/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/180312.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

              Monday, March 12, 2018, Vol. 20, No. 51


180 TENTH HOTEL: Faces "Fischler" Suit in S.D. New York
3M CO: Settles Water Contamination Lawsuit for $850 Million
AC REFERRAL: Winston & Strawn Attorneys Discuss 9th Cir. Ruling
ADECCO USA: Court Continues CMC in "Shepardson" to March 22
ALABAMA: Court Awards $275K Attorney's Fees in "Hunter"

AMD: Faces Class Action Over Meltdown, Spectre CPUB Flaws
ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI: Silicosis Settlement Provisions Hit Earnings
APPLE INC: Attorney Seek to Preserve iPhone Batteries as Evidence
APPLE INC: 9th Cir. Affirms Dismissal of iMessage Wiretap Suit
BED BATH: Judge Trims Claims in Manager Overtime Class Action

BRIDGETON LANDFILL: Responds to Radioactive Waste Class Action
BUFFALO TRACE: Court Issues Opinion in False Advertising Case
CANADA: Managing Class Action Proceedings Can Get Complex
CHIPOTLE MEXICAN: Court OKs $600K Attorney's Fees in "Harris"
CIT GROUP: Faces Jones Real Estate Suit in S.D. New York

CJS SOLUTIONS: Court Denies Prelim Approval of "Sanders" Deal
COCA-COLA COMPANY: "Becerra" Suit Brought Before 9th Cir.
COMMERCE ENERGY: Court Provides Basis for OT Pay Computation
CYPRESS SECURITY: Faces "Escobar" Suit in Cal. Superior Court
DEER TRACK: Class Action Over Environmental Issue Settled

DOLLAR TREE: "Natskakula" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid Wages
DRUG DEPOT: Court Certifies Class in "Fauley" TCPA Suit
EAGLE NATIONAL: Court Dismisses "Edmondson" RESPA Suit
ELECTROLUX: Bid to Dismiss Microwave Handles Case Denied in Part
FANNIE MAE: Judge Remands Shareholders' Class Action

FIVE STAR MEDICAL: "Fox" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid Wages
FLUENT LLC: Faces "Marinez" Suit in S.D. New York
FMM ENTERPRISES: "Glass" Suit Brought Before 9th Cir.
FRANKLIN COUNTY, OH: Averts Class Action Over Tax Collection Plan
GENERAL ELECTRIC: Faces Another Shareholder Class Action

GENERAL MOTORS: Faces 4th Suit Over Corvette Z06 Limp Mode Issues
GENERAL MOTORS: Michigan Judge Upholds Emissions-Cheating Claims
GEO GROUP: Ruling in Immigration Detainees' Class Action Affirmed
GETSWIFT: Vannin Capital Mulls Potential Shareholder Class Action
GETSWIFT: Faces Class Action Over Disclosure Violations

GOOGLE INC: Judge Tosses Click-Fraud Class Action
GOOGLE INC: SCOTUS Has Yet to Act on CCAF Cypress Case Appeal
HD SUPPLY: Court Awards $306K Attorney's Fees in "Weisberg"
HONEST CO: Denies Wrongdoing in "Natural" Product Label Lawsuits
HUNTLEIGH USA: Court Denies Conditional Certification in "Thomas"

HYUNDAI MOTORS: Hausfeld Attorney Discusses Ninth Circuit Ruling
INTEL CORP: Patterson Belknap Attorney Discuss Class Action
JOHN MUIR: Blumenthal Nordrehaug Files Wage Class Action
LCC INT'L: Bid for Clause Construction Award in "Togerson" Denied
LENDINGCLUB: Agrees to Settle Shareholder Class Action for $125MM

LENDINGCLUB: Settles Class Actions, Misses 4th Quarter Earnings
LIFEVANTAGE CORP: Sommers Schwartz Files Securities Class Action
LJM FUNDS: Michael Criden Files Securities Class Action
LOUISIANA: Corrections Dept Faces Class Action Over Inmate Abuses
MADISON COUNTY, IL: Judge Certifies Vehicle Tow Fees Suit

MDL 2503: Court Denies Partial Summary Judgment in Antitrust Suit
MDL 2804: St. Joseph County Joins Opioid Crisis Class Action
MDL 2804: Franklin County Joins Opioid Crisis Class Action
METROPOLITAN TRASPORTATION: Sued Over Cashless Tolling System
MICHIGAN: Partial Summary Disposition in Water Crisis Suit Upheld

NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE: Andrews & Springer Probes Securities Breach
NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE: Faces "Helbling" Suit in C.D. California
NCAA: Fights $40-Mil. Attorney Fee Award
NEW YORK: Faces Class Action Over Speed Camera Tickets
NIAGARA CREDIT: "Dennis" Suit Alleges FDCPA Violations

NINE WEST: Loses Bid to Dismiss "Covell" Consumer Fraud Suit
PACIFIC GAS: Court Vacates Joint Status Report Submission Date
PALM BEACH, FL: Sued Over Utility Undergrounding Initiative
PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE: Court Certifies "Huffman" Subclass
QUANTUM CORP: Shareholders File Securities Class Action

RECEIVABLES MANAGEMENT: "Israel" Suit Alleges FDCPA Violation
REPUBLIC SERVICES: Faces Class Actions Over Radioactive Waste
RICHEMONT NORTH AMERICA: Faces "Delacruz" Suit in S.D. New York
RICHEMONT NORTH AMERICA: Faces "Bishop" Suit in S.D. New York
RIOT BLOCKCHAIN: USMA Law Group Files Securities Class Action

RJ REYNOLDS: 11th Cir. Affirmed $600K Damages in "Smith"
ROYAL AUSTRALASIAN: Class Action Mulled Over Exam "Glitch"
SAINT JOHN, NB: Faces Class Action Over Leaking Pipes
SCOTIABANK: Virgin Islanders Sue Over Force-Placed Insurance
SOUTHCROSS ENERGY: "Doller" Suit Alleges Exchange Act Violations

STARR RESTAURANT: Faces "Prazdnik" Suit in E.D. Pennsylvania
STONE & TILE: Court OKs $22,500 Class Settlement in "Cohetero"
STUDY.COM LLC: Faces "Sullivan" Suit in S.D. New York
SWATCH GROUP: Faces "Delacruz" Suit in S.D. New York
TEXAS: Begins Transfer of Inmates at Unit Center of Class Action

TREEHOUSE FOODS: Class Action Survives Motion to Dismiss
TRISTAR PRODUCTS: July 12 Settlement Fairness Hearing Set
TRUMP UNIVERSITY: Second Chance to Opt Out of Class Not Required
UBER TECHNOLOGIES: March 22 Class Action Opt-Out Deadline Set
UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Class Action Over Upfront Pricing Certified

UNITED STATES: Sued in N.Y. Over Detention of Young Immigrants
VITA-MIX CORP: Court OKs $1.6MM Class Settlement in "Gooding"
VOLKSWAGEN AG: Emissions Cheating Class Action Looming in Austria
WAVEDIVISION HOLDINGS: Blumenthal Nordrehaug Files Class Action
WEINSTEIN CO: Seeks Dismissal of Federal Class Action

WEINSTEIN CO: Taps Seyfarth Shaw to Fight Sexual Harassment Suits
WINES 'TIL SOLD: DOJ Looks Into Fairness of Proposed Class Action
WINES 'TIL SOLD: Justice Dept. Opposes Class Action Settlement
WYNN RESORTS: Faces Investors Class Action in New York
WYNN RESORTS: April 23 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set

WYNN RESORTS: April 23 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set
YAHOO INC: Averts Class Action Over Unsolicited SMS Messages
ZINC ELECTROLYTIQUE: Class Action Representative Disqualified

* Kucinich Plans to File Fracking Class Action v. 0il & Gas Cos.
* SEC May Hamper Investors' Ability to Fight Securities Fraud
* U.S. Plaintiffs' Bar Eyes Foreign-Based Companies


180 TENTH HOTEL: Faces "Fischler" Suit in S.D. New York
A class action lawsuit has been filed against 180 Tenth Hotel,
LLC. The case is styled as Brian Fischler, individually and on
behalf of all other persons similarly situated, Plaintiff v. 180
Tenth Hotel, LLC doing business as: The High Line Hotel,
Defendant, Case No. 1:18-cv-01983 (S.D. N.Y., March 5, 2018).

180 Tenth Hotel, LLC operates in the hospitality industry.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Douglas Brian Lipsky, Esq.
   Lipsky Lowe LLP
   630 Third Avenue Fifth Floor
   New York, NY 10017
   Tel: (212) 392-4772
   Fax: (212) 444-1030
   Email: doug@lipskylowe.com

3M CO: Settles Water Contamination Lawsuit for $850 Million
Andrew Tangel, writing for The Wall Street Journal, reports that
3M Co. will pay $850 million to settle Minnesota's lawsuit,
claiming the manufacturer contaminated water in the state for at
least five decades.

The deal reached by the company and state's attorney general was
announced hours after a trial over the suit was slated to begin
on Feb. 20.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson had accused 3M of
contaminating the state's water supply by dumping millions of
pounds of waste into the ground and water from the production of
fluorochemicals, or PFCs, that the company used in its Scotchgard
product for protecting furniture and carpets from stains.

The attorney general's office claimed the company dumped PFC from
1950 until the early 2000s, in the ground and into the
Mississippi River.  The affected areas include those near 3M's
headquarters in St. Paul, Minn.

The synthetic substances are considered harmful to humans and
wildlife, according to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention.  The agency says studies have shown PFCs may affect
"growth and development, reproduction, and injure the liver."

Under the agreement, 3M will provide an $850 million grant aimed
at improving "water quality and sustainability," the manufacturer
said.  The money would also pay for fishing piers, trails and
preserving open space.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the settlement included an
admission of wrongdoing by the company.  3M faces at least 11
class-action lawsuits in state and federal courts related to
PFCs, as of Sept. 30, according to a securities filing.

3M's settlement exceeds a $671 million settlement that DuPont Co.
and Chemours Co., a DuPont spinoff, reached in a similar case in

Ms. Swanson said 3M's settlement wouldn't be diverted for the
state's other financial needs.  "In this case, the money is being
used to address some of the problems created by PFCs in our
drinking water," Ms. Swanson said in a statement.

3M said it would record a first-quarter charge of about $1.10 to
$1.15 a share because of the settlement.

"We are proud of our record of environmental stewardship, and
while we do not believe there is a PFC-related public health
issue, 3M will work with the state on these important projects,"
John Banovetz, 3M's chief technology officer, said in a
statement. [GN]

AC REFERRAL: Winston & Strawn Attorneys Discuss 9th Cir. Ruling
Ryan P. Glover, Esq., and Monique N. Bhargava, Esq., of Winston &
Strawn LLP, in an article for Lexology, wrote that the Ninth
Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of five defendants in
a class action suit where a non-party, AC Referral, allegedly
violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) when it
sent unauthorized commercial text messages to individuals about
defendants' loan services.  Three payday lenders had hired
LeadPile, a vendor that provides consumer leads, and LeadPile
hired Click Media to obtain leads.  Click Media then hired AC
Referral, a lead generation vendor.  The plaintiff argued that
the defendants were vicariously liable for AC Referral's TCPA

The Ninth Circuit rejected the plaintiff's ratification theory
with respect to four of the defendants since AC Referral had no
contract with the defendants or the defendants' representatives,
and therefore, AC Referral was neither an agent nor a purported
agent of the four defendants.  The Ninth Circuit also rejected
the plaintiff's ratification theory as to the fifth defendant,
Click Media, even though Click Media had a contractual agency
relationship with AC Referral.  Notably, the court stated Click
Media could not be vicariously liable since the plaintiff failed
to provide evidence that Click Media either knew or reasonably
should have known that AC Referral was sending text messages in
violation of TCPA.  As such, the court disagreed with the
plaintiff's argument that a principal has a duty to investigate
whether an agent is in fact complying with the TCPA simply
because the agent contractually agreed to comply with the TCPA.

TIP: When hiring third party vendors, companies should
contractually ensure that vendors comply with the TCPA, including
obtaining prior express consent as required.  Although
contractual language will not provide immunity where a company
knows or should have known of TCPA violations, it can help
protect advertisers from violations that the advertiser is not
aware of. [GN]

ADECCO USA: Court Continues CMC in "Shepardson" to March 22
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
California issued an Order for Continuance of Case Management
Conference in the case captioned KAITLYN SHEPARDSON,
individually, and on behalf of other members of the general
public similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. ADECCO USA, INC, and
DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants, Case No. 3:15-cv-
05102-EMC (N.D. Cal.).

The Supreme Court held oral argument on October 2, 2017, and, as
of January 2018, the Supreme Court has yet to render a decision.
Accordingly, the parties request a 6-week continuance of the CMC.

Accordingly, the Plaintiffs and Defendant stipulated that the
case management conference be continued six (6) weeks to a date
after March 15, 2018.

The Court, accordingly, orders that the Case Management
Conference, now scheduled for February 1, 2018, is continued and
will be scheduled to take place on 3/22/18 at 10:30 a.m.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 29, 2018 Order
is available at https://tinyurl.com/yagztk5l from Leagle.com.

Kaitlyn Shepardson, individually, and on behalf of other members
of the general public similarly situated, Plaintiff, represented
by Matthew Righetti -- matt@righettilaw.com -- Righetti Glugoski,
P.C., John Glugoski -- jglugoski@righettilaw.com -- Righetti
Glugoski, P.C. & Michael C. Righetti -- mike@righettilaw.com --
Righetti Glugoski, P.C.

Adecco USA, Inc., Defendant, represented by Julie Erin Patterson
epatterson@bryancave.com, Bryan Cave LLP & Julie Westcott O'Dell
-- Julie.odell@bryancave.com -- Bryan Cave LLP.

ALABAMA: Court Awards $275K Attorney's Fees in "Hunter"
The United States District Court for the Middle District of
Alabama, Northern Division, issued an Opinion and Order granting
Parties' Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement in
the case captioned DEMONTRAY HUNTER, et al., Plaintiffs, v. LYNN
T. BESHEAR, in her official capacity as the Commissioner of the
Alabama Department of Mental Health, Defendant, Civil Action No.
2:16cv798-MHT (M.D. Ala.).

The claim presented in this litigation is that the Alabama
Department of Mental Health (ADMH) fails to provide timely
competency mental-health evaluations and restoration treatments
to pre-trial detainees. The claim rests on the Due Process Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment, as enforced through 42 U.S.C.
Section 1983.

The parties submitted a joint motion for preliminary approval of
a settlement.


The settlement agreement runs some 43 pages. It provides for the
following, inter alia:

Timely Provision of Court-Ordered Mental Evaluations and
Competency Restoration Treatment: The ADMH is required to provide
court-ordered mental evaluations and competency restoration
treatment within specified time periods:

   (1) Mental Evaluations: By 12 months after final approval, the
Department must conduct both inpatient and outpatient mental
evaluations within 45 calendar days of the date of ADMH's receipt
of the circuit court order mandating the evaluation, and the
clinician must submit a report with the findings from the
evaluation to the circuit court within 45 days of conducting the
evaluation. By 24 months after final approval, the time periods
are reduced to 30 days.

   (2) Competency Restoration Therapy and Treatment: By 12 months
after final approval, the Department must admit persons found
incompetent to stand trial and committed to its custody for
treatment into an institution suitable for treatment within 45
days. By 24 months after final approval, the time period is
reduced to 30 days.

Attorneys' Fees: The Department will pay plaintiffs' attorneys
$275,000 in fees and costs for services rendered through March
13, 2017. Thereafter, the Department will pay plaintiffs'
attorneys additional fees of $275 per hour for services rendered
through final approval, and $195 per hour for monitoring services
rendered by attorneys (subject to caps).

Class Certification: Rule 23(a) and (b)(2)

In order for any certification motion to succeed, the putative
class representatives must show that (1) the class is so numerous
that joinder of all members is impracticable; (2) there are
questions of law or fact common to the class; (3) the claims or
defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims
or defenses of the class; and (4) the representative parties will
fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.
Class certification also requires an examination of two
preliminary hurdles, which will be considered first: standing and


To show Article III standing, the named plaintiffs must show that
they have been injured, that their injuries are fairly traceable
to the defendant's conduct, and that a judgment in their favor
would likely redress their injuries.

The named pre-trial-detainee plaintiffs clearly have standing to
assert the claim in the complaint and now resolved in the
settlement agreement. Each is a pretrial detainee in the custody
of the Department, and (allegedly) has been made to wait for
admission to an ADMH-facility for a competency examination or
competency restoration treatment for periods of time that are so
substantial as to violate the Fourteenth Amendment. A judgment in
plaintiffs' favor would have remedied these alleged violations,
just as will this consent decree.

Clearly Defined and Ascertainable

The court need not conclude whether the ascertainability
requirement applies here, because even if the requirement did
apply, the proposed class definition would satisfy it. The
settlement class is limited to persons who have been charged with
a crime, committed to the custody of ADMH for an inpatient mental
evaluation or competency restoration treatment, and await
evaluations while being detained in an Alabama city or county
jail or ADOC facility. Accordingly, the class is ascertainable by
reference to the circuit court orders committing criminal
detainees to ADMH custody.

Rule 23(a)


Rule 23(a)(1)'s requirement of numerosity is satisfied if joinder
the usual method of combining similar claims would be

The parties submitted evidence, in the form of waiting-list
records for the ADMH's Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility,
indicating that, as of April 27, 2017, there were 32 current
class members.  The parties also represented that they identified
two additional current class members, bringing the total number
to 34.

In light of the evidentiary showing that there are at least --
and probably quite substantially more than -- 100 current class
members, and in light of precedent making clear that it is
appropriate in this context to consider future and as-yet-
unidentifiable class members in determining whether joinder is
impracticable or indeed impossible, the court finds that the
class meets the numerosity requirement of subpart (a)(1) of Rule


Subpart (a)(2) of Rule 23 requires plaintiffs seeking class
certification to show that "there are questions of law or fact
common to the class.

The named pretrial detainees have raised a single claim on behalf
of the class: whether the ADMH's failure to provide inpatient
mental-health services to the class in a timely manner, combined
with the class members' detention in a jail or prison, violates
their rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth

Plaintiffs not only alleged in their complaint that this failure
violated the Due Process Clause; they presented evidence to show
as much in support of their motion for a preliminary injunction.
While the court would of course have had to weigh this evidence
against any contrary evidence presented by defendant ADMH
Commissioner had this case proceeded to a merits adjudication,
plaintiffs affirmatively demonstrated their compliance with Rule

The commonality requirement is satisfied.


Although the commonality and typicality inquiries tend to merge,
the typicality requirement which is somewhat of a low hurdle
focuses on whether a sufficient nexus exists between the claims
of the named representatives and those of the class at large.
Moreover, the distinctions within the class are mirrored by the
named plaintiffs: the class consists of both (1) persons already
found incompetent and awaiting treatment, and seven named
plaintiffs are in that circumstance, and (2) persons awaiting an
inpatient competency examination, and one named plaintiff is in
that circumstance.

The court is satisfied that the named pretrial-detainee
plaintiffs, as a group, adequately represent the particular
interests of all class members.


Rule 23(a)(4) requires the court to find that the representative
parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the
class. This analysis encompasses two separate inquiries: (1)
whether any substantial conflicts of interest exist between the
representatives and the class; and (2) whether the
representatives will adequately prosecute Class counsel's
rationale for not pursuing further litigation is equally plain
from the fact that, after extensive negotiation and after filing
a motion for preliminary injunction, they reached a settlement
highly favorable to all members of the class. In this
circumstance, continued litigation would only serve to delay
class relief.

Rule 23(a)(4) is satisfied.

Settlement Approval: Rule 23(e)

Before approving a settlement agreement in a class action, a
court has a heavy, independent duty to ensure that the settlement
is fair, adequate, and reasonable.

Notice to Class Members

The court must ensure that all class members are informed of the
agreement[] and have the opportunity to voice their objections.
The notice and comment form and the agreement was mailed to class
members and their criminal defense counsel on May 22, 2017, and
class members, their representatives, and other interested
persons and groups were given until June 26, 2017, to submit
comments. Comments received by mail by June 30, 2017, were still
docketed. Seven written responses were received: five from
putative class members and two from criminal defense counsel of
putative class members. See Comments and Objections to Proposed
Settlement (doc. no. 69-1). In addition, the parties received two
calls from families of potential class members. See Joint
Statement (doc. no. 72) at 26.

The court concludes that the extensive measures undertaken by the
parties to provide notice of the agreement and invite the
feedback of current class members and others were sufficient to
satisfy the notice requirement of subpart (e) of Rule 23 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Objections and Comments

The court has carefully considered the comments and objections
filed by class members and their representatives. Although they
reflect existing problems with delays in providing inpatient
competency examinations and treatment, none calls into serious
question the fairness or adequacy of the settlement agreement.

View of the Parties

The parties contend that the settlement agreement is fair,
reasonable, and adequate. They contend that the settlement avoids
the necessity of complex and time-consuming litigation over
plaintiffs' claim while plaintiffs' conditions incarceration in a
city or county jail without adequate mental health treatment
requires time-sensitive relief.

Class Counsel and Fees: Rule 23(g) and (h)

Rule 23(g)

Subpart (g) of Rule 23 requires the court to appoint (and also to
assess the suitability of plaintiffs' counsel to serve as) class

These lawyers have also devoted a significant amount of time and
energy to identifying and developing the claim and evidence in
this case. They identified plaintiffs, investigated their
allegations, drafted a lengthy complaint, appeared at numerous
court hearings and conferences, participated in days of
mediation, and responded to questions raised by the court and
comments made by class members regarding the settlement

The court therefore concludes that plaintiffs' counsel should be
appointed class counsel.

Rule 23(h)

Subpart (h) of Rule 23 requires that, when class counsel seek
fees and costs that are authorized by law or by the parties'
agreement, they must move for those fees and provide notice to
the class.

The settlement agreement provides that defendants will pay
plaintiffs' counsel $275,000 for all fees and expenses incurred
up to March 13, 2017, $275 per hour plus reasonable expenses
incurred on and after March 14 until final settlement approval,
as well as additional fees (subject to caps) of $195.00 per hour
for attorneys and $65 for paralegals, law clerks, and members of
ADAP's monitoring unit for monitoring services. For litigation
arising out of the consent decree, plaintiffs' counsel will be
entitled to fees (again, subject to caps) only if the court finds
that their services were necessary and that they attempted to
resolve the issue informally.

In addition, plaintiffs' counsel request $275 per hour plus
reasonable expenses incurred for the period March 14 until final
settlement approval, as well as additional fees (subject to caps)
of $195.00 per hour for attorneys and $65 for paralegals, law
clerks, and members of ADAP's monitoring unit for monitoring
services. Evidence submitted by plaintiffs shows that this rate
is consistent with or below rates deemed reasonable in other
civil rights cases in Alabama. The court also finds the parties'
joint statement that plaintiffs' counsel expended 783.4 hours as
of March 13 to be entirely convincing, given the court's own
knowledge of the amount of time numerous attorneys have spent in
court and in mediation. Based on these findings, the lodestar
figure amounts to the $374,062.50 provided for in the settlement
agreement, of which the parties have negotiated a reduction to

The court is convinced that the experienced attorneys who
litigated this case, and who took it on without any guarantee of
compensation, would have been entitled to a higher hourly rate
had they litigated a contested fee motion.

The parties' settlement agreement as amended, is approved,
subject to the above constructions of Sections VIII, X.2, and

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 25, 2018 Order
is available at https://tinyurl.com/ycmrxyfa from Leagle.com.

Demontray Hunter, by and through his next friend Rena Hunter,
Russell D. Senn, by and through his next friend Irene Senn,
Travis S. Parks, by and through his next friend Catherine Young,
Vandarius S. Darnell, by and through his next friend, Bambi
Darnell, Frank White, Jr., by and through his next friend, Linda
White, Marcus Jackson, by and through his next friend Michael P.
Hanle, Timothy D. Mount, by and through his next friend, Dorothy
Sullivan, Henry P. McGhee, by and through his next friend,
Barbara Hardy, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated & Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, Plaintiffs,
represented by Henry F. Sherrod, III, Henry F. Sherrod III, PC,
Martha Geron Gadd, Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program
University of Alabama, Randall C. Marshall, ACLU of Alabama
Foundation, Inc., William Van Der Pol, Jr., Alabama Disabilities
Advocacy Program & Lonnie Jason Williams, Alabama Disabilities
Advocacy Program, 400 South Union Street, Suite 280. Montgomery,
Alabama 36104 United States.

Lynn T. Beshear, in her official capacity as Commissioner of the
Alabama Department of Mental Health, Defendant, represented by
Ashley Lane Nichols, Alabama Dept. of Mental Health, Edward Cary
Hixon, Alabama Department of Mental Health, Nancy Skipper Jones,
Alabama Department of Mental Health & Mental Retardation Bryce
Hospital Legal Office & Thomas Bailey Klinner, Alabama Department
of Mental Health. Po Box 301410, Montgomery, AL 36130.

AMD: Faces Class Action Over Meltdown, Spectre CPUB Flaws
Liam Tung, writing for ZDNet, reports that Intel rival AMD is
also facing a number of class-action lawsuits over how it's
responded to the Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws.

As The Register reports, four class-action complaints have been
filed against the chip maker seeking damages on behalf of
customers and investors.

The suits follow a warning from AMD in late January that warned
investors that it is "also subject to claims related to the
recently disclosed side-channel exploits, such as Spectre and
Meltdown, and may face claims or litigation for future

Intel revealed that it now faced 32 class-action lawsuits over
its handling of the Meltdown and Spectre issues and three
additional lawsuits over alleged insider trading.

AMD chips aren't affected by the Meltdown attack but, like Arm
and Intel, its processors have the same design flaws in its use
of speculative execution that enable the Spectre attacks.

Three of the four cases represent customers who'd bought AMD
processors.  The complaints note that AMD continued to market its
processors as high-performance chips despite knowing that this
level of performance was unattainable without exposing users to
the Spectre attack, and that mitigations would slow down

"Plaintiff and members of the Class would not have purchased or
leased -- or would have paid substantially less for -- AMD
processors (or devices containing AMD processors) had they known
of the Spectre defect and the reduction in processing performance
associated with efforts necessary to mitigate the substantial
security risks presented by the Spectre defect," reads one

The shareholder complaint seeks damages on behalf of anyone who
bought AMD shares in the year leading to January 11, 2018, the
date AMD admitted its processors were vulnerable to both variants
of the Spectre attacks and its share price fell by 0.99 percent.
Following the first media reports of the flaws AMD suggested it
wasn't vulnerable at all.

Another of the customer complaints calls out AMD's marketing for
the high-performance Rizen Threadripper 1950X and 1920 processors
which were launched in July and August 2017.

AMD said they delivered "uncompromising performance".  Google's
Project Zero researcher Jan Horn is said to have told AMD about
the flaws in early June 2017.

"Despite its knowledge of the Spectre Defect, AMD continued to
sell its processors to unknowing customers at prices much higher
than what customers would have paid had they known about the
Spectre Defect and its threat to critical security features as
well as on the processing speeds of the devices they purchased,"
the complaint reads.

Two of the law firms have also filed class-action lawsuits
against Intel, similarly alleging it is profiting from products
that it knows are defective and don't perform as advertised. [GN]

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI: Silicosis Settlement Provisions Hit Earnings
Ed Stoddard, writing for Reuters, reports that Africa's top
bullion producer AngloGold Ashanti posted lower annual earnings
on Feb. 20, hit by restructuring costs and $46 million in
provisions for an expected settlement in a class-action suit
related to a fatal lung disease.

"Adjusted headline earnings for 2017 include the impact of
retrenchment provisions in the South Africa region of $71 million
(post-tax) and the provision for the settlement of the silicosis
class action claims and related expenditure of $46m (post-tax),"
the company said.

A class action suit brought against gold producers in South
Africa is likely to be settled "within months" with 9 billion
rand ($755 million) going to miners suffering from fatal lung
disease, the chair of an industry group said.

The suit was launched almost six years ago on behalf of miners
suffering from silicosis, a fatal lung disease contacted by
inhaling silica dust in gold mines.

Almost all of the claimants are black miners from South Africa
and neighbouring countries such as Lesotho, whom critics say were
not provided with adequate protection during and even after
apartheid rule ended in 1994.

Gold mining companies have made provisions amounting to about 5
billion rand while close to 4 billion rand is available from a
compensation fund which bullion producers have been contributing
to for years.

AngloGold also said it had signed an agreement with the
government of Ghana to "provide the framework for the
redevelopment of the Obuasi Gold Mine into a modern,
productive mining operation."

"The redevelopment will establish Obuasi as a mechanised
underground mining operation. The approach to redeveloping the
Obuasi mine is a fundamental departure from how the mine was
operated in the past."

AngloGold Ashanti last year lifted a force majeure on Obuasi mine
after the removal of thousands of illegal miners who had invaded
the operation.

The invasion by illegal miners, who at one stage numbered 12,000,
had made Obuasi a toxic asset and underscored the social and
political risks of Africa mining.

The company declared a dividend of 70 South African cents per
share. [GN]

APPLE INC: Attorney Seek to Preserve iPhone Batteries as Evidence
On December 24th Patently Apple posted a Patently Legal report
titled "Apple has been Hit with a Third Battery Issue Related
Lawsuit by a Bay Area Resident."  Keaton Harvey from San
Francisco filed a class action.  Mr. Harvey's attorney stated at
the time that "Our case is simple.  The crux of the case is Apple
knew there was a problem and that they chose a software solution
for a hardware problem to prevent a recall.  It was a no-lose
situation for Apple."

Patently Apple learned that Mr. Harvey's attorney has asked a
federal judge to issue a preliminary injunction forcing Apple to
preserve batteries it is replacing as part of a rebate program.

The attorney initially called for the injunction in mid-January,
a few weeks after filing his lawsuit.  He said he feared Apple
would recycle all of the returned batteries, destroying critical

In January Patently Apple posted another legal report titled
"California Lawyer Files a Motion to Recoup the Old iPhone
Batteries Apple Swaps Out as Evidence in Class Action."  This was
the first time that a law firm sought to secure the batteries
from Apple to strengthen their Class Action. [GN]

APPLE INC: 9th Cir. Affirms Dismissal of iMessage Wiretap Suit
The United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, issued a
Memorandum affirming the District Court's order granting
Defendant's Motion for Summary Dismissal in the case captioned
ADAM BACKHAUT; KENNETH MORRIS, individually and on behalf of
themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-
Appellants, v. APPLE INC., Defendant-Appellee, No. 15-17523 (9th

Plaintiffs Adam Backhaut and Kenneth Morris were sent text
messages by users of Apple devices after Plaintiffs had switched
to using non-Apple phones.  Apple routed these messages via
iMessage, and as a consequence Plaintiffs never received those
messages.  Plaintiffs brought suit on behalf of themselves and a
putative class under Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and
Safe Streets Act of 1968 (Wiretap Act) and state law.  The
district court denied class certification and granted summary
judgment to Apple.  Plaintiffs appeal both rulings, arguing that
the district court erred in granting summary judgment on the
Wiretap Act claims and that class certification was improperly

The Wiretap Act imposes liability on any person, with some
exceptions, who "intentionally intercepts, endeavors to
intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor
to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication."

The initial misclassification of a text message to be sent via
iMessage, when that was no longer possible, to a person who was
no longer using an Apple device was not an interception within
the meaning of the Wiretap Act, as the district court reasoned.
The misclassification occurred when the recipient's phone number
was first entered in the "To" field by the user of the Apple
product trying to send a message. This misclassification occurred
before any message was sent, not during transmission of a
message.  Indeed, a user may enter a number and then change his
or her mind about sending a message at all. Further, a user can
override the classification of a text message as an iMessage by
manually directing the user's phone or other Apple product to
send the text via SMS/MMS instead.

Nor was there an interception simply because a message was
initially misclassified and sent via iMessage. Apple gave users
the option to elect to have an iMessage text sent via SMS/MMS if
the text was not delivered after five minutes. If a user selected
that option, then a message initially misclassified as an
iMessage would still successfully be delivered, and Plaintiffs
have conceded in their briefing that in those circumstances there
would be no interception.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 29, 2018
Memorandum is available at https://tinyurl.com/ybazvr9d from

BED BATH: Judge Trims Claims in Manager Overtime Class Action
Melissa Daniels, writing for Law360, reports that a New York
federal judge on Feb. 21 trimmed claims in a proposed class
action alleging Bed Bath & Beyond denied overtime payments
through the use of the fluctuating workweek payment model,
dropping claims from department managers while claims from
assistant managers remain in the litigation.

U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer issued a ruling on cross-
motions for summary judgment that found in Bed Bath & Beyond's
favor on overtime claims brought by department managers, saying
the retailer properly implemented a fluctuating workweek method
instead of the time-and-a-half pay the workers contend.

The case is Thomas et al v. Bed Bath And Beyond, Inc., Case No.
1:16-cv-08160 (S.D.N.Y.).  The case is assigned to Judge Paul A.
Engelmayer.  The case was filed October 18, 2016. [GN]

BRIDGETON LANDFILL: Responds to Radioactive Waste Class Action
Jessica Karins, writing for The St. Louis American, reports that
radioactive material came to St. Louis in the 1940s with World
War II, when a uranium processing plant was constructed downtown.
Years later, in the 1970s, radioactive waste from that site was
transported to the West Lake Landfill in the St. Louis County
suburb of Bridgeton.  That material is still impacting St. Louis
today, but residents in the surrounding area may be getting a ray
of hope in the form of a legal case.

Recently, the HBO documentary "Atomic Homefront" brought national
attention to the long struggle of North St. Louis residents to
gain accountability for the effects of radioactive waste dumped
at West Lake Landfill and Coldwater Creek.  Now, several law
firms are joining together to file a class-action lawsuit on
behalf of those impacted.

"This is an unacceptable violation of personal rights, property
rights, and at its core, the civil rights of all people adversely
impacted by this highly contaminated radioactive source," civil
rights attorney Anthony Gray said.

Gray, of Johnson Gray LLC, and class action attorney Ryan Keane
of Keane Law LLC hosted a press conference in St. Ann on February
20 to introduce the suit.  Their firms, along with several other
national firms, are filing two lawsuits against companies they
consider to hold responsibility for polluting residential areas.

One of the suits was filed on behalf of residents living around
the West Lake Landfill; the other was filed on behalf of those
living in the floodplain of Coldwater Creek.  Homes and other
properties around both sites have tested positive for high levels
of radiation.

The Environmental Protection Agency under Scott Pruitt agreed on
February 1 to remove the majority of the radioactive material
from the West Lake Landfill over a period of five years, but the
lawyers in this case said that is not enough.

"Too little has been done over the last several years, and over
the last several decades," Mr. Keane said.

"Atomic Homefront", which focuses on the efforts of citizen
activist group Just Moms STL, documents high incidences of rare
cancers in the areas around West Lake Landfill and Coldwater
Creek and highlights families who want to move away from the area
but, due to the plummeting property values of their homes, cannot
afford to.

According to Mr. Keane, tests done in preparation for the
lawsuits showed high levels of radiation within several homes and
businesses.  He also said an expert will testify that radioactive
materials were built into construction sites in Bridgeton, laid
underneath the foundations of homes.

Mr. Keane said the effects of the radioactivity could become even
more widespread if an underground chemical event that has been
burning at the landfill since at least 2010 reaches the
radioactive waste. The chemical reactions caused by this, he
said, could lead to contaminated rain which could impact the
entire region.

"People should be very upset about this," Mr. Keane said.  "They
should be fired up about this."

Defendants in the cases include Republic Services, Cotter Corp,
the City of St. Louis (as owner of the airport), and other
corporations that have handled waste disposal.  The attorneys
will seek damages for affected residents that could include
compensation, home buyouts and relocation, as well as a cleanup
of the sites.

Mr. Keane said homeowners in the area will receive a flyer
explaining the cases and containing a 1-800 number they can call
to learn more.

Bridgeton Landfill, LLC, responded, "The suit is without merit
and we will defend against it vigorously in court.  Federal and
state regulatory agencies, including the Agency for Toxic
Substances and Disease Registry of the Centers for Disease
Control, the U.S. EPA and the Missouri Department of Health &
Senior Services have all concluded, through years of study and
true science, that the landfill poses no risk to people outside
the landfill's property.  U.S. EPA also concluded that the
radiologically impacted material has not migrated offsite." [GN]

BUFFALO TRACE: Court Issues Opinion in False Advertising Case
Marc E. Sorini, Esq., of McDermott Will & Emery, in an article
for Mondaq, wrote that on February 5, 2018, the US District Court
for the Eastern District of Missouri issued an opinion in one of
the many false advertising class actions brought against the
industry in the past five years.

Penrose v. Buffalo Trace Distillery, E.D. Mo. 4:17-cv-00294-HEA,
involves the labeling of Old Charter bourbon.  For years, Old
Charter sold an 8-year-old version and a 12-year-old version,
with their labels very prominently displaying "8" and "12"
(respectively) in several places.  According to the complaint, in
January 2014 Old Charter "8" was re-formulated to use less-aged
bourbon, described by the court as "non-age stated" or "NAS"
bourbon.  The labels, however, continue to prominently display
the number "8" in the same manner as the prior label.  In
addition, while the label previously stated "aged 8 years," the
NAS bourbon's label states "gently matured for eight seasons."
The court's opinion catalogues a number of alleged complaints by
consumers that they were deceived into purchasing the NAS product
on the mistaken belief that the bourbon was still aged for eight
years.  Significantly, the complaint alleges that the price for
Old Charter "8" remained the same after the reformulation.

Based on these facts, four plaintiffs brought no fewer than ten
claims arising under false advertising and unfair competition
statutes of four states (Florida, Missouri, New York and South
Carolina), a host of common law theories, and the federal
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.  As is typical for these cases, the
three defendants (Buffalo Trace Distillery, Old Charter
Distillery Co., and parent company Sazerac) moved to dismiss.
The court's February 5 order grants in part and denies in part
the motion, but the overall decision clearly represents a win for
the plaintiffs.

The court denied the request to dismiss all the claims as a
matter of law, explaining that, "The Court cannot conclude as a
matter of law and at this stage of the litigation that the
packaging is not misleading, particularly in light of Plaintiffs'
allegations that previously, Old Charter was aged 8 years."

Like many other courts in similar cases, the court refused to
hold that approval of the Old Charter labels by the Alcohol and
Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) provides a "safe harbor"
defense to the defendants.

Because the plaintiffs' complaint did not set forth a written
warranty, the court dismissed plaintiffs' Magnuson-Moss Warranty
Act claim without prejudice.

Examining the allegations, the court concluded that the complaint
met the heightened pleading standards for fraud under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b).  According to the court, the
complaint adequately alleged "(i) the who: Old Charter; (ii) the
what: the number 8 on the bottles of Old Charter in several
spots; (iii) the when: purchases made beginning in January 2014
through the present; (iv) the where: on the label of Old Charter
Bourbon; (v) and the how: by representing that Old Charter was
aged 8 years."

The court denied the defendants' attempt to dismiss plaintiffs'
claim for unjust enrichment, explaining (in language that should
cause the defendants concern) "it appears to this Court that it
would be unjust to permit Defendants to retain the monetary
benefit derived from Plaintiffs' purchases if, in fact, its
labels are false or misleading."

As noted above, the complaint alleged breaches of the laws of
four states, seeking to certify a nationwide class. The court
deferred a decision on whether the plaintiffs can represent a
nationwide class, explaining that the issue is best handled at
the class certification stage of the proceedings.

The plaintiffs essentially conceded their negligent
misrepresentation claim, and it accordingly was dismissed without

The court refused to dismiss plaintiffs' express warranty claim,
explaining that the label could be construed as making an express
representation that the bourbon was aged for eight years.

The court dismissed plaintiffs' breach of the implied warranty of
merchantability claim, as nothing in the complaint alleged that
Old Charter "8" bourbon did not meet the minimum standards of

The court held that plaintiffs, who the complaint suggests will
not purchase Old Charter "8" in the future, lack standing to seek
injunctive relief.

While the court's February 5 order somewhat narrows the
plaintiffs' case, the bulk of the claims were allowed to
continue.  Throughout the opinion, the court placed great weight
on the combination of the "8" references on the label with the
product's prior history of being a bourbon aged for eight years.
Presumably, the court viewed this history as creating a consumer
expectation that made their reliance on the "8" references

The case will now likely proceed to the intrusive and expensive
"discovery" phase unless the parties can agree to a settlement.
Given the time and expense of litigation and the apparent
sympathy the court's opinion displayed towards the plaintiffs'
claims of deception, one must expect that the defendants will
give settlement serious consideration. [GN]

CANADA: Managing Class Action Proceedings Can Get Complex
Elizabeth Raymer, writing for Canadian Lawyer, reports that with
no national class litigation regime, managing class proceedings
in Canada can get complex.

In October 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Endean v.
British Columbia that provincial Superior Court judges may hear
motions in multi-jurisdictional class proceedings outside their
home provinces.  But to the extent that the bar was waiting for a
decision from the SCC that might provide some clarity on multi-
jurisdictional class actions, Endean failed to provide that.

Today, the class-action litigation bar is still waiting for a
case that will have a significant impact on the management of
multi-jurisdictional class proceedings; but practitioners see
other trends in this sector, such as a low threshold to class
certification and conflicting law on litigants' requirement to
show harm.

"I don't think [Endean] has resulted in a sea change, and I don't
think many people expected it to do so," says Ranjan Agarwal --
agarwalr@bennettjones.com -- litigation partner at Bennett Jones
LLP in Toronto, whose practice includes class actions.  When the
Endean case got up to the SCC, "it was argued on pretty narrow

Of the cases that have referred to Endean since that decision was
handed down, "in none of them have you seen the courts expanding
the powers of class action judges in a significant way," says
Sandra Forbes -- sforbes@dwpv.com -- partner at Davies Ward
Phillips & Vineberg LLP in Toronto, who specializes in dispute
resolution and competition litigation, including class actions.

Endean upheld the principle "that class-action legislation should
be interpreted broadly and consistent with the purpose of class
action, which is to provide access to justice," she says, and it
gave a very broad definition to the inherent jurisdiction of the

The Supreme Court "found that even if there was a province that
doesn't have a specific legislative provision that allows a
class-action judge to make whatever orders he or she thinks is
appropriate for the conduct of the action, that even if you don't
have that statute provision, a judge could find that power within
[his or her] inherent jurisdiction."

