/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/221006.mbx               C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

              Thursday, October 6, 2022, Vol. 24, No. 194


ACADIA PHARMACEUTICALS: Court Denies Bid to Dismiss Birmingham Suit
ALLIANCE COAL: Cates Wins Leave to Send Class Notice & Consent Form
ALLIANCE COAL: Cates' Bid for Equitable Tolling of FLSA Claims OK'd
AMC THEATRES: Agrees to Settle Shareholders' Class Suit for $17.4-M
ANCESTRY.COM: Judge Tosses Class Action Over Yearbook Photos

APPLE INC: Agrees to Settle eBook Price Fixing Class Suit for $12-M
APPLE INC: Motion to Certify Interlocutory Appeal Bid Denied
AUSTRALIA: Live Export Class Members Await Final Suit Settlement
BANSLEY & KIENER: To Pay $900,000 to Resolve Data Breach Claims
BAYER HEALTHCARE: Faces Class Suit Over Seresto Flea, Tick Collars

BP EXPLORATION: Court Excludes Cook Expert Opinion in Stewart Suit
BRAINSHARK INC: Must Face Class Action Over Biometrics Collection
BRIDGECREST ACCEPTANCE: Canady Wins More Time for Class Discovery
CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT: Casino Players Deprive of Change, Suit Says
CANADA: Band Reparations Class Suit Put on Hold After Negotiations

CANADA: Court Certifies Class Action Over Alleged Data Breach
CARGILL INC: $85-M Wage Settlement Gets Preliminary Court Approval
CARRIER CORP: Fails to Properly Pay Overtime Wages, Miller Claims
CENTESSA PHARMACEUTICALS: Lead Plaintiff Appointment Due Nov. 28
CHEESE MERCHANTS: Continental's Bid for Judgment on Pleadings OK'd

CHICAGO, IL: Bid to Certify Suit Over Religious Freedom Denied
CRONOS GROUP: Faces Class Action Over Securities Violations
CROWN WARDS: Proposed Settlement in Sexual Assault Suit Reached
DEVON & CORNWALL: Could Face Mistreatment Class Action Lawsuit
EAST LAKE HARDWARE: Stuart Sues Over Unpaid Overtime Wages

EASTMAN KODAK: Motion to Dismiss Securities Class Suits Granted
ECOVACS ROBOTICS: Class Action Mulled Over Defective Deebot Vacuums
FEALS INC: Raslavich Sues Over Unsolicited Telephonic Sales Calls
FERRARI NORTH: Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Brake Failure
FIFTH AVENUE: Reyes Files Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime Wages

FIRELANDS REGIONAL: Underpays Registered Nurses, Campanelli Says
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL: Faces Class Action Suit Over Underfunding
FORD MOTOR: Face Class Action Over Pick-Up Trucks' Roof Structure
GOOGLE LLC: $100M Settlement in Biometrics Class Suit Gets Final OK
GOOGLE LLC: Moves to Dismiss Automatic Renewal Class Action

HERR FOODS: Faces Class Action Over Mislabeled Cheese Curls
HIRAM WALKER: Faces Class Action Suit Over Ethanol Emissions
HYUNDAI MOTOR: Settles Engine Failures & Fires Class Action
ILLINOIS: Bids to Alter Order Dismissing Yeager v. OSAD Denied
ILUM SOLAR: Misclassifies Employees as Independent Contractors

INTELSAT SA: Class Action Over Insider Trading Could Continue
L'OREAL USA: Dismissal Bid in Collagen False Ads' Class Suit Denied
LA CASA DEL MOFONGO: Fails to Properly Pay Wages, Reyes Claims
MAGELLAN HEALTH: Agrees to Settle Data Breach Suit for $1.43-Mil.
MANHATTAN LUXURY: Faces Class Action Over Spam Text Messages

MCGRAW HILL: Final Judgment in Amended Flynn Class Suit Entered
MEAD JOHNSON: Reaches Settlement in Mislabeled Formula Products
MEDX STAFFING: Farinas Sues Over Failure to Pay Overtime Wages
NAVY PIER: Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal of Enriquez BIPA Suit
ORIENTAL-DECOR.COM: Loadholt Files ADA Suit in S.D. New York

PALANTIR TECHNOLOGIES: Cupat Sues Over 21.31% Drop of Stock Price
PEOPLES BANK: Faces Lawsuit Over Alleged Overdraft Fee Practices
PETSMART GROOMING: Training Program Triggers Class-Action Lawsuit
POLARIS INC: Won Two Appeals in Consumer Class Action Lawsuits
REYNOLDS NATIONWIDE: Misclassifies Dispatchers, Daniels Claims

ROBINHOOD MARKETS: Final OK Hearing in Breach Suit Settlement Set
SAINT JOHN, NB: Liable in Sexual Predator Suit, Judge Rules
SALLY BEAUTY: Raslavich Sues Over Unsolicited Telephone Calls
SESAME PLACE: More Families Join Discrimination Class Action
SMITHFIELD FOODS: Reaches Third Settlement in Pork Antitrust Suit

STANLEY INDUSTRIAL: Bid for Arbitration in Streedharan Suit Denied
TFE INC: Faces Harrison Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime Wages
TICKETMASTER ENTERTAINMENT: Consumers Forced to Accept Arbitration
UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Drivers' Discrimination Suit Dismissed Again
URBAN OUTFITTERS: Faces Unsolicited Telephone Calls Suit in Florida

VIATRIS INC: Patel Suit Remanded to Allegheny Court of Common Pleas
VIRGINIA: ACLU Seeks Certification in Prison Housing Practices Suit
WALMART INC: Faces Class Suit Over Illegal Collection of Biometrics
WALMART INC: Hit With Illinois Class Suit For Biometric Violations
WB DISCOVERY: Faces Class Action Suit Over Misleading Merger Info

WELLS FARGO: Faces Class Action in California Over 401(k) Plan


ACADIA PHARMACEUTICALS: Court Denies Bid to Dismiss Birmingham Suit
OHIO CARPENTERS' PENSION FUND, Individually and On Behalf of All
Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs v. ACADIA PHARMACEUTICALS,
Defendants, Case No. 3:21-cv-00762-WQH-NLS (S.D. Cal.), Judge
William Q. Hayes of the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of California denies the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the
First Amended Class Action Complaint.

On April 19, 2021, Denise Marechal initiated the action by filing a
Class Action Complaint. On Sept. 29, 2021, the Court issued an
Order appointing Birmingham as the Lead Plaintiff.

On Dec. 10, 2021, Birmingham and additional Plaintiff Ohio
Carpenters' Pension Fund (collectively "Plaintiffs") filed the FAC.
The FAC alleges that the Defendants violated federal securities
laws by deceiving investors regarding the likelihood of Food and
Drug Administration ("FDA") approval of a drug, which Acadia
developed, to artificially inflate the market price of its

Acadia is a Delaware biopharmaceutical company with common stock
that trades on the Nasdaq Global Selection Market under the ticker
symbol "ACAD." Davis "has served as Acadia's Chief Executive
Officer and a member of Acadia's Board of Directors since September
2015." Stankovic served as "Acadia's Executive Vice President, Head
of Research and Development, from November 2015 through November
2018" and "has served as Acadia's President and Head of Research
and Development since November 2018." Davis and Stankovic
"possessed the power and authority to control the contents of
Acadia's SEC filings, press releases, and other market
communications" and had "access to material information available
to them but not to the public."

In July 2011, Acadia initiated a Phase III medical study (the "-020
Study") to "evaluate the efficacy, tolerability and safety" of a
drug called pimavanserin in patients with Parkinson's disease
psychosis ("PDP"), a condition "associated with Parkinson's disease
dementia." In November 2012, it announced positive top-line results
for the -020 Study." In April 2016, the FDA "approved pimavanserin
for the treatment of hallucinations and delusions associated with
PDP." The -020 Study was "the primary basis for the FDA's 2016
approval." Pimavanserin is Acadia's "most valuable drug" and "only
commercial product to date."

In November 2013, Acadia initiated a Phase II medical study (the
"-019 Study") to "evaluate the efficacy and safety of pimavanserin
as a treatment for patients with Alzheimer's disease psychosis
('ADP')." "In December 2016, Acadia announced positive top-line
results from the -019 Study."

In October 2017, Acadia initiated the Harmony Study, a pivotal
Phase III study, to assess pimavanserin as a treatment for
dementia-related psychosis ("DRP"). On Sept. 9, 2019, Acadia issued
a press release in which the Defendants "announced positive results
for the Harmony Study."

In response to these positive reports, the price of Acadia's common
stock shot up more than 63%, closing at $38.85 on Sept. 9, 2019."
"Eight days later, on Sept. 17, 2019, Acadia announced a proposed
follow-on offering of approximately $250 million of common stock."
"On Sept. 20, 2019, the follow-on offering closed and Acadia sold
7,187,500 shares at a price of $40 per share, for gross proceeds
totaling $287.5 million."

On June 3, 2020, Acadia submitted its sNDA for pimavanserin to the
FDA for the treatment of hallucinations and delusions associated
with DRP." The sNDA was "principally" based on the Harmony Study,
"with further support from the Phase III '-020 Study,' and the
Phase II '-019 Study.

From June 15, 2020, to Feb. 25, 2021, the Defendants made a series
of public statements characterizing the results of the three
studies supporting the sNDA as "positive" and "strong," expressing
"confidence" in the studies' data and in the potential for FDA
approval, asserting that FDA review was progressing, and describing
an agreement between Acadia and the FDA.

Acadia "issued a press release that provided an update on its
pimavanserin sNDA" on March 8, 2021. The press release stated that
Acadia was notified by the FDA that the sNDA could not be approved.
In response to the two announcements, Acadia's common stock price
fell $20.76 per share (45.35%) on March 9, 2021, and an additional
$4.41 (17.23%) on April 5, 2021.

Prior to the announcement of the Harmony Study's results on Sept.
9, 2019, neither Defendant Davis nor Defendant Stankovic had sold
any Acadia stock. Between Sept. 9, 2019, and April 4, 2021, Davis
sold 541,205 shares of Acadia common stock for $24,771,568 and
Stankovic sold 368,993 shares for $18,932,729. Much of these sales
were made pursuant to Rule 10b5-1 trading plans adopted by Davis on
Aug. 22, 2019, and Dec. 19, 2019, and by Stankovic on Nov. 8, 2019,
and Dec. 3, 2020. Since April 4, 2021, Davis has sold an additional
10,813 shares of common stock and Stankovic has sold an additional

The Plaintiffs are entities that purchased Acadia common stock "at
artificially inflated prices." They seek to bring the action on
behalf of a putative class of all those who acquired Acadia stock
between Sept. 9, 2019 (the day Acadia announced positive results
from the Harmony Study) and April 4, 2021 (the day before FDA
approval was denied).

As a result of the Defendants' wrongful acts and omissions, and the
precipitous decline in the market value of Acadia's securities, the
Plaintiff and the other putative class members have suffered
significant losses and damages. The Plaintiffs bring two claims:
(1) violation of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder against all the Defendants; and (2)
violation of Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act against Defendants
Davis and Stankovic. The Plaintiffs request damages, interest,
fees, and costs.

On Feb. 15, 2022, the Defendants filed the Motion to Dismiss the
FAC. On April 18, 2022, the Plaintiffs filed a Response in
opposition to the motion. On June 2, 2022, the Defendants filed a

The Defendants request that the Court take judicial notice and/or
incorporate-by-reference 36 documents attached as exhibits to
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the FAC. The exhibits include Acadia
press releases and presentation transcripts, the Defendants' SEC
filings, and articles and reports.

Judge Hayes finds that none of the disputed exhibits are
extensively referenced or quoted in the FAC. The documents do not
form the basis of the Plaintiffs' claims. The overlap between the
FAC's allegations and the content of these documents is not
sufficient to support incorporation-by-reference.

Exhibit L is an article on breakthrough therapy designation
published by the FDA. Judge Hayes takes judicial notice of this
article and the factual assertions contained within it regarding
when breakthrough therapy designation is granted by the FDA.

The other disputed exhibits are Acadia press releases, an Acadia
presentation, SEC filings, and news articles and reports. The fact
that Acadia issued these press releases, presentations, and
filings, and that the information contained in the documents was
available to the market is not subject to reasonable dispute.
However, the Defendants also cite several of these documents to
demonstrate the truth of assertions of fact contained within the
documents. Judicial notice of the fact that Acadia issued these
press releases, presentations, and filings, and that the
information contained in the documents was available to the market
is granted. Judicial notice of these documents is otherwise

In their motion to dismiss, the Defendants contend that (i) the
Plaintiffs have not met their burden to plead three essential
elements of their Section 10(b) claims: falsity, scienter, and loss
causation; (ii) every statement that the Plaintiffs allege to be
false or misleading was either demonstrably true or not actionable
as a matter of law" and every fact that the Defendants allegedly
concealed was fully disclosed to investors; (iii) there is no
allegation in the FAC that even suggests any Defendant intended to
deceive investors or acted with reckless disregard of the truth";
(iv) the FAC's allegations do not establish that a misstatement (as
opposed to some other factor) caused the DPlaintiffs' losses; (v)
because the Plaintiffs fail to plead a primary violation of Section
10(b), their Section 20(a) claim also fails.

The Plaintiffs contend that (i) at the pleading stage, "the falsity
of Acadia's claims to having an 'agreement' with the FDA can be
readily inferred from the FDA's rejection of the sNDA on grounds
inconsistent with the terms of the purported 'agreement'"; (ii) the
FAC "plausibly alleges that the Defendants materially misled
investor by emphasizing cherry-picked positive results while
omitting known shortcomings in the studies submitted with the sNDA,
including disappointing data, which posed major obstacles to FDA
approval"; (iii)  scienter can be inferred from the same set of
facts alleged to demonstrate falsity as well as the Defendants'
alleged stock sales; (iv) causation is demonstrated by the decline
in Acadia's share price following Acadia's disclosures that the FDA
identified deficiencies in the sNDA and denied approval of the
sNDA; and (v) because the Section 10(b) claims are well-pled, the
Section 20(a) claims also stand.

Judge Hayes finds that (i) the FAC alleges sufficient facts to
support a plausible inference that Davis' statements concerning an
agreement with the FDA were materially false or misleading; (ii)
the allegations contained in the FAC support a plausible inference
that Defendants' statements touting the results of the Harmony
Study and -019 Study, misled investors by omitting the adverse
information the FDA later cited in denying approval of the sNDA;
(iii) the Defendants' actions plausibly demonstrate that that they
misled investors into overestimating the likelihood of approval,
not that Defendants knew from the start that the sNDA would not be
approved; (iv) the FAC alleges sufficient facts to support an
inference that the Plaintiffs' losses were caused by the
Defendants' alleged misrepresentations; and (v) the Plaintiffs
adequately allege facts in support of their Section 10(b) claims
against the Defendants so the Defendants' motion to dismiss the
Plaintiffs' Section 20(a) claims is denied.

For these reasons, Judge Hayes denies Motion to Dismiss the FAC.

A full-text copy of the Court's Sept. 27, 2022 Order is available
at https://tinyurl.com/pzzje973 from Leagle.com.

ALLIANCE COAL: Cates Wins Leave to Send Class Notice & Consent Form
In the case, RICKEY CATES, Plaintiff v. ALLIANCE COAL, LLC, et al.,
Defendant, Case No. 21-CV-377-SMY (S.D. Ill.), Judge Staci M.
Yandle of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
Illinois grants in part Cates' Motion for Conditional Certification
and to Facilitate Notice under Section 126(b) of the Fair Labor
Standards Act and Illinois State Law.

Mr. Cates filed a collective and class action Complaint
individually, and on behalf of all other similarly situated
persons, alleging that Defendants Alliance Coal, LLC, Alliance
Resource Partners, L.P., Alliance Resource Operating Partners,
L.P., Alliance Resource Management GP, LLC, and Defendants Hamilton
County Coal, LLC and White County Coal, LLC, unlawfully failed to
pay coal miners for "off-the clock" work, overtime, and
non-discretionary bonuses.

More specifically, Cates alleges that the miners in question worked
in the Defendants' Hamilton Mining Complex in Hamilton County,
Illinois and Pattiki Complex in White County, Illinois, that the
Defendants own and control the Subsidiary Defendants -- Hamilton
County Coal, LLC (Hamilton Mining Complex) and White County Coal,
LLC (Pattiki Complex), and that he and other similarly situated
current and former miners at the Illinois Mines are/were employed
in non-exempt positions under the FLSA and the Illinois Minimum
Wage Law.

Mr. Cates filed the instant Motion for Conditional Class
Certification and to Facilitate Notice to "all current and former
non-exempt employees who performed work in underground mines or
surface coal preparation plants in Illinois, and who were employed
by Defendants between April 9, 2018, and the present."

The Defendants argue that conditional certification should be
denied because Cates failed to demonstrate that the Court could
manage and resolve his claims on a collective basis, that Cates'
joint employer argument fails as a matter of law, and that Cates'
proposed form of notice is improper.

Judge Yandle finds that (i) the Declarations of Cates and Danny
Knight are sufficient to satisfy the "similarly situated"
requirement; (ii) the differences among the Plaintiffs do not
outweigh the similarities of the practices to which they were
allegedly subjected; (iii) there is no basis to delay sending
court-authorized notice prior to resolving the joint employer
issue; (iv) she will authorize notice via text message, posting at
the Pattiki Complex and Hamilton County Complex, or reminder
notices absent some showing that U.S. mail and e-mail notice will
not reach prospective class members; and (v) all parties will be
named as proposed.

In light of the foregoing, Judge Yandle grants in part the
Plaintiff's Motion. The Plaintiff is granted leave to send the
proposed Notice and Consent Form by First Class Mail and e-mail to
all individuals who work or have worked for the Defendants in
Illinois within the last three years and who elect to opt-in to the
action. Once the Defendants have produced the Collective List and
Notice has been issued, collective action members will have 60 days
to return a signed consent form.

The Defendants are directed to produce to the Plaintiff the names
and last known mailing and email addresses for all individuals who
work or have worked for the Defendants in Illinois from April 9,
2018, to present within 14 days of the entry of the Order.

A full-text copy of the Court's Sept. 27, 2022 Memorandum & Order
is available at https://tinyurl.com/5zwnpm3p from Leagle.com.

ALLIANCE COAL: Cates' Bid for Equitable Tolling of FLSA Claims OK'd
In the case, RICKEY CATES, Plaintiff v. ALLIANCE COAL, LLC, et al.,
Defendants, Case No. 21-CV-377-SMY (S.D. Ill.), Judge Staci M.
Yandle of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
Illinois grants the Plaintiff's Motion for Equitable Tolling of
Opt-In Plaintiffs' FLSA Claims.

On April 9, 2021, Cates filed a collective and class action
Complaint individually, and on behalf of all other similarly
situated persons, asserting violations of the Fair Labor Standards
Act ("FLSA"), Illinois Minimum Wage Law ("IMWL"), and Illinois Wage
Payment and Collection Act ("IWPCA"). He alleges that he and the
putative class members worked as miners in the Defendants' Hamilton
Mining Complex in Hamilton County, Illinois and Pattiki Complex in
White County, Illinois ("Illinois Mines") under the Defendants'
policies and practices, that he and numerous other similarly
situated current and former employees at the Illinois Mines are or
were in non-exempt positions, and that the Defendants unlawfully
failed to pay current and former coal miners employed for "off-the
clock" work, overtime, and non-discretionary bonuses.

Judge Yandle points out that by statute, the limitations period for
FLSA opt-in plaintiffs continues to run until the plaintiff(s) file
a written consent to join the action. She says equitable tolling of
the limitations period may be justified if a litigant establishes
that they have been pursuing their rights diligently, but some
extraordinary circumstance prevented timely filing, citing Knauf
Insulation, Inc. v. Southern Brands, Inc., 820 F.3d 904, 908 (7th
Cir. 2016).

In the case, the motions to dismiss Cates' Complaint and Cates'
motion for conditional certification are pending and have been ripe
for disposition since August 2021 and September 2021, respectively.
In the usual or desired course, the Court would have issued a
ruling within a few months after the motions had become fully
briefed. But through no fault of the existing or potential
plaintiffs, the Court's rulings have been significantly delayed.
The delay presents an extraordinary circumstance which should not
inure to the detriment of the potential opt-in plaintiffs.

Judge Yandle holds that while the Defendants cite to numerous cases
finding that potential opt-in plaintiffs could/should have joined
in or brought their own lawsuit while the rulings were pending,
that position generally ignores the realities of claims under the
FLSA and would be particularly inequitable under the circumstances
in the case.

For these reasons, Judge Yandle grants the Plaintiff's Motion for
Equitable Tolling of Opt-In Plaintiffs' FLSA Claims. The running of
the applicable statute of limitations will be tolled from Sept. 9,
2021, until Sept. 27, 2022. No tolling will be applied prior to
that date and, absent another unusual delay, there will be no
further tolling for the time necessary to issue the opt-in notice
and process any consent forms that are received.

A full-text copy of the Court's Sept. 27, 2022 Memorandum & Order
is available at https://tinyurl.com/bdd4wd6s from Leagle.com.

AMC THEATRES: Agrees to Settle Shareholders' Class Suit for $17.4-M
Winston Cho at hollywoodreporter.com reports that a $17.4 million
deal has been reached to end a lawsuit from AMC investors accusing
the company's board of directors of illegally allowing its
ex-majority shareholder Dalian Wanda Group to squeeze hundreds of
millions of dollars out of AMC, according to a securities notice

Funds from the settlement, the majority of which will be paid by
AMC directors' insurance carriers, will go back into the company.
Wanda will fund $1.5 million of the deal.

"Because the Action was brought as a derivative action, which means
that it was brought on behalf of and for the benefit of AMC, the
benefits from the Settlement will go to the Company," reads the
filing. "Individual AMC stockholders will not receive any direct
payment from the Settlement."

The proposed class action revolved around a transaction involving
AMC, Wanda and Silver Lake. In September 2018, AMC sold $600
million worth of convertible notes to private equity firm Silver
Lake. It then used $421 million of the cash raised from the deal to
buy at a premium more than 24 million shares held by Wanda. The
deal gave Silver Lake a seat on AMC's board and reduced Wanda's
ownership stake to 50.01 percent.

AMC investors claimed that the company's directors, Wanda and
Silver Lake entered into the agreement to help Wanda owner Wang
Jianlin, who was under pressure from Chinese regulators to slash
debt in overseas holdings. They weren't allowed to vote on the

"The transactions were not driven by the needs of the company or
its public stockholders," reads the complaint. "Rather, they were
designed to solve a problem for AMC's controller, Wanda, and
Wanda's controller, Wang. Starting in the spring of 2017, Chinese
regulators began a crackdown on highly leveraged Chinese companies,
including Wanda. Responding to the regulatory shift required Wanda
to significantly reduce its outstanding debt."

The lawsuit, filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery in April 2019,
accused Wanda and the company's board of directors of breaches of
fiduciary duty and Silver Lake of assisting them.

Attorneys for the AMC investors agreed not to seek more than $4.2
million in fees, according to the SEC filing.

In 2012, Wanda acquired a majority stake in AMC for $2.6 billion.
By 2021, Wanda had given up a majority stake in the company and had
a voting stake of 9.8 percent as of last March. [GN]

ANCESTRY.COM: Judge Tosses Class Action Over Yearbook Photos
John O'Brien, writing for Legal Newsline, reports that a federal
judge has thrown out a class action lawsuit against Ancestry.com
before lawyers could get it to trial.

Chicago's Judge Virginia Kendall on Sept. 16 granted summary
judgment to the company, which was accused of violating the
Illinois Right of Publicity Act when it published old yearbook
photos without permission to advertise its pay service.

Kendall had already thrown out claims under Illinois' Consumer
Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act in late 2021.

Plaintiffs lawyers failed to work around what Kendall determined
was the IRA's one-year statute of limitations by arguing each
payment Ancestry made to a company that licenses yearbook names and
images started the statute over.

"But Ancestry derives no financial benefit by paying another
company; the licensing agreement is an expense incurred by the
company, not a profit from the use of someone's image," she wrote.

"Ancestry never republished or reused (the plaintiff's) image in
these transactions. These payments were simply a routine part of
the company's business."

The moment the material was first published was June 27, 2019, when
Ancestry.com started to publicly use its yearbook record, Kendall
wrote. Bonilla's suit camemore than a year later.

IRPA has no express statute of limitations, but the federal court
in July 2019 determined it was one year because IRPA "completely
supplanted the common-law tort of appropriation of likeness," which
had a one-year statute.

Lawyers at Clifford Law Offices, Morgan and Morgan and Bursor &
Fisher failed to show the statute should have been tolled during
the time it would have been unreasonable for plaintiff Sergio
Bonilla to know his photo was being used. [GN]

APPLE INC: Agrees to Settle eBook Price Fixing Class Suit for $12-M
Tristan Wheeler, writing for Narcity, reports that if you opted to
buy fewer physical books and more eBooks in the last decade, you
could find yourself with a bit of extra cash in your pocket soon.

A successful class action lawsuit against Apple, as well as a slew
of eBooks publishing companies, means that if you bought yourself a
book between April 1, 2010, and March 10, 2017, you might be
entitled to some money.

The class action was started by a group who alleged that the price
of eBooks between those two dates was artificially inflated. This
means that the companies conspired to charge more than what the
products were worth.

So, now that the lawsuit has been settled, those affected by the
alleged price fixing could be subject to some compensation.

If you opted to buy fewer physical books and more eBooks in the
last decade, you could find yourself with a bit of extra cash in
your pocket soon.

A successful class action lawsuit against Apple, as well as a slew
of eBooks publishing companies, means that if you bought yourself a
book between April 1, 2010, and March 10, 2017, you might be
entitled to some money.

The class action was started by a group who alleged that the price
of eBooks between those two dates was artificially inflated. This
means that the companies conspired to charge more than what the
products were worth.

So, now that the lawsuit has been settled, those affected by the
alleged price fixing could be subject to some compensation.

While it is yet to be approved by the Ontario and Quebec courts,
the proposed settlement amount is $12,000,000, which will go out to
those affected.

We'll know if this is the set amount by November 30 in Ontario and
December 14 in Quebec.

The exact figure going out to individuals will be calculated based
on their purchase history which will be provided by Apple or a
similar ebook retailer.

If you bought an eBook through Apple or a similar retailer between
those dates, you're automatically included in the action.

If one of these companies doesn't have your info, your payout will
be calculated by approved claims you make through the claims
administrator of the lawsuit.

Once those claims are set up, you can expect a simple etransfer to
the email address on file with the retailer or the lawsuit -- if
you're claiming amounts through them.

You can, if you want, opt out of the suit by going to the class
action's website by November 11 of this year.

This isn't the only class action lawsuit that saw Canadians cashing
out this year. Tim Horton's settled one after it was alleged that
its app was collecting data from users even when they weren't using
the app.

To atone, the coffee giant offered to give its customers a free
donut and a coffee, which faced a bit of a backlash as many thought
it wasn't an appropriate settlement in return for violating
privacy. [GN]

APPLE INC: Motion to Certify Interlocutory Appeal Bid Denied
Alison Frankel at Reuters reports that Apple Inc's hope for a
mid-case appeal to shield sensitive internal documents -- including
2018 email exchanges between CEO Tim Cook and top corporate
officials as Apple weighed whether to tell investors that its
revenue estimate was off by billions of dollars -- was dashed.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who is overseeing a
shareholder class action alleging that Apple misled investors about
softening demand for iPhones in China in early 2019, rejected
Apple's request that she certify an interlocutory appeal of a
ruling that the company must give shareholders some of the internal
documents for which Apple had claimed attorney client privilege.
Rogers held in the decision that Apple's lawyers at Orrick,
Herrington & Sutcliffe failed to satisfy any of the three
requirements for an interlocutory appeal of a non-dispositive

Apple isn't yet ready to concede, however. The company filed a
last-ditch mandamus petition to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals, asking the appellate court to reverse Rogers' "clearly
erroneous" decision. The petition contends that Rogers' ruling
"threatens to eviscerate Apple's attorney-client privilege and to
jeopardize protections for many other companies seeking to comply
with the law as they go about doing business." The company also
asked Rogers to stay her order that it turn over the materials
until the 9th Circuit has reviewed and resolved its mandamus

Apple and lead counsel James Kramer of Orrick did not respond to my
query. Shareholder lawyer Shawn Williams of Robbins Geller Rudman &
Dowd declined to comment.

The crux of Apple's argument to maintain a shield on the internal
documents is that there's uncertainty in the 9th Circuit's existing
standard for evaluating privilege claims for so-called dual purpose
documents that involve both business and litigation advice. Last
January, the appeals court ruled in In re Grand Jury that courts
should consider whether business advice was a primary purpose for
the communication, in which case the documents might not be
protected by privilege.

