CAR_Public/190304.mbx               C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

              Monday, March 4, 2019, Vol. 21, No. 45

                            Headlines

ADVANCE STORES: Mullen Asserts Breach of Disabilities Act
ADVANCED E: Crescent Suit Alleges Breach of Contract
ALLEGHENY CASUALTY: Among Defendants in Bail Bond Premiums Case
ALPARGATAS USA: Schertzer Alleges Fraud in S.D. California
AMP: Final Report of Banking Royal Commission Set to Be Released

ARIZONA: Faces Class Action Over Employees' Health Care
BANANA REPUBLIC: Seeks Court Approval of Class Action Settlement
BE AMAZED: Court Extends Time to Respond in Lynch
BLACKROCK INSTITUTIONAL: Court Modifies Case Schedule Baird
BRISTOW GROUP: Kokareva Sues over Plunge in Stock Price

BURLINGTON COUNTY, NJ: $1.475MM Deal in Strip Search Suit OK'd
CANADA: Koskie Minsky Sues AG Over Veteran Disability Pensions
CLARK COUNTY, NV: CCEA Wins Class Action Arbitration
CMRE FINANCIAL: "Bonaventure" Suit Alleges TCPA Violation
COFFMAN INVESTMENT: Bobby King Seeks Minimum & Overtime Pay

COLORADO TECHNICAL: Dawn Jones Sues over Telemarketing Calls
CREDIT CONTROL: "Bagby" Suit Alleges FDCPA Violation
CVS HEALTH: "Anarkat" Suit Alleges Exchange Act Violations
DARTMOUTH COLLEGE: Lawyers Weigh in on Pending Class Action
DELAWARE: Dep't of Corrections Faces Lawsuit Over Inmate Abuses

DIETZ & WATSON: Rozeboom Settlement Has Preliminary Court Approval
DIRECT ENERGY: 2nd Cir. Affirms Dismissal of G. Richards' Suit
DONUTS CORP: Court Denies Dismissal Bid of Tapia FLSA Suit
DYNAMIC LEDGER: Briefing Schedule Set in Tezos Securities Suit
EMPIRE FINANCIAL: Monteverde Investigates SmartFinancial Sale

FRONTLINE ASSET: Lebovits Asserts Breach of FDCPA in New York
FYRE MEDIA: Ja Rule Apologizes Over Fyre Festival Debacle
HONDA MOTORS: Faces Various Class Actions in U.S. Over Airbags
HP INC: Website not Accessible to Blind People, Kiler Says
HYUNDAI MOTOR: Faces Class Action Over Elantra Piston Problems

INSTACART: Delivery Workers Don't Always Get Customer Tips
INSTACART: Grocery Delivery Service Workers Demand Better Pay
JP MORGAN: Settles Rate Rigging Class Action for US$7MM
KING ARTHUR FLOUR: Website not Accessible to Blind, Dawson Says
LANDS END: Garey Asserts Breach of Disabilities Act

LEAF GROUP: Website not Accessible to Blind People, Dawson Says
LIFETIME ENTERTAINMENT: 2d Cir. Affirms Dismissal of TCPA Suit
LIVE NATION CONCERTS: Faces Fishcler Suit under ADA in New York
METAGENICS INC: Inks Proposed Settlement in Medical Food Suit
MICHIGAN: Court Expects to Hear Arguments in Property Tax Case

NATIONAL COLLEGIATE: "Ashley" Suit Alleges Negligence
NATIONAL COLLEGIATE: "Atkins" Suit Alleges Negligence
NESTLE USA: Must Address Issues in Barrett Settlement
NEW YORK: 2d Cir. Affirms Dismissal of M. Mitchell's Suit
NFL: Plaintiffs Lose Bid to Transfer Saints Non-Call Game Case

OYSTER HARBORS YACHT: Bishop Assert Breach of Disabilities Act
PACIFIC GYPSUM: Removes Lopez's Labor Case to N.D. California
PETZOLD'S YACHT: Bishop Alleges Violation under Disabilities Act
PLYMOUTH PLACE: Keene Sues over Use of Biometric Data, Unpaid Wages
PRINSTON PHARMACEUTICAL: Court Stays Judson Pending JPML Decision

PUBLIC ACCESS: Class Action Over Excessive Court Doc Fees Pending
PUBLIC ACCESS: Fees Harm Judiciary's Credibility, Judges Say
ROCKSTAR GAMES: Grand Theft Auto Online Players to Get Incentives
SAN BERNARDINO, CA: Court Dismisses Dickenson Civil Rights Suit
SECURUS: Faces Class Action Over Costly Jail Telephone Charges

STATE COMPENSATION: Enterprise Inc. Files Suit under Fraud
STEINHOFF INT'L: PSA Wants Pension Fund to Join Class Action
TEXAS: Faces Class Action Over Voting Rights Act Violation
TILLY'S INC: Cal. App. Flips Demurrer to Wage Order 7
TNG GP: Court Modifies Pretrial Dates in J. Cooks' Suit

U.S. REMODELERS: Removes Jackson's Labor Case to C.D. California
UNITED STATES: HHS Defends Efforts to Reunite Migrant Children
UNITED STATES: Local Woman Sues Over Partial Gov't Shutdown
WEALTHY TRADE: Lopez-Cuyuch Seeks Unpaid Minimum and OT Wages
WIRECARD AG: Rosen Law Firm Investigates Securities Claims

XYLEM INC: Bishop Asserts Violation under Disabilities Act
YUBA COUNTY, CA: Court OKs $1.7MM Attorney's Fees in Hedrick Suit
[*] ALRC Report on Class Action Reform Presented in Parliament
[*] Australia to Consult on ALRC Report on Class Action Reforms
[*] D&O Premium Hike Blamed on Securities Class Action Activity


                            *********

ADVANCE STORES: Mullen Asserts Breach of Disabilities Act
---------------------------------------------------------
Advance Stores Company Inc. is facing a class action lawsuit filed
pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case is styled
Bartley Michael Mullen, Jr., individually and on behalf of all
other persons similarly situated, Plaintiff v. Advance Stores
Company Inc. doing business as: Advance Auto Parts, Defendant, Case
No. 2:19-cv-00201-MPK (W.D. Penn., February 25, 2019).

Advance Stores Company, Incorporated retails automotive parts and
maintenance items. In the retail segment, ASC's stores offer a
selection of brand name and proprietary automotive products for
domestic and imported cars, and light trucks. These stores carry
between 16,000 and 21,000 stock keeping units. The dealer stores
consist of associate, sales center, and franchise dealers.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Gary F. Lynch, Esq.
   Carlson Lynch Sweet & Kilpela, LLP
   1133 Penn Avenue
   5th Floor
   Pittsburgh, PA 15222
   Tel: (412) 322-9243
   Email: glynch@carlsonlynch.com

      - and –

   Kelly K. Iverson, Esq.
   Carlson Lynch Sweet Kilpela & Carpenter, LLP
   1133 Penn Avenue
   5th Floor
   Pittsburgh, PA 15222
   Tel: (412) 253-4989
   Email: kiverson@carlsonlynch.com

      - and –

   R. Bruce Carlson, Esq.
   Carlson Lynch Sweet Kilpela & Carpenter, LLP
   1133 Penn Avenue
   5th Floor
   Pittsburgh, PA 15222
   Tel: (412) 322-9243
   Email: bcarlson@carlsonlynch.com



ADVANCED E: Crescent Suit Alleges Breach of Contract
----------------------------------------------------
Crescent Electric Supply Company, Inc. of New York, individually
and on behalf of itself and all others similarly situated v.
Advanced E Lighting LLC dba AER Lighting aka Advanced Energy
Resources, LLC et al., Index No. 500539/2019 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., Kings
Cty., January 9, 2019), is brought against the Defendants for
breach of contract.

Crescent entered into several agreements and contracts with
Advanced to supply electrical construction, equipment, and
materials and Advanced agreed to Crescent's Terms and Conditions.
Despite placing several orders with Crescent, Advanced never made
any payment.

The Plaintiff Crescent was at all relevant times a domestic
corporation authorized to do business in the State of New York with
offices at 1200 Zerega Avenue, Bronx, New York 10462.  Crescent was
at all relevant times and continues to be engaged in the business
of selling electrical materials, equipment and supplies.

The Defendant Advanced E Lighting LLC dba AER Lighting aka Advanced
Energy Resources, LLC is a New York limited liability company, with
a principal place of business at 1316 65th Street, Brooklyn, New
York 11219. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Michael Korsinsky, Esq.
      KORSINSKY & KLEIN, LLP
      2926 Avenue L
      Brooklyn, NY 11210
      Tel: (212) 495-8133


ALLEGHENY CASUALTY: Among Defendants in Bail Bond Premiums Case
---------------------------------------------------------------
RJ Vogt, writing for Law360, reports that anyone who's tried to get
a California bail bond may have noticed that the nonrefundable
premiums charged by various agencies hardly vary from one to the
next. According to a statewide class action, that's no accident --
it's a price-fixing conspiracy.

The antitrust complaint, believed to be the first of its kind by
plaintiffs attorneys from Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
and a host of social justice groups, claims the sureties that
underwrite bonds have teamed up with their associated bail agents
"to keep bail bond premiums higher than they would be if the
California bail bonds market functioned competitively."

The Jan 29. suit in Alameda County Superior Court seeks damages on
behalf of "hundreds of thousands of people," including named
plaintiffs Shonetta Crain and Kira Serna, who paid for bail while
serving pretrial detention for charges that were later dropped.

"Because defendants' conspiracy made bail bonds costlier for
Californians, more people spent time in jail awaiting trial ...
simply because they could not afford to pay defendants'
supracompetitive premium rates," the complaint states.

Dean Harvey, a partner at Lieff Cabraser, said in a statement that
"everyone in our society deserves the benefits of competition."

"Especially when their personal freedom is on the line," he added.

Over 20 surety companies plus several bail agencies and
associations are named as defendants in the litigation, including
all three members of Allegheny Casualty International Fidelity
Associated Bond, or AIA, the nation's largest bail surety
administrator, and the Golden State Bail Agents Association.

GSBAA President Greg "Topo" Padilla told Law360 that he's not
prepared to comment specifically on the lawsuit. But he generally
defended the bail industry as having done its part in keeping the
justice system fair.

"For years, the Golden State Bail Agents Association and others in
the industry has done work at the Legislature, with judges and
other entities in the criminal justice system to lower bail
schedules," he said.

The complaint says the industry has "nearly uniformly" relied on a
default premium rate set at 10 percent of a posted bond. That rate
allows them to collect as much as $308 million a year in
nonrefundable fees from criminal defendants and their families,
scoring an alleged 80 percent gross profit rate. The apparent
uniformity in premium pricing over the past 15 years, according to
the suit, comes despite a state law that allows sureties to offer
rebates.

Several bail agency websites actually claim that agents offering
lower rates are "simply acting illegally or deceptively," such as
Famous Bail Bonds and Scott Haynes Bail Bonds. The website for Bad
Boys Bail Bonds states that "all bail bonds companies charge the
same" 10 percent rate.

But according to Stephanie Carroll, a Public Counsel attorney on
the case, "we know that legally they can charge less."

"This rigged system disproportionately hurts low-income folks and
their families, who are often the ones scrambling to get their
loved ones freed from jail and back home," she said in a
statement.

The suit traces the alleged conspiracy back to 2004, when a state
court ruling blocked the California Department of Insurance from
enforcing an anti-rebate statute. Ever since that decision,
according to the CDI website, bail agents have been free to pursue
competitive advantages via rebates.

Following that ruling, industry leaders began loudly advocating
against discounting bail premiums. American Surety Co. President
and CEO William Carmichael penned a March 2005 article in which he
predicted that "rampant premium discounting will result in the end
of the bail bond business as we know it."

"2005 will not be a year when we, as an industry, can sit passively
by while competitive forces continue to encroach upon our markets,"
Carmichael, who also serves as the American Bail Coalition
chairman, wrote. "I urge all of us to recognize the serious nature
of the threats to our industry and work collectively to repel them.
Leaving profit on the table, in the form of discounts or
uncollected accounts receivable, is a fool's game."

Mr. Carmichael did not immediately respond to a request for comment
on Jan. 31, nor did representatives for AIA, the California Bail
Agents Association and the Surety & Fidelity Association of
America, among other contacted defendants.

Only one California bail bondsman appears to have explained the
availability of premium rebates online, according to the suit. Chad
"The Bail Guy" Conley, who runs services in five Southern
California counties, posted a 2014 outline of how state laws
provide for discounts on bail premiums.

In a Google Plus forum for the post, he commented that "the good ol
boys club came after my license for trying to save clients money,"
and added that many agents "prefer price fixing" at 10 percent.
Conley could not be reached for comment.

"The mavericks who have opted to openly compete on price, either
through lower filed rates or by advertising their lawful rebating
authority, have faced retaliation from participants in the
price-fixing conspiracy," the suit alleges.

The litigation comes less than five months after former Gov. Jerry
Brown signed a controversial law to abolish the state's entire
money bail system. Originally set to go into effect this fall, the
landmark law has been put on hold pending a November 2020 voter
referendum that was backed by a coalition of bail industry
associations, including some of the antitrust suit's defendants.

Towards Justice director David Seligman, who represents the
plaintiffs in the case, said in a statement that he is confident
California will "someday" eradicate cash bail entirely.

"In the meantime, Californians should have the power that comes
from a competitive market and the ability to shop around and
negotiate for cheaper bail bond premiums," he added. "The bail
sureties have profited for too long off their collusive conduct on
the backs of some of the most marginalized members of society."
[GN]


ALPARGATAS USA: Schertzer Alleges Fraud in S.D. California
----------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Alpargatas USA, Inc.
The case is styled as Kristen Schertzer, on behalf of all others
similarly situated, Plaintiff v. Alpargatas USA, Inc. doing
business as: Havaianas a Delaware Corporation and Does 1-50
inclusive, Defendants, Case No. 3:19-cv-00394-LAB-MSB (S.D. Cal.,
February 26, 2019).

The docket of the lawsuit states the case type as Fraud.

Alpargatas USA, Inc., doing business as Havaianas, provides
footwear. The Company offers apparels for men, women, and children,
as well as rain boots, and accessories. Havaianas operates in the
United States.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Todd D. Carpenter, Esq.
   Carlson Lynch Sweet Kilpela & Carpenter, LLP
   1350 Columbia Street, Suite 603
   San Diego, CA 92101
   Tel: (619) 762-1910
   Fax: (619) 756-6991
   Email: tcarpenter@carlsonlynch.com


AMP: Final Report of Banking Royal Commission Set to Be Released
----------------------------------------------------------------
Charis Chang and The Australian Associated Press report that no one
was expecting banking royal commission to uncover the appalling
behaviour that it did and it's hoped the institutions will finally
face the consequences, including criminal charges.

Senators Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch, who both pushed for the
inquiry, say criminal charges should be laid after the royal
commission uncovered shocking behaviour that has been labelled
dishonest and inexcusable.

"I believe in jail sentences, someone's got to pay for this," Ms
Hanson told Sunrise this morning.

Mr Hinch agreed and said some of the actions were
"unconscionable".

He also praised royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne QC for refusing to
shake Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's hand during an awkward photo
opportunity on Feb. 1.

"It shouldn't have gone to the Treasurer, that report should have
gone straight to the Governor-general, the Treasurer tried to milk
it and Hayne to his credit said 'nope' and wouldn't shake hands and
I thought, 'Good on you sunshine'," Mr Hinch said.

Labor has said Prime Minister Scott Morrison voted against the
royal commission 26 times during his time as treasurer.

The party is warning the government not to provide any kind of
protection racket for the banks in its response.

"I'm not going to let the government off the hook. They didn't want
this and now they are already trying to say, 'Well maybe we need to
have an unethical banking sector, we don't want to go too hard
against our friends in the banks'," Opposition leader Bill Shorten
told the ABC's Insiders program.

Commissioner Hayne QC delivered his report on Feb. 1 and the
government has spent the weekend preparing a response to the
findings before publicly releasing it on Feb. 4 at 4.20pm, after
the stock market's close of trading.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already said it was important to
ensure banks and other players kept lending cash -- "the lubricant
for the Australian economy" -- while also backing in the stability
of financial markets.

But Mr Shorten said this sounded like the government was already
back-pedalling on making the banks accountable.

"Is really what Mr Morrison is saying -- the only way to have a
solid banking sector is an unethical banking sector?" he told
Insiders.

"I don't buy that, nor do thousands of small businesses, farmers
and people who have been ripped off by the banks."

He again committed Labor to "in principle" adopting all the royal
commission's recommendations, saying there would have to be a
"pretty amazing reason" not to.

The Greens have already put out their wishlist of actions, ahead of
seeing the report, which includes breaking up the banks' business
model, returning oversight to the Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission, and establishing a publicly owned bank.

The commission took more than 10,000 submissions and held 69 days
of public hearings.

KEY SHOCKS AND REVELATIONS

In an interim report released in September last year, Commissioner
Hayne was particularly scathing about the $1 billion
fees-for-no-service problem, which he labelled dishonest and
inexcusable.

Three of Australia's biggest financial players, CBA, NAB and AMP,
admitted charging dead customers for services they were not
receiving. This included AMP charging thousands of dead
superannuation customers for life insurance, despite knowing there
was no longer a life to insure.

The scandal claimed the jobs of AMP's CEO Craig Meller and chair
Catherine Brenner, led to a share price slump and sparked
shareholder class actions.

The inquiry's barristers recommended Australia's largest wealth
manager face criminal charges for lying to the Australian
Securities and Investments Commission.

Mr Hayne in his interim report said AMP adopted an attitude towards
the regulator that appeared to him not to be forthright and honest,
but he left the matter in ASIC's hands.

Dover Financial Advisers sole director Terry McMaster also
sensationally collapsed while giving evidence to the royal
commission after being accused of lying. Dover later agreed to stop
providing financial services and Mr McMaster permanently left the
industry.

Following the interim report, the Australian Banking Association
announced changes to its new industry code to end fees for no
service and stop charging deceased estates.

A woman who became one of the faces of the scandal, Jacqueline
McDowall, told the commission how she and her husband lost their
home and most of their superannuation after taking advice from a
Westpac financial planner to sell their home and put the money into
a self-managed super fund.

The couple planned to buy a $1 million bed and breakfast to run in
their retirement but this quickly unravelled when they told they
were not actually allowed to live in their investment property.

"I said, 'We sold our family home on your advice. We now don't have
a family home to live in. So why would we then buy an investment
property to rent to someone else when we haven't even got a
property to live in ourself?'," Ms McDowall told the commission.

There were also stories about aggressive sales tactics including
from Freedom Insurance, which pressured an intellectually-disabled
young man with Down syndrome into buying insurance over the phone.

Financial company ClearView also admitted it committed criminal
offences by making 300,000 unsolicited cold calls to sell life
insurance.

The inquiry also heard about the aggressive tactics of financial
entities pushing inappropriate funeral insurance, high-interest
loans and other products on to Aboriginal people with poor
financial literacy.

Mr Hayne said in relation to funeral insurance, the evidence
pointed to predatory behaviour by insurers and salespeople.

Meanwhile, a syndicate of National Australia Bank employees took
$2800 bribes for fraudulent home loans with the money exchanged in
white envelopes passed over the counter, the inquiry heard.

THE POTENTIAL FALLOUT

AMP suffered the biggest fallout over the scandal while the
Commonwealth Bank earned the dubious title of the "gold medallist"
for charging customers for financial advice they never received.

Commissioner Hayne QC blamed greed for the widespread misconduct
and his interim report said short-term profit had been pursued at
the expense of basic standards of honesty.

He also slammed ASIC and APRA for failing to mark and enforce the
boundaries of permissible behaviour, saying the misconduct either
went unpunished or the consequences did not meet the seriousness of
what occurred.

Both regulators have pledged to be tougher.

ASIC now plans to take criminal and civil action more often, rather
than negotiating resolutions with the big banks and others.

It's also expected to become harder to get a loan as banks will
have to do more to verify customers' income and their actual living
expenses.

Banks will also face pressure to radically change the way they pay
staff including senior executives after Mr Hayne slammed the
emphasis on rewarding sales and profits.

The major banks all made changes to their remuneration practices
after the independent Sedgwick review in 2017 recommended an
overhaul, although the royal commission's interim report noted they
continued to emphasise sales. The recommended changes will likely
cover all bank staff, not just senior executives.

Mr Hayne may recommend significant changes for brokers and other
intermediaries in the home loan industry.

He said reforms to broker remuneration agreed to by the industry,
such as eliminating volume-based commissions, were limited and did
not deal with the basic problem of people being encouraged to
borrow more than they need.

Financial advisers also face potential changes to their
remuneration, most notably over grandfathered payments and trail
commissions.

When it comes to the insurance and superannuation industries, Mr
Hayne has been considering whether cold calls to sell insurance
should be banned and if some types of policies such as accidental
death products should not be sold. [GN]


ARIZONA: Faces Class Action Over Employees' Health Care
-------------------------------------------------------
Brad Poole, writing for Courthouse News Service, reports that a
transgender University of Arizona professor sued the state on Jan.
24 because the university doesn't cover gender reassignment surgery
prescribed by his doctor.

Russell B. Toomey, an associate professor of family studies and
human development, filed the class action in federal court in
Tucson on behalf of all state employees and their dependants,
claiming the exclusion of a prescribed hysterectomy related to his
gender reassignment violates the 14th Amendment of the Constitution
and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

All other medically required hysterectomies are covered, but not
for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, which is Toomey's diagnosis
and one that many insurance plans use to qualify gender
reassignment, according to the lawsuit. Toomey is represented by
lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union.

"The Plan provides coverage for the same hysterectomies when
prescribed as medically necessary treatment for other medical
conditions. But, the Plan categorically excludes coverage for
hysterectomies when they are medically necessary for purposes of
‘gender reassignment,'" the lawsuit says.

That categorical exclusion violates the Constitution and the Civil
Rights Act, Toomey argues.

"Arizona provides the same discriminatory health plan to nearly all
state employees and their dependents. That means hundreds, if not
thousands, of transgender state employees or transgender dependents
of state employees cannot receive medically necessary care," Toomey
wrote on Jan. 24 on the ACLU blog Speak Freely.

When other procedures' medical necessity is questioned, according
to the lawsuit, there is an appeal process, but not for gender
dysphoria.

Transgender-related surgeries are automatically denied for state
employees, even though all four health insurance companies that
offer coverage under the state plan have opt-in standards for
determining necessity of transgender surgery, the lawsuit says.

Toomey was born a woman. He began testosterone therapy in 2003 and
started living and identifying as a man. He had a medically
prescribed mastectomy in 2004, according to the lawsuit.

He is asking the state to remove the exclusion for transgender
surgery and adopt a standard policy for assessing medical necessity
of the surgery, the lawsuit says.

"I know of at least 20 families affiliated with the University of
Arizona that are harmed by the state's anti-trans health insurance
policy . . . . I filed this lawsuit not only for me but also for
all of the transgender and nonbinary youth and adults in Arizona
whose lives would be made better by knowing that there is one less
law that discriminatorily targets them," Toomey wrote on the ACLU
blog.

A spokeswoman for the Arizona Board of Regents did not immediately
respond to a request for comment on Jan. 24 evening.[GN]

BANANA REPUBLIC: Seeks Court Approval of Class Action Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------
Christie Grymes Thompson, Esq. -- cgthompson@kelleydrye.com -- and
Carmen Tracy, Esq. -- ctracy@kelleydrye.com -- writing for Kelly
Drye's Ad Law Access, report that on January 14, Plaintiffs in the
consolidated case of Veera v. Banana Republic, LLC, et al., filed
for approval of a preliminary class action settlement after
Plaintiffs Veera and Etman successfully argued that "frustration"
and "embarrassment" over unclear discounts is sufficient to meet
the requirements for injury.

According to separate lawsuits filed against Banana Republic and
The Gap, the companies displayed in-store signs promoting a class
of merchandise for sale at a stated price (e.g., 40% off sweaters)
or subject to a stated discount (e.g., "40% off your purchase")
without clearly and conspicuously identifying the items that were
excluded from the offer. The lawsuits alleged that these signs were
either not accompanied by any disclosure of limitations, or were
accompanied by a disclosure so small and closely colored to the
sign background as to not be noticeable.

In an action under California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL), False
Advertising Law (FAL), and Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA),
Plaintiffs claimed that, in reliance on the signs, they selected
various items for purchase at the advertised discount, and out of
frustration and embarrassment, ultimately bought some of the items,
even after learning that the discount did not apply.

Although a lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the
retailers, the California Court of Appeals concluded that
Plaintiffs met the requirements to allege injury. "Injury in fact
is not a substantial or insurmountable hurdle," the Court noted,
"Rather, it suffices to allege some specific, identifiable trifle
of injury." The Court agreed with the Plaintiffs claim that, but
for the allegedly misleading signs, Plaintiffs would not have made
the clothing purchases (even after hearing of the non-discounted
price at the register).

The parties agreed upon the proposed settlement hours before the
class certification hearings. The key terms of the settlement
provide that The Gap will provide a one-time coupon for the
purchase of up to 4 items in a Banana Republic or The Gap store at
30% off regular price to certain customers who purchased items from
The Gap or Banana Republic stores in California, for use on a
future purchase. The Plaintiffs in the action will also receive
$8,000 each under the proposed settlement. The Gap will also pay $1
million in fees and costs, and all costs of administering the
proposed settlement.

A hearing is set for March 1st on the motion for preliminary
approval of the settlement.

This proposed settlement serves as a reminder about the importance
of clearly and conspicuously disclosing the limitations of any
offer, including the terms of a sale. We will watch the California
Court of Appeals for further willingness to allow cases to go
forward even when Plaintiffs claim little to no injury beyond
"embarrassment." [GN]


BE AMAZED: Court Extends Time to Respond in Lynch
-------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of Nevada issued
an Order extending the time to respond in the case captioned DALLAS
LYNCH, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated;
Plaintiff, v. BE AMAZED SANDWICH CO., INC. d/b/a AND a/k/a
CAPRIOTTI'S SANDWICH SHOP; MICHAEL SOLOMON, an individual; DOES 1
through 50; inclusive, Defendant(s). Case No. 2:18-cv-2425-APG-GWF.
(D. Nev.).

The parties' counsel of record that Defendants will have an
extension of time up to and including to answer or otherwise
respond to Plaintiff's Complaint. This is the second request for an
extension of this deadline.

The Complaint sets forth a purported wage and hour class action.
The parties have met and had settlement discussions, and Defendants
are in the process of transmitting extensive data to Plaintiff
regarding the purported class members, following the review of
which, the parties will be continuing their efforts to resolve this
matter.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 31, 2018 Order is
available at https://tinyurl.com/yco9ch9e from Leagle.com.

Dallas Lynch, Plaintiff, represented by Christian James Gabroy,
Gabroy Law Offices & Kaine M. Messer, Gabroy Law Offices.

Be Amazed Sandwich Co., Inc., also known as Capriotti's Sandwich
Shop also known as Capriotti's Sandwich Shop & Michael Solomon,
Defendants, represented by Scott M. Mahoney --
smahoney@fisherphillips.com -- Fisher & Phillips, LLP.