A national class action regime

In the United States, complex class action lawsuits are governed
by a multi-district litigation system: a federal legal procedure
designed to facilitate the processing of cases such as air
disaster litigation and complex product liability suits.

In Canada, though, there is no national class litigation regime,
a situation one practitioner has described as "a mess."

"We continue to labour under uncertainty regarding enforcement of
national class actions," says Brad Dixon -- BDixon@blg.com -- the
Vancouver-based national co-chairman of the Class Actions Group
for Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.  "You continue to see parties
bringing multiple settlement approval applications in multiple
jurisdictions, because if they proceed with a national class
action in one jurisdiction, the application may not 'stick.'"
The Endean approach may offer some efficiency, says Mr. Dixon,
but not a great deal and only under exceptional cases.

So, to the extent that there are multiple class actions across
the country, "you have multiple actions, not consolidated ones,"
says Eliot Kolers -- ekolers@stikeman.com -- head of the
Litigation & Dispute Resolution Group in the Toronto office of
Stikeman Elliott LLP.  "They're not managed by a single judge.
Endean doesn't change that."

In typical multi-jurisdictional class action litigation,
defendants and plaintiffs agree in which province the class
action should proceed, and law firms representing the various
plaintiffs and defendants across the country will join together
in representing the class or defending the action.  If British
Columbia is chosen as the jurisdiction, for example, then the
Ontario and Quebec cases would stay dormant, Mr. Kolers explains,
with each group of plaintiffs represented by counsel, often at
different firms and in their own provinces.

In this scenario, says Mr. Kolers, "If there's something that
needs national approval -- let's say one defendant settles --
then all three groups of plaintiffs, who are typically working
together, will bring settlement approval motions in each of their
own jurisdictions to get it approved in all three places before
the settlement is implemented."

A video-link hookup can link courtrooms in multiple provinces,
allowing participants to see all courtrooms simultaneously.  "One
counsel will take the lead, and the other counsel in other
provinces will watch on TV.  It's all being done at the same time
on the same day."  In the Endean case, the judges heard the
motion sitting together, in person, at the conference they all
happened to be attending on that day.  But, says Mr. Kolers,
"Until there's a national multi-district litigation system, a
case like Endean is more of a one-off."

In an article penned for the National Journal of Constitutional
Law in 2010, Peter Hogg and Gordon McKee questioned whether
national class actions were constitutional.  But, says
Mr. Agarwal, "There may be other models that could be adopted"
that may afford more co-operation between counsel and avoid
competing class actions, stay motions and carriage motions.

Yves Martineau -- ymartineau@stikeman.com -- partner in the
Litigation & Dispute Resolution Group of Stikeman Elliott's
Montreal office, says he has noticed "a great deal of co-
operation" among counsel in multi-jurisdictional class action
litigation over the past decade or so.  "Once litigants choose
their venues of preference to go to trial, judges in other
provinces will show deference to that choice and, as the Supreme
Court has said [in CanadaPost Corp. v. Lepine], they should . . .
have faith in fair treatment [by] all provinces."

In the end, though, "it's the court that will have the last word"
regarding jurisdiction in which to hear the class action, says

In 2009's Lepine case, the courts were "politely lectured" for
failing to provide the needed co-operation and more efficient
management between the courts, he says. That case involved two
class proceedings that gave rise to a situation of lis pendens,
as the Quebec proceeding had been commenced before the one in

"There was a problem with the courts being maybe over-protective
of their own citizens and not fully confident that they will get
as good a treatment in the 'foreign' or other provincial court,"
says Mr. Martineau.  "Kudos to the courts, starting with the
Supreme Court, and lower courts for how [the SCC's] message was
received and applied," he says, adding that "we're all the
better" for that decision.

Although a new Quebec Code provision, instituted at the beginning
of 2016, requires Quebec courts to protect the rights and
interests of Quebec residents in multi-jurisdictional class
actions when stays of proceedings are requested in Quebec,
Martineau says that the provision is simply a "codification" of
the principles that were already applied in Quebec courts.

Today, more and more, "you will see courts co-operating between
themselves" in multi-jurisdictional class actions, he notes.
"Each judge . . . will communicate with judges in charge of a
class action" on the same matter, he says.  "One judgment will
have impact" and litigants in other jurisdictions will generally
abide by that judgment.

Mr. Agarwal is also noticing a "modification of the rules" when
plaintiffs co-operate in class actions.  For example, he says,
Ontario has a cost regime whereas British Columbia does not, and
plaintiffs may decide to bring an action in Ontario but stipulate
that it be a no-cost regime, as in B.C.

Uneasy alliance

For defendants' counsel, Mr. Agarwal says, "We're seeing a lot of
co-operation among plaintiffs' lawyers, and the result is
everyone's come to an uneasy alliance."  But there remain pockets
of non-co-operation among plaintiffs' lawyers, where defendants
face class actions on the same issue in more than one common-law
province, he says.

"I think now defendants might . . . use the rules of the court
and say, 'I'm going to become a more aggressive party so that my
client is only facing one action as opposed to three or four

Look for defendants' counsel asking the court to make rulings "as
to how this is going to operate" if plaintiffs aren't co-
operating with each other, he says.

"I think we may be in for a little more aggressive maneuvering by
defendants as time goes on," with defendants moving on their own
to stay actions or moving under s. 6 in Saskatchewan's Class
Actions Act for an order for direction in how to manage the
actions, in cases where plaintiffs are not co-operating with each
other across jurisdictions.

Other class action litigation issues of concern to defense
counsel are not specifically multi-jurisdictional.

Low bar to certification

The bar to certification is low, especially in Ontario and
British Columbia, say Mr. Kolers and others.

"We don't feel that the plaintiffs are necessarily meeting the
evidentiary thresholds that they should be required to meet, in
competition cases, for example," he says.  "It sure would be nice
to have a [multi-district litigation system] system, but [it]
doesn't seem likely [that] we'll get one any time soon.  What
we're going to see is more of staying motions and procedural

BLG's Dixon calls it "a pendulum effect. . . . The certification
procedure isn't intended to be a procedure on the merits, but
[there] should be some basis in fact by the claim itself," he
says.  "The pendulum is swinging to a lower and lower threshold."

Requirement to show harm

Godfrey v. Sony Corporation involved an appeal from a B.C.
Supreme Court decision allowing certification of a class action
on behalf of both direct and indirect purchasers of optical disc
drives.  In the decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal,
handed down in August, the court decided on several certification
matters for class actions that could have wide-ranging effects on
competition class actions commenced in Canada.

One finding was that there was no requirement to show harm to all
members of a class, taking a broad interpretation of the Supreme
Court of Canada's decision in 2013's class action trilogy holding
that the commonality requirement is satisfied where the
plaintiffs present a plausible method to demonstrate that an
overcharge reached the indirect purchaser level of the
distribution channel, not each individual within that level.

There is an outstanding application for leave to appeal to the
Supreme Court on some of the issues raised in the case, says
Ms. Forbes.

"But the debate is what did [then Supreme Court of Canada]
Justice Rothstein mean when he said in [Pro-Sys Consultants Ltd.
v. Microsoft Corporation] that the plaintiffs have to show they
have a methodology that can prove damages on a class-wide basis?"
asks Forbes.  In a case where there are various levels of
purchasers, both direct and indirect, as are often seen in
competition and anti-trust cases, he says, "Do you have to show
that harm is passed on to the indirect purchaser level of the
class or does the plaintiff have to show some sort of methodology
that the trial judge can use at trial [as to] who in this class
was harmed and belongs in the class and who wasn't harmed and
shouldn't belong to the class? What has to be shown at

It's a "live legal issue," says Mr. Kolers, as part of the
current conflict between British Columbia and Ontario law (B.C.
has said that indirect purchasers' claims are valid, whereas
Ontario's Superior Court has said they are not; the Ontario Court
of Appeal has not ruled in its case yet).  By purporting to make
the conspirators liable for price hikes for everyone, it expands
the impact of harm claimed in compensation, he says. [GN]

CHIPOTLE MEXICAN: Court OKs $600K Attorney's Fees in "Harris"
The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota
issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order granting Plaintiffs' Motion
for Attorney's Fees and Expenses in the cases captioned Marcus
Harris, Julius Caldwell, Demarkus Hobbs, and Dana Evenson, on
behalf of themselves and all others, similarly situated,
Plaintiffs, v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., Defendant. DeShandre
Woodards, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated,
Plaintiff, v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., Defendant. Nos. 13-
cv-1719 (SRN/SER), 14-cv-4181 (SRN/SER) (D. Minn.).

The Named Plaintiffs were all hourly employees at the Chipotle
restaurant in Crystal, Minnesota (Crystal Restaurant). They
generally alleged that Chipotle maintained a company-wide
unwritten policy of requiring hourly-paid employees to work off
the clock and without pay, and they sought to recover allegedly
unpaid overtime compensation and other wages for themselves and
other similarly situated employees.

Shortly before this matter was scheduled for trial, the parties
reached a settlement. Under the terms of the settlement, Chipotle
agreed to pay Plaintiff Woodards and the 27 members of the Harris
collective the gross amount of $62,000.

Although the parties jointly move for the approval of the
settlement, Chipotle disputes the award of attorneys' fees.
Chipotle argues that because the matter settled and it has never
conceded liability, Plaintiffs cannot be considered prevailing
parties eligible for a fee award under the FLSA. But even if the
Court finds that Plaintiffs are eligible as prevailing parties,
Chipotle argues that Plaintiffs' counsel is only entitled to a
significantly reduced award.

The FLSA provides for attorneys' fees and costs, stating, The
court shall, in addition to any judgment awarded to the plaintiff
or plaintiffs, allow a reasonable attorney's fee to be paid by
the defendant, and costs of the action.

Each of the Plaintiff Firms contemporaneously recorded time and
expenses, using the following hourly rates: $600 for partners;
$450 for senior associates with five or more years of experience;
$350 for junior associates with less than five years of
experience; and $250 for paralegals.

The Court finds that Plaintiffs' requested rates do not
sufficiently distinguish between the variance in legal experience
at each timekeeper level instead they seek a flat rate of $600
per hour for partners, $450 for associates, and $250 for
paralegals. While Mr. Hnasko and Mr. Giebel have over 30 years of
legal experience, the most junior partner on the cases, Ms.
Sakura, has 14 years of legal experience. Yet Plaintiffs seek
compensation for all three partners at the rate of $600 per hour.
Similar experience variances exist among the associates and
paralegals. With paralegals, Plaintiffs have not indicated the
years of experience that Sonya Mares has, and only in a
supplemental declaration did they provide some information from
which the Court estimates that Ghandia Johnson has approximately
15-19 years of experience.  The Court is unable to determine the
experience level of Chad Brockman from the information provided
in the supplemental declaration. A reasonable rate should account
for varying levels of experience.

Based on all of the parties' materials and the Court's knowledge
of reasonable billing rates in the local community, the Court
reduces the requested hourly billing rates for all of the

These reductions are based on the Court's own experience, the
guidance of awards in similar cases, and the parties'
submissions. As the chart indicates, calculating the reasonable
hourly rates by the number of billed hours results in an initial
lodestar of $2,931,716.75 for Harris and $160,858.50 for

Reasonable Hours Expended

Unnecessary Work

Counsel from Bachus & Schanker explains that because Ms. Calandra
did not leave her own billing records when she left the firm,
Plaintiffs do not seek compensation for her work. The lack of
records for her work, however, does not require the deduction of
hours for other attorneys who may have consulted or worked with
her. And while Chipotle suggests that other counsel expended up
to 52.5 hours on Ms. Calandra's pro hac vice application,
Plaintiffs' counsel refutes any such notion, and the billing
entries in question include other work.  No deduction will be
taken on this basis.

Unsuccessful Efforts

Plaintiffs here were similarly motivated. Unlike Thompson,
however, this Court did conditionally certify the collective
here, albeit on a substantially more limited basis than
Plaintiffs requested. However, Plaintiffs also expended time
related to class action claims that they ultimately abandoned.
And while a fee award should not be reduced merely because a
party did not prevail on every theory raised in the lawsuit. The
Court finds that a percentage-based reduction of 10% reasonably
accounts for Plaintiffs' work on abandoned claims and
unsuccessful efforts to amend the pleadings.

Work Performed on Unrelated Litigation

No deduction will be taken on this basis. As the Plaintiff Firms
explain, counsel does not seek reimbursement from Chipotle for
work performed in other cases. Rather, counsel monitored similar
litigation against Chipotle in the course of performing work on
the instant cases. Monitoring related cases is an appropriate,
reasonable practice and does not warrant a reduction.

Administrative Tasks

Chipotle fails to identify billing entries by date and timekeeper
that it seeks to challenge. Lacking any specificity in Chipotle's
objections, the Court declines to take an 85% deduction for
excessive billing and yet another 85% deduction for excessive
staffing. The fact that multiple attorneys were involved in a
discussion about the case does not, by itself, mean that the time
spent was unreasonable or excessive.

On the other hand, the Court recognizes that Plaintiffs initially
contemplated a nationwide collective action, and were
unsuccessful in seeking conditional certification on a nationwide
basis. A nationwide collective action might have warranted
staffing of multiple attorneys in different states. But the
collective here was quite limited. For a collective action of
this size, the decision to continue utilizing multiple law firms
in multiple states resulted in more internal communication than
might reasonably be expected and some duplication of effort. For
example, while Plaintiffs deny that the work related to the Rule
30(b)(6) deposition was duplicative, they provide no further
detail explaining the need for two attorneys' attendance. In
addition, Plaintiffs actually added attorneys to these cases even
after the collective was limited to the Crystal Restaurant in
September 2014.

Under these circumstances, the Court finds that a reduction of
20% is warranted to more reasonably account for duplicative or
excessive work.

Vague Time Entries and Block Billing.

Block billing involves the lumping together of daily time entries
consisting of two or more task descriptions and the Eighth
Circuit has no requirement against its use. However, this billing
practice does make it difficult to determine how much time was
apportioned between tasks and whether that time was reasonable.
Where block-billed entries specifically describe tasks
accomplished, a blanket reduction for block billing is not
necessary.  The Court makes no specific deduction to account for
block billing, as other reductions account for block billing by
apportioning the work or by taking a percentage reduction in
light of the block-billed time entry.

The Court thus adjusts the lodestar as follows. For Harris, with
an initial lodestar of $2,931,716.75, the Court deducts 35% of
the lodestar (10% for duplicative work + 20% for
unsuccessful/abandoned work + 5% for vague entries = 35%), i.e.,
$1,026,100.86 and also deducts $9,528.75 for administrative work
($1,026,100.86 + $9,528.75 = $1,035,629.61 in total deductions),
for a lodestar total of $1,896,087.14 ($2,931,716.75 --
$1,035,629.61 = $1,896,087.14). For Woodards, with an initial
lodestar of $160,858.50, the Court also deducts 35% of the
lodestar (10% for duplicative work + 20% for
unsuccessful/abandoned work + 5% for vague entries = 35%), i.e.,
$56,300.48, for a lodestar total of $104,558.02 ($160,858.50 --
$56,300.48 = $104,558.02).

The Court therefore granted in part and denied in part the
Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorney Fees and Expenses, and for
Authorization to Deduct Service Awards from an Award of
Attorneys' Fees and/or Expenses.

With respect to Harris v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., 13-cv-
1719 (SRN/SER), the Court awards the Plaintiff Firms attorneys'
fees in the amount of $568,826.14, and costs in the amount of

With respect to Woodards v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., 14-cv-
4181 (SRN/SER), the Court awards the Plaintiff Firms attorneys'
fees in the amount of $31,367.41, and costs in the amount of

Service awards are granted to the Named Harris Plaintiffs as
follows: $15,000 for Marcus Harris, $15,000 for Julius Caldwell,
$7,500 for Dana Evenson, and $5,000 for DeMarkus Hobbs.

The Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement and to Dismiss Action
with Prejudice is granted.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 29, 2018
Memorandum Opinion is available at https://tinyurl.com/yb44yn39
from Leagle.com.

Marcus Harris, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly
situated & Julius Caldwell, on behalf of themselves and all
others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, represented by Adam S.
Levy, Law Office of Adam S. Levy LLC, 505 Willow Rd, Oreland,
Pennsylvania, 19075., pro hac vice, Andrew C. Quisenberry --
Andrew.Quisenberry@Coloradolaw.net -- Bachus & Schanker, LLC, pro
hac vice, Jere Kyle Bachus -- kyle.bachus@coloradolaw.net --
Bachus & Schanker LLC, pro hac vice, Kent M. Williams, Williams
Law Firm, 1632 Homestead Trail, Long Lake, Minnesota 55356 --
Kevin E. Giebel --  P.O. Box 414, Lake Elmo, Minnesota 55042;,
Giebel and Associates, LLC, Michael E. Jacobs, Hinkle Shanor LLP,
218 Montezuma Avenue, Santa Fe, New. Mexico 87501, Robert Joseph
Gralewski, Jr. -- bgralewski@kmllp.com -- Kirby McInerney LLP,
pro hac vice & Thomas M. Hnasko, Hinkle Shanor LLP, 218 Montezuma
Avenue, Santa Fe, New. Mexico 87501, pro hac vice.

Demarkus Hobbs, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly
situated & Dana Evenson, on behalf of themselves and all others
similarly situated, Plaintiffs, represented by Adam S. Levy, Law
Office of Adam S. Levy LLC, pro hac vice, Andrew C. Quisenberry,
Bachus & Schanker, LLC, Jere Kyle Bachus, Bachus & Schanker LLC,
pro hac vice, Kent M. Williams, Williams Law Firm, Kevin E.
Giebel, Giebel and Associates, LLC, Michael E. Jacobs, Hinkle
Shanor LLP & Robert Joseph Gralewski, Jr., Kirby McInerney LLP,
pro hac vice.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., Defendant, represented by Adam M.
Royval, Messner Reeves LLP, pro hac vice, Allison J. Dodd,
Messner Reeves LLP, pro hac vice, Douglas Charles Wolanske,
Messner Reeves LLP, 1430 Wynkoop Street, Suite 300, Denver,
Colorado 80202; pro hac vice, Jeffrey Sullivan Gleason --
JGleason@RobinsKaplan.com -- Robins Kaplan LLP, Jennifer M.
Robbins, Madel PA, John K. Shunk, Messner Reeves LLP, pro hac
vice, Kendra Nychel Beckwith, Messner Reeves LLP, 1430 Wynkoop
Street, Suite 300, Denver,. Colorado 80202; pro hac vice, Richard
Simmons, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, Forty-Third
Floor, 333 South Hope Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071-1448,  pro
hac vice, Scott L. Evans, Messner Reeves LLP, pro hac vice &
Spencer Kontnik, Messner Reeves LLP, 1430 Wynkoop Street, Suite
300, Denver, Colorado 80202; pro hac vice.

CIT GROUP: Faces Jones Real Estate Suit in S.D. New York
A class action lawsuit has been filed against The CIT Group, Inc.
The case is styled as Jones Real Estate, Inc. doing business as:
Jones Realty, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff v. The CIT Group, Inc., Avatel Technologies,
Inc. and CIT Bank, N.A., Defendants, Case No. 1:18-cv-01949-PKC
(S.D. N.Y., March 5, 2018).

CIT Group Inc. is a financial holding company headquartered in
New York City.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Jason Kyle Whittemore, Esq.
   Wagner McLaughlin, P.A.
   601 Bayshore Boulevard, Suite 910
   Tampa, FL 33606
   Tel: (813) 225-4000
   Fax: (813) 225-4010
   Email: jason@wagnerlaw.com

The Defendants are represented by:

   Cory William Eichhorn, Esq.
   Holland & Knight LLP
   701 Brickell Avenue, Suite 3300
   Miami, FL 33131
   Tel: (305) 374-8500
   Fax: (305) 789-7799
   Email: cory.eichhorn@hklaw.com

      - and -

   Cynthia G. Burnside, Esq.
   Holland & Knight LLP
   1180 West Peachtree St. Nw, Suite 1800
   Atlanta, GA 30309
   Tel: (404) 817-8568
   Fax: (404) 881-0470
   Email: cynthia.burnside@hklaw.com

      - and -

   Gregory J. Digel, Esq.
   Holland & Knight LLP
   1180 W. Peachtree Street NW, Suite 1800
   Atlanta, GA 30309
   Tel: (404) 817-8500
   Email: greg.digel@hklaw.com

      - and -

   Randall Jay Love, Esq.
   Randall J. Love, P.A.
   7236 State Road 52, Suite 13
   Bayonet Point, FL 34667
   Tel: (727) 857-6030
   Fax: (727) 857-6052
   Email: mmjlove@aol.com

CJS SOLUTIONS: Court Denies Prelim Approval of "Sanders" Deal
The United States District Court for the Southern District New
York issued an Opinion and Order denying Plaintiffs' Motion for
Preliminary Approval of a Settlement Class in the case captioned
ALLEN, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated,
Defendant, No. 17 Civ. 3809 (ER) (S.D. N.Y.).

Plaintiffs Patricia Sanders, Anthony Wilson, Jaimey Garrett, and
Danois Allen (Named Plaintiffs) brought the action against
Defendant The CJS Solutions Group, LLC (HCI) claiming violations
of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state wage and hour
and unjust enrichment laws.

Plaintiffs allege that they were classified by HCI as independent
contractors, when in reality they were employees. Plaintiffs
allege that their consulting services were an integral part of
HCI's business because Plaintiffs supported and trained HCI
clients in connection with the implementation of electronic
recordkeeping systems. Plaintiffs also allege that HCI instructed
them on how to do their work and dictated the details of their
job performance.

Proposed Settlement Agreement

The Settlement Agreement reached by the parties provides that
Defendants will pay up to $3,240,000.000 (Gross Settlement
Amount) in exchange for the release of the Named Plaintiffs'
Released Claims and the Class Members' Released Claims.
The approval of a proposed class action settlement is a matter of
discretion for the trial court. In exercising this discretion,
courts should give proper deference to the private consensual
decision of the parties.

Here, the Court finds that probable cause does not exist to hold
a full-scale hearing as to the fairness of the Settlement
Agreement for two reasons.

First, this Court may not approve FLSA settlements containing an
overbroad release that would waive practically any possible claim
against the defendants, including unknown claims and claims that
have no relationship whatsoever to wage-and-hour issues. Courts
in this District routinely reject release provisions that `waive
practically any possible claim against the defendants, including
unknown claims and claims that have no relationship whatsoever to
wage-and-hour issues.

Here, because the Named Plaintiff release is non-mutual and far
exceeds the scope of the FLSA, this Court finds that it cannot
preliminarily approve the Settlement Agreement.

Second, Plaintiffs argue that the Settlement Agreement is fair
because the Gross Settlement Amount represents almost 100% of
unliquidated damages that would be owed if Plaintiffs prevailed
on all of their claims. But the parties do not explain what the
range of possible recovery for any Plaintiff is, nor do they
attach any documentary evidence in support of their statement
that $3 million is the highest recovery the settlement class
could anticipate. Other courts in this District have rejected
settlements when the parties do not present sufficient
information regarding the range of recovery, as in the absence of
such information, the Court cannot discharge its duty to ensure
that the proposed settlement is fair and reasonable.

Although the Gross Settlement Amount may be imminently
reasonable, the Court cannot judge its fairness without more
information on the Plaintiffs' possible recovery. The Court must
therefore deny Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary approval.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 29, 2018 Opinion
and Order is available at https://tinyurl.com/y9tnwuo4 from

Patricia Sanders, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated & Anthony Wilson, individually and on behalf
of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, represented by
Harold Lichten -- hlichten@llrlaw.com -- Lichten & Liss-Riordan,
P.C., Camille Fundora -- cfundora@bm.net -- Berger & Montague,
P.C., David M. Blanchard -- blanchard@bwlawonline.com --
Blanchard & Walker PLLC, Eric Lechtzin -- elechtzin@bm.net --
Berger & Montague, P.C., Olena Savytska -- osavytska@llrlaw.com -
- Lichten & Liss-Riordan PC, Sarah Schalman-Bergen -- sschalman-
bergen@bm.net -- Berger & Montague, P.C., Shanon Jude Carson --
scarson@bm.net -- Berger & Montague, P.C. & Jill Stephanie Kahn -
- jkahn@llrlaw.com -- Lichten & Liss-Riordan PC.

Jaimey Garrett, Consolidated Plaintiff, represented by Beth Ellen
Terrell -- bterrell@terrellmarshall.com -- Terrell Marshall Law
Group PLLC, pro hac vice, Jennifer Rust Murray --
jmurray@tmdwlaw.com -- Terrell Marshall Daudt & Willie PLLC, pro
hac vice, Jill Stephanie Kahn, Lichten & Liss-Riordan PC, Sarah
Schalman-Bergen, Berger & Montague, P.C. & Shanon Jude Carson,
Berger & Montague, P.C.

Danois Allen, Consolidated Plaintiff, represented by Sarah
Schalman-Bergen, Berger & Montague, P.C.

The CJS Solutions Group, LLC, doing business as The HCI Group,
Defendant, represented by Gena Brooke Usenheimer --
gusenheimer@seyfarth.com -- Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Patrick Bannon --
pbannon@seyfarth.com -- Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Richard L. Alfred --
ralfred@seyfarth.com -- Seyfarth Shaw LLP & Anne Bider --
abider@seyfarth.com --  Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

COCA-COLA COMPANY: "Becerra" Suit Brought Before 9th Cir.
The case styled as Shana Becerra, on behalf of herself, all
others similarly situated, and the general public, Plaintiff v.
The Coca-Cola Company, Defendant, Case No. 18-15365 was brought
before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
on March 5, 2018.

The Coca-Cola Company, which is headquartered in Atlanta,
Georgia, but incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware, is an American
multinational beverage corporation, and manufacturer, retailer,
and marketer of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Jack Fitzgerald, Esq.
   The Law Office of Jack Fitzgerald, PC
   3636 Fourth Avenue, Suite 202
   San Diego, CA 92103
   Tel: 619-692-3840

The Defendant is represented by:

   Jane Metcalf, Esq.
   Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
   1133 Avenue of the Americas
   New York, NY 10036
   Tel: 212-336-2000

      - and -

   Tammy Beth Webb, Esq.
   Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP
   One Montgomery Tower, Suite 2700
   San Francisco, CA 94104
   Tel: 415-544-1900

      - and -

   Catherine A. Williams, Esq.
   Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
   1133 Avenue of the Americas
   New York, NY 10036
   Tel: 212-336-2000

      - and -

   Steven A. Zalesin, Esq.
   1133 Avenue of the Americans
   New York, NY 10036-6710
   Tel: 212-336-2110

COMMERCE ENERGY: Court Provides Basis for OT Pay Computation
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
Ohio issued an Opinion and Order providing basis for overtime pay
computation in the case captioned DAVINA HURT, et al.,
Plaintiffs, v. COMMERCE ENERGY, INC., et al., Defendants, Case
No. 1:12-CV-758 (N.D. Ohio).

The parties dispute two issues regarding the calculation of
damages.  The parties disagree as to (1) what rate this Court
should use for calculating overtime pay under the Ohio Wage Act
for the Rule 23 Ohio employee class and (2) whether regional
distributors should receive damages.

Plaintiffs brought (1) a class action under the Ohio Minimum Fair
Wage Standards Act (Ohio Wage Act) for overtime pay and (2) a
collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for
minimum wage and overtime pay.

Defendants argue that because the Rule 23 class members received
commissions, they are entitled to overtime pay at only one-half
their applicable rate for hours worked above the maximum pursuant
to 29 C.F.R. Section 778.118.

Plaintiffs argue that a one-half rate cannot be applied
retroactively to calculate overtime pay when employers are found
to have misclassified their employees as exempt from overtime

The Court agrees with Defendants.

29 C.F.R. Section 778.118 explains how overtime pay should be
calculated under the FLSA for employees who receive commissions
which is the case here. Under that regulation, an employee's
regular rate must be calculated by dividing the employee's weekly
commission by the total number of hours the employee worked that
week. Employees who receive commissions are then paid extra
compensation at one-half of that rate for each hour worked in
excess of the applicable maximum hours standard. To hold
otherwise would be to read more complexity into Section 778.118
than is indicated by a plain reading.

Plaintiffs' arguments for a 1.5 multiplier are not persuasive.

In Plaintiffs' cited cases, the courts required overtime pay at
1.5 the regular rate for hours worked above the statutory maximum
because employers had misclassified their salaried employees as
exempt from overtime pay.20 Had the employers not misclassified
their employees, the employers would have had to pay their
salaried employees overtime pay pursuant to 29 C.F.R. Section
778.114. Under Section 778.114, employers must have a clear
mutual understanding with their salaried employees that their
fixed salary is compensation for hours worked each workweek,
whatever their number. Nevertheless, under Section 778.114, the
employer cannot pay less than minimum wage for all hours worked
and, for overtime hours, less than one-half the regular rate of

Contrary to Plaintiffs' assertions, Defendants do not argue that
regional distributors should be categorically exempt from being
paid minimum wage or overtime pay. Rather, Defendants only argue
that regional distributors should be paid minimum wage or
overtime pay for only the workweeks in which they actually
performed door-to-door work.

The Court agrees with Defendants.

FLSA claims are evaluated on a workweek-by-workweek basis. The
same is true with the Ohio Wage Act, as Ohio Wage Act claims are
evaluated like FLSA overtime claims.  Here, the Court certified a
Rule 23 class under the Ohio Wage Act and an FLSA collective
action for those plaintiffs who had the job of going door-to-door
for Just Energy.

Pursuant to this definition then, the regional distributor
plaintiffs can only claim damages under the FLSA and Ohio Wage
Act for the workweeks in which they actually performed door-to-
door work.

The Court finds that Defendants must calculate overtime pay at
one-half the employees' applicable rate for each hour worked in
excess of the applicable maximum hours standard. The applicable
rate is the greater of the employees' regular rate or the minimum
wage rate. The Court also finds that regional distributors'
overtime pay is a factual determination left to the Magistrate

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 29, 2018 Opinion
and Order is available at https://tinyurl.com/yc65pxkj from

Davina Hurt, Individually and on behalf of all other similarly
situated, Plaintiff, represented by David Aron Katz, 50 Public
Square. 842 Terminal Tower. Cleveland, Ohio 44113; Frank A.
Bartela -- fbartela@dworkenlaw.com -- Dworken & Bernstein, Murray
Richelson, Law Office of David A. Katz, 50 Public Square. 842
Terminal Tower. Cleveland, Ohio 44113,  Nicole T. Fiorelli --
nfiorelli@dworkenlaw.com -- Dworken & Bernstein, Patrick J.
Perotti  -- pperotti@dworkenlaw.com -- Dworken & Bernstein, James
A. DeRoche -jderoche@garson.com -- Garson Johnson, Kristen M.
Kraus -- kmkraus@dworkenlaw.com -- Dworken & Bernstein & Richard
N. Selby, II -- rselby@dworkenlaw.com -- Dworken & Bernstein.
Dominic Hill, Individually and on behalf of all other similarly
situated, Plaintiff, represented by David Aron Katz, Frank A.
Bartela, Dworken & Bernstein, Murray Richelson, Law Office of
David A. Katz, Nicole T. Fiorelli, Dworken & Bernstein, Patrick
J. Perotti, Dworken & Bernstein, Kristen M. Kraus, Dworken &
Bernstein & Richard N. Selby, II, Dworken & Bernstein.

Commerce Energy, Inc, doing business as Just Energy doing
business as Commerce Energy of Ohio, Inc., Just Energy Marketing
Corp & Just Energy Group, Inc., Defendants, represented by
Jennifer L. Schilling -- jschilling@littler.com -- Littler
Mendelson, Alexander R. Frondorf -- afrondorf@littler.com --
Littler Mendelson, Bradley A. Sherman, Sherman Boseman Legal
Group, Edward H. Chyun -- echyun@littler.com -- Littler
Mendelson, Robert M. Wolff -- rwolff@littler.com -- Littler
Mendelson & Shannon K. Patton -- spatton@littler.com -- Littler

CYPRESS SECURITY: Faces "Escobar" Suit in Cal. Superior Court
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Cypress Security,
LLC a California limited liability company. The case is styled as
Carlos Escobar, individually and on behalf of himself and all
others similarly situated, and the general public, Plaintiff v.
Cypress Security, LLC a California limited liability company and
Does 1 to 50 inclusive, Defendants, Case No. CGC18564791 (Cal.
Super. Ct., March 5, 2018).

Cypress Security, LLC was founded in 2004. The Company's line of
business includes providing detective, guard, and armored car

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Norman B. Blumenthal, Esq.
   Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik
   2255 Calle Clara La Jolla
   CA 92037
   Tel: (858) 551-1223
   Fax: (858) 551-1232
   Email: norm@bamlawca.com

DEER TRACK: Class Action Over Environmental Issue Settled
Alan Blondin, writing for Myrtle Beach Online, reports that after
about a decade of separate court battles, the former North and
South courses at Deer Track Golf Resort in Deerfield Plantation
are largely slated to become housing developments that are either
under construction or planned.

About three-quarters of the two former courses are earmarked to
become residential housing, as about all that remains of the more
than 300-acre property that has not been submitted for
redevelopment to the Horry County Planning & Zoning Department is
the front nine of the former North Course.

The courses have been closed since 2006 but remained vacant and
reclaimed by nature as residents of both courses attempted to
avoid redevelopment through lawsuits.  The key rulings against
homeowners came in 2014 for the North Course and late in 2015 for
the South Course.

On the North Course, the D.R. Horton development the Retreat at
Ocean Commons is well underway with several homes and some paved
roads already built.

According to submissions to Horry County planning and the D.R.
Horton website, it will feature about 155 single-family lots with
minimum lot sizes of 6,000 square feet and seven ponds to help
with storm drainage.

It will be built in four stages. The first phase is under
construction, the second phase has received construction plan
approval, and the third and fourth phases are in the review

Nearby on the former back nine of the North Course will be
Montage at Ocean Commons, which is zoned for 73 much larger
14,500 square-foot lots that will feature custom and semi-custom
homes, according to the Ocean Commons website.  A homebuilder has
not been declared, according to Horry County planning.

Montage at Ocean Commons will be built in three phases.  The
first phase has received construction plan approval and the other
two are in the review stage.

The Deer Track Golf Resort clubhouse, which was part of the North
Course property, has been torn down and grass is being planted in
its place.

The South Course will be nearly fully redeveloped.

Beverly Homes is building Ocean Palms, which company owner Randy
Beverly said will include 266 single-family homes on minimum
6,000-square-foot lots selling for between $250,000 and $350,000,
a pool and clubhouse.  Ocean Palms has received construction plan
approval and is still in the early stages of development, as some
pond and infrastructure work has begun.

The most recent development plan submitted to Horry County
planning in Deerfield is called Beach Village, and the
homebuilder hasn't been identified.

The proposed development includes 140 single-family lots that are
a minimum of 6,000 square feet.

The former South Course land was freed for redevelopment late in
2015 when the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the
property owner could receive a previously approved general permit
for storm water discharge.

The environmental issue was the last attempt by homeowners to
prohibit redevelopment after a class action lawsuit filed by some
homeowners was settled.  The South Carolina Environmental Law
Project of Georgetown represented the property owners association
in the failed Supreme Court appeal of the storm water permit

In 2014, the S.C. Supreme Court denied a petition to hear a class
action lawsuit attempting to prohibit redevelopment filed by
homeowners around the former North Course.  The denial ended a
series of appeals. [GN]

DOLLAR TREE: "Natskakula" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid Wages
Donna Natskakula, on behalf of herself and others similarly
situated v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., Case No. 18-002734 (Fla.
Cir., February 5, 2018), seeks to recover unpaid wages under the
Fair Labor Standards Act.

Plaintiff Donna Natskakula was employed by Defendant on or around
September 2016 until December 2017 as an assistant store manager.

Dollar Tree, Inc. is an American chain of discount variety stores
that sells items for $1 or less. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      J. Freddy Perera, Esq.
      Valerie Barnhart, Esq.
      12555 Orange Drive, Suite 268
      Davie, FL 33330
      Tel: (786) 485-5232
      E-mail: freddy@pererabarnhart.com

DRUG DEPOT: Court Certifies Class in "Fauley" TCPA Suit
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois, Eastern Division, issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order
granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification in the case
captioned SHUAN FAULEY, individually and on behalf of a class of
similarly-situated persons, Plaintiff, v. DRUG DEPOT, INC., a/k/a
APS PHARMACY and JOHN DOES 1-10, Defendants, No. 15 C 10735.
(N.D. Ill.), and denying Defendant's Motion to Exclude Expert

The Defendant moved to exclude the expert report under Daubert
alleging that it is merely cumulative and the conclusions are
within the ken of the average juror and therefore not helpful,
and as such should be excluded pursuant to Fed. R. Evid, 702.

Fauley is a veterinarian who received a fax advertisement from
Defendant Drug Depot, Inc. a/k/a APS Pharmacy  soliciting a
variety of veterinary medicine compounds made by APS.  Fauley, an
Illinois resident, alleges violations of the TCPA as amended by
the Junk Fax Prevention Act, and now moves to represent a class
of individuals seeking damages as a result of receiving
unsolicited fax advertisements from APS, a Florida corporation
that compounds pharmaceuticals for sale by veterinarians. Fauley
claims that APS sent 78,536 faxes over 23 separate broadcasts.

Fauley proposes two specific classes described as follows:

     Class A: All persons or entities who were successfully sent
a Fax stating, APS Pharmacy, and containing the phrase Fax Order
To: (727) 785-2502, on July 22, 2013, and on September 30, 2013.

     Class B: All persons or entities who were successfully sent
a Fax stating, APS Pharmacy, and containing the phrase Fax Order
To (727) 785-2502, on February 27, 2012, March 7, 2012, March 30,
2012, June 4, 2012, August 20, 2012, January 25, 2013, February
11, 2013, February 18, 2013, February 28, 2013, March 25, 2013,
March 26, 2013, July 1, 2013, July 22, 2013, August 5, 2013,
September 30, 2013, March 18, 2014, August 8, 2014, April 27,

The TCPA makes it unlawful to send unsolicited advertisements via
fax. Exceptions include that a sender may submit unsolicited
advertisements if there is an established business relationship
("EBR") with the recipient, if the sender obtained the
recipient's number through voluntary communications or a
directory, or if the advertisements contain a proper "opt-out"

APS moves to strike the Report and testimony by Biggerstaff as
lacking scientific reliability and because the expert opinion
provides cumulative evidence already available in the record.
APS further contends that the information in the Report is not
helpful because it does not provide information beyond the ken of
the average juror and is therefore unnecessary.

Under Federal Rule of Evidence 702, a witness who is qualified as
an expert may testify in the form of an opinion if the expert's
scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help
the trier of fact, and if the testimony is the product of
reliable principles and methods.

APS moved to exclude the Report because the expert's opinion
merely condenses and recites the number of fax transmissions sent
by APS which is evidence that the parties already have in their
possession and the expert analysis does not furnish additional
information that would be outside the grasp of the average juror.
However, the report also details how faxes are sent and how a
party determines whether a fax was successfully transmitted. This
type of evidence matters because the successful transmission of a
fax is a crucial part of finding a party in violation of the

Additionally, Fauley alleges that APS no longer has any of its
own records of client consent logs or proof of EBRs (established
business relationships), or that this information was lost at
some point in time, and that those records would verify whether
APS authorized the broadcast of fax advertisements. What is more,
this type of expert report has been accepted in similar TCPA
complaints in the past. Biggerstaff's background and history
qualify him to give an expert opinion based on his specialized
knowledge and skills; his Report aids the Court in determining
how many individuals may be in the class; the testimony is based
on sufficient facts and data; the testimony rests on reliable
principles and methods of data recovery and analysis; and
Biggerstaff applied those principles accordingly.

Therefore, the motion to exclude the Report and the use of
Biggerstaff's testimony at trial is denied.

Challenges to Class Certification

Rule 23(a) Prerequisites

Fauley Satisfies Numerosity

The Court may apply common sense in determining that there exist
at least 40 class members when a defendant successfully transmits
more than 78,000 individual fax advertisements during a given
period of time.

Fauley Satisfies Commonality

Here, Fauley alleges that APS sought out a third party mass-
advertiser to send out faxed advertisements to thousands of phone
numbers. Fauley supports this allegation with evidence of the
September 30, 2013 advertisement that he received from ProFax, of
which he is one of almost 6,000 numbers listed on the fax
invoice. He further supports this with information from the
Report of another twenty-two fax broadcasts by ProFax on behalf
of APS and resulting in over 78,000 successful faxes. This
qualifies as standardized conduct towards a proposed class.
Accordingly, Fauley meets the commonality requirement.

Fauley Satisfies Typicality

Under 23(a)(3), the claims or defenses of the representative
parties must be typical to the class.

The fax received by Fauley on September 30, 2013 was one of
almost 6,000 sent out by ProFax that day on behalf of APS. Then,
Fauley further alleges that APS sought similar services from
ProFax on twenty-two other occasions and that resulted in the
successful transmission of over 78,000 fax-advertisements. Where
claims stem from the same event, practice, or legal theory, they
are said to be typical.

Fauley Satisfies Representation

Plaintiff, who is a veterinary doctor, received a fax
advertisement from APS, which he claims was unsolicited. He is
precisely the type of professional that APS would target with
such advertisements. He does not indicate any animosity towards
other potential class members and stated that he understands his
obligations as a class representative during his deposition.
Furthermore, counsel for Plaintiff appears to have diligently
worked on his behalf for over two years of litigation, including
defending against a motion to dismiss, as well as conducting
discovery and by hiring an expert. There do not appear to be any
particular conflicts of interest between the Plaintiff and the
putative class, or on the part of Plaintiff's counsel.

The Class is Identifiable

To achieve ascertainability the Court looks to three common
problems tending to frustrate attempts at certification:
vagueness, classes defined by subjective criteria, and classes
defined in terms of success on the merits.

Fauley's two class definitions are specific, are not defined in
terms of success on the merits, and focus on objective actions
taken by APS. As noted above, the classes are defined objectively
by whether or not a potential class member received a fax
advertisement from the Defendants on particular dates between
2012 and 2015 that was unsolicited.

