After five years of legal battles, a class action was certified on behalf of over 170,000 disgruntled British Airways frequent fliers in New York federal court on March 31, 2017. The class action alleges that the fuel charge is arbitrary, and is not in accord with the Frequent Fliers contract. British Airways charges frequent fliers fuel surcharges when using rewards points to pay for flights. The charge can sometimes be up to $500.
Class Actions Blog
Just in time for the start of the 2017 baseball season, a federal judge in California has certified a class action on behalf of thousands of disgruntled Minor League Baseball players who allege that they should be paid minimum wage and overtime. The players are from different “clubs” across the state of California. They have worked countless hours throughout both the official season and the off-season, participating in conditioning and training in addition to playing official games. Minor League Baseball is part of a player feeder system for Major League Baseball and it has long been thought that minor league players are “paying their dues” in expending the long hours for comparably bad pay.
BBC World News connects passenger being dragged off of United Airlines plane to unequal bargaining power between consumers and corporations in America as a result of forced arbitration clauses
On the April 11, 2017, BBC World News Program, the announcer told a reporter for the Atlantic that traditionally in the United States, if a group of consumers were being treated unfairly by a large corporation, it might result in a lawsuit. The announcer questioned why that was not the case here. The reporter for the Atlantic said that class actions have been vitally important in the past in the United States at leveling the playing field when consumers have disputes with large corporations. The reporter noted that an individual consumer would never have the financial wherewithal to get into a legal dispute with a company the size of United Airlines over an individual claim, but if the claim was on behalf of a number of consumers, that would give the consumers more leverage.
A proposed class action filed in California federal court alleges that Uber’s upfront pricing model charges passengers a higher fare based on a longer route, but requires drivers to take the shortest route, allowing Uber to pocket the difference. The plaintiff alleges that Uber instituted the new “upfront” pricing model sometime between June and September 2016. The upfront pricing model gives prospective riders using the Uber app a fare estimate based on a longer than intended route. Upon conclusion of the ride, the Uber defendants collect the upfront rate from the user based on the longer route and time calculations but do not transmit the full fare collected to the drivers (minus the per transport service fee to which the Uber defendants are entitled).
On April 6, 2017, the California Supreme Court unanimously held that an arbitration agreement that waives the right to public injunctive relief is contrary to California public policy and therefore is unenforceable under California law. The decision reverses an appellate court’s interpretation that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Concepcion decision preempts state-law arbitration rules.
Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $110 million to resolve class actions that allege bank workers opened unauthorized accounts in customers’ names or enrolled them in the bank’s services without their consent. If the class action settlement is approved, class members would be reimbursed for out-of-pocket losses, such as fees incurred due to unauthorized account openings. After those losses are paid, along with attorneys’ fees and costs, the remaining amount would be split among all claimants, based on the number and kinds of unauthorized accounts or services claimed.