BLACKROCK INSTITUTIONAL: Court Modifies Case Schedule Baird
-----------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
California, Oakland Division, issued an Order modifying the case
schedule in the case captioned Charles Baird et al., Plaintiffs, v.
BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A., et al., Defendants.
Case No. 4:17-cv-01892-HSG. (N.D. Cal.).

After holding a telephonic conference on September 25, 2018, the
Court granted in part the Parties' proposed modifications to the
case schedule, setting, among other dates, the close of fact
discovery on December 21, 2018; the close of expert discovery on
class certification issues on February 28, 2019; and the completion
of briefing on Plaintiffs' class certification motion on May 14,
2019.

On December 10, 2018, the Court granted the Parties' Stipulation to
Modify the Case Schedule, setting, among other dates, the close of
fact discovery on February 4, 2019; the close of expert discovery
on class certification issues on April 16, 2019; the completion of
briefing on Plaintiffs' class certification motion on June 28,
2019; and the hearing on Plaintiffs' class certification motion on
July 25, 2019.

The Plaintiffs and the BlackRock Defendants continue to meet and
confer about certain outstanding discovery disputes.

The Plaintiffs and Mercer had not engaged in any substantive
discovery at the time Mercer was added as a party in late August
2018, but have since worked diligently in their respective
discovery efforts.

Mercer and the Plaintiffs believe the parties and the Court would
benefit from (1) avoiding potentially unnecessary discovery
disputes before this Court, when they believe in good faith that
they may resolve these issues if given the benefit of more time,
and/or (2) allowing the depositions of Mercer witnesses to occur
after documents are fully produced to avoid the risk that Mercer
would be forced to present those witnesses for a second day of
deposition.

The Parties propose a modest extension of the existing case
schedule by approximately fourteen days, including modifications
outlined below such that the Court need not reschedule the existing
July 25, 2019 hearing date on Plaintiffs' class certification
motion, meaning the overall case schedule will not be enlarged by
the proposed case schedule.

The Parties agree there is good cause for a modest extension of the
existing case schedule aside from the hearing date for Plaintiffs'
class certification motion by approximately fourteen (14) days, to
allow all Parties sufficient time to complete fact discovery and
proceed with expert discovery related to class certification.  

The Parties further agree that, should the Court grant an extension
on the case schedule, they will not issue any further written
discovery requests on one another.

The Plaintiffs will not seek to depose any current or former
Blackrock or Mercer employee, other than those depositions the
Parties have already noticed and/or scheduled, prior to the class
certification hearing. No party will seek to depose any members of
either putative class prior to the class certification hearing.

   Event                       Stipulated Deadline

   Close of Fact Discovery      February 19, 2019

   Opening expert reports
   on class cert. issues           March 15, 2019

   Rebuttal expert reports
   on class cert. issues           April 16, 2019

   Close of expert discovery
   on class cert. issues           April 30, 2019

   Motion for class
   certification                     May 21, 2019

   Opposition to class
   certification motion             June 20, 2019

   Reply in support of
   class certification motion       July 11, 2019

   Class Certification Hearing      July 25, 2019 at 2 p.m.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 31, 2018 Order is
available at https://tinyurl.com/ya82jydc from Leagle.com.

Charles Baird, individually, and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, and on behalf of the BlackRock Retirement Savings Plan,
Plaintiff, represented by Nina Rachel Wasow --
nina@feinbergjackson.com -- Feinberg, Jackson, Worthman & Wasow
LLP, Daniel Ryan Sutter -- dsutter@cohenmilstein.com -- Cohen
Milstein Sellers and Toll, PLLC, pro hac vice, Julia Horwitz --
jhorwitz@cohenmilstein.com -- Cohen Milstein Sellers Toll, Julie S.
Selesnick -- jselesnick@cohenmilstein.com -- Cohen Milstein Sellers
& Toll, PLLC, Karen L. Handorf -- khandorf@cohenmilstein.com --
Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll PLLC, pro hac vice, Mary Joanne
Bortscheller -- mbortscheller@cohenmilstein.com -- Cohen Milstein
Sellers Toll PLLC, Michelle C. Yau  -- myau@cohenmilstein.com --
Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, pro hac vice & Todd F. Jackson
-- todd@feinbergjackson.com -- Feinberg, Jackson, Worthman and
Wasow LLP.

BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A., Blackrock, Inc., The
BlackRock, Inc. Retirement Committee & The Investment Committee of
the Retirement Committee, Defendants, represented by Brian David
Boyle -- bboyle@omm.com -- O'Melveny Myers LLP, Adam Manes Kaplan
-- akaplan@omm.com -- O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Meaghan McLaine VerGow
-- mvergow@omm.com -- OMelveny and Myers LLP, Michael John McCarthy
-- mmccarthy@omm.com -- O'Melveny & Myers LLP & Randall W. Edwards
-- redwards@omm.com -- O'Melveny & Myers LLP.

Catherine Bolz, Chip Castille, Paige Dickow, Daniel A. Dunay,
Jeffrey A. Smith, Anne Ackerley, Nancy Everett, Joseph Feliciani,
Jr., Ann Marie Petach, Michael Fredericks, Corin Frost, Daniel
Gamba, Kevin Holt, Chris Jones, Philippe Matsumoto, John Perlowski,
Andy Phillips, Kurt Schansinger & Tom Skrobe, Defendants,
represented by Brian David Boyle, O'Melveny Myers LLP, Randall W.
Edwards, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Meaghan McLaine VerGow, OMelveny
and Myers LLP & Michael John McCarthy, O'Melveny & Myers LLP.

Amy Engel, Management Development & Compensation Committee of the
BlackRock, Inc. Board of Directors, Kathleen Nedl, Marc Comerchero,
Joel Davies, John Davis, Milan Lint & Laraine McKinnon, Defendants,
represented by Brian David Boyle, O'Melveny Myers LLP, Meaghan
McLaine VerGow, OMelveny and Myers LLP & Michael John McCarthy,
O'Melveny & Myers LLP.


BRISTOW GROUP: Kokareva Sues over Plunge in Stock Price
-------------------------------------------------------
SVETLANA KOKAREVA, Individually and On Behalf of All Others
Similarly Situated, the Plaintiff, vs. BRISTOW GROUP INC., JONATHAN
E. BALIFF, and L. DON MILLER, the Defendants, Case No.
4:19-cv-00509 (S.D. Tex., Feb. 14, 2019), is a class action on
behalf of persons and entities that purchased or otherwise acquired
Bristow securities between February 8, 2018 and February 12, 2019,
inclusive.

On February 11, 2019, after the market closed, the Company filed a
Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission disclosing
that it "did not have adequate monitoring control processes in
place related to non-financial covenants within certain of its
secured financing and lease agreements." On this news, the
Company's share price fell $1.22, or nearly 40%, to close at $1.84
per share on February 12, 2019, on unusually heavy trading volume.
On February 12, 2019, the Company filed a Form 8-K with the SEC to
announce that (i) it had terminated its agreement to purchase
Columbia Helicopters, Inc.; and (ii) Jonathan E. Baliff would
retire as Chief Executive Officer and resign from the Board of
Directors, effective February 28.  On this news, the Company's
share price fell $0.64, or nearly 35%, to close at $1.20 per share
on February 13 on unusually heavy trading volume.

According to the complaint, the Defendants allegedly made
materially false and/or misleading statements, as well as failed to
disclose material adverse facts about the Company's business,
operations, and prospects. Specifically, the Defendants failed to
disclose to investors that (1) the Company lacked adequate
monitoring processes related to non-financial covenants within its
secured financing and lease agreements; (2) as a result, the
Company could not reasonably assure compliance with certain
non-financial covenants; (3) as a result, the Company was
reasonably likely to breach certain agreements; (4) as a result,
the Company had understated its short-term debt; (5) the required
corrections would materially impact financial statements; (6) there
was a material weakness in the Company's internal controls over
financial reporting; and (7) as a result of the foregoing, the
Defendants' positive statements about the Company's business,
operations, and prospects were materially misleading and/or lacked
a reasonable basis. As a result of the Defendants' wrongful acts
and omissions, and the precipitous decline in the market value of
the Company's securities, the Plaintiff and other Class members
have suffered significant losses and damages.

Bristow is an industrial aviation services provider with major
transportation operations in the North Sea, Nigeria and the Gulf of
Mexico, and in most other major offshore energy producing regions
of the world.[BN]

Attorneys for the Plaintiff:

          Joe Kendall, Esq.
          Jamie J. Gilmore, Esq.
          KENDALL LAW GROUP, PLLC
          3811 Turtle Creek Blvd., Suite 1450
          Dallas, TX 75219
          Telephone: 214-744-3000
          Facsimile: 214-744-3015
          E-mail: jkendall@kendalllawgroup.com
                  jgilmore@kendalllawgroup.com

               - and -

          Lionel Z. Glancy, Esq.
          Robert V. Prongay, Esq.
          Lesley F. Portnoy, Esq.
          Charles H. Linehan, Esq.
          Pavithra Rajesh, Esq.
          GLANCY PRONGAY & MURRAY LLP
          1925 Century Park East, Suite 2100
          Los Angeles, CA 90067
          Telephone: (310) 201-9150
          Facsimile: (310) 201-9160

BURLINGTON COUNTY, NJ: $1.475MM Deal in Strip Search Suit OK'd
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
issued an Opinion granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Final Approval of
the Class Action Settlement in the case captioned TAMMY MARIE HAAS
and CONRAD SZCZPANIAK, individually and on behalf of a class of
similarly situated individuals, Plaintiffs, v. BURLINGTON COUNTY,
et al., Defendants. Civil No. 08-1102 (NLH/JS). (D.N.J.).

The Plaintiffs claim BCCF and Burlington County had an
unconstitutional and illegal policy of strip-searching all
individuals entering their facilities without first establishing
reasonable suspicion. Specifically, Plaintiffs Haas and Szczpaniak
brought claims on behalf of individuals being detained on
non-indictable offenses who were subject to this alleged policy.
The claims were brought under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 and the New
Jersey Civil Rights Act (NJCRA).

The Settlement's Value

Class Members are entitled to a share of the settlement's value. A
settlement fund has been established in the amount of $1,475,000,
paid into by both Burlington County and its insurer. Class Members
are eligible to receive up to $400 per claim. If the Class Members
exceed 3,487, the amount per claim will be reduced on a pro-rata
basis. If the settlement fund is not entirely exhausted by
claimants, the remaining funds will revert back to Defendants and
their insurance carrier.

A class action, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e),
cannot be settled without the approval of the Court and a
determination that the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable, and
adequate.  

In assessing the fairness of a class action settlement, a district
court should consider several factors called the Girsh factors,
including: (1) the complexity, expense, and likely duration of the
litigation (2) the reaction of the class to the settlement (3) the
stage of the proceedings and the amount of discovery completed (4)
the risks of establishing liability (5) the risks of establishing
damages (6) the risks of maintaining the class action through the
trial (7) the ability of the defendants to withstand a greater
judgment (8) the range of reasonableness of the settlement fund in
light of the best possible recovery and (9) the range of
reasonableness of the settlement fund to a possible recovery in
light of all the attendant risks of litigation.

Complexity, Expense, and Likely Duration of the Litigation

This factor is intended to capture the probable costs, in both time
and money, of continued litigation. Generally, where bringing a
litigation to its conclusion would be legally and factually complex
and extremely expensive and time-consuming, this factor favors
settlement.  

This is a class action concerning claims by 13,895 potential
claimants. To bring this action to judgment via trial, this Court
would likely need to consider a class certification motion, summary
judgment motions, and pre-trial motions. In addition, more
discovery would likely be requested and multiple appeals would
likely be taken. Trial would likely be long, complex, and
burdensome upon the Court and the parties. Plaintiffs estimate this
process, including trial, would take another three years. This,
Plaintiffs assert, could lead to less class members being able to
claim a benefit. For these reasons, the Court finds this factor
weighs in favor of approving the Settlement Agreement.

The Reaction of the Class to the Settlement

The second Girsh factor attempts to gauge whether members of the
class support the settlement. This factor requires the Court to
consider the objections (or lack thereof) of the class members to
the settlement. When no class members, or only a small portion,
object to the settlement, that fact strongly favors settlement.
Here, there has been one objection to the settlement agreement,
which may be fairly characterized as an objection to the incentive
award, not the award to the individual class members. This fact
strongly favors approving the Settlement Agreement.

The Stage of the Proceedings and the Amount of Discovery Completed

The third Girsh factor captures the degree of case development that
class counsel had
accomplished prior to settlement.  

Discovery in this case included:

Substantial document production to determine the identity of
putative class members and Defendants' policies and practices
applicable to this case, A walkthrough of the Burlington County
Jail and Depositions of Sgt. Williams, C.O. Leinhauser, Warden
Artis (the Rule 30(b)(6) designee), Captain Schultze, Plaintiff
Haas, and Plaintiff Szczpaniak.

This discovery took place over the course of approximately one
year, between November 2012 and September 2013. As the parties
know, this case has been pending before the Court for nearly a
decade.

This Court finds this factor weighs in favor of approving the
settlement.  

The Risks of Establishing Liability and the Risks of Establishing
Damages

The risks of litigating this case to its conclusion, as in many of
the cases before this Court, are manifest and multifaceted. The
parties are likely to contest certification, liability, and whether
damages7 are appropriate. Liability was not certain in this case.
Each of these is an issue complicated in its own right. As observed
by Judge Schneider and this Court, full litigation of this matter
may have required litigation of a complicated constitutional issue
left unresolved in Florence, the adjudication of which may have
required years of trial and likely appellate litigation including
petitions before the high court.

Even if the Plaintiffs were successful on all of these issues, the
parties will still be left to determine which claimants are
properly within the Class. These are precisely the reasons why
settlement is favored by the parties in the vast majority of cases
before the Court and why it should be favored in this specific
case. Accordingly, these factors favor approving the
Settlement Agreement.

The Risks of Maintaining the Class Action through the Trial

The sixth Girsh factor measures the likelihood of obtaining and
maintaining a class certification if the action were to proceed to
trial because the prospects for obtaining certification have a
great impact on the range of recovery one can expect to reap from
the class action. A district court may decertify or modify a class
at any time during the litigation if it proves to be unmanageable.
For that reason, the Court finds this factor to be neutral.

The Ability of the Defendants to Withstand a Greater Judgment

The seventh Girsh factor considers whether the defendants could
withstand a judgment for an amount significantly greater than the
settlement. Even if a party could afford to pay more [that] does
not mean that it is obligated to pay any more than what the  class
members are entitled to under the theories of liability that
existed at the time the settlement was reached.

The Plaintiffs here explain that the Defendants are likely unable
to sustain a larger judgment. In this case, a significant dispute
erupted between Defendants and their insurance carrier. This,
according to Plaintiffs, imposed the risk of a complete denial of
coverage, which would have left the burden of this judgment solely
on Defendants, a public entity with limited coffers. The Court
finds this factor also favors approving the Settlement Agreement.

The Range of Reasonableness of the Settlement Fund in Light of the
Best Possible Recovery and in Light of All the Attendant Risks of
Litigation

It is difficult to ascertain what the best possible recovery would
be in this factual scenario, especially for an individual plaintiff
outside of the class context. Cases concerning this particular type
of constitutional or statutory harm are usually tried in the class
context. It appears that this would be a reasonable settlement in
light of the best possible recovery and is certainly within the
range of recoveries in other, similar class actions.

Considering the relatively old age of the case and the dispute
between Defendants and their insurer, it appears Plaintiffs are
correct in asserting this is reasonable in light of the best
possible recovery and the attendant litigation risks. Thus, this
Court finds these two factors weigh in favor of approving the
settlement.

The analysis of the Girsh factors confirms that the proposed
settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court therefore
approves the Settlement Agreement.  

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 31, 2018 Order is
available at https://tinyurl.com/y8uqfrwn from Leagle.com.

TAMMY MARIE HAAS, Individually and on behalf of a Class of
Similarly Situated Individuals, Plaintiff, represented by CARL D.
POPLAR, DAVID J. NOVACK -- dnovack@buddlarner.com -- BUDD LARNER,
PC, JAMIE BETH GOLDMAN, ROBERT BRUCE WOODRUFF, SCHILLER &
PITTENGER, P.C., SETH RICHARD LESSER, KLAFTER OLSEN & LESSER, LLP,
WILLIAM A. RIBACK, WILLIAM RIBACK, LLC, SONYA M. LONGO --
slongo@buddlarner.com -- BUDD LARNER, PC & TERENCE W. CAMP --
tcamp@buddlarner.com -- BUDD, LARNER, P.C.

CONRAD SZCZPANIAK, Plaintiff Consolidated, represented by CARL D.
POPLAR, FRAN L. RUDICH, KLAFTER OLSEN & LESSER LLP, SETH RICHARD
LESSER, KLAFTER OLSEN & LESSER, LLP & WILLIAM A. RIBACK, WILLIAM
RIBACK, LLC.

BURLINGTON COUNTY, Defendant, represented by BETSY G. RAMOS --
bramos@capehart.com -- CAPEHART & SCATCHARD, EVAN H.C. CROOK,
CAPEHART SCATCHARD, MICHELLE L. COREA, CAPEHART AND SCATCHARD, P.A.
& LAURA DANKS, CAPEHART & SCATCHARD PA.

BURLINGTON COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY & RONALD COX, both in his
individual and Representative capacity as Warden of the Burlington
County Jail, Defendant Consolidateds, represented by MICHELLE L.
COREA, CAPEHART AND SCATCHARD, P.A. & LAURA DANKS, CAPEHART &
SCATCHARD PA.


CANADA: Koskie Minsky Sues AG Over Veteran Disability Pensions
---------------------------------------------------------------
Koskie Minsky LLP in Toronto commenced a class action against the
Attorney General of Canada on behalf of all veterans who were in
receipt of disability pensions or disability awards between 2002
and 2010 from Veteran Affairs Canada.

The Statement of Claim, issued in Federal Court on January 25,
2019, alleges that the Attorney General of Canada, acting through
Veteran Affairs Canada, miscalculated the disability pensions and
disability awards of veterans between 2002 and 2010. As a result of
this error, veterans have not received the full amount of benefits
they are entitled to, or interest on those benefits.

The claim alleges that the Attorney General of Canada breached its
fiduciary duties, contractual obligations, and was negligent in the
administration of disability pensions and disability awards.

The lawsuit seeks $600 million in damages.

The representative plaintiff is Jean-Francois Pelletier. From 1986
to 2005, Mr. Pelletier served as a Canadian Armed Forces Member in
the Royal Canadian Navy. In 2002, he was deployed to the Gulf
Region serving in Operation Apollo, Canada's military contribution
to the United States-led international campaign against terrorism.
Mr. Pelletier was injured in the course of his duties. Since 2002,
he has received a disability pension from Veteran Affairs Canada.
Veteran Affairs Canada has not disclosed the calculation error to
him, or paid the disability pension benefits it owes to him from
2002 to 2010.

"Veterans dedicated their lives to the service of this country and
deserve to be paid the benefits owed to them", said Kirk M. Baert,
the lawyer leading the case at Koskie Minsky LLP.

         Kirk M. Baert, Esq.
         20 Queen St W, Toronto
         Ontario M5H 3R3
         Canada
         Phone: (416) 977-8353
         Email: kmbaert@kmlaw.ca [GN]


CLARK COUNTY, NV: CCEA Wins Class Action Arbitration
----------------------------------------------------
Gabriella Benavidez, writing for FOX5 Las Vegas, reports tha the
Clark County Education Association announced on Jan. 24 the union
won a class action arbitration for educators throughout Clark
County.

According to CCEA, the arbitration affects anyone who was hired
during the 2016-2017 school year and came to the Clark County
School District with any prior experience, not within the past
three school years, as a licensed employee.

CCEA alleged CCSD had violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement
by placing new hires that came to the school district as "an
experienced licensed employee, but who had not been employed as a
licensed employee within the the previous three school years prior
to starting at CCSD."

Those who were affected by the arbitration are scheduled to placed
on a salary schedule "and will be made whole for all damages," CCEA
said. The damages include salary backpay from the start of the
person's hire and any related benefits.

"This is yet another victory we have won for educators in Clark
County," CCEA said in a statement.[GN]


CMRE FINANCIAL: "Bonaventure" Suit Alleges TCPA Violation
---------------------------------------------------------
Emma Bonaventure, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated v. CMRE Financial Services, Inc., Case No.
2:19-cv-00179 (C.D. Calif., January 9, 2019), is brought against
the Defendant for violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection
Act.

The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant makes calls using an
automatic telephone dialing system ("ATDS") or prerecorded voice to
cellular telephone numbers whose owners have not provided prior
express consent to receive such calls. The Defendant also makes
calls using an ATDS or prerecorded voice to cellular telephone
numbers whose owners have revoked any prior express consent to
receive such calls.

The Plaintiff, Emma Bonaventure, is a natural person and a citizen
of California, residing in San Bernardino County, California.

The Defendant CMRE Financial Services, Inc. provides accounts
receivables management services to healthcare organizations. The
Defendant is a California corporation with principal place of
business in Brea, California. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Beth E. Terrell, Esq.
      TERRELL MARSHALL LAW GROUP PLLC
      936 North 34th Street, Suite 300
      Seattle, WA 98103-8869
      Tel: (206) 816-6603
      Fax: (206) 319-5450
      E-mail: bterrell@terrellmarshall.com


COFFMAN INVESTMENT: Bobby King Seeks Minimum & Overtime Pay
-----------------------------------------------------------
BOBBY KING, Individually and on Behalf of all Others Similarly
Situated, the Plaintiff vs. COFFMAN INVESTMENT COMPANY; HH, INC.; a
nd GREENWOOD MANOR, LP, the Defendants, Case No. 4:19-cv-00122-KGB
(E.D. Ark., Feb. 14, 2019), seeks a declaratory judgment, monetary
damages, liquidated damages, prejudgment interest, and costs,
including a reasonable attorney's fee, within the applicable
statutory limitations period, as a result of the Defendants'
failure to pay proper minimum wage and overtime compensation under
the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act.

The case is a collective action brought by the Plaintiff,
individually and on behalf of all hourly-paid employees employed by
the Defendants at any time within a three-year period preceding the
filing of the complaint. The Plaintiff was employed as an hourly
maintenance working for the Defendants' apartment home complexes in
Pine Bluff and White Hall. The Plaintiff began his employment with
the Defendants on or about June 2013 or 2014, and retired on
October 1, 2018.

According to the complaint, during the entirety of the Plaintiff's
employment, the Plaintiff and other hourly employees were
classified by the Defendants as non-exempt hourly employees and
were paid an hourly rate. The Defendants paid the Plaintiff $11.00
per hour for 40 hours per week, regardless of how many hours he
worked. The Plaintiff regularly worked more than 40 hours in a work
week and recorded his time on timesheets with specific information
regarding his overtime hours, including date, time, and location of
after-hours repairs. The Defendants did not pay the Plaintiff
overtime wages, despite him working overtime hours, the lawsuit
says.

The Defendants operate a residential real estate business providing
multi-family housing in the form of apartment complexes.[BN]

Attorneys for the Plaintiff:

          Josh Sanford, Esq.
          SANFORD LAW FIRM, PLLC
          One Financial Center
          650 South Shackleford Road, Suite 411
          Little Rock, AR 72211
          Telephone: (501) 221-0088
          Facsimile: (888) 787-2040
          E-mail: josh@sanfordlawfirm.com

COLORADO TECHNICAL: Dawn Jones Sues over Telemarketing Calls
------------------------------------------------------------
DAWN JONES, individually and on behalf of all other persons
similarly situated, the Plaintiff, vs. COLORADO TECHNICAL
UNIVERSITY, INC., the Defendant, Case No. 1:19-cv-00776-SCJ (N.D.
Ga., Feb. 14, 2019), seeks to stop the Defendant's practice of
making unsolicited telemarketing calls to the telephones of
consumers nationwide, and to obtain redress for all persons injured
by its conduct.

According to the complaint, in an effort to solicit potential
customers/students, Defendant recruited, or employed, call centers'
which began making telephone calls, en masse, to consumers across
the country. The Defendant or its agents purchase leads from
multiple lead generators that obtain consumer contact and
demographic information from a number of sources. The Defendant
conducted wide scale telemarketing campaigns and repeatedly made
unsolicited calls to consumers' telephones -- whose numbers appear
on the National Do Not Call Registry -- without consent, all in
violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The Plaintiff files the lawsuit and seeks an injunction requiring
the Defendant to cease all unsolicited telephone calling activities
to consumers registered on the National Do Not Call Registry. By
making the telephone calls at issue in this Complaint, the
Defendant caused the Plaintiff and the members of a putative Class
of consumers actual harm, including the aggravation, nuisance, and
invasion of privacy that necessarily accompanies the receipt of
unsolicited and harassing telephone calls, as well as the monies
paid to their carriers for the receipt of such telephone calls, the
lawsuit suit says.

Colorado Technical University, Inc. is a for-profit online school
based in Colorado.[BN]

Attorneys for the Plaintiff:

          Henry A. Turner, Esq.
          TURNER LAW OFFICES, LLC
          403 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Ste. 207
          Decatur, GA 30030
          Telephone (404) 378-6274
          E-mail: hturner@tloffices.com

               - and -

          Jarrett Ellzey, Esq.
          W. Craft Hughes, Esq.
          HUGHES ELLZEY, LLP
          1105 Milford Street
          Houston, TX 77006
          Telephone: (713) 554-2377
          Facsimile: (888) 995-3335
          E-mail: craft@hughesellzey.com
                  jarrett@hughesellzey.com

CREDIT CONTROL: "Bagby" Suit Alleges FDCPA Violation
----------------------------------------------------
Shaniece Bagby, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. Credit Control LLC, Bureaus Investment Group Portfolio
No 15, LLC, and John Does 1-25, Case No. 2:19-cv-00791 (E.D. Pa.,
February 25, 2019), is brought against the Defendants for violation
of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants deceived the consumer by
omitting the complete and accurate requirement that every part of a
consumer's dispute of a debt must be in writing.

The Plaintiff is a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Defendants are debt collectors. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Antranig Garibian, Esq.
      GARIBIAN LAW OFFICES, P.C.
      1800 JFK Blvd., Suite 300
      Philadelphia, PA 19103
      Tel: (215) 326-9179
      E-mail: ag@garibianlaw.com


CVS HEALTH: "Anarkat" Suit Alleges Exchange Act Violations
----------------------------------------------------------
Janak Anarkat, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. CVS Health Corporation, Larry J. Merlo, and David M.
Denton, Case No. 1:19-cv-01725 (S.D. N.Y., February 25, 2019), is
brought against the Defendants for violations of the federal
securities laws and to pursue remedies under the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934.

This is a federal securities class action on behalf of a class
consisting of all persons other than Defendants who purchased or
otherwise acquired CVS Health securities between May 21, 2015 and
February 20, 2019, both dates inclusive.

The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants made false and misleading
statements and failed to disclose that: (i) CVS Health’s
financial condition and expected earnings were deteriorating as a
result of rising costs and poor results associated with the
Omnicare Acquisition; and (ii) as a result, CVS Health's public
statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant
times.

The Plaintiff acquired CVS Health securities at artificially
inflated prices during the Class Period.