Satisfaction of Rule 23(b)(3)

The Plaintiff here cites to 23(b)(3) whereby the Court must
establish that the questions of law or fact common to class
members predominate over any questions affecting only individual
members, and that a class action is superior to other available
methods for fairly and efficiently adjudicating the controversy.
APS argues they are not liable under the TCPA because they had
permission to send the faxes or that the faxes contained a valid
opt-out clause. As such, liability is the predominant issue and,
when issues relates to potential liability are common to the
class, a class action will achieve economies of time and expense.

The Court denies Defendants' motion to exclude the expert report
and testimony, and grants Plaintiff's motion for class

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 29, 2018
Memorandum Opinion and Order is available at
https://tinyurl.com/y75snf36 from Leagle.com.

Shaun Fauley, individually and as the representative of a class
of similarly-situated persons, Plaintiff, represented by Brian J.
Wanca -- bwanca@andersonwanca.com -- Anderson & Wanca, Glenn L.
Hara -- ghara@andersonwanca.com -- Anderson & Wanca, Ross Michael
Good -- rgood@andersonwanca.com -- Anderson Wanca, Ryan M. Kelly
-- rkelly@andersonwanca.com -- Anderson & Wanca & Wallace Cyril
Solberg -wsolberg@andersonwanca.com -- Anderson Wanca.

Drug Depot, Inc., also known as APS Pharmacy, Defendant,
represented by David A. Wheeler -- dwheeler@chapmanspingola.com -
- Chapman Spingola, LLP, Douglas F. McMeyer --
dmcmeyer@chapmanspingola.com -- Chapman Spingola, LLP, David F.
Hassett -- dhassett@hassettanddonnelly.com -- Hassett & Donnelly,
P.c., John M. Dealy -- jdealy@hassettanddonnelly.com -- Hassett &
Donnelly, P.c. & Tanya Kristina Foronda Solis, Chapman Spingola,

EAGLE NATIONAL: Court Dismisses "Edmondson" RESPA Suit
The United States District Court for the District of Maryland
issued a Memorandum Opinion granting Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss the case captioned MARY E. EDMONDSON, Plaintiff, v. EAGLE
NATIONAL BANK, et al., Defendants, Civil Action No. RDB-16-3938
(D. Md.).

The Class Action Complaint in this case alleges in one count that
the Defendant financial institutions, Eagle National Bank, Eagle
Nationwide Mortgage Company, Eagle National Bancorp, Inc., ESSA
Bancorp, Inc., and ESSA Bank & Trust (Defendants) violated the
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) (a) and (b), by
entering into a kickback scheme whereby the Defendants received
unearned fees from Genuine Title, LLC for referrals.

Fangman v. Genuine Title (RDB-14-0081)

The alleged kickback scheme in this case involves Genuine Title,
LLC ("Genuine Title"), which has an extensive history with this
Court.  In December 2013, Edward and Vickie Fangman (represented
by the same counsel involved in this case) filed a complaint
against Genuine Title involving essentially identical allegations
in the Circuit Court of Baltimore County that was removed to this
Court in January 2014. Fangman v. Genuine Title, LLC, Case No.
RDB-14-0081 (D. Md.).

Plaintiffs in Fangman filed a Second Amended Complaint on May 20,
2015, adding additional parties and clarifying some of their
previous allegations. The Defendant Eagle National Bank filed a
Motion to Dismiss on July 21, 2015. At oral argument before this
Court in November 2015, Plaintiffs' counsel agreed that the
Fangman Plaintiffs' RESPA claim against Eagle National Bank was

Statute of Limitations & Equitable Tolling

A 12(b)(6) motion is an appropriate vehicle through which the
Court may evaluate the affirmative defense of the statute of
limitations if all facts necessary to the affirmative defense
clearly appear on the face of the complaint.

The Plaintiff concedes that RESPA's one-year statute of
limitations would bar this lawsuit, which was filed more than six
years after the Plaintiff closed her loan and a year and a half
after Plaintiff's counsel processed Genuine Title's data.
However, the parties dispute whether equitable tolling saves her
claim. The Defendants also contest the sufficiency of the
allegations as to Eagle National Bancorp and Eagle National Bank.

Materials Considered

In considering a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), a district court may
consider documents incorporated into the complaint by reference,
and matters of which a court may take judicial notice.

This Court finds that the court filings and news articles offered
by the Defendants will help resolve the question of equitable
tolling, so there is no abuse of the rule permitting courts to
consider such materials. The consideration of these materials
does not transform this Motion to Dismiss into one for summary

Due Diligence

The parties have devoted considerable briefing and oral argument
to disputing the content of the due diligence requirement in the
wake of Menominee, 136 S.Ct. 750. Defendants argue that Menominee
raised the bar to require affirmative acts of diligence even if
the plaintiff had no inquiry notice of the need to pursue her
rights in the first place. In response, the Plaintiff notes
language in the Fourth Circuit opinion in Supermarket of
Marlinton permitting a plaintiff to satisfy that diligence
requirement by establishing that she was not (and should not have
been) aware of facts that should have excited further inquiry.

Plaintiff's counsel had access to Genuine Title's buyers' names,
addresses, telephone numbers, property addresses, settlement
dates, lender and in some cases mortgage broker information,
information sufficient to uncover the scheme in this case. Even
if Plaintiff's counsel's knowledge is not relevant to the due
diligence analysis, counsel's in-depth investigation into Genuine
Title's records certainly bears heavily on the question of
whether extraordinary circumstances stood in Plaintiff's way and
prevented timely filing.

Plaintiff has not demonstrated that her case presents one of
those rare instances where . . . it would be unconscionable to
enforce the limitation period against [her] and gross injustice
would result. Plaintiff's counsel has already secured significant
awards for their efforts to hold Genuine Title and other
financial institutions accountable for violating RESPA.  Genuine
Title went bankrupt, and Plaintiff does not allege that the
Defendants continue to receive illegal kickback payments through
deceiving Plaintiff or her fellow class members.

The Plaintiff therefore fails to fulfill the extraordinary
circumstances element required to equitably toll her claim.
Plaintiff proffers no amendment to the pleadings that could
overcome this conclusion, and no amount of discovery would aid
this Court's analysis of Plaintiff's claim for equitable tolling.
As Plaintiff has failed to establish the extraordinary
circumstances element, this Court need not determine whether the
Plaintiff was diligently pursuing her rights.

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is granted.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 29, 2018
Memorandum Opinion is available at https://tinyurl.com/ybznp77s
from Leagle.com.

Mary E Edmondson, Plaintiff, represented by Michael Paul Smith --
mpsmith@sgs-law.com -- Smith Gildea and Schmidt LLC, Timothy L.
Creed --  tcreed@hccw.com -- Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman,
Timothy Francis Maloney, Joseph Greenwald and Laake PA, Veronica
Byam Nannis, Joseph Greenwald and Laake PA, Megan Aileen
Benevento, Joseph Greenwald and Laake, P.A., 6404 Ivy Ln Ste 400.
Greenbelt, MD 20770. & Sarah A. Zadrozny, Smith, Gildea &
Schmidt, LLC, 600 Washington Avenue, Suite 200. Towson, MD 21204.

Eagle National Bank, Eagle Nationwide Mortgage Company, Eagle
National Bancorp., Inc., ESSA Bancorp, Inc. & ESSA Bank & Trust,
Defendants, represented by Brian L. Moffet --
bmoffet@milesstockbridge.com -- Miles & Stockbridge, P.C., George
J. Krueger -- gkrueger@foxrothschild.com -- Fox Rothschild LLP,
pro hac vice & Ryan T. Becker -- rbecker@foxrothschild.com -- Fox
Rothschild LLP, pro hac vice.

ELECTROLUX: Bid to Dismiss Microwave Handles Case Denied in Part
P.J. Dannunzio, writing for Law.com, reports that the plaintiffs
in a class action against Electrolux alleging defective handles
in over-the-range microwave ovens will get the chance to amend
their complaint.

In his opinion and order, U.S. District Judge Matthew W. Brann of
the Middle District of Pennsylvania granted in part and denied in
part Electrolux's motion to dismiss and allowed plaintiffs Elaine
Rice and Alex Kukich leave to file an amended complaint.

The plaintiffs claimed the microwave handles absorbed heat from
the microwaves and would burn owners' hands when they touched
them. [GN]

FANNIE MAE: Judge Remands Shareholders' Class Action
Glen Bradford of Seeking Alpha discusses in a brief a class
action in the United States District Court in the District of
Columbia (Lamberth remand).

The brief argues that the higher court said the claims are ripe.

The brief argues that the Third amendment in conjunction with the
letter agreement ensures that shareholders get nothing without

Plaintiffs argue then that their contractual rights have been
violated since the third amendment wasn't a purchase.

Fannie Mae (OTCQB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac (OTCQB:FMCC) are two
privately-owned companies that were placed into conservatorship
in 2008.  Since then the government has taken $271B out of the
companies in the form of dividends.  Shareholders are in court
arguing that the government has paid out all the money to itself
and that even in a liquidation, the government takes all and that
this interpretation of its powers is illegal and something should
be done about it.

Right now, the government remains in full control of everything
and has a history of taking everything and in the case of the net
worth sweep, for zero consideration. After years of court cases
being filed, this remand is really the furthest any case has

Investment Thesis
If you overlook the accounting fraud, it's generally accepted by
all parties that Fannie and Freddie have paid $271B in dividends
and taken $187B in draws so far.  The government has taken all
the money out of them leaving them virtually penniless as it
decides "what are we going to do?" Things have been like this for
years and nothing has changed but Secretary of Treasury Steven
Mnuchin has said that resolving this impasse is a priority of his
and that he could do it reasonably fast.

Since he's been in, Senator Bob Corker's GSE Jumpstart has
expired, tax reform has passed and he's accepted FHFA's push for
a small capital buffer late last year, which wasn't soon enough
or large enough to prevent the bailout early this year.
Plaintiffs have picked up on this capital buffer to show that it
prevents shareholders from receiving a dime in liquidation.  If
during conservatorship, you get $0 in dividends, and during
liquidation, you get $0 in proceeds (liquidation preference),
then isn't it safe to say your shares are worth $0? Mr. Bradford
thinks so. [GN]

FIVE STAR MEDICAL: "Fox" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid Wages
Lisa Fox, individually and on behalf of all similarly-situated
persons v. Five Star Medical Staffing, LLC, and Cathy L. Taylor,
Case No. 3:18-cv-00110 (M.D. Tenn., February 5, 2018), seeks to
recover unpaid minimum wages pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards
Act of 1938.

Plaintiff Lisa Fox currently resides in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee
and is a citizen of the United States. Plaintiff was employed by
the Defendant from approximately September of 2017 until January
of 2018 as a home caregiver.

Defendant Five Star Medical Staffing, LLC, is a privately owned
home care staffing company which employs and places caregivers in
private homes in the Middle Tennessee area to provide lifestyle
support such as morning care and bathing, light housekeeping,
shopping, errands, meal preparation and diet monitoring, medical
appointments, assistance with medications, and other services for
the aged, infirm, disabled, and others needing assistance. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Trevor Howell, Esq.
      Customs House
      701 Broadway, Ste 401 Box 17
      Nashville, TN 37203
      E-mail: Trevor@howelllawfirmllc.com

          - and -

      Peter F. Klett, Esq.
      R. Cameron Caldwell, Esq.
      Fifth Third Center
      424 Church Street, Suite 800
      Nashville, TN 37219-2392
      Tel: (615) 244-6538
      E-mail: pklett@dickinsonwright.com

FLUENT LLC: Faces "Marinez" Suit in S.D. New York
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Fluent, LLC. The
case is styled as John Brooks and Anna Marinez, individually and
on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff/Respondents
v. Fluent, LLC, Defendant/Movant, Case No. 1:18-mc-00084 (S.D.
N.Y, March 5, 2018).

Fluent, LLC offers a people-based digital marketing and customer
acquisition platform.[BN]

The Movant appears PRO SE.

FMM ENTERPRISES: "Glass" Suit Brought Before 9th Cir.
The case styled as Tyrell Glass, Dustin Schnatz and Jordan
Terrado, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiffs v. FMM Enterprises, Inc., GTPD Enterprises,
Inc., Cynthia Walsh, Ryan Mcaweeney and Neil Billock, Defendants,
Case No. 18-55291, was brought before the United States Court of
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on March 5, 2018.

The Defendants are engaged in the real estate business.[BN]

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

   James R. Hawkins, Esq.
   James Hawkins APLC
   9880 Research Drive
   Irvine, CA 92618
   Tel: 949-387-7200

      - and -

   Trenton R. Kashima, Esq.
   Finkelstein & Krinsk LLP
   550 West C Street, Suite 1760
   San Diego, CA 92101
   Tel: 619-238-1333

      - and -

   Gregory Mauro, Esq.
   James Hawkins APLC
   9880 Research Drive
   Irvine, CA 92618
   Tel: 949-387-7200

      - and -

   Jason J. Thompson, Esq.
   Sommers Schwartz
   One Towne Square
   Southfield, MI 48076
   Tel: 248-355-0300

The Defendants are represented by:

   James P. Armstrong, Esq.
   The Armstrong Firm, APC
   6424 E. Greenway Parkway, Suite 100
   Scottsdale, AZ 85254
   Tel: 480-370-7292

      - and -

   Aaron Buckley, Esq.
   Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP
   101 West Broadway
   San Diego, CA 92101-8285
   Tel: 619-237-5200

      - and -

   Kara Siegel, Esq.
   Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP
   101 West Broadway
   San Diego, CA 92101-8285
   Tel: 619-237-5200

FRANKLIN COUNTY, OH: Averts Class Action Over Tax Collection Plan
The Courier reports that a judge in Franklin County Common Pleas
Court dismissed a class-action lawsuit brought by about 160
municipalities challenging a new law that allows the State of
Ohio to collect local business taxes.

The City of Findlay was among the complainants.

Ohio House Bill 49, which is Gov. John Kasich's two-year budget
bill, allows business owners to file tax returns directly with
the Ohio Department of Taxation, instead of with the municipality
in which the business operates.

The state says the new rule will streamline the filing process
for businesses, which often operate in multiple municipalities.

City officials are concerned about the management of the money,
timely distribution of the money, accuracy and accountability of
the filings, and losing the ability to audit.  There is also a
concern among city officials that in the future, the state could
move to take over the entire collection of municipal income

Other cities in northwestern Ohio which are party to the suit,
include Bluffton, Bowling Green, Defiance, Lima, Upper Sandusky
and Van Wert.

On Feb. 20, Findlay City Council adopted emergency legislation
meant to give the city a fallback position, if the challenged

According to City Law Director Don Rasmussen, Ohio's tax law will
now default to a provision in House Bill 49, retroactive to
Jan. 1.  He said there is a concern that business taxpayers could
argue that the municipalities had no valid rules in place for
collecting the business taxes since the beginning of the year.
The legislation passed on Feb. 20 by council restates the city's
authority to collect the tax.

The court found that an optional, centralized filing system
administered by the Ohio Department of Taxation is
constitutional, that the General Assembly has that authority to
limit local taxation and that the law does not impinge on home

"We are pleased that the court found this law to be
constitutional.  It's an important ruling for business taxpayers
in Ohio who for too long have had to deal with this costly,
complex local tax on business income," said Joe Testa, state tax
commissioner.  "This law gives business taxpayers the opportunity
to save millions of dollars in the cost of complying with the
fragmented municipal tax system. Businesses that want to take
advantage of the state's new streamlined system for 2018 taxes
have a deadline of March 1 to register through the Ohio Business

Judge David Cain's ruling denies the cities' request for a
preliminary injunction to block the law and granted a final
judgement in favor of the State of Ohio.

Testa said the business community has for years urged the state
to improve the municipal tax system. He said he's gratified that
Ohio now has a better option for businesses to deal with the
municipal net profit tax.

Gary Gudmundson, communications director for the Ohio Department
of Taxation said the law authorizes the state to charge a half
percent administrative fee.

"This compares to the estimated 1.6% it costs the City of Findlay
to collect the municipal net profit tax. The lower, less costly
state fee should actually result in Findlay gaining additional
tax revenue," Mr. Gudmundson said. [GN]

GENERAL ELECTRIC: Faces Another Shareholder Class Action
John Cropley, writing for Daily Gazette, reports that another
shareholder lawsuit has been filed against General Electric over
alleged securities fraud by the conglomerate that hurt investors.

GE's stock is trading in the $15 range per share, a roughly 50
percent drop in the past year. This has erased six years of
appreciation and more than $100 billion in value for its

On Feb. 16, attorneys for the Cleveland Bakers and Teamsters
Pension Fund filed a securities class action lawsuit against GE
in federal court in Manhattan on behalf of all persons or
entities who acquired publicly traded GE securities from Feb. 26,
2013, to Jan. 24, 2018.

Defendants are: GE; its former and current CEOs, Jeffrey Immelt
and John Flannery; and its former and current chief financial
officers, Jeffrey Bornstein and Jamie Miller.

GE had little comment on Feb. 19, saying only, "The company will
defend itself against these claims."

Law firm Grant & Eisenhofer said in a news release that the
lawsuit alleges the defendants concealed information and provided
false and misleading statements about the performance of certain
of its component businesses, including Schenectady-based GE
Power.  It said GE did not set aside sufficient loss reserves for
its long-term liabilities, resulting in overstatements of its
income, earnings and cash flow. When the truth became known, GE's
stock price declined considerably, it said.

The 31-page lawsuit focuses heavily on GE's filings with the
federal Securities and Exchange Commission, and on the devolution
of GE Capital into a money pit whose legacy costs continue to
strain the company's finances.

But it also singles out GE's Power and Oil & Gas segments, saying
the company knew they were underperforming but did not tell
investors this, or make adjustments in stated expectations for

The lawsuit lays out a mini-timeline for the prospects of GE
Power offered by the executives:

   -- Dec. 14, 2016: Immelt said there was a "very strong
pipeline not just in the Power business but across the portfolio"
during the Investor Outlook Call.

   -- Jan. 20, 2017: Bornstein said "Our outlook for Power
remains consistent with the expectations shared at the Outlook

   -- March 8, 2017: Bornstein said "We feel really good about
the Power business."

   -- April 21, 2017: Bornstein said "Power had a very strong
organic growth quarter" and the company was making no change to
its investor guidance.

   -- Oct. 20, 2017: Under new CEO Flannery, the company
announced GE Power was underperforming.

   -- Nov. 13, 2017: GE "stunned the market" and slashed its
dividend; Flannery said Power's problems were the single biggest
factor leading to that decision.

In the wake of the dividend cut, the price of a share of GE stock
plunged 7.2 percent to close at $19.02 on Nov. 13.

Notably, though, the share price had already declined 40 percent
in the 12 months before Nov. 13 and it is down 21 percent since

The complaint seeks a jury trial and award of damages, interest,
and the fees and costs associated with the legal action.

Grant & Eisenhofer said its class action case is related to a
complaint filed in November by GE shareholder Jihad Hachem,
making similar allegations: that GE officials' actions caused
shareholder value to plummet.  That case was consolidated in
December with a similar case brought by the Tampa Maritime
Association-International Longshoremen's Association Pension
Plan, also in federal court in Manhattan.

Both cases named GE and various current and former executives as

GE in January revealed that the federal Securities and Exchange
Commission, which regulates the stock markets, is looking into
the company's actions.

Meanwhile, GE shareholder Richard Gammel on Feb. 15 filed a
shareholder derivative complaint on behalf of General Electric
against a long list of current and former GE executives and board
members, and against GE itself.

This complaint was submitted in state Supreme Court in Manhattan,
and makes essentially the same allegations as the other
complaints: that GE's operating segments underperformed the
company's projections, that the company did not report this, and
that shareholder value sank as a result.

The 34-page complaint reads like a miniature history of GE and
everything that went wrong with it in Mr. Gammel's view.

It singles out GE Power as an example, saying: "Immelt spent
grandly on energy and power deals just as those markets slipped
into a decline that's largely responsible for GE's recent
earnings struggles and cash shortfall."

Mr. Gammel seeks a jury trial; award of restitution, damages,
expenses; and an order that GE take necessary steps to reform and
improve its corporate governance and internal procedures. [GN]

GENERAL MOTORS: Faces 4th Suit Over Corvette Z06 Limp Mode Issues
Stef Schrader, writing for Jalopnik, reports that the current-
generation Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is sold as a 650-horsepower
supercharged track weapon, yet that hasn't been the case for
owners who have had the car go into limp mode on track.  More Z06
owners have brought a fourth class-action lawsuit against General
Motors over this issue, complete with claims that a 2017 redesign
didn't fix the problem.

The lawsuit was filed on Feb. 20 in the U.S. District Court of
the Eastern District court Michigan by Hagens Berman, the same
firm behind the first class-action lawsuit about the Corvette
Z06's issues on track.  As with previous lawsuits over this
issue, the owners claim that a cooling system defect forces the
car to go into limp mode after as little as 15 minutes of track

This limp mode only enables the car to travel at very low speeds,
which can be terrifying when you're sharing the track with
drivers who are actively pushing the limits of their cars, and
potentially something they don't expect to have to dodge.

That's the exact opposite of the kind of performance that GM
promised in its advertising, as Hagens Berman managing partner
Steve Berman told Carscoops:

"Instead of building a car that could live up to the hype it
created, GM chose to pour its resources into an onslaught of
deceptive marketing, touting to would-be buyers that the Corvette
Z06 had 'track-proven structure and technologies.

"What Z06 owners received from GM -- a car that peters out after
15 minutes of track driving -- is anything but ready for the

Up to 30,000 2015, 2016 and 2017 Corvette Z06s could be affected
by this defective design, the lawsuit claims.  While General
Motors redesigned several key components for the 2017 Corvette
Zo6, the lawsuit alleges that this fix didn't actually work:

GM is aware of the defect and suspended production of the Z06 for
a period of time to find a solution to the overheating issue,
which it intended to incorporate in the 2017 Z06.  GM claimed to
have fixed the problem in the 2017 model by switching to a new
hood with larger vents and a new supercharger cover.  However,
this attempted fix does not help consumers with previous models
and does not fix the problem. The 2017 still overheats and GM's
only answer is to, after the fact, warn owners that automatic
transmissions have the potential for overheating.

By failing to repair Z06s that are prone to the limp mode issue
on track -- a design defect that the lawsuit claims should be
covered by GM's warranty -- these owners claim that GM is
violating its own warranty agreement. [GN]

GENERAL MOTORS: Michigan Judge Upholds Emissions-Cheating Claims
On February 20, 2018, a U.S. District judge in Michigan upheld
consumers' claims alleging that General Motors (NYSE: GM) and
Bosch installed an emissions-cheating system in at least 705,000
2011-2016 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks, allowing
them to emit harmful pollutants at illegally high levels,
according to Hagens Berman.

The emissions-cheating system at the crux of the class action
includes three total defeat devices.

The judge's 76-page order denied GM and Bosch's two motions to
dismiss the lawsuit upholding claims against the two defendants
under state consumer laws as well as RICO fraud claims under the
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, stating,
"Plaintiffs have identified a number of predicate acts of mail or
wire fraud with sufficient specificity to avoid dismissal."

"We are incredibly pleased that the court has allowed this suit
to continue.  This is a huge victory for the hundreds of
thousands of truck owners affected by yet another instance of
emissions cheating," said Steve Berman -- steve@hbsslaw.com --
managing partner of Hagens Berman.

"GM has fought to conceal this designed-to-deceive software from
its inception, and it's time consumers learned the truth behind
these dirty diesels," he added.  "We look forward to continuing
this case into discovery to uncover the full scope of GM and
Bosch's dealings."

The complaint, filed on Aug. 4, 2017, in the U.S. District Court
for the Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit) states that GM
promised consumers in its advertising that its engineers had
accomplished a "remarkable reduction of diesel emissions."

But the lawsuit alleges rather than a remarkable reduction during
on-road testing, these diesel trucks pollute at levels well
beyond legal limits due to the installation of an emissions-
cheating system, allowing oxides of nitrogen (NOx) levels far in
excess of legal limits, and of what reasonable consumers would

All of this, the court determined in its order, is grounds for
the lawsuit to continue: "The Sixth Circuit has, however,
repeatedly confirmed that concealment of material facts can
constitute a fraudulent scheme sufficient to establish RICO
liability," the order states.

If you own or lease a 2011-2016 Chevrolet Silverado Duramax
diesel or a GMC Sierra Duramax diesel, you may be entitled to
participate in the litigation involving this alleged fraud.
Contact Hagens Berman to find out more about this issue and your
consumer rights against GM.

The Three Defeat Devices

Attorneys bringing the case against GM and Bosch identified three
total defeat devices through independent testing of the diesel
vehicles for more than 3,500 miles and over a range of

   -- One defeat device was detected in stop-and-go testing with
temperatures above 86ßF allowing NOx emissions at 2.4 times the
legal emissions standard.
   -- Another defeat device was detected in stop-and-go testing
at temperatures below 68ßF, in which NOx was emitted at 2.1 times
the emissions standard.
   -- The third defeat device was detected after the vehicle has
been run for 200-500 seconds of steady speed operation on average
by a factor of 4.5 in all temperature windows.

The suit states that "GM's unfair, unlawful, and deceptive
conduct in designing, manufacturing, marketing, selling, and
leasing the vehicle without proper emission controls" caused the
proposed class of purchasers to suffer out-of-pocket loss, future
attempted repairs and diminished value of the affected vehicles.

The complaint also highlights the alleged collusion between Bosch
and GM behind the emissions cheating.  According to the
complaint, all Bosch Engine Control Units (ECUs) run on complex
highly proprietary engine management software over which Bosch
exerts near-total control. Design and implementation are
interactive processes, requiring Bosch's collaboration with the
automaker throughout.

Learn more about the latest class-action lawsuit against GM for
its emissions cheating in Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra diesel

                       About Hagens Berman

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP -- http://www.hbsslaw.com-- is a
consumer-rights class-action law firm with 11 offices across the
country.  The firm has been named to the National Law Journal's
Plaintiffs' Hot List eight times. [GN]

GEO GROUP: Ruling in Immigration Detainees' Class Action Affirmed
Reason reports that immigration detainees face solitary
confinement, criminal sanctions if they decline to clean common
areas in Aurora, Colo. private prison.  Illegal forced labor? No
error for the district court to have allowed the class action to
proceed, says the Tenth Circuit.

A copy of the Opinion is available at:


GETSWIFT: Vannin Capital Mulls Potential Shareholder Class Action
Ben Hall, writing for Business News Australia, reports that
GetSwift served notice of class action from shareholders
Logistics software company GetSwift (ASX: GSW) is facing a class
action from shareholders over allegations it has engaged in
misleading and deceptive conduct and two other legal firms are
also considering launching a class action.

Law firm Squire Patton Boggs has applied to commence the action
in the Federal Court, while litigation funder Vannin Capital
together with law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth along with MC
Lawyers have said they are also investigating the possibility of
launching a class action.

The class action from Squire Patton Boggs alleges continuous
disclosure breaches and misleading and deceptive conduct, and is
seeking damages.

It is alleged GetSwift breached its obligations to the market in
announcing deals with The Fruitbox Company, the Commonwealth
Bank, Fantastic Furniture and NA Williams, with those deals
subsequently either cancelled or subject to ongoing review.

"It is alleged that the exaggerated announcements caused
investors to believe that GetSwift had actually secured and
commenced generating revenue from substantial clients such as
FruitBox, CBA and Fantastic Furniture," Squire Patton Boggs says
in a statement.

"Following contract announcements, GetSwift shares increased to a
peak share price of $4.60 in December 2017, at which time it had
a market capitalisation exceeding $598 million.

"Since then it was revealed that at least two of the contracts
did not survive a trial period at all, and one had not started
its trial the market capitalisation has declined to less than
half this amount."

GetSwift announced to the ASX that it will contest the class
action from Squire Patton Boggs.

Shares in GetSwift were pummelled by more than 50 per cent on
Feb. 19 after the company came out of a near month-long trading
halt as it faced ASX enquiries about media reports it breached
its continuous disclosure obligations on several occasions.

At the market open on Feb. 19, GSW shares plunged 57 per cent
from $2.92 to $1.25 as investors sold out of the stock following
a turbulent period for the logistics software company.

GetSwift had been in a trading halt since January 22 and
requested the suspension of share trading.

A Fairfax media report which was headlined 'GetSwift: Too Fast
For Its Good' claimed that in addition to not disclosing the loss
of two contracts, the company had released revenue forecasts
prematurely from a deal it announced with the Commonwealth Bank
of Australia, with CBA saying the GetSwift software was not yet
in pilot phase.

A month-long investigation by the ASX found GetSwift did not
breach its continuous disclosure obligations.

The company says it has been working with PricewaterhouseCoopers
(PwC) to review its compliance procedures.

In December, GetSwift, which is run by executive chairman Bane
Hunter (pictured left) and former AFL player and entrepreneur
Joel McDonald, closed one of the biggest tech raises in 2017,
securing an oversubscribed placement of $75 million in new

The capital raising included strong support from existing
investors, as well as new Australian and American institutional

In December 2016, its IPO was launched at $0.20 a share. Its
shares soared tenfold in 2017 before dropping from $4.60 to the
current price of $1.25.

Earlier in February, GetSwift announced its newest director had
resigned from the board after just two months.

Nevash Pillay was the subject of an ASX query in late January to
GetSwift regarding a late submission to a change of director's
interest notice as the company's two-week trading halt continues
while it addresses concerns about its disclosure obligations and
compliance with listing rules.

Ms Pillay was on the GetSwift board when it raised $75 million at
$4 a share in December. [GN]

GETSWIFT: Faces Class Action Over Disclosure Violations
Jemima Whyte, writing for Australian Financial Review, reports
that a class action filed on Feb. 20 against GetSwift is alleging
the last mile logistics group engaged in misleading and deceptive
conduct as well as breaching continuous disclosure requirements,
as pressure builds on executive chairman Bane Hunter and managing
director Joel Macdonald to restructure the group's board.

In the statement of claim filed on Feb. 14 by Squire Patton Boggs
in the Federal Court of Australia, the law firm alleges that
investors who bought shares either on market from February 24,
2017, or in two capital raisings, may not have done so if the
company had disclosed the loss of contracts.

It claims Mr Hunter and Mr Macdonald "ought to have reasonably
known that GSW had no reasonable grounds to consider that it
would derive quantifiable and measurable benefits from contracts
with customers when they were still subject to a trial or pilot

The action, which is against the company and Mr Macdonald, is
being funded by International Litigation Partners.

Squire Patton Boggs' Amanda Banton estimated measurable damages
could be about $300 million, and said there might be "more to
play out" after the announcement by GetSwift on Feb. 19 that 50
per cent of its contracts were still in trial phase.  She
declined to comment on how many investors had signed up to the
action, and whether any were institutional investors.

Litigation funders typically take a minimum of 20 per cent of the

Separately, litigation funder Vannin Capital and Corrs Chambers
Westgarth said they were investigating a potential class action
around misleading and deceptive statements and continuous
disclosure obligations, which would also examine the company's
announced contract with NA Williams.

A third group is also looking into an action.  Solicitors Phi
Finnery McDonald, funded by Therium Australia, have been
contacting investors and receiving calls about a possible class

GetSwift did not respond to an email for comment about the class
actions. Shares closed at 95õ, down 36õ or 27 per cent, extending
its losses over the past two trading days to 67 per cent.

Shares in GetSwift resumed trading on Feb. 19 after being
suspended in January following an article in The Australian
Financial Review that revealed GetSwift had not updated the
market when it lost previously announced contracts, including The
FruitBox contract, which was first announced to market on
February 24, 2017.

In its statement to the market, the company said it was
"comfortable" that it was now compliant with "listing rule 3.1",
which covers disclosure obligations.  PwC continues to review
GetSwift's continous disclosure policies.  The company said less
than half its announced contracts had progressed to a revenue
generating phase.

Some market watchers have begun to question when major investors,
including Fidelity, Regal and IFM Investors, will start to flex
their muscles and demand changes to the board.  In particular,
Bane Hunter's role as executive chairman is thought to be
unsustainable in its current form.

At present, GetSwift's board includes Mr Hunter, Mr Macdonald and
Brett Eagle.  During the past year, two of the company's non-
executive directors have resigned.  Jamila Gordon was on the
board for more than a year, while Nevash Pillay resigned after
two months.

The company has attracted critics for some time, including
Longhorn Capital's Nick Fabrio who shorted the stock and
published a "GetStiffed" report on HotCopper and social media in
October last year.  GetSwift responded with a legal letter, which
said it had referred the matter to the regulator.

"If a company has the time and disposable shareholder capital and
they are willing to waste it on a small-time individual like me,
they are clearly not focused on building and creating shareholder
wealth," Mr Fabrio said when contacted. [GN]

GOOGLE INC: Judge Tosses Click-Fraud Class Action
Bonnie Eslinger, writing for Law360, reports that a California
federal judge on Feb. 20 tossed a businessman's fourth version of
a putative class action alleging Google understates the
fraudulent clicks its ads receive, saying he hadn't shown charges
for invalid ad views but the "interests of justice" supported
allowing him to submit another amended complaint.

In her Feb. 20 ruling, U.S. District Judge Beth Freeman granted
Google Inc.'s motion to dismiss the suit by plaintiff Gurminder
Singh based on his lack of standing.

The case is Gurminder Singh v. Google LLC, Case No. 5:16-cv-
03734.  The case is assigned to Judge Beth Labson Freeman.  The
case was filed July 1, 2016. [GN]

GOOGLE INC: SCOTUS Has Yet to Act on CCAF Cypress Case Appeal
Frank Bednarz, writing for Competitive Enterprise Institute,
reports that Amanda Bronstad of ALM writes about the positive
reception to the CEI Center for Class Action Fairness (CCAF)
certiorari petition in Frank v. Gaos.  The underlying case
alleged that Google violated federal privacy laws in its search
results, but the settlement required no significant changes and
provides class members no recovery.  Instead, the settlement pays
$8.5 million to the attorneys and several organizations not
involved in the litigation, including class counsel's alma
maters, and several organizations that Google already supports
through donations.

Such cy pres recovery to unrelated parties has been a hot topic
in class action law.  In 2013, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote
an unusual statement concurring with the Court's denial of review
in another privacy case.  Justice Roberts opined that the Supreme
Court should "address more fundamental concerns surrounding the
use of [cy pres] remedies in class action litigation, including
when, if ever, such relief should be considered."

CEI's petition in Frank v. Gaos may be what Justice Roberts was
looking for.  Ms. Bronstad quotes Eimer Stahl LLC partner Susan

"The Supreme Court more or less asked for a case that will allow
it to analyze how cy pres is used in class action cases," she
said.  "And I do think that this Google case might be that
opportunity that Chief Justice Roberts was looking for."

Because the underlying settlement diverts moneys to groups that
benefit the settling parties, it provides a stark example of cy
pres abuse.  For this reason, CCAF's petition has received amicus
support from 16 state attorneys general, the Cato Institute, the
Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, and the Center for
Individual Rights.

The Supreme Court has not yet acted on CCAF's petition, authored
by Andrew Grossman, which appeals the Ninth Circuit's affirmance
of the underlying settlement. [GN]

HD SUPPLY: Court Awards $306K Attorney's Fees in "Weisberg"
The United States District Court for the Central District of
California issued a Judgment awarding $306,250 in Attorney's Fees
in the case captioned JONATHAN WEISBERG, individually and on
behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. H.D.
SUPPLY, INC., Defendant, Case No. CV 15-8248 FMO (MRWx) (C.D.

Plaintiff Jonathan Weisberg will be paid an incentive payment of
$5,000 in accordance with the terms of the Settlement Agreement.

Class counsel will be paid $306,250.00 in attorney's fees, and
$8,589.20 in costs in accordance with the terms of the Settlement

The Claims Administrator, Epiq, will be paid $160,000 for its
fees and expenses in connection with the administration of the
Settlement Agreement, in accordance with the terms of the
Settlement Agreement.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 29, 2018
Judgment is available at https://tinyurl.com/y8mtsl83 from

Jonathan Weisberg, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, Plaintiff, represented by Meghan Elisabeth
George -- mgeorge@toddflaw.com -- Law Offices of Todd Friedman
PC, Thomas Edward Wheeler -- twheeler@toddflaw.com -- Law Offices
of Todd M. Friedman PC, Adrian Robert Bacon --
abacon@toddflaw.com -- Law Offices of Todd Friedman PC & Todd M.
Friedman -- tfriedman@attorneysforconsumers.com -- Todd M.
Friedman Law Offices PC.

HD Supply, Inc., Defendant, represented by Amos Alexander Lowder
-- alowder@scheperkim.com -- Scheper Kim and Harris LLP, David C.
Scheper -- dscheper@scheperkim.com -- Scheper Kim and Harris LLP
& Alexander H. Cote -- acote@scheperkim.com  -- Scheper Kim and
Harris LLP.

HONEST CO: Denies Wrongdoing in "Natural" Product Label Lawsuits
The Fashion Law reports that just how natural are your "natural"
beauty products? It is difficult to say.  Really difficult,
actually.  While it is undeniable that natural cosmetics and
beauty goods are surging in popularity and profitability -- as
"consumers, increasingly wary of products that are overly
processed or full of manufactured chemicals, are paying premium
prices for natural goods," as the New York Times put it recently
-- it is far less clean cut as to just how natural "natural"
really is.

The lack of clarity is due in large part to the absence of a
universal, legally-mandated definition for the term.

One need not look much further than actress Jessica Alba's Honest
Co. to see how the varying definitions of "natural" rear their
ugly heads.  Honest's impressive growth to date -- the Los
Angeles-based company within three years was valued at $1.7
billion -- has not been without some significant drawbacks,
including a slew of lawsuits.

As noted by CNN, "In September 2015, the company was sued by a
customer who said its sunscreen doesn't work and is not really
'natural.' And in April 2016, the Organic Consumers Association
filed a suit that alleged Honest baby formula contains
ingredients that are not really organic."

The most striking suit, however, came on the heels of a widely-
read Wall Street Journal investigation in March 2016, which
revealed that Honest detergent was being falsely advertised.
According to the WSJ's investigation and the class action lawsuit
that followed, despite the company's advertising which claimed
that its detergent was free of sodium lauryl sulfate, and
instead, made use of a gentler compound, that was not actually
the case.

The Honest Company, while denying any wrongdoing, agreed to pay
$1.55 million to settle the class action lawsuit in June 2017,
but not before it was served its fair share of bad press in
connection with the matter.  A week later, Alba's brand was sued
again for erroneously labelling dozens of home and personal care
products as "natural," plant-based or chemical-free. That case
was settled out of court in June, in accordance with confidential

Throughout the bout of litigation, Honest Co. and its founders
were adamant that the claims set forth against them were
fabricated and assured consumers that they use their "natural"
products, including the controversial sunscreen, on their own

In facing litigation, Honest is not all that different than the
many other brands that have been taken to court -- and to task --
for their "natural" products, and in some ways, it is difficult
to necessarily fault these companies since there is not, of
course, a set-in-stone definition for "natural" products.  Such a
standard has not come to light in these cases, the vast majority
of which have been settled -- or "dismissed or, more recently,
stayed by judges who hope regulators will step in with a
definition," per the Times -- before trial and before the court
could attempt to issue a bright line standard.

This is particularly true, as in most of the cases, the
plaintiffs are primarily seeking monetary damages to reimburse
them for the difference in price they paid for what was being
advertised as a "natural" product, which are almost always more
expensive than non-"natural" alternatives.

While the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") has not defined
"natural" for use in cosmetic labeling or pursued any enforcement
action against cosmetics manufacturers for the use of "natural"
claims, it has provided guidance by way of its standards for
food, as aptly noted by Suzie Trigg, a partner working in New
York-based Haynes Boone's Dallas office and specializing in
(among other things) FDA regulatory issues.  According to Trigg,
given the FDA's stance, that "it is reasonable to assume that the
[government entity] would not object to the use of the term
'natural' if the product does not contain synthetic substances."

Moreover, Trigg notes that the Federal Trade Commission also has
not set forth any FTC policies on natural cosmetic and beauty

As noted by the Times, which cited a handful of lawyers
practicing in the realms of corporate advertising and marketing
and class-action defense, until regulators come up with a
definition for companies to use to clearly and properly
distinguish between "natural" and not "natural" products,
consumers are the ones that pay the price.

There is potential progess on the horizon, though.  Dr. Scott
Gottlieb, the commissioner of the FDA, told the Times in a
statement, "Consumers have called upon the FDA to help define the
term 'natural' and we take the responsibility to provide this
clarity seriously.  We will have more to say on the issue soon."

HUNTLEIGH USA: Court Denies Conditional Certification in "Thomas"
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
Texas, Houston Division, issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order
denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Conditional Class Certification in
the case captioned MARY L. THOMAS, Plaintiff, v. HUNTLEIGH USA
CORPORATION, Defendant, Civil Action No. H-16-3648 (S.D. Tex.).

Huntleigh employs Service Agents to provide services such as
aircraft guarding, aircraft cleaning, baggage security,
janitorial services, passenger screening, and wheelchair
assistance.  Thomas worked as a Service Agent for Huntleigh, and
like other Service Agents, was paid on an hourly basis.
According to Thomas, Huntleigh provided Service Agents with a
thirty-minute lunch break.  Huntleigh would deduct that time from
the Service Agents' pay regardless of whether they actually took
the break.

Section 207(a) of the Fair Labor Standards Act requires covered
employers to compensate non-exempt employees at overtime rates
for time worked in excess of forty hours per week.  Section
216(b) creates a cause of action against employers who violate
the overtime compensation requirements.

The plaintiff bears the burden of making a preliminary factual
showing that a similarly situated group of potential plaintiffs
exists. To establish this, the plaintiff must make a minimal
showing that: (1) there is a reasonable basis for crediting the
assertion that aggrieved individuals exist; (2) those aggrieved
individuals are similarly situated to the plaintiff in relevant
respects given the claims and defenses asserted; and (3) those
individuals want to opt in to the lawsuit.

The Court finds that conditional certification is not warranted
because Thomas fails to make a minimal showing that other
similarly situated individuals want to opt in to the lawsuit,
which is required under the third element. This court has joined
others in this district by denying conditional certification when
the plaintiff failed to satisfy that element. This requirement is
necessary to ensure that the collective action mechanism is being
used appropriately to promote judicial efficiency rather than as
a tool to burden a defendant and create settlement pressure.
The identical statements relied on by Thomas provide no evidence
that any other individuals want to join the collective action.
Further, Thomas filed her original complaint over a year ago.
Even so, only two individuals, Reese and Sherman Andrews, have
opted into the lawsuit. That, alone, does not justify conditional

In the past, this court has declined to conditionally certify
collective actions when plaintiffs have presented the kind of
evidence Thomas presents here.

