that the new CFPB proposal is “pro-consumer,” since the arbitration clauses that block group lawsuits would be banned. [Read more…]
At their core, our consumer protection and warranty laws make sure that corporations stand behind their products and promises. The old “buyer beware” rule, which shifted the risk and burden of faulty products from seller to buyer, was repealed decades ago. [Read more…]
Roger Heller has been selected by Law360 as a 2015 “Rising Star” in the field of consumer protection. The publication cited Heller’s “pivotal role” in securing a wealth of favorable results for plaintiffs challenging deceptive banking and consumer product practices, including a $203 million reinstated class action penalty against Wells Fargo Bank NA, earning him a place among Law360’s top three consumer protection attorneys under 40.