The Defendant CVS Health was founded in 1892 and is headquartered
in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. The Company was formerly known as CVS
Caremark Corporation and changed its name to CVS Health Corporation
in September 2014. CVS Health, together with its subsidiaries,
provides integrated pharmacy health care services, operating
through its Pharmacy Services and Retail/LTC segments. CVS Health's
common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker
symbol "CVS."

The Defendant Larry J. Merlo has served as CVS Health’s President
and Chief Executive Officer at all relevant times.

The Defendant David M. Denton has served as CVS Health’s
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at all
relevant times. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Michael Korsinsky, Esq.
      KORSINSKY & KLEIN, LLP
      2926 Avenue L
      Brooklyn, NY 11210
      Tel: (212) 495-8133


DARTMOUTH COLLEGE: Lawyers Weigh in on Pending Class Action
-----------------------------------------------------------
Eileen Brady, writing for The Dartmouth, reports that a pretrial
conference is set to be held on Feb. 19 to establish a schedule of
events as proceedings continue in the $70 million sexual misconduct
lawsuit against the College. Dartmouth will continue to "defend
itself as an institution" according to a College press release
addressing its answer to the allegations. The statement added that
the College will not defend the actions of the three former faculty
members in the psychological and brain sciences department named in
the suit -- Todd Heatherton, William Kelley and Paul Whalen.

The College's 85-page response to the suit was filed on Jan. 15.
The class action, brought by seven former and current Dartmouth
students, alleges that the College allowed three professors in the
psychology and brain sciences department to sexually harass and
abuse female students for more than 16 years.

The next official step in the court proceedings is a pretrial
conference that would occur Feb. 19, according to Charles Douglas,
Esq. -- chuck@nhlawoffice.com -- a Concord, New Hampshire attorney
serving as the local counsel, or the attorney located in the state
the case is filed in. Douglas added that if the parties can agree
on a schedule of events in the case going forward, the conference
may not be necessary.

"If they can agree, there may not need to be a conference," he
said. "But otherwise, the court wants to see the lawyers and just
get an update on how long it looks like we're going to need for
discovery of facts and documents prior to getting it ready for
trial."

Shortly after the schedule is established, the discovery period
will begin, which often lasts around a year in class action,
according to Deborah Marcuse, Esq. -- dmarcuse@sanfordheisler.com
-- co-lead counsel for the seven plaintiffs. Marcuse added that the
plaintiffs will also have the right to amend the complaint,
possibly by adding new claims or new parties in the class.

New claims could include those that fall under the jurisdiction if
Title VII, which is the federal statute proscribing discrimination
in employment, according to Marcuse.

"Arguments have been made and accepted by a variety of entities
regarding graduate students' status as employees," Marcuse said.
"Obviously there are times when graduate students are employees in
a way that everyone would recognize where they're paid to do a job,
but generally speaking, there are also broader arguments to be made
about graduate students as employees during the primary part of
[their] graduate education because of the work that they are
doing."

During the discovery process, lawyers will exchange information
they have acquired, including interrogatory responses -- which are
written responses to questions -- and depositions, or testimonies
taken under oath.

Marcuse added that the discovery process may also include questions
of whether the class -- currently defined as current or former
graduate or undergraduate students in PBS -- should be certified.
Certification means the court believes there are enough
similarities among the plaintiffs to maintain one larger lawsuit.
Class discovery could be done at the same time as the rest of the
discovery process, or the two could be split, Marcuse said.

"At some point, assuming that plaintiffs continue to wish to
proceed as a class action, which I do assume at this point, we
would be seeking certification of one or more classes," she said.

The judge overseeing the case will be Landya B. McCafferty of the
United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire.
Appointed in 2013 by Barack Obama, McCafferty is the first to woman
to serve as a district judge of the U.S. District Court for the
District of New Hampshire. The case was reassigned to McCafferty
after the original judge, Judge Joseph A. DiClerico Jr., recused
himself on Nov. 27, 2018.

The case may be settled if parties can come to an agreement without
going to trial. If the case is not settled or resolved through
other means, it may go to trial, though that could be months or
years from now, according to both Douglas and Marcuse.

In its 85-page Jan. 15 court filing, Dartmouth maintained that its
administration was not aware of the misconduct until affected
students filed reports in April 2017, at which time the school
"move expeditiously to investigate" the claims.

Among the steps taken was a "rigorous and objective review
consisting of separate investigations of each of the former faculty
members, led by an experienced external investigator who
interviewed more than 50 witnesses and reviewed extensive
documentation," according to the Jan. 22 press release.

Based on the results of this review, the College took the
"unprecedented" action of seeking to revoke the tenure and
employment of all three professors, the filing states. Before this
could happen, two of the involved professors resigned and the other
retired, according to the statement.

The filing also said that Dartmouth was aware of "isolated" sexual
harassment incidents dating back to 2002, but that the incidents
were handled properly.[GN]


DELAWARE: Dep't of Corrections Faces Lawsuit Over Inmate Abuses
---------------------------------------------------------------
Xerxes Wilson, writing for Delaware News Journal, reports that the
man who said he organized the 2017 uprising and hostage standoff at
Delaware's largest prison has sued state corrections officials
claiming inmates have been "physically, mentally and emotionally"
abused by those running the state's prisons.

Dwayne Staats filed the lawsuit in Delaware District Court in
January along with eight other inmates charged with the murder of a
correctional officer during the Feb. 2017 uprising James T. Vaughn
Correctional Center's C building.

The lawsuit claims the defendants were unnecessarily beaten by
police after the building was retaken and denied medical care in
the months following. It also accuses corrections officials of
disposing of irreplaceable items that belonged to inmates housed in
C Building.

The lawsuit names Delaware Department of Corrections Commissioner
Perry Phelps, other current and former DOC officials, the DOC's
tactical police unit and one of the state's primary contractors for
inmate medical services as defendants.

"The higher ranking officers and administration at (Vaughn) knew
about the abuses and torment permeating throughout the
environment," the hand-written complaint states. "They chose to
either support or encourage these behaviors or turn a blind eye to
them."

Specifically, the lawsuit claims the defendants were unnecessarily
beaten by tactical police that reclaimed C building without
resistance following the standoff. A team of police swarmed the
building, ending the 18-hour standoff. Correctional Officer Steven
Floyd was found dead and a prison counselor was rescued without
physical harm.

Inmates testifying in the ongoing criminal trials for the uprisings
have said police removed dozens of remaining inmates from the
building and used unnecessary force. The federal lawsuit gives
other examples.

Roman Shankaras, a plaintiff in the lawsuit and defendant in a
pending murder case tied to the uprising, claims police sprayed
mace "all over his face," stomped on his lower back and "an unknown
object got shoved near his rectum."

Plaintiff Lawrence Michaels, who is also awaiting trial, claims
that his mouth was forced open and mace sprayed directly down his
throat as police choked him.

Lt. Brian Vanes, who commanded the tactical police team, recently
testified about inmates' treatment in an ongoing criminal trial
tied to the uprising. He said some inmates did not cooperate with
police orders to get on the floor so force was used.

The lawsuit filed by the inmates claims police were not reacting to
resistance.  

The lawsuit also claims the plaintiffs were denied medical care in
the weeks after the lawsuit. Plaintiff Jarreau Ayers claims a
scheduled surgery on his knee was never conducted.

Ayers represented himself against murder charges for the uprising
last year. A jury acquitted him of murder but found him guilty of
kidnapping, assault and conspiracy.

The inmates claim that corrections officials and Delaware State
Police investigators trashed their belongings after the building
was retaken.

Staats, who was convicted of murder, kidnapping, assault and
conspiracy last year, made note of his lost belongings in his own
trial testimony.

He discussed pictures in state's evidence of his belongings intact
after the hostage standoff ended. He included those pictures as
exhibits to the lawsuit.

"So my stuff was deliberately thrown away," he testified in
November looking up at State Police Detective David Weaver or
corrections officials seated behind him. "But we'll get to the
bottom of that."

Each of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are either on trial,
scheduled to stand trial or have been tried for crimes associated
with the uprising.

Staats testified at his trial last year that he recruited fellow
lifers to take control of the building so his message about the
inhumane treatment of prisoners and unfair treatment of corrections
employees could reach the ears of Governor John Carney. Ayers said
he played a minimal role in the hostage standoff.

Plaintiffs Abednego Baynes, Kevin Berry, John Bramble and Obadiah
Miller are all currently on trial facing charges including
first-degree murder for the uprising.

Plantiffs Shankaras, Michaels and Abdul-Haqq El-Quadeer are
scheduled to be tried on murder charges later this year.

The men each filed the lawsuit representing themselves. Staats has
since moved to have counsel appointed.

The defendants in the lawsuit have not yet responded. A spokeswoman
for the DOC declined to comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit parallels a similar legal challenge filed in New Castle
County Superior Court late last year that seeks class-action status
on behalf of more than 100 inmates. It also claims C-Building
inmates were beaten, denied basic rights and had their belongings
destroyed.  

The two lawsuits also say officials are liable for poor or
malicious management of the prison system before the uprising.

The alleged lapses in management include inconsistent application
of rules, poor medical and mental health treatment, dysfunctional
grievance system and limited access to rehabilitative programming
-- issues inmates communicated to The News Journal and hostage
negotiators during the 2017 standoff.

Staats and others were initially represented by Stephen Hampton,
who filed the class-action lawsuit last year. Mr. Hampton said he
dropped Staats and others who had been criminally indicted in the
case. He said their involvement in both his case and the criminal
case would have hindered his lawsuit.

State officials have already paid $7.5 million to settle a lawsuit
filed on behalf of Floyd's family and other non-inmate hostages in
the building. The lawsuit claimed poor management led to the
uprising, findings echoed by a report commissioned by Carney in the
weeks after the uprising. [GN]


DIETZ & WATSON: Rozeboom Settlement Has Preliminary Court Approval
------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Western District of
Washington issued an Order granting Parties' Joint Motion for
Preliminary Settlement Approval in the case captioned SHARON
ROZEBOOM, ANTHONY LAVALLEY, BROOKE ALCANTAR, MARY BILSKI, MATTHEW
BRESLIN, MICHAEL BRODSKY, KATHY BUCKLEY, GLENN COHEN, TERESA DOAN,
JOAN DURANTE, CHRISTIAN GAVILANES, MICHAEL LAGOY, LAURA LAKOWSKI,
THOMAS LOBELLO, KAYODE LOTT, THOMAS MAIER, JULIUS MALEK, TINA
NESBITT, NELSON ORTEGA, MARK ROHAN, RODNEY ROSS, TRENT APPROVAL OF
SETTLEMENT RUSSELL, SABINA SCHOEN, STEPHEN SHRADER, KATHLEEN
SUCHAN, ROBERTA SUCHAN, ROBERT TOWNSEL, DOMINICK VITALE, WARREN
INDIVIDUALLY AND/OR ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHER similarly situated
individuals, Plaintiffs, v. DIETZ & WATSON, INC., Defendant. Case
No. 2:17-cv-01266-RAJ. (W.D. Wash.).

The Parties' Settlement Agreement is preliminarily approved as
fair, reasonable, and adequate based on consideration of the
criteria set forth in Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(e)(2) and relevant case
law.

For settlement purposes only, the following Rule 23 California
Settlement Class is certified pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23,
pending final approval of the settlement:

     All individuals who are or were employed by Defendant in
California as Merchandisers, also referred to as Sales
Merchandisers, at any time during the period from August 21, 2013
to December 3, 2018.

The Court finds that the prerequisites of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a) and
(b)(3) have been satisfied for the Rule 23 California Settlement
Class for settlement purposes only.

Nichols Kaster, PLLP is appointed as Class Counsel.

Nichols Kaster, PLLP is appointed as the settlement administrator
to disseminate and process the Notices.

Plaintiff Brook Alcantar is appointed as the Rule 23 California
Settlement Class Representative.

JND Legal Administration is appointed the settlement administrator
to process and disseminate the settlement funds.

The form, content, and distribution method of the parties' proposed
FLSA Notice, Rule 23 Notice, and FLSA and Rule 23 Notice is
approved. The Court finds that the notice procedure set forth in
the Settlement Agreement and its exhibits provides the best notice
that is practicable under the circumstances, including individual
notice to all members who can be identified through reasonable
effort, and complies with the requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P.
23(c)(2) and the requirements of due process.

The parties shall file their Motion for Final Approval at least 14
days before the Final Approval Hearing.

Class Counsel shall file their motion for Attorneys' Fees, Costs,
and Service Awards to the Class Representatives at least 14 days
before the Final Approval Hearing.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 31, 2018 Order is
available at  https://tinyurl.com/ya2nvn62 from Leagle.com.

Sharon Rozeboom, Anthony Lavalley, individually and on behalf of
other similarly situated individuals, Brooke Alcantar, Mary Bilski,
Matthew Breslin, Michael Brodsky, Kathy Buckley, Glenn Cohen,
Teresa Doan, Joan Durante, Christian Gavilanes, Michael Lagoy,
Laura Lakowski, Thomas Lobello, Kayode Lott, Thomas Maier, Julius
Malek, Tina Nesbitt, Nelson Ortega, Mark Rohan, Rodney Ross, Trent
Russell, Sabina Schoen, Stephen Shrader, Kathleen Suchan, Roberta
Suchan, Robert Townsel, Dominick Vitale & Ruth Warren, Individual
and/or on behalf of all other similarly situated individuals,
Plaintiffs, represented by Caroline E. Bressman --
cbressman@nka.com -- NICHOLS KASTER, PLLP, pro hac vice, Rebekah L.
Bailey -- bailey@nka.com -- NICHOLS KASTER, PLLP, pro hac vice,
Reena I. Desai -- rdesai@nka.com -- NICHOLS KASTER, PLLP, pro hac
vice & Toby James Marshall -- tmarshall@terrellmarshall.com --
TERRELL MARSHALL LAW GROUP PLLC.

Dietz & Watson Inc, Defendant, represented by Breanne Sheetz
Martell -- bsmartell@littler.com -- LITTLER MENDELSON.


DIRECT ENERGY: 2nd Cir. Affirms Dismissal of G. Richards' Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, issued an
Opinion affirming the District Court's judgment granting
Defendant’s Summary Judgment in the case captioned GARY W.
RICHARDS, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated,
Plaintiff-Appellant, v. DIRECT ENERGY SERVICES, LLC,
Defendant-Appellee. No. 17-1003-cv. (2nd Cir.).

The Plaintiff appeal from the district court’s dismissed of
several of his claims and granted summary judgment to Direct Energy
as to the rest.

Plaintiff-Appellant Gary W. Richards entered into an electricity
contract with Defendant-Appellee Direct Energy Services, LLC
(Direct Energy). The contract provided that, for the first twelve
months, Direct Energy would guarantee Richards a fixed electricity
rate that was 10% below the state-approved rate. But if Richards
did not leave the contract at the end of that year, Direct Energy
would begin charging him a new variable rate. The variable rate,
according to the contract, would be set on a month to month basis
according to Direct Energy's discretion and would reflect business
and market conditions.Richards was free to terminate the contract
at any time without paying a penalty. After twelve months on the
discounted fixed rate plan, Richards began paying the variable
rate. During this time, the variable rate was two cents more per
kilowatt hour (kWh) than the state-approved rate. Richards switched
electricity providers after fifteen months with Direct Energy
(twelve on the discounted fixed rate, three on the variable rate),
complaining that the variable rate was set too high.

He then sued Direct Energy for breach of contract, deceptive and
unfair trade practices, and unjust enrichment, and also sought to
represent a class of all Direct Energy customers who paid the
variable rate in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

The district court dismissed Richards's Massachusetts state law and
Connecticut unjust enrichment claims. Because Richards is a
Connecticut resident who was injured in Connecticut and not
Massachusetts, the court concluded that Richards lacked Article III
standing to bring an unfair and deceptive trade practices claim
under Massachusetts law. Richards also failed to state a claim for
unjust enrichment because a plaintiff  cannot plead a claim of
unjust enrichment if he also pleads the existence of an express
contract, as Richards had.

The district court granted summary judgment to Direct Energy on
Richards's remaining claims. Direct Energy was entitled to summary
judgment on Richards's contract claim, the district court
concluded, because Richards had not put forth sufficient evidence
to create a material factual dispute about Direct Energy's bad
faith, as required for his claim based on an alleged breach of the
covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  

The district court also granted summary judgment to Direct Energy
on Richards's unfair and deceptive trade practices claims under
Connecticut law. Richards had argued that the Evergreen clause was
deceptive because a reasonable consumer would interpret it to mean
that Direct Energy would charge consumers its procurement costs,
plus a fixed profit margin. The district court disagreed and held
that the clause plainly gave Direct Energy discretion to set a
profit margin of its choosing when determining variable rates.

On appeal, Richards challenges the district court's grant of
summary judgment to Direct Energy on his contract and Connecticut
unfair and deceptive trade practices claims and dismissal of his
unjust enrichment and Massachusetts unfair trade practices claims.


Summary judgment is appropriate only if it can be established `that
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

Richards argues that Direct Energy breached its contract with him
because it violated the implied covenant of good faith and fair
dealing. Under Connecticut law, the implied covenant attaches to
every contract and requires that neither party do anything that
will injure the right of the other to receive the benefits of the
agreement.

To establish a breach of the implied covenant, the plaintiff must
also show that the defendants' allegedly wrongful acts were taken
in bad faith. Bad faith in general implies both actual or
constructive fraud, or a design to mislead or deceive another, or a
neglect or refusal to fulfill some duty or some contractual
obligation, not prompted by an honest mistake as to one's rights or
duties, but by some interested or sinister motive.

Richards's contention that Direct Energy breached the implied
covenant of good faith and fair dealing ultimately rests on his
interpretation of the Evergreen clause. Again, the clause states:
"After the Initial Term and during the Renewal Period, the rate for
electricity will be variable each month at Direct Energy's
discretion. The rate may be higher or lower each month based upon
business and market conditions."

In Richards's view, a reasonable consumer would understand this
contract language to mean that the variable rate would fluctuate
with Direct Energy's procurement costs. And because the variable
rate stayed constant while procurement costs fluctuated from the
winter of 2013-2014 through August 2015, Direct Energy ignored the
language of the contract. Richards contends that, at minimum, his
two experts attested that a reasonable consumer would interpret the
Evergreen clause this way, which raises a plausible question of
fact as to the clause's appropriate interpretation. He also
maintains that Direct Energy acted in bad faith because Direct
Energy set its variable rates too high, and lured new customers
into enrolling by offering low fixed teaser rates for a set period
of time.

For the following reasons, the Court disagrees.

Direct Energy did not evade the contract's spirit or frustrate
Richards's justified expectations. The Evergreen clause states that
Direct Energy had discretion to set the variable rate based upon
business and market conditions. The record reflects that Direct
Energy set the variable rate to achieve a target profit margin,
match competitors' prices, and reduce customer losses, among other
objectives. As a matter of plain meaning, these sorts of
considerations constitute business and market conditions. The
Evergreen clause in no way states or implies that such
considerations are improper, nor does it suggest that the variable
rate bears a direct relationship to Direct Energy's procurement
costs.

Richards's experts' testimony adds nothing to his breach of
contract claim. These experts opined only on what factors the
variable rate should reflect, in their view, while declining to
offer an opinion on how the Evergreen clause should be interpreted.
And the experts' interpretation of the Evergreen clause would be
irrelevant even if they had opined on its legal meaning because the
construction of unambiguous contract terms is strictly a judicial
function. Courts across the country have thus rightly dismissed
arguments like Richards's even at the pleadings phase.

The Court therefore affirms the district court's grant of summary
judgment to Direct Energy on Richards's contract claim.

The Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) prohibits unfair
methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in
the conduct of any trade or commerce. Under CUTPA, unfair methods
of competition, unfair acts and deceptive acts are distinct
categories of wrongful conduct. Richards argues that Direct
Energy's variable rate pricing was (1) deceptive, (2) a per se
violation of CUTPA, and (3) unfair. Richards's CUTPA claims are
almost entirely duplicative of his contract claim. They are also
without merit, and the Court affirm the district court's grant of
summary judgment as to these claims.

An act or practice is deceptive under CUTPA if the defendant makes
a material representation or omission likely to mislead consumers
who interpret the message reasonably under the circumstances. The
deception standard is objective in nature and a representation is
deceptive only if it is likely to mislead rather than merely has
the tendency or capacity' to do so.  

Richards's deception claim is identical to his contract claim. He
contends that reasonable consumers would likely interpret the
Evergreen clause to mean that the variable rate would reflect the
costs of procuring power plus an appropriate margin to cover the
legitimate costs and risks of supplying variable rate customers.
But as explained above, the contract unambiguously allowed Direct
Energy to set the variable rate the way it did. Richards is also
wrong, for the same reasons given above, when he claims that his
experts' views about the Evergreen clause raise a question of fact
on this issue. Slapping the phrase reasonable consumer into his
argument does not change our earlier analysis in any way.  

Accepting Richards's argument to the contrary would mean, in
effect, that if Direct Energy wished to retain the discretion in a
contract to set its variable rate based on a range of business and
market conditions, it was required to disclose every factor
influencing that variable rate. But CUTPA imposes no such duty.  

Richards's argument that Direct Energy's variable rate pricing
constituted a per se violation of CUTPA is equally unavailing. As
discussed above, Connecticut requires that each contract for
electric generation services contain all material terms of the
agreement, including a clear and conspicuous statement explaining
the rates that each consumer will be paying and the circumstances
under which the rates may change. An electric company that violates
this provision commits a per se unfair or deceptive trade practice
under CUTPA.  

Richards contends that Direct Energy violated Section 16-245o(j)
because it misrepresented that it set its variable rate based on
`business and market conditions' when it did not. But Richards
assumes, yet again, that the Evergreen clause misrepresented Direct
Energy's pricing practices. The Court have already rejected that
view twice in this opinion. The Court thus affirms the district
court's grant of summary judgment on Richards's per se CUTPA
claim.

Richards's claim that Direct Energy's variable rate pricing
constituted an unfair trade practice under CUTPA is also without
merit. A trade practice is unfair under CUTPA if it (1) falls
within the penumbra of some common law, statutory, or other
established concept of unfairness (2) is immoral, unethical,
oppressive, or unscrupulous or (3) causes substantial injury to
consumers. The substantial injury to consumers prong covers conduct
that is substantial is not outweighed by any countervailing
benefits and causes an injury that consumers themselves could not
reasonably have avoided.

Richards's contentions do not come close to meeting this standard.
Run-of-the-mill statutory violations, torts, and contract breaches
do not constitute unfair trade practices.  
The crux of Richards's unfairness theory is, once more, his
contention that Direct Energy breached the contract by failing to
tie its variable rate to business and market conditions, which he
interprets to mean procurement costs. But a simple contract breach
is not sufficient to establish a violation of CUTPA, particularly
where the count alleging CUTPA simply incorporates by reference the
breach of contract claim.

Richards argues that his unfairness claim extends further and does
not turn on his contract claim alone. Specifically, he objects to
Direct Energy's supposed practice of (1) luring consumers with
teaser-rates and later (2) gouging them with variable rates that
(3) consumers do not monitor. In his view, these practices raise a
question of fact as to whether Direct Energy's pricing strategy was
unfair. We consider each component of his argument in turn.

First, offering a teaser rate is not against public policy,
unethical, or substantially injurious on its own, especially when,
as here, consumers can cancel the contract whenever they like
without paying any fee. Richards himself is a case in point as to
why this is so: He chose to sign with Direct Energy because it
offered the best fixed rate available. That saved him more than
$100 over the Standard Service Rate during the first twelve months
of his contract with Direct Energy hardly a substantial injury.

Second, Richards's contention that the variable rates were so high
that "no rational consumer" would voluntarily sign a variable rate
contract, is irrelevant for at least two reasons. First, he did not
sign a variable rate contract; he signed a fixed rate contract that
rolled over into a variable rate after a set time. As already
noted, this at first saved him money, as compared to the Standard
Service Rate, and ultimately cost him only about $1.67 per month
above the Standard Service Rate during his time with Direct Energy.
And regardless, charging high prices does not on its own give rise
to a CUTPA violation.  

Richards's unfair practices claim thus ultimately depends on his
assertion that charging a variable rate that "consumers [do] not
monitor" is a violation of CUTPA. But he supplies no legal
authority for this proposition. Presumably, what bothers Richards
is that many Direct Energy consumers pay the variable rate when
their initial fixed-rate periods expire, even though leaving their
contracts would likely save them money. All sorts of companies
design their business strategies with the expectation that
consumers act this way. Many magazines and gyms, for example, offer
initial discounts on subscriptions and membership on the assumption
that they can make up the loss if customers either decide they like
the product or, crucially, forget to cancel. And Connecticut law is
clear that widespread business practices that are consistent with
common business norms" do not violate CUTPA. It is therefore clear
to us that Direct Energy's pricing strategy during the term of its
relationship with Richards was not against public policy, immoral,
or substantially injurious.

The Court therefore conclude that Richards's CUTPA claim is without
merit and that the district court's partial grant of summary
judgment as to this claim should be affirmed.

Richards next challenges the district court's dismissal of his
unjust enrichment and Massachusetts state law claims.

The Court review de novo a district court's dismissal on the
pleadings, accepting all factual allegations as true and drawing
all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. To survive a
motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.

The district court held that Richards failed to state a claim for
unjust enrichment because he signed a contract with Direct Energy.
Richards contends that this was error. He agrees with the district
court that he and Direct Energy had an enforceable contract in
principle. But he argues in the alternative that if this contract
did not prevent Direct Energy's predatory conduct, then the
contract was illusory, and he is entitled to recovery under unjust
enrichment.
The Court disagrees.

The contract was not illusory. The implied covenant of good faith
and fair dealing obliged Direct Energy to act in good faith when it
set the variable rate, and good faith is enough to avoid the
finding of an illusory promise. Because Richards and Direct Energy
had a binding contract, Richards could not plead an unjust
enrichment claim. We therefore affirm the district court on this
issue.

The Court turns to Richards's unfair trade practices claims under
Massachusetts law. The district court dismissed these claims for
lack of Article III standing because Richards was not injured in
Massachusetts. This was error. A plaintiff has Article III standing
if he suffered (1) an injury (2) caused by the defendant that (3)
would be redressed by a favorable judicial decision. There is no
question that Richards satisfies this standard: he was (1) charged
money (2) by Direct Energy, and (3) seeks recompense for this
charge. To be sure, whether a statute grants a plaintiff a cause of
action will often turn on where the tortious conduct occurred.  

The Court still affirms the district court's dismissal of
Richards's Massachusetts claims, however, because dismissal was
proper under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
  
Here, Richards failed to state a claim because Massachusetts does
not give plaintiffs a cause of action for unfair or deceptive acts
that occur outside Massachusetts. Beyond this statutory hurdle, the
United States Constitution would also bar Massachusetts from
regulating, via consumer protection law, the rates that Direct
Energy charged consumers in Connecticut.

The Court have no occasion to address whether Article III would
have prevented Richards from representing a class of plaintiffs
with claims under Massachusetts law. The Court therefore affirms
the district court's partial dismissal as to the Massachusetts
claims.

The judgment of the district court is affirmed.

A full-text copy of the Second Circuit's February 4, 2018 Opinion
is available at https://tinyurl.com/yyoxrops from Leagle.com.