Here, Thomas's evidence fails to provide any indication that
others would be interested in opting in, even though the parties
were approximately halfway through the discovery period when
Thomas filed the motion. A single additional consent filing fails
to establish that others want to opt in. Further, Huntleigh
provides affidavits of sixty-one employees testifying that they
were properly paid overtime wages.

In light of Huntleigh's evidence, and especially juxtaposed with
a dearth of Thomas's own evidence halfway through the discovery
period, Reese and Andrews's consents fail to provide the
requisite minimal showing that other similarly situated
individuals want to opt in to the lawsuit.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 25, 2018
Memorandum Opinion and Order is available at
https://tinyurl.com/y9qkrkhx from Leagle.com.

Mary L. Thomas, Plaintiff, represented by Trang Q. Tran --
Ttran@tranlawllp.com -- Tran Law Firm LLP.

Huntleigh USA Corporation, Defendant, represented by Bryant S.
Banes, Neel Hooper Banes -- bbanes@nhblaw.com -- Rex Patrick
Fennessey -- fennessey@mcmahonberger.com -- McMahon Berger, PC &
Stephen Brian Maule -- maule@mcmahonberger.com -- McMahon Berger,

HYUNDAI MOTORS: Hausfeld Attorney Discusses Ninth Circuit Ruling
Jeanette Bayoumi, Esq. -- jbayoumi@hausfeld.com -- of Hausfeld
LLP, in an article for Lexology, wrote that a recent Ninth
Circuit decision, In re Hyundai and Kia Fuel Economy Litig.
(issued January 23, 2018),[1] shook the legal community with its
holding, decertifying a nationwide settlement class and
overturning a $200 million settlement in a multidistrict
deceptive advertising class action litigation.  In a 2-1
decision, with a district judge presiding, the Majority vacated
and remanded the Central District of California's final
settlement approval order and certification of a nationwide class
in which it had been claimed that Hyundai Motor America Inc.
("Hyundai") and Kia Motors Inc. ("Kia") had engaged in misleading
advertising regarding the fuel efficiency of their vehicles.


The original action was brought in January 2012, in state court
in Los Angeles County, after the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) had conducted an investigation into the test procedures
used by Hyundai and Kia to develop fuel efficiency
information.[2] Plaintiffs alleged that Hyundai and Kia had
overstated fuel efficiency estimates both through nationwide
advertisements and Monroney stickers, the statutorily mandated
stickers placed on new cars disclosing a vehicle's fuel
efficiency in compliance with the Clean Air Act.

In November 2012, just after the EPA confirmed that Hyundai and
Kia had used improper test procedures to produce fuel efficiency
information, the two companies instituted a voluntary Lifetime
Reimbursement Program (LRP) to compensate vehicle owners and
lessees for fuel costs incurred as a result of the overstated
fuel efficiency estimates.  Following this announcement,
plaintiffs across the country filed putative class actions
against Hyundai and Kia, including suits brought in California on
behalf of putative nationwide classes claiming violations of
California consumer protection laws.

In August 2014, the district court for the Central District of
California granted certification of a nationwide settlement
class, and gave its final approval in June 2015 of a $210 million
settlement agreement, without having conducted a choice of law
analysis.  The court noted that a choice of law analysis was
needed only "if the case were going to trial."  However, the
court concluded that a choice of law analysis was not necessary
"in the settlement context," because "state law variations were
less of a concern and could be addressed as part of the final
fairness hearing under Rule 23(e)."[3]

Class Certification Under Rule 23.

In determining the certifiability of a class, a court must comply
with the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23
("Rule 23"). Rule 23(a) lists four prerequisites that the class
representative must establish: (1) numerosity, (2) commonality,
(3) typicality, and (4) adequacy.  In addition, the class must
meet the prerequisites of one of the three types of class actions
addressed in Rule 23(b).  In Hyundai, the court's decision
focused on Rule 23(b)(3), which provides that a class action can
be sustained if the court finds "questions of law or fact common
to class members predominate over any questions affecting only
individual members," and where "a class action is superior to
other available methods for fairly and efficiently adjudicating
the controversy."  The district court ruled that the requirements
were met without considering California choice of law standards.

The Ninth Circuit Decision.

Objectors filed five consolidated appeals claiming that the class
certification and settlement were not "fair and adequate."[4] In
relevant part, objectors argued that the district court abused
its discretion because it did not conduct a choice of law
analysis to determine possible differences in state consumer
protection laws before certifying a national settlement class.

The Ninth Circuit reversed in a 2-1 decision, holding that the
district court committed two grave legal errors: (1) failing to
apply a California choice of law analysis; and (2) failing to
make a final ruling as to whether consumer protection laws varied
in "material ways" so as to defeat Rule 23(b)(3)'s predominance

Relying on its prior ruling in Mazza v. Am. Honda Motor Co., 666
F.3d, 581 (9th Cir. 2012), the Majority declared that the
district court was required to apply California choice of law
rules to establish whether California law was applicable to all
nationwide plaintiffs, or whether differences in state law
defeated predominance under Rule 23(b)(3).  The court in Mazza
determined that variations in state laws between California and
other states were material, where individual issues of fact
existed regarding reliance on a national advertising campaign,
therefore, defeating Rule 23(b)(3)'s requirement because common
issues of fact did not predominate.

In its critique, the Majority questioned how the district court
could have concluded that common issues predominated when, for
example, Virginia class members -- who had brought claims under
Virginia consumer protection, false advertising, and vehicle
warranty laws -- had objected and provided evidence that Virginia
law provided a "materially different" remedy to Virginia
consumers than California law.

According to California's choice of law rules, the class action
proponent must first show that California's substantive law may
be constitutionally applied to the claims of each class member.
This burden includes showing that California has either
significant contact or a significant aggregation of contacts to
each nationwide class member. Once the class proponent has made
this showing, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to
establish that foreign law, and not California law, should apply
to class claims.

The court then conducts a three-step governmental interest
analysis, pursuant to which it: (1) determines whether the
relevant law of each affected jurisdiction is the same or
different; (2) examines, if there is a difference, the
jurisdiction's interest in applying its own law; and (3)
evaluates if there is a true conflict, and compares the strength
of the interest of each jurisdiction to determine which state's
interest would be greater compromised if its policy were pushed
aside in favor of another state's policy.[6]

The Majority concluded that the district court erred by reasoning
that class certification of a settlement class relieved it of its
responsibility otherwise to conduct a choice of law analysis.
The Majority stressed that the district court had a duty to
conduct a rigorous certifiability analysis, which in fact
required "heightened" attention in the settlement-class context.
Citing Amchem Prods., Inc. v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591, 620 (9th
Cir. 2012), such heightened attention included making certain
that the proposed settlement was fair by considering the
applicability of the laws of multiple states, and whether
variances in state laws defeated predominance.  The district
court could not simply side-step this duty by substituting a
fairness hearing under Rule 23(e) at a later date.  Additionally,
the Majority pointed out that because the district court had made
clear that it was unlikely that it would have certified the same
class for litigation purposes, defendants knew that class counsel
"could not use the threat of litigation to press for a better

Dissenting, Judge Nguyen, stressed that the Ninth Circuit has
long held that differences in state consumer protection laws
alone cannot decertify a nationwide class action.  Judge Nguyen
distinguished Mazza, stating that the holding was "a rare
exception to the general rule that 'predominance is a test
readily met' in consumer class actions,"[8] and opined that the
Majority incorrectly concluded that it is up to class counsel to
determine that no other state's laws apply; rather, the
objectors, or the foreign law proponent, must bear that
burden.[9] Judge Nguyen referred to Rule 23's silence on choice
of law issues and its requirement that class counsel prove
predominance, "but not the negative."

Judge Nguyen further emphasized that shifting the burden of proof
to the district court or class counsel strains the district
courts, creates a circuit split, and is contrary to the doctrine
established in Erie R.R. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64 (1938) -- that
federal courts sitting in diversity jurisdiction, except in
matters governed by the Federal Constitution or acts of Congress,
are to apply the law of the state, even when a federal rule is

Analysis: Would the Ninth Circuit Have Upheld Class Certification
and the Settlement If The District Court Had Conducted A Choice
Of Law Analysis?

Addressing class certification in the settlement context, the
Supreme Court in Amchem commented that Rule 23(b)(3)'s
predominance requirement is far more demanding than a mere
assertion that a group of plaintiffs has been exposed to the same
harm, and thus share a common experience.  Specifically, Amchem
set forth a "heightened" requirement for district courts when
certifying a settlement class, noting that federal courts may not
substitute Rule 23's certification criteria with a mere
determination that settlement is "fair," and therefore,
certification is proper.[10] In that regard, as stated by the
Fifth Circuit in a leading case, it is up to the district court
to determine how variations in state law in a multi-state class
action affect Rule 23's predominance criteria -- the court may
not simply rely on counsel's assurances that problems with
predominance may be overcome.[11]

In a factually similar case to Hyundai, the Ninth Circuit in
Mazza conducted a California choice of law analysis, and
determined that California had a constitutionally sufficient
aggregation of contacts to each class member's claims because
Honda's headquarters, advertising agency, and one fifth of the
proposed class members were located in California.[12] However,
despite these sufficient contacts, some class members "purchased
or leased their car in different jurisdictions with materially
different consumer protection laws," and therefore, the Ninth
Circuit held that the district court erred in certifying the
litigation class.[13] However, the Mazza plaintiffs were part of
a litigation class, and not a settlement class. Moreover, the
court in Mazza did not expressly address the predominance

Had the district court in Hyundai undertaken a Rule 23(b)(3)
predominance and choice of law analysis, and reached a conclusion
either certifying or refusing to certify the class, it might have
satisfied the Majority's concerns.  Recognizing that differences
in state law must be "material" to defeat nationwide class
certification, the Panel's main contention was that the district
court had "abused its discretion" because it failed to conduct
any choice of law analysis into potential differences in state
consumer protection laws prior to certifying the nationwide

Attempting to obtain certification, it would be wise for class
proponents in a multi-state class action to provide the district
court with evidence as to why laws of the forum state do not
defeat predominance (i.e. that laws in various states do not
differ "materially"), and to show why, as the court in Mazza
stated, foreign states would not be impaired of their ability "to
calibrate liability to foster commerce" if the law of the forum
state were applied to the entire class.  Notably, nationwide
classes in both the litigation and settlement context have been
upheld before, and are likely to be upheld in the future when
proper analysis is conducted by the court. [GN]

INTEL CORP: Patterson Belknap Attorney Discuss Class Action
Derek Borchardt, Esq. -- dborchardt@pbwt.com -- and
Craig A. Newman, Esq. -- cnewman@pbwt.com -- of Patterson Belknap
Webb & Tyler LLP, in an article for Lexology, report that
shareholders may have found a new hook for data security

Over the past year, plaintiffs have filed nine federal class
action securities fraud lawsuits against public companies after
data security incidents, according to a recent Bloomberg Law
study.  And in each case, the company's stock dropped after the
disclosure of either a data breach or alleged data security
vulnerability.  The study did not find any data security related
class actions filed in 2016.

In earlier data breaches, it was unusual to see declines in stock
price -- a necessary element of a securities fraud claim.  But
the Yahoo! and Equifax hacks changed that with stock prices
tumbling and billions of dollars in market capitalization lost.

Let's first start with a quick review of the basics.  The core
issue in securities fraud litigation is often whether the public
company made a material misrepresentation or omission that
deceived the market.  Therefore, what companies say about data
security in their SEC filings, press releases, and other
communications is critical. And notwithstanding the uptick in
breach-related securities fraud filings, these lawsuits are far
from easy to win or even get past a motion to dismiss.  Depending
on the nature of the claimed misstatement or omission at issue,
plaintiffs must allege scienter or intentionality with
specificity as required by the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act.

To do so, shareholders have generally used one of two legal
theories: First, shareholders have alleged that the company's
pre-breach public disclosures didn't adequately disclose the risk
of a data security incident or that the company overstated its
cybersecurity strength or capabilities.  Or second, that the
company withheld or was too slow in disclosing a breach after it
was detected.  This way, the claims cover both shareholders who
purchased stock before the breach as well as those who purchased
after the breach but before the public disclosure.

Earlier attempts by shareholders to sue public companies based on
data breaches haven't gotten much traction.  Shareholder
derivative suits -- where a shareholder sues the board on the
company's behalf based a fiduciary duty claim -- are difficult to
prosecute. The bar for such lawsuits is high since directors are
protected by the business judgment rule and shareholders must
show that the board "completely failed" or "consciously failed"
to exercise its oversight responsibilities.

For companies on the receiving end of a data security-related
class action securities fraud complaint during the past year, we
have found that the lawsuits fall into three general categories.

Companies That Tout Their Data Security: The poster child for
this category is Equifax.  The company's 10-Ks for 2015 and 2016
described the credit monitoring service as "delivering security"
and touted Equifax's development of "new technology to enhance
the . . . security of the services we offer."  As 145.5 million
Americans have found out, that's not quite how it worked out.
Once news about the Equifax breach broke, it wasn't long before
Kuhns v. Equifax Inc. was filed, with the plaintiff's complaint
pointing to those statements, among others, as "false and/or
misleading" in light of the company's actual, undisclosed

In particular, the complaint alleges that the company failed to
maintain adequate measures to protect its data, failed to
adequately monitor its systems to detect breaches, failed to
maintain proper security systems and controls, and as a result,
the company's financial statements were materially false and

Companies That Said Nothing about Data Security (Allegedly):
Silence on data security isn't an option, either, because
securities fraud lawsuits can be premised on omissions as well as
affirmative misrepresentations.  Consider Ali v. Intel Corp. The
complaint in that case points to this seemingly innocuous
explanation of Intel's business in two of the company's quarterly
reports: "We offer platforms that incorporate various components
and technologies."  What's the problem with that? According to
the complaint, the statement was misleading insofar is it failed
to disclose that Intel's processor chips contained latent flaws
that rendered them susceptible to breach.

The Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP attorneys stated "But on
closer examination, Intel's public disclosures said a lot more.
We pulled Intel's 10-K filing for 2016 (which is referenced in
the 10-Q quarterly reports), and sure enough, in the "Risk
Factors" section is a lengthy explanation of Intel's possible
exposure to a variety of cybersecurity risks, including those
presented by attacks from malicious hackers targeting the company
or its products.  Such attacks, even if unsuccessful, the report
explains, could result in significant costs, including costs
connected to product modifications."

"That brings us to the third category of data security-related
securities fraud lawsuits we've seen over the past year.

Companies That Concededly Disclose Risks Connected to Data
Security But Are Sued Nonetheless: Consider Kim v. Advanced Micro
Devices, Inc. AMD's annual report disclosed, as acknowledged by
the plaintiff's complaint, that "secure maintenance of [sensitive
data] is critical to our business and reputation." The report
further explained that "cyber-attacks have become more prevalent
and much harder to detect and defend against." AMD was at risk of
such a cyber-attack, the report explained, which could lead to
disclosure of confidential information, business disruption,
exposure to liability and expense, and other harm to the business
and its reputation. So, since AMD publicly disclosed these risks
from a data breach, what was the basis for the lawsuit? According
to the complaint, this disclosure was inadequate because it
failed to disclose a specific flaw in AMD's processor chips that,
like Intel's chips, rendered them susceptible to breach.

"The AMD case expressly -- and the Intel case implicitly --
present the same question: In a securities fraud lawsuit, can a
company's stock be found to be artificially inflated by the
company's failure to disclose a specific data security
vulnerability if the company has in fact disclosed as a general
matter the potential risks connected to a data breach? Since both
the AMD and Intel cases were only filed in January, that question
hasn't been answered.

"These recent cases underscore the challenge public companies
face in crafting appropriate disclosures that cover the range of
data security risks faced by the organization -- be it a
potential breach, a latent vulnerability, or otherwise.  We
suspect that these nine cases are only the beginning and
additional cases will be filed whenever a data security incident
is followed by a decline in stock price.  We'll be watching."

JOHN MUIR: Blumenthal Nordrehaug Files Wage Class Action
The San Francisco employment law lawyers at Blumenthal Nordrehaug
Bhowmik De Blouw LLP, filed a class action complaint alleging
that John Muir Health failed to pay their California non-exempt
employees the correct amount of overtime wages, and also
allegedly failed to provide meal and rest periods as required by
California law.  The John Muir Health class action lawsuit, Case
No. C18-00307, is currently pending in the Contra Costa County
Superior Court for the State of California.

According to the lawsuit, John Muir Health allegedly failed and
continues to fail to accurately calculate and pay employees for
their overtime worked.  The class action lawsuit further alleges,
in violation of the applicable sections of the California Labor
Code and the requirements of the Industrial Welfare Commission
("IWC") Wage Order, John Muir Health as a matter of company
policy, practice and procedure, intentionally and knowingly
failed to compensate its employees at the correct rate of pay for
all overtime worked.

Additionally, the lawsuit also alleges that John Muir Health
allegedly failed to provide their non-exempt employees all
legally required off-duty, uninterrupted thirty (30) minute meal
breaks and the legally required paid rest breaks.  The complaint
seeks demands of one (1) hour of pay for each workday in which an
off-duty meal period was not timely provided for each five (5)
hours of work, and/or one (1) hour of pay for each workday in
which a second off-duty meal period was not timely provided for
each ten (10) hours of work.

Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP, is an employment law
firm with offices located in San Diego, San Francisco,
Sacramento, Los Angeles, Riverside and Chicago that dedicates its
practice to helping employees, investors and consumers fight back
against unfair business practices, including violations of the
California Labor Code and Fair Labor Standards Act. [GN]

LCC INT'L: Bid for Clause Construction Award in "Togerson" Denied
In the case captioned LCC INTERNATIONAL, INC., n/k/a TECH
RICHARD TORGERSON, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, Respondents, Case No. 17-2508-DDC-TJJ (D.
Kan.), the United States District Court for the District of
Kansas issued a Memorandum and Order denying Petitioner's Motion
to Vacate Arbitrator's Order denying Petitioner's Motion for
Clause Construction Award.

Petitioner filed a Petition to Vacate in the Eastern District of
Virginia, seeking to vacate an arbitrator's Order denying LCC's
Motion for Clause Construction Award.

Mr. Torgerson worked for LCC as a Migration Analyst and Senior
Migration Analyst at its office in Overland Park, Kansas.  On
February 3, 2016, Mr. Torgerson filed a lawsuit in the Western
District of Missouri, on behalf of himself and others similarly
situated, alleging that LCC had violated the FLSA by improperly
classifying all LCC employees working in a Migration Analyst
position as employees exempt from the FLSA's overtime
requirements.  Mr. Torgerson's suit seeks to recover unpaid
overtime compensation under the FLSA on behalf of himself and
other, similarly situated Migration Analysts.

As a condition of his employment with LCC, Mr. Torgerson signed
an Employee Agreement (Agreement). Among other things, Mr.
Torgerson agreed in the Agreement to arbitrate certain disputes
in accordance with the then prevailing rules of the American
Arbitration Association.

Based on this Agreement, LCC filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, to Stay Proceedings and Compel Arbitration.  The
court granted in part and denied in part defendants' Motion to
Dismiss or, in the Alternative, to Stay Proceedings and Compel

Mr. Torgerson submitted a Demand for Arbitration to the American
Arbitration Association (AAA). Mr. Torgerson's demand sought to
assert a collective action on behalf of himself and others
similarly situated. The arbitrator issued an Order on Threshold
Matters and on Respondent's Motion for Clause Construction Award.
In this Order, the arbitrator determined that the arbitration
provisions in Mr. Torgerson's Agreement were valid and
enforceable and that Mr. Torgerson's FLSA claims fall within the
scope of the Agreement's arbitration provisions.

The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) provides that courts may vacate
an arbitrator's decision but only in very unusual circumstances.
Section 10 of the FAA permits a federal district court to vacate
an arbitration award in only four circumstances: (1) where the
award was procured by corruption, fraud, or undue means; (2)
where there was evident partiality or corruption in the
arbitrators, or either of them; (3) where the arbitrators were
guilty of misconduct in refusing to postpone the hearing, upon
sufficient cause shown, or in refusing to hear evidence pertinent
and material to the controversy; or of any other misbehavior by
which the rights of any party have been prejudiced; or (4) where
the arbitrators exceeded their powers, or so imperfectly executed
them that a mutual, final, and definite award upon the subject
matter submitted was not made.

LCC's Petition to Vacate asserts that the court must vacate the
arbitrator's Order on Threshold Matters and on Respondent's
Motion for Clause Construction Award for two reasons.  First, LCC
contends, the arbitrator exceeded his authority by ruling that
the AAA Supplementary Rules of Class Arbitration do not apply.
Second, LCC argues, the arbitrator exceeded his authority by
ruling that the parties' arbitration agreement authorizes Mr.
Torgerson to assert his FLSA claims on a collective basis.
AAA Supplementary Rule 3 Authorizes Judicial Review of the
Arbitrator's Order.

Jock v. Sterling Jewelers Inc., 691 F. App'x 665, 666 (2d Cir.
2017), is the only case that Mr. Torgerson cites that holds a
district court lacks jurisdiction to review an arbitrator's order
conditionally certifying a collective action.  But that's not the
issue here. LCC asks the court to review an arbitrator's Order on
the threshold issue whether the parties' agreement allows Mr.
Torgerson to assert FLSA claims on a collective basis.

The majority of cases have determined that a district court has
jurisdiction to review such an order. DIRECTV, LLC v. Arndt, 546
F. App'x 836, 839 (11th Cir. 2013), holding that jurisdiction
existed for judicial review of an arbitrator's order finding that
the parties' agreements provided for collective arbitration of
FLSA claims); Int'l Bancshares Corp. v. Lopez, 57 F.Supp.3d 784,
789 (S.D. Tex. 2014), recognizing that although there are
meaningful differences between Rule 23 class actions and FLSA
collective actions, the limited circumstances justifying review
for a Rule 23 class arbitration award are also applicable to FLSA
collective actions and so the district court had jurisdiction to
review a Clause Construction Award that had authorized a claimant
proceed with collective action arbitration. The court's own
research has located no cases holding otherwise, permitting
judicial review of a clause construction award.

Also, while Jock held that the district court lacked jurisdiction
to vacate an arbitrator's ruling on conditional collective action
certification, Jock acknowledged that courts, including the
Southern District of New York, have reviewed arbitrators' clause
construction awards, where they are threshold rulings determining
whether the parties' arbitration agreement even permits class
arbitration. Thus, Jock cited an earlier opinion in that very
same case where the same district court had determined that it
could review the arbitrator's threshold ruling that the
arbitration agreement did not prohibit class arbitration.

That is the precise issue presented here. And the court has found
no case law holding that a district court lacks jurisdiction to
decide this issue. To the contrary, other courts have held
specifically that jurisdiction exists for a district court to
review such an order. So, the court predicting that the Tenth
Circuit would do the same follows those authorities and concludes
that it has jurisdiction to consider LCC's request to vacate the
arbitrator's Order.

The Arbitrator Never Held that the AAA Supplementary Rules Don't
Apply, and thus the Arbitrator Never Exceeded His Authority.

The Supreme Court has explained that the question under Section
10(a)(4) is whether the arbitrators had the power, based on the
parties' submissions or the arbitration agreement, to reach a
certain issue, not whether the arbitrators correctly decided the
issue. And section 10(a)(4) permits courts to vacate an arbitral
decision only when the arbitrator strayed from his delegated task
not when he performed that task poorly. Under this provision, it
is not enough to show that the arbitrator committed an error or
even a serious error. The court may vacate the award only if the
arbitrator acts outside the scope of his contractually delegated
authority issuing an award that simply reflects his own notions
of economic justice rather than drawing its essence from the
contract may a court overturn his determination Instead, the sole
question for the Court is whether the arbitrator even arguably
interpreted the parties' contract, not whether he got its meaning
right or wrong.

LCC fails to carry its heavy burden to show that the arbitrator
exceeded his authority when deciding that his Order was a non-
final decision.

The Arbitrator Never Exceeded His Authority by Denying LCC's
Motion for Clause Construction Award.

As the Supreme Court has explained, section 10(a)(4) of the FAA
allows a district court to vacate an arbitrator's decision only
when the arbitrator strayed from his delegated task of
interpreting a contract, not when he performed that task poorly.
Otherwise, if the arbitrator is even arguably construing or
applying the contract, his decision must stand regardless of a
court's view of its (de)merits. The arbitrator's construction
holds, however good, bad, or ugly.

The arbitrator's decision here shows that he interpreted the
plain language of the parties' Agreement to conclude that it
authorizes collective arbitration. The arbitrator never strayed
from his delegated task, and thus the court has no reason to
vacate his decision. LCC's criticisms of the arbitrator's
decision simply address how well he performed his task of
interpreting the Agreement. But the court cannot vacate a
decision constructing an arbitration agreement however good, bad,
or ugly. The court thus denies LCC's request that the court
vacate the arbitrator's decision.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 25, 2018
Memorandum and Order is available at https://tinyurl.com/y9kn82wp
from Leagle.com.

LCC International, Inc., n/k/a Tech Mahindra Network Services
International, Inc., Plaintiff, represented by Robert H.
Bernstein -- bernsteinrob@gtlaw.com -- Greenberg Traurig LLP.

Richard Torgerson, Sued individually, and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, Defendant, represented by Gregory P. Goheen -
- ggoheen@mvplaw.com -- McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips, PA &
Robert L. Turner, IV  -- rturner@mvplaw.com -- McAnany, Van
Cleave & Phillips, PA.

LENDINGCLUB: Agrees to Settle Shareholder Class Action for $125MM
Kevin Wack, writing for American Banker, reports that LendingClub
has agreed to a preliminary settlement of multiple class-action
lawsuits brought by its shareholders, the latest step in the
company's efforts to move beyond a 2016 scandal.

Under the agreement, which was announced Feb. 20, the San
Francisco-based online lender expects to pay $77.25 million.  An
additional $47.75 million is expected to be covered by
LendingClub's insurance, bringing the total payout to $125
million. The deal is subject to court approval.

LendingClub runs a digital marketplace that links borrowers --
often consumers who are looking to consolidate credit-card debt
at a lower interest rate -- with savers who fund the loans.

The class-action lawsuits were filed following the ouster of
former LendingClub CEO Renaud Laplanche in May 2016, which was
prompted in part by the discovery that certain loan information
had been falsified.  Shareholders alleged that LendingClub had
inflated its stock price by concealing its operational

"We're encouraged to have reached an agreement that will put this
matter behind us and substantially reduces our financial risk
going forward," LendingClub CEO Scott Sanborn said on Feb. 20 in
a press release.

Still, LendingClub said that it is subject to several outstanding
legal issues, including litigation and ongoing regulatory

The online lender also said on Feb. 20 that it recorded a net
loss of $92.1 million in the fourth quarter, largely as a result
of the elevated legal costs.

LendingClub reported revenue of $156.5 million, up 20% from the
same period a year earlier.  The firm's loan originations totaled
$2.44 billion, an increase of 23% from the fourth quarter of
2016. Operating expenses totaled $170.6 million, excluding the
one-time settlement costs.  That was up from 4.6% from the year-
earlier period.

Lending Club, once a fintech darling, has struggled to overcome
the damage done by the 2016 scandal.  The company recorded total
losses of $300 million in 2016 and 2017. [GN]

LENDINGCLUB: Settles Class Actions, Misses 4th Quarter Earnings
Claudia Assis, writing for MarketWatch, reports that LendingClub
Corp. missed fourth-quarter adjusted earnings and sales
expectations.  The lender also said it had reached a preliminary
settlement of class-action lawsuits filed in federal and
California state courts arising from some legacy issues disclosed
in 2016.  LendingClub said it lost $92.1 million, or 22 cents a
share, in the quarter, compared with a loss of $32.3 million, or
8 cents a share, in the year-ago period, thanks mostly to the
class-action litigation settlement expense of $77.25 million in
the period, it said.  Adjusted for one-time items, the company
earned 1 cent a share in the quarter, versus a loss of 2 cents a
share a year ago.  Revenue reached $156.5 million, up 20% from
$30.5 million a year ago.  Analysts polled by FactSet had
expected adjusted earnings of 2 cents a share on sales of $157.6
million. [GN]

LIFEVANTAGE CORP: Sommers Schwartz Files Securities Class Action
Sommers Schwartz, P.C. on Feb. 19 disclosed that it has filed a
securities class action lawsuit against LifeVantage Corp.
("LifeVantage") (NASDAQ: LFVN) and certain of its executives.
The action, which is captioned Smith v. LifeVantage Corp. et al.,
Case No. 18-cv-00135 (D. Conn.), asserts claims under the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Federal Securities Act of
1933 on behalf of purchasers of the LifeVantage "business
opportunity" during the period of January 1, 2009 through the
present (the "Class Period").

The Complaint alleges that LifeVantage and its Chief Executive
Officer Darren Jensen, Chief Sales Officer Justin Rose, and Chief
Marketing Officer Ryan Goodwin (the "Defendants") are operating
an illegal pyramid scheme in violation of the federal Racketeer
Influenced & Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, federal securities
laws, and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

According to the lawsuit, LifeVantage sells distributorships
which Defendants market as the business opportunity using sales
pitches promising wealth and business independence.  Defendants'
compensation program encourages distributors to recruit others
into the system with the same promises of wealth and business
independence.  Distributors pay money to participate in the
business opportunity, which funds LifeVantage's payments and
bonuses to other distributors.  Despite LifeVantage's claims of
retail sales, little money comes in to the system from actual
retail users of LifeVantage products disconnected from the
business opportunity or recruitment.  Instead, it is believed
that the majority of the company's retail sales are monthly sales
made to distributors who purchase LifeVantage's products mainly
in order to participate in the compensation program and remain
eligible to receive bonuses.

If you wish to serve as Lead Plaintiff for the federal securities
law claims alleged in the Complaint, you must file a motion with
the Court no later than April 19, 2018.  Those claims are brought
on behalf of:

All purchasers of the LifeVantage "business opportunity" who
experienced a financial loss as a result of their LifeVantage
distributor enrollment (the "Class").

Any member of the proposed Class may move the Court to serve as
Lead Plaintiff through counsel of their choice or may choose to
do nothing and remain a member of the proposed Class.

Based in Southfield, Michigan, Sommers Schwartz, P.C. --
http://www.sommerspc.com-- represents plaintiffs in complex and
class action litigation.  Sommers Schwartz has extensive
experience representing investors, homeowners, consumers,
employees, and borrowers in class action litigation, and the firm
has played lead roles in major cases for over 25 years resulting
in recoveries of many millions of dollars for their clients and
the classes they represent.

If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions
concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please

         Andrew Kochanowski
         E-mail: akochanowski@sommerspc.com
         Telephone: (248) 355-0300 [GN]

LJM FUNDS: Michael Criden Files Securities Class Action
Samantha Joseph, writing for Law.com, reports that South Miami
securities litigator Michael E. Criden filed a class action
lawsuit against a Chicago-based commodities trader whose funds
reportedly lost 80 percent of their value in three days.

Mr. Criden represents lead plaintiff Leonard Sokolow in the suit
pending in Illinois against LJM Funds Management Ltd. and its
affiliates.  His firm filed the complaint along with Scott +
Scott litigator Thomas Laughlin in New York alleging violation of
federal securities laws.  Their client is the president and CEO
of Boca Raton-based financial advisory and brokerage Newbridge
Financial Inc., who claimed a $90,000 investment with LJM Funds
whittled to about $18,000 from Feb. 5 to 7.

If certified, the class would represent investors who purchased
shares of the LJM Preservation and Growth Fund, or LJMIX, from
Feb. 28, 2015, to Feb. 7, 2018.

Mr. Sokolow invested in options -- derivative securities linked
to contracts that give investors the choice, or option, to buy or
sell underlying assets at a set price by a predetermined date.
His lawsuit alleges LJM portfolio managers assured they had
hedged the investments to protect against extreme market
volatility, but that claim proved unfounded when the leading
indicator of U.S. equities, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index,
plunged nearly 5 percent Feb. 5.

LJM's website invites potential clients to "harness volatility
with liquid alternatives."  Mr. Sokolow's lawsuit claims the
company promoted the investments as conservative offerings until
the market rout exposed a vulnerability as the LJMIX mutual fund
share price tumbled to $1.94 on Feb. 7, down from $9.82 days

"Had they been hedged appropriately, even with severe market
correction . . . they wouldn't have lost so much," Mr. Criden
said. "These investments were not represented to be inherently
risky. That was the attraction."

The Morningstar Analyst Rating, which measures funds' risk-
adjusted returns, downgraded LJMIX from neutral to negative,
citing "steep losses, poor risk controls and inadequate

LJM Funds did not immediately respond to requests for comment,
and no attorney has entered an appearance on its behalf in the
case filed Feb. 9 and pending before U.S. District Judge Robert
M. Dow Jr. in Chicago.

But the company's parent, LJM Partners Inc., posted a pop-up on
its website requiring users to acknowledge a disclaimer about
investment risks before entering.

"The risk of loss in trading commodities can be substantial.  You
should therefore carefully consider whether such trading is
suitable for you in light of your financial condition," the
notice reads.  "The high degree of leverage that is often
obtainable in commodity trading can work against you as well as
for you.  The use of leverage can lead to large losses as well as
gains.  In some cases, managed commodity accounts are subject to
substantial charges for management and advisory fees.  It may be
necessary for those accounts that are subject to these charges to
make substantial trading profits to avoid depletion or exhaustion
of their assets."

Law firm advertisements suggest LJM could face multiple suits.

New York-based Bronstein Gewirtz & Grossman issued a Feb. 12
alert to participants interested in its class action.  Meanwhile,
an ad on Google from Girard Gibbs invites potential plaintiffs to
"talk to a securities lawyer" at the firm's California or
New York offices.

"Our attorneys are investigating claims on behalf of investors of
LJM Preservation and Growth Fund (LJMIX) for possible violations
of federal securities laws," according to a posting on the firm's

"The world realized . . .  the protection that was supposed to be
in place in the fund just didn't exist," Mr. Criden said.  "It's
obvious that they didn't adhere to the investment strategy.
Otherwise these losses could never have happened -- not to this

Mr. Sokolow's suit names as defendants investment adviser LJM
Funds, parent company LJM Partners Inc., chairman Anthony Caine,
chief portfolio manager Anish Parvataneni, underwriter and
national distributor Northern Lights Distributors LLC, registrant
Two Roads Shared Trust, its chairman Mark Gertsen, president
Andrew Rogers, treasurer James Colatino and trustees Anita Krug,
Neil Kaufman and Mark Garbin.  The three-count complaint alleges
violations of Sections 11, 12 and 15 of the Securities Act of
1933. [GN]

LOUISIANA: Corrections Dept Faces Class Action Over Inmate Abuses
WGNO reports that the MacArthur Justice Center has filed a
federal class action lawsuit against the Louisiana Department of
Corrections and a North Louisiana jail for abusing prisoners and
neglecting prisoners with serious mental health needs.

The lawsuit alleges that David Wade Correctional Center in Homer,
Louisiana, houses hundreds of prisoners in "extended lockdown"
cells for months on end.

The prisoners are kept in their cells for 23 to 24 hours a day
and are allowed no human contact, even the sight of fellow
prisoners in adjacent cells.

"Extended lockdown is a cruel, inhumane punishment in which men
are deprived of human contact, the outdoors, speaking with their
families or even a regular shower.  The Department of Corrections
sends men to these horrible conditions without any consideration
for their mental or physical health," MacArthur Justice Center
attorney Katie Schwartzmann said.  "Prisoners known to have
serious mental illness, including history of self-harm or
suicidal tendencies, are routinely placed on extended lockdown."

The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of two prisoners,
Anthony Tellis and Bruce Charles, both of whom were placed on
extended lockdown.

Mr. Tellis had no history of mental illness before his
confinement, and now suffers from audio and visual
hallucinations, while Mr. Charles, who had been diagnosed as
bipolar previous to his confinement, has been on suicide watch
five times and has attempted suicide twice, according to the

The experienced of other prisoners are also detailed in the suit,
including a prisoner with a history of serious mental illness who
hung himself with a bedsheet and another who faces amputation of
one of his legs after a botched suicide attempt.

Prison workers also opened windows in January during a freeze to
torture the prisoners, who were clad in "minimal clothing,"
according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed on February 20 in the U.S. District Court
for the Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, and names
Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Corrections James M.
LeBlanc, David Wade Correctional Center Warden Jerry Goodwin, and
the officials overseeing the South Compound and mental health
provisions of DWCC prisoners as defendants.

The suit alleges violations of the First and Eighth Amendments,
as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of
the Rehabilitation Act. [GN]

MADISON COUNTY, IL: Judge Certifies Vehicle Tow Fees Suit
Sanford J. Schmidt, writing for The Telegraph, reports that after
seven years a judge has certified an Edwardsville attorney's
class action suit, which claims some Madison County
municipalities charge excessive and unconstitutional fees to
people who are required to have their vehicles towed.

Associate Judge Clarence Harrison made the key ruling recently as
attorney Brian Polinske goes after cities that charge up to $500
as a "tow redemption fee." Named are Alton, Edwardsville and

In order to have the cases certified, the plaintiff must prove
several propositions, such as that the members of the class have
similar claims that may be more easily handled as a group than as
individual plaintiffs.

Mr. Polinske filed the suits in 2011, but appeals and other
litigation have lasted the past seven years.  The judge certified
the Collinsville case recently, and hearings on the other suits
are scheduled for March. He has filed one suit against each of
the municipalities.

The cases involve drivers who are arrested and cited by a police
officer, then have to pay a municipal tow fee, merely to have an
official fill out a tow fee form.  Drivers who want their
vehicles back, must take the form to the towing company, which
may charge them hundreds of dollars in towing and storage fees.

Mr. Polinske's suit is against the cities, only. Other drivers
have filed suit over what they call excessive fees charged by
towing companies.

Bethalto resident, Rick Hayes, a pastor, said his wife, Mary
Hayes, was stopped recently because her license plate was
expired. She had an old warrant on a minor charge that she had
forgotten about.

Mr. Hayes, 61, said he makes no money as a pastor and lives on
Social Security.  He is retired from Olin Corp.  He said Alton
wanted to charge him $500 for a tow fee, and the towing company
wants another $300.  He said he decided to let the lending
institution repossess the car because he can't afford to get it
out of the tow lot.

However, Mr. Hayes can't be part of the suit because he can't pay
the fee, and the only thing plaintiffs get, if Mr. Polinkse wins,
is their fees reimbursed.

Mr. Polinske's suit alleges the state law allowing the municipal
tow fees, but the fees charged by his defendants are not

"The tow release fees required by the defendant require minimal
time and cost to the city, requiring only that the defendant's
police department employees write a receipt for payment of the
required tow fee, which is substantially more than fees required
by other defendant city ordinances for other services/fees
required by the defendant," the suit alleges.

There is no rational justification for imposing a $500
administrative fee upon a motorist to merely issue that person a
receipt stating they have paid $500," the suit alleges.

The suit also claims the fees are unconstitutional, in that they
deprive people of property without due process.  Some of the
drivers he have their vehicles towed are charged with crimes like
driving under the influence or driving without a license, but
they have not been found guilty before they have to pay,
Mr. Polinske pointed out.

The law is clear regarding this fee.  The fee cannot be charged
unless it is "reasonably related" to its intended purpose, Mr.
Polinske writes in a post on his web site.

Mr. Polinske said he anticipates the municipalities will appeal
the class certifications, but other communities have made such
appeals and lost. [GN]

MDL 2503: Court Denies Partial Summary Judgment in Antitrust Suit
The United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts issued a Memorandum and Opinion denying Plaintiff
classes and Retail Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment in the
ANTITRUST LITIGATION, Civil Action No. 14-md-02503 (D. Mass.).

This is a class action in which Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs
(DPPs) allege that Defendants Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation
(Medicis) and Impax Laboratories, Inc. (Impax) (Defendants),
violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1, D.
91, and End-Payor Plaintiffs (EPPs) allege that Defendants have
violated various state laws. The remaining claim of Retailer
Plaintiffs2 is that Defendants' actions violate Section 2 of the
Sherman Act.

Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment addresses both
market power and infringement.

Market Power

Circumstantial Evidence

Circumstantial evidence of market power includes evidence that
the defendant has a dominant share in a well-defined relevant
market and that there are significant barriers to entry in that
market and that existing competitors lack the capacity to
increase their output in the short run.

Plaintiffs argue that the relevant market did not include any
products beyond Solodyn and its AB-rated generic equivalents. As
to Medicis's conduct in 2009, Rosenthal opines that price
competition was part of their strategic response to generic
launches that year, even if those launches were abbreviated.
Defendants argue that an econometric analysis supports a broader
view of the relevant market. Defendants' expert Dr. Sumanth
Addanki (Addanki), an economist and managing director at National
Economic Research Associates, Inc., concludes that Solodyn also
competed with other branded and generic minocyclines and
doxycycline Addanki argues that because of the pharmaceutical
distribution chain, or the institutional structure of this
market, an econometric demand model like Baum's and Rosenthal's
cannot provide reliable or meaningful elasticity estimates in the
market for prescription pharmaceutical products.

Even putting aside Addanki's critique that demand models are not
appropriately used in the pharmaceutical field, his report opines
that Plaintiffs' experts' analysis contains critical flaws in
estimation of price, for example, failing to account for
Solodyn's rebating, isamples distributed to physicians, and other
matters, such that he provides a sufficient basis for questioning
whether Plaintiffs have shown (or can show at trial) that no
cross-elasticity of demand exists beyond Solodyn and its
generics. While rejecting a demand model given the contours of
the pharmaceutical field (which involves consumers, physicians,
pharmacies and insurance companies as decisionmakers), Addanki
uses an econometric model to determine whether there was any
effect on new prescriptions of oral tetracyclines based upon
effective price changes corresponding with certain marketplace

Accordingly, he concludes that the number of new Solodyn
prescriptions were not only sensitive to its own price changes,
but also the price changes of other products, including
doxycycline and a number of new generic immediate-release
minocycline prescriptions that, in turn, were also sensitive to
changes in Solodyn's price. That Addanki uses a different
economic analysis, one that explicitly considers the changes in
effective pricing (i.e., accounting for coupons, discounts and
rebates) does not mean that such analysis fails to bear upon a
showing of cross-elasticity of demand. Whether, when weighed
against the Rosenthal and Baum demand models, such analysis will
carry the day as a matter of fact is for the jury to decide.