But the appeals court left open the question of whether privilege
shields documents that have both a business and legal purpose if
legal advice is a primary purpose of the communication but not
necessarily the sole primary purpose. (The defendant in the In re
Grand Jury case has asked the U.S. Supreme Court for review,
arguing that the justices must resolve variations between the
federal circuits on the privilege test for dual purpose

The judge initially tasked with evaluating Apple's privilege
claims, U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero, applied the 9th
Circuit's In re Grand Jury test. He concluded in August that (among
other things) some communications between Apple CEO Cook, general
counsel Katherine Adams and CFO Luca Maestri involved business
advice and must therefore be turned over to shareholders. Rogers
upheld Spero's findings in a Sept. 7 order, prompting Apple to ask
the district judge for leave to appeal to the 9th Circuit.

Apple argued, in effect, that the magistrate might have reached a
different conclusion about some of the contested documents if he
had applied a more expansive test that preserves privilege whenever
litigation is a primary purpose of communications.

In Apple's view, when Cook sought advice from Adams and Maestri in
2018, as the company weighed whether to issue a public revision of
its revenue estimates based on a slowing Chinese market, the
communications between these top officials clearly anticipated the
prospect of litigation. (And rightly so: After Apple disclosed the
revised revenue estimate, its share price fell by about $16.
Shareholders, predictably, sued, citing Cook's previous assertion
that the Chinese market remained strong.)

Therefore, in Apple's view, the company is entitled to privilege
for communications with a primary litigation purpose, even if the
documents also discussed the business implications of a downward
revision of revenue estimates.

Rogers disagreed with Apple's assumptions in the decision. As an
initial matter, the judge said, the magistrate did not indicate
that any of the communications he ordered Apple to turn over
actually had both legal and non-legal primary purposes. So even if
the 9th Circuit clarified its standard for dual purpose documents,
Rogers said, it's unlikely that any refinement of the Grand Jury
test would change the magistrate's fact-specific findings about
particular documents he deemed to be non-privileged.

The judge also said that Apple overstated any uncertainty in the
9th Circuit test. Although the appeals court specifically noted
that it was not deciding whether litigation advice must be the
primary purpose - as opposed to only a primary purpose - in order
to maintain privilege, Rogers pointed out that the 9th Circuit said
in the Grand Jury decision that such distinctions will rarely

Moreover, Rogers said, Apple failed to show that an interlocutory
appeal would advance the litigation, which is quite far along.
Apple has already moved for summary judgment, and shareholders have
filed motions to exclude Apple experts at trial. "It is not clear,"
Roger wrote, "that the scope of plaintiff's claims and what is
available to support them will even change based on the
discoverability of the documents in question."

Rogers ordered Apple to produce the documents within 24 hours.

Instead, Apple filed a mandamus petition. The company, which seems
to be dead-set on keeping Cook's emails private, told the 9th
Circuit that Spero, the magistrate, erred when he concluded that
privilege does not apply to communications with a business purpose
even if those communications also involved litigation advice.
Rogers compounded that error, Apple said, in upholding Spero's
order and refusing to allow the company to seek interlocutory

"The district court assessed Apple's attorney-client privilege
claims under a single-primary-purpose test for the dual-purpose
communications at issue," Apple insisted. "That test is not
required by this court's precedent; conflicts with well-settled
principles of common law and the weight of authority; and is
unworkable in the business context."

Apple told the 9th Circuit that this dispute is bigger than just
its case because CEOs like Cook need attorney-client protection
when they seek advice from other executives on complex issues that
implicate both business and litigation concerns.

Will the 9th Circuit bite? Stay tuned. [GN]

AUSTRALIA: Live Export Class Members Await Final Suit Settlement
Matt Brann, writing for ABC Rural, reports that members of a
successful class action against the federal government's suspension
of live cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011 are still waiting for
compensation -- the delay is costing taxpayers more than $1 million
a week.

It has been more than two years since the Federal Court ruled in
favour of the cattle industry but only the lead claimants, the
Brett Cattle Company, have received a payout.

Claimants received a letter from law firm Minter Ellison providing
an update, indicating proceedings were about halfway in a 10-step

The chief executive of the NT Cattlemen's Association, Will Evans,
says the ongoing delays are disappointing.

"This is now a moral obligation on government to get this
finalised," he said.

"We're now more than two years from a court case that determined
the action [in 2011] was illegal and we're still waiting [for
compensation] and that's too long."

The final settlement sum is understood to be about $1.2 billion,
but it is the accumulating interest payments that look set to cost
government and taxpayers dearly.

Mr Evans says according to lawyers, the interest on the claim sum
is now more than $1 million a week, putting the total bill over $2

"It's a huge amount of interest and I think that number will
continue to increase the longer this takes," he said.

"What we're looking for is a quick, prompt resolution to this, and
a commitment from government that there will be resources in this
next federal budget to assist in getting this done."

In response to an ABC Rural article which revealed the prime
minister's senior agriculture adviser previously campaigned against
live exports, Mr Evans said it raised some serious questions.

"What does it say to families still waiting to receive
compensation, that one of the people likely to formulate the
government's response to these sorts of inquiries was a leader in
the lobbying effort pressuring government to ban the trade in
2011," he said.

The ABC has contacted the federal government for comment.

A report released by LiveCorp and Meat and Livestock Australia
claims Australia's live cattle export trade contributes $1.4
billion to the national economy and employs 6,573 people, with more
than 80 per cent of direct value being contributed by northern
Australia. [GN]

BANSLEY & KIENER: To Pay $900,000 to Resolve Data Breach Claims
databreaches.net reports that accounting firm Bansley & Kiener
agreed to pay $900,000 to resolve claims it mismanaged a 2020 data
breach by waiting a year to inform authorities.

The settlement benefits individuals who received a notification
from Bansley & Kiener informing them their information may have
been compromised in the 2020 data breach.

Bansley & Keiner is a CPA and advisory firm based in Chicago. In
December 2021, the firm announced it experienced a data breach a
year earlier, in December 2020.

The case is Nelson v. Bansley & Kiener, L.L.P., Case No.
2021CH06274, in the Circuit Court First Judicial Circuit Cook
County, Illinois. The settlement website is B-KDataSettlement.com.

Read more at Top Class Actions. DataBreaches had previously noted
this incident and lawsuit because of the significance of suing for
late notification. [GN]

BAYER HEALTHCARE: Faces Class Suit Over Seresto Flea, Tick Collars
John O'Brien, writing for Legal Newsline, reports that the makers
of Seresto flea and tick collars face a class action lawsuit that
says approximately 1,700 pets have died as a result of using them.

Regina Bullard and lawyers at three firms -- Milberg Coleman, Reese
LLP and Williams Dirks Dameron -- sued Bayer Healthcare and Elanco
Animal Health on Sept. 13 in Florida federal court. The case comes
two months after a Congressional subcommittee hearing on consumer

The companies have not issued a recall and have continued to market
the collars as safe, though the complaint notes Canada has banned
their sale.

"Other countries have required that severe warnings be placed on
the packaging of the Seresto packaging to warn consumers of the
risk, such as the word 'POISON' in large font on the front of the
packaging," the suit says.

"At no point have Defendants disclosed this information to United
States consumers. To the contrary, they have maintained and
represented that Seresto collars are safe for pets to use.

"Despite Defendants' claims, Seresto collars have resulted in
millions of dollars in damages for pet owners—both in the form of
collars that they overpaid for or would have never purchased had
consumers known of Seresto's dangers, and also in veterinarian and
other medical expenses incurred by pet owners with pets injured by
the Seresto collar and its pesticides." [GN]

BP EXPLORATION: Court Excludes Cook Expert Opinion in Stewart Suit
INC., ET AL. SECTION D (5), Civil Action No. 17-3613 (E.D. La.),
Judge Wendy B. Vitter of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of Louisiana grants the Daubert Motion to Exclude the
Causation Testimony of Plaintiff's Expert, Dr. Jerald Cook and the
Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants BP Exploration &
Production Inc., BP America Production Co., BP p.l.c., Halliburton
Energy Services, Inc., Transocean Holdings, LLC, Transocean
Deepwater, Inc., and Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc.

The case arises from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of
Mexico in 2010 and the subsequent cleanup efforts of the Gulf
Coast. On Jan. 11, 2013, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier, who
presided over the multidistrict litigation arising out of the
Deepwater Horizon incident, approved the Deepwater Horizon Medical
Benefits Class Action Settlement Agreement (the "MSA"). However,
certain individuals, referred to as "B3" plaintiffs, either opted
out of or were excluded from the MSA. Plaintiff Lloyd Stewart, Jr.
opted out of the MSA and, accordingly, is a B3 plaintiff.

Mr. Stewart filed this individual action against the Defendants on
April 18, 2017 to recover for injuries allegedly sustained as a
result of the oil spill. For approximately eighteen months in 2010
and 2011, he worked as a beach cleanup worker, tasked with cleaning
up oil and oil-covered debris from the beaches and coastal areas in
Gulfport, Biloxi, Point Cadet, Petit Bois, Pascagoula, and Milmer
Station, Mississippi, as well as Pensacola, Florida.

The Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants' negligence and
recklessness in both causing the Gulf oil spill and subsequently
failing to properly design and implement a clean-up response caused
him to suffer myriad injuries including stomach pain, fatigue,
muscle and joint cramps, high blood pressure, headaches, rashes,
and sinus problems. Specifically, he seeks to recover economic
damages, personal injury damages -- including damages for past and
future medical expenses and for pain and suffering -- punitive
damages, and attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses.

To help support his claims that exposure to the chemicals present
in the oil spilled by the Defendants caused his particular health
symptoms, the Plaintiff offers the report and testimony of Dr.
Jerald Cook. Dr. Cook is a retired Navy physician with expertise
specifically as an occupational and environmental physician. His
Report is not tailored directly to the Plaintiff's claims; rather,
Dr. Cook's generic causation report has been utilized by numerous
B3 plaintiffs, including many plaintiffs currently before this
Court as well as in other cases before other sections of this
court. Accordingly, his Report pertains only to general causation
and not to specific causation.

The Defendant filed the instant Motions on June 13, 2022. In their
Daubert Motion in Limine, they contend that Dr. Cook's report
should be excluded as it is both unreliable and unhelpful to the
trier of fact. They primarily point to the opinions of other
sections of this court which have excluded this very same Report on
grounds of unreliability to suggest that this Court should likewise
exclude the Report. Further, they contend that Dr. Cook's specific
methodology is unreliable and that he failed to establish the
harmful level of exposure to the chemicals the Plaintiff allegedly
was exposed to at which harmful health effects occur. Next, because
Dr. Cook should be excluded to testify, the Defendants argue, the
Court should grant their Motion for Summary Judgment as the
Plaintiff is unable to establish general causation through expert
testimony, a necessary requirement under controlling Circuit

The Plaintiff disputes the Defendants' characterization of Dr.
Cook's Report. He argues that Dr. Cook utilized a proper
methodology in conducting his general causation analysis and that
he thoroughly explained his methods. Further, he argues that the
Report does provide adequate harmful exposure level data for each
health condition exhibited by him and that to the extent that Dr.
Cook is unable to provide more specific exposure-level data, it is
the fault of the Defendants for improperly restricting access to
scientific research teams to gather such data. Finally, the
Plaintiff contends that expert testimony is not necessary for a
transient symptom case.

Judge Vitter concurs with the other sections of the court that have
addressed this issue and found Dr. Cook's failure to address the
level of harmful dosage of each relevant chemical to be ultimately
fatal to his report. At no point in his report does Dr. Cook
adequately identify what level of exposure to the chemicals present
in the oil is capable of producing the harmful health effects
alleged by the Plaintiff. Indeed, as numerous Sections of the Court
have pointed out, Dr. Cook does not even specify the exact
chemicals that the Plaintiff was allegedly exposed to, let alone
provide evidence regarding the level of exposure at which his
symptoms might manifest.

Because she finds that Dr. Cook's Report fails to demonstrate the
"minimal facts necessary to sustain the Plaintiff's burden in a
toxic tort case," i.e., the harmful exposure level, Judge Vitter
does not find it necessary to address the Defendant's other
arguments as to why the Report should be excluded. Accordingly, she
finds that Dr. Cook should be excluded from testifying as an expert
on general causation in the matter.

Dr. Cook's Report is the Plaintiff's sole expert opinion on general
causation. Because she finds it appropriate to exclude the Report
for failure to comport with the Daubert standards for reliability,
Judge Vitter holds that the Plaintiff accordingly lacks expert
testimony on general causation. Without expert testimony, which is
required to prove general causation, the Plaintiff has failed to
demonstrate a genuine dispute of material fact as to his claims
that his injuries were caused by exposure to oil. Thus, the
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment must be granted as the
Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law due to the
Plaintiff's failure to establish causation.

The Plaintiff's further argument that both of the Defendants'
Motions should be denied because expert testimony is not necessary
in a transient symptom case, such as here, and the Plaintiff's lay
testimony can establish his injuries conflates two separate issues,
general causation and specific causation. Judge Vitter holds that
the issue before the Court centers on the sufficiency of the
Plaintiff's general causation expert; thus, his arguments on the
necessity of expert testimony to establish specific causation are
dismissed as irrelevant and without merit.

Accordingly, Judge Vitter grants the Defendants' Daubert Motion to
Exclude and their Motion for Summary Judgment are granted. She
dismisses the Plaintiff's claims against the Defendants with

A full-text copy of the Court's Sept. 27, 2022 Order is available
at https://tinyurl.com/kk37w8nm from Leagle.com.

BRAINSHARK INC: Must Face Class Action Over Biometrics Collection
Christopher Brown, writing for Bloomberg Law, reports that
Brainshark Inc. must face an Illinois saleswoman's proposed class
action alleging it collected her biometric information without her
consent in violation of the state Biometric Information Privacy
Act, a federal court ruled.

Lori Wilk claimed Brainshark analyzed and retained her facial
geometry from sales presentation videos she uploaded at the
direction of her former employer, RQI Partners LLC, and that it
failed to obtain her consent or provide her with required
information about its data collection and management policies.

Brainshark argued that the videos weren't biometric information
under the BIPA, but were comparable to photographs. [GN]

BRIDGECREST ACCEPTANCE: Canady Wins More Time for Class Discovery
In the case, Tonya Canady, Plaintiff v. Bridgecrest Acceptance
Corporation, Defendant, Case No. CV-19-04738-PHX-DWL (D. Ariz.),
Judge Dominic W. Lanza of the U.S. District Court for the District
of Arizona grants the Plaintiff's motion to compel ESI search in
response to Interrogatory No. 2 and RFP Nos. 3, 4, and 7; and
motion for extension of class discovery deadlines.

The Plaintiff's core allegation in the case is that Bridgecrest
violated the Telephone Communications Protection Act, 47 U.S.C.
Section 227 et seq. ("TCPA"), by placing calls to her cell phone
throughout 2018 and 2019 without her consent while using an
artificial or automated voice. The complaint is styled as a "Class
Action Complaint" and alleges that the Plaintiff is pursuing claims
"individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated."

To that end, in the "Class Allegations" section of the complaint,
the Plaintiff alleges that she is bringing claims on behalf of a
"Pre-recorded Class," which "consists of: (1) All persons in the
United States (2) subscribing to a cellular telephone number (3) to
which Bridgecrest placed a non-emergency telephone call (4) using a
pre-recorded message (5) within 4 years of the date this complaint
is filed (6) after receiving a request to no longer call that
number." The complaint also includes allegations concerning why
"there are questions of law and fact common to the members of the
Class that predominate over any questions that affect only
individual class members"; allegations concerning why the Plaintiff
is a proper class representative; and allegations concerning
Plaintiff's counsel's experience in handling class actions.

On Aug. 24, 2021, the Court issued the scheduling order. It
authorized a bifurcated discovery schedule under which the
Plaintiff could first pursue "precertification discovery" and then
file a motion for class certification, with merits discovery
deferred until after the certification decision.

On Aug. 30, 2021, as part of her effort to pursue class discovery
in anticipation of filing of motion for class certification, the
Plaintiff propounded her first set of interrogatories and requests
for production ("RFPs") to Bridgecrest.

As relevant, Interrogatory No. 2 sought to compel Bridgecrest to:
"Identify each cellular telephone number (and any associated name,
address, or account number) to which you placed a non-emergency
telephone call using an artificial or prerecorded voice from July
3, 2015 to the present after Bridgecrest had received a request to
cease calling that number. Please include the date of each call and
the telephone number dialed. If you contend that a response to this
interrogatory is impossible, please explain why with specificity,
and provide the most complete response possible, including the
total number of unique cellular telephone numbers called. Also, if
you do not know and cannot determine which calls were made to
cellular telephone numbers, answer this interrogatory as if the
word cellular was omitted from it, and Plaintiff will determine
which calls were made to cellular telephones."

Interrogatory No. 6 sought to compel Bridgecrest to: "Identify, by
vendor, version and dates in operation, all database [sic] in which
Bridgecrest has stored data regarding stop, do-not-call, do-not
contact, and similar notifications. For each database, provide the
data dictionary, identify each table that contains call data or
information about a stop, do-no-call [sic], do-not-contact or
similar notification, identify and define all codes and fields in
each such table, and define the nature of the data in each field
(e.g., phone number called, date called, call duration, etc.)."

RFP No. 3 sought to compel Bridgecrest to produce "the complete
database tables showing any calls responsive to Interrogatory Nos.
2-3 above, or all other records of such calls."

RFP No. 4 sought to compel Bridgecrest to produce "tecordings of
all calls Bridgecrest made between July 3, 2015 and the present, in
which the person who answered the phone asked that they not be
called or contacted (or similar), as well as all records pertaining
to calls made to those same telephone numbers or person after the
date of the recording."

Finally, RFP No. 7 sought to compel Bridgecrest to produce "all
documents that identify the persons responsive to Interrogatory
Nos. 2-3."

Bridgecrest has made clear throughout these proceedings that it
believes the Plaintiff will never be able to obtain class
certification because this is a revocation-of-consent case. To that
end, it filed a motion in September 2021 to strike the Plaintiff's
class allegations. Additionally, when it came time to respond to
the Plaintiff's interrogatories and RFPs in October 2021,
Bridgecrest objected on the ground that Interrogatory No. 2 and RFP
No. 7 "seek information regarding customers who could never be part
of the Plaintiff's putative class."

On Jan. 26, 2022, the parties filed joint notices informing the
Court of discovery disputes concerning, inter alia, Interrogatory
Nos. 2 and 6 and RFP Nos. 3, 4, and 7. On Jan. 31, 2022, the Court
issued an order denying Bridgecrest's motion to strike the
Plaintiff's class allegations.

On Feb. 10, 2022, the Court heard oral argument regarding the
parties' discovery disputes. It did not resolve the parties'
disputes concerning Interrogatory No. 2 and RFP Nos. 3, 4, and 7
because it did not appear that the parties had adequately met and
conferred about them. As for Interrogatory No. 6, which called for
Bridgecrest to produce the "data dictionaries" for the databases in
which it stored do-not-call information, the Court ordered
Bridgecrest to comply.

On March 15, 2022, the Plaintiff filed a "motion to enforce." In a
nutshell, she argued that Bridgecrest had not yet produced the data
dictionary information it had been ordered to produce on Feb. 10,
2022. On March 22, 2022, the Court heard oral argument. Ultimately,
it issued a renewed order for Bridgecrest to comply with
Interrogatory No. 6, set a compliance deadline of March 29, 2022.

On March 29, 2022, Bridgecrest served a supplemental response to
Interrogatory No. 6. Upon receipt, the Plaintiff asserted that the
response remained incomplete. It appears that, in lieu of seeking
intervention from the Court, Bridgecrest agreed to resolve this
dispute by producing more information. On April 15, 2022,
Bridgecrest served another supplemental response to Interrogatory
No. 6.

On May 9, 2022, after analyzing Bridgecrest's production of April
15, 2022 and conferring with a consultant, the Plaintiff "asked
Bridgecrest to produce some additional records needed to craft the
appropriate ESI search terms -- i.e., each record referencing her
cellphone number, as well as her husband's, that were stored in the
database tables identified in the response to Interrogatory No. 6."
On May 20, 2022, the Plaintiff received a production from

On May 23, 2022, the Plaintiff sent a follow-up email noting that
certain call recordings remained missing, requesting dates for
certain undated recordings, and inquiring "as to the status of the
records referencing her and Mr. Canady's numbers in each database
table identified in Interrogatory No. 6." On May 27, 2022,
Bridgecrest provided a supplemental production.

Also on May 27, 2022, the Plaintiff filed a motion for an extension
of the deadline to complete class discovery. She argued that
Bridgecrest's production of May 27, 2022 remained deficient and
that more time was needed. Bridgecrest filed an opposition to the
extension request, arguing that any class discovery should be
disallowed because "individual issues about who has authority to
revoke consent, whether consent was revoked, and the scope of any
revocation make 'revocation' cases inappropriate for class
treatment." Additionally, Bridgecrest argued that the Plaintiff had
been "relentlessly seeking overbroad class discovery" but had not
been diligent in scheduling Bridgecrest's deposition.

On June 9, 2022, the Court heard oral argument on the Plaintiff's
extension request. Acknowledging that "it's a close call," it
concluded that the extension request should be granted because the
Plaintiff had "been diligent." Thus, it extended the deadline for
the completion of class discovery to Aug. 9, 2022 and extended the
deadline for the filing of a class certification motion to Jan. 30,

On June 10, 2022, the Plaintiff sent a follow-up email to
Bridgecrest concerning her email of May 27, 2022, which sought
confirmation that Bridgecrest's supplemental production of May 27,
2022 was complete. On June 17, 2022, the Plaintiff elaborated on
her request for confirmation after not receiving a response after
several follow-ups.

On June 27, 2022, the Plaintiff proposed, for the first time, the
search terms for the proposed search. Specifically, she proposed
that Bridgecrest conduct the following two searches:

      1. Provide all account notes, call records/logs, and call
recordings for each phone number Bridgecrest called after the
corresponding account notes reflect an entry captured through the
following natural language search: DNC or do-not-call or do not
call or (do not or stop! or quit! or don't should not or shouldn't
or cease /5 call! or contact!).

      2. Provide all account notes, call records/logs, and call
recordings for each phone number Bridgecrest called after it was
listed in the table DNCPhone with: (1) the field isactiveDNC coded
as true; and (2) the field DNCRemoveReasonID coded as null.

On July 19, 2022, after several follow-ups by the Plaintiff,
Bridgecrest provided a substantive response, opposing the
Plaintiff's request to run the two requested searches. It objects
to the requests because, among other reasons, they are ridiculously
overbroad, not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of
admissible evidence, and the burden or expense of the requests
outweighs any possible benefit.

On Aug. 5, 2022 -- that is, four days before the Aug. 9, 2022
deadline for the completion of class discovery -- the Plaintiff
lodged a sealed version of the first motion now pending before the
Court, which is a motion to compel Bridgecrest to comply with
Interrogatory No. 2 and RFP Nos. 3, 4, and 7. A redacted version of
the motion was eventually filed on the public docket on August 22,

On Aug. 9, 2022, the Plaintiff filed the other motion now pending
before the Court, which is a motion to extend class discovery

Neither side requested oral argument on either motion.

The Plaintiff moves to compel Bridgecrest to run the two searches
outlined the Plaintiff's email of June 27, 2022, which are intended
to generate information responsive to Plaintiff's Interrogatory No.
2 and RFP Nos. 3, 4, and 7. Among other things, she argues the
requested information is relevant because "the point of the search
was to obtain: (1) the information sought in Interrogatory No.
2—i.e., identification of each cellphone number Bridgecrest
called for non-emergency purposes using a prerecorded message after
receiving a stop call requests along with the dates of each call
and any associated information regarding the recipient; and (2) the
corresponding call logs, recordings, and account notes reflecting
those calls, which fall within the scope of RFP No. 3, 4, and 7."

As for Bridgecrest's contention that the search is technologically
infeasible, the Plaintiff contends that "the call records use a
specific code that makes identifying the pre-recorded message a
simple task that can be performed in a matter of minutes" and
"Plaintiff's expert can identify which phone numbers are assigned
to cellphone numbers by cross referencing the numbers called with
historical cellular databases." As for Bridgecrest's concerns over
the sensitive and confidential nature of the requested information,
she contends that such concerns are unfounded in light of the
existence of the agreed-to protective order. And as for
Bridgecrest's concerns "about the need to conduct an
'individualized inquiry' to identify the regular user or subscriber
for each cellphone number at issue, and instances of 'invalid
revocation,'" the Plaintiff contends that these "are legal
arguments that go to the propriety of class certification, which
have no bearing on the permissible scope of discovery."

Turning to the question of undue burden, the Plaintiff argues that
Bridgecrest has failed to meet its burden because it "has not
provided a single affidavit (or any other evidence) to back up its
burden objection," and "in fact, when the Plaintiff asked for
details about the costs involved in running the search, Bridgecrest
deflected by stating the class discovery at issue was 'not
discoverable regardless of costs or expense,' and there was no
point trying to perform the search because the proposed class could
never be certified."

Bridgecrest opposes the Plaintiff's motion for a host of procedural
and substantive reasons. As for the procedural reasons, it first
argues the motion is untimely because it was filed on the eve of
the deadline for completing class discovery. In a related vein,
Bridgecrest contends that the Plaintiff was not diligent in
proposing the search terms that give rise to the current dispute
because she "could have proposed the searches months ago" and
"waited yet another month" after receiving Bridgecrest's
supplemental production of May 27, 2022. Next, Bridgecrest argues
that the Plaintiff violated LRCiv 7.2(j) by failing to meet and
confer in good faith before filing the motion.  Finally, it argues
the motion is also procedurally improper because it violates the
provision in the scheduling order requiring discovery disputes to
be presented by way of a joint summary.

Turning to its substantive concerns, Bridgecrest objects to the
Plaintiff's first request -- i.e., for Bridgecrest to conduct a
"natural language search" of the "account notes" for the term "do
not call," or variations thereof, and then produce "all account
notes, call records/logs, and call recordings for each phone number
Bridgecrest called" after having received one of these "do not
call" variations -- for two reasons: (1) the request is overbroad
and not reasonably likely to lead to a certifiable class because,
inter alia, "virtually all of Bridgecrest's customers are subject
to arbitration agreements, and thus cannot be part of Plaintiff's
putative class"; and (2) the request would result in an undue
burden because "there is not a way to systematically perform the
requested search across all account notes and subsequent calls."

As for Plaintiff's second request -- i.e., for Bridgecrest to
identify the subset of records listed in the "table DNCPhone" where
the field "isactiveDNC" coded as "true" and the field
DNCRemoveReasonID coded as "null" and then produce "all account
notes, call records/logs, and call recordings for each phone number
Bridgecrest called" despite having been listed in the table --
Bridgecrest raises the same objections of overbreadth/irrelevance
and undue burden. It concludes by reiterating why it believes that,
regardless of whether the proposed searches are conducted, the
Plaintiff will never be able to certify a class due to the
predominance of individualized issues

In reply, among other things, the Plaintiff argues that her (i)
motion is not procedurally improper because the Court expressly
authorized, following the February 2022 discovery hearing, the
filing of a motion to compel (in lieu of a joint summary) as to any
future dispute related to keyword searches; (ii) there was no
violation of the meet-and-confer requirement because she made
good-faith efforts to confer with Bridgecrest's counsel following
the search proposal, only for Bridgecrest's counsel to ignore
follow-up requests, fail to quantify the cost of the search, and
fail to respond in good faith to her offer to have her expert
conduct the searches; (iii) courts routinely allow class discovery
before deciding the question of certification; and (iv) all of
Bridgecrest's overbreadth objections "are just legal defenses to
class certification, which have no bearing on this discovery

In Judge Lanza's estimation, Bridgecrest bears much of the fault
for the current state of affairs. Bridgecrest appears to believe
that it shouldn't be required to engage in any class-related
discovery in this case, because the Plaintiff's certification
request will inevitably be denied, and that the Plaintiff's
discovery-related requests are nothing more than a nuisance
intended to drive up costs and extract an unwarranted settlement.

The difficulty with this position, according to Judge Lanza, is
that Bridgecrest agreed at the outset of the case to bifurcate the
discovery process into two parts, with the first part encompassing
class-related discovery. Additionally, the Court made clear when
denying Bridgecrest's motion to strike that it would be premature
to decide the merits of the certification issue until the
certification stage of the case. Thus, Bridgecrest should have --
and, indeed, was required to -- participate in good faith in the
precertification discovery process, including meeting and
conferring in good faith with Plaintiff's counsel over the
Plaintiff's class-related discovery requests. The Court emphasized
this point during the February 10, 2022 discovery dispute hearing.
The parties' subsequent email correspondence indicates that not
much has changed since that observation. Given this backdrop, the
Court has little trouble rejecting many of Bridgecrest's arguments
as to why the motion to compel should be denied.