ROBERT A. IZARD -- rizard@ikrlaw.com -- (Craig A. Raabe --
craabe@ikrlaw.com -- on the brief), Izard, Kindall & Raabe LLP,
West Hartford, CT, for Gary W. Richards, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

MICHAEL D. MATTHEWS -- matt.matthews@mhllp.com -- (James M.
Chambers -- james.chambers@mhllp.com -- Hutson B. Smelley --
hutson.smelley@mhllp.com -- Robert P. Debelak III --
bobby.debelak@mhllp.com -- on the brief), McDowell & Hetherington
LLP, Houston, TX, for Direct Energy Services, LLC, for
Defendant-Appellant.


DONUTS CORP: Court Denies Dismissal Bid of Tapia FLSA Suit
----------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
issued an Opinion denying Defendant's Motion to Dismiss in the case
captioned Re: Tapia, v. Glaze Donuts Corp., et al. Civil Action No.
18-8517 (SDW) (LDW). (D.N.J.).

Before this Court is Defendants Glaze Donuts Corporation, Glaze
Artisan Donuts, LLC, Glaze West Caldwell, LLC, and Julie Hazou's
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Efrain Tapia's Complaint for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

Plaintiff's Complaint Sufficiently States a Claim Upon Which Relief
Can be Granted

The Defendants employed the Plaintiff as a baker, donut maker and
cleaner. During that time, the Plaintiff worked approximately ten
hours a day, six to seven days a week and was paid $600.00 week,
but was not paid overtime and was also not paid wages due to him.
The Plaintiff filed suit in this Court on behalf of himself and
others similarly situated alleging that the Defendants' failure to
pay him overtime violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and
the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (NJWHL) and their failure to pay
him wages violated the New Jersey Wage Payment Law (NJWPL).

Although the Plaintiff's pleadings are general in nature, they
contain allegations that, during his employment, he consistently
worked in excess of sixty hours per week and was not properly paid
overtime and regular wages as required by federal and state law.
The Plaintiff identifies the entities and persons responsible for
his employment, his weekly hours, the dates he was employed, his
weekly pay, and the damages he alleges he suffered. If true, the
facts as alleged would entitle the Plaintiff to relief. In
addition, the Complaint is sufficient to put the Defendants on
notice of the Plaintiff's claims and to permit them to defend
themselves against those claims. Therefore, the Defendants' motion
to dismiss will be denied.

Accordingly, the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is denied.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 31, 2018 Opinion
is available at https://tinyurl.com/yb46qcx6 from Leagle.com.

EFRAIN TAPIA, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, represented by ROMAN M. AVSHALUMOV , HELEN
DALTON & ASSOCIATES, P.C.

GLAZE DONUTS CORPORATION, GLAZE ARTISAN DONUTS, LLC., GLAZE WEST
CALDWELL, LLC. & JULE HAZOU, Defendants, represented by STEPHEN R.
BOSIN.


DYNAMIC LEDGER: Briefing Schedule Set in Tezos Securities Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
California issued an Order setting briefing schedule and continuing
hearing on Motion for Class Certification in the case captioned  IN
RE TEZOS SECURITIES LITIGATION. This document relates to: ALL
ACTIONS. Master No. 17-cv-06779-RS. (N.D. Cal.).

In light of the recent addition of named plaintiffs, the proposed
withdrawal of lead plaintiff Anvari, the pendency of the
Substitution Motion, and the ongoing nature of discovery that the
parties have served, the parties believe that it would be
appropriate to continue the hearing on the Class Certification
Motion and to set a briefing schedule that will allow the parties
adequate time to complete relevant discovery and to brief relevant
issues in advance of the hearing date and

The Defendants shall file their opposition to the Class
Certification Motion on or before May 15, 2019.  The Plaintiffs
shall file their reply in support of the Class Certification Motion
on or before July 15, 2019.  The hearing on the Class Certification
Motion shall be continued to July 31, 2019, at 1:30 p.m., or such
other date as is convenient for the Court.
Except as expressly set forth herein, nothing in this stipulation
shall be construed as waiving any of the parties' rights, including
in connection with the Substitution Motion.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 31, 2018 Order is
available at https://tinyurl.com/y6cdecnh from Leagle.com.

GGCC, LLC, an Illinois Limited Liability Company, individually and
on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, represented
by William Richard Restis, The Restis Law Firm, P.C., Bruce Daniel
Greenberg -- bgreenberg@litedepalma.com -- Lite Depalma Greenberg
LLC, pro hac vice, Jeremy Nash -- jnash@litedepalma.com -- Lite
DePalma Greenberg, LLC, pro hac vice & Joseph J. DePalma --
jdepalma@litedepalma.com -- Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC, pro hac
vice.

Dynamic Ledger Solutions, Inc., a Delaware Corporation, Defendant,
represented by Brian E. Klein -- bklein@bakermarquart.com -- Baker
Marquart LLP, Patrick Edward Gibbs -- pgibbs@cooley.com -- Cooley
LLP, Donald Ross Pepperman -- dpepperman@bakermarquart.com -- Baker
Marquart LLP, Jeffrey Michael Kaban -- jkaban@cooley.com -- Cooley
LLP, Jessica Valenzuela Santamaria -- jvs@cooley.com -- Cooley LLP,
Jessie A.R. Simpson Lagoy -- jsimpsonlagoy@cooley.com -- Cooley
LLP, Samantha Anne Kirby -- skirby@cooley.com -- Cooley LLP, Scott
Matthew Malzahn -- smalzahn@bakermarquart.com -- Baker Marquart LLP
& Teresa L. Huggins -- thuggins@bakermarqaurt.com -- Baker Marquart
LLP.


EMPIRE FINANCIAL: Monteverde Investigates SmartFinancial Sale
-------------------------------------------------------------
Juan Monteverde, founder and managing partner at Monteverde &
Associates PC, a national securities firm headquartered at the
Empire State Building in New York City, is investigating:

Entegra Financial Corp. (ENFC) regarding its sale to
SmartFinancial, Inc. for 1.215 shares in SmartFinancial  for each
share of Entegra. Click here for more information:
https://www.monteverdelaw.com/case/entegra-financial-corp.  It is
free and there is no cost or obligation to you.

Kinderhook Bank Corp. (NUBK) regarding its sale to Community Bank
System, Inc. for $62 per share. Click here for more information:
https://www.monteverdelaw.com/case/kinderhook-bank-corp.  It is
free and there is no cost or obligation to you.

First Data Corporation (FDC) regarding its sale to Fiserv, Inc. for
0.303 shares of Fiserv for each share of First Data. Click here for
more information:
https://www.monteverdelaw.com/case/first-data-corporation.  It is
free and there is no cost or obligation to you.

TCF Financial Corporation (TCF) for its sale to Chemical Financial
Corporation for 0.5081 shares in Chemical for each TCF Financial
share. Click here for more information:
https://www.monteverdelaw.com/case/tcf-financial-corporation.  It
is free and there is no cost or obligation to you.

UQM Technologies, Inc. (UQM) for its sale to Danfoss Power
Solutions for $1.71 per share. Click here for more information:
https://https://www.monteverdelaw.com/case/uqm-technologies-inc. It
is free and there is no cost or obligation to you.

Versum Materials, Inc. (VSM) for its sale to Entegris, Inc. for
1.120 shares of Entegris for each share of Versum. Click here for
more information:
https://www.monteverdelaw.com/case/versum-materials-inc. It is free
and there is no cost or obligation to you.

Reliance Bancshares Inc. (RLBS) regarding its merger with Simmons
First National Corporation. Click here for more information:
https://www.monteverdelaw.com/case/reliance-bancshares-inc. It is
free and there is no cost or obligation to you.

Monteverde & Associates PC is a national class action securities
and consumer litigation law firm that has recovered millions of
dollars and iscommitted to protecting shareholders and consumers
from corporate wrongdoing.  Monteverde & Associates lawyers have
significant experience litigating Mergers & Acquisitions and
Securities Class Actions, whereby they protect investors by
recovering money and remedying corporate misconduct. Mr.
Monteverde, who leads the legal team at the firm, has been
recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Securities
Litigation in 2013, 2017 and 2018, an award given to less than 2.5%
of attorneys in a particular field.  He has also been selected by
Martindale-Hubbell as a 2017 and 2018 Top Rated Lawyer.

If you own common stock of listed companies and wish to obtain
additional information and protect your investments free of charge,
please visit our website or contact Juan E. Monteverde, Esq. either
via e-mail at jmonteverde@monteverdelaw.com or by telephone at
(212) 971-1341. [GN]


FRONTLINE ASSET: Lebovits Asserts Breach of FDCPA in New York
-------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Frontline Asset
Strategies, LLC.  The case is styled as Josef Lebovits, on behalf
of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff v.
Frontline Asset Strategies, LLC, Defendant, Case No. 1:19-cv-01636
(S.D. N.Y., February 21, 2019).

The docket of the case states the nature of suit as Consumer Credit
filed pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Frontline Asset Strategies is a debt collection agency out of
Minnesota.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Daniel Chaim Cohen, Esq.
   Cohen & Mizrahi LLP
   300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor
   Brooklyn, NY 11201
   Tel: (929) 575-4175
   Fax: (929) 575-4195
   Email: dan@cml.legal


FYRE MEDIA: Ja Rule Apologizes Over Fyre Festival Debacle
---------------------------------------------------------
Scott Baumgartner, writing for Click2Houston, reports that Ja Rule
is ready for the heat he's receiving for his participation in the
now infamous Fyre Festival.

Last month, both Netflix and Hulu released documentaries exploring
the Fyre Festival debacle where droves were stranded on a Bahamian
island with lackluster food and meager accommodations in April 2017
at what was billed as the mother of all destination festivals.

The rapper was among its organizers and he receives a lot of flak
in both docs for his part in the catastrophe, which was tweeted,
live-streamed and photographed by its young attendees. But on Feb.
1, when taking the stage in New Jersey, the rapper decided to clear
the air with his fans.

He raised a middle finger to those in attendance and asked whose
seen the new documentaries and suggested, "You might be a little
mad at me."

That's when he lead the crowd in a chant where everyone cursed him
out.

"I want y'all to repeat after me," he said, middle finger still in
the air. "Get it out of your f**king system cause we ain't gonna do
this s**t for the rest of the year! So get your motherf**king
middle fingers up."

Then he shouted, "Let me hear you say 'F**k you, Ja Rule!"

Attendees joined him the call-and-response three times before
moving on.

When the docs dropped in January, the rapper had several exchanges
on Twitter defending himself.

"I feel bad for those ppl . . . but I did not and would never scam
ANYONE . . . period!!!" he tweeted. "And I don't care if anyone
sympathizes with me or not those are the FACTS!!!"

Soon after horrifying details of the failed music festival came to
light in April of 2017, Ja Rule apologized to would-be festival
goers and stressed his innocence in the fall-out.

"We are working right now on getting everyone out of the island
SAFE that is my immediate concern," he wrote on Instagram,
declaring that the event was "not a scam." "I don't know how
everything went so left but I'm working to make it right by making
sure everyone is refunded."

"I truly apologize as this NOT MY FAULT . . . . but I'm taking
responsibility. I'm deeply sorry to everyone who was inconvenienced
by this."

Ja Rule and his co-founder Billy McFarland were slammed with a $100
million class action lawsuit in 2017, for which the rapper denies
liability. Mr. MacFarland is currently serving a six-year sentence
in federal prison after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud
and faking documents to secure investors in his company. [GN]


HONDA MOTORS: Faces Various Class Actions in U.S. Over Airbags
--------------------------------------------------------------
Taipei Times reports that Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co's
fiscal third-quarter profit fell 71 percent from a year earlier as
growing incentives, an unfavorable exchange rate and flat vehicle
sales offset gains from cost cuts, the company said on Feb. 1.

Tokyo-based Honda's profit totaled JPY168 billion (US$1.53 billion)
from October to December last year, down from JPY570.3 billion a
year earlier. Quarterly sales were unchanged at JPY3.9 trillion.

An unfavorable exchange rate to Asian and other global currencies
dented profitability, Honda said. Japanese exporters such as Honda
are vulnerable to such fluctuations.

Quality expenses that also helped bring down profits for the latest
quarter were not directly related to the massive global recall of
Takata Corp air bags that hurt Honda in past years, the firm said.

Inflators used in the airbags that were recalled can explode with
too much force. At least 23 people have died from the problem
worldwide and hundreds have been injured.

Honda, which makes the Accord sedan, Odyssey minvan and Asimo
robot, said it is facing various class-action lawsuits in the US
related to the air bags.

Honda's settlements totaled JPY53.8 billion for April to December,
and it could face more such expenses, the company said.

Motorcycle sales improved in Vietnam and it also recorded better
sales in its financial services business, Honda said.

Honda raised its profit forecast for this fiscal year, which ends
on March 31, by JPY20 billion from an earlier projection, to JPY695
billion.

That is down 34 percent from the previous fiscal year. [GN]


HP INC: Website not Accessible to Blind People, Kiler Says
----------------------------------------------------------
MARION KILER, on behalf of herself and all others similarly
situated, the Plaintiff, vs. HP INC., the Defendant, Case No.
1:19-cv-01416 (E.D.N.Y., Feb. 14, 2019), seeks to put an end to
systemic civil rights violations committed by the Defendant against
the blind in New York State and across the United States.

According to the complaint, the Defendant is denying blind
individuals throughout the United States equal access to the goods
and services the Defendant provides to its non-disabled customers
through www.store.hp.com  The Website provides to the public a wide
array of the goods, services, and other opportunities offered by
the Defendant. Yet, the Website contains access barriers that make
it difficult, if not impossible, for blind customers to use the
Website. The Defendant thus excludes the blind from the full and
equal participation in the growing Internet economy that is a
fundamental part of the common marketplace and daily living. In the
wave of technological advances in recent years, assistive computer
technology is becoming an increasingly prominent part of everyday
life, allowing blind people to fully and independently access a
variety of services, including shopping and purchasing products
online.

The Plaintiff is a blind individual. She brings this civil rights
class action against Defendant for failing to design, construct,
maintain, and/or own a website that is fully accessible to, and
independently usable by, blind people. Specifically, the Website
has many access barriers preventing blind people from independently
navigating, browsing, and purchasing products on the Website using
assistive computer technology.

The Plaintiff uses the terms "blind person" or "blind people" and
"the blind" to refer to all persons with visual impairments who
meet the legal definition of blindness in that they have a
visual acuity with correction of less than or equal to 20/200. Some
blind people who meet this definition have limited vision. Others
have no vision. Approximately 8.1 million people in the United
States are visually impaired, including 2.0 million who are blind.
There are approximately 400,000 visually impaired persons in New
York State. Many blind people enjoy using the Internet just as
sighted people do. The lack of an accessible website means that
blind people are excluded from the opportunity to shop and purchase
goods and from independently navigating and using the Website.

Despite readily available accessible technology, such as the
technology in use at Americans with Disabilities: 2010 Report, U.S.
Census Bureau Reports American Foundation for the Blind,
State-Specific Statistical Information, January 2015 other heavily
trafficked websites, which makes use of alternative text,
accessible forms, descriptive links, and resizable text, and limits
the usage of tables and JavaScript, Defendant has chosen to rely on
a predominantly visual interface. Defendant's sighted customers can
independently browse and purchase products without the assistance
of others. However, blind people must rely on sighted companions to
assist them in browsing and purchasing products on the Website. By
failing to make the Website accessible to blind persons, Defendant
is violating basic equal access requirements under both state and
federal law, the lawsuit says.

Hewlett-Packard Company was an American multinational information
technology company headquartered in Palo Alto, California.[BN]

Attorneys for the Plaintiff and the Class:

          C.K. Lee, Esq.
          Anne Seelig, Esq.
          LEE LITIGATION GROUP, PLLC
          30 East 39th Street, Second Floor
          New York, NY 10016
          Telephone: 212-465-1188
          Facsimile: 212-465-11

HYUNDAI MOTOR: Faces Class Action Over Elantra Piston Problems
--------------------------------------------------------------
David A. Wood, writing for CarComplaints.com, reports that a
Hyundai Elantra class action lawsuit alleges the cars have piston
problems that cause knocking engines to eventually fail.

However, Hyundai says the arguments set forth by Elantra owners
don't merit a lawsuit, much less a class action.

According to the plaintiffs, the clicking noise occurs in 2011-2016
Elantras equipped with 1.8-liter Nu engines that suffer from oil
sludge that can cause owners to pay up to $10,000 to replace the
engines.

Plaintiff Elizabeth Brown purchased a new 2013 Hyundai Elantra
Limited in August 2013 from New Jersey Hyundai dealer Avenel
Sansone Auto Group. The plaintiff claims she noticed a
clicking/ticking noise in October 2017 that seemed to be coming
from the engine when she started the car.

She didn't take the car to a dealer but says about a week later her
son was driving when he heard a loud pop before the engine failed.
The Elantra had about 64,000 miles on it when it was towed to
Sansone for repairs.

According to the class action lawsuit, the dealership found the
engine was "full of oil sludge, which was caused by her failure to
timely change the oil in her vehicle."

Ms. Brown alleges the Elantra is covered by a 10-year/100,000-mile
powertrain warranty, but Hyunda argues the warranty has conditions
that customers must meet. In this case, the plaintiff was told the
warranty requires proof of abiding by the maintenance schedule, but
Hyundai and the dealership determined the Elantra wasn't covered
"due to inadequate maintenance."

Plaintiff Thomas Pearson purchased a 2015 Hyundai Elantra in
December 2014 and alleges his engine "catastrophically failed" in
July 2018. Hyundai says the plaintiff doesn't allege the Elantra
suffered any symptoms related to piston problems including any
clicking or ticking noise.

The car had 76,000 miles on it when the plaintiff was told he had
exceeded the mileage limit under the new vehicle limited warranty.
However, the powertrain warranty was still good so Hyundai replaced
the engine under warranty.

In its motion to dismiss the class action, Hyundai says the only
"harm" claimed by the plaintiff is that Hyundai should have
reimbursed him in full for rental car fees. According to the
automaker, the plaintiff has no claims at all because Hyundai
replaced his engine under warranty, leaving his claims moot.

Plaintiff Janeshia Martin purchased a used 2015 Hyundai Elantra in
May 2015 from a non-Hyundai dealership, but in 2018 the engine
allegedly failed on two occasions. Hyundai notes she never
mentioned any symptoms of alleged piston problems but was told the
engine would need to be replaced due to "metal shavings in the
oil."

The dealership said because the Elantra had 74,000 miles on the
odometer the engine replacement wouldn't be covered under the new
vehicle limited warranty. In addition, the powertrain warranty was
no good because she purchased the car used.

The plaintiff claims a "Hyundai dealer" replaced her engine for
$3,000, but Hyundai notes the plaintiff never says she had to pay
for the replacement.

Plaintiff Nicholas Moore purchased a used 2013 Hyundai Elantra in
December 2014 from a non-Hyundai dealer, but more than two years
after he bought the car it started making a ticking noise.

Hyundai says the plaintiff claims "Hyundai denied his warranty
claim," but the plaintiff didn't say why. The automaker says the
new vehicle warranty was no good because the car had too many
miles, and the powertrain warranty wasn't in force because he
purchased a used Elantra.

According to the class action lawsuit, Hyundai must have known
about the alleged engine problems based on complaints submitted to
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

However, Hyundai argues only two of 24 complaints predate Brown's
purchase of her vehicle, only "three predate Pearson's and Moore's
purchases of their vehicles, and only five predate Martin's
purchase of her vehicle."

Some of those complaints never mention anything about a clicking or
ticking noise and several complaints specifically say Hyundai "was
not notified of the failure."

Hyundai further argues the plaintiffs failed to plead the most
basic elements of fraud because they have not identified a single
misstatement by Hyundai that prompted their decisions to buy the
cars.

Hyundai also says claims about denied warranty coverage are
baseless because none of the plaintiffs "allege that they performed
regular (or any) maintenance on their vehicles, nor do they allege
that they retained (or ever had) copies of any maintenance
records."

Hyundai questions how the plaintiffs would even know alleged piston
problems caused failed engines considering none of the customers
claim they maintained their vehicles.

The Hyundai Elantra class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S.
District Court for the District of New Jersey, Newark Division -
Brown, et al., v. Hyundai Motor America, et al.

The plaintiffs are represented by Sauder Schelkopf LLC, Migliaccio
& Rathod LLP, and Levin Sedran & Berman.

CarComplaints.com has engine complaints from Elantra drivers:

Hyundai Elantra - 2011 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014 / 2015 / 2016 [GN]


INSTACART: Delivery Workers Don't Always Get Customer Tips
----------------------------------------------------------
Olivia Solon, writing for NBC News, reports that tips paid to
workers at on-demand delivery services including Instacart and
Doordash are being used to substitute a portion of workers' wages
rather than directly boosting their income, according to online
forums dedicated to gig economy workers, and reports to worker
rights groups.

While the companies insist they have been transparent with their
workers about the pay structure, consumer protection groups have
criticized the practice as deceptive to consumers and unfair to
workers.

"Any consumer in the United States thinks that the money they are
paying in a tip is 100 percent on top of anything else the service
provider might be paid," said Carmen Balber, executive director of
Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit that advocates for consumers.

Towards the end of 2018, Instacart started rolling out a new
earnings structure that it claimed offered more transparency to its
70,000 contracted workers. Prior to the change, drivers would get a
base rate plus a fixed fee for every item ordered and the tip would
be added on top.

Under the new payment system, the company calculates a "batch
payment," which varies according to the nature of the items the
"shopper" (contracted worker) must pick from the shelves and
deliver. Shoppers would earn more if they had to carry five-gallon
bottles of water versus a small bag of fruit and vegetables, for
example. On top of the batch payment, the shopper is paid for
mileage driven as well as small bonuses during peak hours.

Instacart said it guarantees a minimum per-job payment of $10. If
the total pay is under $10, Instacart will supplement the pay to
hit $10. If the customer tips at checkout, that tip is used to
supplement the batch payment to hit the $10 minimum. Only once the
$10 minimum is reached does the tip amount start to boost the
worker's take-home pay.

Hundreds of workers have been posting screenshots and reports of
their earnings through the on-demand apps to Reddit and other
online forums, which appear to show the company using customer tips
to subsidize workers' base pay. Some workers report that the new
payment structure has reduced their earnings by 30 to 40 percent.

In one case a shopper shared screenshots showing they received a
"batch payment" of just $0.80 from Instacart because the customer
had paid a $10 tip, bringing the total fee for the job to $10.80.
When the driver queried why they hadn't earned more for the job, an
Instacart community support representative responded, "The reason
that your batch incentive was low for this particular order is
because of the tip amount."

Instacart told NBC News this was an extreme edge case and said that
it would introduce a new $3 minimum batch payment to prevent this
from happening in the future.

Instacart's handling of tips and treatment of drivers is the
subject of a class-action lawsuit filed in California's Superior
Court on behalf of Los Angeles-based worker Sarah Lozano and other
Instacart "shoppers." Instacart told NBC News it does not comment
on pending litigation.

The complaint alleges that Instacart "intentionally and maliciously
misappropriated gratuities in order to pay plaintiff's wages even
though Instacart maintained that 100 percent of customer tips went
directly to shoppers. Based on this representation, Instacart knew
customers would believe their tips were being given to shoppers in
addition to wages, not to supplement wages entirely."

Arns Law, the firm that filed the lawsuit, obtained a $4.6m
settlement from Instacart in 2017 after filing another class action
relating to worker compensation at the on-demand delivery startup.
Instacart did not admit any wrongdoing, but agreed to change the
way it explained fees to customers.

Phoenix Di Corvo, a Seattle-based graphic designer and Instacart
shopper, told NBC News that she saw a big drop in income when
Instacart introduced a new pay structure in November 2018, as
reported by Business Insider.

Prior to November, Ms. Di Corvo said she would get an $8.75 base
rate plus a fixed fee ($0.40) for each item ordered. Any tip added
at checkout would be paid on top of that. A typical 12-item order
would yield $13.55 before tip, she said.

"Now you will see a 12-item order for $12-14, but $6 of that is the
tip," she said, adding that she had to start working much longer
hours to make up the shortfall.

"Just imagine if I went to dinner and I got my bill and put my tip
in and the restaurant said 'OK, we are now going into adjust
Susan's pay for the day,'" Ms. Di Corvo said. "It's ridiculous!"

It's a similar situation with Doordash, which updated its pay
structure in late 2017. Drivers get a pay guarantee depending on
the size and complexity of the delivery job. If that pay guarantee
is $6 and the customer doesn't tip, Doordash pays the full fee to
the courier. However, if the customer tips $5, the courier still
only gets $6 and the portion that Doordash pays drops to just $1.

Both companies insist that workers receive 100 percent of customer
tips.

"This is technically true, but it's not how people think about
tips. A tip is supposed to be a supplement to a worker's pay, not a
substitute," said Sage Wilson at Working Washington, a workers'
organization that fights to improve labor standards and represents
almost 2,000 Instacart shoppers.

Both companies said that the payment structure helps to more fairly
and consistently distribute customer tips to guarantee a certain
level of earnings for drivers on every trip.

"Since implementing this pay model more than a year ago, we've seen
a significant increase in Dasher retention, percentage of on-time
orders, and Dasher satisfaction," Doordash spokeswoman Becky Sosnov
said.

"Doordash technically doesn't 'steal' your tip, they give it to
you," wrote one Doordash driver on Reddit earlier this month. "But
they use it to subsidize what they pay out of pocket which is
basically the same thing at the end of the day."

"Since implementing this pay model more than a year ago, we've seen
a significant increase in Dasher retention, percentage of on-time
orders, and Dasher satisfaction," Doordash spokeswoman Becky Sosnov
said.

Kaylania Chapman, a former worker for both Instacart and Doordash,
said she stopped working for these services after her income fell
so significantly. She discovered her tips were being partially
absorbed by the company after a regular Instacart customer asked
her if she'd received a $10 tip and showed her the receipt for the
order. Ms. Chapman had not received a significant boost to her pay
from the tip.

"I am very disappointed. To me that's not showing good company
ethics at all," Ms. Chapman said. "I made really good money, but
then they started to change the pay scale," she told NBC News.

The workers are now calling on customers to either tip in cash or
to add the tip only after the job is completed to ensure they are
fairly paid. Working Washington launched an online petition
demanding that Instacart stop the practice of what it describes as
"tip theft."

"We're constantly reviewing and evaluating feedback from our
shopper community to ensure they're fairly compensated for the work
they're doing on behalf of our customers," Instacart spokeswoman
Natalia Montalvo said in a statement. "Last year, we introduced new
earnings features designed to pay our shoppers more consistently
for their time and effort while also keeping average shopper
earnings the same."

But not every on-demand delivery company treats tips in this way.
UberEats asks customers to tip the driver only after the food has
been delivered and the payment for the delivery has been taken. The
company confirmed to NBC News that any tip paid at this point
directly benefits the driver, and two UberEats drivers backed up
that statement. [GN]


INSTACART: Grocery Delivery Service Workers Demand Better Pay
-------------------------------------------------------------
Lisa Fickenscher, writing for New York Post, reports that Instacart
has a problem delivering to its workers.

That message is growing on social media among a small army of the
digital delivery service's workers who pick and pack groceries to
customers' homes and offices.