This ruling, denying summary judgment as to both parties, is not
inconsistent with Doryx II, in which the Third Circuit affirmed
the lower court's ruling for the defendants on market definition.
Doryx II, 838 F.3d at 437-38. In Doryx II, the court
characterized Addanki's study there as demonstrating that when
Defendants increased the price of Doryx, its sales decreased, and
the sales of other tetracyclines increased. There, however,
plaintiffs failed to rebut this testimony with any quantitative
analyses. That is not the situation here. Plaintiffs' experts
have provided quantitative analyses analyzing sales and prices of
Solodyn and its supposed competitors.

The Court thus denies both summary judgment motions, as to this
issue. Circumstantial evidence of market power including the
question of what is the relevant market goes to the jury.

Direct Evidence

Plaintiffs also argue that undisputed direct evidence establishes
market power here.  Defendants argue that Plaintiffs' purported
direct evidence is insufficient as a matter of law.

Plaintiffs' evidence of high margins is insufficient direct
evidence as a matter of law to demonstrate market power.
Demonstrating market power through direct evidence requires
additional evidence beyond high margins alone For all of the
aforementioned reasons, Defendants have demonstrated the dangers
in inferring market power from high margins alone. Plaintiffs
have provided no evidence of restricted output.  Direct evidence
of market power is rarely available and Plaintiffs have not cited
any case and certainly none that is binding on this Court that
found direct evidence was sufficient for a showing of market
power beyond the pleading stage. Given the dispute as to whether
Plaintiffs' evidence suffices to show supra-competitive pricing,
along with the absence of actual evidence of restricted output,
Plaintiffs have failed to provide sufficient evidence of this
rare variety to meet their burden here.

The Court notes, however, that as Plaintiffs acknowledged at the
summary judgment hearing, Plaintiffs need not prove or prevail by
showing market power by direct evidence if they succeed in doing
so by circumstantial evidence. The case will thus proceed to the
jury on the basis of Plaintiffs' circumstantial evidence of
market power requiring that Plaintiffs first define the market
and not on Plaintiffs' direct evidence theory.

The Court thus denies Plaintiffs' summary judgment motion.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 25, 2018
Memorandum and Order is available at https://tinyurl.com/y96ndvt8
from Leagle.com.

Consolidated Plaintiffs, Consolidated Plaintiff, represented by
Andrew C. Curley -- acurley@bm.net -- Berger & Montague, PC, pro
hac vice, Caitlin G. Coslett -- ccoslett@bm.net -- Berger &
Montague PC, pro hac vice, David F. Sorensen -- dsorensen@bm.net
-- Berger & Montague, P.C., pro hac vice, Joseph T. Lukens --
jlukens@faruqilaw.com -- FARUQI & FARUQI, pro hac vice, Lauren G.
Barnes -- lauren@hbsslaw.com -- Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP,
Neill Clark --  nclark@faruqilaw.com -- Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP, pro
hac vice, Peter Kohn -- pkohn@faruqilaw.com -- Faruqi & Faruqi
LLP, pro hac vice, Thomas M. Sobol -- tom@hbsslaw.com -- Hagens
Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Jayne A. Goldstein, Shepherd Finkelman
Miller & Shah LLP, Jessica Rose MacAuley -- jessicam@hbsslaw.com
-- Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP & Steve D. Shadowen --
steve@hilliardshadowenlaw.com -- Hilliard & Shadowen LLP, pro hac

Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., Defendant, represented by ALEXANDER
L. HARRIS -- harrisa@pepperlaw.com -- PEPPER HAMILTON LLP, pro
hac vice, Anjali B. Patel -- anjali.patel@skadden.com -- Skadden,
Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, pro hac vice, BARBARA T.
SICALIDES -- sicalidesb@pepperlaw.com -- PEPPER HAMILTON LLP, pro
hac vice, Christopher G. Clark -- christopher.clark@skadden.com -
- Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, DANIEL J. BOLAND --
bolandd@pepperlaw.com -- PEPPER HAMILTON LLP, pro hac vice, James
R. Carroll -- james.carroll@skadden.com -- Skadden, Arps, Slate,
Meagher & Flom LLP, Julia K. York -- julia.york@skadden.com --
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, pro hac vice, STEVEN C.
SUNSHINE -- Sunshine@skadden.com -- Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher
& Flom LLP, Sean M. Tepe -- sean.tepe@skadden.com -- Skadden,
Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, pro hac vice, Stuart B. Baimel -
- stuart.baimel@skadden.com -- Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher &
Flom LLP, pro hac vice, Tara L. Reinhart  --
tara.reinhart@skadden.com -- Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
LLP, pro hac vice, Christian R. Jenner --
cjenner@duffysweeney.com -- Duffy & Sweeney, Ltd., James Douglas
Baldridge -- jdbaldridge@venable.com -- Venable LLP & William K.
Wray, Jr., Brown Rudnick LLP, 10 Memorial Boulevard, 10th Floor.
Providence, Rl 02903

MDL 2804: St. Joseph County Joins Opioid Crisis Class Action
Ted Booker, writing for South Bend Tribune, reports that
St. Joseph County commissioners unanimously voted on Feb. 20 to
join numerous Indiana counties and cities in a federal lawsuit
against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Commissioners signed off on an agreement with Indianapolis law
firm Cohen & Malad to file a lawsuit against pharmaceutical
companies, accusing them of deceptive marketing practices that
have contributed to the county's opioid problem.

To name a few, others in Indiana that have signed up with the
firm for the lawsuit include Indianapolis, Bloomington, Marion
County and Marshall County.  The lawsuit will seek to have drug
companies reimburse the county for the cost of increased public
health and safety services it has provided to combat the problem,
which continues to contribute to overdose-related deaths.

According to its agreement with the county, Cohen & Malad won't
be paid for its services unless a favorable judgement is made in
the case.

If a settlement in favor of the county is reached with drug
companies, the firm would receive either 33 percent, 40 percent
or 50 percent of the settlement amount to cover attorney fees,
depending on how long it takes to reach such a deal.  The county
would receive a portion of the remaining amount, after other
legal expenses are deducted.

Commissioner Dave Thomas emphasized that the county doesn't face
a financial risk by joining the lawsuit.  If the lawsuit fails,
the firm won't be paid.

"If they go through this litigation process -- whether it's one
month or 10 years -- we're incurring no costs," he said.

It remains to be seen how much the county could benefit from the
lawsuit, which contends that marketing efforts of drug makers
have created a false perception in the medical community and
public that opioids are safe.

County officials say a burden has been placed on first
responders, courts, the jail and the Juvenile Justice Center
because of the opioid crisis.  It will be up to the law firm to
assign a dollar amount to that burden.

Commissioner President Andy Kostielney, who expects the firm to
file the lawsuit, said drug makers have "some culpability for
creating this problem, so we're asking them to help clean it up."

In the county, there were 59 overdose-related deaths in 2015, 60
in 2016 and 57 in 2017, according to the Indiana State Department
of Health. [GN]

MDL 2804: Franklin County Joins Opioid Crisis Class Action
According to WRBI, officials in Franklin County have agreed to
join other municipalities in legal action against opioid
manufacturers.  Reports indicate there are at least 100 similar
class action lawsuits nationwide.

The county is able to enter the lawsuit at no cost in return for
a 30 percent share of the settlement to the law firm, Crueger,
Dickerson, VonBriesen and Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC.

A cash settlement to Franklin County could be used to defray
legal expenses funded by the county for indigent people,
establish a drug treatment program or to local law enforcement to
fund continuing efforts. [GN]

METROPOLITAN TRASPORTATION: Sued Over Cashless Tolling System
Thomas C. Zambito, writing for lohud.com, reports that thousands
of motorists have been slapped with tens of millions of dollars
in fees since the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
introduced cashless tolling on its bridges and tunnels in 2016,
part of a scheme to enrich the MTA and its contractors, a federal
lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court on Feb. 16 names the
MTA and its Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority as well as two
contractors -- Transworld Systems and Conduent -- as defendants.

A second suit against the New York Thruway is threatened by the
same lawyer who filed this complaint on behalf of a Westchester
County resident.

"Defendants -- who operate those systems and collect tolls from
drivers -- have used the cashless toll system to line their own
pockets at the expense of drivers, primarily by collecting
improper fees and penalties in addition to collecting the tolls,"
the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jason Farina, a Westchester
County motorist who says he's been charged more than $6,000 in
fees and fines between October 2017 and January, mostly for $8.50
trips across the Throgs Neck Bridge in the Bronx.

Mr. Farina's attorney, Stephen Fearon, is asking a judge to
designate the lawsuit as a class-action so drivers with similar
claims can benefit from the outcome.

"Each defendant has a strong financial incentive to pursue these
improper fees and to collect as much as possible from drivers
because of secret agreements between the defendants to split
among themselves the amounts they collect," the lawsuit adds.
"Each defendant gets a percentage of the money collected from the

MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan declined to comment on the lawsuit
but defended the switch to cashless tolling.

"Cashless Tolling is providing huge benefits to our customers by
saving 3.4 million hours in travel time, 1.6 million gallons of
fuel and 15,400 tons of carbon emissions," Donovan said.

The lawsuit's allegations echo the findings of an investigation
by The Journal News/lohud.com into the cashless tolling system
introduced on the Tappan Zee Bridge in the summer of 2016 and
currently in use on its successor, the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo

Motorists say they've been hit with thousands of dollars in fines
and had their registrations revoked even as they were trying to
settle outstanding debts with the New York State Thruway
Authority and its contractors.

As a result, the Thruway Authority added new toll signs on the
bridge and created an amnesty program, which has allowed
motorists to knock thousands of dollars off their toll bills.

Thruway lawsuit coming?
Mr. Fearon says he intends to file a separate lawsuit naming the
Thruway Authority as a defendant for its cashless tolling system
on the Cuomo Bridge.

In the federal lawsuit, Mr. Farina claims he was hit with a $100
fine for $8.50 trips across New York bridges while he was trying
to pay previous charges.

"Despite his repeated efforts to pay the underlying bills,
Defendants have continued to pursue (Farina) for the improper
charges, now totaling more than $6,000," the lawsuit alleges.

Mr. Farina, who works in Rye, used E-ZPass to cross the bridges
and did not experience any billing troubles until November 2017
when he received notices indicating that his October 2017 bills
had not been paid, the lawsuit notes.

It claims Farina contacted E-ZPass' customer service office in
December 2017 and was told to pay the tolls but not the
outstanding fees.  His E-ZPass account currently shows 61
violations and fees of $6,100, the lawsuit says.

Transworld is a Pennsylvania-based debt collection agency, which
works for the MTA.  Conduent, based in Florham Park, New Jersey,
contracts to operate billing for the MTA's cashless tolling
program as well as the Thruway Authority.  The lawsuit claims
Conduent collected $3 billion in revenue for the MTA's bridges
and tunnels and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in

The MTA's Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority introduced
cashless tolling on the Henry Hudson Bridge in November 2012.
The new system allowed motorists to cross the bridge without
stopping for a toll, while their license plate was captured on
camera.  E-ZPass users received a discounted charge and others
were billed by mail.

The cashless tolling system was expanded in December 2016 to
include the Throgs Neck as well as five other bridges and three
tunnels operated by the TBTA. [GN]

MICHIGAN: Partial Summary Disposition in Water Crisis Suit Upheld
The Court of Appeals of Michigan issued an Opinion affirming the
Court of Claims' ruling granting Defendants' Motion for Partial
Summary Disposition in the arising from the situation commonly
referred to as the Flint water crisis.

This case involves consolidated appeals from an October 26, 2016
opinion and order of the Court of Claims granting partial summary
disposition in favor of defendants Governor Rick Snyder, the
State of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality (DEQ), and the Michigan Department of Health and Human
Services (DHHS) (collectively "state defendants"), and defendants
Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose (city defendants), who are
former emergency managers for the city of Flint, in this putative
class action suit brought by plaintiff water users and property
owners in the city of Flint, Michigan.

By early March 2015, state officials knew they faced a public
health emergency involving lead poisoning and the presence of the
deadly Legionella bacteria, but actively concealed the health
threats posed by the tap water, took no measures to effectively
address the dangers, and publicly advised Flint water users that
the water was safe and that there was no widespread problem with
lead leaching into the water supply despite knowledge that these
latter two statements were false.

In early October of 2015, state officials continued to cover up
the health emergency, discredit reports from Del Toral of the EPA
and Professor Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech confirming serious
lead contamination in the Flint water system, conceal critical
information confirming the presence of lead in the water system,
and advise the public that the drinking water was safe despite
knowledge to the contrary.

In early October of 2015, however, the Governor acknowledged that
the Flint water supply was contaminated with dangerous levels of

Plaintiffs sought class certification and elected to pursue
causes of action against all defendants for state-created danger
(Count I), violation of plaintiffs' due process right to bodily
integrity (Count II), denial of fair and just treatment during
executive investigations (Count III), and unconstitutional taking
via inverse condemnation (Count IV). Plaintiffs sought an award
of economic and noneconomic damages for, among other things,
bodily injury, pain and suffering, and property damage, for
"deliberately indifferent fraud" and "unconscionable" deception
on the part of defendants while acting in their official

State and city defendants separately moved for summary
disposition on all four counts, arguing that, among other things,
plaintiffs had (1) failed to satisfy the statutory notice
requirements of MCL 600.6431, (2) failed to allege facts to
establish a constitutional violation for which a judicially
inferred damages remedy is appropriate, and (3) failed to allege
facts to establish the elements of any of their claims. In a
detailed opinion and order, the Court of Claims granted
defendants' motions for summary disposition on plaintiffs' causes
of action under the state-created danger doctrine and the Fair
and Just Treatment Clause of the Michigan Constitution, after
concluding that neither cause of action is cognizable under
Michigan law. However, the court denied summary disposition on
all of defendants' remaining grounds.


Plaintiffs have asserted only constitutional claims against the
state and various agencies. In Rusha, 307 Mich App at 311, the
Court of Appeals acknowledged that Michigan courts routinely
enforce statutes of limitations where constitutional claims are
at issue. However, the Court also acknowledged an exception to
enforcement when strict enforcement of a limitations period is so
harsh and unreasonable in its consequences that it effectively
divests a plaintiff "of the access to the courts intended by the
grant of a substantive right."

Defendants argue that Rusha was incorrectly decided and should
not influence our decision here. Specifically, defendants assert
that the Rusha Court's conclusions, first that a harsh and
unreasonable consequences exception may relieve plaintiffs from
the statute of limitations and second that the same exception
applies to statutory notice requirements, are directly
contradicted by three earlier decisions of the Michigan Supreme
Court: Trentadue v Buckler Lawn Sprinkler, 479 Mich. 378; 738
N.W.2d 664 (2007); Rowland, 477 Mich. 197, and McCahan, 492 Mich.

Here, unlike in Rusha, application of the harsh and unreasonable
consequences exception is clearly supported. To grant defendants'
motions for summary disposition at this early stage in the
proceedings would deprive plaintiffs of access to the courts and
effectively divest them of the ability to vindicate the
constitutional violations alleged.

Should plaintiffs' allegations be proven true, defendants'
affirmative acts of concealment and frustration of plaintiffs'
discovery of the alleged causes of action should not be rewarded.
It would be unreasonable to divest plaintiffs of the opportunity
to vindicate their substantive, constitutional rights simply
because defendants successfully manipulated the public long
enough to outlast the statutory notice period.

Although circumstances such as these will undoubtedly be few, the
Mich. App. believes that in this unique situation, it must not
set a standard whereby the state and its officers may completely
avoid liability if they manage to intentionally delay discovery
of a cause of action until the six-month statutory notice period
has expired. Plaintiffs must be afforded the opportunity to
support the allegations of their complaint before dismissal of
their claims may be appropriate.


In a footnote, the Court of Claims rejected plaintiffs' argument
that the fraudulent concealment exception of MCL 600.5855 applied
to toll the statute of limitations and the statutory notice
period in this case. The Mich. App. finds that the Court of
Claims erred in reaching this conclusion, and hold that the
fraudulent concealment exception may provide an alternative basis
for affirming the denial of defendants' motions for summary

The fraudulent concealment exception is a legislatively-created
exception to statutes of limitation. The exception is codified as
part of the Revised Judicature Act (RJA), MCL 600.101 et seq., in
MCL 600.5855, which states:

"If a person who is or may be liable for any claim fraudulently
conceals the existence of the claim or the identity of any person
who is liable for the claim from the knowledge of the person
entitled to sue on the claim, the action may be commenced at any
time within 2 years after the person who is entitled to bring the
action discovers, or should have discovered, the existence of the
claim or the identity of the person who is liable for the claim,
although the action would otherwise be barred by the period of

Importantly, application of the fraudulent concealment exception
to statutory notice periods does nothing to undermine the purpose
for requiring timely statutory notice. As defendants concede, the
purpose of the notice provision in MCL 600.6431 is to establish a
clear procedure" for pursuing a claim against the state and
eliminate "ambiguity" about whether a claim will be filed.
McCahan, 492 Mich at 744 n 24. The provision gives the state and
its agencies time to create reserves and reduces the uncertainty
of the extent of future demands. Rowland, 477 Mich at 211-212.
But when the state and its officers, having knowledge of an event
giving rise to liability and anticipating the possibility that
claims may be filed, actively conceal information in order to
prevent a suit, the state suffers no ambiguity or surprise. In
cases where the fraudulent concealment exception may be applied,
the state possesses the necessary information and the object of
the statutory notice requirement is self-executing. Application
of the fraudulent concealment exception to the statutory notice
requirement of the CCA is therefore consistent with both the
legislative intent behind the exception itself and the purpose of
the statutory notice period. In keeping with the principles of
statutory construction and the Legislature's clear intent to
permit the application of the fraudulent concealment exception to
claims brought under the CCA, the Mich. App. holds that the
fraudulent concealment exception applies, at least, to toll the
statutory notice period commensurate with the tolling of the
statute of limitations in situations where its requirements have
been met.

If plaintiffs can prove, as they have alleged, that defendants
actively concealed the information necessary to support
plaintiffs' cause of action so that plaintiffs could not, or
should not, have known of the existence of the cause of action
until a date less than six months prior to the date of their
complaint, application of the fraudulent concealment exception
will fully apply and plaintiffs should be permitted to proceed
regardless of when their claim actually accrued. Whether
plaintiffs can satisfy the exception is a question that involves
disputed fact and is subject to further discovery. Summary
disposition on this ground is therefore inappropriate.


Next, state defendants argue that argue that the Court of Claims
erred when it found that it could exercise jurisdiction over
claims brought against city defendants because emergency managers
are considered state officers under the CCA.

With MCL 600.6419(1)(a), the Legislature endowed the Court of
Claims with exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any
claim or demand, statutory or constitutional against the state or
any of its departments or officers notwithstanding another law
that confers jurisdiction of the case in the circuit court. In
the same statutory subsection, the Legislature specified that
as used in this section, the state or any of its departments or
officers means this state or any state governing, legislative, or
judicial body, department, commission, board, institution, arm,
or agency of the state, or an officer, employee, or volunteer of
this state or any governing, legislative, or judicial body,
department, commission, board, institution, arm, or agency of
this state, acting, or who reasonably believes that he or she is
acting, within the scope of his or her authority while engaged in
or discharging a government function in the course of his or her

Although the CCA does not provide a specific definition for
employee, this Court may look to dictionary definitions to
construe undefined statutory language according to common and
approved usage. In re Casey Estate, 306 Mich.App. 252, 260; 856
N.W.2d 556 (2014). Black's Law Dictionary defines employee" as
someone who works in the service of another person (the employer)
under an express or implied contract of hire, under which the
employer has the right to control the details of work

Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed) defines "emergency managers" as
people who are appointed by the governor, serve at the governor's
pleasure, are subject to review by the state treasurer, and
operate only within the authority granted by the state
government, easily fall within this definition. Indeed, the Court
has recognized that political appointees, like emergency managers
here, serve as at-will employees of the government agency that
appointed them. An emergency manager, as an appointee of the
state government, is an employee of the state government. Claims
against an emergency manager acting in his or her official
capacity therefore fall within the well-delineated subject-matter
jurisdiction of the Court of Claims.


Next, defendants argue that the Court of Claims erred when it
concluded that plaintiffs had pled facts that, if proved true,
established a constitutional violation of plaintiffs' substantive
due process right to bodily integrity for which a judicially
inferred damages remedy is appropriate.


According to plaintiffs' complaint, various state actors
intentionally concealed scientific data and made false assurances
to the public regarding the safety of the Flint River water even
after they had received information suggesting that the water
supply directed to plaintiffs' homes was contaminated with
Legionella bacteria and dangerously high levels of toxic lead. At
the very least, plaintiffs' allegations are sufficient to support
a finding of deliberate indifference on the part of the
governmental actors involved here.

Plaintiffs have alleged facts sufficient to support a
constitutional violation by defendants of plaintiffs' right to
bodily integrity. We therefore proceed to consider whether the
deprivation of rights resulted from implantation of an official
governmental custom or policy.


The Court has held that liability for a violation of the state
constitution should be imposed on the state only where the
state's liability would, but for the Eleventh Amendment, render
it liable under the standard for local governments as set forth
in 42 USC 1983 and articulated in Monell]. Reid v Michigan, 239
Mich.App. 621, 628; 609 N.W.2d 215 (2000). Thus, the state and
its officials will only be held liable for violation of the state
constitution in cases where a state custom or policy mandated the
official or employee's actions.

Plaintiffs allege a coordinated effort involving various state
officials, including multiple high-level DEQ employees, to
mislead the public in an attempt to cover up the harm caused by
the water switch. If these allegations are proven true, they also
support the conclusion that government actors, acting in their
official roles as policymakers, considered a range of options and
made a deliberate choice to orchestrate an effort to conceal the
awful consequences of the water switch, likely exposing
plaintiffs and other water users to unnecessary further harm. The
allegations in plaintiffs' complaint are therefore sufficient to
establish a violation of constitutional rights arising from the
implementation of official policy.


On cross-appeal, plaintiffs argue that the Court of Claims erred
when it granted defendants' motion for summary disposition of
plaintiffs' constitutional claims under the state-created danger

Here, defendants argue that plaintiffs' state-created danger
cause of action cannot be sustained because plaintiffs have not
alleged any actions by defendants that "created or increased the
risk that plaintiff[s] would be exposed to an act of violence by
a third party. The Micha. App. agrees. While plaintiffs suggest
that harm committed by a third party is not a necessary element
of a cause of action for state-created danger, no court that has
recognized or applied the state-created danger theory has done so
in the absence of some act of private, nongovernmental harm.
Indeed, plaintiffs acknowledge that, at least, the harm necessary
to sustain a constitutional tort claim of state-created danger
must spring from a source other than a state actor. Were this
Court to recognize a cause of action for state-created danger
arising from the Michigan Constitution, it would be narrow in
scope and so limited.

In this case, plaintiffs have alleged harms caused directly and
intentionally by state actors. This is simply not the sort of
factual situation in which a claim for state-created danger,
according to its common conception, may be recognized. The Court
of Claims did not err when it concluded that, even if a state-
created danger cause of action is cognizable under Michigan law,
plaintiffs have not alleged facts to support it. Summary
disposition in favor of all defendants on plaintiffs' state-
created danger claim is therefore appropriate.


Next, defendants argue that the Court of Claims erred in denying
their motion for summary disposition of plaintiffs' inverse
condemnation claims.

Plaintiffs allege that defendants made the decision to switch the
city of Flint's water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River
despite knowledge of the Flint River's toxic potential and the
inadequacy of Flint's water treatment plant. Plaintiffs also
allege that immediately after the switch was effected, toxic
water flowed directly from the Flint River, through the city's
service lines to the water plant and then to plaintiffs'
properties, where it caused physical damage to plumbing, water
heaters, and service lines, leaving the infrastructure unsafe to
use even after the delivery of toxic water was halted by the
city's reconnection to the DWSD.

According to plaintiffs, this damage resulted in reduced property
values. Additionally, plaintiffs allege that various state actors
concealed or misrepresented data, and made false statements about
the safety of Flint River water in an attempt to downplay the
risk of its use and consumption. The Mich. App. agrees with the
Court of Claims' conclusion that "[t]he allegations are
sufficient, if proven, to allow a conclusion that the state
actors' actions were a substantial cause of the decline of the
property's value and that the state abused its powers through
affirmative actions directly aimed at the property, i.e.,
continuing to supply each water user with corrosive and
contaminated water with knowledge of the adverse consequences
associated with being supplied with such water.

It follows, therefore, that plaintiffs' injury must be compared
to harm suffered by municipal water users generally, rather than
to harm suffered by other users of Flint River water. As in
Richards and Spiek, plaintiffs have alleged injuries unique among
similarly situated individuals, i.e. municipal water users,
caused directly by governmental actions that resulted in exposure
of their property to specific harm.

Defendants also suggest that because they have taken no
affirmative action directly aimed at plaintiffs' property, they
cannot possibly have caused plaintiffs' injuries. However,
defendants' argument rests on assumptions that this Court, for
the reasons discussed, declines to accept. Questions of fact
still exist that, if resolved in plaintiffs' favor, support each
element of plaintiffs' inverse condemnation claim. The Court of
Claims therefore did not err when it concluded that summary
disposition pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(8) was, at this stage of the
proceedings, inappropriate.


Finally, defendants argue that the Court of Claims erred in
allowing plaintiffs to proceed with official capacity claims
against the Governor and defendant emergency managers.

In order to prevail on a constitutional violation claim against
the state, plaintiffs are required to prove that the violation of
their rights occurred by virtue of a state custom or policy that
governmental actors carried out in the exercise of their official
authority. Plaintiffs have leveled specific allegations against
the Governor, Earley, and Ambrose, and these defendants'
participation in the judicial process is required. It is logical,
if not necessary, to name the policy-makers as nominal defendants
in this case. Should plaintiffs' case be tried before a jury, a
clear distinction between plaintiffs' allegations against the
state as a party, and against the Governor, Earley, and Ambrose
in their official capacities, will aid the jury in understanding
the precise issues involved and prevent unnecessary confusion.
Given our courts' history of recognizing official capacity suits,
and the Court of Claims care in explaining that these suits are
nominal only, we conclude that the Court of Claims did not err in
allowing plaintiffs' official capacity suits against the Governor
and city defendants to proceed.

In sum, the Mich. App. holds that the Court of Claims did not err
when it denied defendants' motion for summary disposition of
plaintiffs' constitutional injury to bodily integrity and inverse
condemnation claims.

The appeals cases are captioned MELISSA MAYS, MICHAEL ADAM MAYS,
Appellees/Cross-Appellees/Cross-Appellants, v. GOVERNOR RICK
Defendants-Appellants/Cross-Appellees, and DARNELL EARLEY and
JERRY AMBROSE, Defendants/Cross-Appellants/Cross-Appellees, and
JERRY AMBROSE, Defendants-Appellants, and CITY OF FLINT, Not
and ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v.
HUMAN SERVICES, Defendants-Appellants, and DARNELL EARLEY and
JERRY AMBROSE, Defendants, and CITY OF FLINT, Not Participating,
Nos. 335555, 335725, 335726 (Mich. App.).

A full-text copy of the Court of Appeals January 25, 2018 Opinion
is available at https://tinyurl.com/y98q5zps from Leagle.com.

BETH M. RIVERS,  117 West Fourth Street Suite 200. Royal Oak, MI
48067, for MELISSA MAYS, Plaintiff-Appellee Cross-Appellee Cross-

JULIE H. HURWITZ, 1394 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48207, for
MELISSA MAYS, Plaintiff-Appellee Cross-Appellee Cross-Appellant.
PAUL F. NOVAK -- paul@metelskylaw.com -- for MELISSA MAYS,
Plaintiff-Appellee Cross-Appellee Cross-Appellant.


REED E. ERIKSSON, for DARNELL EARLEY, Defendant-Cross-Appellant-

JOSEPH E. RICHOTTE, for CITY OF FLINT, Not Participating.

NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE: Andrews & Springer Probes Securities Breach
Andrews & Springer LLC, a boutique securities class action law
firm focused on representing shareholders nationwide, is
investigating potential breach of fiduciary duty claims against
the Board of Directors of Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc.
("Nationstar Mortgage" or the "Company") relating to the sale of
the Company to WMIH Corp. ("WMIH" formerly known as Washington
Mutual, Inc.).  On February 13, 2018, the two parties announced
the signing of a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which
WMIH will acquire Nationstar Mortgage in a merger worth
approximately $1.9 billion.  As a result of the merger,
Nationstar Mortgage's shareholders are only anticipated to
receive $18.00 per share in cash or 12.7793 shares of WMIH in
exchange for each share of Nationstar Mortgage.

The Firm's investigation so far has discovered that the process
leading up to the announcement of the merger appears to have
significant conflicts of interest, thus making the process and
consideration unfair.

Andrews & Springer is also investigating whether Nationstar
Mortgage's directors are breaching their fiduciary duties by
failing to adequately shop the company and maximize shareholder
value.  The Firm's investigation is also looking into whether
Nationstar Mortgage's top executives were conflicted and acted in
their own self-interest when approving the merger.

If you own shares of Nationstar Mortgage and want to receive
additional information and protect your investments free of
charge, please visit us at http://www.andrewsspringer.com/cases-
investigations/nationstar-mortgage-class-action-investigation/ or
contact Craig J. Springer, Esq. at cspringer@andrewsspringer.com,
or call toll free at 1-800-423-6013.

Andrews & Springer -- http://www.andrewsspringer.com-- is a
boutique securities class action law firm representing
shareholders nationwide who are victims of securities fraud,
breaches of fiduciary duty or corporate misconduct. [GN]

NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE: Faces "Helbling" Suit in C.D. California
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Nationstar Mortgage
LLC. The case is styled as Jeffrey Helbling, individually and on
behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff v. Nationstar
Mortgage LLC, Defendant, Case No. 8:18-cv-00363 (C.D. Cal., March
5, 2018).

Nationstar Mortgage LLC provides mortgage services.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Matthew M Loker, Esq.
   Kazerouni Law Group APC
   245 Fischer Avenue Unit D1
   Costa Mesa, CA 92626
   Tel: (800) 400-6808
   Fax: (800) 520-5523
   Email: ml@kazlg.com

NCAA: Fights $40-Mil. Attorney Fee Award
Pasadena News Now reports that the National Collegiate Athletic
Association fought a $40 million attorney fee award at the Ninth
Circuit Court in Pasadena on Feb. 15, in an antitrust class
action by former student-athletes who said the organization
forced students to sign their rights away while reaping the
benefits of licensing and merchandise agreements using their
photographs and video footages.

The Pasadena federal courthouse on Grand Avenue is part of the
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the busiest
Circuit Court in the nation.

This is the latest development in a 2009 federal class action
that the former student-athletes filed against the NCAA, the
makers of sports video games, and a college licensing company.

In the suit, former UCLA basketball star Edward O'Bannon claimed
students were forced to sign away the rights to their own images
if they wanted to play NCAA sports.

Like many other former athletes, O'Bannon's collegiate career is
archived in video footage and photographs that are sold through
merchandising deals.

The former college athletes said NCAA's backlog of archived
footage could be worth billions of dollars.

The other defendants included video game publisher Electronic
Arts and Collegiate Licensing Company.

In July 2015, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathaniel Cousins ordered the
NCAA to pay nearly $46 million in attorney's fees and costs to
lawyers for the student-athletes.  Almost a year earlier, U.S.
District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland had said the NCAA
violated antitrust law by barring athletes from sharing in
revenue from the commercial use of their names and images.

The award -- later lowered to just over $40 million -- was 90
percent of the $50.9 million the student-athletes sought.  The
NCAA has earlier insisted that any award should not exceed $9.1

Fighting the fee award at the Ninth Circuit on Feb. 15, NCAA
attorney Gregory Curtner, from Riley Safer Holmes and Cancila,
said the student-athletes adopted a winner-take-all approach in
their antitrust class action, according to a report by Courthouse

"A 'Game of Thrones' approach. There was no middle ground," said
Curtner, who noted the student-athletes sought to revolutionize
intercollegiate sports, failed, and aren't entitled to a fee
award. "They're entitled to nothing."

Jonathan Massey, the student-athletes' attorney, said the case
was a hard-fought class action that didn't just end with "a
narrow injunction."  Mr. Massey said the Ninth Circuit panel
should keep in mind that not all claims need to be successful.

"We think this court has established that it's OK to lose
sometimes," Mr. Massey said on Feb. 15.  "You don't have to win
every single claim in order to be entitled fees for all of the

The panel is composed of Chief Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas,
Circuit Judge Jay Bybee and Senior U.S. District Judge Gordon
Quist, sitting by designation from the Western District of
Michigan. [GN]

NEW YORK: Faces Class Action Over Speed Camera Tickets
Kristin F. Dalton, writing for silive.com, reports that a total
of 82,510 summons were issued by speed cameras on Staten Island
in 2017, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Of the 82,510 summonses, 26,193 were issued by a mobile camera --
a vehicle with a camera on the top of it -- and 53,317 by a fixed

The summonses raked in over $4 million dollars in 2017 alone.

Since the speed camera program was established in 2013, opponents
have argued that it's a scheme to make the city money, often
referring to them as "scam cams."

Proponents say the cameras reduce speeding and traffic accidents,
ultimately saving lives.

Citing the state Vehicle and Traffic Law, section 1180-b, Imbesi
Law P.C. has filed a class action lawsuit against the city,
alleging the program is scamming New York City residents.

On behalf of Queens resident Abram Muladzhanov, the filing
alleges the city -- specifically DOT Commissioner Polly
Trottenberg and Department of Finance (DOF) Commissioner Jacques
Jiha and Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey Shear -- has been issuing
invalid speed camera tickets.

The complaint claims that from April 20, 2013 through the
present, the named city agencies were aware that Notices of
Liability were not signed to or affirmed by a technician employed
by the city, as stated in sections 1180-b(d) and 1180-b(g)(2).

"The city is penalizing its citizens for allegedly violating the
same law it chooses to ignore," said Muladzhanov's attorney,
Israel Klein, Esq., in a statement.

The class action suit aims to recover damages on behalf of all
city residents who received a speed camera summons between August
30, 2013 and the present day.


When asked about the class action suit, a DOT spokesman said the
Notice of Liability (NOL) is fully compliant with the law,
because it contains all of the required components -- the
certificate charging the liability.

"Though the technician certificate is not required in the NOL, it
is available upon request and at the hearing," the spokesman

However, the complaint states that the NOL should be mailed with
the summons when it is issued, not upon request.

Section 1180-b specifies that a "certificate charging the
liability" -- a sworn statement from a city technician verifying
the videotape/photographs -- be included in the "notice of
liability" (the ticket), sent to the driver.

"We don't know if this suit has any merit.  We'll review the
complaint and respond accordingly," said a spokesman for the DOT
and DOF's Law Department.


In March 2017, Staten Islander Christopher Altieri fought two
speed camera tickets in court for friends and initially lost; he
won by appealing the administrative law judge's decision with a
three-judge panel.

His defense? Section 1180-b of the state Vehicle and Traffic Law.

"When an officer signs a violation, they sign something stating
that they saw what they saw, so I wondered how the state and city
feel they can get away with a camera being the complainant,"
Mr. Altieri said when asked what made him question the summons he

"In regard to the [class action lawsuit], the summonses are
defective and fail to include the certificate charging the
liability," he said.

Mr. Altieri called it a "slam dunk case" and believes the
plaintiff will prevail.


The DOT maintains that deterring speeders is a key priority for
Vision Zero and the proof is in the numbers.

"We have found a 63 percent decline in the average daily speed
violations issued in Staten Island schools zones with fixed speed
cameras, which is an expected and welcome result because the goal
of the program is to reduce speeding," the DOT spokesman said.

The DOT measured this decline by looking at the daily average
from the first month of each camera, going back to 2014, and
comparing it with the daily average for the latest month up until
January 2018.

Additionally, there was a decline in total speed camera summonses
in 2017 from the previous year.

Yearly, the total number of summonses issued was:

2014: 45,333; 28,914 mobile and 12,419 fixed
2015: 86,852; 18,860 mobile and 67,992 fixed
2016: 87,352; 35,721 mobile and 51,631 fixed
2017: 82,520; 26,193 mobile and 56,317 fixed

"Drivers who are speeding are less likely to be able to avoid
crashes, and crashes which they cause are more likely to be
fatal," the spokesman said. [GN]

NIAGARA CREDIT: "Dennis" Suit Alleges FDCPA Violations
Thomas Dennis, Jr., individually, and on behalf of all others
similarly situated v. Niagara Credit Solutions, Inc. and LVNV
Funding, LLC, Case No. 1:18-cv-00339 (S.D. Ind., February 5,
2018), seeks damages under the Fair Debt Collection Practices

Plaintiff, Thomas Dennis, Jr. is a citizen of the State of
Indiana, residing in the Southern District of Indiana, from whom
Defendants attempted to collect a defaulted consumer debt, which
was owed to Washington Mutual Bank.

Defendant Niagara operates a nationwide debt collection business
and attempts to collect debts from consumers in virtually every
state, including consumers in the State of Indiana.

Defendant LVNV is a bad debt buyer that buys large portfolios of
defaulted consumer debts for pennies on the dollar, which it then
collects upon through other collection agencies. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      David J. Philipps, Esq.
      Mary E. Philipps, Esq.
      Carissa K. Rasch, Esq.
      9760 S. Roberts Road Suite One
      Palos Hills, IL 60465
      Tel: (708) 974-2900
      Fax: (708) 974-2907
      E-mail: davephilipps@aol.com

NINE WEST: Loses Bid to Dismiss "Covell" Consumer Fraud Suit
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
California issued an Order denying Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
the case captioned BRITTANY COVELL, Plaintiff, v. NINE WEST
HOLDINGS, INC., a Delaware Corporation; DOES 1-50, Defendants,
Case No. 3:17-cv-01371-H-JLB (S.D. Cal.).

According to the lawsuit, when Plaintiff observed the Heels in
Nine West's store, a price tag advertised that the heels had a
SUGG. RETAIL price of $89.00 and an OUR PRICE price of $44.50.

Plaintiff brought this class action on behalf of all Nine West
customers who have bought merchandise with a price tag that
compared the item's SUGG. RETAIL price to its OUR PRICE price
(Nine West's price tags or price markings).  Plaintiff asserts
claims under California's Unfair Competition Law, False
Advertising Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the pleadings and allows
a court to dismiss a complaint if the plaintiff has failed to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

The Ninth Circuit has explained that:

     Under Rule 9(b), a plaintiff must state with particularity
the circumstances constituting fraud. This means the plaintiff
must allege the who, what, when, where, and how of the misconduct
charged, including what is false or misleading about a statement,
and why it is false. Knowledge, however, may be pled generally.

The UCL prohibits business practices that constitute unfair
competition, which includes any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent
business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue or
misleading advertising and any act prohibited by the FAL.

The FAL provides in relevant part that no price shall be
advertised as a former price of any advertised thing, unless the
alleged former price was the prevailing market price. within
three months next immediately preceding the publication of the
advertisement or unless the date when the alleged former price
did prevail is clearly, exactly and conspicuously stated in the

Finally, the CLRA forbids, among other things, making false or
misleading statements of fact concerning reasons for, existence
of, or amounts of price reductions. A plaintiff has statutory
standing to bring CLRA claims if she has suffered any damage as a
result of the use or employment by any person of a method, act,
or practice declared to be unlawful by the CLRA.

Failure to Explain How Nine West's Price Tags Were False or

Nine West first argues that Plaintiff's claims are not pled with
particularity as required by Rule 9(b).

The FAC asserts specific facts that the Court is required to
accept in ruling on a motion to dismiss. For example, the FAC
alleges that at no time was the Nine West outlet store
merchandise ever offered for sale anywhere at the SUGG. RETAIL
price. The SUGG. RETAIL price is merely a false reference price,
which Nine West utilizes to deceptively manufacture a deeply
discounted price referred to as the 'OUR PRICE' price on the
merchandise sold at the Nine West outlet stores during the class

Nine West attacks this allegation as conclusory, but Rule 9(b) is
relaxed as to matters within the opposing party's knowledge.
Here, the particular facts as to whether the SUGG. RETAIL prices
are fictitious are likely only known to Nine West. Without an
opportunity to conduct any discovery, Plaintiff cannot reasonably
be expected to have detailed personal knowledge of Nine West's
internal pricing policies.2 As a result, the Court declines to
dismiss the FAC on Rule 9(b) grounds.

Statutory Standing

Nine West next argues that Plaintiff lacks statutory standing to
press her claims in two respects. First, Nine West argues that
"Plaintiff lacks statutory standing to raise UCL, FAL, and CLRA
claims concerning her purchase of the Heels, because she has
failed to plead the existence of any injury caused by Nine West's
pricing practices." Second, Nine West argues that Plaintiff lacks
statutory standing to pursue claims related to the pricing of
products that she did not buy. (Id. at 11.)

The Court rejects both of Nine West's arguments. In Hinojos v.
Kohl's Corp., the Ninth Circuit held that when a consumer
purchases merchandise on the basis of false price information,
and when the consumer alleges that he would not have made the
purchase but for the misrepresentation, he has standing to sue
under the UCL and FAL because he has suffered an economic injury.
718 F.3d 1098, 1107 (9th Cir. 2013). The Court conclude that any
plaintiff who has standing under the UCL's and FAL's 'lost money
or property' requirement will, a fortiori, have suffered 'any
damages' for purposes of establishing CLRA standing.

Hinojos specifically held that consumers may establish statutory
standing under the UCL, FAL, and CLRA by alleging that they
purchased an item based on price markings that misled them into
believing they were getting a bargain, when in fact they were
paying an item's normal or usual price.  Tracking Hinojos, the
FAC alleges that Plaintiff: (i) only purchased the Heels because
she believed she was receiving a significant discount; (ii) did
not in fact receive a discount; and (iii) would not have
purchased the Heels but for Nine West's allegedly deceptive price

Plaintiff therefore has statutory standing to assert her personal

Pleading Defects in UCL Claims

Unlawful Conduct Prong

The Court finds that the FAC alleges that a reasonable consumer
could be misled by Nine West's price markings into thinking she
was paying a discounted price for a product, when in fact she was
paying the product's normal or usual price. The FAC pleads a
violation of the FAL and by extension, a violation of the UCL.
Any violation of the false advertising law necessarily violates
the UCL.