To the extent Bridgecrest's position is simply that it would be
unacceptable to allow an outsider to have access to its databases,
Judge Lanza understands this concern but notes that (1) it is
addressed, at least in part, by the protective order in place in
this action, and (2) Bridgecrest's unwillingness to work
cooperatively with the Plaintiff during the discovery process is
one reason why the option of having her expert conduct the search
is even on the table.

For these reasons, the Plaintiff's motion to compel is granted. As
for what Bridgecrest is specifically being compelled to do, the two
options would be to require Bridgecrest to run the proposed
searches or to order Bridgecrest to provide access to its databases
so Plaintiff's expert can run the searches. Because both options
have their own downsides, Judge Lanza allows Bridgecrest to decide
how it wishes to proceed.

The Plaintiff moves to extend all of the certification-related
deadlines in the scheduling order. The requested length of the
extension is, with one exception, 90 days. The exception is the
deadline for the Plaintiff to provide her expert disclosures
related to certification. Although the original scheduling order
stated that this deadline would fall 30 days after the deadline for
completing precertification discovery, she contends that, due to a
"scrivener's error" in a previous extension request, it fell only
two days after the deadline for completing precertification
discovery in the most recent version of the scheduling order.

Thus, the Plaintiff asks that this deadline be reset to fall 30
days after the extended deadline for completing precertification
discovery. Her essential argument is that her extension requests
should be granted because she had been diligent in pursuing class
discovery, whereas "Bridgecrest never intended to comply with the
Order by carrying out the ESI search needed to obtain the class
discovery sought in the Plaintiff's Discovery Requests" and had the
"real goal" of "preventing the Plaintiff from obtaining this
critical data by dragging out the process until the class discovery
deadline had nearly expired."

Bridgecrest opposes the Plaintiff's extension request. As an
initial matter, it argues the request is untimely because it is
intertwined with the motion to compel, which is also untimely. It
further argues the request should be denied because the Plaintiff
failed to act with diligence.

More specifically, Bridgecrest argues that diligence is lacking
because (1) the Plaintiff unreasonably waited until June 27, 2022
to propose the two searches, even though she had the information
necessary to formulate the proposed searches in February and April
2022; and (2) the Plaintiff did not meaningfully respond to the
objections that Bridgecrest raised on July 19, 2022, but instead
waited three weeks and then filed a motion to compel on the eve of
the discovery cutoff.

Bridgecrest also disputes that it bears any blame for the delays.
Finally, Bridgecrest specifically objects to the Plaintiff's
request to have the expert disclosure deadline fall 30 days (rather
than two days) after the new discovery deadline, arguing that
Plaintiff was careless in allowing the change to be made in the
first place and should have acted sooner to correct it.

In reply, the Plaintiff reiterates her contention that she has been
diligent and that Bridgecrest is to blame for the delay. Finally,
she explains why the resetting of the expert disclosure deadline
was inadvertent and argues that she has been diligent in seeking
relief as to that issue.

Given the analysis in the first part, Judge Lanza holds that little
more needs to be said. On balance, he finds that the Plaintiff has
been diligent in pursuing precertification discovery and that
Bridgecrest bears much (if not all) of the blame for the delays in
completing that discovery. Thus, the extension request is granted.
Finally, Bridgecrest's attempt to maintain only a two-day gap
between the close of precertification discovery and the deadline
for the Plaintiff's expert disclosures related to certification,
where it is obvious that the parties' original intent was for there
to be a 30-day gap and it would make no logical sense to allow only
a two-day gap, borders on the petty and is denied.

Accordingly, Judge Lanza grants the Plaintiff's motion to compel
and her motion to extend class deadline. The new deadline to
complete class discovery is Nov. 9, 2022. The new deadline for the
Plaintiff to submit her expert disclosure is Dec. 12, 2022. The new
deadline for Bridgecrest to submit its expert disclosures is to
Jan. 11, 2023. The new deadline for the Plaintiff to submit her
rebuttal expert disclosures is Feb. 14, 2023. The new deadline for
the parties to complete expert depositions is March 28, 2023. The
new deadline for the Plaintiff to submit her motion for class
certification is May 1, 2023.

A full-text copy of the Court's Sept. 27, 2022 Order is available
at https://tinyurl.com/4b7yzb4s from Leagle.com.

CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT: Casino Players Deprive of Change, Suit Says
Corrado Rizzi, writing for ClassAction.org, reports that Caesars
Entertainment is among the latest casino operators to face a
proposed class action that alleges slot machine players have been
wrongfully deprived of their change upon cashing out.

The eight-page lawsuit says the casino giant has essentially been
"robbing" customers a few cents at a time, on millions of
transactions, by rounding down to the nearest dollar the money
cashed out to voucher-toting players at automatic kiosks.

These kiosks, at which a player can insert a gaming voucher that
represents the dollar amount they're owed by the casino upon
cashing out, simply keep the change, the filing says, and players
are not put on reasonable notice that they'll effectively be taxed
by Caesars, the suit claims.

"The players are supposed to be ensured their winnings because the
Casinos are highly regulated and follow strict rules in order to
preserve the public trust and their right to operate," the
complaint reads. "The Casinos have broken those widely understood
and apparent rules, have violated the public trust, and are liable
to the Plaintiffs."

Players who decide to stop playing a slot machine while they still
have credits can convert their credits back into U.S. dollars, the
case explains. When a player wishes to cash out, a slot machine
will automatically generate a gaming voucher that represents their
remaining credits, i.e., the amount they are owed back by the
casino, the lawsuit says.

Although at one time the kiosks at which players can cash in their
gaming vouchers paid out exact change, Caesars in recent years has
essentially kept that change, rounding the amounts owed to players
down to the nearest dollar and paying that amount in cash,
according to the suit. From there, the kiosk will produce a
redemption ticket that, among other details, notes the amount
requested, the amount dispensed and an indication that the casino
views the transaction as "successful," the case relays.

"The receipt then glibly recited 'Transaction Completed
Successfully.' The receipt bore no further direction and left
gamers without further option. The Kiosk simply kept the change."

The lawsuit looks to cover anyone who visited a casino owned or
operated by Caesars Entertainment nationwide between September 23,
2012 and the present who were deprived of their change by Caesars.

CANADA: Band Reparations Class Suit Put on Hold After Negotiations
Brett Forester, writing for CBC News, reports that a trial in a
class-action lawsuit by more than 300 First Nations was adjourned
after the plaintiffs and the federal government agreed to negotiate
an out-of-court settlement.

The case, dubbed the band reparations class action, seeks
collective compensation for the communal harms First Nations
suffered, specifically the destruction of language and culture,
under Canada's residential school system.

Counsel for lead plaintiffs Tk'emlups te Secwepemc and shíshalh
Nation said in a Sept. 20 release they "are currently working on
the specifics" of a draft final settlement agreement to resolve the

In a tweet the following day, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister
Marc Miller called the adjournment a "significant breakthrough." It
was reached at the 11th hour in a case that was originally
scheduled for trial in September -- and which Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau's Liberal government previously planned to fight.

"There remains much work to be done, including the formal
negotiation of a settlement agreement and its approval by the
Federal Court," Miller said in the tweet.

"To allow proper space for those discussions, Canada will not be
making any further material public statements unless agreed to by
the parties."

A spokesperson from Waddell Phillips, one of three law firms
representing the plaintiffs, also declined further comment when
reached by CBC News.

An estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children were
forced to attend residential schools in Canada, which were
church-run and government-funded institutions operating countrywide
for more than a century.

The claims for collective compensation, also described as
reparations, were originally bundled with the claims of residential
school day scholars in one large class action known as the
Gottfriedson case.

Day scholars attended residential schools during the day but went
home at night. They often suffered the same abuses as their fellow
pupils who lived at the institutions but were left out of the 2006
Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.

The Liberals settled with day scholars out of court in June 2021,
agreeing to pay cash compensation to survivors and their
descendants, but the government initially refused to negotiate with
the remaining band reparations plaintiffs.

Now, over the coming weeks, Canada and the lead plaintiffs for the
First Nations plan to negotiate terms of a proposed settlement
agreement, which, if reached, would then go before the Federal
Court for approval, according to the law firms' news release.

There are now 326 First Nations that have opted into the lawsuit
and all will have the chance to express their views on any proposed
settlement agreement, the release added. [GN]

CANADA: Court Certifies Class Action Over Alleged Data Breach
Lerners Lawyers, in an article for Mondaq, reports that Sweet v
Canada,1 is the latest privacy class action to be certified by the
Federal Court of Canada. In this case, the data breach arose from a
cybersecurity incident involving Government of Canada online
accounts, which were accessed by hackers who then fraudulently
applied for COVID-19 benefits on behalf of tens of thousands of
Canadians. The decision is noteworthy because it is the first to
certify a class action against the government for its negligent
failure to safeguard personal and financial data from third-party

The decision in Sweet v Canada implies that public and private
entities may yet be held accountable for third-party data
breaches.2 Ontario courts have thus far been reluctant to certify
(or uphold certification on appeal) of class actions where the
underlying breach of privacy was the result of third-party
wrongdoing.3 As such, this decision may have implications for the
future of privacy class action jurisprudence in Canada.

In the summer of 2020, thousands of Government of Canada online
accounts were the subject of a "credential stuffing attack" by
hackers, predominantly targeting the Canada Revenue Agency ("CRA")
and Employment and Social Development Canada ("ESDC") as a means of
fraudulently applying for COVID-19 relief benefits. This form of
cyber attack relies on the use of stolen credentials (username and
password) from one system to attack another system and gain
unauthorized access to an account. It relies on the reuse of the
same username and password combinations by people over several
services that a hacker can then sell. Credential stuffing usually
refers to the attempt to gain access to many accounts through a web
portal using an automated bot system rather than manually entering
the credentials.4

The Plaintiff claimed that he logged in to his CRA online account
after receiving emails notifying him that his email address had
been removed from his account. He discovered that his direct
deposit information had been changed and that an unknown and
unauthorized individual had made four applications for the Canada
Emergency Response Benefit ("CERB"), a program initiated by the
Government of Canada as part of COVID-19 relief efforts, to provide
financial assistance to qualifying Canadians.5

The Plaintiff sought to represent a class of thousands of Canadians
whose online Government of Canada accounts were vulnerable to
hackers from approximately June to August of 2020, due to what the
Plaintiff alleges were operational failures by the Defendant, Her
Majesty the Queen (as representative of the Government of Canada),
to properly secure the online portals providing access to these
accounts. The Plaintiff alleged that, by obtaining unauthorized
access to those accounts, hackers were able to commit identity
theft and CERB fraud and access sensitive and personal information
(e.g., Social Insurance Numbers, direct deposit banking
information, tax information, dates of birth, records of
employment, information regarding employment insurance, and other
benefits information).6

The test for certification in a proposed class action before the
Federal Court is set out in Rules 334.16(1) and (2) of the Federal
Court Rules7. The certification test is similar to the s. 5(1)
criteria set out in Ontario's Class Proceeding Act, 19928 and
provides that a judge shall certify a proceeding as a class
proceeding if: (a) the pleadings disclose a reasonable cause of
action; (b) there is an identifiable class of two or more persons;
(c) the claims of the class members raise common questions of law
or fact, whether or not those common questions predominate over
questions affecting only individual members; (d) a class proceeding
is the preferable procedure for the just and efficient resolution
of the common questions of law or fact; and (e) there is a
representative plaintiff or applicant who (i) would fairly and
adequately represent the interests of the class, (ii) has prepared
a plan for the proceeding that sets out a workable method of
advancing the proceeding on behalf of the class and of notifying
class members as to how the proceeding is progressing, (iii) does
not have, on the common questions of law or fact, an interest that
is in conflict with the interests of other class members, and (iv)
provides a summary of any agreements respecting fees and
disbursements between the representative plaintiff or applicant and
the solicitor of record. 9

The pleadings assert that the measures taken by the Defendant in
the latter part of 2020 to protect its databases, systems, and
other relevant online accounts should have been taken prior to the
unauthorized data breaches and that the Defendant's breaches caused
the Plaintiff and proposed Class harm and ongoing damages,
including distress, anxiety, mental anguish, lost time, lost
opportunities, and out-of-pocket expenses.10 With respect to the
cause of action criteria, the court concluded the pleadings
disclosed a reasonable cause of action in the tort of negligence,
breach of confidence, and intrusion upon seclusion.11

From a privacy perspective, it is most notable that the court
distinguished the present case from the Federal Court of Appeal's
decision in Canada v John Doe12, in which it was held that the
necessary elements of the privacy tort had not been pleaded. The
case was differentiated on the basis that in the case herein, the
Plaintiff expressly pleaded recklessness on the part of the
Defendant in ignoring reports by Class Members and service
providers such as accounting and investment firms of unauthorized
data breaches of Class Members' online Government accounts. The
court found this was sufficient to disclose a reasonable cause of
action in intrusion by seclusion, if recklessness in failing to
prevent a data breach by a third party is legally sufficient to
support this tort. The court noted, "Whether such recklessness is
indeed legally sufficient is the question which remains unsettled"
and, given that there was some potential support for the
Plaintiff's position in the jurisprudence of the Federal Courts,
the court concluded that the cause of action in intrusion by
seclusion was not bound to fail.13

With respect to the class criteria, the court was satisfied there
was a class extending to two or more persons and revised the
proposed class definition to include an end date of December 31,
2020, selected by reference to evidence as to when the deficiencies
in the Defendant's system as alleged by the plaintiff were

With respect to the common issues, the court certified 7 of the 8
proposed common issues (rejecting the proposed common issue as to
punitive damages as the plaintiff had not referred to any evidence
to support a basis in fact related to punitive damages):

A. Did the Defendant owe the Class a duty of care?
B. If so, what was the applicable standard of care?
C. Did the Defendant breach the applicable standard of care?
D. Did the Defendant's breach of duty cause damage to the Class?

A. Is the Defendant liable for the tort of breach of confidence
vis-à-vis Class Members?

A. Is the Defendant liable for the tort of intrusion upon seclusion
vis-à-vis Class Members?

A. Can the Court make an aggregate assessment of all or part of the
damages suffered by Class Members and, if so, in what amount?15

With respect to the preferable procedure criteria, the court noted
the Defendants had offered no alternative to the class action
mechanism. In the absence of a class action, the court noted that
the only apparent option for claimants who would otherwise be Class
Members would be to bring individual actions against the Defendant.
Based on the nature of the damages claimed, the court concluded
that such actions would likely be uneconomic, effectively leaving
claimants with no alternative at all.16 In assessing the three
goals of class proceeding, access to justice, judicial economy, and
behaviour modification, the court found the action met all three

Access to justice is achieved in circumstances where such access
would otherwise likely be unavailable due to the applicable
economics. Judicial economy is achieved because there are at least
some aspects of the litigation that can be advanced in common and,
therefore, will not require repetition multiple times. By way of
example, evidence surrounding the Defendant's policies, practices,
and the manner in which the 2020 cyber incidents occurred can be
adduced only once rather than potentially thousands of times. With
respect to the goal of behaviour modification, the Defendant
submits that it followed all appropriate steps once it learned it
was the victim of a breach and that behaviour modification,
therefore, has no application. I agree with the Plaintiff's
response to this argument. Behaviour modification is intended to
prevent breaches from occurring in the first place by creating the
motivation to take proactive steps to avoid such events.17

Finally, the court concluded the proposed representative Plaintiff
put forward was appropriate in satisfaction of the final
certification criteria.18 While the court noted the Plaintiff's
litigation was "relatively generic and does not engage in any
substantive way with the potential need to address the common
questions in a nuanced manner or otherwise address the potential
issues upon which many of the defendant's arguments focus," the
court was not convinced the plan was so inadequate that it should
decline to certify the class proceeding, recognizing the relative
threshold for this requirement19

As fraud and cyber-attacks become more common in today's online
world, it is inevitable that an influx of proposed privacy class
actions have and will continue to follow. While the number of
actions commenced has increased, only a few privacy class action
cases have made it past the certification motion stage, with many
proposed privacy class actions ultimately being denied
certification. We discussed recent cases where certification of
proposed privacy class actions was denied in our earlier blog

As the certification judge undertook in this case, the court will
look critically at the individual facts of the case against the
certification criteria and, where appropriate, distinguish the case
from the growing body of privacy jurisprudence. Here the court
accepted that not all online Government of Canada accounts that
were accessed in the data breaches would necessarily have contained
sensitive information and that some Class Members' accounts
suffered a higher level of intrusion than others. However, the
court was reluctant to find that these potential differences among
Class Members' claims amounted to an impediment to certification.20
Where individual issues may arise, the court noted the procedural
mechanism afforded under Federal Court Rule 334.26 could address
the determination of any individual issues that may remain
following a judgement on the common issues.21

For potential defendants, regardless of whether an action is
brought as a class proceeding or not, this case will be one to
watch in regards to the question of whether a person or entity that
holds personal information can be liable for intrusion upon
seclusion when they suffer a cyber attack if they have been
reckless or acted in bad faith in their efforts to protect the


1. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228.

2. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at paras 87-100, referring to Tucci
v Peoples, 2020 BCCA 246.

3. Del Giudice v Thompson, 2021 ONSC 5379; Stewart v. Demme, 2022
ONSC 1790.

4. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at para 66.

5. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at para 4.

6. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at para 5.

7. Federal Court Rules, SOR/98-106.

8. Class Proceedings Act, 1992, SO 1992, c 6.

9. Federal Court Rules, SOR/98-106 at Rules 334.16(1) and (2).

10. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at para 80.

11. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at para 76.

12. Canada v John Doe, 2016 FCA 191.

13. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at para 132.

14. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at para 143.

15. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at paras 144 - 181

16. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at para 185.

17. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at paras 186 – 187.

18. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at paras 189 – 196, 202.

19. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at para 199 and para 201.

20. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at para 150.

21. Sweet v Canada, 2022 FC 1228 at para 151.

22. Tucci v Peoples, 2020 BCCA 246.

23. Del Giudice v Thompson, 2021 ONSC 5379[GN]

CARGILL INC: $85-M Wage Settlement Gets Preliminary Court Approval
Mike Leonard, writing for Bloomberg Law, reports that Cargill Inc.,
Sanderson Farms Inc., and Wayne Farms LLC affiliates stepped closer
to exiting antitrust litigation over their alleged scheme to drive
down pay for their mostly immigrant workforce, when a federal judge
in Maryland granted preliminary approval to settlements worth $85

Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher signed off tentatively on Sept. 27 on
agreements calling for payments of $38 million by Sanderson, $31.5
million by Wayne, and $15 million by Cargill. The deal would
resolve class action claims facing the three companies in the US
District Court for the District of Maryland. [GN]

CARRIER CORP: Fails to Properly Pay Overtime Wages, Miller Claims
KIMTORIA MILLER, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff v. CARRIER CORPORATION, Defendant, Case No.
2:22-cv-02624 (W.D. Tenn., September 16, 2022) is a collective
action complaint brought against the Defendant for its alleged
illegal policies and practices that violated the Fair Labor
Standards Act.

The Plaintiff has worked for the Defendant as an hourly-paid and
non-exempt Assembly Operator from approximately June 2022 to July

According to the complaint, the Plaintiff and other similarly
situated workers worked over 40 hours in most workweeks. However,
the Defendant failed to properly pay them overtime compensation at
the applicable overtime rate because the Defendant failed to
include their shift premium compensation in their regular rates of
pay for purposes of calculating their overtime premium.

The Plaintiff seeks to recover all unpaid wages and liquidated
damages, reasonable attorneys' fees and all costs, and other relief
as the Court may deem necessary, just, and proper.

Carrier Corporation provides HVC, refrigeration, fire, and security
services to commercial and residential clients nationwide. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Justin G. Day, Esq.
          First Tennessee Plaza
          800 S. Gay Street, Suite 1100
          Knoxville, TN 37929
          Tel: (856) 247-0080
          Fax: (865) 522-0049
          E-mail: jday@milberg.com

                - and -

          Nicholas Conlon, Esq.
          Eric Sands, Esq.
          BROWN, LLC
          111 Town Square P1 Suite 400
          Jersey City, NJ 07310
          Tel: (877) 561-0000
          Fax: (855) 582-5297
          E-mail: nicholasconlon@jtblawgroup.com

CENTESSA PHARMACEUTICALS: Lead Plaintiff Appointment Due Nov. 28
Bernstein Liebhard LLP announces that a securities class action
lawsuit has been filed on behalf of investors who purchased or
otherwise acquired: (a) Centessa Pharmaceuticals plc ('Centessa' or
the 'Company') (NASDAQ: CNTA) American Depositary Shares ('ADSs')
pursuant and/or traceable to the Offering Documents issued in
connection with the Company's initial public offering conducted on
or about May 28, 2021 (the 'IPO' or 'Offering'); and/or (b)
Centessa securities between May 28, 2021 and June 1, 2022, both
dates inclusive (the 'Class Period'). The lawsuit was filed in the
United States District Court for the Central District of California
and alleges violations of the Securities Act of 1933 and Securities
Exchange Act of 1934.

Bernstein Liebhard LLP, Friday, September 30, 2022, Press release
Centessa is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company that purports
to discover, develop, and deliver medicines to patients. The
Company's development pipeline includes, among other products,
lixivaptan, a vasopressin V2 receptor small molecule inhibitor in
Phase 3 clinical development for the treatment of autosomal
dominant polycystic kidney disease ('ADPKD'); and ZF874, a small
molecule pharmacological chaperone folding corrector of the Z
variant of the DNA encoding protein alpha-1-antitrypsin ('A1AT'),
which is in Phase 1 clinical development for the treatment of A1AT
deficiency ('AATD').

On April 21, 2021, Centessa filed a registration statement on Form
S-1 with the SEC in connection with the IPO, which, after several
amendments, was declared effective by the SEC on May 27, 2021 (the
'Registration Statement').

On or about May 28, 2021, Centessa conducted the IPO, issuing 16.5
million of its ADSs to the public at the Offering price of $20 per
ADS, for proceeds of $306.9 million to the Company after expenses
and applicable underwriting discounts.

On June 1, 2021, Centessa filed a prospectus on Form 424B4 with the
SEC in connection with the IPO, which incorporated and formed part
of the Registration Statement (the 'Prospectus' and, collectively
with the Registration Statement, the 'Offering Documents').

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants made materially false and
misleading statements in the Offering Documents and throughout the
Class Period. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
failed to disclose that: (i) lixivaptan was less safe than
Defendants had represented; (ii) lixivaptan's clinical and
commercial prospects were overstated; (iii) ZF874 was less safe
than Defendants had represented; and (iv) ZF874's clinical and
commercial prospects were overstated while the drug's safety issues
were downplayed.

On November 1, 2021, Centessa issued a press release announcing
results from the Phase 1 study evaluating ZF874 in treating AATD,
including, among other results, potential safety issues related to
increases in liver enzymes alanine aminotransferase ('ALT') and
aspartate aminotransferase ('AST') in one of the study subjects. On
this news, Centessa's ADS price fell $3.19 per share, or 18.55%, to
close at $14.01 per share on November 1, 2021.

On June 2, 2022, Centessa issued a press release 'announc[ing] that
it has made the strategic decision to discontinue development of
lixivaptan for [ADPKD,]' citing 'a recent observation of [ALT] and
[AST] elevations in one subject' from a Phase 3 study of lixivaptan
that was designed to assess liver and non-liver safety in certain
subjects. On this news, Centessa's ADS price fell $1.25 per share,
or 27.78%, to close at $3.25 per share on June 2, 2022.

On August 10, 2022, Centessa issued a press release 'announc[ing]
its decision to discontinue development of ZF874 following a recent
report of an adverse event (AE) involving elevated liver enzymes
(AST/ALT) in a . . . subject dosed with 5 mg/kg BID of ZF874 in the
Phase 1 study.' Centessa stated that '[b]ased on the results
observed to date, the Company concluded that ZF874 was unlikely to
achieve the desired target product profile.' On this news,
Centessa's ADS price fell $0.26 per share to close at $4.75 per
share on August 10, 2022, representing a total decline of 76.25%
from the $20 per ADS Offering price.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no
later than November 28, 2022. A lead plaintiff is a representative
party acting on behalf of other class members in directing the
litigation. Your ability to share in any recovery doesn't require
that you serve as lead plaintiff. If you choose to take no action,
you may remain an absent class member.

If you purchased or otherwise acquired Centessa securities, and/or
would like to discuss your legal rights and options please visit
Centessa Pharmaceuticals plc Shareholder Class Action Lawsuit or
contact Peter Allocco at (212) 951-2030 or pallocco@bernlieb.com.

Since 1993, Bernstein Liebhard LLP has recovered over $3.5 billion
for its clients. In addition to representing individual investors,
the Firm has been retained by some of the largest public and
private pension funds in the country to monitor their assets and
pursue litigation on their behalf. As a result of its success
litigating hundreds of lawsuits and class actions, the Firm has
been named to The National Law Journal's 'Plaintiffs' Hot List'
thirteen times and listed in The Legal 500 for ten consecutive

ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. © 2022 Bernstein Liebhard LLP. The law firm
responsible for this advertisement is Bernstein Liebhard LLP, 10
East 40th Street, New York, New York 10016, (212) 779-1414. Prior
results do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect
to any future matter. [GN]

CHEESE MERCHANTS: Continental's Bid for Judgment on Pleadings OK'd
No. 21-cv-1571 (N.D. Ill.), Judge Steven C. Seeger of the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern
Division, grants in part and denies in part Continental Western's
motion for judgment on the pleadings.

The case is about insurance coverage for a state court claim under
the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act ("BIPA") against
Cheese Merchants. The insurer, Continental, filed suit for a
declaratory judgment about its duty to defend. Continental Western
later moved for judgment on the pleadings.

Cheese Merchants is a premium cheese processing and packaging
company located in Cook County. In February 2020, Zack Wypych, a
former employee, filed a putative class action against Cheese
Merchants in state court under BIPA.

According to the state court complaint, Cheese Merchants uses a
biometric time tracking system that scans the backs of employees'
hands for authentication. When employees start at Cheese Merchants,
they have their hands scanned to enroll in a "hand geometric
database." Then, employees use that database regularly, scanning
their hands to punch in and out of work. According to Wypych, that
practice violates BIPA, because the company took his biometric
information without his consent.

Continental Western is Cheese Merchants' insurance company. It
issued Cheese Merchants multi-peril commercial lines insurance
policies covering the period of July 1, 2015, through Jan. 3, 2018.
Those policies provided commercial general liability coverage and
commercial umbrella coverage.

The parties don't provide the backstory, but apparently,
Continental Western got wind of the state court case filed by
Wypych. So, in March 2021, Continental Western filed this federal
lawsuit, seeking a declaratory judgment that it had no duty under
the policies. It later amended the complaint, advancing ten

Each count alleges that Continental Western does not have a duty to
defend (i.e., an obligation to defend Cheese Merchants in the
underlying suit) because of language in the policies or a policy
exclusion. It alleges that three exclusions in the policies bar
coverage. The insurer relies upon (1) the "violation of law"
exclusion (Count III); (2) the "disclosure of personal information"
exclusion (Count IV); and (3) the "employment-related practices"
exclusion (Count VI).

Continental Western moved for judgment on the pleadings, arguing
that the three exclusions bar coverage. It also argued that Cheese
Merchants' affirmative defenses fail as a matter of law, and that
it is entitled to judgment on Cheese Merchant's counterclaims.

Judge Seeger begins with the most straightforward exclusion of the
bunch, the exclusion for employment-related practices. Continental
Western argues that the underlying lawsuit in state court is about
an employment practice, and thus falls within an exclusion in the

The Court recently considered whether an employment-related
practices exclusion bars coverage in another case about BIPA. In
Tony's, it concluded that BIPA claims do not fall within the
exclusion for employment-related practices. Strictly speaking,
using one's hand or finger to clock-in and clock-out of work is a
practice related to employment. Using a finger to clock-in and
clock-out is a practice or a policy, in a colloquial sense. But it
isn't the type of practice or policy envisioned by the full text of
the provision. To the extent that there is any ambiguity, the tie
goes to the insured. Other courts in this District have reached the
same conclusion, finding that the exclusion for employment-related
practices does not apply to BIPA claims.

The same conclusion applies in the present case. The policy in
question involves the same language, and Cheese Merchants has not
pointed to any authority that supports a different outcome. Judge
Seeger holds that the employment-related practices exclusion does
not unambiguously preclude coverage of the BIPA claims in the
Wypych lawsuit.

Next, Continental Western invokes an exclusion that covers access
to or disclosure of confidential or personal information. Taking a
step back, the policies provide coverage for "personal and
advertising injury." But an exclusion ratchets back the scope of
coverage. The policies do not apply to injuries caused by accessing
or disclosing confidential or personal information. The exclusion
applies to claims about "any" access to, or disclosure of, any
person's "confidential or personal information." In short, the
exclusion covers "personal information," and biometric information
is personal information. The last step is to look at the underlying
claim in state court, and confirm whether it clearly falls within
the exception. It does.

