Fitbit Slammed for Arbitration “Gamesmanship” by Federal Judge

Fitbit Slammed for Arbitration “Gamesmanship” by Federal Judge

Court finds bad faith by Fitbit and its counsel in class action over allegedly malfunctioning heart rate monitors; notes Fitbit’s conduct bolsters the perception that “arbitration is where consumer lawsuits go to die”

A San Francisco federal judge has ruled that Fitbit Inc. and its lawyers acted in bad faith reflecting an “absolutely unacceptable level of gamemanship” in machinations over arbitration and arbitration fees after a plaintiff declined a settlement offer over allegations of defects in its heart rate monitors. As reported by Law360 (subscription), the judge sanctioned Fitbit for acting in bad faith, saying it owes attorneys’ fees “after getting a proposed consumer class action removed to arbitration only to reveal they had no intention of arbitrating the claims.” [Read more…]

Fitbit Gets Extreme Exercise Backpedaling on Its Own Statements on “Irrationality” of Consumer Arbitration

Fitbit Gets Extreme Exercise Backpedaling on Its Own Statements on ‘Irrationality’ of Consumer Arbitration

After effectively undermining its own case by forcing disgruntled consumers into arbitration it then tried to escape because such proceedings would be “irrational,” digital fitness tracker manufacturer Fitbit found itself having to do some serious explaining in federal court last month. As reported by Reuters, at a May 2018 hearing before U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco, Fitbit’s lawyers stated that “no rational party would pay hundreds of dollars in fees to initiate arbitration over a $162 fitness tracker.” They made this claim after a plaintiff rejected the fitness product company’s settlement offer of more than $2,800 to drop the arbitration case, Fitbit decided that the customer’s American Arbitration Association proceeding was therefore officially “concluded.” [Read more…]

Federal Court Denies Fitbit’s Motion to Dismiss Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Gross Inaccuracies and Recording Failures in PurePulse™ Heart Rate Monitors

Federal Court Denies Fitbit's Motion to Dismiss Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Gross Inaccuracies and Recording Failures in PurePulse™ Heart Rate Monitors

San Francisco, CA—On June 5, 2018, Judge James Donato of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order denying Fitbit’s motion to dismiss the class action lawsuit alleging that its PurePulse™-equipped devices are grossly inaccurate and frequently fail to record any heart rate at all. The lawsuit brings claims for false advertising, unfair competition, common-law fraud, fraud in the inducement, unjust enrichment, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranties under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and under the consumer protection statutes of California and Arizona. While the court removed plaintiff’s unjust enrichment claim, the motion to dismiss was otherwise entirely denied, subject to plaintiff’s agreement to amend the complaint to include product packaging statements and further allegations of reliance. [Read more…]

Consumers Reach Deal in Exploding Samsung Top-Loading Washers Case

Consumers Reach Deal in Exploding Samsung Top-Loading Washers Case

Consumers have reached a settlement in the multidistrict litigation against Samsung and retailers over exploding top-loading washing machines, which consumers report can vibrate and blow themselves apart. Some owners of affected machines may receive a new Samsung or other brand washing machine, rebates, or a “free in-home repair to reinforce their washers’ top.” [Read more…]

Court Says Fitbit Gameplaying Around Arbitration Efforts Could Lead to Contempt

Court Says Fitbit Gameplaying Around Arbitration Efforts Could Lead to Contempt

Fitbit may be facing civil contempt charges for what U.S. District Judge James Donato says is “gamesmanship” after the company leveraged an arbitration agreement to shrink the class action lawsuit over alleged deficiencies in its heart rate monitors then quit the arbitration when the plaintiff didn’t like its settlement offer (hearing transcript). As reported by Law360, Judge Donato had directed Fitbit and the arbitrator to determine whether 12 plaintiffs’ claims about the Fitbit devices, which consistently mis-record heart rates, particularly during the vigorous exercise for which many consumers purchase the devices, should be heard in open and fair court or just in closed arbitration. [Read more…]

Lexi Hazam Weighs in with Law360 on Product Liability Cases to Watch in 2018

Law360 Report: Product Liability Cases To Watch In 2018

Law360 reports on product liability cases to watch in the year 2018, highlighting cases of national interest with potential impact on millions of Americans. The review includes cases in which Lieff Cabraser plays a prominent role, and Law360 spoke directly with Lieff Cabraser’s Lexi Hazam. [Read more…]

Law360 Mid-Year Report: Product Liability

Law360 Mid-Year Report: Product Liability

In its mid-year roundup of significant product liability cases, Law360 highlights cases of national interest with impact on potentially millions of Americans, including several cases in which Lieff Cabraser is playing a leading role. These include the Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler “dirty diesel” emissions cases, as well as injury lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products that have been linked to ovarian cancer. [Read more…]

Lieff Cabraser: Consumer Product Safety Commission Recalls 2.8 Million Samsung Top-Loading Washing Machines Over Explosion Risks

CPSC Recalls 2.8 Million Samsung Top-Loading Washing Machines Over Explosion Risks

SAN FRANCISCO – The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), with the cooperation of Samsung, is recalling 2.8 million of Samsung’s top-loading washing machines in the wake of over 700 reports of exploding washing machines resulting in at least nine injuries. The recall covers 34 of Samsung’s top-loading models sold from March 2011 through November 2016. [Read more…]