Thousands have signed petitions demanding better pay and treatment
by the $7.6 billion unicorn, which has raised nearly $2 billion
over the past seven years largely on the promise that it gives
grocers a fighting chance to compete with Amazon.

The complaints are mounting as Instacart faces the loss of its
prize Whole Foods contract in December -- as Amazon takes control
of Whole Foods' delivery services -- just as Instacart faces an
onslaught of competition from such startups like Mercato, Jyve,
which just raised $35 million, and Roadie, which inked a deal this
month with Walmart.

"There are at least a dozen alternatives to Instacart today
compared with just a few years ago," Brittain Ladd, a digital
consultant and former Amazon executive, told The Post. "And as
retailers learn about the problems that Instacart is having with
its own gig workers they may question their relationship with the
company."

After criticism over the past several months, including a shocking
incident recently in which a driver was paid just 80 cents for a
69-minute grocery run, the company responded on
Feb. 1 with a concession.

Instacart introduced a $3 minimum for each job," to prevent some of
the extreme edge cases we've seen recently," said Instacart's chief
product officer, David Hahn, in a statement.

That seemingly paltry move seemed to amp up workers' protests,
which includes Change.org petitions with more than 2,400 signatures
from mostly Instacart drivers complaining about increasingly
heavier hauls -- like cases of water -- in which they receive the
same compensation as lighter fare like potato chips.

Others are focused on a change Instacart made late last year in how
it compensates its hourly workers, which has resulted in them
earning up to 40 percent less money.

Under the old system, workers got a base rate for each job of about
$10, depending on their market, plus 40 cents for each item they
pick up, according to a petition with about 3,000 signatures
sponsored by Working Washington, a worker advocacy group.

The new system is inscrutable, they say, and relies on customers'
tips for a big part of their compensation. Shoppers and drivers are
promised a different amount for each job, including mileage
reimbursement of 60 cents per mile as well as customer tips.

The problem, say thousands of shoppers, is that when customers
provide a tip in the app Instacart pays a lower base pay from its
own coffers for the job, which is tantamount to "tip stealing,"
they say.

Instacart told The Post that its shoppers earn more than $15 an
hour and defended its new payment system as being "consistent with
the practices of other on-demand delivery companies. We're deeply
committed to fair compensation."

Instacart shopper Michelle Eaton, of Palm Springs, Calif.
disagrees.

"I will never succeed at making even minimum wage working for
Instacart because I cannot beat the company algorithms that are
squarely set to make me fail," Eaton, a grad student, told The
Post.

She calculated Instacart paid her between $5 and $6 an hour when
she subtracted the mileage reimbursement from her pay and factored
in the costs of the unreimbursed miles she drove from one delivery
job to the next. "A reimbursement is not pay," she said.

It's not the first time the company has landed in hot water for
labor issues. Instacart settled three class action lawsuits,
including one for $4.6 million in 2017 over whether the company had
the right to classify employees as independent contractors.

"Instacart is building its business model on the assumption that
this is legal," said Jahan Sagafi -- jsagafi@outtengolden.com -- a
partner in Outten & Golden, which represented the workers in the
$4.6 million case. "But it's not at all clear that they are
independent contractors." [GN]


JP MORGAN: Settles Rate Rigging Class Action for US$7MM
-------------------------------------------------------
Sarah Danckert, writing for Sydney Morning Herald, reports that the
big four banks are under pressure to settle a massive class action
after US investment bank JPMorgan agreed to hand over millions to
drop out of a case that alleges it and and a host of other banks
rigged one of Australia's key interest rates.

In another major blow for the big four banks ahead of the release
of the final report of the banking royal commission on Feb. 4,
JPMorgan has also agreed to hand over millions of pages of evidence
detailing trades made by it and its competitors.

JPMorgan will pay $US7,000,000 ($9.6 million) in cash to the
consumers bringing the action led by well known US commodities
trader, Richard "Prince of the pit" Dennis.

The multi-billion pension fund Orange County Employees Fund is also
preparing to join Mr Dennis as a plaintiff in the case.

Mr Dennis is suing 17 international banks, including the big four
Australian banks, for allegedly rigging the bank bill swap rate
from 2003 onwards. Mr Dennis was a purchaser of products that were
based on that rate and alleges he lost million from the rate
rigging.

The bank bill swap rate, or the BBSW, is one of the most important
interest rates in the economy and helps set the interest rates on
loans to large corporate entities.

Westpac Banking Corporation, National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking
Group and Commonwealth Bank were individually sued by the
Australian Securities and Investments Commission which alleged each
bank had rigged or attempted to rig the bank bill swap rate for
their own financial benefit.

NAB, ANZ, and CBA settled the case, with NAB and ANZ each handing
over about $50 million and CBA $25 million after admitting to
attempting to rig the rate. Westpac was later found to have engaged
in unconscionable conduct for its alleged attempts at rate
rigging.

The Australian banks have been vigorously defending the New York
class action.

In a letter to the court in New York, lawyers for Mr Dennis and
OCEF said the settlement was an "ice breaker" and included
"non-monetary cooperation".

"JPMorgan's documentary cooperation will include what the
plaintiffs understand to be millions of pages of documents
previously produced by JPMorgan to government investigators, as
well as data relating to loans, trades, and other transactions
involving the Australian bank bill swap reference rate ("BBSW")
markets at issue in this action."

The plaintiffs said they agreed to settle with JPMorgan because
unlike other banks they are suing, JPMorgan was not subject to any
sanction in Australia, but said the bank was in a position to
provide evidence against its rivals.

"Moreover, JPMorgan entirely denies any and all wrongdoing in the
BBSW market. Plaintiffs have alleged that JPMorgan did participate
in the agreement by assisting other defendants."

NAB, ANZ, CBA and Westpac declined to comment. [GN]


KING ARTHUR FLOUR: Website not Accessible to Blind, Dawson Says
---------------------------------------------------------------
LESHAWN DAWSON, on behalf of himself and all others similarly
situated, the Plaintiffs, v. THE KING ARTHUR FLOUR COMPANY, INC.,
the Defendant, Case No. 1:19-cv-01435-AJN (S.D.N.Y., Feb. 14,
2019), alleges that the Defendant failed to design, construct,
maintain, and operate its website at www.kingarthurflour.com to be
fully accessible to and independently usable by the Plaintiff and
other blind or visually-impaired people, a violation of the
Plaintiff's rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to the complaint, the Plaintiff is a visually-impaired
and legally blind person who requires screen-reading software to
read website content using his computer. The Plaintiff uses the
terms "blind" or "visually-impaired" to refer to all people with
visual impairments who meet the legal definition of blindness in
that they have a visual acuity with correction of less than or
equal to 20 x 200. Some blind people who meet this definition have
limited vision. Others have no vision.  Based on a 2010 U.S. Census
Bureau report, approximately 8.1 million people in the United
States are visually impaired, including 2.0 million who are blind,
and according to the American Foundation for the Blind's 2015
report, approximately 400,000 visually impaired persons live in the
State of New York.

The Plaintiff seeks a permanent injunction to cause a change in the
Defendant's corporate policies, practices, and procedures so that
the Defendant's website will become and remain accessible to blind
and visually-impaired consumers, the lawsuit says.

King Arthur Flour Company, formerly the "Sands, Taylor & Wood
Company", is an American supplier of flour, ingredients, baking
mixes, cookbooks, and baked goods. The company was founded in
Boston, Massachusetts, in 1790, and is now based in Norwich,
Vermont.[BN]

Attorneys for the Plaintiff:

          Joseph H. Mizrahi, Esq.
          COHEN & MIZRAHI LLP
          300 Cadman Plaza West, 12 th Fl.
          Brooklyn, NY 11201
          Telephone: (929) 575-4175
          Facsimile: (929) 575-4195
          E-mail: Joseph@cml.legal

               - and -

          Jeffrey M. Gottlieb, Esq.
          Dana L. Gottlieb, Esq.
          GOTTLIEB & ASSOCIATES
          150 East 18th Street, Suite PHR
          New York, NY 10003-2461
          Telephone: (212) 228-9795
          E-mail: nyjg@aol.com
                  danalgottlieb@aol.com

LANDS END: Garey Asserts Breach of Disabilities Act
---------------------------------------------------
Lands End, Inc. is facing a class action lawsuit filed pursuant to
the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case is styled Kevin
Garey, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated,
Plaintiff v. Lands End, Inc., Defendant, Case No. 1:19-cv-01663
(S.D. N.Y., February 22, 2019).

Lands' End, Inc. operates as a multi-channel retailer in the United
States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. The company
operates in two segments, Direct and Retail. It offers casual
clothing, accessories, footwear, and home products. The company
sells its products online through landsend.com, and affiliated
specialty and international Websites; direct mail catalogs; and
retail locations primarily at Lands' End Shops at Sears, Lands' End
stores, and international shop-in-shops. As of February 2, 2018, it
operated 174 Lands’ End Shops at Sears; and 14 Lands’ End
stores. Lands' End, Inc. was founded in 1963 and is headquartered
in Dodgeville, Wisconsin.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Jonathan Shalom, Esq.
   Shalom Law, PLLC.
   124-04 Metropolitan Avenue
   Kew Gardens, NY 11374
   Tel: (516) 807-1748
   Email: jshalom@jonathanshalomlaw.com



LEAF GROUP: Website not Accessible to Blind People, Dawson Says
---------------------------------------------------------------
LESHAWN DAWSON, on behalf of himself and all others similarly
situated, the Plaintiffs, v. LEAF GROUP LTD. d/b/a SAATCHI ART, the
Defendant, Case No. 1:19-cv-01428-RA (S.D.N.Y., Feb. 14, 2019),
alleges that Defendant failed to design, construct, maintain, and
operate its website at www.saatchiart.com to be fully accessible to
and independently usable by the Plaintiff and other blind or
visually-impaired people. The Defendant's denial of full and equal
access to its website, and therefore denial of its products and
services offered thereby and in conjunction with its physical
locations (its "Studios"), is a violation of the Plaintiff's rights
under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").

According to the complaint, the Plaintiff is a visually-impaired
and legally blind person who requires screen-reading software to
read website content using his computer. The Plaintiff uses the
terms "blind" or "visually-impaired" to refer to all people with
visual impairments who meet the legal definition of blindness in
that they have a visual acuity with correction of less than or
equal to 20 x 200. Some blind people who meet this definition have
limited vision. Others have no vision.  Based on a 2010 U.S. Census
Bureau report, approximately 8.1 million people in the United
States are visually impaired, including 2.0 million who are blind,
and according to the American Foundation for the Blind's 2015
report, approximately 400,000 visually impaired persons live in the
State of New York.

The Plaintiff seeks a permanent injunction to cause a change in the
Defendant's corporate policies, practices, and procedures so that
the Defendant's website will become and remain accessible to blind
and visually-impaired consumers, the lawsuit says.

Leaf Group, formerly Demand Media Inc., is an American content
company that operates online brands including eHow, LIVESTRONG.COM
and marketplace brands Saatchi Art and Society6.[BN]

Attorneys for the Plaintiff:

          Joseph H. Mizrahi, Esq.
          COHEN & MIZRAHI LLP
          300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Fl.
          Brooklyn, NY 11201
          Telephone: (929) 575-4175
          Facsimile: (929) 575-4195
          E-mail: Joseph@cml.legal

               - and -

          Jeffrey M. Gottlieb, Esq.
          Dana L. Gottlieb, Esq.
          GOTTLIEB & ASSOCIATES
          150 East 18th Street, Suite PHR
          New York, NY 10003-2461
          Telephone: (212) 228-9795
          E-mail: nyjg@aol.com
                  danalgottlieb@aol.com

LIFETIME ENTERTAINMENT: 2d Cir. Affirms Dismissal of TCPA Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, issued an Order
affirming the District Court’s judgment granting Defendant’s
Motion to Dismiss in the case captioned KEVIN McCABE,
Plaintiff-Appellant, TODD C. BANK, Appellant, v. LIFETIME
ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES, LLC, Defendant-Appellee. No. 18-1149. (Cal.
App.)

Plaintiff-Appellant Kevin McCabe and Appellant Todd Bank appeal
from order of the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of New York (Korman, J.), adopting in full the report and
recommendation of Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara, which granted
the motions of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC (Lifetime) to
dismiss the putative class action suit alleging Telephone Consumer
Protection Act (TCPA) violations and sanction Bank for filing a
time-barred claim. We assume the parties' familiarity with the
underlying facts, procedural history, and specification of issues
for review.

Bank filed a putative class in the Southern District of New York
alleging that Lifetime violated the TCPA by calling Time Warner
Cable subscribers in New York with a prerecorded advertisement.

Tolling

The Court reviews de novo a district court's dismissal of a
complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), construing the complaint
liberally, accepting all factual allegations in the complaint as
true, and drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's
favor.

In American Pipe, the Supreme Court considered whether class-action
proceedings toll the statute of limitations period when a class
action ultimately is not certified. Am. Pipe, 414 U.S. at 552-53.
The Supreme Court held that the commencement of a class action
suspends the applicable statute of limitations as to all asserted
members of the class who would have been parties had the suit been
permitted to continue as a class action.

The district court therefore properly dismissed McCabe's TCPA
claims as untimely. Because McCabe's individual claims were time
barred, the district court also properly dismissed the class claims
as moot.  

Sanctions

The denial of a motion for sanctions under Rule 11 is reviewed for
abuse of discretion. A pleading, motion or other paper violates
Rule 11 either when it has been interposed for any improper
purpose, or where, after reasonable inquiry, a competent attorney
could not form a reasonable belief that the pleading is well
grounded in fact and is warranted by existing law or a good faith
argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing
law.

Sanctions Against Bank

The district court did not abuse its discretion by sanctioning
Bank. The arguments Bank presented to the district court were
frivolous, and his arguments have been consistently rejected by
this Court and by other circuits. Giovanniello, 726 F.3d at 107.
Bank's post-argument briefing, which we have considered, reiterates
these points. Bank did not point to any judicial or scholarly
criticism of Giovanniello, failed to assert that the Second Circuit
had previously overlooked an argument, and cited only outdated and
abrogated cases or cases that had no bearing on the issues to
support his argument.  

Bank contends that his citations to older or abrogated cases
provided persuasive authority that sufficed to justify his
arguments as not frivolous. Where, as here, the law of this Circuit
is clearly contrary to a litigant's arguments, such cases cannot
constitute a good-faith argument that existing law should be
reversed.  

Given that McCabe's complaint and opposition to the motion to
dismiss were frivolous, the district court did not abuse his
discretion by sanctioning Bank.

Sanctions Against Lifetime's Counsel

McCabe argues that the district court abused its discretion by
denying his motion for sanctions against Lifetime's counsel. But
because Lifetime's motion was meritorious, Lifetime's motion was
not frivolous and did not warrant sanctions under Rule 11 or 28
U.S.C. Section 1927.  

The Court have considered the remainder of McCabe's and Bank's
arguments and find them to be without merit. Accordingly, the
judgment of the district court is affirmed.

A full-text copy of the Second Circuit's January 31, 2018 Opinion
is available at https://tinyurl.com/y9at2tms from Leagle.com.

Todd C. Bank, Kew Gardens, N.Y., Appearing for Appellants.

Sharon L. Schneier -- sharonschneier@dwt.com -- Davis Wright
Tremaine LLP, (Eric J. Feder ericfeder@dwt.com, on the brie), New
York, N.Y., Appearing for Appellee.


LIVE NATION CONCERTS: Faces Fishcler Suit under ADA in New York
---------------------------------------------------------------
Live Nation Concerts, Inc. doing business as: Bonnarroo is facing a
class action lawsuit filed pursuant to the Americans with
Disabilities Act. The case is styled Brian Fischler, individually
and on behalf of all other persons similarly situated, Plaintiff v.
Live Nation Concerts, Inc. doing business as: Bonnarroo, Defendant,
Case No. 1:19-cv-01059 (E.D. N.Y., February 21, 2019).

Live Nation Concerts, Inc. doing business as: Bonnarroo is a Live
Nation is leading the way in the live concert business.[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



METAGENICS INC: Inks Proposed Settlement in Medical Food Suit
-------------------------------------------------------------
ILYM Group Inc., a neutral third party that has been court
appointed as Claims Administrator for this case, disclosed that
Class Counsel, Kirk B. Hulett, Alex Tomasevic and Michael T.
McColloch, have reached an agreement to resolve a class action
pending against Metagenics, Inc. in the United States District
Court for the Central District of California. The lawsuit alleges
that Metagenics Inc. made false and misleading statements about
some of its "Medical Food" products and that they should not have
been labelled as "Medical Food." Under the terms of the settlement,
Metagenics, Inc. denies any liability but agreed to fund a $1.3
Million settlement to fully resolve this matter without the time
and expense of a court proceeding.

The settlement has been preliminarily approved by the United States
District Court for the Central District of California, Grivas v.
Metagenics, Inc., Case no. 15-cv-01838-CJC-DFM and is subject to
the court's final approval. The Settlement Class consists of all
persons who purchased any of the following Metagenics products
labelled as "Medical Foods" in the United States since November 9,
2011: UltraMeal Plus, UltraMeal Plus 360, UltraGlycemX, and
UltraClear.

The settlement fund will be used to pay an incentive award to the
named plaintiff, the notice and claims administration costs,
attorneys' fees and costs, and to eligible Class Members who submit
a claim under the procedures implemented by the Court overseeing
the settlement.

For more information call ILYM Group, Inc. toll free at (855)
309-1484 or visit the settlement website at
http://www.medicalfoodsettlement.com.

The deadline to request exclusion from the settlement or object to
the settlement is March 17, 2019. The deadline to file a claim is
April 26, 2019.

         Alex Tomasevic, Esq.
         Nicholas and Tomasevic LLP
         225 Broadway, 19th Floor San Diego, CA 92101
         Telephone: (619) 325-0492
         Fax: (619) 325-0496
         Email: alex@nicholaslaw.org
                atomasevic@nicholaslaw.org [GN]


MICHIGAN: Court Expects to Hear Arguments in Property Tax Case
--------------------------------------------------------------
Joe Barnett, writing for Detroit News, reports that can Oakland
County confiscate a citizen's personal property for $8.41 in unpaid
taxes? This question will likely be answered by the Michigan
Supreme Court later this year.

The case at hand involves Uri Rafaeli, who failed to pay the
interest owed on property taxes for a rental property in Southfield
several years ago. Oakland County eventually foreclosed on his
property for the $8.41 plus $277 in additional interest and fees.
Similarly, Oakland County seized Andre Ohanessian's property in
Orchard Village for a $6,000 tax debt.

The county proceeded to auction Mr. Rafaeli's property for $24,500
and Mr. Ohanessian's property for $82,000 -- and then kept the
surplus proceeds. Lower state courts have agreed the officials
acted properly under Michigan's General Property Tax Act, which
requires officials to take property for any amount of unpaid taxes
and keep all the proceeds if they sell it.

However, attorneys for Mr. Rafaeli and Mr. Ohanessian argue that
the law is unconstitutional, at least as applied by Oakland County
officials. "Whether considered a taking or a forfeiture, the
confiscation of surplus equity fails the Michigan Constitution, the
United States Constitution, and the central purpose of government:
the protection of individual liberties and property," noted the
plaintiffs' brief requesting a hearing before Michigan's highest
court.

The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
states the government cannot take private property "for public use,
without just compensation." Article X, Section Two of the Michigan
Constitution states "private property shall not be taken for public
use without just compensation," and it goes on to specify that
public use does not include "the taking of private property for
transfer to a private entity for the purpose of economic
development or enhancement of tax revenues."

Oakland County has certainly enhanced its tax revenues through
property takings. The county made $22.5 million from tax
foreclosure auctions from 2006-15, according to The Detroit News.
Oakland isn't the only county profiting from property takings.
Thousands of properties across the Wolverine State are seized and
sold for tax debts each year. In fact, attorney Philip Ellison has
filed lawsuits against several counties for keeping the profits
from tax auctions, including a class action lawsuit over the
practice.

Unfortunately, Michigan isn't the only state where this shady
practice of property-taking occurs. Massachusetts, Minnesota, North
Dakota and Oregon have laws that either require or allow the
government to keep all the profits from the sale of private
property.

Of course government officials have the right to seize property for
nonpayment of taxes and sell it to satisfy the debt. Yet Michigan
residents should be outraged that government officials are seizing
the equity the owners have in their property -- far in excess of
the taxes owed -- potentially leaving them with mortgage payments
for property they no longer own.

The Michigan Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in
this case after reviewing the written briefs and could issue an
opinion later this year. If the court fails to protect the rights
of Michigan property owners, hopefully the Legislature will right
this wrong.

Joe Barnett is a research fellow with The Heartland Institute.
[GN]


NATIONAL COLLEGIATE: "Ashley" Suit Alleges Negligence
-----------------------------------------------------
Augustus Ashley, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, Case No.
1:19-cv-00809 (S.D. Ind., February 25, 2019), is brought against
the Defendant for negligence, breach of express contract and
fraudulent concealment.

The Plaintiff seeks to obtain redress for injuries sustained a
result of the Defendant's reckless disregard for the health and
safety of generations of University of Arkansas, Monticello
student-athletes.

The Plaintiff alleged that for decades, the Defendant NCAA knew
about the debilitating long-term dangers of concussions,
concussion-related injuries, and sub-concussive injuries (referred
to as "traumatic brain injuries" or "TBIs") that resulted from
playing college football, but recklessly disregarded this
information to protect the very profitable business of "amateur"
college football.

The Plaintiff Augustus Ashley is a natural person and citizen of
the State of Florida.

The Defendant NCAA is an unincorporated association with its
principal place of business located at 700 West Washington Street,
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206. The Defendant is the governing body of
collegiate athletics that oversees twenty-three college sports and
over 400,000 students who participate in intercollegiate athletics,
including the football program at UAM. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Jeff Raizner, Esq.
      RAIZNER SLANIA LLP
      2402 Dunlavy Street
      Houston, TX 77006
      Tel: (713) 554-9099
      Fax: (713) 554-9098
      E-mail: efile@raiznerlaw.com


NATIONAL COLLEGIATE: "Atkins" Suit Alleges Negligence
-----------------------------------------------------
Patricia Atkins, as attorney-in-fact of Patrick Atkins,
individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v.
National Collegiate Athletic Association, Case No. 1:19-cv-00808
(S.D. Ind., February 25, 2019), is brought against the Defendant
for negligence, breach of express contract and fraudulent
concealment.

The Plaintiff seeks to obtain redress for injuries sustained a
result of the Defendant's reckless disregard for the health and
safety of generations of Illinois State University
student-athletes.

The Plaintiff alleged that for decades, the Defendant NCAA knew
about the debilitating long-term dangers of concussions,
concussion-related injuries, and sub-concussive injuries (referred
to as "traumatic brain injuries" or "TBIs") that resulted from
playing college football, but recklessly disregarded this
information to protect the very profitable business of "amateur"
college football.

Plaintiff Patricia Atkins is a natural person and citizen of the
State of South Carolina. Patrick Atkins is also a natural person
and citizen of the State of South Carolina. On January 10, 2017,
Plaintiff Patricia Atkins was appointed attorney-in-fact of Patrick
Atkins.

The Defendant NCAA is an unincorporated association with its
principal place of business located at 700 West Washington Street,
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206. The Defendant is the governing body of
collegiate athletics that oversees twenty-three college sports and
over 400,000 students who participate in intercollegiate athletics,
including the football program at ISU. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Jeff Raizner, Esq.
      RAIZNER SLANIA LLP
      2402 Dunlavy Street
      Houston, TX 77006
      Tel: (713) 554-9099
      Fax: (713) 554-9098
      E-mail: efile@raiznerlaw.com


NESTLE USA: Must Address Issues in Barrett Settlement
-----------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Arkansas, Jonesboro Division, issued an Order requesting issues to
be addressed in the case captioned SKY BARRETT, Individually and on
Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff, v. NESTLE USA,
INC.; and NESTLE PREPARED FOODS COMPANY, Defendants. No.
3:18-cv-167-DPM. (E.D. Ark.).

The Court notes the joint motion for preliminary approval of the
proposed settlement.  

Here are the issues that the Court requests the parties address,
inter alia:

Should Section 12(b) carve out class members who opt out?

In the class notice, the first shaded box would be more accurate if
reversed: Your Options and Legal Rights.

In the notice, the first box says the class action settlement
agreement and release is described above, but the release slice is
not described above.

Should there be another box describing opt out as a stand-alone
option? One could do so without objecting to the settlement, right?


In the notice under the what rights am I giving up by submitting a
claim form? section, should the second sentence be revised to cover
the opt-out possibility? Please consider Even if you do not file a
claim form, because you are a member of a certified class for
settlement purposes, unless you opt out of the class you will give
up your right to file a case under Arkansas state law that claims.


The Barrett-specific agreement is a side agreement, which needs to
be disclosed to class members. The notice should do so.

A full-text copy of the District Court's February 4, 2018 Order is
available at https://tinyurl.com/y4c8cbc6 from Leagle.com.

Sky Barrett, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly
Situated, Plaintiff, represented by Joshua Sanford, Sanford Law
Firm & Joshua Lee West, Sanford Law Firm.

Nestle USA Inc & Nestle Prepared Foods Company, Defendants,
represented by Eric R. Magnus -- Eric.Magnus@jacksonlewis.com --
Jackson Lewis P.C. & O. John Norris, III --
John.Norris@jacksonlewis.com -- Jackson Lewis P.C.


NEW YORK: 2d Cir. Affirms Dismissal of M. Mitchell's Suit
---------------------------------------------------------
The United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, issued an Order
affirming the District Court's judgment granting Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment in the case captioned MELINDA MITCHELL,
individually and on behalf of a class of all others similarly
situated, HARVEY MITCHELL, individually and on behalf of a class of
all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. CITY OF
NEW YORK, a municipal entity, NYC POLICE OFFICER JAMES SCHUESSLER,
Shield No. 28718, POLICE OFFICER JOSEPH BRINADZE, NYPD CAPTAIN
JOSEPH GULOTTA, NYPD SERGEANT DANIELLE ROVENTINI, NYPD LIEUTENANT
KATHLEEN CAESAR, RICHARD ROES 1-50, NEW YORK CITY POLICE
SUPERVISORS AND COMMANDERS, JOHN DOES, 1-50 NEW YORK CITY POLICE
OFFICERS, individually, and in their official capacities, jointly
and severally, Defendants-Appellees. No. 18-588. (2nd Cir.).

Appellants Melinda Mitchell and Harvey Mitchell, putatively on
behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated
(Plaintiffs), appeal from the judgment of the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York (Kaplan, J.)
granting summary judgment to defendant police officers (City
Defendants) regarding claims of false arrest because the officers
were protected by qualified immunity.  

Melinda and Harvey sued, bringing a putative class action alleging
Section 1983 claims for false arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse
of process, and excessive force. After discovery, the parties
cross-moved for summary judgment. The district court granted
appellees' motion for summary judgment in its entirety.
  
The City Defendants moved for summary judgment on qualified
immunity grounds, and the district court granted that motion.
Plaintiffs timely appealed.