Mr. Wypych (again, the underlying plaintiff) alleges that Cheese
Merchants requires employees "to scan the back of their hands in
its biometric time tracking system as a means of authentication."
He also alleges that Cheese Merchants "unlawfully collects, stores,
and uses their biometric data in violation of the BIPA."In other
words, Wypych alleges that he suffered an injury from Cheese
Merchants unlawfully collecting and accessing his personal
information: his hand scan. The underlying lawsuit falls squarely
within the scope of the exclusion.

Judge Seeger concludes that the exclusion about the "access or
disclosure of confidential or personal information" applies to the
Wypych lawsuit. Thus, Continental Western has no duty to defend.

One final exclusion remains in play. Continental Western argues
that another exclusion, the "violation of law" exclusion, bars
coverage for BIPA claims. The exclusion does not expressly refer to
BIPA. Even so, Continental Western argues that a BIPA claim falls
within the catch-all provision.

Judge Seeger predicts that the Illinois Supreme Court would
recognize the material expansion of the text, and concludes that
the exclusion applies. There is no reason to think that this
particular provision is limited to providing information to
consumers. And in fact, there is a compelling reason to think that
it is not. He therefore holds that the violation of law exclusion
at issue applies to the BIPA claims brought against Cheese

Finally, Continental Western seeks judgment on the pleadings for
the counterclaims advanced by Cheese Merchants. The counterclaims
contain two counts. Count I seeks a declaratory judgment that
Continental Western has a duty to defend Cheese Merchants in the
Wypych lawsuit. Count II is a breach of contract claim alleging
that Continental Western breached its contractual obligations by
failing to defend Cheese Merchants in the Wypych lawsuit.

Judge Seeger has concluded that two exclusions apply, so he also
grants judgment on the pleadings for the counterclaims. Continental
Western has no duty to defend. And without a duty to defend, it
could not breach its contractual obligations by failing to provide
a defense.

For these reasons, the motion for judgment on the pleadings is
granted in part and denied in part. The motion is denied to the
extent that Continental Western seeks judgment in its favor based
on the "employment-related practices" exclusion. The motion is
granted to the extent that Continental Western seeks judgment in
its favor based on the "access or disclosure of confidential or
personal information" exclusion. The motion is granted to the
extent that Continental Western seeks judgment in its favor based
on the "violation of law" exclusion. Finally, the motion for
judgment on the pleadings is granted to the extent that Continental
Western seeks judgment on the counterclaims.

A full-text copy of the Court's Sept. 27, 2022 Memorandum Opinion &
Order is available at https://tinyurl.com/4867s6e3 from

CHICAGO, IL: Bid to Certify Suit Over Religious Freedom Denied
Scott Holland, writing for Cook County Record, reports that a
federal judge refused to certify a class action from a Chicago
Public Schools graduate and his father, who alleged CPS violated
their religious freedom rights as Christians by allowing a program
in schools that encouraged students to engage in Buddhist

Amontae Williams, now 21, and his father, Darryl Williams, filed a
putative class action against the Chicago Board of Education, the
David Lynch Foundation and the University of Chicago. In addition
to the federal allegations, they said the defendants violated the
Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Amontae was a student at Bogan Computer Technical High School from
the fall of 2017 to his spring 2019 graduation.

The family said Bogan was one of eight schools that implemented a
Quiet Time program from 2015-2019. According to their filing, the
Foundation created the program, the school board allowed
implementation and UC researched its effects. The program involved
two 15-minute sessions per day, during which students could opt to
participate in transcendental meditation, a program that included a
"Puja" initiation ceremony. Other students who did not opt-in to
the program had a chance to meditate, but were not compelled to do
so and did not attend the initiation.

In an opinion issued Sept. 13, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly
said he had already agreed to dismiss part of the complaint, and
while he did grant leave for the family to amend its complaint, he
denied their motion for class certification. That motion included a
putative class for all Quiet Time students from 2015-2019 and
subclasses, one for those who participated in meditation training
and one for those who did not.

Kennelly first rejected the defendants' argument that Amontae
wasn't a suitable class representative because he eventually warmed
to meditation and lacked knowledge of the case.

"These inconsistencies are unlikely to be a significant factor in
litigation at the class level because they would only impact
Amontae's individual damages determinations and thus would not
undermine his credibility severely enough to distract from the
other aspects of the case," Kennelly wrote. "Amontae's lack of
familiarity with every aspect of the case or the specific reasons
for suing each defendant are similarly insufficient to establish
inadequacy, as he demonstrated a basic understanding of the purpose
of the lawsuit and his proposed classes during his deposition. One
cannot expect a plaintiff, either a class representative or an
individual plaintiff, to know details about evidence, legal
theories, or strategy; that's why people hire lawyers."

However, Kennelly agreed Amontae fell short of showing an ability
to make final decisions regarding the case.

"The legal services agreement between him and his counsel is clear:
Amontae has surrendered his responsibility to make final litigation
decisions to a 'Steering Committee' composed of proposed class
counsel and other individuals unknown to the court, not including
Amontae himself," Kennelly wrote. "Amontae's lack of any knowledge
about the decisions, operations or membership of the committee to
which he has delegated control of the litigation further
underscores his inability to take an 'active and honest and
attentive' role in the litigation or be more than just a
'placeholder for the attorneys driving this case.' "

Kennelly said that decision meant he didn't need to address the
proposed student classes. The judge then also denied Darryl
Williams' motion for class certification for lack of standing.
Although he said parents to have a right to direct their children's
religious training, that means he only has standing for the portion
of his claims preceding Amontae's 18th birthday.

"The parties do not dispute that when Amontae began learning
transcendental meditation, he was already a legal adult," Kennelly
wrote. "During his deposition, Amontae testified that he was
present for an initiation ceremony in October 2018, after he had
turned 18 a month earlier. He also stated that no one at his school
was meditating in class during his junior year, when he was still a
minor, and that the transcendental meditation instructors did not
come to his school until the following year. Therefore, to the
extent that Darryl's claim is based on either the transcendental
meditation initiation or instructor-led meditation, it must be
dismissed, and his motion for class certification must be denied
for lack of standing."

Kennelly set a status hearing for Sept. 22 to schedule future
proceedings and a trial date for the remaining claims.

The Williams family members have been represented by attorneys John
W. Mauck and Kirstin M. Erickson, of the firm of Mauck & Baker, of

CPS has been represented by attorneys Elizabeth K. Barton, Kaitlin
T. Salisbury and Christina Rosenberg, of the Chicago Board of
Education's Department of Law.

University of Chicago is represented by attorneys Mark S. Mester,
Johanna Spellman, Renatta A. Gorski and Sofia A. Vitiello, of the
firm of Latham & Watkins, of Chicago.

The David Lynch Foundation is represented by attorney James J.
Sipchen, of the firm of Pretzel & Stouffer, of Chicago. [GN]

CRONOS GROUP: Faces Class Action Over Securities Violations
Bernise Carolino, writing for Law Times, reports that the Ontario
Court of Appeal has overruled a lower court's characterization of a
proposed securities class action against a cannabis company as
separate misrepresentations and has found a basis to treat it as a
claim for a single misrepresentation.

In Badesha v. Cronos Group Inc., 2022 ONCA 663, the appellant
wanted to bring a class action on behalf of those holding shares in
Cronos Group Inc. between Aug. 14, 2018, and Mar. 30, 2020. Cronos
was a Canada-based company that focused on the cultivation,
manufacturing, and marketing of cannabis and cannabis-derived
products for medical and recreational purposes.

The appellant alleged that the company's public filings
mischaracterized the cannabis dry-flower/resin exchange
transactions as generating revenue, which amounted to
misrepresentation under s. 138.3 of Ontario's Securities Act. He
moved for leave of the court under s. 138.8 of the Securities Act
and for certification of the action under Ontario's Class
Proceedings Act.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed the leave and
certification motions. The motion judge characterized the
appellant's statement of claim as alleging that the defendants made
7,449 individual misrepresentations. He found no reasonable
possibility that the appellant could succeed at trial because the
appellant provided no evidence that each of the alleged
misrepresentations materially contributed to the drop in the
company's share prices at the time.

The appellate court granted leave for the appellant to proceed with
the misrepresentation action under s. 138.3. The court remitted the
issue of whether the action should be certified as a class
proceeding, including as a global class proceeding, to the Superior
Court for determination.

Misrepresentation a single act against shareholders
The appellant's claim, when read generously, did not allege 7,449
individual misrepresentations and instead alleged that Cronos
misrepresented its revenues for two quarters in 2019, the appellate
court found. These alleged material misrepresentations affected
share prices at that time and were corrected in 2020.

The appellate court found that the motion judge prematurely assumed
that the alleged misrepresentations should be treated as multiple
individual misrepresentations. The appellate court instead found a
basis to treat the claim as alleging a single misrepresentation,
given the way that the claim was pleaded and given the core
commonality among the alleged misrepresentations.

The appellate court said that the motion judge's characterization
of the claim was inconsistent with its structure, its wording, and
statutory intent, which led to an erroneous application of the test
for leave under s. 138.8.

There was sufficient evidence to support a finding that the
appellant had a reasonable possibility of success, the appellate
court held. The court accepted that there was conflicting evidence
on the issue of whether misrepresentations or other factors like
the COVID-19 pandemic reduced share prices. However, the court
noted that there were admitted misrepresentations and that the
company's share prices dropped around the time when it publicly
announced corrections.

The motion judge primarily based the decision to refuse leave on
his erroneous characterization of the claim, the appellate court
said. If the judge properly approached the claim, he would have
found a reasonable possibility that the appellant would succeed at
trial, said the court. [GN]

CROWN WARDS: Proposed Settlement in Sexual Assault Suit Reached
This notice was approved by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice:

To all persons who were Crown Wards in Ontario at any time from the
period on or after January 1, 1966 until March 30, 2017 and
suffered physical or sexual assault before or while a Crown Ward
("Class Members")

A proposed settlement has been reached with Ontario in this class
action to provide compensation of up to $3,600 to Class Members who
are former Crown Wards who suffered physical or sexual assault
before or while a Crown Ward.

This lawsuit is not about seeking money from your abusers for the
abuse you suffered. The lawsuit is about the government's alleged
duty to consider and, where appropriate, apply for specific
benefits on behalf of Crown Wards who were victims of crime, or to
seek damages in civil actions on behalf of Crown Wards. The
lawsuit, and this settlement, do not impact your ability to sue
someone who abused you.

If you opted out of the class action, the settlement will not
impact you.

There will be a court hearing on May 12, 2021 to decide whether the
proposed settlement of the lawsuit should be approved. The hearing
will take place virtually.

There is no money available now. If the court approves the
settlement and you are part of the lawsuit, you can then make a

To obtain further information, please visit
https://OntarioCrownWardClassAction.ca or
contact Epiq Global at 1-877-739-8936, or by email at

The lawyers acting for the class are Koskie Minsky LLP. You may
also contact Koskie Minsky LLP at 1.866.778.7985, or by email at
OCWclassaction@kmlaw.ca. [GN]

DEVON & CORNWALL: Could Face Mistreatment Class Action Lawsuit
Olivier Vergnault at cornwalllive.com reports that a specialist
human rights and clinical negligence law firm is looking to build a
possible class action law suit against care home charity Spectrum
which has been accused of a raft of shortcomings. Families of
residents at a number of care homes run by Spectrum ASD, also known
as Devon and Cornwall Autistic Community Trust, have expressed
concerns following claims that residents have been unlawfully
deprived of their liberty and subjected to neglect.

Now at least four relatives of residents at some of Spectrum's care
homes in Cornwall have contacted London law firm Leigh Day to see
if a case can be built against the firm. The abuse team at law firm
Leigh Day, which specialises in human rights abuses and clinical
negligence cases, has confirmed it is investigating potential civil
claims relating to abuse, mistreatment and breaches of residents'
human rights.

Spectrum, which recently operated 15 homes across Cornwall, has
been accused of a raft of shortcomings including disabled people
being locked in rooms, overworked staff falling asleep on duty and
a management which won't step in. The charity is facing criticism
over how its care homes were run and has been lambasted in a series
of damning reports by the health and social care watchdog the Care
Quality Commission (CQC) which criticised its care homes as
unclean, unsafe and understaffed.

Read more: Spectrum boss taking 'time away' after care homes
failings exposed and as Charity Commission investigates management

The latest CQC inspection of one of the care homes, in St Erme near
Truro, which was carried out in May, described the facility's
performance as inadequate. Five of its homes were rated inadequate
by the CQC and eight were rated as requiring improvement. The
company is also under investigation by the Charity Commission.

The council announced this month that Spectrum is pulling out of
adult social care entirely and is "focusing" on its youth
facilities instead. Another company has been drafted in to take
over 12 of its 16 homes, in the hopes the level of care can be

Leigh Day represented families of patients at Winterbourne View
hospital, a private hospital at Hambrook in South Gloucestershire,
after a Panorama investigation in 2011 that exposed the physical
and psychological abuse suffered by people with learning
disabilities and challenging behaviour at the hospital.

Solicitor Catriona Rubens said she has been contacted by families
who are concerned about the treatment of their loved ones in care
homes run by Spectrum. She said: "I have been very concerned by the
damning CQC reports into conditions at Spectrum run services –
places which are supposed to be people's homes.

"I hope that the further CQC and Charity Commission investigations
shed light on any failures by management to protect the welfare and
well-being of the residents. The accounts we have heard from
families about their loved ones' experiences at different Spectrum
homes are worrying and may be actionable in law.

"We are now investigating potential legal claims against Spectrum
for alleged neglect and potential breaches of residents' human
rights and would be happy to speak to any families who may have
concerns about how their relatives were treated."

Leigh Day is calling on any former members of staff, residents and
their loved ones seeking legal advice or wanting to be part of a
possible class action law suit against Spectrum to make contact
with them. Ms Rubens added: "It is very early days yet but there is
strength in numbers in building this type of cases."

The law firm is also looking to hold a event for concerned families
and former members of staff to find out more in November. It will
take place either in Truro or Exeter, with further details to
follow. Spectrum said it will not provide a comment at this stage
when contacted by CornwallLive.

Anyone wanting more information from Leigh Day or who would like to
share information with the firm can contact Catriona via email
crubens@leighday.co.uk or call 020 7650 1201.

What is happening where you live? Find out by adding your postcode
or visit InYourArea [GN]

EAST LAKE HARDWARE: Stuart Sues Over Unpaid Overtime Wages
THERESA STUART, individually and on behalf of all similarly
situated persons, Plaintiff v. EAST LAKE HARDWARE COMPANY LLC,
Case No. 1:22-cv-03736-MLB (N.D. Ga., September 16, 2022) is a
collective action complaint brought against the Defendants for
their alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The Plaintiff was employed by the Defendants as a Cashier from
approximately June 2021 to May 2022.

According to the complaint, the Plaintiff and other similarly
situated employees were not paid wages for all hours worked,
including all time worked while "counting the till" and off the
clock 15 minutes before and after work daily. As a result, despite
working more than 40 hours per week, they were not properly paid of
their lawfully earned overtime compensation at the rate of one and
one-half times their regular rates of pay for all hours worked in
excess of 40 per workweek. In addition, the Defendants illegally
made deductions from the Plaintiff's final paycheck, says the

On behalf of herself and all other similarly situated employees,
the Plaintiff seeks to recover all unpaid overtime compensation,
liquidated damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and
expenses together with reasonable attorneys' and expert fees and
all other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

East Lake Hardware Company LLC and Barnesville Hardware Company,
LLC operate a hardware store. Michael D. Cox exercised control over
significant aspects of the operations of the Corporate Defendants.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Grant E. McBride, Esq.
          Post Office Box 10
          2200 Keys Ferry Court
          McDonough, GA 30253
          Tel: (770) 957-3937
          Fax: (770) 957-9165
          E-mail: gmcbride@smithwelchlaw.com

EASTMAN KODAK: Motion to Dismiss Securities Class Suits Granted
Akin Gump litigation partners Neal Marder and Steve Baldini
received a Litigator of the Week Shout Out for achieving a victory
for their client, Eastman Kodak Company, on September 27, 2022. The
Honorable Elizabeth A. Wolford of the W.D.N.Y. granted in full
Kodak's and the individual defendants' joint motion to dismiss the
consolidated putative securities class actions, without leave for
plaintiffs to replead.   

Separate putative securities class actions were filed in the D.N.J.
and S.D.N.Y. in late 2020 that were ultimately consolidated in the
W.D.N.Y. in June 2021. After the lead plaintiffs were appointed,
they filed a consolidated amended complaint on behalf of a putative
class of Kodak shareholders, asserting claims against Kodak and
certain current and former officers and directors arising out of
events surrounding a letter of interest ("LOI") entered into
between Kodak and the U.S. International Development Finance
Corporation ("DFC") in July 2020, discussing a contemplated loan of
$765 million from DFC to Kodak to support the conversion of Kodak's
manufacturing facilities to produce certain chemical ingredients
used in pharmaceutical products. Specifically, the plaintiffs
asserted (i) a claim under Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5(b) alleging
that Kodak and its CEO made misrepresentations regarding the
certainty of Kodak obtaining the loan, and omitted that the week
the LOI was announced certain officers were granted stock options
which plaintiffs alleged were improperly "spring-loaded," (ii) a
claim under Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5(a) and (c) alleging that
the defendants engaged in a deceptive or manipulative scheme
through the alleged misrepresentations and omission relating to the
options grants, and (iii) a claim under Section 20(a) for control
person liability against the individual defendants.

The Akin team led the motion to dismiss briefing and Mr. Marder and
counsel Stephanie Lindemuth led the lengthy oral argument on the
motion, facilitated by other top defense firms representing the
individual defendants. In granting the motion in its entirety,
Judge Wolford adopted substantially all the defendants' arguments.
The Court held that not one of the alleged misrepresentations or
the purported omission of the stock options grants were actionable
under federal securities laws. The Court further held that the
plaintiffs failed to allege an actionable scheme liability claim
because it was improperly based entirely on the inactionable
misrepresentations and omission from the Rule 10b-5(b) claim and
failed to allege with particularity any additional or actionable
deceptive or manipulative conduct on which to base the claim. Due
to the dismissal of the primary liability claims, the Court also
dismissed the secondary control person liability claim against the
individual defendants.

Messrs. Marder and Baldini are the lead attorneys on this case. The
Akin Gump team also included counsel Stephanie Lindemuth, Josh
Rubin and Sina Safvati, and associate Lillian Rand. This is the
same team that obtained a dismissal with prejudice of a purported
direct stockholder class action filed in New York Supreme Court in
May of this year.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law
firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United
States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. [GN]

ECOVACS ROBOTICS: Class Action Mulled Over Defective Deebot Vacuums
ClassAction.org reports that attorneys working with ClassAction.org
are looking into whether a class action lawsuit can be filed on
behalf of people who bought Ecovacs' Deebot vacuums. It's been
reported that the robot vacuums frequently malfunction, many times
after only a few months of use.

What Problems Have Been Reported?
Main brush malfunctions, sensor malfunctions, battery and
charging problems, and even complete failure.

How Could a Class Action Help?
A class action lawsuit, if successful, could help consumers get
back some of the money they spent on the vacuums and potentially
force the manufacturer to fix the problems.

What You Can Do
Fill out the form on this page to share your experience. An
attorney working with ClassAction.org may reach out to you directly
to explain how you may be able to help the investigation.

Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are looking into whether a
class action lawsuit can be filed on behalf of people who
experienced problems with their Ecovacs Deebot-brand vacuums.

Owners of these robot vacuums have complained about various types
of malfunctions -- from a main brush malfunction to sensor and
battery problems -- and attorneys have reason to believe the
vacuums may be defective.

To help their investigation, the attorneys need to speak with more
people whose Ecovacs Deebot vacuums malfunctioned. Share your
experience by filling out the form on this page. You may be able to
get back some of the money you spent on your vacuum and any repairs
you had done.

What Problems Are Being Reported?
Ecovacs Deebot owners have complained about various problems with
the vacuums, including the main brush malfunctioning or not
spinning, and issues with the batteries and sensors.

One of the most common problems reported, which usually occurs in
the N79 model, is a "main brush malfunction" message accompanied by
what some consumers now refer to as the "4 beeps of death." When
this malfunction occurs, the brush stops spinning and the vacuum
beeps four times before returning to its dock.

Many users say the problems with their vacuum started happening
right before or after its warranty expired, and some owners say
they had their Deebot replaced only to have the new vacuum start
exhibiting the same problems.

Below is a sampling of complaints posted online [sic throughout]:

I bought this and after approximately 13 months it stopped working.
Since it was out of warranty I have done all the brush cleaning and
battery resetting and plugging in the power cord directly to the
vacuum as suggested by customer service. Then I bought a new
battery. Still got the red flashing light with 4 beeps. Then I went
to Youtube and did all the various tips and tricks suggested. Still
get the 4 beeps with a red light. Bought a different vacuum,
swapped batteries and Deebot was back to new. The battery ran down
and won't recharge. It's not the charger and it's not the battery .
. ."

I bought it and used it 3 times. Main brush malfunction could not
be corrected. I felt this malfunction with only 3 uses and no
obvious reason for this problem, I returned it and bought a
different robot."

Update after using for a year and a half the deebot started to have
a lot of issues with lds malfunction, vacuum brush stopped working
and the map was messing up. Brought the robot rock s4 max for the
first floor around the same time and no issues at all. My advice
would be to avoid this product cause the first one we brought we
had to return cause it kept having problems."

For now, a 1-star review since mine seems to be defective out of
the box. After a few minutes of running, the Deebot declared it had
an "LDS Malfunction". The only "fix" for this malfunction is to
"gently tap the Laser Distance Sensor", according to the Ecovacs
app. Of course, that did not fix anything and the robot continues
to complain about an LDS Malfunction and stopped working. I'm
returning for refund. I may buy another and see if this one is just
a lemon."

. . . On April 9, 2018 my Deebot had a main brush malfunction. It
would not work after cleaning it thoroughly, removing all debris,
and even letting it run without the main brush like I was asked to
do by customer service. They decided to send me a new one since the
troubleshooting did not work. FAST FORWARD to April 28, 2019 when
my Deebot started having the SAME exact problem as before.
Obviously this is a product issue. The customer service
representative tried to say the battery was just dead when the
robot had been on charge for TWO DAYS. The four beeps mean main
brush malfunction. I did everything as I did last April when this
same thing happened and it is still not working. Their customer
service said my warranty is up as and the only thing I can do is
take it to a vacuum repair shop myself . . ."

Worked well for the first month or two, and now it's essentially
useless. And I ordered two unfortunately and they both have the
same problem. They'd be great if they'd actually get 25% of the way
through vacuuming one room before starting to malfunction and beep.
Both of them. I clean the filters, make sure the beater brush his
don't have anything stuck to them, make sure the drop sensors are
clear, and yet they still start beeping and come to a stop 5
minutes after starting them for some reason or another . . ."

I was initially happy with the deebot N79 when it worked.
Unfortunately, it started having problems within 4 months of
purchasing it. Customer service sent me a replacement and that one
lasted about 6 months before starting to malfunction. It would just
spin in circles over and over, then error out. I was able to
troubleshoot it a bit with customer service but it never quite
worked as intended without a lot of monitoring and fuss. Now it has
completely stopped working and none of the troubleshooting and
resetting will fix it . . ."

What You Can Do
If your Ecovacs Deebot malfunctioned, the attorneys we work with
want to hear about it. Fill out the form on this page to share your
experience. After you get in touch, one of the attorneys may reach
out to you directly to answer your questions and explain more about
why you may be owed money.

It costs nothing to get in touch, and you're not obligated to take
legal action after speaking with someone about your rights. [GN]

FEALS INC: Raslavich Sues Over Unsolicited Telephonic Sales Calls
ANNA RASLAVICH, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff v. FEALS, INC., Defendant, Case No. 157600107
(Fla. 13th Jud. Cir. Ct., September 16, 2022) is a class action
complaint brought against the Defendant for its alleged violations
of the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act.

According to the complaint, the Defendant sent a "telephonic sales
call" to the Plaintiff's telephone number in an attempt to promote
its business. The Defendant's telephonic sales calls allegedly
involved an automated system for the selection or dialing of
telephone numbers or the playing of a recorded message when a
connection is completed. Accordingly, the Defendant caused similar
telephonic sales calls to be sent to thousands of individuals in
Florida. However, the Defendant failed to obtain the Plaintiff and
other similarly situated individuals' prior express written
consent, says the suit.

As a result of the Defendant's unsolicited telephonic sales calls,
the Plaintiff and other similarly situated individuals were
allegedly aggrieved. Thus, the Plaintiff seeks an injunction
requiring the Defendant to cease all telephonic sales calls made
without prior express written consent. The Plaintiff also seeks to
recover statutory damages, for herself an all other similarly
situated individuals, as well as a reasonable attorney's fees and
court costs, and other relief as the Court deems necessary.

Feals, Inc. offers wellness products. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Benjamin W. Raslavich, Esq.
          KUHN RASLAVICH, P.A.
          2110 West Platt Street
          Tampa, FL 33606
          Tel: (813) 422-7782
          Fax: (813) 422-7783
          E-mail: ben@tehKRfirm.com

FERRARI NORTH: Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Brake Failure
St. Louis-based law firm Burger Law, a law firm that specializes in
product liability and class action lawsuits, is representing the
plaintiff in a lawsuit against manufacturers Ferrari and Robert
Bosch. The plaintiff alleges that he twice experienced sudden brake
failure due to defective motor vehicle components and asserts that
the vehicle and defective component manufacturers are liable. The
lawsuit is a class action and may be joined by others who have
sustained losses due to the defective product. It is pending in
federal court in New Jersey as Case number 2:21-cv-20772-JMV-CLW,
and called Rose v. Ferrari North America, Inc. To learn more or
submit your information please visit our Ferrari Brake Recall

In two separate Part 573 Safety Recall Reports issued by the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Oct. 29, 2021 and
Jul. 26, 2022, over 23,000 Ferrari vehicles sold in the U.S.
between 2005 to date were recalled due to faulty brake fluid
reservoir caps. The reports state that the caps may not vent
pressure adequately which can cause the reservoir to leak brake
fluid. Further, the report notes that complete loss of brake fluid
can lead to total brake failure.

In the complaint, ROSE v. FERRARI NORTH AMERICA, INC., et al, the
plaintiff alleges:

-- "Braking is critical to the safety of the driver, passengers
within the vehicle, the drivers and occupants of other vehicles in
proximity, and innocent bystanders."
-- "Defendants have failed to inform consumers of the potentially
deadly Brake Defect installed in certain [Ferrari models], much
less repair or replace the defective braking system in vehicles
sold or leased to consumers nationwide."
-- The brake defect "may be related to leaking brake fluid and/or
the master cylinder/brake booster component within" the vehicles.
-- "Defendants have had actual knowledge of the Defect since at
least 2015."
-- "Defendants knew or should have known of the Defect from far
earlier due to pre-production testing, failure mode analysis, and
reports to authorized dealers and repair centers."
-- "Defendants chose to omit information about the Brake Defect and
not to disclose these problems to [Ferrari owners], so that they
could continue to profit from the sale and lease of the" vehicles.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory, actual, treble, punitive,
and/or statutory damages for injury, financial loss, reduction of
the vehicles' value and the Defendants' concealment of a known
defect. Plaintiffs also issued a demand for a jury trial.

There are two legal bases for the lawsuit:

Nationwide claims for fraud by concealment, negligent
misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and violation of the N.J.
Consumer Fraud Act ("NJCFA"), and

State claims for violations of Georgia's Uniform Deceptive Trade
Practices Act [GN]

FIFTH AVENUE: Reyes Files Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime Wages
MCKEEVER, Defendants, Case No. 9:22-cv-05540 (E.D.N.Y., September
16, 2022) brings this complaint as a collective action on behalf of
himself and all other similarly situate individuals against the
Defendants for their alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards
Act and the New York Labor Law.

The Plaintiff was employed by the Defendant as a laborer from
approximately on or about September 2005 until August 25, 2022.