Judge Refuses to Dismiss Fitbit Heart Rate Inaccuracy Lawsuit

Judge Refuses to Dismiss Fitbit Heart Rate Inaccuracy Lawsuit

Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has denied Fitbit’s request to dismiss the lawsuit over the claimed inaccuracy of its PurePulse™ heart rate technology within its popular fitness trackers. The fraud class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of consumers nationwide against Fitbit, Inc. over allegations that the company’s heart rate monitors – the Fitbit Blaze, the Charge HR and the Fitbit Surge – fail to accurately measure user heart rates. Heart rate monitors are used by athletes and others who need to reach or not exceed target heart rates. The use of monitors reporting inaccurate heart rates can lead to serious consequences. [Read more…]

CPSC Warning: Samsung Washing Machines Are Exploding

CPSC Warning: Samsung Washing Machines Are Exploding

Lieff Cabraser represents Samsung washer owners in a federal lawsuit in New Jersey alleging that some Samsung top-loading washing machines explode in owners’ homes, causing damage to walls, doors, and other equipment and presenting significant injury risks. Users have reported Samsung top-load washers exploding as early as the day of installation, while other owners have seen their machines explode months or even more than a year after purchase.

[Read more…]

KOMO News: Whirlpool & LG Washer Mold Claim Periods Continue

KOMO News: Whirlpool & LG Washer Mold Claim Periods Continue

Lieff Cabraser partner Jonathan D. Selbin recently spoke with NBC’s ConsumerMan Herb Weisbaum on Seattle’s KOMO News 1000 FM 97.7 to discuss recent settlements relating to consumer lawsuits over smelly front-loading washing machines. In the class action lawsuits, owners of front-load washers complained that their Whirlpool, Kenmore, Maytag, Sears, and LG-brand washing machines were defective, as the products failed to self-clean and resulted in foul-smelling bacteria, mold, and mildew build-ups. [Read more…]

LG Front-Load Washer Mold Settlement Claims Period Begins

LG Front-Load Washer Mold Settlement Claims Period Begins

Owners of some LG brand front-loading washers can now submit claims as part of the settlement of several class action lawsuits brought on claims that the machines fail to adequately self-clean. Judge Faith S. Hochberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey has granted preliminary approval to settlements of the suits, which alleged that certain LG brand front-loading washing machines manufactured between 2002 and 2006 fail to adequately self-clean themselves of laundry residue, resulting in mold or mildew buildup that can cause bad odors and ruined laundry. All claims must be submitted by October 10, 2016. [Read more…]

Defective E-cigarette Vaporizers Are Exploding in People’s Faces

Defective E-cigarette Vaporizers Are Exploding in People’s Faces

Electronic cigarettes and vaping devices contribute to a $3.7 billion dollar annual industry, with sales expected to surpass traditional tobacco products within the next decade. As of 2015, there were more than 9 million adults regularly using e-cigarettes, as reported by a National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) conducted by the CDC. The study noted that nearly 1 in 8 (12.6%) of adults in the U.S. have tried an e-cigarette, and the percentage is even higher among individuals aged 18-24. Men are also more likely than women to have tried an e-cigarette. [Read more…]

Widespread Media Attention Focuses on New Fitbit Heart Rate Accuracy Study Confirming Significant Inaccuracies in Device Data

Media Attention Focuses on New Fitbit Heart Rate Accuracy Study Confirming Significant Inaccuracies in Device Data

Numerous news outlets such as CNBC, Forbes, CNN, Inquisitr, The Register, and Gizmodo have been reporting on the recent Fitbit heart rate accuracy study, which claims that several of the newest models of the popular fitness tracker devices are “highly inaccurate” when it comes to measuring active heart rates. The study discovered that the devices were off by an average of 20 beats per minute during moderate- to high-intensity exercise.  [Read more…]

Comprehensive Testing Confirms Fitbit’s PurePulse™ Heart Rate Monitors “Highly Inaccurate”

New Testing Confirms Fitbit’s PurePulse™ Heart Rate Monitors “Highly Inaccurate”

Exhaustive new study submitted in class action lawsuit confirms Fitbit heart rate monitors are “highly inaccurate” and measurements bear “extremely weak correlation” with true heart rates during exercise.

May 19, 2016 (San Francisco, CA) – A comprehensive new study conducted by researchers at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (“Cal Poly Pomona”) reveals that the PurePulse™ heart rate monitors in the Fitbit Surge™ and Charge HR™ bear an “extremely weak correlation” with actual users’ heart rates as measured by a true electrocardiogram (ECG) and are “highly inaccurate during elevated physical activity.” [Read more…]

Bridgestone Initiates Voluntary Safety Recall for Defective Tires

Bridgestone Safety Recall for Defective Tires

Tennessee-based Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) announced a voluntary safety recall for one size (255/70R22.5) of its Firestone FS561 tire, installed in trailer applications, that was sold both in the United States and Canada between the dates of April 2015 and January 2016. Other sizes and applications for the FS561 commercial truck tire are not affected by this recall. [Read more…]