Because the district court assumed the absence of probable cause
for the arrests, the only issue on appeal is the question of
whether Wesby dictates that the officers here were entitled to
qualified immunity. Qualified immunity protects officials from
damages liability if their conduct does not violate clearly
established statutory or constitutional rights of which a
reasonable person would have known. Clearly established' means
that, at the time of the officer's conduct, the law was
sufficiently clear that every `reasonable official would understand
that what he is doing' is unlawful. Wesby, 138 S. Ct. at (quoting
Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, 563 U.S. 731, 741 (2011)).

A police officer is entitled to qualified immunity in the context
of a false arrest claim if there was at least arguable probable
cause at the time the officer arrested the plaintiff. In assessing
arguable probable cause, the inquiry is whether any reasonable
officer, out of the wide range of reasonable people who enforce the
laws in this country, could have determined that the challenged
action was lawful. But the question in determining whether the City
Defendants are protected by qualified immunity turns on the
question of arguable probable cause a lesser showing. The only
truly distinguishing fact between this case and Wesby is that in
Wesby, the police officers made more of an effort to determine if
the house was truly abandoned. That is not enough of a difference
to deny the City Defendants qualified immunity.

Accordingly, the order of the district court is affirmed.

A full-text copy of the Second Circuit's January 31, 2018 Order is
available at https://tinyurl.com/yb6yfnkl from Leagle.com.

Jeffrey A. Rothman (Jonathan C. Moore, Beldock Levine & Hoffman
LLP, Joshua S. Moskovitz -- moskovitz@bcmlaw.com -- Bernstein
Clarke & Moskovitz, on the brief), New York, N.Y., Appearing for
Appellants.

Melanie T. West, Assistant Corporation Counsel, (Richard Dearing,
Devin Slack, on the brief), for Zachary W. Carter, Corporation
Counsel of the City of New York, New York, N.Y., Appearing for
Appellees.


NFL: Plaintiffs Lose Bid to Transfer Saints Non-Call Game Case
--------------------------------------------------------------
Frank Zotter Jr., writing for The Ukiah Daily Journal, reports that
on Jan. 30, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that he would
not step in to overturn what most people concede was a blown call
(or, rather, a "non-call") in the Saints-Rams NFC Championship
Game. Late in the fourth quarter, on a third down play, the Saints
were driving for a score when their quarterback, Drew Brees, threw
toward Tommylee Lewis near the 5-yard line. But Rams cornerback
Nickell Robey-Coleman knocked Lewis down before he could catch the
ball. The officials probably should have called pass interference,
which would have given the Saints a first down on the five-yard
line with a lot of time left. Instead, the officials ruled the pass
incomplete, and the Saints' had to settle for a field goal.

Mr. Goodell stated that he had never considered ordering, e.g.,
that the game be replayed or at least that the Saints be given some
kind of "mulligan" for those last few minutes. He acknowledged the
disappointment of New Orleans' fans, but said, "[The rule] is
clear. The commissioner will not apply his authority in cases of
complaints . . . concerning judgmental errors or routine errors by
game officials."

This didn't stop a Saints fan named Tommy Badeaux (is there any way
to tell he was from Louisiana?) from filing a class action lawsuit
against the NFL and Commr. Mr. Goodell "on behalf of New Orleans
Saints Season Ticket Holders, New Orleans Saints National Fan Base
[also known as] The Who Dat Nation and any party with interest that
has been affected by the outcome."

Um, yeah, whatever.

Mr. Badeaux' lawsuit, which also named his wife as a plaintiff,
ended up in the federal court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
(possibly not the most . . . neutral place that could have heard
the case). The lawsuit sought both money damages and that Goodell
be ordered to overturn the result and have the end of the game be
replayed. The case had actually been filed in Louisiana state court
(gosh . . . an even more neutral site), but the defendants were
able to get the case transferred to federal court.

Mr. and Mrs. Badeaux fought tenaciously to get the case transferred
back to state court -- perhaps remembering that, in 2010, when the
Saints made their first Super Bowl appearance, Louisiana state
Judge Michael Bagneris spontaneously continued a jury trial for
eight days because "Saintsmania permeates the City of New Orleans
[and] [m]any prospective jurors . . ., several attorneys involved
in this litigation, and Court personnel plan on traveling to the
promised land -- the Super Bowl."

One suspects that by "Court personnel," Judge Bagneris meant "me."

Well, federal Judge Susie Morgan disappointed the Badeauxes -- and
presumably New Orleans Saints Season Ticket Holders and the, um,
Who Dat Nation -- with her ruling, which she issued on January 31,
a day after Commr. Goodell announced that he wasn't going to
intervene. Sadly, she did not follow the example of so many other
judges involved in such lawsuits -- by, e.g., writing an opinion in
verse, or making smarmy comments, such as beginning her opinion,
"Question: When should an attorney say 'No' to a client? Answer:
When asked to file a lawsuit like this one."

No, she wrote a completely conventional opinion, patiently working
her way through both federal and Louisiana state law, explaining
why she had to deny the Badeauxes' request for a court order.
"Conventional opinion," incidentally, means "almost unintelligible,
even to an attorney."

Seemingly lost in this dispute, though, is that this wasn't a
situation where the Saints were trailing late in the game and then
the bad call handed the game to the Rams. Instead, the Saints were
only denied a (possible) touchdown. The Saints then kicked a field
goal, giving them a 3-point lead. Then the Rams tied it up again
with 15 seconds left in regulation.

So the game went into overtime -- and the Saints won the coin toss
-- but then a pass from quarterback Brees was intercepted by a Rams
player, which led to the Rams winning the game. So, despite the
officials' mistake, there were three subsequent scores in the game
-- and the Saints had possession in overtime but lost because Brees
was intercepted.

But let's assume that Judge Morgan ordered that the last two
minutes of regulation be replayed. And this time, with the score
tied, suppose Brees threw an interception that was run back for a
touchdown. Then the game ends, during regulation, with the Rams
ahead.

Would the Badeauxes have a lawsuit for that? [GN]


OYSTER HARBORS YACHT: Bishop Assert Breach of Disabilities Act
--------------------------------------------------------------
Oyster Harbors Yacht Basin Management Corp. d/b/a Oyster Harbors
Marine is facing a class action lawsuit filed pursuant to the
Americans with Disabilities Act. The case is styled Cedric Bishop
and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff v. Oyster
Harbors Yacht Basin Management Corp. d/b/a Oyster Harbors Marine,
Defendant, Case No. 1:19-cv-01627 (S.D. N.Y., February 21, 2019).

Oyster Harbors Marine has been serving customers with the highest
level of professionalism in yacht sales, brokerage, and
service.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Jeffrey Michael Gottlieb, Esq.
   150 E. 18 St.
   Suite PHR
   New York, NY 10003
   Tel: (212) 228-9795
   Fax: (212) 982-6284
   Email: nyjg@aol.com


PACIFIC GYPSUM: Removes Lopez's Labor Case to N.D. California
-------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific Gypsum Supply, Inc. and Gypsum Management and Supply, Inc.
remove case, EDUARDO LOPEZ LOPEZ on behalf of himself and others
similarly situated, the Plaintiff, vs. PACIFIC GYPSUM SUPPLY, INC.
D/B/A J & B MATERIALS, INC.; GYPSUM MANAGEMENT AND SUPPLY, INC.;
and DOES 1 to 100, inclusive, the Defendants, Case No. C18-02320
(Filed Nov. 19, 2018), from the Superior Court of the State of
California for the County of Contra Costa to the United States
District Court for the Northern District of California on Feb. 14,
2019. The Northern District of California Court Clerk assigned Case
No. 3:19-cv-00823 to the proceeding.

The Plaintiff's complaint alleges that the Defendants failed to pay
prevailing wages; provide compliant meal breaks; provide compliant
rest breaks; pay all vacation wages due; adequately indemnify
employees for employment-related losses/expenditures; provide
complete and accurate wage statements; and timely pay unpaid wages
due at time of separation of employment in violation of California
Labor Code.[BN]

Attorneys for the Defendants:

          Maggy Athanasious, Esq.
          LITTLER MENDELSON, P.C.
          2049 Century Park East, 5th Floor
          Los Angeles, CA 90067.3107
          Telephone: 310 553 0308
          Facsimile: 310 553 5583
          E-mail: mathanasious@littler.com

PETZOLD'S YACHT: Bishop Alleges Violation under Disabilities Act
----------------------------------------------------------------
William J. Petzold, Incorporated d/b/a Petzold's Yacht Sales is
facing a class action lawsuit filed pursuant to the Americans with
Disabilities Act. The case is styled Cedric Bishop and on behalf of
all others similarly situated, Plaintiff v. William J. Petzold,
Incorporated d/b/a Petzold's Yacht Sales, Defendant, Case No.
1:19-cv-01634 (S.D. N.Y., February 21, 2019).

William J. Petzold, Incorporated d/b/a Petzold's Yacht Sales is a
Boat Sales/Dealers in Rhode Island.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Jeffrey Michael Gottlieb, Esq.
   150 E. 18 St.
   Suite PHR
   New York, NY 10003
   Tel: (212) 228-9795
   Fax: (212) 982-6284
   Email: nyjg@aol.com


PLYMOUTH PLACE: Keene Sues over Use of Biometric Data, Unpaid Wages
-------------------------------------------------------------------
MICHAEL KEENE, individually, and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, the Plaintiff, vs. PLYMOUTH PLACE, INC. d/b/a PLYMOUTH
PLACE SENIOR LIVING, and KRONOS, INC., the Defendant, Case No.
2019CH01953 (Ill. Cir. Ct., Feb. 14, 2019), seeks to put a stop to
and redress the Defendants' unlawful collection, use, storage, and
disclosure of Plaintiffs and the proposed Class's sensitive and
proprietary biometric data, in violation of the Biometric
Information Privacy.  The Plaintiff also brings this matter
individually against Defendant Plymouth Place for violating the
Illinois Minimum Wage Law.

The action alleges that Plymouth Place and Kronos unlawfully
collect, store, and use Plaintiff Keene's and all other
similarly-situated employees' biometric data.  It further alleges
that Defendant Plymouth Place wrongful withheld Plaintiff Keene's
wages by failing to pay Plaintiff Keene all wages due for all hours
worked, as well as for retaliatory discharge.  The Plaintiff seeks
to remedy Defendant Plymouth Place's illegal practices, whereby
Plymouth Place deliberately deprived Plaintiff of earned wages and
terminated Plaintiff in violation of the IMWL.

Plymouth Place, Inc. operates a retirement community that offers
nursing and rehabilitation services in Chicago. It provides
independent living apartments.[BN]

Attorneys for the Plaintiff:

          Ryan F. Stephan, Esq.
          James B. Zouras
          STEPHAN ZOURAS, LLP
          100 N. Riverside Plaza, Suite 2160
          Chicago, IL 60606
          Telephone: 312 233 1550
          Facsimile: 312 233 1560!
          E-mail: lawyers@stephanzouras.com

PRINSTON PHARMACEUTICAL: Court Stays Judson Pending JPML Decision
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of
California stays the case captioned JOHN JUDSON AND JO ANN HAMEL,
individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated
individuals, Plaintiffs, v. PRINSTON PHARMACEUTICAL INC.; SOLCO
HEALTHCARE U.S., LLC; HUAHAI U.S., INC.; TEVA PHARMACEUTICAL
INDUSTRIES, LTD.; and, TEVA PHARMACEUTICALS USA, INC. Defendants.
Case No. 1:18-cv-01405-DAD-EPG. (E.D. Cal.).

Plaintiff in Kruk v. Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., et
al., No. 18-cv-005944 (N.D. Ill.) filed in the JPML a Motion to
Transfer Actions to the District of New Jersey Pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1407 for Coordinated or Consolidated Pretrial
Proceedings. See In re: Valsartan N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA)
Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL No. 2875 (J.P.M.L. Oct. 22, 2018) (the
Motion to Transfer, attached as Exhibit A).

The JPML is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Motion to Transfer
on January 31, 2019.3 As such, a stay pending the JPML's ruling
would be limited, would last for a brief, definite period, and will
not result in undue prejudice to any of the Parties.

All deadlines are vacated until further order of Court.

This action is stayed pending the ruling by the Judicial Panel on
Multidistrict Litigation on the Motion to Transfer Actions to the
District of New Jersey Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1407 in In re:
Valsartan N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL
No. 2875 (J.P.M.L. Oct. 22, 2018).

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 31, 2018 Order is
available at https://tinyurl.com/ycaxlq6m from Leagle.com.

John Judson, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated
& Jo Ann Hamel, on behalf of themselves and others similarly
situated, Plaintiffs, represented by Allan Kanner --
Kanner@kanner-law.com -- Kanner & Whiteley, LLC & John Randolph
Davis -- jdavis@slackdavis.com -- Slack Davis Sanger, LLP.

Prinston Pharmaceutical Inc., Doing business as Solco Healthcare
LLC, Solco Healthcare U.S., LLC & Huahai US Inc., Defendants,
represented by Meredith Proctor Grant -- mpgrant@duanemorris.com --
Duane Morris, LLP.


PUBLIC ACCESS: Class Action Over Excessive Court Doc Fees Pending
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Adam Liptak, writing for The New York Times, reports that the
federal judiciary has built an imposing pay wall around its court
filings, charging a preposterous 10 cents a page for electronic
access to what are meant to be public records. A pending lawsuit
could help tear that wall down.

The costs of storing and transmitting data have plunged,
approaching zero. By one estimate, the actual cost of retrieving
court documents, including secure storage, is about one half of one
ten-thousandth of a penny per page. But the federal judiciary
charges a dime a page to use its service, called Pacer (for Public
Access to Court Electronic Records).

The National Veterans Legal Services Program and two other
nonprofit groups filed a class action in 2016 seeking to recover
what they said were systemic overcharges. "Excessive Pacer fees
inhibit public understanding of the courts and thwart equal access
to justice, erecting a financial barrier that many ordinary
citizens are unable to clear," they wrote.

The suit accuses the judicial system of using the fees it charges
as a kind of slush fund, spending the money to buy flat-screen
televisions for jurors, to finance a study of the Mississippi court
system and to send notices in bankruptcy proceedings.

A 2002 law allows -- but does not require -- the judicial system to
charge for access to the records, but "only to the extent
necessary" to pay for "services rendered." The judicial system says
the law allows it to charge the current fees and to spend the
proceeds on a variety of programs. People seeking free access, the
judicial system's brief said, can visit the courthouse.

Last year, Judge Ellen S. Huvelle of the Federal District Court in
Washington accepted the challengers' basic theory and said the
judicial system had misused some of the money.

The case is now on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for
the Federal Circuit, and the challengers have attracted an
impressive array of supporting briefs from retired judges, news
organizations, civil rights groups and a sponsor of the 2002 law.

Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, who served on the Federal District Court
in Manhattan from 1994 to 2016 and signed a supporting brief, said
the issue was straightforward.

"There should be full public access to court records," she said.
"It's an infinitesimal amount of money when you look at the total
budget for the court system."

The federal judiciary's budget is about $7 billion. Fees from Pacer
generated about $145 million in recent years, or about 2 percent of
the total.

Judge Scheindlin said Pacer fees were particularly harmful to
litigants who represent themselves, to academic researchers who
want to explore systemic issues like sentencing disparities and to
journalists at smaller news outlets.

There is one shining exception to the federal judiciary's hostility
to free electronic access to its records. In late 2017, the Supreme
Court started its own electronic filing system, making virtually
all documents filed with the court available online at no cost.

"The Supreme Court's system is terrific, and it's a model for how
courts can do this," said Deepak Gupta, a lawyer for the groups
challenging the Pacer fees. "It demonstrates that there isn't any
practical obstacle to making filings available for free."

Pacer does make some exceptions to its 10-cents-a-page charges.
Judicial opinions are free. For other documents, there is a $3 cap.
People whose fees are less than $15 in a quarterly billing cycle
are charged nothing.

Courts also have some discretion to waive the fees. Curiously, they
are generally prohibited from exempting "members of the media."

That policy is bad for democracy, said a brief filed on behalf of
the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 27 news media
groups, including The New York Times. "As news outlets across the
country face leaner budgets," the brief said, "few can readily
afford daunting fees for court records, especially independent
journalists and community news media companies."

As a practical matter, Pacer has created a two-tier system, lawyers
for former Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, who sponsored the 2002 law,
wrote in a supporting brief. "Whether an individual is able to
access these critical documents will often turn on their financial
circumstances," the brief said. "That is at odds with the principle
that all Americans should have equal access to the courts and to
the documents that are essential to understanding the operation of
our government."

The pending lawsuit makes a relatively modest argument, saying that
the judicial system has charged more than the 2002 law allowed. But
there is a larger point here, one grounded in the First Amendment.

"Public scrutiny of judicial proceedings enhances their quality,
ensures their fairness and safeguards their integrity," a
supporting brief from the American Civil Liberties Union and other
groups said.

The public has a right to know what goes on in its courthouses.
Exercising that right should not require paying the government a
dime a page or anything at all.

"Federal courts need to be providing this access without charge,"
said Stephen W. Smith, who was until recently a federal magistrate
judge in Houston and who signed a supporting brief. "There are too
many downsides to creating these barriers. If you don't give
effective access to these records, it undermines courts'
legitimacy." [GN]


PUBLIC ACCESS: Fees Harm Judiciary's Credibility, Judges Say
------------------------------------------------------------
Amanda Bronstad, writing for Law.com, reports that charging user
fees for court records harms the credibility of the federal
judiciary, according to seven retired federal judges including
former U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judge Richard
Posner in an amicus brief filed in a class action over PACER fees.

The brief was one of five filed on Jan. 23 before the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which is hearing an appeal of a
2018 court ruling about the legality of user fees that the
Administrative Office of U.S. Courts charges for access to court
records via its Public Access to Court Electronic Records system,
or PACER.

Other briefs came from former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, several
"next-generation legal research platforms and databases," the
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 27 media
organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Cato
Institute and others, all in support of the plaintiffs, who were
represented by Deepak Gupta of Gupta Wessler in Washington, D.C.

The federal judges, who also included former Judge Shira Scheindlin
of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
and former Judge W. Royal Furgeson of the U.S. District Court for
the  Western District of Texas, took no position in the case. But
they insisted that, as a policy, PACER should not be charging fees
at all.

"Opening up judicial records by removing the PACER paywall would be
consistent with the best traditions of judicial transparency,"
wrote their counsel, Sean Marotta, a partner at Hogan Lovells in
Washington, D.C., in the brief. "And with greater judicial
transparency comes more legitimacy in the public's eyes."

Marotta declined to comment, as did Department of Justice
spokeswoman Kelly Laco.

Gupta, who filed his opening brief before the Federal Circuit on
Jan. 16, did not respond to a request for comment.

Both sides asked the Federal Circuit to take up an interlocutory
appeal of Senior Judge Ellen Huvelle's order, which granted the
federal government's summary judgment in part but denied a summary
judgment motion by the plaintiffs, which are three organizations:
the National Veterans Legal Services Program, the National Consumer
Law Center and the Alliance for Justice.

At issue is how the federal judiciary can spend revenues from PACER
fees, which are 10 cents per page and totaled $920 million from
2010 to 2016—the period of the certified class in the case.

Plaintiffs, who brought the class action three years ago, have
argued that the revenues should be limited to costs associated with
PACER. They have insisted that the E-Government Act of 2002,
sponsored by Lieberman, sought to impose such limits after the
federal judiciary began boosting PACER fees. Lieberman's amendment
added statutory language that permitted such fees "only to the
extent necessary."

The Constitutional Accountability Center in Washington, D.C., wrote
the brief for Lieberman, who represented Connecticut in the Senate
from 1989 to 2013, in support of the plaintiffs.

"The government's policy of charging fees that are greater than
necessary to cover the costs of providing access to those documents
plainly violates the law that Congress passed," Brianne Gorod, Esq.
the center's chief counsel, wrote in an email.

The federal government has argued that the appropriations committee
expanded its authority over PACER fees.

But in her March 31 order last year, Huvelle, of the District of
Columbia, found neither side was entirely correct. She disagreed
that PACER revenues were as limited as plaintiffs contended but
struck down several expenditures that the government had defended,
such as those for courtroom technology, web-based juror services
and victim notification.

In his appeal, Gupta said that's the only part the judge got
right.

"This appeal concerns whether the unlawful excess identified by the
district court was too little (the plaintiffs view), too much (the
government's view), or just right," he wrote.

The federal judges behind the brief have some experience on the
topic.

Furgeson was chairman of the Judicial Resources Committee of the
Judicial Conference of the United States, and Scheindlin was on the
Administrative Office of U.S. Court's Task Force on Electronic
Public Access from 2009 to 2012. The brief specifically identifies
the harm that PACER fees have on pro se litigants -- an area of
interest for Posner, who founded the Posner Center of Justice for
Pro Se's after retiring from the bench in 2017.

"Free access to PACER can help these petitioners -- and their
friends and family who are often helping from the outside -- to
prepare a meaningful case," Marotta wrote. "And it can help court
efficiency: they could hone their case and forego frivolous
claims."

The judges also noted that there was no technical barrier to
providing free access to court records, citing the U.S. Supreme
Court's electronic filing system and recent changes in the 2019
budget that comply with the court's order. They suggested that
"artificial scarcity," rather than necessity, might be the real
motive behind charging for court records.

"When the government enjoys an information monopoly over the
public, it has a perverse incentive to seek rents that exceed
actual cost," Marotta wrote. "The Judiciary appears to have fallen
prey to this incentive."[GN]


ROCKSTAR GAMES: Grand Theft Auto Online Players to Get Incentives
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Tanner Dedmon, writing for comicbook, reports that Grand Theft Auto
Online players have free in-game money waiting for them all
throughout February, but they'll have to log in every weekend to
get the incentives.

GTA$ is the currency players use to purchase things in Grand Theft
Auto V's online component, and assuming they log in ever weekend
throughout February, those players can get $1 million each to use
however they see fit. There will be $250,000 gifted to players
every weekend so long as they long in to receive it with that money
being deposited in players' accounts the following weekend.

Rockstar Games' recent announcement about the game's most recent
update confirmed the recurring gifts throughout February and
explained how players can take part.

"As the result of a class-action settlement with the citizens of
Los Santos, Alan Jerome Productions -- the fine people who brought
you the blood-thirsty hybrid of automotive combat and gladiatorial
competition that is Arena War TV -- has been ordered to compensate
the people of Southern San Andreas with up to GTA$1M each,"
Rockstar Games' announcement said. "Jump into GTA Online each
weekend in February and you'll be awarded a GTA$250K gift that will
be waiting for you in your Maze Bank account when you log in the
following weekend."

Players might just need that money if they plan on taking part of
something else the update had to offer: The RC Bandito. The
remote-controlled car requires players to own an Arena to have the
car added to their workstations, but if they meet those
requirements, they'll get a tiny death machine on wheels that's
able to be outfitted with all kinds of weapons and tools.

"All the danger, none of the personal risk," Rockstar Games said.
"The little car with the big payload hits the streets of Los
Santos, ready to be customized with a range of explosive surprises
including Kinetic and EMP mines, plus a collection of unique visual
modifications and more. If you want the pleasure of seeing your
enemies flee in panic from a speeding toy car, this is the only
game in town."

There are also eight new RC Bandito Races that'll pay out Double
GTA$ and RP to give players a way to make even more money. [GN]


SAN BERNARDINO, CA: Court Dismisses Dickenson Civil Rights Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Central District of
California issued an Order dismissing the complaint in the case
captioned JESSE L. DICKENSON, Plaintiff, v. JEFFREY HAGA, ET AL.,
Defendants. Case No. EDCV 18-2464-DOC (KK). (C.D. Cal.).

Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at West Valley Detention
Center in California, constructively filed1 a Complaint against
defendants County of San Bernardino, Deputy John Doe, Deputy
Norega, and Chief Executive Medical Examiner Jeffrey Haga
(Defendants) in their individual and official capacities.Plaintiff
alleges Defendants have policies and practices which fail to
protect inmates from violence and subject inmates to harmful,
inhumane conditions of confinement.  The Plaintiff seeks to bring
the action on behalf of himself and similarly situated class
members under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.

As Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must screen
the complaint and is required to dismiss the case at any time if it
concludes the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief.  

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 8(a), a complaint must
contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief. In determining whether a complaint
fails to state a claim for screening purposes, the Court applies
the same pleading standard as it would when evaluating a motion to
dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).  

PLAINTIFF FAILS TO STATE A SECTION 1983 CLAIM AGAINST ANY
INDIVIDUAL DEFENDANT

Applicable Law

Section 1983 prohibits persons acting under color of law from
depriving individuals of their constitutional rights. To state a
claim against a defendant for violation of civil rights under
Section 1983, a plaintiff must allege that the defendant deprived
him or her of a right guaranteed under the Constitution or a
federal statute.

Here, Plaintiff fails to allege specific facts to support a claim
against any individual defendant. Plaintiff does not set forth a
short and plain statement of his claims to demonstrate individual
defendants were directly and personally involved in inflicting the
alleged injury. Absent specific allegations identifying what
actions each defendant took against Plaintiff and how such actions
violated Plaintiff's rights, the Complaint fails to provide
Defendants with fair notice of Plaintiff's claims or the grounds
upon which they rest.

As such, Plaintiff's claims against each individual defendant are
subject to dismissal.

If Plaintiff wishes to amend his complaint, Plaintiff must state
each claim separately and identify proper defendants for each
claim. In addition, Plaintiff should clearly, precisely, and
briefly identify the legal basis and the facts underlying each
claim. Hence, in an amended complaint, Plaintiff should clearly
state:

   (1) What actions were committed by each alleged defendant;

   (2) When and where the alleged actions were committed by each
defendant;

   (3) What harm resulted from alleged actions by each defendant;
and

   (4) What statute or constitutional right was violated because of
the alleged actions by each defendant.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 31, 2018 Order is
available at https://tinyurl.com/y7obl3xv from Leagle.com.

Jesse L. Dickenson, Plaintiff, pro se.


SECURUS: Faces Class Action Over Costly Jail Telephone Charges
--------------------------------------------------------------
Heather Bellow, writing for The Berkshire Eagle, reports that
Jennifer Thurston's family spends up to $50 a week on phone calls
to stay in touch with her while she is in custody. It's a lot for a
family struggling with poverty and poor health.

"My husband's on disability," said Thurston, an Adams woman serving
time for embezzlement. "He doesn't have a lot of money."

Phone calls are sometimes the only comfort for families who live
far from the Western Massachusetts Regional Women's Correctional
Center, run by the Hampden County Sheriff's Department, where
Thurston and other women from surrounding counties are held both
before trial and while serving sentences.

But the calls are costly because they must be made through an
outside company -- much more costly than for people outside jails.


Calls at the jail cost 12 cents per minute. While this is one of
the lowest rates in jails across the state, and 42 percent lower
than the 21-cents-per-minute rate cap set by the state Department
of Telecommunications and Cable, critics say the cost penalizes
poor people.

"It is perverse to rack up [phone] charges for a vulnerable
population," said Brian Highsmith, an attorney with the National
Consumer Law Center in Boston. "It's their only lifeline to the
outside world."

Prisoners and their families pay the jail's phone company, Global
Tel-Link Corp., in order to make and receive calls. The company
then returns a percentage of that revenue back to the jail, which
the jail uses to pay some of its costs, including security costs of
call monitoring.

