Class Actions Blog

Class action filed by college faculty nets $19.5 million

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by Steve Larson

TIAA_CREFA class-action federal lawsuit sparked by faculty at St. Michael’s College against a major financial services company has resulted in a $19.5 million settlement for 106,000 claimants nationwide. Under terms of an order signed Wednesday by U.S. District Judge J. Garvan Murtha, TIAA-CREF, the financial services company, will also pay $3.3 million in attorneys’ fees in the case, which began about five years ago and which pertains to retirement accounts of teachers at various private schools. Read more… on-demand housecleaners claim to be employees

Posted on: November 18th, 2014 by Steve Larson

HandyA new lawsuit against claims that its housecleaners should be considered employees, not independent contractors, because the company dictates all sorts of working conditions.   It comes closely after a similar lawsuit by Uber drivers filed last year.

Both cases — which could set the stage for still more suits — strike at the heart of the new breed of on-demand services, which have received millions in venture backing.

Companies like Handy and Uber consider themselves to be middlemen rather than service providers. Treating workers as independent contractors is basic to their business model, allowing them to quickly expand and contract their workforces, and to sidestep expenses like health insurance, sick time and disability coverage. Read more…

Class action lawsuit filed over hospital data breach

Posted on: November 14th, 2014 by Steve Larson

Data SecurityFive patients from Alabama have filed a federal class action lawsuit against a Tennessee-based hospital system after 4.5 million people across the U.S. were affected by a data breach.  In August, Community Health Systems disclosed that its computer system had been cyber-attacked in April and June.

The breach, which affected 206 hospitals in 29 states, involved non-medical personal information such as names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and social security numbers. Read more…

Retailers continuing to allegedly engage in deceptive advertising at outlets

Posted on: November 12th, 2014 by Steve Larson

Neiman-MarcusA class action lawsuit has been filed against Neiman Marcus, Ltd.. in California Superior Court for allegedly misleading customers about discounts at the company’s Last Call outlet stores.  Specifically, the complaint alleges that Last Call price tags falsely suggest that the items were sold at Neiman Marcus’ flagship stores, but many Last Call clothing items were never sold at Neiman Marcus retail stores and are of lesser quality.

The lawsuit centers on the “compared to” prices posted which highlights the difference between the reduced sales prices of an item at Last Call against the purported price that the same item sold for at Neiman Marcus flagship stores.  Since certain items were never sold in Neiman Marcus, the compared to price is allegedly fabricated and, consequently, the perceived discount customers are receiving by purchasing items at Last Call is misleading.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages along with a permanent injunction to preclude Neiman Marcus from continuing to employ the allegedly misleading sales practices.  A similar lawsuit which focused on outlet store price misrepresentations was filed against Michael Kors in July 2014.

Comcast agrees to settle long running class action case

Posted on: November 7th, 2014 by Keith Dubanevich

comcastComcast has agreed to pay $50 million to settle a decade-old class action case.  If approved, the settlement will resolve allegations that Comcast illegally “swapped” customers in five Pennsylvania counties with cable companies in other geographic markets.  Read more…

Google sanctioned in advertising class action

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by Steve Larson

googleA federal judge sanctioned Google, Inc. for violating a court order to produce certain log files from its AdWords ad-placement service that are key to a proposed class action accusing Google of overcharging businesses that use its ad-placement service.  California U.S. District Judge Howard R. Lloyd said Google must pay lead plaintiff Rick Woods’ attorney fees and expenses related to his motion for sanctions, finding that the search company failed to heed a March court order to produce all of the necessary log files within 14 days. Although Google did eventually produce additional relevant logs, Judge Lloyd said its “minimal production” of data it felt was relevant violated his order.

The class action relates to Google’s AdWords service, which places ads on websites and then charges advertisers for each click.  The AdWords service contains a program by which prices are reduced for advertisers when data demonstrates that ads on certain sites are not producing real business results for advertisers.  The class action alleges that Google not only secretly overcharged the plaintiff and other advertisers for the service but also made “preferential secret deals” with large companies that host the ads, exempting them from rules that restrict an advertiser’s ability to put ads in low-quality positions, like on mobile apps.

The case is Rick Woods v. Google Inc., case number 5:11-cv-01263, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

About the authors

  • Steve Larson

  • Steve Larson
  • Steve Larson has been representing investors, consumers and employees in class actions in Oregon for over 20 years. He is a shareholder at the law firm of Stoll Berne in Portland, Oregon.
  • Keith Dubanevich

  • Steve Larson
  • Keith Dubanevich has extensive experience handling antitrust, consumer and securities cases. Until joining the Portland, Oregon law firm Stoll Berne as a shareholder, he was the Associate Attorney General and Chief of Staff at the Oregon Department of Justice.
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