The Plaintiff claims that despite regularly working more than 40
hours per week throughout his employment with the Defendant, the
Defendants failed to appropriately compensate him and other
similarly situated laborers for all hours worked in excess of 40
per week. Instead of paying them overtime compensation at the rate
of one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for all hours
worked in excess of 40 per workweek, the Defendants paid them
straight time for overtime. In addition, the Defendants did not
provide them an accurate wage statements each payment of wages, and
with a written notice of their rate of pay, employer's regular pay
day, and such other information as required by NYLL, says the

The Plaintiff seeks to recover damages for the amount of unpaid
wages, damages for any improper deductions or credits taken against
wages, and liquidated damages in an amount equal to 100% of his
damages for the amount of unpaid overtime wages, as well as pre-
and post-judgment interest, litigation expenses, costs and
attorney's fees, and other relief as the Court deems just and

Fifth Avenue Paving, Inc. operates a paving company in Bayport, New
York. Alan McKeever is the owner of the company. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Lina Stillman, Esq.
          42 Broadway, 12th Floor
          New York, NY 10004
          Tel: (212) 203-2417

FIRELANDS REGIONAL: Underpays Registered Nurses, Campanelli Says
ABBEY CAMPANELLI and ELIZABETH SPITZER, on behalf of themselves and
all similarly situated individuals, Plaintiffs v. FIRELANDS
REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant, Case No. 3:22-cv-01656 (N.D.
Ohio, September 16, 2022) is a collective and class action
complaint brought against the Defendant for its alleged violations
of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Ohio Minimum Fair Wage
Standards, and the Ohio Prompt Pay Act.

The Plaintiffs were employed by the Defendant as Registered Nurses:
Plaintiff Campanelli was from approximately May 1, 2009 until
approximately April 2022, while Plaintiff Spitzer was from
approximately November 21, 2019 until approximately May 29, 2021.
The Plaintiffs and other similarly situated Registered Nurses were
non-exempt employees and were paid at an hourly rate.

According to the complaint, the Plaintiffs and other similarly
Situated RNs were underpaid by the Defendants for all hours they
worked. The Defendant allegedly would record their hours worked
through a manual clock-in system, but would automatically deduct 30
minutes lunch break from their hours worked. In addition, the
Defendant did not permit them to clock-in earlier before the start
of their respective shifts although the Defendant required them to
arrive early before the start of their shifts to perform their
integral and indispensable tasks, which could take anywhere from
approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Moreover, despite
working more than 40 hours per week, the Plaintiffs and other
similarly situated RNs were not paid overtime compensation at the
rate of one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for all
hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek.

Firelands Regional Medical Center operates a medical center in
Sandusky, Ohio. [BN]

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          Robert E. DeRose, II, Esq.
          Ste. 210
          4200 Regent Street
          Columbus, OH 43219
          Tel: (614) 744-2300
          E-mail: bderose@barkanmeizlish.com

FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL: Faces Class Action Suit Over Underfunding
Justin Gamble and Nicquel Terry Ellis, writing for CNN, report that
six students at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University have
filed a federal lawsuit against the state and the Board of
Governors for the state's university system that claims the
historically Black college has been underfunded for decades is in
violation of Title VI and the 14th amendment.

The proposed class action lawsuit alleges the state's Board of
Governors allocated less funding to FAMU compared to the
predominately White universities in Florida.

In the lawsuit, the students accuse the state of failing to meet
its obligations of a 1998 partnership agreement with the U.S.
Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights meant to rectify
inequities in higher education. In part, it required officials to
provide funding to "enhance the facilities of FAMU until there is
parity" with traditionally White institutions.

Instead, the suit alleges the state restructured and downsized
FAMU's agriculture department and gave the majority-White
University of Florida "primary control over many of the research,
education, and extension services "in the state, which resulted in
more funding going to the University of Florida."

"The students feel very strongly about the way in which they are
experiencing the underfunding," said Barbara Hart, an attorney
representing the students.

The Florida Board of Governors and the state of Florida, when
reached by CNN, also declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say the underfunding of FAMU has left
the students with myriad of concerns such as with university
housing. FAMU has been forced to close buildings due to issues such
as flooding damage, pest issues and normal wear and tear, the suit
claims. And funding to repair the school's infrastructure was put
on hold due to lack of funding, according to the lawsuit.

"It's constantly been an issue of something going wrong, things
breaking down, not being fixed properly," said Fayerachel Peterson,
a first-year graduate student at FAMU and a plaintiff in the

Bobby Brown, another attorney representing the students, said he
sees stark physical differences between the campuses of FAMU and
Florida State University.

"Being on Florida A&M's campus and walking across the tracks seeing
. . . where Florida State is, to feel the difference between that
and to understand the historical ramifications across the tracks,
I'm just really proud to be standing up with these students," Brown
said in an interview with CNN.

FAMU and FSU declined to comment on the lawsuit citing a policy
that prohibits officials from commenting on pending litigation.

The lawsuit also accuses the Florida Board of Governors of failing
to adhere to the partnership agreement, which allowed students from
FAMU and Florida State University to complete part of the
requirements of their degree at their home school and the remaining
requirements at the sister institution. The lawsuit says the
defendants say they did fulfill their end of the partnership.

According to the suit, provisions in the agreement were intended to
help prevent duplication of academic offerings at the schools, but
the plaintiffs allege that over the years similar degree programs
were offered at both FAMU and FSU. Such duplication, the plaintiffs
argue, "wastes and dilutes limited state resources when programs
already exist to meet the demand and thereby reduces the economic
efficiencies of the higher education system, undermines the State's
diversity and desegregation efforts, perpetuates segregation,
impairs FAMU's enhancement efforts, impairs FAMU's enrollment
growth, and discourages cooperation among institutions."

Over the years, the plaintiffs allege, the state of Florida
approved several degree programs at FSU that are a direct
duplication of those offered at FAMU "without sound educational
justification for such duplication, including approving a joint
program in Engineering." In addition, the plaintiffs say, due to
the disparities in funding provided by the state to both schools,
FAMU's enrollment declined in the joint college program.

According to the complaint, the students are seeking a "special
referee or mediator" be appointed to help develop a solution that
ensures FAMU receives equitable funding."

"These students are a part of something -- part of a movement and
they are unafraid to stand up and do what's right," Brown said.

FORD MOTOR: Face Class Action Over Pick-Up Trucks' Roof Structure
jalopnik.com reports that a new class-action lawsuit filed on
Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
Michigan alleges that Ford has knowingly reduced the structural
strength of the roof of its Super Duty pickups throughout the
years, dramatically increasing the risk of occupant injury in a
rollover accident.

The suit - filed by Hagens Berman, a law firm with a history of
suing Ford - specifically states that Ford removed pieces of the
roof and windshield structure and downgraded both the quality and
thickness of the steel in those structures in an effort to save
cost. It further claims this has been going on since the Super Duty
was launched in 1999.

"While we typically don't comment on active litigation, Ford Super
Duty trucks consistently meet or exceed industry safety standards
with roof strength that meets or exceeds industry custom and
practice for design and performance," said a Ford representative,
in a statement. "Ford constantly innovates and has done so for
decades to reduce rollovers and enhance passenger protection when
they occur."

Ford was recently forced to pay $1.7 billion to the family of
Melvin and Voncile Hill of Georgia after they were killed by a
collapsing roof structure in a rollover accident in their 2002
F-250, so there is a recent case relating to this class-action

"When the public looks at Ford's history of subtle, yet impactful
and plentiful design choices over the decades it has made these
trucks, a single storyline is clear: Ford has repeatedly chosen to
degrade the structural capacity and therefore safety of its trucks,
again and again, for sake of cost savings," said Steve Berman,
Hagens Berman co-founder and managing partner in a statement. "A
read of Ford's choices is a redundant tale of deletions and
downgage of steel, reducing the thickness of essential components
of the truck cab." [GN]

GOOGLE LLC: $100M Settlement in Biometrics Class Suit Gets Final OK
Jonathan Bilyk at cookcountyrecord.com reports that a Cook County
judge has granted final approval to the $100 million settlement
ending a biometrics class action against Google over face scans of
people featured in photos posted to the company's Photos app,
appearing to clear the way for checks of about $150 to be mailed to
more than 400,000 people who got into the class action before the
submission deadline.

Attorneys who led the lawsuit will get $35 million in fees, or 35%
of the total settlement funds, under the judge's order.

Cook County Judge Ann Loftus signed off on the settlement deal on
Sept. 28.

The settlement comes after six years in court, as the sides squared
off over claims Google illegally scanned and stored images of the
faces of people who appeared in photos uploaded to the Google
Photos image storage and sharing platform.

Specifically, the lawsuits alleged Google had not first obtained
consent from those people before scanning and storing their facial
images, and also had not provided certain notices, allegedly
required by Illinois law, concerning how the scanned data would be
stored, used, shared and ultimately destroyed.

The lawsuits, led by a complaint filed in Chicago federal court in
2015, marked some of the first forays into court against a tech
giant under Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act.

In the years since, BIPA-related class actions have exploded in
Cook County Circuit Court and other courtrooms in Illinois and in
other states.

The bulk of those thousands of lawsuits under BIPA have targeted
employers, accusing them of violating the BIPA law for the manner
in which they required workers to scan fingerprints or other
so-called biometric identifiers to punch in and out of work shifts,
or to verify their identity to access secured workplace areas, such
as medicine lockers, cash rooms and armored vehicles.

The lawsuits have been fueled by a series of plaintiff-friendly
court rulings that so far have left companies with little ability
to defend against the lawsuits, or even to reduce their risk of
massive financial losses, should the cases go to trial.

Under the BIPA law, plaintiffs are allowed to demand damages of
$1,000-$5,000 per violation. The law has been interpreted to define
such individual violations to include each each time a company
scans people's fingerprints, faces or other so-called biometric

Multiplied over an untold number of possible biometric scans, such
potential damages could leave businesses of even modest sizes and
means holding the bag for potentially huge judgments.

In the case against Google, for instance, the company could have
faced damages worth billions of dollars, if the case had gone to
trial and a jury found in favor of the plaintiffs under the BIPA

Faced with such risk, Google, like many other companies targeted by
BIPA-related class actions, opted to settle rather than take their
chances before a jury.

While most cases to date have settled for hundreds of thousands of
dollars or a few million dollars, settlements with big tech
companies have proven particularly lucrative.

Facebook notably agreed to pay $650 million to end a BIPA class
action lawsuit accusing it of violating the state biometrics
privacy law by scanning the faces of people featured in photos
uploaded to that social media platform. That settlement generated
$97 million in fees for the plaintiffs' lawyers, or about 15% of
the total fund. It also obtained payments of $400 each to
individual class members in Illinois.

In the Google settlement, lawyers will receive a much larger stake
of the total settlement, while class members will receive a
significantly lesser individual payment than under the Facebook

The fee award to the plaintiffs' lawyers represented a reduction
from what the lawyers had requested. In a motion for attorney fees
filed earlier this summer, the lawyers had asked for $40 million,
or 40% of the settlement funds. In her written order, Loftus did
not explain why she cut $5 million from the fee award sought by the

As for payments to class members, Loftus' written final settlement
approval order does not specify how much individual class members
may receive.

Class members received payments would include any Illinois
residents who appeared in a photo posted to Google Photos from May
2015 to April 2022.

In a motion for final approval submitted by plaintiffs' lawyers,
they estimate more than 418,000 people will receive checks for at
least $142 each. In published accounts from a final approval
hearing, it was reported class members could receive $154 each.

People eligible to receive a share of the settlement had until
Sept. 24 to submit a valid claim. No further claims will be

Despite the judge's final approval, it is unclear when payments
will be sent. Any appeals from the judge's final settlement
approval order could delay the payments, as courts sort through any
competing claims. No appeal has yet been filed.

While the court recorded no formal objections to the settlement, it
received 97 requests to be excluded from the settlement, according
to Loftus' order.

Plaintiffs have been represented in the case by attorneys Robert
Ahdoot, Tina Wolfson and Theodore W. Maya, of Ahdoot & Wolfson, of
Burbank, California; John C. Carey and David P. Milian, of Carey
Rodriguez Milian, of Miami, Florida; Frank S. Hedin, of Hedin Hall,
of Miami; Scott A. Bursor, of Bursor & Fisher, of Miami; and
Katrina Carroll and Kyle A. Shamberg, of Carlson Lynch, of

Google has been represented by attorneys Susan D. Fahringer, Ryan
Spear and Kathleen A. Stetsko, of Perkins Coie, of Seattle and
Chicago. [GN]

GOOGLE LLC: Moves to Dismiss Automatic Renewal Class Action
Wilson Fay at lawstreetmedia.com reports that Google filed a motion
to dismiss the plaintiffs' complaint in the class action lawsuit of
Walkingeagle et al v. Google, LLC et al which alleges that YouTube
violated Oregon's Automatic Renewal Law and Free Offer Law.

According to the motion, Google is the parent company of YouTube
and offers a variety of applications and services across platforms
including YouTube Music and YouTube Premium. Google states that
YouTube Music and YouTube Premium are subscription-based services.

The motion states that to sign up and purchase YouTube Music and
YouTube Premium services, consumers are taken through a standard
purchase flow and presented with a final purchase screen. Google
purports that the final purchase screen informs the customer how
much they will be charged, how often they will be charged, when
recurring billing starts and that they can cancel any time.
Further, once the sign up process is complete, YouTube immediately
sends an acknowledgment email confirming the details of the
membership including the  previously disclosed offer terms and how
to cancel the membership.

However, the plaintiffs filed a complaint against Google and
YouTube on May 25th, 2022, alleging they failed to provide the
requisite disclosures and authorizations required Oregon's
Automatic Renewal Law and Free Offer Law for YouTube Music and
YouTube Premium subscriptions. Specifically, the complaint alleges
that the defendants violated the Automatic Renewal Law because it
did not present the renewal terms in a clear, conspicuous manner,
it failed to obtain affirmative consent to the automatic renewal
and failed to provide an acknowledgment that includes the automatic
renewal offer terms and information how to cancel the subscription.

The plaintiffs state that they could not figure out how to cancel
their subscription resulting in one of the lead plaintiffs having
to cancel his debit card and the other is still a subscriber
against his will. The plaintiffs sued under the Unlawful Trade
Practices Act because Oregon's Automatic Renewal Law and Free Offer
Law do not have a private right of action.

Through the complaint, the defendants argued the complaint relies
on disclosure requirements found nowhere in Oregon's Automatic
Renewal Law and Free Offer Law and thus resorts to invented
requirements and conclusory allegations. Further, YouTube states
that it has complied with both laws requirements and that the
plaintiffs have therefore failed to state a claim. Accordingly, the
defendants filed the present motion to dismiss the plaintiffs'

The defendants are represented by Angeli Law Group LLC and Wilson
Sonsini, and the plaintiffs are represented by Bursor & Fisher,
P.A. [GN]

HERR FOODS: Faces Class Action Over Mislabeled Cheese Curls
Corrado Rizzi, writing for ClassAction.org, reports that a proposed
class action claims the label of Herr's jalapeno poppers-flavored
cheese curls is deceptive and misleading since it fails to note
that the snack's taste comes in part from artificial flavoring.

The 15-page suit states that federal and identical food labeling
regulations require defendant Herr Foods Incorporated to disclose
the source of the cheese curls' characterizing jalapeno and cheese
taste on the product's front label. Since the snack is shown on the
product label with pictures of jalapeno and cheese, consumers
expect the taste to come from these identified ingredients and/or
natural flavors derived from these ingredients, the case says.

The filing relays that although the ingredients list reveals the
cheese curls contain cheese and jalapeno ingredients, including
"cheese blend" and "green bell pepper powder," the "seasoning"
ingredient contains artificial flavors. These artificial flavors,
the case says, "simulate, resemble and/or reinforce" the
characterizing jalapeno and cheese flavors, meaning the snack's
front label should state something like "artificial jalapeno and
cheese" or "artificially flavored jalapeno and cheese."

The Herr's label is additionally misleading, the lawsuit goes on,
in that it includes images of two curls showing "intact halves of
jalapeno inside the outer shell from which cheese is dripping." In
light of this, consumers "will reasonably expect the Product to
contain jalapenos filled with cheese inside an outer fried snack
shell," the complaint argues.

According to the lawsuit, the Herr's snack does not contain intact
jalapenos or any other peppers filled with cheese inside a fried
shell, as the pepper ingredients are only part of the "seasoning"
stated in the ingredients list.

"Since these ingredients are listed as part of the 'Seasoning,'
this means they are not present in their whole or intact form
inside the fried shells as seasoning is used to denote a food's
flavoring and taste," the suit reads.

Overall, Herr's was able to sell more of the product, and at higher
prices, than it would have "in the absence of this misconduct," the
case alleges. The plaintiff claims to have read and relied on the
product's label and the representations thereon when buying the
snack, believing that the jalapeno poppers' taste came from the
displayed ingredients and/or natural flavorings from the

"Plaintiff did not expect the jalapeno and/or cheese taste was from
artificial jalapeno and/or cheese flavoring because, in her
experience, this is the type of information typically disclosed to
consumers on the label," the filing reads.

The lawsuit looks to cover consumers in Illinois, Alabama, New
Jersey, Montana, Alaska, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Mississippi,
Utah, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia who bought
Herr's jalapeno poppers-flavored cheese curls within the applicable
statute of limitations period. [GN]

HIRAM WALKER: Faces Class Action Suit Over Ethanol Emissions
diamondlaw.ca reports that this action arises out of issues caused
by the ethanol emissions from the Hiram Walker facility located in
Lakeshore as a result of the activities carried out there.

Residents in the area surrounding the Hiram Walker facility in
Lakeshore have complained that a black, mold-like substance, has
been accumulating in, on, and around their homes, properties, and
possessions, resulting in a dirty and unsightly appearance,
resulting in cleaning costs to these residents to clean and remove
the accumulated substance.

This black, mold-like substance is believed to be Baudoinia
compniacensis, which is fungus that consumes ethanol as a food
source, whose growth is accelerated by ethanol vapours, and is
commonly known as the "whiskey fungus".

                Updates Related to Class Action

We are in the process of completing our certification materials,
which are due to be delivered to opposing counsel by September 30,
2022. We will be attending a case conference before the Honourable
Justice Akbarali on October 14, 2022 for further direction. [GN]

HYUNDAI MOTOR: Settles Engine Failures & Fires Class Action
Lurah Lowery, writing for Repairer Drive News, reports that Hyundai
and Kia have settled a class action lawsuit involving defects that
caused, or could cause, engine failures and fires in several model
year Santa Fe, Soul, Sportage, Sonata Hybrid, Sorento, Optima,
Tucson, Elantra, Veloster, and Forte models.

The settlement resolves defects with Theta II multi-port fuel
injection (MPI) engines, Nu gasoline direct injection (GDI)
engines, and Gamma GDI engines described in the combined lawsuit
and all vehicles that have the defect, which adds up to 1.05
million. The defect, as described in the suit, is caused by "an
improper manufacturing and machining process" that causes the
failure of the rotating assembly, which makes "the connecting rod
bearings in the engines undergo prolonged failure as the crankshaft
rotates within the connecting rod bearings and metal debris
circulates throughout the engine via the engine oil."

Eventually, the rod bearings begin to fracture and the oil filters
get clogged with so much debris that they can no longer filter out
contaminants and maintain proper oil pressure leading to engine

The combined complaint lists a nationwide class -- any owners of
the models involved in the lawsuit -- and 15 state classes.
Twenty-four class representatives are named, 16 of which "have
already experienced catastrophic engine failure and/or fire because
of the Engine Failure Defect, costing them thousands of dollars in
repairs and/or loss of use of the vehicle for extended periods of
time," according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges violations of state consumer, unfair
competition, advertising, warranty, trade practices, fraud, fair
business practices, and good faith and fair dealing; most of which
are federal violations as well.

"The catastrophic engine failure and fire risk is the direct result
of a defect known to, concealed by, and still unremedied by Hyundai
and Kia," the suit states. "Not only did Hyundai and Kia actively
conceal the Engine Failure Defect from consumers, but they also
concealed its consequences, including the serious safety hazards
and monetary harm caused by the Engine Failure Defect.

"Hyundai and Kia knew or should have known about the Engine Failure
Defect as evidenced by: (1) consumer complaints lodged with the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") and
elsewhere online; (2) warranty claims, part sales, and consumer
complaints lodged with Hyundai and Kia directly; (3) technical
service bulletins and safety recalls issued by Hyundai and Kia in
an attempt to address the Engine Failure Defect; and (4) Hyundai
and Kia's own pre-sale durability testing of the Class Vehicles."

The suit also states the plaintiffs weren't informed of the engine
defect and "refuse to fix the Engine Failure Defect at no cost in
unrecalled vehicles, even within the warranty period."

In a news release about the settlement that was reached, Hyundai
and Kia don't describe the defect but state that class owners will
receive "various cash compensation options, extended warranties,
free inspection and repair of the covered engines for certain
qualifying repairs, and installation of a software update Hyundai
and Kia introduced to enhance safety and detection of potential
engine failure."

Terms of the settlement include:

"Cash reimbursement for certain past repairs and related expenses,
such as towing, rental cars, and other transportation costs;

"Cash compensation for certain past trade-ins and sales in lieu of
certain repairs;

"Cash reimbursement for certain incidentals, such as towing,
transportation, and, in some cases lodging and meals, for
qualifying vehicle break-downs, depending on distance from

"Free inspection and repair or replacement of damaged engines that
are still within the duration of their 15-year or 150,000-mile
extended warranty for certain qualifying engine repairs;

"Free installation of the Knock Sensor Detection System (KSDS)
software update;

"Various goodwill compensation for customers inconvenienced by
previous lengthy engine repair times, denied warranty coverage,
vehicle loss due to qualifying fire, and trade-ins and sales due
to loss of faith, among other provisions."

The OEMs say that each vehicle is part of a "product improvement
campaign" to install a knock sensor detection system.

"The knock sensor detection system software continuously monitors
engine vibrations for unusual dynamic patterns that develop as an
engine connecting rod bearing wears abnormally in a way that could
later cause engine seizure. If vibrations caused by bearing wear
start to occur, the malfunction indicator lamp will blink
continuously and the vehicle will be placed in a temporary engine
protection mode with reduced power and acceleration. In this
temporary mode, drivers maintain full control of the vehicle as
brakes, steering and safety devices such as airbags remain

The detection system will be installed at no cost in all vehicles
involved in the settlement with Hyundai and Kia dealers.

The OEMs say the vehicles can continue to be driven for limited
time in engine protection mode but acceleration will be slower and
the maximum engine speed will top out at 1,800 to 2,000 RPM. [GN]

ILLINOIS: Bids to Alter Order Dismissing Yeager v. OSAD Denied
In the case, JERRY L. YEAGER, JR., individually and on behalf of
others similarly situated, Plaintiff v. OFFICE OF THE STATE
their official capacities as COMMISSIONERS OF THE BOARD OF THE
STATE APPELLATE DEFENDER, Defendants, Case No. 21-cv-245-SMY (S.D.
Ill.), Judge Staci M. Yandle of the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of Illinois denies the Plaintiff's motions to
alter the judgment granting the Defendants' motion to dismiss.

Mr. Yeager filed the putative class action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
Section 1983 against the Office of the State Appellate Defender
("OSAD") and the Commissioners of the Board of the State Appellate
Defender in their official capacities, claiming the delay in filing
an opening brief in his criminal appeal violated his right to a
swift appeal under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments and the
Illinois Constitution. The Court granted the Defendants' motion to
dismiss, finding that Yeager's claims were moot. Now pending before
the Court is Yeager's motions to alter judgment.

Judge Yandle explains that under Rule 59(e), the Court may alter or
amend its judgment if the movant "clearly establishes (1) that the
court committed a manifest error of law or fact, or (2) that newly
discovered evidence precluded entry of judgment." The rule "enables
the court to correct its own errors and thus avoid unnecessary
appellate procedures." A proper motion to reconsider does more than
take umbrage and restate the arguments that were previously made
and rejected.

Mr. Yeager's Complaint alleged that his constitutional rights were
being violated due to the public defender's failure to file his
appellate brief --a claim that he concedes is moot. Yeager now
moves for reconsideration and argues that his case is not moot
because (1) his Complaint also requested that his reply brief be
filed within 30 days; (2) the "capable of repetition yet evading
review" exception applies because Yeager is likely to commit
another crime; and (3) the Court erred by dismissing his purported
class action.

Judge Yandle finds taht Article III of the Constitution limits the
jurisdiction of federal courts to hearing live "cases" or
"controversies." Yeager's Complaint was devoid of any facts
suggesting that reply briefs are affected by the backlog of cases
on appeal -- he alleged the backlog affects the start of a case,
not the process thereafter. Because Yeager's appellate brief was
filed, his claim is moot.

As for Yeager's assertion that he may commit another crime in the
future, Judge Yandle notes that there must be a "demonstrated
probability" that the same controversy will recur involving the
same complaining party. Yeager's speculative assertions of future
criminal activity do not meet this standard.

Finally, citing Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 577 U.S. 153, 162
(2016), Yeager maintains that he was not required to file a
placeholder class certification motion to avoid mootness. In
Campbell, the Supreme Court held that an unaccepted offer of
judgment did not moot a plaintiff's Complaint in a putative class
action. But, Judge Yandle finds that Yeager's reliance on Campbell
is misplaced. There was no unaccepted offer of judgment or an
attempt to offer Yeager full compensation. Rather, Yeager's claim
that his rights were being violated due to the public defender's
failure to file his appellate brief was moot because work had begun
on his criminal appeal. There was no certified class and Yeager
lacked standing to pursue a claim on behalf of a class.

For the foregoing reasons, Judge Yandle denies Yeager's motions to
alter judgment. She terminates as moot all pending motions.

A full-text copy of the Court's Sept. 27, 2022 Memorandum & Order
is available at https://tinyurl.com/bdewsz23 from Leagle.com.

ILUM SOLAR: Misclassifies Employees as Independent Contractors
The Los Angeles employment law attorneys, at Zakay Law Group, APLC
and JCL Law Firm, APC, filed a class action complaint against Ilum
Solar and Stenderup5 Corp. (collectively, "Ilum Solar and
Stenderup5") alleging misclassification of its employees as
independent contractors. The Ilum Solar and Stenderup5 class action
lawsuit, Case No. BCV-22-101852, is currently pending in the Kern
County Superior Court of the State of California.

The lawsuit is brought on behalf of all individuals who worked for
Ilum Solar and Stenderup5 in California as independent contractors
from July 26, 2018 to the present. The lawsuit alleges that Ilum
Solar and Stenderup5 violated the California Labor Code protections
applicable to California employees because Ilum Solar and
Stenderup5 allegedly misclassified its California employees as
independent contractors. In order to provide services to their
customers, Ilum Solar and Stenderup5 allegedly hire California
workers to aid Ilum Solar and Stenderup5 in providing services in
the alleged usual course of Ilum Solar's and Stenderup5's
full-service solar energy business to their clients. Ilum Solar and
Stenderup5 allegedly controlled and directed the work performed by
allegedly misclassified California workers by, among other things,
scheduling hours of work, providing job site information, and
issuing written policies and procedures for the performance of work
and conduct in the workplace.

According to the lawsuit, Ilum Solar and Stenderup5 allegedly
engaged in unfair competition in violation of California Labor Code
Sections §§ 201, 202, 203, 204, 210, 221, 226.7, 226.8, 510, 512,
1194, 1197, 1197.1, 1198 & 2802 by failing to: (1) pay minimum and
overtime wages; (2) provide meal and rest periods; (3) provide
accurate itemized wage statements; (4) reimburse employees for
required expenses; and (5) provide wages when due.

If you would like to know more about the Ilum Solar and Stenderup5
lawsuit, please contact Attorney Jackland Hom today by calling
(619) 255-9047.

Zakay Law Group, APLC and JCL Law Firm, APC are employment and
labor law firms with offices located in California that dedicate
their practices to helping employees and consumers fight back
against employers and corporations for unfair employment practices.
If you need help with collecting unpaid wages, wrongful
termination, discrimination, harassment, and other unlawful
workplace conduct, contact one of their attorneys today. [GN]

INTELSAT SA: Class Action Over Insider Trading Could Continue
advanced-television.com reports that on September 28, we reported
that a California judge cleared Intelsat's pre-bankruptcy major
shareholders of a Class Action insider trading allegations. Our
report was accurate, but Judge Jeffrey White, from the US District
Court for the Northern District of California, left a potential
sting in the tail of his ruling.

The judge said that while the Action failed to describe the level
of intention needed for an inside trading claim, the would-be
Action plaintiffs may re-plead their claims and allegations. The
court noted, among other things, that the confidential witnesses do
not point to any communications between CEO Steve Spengler and the
Board on November 5th. The court concluded that plaintiffs failed
to sufficiently allege that the defendants possessed material
non-public information and that they acted with scienter (intent or
knowledge of wrong doing).

The action started in late 2019 with allegations over violations of
the federal securities laws. The lawsuit alleges that the named
defendants violated the Exchange Act by selling Intelsat shares
while they were in possession of material non-public information,
including that Intelsat SA had met with the FCC on November 5th,
2019, to discuss the private sale of certain frequencies controlled
by Intelsat SA for future '5G' use (the 'C-Band').