Unfair Conduct Prong

The injury asserted by Plaintiff in the FAC is directly analogous
to the injury the Ninth Circuit recognized in Hinojos, and the
Court is bound to follow the Ninth Circuit's decision. And
Plaintiff has adequately pled that this injury is not outweighed
by any countervailing benefits. Nine West argues that consumers
benefit from being able to compare an item's price to its
manufactured value but Plaintiff alleges that the SUGG. RETAIL
price is entirely fabricated. The Court therefore concludes that
the FAC adequately pleads an unfair practices claim under the

Pleading Defects in CLRA Claim

Nine West argues that the FAC fails to state a claim under
Section 1770(a)(13) because no reasonable consumer could construe
its SUGG. PRICE representations as former price representations.
The Court has already concluded that the FAC alleges a theory
articulating how a reasonable consumer could be misled by Nine
West's price markings. The Court therefore concludes that the FAC
states a CLRA claim premised on a violation of 1770(a)(13). The
Court declines to address whether the FAC could independently
state a CLRA claim premised on a violation of Section 1770(a)(9).
At this stage, Plaintiff has adequately pled plausible claims
under the UCL, FAL, and CLRA. As a result, the Court denies Nine
West's motion to dismiss.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 25, 2018 Order
is available at https://tinyurl.com/y9guydnr from Leagle.com.

Brittany Covell, on behalf of herself and all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, represented by Todd D. Carpenter --
tcarpenter@carlsonlynch.com -- Carlson Lynch Sweet Kilpela &
Carpenter, LLP.

Nine West Holdings, Inc., a Delaware corporation, Defendant,
represented by Kate S. Gold -- kate.gold@dbr.com -- Drinker
Biddle & Reath, Matthew J. Fedor -- matthew.fedor@dbr.com --
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, pro hac vice, Meredith Connie Slawe -
-  meredith.slawe@dbr.com -- Drinker Biddle & Reath, pro hac vice
& Jessica Medina -- jessica.medina@dbr.com -- Drinker Biddle &
Reath LLP.

PACIFIC GAS: Court Vacates Joint Status Report Submission Date
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of
California issued an Order vacating the Joint Status Report
submission date in the case captioned BECKY GREER, TIMOTHY C.
PESINA, AND MONICA MULDROW, individually and as class
representatives, Plaintiffs, v. PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC COMPANY,
IBEW LOCAL 1245, and DOES 1 through 10, inclusive, Defendants,
Case No. 1:15-cv-01066-EPG (E.D. Cal.).

The Court has received notification that the parties have reached
a proposed class action settlement in this case. While the class
action settlement is subject to preliminary and final Court
approval, the Court finds it appropriate at this time to vacate
all deadlines and deny all pending motions  as moot.

Additionally, the Court specifically vacates the February 2, 2018
date for submission of a joint status report.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 29, 2018 Order
is available at https://tinyurl.com/yd2j6lpy from Leagle.com.

Becky Greer, Individually and as Class Representatives, Timothy
C. Budnik, Individually and as Class Representatives, Rosario
Saenz, Individually and as Class Representatives, Ian Carty,
Individually and as Class Representatives & Haley Markwith,
Plaintiffs, represented by Charles Swanston --
Cswanston@fandslegal.com -- Fitzpatrick, Spini & Swanston, Erin
Tsitidis Huntington  ehuntington@wjhattorneys.com -- Wanger Jones
Helsley PC, Lawrence J.H. Liu --  lliu@wjhattorneys.com -- Wanger
Jones Helsley PC, Michael S. Helsley -- mhelsley@wjhattorneys.com
-- Wanger Jones Helsley PC & Patrick D. Toole --
ptoole@wjhattorneys.com -- Wanger Jones Helsley PC.

Maria Garcia Pesina, Plaintiff, represented by Charles Swanston,
Fitzpatrick, Spini & Swanston, Erin Tsitidis Huntington, Wanger
Jones Helsley PC, Michael S. Helsley, Wanger Jones Helsley PC &
Patrick D. Toole, Wanger Jones Helsley PC.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Defendant, represented by
Robert G. Hulteng -- rhulteng@littler.com -- Littler Mendelson,
Aurelio J. Perez -- aperez@littler.com -- Littler Mendelson, P.C.
& Joshua D. Kienitz --  jkienitz@littler.com -- Littler

IBEW Local 1245, Defendant, represented by Philip C. Monrad --
pmonrad@leonardcarder.com -- Leonard Carder, LLP.
IBEW Local 1245 Union, Movant, represented by Alexander Jordan
Pacheco -- ajp3@ibew1245.com -- Philip C. Monrad, Leonard Carder,

PALM BEACH, FL: Sued Over Utility Undergrounding Initiative
William Kelly, writing for Palm Beach Daily News, reports that
two lawsuits challenging the town's utility undergrounding
initiative are moving through the courts.  Neither has gone to
trial, but already the town has spent nearly $300,000 on legal

One suit, filed by South End resident Arthur Goldmacher, is set
for oral arguments at 10 a.m. on March 6 in Florida's 4th
District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach.

Mr. Goldmacher sued the town in 2016 in Palm Beach County Circuit
Court, alleging the ballot language in a 2016 referendum misled
voters by making it appear that the town's taxing power would be
the primary source of repayment of $90 million in bonds the town
plans to issue to finance the townwide project.  The town plans
to repay the bonds with special assessments on property owners.

Circuit Court Judge Cymonie Rowe dismissed the case last year,
finding the ballot language was neither misleading nor
inconsistent and didn't violate any laws.

As of Feb. 14, the town had spent $167,813 defending itself
against the Goldmacher suit, Finance Director Jane Struder said.

In the other case, Carol Kosberg and Michael Scharf filed a
class-action suit in 2017 in circuit court challenging the town's
ability to assess property owners to pay for the project.

Ms. Kosberg, a South End resident, and Mr. Scharf, a North End
resident and former zoning commissioner, allege the special
assessments are invalid because the town relied on a consultant's
"arbitrary assessment methodology."  The consultant's report
"hypothesized" special benefits of safety, service reliability
and aesthetics based on a property's size, density, location and
other factors, they contend in the suit.

The town has said it is using assessment methodology that has
been upheld by the courts in other cases.

Rowe recently ruled against the town's motion to dismiss the

As of Feb. 14, the town has spent $113,795 on legal costs in the
Kosberg/Scharf lawsuit, Ms. Struder said.

The legal costs for both cases are being paid through the general
budget, not through the annual assessments from property owners
for the undergrounding, Ms. Struder said.

Because of the lawsuits, the Town Council has opted to pay for
the early phases of the undergrounding project through interim
financing.  The town has issued $12.5 million in short-term, low-
interest loans, and can issue up to $22.6 million in those loans,
known as "commercial paper," Ms. Struder said.

That is enough to pay for the first two phases of the project,
which is divided into eight phases in different areas of the
town, Ms. Struder said.

Phase 1 is in the North End, between Onondaga Avenue and the
inlet, and in the South End between the south town limit and
Sloan's Curve.  It began last summer and is scheduled for
completion in February.  The cost is $12.3 million, according to
Steven Stern, underground utilities project manager.

Phase 2 begins in August and is expected to take about 18 months.
It, too, will be divided into two areas. The northern portion
will be from Onondaga southward to Ocean Terrace, and the
southern portion from Sloan's Curve northward, past President
Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club, to the intersection of South
County Road and South Ocean Boulevard.  The cost is $9.2 million,
Stern said.

The final phase is scheduled for completion in 2026, Stern said.

Meanwhile, the town is collecting money from property owners to
pay for the project, but is holding that money in reserve until
the lawsuits are settled, Ms. Struder said.

The collected money falls into two categories.  One is prepaid
accounts. Property owners had the option of prepaying in lump sum
their share of the cost of the undergrounding to avoid paying
annual assessments, which will include interest on bond debt over
30 years if bonds are issued.  The prepaid total is $11.2
million, Ms. Struder said.

The second category is the annual assessments, which first
appeared last year as a separate line on property tax bills.  The
balance to date is $3.5 million, Ms. Struder said. [GN]

PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE: Court Certifies "Huffman" Subclass
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania issued an Opinion granting in part and denying in
part Plaintiff's Third Request for Class Certification in the
PACE; and BRANDI K. WINTERS, individually and on behalf of a
class of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. THE
05135 (E.D. Penn.).

Plaintiffs are the beneficiaries of life insurance plans obtained
by deceased family members who worked for two separate companies,
JPMorgan Bank and Con-Way Incorporated. Defendant Prudential
Insurance Company of America provided life insurance coverage
through the plans for employees of both companies under contracts
that required that benefits be paid in one sum. Prudential
adopted a default practice of paying benefits under the relevant
policies through retained asset accounts called Alliance
Accounts; this practice allows Prudential to retain the funds and
earn interest on the retained funds until the beneficiary
withdraws the funds.

Plaintiffs sued Prudential, contending that the choice to use
Alliance Accounts violated Prudential's fiduciary duties under
ERISA and violated ERISA's prohibited transaction provisions.
The named Plaintiffs are beneficiaries under the plans sponsored
by JPMorgan Bank and Con-Way Incorporated. They once again seek
to certify a class of all beneficiaries of Prudential plans paid
by Alliance Accounts. This time, though, they attempt to restrict
the class to beneficiaries of plans containing certain operative
provisions that allegedly brings the plans within the scope of
this Court's decision on summary judgment.

The proposed Class includes all beneficiaries of ERISA-governed
employee benefit plans that were insured by group life insurance
contracts issued by Prudential for whom Prudential established an
Alliance Account' between September 30, 2004, and October 31,
2011, under contracts that contained: (1) a provision providing
that Life Insurance is normally paid to the beneficiary in one
sum; (2) an integration clause that did not include other
portions of the ERISA plan or a Summary Plan Description (SPD) as
a part of the contract with Prudential; and (3) a provision that
the contract with Prudential could only be amended with the
consent of an officer of Prudential.

Additionally, Plaintiffs seek certification of a Subclass limited
to beneficiaries of the JPMorgan and Con-Way plans. The Subclass
is limited to those beneficiaries under group life insurance
policies that provided Life Insurance is normally paid to the
beneficiary in one sum for whom Prudential established an
Alliance Account between September 30, 2004, and October 31,

Rule 23(b) Requirements

Because this Court previously denied class certification
primarily because it found a lack of predominance of common
issues as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b), it
addresses the Rule 23(b) factors first. Rule 23(b)(3), under
which Plaintiffs seek certification, requires the court to find
that (1) the questions of law or fact common to class members
predominate over any questions affecting only individual members,
and (2) that a class action is superior to other available
methods for fairly and efficiently adjudicating the controversy.
The Court concludes that the proposed Class still fails to
satisfy the predominance requirement, but that common issues
predominate with respect to the Subclass. The Subclass also meets
the ascertainability and superiority requirements, so the
Subclass satisfies the requirements of Rule 23(b)(3).

The Subclass is ascertainable.

Ascertainability is an implied requirement of Rule 23(b)(3), and
a plaintiff must show that: (1) the class is defined with
reference to objective criteria; and (2) there is a reliable and
administratively feasible mechanism for determining whether
putative class members fall within the class definition.
The Subclass in this case is readily ascertainable. It is defined
according to objective criteria: all beneficiaries of the
JPMorgan and Con-Way plans, excluding those beneficiaries of
contracts that were situated in Arkansas, Colorado, or Nevada,
and beneficiaries who resided in Maryland. The Subclass members
can be readily identified from a review of Prudential's business

The proposed Class fails because it does not satisfy the
predominance requirement.

Plaintiffs' proposed Class, which would require this Court to
individually analyze 2,200 different ERISA plans, fails for lack
of predominance. The predominance requirement asks whether the
questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over
any questions affecting only individual members.

Plaintiffs suggest excluding beneficiaries of plans whose SPDs or
other plan documents are proven by Prudential to state that
claims may be settled using a retained asset account or Alliance
Account' unless the documents recognize that in the event of a
conflict between the document and the insurance contract, the
contract controls. But as Prudential points out, defining the
Class in this way requires, not just a ministerial review of the
plan documents, but legal interpretation of each of the plans
involved, the sort of analysis this Court engaged in on summary

To determine which of the plans satisfies the proposed class
definition will require careful construction and legal
interpretation of each of the plans but if the court is required
to conduct individual inquiries to determine whether each
potential class member falls within the class, the court should
deny certification.

Resolving the claims of the Class would require individual
construction of the specific universe of documents for each of
the 2,200 plans.3 As this Court previously recognized, the need
for these individualized inquiries defeats predominance and makes
class certification inappropriate. Plaintiffs still have not met
the predominance requirement with respect to the proposed Class,
and this Court declines to certify the Class.

The Subclass satisfies the predominance requirement.

The elements of Plaintiffs' claims reveal that they are
susceptible to common proof by the Subclass. Unlike the claims of
the proposed class, which require individual construction of
2,200 plans, the claims of the Subclass require construction of
only two of these plans: the JPMorgan and Con-Way plans this
Court analyzed on summary judgment.

Prudential argues that, to prevail on the merits of their
prohibited transaction claim, Plaintiffs must demonstrate that
the plan fiduciaries knew or should have known that the payment
tendered to Defendants was unreasonable.

Prudential also argues that determining the appropriate amount of
disgorgement will require plan- and beneficiary-specific
inquiries. However, although the calculation of individual
damages is necessarily an individual inquiry, courts have
consistently held that the necessity of this inquiry does not
preclude class action treatment where class issues, especially
concerning liability, otherwise predominate The necessity of
individual calculations of damages does not defeat predominance
in an action for breach of ERISA fiduciary duty.

Accordingly, the Court finds that the Subclass satisfies the
predominance requirement of Rule 23(b)(3).

The Subclass satisfies the superiority requirement.

This Court finds that a class action is superior to other
available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the
claims of the members of the Subclass. Rule 23(b) states that
matters pertinent to the superiority requirement include: (1) the
class members' interests in individually controlling the
prosecution or defense of separate actions; (2) the extent and
nature of any litigation concerning the controversy already begun
by or against class members; (3) the desirability or
undesirability of concentrating the litigation of the claims in
the particular forum; and (4) the likely difficulties in managing
a class action. Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3). The superiority
requirement "asks the court to balance, in terms of fairness and
efficiency, the merits of a class action against those
alternative available methods of adjudication.

This Court finds that the Subclass satisfies all the requirements
for certification as a Rule 23(b)(3) class, and will next
consider the Rule 23(a) requirements.

Rule 23(a) Requirements

The proposed Subclass satisfies the numerosity requirement.

Prudential identifies the number of Subclass members as greater
than 1,000. While no magic number exists satisfying the
numerosity requirement, the number of Subclass members present in
this case easily satisfies the 23(a)(1) requirement.
The proposed Subclass satisfies the commonality requirement.

In this case, the members of the Subclass all allege that
Prudential breached its fiduciary duties under ERISA by making
payment through Alliance Accounts, and engaged in prohibited
transactions with the JPMorgan and Con-Way plans. Courts
consistently have found that ERISA claims satisfy the commonality

The proposed Subclass satisfies the typicality requirement.

Typicality entails an inquiry whether `the named plaintiff's
individual circumstances are markedly different or the legal
theory upon which the claims are based differs from that upon
which the claims of other class members will perforce be based.
Here, the members of the Subclass base their claims on
Prudential's breach of fiduciary duty through its failure to pay
pursuant to the terms of the JPMorgan and Con-Way plans. These
claims challenge the same allegedly unlawful conduct, thus
satisfying the typicality requirement.

The proposed Subclass satisfies the adequacy of representation

Plaintiffs' counsel have substantial experience in prosecuting
class actions of this variety, including the Owens action cited
above.  In short, the Court is satisfied that class counsel
possess the expertise to litigate this matter effectively, as
evidenced by the quality, timeliness and professional nature of
their work" in this case.

This Court finds that the Subclass satisfies the requirements of
Rule 23(a).

This Court denies their motion as to the proposed Class. However,
this Court finds that the proposed Subclass satisfies the Rule 23
requirements for certification, and thus grants Plaintiffs'
motion as to the Subclass.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 29, 2018 Opinion
is available at https://tinyurl.com/yd5ekzpo from Leagle.com.

SITUATED & BRANDI K. WINTERS, Plaintiffs, represented by CARY L.
450 N. Narberth Ave. Suite 100. Narberth, PA 19072, JOHN C. BELL,
Jr. -- John@bellbrigham.com -- BELL & BRIGHAM, LEE W. BRIGHAM --
lee@bellbrigham.com -- BELL & BRIGHAM, M. SCOTT BARRETT --
cott@barrettwylie.com -- Barrett Wylie, LLC & STUART T. ROSSMAN,
NATIONAL CONSUMER LAW CENTER, 7 Winthrop Square, 4th Floor.
Boston, MA 02110

represented by DONALD E. WIEAND, Jr. -- dew@stevenslee.com --
STEVENS & LEE, EDWIN G. SCHALLERT -- egschallert@debevoise.com,
mloconnor@debevoise.com --  DEBEVOISE & PIMPTON, MARTIN C. BRYCE,
INGERSOLL, L.L.P., ALISON V. DOUGLASS -- adouglass@goodwinlaw.com
drosenberg@goodwinlaw.com -- GOODWIN PROCTER LLP, JAMES O.

QUANTUM CORP: Shareholders File Securities Class Action
Shareholder rights law firm Robbins Arroyo LLP on Feb. 19
disclosed that purchasers of Quantum Corporation (NYSE: QTM) have
filed a class action complaint against the company's officers and
directors for alleged violations of the Securities Exchange Act
of 1934 between May 10, 2016 and February 7, 2018. Quantum
provides scale-out storage, archive, and data protection
solutions for small businesses and multi-national enterprises in
the Americas, Europe, and the Asia Pacific.

View this information on the law firm's Shareholder Rights Blog:

Quantum Accused of Improperly Recognizing Revenue

According to the complaint, Quantum repeatedly reported positive
financial results in its public filings, noting that the company
was "focused on building on our momentum to drive continued
growth, profitability and cash flow."  Quantum continued to
deliver purported solid financial results until August 9, 2017,
when the company reported results that fell short of
expectations.  Nonetheless, Quantum assured investors that it
would take aggressive action to improve cost structure and
generate consistent growth and profitability.  According to the
complaint, however, the company's financial problems were much
more widespread than Quantum had led investors to believe.  On
February 8, 2018, Quantum announced that it was postponing the
release of its fiscal third quarter 2018 results and its earnings
conference call, confessing that the company had received a
subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
regarding its accounting practices and internal controls related
to revenue recognition for transactions beginning April 1, 2016.
On this news, Quantum's stock fell nearly 30% to close at $3.90
per share on February 8, 2018.

Quantum Shareholders Have Legal Options

If you would like more information about your rights and
potential remedies, contact attorney Leonid Kandinov at (800)
350-6003, LKandinov@robbinsarroyo.com or via the shareholder
information form on the firm's website.

Robbins Arroyo LLP is a shareholder rights law firm. The firm
represents individual and institutional investors in shareholder
derivative and securities class action lawsuits. [GN]

RECEIVABLES MANAGEMENT: "Israel" Suit Alleges FDCPA Violation
Todd Israel, individually and on behalf of all others similarly-
situated v. Receivables Management Partners, LLC, Case No. 1:18-
cv-00336 (S.D. Ind., February 5, 2018), seeks damages under the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Plaintiff, Todd Israel is a citizen of the State of Indiana,
residing in the Southern District of Indiana, from whom Defendant
attempted to collect defaulted consumer debts that he allegedly
owed for medical bills.

RMP operates a defaulted debt collection business, and attempts
to collect debts from consumers, including consumers in the State
of Indiana. In fact, Defendant RMP was acting as a debt collector
as to the defaulted consumer debt it attempted to collect from
Plaintiff. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      David J. Philipps, Esq.
      Mary E. Philipps, Esq.
      Carissa K. Rasch, Esq.
      9760 S. Roberts Road Suite One
      Palos Hills, IL 60465
      Tel: (708) 974-2900
      Fax: (708) 974-2907
      E-mail: davephilipps@aol.com

REPUBLIC SERVICES: Faces Class Actions Over Radioactive Waste
Jon Herskovitz, writing for Reuters, reports that residents
living near landfill sites in the St. Louis area where
radioactive waste has been stored filed lawsuits on Feb. 20
seeking compensation, claiming negligence in handling materials
they said were some of the most dangerous on Earth.

Two lawsuits seeking class action status were filed at St. Louis
County court for sites that included the West Lake Landfill in
Bridgeton, Missouri, and an area near the Coldwater Creek in the

Among the 10 defendants are Republic Services, Exelon Corp and
the Cotter Corp. Officials from those companies were not
immediately available for comment.

"Defendants treated these hazardous, toxic, carcinogenic,
radioactive wastes with about the same level of care that a
reasonable person might give to common household garbage, dumping
it without authority from the State of Missouri and in violation
of law," the lawsuits contend.

The suits did not state an amount being sought by the plaintiffs.

The history of nuclear waste in the St. Louis area dates back to
the U.S. atomic bomb program from World War Two and spans an
array of nuclear processing facilities, storage sites, material
transfers and suspected leaks along the way.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has deemed some of the
St. Louis-area places that were a part of that history
"Superfund" sites, placing them among highly polluted areas that
are a national priority for clean-up.

The West Lake site, originally used for agriculture, became a
limestone quarry in 1939.  But starting in the 1950s, portions of
the area were used to dispose of municipal refuse, industrial
wastes and construction debris, the EPA said.

In 1973, some 8,700 tons of leached radioactive barium sulfate
from the Manhattan Project, the World War Two-era atomic bomb-
development program, were mixed with 38,000 tons of soil used to
cover trash dumped at the site, according to the EPA.

In 1990, the landfill and neighboring waste-disposal facilities
occupying a total of 200 acres (80 hectares) were designated by
the EPA as a single Superfund site. [GN]

RICHEMONT NORTH AMERICA: Faces "Delacruz" Suit in S.D. New York
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Richemont North
America, Inc. The case is styled as Emanuel Delacruz, on behalf
of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff v.
Richemont North America, Inc. doing business as: A. Lange &
Sohne, Defendant, Case No. 1:18-cv-01971 (S.D. N.Y., March 5,

Richemont North America, Inc. was founded in 1976. The company's
line of business includes the retail sale of jewelry such as
diamonds and other precious stones.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Daniel Chaim Cohen, Esq.
   Daniel Cohen PLLC
   407 Rockaway Avenue, 3rd Floor
   Brooklyn, NY 11212
   Tel: (646) 645-8482
   Email: dan@cml.legal

RICHEMONT NORTH AMERICA: Faces "Bishop" Suit in S.D. New York
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Richemont North
America, Inc. The case is styled as Cedric Bishop, on behalf of
himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff v. Richemont
North America, Inc. doing business as: IWC Schaffhausen,
Defendant, Case No. 1:18-cv-01970 (S.D. N.Y., March 5, 2018).

Richemont North America, Inc. was founded in 1976. The company's
line of business includes the retail sale of jewelry such as
diamonds and other precious stones.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Joseph H Mizrahi, Esq.
   Cohen & Mizrahi LLP
   300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor
   Brooklyn, NY 11201
   Tel: (917) 299-6612
   Fax: (929) 575-4195
   Email: joseph@cml.legal

RIOT BLOCKCHAIN: USMA Law Group Files Securities Class Action
U.S. Market Advisors Law Group PLLC (USMA Law Group) on Feb. 20
disclosed that a class action has been filed on behalf of
purchasers of Riot Blockchain, Inc. (NASDAQ:RIOT) stock between
November 13, 2017 and February 15, 2018.  The lawsuit seeks to
recover damages for Riot investors under the federal securities

To join the Riot class action, please visit:

You may also contact attorney David P. Abel to discuss this
matter at no obligation or cost: 202-274-0237;

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court
no later than April 18, 2018.

According to the class action Complaint, defendants made false
and misleading statements and failed to disclose that: (1) Riot's
principle executive office was not in Colorado, but rather in
Florida in the same location as a large, influential shareholder,
Barry Honig who had a previous working relationship with Riot CEO
& Chairman John O'Rouke; (2) Riot never intended to hold its
Annual General Meetings scheduled for December 28, 2017 and
February 1, 2018; and (3) as a result, defendants' statements
about Riot's business, operations and prospects were materially
false and misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis.

On February 16, 2018, CNBC published the article "CNBC
investigates public company that changed its name to Riot
Blockchain and saw its shares rocket" regarding questionable
practices at Riot Blockchain.  On this news, shares of Riot fell
$5.74 per share, or over 33.37%, to close at $11.46 per share on
February 16, 2018.

USMA Law Group has independently conducted a thorough
investigation of Riot and its insiders. The firm's investigation
covers a period extending back to 2015 and entails significant
information not contained in the class action Complaint.
Investors suffering losses from Riot stock purchases may contact
the firm for more information on potential expanded allegations:

USMA Law Group is also available to discuss with investors their
concerns over possible misconduct by other companies engaged in
cryptocurrency and blockchain activities.

                    About USMA Law Group

USMA Law Group -- http://www.usmarketlaw.com-- is a national law
firm based in the District of Columbia.  The firm represents
investors in antitrust, securities and shareholder litigation.

RJ REYNOLDS: 11th Cir. Affirmed $600K Damages in "Smith"
The United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, issued an
Opinion affirming the District Court's refusal to reduce the
damages awarded in the case captioned JAMES SMITH, SR.,
Plaintiff-Appellee, v. R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO COMPANY, et al.,
Defendant-Appellant, No. 13-14316 (11th Cir.).

This is an Engle progeny case brought by plaintiff James Smith,
Sr. against defendant R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to recover
damages based on the death of his wife, Wanette Smith, from
tobacco-related diseases caused by Mrs. Smith's decades-long
history of smoking Defendant's cigarettes.

The Eleventh Circuit faces only one issue: whether the district
court should have reduced the jury's compensatory damages award
based on the degree of fault the jury attributed to Mrs. Smith.

In his wrongful death action, Smith asserted both intentional
tort claims (fraudulent concealment and conspiracy to
fraudulently conceal) and non-intentional tort claims (negligence
and strict liability).

The jury found for Smith on all claims including the intentional
tort claims awarding him $600,000 in compensatory damages and
$20,000 in punitive damages. Responding to the court's
instruction that required it to gauge the degree of
responsibility Mrs. Smith bore for her injuries, the jury
assessed Mrs. Smith with 45% of the fault, laying the remaining
55% of blame on Defendant. Defendant argued that, given this jury
finding, the compensatory damages should be reduced by 45%,
resulting in a compensatory damages award of $330,000. The
district court, however, agreed with Smith that because there
were intentional tort claims on which Smith prevailed, Defendant
was not entitled to a reduction of the compensatory damages
award. Defendant contends that the district court misapplied
Florida law.

Second, even if Florida's comparative negligence statute
disallows a reduction of the jury's compensatory damages figure
based on Smith's comparative fault, Defendant contends that Smith
nonetheless forfeited his ability to insist on adherence to
Florida law because Smith suggested to the jury that any award
they made would be reduced based on his wife's own negligence.

Trial Proceedings Giving Rise to the Alleged Error

The district court heard oral argument on the matter, focusing
first on the legal question whether the comparative negligence
statute should even apply in a situation such as this. Learning
that Florida courts were not consistent in how they had handled
the issue, the court noted that "there's a great deal of
intuitive appeal about the defendant's position" in that while
Defendant's concealment was an intentional tort, Mrs. Smith
herself had made an intentional decision to continue to smoke:
acts that could be compared. But ultimately, without guidance
from Florida appellate courts, the district court interpreted the
statute as disallowing any reduction based on the negligence of
the plaintiff when the jury had also found a defendant liable for
an intentional tort.

Turning next to the question whether Smith had waived the right
to argue that a reduction of damages was prohibited by the
statute, Defendant contended that, by acknowledging to the jury
its responsibility to apportion fault, Smith could not, post-
verdict, switch gears and argue that fault should not be
apportioned. Moreover, Defendant noted the unfairness of allowing
a plaintiff to gain credibility with a jury by conceding his own
fault and telling the jury that it should consider that fault,
when all the while the plaintiff knows that this acceptance of
responsibility is a sham because any reckoning of that fault by
the jury will not be implemented in the final judgment.

The court expressed sympathy for Defendant's position: "I
couldn't agree with you more. It probably does have an influence,
and I think the plaintiffs are wise to take that approach."

Nevertheless, recalling Defendant's assurance during the
instruction colloquy that Smith would not be deemed to have
waived his right to argue against a reduction of damages, the
district court was unpersuaded by Defendant's contrary post-
verdict argument. Thereafter, the district court entered a
written order consistent with its oral conclusions expressed at
the hearing, and it let Smith's $600,000 compensatory damages
verdict stand, unreduced by the 45% responsibility the jury had
assigned to Mrs. Smith.

Florida Law Governing Comparative Fault

It had been Defendant's position, during trial and on appeal,
that Smith's action, at its heart, was a products liability and
negligence action not an intentional torts action notwithstanding
the existence of claims based on intentional and fraudulent
concealment. Florida intermediate courts of appeal had been split
on the question whether an Engle progeny action that contains
both negligence/strict liability claims and intentional tort
claims can nevertheless be deemed a negligence/products liability
action for purposes of qualifying for reduction of damages based
on the plaintiff's own negligence.

But there is no point recounting the different arguments each
side has mustered because the Florida Supreme Court, very
recently, resolved the issue decisively. That court held that
when an Engle progeny case contains both negligence and
intentional tort claims and when the jury has found for the
plaintiff on an intentional tort claim, then the compensatory
damages award cannot be reduced based on the plaintiff's
percentage of fault, unless the plaintiff waived the intentional
tort exception. Given the Florida Supreme Court's holding,
Defendant's interpretation of this Florida statute cannot
prevail. Therefore, the district court properly interpreted
Florida law in ultimately deciding that, pursuant to that law,
Smith's damages could not be reduced, even though the jury found
Mrs. Smith to be 45% at fault for her injuries.

Whether Smith's Trial Conduct or the District Court's Failure to
Follow Its Own Instruction Regarding Reduction of Compensatory
Damages Entitles Defendant to a Reduction of Those Damages

Smith's Conduct At Trial

Defendant contends that Smith waived his right to non-apportioned
damages due to his use of Mrs. Smith's comparative fault as a
litigation tactic.

Defendant argues that its promise not to argue waiver was limited
to the question of the now-problematic instruction given to the
jury, to which, as the Eleventh Circuit has explained, Smith
actually objected. Instead, Defendant says, its waiver argument
is based on the fact that Smith admitted to the jury that his
wife bore some responsibility for her injuries, all the while
knowing that Smith would object to any actual reduction should
the jury find liability on the intentional tort. But what else
was Smith to do? The question of comparative fault was before the
jury, and he had to argue his position on that matter. And his
position, actually, was to minimize as much as possible his
wife's fault, which is what one would expect him to do. Had Smith
affirmatively misled the jury as to the law in his summation
which he did not do it was up to Defendant to object and for the
court to correct any misrepresentation.

There was no objection and no correction. It was not Smith's job
to explain to the jury what would happen if they found Defendant
liable on the intentional torts. It is the court that instructs
the jury. And, Smith actually sought an instruction that would
have informed the jury that damages would not necessarily be
reduced upon the jury's finding of negligence on Mrs. Smith's
part. Defendant, however, objected to that requested instruction,
persuading the district court to give the problematic instruction
that led to the jury confusion about which it now complains.
Finally, the verdict form here could clearly have been drafted in
a way that minimized, or even eliminated, any jury confusion.
Defendant did not object to the verdict form that was given to
the jury.

The Eleventh Circuit concludes that Smith did not waive his right
to insist that the Florida intentional tort exception be applied
to prevent reduction of compensatory damages based on Mrs.
Smith's degree of fault.

Impact of Incorrect Instruction Given by District Court

Even if Smith did not waive his right to insist on application of
the intentional tort exception, Defendant argues that reversible
error occurred when the district court gave the jury an
instruction that likely had an impact on their calculation of
damages, only to abandon that instruction after the verdict.

Even leaving aside Defendant's pivotal role in creating this
problem, the Eleventh Circuit will assume for purposes of this
appeal that reversible error can potentially result when a
district court, post-verdict, renounces an instruction it gave
the jury and thereby prejudices the party at whose request the
instruction was given. Nonetheless, Defendant's suggested remedy
is not apt. In particular, Defendant asks that compensatory
damages be reduced by the 45% of fault the jury imputed to Mrs.
Smith, even though it is now clear that such a reduction does not
comply with Florida law.

But that would not be the correct remedy here even if the
Eleventh Circuit accepted Defendant's argument. On these specific
facts, where it was Defendant who had prompted the incorrect
instruction rejecting an instruction that would have better
protected it, Defendant would at most be entitled to a new trial
on the question of damages. Notably, Defendant never requested a
new trial before the district court, nor has Defendant here
requested remand for a new trial on the question of damages. The
relief Defendant requests a reduction of damages in violation of
Florida law is obviously not apt.

Accordingly, the Eleventh Circuit concludes on the facts of this
case that the district court's repudiation of its own charge to
the jury concerning the reduction of damages does not justify a
reversal of its ultimate decision not to reduce those damages.

A full-text copy of the Court of Appeals January 25, 2018 Opinion
is available at https://tinyurl.com/yafgucpb from Leagle.com.

Dana G. Bradford, II -- dgbradford@sgrlaw.com -- for Defendant-

Michael Dewberry -- mdewberry@garrett-tully.com -- for Defendant-

James B. Murphy, Jr. -- jbmurphyjr@gmail.com -- for Defendant-

Charles Richard Allan Morse -- cramorse@jonesday.com -- for

Robert B. Parrish -- robparrish17@hotmail.com -- for Defendant-

Samuel Issacharoff -- samuel.issacharoff@nyu.edu -- for

John A. DeVault, III jad@bedellfirm.com, for Plaintiff-Appellee.
Norwood Wilner -- nwilner@wilnerfirm.com -- for Plaintiff-

Stephanie J. Hartley, 444 East Duval Street, Jacksonville, FL
32202, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Elizabeth Joan Cabraser, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

ROYAL AUSTRALASIAN: Class Action Mulled Over Exam "Glitch"
Devastated doctors who are now faced with retaking a gruelling
six-hour exam after a "technical glitch" resulted every result
being voided had raised concerns for months, PEDESTRIAN.TV has

On Feb. 19, around 800 registrars across Australia and New
Zealand sat the Royal Australasian College of Physicians' (RACP)
Divisional Medical Physicians Exam, after eighteen months of
study and thousands in costs, not to mention the emotional and
physiological toll on themselves and their families.

It was the first time the RACP had conducted the exam via
computers, employing the services of online exam software company
Pearson Vue.

However, due to what the RACP is calling "an unknown technical
fault" during the second half of the exam, every single candidate
will now be forced to resit it.

"In order to be fair -- [we] have determined that there will be
an obligatory paper based re-sit of the exam for all candidates,"
it said in a statement.

The cumulative cost of the exam is anywhere from $16,000 to
$18,000, after course fees, mandatory resources, registration
fees, plus accommodation and travel to courses and the exam
itself are taken on board.

There's also the huge emotional and psychological toll on doctors
and their families as they undergo the training and study
required.  Several people had booked overseas holidays following
the test to celebrate.

Devastated candidates are speaking of their shock, anger and
disappointment at learning the exam they had worked so hard to
complete counted for nothing.  In a private Facebook group, one
candidate described the thought of retaking the exam as
"nauseating", while another expressed her devastating at going
"through hell for 18 months" only for it to end in "a day of

Many are concerned for the mental health of their fellow

It's now emerged that doctors had been raising concerns about
Pearson Vue and calling for a back-up plan for months should
something go wrong with the test.

In a webinar held several weeks ago around the new format, RACP
assured doctors they had a number of contingency plans in place
for the exam.

"There are a number of different contingency plans that we have
in place in case of computer failure or power outage -- that has
been worked through in partnership between the College and
Pearson Vue, so that is something that we have considered and if
there is any issue, rest assured that it will be handled
swiftly," an RACP employee said.

Pearson Vue has a history of problems, ranging from everything
from tests being misplaced, misgraded, or even accidentally using
the 'real' test as practice, forcing the class to retake the

P.TV understands that RACP ran into a similar issue -- albeit on
a much smaller scale -- around six months ago with another
Pearson Vue exam, where computers froze during an exam for
registrars to become orthopaedics.  RACP did not respond to a
request for comment around that exam.

Doctors had been calling for a paper examination to be made
available if the online exam failed.  According to at least one
candidate, RACP had spoken about back-up plans in a webinar prior
to the exam. (Requests for comment around this issue were not
returned, either.)

Many candidates and current physicians are astounded that no
back-up plan in place to assist in case something went wrong. The
RACP claims that it "explored all options" with the exam provider
before choosing to call it off.

Candidates have also raised concerns with everything from total
confusion at the beginning of the day to how they were informed
of the unfolding situation.

Some of the 800-strong cohort had already finished the exam and
were celebrating, while others still going were forced to sit in
silence for up to two hours waiting for updates, only to be told
via a slip of paper that the exam had been cancelled.

For many, the first word they received that they would be forced
to resit the exam was shared by a RAPC via a private Facebook
group, despite the fact that many of doctors didn't even have a
Facebook account.

"I'd finished the whole exam and was at the pub celebrating when
a Facebook post from a College employee in a group I wasn't a
member of was shared with me saying I'd have to resit the exam,"
said Dr. Steve Hurwitz on Twitter.

Internally, senior staff members of the RACP are furious with the
handling of the exam.

Dr, Chris Elliott, a paediatrician and teacher at the University
of New South Whales, shared a letter from a senior staff member
to the board that he'd been CC'd on.

"I have never been as ashamed of being affiliated with the
college of physicians as tonight," the letter reads.  "I have
spent all evening counselling distressed medical registrars who
have invested their entire life into the written exam only to
have it cancelled.  In the face of medical registrar suicides,
mental health problems in physician trainees and given the
immense pressure that the written examination puts on trainees,
how are you going to stop this disaster turning into another wave
of suicides?"

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) of NSW described the
exam failure as "a major issue" and said that it would be
expressing very strong concerns to the RACP.

"The Alliance has also contacted the NSW Ministry of Health and
requested that they advise Local Health Districts that the issue
has occurred and that those impacted may be understandably
distressed and may need support," it said in a statement.  "While
we continue to address all of these issues, we want to remind
everyone to take care of yourself and of your colleagues. If you
know anyone who is involved, please take the time to make sure
they are ok."

RACP President Dr. Catherine Yelland has issued a further
statement, personally apologising for the situation.

"I remember sitting the written exam in 1985 very clearly, and
have some understanding of the stress before the exam which has
now been extended," she said.

She added that Pearson Vue -- which P.TV was unable to get in
contact with -- has committed to providing a report within 24
hours, and that RAPC will be conducting a full enquiry.

Angry candidates have spoken about demanding refunds for their
considerable financial losses, or of launching a class action.
Others have called for those responsible for the exam, including
the president and the chair of the exam committee, to step down.

But most of them are going straight back to work, even as they
wait to hear of the date for their resit exam.  "We will do this
because we are caring, compassionate and hard-working people,"
said Dr. Elisabeth Hatzistavrou, who sat at the Feb. 19 exam, on
Facebook.  "There may be some of us who feel they are unable to
continue to provide the high standard they expect o themselves
under the current circumstances; to you I say please take some
time to look after yourself.  To everyone else I ask to please be
kind to your colleagues and friends, this nay include stepping up
and helping out because they are unable to safely return to

If you are experiencing distress around this exam, please reach
out to Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the AMA Peer Support service on
1300 853 338. [GN]

SAINT JOHN, NB: Faces Class Action Over Leaking Pipes
Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon, writing for CBC News, reports that
city of Saint John was officially served with notice on Feb. 15
of a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of west side residents.

The lawsuit accuses the city of negligence and breach of
contract, and calls for compensation for leaking pipes and other
damages the plaintiffs blame on a new well-drawn water system.

None of the allegations in the statement of claim have been
proven in court and the lawsuit has not yet been certified.

The city has 20 days from date of service to file a statement of

About 100 people have registered to join the action so far, said
Charles Bryant, one of the lawyers who filed the suit "in
response to public demand."

Property owners Frances Brownell and Cheryl Steadman are listed
as the two representative plaintiffs in the statement of claim,
filed with the Court of Queen's Bench on Feb. 14.

Once the city files its response, the class-action lawyers will
focus on gathering information about "scope of damages, the
scientific determination of the cause(s), and details of the
decision-making processes about the west-side water sources."

"Our hope is to move as quickly as possible through what is
typically a relatively slow process, so west side residents
aren't left hanging too long," said Bryant.

About 5,600 customers on the city's west side had their water
source switched over to the South Bay Wellfield instead of the
Spruce Lake Reservoir in September as part of the Safe Clean
Drinking Water project.

Water from the underground aquifer is mineral-heavy and hard.

At least 107 customers have filed complaints of leaking pipes and
the mayor faced an angry crowd of about 350 people during the
last community meeting, held on Feb. 8.  One man said repairs
have cost him $16,000.

Other complaints have included water heater problems, irritated
skin and stained dishes.

Saint John Water has said it suspects changes in the chemical
composition of the water is causing mineral descaling of older
pipes, exposing leaks. It has launched an investigation, but has
said it could take months.

Ratepayers shouldn't foot the bill
Some residents at the Feb. 8 meeting had threatened to take legal
action if the problems weren't resolved soon.

The mayor, who lives on the west side, along with Ward 1 Coun.
Greg Norton and Coun. Blake Armstrong, said at that time any
compensation would be paid by ratepayers.

"We find this response unacceptable and will explore other
possible sources of funds -- such as the city's insurance policy
against litigation," the class-action lawsuit's website states.

"If it is determined that the city is responsible for some
compensation to west side residents and business owners that is
not covered by insurance, it will be up to city lawyers to seek
damages from responsible parties through their own litigation

The statement of claim alleges the city failed to:

Adequately test, analyze and/or review the distinct chemistry of
the new water source and condition of the water pipes before,
during and after the switchover.