In Hampden County, the revenue pays for valuable programs and
activities, says Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi. The revenue returned to
the jail provides library services, education supplies, teachers
and mentors, GED testing, culinary training and other programs. The
department also uses the money to pay the Pioneer Valley
Transportation Authority to run a dedicated bus from downtown
Springfield to the Ludlow men's jail, at an $118,000 yearly cost.

"Each inmate pays a small fee per individual call which then
results in a pool of funds directed right back into inmate
programs," Cocchi said in an email. The jail also gives inmates
unlimited free phone calls to their attorneys, and five free
calls.

But the expenses make families rush through phone calls.

"She has to [talk] a hundred miles an hour to get it all out, in
case we get cut off," said Wahya Wolfpaw, of Worcester, while her
daughter was in jail.

Global Tel-Link Corp. is one of two corrections phone companies
that dominate the national $1.2 billion per year industry. It paid
the Hampden County department $725,000 for phone calls to and from
all its facilities between July 2016 and June 2017, according to
records supplied by the department. Phone calls to and from the
women's jail during that same period netted the department
$110,000.

Opponents see the system as unethical and predatory. Companies are
using jails and prisons as a profit center, they say, and shifting
what should be governmental costs onto people who are poor and
powerless.

More than eight states agree. New York, California and Michigan are
among states that have reduced the cost of calls by outlawing or
curbing revenue-sharing.

Around the country, lawsuits have been filed over excessive jail
and prison phone costs. Activists and attorneys say the families of
prisoners, most of them poor, should not be shouldering what is the
responsibility of the state, and paying significantly more for
phone calls than free citizens.

Highsmith and attorneys for Prisoners' Legal Services of
Massachusetts are among several groups representing four people in
a class-action lawsuit against the Bristol County Sheriff, and
Securus, the company that charges inmates 16 cents per minute, and
$3.16 for the first minute, even for redials made after the first
is disconnected.

Highsmith and other attorneys are pushing a consumer protection
argument. They liken the setup to an illegal kickback scheme in
which state institutions are indirectly extracting extra revenue by
outsourcing with a private-sector company.

A Global Tel-Link representative declined to comment.

The practice will end altogether in New York City jails, after
Mayor Bill de Blasio in August signed a bill to stop call charges
that earn the city $5 million per year.

The Federal Communications Commission tried to cap the rates lower
than the current 21 cents per minute for out-of-state calls, citing
concerns about "excessive rates and egregious fees on phone calls
paid by some of society's most vulnerable people."

Global Tel-Link opposed the move.

When FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai was seated in 2017, the commission
dropped its court efforts to fight Global Tel-Link's appeal.

The interim rate cap remains at 21 cents per minute for
out-of-state calls. But for most calls within the state, there is
no cap.

Peter Wagner, an attorney and executive director of the Prison
Policy Initiative in Northampton, said sheriffs choose phone
providers based on how much commission they'll get.

"This is a regressive tax," Wagner said. "Why do we charge the
poorest families in the state to pay for what the government thinks
is an essential service?"

Wagner's organization collects nationwide data from jails and
prisons about this phone call commission structure.

The Berkshire County Jail and House of Corrections, for instance,
takes a 45 percent cut of profits earned by Securus, which has
cornered most of this U.S. market, but charges inmates 20 cents per
minute, and $3.20 for the first minute.

The Hampden County jails, though charging 12 cents per minute, take
an even larger share. Global Tel-Link pays the department a
commission of 70 percent.

"[The Hampden Sheriff] may advertise the low rate, but they could
have used their negotiated rate to give a far lower rate to the
families of Western Massachusetts [inmates]," Wagner said. "The 12
cents could be less than 4 cents. The jail could change this in
five minutes."

Wagner said sheriffs should be asking state legislators for program
money instead.

"Why didn't they convince the legislature to pay for the bus?" he
asked. "They use the [money] to benefit projects they think are
important rather than going to the legislature. If it's a social
good, then the state should pay for it."

Wagner said Berkshire County families pay exorbitant phone costs,
but those commissions don't help them with public transportation to
the jail.

Sen. Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford, has sponsored a bill to
eliminate commissions to jails and prisons, to charge inmates the
same rate for comparable residential service, and for phone
contracts to be negotiated based on the lowest rate. Montigny did
not respond to calls and emails seeking comment. [GN]


STATE COMPENSATION: Enterprise Inc. Files Suit under Fraud
----------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against State Compensation
Insurance Fund.  The case is styled as Enterprise Inc. Michael
Reynolds dba Reynolds Termite Control individually and on behalf of
all others similarly situated, Plaintiff v. State Compensation
Insurance Fund, Defendant, Case No. 19STCV05738 (Cal. Super. Ct.,
Los Angeles Cty., February 21, 2019).

The docket of the lawsuit states the case type as Contractual
Fraud.

The State Compensation Insurance Fund is a workers' compensation
insurer that was created as a "public enterprise fund" by the U.S.
state of California, and today has partial autonomy from the rest
of the state government.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Drew E. Pomerance, Esq.
   Roxborough, Pomerance, Nye & Adreani, LLP
   5820 Canoga Avenue
   Suite 250
   Woodland Hills, CA 91367
   Tel: (818) 992-9999



STEINHOFF INT'L: PSA Wants Pension Fund to Join Class Action
------------------------------------------------------------
African News Agency reports that South Africa's Public Servants
Association, which represents government employees and pensioners,
said on Feb. 4 the concerns it had previously raised about the
Public Investment Corporation (PIC) had been vindicated by
allegations of corruption and impropriety against the fund
manager's board and senior officials.

Last Feb. 1 the PIC board asked Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to
relieve it of its duties, citing the destabilising impact of
"events in the recent past", including allegations of impropriety
levelled against at least four directors.

"The PSA has consistently stated that involvement of politicians
and their business cronies in the running of the PIC was a disaster
in the making," PSA general manager Ivan Fredericks said on Feb.
4.

"The PSA appeals to the minister to listen to the PSA's voice of
reason and hope. The union may not be aligned to any political
party but the distinction between us and his comrades is that the
PSA is driven by ethical standards and a love for the country," Mr.
Fredericks said.

He warned that Mr. Mboweni's failure to include public worker
representatives in the interim PIC board "will have far-reaching
implications".

The association also urged the board of the Government Employees
Pension Fund, which invests public workers' pensions through the
PIC, to act on the revelations from the ongoing inquiry into the
asset manager.

"The PSA believes there is prima-facie evidence at hand to initiate
legal proceedings against the PIC board that abrogated its
fiduciary responsibilities," said the association.

It warned that if the GEPF board fails to act and recover the
losses owing to the depreciation in share-price value, "the PSA
will hold each one of them responsible for those losses".

The association said the GEPF should also join the international
class action against Steinhoff International Holdings after it lost
pension money invested by PIC in the retail giant when it was
caught in an accounting scandal in December 2017. [GN]


TEXAS: Faces Class Action Over Voting Rights Act Violation
----------------------------------------------------------
Dylan McGuinness, writing for ExpressNews.com, reports that legal
challenges are continuing to mount against state officials who said
nearly 100,000 people on Texas' voter rolls may not be citizens, a
claim that met swift resistance from civil rights advocates.

Luis Vera, national general counsel for the League of United Latin
American Citizens, said he will file a motion for a more expedited
injunction on Feb. 4 in the organization's lawsuit against
Secretary of State David Whitley and Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Mr. Whitley's office asked counties to send notices to those
identified, asking them to prove their citizenship. The injunction
would block further action based on the advisory.

LULAC's lawsuit equated their actions to a "witch hunt" intended to
intimidate voters -- especially naturalized citizens. A judge will
likely set a hearing, Mr. Vera said.

On ExpressNews.com: State hedges on claim that 100,000 Texas voters
aren't citizens, faces federal lawsuit

The request comes after the Campaign Legal Center joined the
lawsuit on Feb. 1, adding constitutional concerns and a
class-action lawsuit to the initial allegation that the state's
advisory to county officials violated the federal Voting Rights
Act.

On the same day, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational
Fund filed a separate suit in Corpus Christi, which contends that
state officials singled out naturalized citizens because they were
born outside the country.

Mr. Whitley's office said it can't comment on pending litigation.

LULAC's class-action suit features Julie Hilberg, 54, who claims
she was wrongly included on the state's list. Ms. Hilberg's
attorneys say her case illustrates the state's failed methodology
in compiling the list.

The people the state identified had obtained driver's licenses or
personal ID cards as far back as 23 years ago showing they were
legal residents but not citizens. They also had current voter
registrations, the state said. Critics said that approach didn't
account for people who became naturalized citizens after obtaining
their licenses. The lawsuit alleges it was specifically designed to
target them.

Ms. Hilberg, who lives in Poteet and chairs the Atascosa Democratic
Party, is a United Kingdom native who received a driver's license
in 2014 as a legal permanent resident. One year later, she became a
citizen in a Bexar County naturalization ceremony, the lawsuit
says. Her license does not expire until 2020, and she was not
required to notify the Department of Public Safety of her new
citizenship.

"After Defendant Whitley issued the Advisory, Ms. Hilberg became
concerned she may appear on this 'list' of alleged noncitizens and
could be removed from the registration list," the lawsuit said.

Atascosa County Elections Administrator Janice Ruple confirmed she
was on the list, despite her citizenship, according to Ms. Hilberg
and the lawsuit.

Reached by phone on Feb. 2, Ms. Hilberg deferred to her attorneys.
In a statement, she said she never expected her voting rights would
be jeopardized after becoming a citizen.

"I am passionate about democracy as an American and Texan, and hold
my voting rights dear," she said. "I want to stand up on behalf of
the tens of thousands of people that may have been unfairly flagged
by this flawed system and deprived of their constitutional
rights."

The attorneys in the case said others have reached out with similar
concerns that they might be included on the list.

"Individual voters may have specific stories, but the ways in which
they are impacted are very similar and arise from the nature of the
program, which is to target people who at some point were not
citizens," said Danielle Lang, a co-director of Campaign Legal
Center's voting rights program.

Mr. Vera, of LULAC, said other plaintiffs would be added to the
class-action suit.

On ExpressNews.com: Texas officials launched voter purge with big
splash, little accuracy

The state's claim started unraveling within days of its
announcement, as Whitley's office conceded that thousands of people
were wrongly included on the list and county officials discovered
other errors.

Counties were asked to send notices to affected voters asking them
to prove citizenship within 30 days or they would be removed from
the rolls, though the state's letter said it was up to local
officials to determine whether the information provided enough
reason to doubt the voters' citizenship.

At least one county had already sent notices to voters that
shouldn't have received them. Most other county officials have said
they would proceed with caution after thousands of people on the
list were confirmed as citizens.

On Feb. 1, Mr. Whitley's office sent a follow-up advisory to
counties.

"As you know, list maintenance activities are an ongoing process,
and we thank you for your collaboration and feedback thus far,"
Keith Ingram, the state elections director, wrote to county
officials. "The data we provide to you is the starting point, and
your data matches should be reviewed before you send out any
Notices of Examination." [GN]


TILLY'S INC: Cal. App. Flips Demurrer to Wage Order 7
-----------------------------------------------------
The Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division
Three, issued an Opinion reversing the judgment of the District
Court granting Defendant's Demurrer to Evidence Without Leave to
Amend in the case captioned SKYLAR WARD, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v. TILLY'S, INC., Defendant and Respondent. No. B280151. (Cal.
App.).

This appeal, which follows an order sustaining a demurrer without
leave to amend, concerns the practice of on-call scheduling.

Plaintiff Skylar Ward challenges the on-call scheduling practices
of her former employer, Tilly's, Inc. (Tilly's), as violating wage
order No. 7-2001 (Wage Order 7), which regulates the wages, hours,
and working conditions in the mercantile industry. Among other
things, Wage Order 7 requires employers to pay employees reporting
time pay for each workday an employee is required to report for
work and does report, but is not put to work or is furnished less
than half said employee's usual or scheduled day's work.

Demurrer; Dismissal Order

Tilly's demurred to the complaint, asserting that it failed to
state a cause of action. It contended that the first cause of
action for reporting time pay failed as a matter of law because
requiring employees to call in to ask whether to report for work
did not constitute reporting for work within the meaning of Wage
Order 7. The second, third, and fourth causes of action were
derivative of the first cause of action and, therefore, failed for
the same reason.

The trial court sustained the demurrer without leave to amend. It
explained: This court is persuaded that Defendant's interpretation
of the phrase report to work to mean that an employee physically
appears at the workplace is a correct analysis and interpretation.
The court finds that by merely calling in to learn whether an
employee will work a call-in shift, Plaintiff and other employees
do not report to work as contemplated by Wage Order 7. As such,
Plaintiff is not entitled to reporting-time pay under the Wage
Order, and the First Cause of Action for failure to pay reporting
time pay fails.  

STANDARD OF REVIEW

On appeal from an order of dismissal after an order sustaining a
demurrer, our standard of review is de novo, i.e., the Court
exercise our independent judgment about whether the complaint
states a cause of action as a matter of law.

Wage Orders and the Industrial Welfare Commission

In 1913, the Legislature established the Industrial Welfare
Commission (IWC) and spurred by concerns over inadequate wages and
poor working conditions delegated to the agency authority for
setting minimum wages, maximum hours, and working conditions. The
IWC began issuing industry- and occupation-specific wage orders in
1916, and it revised those wage orders from time to time. Although
the Legislature defunded the IWC in 2004, its wage orders remain in
effect.

Wage orders are issued pursuant to an express delegation of
legislative power, and thus they have the force of law. The IWC's
wage orders originally applied only to women and children, but
since the 1970's they have applied to all employees, regardless of
age and gender. The specific wage order applicable in this case is
Wage Order 7, which governs all persons employed in the mercantile
industry, other than persons employed in administrative, executive,
or professional capacities. The mercantile industry is any
industry, business, or establishment operated for the purpose of
purchasing, selling, or distributing goods or commodities at
wholesale or retail; or for the purpose of renting goods or
commodities.

Regulatory History and Purpose

The Court Interpretation Is Not Limited by the IWC's Understanding
of Wage Order 7 At the Time It Was Adopted

The contemporaneous understanding of report for work is not
dispositive of our analysis, however.

To the contrary, our Supreme Court has held in construing statutes
that predate their possible applicability to new practices or
technology, courts have not relied on wooden construction of their
terms. Fidelity to legislative intent does not make it impossible
to apply a legal text to technologies that did not exist when the
text was created. Drafters of every era know that technological
advances will proceed apace and that the rules they create will one
day apply to all sorts of circumstances they could not possibly
envision. Thus, in applying existing statutes to new circumstances,
the Court must maintain our usual deference to the Legislature in
such matters and ask ourselves first how that body would have
handled the problem if it had anticipated it.  

As relevant to the present case, Wage Order 7 does not reference
telephonic reporting, nor is there evidence that the IWC ever
considered whether telephonic reporting should trigger the
reporting time pay requirement. To paraphrase our Supreme Court,
such an omission is not surprising because neither the practice of
on-call scheduling nor the cell phone technology that makes such
scheduling possible existed when the IWC adopted the reporting time
pay requirement in the 1940's. The Court therefore next consider
whether, had the IWC been prescient enough to anticipate cell
phones and telephonic call-in requirements, it would have intended
the reporting time pay requirement to apply.

Wage Order 7's History and Purpose

In 1913, the California Legislature established the IWC to adopt
minimum wages, maximum hours, and standard working conditions for
the protection of women and minors. The first minimum wage orders
were issued in early 1916, and by 1923 minimum wage orders had been
adopted to cover most industries.

The IWC revised nearly all of its industry orders in 1942 and 1943.
Recommendations to the IWC provided by the Canning and Preserving
Industries Wage Board in 1942 described the need for reporting time
pay as follows: Allowing a large number of workers to come to the
plant when there is little or no work for them is serious abuse.
The testimony to the Wage Board showed that able employers through
the information collected by their organization eliminated this
evil almost entirely. Incompetent employers are able, however, to
make the worker pay for their incompetency. It is an obvious
advantage to the employer to have plenty of workers around for all
emergencies if he does not have to pay for them.

This history thus reveals, as our Supreme Court has said, that the
IWC's purpose in adopting reporting time pay requirements was
two-fold: to compensate employees and encourage proper notice and
scheduling. With these twin goals in mind, the Court turns to the
question before us whether, had the IWC considered the issue, it
would have concluded that telephonic call-in requirements trigger
reporting time pay.

The Wage Order's History and Purpose Are Consistent With Requiring
Reporting Time Pay for On-Call Shifts

The Court concludes that had the IWC confronted the issue, it would
have determined, as the Court does, that the telephonic call-in
requirements alleged in the operative complaint trigger reporting
time pay. The Court notes as an initial matter that the on-call
practices plaintiff alleges have much in common with the specific
abuse the IWC sought to combat by enacting a reporting time pay
requirement in 1942. Like requiring employees to come to a
workplace at the start of a shift without a guarantee of work,
unpaid on-call shifts are enormously beneficial to employers: They
create a large pool of contingent workers whom the employer can
call on if a store's foot traffic warrants it, or can tell not to
come in if it does not, without any financial consequence to the
employers. This permits employers to keep their labor costs low
when business is slow, while having workers at the ready when
business picks up. It thus creates no incentive for employers to
competently anticipate their labor needs and to schedule
accordingly.

For all of these reasons, the concludes that requiring reporting
time pay for on-call shifts is consistent with the IWC's goals in
adopting Wage Order 7. Reporting time pay requires employers to
internalize some of the costs of overscheduling, thus encouraging
employees to accurately project their labor needs and to schedule
accordingly. Reporting time pay also partially compensates
employees for the inconvenience and expense associated with making
themselves available to work on-call shifts, including forgoing
other employment, hiring caregivers for children or elders, and
traveling to a worksite. Finally, reporting time pay makes employee
income more predictable, by guaranteeing employees a portion of the
wages they would earn if they were permitted to work the on-call
shifts.

Tilly's urges that reporting time pay for on-call shifts is
inconsistent with the IWC's intent, which it characterizes solely
as compensating the employee for transportation costs and loss of
time. Tilly's contends that making a phone call to check one's
schedule is not something that the IWC intended to compensate,
since it does not involve transportation costs or loss of time in
the same way that actually reporting for work does. There are
several problems with Tilly's analysis, most significantly that it
reads one of the IWC's primary purposes encouraging proper notice
and scheduling out of the legislative and regulatory history. As
the Court have said, the IWC identified its intention to encourage
proper notice and scheduling when it first adopted a reporting time
pay requirement in 1943, and it reiterated those concerns
subsequently.

Based on the foregoing, the Court concludes, contrary to the trial
court, that an employee need not necessarily physically appear at
the workplace to report for work. Instead, reporting for work
within the meaning of the wage order is best understood as
presenting oneself as ordered.  Report for work, in other words,
does not have a single meaning, but instead is defined by the party
who directs the manner in which the employee is to present himself
or herself for work that is, by the employer.

Reporting Time Pay for On-Call Shifts Is Consistent With Supreme
Court Authority
Our conclusion that employees may be owed reporting time pay for
on-call shifts is consistent with our Supreme Court's recent
decision in Augustus, 2 Cal.5th 257. The plaintiffs in that case
were security guards who were required to keep their pagers and
phones on during 10-minute rest breaks and to respond to calls as
needed. Plaintiffs sued, asserting that by requiring them to remain
on-call during breaks, the employer was not providing them with
true rest breaks. The trial court granted the plaintiffs' motion
for summary adjudication, concluding that an on-duty or on-call
break is no break at all. The Court of Appeal disagreed and
reversed, concluding that simply being on call is not inconsistent
with a period of rest.

The Supreme Court granted review and reinstated the grant of
summary adjudication for the security guards. It observed that
applicable law required hourly employees be provided rest periods,
but it did not define the term. Nonetheless, the court said, one
cannot square the practice of compelling employees to remain at the
ready, tethered by time and policy to particular locations or
communications devices, with the requirement to relieve employees
of all work duties and employer control during 10-minute rest
periods. The court explained: Although Wage Order 4 is silent as to
on-call rest periods, our construction of the rest period
requirement cannot be reconciled with permitting employers to
require employees to remain on call. As the Court explained, a rest
period means an interval of time free from labor, work, or any
other employment-related duties. And employees must not only be
relieved of work duties, but also be freed from employer control
over how they spend their time.  

This very case provides an apt example. The trial court determined
it was undisputed that [the employer's] policy required plaintiffs
to keep radios and pagers on, remain vigilant, and respond if the
need arose. Given these intersecting realities, on-call rest
periods do not satisfy an employer's obligation to relieve
employees of all work-related duties and employer control. In the
context of a 10-minute break that employers must provide during the
work period, a broad and intrusive degree of control exists when an
employer requires employees to remain on call and respond during
breaks. An employee on call cannot take a brief walk five minutes
out, five minutes back if at the farthest extent of the walk he or
she is not in a position to respond.

Employees similarly cannot use their 10 minutes to take care of
other personal matters that require truly uninterrupted time like
pumping breast milk or completing a phone call to arrange child
care. The conclusion that on-call rest periods are impermissible is
not only the most logical in light of our construction of Wage
Order 4, subdivision 12(A), but is the most consistent with the
protective purpose of the Labor Code and wage orders.

Tilly's Public Policy Arguments Are Not Persuasive

Tilly's suggests that requiring reporting time pay for on-call
shifts is unworkable and will have absurd unintended consequences.


These claims are without merit.

First, Tilly's contention rests on a misreading of the statutory
language. Wage Order 7 requires reporting time pay if an employee
is required to report for work and does report, but is not put to
work or is furnished less than half said employee's usual or
scheduled day's work. In other words, an employee is owed reporting
time pay only if upon reporting for work, she is denied the
opportunity to work. In Tilly's example, the employee was not
denied the opportunity to work to the contrary, she was directed to
work the on-call shift. She thus has no colorable claim to
reporting time pay.

Second, Tilly's suggests that if on-call shifts trigger reporting
time pay, the employees will be entitled to compensation merely for
ascertaining their schedules something Tilly's says has never been
compensable. Tilly's frames the issue this way: Employees
undoubtedly must ascertain when they are supposed to work.
Sometimes schedules will be posted weeks or days in advance. And
sometimes, as here, employees will not know their schedules until
they call in, either two hours beforehand or the day before. No
matter how far in advance it takes place, however, the act of
ascertaining one's working schedule does not constitute reporting
for work.

Third, Tilly's contends that permitting employees to earn reporting
time pay for calling in prior to the start of a shift is unworkable
because there is no limit to how far in advance of a shift an
employee might report for work. If an employee called in two days
before, or three days before, or a week before, or two weeks
before, in each case she would be performing exactly the same act:
ascertaining by phone, in advance of a shift, whether to actually
report for it. In so urging, Tilly's attacks a straw man because it
is the employer, not the employee, who directs how employees report
for work. As the Court have said, the Court do not hold that
employees are entitled to reporting time pay whenever they contact
their employer to determine what their schedule is. The Court holds
only that if, as plaintiff alleges in this case, the employer
requires the employee to call in two hours before the start of a
shift, and the employee does so but is not put to work or is
furnished less than half said employee's usual or scheduled day's
work, then the employer is liable for reporting time pay.

The judgment of dismissal and order sustaining the demurrer are
reversed, and the case is remanded to the trial court for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.

A full-text copy of the Cal. App.'s February 31, 2018 Opinion is
available at https://tinyurl.com/y4awhkjr from Leagle.com.

McNicholas & McNicholas, Patrick McNicholas and Michael J. Kent,
Frank Sims & Stolper and Scott H. Sims -- ssims@lawfss.com --
Bridgford, Gleason & Artinian and Michael H. Artinian --
Mike.Artinian@bridgfordlaw.com -- Esner, Chang & Boyer,Andrew N.
Chang -- achang@ecbappeal.com -- Holly N. Boyer --
hboyer@ecbappeal.com -- and Steffi A. Jose -- sjose@ecbappeal.com
-- for Plaintiff and Appellant.

O'Melveny & Myers, Apalla U. Chopra -- achopra@omm.com -- Adam J.
Karr -- akarr@omm.com -- Ryan Rutledge -- rrutledge@omm.com -- and
Briana LaBriola for Defendant and Respondent.

Greenberg Traurig, Mark D. Kemple -- kemplem@gtlaw.com -- and Ryan
C. Bykerk- bykerkr@gtlaw.comfor -- Amicus Curiae Abercrombie &
Fitch Stores, Inc.


TNG GP: Court Modifies Pretrial Dates in J. Cooks' Suit
-------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of
California issued an Order granting Modification of Pretrial Dates
in the case captioned JEANNETTE COOKS, an individual; ALWENA
FRAZIER, an individual; and AUDREY L. BROWN, an individual for
themselves and on behalf of all others similarly situated,
Plaintiffs, v. TNG GP, a Delaware General Partnership; THE NEWS
GROUP, INC., a Delaware Corporation; THE NEWS GROUP, L.P., a
Delaware partnership; SELECT MEDIA SERVICES, L.L.C., a Delaware
Limited Liability Company, and, DOES 1 through 10, inclusive,
Defendants. Case No. 2:16-CV-01160-KJM-AC. (E.D. Cal.).

The Class Certification Scheduling Order is modified as follows:

   All discovery shall be completed by August 23, 2019.

   Plaintiffs shall file a Motion for Class Certification no later
than September 30, 2019.

   Opposition to Motion for Class Certification to be filed no
later than October 18, 2019.

   Reply Briefing to Motion for Certification to be filed no later
than November 8, 2019.

   The hearing on Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification is
scheduled for November 15, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 3 of
this Court.

A full-text copy of the District Court's February 4, 2018 Order is
available at https://tinyurl.com/y35h3e6h from Leagle.com.

Jeannette Cooks, Plaintiff, represented by Jeff Geraci --
jgeraci@ckslaw.com -- Cohelan Khoury and Singer, M. Catherine
Starr, The Martinez-Senftner Law Firm, Michael D. Singer --
msinger@ckslaw.com -- Cohelan Khoury & Singer & Olivia Sanders, Law
Offices of Olivia Sanders.

TNG GP, News Group, Inc. & Select Media Services, L.L.C.,
Defendants, represented by Jerome L. Rubin --
jrubin@williamskastner.com -- Williams Kastner & Gibbs, PLLC, pro
hac vice, Michael John Nader – michael.nader@ogletree.com --
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. & Anthony J.
DeCristoforo -- anthony.decristoforo@ogletree.com -- Ogletree
Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, PC.

The News Group, L.P., Defendant, represented by Anthony J.
DeCristoforo, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, PC & Michael
John Nader, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.


U.S. REMODELERS: Removes Jackson's Labor Case to C.D. California
----------------------------------------------------------------
Home Depot U.S.A, Inc., has removed the case captioned as, MARCK
JACKSON, as an individual and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, the Plaintiff, vs. U.S. REMODELERS, INC., dba HOME DEPOT
INTERIORS, a Delaware Corporation; U.S. REMODELERS, INC. dba U.S.
HOME SERVICES, an unincorporated association; THE HOME DEPOT U.S.A.
INC., a Delaware Corporation; CRAIG A. MENEAR, an individual; and
DOES 1 to 100, inclusive, the Defendants, Case No. 19STCV00656
(Filed Jan. 10, 2019) from the California Superior Court, County of
Los Angeles, to the U.S. District for the Central District of
California on Feb. 14, 2019. The Central District of California
Court Clerk assigned Case No. 2:19-cv-01163 to the proceeding.