The named defendants in the action include investors in Intelsat BC
Partners and Silverlake Group LLC with Dave McGlade, Intelsat's
chairman at the time, and others including senior partners in BC
and assorted subsidiary investment entities.

It was alleged that on November 18th, 2019, after the FCC announced
that it would publicly auction the C-Band that Intelsat SA had been
wanting to sell privately, Intelsat SA's share price crashed 40 per
cent to close at $8.03 per share and ultimately led to Intelsat's
Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The Action was brought by lead plaintiff Walleye Opportunities
Master Fund. They must decide now whether to re-start their action.
The lead plaintiff had bought shares in Intelsat on each day from
November 5th, 2019, to November 18th, 2019.

BC Partners in 2018 held 41.1 per cent of Intelsat's shares (56
million) and has two directors on Intelsat's board. Silver Lake
owned 9.8 million. Dave McGlade held 4.5 million shares.

The plaintiffs alleged that immediately after the November 5th
meeting, McGlade, BC Partners, and Silver Lake sold $246 million in
stock (some 14 per cent of Intelsat's stock) through a private
block sale conducted by Morgan Stanley.

Judge White ruled that the lead plaintiff can amend its action and
if that is decided then there will be a case management conference
on January 6th, 2023, and that the parties must pre-file a
statement by December 30th, 2022. [GN]

L'OREAL USA: Dismissal Bid in Collagen False Ads' Class Suit Denied
Anne Stych, writing for Bizwomen, reports that a U.S. District
Judge has denied a request by L'Oreal USA Inc. to dismiss a
class-action suit alleging that the cosmetics manufacturer made
false claims about the anti-aging benefits of collagen in some of
its products.

The lawsuit, brought by plaintiffs Rocio Lopez in August and Rachel
Lumbra in August 2021, accuses L'Oreal of "widespread false and
deceptive advertising" for packaging stating that its Collagen
Moisture Filler Day/Night Cream and Fragrance-Free Collagen
Moisture Filler Daily Moisturizer "restore [the] skin's cushion and
smooth wrinkles" although collagen molecules applied topically are
too large to penetrate the skin.

The suit says although the products "purport to replace the body's
natural loss of collagen" topical collagen products are "incapable
of producing these desired effects." It alleges that L'Oreal's
"misrepresentations and/or omissions violate consumers' reasonable
expectations" and New York and California's consumer protection

"The defendant as a worldwide leader in beauty and skin care
products knew (or, at the very least, should have known) that the
products' express representations were false, deceptive, and
misleading," the suit says.

L'Oreal argued for dismissal, saying that said most reasonable
consumers reading the packaging would understand that a topical
collagen product would not replace collagen in the body or
stimulate collagen production, Fashion Network reported.

But U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter deemed the plaintiffs' claim
reasonable and said on Sept. 27 that the case could proceed.

"It is wholly plausible that a reasonable consumer, shopping for
cosmetics, saw a product named 'Collagen Moisture Filler,'
promising to 'smooth wrinkles' and 'restore skin's cushion,' and
associated this product with the cosmetic benefits of the collagen
molecule," he wrote.

The lawsuit says that one of the plaintiffs, Rachel Lumbra of
Schenectady, New York, purchased L'Oreal Paris Collagen Moisture
Filler Day/Night Cream in April of 2021 after wording on the
product's labeling and packaging influenced her to choose the
L'Oreal product over other comparable products, and that she paid
"a substantial price premium" for the product but did not receive
the associated value due to "the false and misleading collagen

"Plaintiff Lumbra did not receive the benefit of her bargain
because her L'Oreal products did not, in fact, provide any
anti-aging or skin-firming benefits," the suit claims.

The suit seeks unspecified damages. [GN]

LA CASA DEL MOFONGO: Fails to Properly Pay Wages, Reyes Claims
HECTOR DE JESUS CRUZ REYERS, on behalf of himself and all other
persons similarly situated, Plaintiff v. LA CASA DEL MOFONGO 207
LLC and AVI DISHI, Defendants, Case No. 1:22-cv-07956 (S.D.N.Y.,
September 16, 2022) brings this complaint as a collective action
against the Defendants for their alleged willful violations of the
Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law.

The Plaintiff was employed by the Defendants as a back-of-the-house
kitchen worker from July 2018 to March 2020.

The Plaintiff asserts these claims:

     -- The Defendants failed to compensate him and other similarly
situated restaurant workers for all hours that they worked over 40
hours per week;

     -- The Defendants willfully failed to pay him at least the
minimum wage for all hours he worked each workweek;

     -- The Defendants willfully failed to pay him at the
statutorily required overtime rate of one and one-half times his
regular rates of pay for all hours he worked in excess of 40 in a

     -- The Defendants failed to provide him with proper notice and
acknowledgment of his wage rate upon hire in his primary language
as required by NYLL;

     -- The Defendants failed to provide him with accurate wage
statements for each day periods as required by NYLL;

     -- The Defendants willfully failed keep accurate records of
his hours worked; and

     -- The Defendants failed to post notices in the restaurant
advising employees of their right to be paid overtime under the

On behalf of himself and all other similarly situated restaurant
workers, the Plaintiff seeks to recover unpaid wages and an
additional and equal amount as liquidated damages, pre- and
post-adjustment interest, reasonable attorney's fees and costs, and
other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

La Casa Del Mofongo 207 LLC operates a restaurant at 546 West 207
Street, New York, NY 10034. Avi Dishi is a member of the Corporate
Defendant and was active in the day to day management of the
restaurant, including payment of wages to the Plaintiff and
determining what wages were paid to the Plaintiff. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Peter A. Romero, Esq.
          490 Wheeler Road, Suite 250
          Hauppauge, NY 11788
          Tel: (631) 257-5588

MAGELLAN HEALTH: Agrees to Settle Data Breach Suit for $1.43-Mil.
databreaches.net reports that Magellan Health agreed to pay $1.43
million to resolve data breach claims stemming from a 2019 phishing
attack that exposed data for thousands of patients.

The settlement benefits individuals who received a notification
that their personal identifying information or personal health
information may have been compromised in the 2019 Magellan Health
data breach. This definition includes around 273,000 patients.

The case is Dearing v. Magellan Health Inc. et al., Case No.
CV2020-013648, in the Superior Court of the State of Arizona in and
for the County of Maricopa. The settlement website is
MHDataSettlement.com. [GN]

MANHATTAN LUXURY: Faces Class Action Over Spam Text Messages
Christopher Brown, writing for Bloomberg Law, reports that a
lawsuit alleging Manhattan Luxury Automobiles sent unsolicited text
messages in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act can
proceed as a class action, a federal court ruled.

The lawsuit arose after MLA sent text messages offering maintenance
and inspection services to customers of a sister dealership that
had gone out of businesses.

Judge Lorna G. Schofield of the US District Court for the Southern
District of New York approved two classes for the suit, one
composed of customers of the former dealership who received texts
using the Zipwhip messaging platform. [GN]

MCGRAW HILL: Final Judgment in Amended Flynn Class Suit Entered
and JEAN TWENGE, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiffs v. McGRAW HILL LLC and McGRAW HILL EDUCATION,
INC., Defendants, Civ. Nos. 1:21-cv-0614-LGS, 1:21-cv-1141-LGS
(S.D.N.Y.), Judge Lorna G. Schofield of the U.S. District Court for
the Southern District of New York enters Final Judgment and
dismisses the Action in its entirety.

On Jan. 11, 2022, the Court dismissed the Plaintiffs' breach of
contract claim, set forth in Count 1 of their Amended Consolidated
Class Action Complaint filed March 22, 2021. On Sept. 23, 2022, the
Plaintiffs, with the Defendants' consent, voluntarily dismissed
with prejudice their claim for breach of the implied covenant of
good faith and fair dealing, set forth in Count 2 of their Amended
Consolidated Class Action Complaint. In doing so, they reserved
their right to appeal the Court's Orders set forth in Docket Nos.
83 and 115 insofar as they pertain to their breach of contract

As all claims in the Action have been dismissed, Judge Schofield
directs immediate entry of the Final Judgment by the Clerk of the

A full-text copy of the Court's Sept. 27, 2022 Final Judgment is
available at https://tinyurl.com/y5uesdua from Leagle.com.

MEAD JOHNSON: Reaches Settlement in Mislabeled Formula Products
Ty Armstrong at classaction.org reports that if you bought at least
one of several Enfamil formula products over the past several
years, you may be able to get some money back thanks to a recent
class action settlement.

The now-resolved lawsuit accused Mead Johnson & Company, LLC (the
maker of Enfamil-brand products) of false advertising, claiming
that the company deceptively marketed and labeled certain Enfamil
formulas as being able to make more bottles than they actually

As part of the settlement, Mead Johnson will make "lasting changes"
to the way it labels the Enfamil products named in the lawsuit -
and this is all on top of the maximum of $8.4 million available to
those who file valid claims.

Keep reading for more information on which products are covered,
what benefits the settlement provides and how to file your claim.

Who can file a claim for the Enfamil settlement?
You may be able to get some money back if you live in the United
States and you purchased any of the specified Enfamil products (for
personal use only) between January 1, 2017 and June 23, 2022.

You can find a full list of affected products here.

You may have seen a court-authorized notice detailing the
settlement, but it doesn't include any exclusive information you'll
need to file a claim. All the necessary information is included
over on the settlement website - and you can find that website
right here: www.mjcservingsettlement.com.

How much can I get from the settlement?
The amount you'll be able to claim from the settlement depends on a
couple of things - namely, how many units of the affected products
you bought during the applicable timeframe and whether you have
valid proof of those purchases.

Without proof of purchase, you can get up to $3 per unit, up to a
maximum of $15. If you do have valid proof of your purchase(s), you
can also file a claim for up to $3 per unit, but up to a maximum of

It's worth noting that you can only submit one claim per

How do I file a claim?
You can file your claim over on the official settlement website -
and you can get started by clicking here.

Before you can complete your claim form, you'll be asked for your
class member ID. If you don't have one yet, you can register for
yours with the settlement administrator here.

The deadline for filing a claim is 11:59 p.m. (CT) on October 31,
2022, so be sure to get yours in before then. Otherwise, you won't
receive any money from the settlement.

When will I receive my payment?
While we don't have a specific timeline to reference for when
compensation will be sent out, we can expect that once the claim
deadline (October 31) has passed, it will still take some time to
get all the claims validated.

Barring any other delays (such as appeals), payments should be sent
out relatively shortly after that. You can always reach out to the
settlement administrator and ask about the status of your claim.
You can find their contact information on the settlement site and
down below.

Where can I find more information?
Any questions about the settlement or individual claims should be
directed to the settlement administrator approved by the court,
Kroll Settlement Administration LLC.

You can reach out via the contact form on the settlement site or
the email address or telephone number set up for the settlement:



What was the lawsuit about?
The initial lawsuit claimed that Mead Johnson & Company made false,
misleading and deceptive label representations - namely, that the
covered Enfamil products could make a specified number of bottles
of liquid formula. The plaintiffs in the case argued that the
products couldn't feasibly make the represented number of bottles
when following the package instructions and that they wouldn't have
bought the formula had they known the truth.

Mead Johnson denies these allegations but has agreed to settle the
case to "avoid further litigation and distraction of resources from
its business." [GN]

MEDX STAFFING: Farinas Sues Over Failure to Pay Overtime Wages
Defendant, Case No. 1:22-cv-22969-XXXX (S.D. Fla., September 16,
2022) brings this complaint on behalf of herself and all other
similarly situated individuals against the Defendant for its
alleged intentional and willful violations of the Fair Labor
Standards Act.

The Plaintiff was employed by the Defendant from October 5, 2021
through July 15, 2022 as an hourly-paid Registered Nurse providing
services at Covid-19 testing sites in Miami-Dade.

The Plaintiff asserts that she was compensated by the Defendant
50.00 per hour for all hours worked including hours in excess of 40
hours per week. Although she performed and continued to perform
work for the Defendant an average of 70 hours per week throughout
his employment, the Defendant allegedly deprived her of overtime
compensation at the rate of one and one-half times her regular rate
of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek, the
Plaintiff says.

The Plaintiff seeks for unliquidated damages, liquidated damages,
all reasonable attorney's fees and litigation costs, and other
relief as the Court deems equitable under the circumstances.

MedX Staffing, Inc. provides medical services at Covid-19 testing
locations. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Yelina Angulo, Esq.
          780 NW 42 Ave., Ste. 426
          Miami, FL 33126
          Tel: (305) 468-9564
          E-mail: service@angulodiazlaw.com

NAVY PIER: Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal of Enriquez BIPA Suit
In the case, MARTINA ENRIQUEZ, individually and on behalf of all
similarly situated individuals, Plaintiff-Appellant v. NAVY PIER,
INC., an Illinois corporation, Defendant-Appellee, Case No.
1-21-1414 (Ill. App.), the Appellate Court of Illinois for the
First District, Second Division, affirms the district court's
dismissal of the Plaintiff's complaint under the Biometric
Information Privacy Act.

The appeal arises from the dismissal of a putative class action
complaint filed by Enriquez against her employer, the
Defendant-Appellee Navy Pier, Inc. (NPI). Enriquez alleged that NPI
violated various sections of the Biometric Information Privacy Act
(740 ILCS 14/1 et seq. (West 2020)) in regard to the collection and
dissemination of her fingerprint. The circuit court granted NPI's
motion to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that NPI was exempt
from the Act as government contractor. The Plaintiff now appeals.

NPI is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation that operates
exclusively for civic and charitable purposes, including (a)
supporting, sustaining, investing its funds in and for, and
lessening the burdens of government related to the operation of
Navy Pier, so as to facilitate the ongoing recreational,
educational, cultural and other development of Navy Pier for the
benefit of the general public, and all activities incidental or
related thereto; (b) maintaining, repairing, operating, designing,
financing, subleasing, licensing, developing, redeveloping, and/or
demolishing the grounds, buildings, facilities, and/or improvements
of, and located on, Navy Pier and Polk Bros Park (f/k/a Gateway
Park); and (c) supporting and benefiting the Metropolitan Pier and
Exposition Authority (the MPEA) through the development and
operation of Nay Pier.

The crux of the appeal is NPI's relationship with the MPEA, which
is the governmental entity that owns Navy Pier. The MPEA was
created in 1989 as a "political subdivision, unit of local
government ***, body politic and municipal corporation" through the
passage of the MPEA Act. That statute requires the MPEA "to carry
out or otherwise provide for the recreational, cultural,
commercial, or residential development of Navy Pier and to
construct, equip, and maintain grounds, buildings, and facilities
for those purposes."

Upon NPI's creation in 2011, the MPEA transferred operational
responsibility for Navy Pier to NPI via a written "Lease
Agreement." Under the Agreement, NPI pays the MPEA "annual rent in
the amount of one dollar" in exchange for the "exclusive authority
to operate and manage" Navy Pier in accordance with a comprehensive
"Framework Plan" developed by NPI and the MPEA. The Agreement
further provides that NPI "shall perform all duties and obligations
with relation to Navy Pier, including the development and operation
thereof" at its own expense. To fulfill its obligations, the
Agreement empowers NPI to, among other things, "hire and employ
such personnel as shall, in its judgment, be required to operate,
manage, and maintain Navy Pier in accordance with the provisions of
this Agreement and the Framework Plan, and, in connection
therewith, NPI will have sole authority and responsibility to
determine the personnel policies and practices of Navy Pier."

During the times relevant to this appeal, Enriquez was an employee
of NPI who was required to clock in and out of shifts via a
biometric time clock that scanned her fingerprint. On Dec. 17,
2020, she filed a complaint on behalf of herself and others
similarly situated, alleging that NPI violated the Act by
collecting and disseminating its employees' fingerprints without
first obtaining their informed consent. She also claimed that NPI
violated the Act by failing to publish "any written policy as to
its biometric retention schedule" or "any guidelines for
permanently destroying the collected biometrics."

NPI filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that (1) it
was exempt from the Act under section 25(e) as a government
contractor and (2) the complaint was untimely under the relevant
statute of limitations. In response, Enriquez contended that NPI
was a lessee of the MPEA, rather than a contractor, and therefore
not exempt under section 25(e). Enriquez also asserted that her
claims were timely because a new claim accrued each time her
fingerprint was scanned without her informed consent.

On Oct. 4, 2021, the circuit court issued a written order granting
NPI's motion to dismiss. It determined that NPI was a contractor
because it was contractually obligated to "do work" for the MPEA in
the form of operating, maintaining, and developing Navy Pier. As
the MPEA is unquestionably a unit of government, the court
therefore ruled that NPI was exempt from the Act as government

The appeal followed. The primary issue on appeal is whether NPI is
exempt from the Act under section 25(e), which, as previously
stated, provides that the Act does not apply to "a contractor,
subcontractor, or agent of a State agency or local unit of
government when working for that State agency or local unit of
government." Thus, an entity is exempt under section 25(e) if it is
(1) a contractor (2) of a unit of government and (3) was working
for that unit of government at the time it collected or
disseminated biometric information. To that end, there is no
dispute that NPI had a contract with the MPEA or that the MPEA is a
unit government. The parties disagree, however, about whether NPI
was a "contractor" that was "working for" the MPEA when it
collected and disseminated Enriquez's fingerprint.

The Appellate Court first addresses whether NPI was a "contractor"
of the MPEA within the meaning of section 25(e). Enriquez contends
that NPI does not satisfy this definition and is instead a lessee
of the MPEA, rather than a contractor. She observes that the
Agreement itself is styled as a modified net lease and refers to
NPI as a "lessee." She also notes that the MPEA does not pay NPI,
and in fact it is NPI who pays the MPEA "rent" in exchange for,
among other things, the right to exclude others from the areas of
the premises it designates as private.

Even setting aside the fact that Enriquez has cited no authority
establishing that an entity cannot be both a lessee and a
contractor under the Act, the Appellate Court holds that her
arguments elevate form over substance. Contrary to Enriquez's
characterization, NPI's obligations in this regard are not merely
incidental to its possessory interest in the premises and go far
beyond the basic maintenance obligations found in a typical lease.
Because NPI performs these core governmental services for the MPEA
pursuant to a contract, it is a government contractor within the
ordinary meaning of that term.

Similarly, the Appellate Court rejects Enriquez's argument that NPI
was not "working" for the MPEA when it collected her biometric
information. Essentially, her position is based on her assertions
that "NPI does not report to the MPEA, does not perform tasks for
the MPEA and does not draw wages or a salary from the MPEA." For
the reasons previously explained, NPI does in fact perform services
for the MPEA.

Moreover, while the Appellate Court is mindful that NPI does not
directly receive payment from the MPEA (and rather pays a nominal
rent of $1 per year), it does not see how this overrides the fact
that NPI performs governmental services on behalf of the MPEA
pursuant to a contract. Enriquez's position is also undermined
because, although NPI does not "report to" the MPEA, the MPEA
retains a level of oversight beyond the typical landlord-tenant

Finally, while not specifically contested by Enriquez, the
Appellate Court notes that NPI's actions that form the basis for
the complaint were within the scope of its work for the MPEA.
Enriquez's claims all stem from her employment with NPI, which
employed her as part of its obligation to operate and manage Navy
Pier. NPI's authority to hire personnel and set employee policies
arose from its contract with the MPEA. Thus, the Appellate Court
concludes that Enriquez's allegations against NPI concern actions
of a government contractor performed while the contractor was
working for the government. As such, NPI was exempted from the
purview of the Act, and the circuit court did not err in dismissing
the complaint.

For the reasons stated, the Appellate Court affirms the judgment of
the circuit court.

A full-text copy of the Court's Sept. 27, 2022 Order is available
at https://tinyurl.com/5x92a3wh from Leagle.com.

ORIENTAL-DECOR.COM: Loadholt Files ADA Suit in S.D. New York
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Oriental-Decor.com
Inc. The case is styled as Christopher Loadholt, on behalf of
himself and all others similarly situated v. Oriental-Decor.com
Inc., Case No. 1:22-cv-08205 (S.D.N.Y., Sept. 26, 2022).

The lawsuit is brought over alleged violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act.

Oriental-Decor.com Inc. -- https://oriental-decor.com/ -- offers
oriental wall fans, Asian decor, Chinese umbrellas, market patio
umbrellas, kimono robes & bonsai trees .[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Yitzchak Zelman, Esq.
          701 Cookman Avenue, Suite 300
          Asbury Park, NJ 07712
          Phone: (845) 367-7146
          Fax: (732) 298-6256
          Email: yzelman@marcuszelman.com

PALANTIR TECHNOLOGIES: Cupat Sues Over 21.31% Drop of Stock Price
MINCHIE GALOT CUPAT, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, Plaintiff v. PALANTIR TECHNOLOGIES INC.,
No. 1:22-cv-02384-CNS (D. Colo., September 15, 2022) is a class
action against the Defendants for violation of Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

According to the complaint, the Defendants made materially false
and misleading statements regarding Palantir's business,
operations, and prospects with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) to trade Palantir securities at artificially
inflated prices between November 9, 2021 and May 6, 2022.
Specifically, the Defendants failed to disclose that: (i)
Palantir's investments in marketable securities were having a
significant negative impact on the company's earnings per share
(EPS) results; (ii) Palantir overstated the sustainability of its
government segment's growth and revenues; (iii) Palantir was
experiencing a significant slowdown in revenue growth, particularly
among its government customers, despite ongoing global conflicts
and market disruptions; (iv) as a result of all the foregoing, the
company was likely to miss consensus estimates for its first
quarter 2022 (Q1) EPS and second quarter 2022 (Q2) sales outlook;
and (v) as a result, the company's public statements were
materially false and misleading at all relevant times, says the

When the truth emerged, Palantir's stock price fell $2.02 per
share, or 21.31 percent, to close at $7.46 per share on May 9,

Palantir Technologies Inc. is a software development company, with
principal executive offices located at 1555 Blake Street, Suite
250, Denver, Colorado. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:                
         Jeremy A. Lieberman, Esq.
         J. Alexander Hood II, Esq.
         600 Third Avenue, 20th Floor
         New York, NY 10016
         Telephone: (212) 661-1100
         Facsimile: (212) 661-8665
         E-mail: jalieberman@pomlaw.com

PEOPLES BANK: Faces Lawsuit Over Alleged Overdraft Fee Practices
Erin Shaak at classaction.org reports that a proposed class action
alleges Peoples Bank has routinely assessed improper overdraft fees
on certain transactions that do not actually overdraw a customer's

Central to the 17-page case are what the complaint refers to as
"Authorize Positive, Purportedly Settle Negative" (APPSN)
transactions. According to the suit, an APPSN transaction occurs
when a customer's debit card purchase is initially approved by
Peoples Bank, but their account later settles into a negative
account balance because an intervening transaction depleted the
funds therein.

The lawsuit argues that there are always sufficient funds in a
customer's account to cover an APPSN transaction because Peoples
Bank initially sets those funds aside and makes them unavailable
for use by the accountholder. According to the case, there is no
justification for charging fees on APPSN transactions "other than
to maximize Peoples Bank's OD Fee revenue."

"For APPSN Transactions, which are immediately deducted from a
positive account balance and should be held aside for payment of
that same transaction, there are always funds to cover those
transactions—yet Peoples Bank assesses OD Fees on them anyway."

The breach-of-contract case relays that Peoples Bank's account
documents state in "plain, clear, and simple language" that the
bank will only charge overdraft fees on transactions for which an
account has insufficient funds.

In reality, the suit contends, it is the bank's practice to "deduct
the same debit card transaction twice" to determine whether it
overdraws a customer's account—once when the transaction is
authorized and again at the time of settlement. Because the funds
for an APPSN transaction are set aside for settlement, i.e., when
the bank pays the merchant, they should always be available for
that purpose, the case says.

According to the lawsuit, Peoples Bank uses a "secret batch posting
process" during which the hold placed on funds for authorized debit
card transactions is released "for a split second" and the funds
are then re-debited a second time, potentially triggering an
overdraft fee.

"This secret step allows Peoples Bank to charge OD Fees on
transactions that never should have caused an
overdraft—transactions that were authorized into sufficient
funds, and for which Peoples Bank specifically set aside money to
pay them," the complaint reads. "This discrepancy between Peoples
Bank's actual practices and the contract causes accountholders to
incur more OD Fees than they should."

All told, the lawsuit claims there is "a huge gap" between Peoples
Bank's overdraft practices as outlined in its account documents and
the bank's actual practices.

The suit looks to represent all United States citizens who were
charged overdraft fees on transactions that were authorized into a
positive available balance during the applicable statute of

Get class action lawsuit news sent to your inbox – sign up for
ClassAction.org's free weekly newsletter here. [GN]

PETSMART GROOMING: Training Program Triggers Class-Action Lawsuit
Sarah Fister Gale at talentmgt.com reports that if you have ever
tried to help a young person find a first job that could lead to a
career, you may have stumbled across a posting from PetSmart, the
national pet products retailer, that offers free training as a pet
groomer - no experience required.

The job promises new hires access to the PetSmart Grooming Academy
where they will participate in "an exclusive and knowledge-filled
four-week, 160-hour-long program" that includes classroom training,
hand-on grooming experience under the guidance of a senior groomer
and a tool kit "worth over $600" upon graduation.

Free training that comes at a price

It's a compelling offer. Free training is seen as value-add for new
hires, especially if it helps inexperienced workers develop an
in-demand skill. But PetSmart's promised training comes with a

New groomers are expected to pay back the full price of the
training - up to $5,600 including the groomers kit - if they don't
stay with the company for two full years, even if they are fired or
laid off. The debt is reduced to about $2,750 after one full year
on the job.

PetSmart also requires all of its groomers to sign a Training
Repayment Agreement Provision as part of its new hire paperwork,
which includes language saying the training "is voluntary, for my
personal benefit, and is transferable to grooming positions with
other employers."

Illegal scheme

In July 2022, BreAnn Scally, a former PetSmart pet groomer, filed a
groundbreaking class-action lawsuit in California against the
retailer alleging it engaged in an illegal scheme to trap trainees
in low-wage jobs by levying thousands of dollars in "abusive and
unenforceable debts" against them.

The lawsuit also claims that the pet groomer training has failed to
deliver "exclusive instruction from a dedicated teacher in a
classroom setting as well as a supervised, hands-on grooming
experience," which is part of the promised training agreement.
Instead, novice groomers are rapidly put in situations where they
are expected to groom dogs for paying customers with little
oversight or guidance.

Scally's lawyers argue that the supervision provided is minimal,
often by senior groomers or store managers who are overseeing their
own customers and full-time workload. Scally reports that she
learned most of her skills by going through the training materials
on her own and observing other groomers, and that it wasn't worth
the cost: "That $5,000 far exceeds any reasonable value of the
Grooming Academy and is well beyond what PetSmart groomers, who
make barely above minimum wage, are able to afford," the lawsuit

Once groomers complete the training, they are expected to complete
200 "supervised grooms" at their hourly pay rate with no
commission, followed by six more months of work before they can
start collecting a commission. This means it could be more than a
year before they are earning above minimum wage. If they leave
before the two years are complete, the company threatens to send
debt collectors after them to pay for the training and the groomers

Worthless certification

"The crux of the issue is that for PetSmart workers to become
groomers, they are required to complete the Grooming Academy," says
Rachel Dempsey, an attorney with Towards Justice, the nonprofit
workers' rights law firm representing Scally in collaboration with
Jubilee Legal and with support from the Student Borrower Protection

They argue that the practice of using TRAPs is illegal either under
California Employment Law or under California Consumer Law.

California Employment law prohibits employers from holding
employees accountable for the cost of doing business. "To the
extent that the training they receive is necessary to do their job
and primarily benefits PetSmart, rather than the employees, then
it's unlawful under California Employment Law," Dempsey explains.

This includes requiring them to pay for the groomers kit, which is
a necessary part of the job. PetSmart does not provide groomers
with the tools needed to groom client's pets.

Conversely, if PetSmart tries to present the training as a valuable
and transferable product, e.g., a certification that would apply in
any pet grooming environment, then it falls under the category of a
consumer product. This might apply if a company pays for an
employee to complete a master's degree at an accredited university,
or an in-demand software certification that includes testing by a
verified third-party vendor. However, the grooming world doesn't
require licensing in California, nor does it recognize the PetSmart
Academy or groomers certification.

PetSmart isn't registered as a provider of education in California,
so in this context they would be operating as an unlicensed school,
saddling groomers with debt under unfair and abusive circumstances.
"They are basically treating employees as consumers and holding
their debt, which doesn't comply with requirements for holding or
trying to collect on a debt," Dempsey says.

The lawsuit argues that, either way, TRAP strips PetSmart workers
of bargaining power that they could use to seek out employment
opportunities in which they would be paid more or treated better.

The potential impact to PetSmart will be determined by the number
of participants who join the class-action lawsuit and the damages
assigned if they lose. Damages could include reimbursing any
repayments they collected via the TRAP in California, along with
damages and back wages tied to the impact these practices had on
employee earning potential and negotiating power. It could also
trigger similar suits in other states, and potentially a federal
claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Dempsey says.