Adequately design, construct, inspect, repair, maintain, operate
and supervise the water supply and distribution system.

The lawsuit is seeking damages to cover existing and future costs
of repairing structural damage, and repairing or replacing pipes,
appliances and other equipment.

It also seeks to have the pipes, appliances and equipment of
every lawsuit member tested at least twice during the next year,
as well as compensation for reduced property values and for
mental, emotional and psychological harm. [GN]

SCOTIABANK: Virgin Islanders Sue Over Force-Placed Insurance
The Virgin Islands Consortium reports that as Virgin Islanders
ire with insurance companies and banks heat up following
Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September, fueled by a belief that
they're being treated unfairly because these institutions are
weary of paying out millions of dollars to policyholders and are
looking to cut costs, Scotiabank was hit with a class action
lawsuit that alleges the bank has been denying Virgin Islanders
who have mortgages with it insurance coverage under the bank's
force-placed insurance policy.

Force-placed insurance, also known as creditor-placed, lender-
placed or collateral protection insurance, is an insurance policy
placed by a lender, bank or loan servicer on a home when the
property owners' own insurance is cancelled, has lapsed or is
deemed insufficient and the borrower does not secure a
replacement policy. This insurance allows the lender to protect
its financial interest in the property.

The suit, filed by lawfirm Colianni & Colianni LLC, alleges that
after the 2017 storms struck the territory, Scotiabank's
borrowers with force-placed insurance contacted Scotiabank to
make property damage claims under the force-placed policy.  The
suit says Scotiabank is the named insured under the policy, so
the borrowers could not file their claims directly with the
insurer.  The bank has a contractual duty to file claims under
its force-placed policy because Scotiabank's mortgage agreement
obligates Scotiabank to use the proceeds of the policy to repair
the borrower's home or to reduce the borrower's loan balance,
according to the suit.

The suit further alleges that Scotiabank has refused to file or
process the claims and has "stonewalled" borrowers' attempts to
get information about their claims.  As a result, the borrowers
cannot repair their hurricane-damaged homes, according to the

Parties involved in the class action include Daryl Richards, a
U.S. citizen and resident of St. Croix. And Loretta S. Belardo, a
U.S. citizen and also resident of St. Croix.

According to the suit, Mr. Richards, who owns a home in Estate La
Grange, entered into Scotiabank's standard mortgage agreement
when he received his home loan. He failed to maintain his own
property insurance, and as a result Scotiabank force-placed
insurance on Mr. Richard's property.  Mr. Richard's force-placed
insurance was renewed by Scotiabank in March 2017 at an annual
premium of $1,751, according to the suit.

Ms. Belardo, who owns a home in Estate Campo Rico, entered into
Scotiabank's standard mortgage agreement when she received her
home loan.  Ms. Belardo failed to maintain her own property
insurance, which resulted in Scotiabank force-placing insurance
on Ms. Belardo's property, according to the suit.

The suit says Ms. Belardo's home was damaged by Hurricane Maria,
and she promptly notified Scotiabank of the damage and asked the
bank to submit a claim to its force-placed insurer.  However, in
the five months since the storm, Scotiabank has repeatedly
refused to file a claim on Ms. Belardo's behalf, according to the
suit, adding that Ms. Belardo cannot afford to repair the
hurricane damage to her home without the insurance proceeds.

The Scotiabank class action lawsuit is the first known of its
kind following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the territory.
Senator Alicia Hansen and Attorney Lee Rohn vowed to launch a
class action suit against insurance firms on behalf of
homeowners, but Mrs. Hansen and Ms. Rohn -- who provided the
media with a release stating their intent -- have yet to provide
an update with documents confirming the class action suit.

At a press conference held on January 30, the Division of Banking
and Insurance, which falls under the Office of the Lieutenant
Governor, detailed the work it had done to assure that insurance
firms were adhering to the laws pertinent to insurance claims.
However, some residents saw the press conference, which was also
held to provide residents with valuable information on the
insurance claims process, as too little too late.

At the time, there were 9,332 claims filed for Hurricane Irma as
of January 10, of which 3,013 claims were closed, which equated
to $435,661,453.61.  "That represents 38 percent of the claims
that were filed," Lieutenant Governor Osbert Potter said.
"There's still a lot of claims in the pipeline at various stages,
so this in itself shows a lot of progress, but at the same time
shows that there are still more claims to be handled and the
process for dealing with claims continues."

For Hurricane Maria, the total number of claims filed was 5,549
as of January 10, of which 1,314 claims were closed --- equating
to $82,837,319.06.  "These figures are building up and continue
to build because we issued an order to these insurance companies
to make sure that there is not a delay in the process," the
lieutenant governor said.

Following persistent criticism, Mr. Potter issued an emergency
order requiring insurance companies to conduct a second review of
each Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria-related claim for which a
determination of underinsurance was made.  Mr. Potter's office
said the order was generated as a direct result of numerous
underinsured-related complaints that homeowner's insurance
policyholders filed with the Division of Banking, Insurance after
the two hurricanes.  Underinsured means the amount of homeowner's
insurance held on the property is insufficient to cover the total
dollar amount of losses to the property. [GN]

SOUTHCROSS ENERGY: "Doller" Suit Alleges Exchange Act Violations
Kristin Doller, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated v. Southcross Energy Partners, L.P. et al.,
Case No. 3:18-cv-00291 (N.D. Tex., February 5, 2018), is brought
against the Defendants for violations of the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934.

Plaintiff Kristin Doller is the owner of Southcross common units.

Defendant Southcross is incorporated in Delaware and maintains
its principal executive offices at 1717 Main Street, Suite 5200,
Dallas, Texas, 75201. The Company's common units trade on the New
York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "SXE".

Defendant Southcross Energy Partners GP, LLC is a Delaware
limited liability company. Southcross GP is the general partner
of Southcross, managing the operations of Southcross.

Defendant Southcross Holdings LP is a Delaware limited
partnership. Southcross GP is a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Southcross Holdings LP.

Defendant Southcross Holdings GP LLC is a Delaware limited
liability company. Southcross Holdings is the general partner of
Southcross Holdings LP.

The Individual Defendants are members of the Board for
Southcross. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Balon B. Bradley, Esq.
      11910 Greenville Ave, Suite 220
      Dallas, TX 75243
      Tel: (972) 991-1582
      Fax: (972) 755-0424
      E-mail: balon@bbradleylaw.com

STARR RESTAURANT: Faces "Prazdnik" Suit in E.D. Pennsylvania
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Starr Restaurant
Group Partners GP, LLC. The case is styled as Leonid Prazdnik, on
behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff v.
Starr Restaurant Group Partners GP, LLC doing business as: ALMA
DE CUBA, Defendant, Case No. 2:18-cv-00954-JS (E.D. Penn., March
5, 2018).

Starr Restaurant Group Partners GP, LLC operates restaurants. The
company also provides special events catering, quick service
catering, contract dining, and group dining services; and gift

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   C. K. LEE, Esq.
   NEW YORK, NY 10016
   Tel: (212) 465-1188
   Email: cklee@leelitigation.com

STONE & TILE: Court OKs $22,500 Class Settlement in "Cohetero"
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New
York issued an Order approving the Report and Recommendation of
Magistrate Judge recommending approval of the Settlement
Agreement in the case captioned DANIEL COHETERO, Plaintiff, v.
16-CV-4420 (KAM)(SMG)(E.D. N.Y.).

Presently before the court is a report and recommendation (R&R)
issued by the Honorable Steven M. Gold, United States Magistrate
Judge, recommending that the court approve the Settlement

Plaintiff is a former marble cutter and polisher at defendants'
masonry supply business. In the complaint, he alleges, inter
alia, that he was employed by defendants from approximately 1993
to January 21, 2016, and that during this period, plaintiff and
his fellow employees were not paid wages at the rate of time and
one-half of their hourly rate when working in excess of forty
hours per week, nor were they provided with proper wage
statements or wage notices.

In determining whether to approve a proposed FLSA settlement,
relevant factors include (1) the plaintiff's range of possible
recovery; (2) the extent to which the settlement will enable the
parties to avoid anticipated burdens and expenses in establishing
their respective claims and defenses; (3) the seriousness of the
litigation risks faced by the parties; (4) whether the settlement
agreement is the product of arm's-length bargaining between
experienced counsel; and (5) the possibility of fraud or

Factors weighing against approval include (1) the presence of
other employees situated similarly to the claimant; (2) a
likelihood that the claimant's circumstance will recur; (3) a
history of FLSA non-compliance by the same employer or others in
the same industry or geographic region; and (4) the desirability
of a mature record and a pointed determination of the governing
factual or legal issue to further the development of the law
either in general or in an industry or in a workplace.

Fee Analysis

Plaintiff's counsel seeks an award of $8,213.26, consisting of
$1,069.90 in expense reimbursement and $7,143.36 in attorneys'
fees. The fee amount represents thirty-three and one-third
(33.33%) percent of the plaintiff's recovery net of expenses. The
retainer agreement provides that, in the event of a settlement,
plaintiff's counsel would be entitled to thirty three and one-
third percent (33.33%) of the gross proceeds of recovery, which
would result in a slightly higher fee than plaintiffs' counsel
seeks here as thirty-three and one-third percent of the gross
settlement amount is $7,500.

Reasonableness of Plaintiff's Counsel's Hourly Rate

The timekeepers in the instant action, together with their
position and requested hourly rate, are (i) Brent Pelton, Esq.,
partner, $450; (ii) Taylor B. Graham, Esq., partner, $350; (iii)
Joanne M. Albertsen, Esq., associate, $275; (iv) Kristen Boysen,
Esq., associate, $225, (v) Belinda Herzao (Dau), paralegal, $175;
and (vi) Adriana Sandoval, paralegal, $125.

While the result here is favorable, the settlement does not
approach the magnitude or complexity of that at issue in Hall,
and the court therefore finds that an hourly rate of $450 would
be unreasonably high for Mr. Pelton. The court will instead apply
an hourly rate of $375 for his time, which, as discussed above,
is nevertheless on the higher end of hourly rates awarded to
partners in this district but is more clearly within the range
typically awarded.

Plaintiff's counsel does not state when Mr. Graham became a
partner in the firm but he appears to have become a partner
within the last 21 months or otherwise provide a basis for
finding that his hourly rate should be higher in the instant
action. Consequently, the court will apply a $300 hourly rate for
Mr. Graham, which is at the high end of rates awarded to senior
associates and the low end of rates awarded to partners in this

The court will apply an hourly rate of $200 for Ms. Boysen, which
is the midpoint of the range of fees typically awarded for
associates in this district. Belinda Herazo (Dau) and Adriana
Sandoval are paralegals and both are fluent in Spanish and
English. Ms. Herazo's requested hourly rate of $175 and Ms.
Sandoval's requested hourly rate of $125 are above the range
typically awarded to paralegals in this district.  However,
because of their language abilities and because plaintiff here is
a Spanish speaker, the court concludes that an hourly rate of
$125 is reasonable for Ms. Herazo and Ms. Sandoval.

The court adopts Judge Gold's Report and Recommendation, except
that the court will allow expense reimbursement in the amount of
$400, and will allow fees in the amount of $7,366.66.  The
remaining $14,733.34 of the settlement amount shall be remitted
to plaintiff immediately, to the extent it has not been already.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 25, 2018 Order
is available at https://tinyurl.com/y7tuth6y from Leagle.com.

Daniel Cohetero, Individually and on Behalf of All Others
Similarly Situated, Plaintiff, represented by Brent E. Pelton --
pelton@peltongraham.com -- Pelton & Associates, PC.

STUDY.COM LLC: Faces "Sullivan" Suit in S.D. New York
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Study.Com LLC. The
case is styled as Phillip Sullivan Jr., on behalf of himself and
all others similarly situated, and the general public, Plaintiff
v. Study.Com LLC, Defendant, Case No. 1:18-cv-01939 (S.D. N.Y.,
March 5, 2018).

Study.com, LLC specializes in research, articles and school
matching services.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   C. K. LEE, Esq.
   NEW YORK, NY 10016
   Tel: (212) 465-1188
   Email: cklee@leelitigation.com

SWATCH GROUP: Faces "Delacruz" Suit in S.D. New York
A class action lawsuit has been filed against The Swatch Group
US, Inc. The case is styled as Emanuel Delacruz, on behalf of
himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff v. The
Swatch Group US, Inc. doing business as: Tissot, Defendant, Case
No. 1:18-cv-01972 (S.D. N.Y., March 5, 2018).

Swatch Group is an international group active in the design,
manufacture and sale of finished watches, jewelry, watch
movements and components.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Daniel Chaim Cohen, Esq.
   Daniel Cohen PLLC
   407 Rockaway Avenue, 3rd Floor
   Brooklyn, NY 11212
   Tel: (646) 645-8482
   Email: dan@cml.legal

TEXAS: Begins Transfer of Inmates at Unit Center of Class Action
Gabrielle Banks and Keri Blakinger, writing for Houston
Chronicle, report that barely two weeks after reaching a
settlement in a landmark lawsuit over sweltering conditions in
one Navasota lock-up, the Texas prison  system on Feb. 19 began
the process of shifting vulnerable inmates back to the unit at
the center of the legal claim.

In the wee hours of the morning on Feb. 19, five buses moved
prisoners out of the Wallace Pack Unit to make room for the
returning heat-sensitive inmates transferred out months ago at a
federal judge's order.

"The move closes another chapter of poor planning and lack of
foresight the prison system has experienced for years," said
Lance Lowry, a Huntsville corrections officer and former union

Though the Texas prison system agreed to install air conditioning
at the unit as part of the settlement -- which is expected to be
finalized soon by a federal judge -- that hasn't been done yet.

The 1,000-plus Pack inmates who were transferred out last August
are all expected to be back on the unit by mid-April, according
to state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston.

"The settlement was reached and it's the way the system is
supposed to work," he said.

There's no concrete timeline available on how soon those
transfers will take place, according to Texas Department of
Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark.

TDCJ agreed to provide air conditioning at the geriatric prison,
a move that would end the pending class action lawsuit as well as
the legal claims involving inmates who died or were injured by
excessive heat during sweltering summers in other state lockups.

The department admitted in court documents that 22 inmates have
died from heat stroke in Texas prisons over the past two decades.

After word of the settlement went public, rumors of impending
transfers began circulating among the inmate population, said one
woman whose son was held at the Pack Unit.

"They're not feeling good about it, I'll tell you that," she
said. She asked not to be named for fear her son might face
retaliation, something she says has already become a widespread

"No doubt there's going to be a lot of that type of thing going
on," she said.

Some prisoners embroiled in the litigation have hoped to opt out,
she said, due to concerns that involvement in the legal case
would decrease their chances of getting into certain programs
TDCJ offers.

The class-action suit was filed in 2014 and after three years of
legal wrangling, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison ruled in
July that the indoor heat was life-threatening for vulnerable
inmates, penning a scathing opinion deeming the summer conditions
"cruel and unusual punishment."

He ordered the prison to provide cool housing units during the
summer months for medically sensitive inmates, but he gave TDCJ
officials the flexibility to fulfill his order as they saw fit.

But given the high cost of cooling the units, officials instead
opted to ship more than 1,000 inmates from the Pack Unit to
prisons that already had air conditioning.

Yet Judge Ellison's ruling was only temporary, so the case was
slotted for trial in March -- until the early February settlement
rendered it unnecessary.

If Ellison approves the settlement, it could have lasting
ramifications at the state's more than 100 prisons, most of which
do not have air conditioning. [GN]

TREEHOUSE FOODS: Class Action Survives Motion to Dismiss
Shareholder rights law firm Robbins Arroyo LLP is investigating
whether certain officers and directors of Treehouse Foods, Inc.
(NYSE: THS) breached their fiduciary duties to shareholders.  On
March 24, 2017, investors filed a consolidated securities class
action complaint against Treehouse for alleged violations of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The complaint alleges that
between January 20, 2016 and November 2, 2016, Treehouse
deceitfully cultivated a reputation that the company could
smoothly integrate its acquired companies into the broader
organization without significant problems. Despite Treehouse's
repeated assurances that it was taking great steps toward
synergizing its various acquisitions, Treehouse was unable to
successfully integrate its acquired companies, which suffered
from serious growth and profitability problems.  Treehouse
finally disclosed on November 3, 2016 that its operating results
would be substantially below analysts' expectations and lowered
its earnings per share forecast due to the underperformance of
one of its acquisitions. After revealing the bad news, the
company's shares fell nearly 20% to close at $69.72 per share on
November 3, 2016.  Treehouse's stock now trades at approximately
half of that value, closing at $38.28 per share on February 16,
2018.  On February 12, 2018, the Honorable Samuel Der-Yeghiayan
of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois,
Eastern Division denied Treehouse's motion to dismiss, paving the
way for litigation to proceed.

View this information on the law firm's Shareholder Rights Blog:

Treehouse Shareholders Have Legal Options

Concerned shareholders who would like more information about
their rights and potential remedies can contact attorney
Leonid Kandinov at (800) 350-6003, LKandinov@robbinsarroyo.com,
or via the shareholder information form on the firm's website.

Robbins Arroyo LLP -- http://www.robbinsarroyo.com-- is a
shareholder rights law firm.  The firm represents individual and
institutional investors in shareholder derivative and securities
class action lawsuits, and has helped its clients realize more
than $1 billion of value for themselves and the companies in
which they have invested. [GN]

TRISTAR PRODUCTS: July 12 Settlement Fairness Hearing Set
The following statement is being issued by HF Media, LLC,
regarding the Tristar Power Pressure Cooker class action

If You Purchased a Power Pressure Cooker, You Could Get Benefits
from a Proposed Class Action Settlement

A proposed class action settlement has been preliminarily
approved by a Court against Tristar Products, Inc. ("Defendant")
involving certain models of pressure cookers.

What is this about?
The lawsuit claims that certain models of Tristar pressure
cookers may have defects including, 1) suddenly releasing steam
while being opened; 2) the lid may be removed while still under
pressure; 3) the pressure relief valve may inaccurately indicate
pressure levels; 4) a faulty gasket may allow the lid to open
despite pressure build up; 5) the unit may not seal properly;
and/or 6) the pressure cooker can develop pressure when the lid
is partially or improperly closed.  Plaintiffs claim that the
alleged defects diminish the original purchase price value and as
a result class members may be entitled to a credit on their
original purchase.

The Defendant denies these allegations. The Court has not ruled
on this matter. Instead, the parties decided to settle.

Who is a Class Member?
You may be a Class Member if you purchased, for personal use and
not for resale, certain pressure cookers between March 1, 2013
and January 19, 2018.  A complete list of the pressure cookers at
issue is on the detailed notice found on the website below.

What are the Benefits?
Settlement Class Members who timely submit a completed claim form
and verify that they have watched, or read a transcript of, a
safety video will be eligible for a $72.50 credit redeemable
towards one of the following products, subject to availability
and possible substitution: 1) Power Cooker, a 10 qt. pressure
cooker - Model No. PC-WAL4; 2) Power Air Fryer XL, a 5.3 qt. air
fryer - Model No. AF-530; or 3) Copper Chef XL Precision
Induction Cooktop Set, consisting of induction cooktop, 11" deep
dish casserole pan with glass lid, fry basket, steam rack, 10"
round pan with glass lid, and recipe book. Valid Class Members
will also be eligible for a free one-year warranty extension for
the pressure cooker they currently own. Visit the website for
complete information on benefits.

What are my rights?
You have a right to file a Claim, Object, Opt-Out, or do nothing.
File a claim.  To receive Benefits, you must submit a Claim Form
online or by mail, by July 4, 2018. Opt- Out. You may Opt-Out
from the settlement by June 4, 2018. You will keep your right to
pursue a separate lawsuit about these claims, but you will not
receive settlement Benefits. If you or anyone you know has
suffered personal injuries or property damage as a result of one
of the models of pressure cookers and wish to pursue an
individual claim for those injuries and/or damage, then that
Person(s) should Opt-Out of this settlement. Object. If you do
not agree with the terms of the settlement, you may file an
Objection, before June 4, 2018. Objection instructions are found
on the website. Do Nothing. You will receive no Benefits and have
no right to sue later for the Claims released by the settlement.

The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing in the courtroom of the
Honorable James S. Gwin, in the Carl B. Stokes U.S. Court House,
801 West Superior Ave., Cleveland, OH 44113, on July 12, 2018 at
9:00 a.m., to decide whether to approve the settlement and to
award Attorneys' Fees to be paid by Defendants, and Plaintiff
incentive payments.  The motion for fees and expenses will be
posted on the website below after they are filed. You may attend
this hearing, but you don't have to.  Benefits will be issued to
settlement Class Members only if the Court approves the
settlement and after all appeals are resolved. This notice is
only a summary.

For questions or complete information, please visit
www.powerpressurecookersettlement.com, or call toll free
(844) 271-4784. [GN]

TRUMP UNIVERSITY: Second Chance to Opt Out of Class Not Required
Wystan Ackerman, Esq. -- wackerman@rc.com -- of Robinson+Cole, in
an article for JDSupra, reports that the Ninth Circuit recently
ruled in favor of President Trump.  That was not a typo, and this
is not fake news.  The ruling was not in favor of Trump in his
official capacity, but in his capacity as a class action
defendant.  And it was in a case where the plaintiffs were on his
side, seeking to defend the lower court's approval of a class
action settlement involving Trump University.  The key practice
pointer from this decision for those who litigate class actions
is that if a class is certified before you reach a settlement,
you don't have to give the class members a second chance to opt
out when you later reach a settlement.  You might want to make it
explicit that there will not be a second chance to opt out.

In Low v. Trump Univ., LLC, No. 17-55635,2018 U.S. App. LEXIS
2920 (9th Cir. Feb. 6, 2018), an objector challenged the district
court's approval of a settlement of several class actions
involving allegations of false advertising and fraudulent
practices by Trump University, which provided real estate
investment seminars.  The objector argued that she was entitled
to a second opportunity to opt out of the class after a
settlement was reached.

The Ninth Circuit first held that the notice that was sent to
class members when the class was certified and before a
settlement was reached did not promise them as second opportunity
to opt out.  The Ninth Circuit adopted a standard focusing on
"what an average class member would have understood the notice to
guarantee." Id. at *19. The objector focused on a statement in
the notice that if "the Plaintiffs obtain money or benefits,
either as a result of the trial or a settlement, you will be
notified about how to obtain a share (or how to ask to be
excluded from any settlement)." Id. at *16.  The court concluded
that the notice, which was based on a Federal Judicial Center
form, when read as a whole, made clear that there was a single
deadline to opt out, and the decision had to be made when the
first notice was sent.  Based on the notice as a whole, a class
member being excluded from the settlement could refer to simply
declining to submit a claim form in a claims made settlement, and
it was unclear at that point what type of settlement might be

The Ninth Circuit then held that due process did not require a
second opportunity to opt out, applying binding precedent in
Officers for Justice v. Civil Service Commission of San
Francisco, 688 F.2d 615 (9th Cir. 1982), which reasoned that
class members' rights were adequately protected by the
opportunity to object to the settlement, the district court's
fairness hearing, and the right to appeal from the approval of a
settlement.  The court found no intervening Supreme Court
authority on point.  In a footnote, the court suggested that a
district court might have the power to withhold approval of a
settlement that did not provide a second opportunity to opt out,
in an appropriate case.

Although large numbers of opt outs are relatively rare in the
context of a class notice, regardless of whether a settlement has
been reached, it may be advisable not to offer class members a
second chance to opt out.  If the parties think ahead about this
issue, they can address it explicitly when the first notice is
issued to class members. [GN]

UBER TECHNOLOGIES: March 22 Class Action Opt-Out Deadline Set
Tracey Lien, writing for Los Angeles Times, reports that a class-
action lawsuit alleging that Uber stiffed its drivers of fare
money has received class certification, paving the way for the
lawsuit to include thousands of drivers nationwide who did not
sign an arbitration agreement with the San Francisco company.

The breach of contract lawsuit, filed in May in U.S. District
Court in San Francisco, alleges that when Uber implemented a
feature called "upfront pricing" in August 2016, it didn't pay
drivers their fair share.

Previously, the cost of Uber rides was calculated based on
factors such as miles traveled and time.  Passengers were charged
accordingly at the end of the ride, and Uber passed along 80% of
the fare to drivers, keeping 20% for itself.

The lawsuit alleges that when Uber introduced upfront pricing, it
quoted and charged passengers a higher fare upfront, but
continued to pay drivers based on previous calculations, which
resulted in drivers receiving less than 80% of the total fare.

"Uber has failed to properly act as payment collection agent for
Plaintiff and other drivers," the lawsuit read.  "Uber's failure
to pay the amounts promised under the Agreement and the Addendum
is a material breach of the Agreement."

Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This isn't the first time Uber has been slapped with a lawsuit
over the way it pays its drivers.

In April, Los Angeles Uber driver Sophano Van filed a similar
class action, yet to be certified, alleging that Uber's upfront
pricing practice was a breach of contract.

The company has also been sued for pocketing drivers' tips, and
it faces lawsuits around the country about whether it owes
drivers expense reimbursement and benefits.

In the certification order made public on Feb. 16, Judge William
Alsup determined that the class includes Uber drivers across the
country who meet all of the following criteria:

   -- Opted out of Uber's arbitration provision.
   -- Drove for UberX or UberSelect.
   -- Transported a passenger who was charged an upfront fare
before May 22, 2017, when Uber updated its driver fee schedule.
   -- Made less money overall on rides because of the upfront

Uber produced ride-by-ride data for all drivers who opted out of
arbitration, which resulted in about 4,600 drivers who could
participate in the lawsuit, said Paul B. Maslo, a partner at law
firm Napoli Shkolnik and lead counsel for the drivers.

"Without this decision, it would have likely been the end of the
road for drivers seeking to recover for Uber's breach," he said.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Drivers will have until March 22 to opt out of the lawsuit and
pursue their own litigation. [GN]

UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Class Action Over Upfront Pricing Certified
Ryan J. Farrick, writing for Legal Reader, reports that a lawsuit
claiming that Uber shorted its drivers' wages has been granted
class-action certification.

Thousands of drivers across the United States could be eligible
to opt into the litigation so long as they didn't sign an
arbitration agreement with the San Francisco-based ride

The Los Angeles Times recounts the suit's history -- how, in the
past, Uber drivers were compensated based on how many miles they
drove and the amount of time they spent on individual trips.
After dropping a passenger off, 80% of the fare would be passed
onto contractors, with the rest heading to the corporation's

A year and a half ago, Uber made an important change to its
pricing system.

In August 2016, the app introduced "upfront pricing" -- a feature
providing passengers with a total before ever booking an Uber.

Plaintiffs in the fresh class-action accuse Uber of stealing
their wages after the feature's implementation.  They claim that,
after "upfronting pricing" became a standard feature, Uber
increased its fares.

Despite the increase in rates, drivers were still compensated
based on outdated calculations -- often receiving less than 80%
of the overall fare as a result.

"Uber has failed to properly act as a payment collection agent
for Plaintiffs and other drivers," reads the lawsuit. "Uber's
failure to pay the amounts promised under the Agreement and the
Addendum is a material breach of the Agreement."

The suit, writes the Times, isn't the first Uber's faced -- the
company has been hit with a range of allegations, ranging from a
similar 'breach of contract' claim to accusations of pocketing
drivers' tips.

Judge William Alsup's certification order, issued and made public
on Feb. 16, enables past and present Uber drivers who meet the
following criteria to join the litigation as class members*:

   -- Opted out of Ubers arbitration provision

   -- Drove for UberX or UberSelect

   -- Transported a passenger who was charged an upfront fare
before May 22, 2017, when Uber updated its driver fee schedule

   -- Made less money overall on rides because of the upfront

Paul B. Maslo, partner at the Napoli Shkolnik law firm and lead
counsel for the drivers, said an estimated 4,600 Uber contractors
may meet all the criteria. The figure is derived from Uber's own
data, tailored to show individual rides taken by drivers who'd
opted out of arbitration.

"Without this decision," he said, "it would have likely been the
end of the road for drivers seeking to recover from Uber's
breach." [GN]

UNITED STATES: Sued in N.Y. Over Detention of Young Immigrants
Liz Robbins, writing for New York Times, reports that the Trump
administration has made it clear it will aggressively move to
deport young immigrants from Central America who it determines
have ties to the violent MS-13 street gang.  But in a lawsuit
filed recently against federal agencies, the New York Civil
Liberties Union said that federal officials are holding young
adults -- even those without suspected gang ties -- indefinitely
and illegally.

The civil rights organization filed a class-action suit in
Federal District Court in Manhattan on behalf of a 17-year-old
native of El Salvador, who has been in federal custody since
July, after he was arrested by agents for United States
Immigration and Customs Enforcement at his home on Long Island.
He did not get a hearing before an immigration judge until
December, when Judge Amiena A. Khan of New York declared he was
not a safety or flight risk.

But he has still not been released, and his lawyers say that the
government is holding him because of its political agenda to
deport as many undocumented immigrants as possible.

"The consequence for those who are being accused is huge,
irreparable harm," said Donna Lieberman, the executive director
of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "MS-13 is a problem, gangs
are a problem."

But she called the prolonged detention of young immigrants, "a
witch hunt."

Another lawsuit filed last year by the American Civil Liberties
Union led to the release of 27 of 29 Long Island teenagers
arrested on suspicion of gang involvement who a judge ruled were
not given prompt hearings.

In the lawsuit filed on Feb. 16, the lawyers say there are at
least 40 plaintiffs across New York State who have been detained
indefinitely and who could be part of a class action.  Most of
those are not accused gang members, the suit said.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services, which
oversees the resettlement of unaccompanied minors who have
entered the country illegally, said it could not comment on
pending litigation.

The suit claims that the government is violating the William
Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of
2008, which requires that unaccompanied minors be released from
detention promptly and placed in the least restrictive setting

A policy enacted in June, however, requires the director of the
Office of Refugee Resettlement to approve every juvenile's
release.  The N.Y.C.L.U. lawyers said the director, Scott Lloyd,
is delaying the process without explanation.

This policy, the suit claimed, violates the children's
fundamental right to be reunited with their families while
fighting their immigration cases.

"From everything we can tell," Christopher Dunn, a lawyer for the
N.Y.C.L.U. said, "they have a view that anyone who had a gang
taint at one point is always a gang member and they are just not
going to release those kids."

Starting in September 2016, Suffolk County on Long Island saw 17
MS-13-related murders in 15 months.  That prompted a swift,
coordinated local and federal response from law enforcement
agencies.  In August, the resettlement agency created its
Community Safety Initiative, which says that no gang member can
be released to a sponsor without a judge's order.

The last killings that authorities have linked to MS-13 came on
April 11, when four young Latino men were found hacked to death
with machetes in the woods behind a Central Islip soccer field.
Two of the victims had been students at Bellport High School,
where teachers had noted an uptick in the presence of MS-13.

That was where the plaintiff in the lawsuit was a freshman last
year. Identified as L.V.M. because he is a minor, he was
suspended from Bellport High School less than two weeks after the
killings after being accused of flashing gang signs in the
hallway with another student, according to the complaint.

Three months later, L.V.M. was arrested by immigration agents
conducting a sweep they called "Operation Matador," which has
arrested 205 young adults for MS-13 connections on Long Island.

"He is not a gang member, he doesn't support MS-13, he fled gang
violence in his home country," his lawyer, Paige Austin, said.
L.V.M. said he was raising both middle fingers to respond to
another student, the lawsuit said.

After his arrest, agents brought L.V.M. to Shenandoah Valley
Juvenile Center in Virginia, a secure facility.  Nearly six weeks
later, he was transferred to a lower level of supervision at
Children's Village in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

At L.V.M.'s Dec. 18 hearing, the government presented additional
evidence outlining his gang involvement.  According to his
lawyers, the government said a video existed of him flashing gang
signs (which they have been unable to see), he wore clothing that
distinguished him as a gang member, he had been identified by the
Suffolk County Police Department as belonging to the gang, and he
had gang tattoos.

His mother, Esmeralda Mejia de Galindo, said she was surprised to
hear all of these allegations -- especially that last detail.
"My son doesn't have a tattoo," she said in an interview through
an interpreter on Feb. 19.  "I'm the mom, I would know."

Ms. Meija, 36, fled El Salvador with L.V.M. and his younger
brother in May 2016 because they were targeted by gang members,
according to the lawsuit.  They were arrested at the border and
later applied for asylum; their applications are pending. After
his arrest by I.C.E., L.V.M.'s status was changed by immigration
authorities to that of an unaccompanied minor.

The Department of Homeland Security published a news release
declaring that unaccompanied minors and families are exploiting
"legal loopholes" that only "invite more illegal immigration,"
and that the abuses must end now.

Mr. Dunn said L.V.M. and other juveniles have rights.  "They are
not loopholes, they are federal guarantees to protect children
like him," Mr. Dunn said. [GN]

VITA-MIX CORP: Court OKs $1.6MM Class Settlement in "Gooding"
The United States District Court for the Central District of
California issued an Order granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Final
of Approval of Class Settlement in the case captioned RAINOLDO
GOODING and NADEEN GOODING, on behalf of themselves and all
others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. VITA-MIX CORPORATION
and KELLY SERVICES, INC., Defendants, Case No. 2:16-cv-03898-
ODW(JEMx) (C.D. Cal.).

This is a wage-and-hour class action suit against Defendants
Vita-Mix Corporation and Kelly Services, Inc. (Defendants). Named
Plaintiffs and proposed class members work for, or worked in the
past for, Vita-Mix, and they allege that Vita-Mix misclassified
their employee designations and failed to pay them overtime wages
and other benefits.

Settlement Terms

The parties originally estimated that there were 1,150 members in
the proposed class (across all three sub-classes). The finalized
mailing list contained 1,055 class members, including 857 Rule 23
class members and 198 FLSA class members.

Settlement Fund

The parties' settlement provides for a maximum, non-reversionary
settlement amount of $1,600,000 to resolve Plaintiffs' claims on
a class and collective basis.


Rule 23(a) Requirements

The proposed class meets all four of the Rule 23(a) requirements.
First, the 855 confirmed class members represent a sufficiently
numerous class. While no exact numerical cut-off is required for
the numerosity requirement, numerosity is presumed where the
plaintiff class contains forty or more members. Thus, this class
easily meets the requirement.

Next, the claims of potential class members demonstrate common
questions of fact and law. Issues across all sub-classes include:
whether Defendants failed to pay class members overtime wages;
whether Defendants failed to provide meal and rest breaks; etc.
The named Plaintiffs in this action also meet the typicality
requirement because their claims arise out of the same
circumstances as those of the other class members. Finally, named
Plaintiffs and their counsel satisfy the adequacy requirement for
representing absent class members because counsel is experienced,
and the class representatives have no discernable conflicts of

Objector Randall Pittman

Pittman objected because he claimed the amount of settlement
funds being contributed to the CLWDA is not sufficient. He claims
that the contribution is not large enough to allow him to use the
services of the CLWDA in the future, at some undisclosed date. In
response to questioning from the Court, Pittman confirmed that,
while he was an employee of Kelly Services, he was never placed
with Vita-Mix.

Even if Pittman were a class member, he provided no reason that
the settlement is not fair, adequate, or reasonable. His claim
regarding the CLWDA is refuted by the fact that it receives a
payment from the settlement fund in connection with Plaintiffs'
PAGA claim, and that the CLWDA did not lodge any objection.
Accordingly, the Court OVERRULES Pittman's objection on the
grounds that he is not a member of the class, and thus does not
have standing to challenge the settlement.

Attorneys' Fees

Class counsel seeks 25% of the common settlement fund ($1.6
million), which totals $400,000. While attorneys' fees and costs
may be awarded in a certified class action where so authorized by
law or the parties' agreement, courts have an independent
obligation to ensure that the award, like the settlement itself,
is reasonable, even if the parties have already agreed to an


The approximately 600 hours spent by class counsel reaching this
settlement included: researching and drafting motions for
preliminary and final approval and motion for fees, drafting
stipulations and proposed orders, overseeing the notice process
and interacting with class members who had questions, reviewing
Court orders and filing the First Amended Complaint, analyzing
class-wide data provided by Defendants to create a damages model
to use at mediation, negotiating settlement and participating in,
and preparing for, mediation, and discussing case strategy with

Rate & Lodestar Multiplier

Here, the lodestar multiplier is approximately 1.4 ($278,392.50 x
1.44 = $400,885.20). The Ninth Circuit routinely upholds higher
lodestar multipliers. Accordingly, taking into account the
potential risk, and the amount of work expended by class counsel,
the Court awards the 25% contingency fee, which is also confirmed
as appropriate by the lodestar cross-check.

Litigation Expenses & Settlement Administrator Fees

Class counsel seeks approximately $12,000 in litigation expenses,
and an award of $20,000 to the settlement administrator.
The settlement administrator's fee of $20,000 on a $1.6 million
settlement also appears reasonable. After deducting all fees,
costs, and incentive awards, the common fund for the class still
exceeds $1 million.

Incentive Awards

Class counsel requests an incentive award of $5,000 for each
class representative.  Each class representative estimates that
they spent in excess of 40 hours meeting with class counsel and
assisting in the litigation. Accordingly, the Court approves this
incentive award.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 25, 2018 Order
is available at https://tinyurl.com/yaa43k53 from Leagle.com.

Rainoldo Gooding & Nadeen Gooding, Plaintiffs, represented by
Sean M. Blakely -- sblakely@haineslawgroup.com -- Haines Law
Group APC, Fletcher W.H. Schmidt -- fschmidt@haineslawgroup.com -
- Haines Law Group APC, John H. Crouch, IV -- jhc@kilgorelaw.com
-- Kilgore and Kilgore PLLC, pro hac vice, Paul Keith Haines --
phaines@haineslawgroup.com -- Haines Law Group APC, Tuvia
Korobkin  -- tkorobkin@haineslawgroup.com -- Haines Law Group APC
& Christine Ann Hopkins, Kilgore and Kilgore PLLC.

Vita-Mix Corporation, doing business as Vitamix, Defendant,
represented by David P. Fuad -- dfuad@orrick.com -- Orrick
Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP.

Kelly Services, Inc., Defendant, represented by Laura Jean
Maechtlen -- lmaechtlen@seyfarth.com -- Seyfarth Shaw LLP,
Chantelle C. Egan -cegan@seyfarth.com -- Seyfarth Shaw LLP,
Gerald L. Maatman, Jr. -- gmaatman@seyfarth.com -- Seyfarth Shaw
LLP, pro hac vice, Shireen Yvette Wetmore --
swetmore@seyfarth.com -- Seyfarth Shaw LLP & David D. Jacobson --
djacobson@seyfarth.com -- Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

VOLKSWAGEN AG: Emissions Cheating Class Action Looming in Austria
Hans-Peter Siebenhaar, writing for Handelsblatt, reports that
Dieselgate has already cost Volkswagen $30 billion.  But now, the
scandal over manipulated diesel engines to cheat on emissions
tests could get pricey for VW close to home.

In Austria, a potential class action suit is looming over the
world's largest carmaker.  The Austrian Consumer Protection
Association (VKI) demands damages for diesel buyers for alleged

Austria's right-wing Minister of Social Affairs Beate Hartinger-
Klein and Austrian Chamber of Labor President Rudolf Kaske have
given a mandate to VKI for the lawsuits against Volkswagen.
"Since VW persistently refuses to offer compensation to customers
in Austria out of court, we are following this path,"
Ms. Hartinger-Klein said. [GN]

WAVEDIVISION HOLDINGS: Blumenthal Nordrehaug Files Class Action
On February 9, 2018, the San Francisco employment law attorneys
at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP, filed a class
action lawsuit against Wavedivision Holdings, LLC alleging that
the company failed to lawfully calculate and pay their employees
the correct overtime.  The class action lawsuit against
Wavedivision Holdings is currently pending in the San Mateo
County Superior Court, Case No. 18CIV00684.

The lawsuit filed against Wavedivision Holdings alleges that from
time to time, employees are unable to take off duty meal and rest
breaks and are not fully relieved of duty for their meal periods.
Allegedly, the company employees are required to perform work as
ordered by Wavedivision Holdings for more than five (5) hours
during a shift without receiving an off-duty meal break.
California labor laws require an employer to provide an employee
required to perform work for more than five (5) hours during a
shift with, a thirty (30) minute uninterrupted meal break prior
to the end of the employee's fifth (5th) hour of work and a
second uninterrupted meal break when employees are required to
work ten (10) hours.

Additionally, the class action lawsuit alleges that Plaintiff and
other California Class Members are paid on a non-discretionary
incentive program that's provided to all employees paid on an
hourly basis with incentive compensation when employees meet the
various performance goals set by DEFENDANT.  However, when
calculating the regular rate of pay in order to pay overtime to
failed to include the incentive compensation as part of the
employees' "regular rate of pay" for purposes of calculating
overtime pay.

For more information about the class action lawsuit against
Wavedivision Holdings, LLC call (858) 952-0354 to speak to an
experienced California employment attorney today.

Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw is a labor law firm with
law offices located in San Diego County, Riverside County, Los
Angeles County, Sacramento County, and San Francisco County.  The
firm has a statewide practice of representing employees on a
contingency basis for violations involving unpaid wages, overtime
pay, discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination and other
types of illegal workplace conduct. [GN]

WEINSTEIN CO: Seeks Dismissal of Federal Class Action
Richard Winton, writing for Los Angeles Times, reports that
Weinstein Co. sought to toss out a lawsuit by alleged victims of
Harvey Weinstein, arguing that former colleagues were not aware
of his "predatory" behavior toward actresses, assistants and
models at the studio he co-founded.

Attorneys for Weinstein Co. on Feb. 20 filed the motion to
dismiss a potential federal class-action lawsuit brought in
November by six women, saying that the former movie mogul alone
was responsible for his actions and that the acts allegedly
happened a decade or more ago.

"Virtually all of the alleged conduct . . .. was committed by H.
Weinstein, acting alone, between 10 and 25 years ago," the
attorneys wrote in legal papers filed in New York.  "None of the
plaintiffs have pleaded facts demonstrating any concrete,
nonspeculative injury to their business prospects, nor have they
alleged how TWC's alleged conduct was the direct cause of such

The federal lawsuit alleges Weinstein Co. and executives were
part of a massive scheme that enabled Harvey Weinstein to rape
and sexually assault women.