The Plaintiff works as a sales consultant for Home Depot earning
commissions. The Plaintiff alleges that Home Depot misclassified
him as an outside salesperson, and, as a result, failed to
compensate him for all wages and overtime compensation due, provide
him with required meal and rest breaks, provide accurate itemized
wage statements, and maintain appropriate time records, pursuant to
the California Labor Code.

Home Depot is an American home improvement supplies retailing
company that sells tools, construction products, and services.  The
company is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.[BN]

Attorneys for Home Depot U.S.A., Inc.:

          Donna M. Mexias, Esq.
          William J. Edelman, Esq.
          AKIN GUMP STRAUSS HAUER & FELD LLP
          580 California Street, Suite 1500
          San Francisco, CA 94104
          Telephone: (415) 765 9500
          Facsimile: (415) 765 9501
          E-mail: dmezias@kingump.com
                  wedelman@kingump.com

UNITED STATES: HHS Defends Efforts to Reunite Migrant Children
--------------------------------------------------------------
Julie Small, writing for KQED News, reports that a top official
with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is defending his
agency's efforts to identify migrant children separated from
parents at the border -- and the agency's narrow definition of
which children must be accounted for under a federal judge's
order.

In a court declaration filed on Feb. 1, Jonathan White, a commander
with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps who is
leading HHS's efforts to reunify separated families, said his team
had identified all the separated children in the custody of the
Office of Refugee Resettlement, part of HHS, as of June 26, 2018.
That's the date U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw issued an
injunction to stop family separations and ordered the government to
promptly reunite children with their parents.

Judge Sabraw's order came in a class action lawsuit -- Ms. L vs.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- which challenged the
Trump administration over family separation.

Mr. White said in his declaration that the total number of children
his agency was responsible for returning to their families is
2,816.

That's an increase over previous tallies.

In July 2018, ORR reported that there were 2,654 affected children.
Officials later revised the number to 2,737. The vast majority of
those children have since been released to their parents or another
close relative.

But last month, the inspector general for HHS issued a watchdog
report, which found that thousands of additional children may have
been taken from their parents at the border beginning in 2017,
"before the accounting required by the court."

Judge Sabraw asked the government to respond to the inspector
general's report, which states, "Public attention has focused
largely on children separated from their parents who are covered by
a widely reported federal court order. But, more children, over a
longer period of time, have been separated from their parents or
guardians and referred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)
for care."

Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union, which is
representing plaintiff parents in the Ms. L case, say the
government should be held accountable for the earlier separations
-- and ensure that all those children are also returned to their
parents.

"We believe that even if the family were separated and the children
were released from U.S. custody before June 26, those families
should be included," said Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney in the
case.

"What we suspect is that many parents believed that the only way to
get their child out of government custody was to agree to allow the
child to be sent to a foster family or some other sponsor . . . And
we have no idea if those parents have now gotten their children
back or not."

But in his declaration, Mr. White said it was unfeasible to try to
account for children who had been separated from parents and then
released by ORR prior to the June injunction.

People who had waited two years or longer to see an immigration
judge could now see their cases pushed to the back of the line.

"HHS has no statutory authority over discharged children, much less
routine contact with all of them," he wrote. "ORR grantees would
face significant hurdles if they tried to collect information from
separated children who were discharged before June 26, 2018."

Mr. White said that over the past year and a half, close to 90
percent of unaccompanied or separated children released from ORR
were placed with a parent or close relative. So he reasoned that
any children separated in 2017 were most likely with their families
now.

Even if it were possible to locate previously separated children,
Mr. White stated that HHS lacks the authority to take a child back
from a sponsor in order to reunite the child with their parent.
White, a social worker, warned that doing so would "destabilize"
the child's environment and could be traumatic to the children.

"The option more consistent with the best interest of the child,"
he asserted, "would be to allow the child to remain with their
sponsor and focus instead on the ongoing work of reunifying parents
with separated children presently in ORR care."

The ACLU's Gelernt called that answer horrific.

"It can't be that we can't account for thousands of children who
were separated just because it may be too much work," Mr. Gelernt
said.

"The Trump administration's response is a shocking concession that
it can't easily find thousands of children it ripped from parents,
and doesn't even think it's worth the time to locate each of
them."

Mr. Gelernt has asked Judge Sabraw to include any child taken from
a parent since 2017 in the Ms. L. case. The court is expected to
hear that motion. [GN]


UNITED STATES: Local Woman Sues Over Partial Gov't Shutdown
-----------------------------------------------------------
Isabella Basco, writing for KIMT3 News, reports that a local woman
is taking part in a lawsuit against the government after working
nearly 100 hours of overtime without pay.

The partial government shutdown was a challenging time for Sandy
Parr. The mother of two racked up nearly a hundred hours of
overtime without pay. Now, she is taking action.

"I got extremely tired, the first pay period was 60 hours, the
second pay period was 34," Parr said.

Ms. Parr says the weeks of work without pay took a toll on her
family life.

"My kids were wondering why I was going to work when I wasn't
getting paid," Ms. Parr said.

Now -- she is hopeful the lawsuit will pay off.

"Anybody who worked overtime is potentially due double of what they
worked, so for me, that's 94 hours of overtime I'm getting paid a
second time," Ms. Parr said.

Heidi Burakiewicz is the lead attorney in the class action suit and
is optimistic she will be able to get her clients a significant
payday.

"A minimum of one thousand one hundred 60 dollars per person is
what the minimum wage violation comes out to plus the full amount
of overtime that people worked," Ms. Burakiewicz said.

Justin Tarovisky was the first plaintiff in the lawsuit against the
government and he works at a federal penitentiary in West Virginia.


"I don't want morale to get like it's been," Mr. Tarovisky said.
"This is the worst I've seen in 11 years. I don't want to see that
strain on the offices when we're there to defend the public."

This class action lawsuit is not a small time affair. Ms.
Burakiewicz tells KIMT at least thousands of employees have signed
onto the lawsuit. [GN]


WEALTHY TRADE: Lopez-Cuyuch Seeks Unpaid Minimum and OT Wages
-------------------------------------------------------------
MARIO LOPEZ CUYUCH (A.K.A. ALEX), individually and on behalf of
others similarly situated, the Plaintiff, vs. WEALTHY TRADE INC.
(D/B/A WANISA HOME KITCHEN), RAGA CORP. (D/B/A WANISA HOME
KITCHEN), RHYNCHOSPORA INC. (D/B/A WANISA HOME KITCHEN),
WACHIRAPORN UDOMSAK, BAKUL MIAH, and TANIT DOE, Case No.
1:19-cv-00794 (E.D.N.Y., Feb. 8, 2019), seeks unpaid minimum and
overtime wages pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards and the New
York Labor Law.

According to the complaint, the Plaintiff Lopez was employed as a
cook at the restaurant located at 142 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
The Plaintiff worked in excess of 40 hours per week, without
appropriate minimum wage, overtime, and spread of hours
compensation for the hours that he worked. Rather, the Defendants
failed to pay Plaintiff Lopez appropriately for any hours worked,
either at the straight rate of pay or for any additional overtime
premium.

Further, the Defendants failed to pay the Plaintiff the required
"spread of hours" pay for any day in which he had to work over 10
hours a day. The Defendants maintained a policy and practice of
requiring the Plaintiff and other employees to work in excess of 40
hours per week without providing the minimum wage and overtime
compensation required by federal and state law and regulations, the
lawsuit says.

The Defendants own, operate, or control a Thai restaurant, located
at 142 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 under the name "Wanisa Home
Kitchen."[BN]

Attorneys for the Plaintiff:

          Michael Faillace, Esq.
          MICHAEL FAILLACE & ASSOCIATES, P.C.
          60 East 42nd Street, Suite 4510
          New York, NY 10165
          Telephone: (212) 317-1200
          Facsimile: (212) 317-1620
          Faillace@employmentcompliance.com

WIRECARD AG: Rosen Law Firm Investigates Securities Claims
----------------------------------------------------------
Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, on Feb. 3
disclosed that it is investigating potential securities claims on
behalf of shareholders of Wirecard AG (OTC: WCAGY, WRCDF) resulting
from allegations that Wirecard may have issued materially
misleading business information to the investing public.

On January 30, 2019, The Financial Times reported that a senior
executive at Wirecard was suspected of using forged contracts in
connection with several suspicious transactions. On this news,
shares of Wirecard fell sharply.

Then, on February 1, 2019, The Financial Times reported that an
external law firm commissioned by Wirecard found evidence
indicating "serious offenses of forgery and/or of falsification of
accounts." On this news, shares of Wirecard fell nearly 20%.

Rosen Law Firm is preparing a class action lawsuit to recover
losses suffered by Wirecard investors. If you purchased shares of
Wirecard please visit the firm's website at
https://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-1499.html to join the class
action. You may also contact Phillip Kim or Zachary Halper of Rosen
Law Firm toll free at 866-767-3653 or via email at
pkim@rosenlegal.com or zhalper@rosenlegal.com.

Rosen Law Firm -- http://www.rosenlegal.com-- represents investors
throughout the globe, concentrating its practice in securities
class actions and shareholder derivative litigation. Rosen Law Firm
was Ranked No. 1 by ISS Securities Class Action Services for number
of securities class action settlements in 2017. The firm has been
ranked in the top 3 each year since 2013. [GN]


XYLEM INC: Bishop Asserts Violation under Disabilities Act
----------------------------------------------------------
Xylem, Inc. is facing a class action lawsuit filed pursuant to the
Americans with Disabilities Act. The case is styled Cedric Bishop
and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff v. Xylem,
Inc., Defendant, Case No. 1:19-cv-01644 (S.D. N.Y., February 21,
2019).

Xylem Inc. is a large American water technology provider, enabling
customers worldwide to transport, treat, test and efficiently use
water in public utility, residential, commercial, agricultural and
industrial settings. The company does business in more than 150
countries.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Jeffrey Michael Gottlieb, Esq.
   150 E. 18 St.
   Suite PHR
   New York, NY 10003
   Tel: (212) 228-9795
   Fax: (212) 982-6284
   Email: nyjg@aol.com



YUBA COUNTY, CA: Court OKs $1.7MM Attorney's Fees in Hedrick Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of
California, Sacramento Division, ordered the Defendants in the case
captioned DERRIL HEDRICK, DALE ROBINSON, KATHY LINDSEY, MARTIN C.
CANADA, DARRY TYRONE PARKER, individually and on behalf of all
others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. JAMES GRANT, as Sheriff
of Yuba County; Lieutenant FRED J. ASBY, as Yuba County Jailer;
JAMES PHARRIS, ROY LANDERMAN, DOUG WALTZ, HAROLD J. "SAM" Trial
SPERBEK, JAMES MARTIN, as members of the YUBA COUNTY BOARD OF
SUPERVISORS, Defendants. Case No. 2:76-CV-00162-EFB. (E.D. Cal.),
to pay a total of $1.7 million in attorneys' fees and costs to the
Plaintiffs.

The parties acknowledge that the Plaintiffs' counsel have incurred
and will incur attorneys' fees, litigation expenses, and costs
related to monitoring the Consent Decree, litigating issues related
to enforcement of the Consent Decree, seeking remedial orders, and
negotiating this Amended Consent Decree. The Plaintiffs will,
contemporaneous with their filing of their motion for preliminary
approval of the Amended Consent Decree, submit a motion for
attorneys' fees and costs seeking to recover attorneys' fees and
costs related to all work on this matter including monitoring the
Consent Decree, litigating issues related to the Consent Decree
(including the Motion to File a Supplemental Complaint), seeking
remedial orders, and negotiating this Amended Consent Decree (fees
and expenses). Plaintiffs agree not to seek fees and expenses from
the Court in an amount above $1,100,000, for fees and expenses
incurred.  

For work that the Plaintiffs performed prior through June 30, 2018
on work related to claims under sections 12132 and 12188 of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), section 794 of the
Rehabilitation Act, Article I, Sections 7 and 17 of California
Constitution, California Government Code Section 11135, and
California Code of Civil Procedure Ssection 1021.5 (ADA-related
work), the Plaintiffs are entitled to compensation at their full
market rates.

After reasonable billing judgment reductions, the Plaintiffs'
lodestar for work performed through June 30, 2018 is $1,652,000.20,
representing compensation for 6922 hours of work invested in this
case. Through final approval of the Amended Consent Decree, the
Plaintiffs' lodestar is $100,901, representing compensation for
457.4 additional hours of work invested in this case.

The Plaintiffs' counsel is entitled to recover the expenses
advanced to prosecute this litigation on behalf of the class. The
Plaintiffs have incurred costs and expenses of $68,782.81 through
final approval of the Amended Consent Decree, the Plaintiffs have
incurred costs and expenses of $2,010.

Accordingly, the Court finds that the Plaintiffs' counsel's total
lodestar of fees and expenses through June 30, 2018 of
$1,720,783.01 is reasonable and appropriate under federal and state
law for the work performed and the success achieved for the class.
This amount far exceeds the negotiated cap of $1.1 million for fees
and expenses incurred.  

The Court also finds that the Plaintiffs' counsel's total lodestar
of fees and expenses from July 1, 2018 through final approval of
$102,911 is reasonable and appropriate under federal and state law
for the work performed and the success achieved for the class.

Accordingly, the Defendants are ordered to pay the Plaintiffs'
$1,100,000 for reasonable attorneys' fees, expenses, and costs.

The Defendants are ordered to pay the Plaintiffs' $79,500 for
reasonable attorneys' fees, expenses, and costs.

A full-text copy of the District Court's January 31, 2018 Opinion
is available at https://tinyurl.com/y7223row from Leagle.com.

David Hedrick, Plaintiff, represented by Benjamin Joseph Bien-Kahn
-- bbien-kahn@rbgg.com -- Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, Carter
Capps White -- ccwhite@ucdavis.edu -- King Hall Civil Rights
Clinic, Gay Crosthwait Grunfeld  -- ggrunfeld@rbgg.com -- Rosen
Bien Galvan and Grunfeld LLP, Michael Bien -- mbien@rbgg.com --
Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, Fred H. Altshuler, Altshuler
Berzon LLP, Ilene Janet Jacobs -- ijacobs@crla.org -- California
Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. & Michael Louis Freedman --
mfreedman@rbgg.com -- Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP.

Dale Robinson, Plaintiff, represented by Benjamin Joseph Bien-Kahn
, Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, Carter Capps White , King Hall
Civil Rights Clinic, Gay Crosthwait Grunfeld , Rosen Bien Galvan
and Grunfeld LLP, Michael Bien, Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP,
Fred H. Altshuler, Altshuler Berzon LLP & Michael Louis Freedman,
Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP.

James Grant & Yuba County, Defendants, represented by Carl L.
Fessenden -- cfessenden@porterscott.com -- Porter Scott, PC, John
Riley Vacek  -- jvacek@co.yuba.ca.us -- County of Yuba & John
Robert Whitefleet – jwhitefleet@porterscott.com -- Porter Scott,
APC.

Estate of Bertram Hiscock, Unknown, represented by Lori Rifkin --
lrifkin@hadsellstormer.com -- Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP.


[*] ALRC Report on Class Action Reform Presented in Parliament
--------------------------------------------------------------
Justine Siavelis, Esq. -- jsiavelis@gclegal.com.au -- Katherine
Czoch, Esq. -- kczoch@gclegal.com.au -- and Cherry Lee, Esq., of
Gilchrist Connell, in an article for Mondaq, report  that on
January 24, 2019, the Australian Law Reform Commission  (ALRC)
report "Integrity, Fairness and Efficiency -- An Inquiry into Class
Action Proceedings and Third-Party Litigation Funders" (Report) was
tabled in Parliament.

The basis for the Inquiry was the increased prevalence of class
action proceedings commenced in Australian courts, and the role of
litigation funders in those class actions.

The Report contains 24 recommendations concerning the Federal
system, some of which depart significantly from the reform measures
proposed in the ALRC's Discussion Paper of 31 May 2018 (Discussion
Paper).

If implemented, the recommendations would change significantly the
class action landscape and may lead to further legislative reform
of securities law.

The key recommendations from the Report are discussed below.

Case Management

High on the list of concerns was the composition of representative
classes (open or closed) and the increase in multiple competing
class actions. To address those concerns the ALRC recommends:

   * The Federal Court (Court) be given exclusive jurisdiction for
class action proceedings arising under the Corporations Act 2001
(Cth) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001
(Cth);
   * All class actions to be initiated as open class (where all
potential claimants are members of the class with the ability for
members to opt out), rather than closed class actions (where class
members take active steps to join the class);
   * The Court's Class Action Practice Note be amended to provide
criteria for class closure and reopening of classes;
   * The Court be given power to the Court to make common fund
orders;
   * The Court be given an express power to deal with competing
class actions, with the ALRC supporting a single class action to
proceed for each dispute;
   * The States and Territories with class action procedures
consider becoming a party to a protocol with the Federal Court to
improve cooperation between them (Protocol).

The Report contains proposals for the notification of class actions
and a designated period (90 days) for competing class actions to be
commenced. It is proposed that a 'selection hearing' for any
competing class actions be held.  with litigants to disclose to the
Court on a confidential basis the terms of any funding or costs
agreements and number of members in a class. The ALRC recommends
the Court 'choose the proceeding which best advances the claims and
interest of group members in an efficient and cost-effective
manner' without statutory criteria. The respondent would not be
involved in the selection (or 'carriage') process.

The recommendation to confer exclusive jurisdiction on the Court is
unlikely to be implemented, given the lack of support for the
proposal to date and that it would mean the removal of class
actions from State Courts;  Protocol adoption is more likely to
receive support from the State Courts.

Regulation of Litigation Funders

The ALRC recommends the Court have stricter supervision over
litigation funders and litigation funding agreements in class
actions, instead of implementing a statutory licensing regime for
litigation funders as initially proposed.

Key recommendations are that:

   * Third-party litigation funding agreements be enforceable only
with approval of the Court;
   * The Court have the power to reject, vary or amend the terms of
such agreements;
   * A funding agreement provide a complete indemnity to the
representative plaintiff for an adverse costs order;
   * There be a statutory presumption that a third-party litigation
funder will provide security for costs in a form enforceable in
Australia; and
   * The Court have the power to order costs against funders and
insurers who fail to facilitate the just resolution of disputed
claims according to law and as quickly, inexpensively, and
efficiently as possible.

Solicitors' Fees and Conflicts of Interest

The ALRC recommends solicitors be permitted to adopt a limited
percentage-based ('contingency') fee model for class action
proceedings, which is subject to similar restrictions to the
third-party litigation funding regime.

Key recommendations are that:

   * Solicitors be permitted to enter into 'percentage-based fee
agreements' (PBFAs) -- allowing them to recover a percentage of the
amount recovered in litigation -- with the following limitations:

         -- an action funded through a PBFA cannot also be directly
funded by another entity charging on a contingency basis;
        -- a percentage-based fee cannot be recovered in addition
to fees charged on a time-cost basis;
        -- solicitors entering a PBFA must advance the cost of
disbursements;
        -- there be a statutory presumption that solicitors funding
class action litigation through a PBFA provide security for costs
in a form enforceable in Australia;
        -- PBFAs are permitted only with Court approval; and
        -- The Court have the power to reject, vary or amend the
terms of PBFAs;

* The Law Council of Australia should oversee a specialist
accreditation scheme for solicitors in class action law and
practice, including ongoing education in identifying and managing
conflicts of interest.

PBFAs may enable more medium-sized class actions to proceed and
will open up competition between solicitors and litigation funders
and likely drive percentage-based fees down. They would also
provide a further market for after-the-event insurers funding
disbursements and adverse costs orders.

However, we question how effectively solicitors will be able to
manage conflicts of interest, as PBFAs will necessarily put the
respective interests of the solicitor and the client (and a
solicitor's obligation to put the interests of the client first)
into direct conflict. Whilst conflicts do currently exist where a
solicitor acts pursuant to a Conditional "No Win No Fee" Agreement,
and can manifest themselves in a solicitor advising a client to
accept a low value settlements offer so that a "Win" occurs, PBFAs
would exaggerate such issues and we can foresee circumstances
where, for example, advice to reject reasonable settlement offers
may be given in order to (potentially) increase a solicitor's
percentage fee.

Shareholder Class Action Proceedings and Continuous Disclosure
Obligations

The ALRC recommends that the Australian government commission a
review of the legal and economic impact of the operation,
enforcement, and effects of continuous disclosure obligations and
those relating to misleading and deceptive conduct in securities
actions. Most securities class actions allege breaches of these
laws.

A review would look at whether the current regime is working,
including whether it is encouraging unmeritorious claims, whether
additional defences are required, and the impact on D&O insurance.
Notably the ALRC commented that there was currently a lack of
verifiable data (despite submissions from brokers and insurers) to
support the hypothesis that class action activity has lead to the
increase in insurance premiums and claims paid, and a decrease in
the availability of D&O insurance.

Settlement approval

The ALRC recommends:

   * Permitting the Court appointment of referees to assess the
reasonableness of legal costs before settlement approval;
   * Permitting the Court to tender settlement administration and
include processes for this to occur;
   * Requiring settlement administrators to report to the group and
Court following distribution.

The ALRC rejected the need to change the current settlement
approval regime where a party may apply for a confidentiality order
with respect to settlement, leaving it up to the Court to balance
the principles of open justice with confidentiality concerns.

Other recommendations

Other recommendations include a review of regulatory enforcement
mechanisms to provide a consistent framework of regulatory redress,
and steps to address conflicts of interest for solicitors and
funders.

Conclusion

Although the focus of the ALRC is primarily on the protection of
claimants, the ALRC's recommendations are largely favourable to
defendants and insurers by providing for a more robust and
structured federal class action regime.

The true impact will however depend on the extent to which the
recommendations are implemented by the government and the Courts
and may take some time to emerge. [GN]


[*] Australia to Consult on ALRC Report on Class Action Reforms
---------------------------------------------------------------
Insurance News reports that the Federal Government will consult on
"complex issues" raised in an Australian Law Reform Commission
(ALRC) report proposing changes to the class action regime.

"The report is expected to stimulate debate among consumer
advocates, the legal profession, the business sector and across the
wider community on the issues raised," Acting Attorney-General Greg
Hunt said.

"The Government will further engage with key stakeholders in
developing its response to the report, to ensure the class actions
regime provides just and effective outcomes for all Australians."

The ALRC made 24 recommendations, including that the Government
conduct a separate review of the shareholder class action regime.

It viewed soaring directors' and officers' premiums and insurers
leaving the market as a "canary in the coalmine" that suggested
"something is not quite right", but an earlier draft report
prompted "claims and counterclaims" over alleged problems.

Law firm Allens says Attorney-General Christian Porter has
indicated a further separate review is not a high priority.

"Nonetheless, we see it as important issue for the business
community and will continue to advocate for reform in this space,"
it says. "However, it is likely to require a long-term approach."

The ALRC says the Federal Court should have "exclusive
jurisdiction" over class actions arising from the Corporations Act
and Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act, and
suggests amendments to address the rising number of competing class
actions.

It proposes greater oversight of third-party litigation funders,
without requiring that they become licensed in the same way as
financial service providers, and notes their important role
providing access to justice.

"A suite of recommendations to improve the regulation of litigation
funders and to support the unique role of the Federal Court in
protecting the interests of all group members is recommended in
lieu of a licensing regime for litigation funders," it says. [GN]


[*] D&O Premium Hike Blamed on Securities Class Action Activity
---------------------------------------------------------------
Insurance News reports that commercial premiums climbed at a
greater pace than expected last year and are set for further gains,
according to a relatively positive JP Morgan Taylor Fry General
Insurance Barometer.

Assertions a year ago that the pricing cycle had turned positive
have proved correct, with commercial rates jumping 9% last year,
building on a 3% gain in 2017.

The outlook this year is for an increase of 8% as insurers seek to
improve profitability on their portfolios, and a still-healthy gain
of 6% is expected in 2020.

The flagship fire and industrial special risk (ISR) class achieved
a 9% rate increase last year after declines of 3% in 2016, while
commercial motor rate rises accelerated to 14%.

Better combined operating ratios have also been reported, with
domestic classes improving to 78% last year from 90% two years
earlier and commercial lines moving to 96% from 101%.

Fire and ISR was the only class to have a combined operating ratio
languishing above 100%.

Professional indemnity profitability improved, with rates rising
10%, but claims size inflation increased 8% and claims frequency
was up 5.5%. Directors' and officers' (D&O) cover is included
within the class, partially masking one of the most difficult areas
for the industry.

Increased securities class action activity is blamed for surging
D&O premiums, with insurers exiting the line or reducing exposure.
The Hayne royal commission last year led to multiple class actions
against AMP and the inquiry may generate further claims.

"The cost of class actions in the directors' and officers' class,
particularly relating to breaches around disclosure obligations for
listed companies, is approaching crisis levels," Taylor Fry
Principal and Senior Actuary Kevin Gomes said.

"This could create serious implications for a functioning economy
if a significant increase in premiums creates difficulty for
companies to obtain cover at an acceptable level."

Mr Gomes says D&O is likely to face further pressure, with
litigation funders expanding their presence in Australia and no
signs that class action activity will decline.

"Insurers have raised rates, but it is still performing quite
poorly from a profitability perspective," he said.

In domestic classes, profitability has improved over the past two
years, particularly in compulsory third party insurance.

"There has been a slight downward trend in the domestic motor and
householder ratios, indicating improved profitability in these
classes, while the premium rates in domestic classes overall are
forecast to remain broadly stable," JP Morgan analyst Siddharth
Parameswaran said.

The overall market benefited from "quite strong" economic tailwinds
last year, with unemployment declining and GDP improving.

This year it may experience challenges from the wealth effect of a
declining property market, less buoyant conditions in China and
business confidence impacts that often emerge in an election year.

The more positive commercial lines environment comes against
increasing regulatory concern, with the Hayne royal commission's
final report to be released this afternoon and the impacts of other
reviews still in train.

The Productivity Commission last year reported on competition in
the financial system, targeting the insurance sector over a
proliferation of brands that mask a smaller number of
underwriters.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry into
northern Australian premiums has also released its first interim
report, containing recommendations and draft proposals including a
ban on commissions and another examination of comparison websites.
It will release its its next update in November and final report
next year.

Underwriters, reinsurers and brokers surveyed for the JP Morgan and
Taylor Fry barometer name regulation and compliance as a leading
issue facing the industry.

Other issues include profitability and competition in commercial
classes, particularly in D&O, the hardening ISR market, the growing
threat of cyber losses, surplus reinsurance capacity and
insurtech.

Regulatory changes are likely to provide headwinds in the year
ahead, and some classes require further improvement.

Several reports on the global industry last year suggested the
Australian market was leading the trend to rising premiums. With
the commercial pricing cycle remaining in a positive phase, the
barometer suggests the industry is in a relatively good position to
maintain its upward move. [GN]



                            *********

S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania,
USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Washington, D.C., USA.  Rousel Elaine T.
Fernandez, Joy A. Agravante, Psyche A. Castillon, Julie Anne L.
Toledo, Christopher G. Patalinghug, and Peter A. Chapman, Editors.

Copyright 2019. All rights reserved. ISSN 1525-2272.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without prior
written permission of the publishers.

Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to
be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

The CAR subscription rate is $775 for six months delivered via
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are $25 each. For subscription information, contact
Peter A. Chapman at 215-945-7000.

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