Who benefits?

While such predatory contract terms have existed for decades, TRAPs
are becoming more common as companies look for new ways to
undermine worker bargaining power. "Employers are using TRAPs as a
way to get around prohibitions on non-competes," Dempsey says. "The
goal of these restrictive covenants is to lower employee mobility,
making employees less able to negotiate for higher wages and better
working conditions. It keeps them at jobs they would otherwise
leave if they didn't have massive economic consequences."

Companies using these repayment provisions need to be careful about
the cost they assign to that training, whether it adds value for
the employee, and whether it is required to do the work. "When
employers start charging for training that they would like the
employee to have, but is not legally required, that's a concern,"
she says. "It is an important distinction for HR teams to recognize
when they are developing these policies."

Even if it is legal, companies need to consider the message it
sends to employees about company culture. "Employees want to work
in a place that provides them with good working conditions and
benefits," she says. "And free training is a good benefit."

Rather than trying to lower costs by charging employees to provide
that training, a better approach might be to treat them well so
they won't leave. "The best way to save money on employee training
is to reduce turnover," Dempsey concludes. "If you don't have to
constantly train new employees, your costs will go down."

This article was originally published by Chief Learning Officer,
Talent Management's sister publication. [GN]

POLARIS INC: Won Two Appeals in Consumer Class Action Lawsuits
The trial law firm Carpenter & Zuckerman (CZ Law) recently won two
appeals in a class action lawsuit against Polaris, Inc. with major
implications on the future of California consumer protection cases
in federal courts.

On September 29, 2022, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in
Pasadena overruled a district court's decisions in a class action
lawsuit where plaintiffs claimed Polaris Inc., a motorsport
manufacturing company, misrepresented the safety of the roll cages
on the majority of their RZR and Ranger vehicles.

Plaintiffs Jeremy Albright and Paul Guzman, represented by CZ Law
trial lawyer and class action attorney John Kristensen, contend
Polaris falsely represented the strength of the roll cages of their
vehicle. An old loophole permits manufactures to "adopt" voluntary
guidelines from manufacturer controlled interest groups. Instead of
adopting the updated roof strength tests for automobiles requiring
vehicle roofs to withstand three times their gross vehicle weight,
Polaris claimed to adopt a 1972 standard for farm tractors. Then
Polaris didn't comply with its higher strength requirement based on
horsepower.  Yet, they sold the public that their roofs were up to
the OSHA standards.

"Polaris sold UTVS to the public claiming the roll cages complied
with an OSHA standard when they did not," said Kristensen. "They
are substantially weaker. It's like telling customers the vehicle
has a five-star safety rating when it's really two-stars."

The Ninth Circuit Court also ruled that the claim from one of the
cases under California's Unfair Competition Law, which prohibits
false advertising, could proceed in state court. This ruling now
sets a precedent allowing future cases based on California consumer
protections to proceed in federal courts.

Albright and Guzman first filed the lawsuit in August 2019 in the
United States District Court for the Central District of California
seeking to represent a class of California residents who purchased
Polaris UTVs with labels stating that their roll cages met OSHA

The plaintiffs will be seeking $200 million to $300 million in
damages against Polaris at the trials.

                   About Carpenter & Zuckerman

The California law firm of Carpenter & Zuckerman is dedicated to
fighting for the rights of the injured. CZ Law is dedicated to
helping clients recover the compensation they deserve for their
injuries. For more information or to schedule a free consultation,
visit www.cz.law today. [GN]

REYNOLDS NATIONWIDE: Misclassifies Dispatchers, Daniels Claims
MICHELLE DANIELS, on behalf of herself and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, Plaintiff v. REYNOLDS NATIONWIDE, INC.,
Defendant, Case No. 4:22-cv-03178 (S.D. Tex., September 16, 2022)
is a collective action complaint brought against the Defendant for
its alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The Plaintiff was employed by the Defendant as a dispatcher from
approximately June 2019 to April 2022.

According to the complaint, the Defendant misclassified the
Plaintiff and other similarly situated dispatchers as exempt from
overtime pay. Although they often work more than 40 hours per week
because their work schedule required them to work at least eight
hours of overtime per week, the Defendant did not pay them their
lawfully earned overtime compensation at the rate of one and
one-half times their regular rates of pay for all hours worked in
excess of 40 per workweek, says the suit.

The Plaintiff seeks to recover unpaid overtime compensation and
liquidated damages, for herself and for all other similarly
situated dispatchers, as well as reasonable attorneys' fees and
costs, and other relief as may be necessary and appropriate.

Reynolds Nationwide, Inc. is a trucking company that hauls a
variety of goods across the country, including milk, grain, and
oil. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          John Neuman, Esq.
          5612 Chaucer Drive
          Houston, TX 77005
          Tel: (281) 885-8844
          Fax: (281) 885-8813
          E-mail: JNeuman@smnlawfirm.com

ROBINHOOD MARKETS: Final OK Hearing in Breach Suit Settlement Set
Dan Avery, writing for CNET, reports that if you used the investing
app Robinhood, you could qualify for part of a $20 million class
action settlement resolving allegations that the investment app's
negligence led to personal information being leaked.

Robinhood's cybersecurity system "lacks simple and almost universal
security measures used by other broker-dealer online systems, such
as verifying changes in bank account links," according to a
February 2021 complaint.

If your Robinhood account was accessed by unauthorized users
between Jan. 1, 2020, and April 27, 2022, you're eligible to file a
claim, Elizabeth Kramer, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told CNET.

Approximately 40,000 customers say their Robinhood accounts have
fallen prey to cyberattacks, according to court filings. The
multimillion-dollar agreement received preliminary approval in

Robinhood deputy general counsel Lucas Moskowitz said the company
takes security very seriously.

"We continue to take numerous steps to safeguard accounts,
including using hashing algorithms, encryption, two-factor
authentication and other account security measures," Moskowitz said
in a statement shared with CNET.   

Here's what you need to know about the Robinhood settlement,
including who is eligible for a check and how much money they could

For more on class action settlements, find out if you're eligible
for money from Capital One's $190 million payout, T-Mobile's $350
million data breach case or Facebook's $90 million data-tracking

What is Robinhood accused of in this class action case?
In February 2021, San Francisco law firm Erickson, Kramer and
Osborne filed a class action lawsuit against Robinhood on behalf of
Siddharth Mehta, Kevin Qian, Michael Furtado and other Robinhood
customers who claimed their accounts were hacked.

According to the motion for settlement filed July 1 in the US
District Court for the Northern District of California, Robinhood
"used substandard security practices and lacked security measures
used by other broker-dealer online systems," leading to multiple
data breaches.  

Who qualifies for a payment in the Robinhood settlement?
Any US resident notified that their Robinhood account was illicitly
accessed between Jan. 1, 2020, and April 27, 2022, or who notified
Robinhood their accounts were hacked, is considered eligible to
file a claim, Kramer asid.

The settlement does not, however, cover claims arising exclusively
from a Nov. 3, 2021, data breach that leaked the personal details
of more than 7 million customers, including names, birthdates and
ZIP codes. That incident is the subject of a separate lawsuit,
according to Kramer.

"To put it more simply, this settlement is based on alleged
cybersecurity failures by Robinhood that 'left the door unlocked'
for hackers over time," she told CNET. "The specific November 2021
event is carved out."

How much could Robinhood customers receive in compensation?

According to the proposed settlement, Robinhood has agreed to pay
$19.5 million in damages and $500,000 in fees. US-based customers
whose accounts were hacked between Jan. 1, 2020, and April 27,
2022, can file claims for up to $260 per person.

According to Barron's, individual payouts break down as follows:
-- Up to $100 for out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the breach
-- Up to $100 in reimbursement for identity theft protection or
credit monitoring services
-- Up to $60 for time spent responding to the issue.

Class members are also eligible for two years of free identity
theft protection and credit monitoring.

In addition to the cash payments and protection services, the
settlement requires Robinhood to improve security procedures,

Supplemental two-factor authentication
Prompting users to update passwords
Proactive monitoring of account takeovers
Cybersecurity awareness campaigns
Real-time voice support for customers
How do I file a claim in the Robinhood settlement?
Notification of the settlement will officially go out on Sept. 13,
the same day the settlement website will go live. According to
Kramer, the site will include a simple online form for potential
class members to complete, as well as a print-out version to mail

When will I receive a check?
Preliminary approval for the settlement was given on Aug. 23, 2022.
A hearing to assess final approval has been scheduled for May 16,

Class members would typically receive payment after that, though
the process can be slowed considerably by appeals.

Robinhood's rocky road to the present
The Robinhood app has exploded in popularity since its debut in
2013, managing $98 billion in assets by the end of 2021 and
reporting 14 million monthly users in June 2022. According to the
company, a majority of its users are millennials.

Many services are available for no fee and members' accounts are,
on average, significantly smaller than its competitors, according
to data from Broker Chooser.

But Robinhood's rapid rise has come with controversy and a string
of litigation: In February 2021, the company was sued by the family
of a 20-year-old trader who killed himself after he incorrectly
believed he had racked up approximately $730,000 in losses on the

That same year, Robinhood faced several civil suits after it froze
GameStop trading following a Reddit campaign to buy up shares of
the video-game retailer that caused its stock price to spike.   

In June 2021, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ordered
Robinhood to pay more than $70 million in fines and restitution for
violating financial regulations and giving customers false and
misleading information.

There have also been several high-profile cybersecurity incidents:
In October 2020, Bloomberg reported that approximately 2,000
Robinhood customers' accounts were exposed by hackers.

In the November 2021 attack, the company claimed, a hacker
"socially engineered a customer support employee by phone and
obtained access to certain customer support systems" in order to
extort money. Law enforcement was informed of the extortion
attempt, the company maintained, and the leak was contained.

This May, Robinhood agreed to a $9.9 million payout to settle a
separate class-action lawsuit filed by users who alleged site
outages in March 2020 prevented them from trading just as the
market plummeted in the earliest days of the pandemic.

And on Aug. 2, the New York State Department of Financial Services
hit Robinhood Crypto, the investing app's cryptocurrency trading
wing, with a $30 million fine for "significant" failures to comply
with the state's consumer protection, cybersecurity and money
laundering statutes.

Also in August, Robinhood laid off nearly a quarter of its
employees following a steep decline in trading activity on the app.
It was the second round of layoffs this year after Robinhood
trimmed its staff by about 9% in April

The two rounds combined have eliminated more than 1,000 jobs from
the company, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"Last year, we staffed many of our operations functions under the
assumption that the heightened retail engagement we had been seeing
with the stock and crypto markets in the COVID era would persist
into 2022," Robinhood chief executive and co-founder Vlad Tenev
said in a blog post.

"In this new environment, we are operating with more staffing than
appropriate," Tenev added. "As CEO, I approved and took
responsibility for our ambitious staffing trajectory -- this is on
me." [GN]

SAINT JOHN, NB: Liable in Sexual Predator Suit, Judge Rules
Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon at CBC News reports that the City of Saint
John is vicariously liable for the harm a former police officer
caused when he sexually assaulted multiple children decades ago
while he was a city employee, a judge has ruled.

Vicariously liable is when one party is deemed liable for the
actions or inaction of another party, based on the nature of their

The city is not, however, vicariously liable in the class-action
lawsuit for the "physical, mental and/or sexual harm perpetrated"
by Kenneth Estabrooks between 1953 and 1975, when he was a police
officer, Court of King's Bench Justice William Grant found.

Nor did the city owe a duty of care to the class members to protect
them from the harm perpetrated by Estabrooks between 1975 and 1983
by blocking his transfer to its works department, Grant wrote in
his 44-page decision.

Halifax lawyer John McKiggan, who is representing the plaintiffs,
said it's "probably the most disappointing loss" he has had in 32
years, and he plans to appeal.

"The decision, frankly, surprised me," he said.

"The fact is that the city employed Kenneth Estabrooks. The city
provided him with his police uniform. The city provided him with
his gun. The city owned the car that he drove when he picked up
these children and sexually assaulted them.

"The law, I believe, has evolved to the point where it must
recognize that when an institution, an organization, or a city
provides someone with a cloak of authority - like a police officer,
there are certain obligations that flow from that.

"And to suggest that during the period that Kenneth Estabrooks was
a police officer, no one can be held responsible for the sexual
abuse of children that he perpetrated, to me, is shocking."

                 Lead Plaintiff 'Disappointed'

The representative plaintiff, Bobby Hayes, 62, is "disappointed,"
said McKiggan, and all of the class members "who have been waiting
for decades for some measure of justice are going to be upset."

They sued the city for vicarious liability for the harm Estabrooks
inflicted from 1953, when he became a police officer, to 1983, when
he retired from the city works department.

They also alleged negligence for the years Estabrooks was employed
at the works department, where he was transferred in 1975 after
admitting to having sexual relations with two teenage boys while an

Estabrooks died in 2005. The former sergeant was found guilty in
1999 of indecent assault against four children, in cases dating
back to the 1950s, and sentenced to six years in prison.

The class-action, which began in 2013, heard testimony this summer
from five men, aged 58 to 66, who said Estabrooks preyed upon them
when they were boys.

The court received evidence from a total of seven potential members
of the class, "the size of which is yet to be determined," said

Hayes, the only one who can be named, testified he was first
sexually assaulted by Estabrooks in 1970 as a 10-year-old and many
other times over the next three or four years.

Hayes also alleged he was sexually assaulted by Estabrooks again as
a young man, when they were both employed by the city works
department, and that supervisors simply advised him to "move
faster" to avoid being assaulted.

Grant concluded that the city's relationship to Estabrooks during
his time as a police officer was "largely limited to administrative
matters," such as payroll and equipment, which were unrelated to
his duties, "in the course of which he committed the torts in

The source of his power and authority was not the City of Saint
John; rather it was the law," he wrote.

In a sworn affidavit, Donald French, who was the city's director of
personnel and labour relations and signed Estabrooks' transfer
papers, said he was not informed of the reasons for the transfer to
the works department.

He was told by then-police chief Eric Ferguson that it was "a
police matter," he said.

"I was not aware, or informed by any person, of any sexual assaults
or other criminal activity having been committed by Kenneth
Estabrooks during my employment with the City."

During a 1998 investigation into the legality of the transfer,
Staff Sgt. Tim Kelly of the Fredericton Police Force concluded the
chief was aware at the time of the transfer that "Estabrooks'
sexual improprieties went well beyond the two complainants," the
judge wrote in his decision.

The investigating officer further stated, "It would appear that
Ferguson was less than forthright with the city manager in his
handling of this case." He concluded then-city manger Nicholas
Barfoot "had no knowledge of the sexual improprieties surrounding
this case."

McKiggan said an appeal will further delay resolution of the matter
for an unknown period of time, but the plaintiffs have "no

Grant reserved decision on costs until he hears submissions from
the parties. [GN]

SALLY BEAUTY: Raslavich Sues Over Unsolicited Telephone Calls
ANNA RASLAVICH, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff v. SALLY BEAUTY SUPPLY, LLC, Defendant, Case
No. 15798535 (Fla. 13th Jud. Cir. Ct., September 16, 2022) brings
this class action complaint against the Defendant for its alleged
unlawful conduct that violated the Florida Telephone Solicitation

The Plaintiff claims that the Defendant sent a telephonic sales
call to her telephone number in an attempt to promote its products
and services. Allegedly, the Defendant's telephonic sales calls
involved an automated system for the selection or dialing of
telephone numbers or the playing of a recorded message when a
connection is completed. The Plaintiff also claims that the
Defendant has caused the same telephonic sales call to thousands of
individuals in Florida. However, the Defendant failed to secure her
and other similarly situated individuals' prior express written
consent to receive such telephonic sales calls, says the

As a result of the Defendant's unsolicited telephonic sales calls,
the Plaintiff and other similarly situated individuals were
aggrieved. Thus, the Plaintiff seeks an injunction requiring the
Defendant to cease all telephonic sales calls made without prior
express written consent. On behalf of herself and all other
similarly situated individuals, the Plaintiff also seeks statutory
damages, reasonable attorney's fees and court costs, and other
relief as the Court deems necessary.

Sally Beauty Supply, LLC offers beauty products. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Benjamin W. Raslavich, Esq.
          KUHN RASLAVICH, P.A.
          2110 West Platt Street
          Tampa, FL 33606
          Tel: (813) 422-7782
          Fax: (813) 422-7783
          E-mail: ben@tehKRfirm.com

SESAME PLACE: More Families Join Discrimination Class Action
Jo Ciavaglia at Bucks County Courier Times reports that seven
parents and their minor children have joined a federal
discrimination lawsuit alleging Sesame Place costumed performers
intentionally snubbed them in favor of guests of other races during
visits to the Middletown theme park.

The amended lawsuit was filed Sept. 28 in U.S. Eastern District
Court in Philadelphia against the park and its operator SeaWorld
Parks & Entertainment. The original lawsuit was brought in July by
a Baltimore Maryland man and his 5-year-old daughter, who allege
they were discriminated against during a Father's Day park visit.

Who are the new Sesame Place plaintiffs?
Among the new plaintiffs is Nathan Fleming, a York County father
who alleges costumed performers ignored his 5-year-old daughter's
efforts to get a high-five during a July 4 park visit, but
interacted with an Asian child next to her. Fleming video recorded
the incident and posted it on social media.

The new plaintiffs include three adults and children who are
Hispanic, as well as residents of Philadelphia, New York and
Connecticut. All but one of the new plaintiffs alleged the
incidents occurred during visits in June or July of this year. All
seven claim to have video recordings documenting the alleged

Attorneys in the case have asked the court to certify the lawsuit
as a class action against defendants including SeaWorld Parks &
Entertainment, which own and operate Sesame Place.

Video sets off complaints against Sesame Place
The lawsuit was filed in last July after Brooklyn New York resident
Jodi Brown's cellphone video went viral on social media showing a
costumed park performer allegedly dismissing her daughter and
niece, who are Black, but interacting with guests of other races
during a July 16 visit.

Brown, however, is not a plaintiff in the class action suit.
Another family with similar claims filed the lawsuit.

Sesame Place settled 2018 lawsuit Sesame Place settled
discrimination lawsuit by Black Muslim family years before viral

The video sparked an avalanche of criticism against the park and
operators over the incident and its handling of Brown's
accusations. It also prompted additional people to come forward
with video they allege show costumed performers ignoring Black and
brown children, but interacting with other guests.

Sesame Place responds
Sesame Place has repeatedly apologized to Brown and her family,
denied allegations of racism and announced it was undertaking
comprehensive initiatives including employee anti-bias training and
education and racial equity assessment including a review of
policy, processes and practices to identify areas of improvement
with equity, diversity and inclusion.

All park employees were to be required to complete a "substantive
training and education program" by the end of September. The
program is designed to address bias, promote inclusion, prevent
discrimination and "ensure guests and employees feel safe and
welcome," the release said.[GN]

SMITHFIELD FOODS: Reaches Third Settlement in Pork Antitrust Suit
Mike Leonard, writing for Bloomberg Law, reports that Smithfield
Foods Inc. has reached a third settlement of antitrust claims over
its alleged role in an industrywide pork price-fixing scheme, a $75
million deal with consumers that brings its total settlement amount
to $200 million, according to federal court filings in

The agreement, docketed on Sept. 27, follows Smithfield's previous
$83 million pact with pork wholesalers and its $42 million
settlement with restaurants. Together, the three deals give the
company an off-ramp from class action litigation facing the
country's top pork processors in the US District Court for the
District of Minnesota.

Judge John R. Tunheim approved the wholesaler settlement.[GN]

STANLEY INDUSTRIAL: Bid for Arbitration in Streedharan Suit Denied
In the case, VIJAYAN STREEDHARAN, an individual, on behalf of
himself and all other similarly situated, Plaintiff v. STANLEY
INDUSTRIAL & AUTOMOTIVE, LLC (doing business as "MAC TOOLS"), a
Delaware corporation and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants,
Case No. 5:22-cv-0322-MEMF (KSx) (C.D. Cal.), Judge Maame
Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong of the U.S. District Court for the Central
District of California denies Stanley's Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings or, Alternatively, to Compel Arbitration.

Stanley is a Delaware limited liability company that does business
as "Mac Tools." Mac Tools is a subsidiary of Stanley Black &
Decker, Inc., a Connecticut Corporation which "is the number one
worldwide company for tools and storage." It manufactures and
distributes tools and related products like tool boxes and service
equipment" and "sells Products to mechanics, technicians, and other
service professionals as well as businesses providing these
services." One of the ways Mac Tools distributes its products is
through "Distributors" or "Franchisees." Distributors operate
vehicles or "mobile stores" that display Mac Tools brands and
marks. They "must purchase and operate a mobile vehicle stocked
with Products within a Mac Tools-assigned geographic territory or

Mr. Streedharan worked as Mac Tools Franchisee/Distributor in
California beginning in 2019. Mac Tools exerts "vast control over"
Distributors but "attempts to classify these workers as
'independent contractors.'"  In doing so, "Mac Tools cheats these
individuals out of protections provided by California law such as
overtime pay and reimbursement of business expenses." Among other
things, the mobile stores may only be used to operate the
distributorship and "may not be altered without Mac Tools's express
approval." Mac Tools controls the customer lists, reserves the
right to set prices of products sold to Distributors and
functionally sets the price of products to end-purchasers based on
the company's online catalogues, flyers, and website. It requires
that Distributors "personally work full-time to diligently promote,
market, and increase the sale of Products as well as its customer
base." Distributors "pay for the right to work for Mac Tools" by
providing non-refundable initial fees, annual fees, paying costs to
attend mandatory out-of-state training, and paying restock fees on
returned merchandise.

Distributors sign contracts with Mac Tools that classify
Distributors as independent contractors. On June 28, 2018,
Streedharan received a Franchise Disclosure Document ("FDD") from
Mac Tools that included a copy of the Mac Tools's Franchise
Agreement, an addendum to the Franchise Agreement, and an addendum
to the FDD. The addendum to the Franchise Agreement and the FDD and
its addendum included language that indicates that some of its
provisions may be unenforceable under California law. On Aug. 21,
2018, Streedharan executed the Mac Tools Franchise Agreement and an
Addendum to Mac Tools Franchise Agreement for the State of
California. He also executed a Guaranty of Payment and Performance
of an Entity Mac Tools Franchisee. Section 19.2 of the Franchise
Agreement sets out a dispute resolution process, including
arbitration provision. The Franchise Agreement and its addendum
were presented to Streedharan on a "take-it-or-leave-it" basis with
no opportunity to negotiate its terms.

On Nov. 24, 2021, Streedharan filed a class action against Mac
Tools in the Superior Court of California, County of San
Bernardino, asserting seven causes of action: (1) failure to
reimburse expenses; (2) unlawful deductions from wages; (3) failure
to pay overtime; (4) failure to provide meal breaks; (5) failure to
provide rest breaks; (6) failure to pay wages when due; and (7)
unfair competition. See generally Compl. On February 21, 2022, Mac
Tools filed a Notice of Removal, and this case was removed to
federal court.

On Feb. 28, 2022, Mac Tools filed an Answer to the Complaint. On
April 8, 2022, it filed the instant Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings, or Alternatively, to Compel Arbitration. It seeks a full
order granting judgment on the pleadings on the grounds that
Streedharan was not its employee and therefore he lacks standing to
bring employment-related claims. Mac Tools also moves, in the
alternative, to compel arbitration pursuant to the arbitration
provisions located in the Franchise Agreement ("Arbitration
Agreement"). Streedharan filed an opposition on June 9, 2022. Mac
Tools filed its Reply on June 16, 2022. A hearing on the Motion was
held on Aug. 18, 2022.

Mr. Streedharan requests the Court takes judicial notice of an
Order Granting Motion to Strike in a case arising out of the
Superior Court of California, County of Alameda. As the Order was
submitted in a state court proceeding, it is a matter of public
record. Judge Frimpong grants Streedharan's request as court
records are appropriate for judicial notice.

Mac Tools moves for judgment on the pleadings as to all of
Streedharan's claims on the sole grounds that Streedharan failed to
sufficiently allege that Mac Tools was his employer.

Judge Frimpong concludes that the Complaint sufficiently alleges an
employment relationship. Streedharan has sufficiently alleged an
employment relationship. According to Streedharan, Mac Tools
misclassified him and other Distributors as independent
contractors, while treating them as employees, precluding them from
obtaining the benefits afforded to employees under California law.
As such, Streedharan's alleged injuries are directly traceable to
Mac Tools' conduct and are likely to be redressed should he
prevail. For the foregoing reasons, Judge Frimpoing denies Mac
Tools's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.

Mac Tools seeks to compel the entire action to binding arbitration
pursuant to the arbitration provisions located in the Franchise
Agreement. The Motion also seeks to stay or dismiss the action
pending arbitration under 9 U.S.C. Section 3. Streedharan contends
that the Arbitration Agreement cannot be enforced because there was
no mutual assent to arbitrate, Mac Tools waived its right to
arbitrate, the arbitration clause does not encompass his claims,
and the clause is unconscionable under California law.

Judge Frimpong finds that the best reading of the phrase "this
provision" in both the addendum to the FDD and the addendum to the
Franchise Agreement is one in which it is refers to New York being
the forum for arbitration. She does not conclude that the
disclaimer language should be read as invalidating the entire
agreement to arbitrate. The Arbitration Agreement is also broad
enough to encompass all of Streedharan's claims, which arise out of
the alleged misclassification of Distributors.

Moreover, Judge Frimpong that (i) Streedharan has established that
the arbitration agreement within the Franchise Agreement has some
degree of procedural unconscionability because it is a contract of
adhesion; (ii) many of Streedharan's claims arising from the
California labor code have longer statute of limitations and it is
unfairly one-sided in that Mac Tools is free to sue Streedharan at
any time for money damages arising from any security agreements
between them; (iii) the agreement calls for JAMS' Comprehensive
Arbitration Rules & Procedures; (iv) the clause designating New
York as the forum for arbitration is unconscionable; and (v) the
existence of these multiple defects "indicate a systemic effort to
impose arbitration" as an inferior forum that works to Mac Tools'

Therefore, Judge Frimpong denies Mac Tools motion in the
alternative to compel arbitration.

Accordingly, Judge Frimpong denies Mac Tools' Motion for Judgment
on the Pleadings, or Alternatively to Compel Arbitration in its

A full-text copy of the Court's Sept. 27, 2022 Order is available
at https://tinyurl.com/3byh2f9s from Leagle.com.

TFE INC: Faces Harrison Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime Wages
FRANKLIN HARRISON, individually and for others similarly situated,
Plaintiff v. TFE, INC., Defendant, Case No. 1:22-cv-03146-SAL
(D.S.C., September 16, 2022) brings this complaint as a collective
action against the Defendant for its alleged willful failure to pay
overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The Plaintiff has worked for the Defendant as a Superintendent.

The Plaintiff claims that he and other similarly situated employees
regularly worked more than 40 hours a week. However, the Defendant
did not pay them overtime compensation at the rate of one and
one-half times their regular rates of pay for all hours worked in
excess of 40 hours in a single workweek. Instead, they were only
paid straight time for overtime, the Plaintiff adds.

On behalf of himself and all other similarly situated employees,
the Plaintiff seeks to recover unpaid overtime compensation due to
them, as well as attorney's fees, costs, penalties, pre- and
post-judgment interest, and other relief as may be necessary and

TFE, Inc. provides professional engineering services. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          T. Christopher Tuck, Esq.
          T.A.C. Hargrove, II, Esq.
          1037 Chuck Dawley Blvd. Building A
          Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
          Tel: (843) 727-6500
          Fax: (843) 216-6509
          E-mail: ctuck@rpwb.com

                - and -

          Michael A. Josephson, Esq.
          Andrew W. Dunlap, Esq.
          Richard M. Schreiber, Esq.
          11 Greenway Plaza, Suite 3050
          Houston, TX 77046
          Tel: 713-352-1100
          Fax: 713-352-3300
          E-mail: mjosephson@mybackwages.com

TICKETMASTER ENTERTAINMENT: Consumers Forced to Accept Arbitration
ticketnews.com reports that lawyers representing a proposed class
of consumers who say they've been harmed by alleged
anti-competitive conduct by Ticketmaster and parent Live Nation
were back in court this week, hoping to convince an appeals court
to give them their day in court vs. being forced to arbitration.
Ticketmaster and Live Nation have on multiple occasions avoided
having to defend themselves in open court against a multitude of
lawsuits by invoking clauses in their terms and conditions forcing
consumers to accept private and binding arbitration for all

From Complete Music Update:

According to Law360, lawyers from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
LLP presented some other arguments for why the arbitration term
should not be binding in court yesterday. They are working on a
class action lawsuit that accuses Live Nation and Ticketmaster of
anti-competitive conduct, because the live giant is so dominant in
concert promotion and primary ticketing, and also active in
secondary ticketing in the US.