The response to the lawsuit comes days after Weinstein Co.
President David Glasser was fired by the company.

Mr. Glasser came under fire from New York Atty. Gen. Eric
Schneiderman, who sued Weinstein Co. and its co-founders as a
result of an ongoing civil rights investigation that began four
months ago.  Mr. Schneiderman accused Weinstein Co.'s management
of being complicit in Weinstein's behavior toward women.  He
singled out Mr. Glasser, accusing him of failing to respond to
"dozens of shocking" complaints to the company's human resources
department, and that he received an email "to discuss a
settlement" and a nondisclosure agreement with a woman.

The attorney general's action has damaged the prospects for a
potential $500-million deal to sell Weinstein Co. in what had
been viewed as a last ditch effort to save the company from

Weinstein Co. attorneys are seeking to distance the firm from the
actions of its co-founder, noting he was fired last fall after
allegations initially made in the New York Times led to a torrent
of reports of rape, sexual harassment and misconduct.  More than
80 women -- many of them prominent actresses -- have publicly
accused Weinstein of sexual misdeeds spanning four decades.

Harvey Weinstein also faces more than a dozen criminal
investigations in Los Angeles, London and New York.

Weinstein has categorically denied through his attorneys
committing any crimes. His attorneys have said "it is wrong and
irresponsible to conflate claims of impolitic behavior or
consensual sexual contact later regretted with an untrue claim of
criminal conduct."

The plaintiffs in the class-action case are Louisette Geiss,
Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller
and Nannette Klatt.

In the lawsuit, Ms. Geiss alleged that during the Sundance Film
Festival in 2008, Weinstein exposed himself and asked her to
watch him masturbate as she pitched him a screenplay.

Ms. Kendall stated that in 1993, when she was a 23-year-old
actress, she went to Weinstein's New York apartment for a meeting
and that he asked her for a massage and then chased her around
the room naked.

She alleged she was on a target list drawn up by the executive of
people with potentially damaging information.  The complaint says
a man who pretended to be from the Guardian newspaper contacted
her this summer but was actually an "intelligence participant"
working for Weinstein's investigative team.

New Zealand-born model Brock stated that in 1998 she was tricked
into going to Weinstein's room in Cannes, France.  After his
assistants had left, she stated, he appeared naked demanding a
massage and she had to hide in the bathroom as he pounded on the
door.  When she eventually got back to her hotel, Ms. Brock
called her mother and actor Rufus Sewell, who replied: "Don't
tell me you have been Weinsteined," according to the complaint.
The incident was recounted in a Los Angeles Times article about
Weinstein's ties to the fashion business.

A New York Times report has detailed the apparatus Weinstein
allegedly used to keep stories about his conduct out of the
media, including an army of contacts in the tabloid media. [GN]

WEINSTEIN CO: Taps Seyfarth Shaw to Fight Sexual Harassment Suits
Gene Maddaus, writing for Variety, reports that The Weinstein Co.
has hired a top employment practices attorney to defend it from
sexual harassment suits, including one brought by New York
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Gerald Maatman, a partner at Seyfarth Shaw, filed a motion on
Feb. 20 defending the company from a proposed class-action case.
Mr. Maatman is a go-to attorney for companies facing
discrimination suits from the Equal Employment Opportunity

In the motion, Mr. Maatman argued for the dismissal of a proposed
class-action racketeering suit brought by six actresses in
December. He contends that Harvey Weinstein's alleged misconduct
is barred by the statute of limitations, and that the plaintiffs
failed to establish that the company as a whole was responsible
for Weinstein's behavior.

"Virtually all of the alleged conduct about which Plaintiffs
complain in the Complaint was committed by H. Weinstein, acting
alone, between 10 and 25 years ago," Mr. Maatman argues.

Mr. Maatman will also be handling the company's defense to the
discrimination suit filed by Mr. Schneiderman's office.  That
case alleged that the company was aware of Weinstein's pattern of
sexual harassment, and had failed to protect employees and

Mr. Maatman has taken on the New York attorney general's office
before.  In the late 1990s, he represented Garban LLC, a
brokerage firm accused of fostering a culture of sexual
harassment and discrimination.  In that case, brokers were
accused of hiring strippers to appear at work functions, making
inappropriate sexual remarks to female colleagues, and
circulating pornography around the office.  The attorney general
at the time, Dennis Vacco, sought $10 million.  The case settled
two years later, under Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, for

The Weinstein Co. is eager to sell in order to avert bankruptcy.
A deal to sell the company to a group backed by investor
Ron Burkle was close to being finalized, when the Schneiderman
suit upended the negotiations and put everything on hold. [GN]

WINES 'TIL SOLD: DOJ Looks Into Fairness of Proposed Class Action
Alan S. Kaplinsky, Esq. -- kaplinsky@ballardspahr.com -- and Burt
M. Rublin, Esq. -- rublin@ballardspahr.com -- of Ballard Spahr
LLP, in an article for The National Law Review, report that for
the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. Department of
Justice (DOJ) has exercised its authority under the Class Action
Fairness Act (CAFA) to file an objection to a proposed settlement
of a consumer class action.  The DOJ's filing in Cannon v.
Ashburn Corp. d/b/a Wines 'Til Sold Out was made just one day
after outgoing U.S. Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand gave
a speech in which she stated that the DOJ intends to become much
more active in reviewing proposed class action settlements to
ensure that they "provide real recovery to class members and not
just big payouts to plaintiffs' lawyers."

Under CAFA, class action defendants must notify the U.S. Attorney
General and state attorneys general of a proposed class action
settlement at least 90 days before a final approval hearing, and
these officials can then express their views regarding the
settlement to the court.  Rachel Brand stated in her speech that
although DOJ has received CAFA notices regarding over 700 class
settlements each year since CAFA's enactment in 2005, it had only
weighed in on two settlements before its filing in the Cannon

Cannon involves allegations that the defendant falsely inflated
the purported original prices of wines in order to create the
false impression it was providing steep discounts.  In the
proposed settlement, class members would be eligible for credits
of up to $2 per bottle on future purchases.  Plaintiffs' lawyers
claim that the total monetary value of the settlement credits is
$10.8 million and are seeking $1.7 million in attorneys' fees.

The DOJ has urged the District Court to reject the settlement
because it "provides extremely limited value to consumers and yet
seeks to transfer a massive $1.7 million windfall payment to
plaintiffs' counsel."  The DOJ further argues that "[e]ither
plaintiffs' claims are strong, in which case a settlement that
has meaningful value to the class is required, or plaintiffs'
claims are meritless, in which case their counsel is not entitled
to a massive fee."

In light of the Rachel Brand speech and the DOJ's objection to
the proposed settlement in the Cannon case, parties to class
actions can anticipate much greater scrutiny of class settlements
by the DOJ going forward. [GN]

WINES 'TIL SOLD: Justice Dept. Opposes Class Action Settlement
Alison Frankel, writing for Reuters, reports that on Feb. 16, the
Justice Department filed a statement of interest opposing final
court approval of a proposed consumer class action settlement in
federal court in Camden, New Jersey.  Ms. Frankel discusses about
the substance of the government's qualms with the settlement,
which resolves allegations that a website called Wines 'Til Sold
Out misrepresented the original prices of wines it sold at a
purported discount.  But the significance of DOJ's filing isn't
the particular flaws it highlights in the proposed deal.  It's
that the Justice Department is exercising its authority to oppose
a private class action settlement -- and that, based on comments
from departing Justice Department official Rachel Brand, the
Wines 'Til Sold Out filing is likely to be just the first in a
series from the Trump DOJ.

Congress gave the Justice Department a right to express its view
of proposed class action settlements in 2005, when it passed the
Class Action Fairness Act.  CAFA requires defendants to notify
the U.S. attorney general, as well as state AGs, of the terms of
the proposed deal soon after the settlement is filed in the court
docket. The Justice Department and state AGs then have 90 days to
weigh in.

In the 13 years since CAFA was enacted, DOJ took a stance in only
two cases before the Wines 'Til Sold Out class action, both of
them unheralded filings more than a decade ago, according to a
speech that departing Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand
delivered on Feb. 15 to the Federalist Society.  Ms. Brand, who
is leaving DOJ to become Walmart's top lawyer, said the Justice
Department's silence wasn't because of ideological support for
private class actions but instead the result of an "almost
comical story of government bureaucracy": It took so long for
CAFA notices to get through the Justice Department's rigorous
mail screening process that DOJ lawyers often didn't receive word
of proposed settlements until after they'd already been approved.

Ms. Brand, who held a senior litigation post at the U.S.
Chamber's Litigation Center before joining DOJ, told the
Federalist Society that DOJ had figured out the mailroom flaw in
the CAFA system and was "in a better position to review
settlements.  If a settlement isn't fair or reasonable under
CAFA, DOJ may file a statement of interest saying so." She tipped
lawyers at the lunch to be on the lookout for the first example -
- which turned out to be DOJ's filing in the Wines 'Til Sold Out
case the very next day.

In the proposed WTSO settlement, class members are eligible for
"rebate codes" they can use to receive credits of up to $2-per-
bottle on future purchases from the website.  Plaintiffs' lawyers
valued the total class compensation at $10.8 million and
requested $1.7 million in fees. U.S. District Judge Renee Bumb of
Camden granted preliminary approval of the settlement last

DOJ -- and, for that matter, several class members who filed
objections to the proposed settlement -- argue that the Wines
'Til Sold Out deal is incompatible with CAFA's prohibition on so-
called coupon settlements, in which class compensation takes the
form of a discount on a future purchase from the very defendant
accused of fraud. DOJ (and the objectors) also questioned the
real value of the settlement, which is the basis of class
counsel's fee request.  In essence, DOJ's filing said, if
consumers were actually hurt by the website's supposedly
deceptive representations, they're being undercompensated -- and
if they weren't hurt, plaintiffs' lawyers should not receive a
$1.7 million windfall for bringing unwarranted claims. (For what
it's worth, Judge Bumb partially granted and partially denied a
defense motion to dismiss the case.) "The United States therefore
urges the court to reject the proposed settlement in favor of a
resolution that either recognizes the plaintiffs' claims as
meritless or offers consumers meaningful relief that justifies
granting class counsel's request for a significant fee," the
filing said.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute represents one of the
objectors to the wine deal.  Ms. Frankel asked CEI's Ted Frank,
recently lionized by The Wall Street Journal's Editorial Board
for exposing dubious billing practices by plaintiffs' lawyers in
the Anthem data breach class action, said he welcomes the Justice
Department's filing and would be more than happy to help DOJ
identify other troubling class action settlement proposals.

Frank said he did not lobby DOJ to get involved in the wine case
in particular, although he said he has had informal discussions
with Justice lawyers about using their CAFA power.  "Nothing was
set up, but they've said, 'Hey, let us know if you see a
settlement that's a problem,'" Frank told me.  "We are happy to
do that, especially if we can't find a client who objects . . .
The intent of the law all along was for (DOJ) to get involved."

Ms. Brand said in her Federalist Society speech that the Justice
Department receives CAFA notices on more than 700 cases a year,
so it will take DOJ lawyers considerable effort to figure out
when to oppose prospective settlements.  But presumably those
decisions will now be based on the merits of the agreements, not
on mailroom delays.

"Whatever happens, It will be better than in the first 13 years
of CAFA," Mr. Frank said.

Ms. Brand left phone messages for plaintiffs' lawyers
James Cecchi of Carella Byrne Cecchi Olstein Brody & Agnello and
Oren Giskan -- ogiskan@gslawny.com -- of Giskan Solotaroff
Anderson but didn't hear back.  Wines 'Til Sold Out counsel James
McClammer -- JMcClammer@mankogold.com -- and Nicole Moshang --
nmoshang@mankogold.com -- of Manko Gold Katcher & Fox did not
respond to my email requesting comment on the DOJ filing.

Judge Bumb will hear arguments on final approval of the
settlement on March 19. [GN]

WYNN RESORTS: Faces Investors Class Action in New York
Andrew Denney, writing for Law.com, reports that legal challenges
are continuing to pile up against casino mogul Steve Wynn, who
has been hit with a new proposed class action suit in New York
filed by investors who say his company's failure to reveal Wynn's
alleged pattern of sexual misconduct has hurt them financially.

The proposed securities class action, filed on Feb. 20 in the
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, comes
on the heels of two shareholder derivative suits filed against
Wynn Resorts Ltd. in Nevada state court.

The Wall Street Journal revealed Wynn's alleged misconduct, which
included the sexual assault of a manicurist to whom Wynn
reportedly paid a $7.5 million settlement, in a report published
on Jan. 26.

The Journal also spoke with former and current employees of
Wynn's who described incidents in which Wynn inappropriately
touched female employees or exposed himself to them.

In a statement to the Journal, Wynn said that the idea that he
would "assault any woman is preposterous."

In the proposed class action filed in New York, two investors
allege that, after the release of the Journal's report, the
Massachusetts Gaming Commission said it would launch a probe into
the allegations of sexual misconduct against Wynn.

At this news, the plaintiffs say, Wynn's stock price fell more
than $20 per share to $180.

On Feb. 6, Wynn stepped down as CEO of Wynn Resorts earlier in
February, citing an "avalanche of negative publicity."

One week later, media outlets reported that two women filed
complaints with Las Vegas police accusing Wynn of sexually
assaulting them in the 1970s.  Following the reports, on Feb. 14
the company's stock price fell to $164 per share, or $36 less
than the value of a share on Jan. 25.

The investors allege that, from February 2014 to the day before
the Journal's report was published, they and members of the
proposed class purchased Wynn Resorts securities at inflated

Jeremy Lieberman and J. Alexander Hood of Pomerantz represent the
investors.  Wynn executives Craig Scott Billings, Stephen Cootey
and Matthew Maddox are also named as defendants in the suit.
Maddox, president of the company, has been named its CEO.

Earlier in February, the Norfolk County Retirement System, a
employee retirement plan in Massachusetts; and the Pennsylvania-
based Operating Engineers Construction Industry and Miscellaneous
Pension Fund filed separate shareholder derivative suits in Clark
County District Court in Nevada alleging breaches of fiduciary
duty by Wynn, Wynn Resorts general counsel Kimmarie Sinatra and
by the company's board of directors.

Wynn Resorts declined to comment on the shareholder derivative
suits. [GN]

WYNN RESORTS: April 23 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set
Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, on Feb. 21
announced the filing of a class action lawsuit on behalf of
purchasers of the securities of Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:
WYNN) from February 28, 2014 through January 25, 2018, inclusive
(the "Class Period").  The lawsuit seeks to recover damages for
Wynn Resorts investors under the federal securities laws.

To join the Wynn Resorts class action, go to
http://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-1278.htmlor call Phillip Kim,
Esq. or Daniel Sadeh, Esq. toll-free at 866-767-3653 or email
pkim@rosenlegal.com or dsadeh@rosenlegal.com for information on
the class action.


According to the lawsuit, defendants during the Class Period made
materially false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to
disclose that: (1) Wynn Resorts' founder and CEO, Stephen A.
Wynn, had engaged in a pattern of sexual misconduct with respect
to Wynn Resorts employees, including instances of sexual assault;
(2) discovery of the foregoing misconduct would subject Wynn
Resorts to heightened regulatory scrutiny and jeopardize Wynn's
tenure at the company; and (3) as a result, Wynn Resorts' shares
traded at artificially inflated prices during the Class Period.
When the true details entered the market, the lawsuit claims that
investors suffered damages.

A class action lawsuit has already been filed.  If you wish to
serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than
April 23, 2018.   A lead plaintiff is a representative party
acting on behalf of other class members in directing the
litigation.  If you wish to join the litigation, go to
http://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-1278.htmlor to discuss your
rights or interests regarding this class action, please contact
Phillip Kim, Esq. or Daniel Sadeh, Esq. of Rosen Law Firm toll
free at 866-767-3653 or via e-mail at pkim@rosenlegal.com or

Rosen Law Firm represents investors throughout the globe,
concentrating its practice in securities class actions and
shareholder derivative litigation.  Since 2014, Rosen Law Firm
has been ranked #2 in the nation by Institutional Shareholder
Services for the number of securities class action settlements
annually obtained for investors. [GN]

WYNN RESORTS: April 23 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set
Pomerantz LLP on Feb. 20 disclosed that a class action lawsuit
has been filed against Wynn Resorts Limited ("Wynn Resorts" or
the "Company") (NASDAQ:WYNN) and certain of its officers.  The
class action, filed in United States District Court, for the
Southern District of New York, and docketed under 18-cv-01549, is
on behalf of a class consisting of investors who purchased or
otherwise acquired Wynn Resorts securities, seeking to recover
compensable damages caused by defendants' violations of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

If you are a shareholder who purchased Wynn Resorts securities
between February 28, 2014, and January 25, 2018, both dates
inclusive, you have until April 23, 2018, to ask the Court to
appoint you as Lead Plaintiff for the class.  A copy of the
Complaint can be obtained at www.pomerantzlaw.com.  To discuss
this action, contact Robert S. Willoughby at
rswilloughby@pomlaw.com or 888.476.6529 (or 888.4-POMLAW), toll-
free, Ext. 9980.  Those who inquire by e-mail are encouraged to
include their mailing address, telephone number, and the number
of shares purchased.

Wynn Resorts owns and operates luxury hotels and destination
casino resorts.  The Company owns and operates Wynn Las Vegas and
Encore in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace in
Macau, China, and it is currently constructing a new $2.4 billion
property called Wynn Boston Harbor in Everett, Massachusetts.

The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period,
Defendants made materially false and misleading statements
regarding the Company's business, operational and compliance
policies.  Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading
statements and/or failed to disclose that:  (i) the Company's
founder and Chief Executive Officer ("CEO"), Stephen (Steve) A.
Wynn had engaged in a pattern of sexual misconduct with respect
to Wynn Resorts employees, including instances of sexual assault;
(ii) discovery of the foregoing misconduct would subject the
Company to heightened regulatory scrutiny and jeopardize Wynn's
tenure at the Company; and (iii) as a result of the foregoing,
Wynn Resorts' shares traded at artificially inflated prices
during the Class Period, and class members suffered significant
losses and damages.

On January 26, 2018, The Wall Street Journal published an article
titled "Dozens of People Recount Pattern of Sexual Misconduct by
Las Vegas Mogul Steve Wynn," revealing detailed accounts that
Wynn had coerced and pressured several Wynn Resorts employees to
perform sex acts.  According to the Wall Street Journal, "dozens
of people . . . who have worked at Mr. Wynn's casinos told of
behavior that cumulatively would amount to a decades-long pattern
of sexual misconduct by Mr. Wynn."  It was further revealed that
Wynn had paid a Wynn Resorts employee $7.5 million after being
accused of forcing the employee to have sex with him.  Following
these revelations, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission announced
that it would open a regulatory review into the Company over the
sexual misconduct allegations reported in the Wall Street Journal

On this news, Wynn Resorts' share price fell $20.31, or 10.12%,
to close at $180.29 on January 26, 2018.

On that same day, the Board of Directors of Wynn Resorts
announced the formation of a Special Committee of the Board
comprised solely of independent directors to investigate the
allegations contained in the Wall Street Journal article.

On February 6, 2018, the Company issued a press release entitled
"Wynn Resorts CEO Steps Down," announcing the immediate
resignation of Wynn as the Company's CEO and Chairman of the
Board of Directors.

On February 13, 2018, post-market, media outlets reported that
two women had filed new sexual misconduct reports concerning Wynn
with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, alleging that
Wynn had sexually assaulted them in the 1970s.  One woman
reported that Wynn assaulted her in Las Vegas and the other said
she was assaulted in Chicago, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police
Department said in a statement.

On this news, Wynn Resorts' share price closed at $164.16 on
February 14, 2018, a decline of $36.44, or 18.16%, from the
Company's January 25, 2018 closing price.

With offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Paris, The
Pomerantz Firm -- http://www.pomerantzlaw.com-- concentrates its
practice in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust
class litigation.  Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz,
known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm
pioneered the field of securities class actions.  Today, more
than 80 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the
tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims
of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate
misconduct.  The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar
damages awards on behalf of class members. [GN]

YAHOO INC: Averts Class Action Over Unsolicited SMS Messages
Wendy Davis, writing for MediaPost, reports that in a victory for
Yahoo, a federal judge has ruled that company won't have to face
a class-action lawsuit accusing it of sending unsolicited SMS
messages to some Sprint customers.

The decision, issued by U.S. District Court Judge Manish Shah in
Illinois, reverses an earlier ruling in the case.

The lawsuit against Yahoo, now owned by Verizon, stems from
allegations that the company violated the Telephone Consumer
Protection Act by using automated dialers to send text messages
without first obtaining recipients' consent.  The dispute centers
on a Yahoo Messenger feature that converts instant messages into
text messages.

Sprint user Rachel Johnson alleged in a 2014 complaint that she
received at least two messages through that feature.  One of
those messages came from other users, while the second -- a
"Welcome" message from Yahoo -- explained the first message.  The
lawsuit's claims center on the explanatory "Welcome" message.

Judge Shah ruled two years ago that Johnson could proceed with a
class-action on behalf of herself and other Sprint users who
hadn't provided their phone numbers to Yahoo.

But last year, Yahoo asked Shah to revisit that ruling.  The
company argued that new information provided by Sprint suggested
that many users who received the "Welcome" message actually had
Yahoo accounts -- in which case they would have consented to
receive the SMS message by agreeing to Yahoo's terms of service.
Yahoo contended that class-action status wasn't appropriate,
because determining whether users consented to receive text
messages would require a case-by-case analysis.

Judge Shah agreed with the company.  "Defendant does not need to
prove consent to decertify the class," the wrote.  "It just needs
to show that proving consent requires individualized analysis."

Yahoo isn't the only tech company facing suit for allegedly
violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  Facebook
currently is facing several lawsuits for allegedly sending
unwanted robotexts to consumers. [GN]

ZINC ELECTROLYTIQUE: Class Action Representative Disqualified
David-Emmanuel Roberge, Esq. -- deroberge@mccarthy.ca -- and
Michel Gagne, Esq. -- mgagne@mccarthy.ca -- of McCarthy Tetrault
LLP, in an article for Lexology, report that in a judgment issued
on February 19, 2018 in the matter of Deraspe v. Zinc
Electrolytique du Canada Ltee[1], the Quebec Court of Appeal
(Justices Dutil and Roy concurring, with Justice Rancourt
dissenting) confirmed the decision of the Superior Court
declaring both class representative and counsel to be vexatious
litigants and disqualifying them from the case.  This led the
majority of the Court of Appeal to make interesting comments on
the role expected of the representative in the class action


In August 2004, an accidental discharge of sulphur trioxide
occurred at the Defendant's refinery, in Quebec.  Shortly after,
a Motion to certify a class action was filed by Deraspe and his
attorney.  After a long and complicated procedural history, the
class action was certified by the Superior Court in March 2012.

After certification, Deraspe asked the Court to add parent
companies of the Defendant, alleging collusion and fraud to
deprive the class members of an eventual compensation. Over the
next years, Deraspe and his attorneys multiplied proceedings in
this regard.  In March 2014, the Superior Court dismissed the
claims against the third parties, a decision also confirmed by
the Court of Appeal.

Further to three years of proceedings which were ancillary to the
main issues raised by the class action, the Defendant presented a
motion to disqualify Deraspe and his counsel given their abusive
conduct and because they were not acting in the interests of the
class members.  In September 2015, the Superior Court found both
plaintiff and his counsel to be vexatious litigants, confirmed
that they were no longer in a position to represent the members
adequately, and removed them both from the case, while taking
measures to enable a new class representative to take over.

The Judgment of the Quebec Court of Appeal

The majority of the Quebec Court of Appeal confirmed the decision
of the Superior Court in its entirety and dismissed Deraspe's
appeal.  In the meantime, former class counsel was disbarred and
her appeal became moot.

In their reasons, the majority judges did not find any reviewable
error in the finding that Deraspe was not an Æ innocent victim Ø
but that he acted together with his counsel.[2] The Court pointed
out that a party could not distantiate him or herself from the
missteps of his attorneys without proving his or her own personal
diligence.[3] In this regard, Deraspe could not hide behind his
counsel to excuse his own behaviour, while he participated in the
conduct of the case and he was in a position to realize the
improper behaviour of his attorney, as mentioned into some court

The majority reminds that the class representative is the
fiduciary of the interests of the absent members, and is
designated in view of his capacity to adequately manage the
action.[5] He does not play a walk-on role.  The class
representative has the necessary authority to give instructions
to his lawyer and he could replace the attorney if this decision
is in the interests of the members.[6] To conclude otherwise
would mean that a class action representative is the mere puppet
of his attorney.[7]

At any stage of a class action, the Court may take measures in
order to ensure the proper management of the case, and
particularly in the context of abusive proceedings.[8] As a
result, the majority of the Quebec Court of Appeal concluded that
the Superior Court was justified in applying an exceptional
remedy to an exceptional situation.

Our Comments

The views of the majority judges in Deraspe v. Zinc
Electrolytique du Canada Ltee are a useful reminder that the role
of the class action representative entails responsibilities which
could not be blindly delegated to the class counsel.

In the recent years, the Supreme Court of Canada[9] and the
Quebec Court of Appeal[10] have favoured a liberal approach to
assess the adequateness of the class representative, suggesting
that requirements in this regard are minimal.  Although lawyers
may play an important role in class action proceedings, the class
representative remains the fiduciary of the interests of the
absent members, and must act to manage the action accordingly.
Even once a class action is certified, the class representative
must be prepared to show sufficient control and diligence in the

Should the class representative fail to ensure the adequate
conduct of the action, and more particularly in the context of
abusive proceedings, the Court may take measures in order to
ensure the orderly progress of the case, which could
exceptionally go as far as making orders to replace the class
representative. [GN]

* Kucinich Plans to File Fracking Class Action v. 0il & Gas Cos.
Tsvetana Paraskova, writing for Oilprice.com, reports that Ohio
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich -- a vocal
opponent of fracking -- vows to ban all oil and gas drilling in
the state, if elected, and even take the industry to court in a
class-action lawsuit.

Mr. Kucinich, a former mayor of Cleveland and former Ohio
Congressman, is running in the primaries on May 8.  In a poll
from end-January, in the crowded Democratic Party field, Kucinich
had 16 percent support, behind the leading candidate of the
Democrats, Richard Cordray, with 23 percent support.

"Fresh water and clean water are not negotiable issues," Kucinich
told The Intercept, pointing to water contamination associated
with oil and gas drilling.  "They're not negotiable."

While Mr. Kucinich is campaigning to ban all oil and gas drilling
in Ohio, the other Democratic candidates don't support either
idea for a ban or the class action lawsuit.

"Those who have poisoned Ohio's people and their land will be
made to pay," Mr. Kucinich has recently said.

"No longer will the industry be able to hide behind the false
label of 'proprietary' to experiment with toxic chemicals and
biocides and use them without traceability and responsibility for
the health and environmental impacts on the State of Ohio.  No
longer will we be lied to and used by these interests,"
Mr. Kucinich says, and proposes to use the eminent domain to
seize control of oil and gas wells in Ohio and shut them down.
Mr. Kucinich also vows to block all drilling permits and totally
ban injection wells.

Another proposal of Mr. Kucinich's is to subsidize health screens
for people living near fracking sites and use the data to file a
class action lawsuit similar to the lawsuit against Big Tobacco
in the 1990s.

"For being the person who touts himself as the candidate for the
average guy, he sure is anti-worker and anti-union,"
Mike Chadsey, a spokesman for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association,
said. "These bold and unrealistic statements show how desperate
his hopeless campaign is," Mr. Chadsey added.

According to the Global Energy Institute at the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce, Ohio would lose 397,000 jobs, $33 billion in annual
GDP, and households would lose $3,956 per household, if fracking
is banned.

The Utica Shale has contributed to the rapid increase in natural
gas production in Ohio, which was nearly 19 times higher in 2016
than in 2011, according to the EIA.  The combined share of Ohio,
Pennsylvania, and West Virginia natural gas production of total
U.S. natural gas production jumped to 27 percent last October, up
from just 2 percent in 2008, the EIA says. [GN]

* SEC May Hamper Investors' Ability to Fight Securities Fraud
F. Paul Bland, Jr., writing for The Hill, reports that Trump's
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is threatening to fire
the starting pistol in a new race to the bottom that could rob
hard-working Americans of their retirement savings.

For decades, when a corporation misled or deceived its investors
after selling securities through an initial public offering
(IPO), those investors could band together in a class-action
lawsuit to seek accountability for this kind of fraud.

Over the years, these class actions have recovered many billions
of dollars for cheated investors, ranging from large pension
funds for police officers and firefighters to regular American
citizens holding IRAs and 401(k)s.  Equally important, this
private enforcement has been central to holding the worst of the
worst corporate actors accountable.

In 2012, one major corporation -- the Carlyle Group -- asked the
SEC for permission to issue an IPO with a forced arbitration
clause that would ban investors from bringing a class action.

These fine-print "ripoff clauses" already block individual
investors from going to court when they are cheated, instead
forcing them to make their case to a panel of private arbitrators
selected by an industry self-regulatory body.

But Carlyle's clause would go much further, barring investors
from seeking accountability as a group for widespread violations
of federal securities laws.  The SEC expressed serious concerns
that this move violated the securities laws, and Carlyle backed

Now, however, there are serious indications that the Trump
administration's new chair of the SEC, Jay Clayton, may be about
to change everything. As Bloomberg has reported, the new SEC
leadership might be seriously considering letting corporations
use forced arbitration to ban securities class actions in their

One of President Trump's SEC picks, Michael Piwowar, publicly
urged corporations to ban class actions in a recent speech.
Then, in a Senate Banking hearing, Mr. Clayton refused to answer
questions about this issue from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
and seemed to suggest SEC staff may decide this without an actual
vote by the full commission.

Sen. Warren pointed out that such an enormous change in SEC
policy should require a full debate and vote by the SEC, and
Clayton carefully responded that he didn't "want to prejudge the
issue." Hmmm.

If the SEC does allow corporations to simply say that they can't
be sued for securities fraud by their investors in a class
action, it will wipe away the most effective way of policing
fraud in the securities markets.  Such a move would sharply
conflict with President Trump's promises to strengthen U.S.
business against our competitors.

One of the main reasons foreign investors hold more than $6.2
trillion in stocks in U.S. corporations is that American markets
are particularly well policed compared to those in many other

Make no mistake, private enforcement of the laws against
securities fraud is absolutely crucial to the safety of investors
in America's markets.  While the SEC does great work, it has a
relatively modest staff, and repeatedly, it has been far less
successful than private lawsuits in recovering monies for cheated

In the mid-2000s, there were a series of extremely egregious and
well-publicized securities frauds in the U.S. involving Enron,
WorldCom, Tyco, Bank of America and Global Crossing. In those
five cases, the SEC's enforcement actions recovered penalties and
fees of $1.8 billion.

By contrast, private litigation by investors themselves -- the
exact kind of case that the Trump administration is now
considering eliminating -- recovered $19.4 billion for investors.

In other words, in five of the largest and most famous securities
fraud cases ever recorded, private securities fraud cases
recovered 10 times as much money for investors as government
enforcement actions.

A more recent case, with a settlement that is still being
administered in a New York federal court, demonstrates exactly
what is at stake were the SEC to reverse its stance.  In In re
Petrobras Securities Litigation, a Brazilian oil company made an
IPO and sold other securities to investors.

There were serious problems with the IPO.  When detailed and
substantial allegations of misleading statements about
Petrobras's financial statements and business operations emerged,
it turned out that there were two different sets of investors:
those who purchased securities pursuant to U.S. transactions and
those who purchased securities via the Brazilian stock exchange.

Thanks to the protections of U.S. securities law, the first group
of investors was able to bring class actions despite a forced
arbitration clause banning them in Petrobras' bylaws.  These
investors are set to recover more than 90 percent of the $3
billion fraud settlement; meaning they will receive checks for
over $2.7 billion.

The second group of investors, at the mercy of Brazilian law,
were forced into arbitration on an individual basis and barred
from joining a class action. Guess what they were able to
recover? Not a dime.

In addition to protecting individual investors, securities class
actions are often the only way bad actors are held accountable
for fraud that weakens our entire financial system.  These class
actions are a necessary deterrent for the Enrons and Tycos of the
world that might otherwise be able to run off with the profits
from serious fraud.

Poll after poll shows Americans hate forced arbitration clauses
that take away their rights to bring a class action.  Even fewer
Americans want corporations to be free to cheat them out of their
retirement savings. This idea is only popular with one group --
corporations that don't want to be sued if they cheat people.

Why would Trump political appointees push to protect white-collar
corporate executives who commit securities fraud? The only
possible answer is that they must hope that Americans will never
take notice.  If the public is distracted, then corporate America
can quietly get their buddies to gut our securities laws and
start raiding the retirement accounts of everyday Americans.

Well, consider this a sound of the alarm. The SEC could try and
take action at any moment.  Ms. Bland said "I believe that such
an action would violate the federal securities laws and not be
permissible under the Federal Arbitration Act.  But suppose I am

In that case, the only thing that may stop the SEC from killing
off securities class actions is if enough Americans express their
outrage over the notion of placing their retirement savings at
the mercy of big corporations.  Perhaps then, Main Street may win
against the real jackals of Wall Street, for once.

F. Paul Bland, Jr. is the executive director of Public Justice, a
legal organization that advocates on behalf of consumers,
employees, civil rights and the environment. [GN]

* U.S. Plaintiffs' Bar Eyes Foreign-Based Companies
In this third in a five-part series, Forbes' Richard Levick
discusses the special challenges facing foreign-based companies
seeking to do business in the U.S. and for U.S.-based companies
looking to expand their presence in foreign markets.  The first
three columns explore the often-formidable obstacles that
confront foreign-based companies as they operate in the U.S.  The
final two columns will break down the hurdles that face U.S.-
based companies looking to do greater business abroad.

For foreign companies entering the U.S. market, our society's
litigiousness is something that is understood, but not fully
appreciated -- especially now.  Between the Internet, which makes
it far easier for the plaintiffs' bar to attract clients, and the
unique contingency fee arrangements in the U.S., foreign
companies should anticipate litigation at a far higher level than
in their home countries.  And the trend is getting worse, not

Whether it's complying with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or
wrestling with regulations in 50 different state jurisdictions
plus the federal government, foreign-based companies face thorny
challenges as they approach the U.S. market.  But ask
international CEOs to name their biggest apprehension about doing
business in the U.S. and most will point to one fear: the specter
of being successfully sued by the U.S. plaintiffs' bar.

Other countries have their share of litigious lawyers, but they
don't have anything as intimidating or potentially lethal as the
U.S. plaintiffs' bar, especially its capacity to file securities
class action lawsuits on behalf of disgruntled shareholders.

Just ask Brazil's state-controlled oil company, Petroleo
Brasileiro SA (Petrobras), which earlier this year was forced to
pay nearly $3 billion to settle a U.S. class action securities
corruption lawsuit, the largest such payout by a foreign entity
in U.S. history.  Petrobras has been embroiled for years in a
related corruption scandal back home that has tainted two former
Brazilian presidents and dozens of ex- executives.  And yet, the
U.S. securities class action settlement is six times greater than
the fines Petrobras has been assessed to date in Brazil.

Petrobras isn't alone.  A recent study conducted by NERA Economic
Consulting suggests that foreign-based companies are being named
in a "disproportionate number" of securities class actions.

In 2017, NERA found that the number of standard securities class
actions filed against foreign issuers had significantly increased
over previous years. Most of those securities class actions were
triggered by supposed "regulatory" violations, another index that
is trending distressingly upward for foreign-based companies.

"The U.S. securities litigation plaintiffs' bar have non-U.S.
companies squarely in their target zone," confirms David
Kistenbroker, Global Co-Leader of Dechert LLP's white collar and
securities litigation practice and managing partner of its

"Using the companies' ADRs (American depositary receipts) and
ADSs (American depositary shares) to obtain jurisdiction in the
U.S., the plaintiffs' bar filed 42 shareholder actions in the
U.S. in 2017 against non-U.S. issuers.  This is nearly double the
historical average and there is no cooling off of the trend in
sight," he observes.

What is it that makes the U.S. plaintiffs' bar so daunting? And
why are foreign companies being so aggressively targeted?

Ann Longmore, the Managing Director of FINPRO, Marsh & McLennan's
Financial and Professional Liability Practice, points out that,
"While the FCPA does not provide individuals with a private right
of action, the U.S. plaintiffs' bar is not slow to consider
whether the company may have to restate its financials and/or
reduce future earnings estimates -- which may impact stock price
leading to a civil suit.  Similarly, substantial settlements may
result in follow-on derivative litigation."

Americans are fair-minded: most want a civil court system in
which people who have been legitimately harmed can seek and be
awarded fair compensation.  But as Ms. Longmore suggests, too
many suits filed by the plaintiffs' bar are precipitated not by
genuine grievances, but by the depth of pockets of select
corporations, especially if those companies happen to be foreign-

At the root of this uniquely American quandary are contingency
fees -- arrangements by which plaintiffs' lawyers decline up-
front payment and instead take a healthy percentage of any
eventual judgment or settlement.  These contingency scenarios,
detractors say, create such strong incentives for lawyers that
they pervert the process.  The plaintiffs' bar pinpoints wealthy
corporations, then rummages around for data that documents how
the companies have "victimized" people, then aggressively
recruits clients who fit the class action profile.

Ms. Longmore notes that, "The most current data on U.S.
directors-and-officers (D&O) securities class actions, especially
as to frequency, is particularly surprising when considering the
drop in the number of publicly-traded companies and that the
stock market had been during exceptionally well until very

"With stock prices high, one would not anticipate that cases
would be up. This may go to show that the plaintiffs' bar has
made this a full-time business. Year-in and year-out, one should
not expect the number of suits to fall even when evidence would
point to the contrary," she predicts.

Messrs. Kistenbroker and Longmore are correct: securities class
action suits against foreign companies aren't going to disappear
anytime soon. How can foreign-based entities lessen the
likelihood of being targeted by the U.S. plaintiffs' bar? Here's
a quick primer:

Know Thy Adversary: Immerse yourself in the tactics of the
plaintiffs' bar.  Many plaintiffs' lawyers have media footprints
that give you advance warning of their communications strategies.
Historically, we have found the plaintiffs' bar and activist
investors to be among the most communications-savvy in the world,
often using the integration of technology and strategy that
companies, with their silo-based divisions, have a hard time
combating.  Foreign companies, particularly ones with cultures
that require careful attention to hierarchy, are often even more
slow to recognize the threat. Tragically, the speed and
sophistication of U.S. based plaintiff litigation and media
strategy is often at odds with a century or more of effective and
acceptable business-cultural norms. Once a lawsuit has been filed
against you, don't just look at the legal strategies of the
plaintiffs' firm, but their media ones, as well.  Study the past
media activities of each plaintiffs' lawyer.  It will often tell
you what to expect next.  As a regular practice, also track the
website of the American Association for Justice because it will
reveal what the plaintiffs' bar is thinking and where they are
focusing efforts.

Redefine Risk: Most companies still think about risk in
historical terms.  What was true in the past must be prologue.
But the plaintiffs' bar is constantly redefining risk.  Assess
the enterprise's risk profile through a detailed "map" that moves
beyond financial compliance and looks more broadly at potential
event-driven and operational-related risks.  What liability
trends are you seeing? What is happening to your competitors?
What is happening in similarly situated industries? Are you
seeing new theories of law attempted by the plaintiffs' bar
against other companies that could be used against you? View the
risk holistically.  Sexual harassment, for example, was until
recently considered a lower risk by some boards; now it is
obviously of highest concern.  The recent actions of New York
State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman are beginning to
raise the question as to whether ignored sexual harassment
behaviors are even an insurable risk. Markets change quickly,
spend more time looking forward and sideways and less time

Look for the Canary-in-the-Coal Mine: Institute a sophisticated
monitoring and early-warning system that identifies trends in
social media, by hashtag, and by issue.  Rely on human
intelligence to make sense of what you are seeing, not just the
"big data."  You of course need to track lawsuits and competitor
liability trends, but you also need to track in social and
digital media key words and terms that relate to your risk.  Put
them on some form of a heat map -- making it easy to recognize
growing trends, rather than relying exclusively on written
reports. The eye sees what the mind cannot.  Track your risk
terms daily: If you see a term only once on Google or with little
impact in social media one week, but an uptick the next, it
should set off an alarm.  The plaintiffs' bar has to optimize key
words to find clients.  It should serve as one of your early
warning systems.  Have appropriate reporting procedures/process
in place to alert senior management as quickly as possible to a
potential event.

Beware of the "Humanizing" Video: The plaintiffs' bar is genius
at taking complex issues and distilling them into emotive videos.
Make sure that you're monitoring all platforms that could
transmit these videos, since the plaintiffs' bar uses them to
recruit potential class-action litigants. The peanut recall in
the U.S. was accelerated dramatically by a two-plaintiff lawyer
firm video which went viral and caught the attention of parents

Understand that Everything is Evidence: Cultural norms may
dictate differently, but "everything" is discoverable in America.
If you write it down -- including texts and emails -- it may come
back later as evidence.  As a result, try to keep in mind that
whatever you write -- and many things you say -- might someday be
read by critical audiences.

Strengthen Your Defense: Mitigate your liability by focusing on
disclosure issues in your Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC) filings.  The plaintiffs' bar views SEC filings as
potential red meat. Keep that uppermost in mind as you prepare
SEC documents.  Conduct a training exercise to test the company's
response to a formal investigation or informal inquiry from the
SEC or other regulators.  Educate directors annually on their
fiduciary duties, and make it clear that they will be subject to
U.S. law.

Preach Transparency, Practice Transparency: Throughout your
organization, at every level, promote a culture of compliance and
transparency. Don't pay mere lip service.  Reward employees for
standout work that reflects those values.

Given America's size, technological savvy, and access to capital,
the growing U.S. market remains a potentially lucrative place to
do business for foreign companies.  But like any attractive
market, it has its risk.  Foreign companies need to culturally
appreciate the difference in an aggressive U.S. plaintiffs' bar
and fortify themselves against its machinations.

Richard Levick is chairman and CEO of LEVICK, a global
communications and public affairs agency specializing in risk,
crisis, and reputation management.  He is a frequent television,
radio, online, and print commentator. [GN]


S U B S C R I P T I O N  I N F O R M A T I O N

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