In September 2021, the judge overseeing that action, George H Wu,
said that the dispute should go to arbitration because of
Ticketmaster's terms of use, to which all the members of the
proposed class had signed up. The lawyers from Quinn Emanuel
Urquhart & Sullivan LLP are now asking the Ninth Circuit appeals
court to overturn that decision.

Earlier this year, Live Nation asked that the lawsuit be dismissed
entirely, arguing that since so many similar actions had been
kicked to arbitration, the latest lawsuit deserved the same fate.

Quinn Emmanuel lawyers have been pushing for a different outcome
throughout this case, arguing that Live Nation's entire arbitration
system is unlawful because it compels consumers with no alternative
option to submit to an unfair proceeding as part of their

"The [new] agreement . . . requires consumers to engage in a novel
and one-sided process that is tailored to disadvantage consumers,"
wrote the Quinn Emanuel attorneys in their initial filing on the
case. "The . . . agreement skews the odds so egregiously in
defendants' favor through its defense-biased provisions, and is
imposed in such a procedurally unfair manner, that it is permeated
with unconscionability to a far greater degree than the prior . . .

Scrutiny over Live Nation and Ticketmaster's operations relative to
competition and monopoly status has been widespread since the two
companies merged in a blockbuster deal approved in 2010. Rep. Bill
Pascrell has famously pursued better regulation of what he plainly
called "Live Nation and Ticketmaster's abuse of their monopoly
power" in a 2018 New York Times Op-Ed. Artists rights groups,
economists, and consumers filing lawsuits have also tried to push
back against the company, as did the Federal Trade Commission
itself, but even that just amounted to a slap on the wrist by way
of a fine and extension of an existing consent decree. Even a
prosecution over employees illegally accessing a competing
company's computer systems to gather critical data and gain a
competitive advantage – a company that Live Nation subsequently
purchased in order to end civil litigation alleging data espionage
– was sidestepped via the payment of a $10 million fine.

More recently, Rep. Pascrell wrote a letter demanding answers
regarding Ticketmaster's surge "dynamic pricing" practices in the
wake of massive backlash to the practice following the sale of
Bruce Springsteen 2023 tour tickets, while the American Antitrust
Institute set an October event featuring U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar to
discuss what it characterizes as the monopoly at the center of live
entertainment and how it might be addressed. [GN]

UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Drivers' Discrimination Suit Dismissed Again
Christina Tabacco at lawstreetmedia.com reports that a decision
from the Northern District of California found that a former Uber
driver's attempt to hold his employer liable for racial
discrimination fell short of satisfying the pleading requirements
for a third time. The four-page opinion by Judge Vince Chhabria
said, however, that it would not be impossible for the plaintiff to
state a disparate impact claim and gave the litigant "one final

The plaintiff's operative complaint contends that Uber
discriminates against non-white drivers through use of its "star
rating system," which passengers use evaluate drivers on a one to
five scale after each ride, with low-scoring drivers subject to

"Uber's use of this system to determine driver terminations
constitutes race discrimination, as it is widely recognized that
customer evaluations of workers are frequently racially biased.
Indeed, Uber itself has recognized the racial bias of its own
customers," the complaint argues.

Previously, the court greenlighted two of the three elements
required to state a disparate impact claim. The plaintiff
"plausibly alleged that racial discrimination could affect customer
ratings, including in the rideshare industry," but failed to put
forth allegations "that this legitimate concern about racial
discrimination actually manifested itself in driver terminations at

In response to the initial dismissal, the second amended complaint
offered a survey, conducted by plaintiff's counsel, asking drivers
to both check a box indicating their race and asking, "If you have
been deactivated by Uber, was it because your ratings were too

According to the complainant, "the results of the survey
demonstrated that minority drivers were terminated for their
ratings at a higher rate than white drivers." But as Judge Chhabria
previously explained, the survey was "essentially meaningless" as
its terminology confused drivers and was limited to deactivated
drivers only.

Reportedly, the third amended complaint included one change, a
footnote stating that plaintiff's counsel sent a follow-up email to
survey respondents who answered "no" to the initial survey. Of
those drivers who responded to the follow-up, 51.7% stated that
they had not been deactivated at all.

"This new information makes [the] complaint worse, not better," the
opinion said.

However, Judge Chhabria granted the plaintiff 28 days to file an
amended pleading, venturing that "it is hardly fanciful to suspect
that Uber's practice of terminating drivers based on customer
ratings negatively affects minority drivers."

The plaintiff is represented by Lichten & Liss-Riordan P.C. and
Uber by Littler Mendelson P.C. [GN]

URBAN OUTFITTERS: Faces Unsolicited Telephone Calls Suit in Florida
David O. Klein, Esq., of Klein Moynihan Turco LLP, in an article
for Mondaq, reports that on September 15, 2022, Martin Tooley filed
a lawsuit on behalf of himself and other similarly situated
individuals against Urban Outfitters in the District Court for the
Middle District of Florida. The Complaint alleges that from June
19, 2022 through June 30, 2022, the Defendant "bombarded" the
Plaintiff with "numerous telephonic sales calls" in violation of
the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act ("FTSA") and the Telephone
Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA.")

Plaintiff further alleges that his number was registered on the
National Do-Not-Call Registry since 2009 and that Urban Outfitters
did not obtain his consent prior to contacting him. With respect to
damages, the FTSA class action Complaint alleges that "Defendant's
telephonic sales calls caused Plaintiff and the Class members harm,
including statutory damages, inconvenience, invasion of privacy,
aggravation, annoyance, and wasted time."

FTSA Class Actions
The universe of telemarketing cases was expanded in 2021 when
Florida enacted the FTSA, allowing for a private right of action.
Since that time, the Florida law has been a very active resource
employed by the Plaintiffs' Bar. The Tooley lawsuit represents the
latest class action filed in Florida under the FTSA and illustrates
the fact that plaintiffs are taking advantage of the new law to now
file claims on both a state and federal level. Prior to the
enactment of the FTSA, lawsuits such as Tooley would have been
brought in federal court under the TCPA.

As readers of this blog know, the FTSA is considered a "mini-TCPA"
statute, but with several important differences. The two big ones
are the definition of autodialer and call frequency restrictions.
With respect to the definition of "autodialer," the FTSA does not
contain a definition. Under the TCPA, by comparison, "autodialer"
means equipment that has the capacity to store or produce telephone
numbers using a random or sequential number generator. With respect
to call frequency, the FTSA limits the frequency of calls and texts
on any given day. No one may place more than three commercial calls
or send three commercial texts on a single subject in the same
24-hour period to a Florida State consumer.

Following the enactment of the FTSA, states like Oklahoma and
Washington passed similar statutes. Other jurisdictions, such as
Georgia and Michigan are close behind and have begun the process of
enacting telemarketing laws along the lines of the FTSA. With each
state that enacts a "mini-TCPA," the forums that a business can be
sued in increases. Businesses should also be wary of the fact that
under many of the state mini-TCPA statutes, the focus is on whether
a prohibited call or text was sent to a resident of the state, not
whether the business is located in the state.

Get Help
Complying with the TCPA is hard enough, let alone keeping up with
the nuances of state equivalents, like the FTSA. As such,
businesses benefit from hiring experienced counsel who can keep up
with the law on their behalf. The attorneys atKlein Moynihan
Turcohave years of experience in all aspects of telemarketing law
and are more than equipped to handle all TCPA and state equivalent

The case is Tooley v. Urban Outfitters, Inc. [GN]

VIATRIS INC: Patel Suit Remanded to Allegheny Court of Common Pleas
In the case, RAJESH PATEL, Individually and on Behalf of All Others
Similarly Situated, Plaintiff v. VIATRIS, INC., PFIZER INC.,
Defendants, Case No. 2:21-cv-1769-NR (W.D. Pa.), Judge J. Nicholas
Ranjan of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of
Pennsylvania grants Mr. Patel's motion to remand and remands the
case to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County,

Mr. Patel filed the putative class action asserting claims
exclusively under the federal Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C.
Section 77a, et seq. These claims arise out of the November 2020
stock-for-stock transaction through which Pfizer Inc.'s subsidiary
UpJohn Inc. was spun off and merged with Mylan N.V., to form the
company now known as Viatris, Inc.

The claims concern the roughly 560 million new shares of Viatris
common stock issued directly to former Mylan shareholders pursuant
to the Merger Registration Statement. Mr. Patel's core allegations
are that the Merger Registration Statement was materially false and
misleading, violated affirmative duties, and omitted material

Mr. Patel commenced the action on Oct. 28, 2021, in the Court of
Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The Defendants then
promptly removed the case to this Court under the provisions of the
Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. Section 1332(d), et seq. In
response, Mr. Patel moved to remand, arguing that removal was
barred under the Securities Act and that an exception to CAFA
removal applied. That motion is presently before the Court.

As the Court was in the process of finalizing its order on the
pending motion, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District
of New York granted a motion to remand in a similar case, Williams
v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., No. 21-cv-9998, 2022 WL 4345564
(S.D.N.Y. Sept. 19, 2022) (Furman, J.). There, like the present
case, the parties "spilled considerable ink on who bears the burden
on he motion to remand and whether or when a later statute (in the
instant case, CAFA) can override an earlier one (in the instant
case, the 1933 Act)." Judge Ranjan agrees with Judge Furman's
well-reasoned analysis, and similarly finds that these "disputes
are irrelevant for the simple reason that the premise of all the
Defendants' arguments -- that CAFA provided for removal -- is

That's because although the case meets the requirements for removal
of certain class actions under Section 1332(d)(2), another
provision states that Section 1332(d)(2) "shall not apply to any
class action that solely involves a claim concerning a covered
security." "A 'covered security' is one traded nationally and
listed on a regulated national exchange." The security at issue in
the case was the "newly issued VTRS common stock traded nationally
on the NASDAQ stock exchange." Thus, by the clear language of the
statute, the case falls within the covered security exception and
removal under CAFA was improper.

Despite this straightforward application of the statutory language,
the Defendants still argue that the Court should reject such a
supposedly "expansive interpretation" of the covered security
exception. They selectively point to certain aspects of the
legislative history and the purported purposes of CAFA to argue
that Congress did not actually intend to carve out any claim
concerning covered securities, but only state-law fraud claims
concerning covered securities.

But the Supreme Court has "explained many times over many years
that, when the meaning of the statute's terms is plain, a court's
job is at an end." Given that fact, "courts must presume that a
legislature says in a statute what it means and means in a statute
what it says." Judge Ranjan points out that the language of CAFA is
clear, and so the "Defendants' reliance on legislative history and
purpose is misplaced."

The cases cited by the Defendants to bolster their arguments
provide no quarter. The backbone of their support is dicta from the
Second Circuit in Estate of Pew v. Cardarelli, 527 F.3d 25 (2d Cir.
2008). In that case, while analyzing a separate exception to CAFA
removal, the court observed that "Subsection (A) of Section
1332(d)(9) carves out class actions for which jurisdiction exists
elsewhere under federal law, such as under the Securities
Litigation Uniform Standards Act ('SLUSA'), i.e., state-law fraud
claims in connection with the purchase or sale of securities traded
on a national stock exchange."

Even if Judge Ranjan were to adopt that observation, he says it
cannot be read to hold that the exception is limited to SLUSA class
actions, as the Court's own language ('such as') makes plain that
SLUSA is merely cited as an example. Meanwhile, the other cases
cited by the Defendants are easily distinguished because they
either did not involve 'covered securities' within the meaning of
the statutory language, or they did not 'solely involve' claims
concerning a covered security.

In sum, CAFA, by its terms, does not provide the Court
subject-matter jurisdiction over the case. Since Viatris removed
the action under CAFA, the case must be remanded to the state court
where Mr. Patel originally filed it.

For these reasons, Judge Ranjan grants Mr. Patel's motion to remand
and remands the case forthwith to the Court of Common Pleas of
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Case No. GD-21-13314, for all
further proceedings. The Clerk of Court is directed to mark this
case closed.

A full-text copy of the Court's Sept. 21, 2022 Memorandum Order is
available at https://tinyurl.com/4wdv6797 from Leagle.com.

VIRGINIA: ACLU Seeks Certification in Prison Housing Practices Suit
vpm.org reports that the next volley in the fight over prison
housing practices in Virginia is set for Sept. 30. The American
Civil Liberties Union of Virginia will ask a federal judge in Big
Stone Gap to certify the expansion of a lawsuit against the
Virginia Department of Corrections and its administrators over
segregated housing.

Currently, 12 plaintiffs who spent extended periods of time
incarcerated in what the ACLU calls "solitary confinement" are
seeking damages for alleged violations of their constitutional and
statutory rights. The suit alleges that prison officials have
knowingly and without good reason subjected incarcerated
individuals to cruel and unusual punishment by keeping them in
prolonged solitary confinement.  

At the hearing, the plaintiffs will ask that the case be certified
as a class-action lawsuit. If the court rules in their favor, the
number of individuals who could be entitled to relief would expand
to include anyone incarcerated under certain conditions at two
supermax prisons in Wise County since 2011.

It was May 2019 when the ACLU initially filed the lawsuit on the
behalf of William Thorpe and several others who experienced
long-term segregated housing at Wallens Ridge or Red Onion state
prisons, supermax facilities that house people convicted of violent
felonies. Thorpe was incarcerated at both of these facilities.

According to the ACLU and court documents, Thorpe spent more than
20 years isolated in cells that were about the size of a parking
space. He was allowed outside for only a few hours each day.

The ACLU, the Virginia Coalition Against Solitary Confinement and
human rights activists worldwide refer to this practice as solitary
confinement, and there is widespread agreement among health and
human-rights professionals that the practice is inhumane. Medical
professionals concur that deprivation of human contact can
deteriorate an individual's mental and physical well-being within
just a few days. Symptoms might include headaches, hallucinations,
loss of appetite and self-harm.

Virginia prison officials have argued that the practice doesn't
qualify as solitary confinement. VDOC guidelines assert that
solitary is 22 or more hours of isolation in a cell without
meaningful interaction with others.

VDOC said those removed from the general population because of
behavior issues are in isolation for the safety of prison staff and
other people who are incarcerated, and that they are kept in
individual cells for no more than 20 hours each day. The department
said the isolation is part of its restorative housing program
(formerly called restrictive housing), which grants incarcerated
people access to therapeutic programming and allows them to earn
their way back into the general population.

A key component of the department's restorative approach is the
Step-Down program, which gives people who are incarcerated the
opportunity for journaling exercises and group discussion with
trained experts.

"We have interactive program aides. We have treatment officers. We
have counselors. We have mental health practitioners that all
facilitate that program," said Lois Fegan, chief of restorative and
diversionary housing for VDOC, in a 2021 interview with VPM News.
"The inmates have the opportunity to do it together with other
people in the restorative housing program. They also have the
opportunity to kind of reflect and journal privately in their bed
by themselves, and then they can come back to the group and they
can process their thoughts."

Demario Tyler - who is not a part of the lawsuit, but if it becomes
a class action could be included - spent time in segregation at
Wallens Ridge.

He said at the supermax facilities, "they go by their own rules"
and that while the Step-Down program might be well-intentioned and
could be helpful for those housed in lower security prisons, "They
act like they're following that, but they really don't."

Tyler described himself as a man with mental-health challenges. He
lost his mother at a young age and grew up in foster homes. He was
convicted of breaking into two restaurants in 2016 after being
caught on camera looking for food and money.

Tyler said he was written up for nonviolent offenses at lower-level
prisons and was moved several times before completing his sentence
at Wallens Ridge in 2020. He claimed that while there, he was
placed in segregation as punishment for having a mental-health
crisis and asking to see a counselor.

He described "sitting in the hole for months at a time." Tyler said
being incarcerated - especially in isolation and most certainly for
people who already have mental health issues - amplifies problems
with impulse control.

"They just changed the name. It's still solitary confinement. The
only difference between solitary confinement then and now is that
now they give us booklets to fill out," Tyler said. "[B]ut we still
sit in the hole for three or four months at a time, longer than
that for some people."

VDOC has held up its restorative housing program as an example of
its mission to serve incarcerated people and broader society. Fegan
said the program "represents a vision of offering opportunities for
inmates that are in crisis, have some behavioral issues that need
to be addressed, and in hopes of fostering a long-term public
safety vision and reentry establishment goals for all the inmates
in our care."

Fegan cited numerous awards for the department's overall
excellence, as well as innovations in preparing people who are
incarcerated for reentry into society and consistently low
recidivism rates in Virginia, compared with other states.

The ACLU is alleging that people are placed in segregated housing
for trivial or arbitrary reasons and then kept there for
unreasonable lengths of time. The suit also claims that Step-Down
is not administered in a way that gives prisoners any actual power
to earn their way out. Additionally, the ACLU said the distinction
between what VDOC calls restorative housing and what is considered
solitary confinement is moot, if the people who are incarcerated
have no meaningful interaction with others when they are out of
their cells, whether that is two hours, four hours or slightly more
per day.

"It turns more on the deprivation of normal, direct and meaningful
social contact and access to positive environmental stimulation
than it does the precise hours in a cell," said Virginia ACLU
lawyer Vishal Agraharkar. "For example, if you are taken out of [a]
cell for a couple of hours every day and placed in a larger outdoor
cage where you have no social contact with others, that's still
solitary by any reasonable definition."

In previous reporting, VPM News spoke with family members of people
who are included in the current lawsuit, as well as others who have
experience with long-term isolation at Wallens Ridge or Red Onion.

Thorpe, who spent more than 20 years in isolation, was transferred
to Texas soon after the ACLU filed its lawsuit in 2019. Denise
Thorpe, his wife, said "he is still exiled to the Texas Department
of Criminal Justice and still remains in solitary confinement. He
has been in solitary confinement since 1996."

Nicholas Reyes spent more than 12 years in segregated housing
before the ACLU settled a lawsuit against VDOC on his behalf in
2021. Reyes is Salvadoran, and the ACLU said that his language and
literacy skills prevented him from completing the Step-Down
requirements for release from isolation. The state paid more than
$100,000 to Reyes in the settlement and transferred him from Red
Onion to the general population at Wallens Ridge.

In 2021, Fegan told VPM News that the department provides Step-Down
materials in multiple languages, as well as translators for those
who need them. She declined to say how long the language supports
had been in place and would not comment on specific people or

In January, the ACLU and VDOC reached a settlement in Randy Burke's
case. Burke is a practicing Rastafarian who was segregated from the
general population for more than 5 years. The ACLU said he was
being punished for not cutting his hair, which would have been a
violation of his religious beliefs. Burke was transferred back to
his native U.S. Virgin Islands earlier this year.

Kimberly Jenkins-Snodgrass - the mother of Kevin Snodgrass Jr., who
was incarcerated at Red Onion and is one of the plaintiffs in the
ACLU's lawsuit over the Step-Down program - said her son remained
in isolation for more than 4 years. She said that her son was
released from segregation in 2017, but claimed he was returned to
solitary in 2018 in retaliation for her advocating to end the
practice. Kevin Snodgrass is one of the named plaintiffs in the
ACLU's lawsuit against VDOC over Step Down.

One of the most widely publicized cases around segregated housing
involves Tyquine Lee. Takeisha Brown, his mother and guardian, said
that her son was diagnosed with a mental impairment when he was 8
years old. When Lee was 26 years old, he was placed in segregated
housing at Red Onion and remained there for 600 days. Upon his
release, Brown said her son was unable to communicate except in
growls and barks and had lost 30 pounds. In 2021, Lee's complaint
against VDOC ended with a payment of $150,000 and a transfer to a
prison outside of Virginia.

The Commonwealth of Virginia filed a motion to dismiss the ACLU's
current lawsuit, based on protection of individual employees under
qualified immunity, but Judge James Jones denied that motion in
Western District Federal Court in Big Stone Gap in 2021. The Fourth
Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond upheld that ruling in June.

The ACLU will again be before Jones, asking him to certify the
putative class-action lawsuit. A certification ruling is expected
sometime this fall with evidentiary discovery to follow in January
2023. A trial could be scheduled by March 2024. [GN]

WALMART INC: Faces Class Suit Over Illegal Collection of Biometrics
nbcchicago.com reports that last month, a class-action complaint
was filed against Walmart under the same legislation that speared a
$650 million settlement with Facebook.

The complaint, filed on Sept. 1 by Illinois resident James Luthe,
alleges that the store's video surveillance obtains biometric data
of its customers.

This would be in violation of Illinois' Biometric Privacy Act,
legislation that has previously steered lawsuits against social
media and tech companies.

"Walmart stores in Illinois are outfitted with cameras and advanced
video surveillance systems that -- unbeknownst to customers --
surreptitiously collect, possess, or otherwise obtain Biometric
Data," the complaint reads. "Walmart does not notify customers of
this fact prior to store entry, nor does it obtain consent prior to
collecting its customers Biometric Data."

The lawsuit also alleges that Walmart does not notify customers
that it uses Clearview artificial intelligence facial recognition
software that scans and stores facial features.

Illinois' Biometric Privacy Act prohibits private sector companies
and institutions from collecting biometric data -- like unique
facial features -- from unsuspecting citizens in the state or
online, no matter where the business is based.

Data cannot be sold, transferred or traded. Unlike any other state,
citizens can sue for alleged violations, the law states.

If a company is found to have violated Illinois law, citizens can
collect civil penalties up to $5,000 per violation compounded by
the number of people affected and days involved. No state
regulatory agency is involved in enforcement.

Since BIPA is an Illinois law, it only applies to state residents.

According to the suit against Walmart, the plaintiff is requesting
that the complaint become a certified class action order that
awards its members with "compensatory, non-compensatory, statutory,
exemplary and punitive damages," in the form of $5,000 for each
"intentional" BIPA violation, and $1,000 for each "negligent" BIPA

According to Top Class Actions, a website that tracks class action
lawsuits, Walmart has recently been the target of "numerous class
action lawsuits," with claims that include false advertising,
misrepresenting products and more. [GN]

WALMART INC: Hit With Illinois Class Suit For Biometric Violations
Riley O'Neil at 1440wrok.com reports that another day, and another
really big company is finding itself on Illinois' hot seat for
violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, or

As we've seen with others who have run afoul of BIPA, it may very
well end up that Walmart has to part with some money to make this
whole thing go away. And that's where you come in, potentially.

Walmart Is Not The First Company To Be Accused Of Violating
Illinois' BIPA And It Probably Won't Be The Last
You may be one of the Illinois residents who jumped on board when
Facebook was facing a similar lawsuit. Facebook was accused of
grabbing up and keeping users' facial biometric data (a scanning of
users faces) without receiving permission, which is a violation of
Illinois law.

Those who qualified for, and joined the lawsuit against Facebook
got around $400 ($397, to be exact) each in settlement money for
their trouble.

Other tech companies who've had BIPA problems include:

TikTok ($92 million settlement)
Google ($100 million settlement)
Snapchat ($35 million settlement)

Illinois resident James Luthe is alleging that Walmart stores in
Illinois collected, stored, and used biometric data without getting
consent from the customers being scanned.

From the filing:

"Walmart's stores in Illinois are outfitted with cameras and
advanced video surveillance systems that - unbeknownst to customers
- surreptitiously collect, possess, or otherwise obtain Biometric
Data. In addition, Walmart uses software provided by Clearview AI,
Inc. to match facial scans taken in its Illinois stores with
billions of facial scans maintained within Clearview's massive
facial recognition database."

Other companies in the suit include Home Depot, Best Buy, Kohl's,
and AT&T.


According to the suit against Walmart, the plaintiff is requesting
that the complaint become a certified class action order that
awards its members with "compensatory, non-compensatory, statutory,
exemplary and punitive damages," in the form of $5,000 for each
"intentional" BIPA violation, and $1,000 for each "negligent" BIPA
violation. [GN]

WB DISCOVERY: Faces Class Action Suit Over Misleading Merger Info
Diya Majumdar, writing for Fandomwire, reports that WB Discovery
was handed a major class action lawsuit that could mean the end of
the mass media and entertainment company. The legacy of the newly
forged corporation was brought into question in the aftermath of
the merger of AT&T's WarnerMedia with Discovery in April 2022. The
discussion that has been going on since May 2021 had culminated in
the merger but recent information shows the misleading numbers that
now put the entire company and all its subsidiaries at risk.

WB Discovery Faces Lawsuit For Misleading Information

On Sept. 23, the Collinsville Police Pension Board filed a class
action lawsuit in a New York Federal Court against Warner Bros.
Discovery's Chief Executive Officer, David Zaslav, and the Chief
Financial Officer, Gunnar Wiedenfels. The plaintiff has stated that
they can produce and represent "hundreds of thousands" of other
individuals who were subjected to the misled information that has
caused them monetary harm in the aftermath of the merger.

"WarnerMedia was improvidently concentrating its investments in
streaming and ignoring its other business lines . . . [and]
overstated the number of subscribers to HBO Max by as many as 10
million subscribers, by including as subscribers AT&T customers who
had received bundled access to HBO Max, but had not signed onto the

The lawsuit further added,

"The Registration Statement and Prospectus and certain of the
Defendants' other public statements contained untrue statements of
material fact or omitted to state material facts required to be
stated therein or necessary to make the statements therein not

The Collinsville Police Pension Board happened to be owners of the
pre-merger era Discovery common shares which were traded in favor
of the Warner Bros. Discovery ones after the April 8 merger took
place. As such, any and all persons who had bought WBD shares on
the open market after the merger went through would be eligible to
join in on the lawsuit.

Also read: "He's out of his depth": David Zaslav Ships JJ Abrams'
Batman: Caped Crusader Out of HBO Max Amidst Losing $2.39B in
Market Cap

Will This Finally Be the Lawsuit to End All Lawsuits?
Even as the proofs keep piling up against WB Discovery, it will
merely serve as the final nail in the coffin if the lawsuit follows
through and the defendants lose. On top of the misleading numbers,
the plaintiff also states that the company has kept several
"adverse information" hidden that could potentially harm the case
even further. All of this finally gets tied up with allegations of
three separate SEC violations on WB Discovery's part.

Warner Bros. has been bearing the brunt of attacks on all fronts
for the entirety of the year. The reputation of this century-old
company which was already in ruins is now tattered and decimated
beyond recognition. If David Zaslav really manages to wade through
the quicksand and rise with his company in hand, it will be nothing
short of a miracle at this point. [GN]

WELLS FARGO: Faces Class Action in California Over 401(k) Plan
Brian Croce, writing for Pensions & Investments, reports that two
weeks after Wells Fargo & Co. agreed to settle a Department of
Labor investigation that found the bank overpaid for company stock
purchased for its 401(k) plan, a class-action lawsuit was filed in
U.S. District Court alleging the settlement didn't go far enough.

Three participants in the Wells Fargo & Co. 401(k) Plan, San
Francisco, filed the class-action lawsuit on Sept. 26 in U.S.
District Court in Minneapolis alleging Wells Fargo paid "more than
fair market value" -- with help from plan trustee GreatBanc Trust
Co. -- "when acquiring Wells Fargo preferred stock for the ESOP
portion of the plan."

"Wells Fargo stole from the plan and its own employees, and
GreatBanc, which was charged with protecting the participants'
interests, aided and abetted this theft," the lawsuit stated.

The Labor Department on Sept. 12 announced a settlement with Wells
Fargo after its investigation.

Wells Fargo, which did not admit to or deny the Labor Department's
allegations, agreed to pay about $145 million -- roughly $131.8
million to the plan's eligible current and former participants and
a $13.2 million penalty -- to settle the matter.

The Labor Department investigation found that Wells Fargo and
GreatBanc caused the plan to pay between $1,033 and $1,090 per
share for Wells Fargo preferred stock. Specifically designed for
the plan, the stock converted to a set value of $1,000 in Wells
Fargo common stock when allocated to participants, according to the
Labor Department. In transactions between 2013 and 2018, the plan
borrowed money from Wells Fargo to purchase the preferred stock,
the department noted.

The lawsuit filed on Sept. 26 -- Beville et al v. Greatbanc Trust
Co. et al. -- said the "$131.8 million collected by the DOL for
2012-2018 is far less than the $401.5 million in reclassified
dividend payments taken from the plan by Wells Fargo from

The lawsuit added, "Wells Fargo, with the knowledge and consent of
the other defendants, converted plan assets for its own use in
blatant violation of ERISA's prohibited transaction provisions.
This was theft of participants' retirement savings, an important
part of their compensation package."

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit, but
in a statement after the Labor Department settlement, the company
said that though it disagrees with the department's allegations and
has not conducted these transactions since 2018, it believes
"resolving this legacy matter is in the best interest of the

A representative from GreatBanc couldn't immediately be reached for

The Wells Fargo & Co. 401(k) Plan had $48.8 billion in assets as of
Dec. 31, 2020, according to the most recent Form 5500 filing. [GN]


S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

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