The ACLU of California filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Education claiming more than 20,000 students are not getting the English language instruction they need. The lawsuit chronicles the classroom struggles of several children, including an 18-year-old senior who has not received any English language instruction since the second quarter of 11th grade. Failure to provide these services would be particularly offensive because these school districts are receiving state and federal funding for these services.
The Grossmont Union High School District, located in eastern San Diego County, has been identified as one of the most egregious offenders. According to than 50 students did not receive services in that particular school year. Theresa Kemper, assistant superintendent for the educational the lawsuit, Grossmont reported to the state Department of Education that 1,389 of its 3,368 English learner students did not receive English instructional services in the 2010 – 2011 school year. However, Grossmont did receive funding for these services.
Grossmont disputes the statistics claiming there was a “data reporting problem” which incorrectly identified the students. Grossmont contends that fewer services, claims “It is a data problem for us. It is not a lack of services problem.”
The ACLU alerted the state about this problem in January of this year. David Loy, legal director of the ACLU in San Diego and Imperial counties, said discussion between the organization and the state did not yield any concrete changes. Accordingly, they took legal action.
If you or someone you love has not received failed to receive services owed to them, please contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a private consultation.
Capital One Bank is on the other side of a class action filed by customers who claim the bank defrauded them by falsely claiming that its Best Buy Reward Zone credit cards had no annual fee.
California resident, John Graham, filed the lawsuit after he allegedly applied for a “no annual fee” Best Buy Reward Zone credit card from Capital One, but was instead issued a credit card with a $39 annual fee. According to the complaint, disclosures for the credit card clearly stated: “Annual Fee: NONE.” As a result, the complaint alleges violations of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), unfair business practices, and fraud, and six other claims.
The class action lawsuit is being brought on behalf of all U.S. residents nationwide, and seeks anyone who submitted a Best Buy Reward Zone Credit Card application that contained a promise of “no annual fees” but who later received a Capital One credit card with an annual fee from May 8, 2011 to the present. The lawsuit, titled John Graham v. Capital One Bank, was filed in California federal court.
If you or someone who know has been the victim of fraud or other unfair business practices, please contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a private consultation.
A class action lawsuit was filed against Apple, Inc. on May 24 accusing the company of knowingly using faulty or inferior liquid-detection tape on its iPhone and iPod Touch devices, which falsely indicated water damage and prevented consumers from replacing their devices under the company’s warranty policy.
The lawsuit is seeking to represent anyone who purchased their iPhone before January 1, 2010, or an iPod Touch before July 1, 2010, and the devices must have been covered by either a one-year warranty or the two-year AppleCare Protection Plan. The complaint suggests that the liquid-detection tape on the devices can be triggered by humidity and temperature changes, both of which are not known to cause device malfunction.
The new lawsuit comes less than one month after Apple signed a $53 million settlement in another class action lawsuit in connection with warranties of the same Apple devices. However, the plaintiffs in that case included anyone who was denied warranty coverage based on the liquid-detection tape when they tried to repair or replace their iPhone on or before December 31, 2009, or tried to repair or replace the iPod Touch on or before June 30, 2010. That settlement came after 3M, the manufacturer of the tape, stated that the pink color of the Plaintiffs’ indication tape was merely an indication of humidity, and did not indicate actual contact with a liquid.
The new plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief, and monetary compensation. The case name is Sean Pennington et al. v. Apple Inc., and has been filed in California federal court.
If you or someone you know have been the victim of unfair business practices, please contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a private consultation.
New Jersey resident Sophia Martina filed a consumer class action lawsuit against LA Fitness International, LLC in 2012 for automatic renewal and improper collection of monthly membership dues in violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (NJSA 56:8-42). On May 29, 2013, Judge William A. Walls of the New Jersey District Court granted preliminary approval of the settlement between the parties.
According to the complaint, LA Fitness charged Martina an additional month’s dues after mailing written notice of cancellation because the letter was not postmarked 30 days prior to her next billing cycle. The complaint further alleged that LA Fitness extended Martina’s contract even further because she had paid her last month’s dues at the time of signing the membership contract.
New Jersey law contains specific provisions governing health club services which expressly prohibit membership contract provisions that require “the buyer to renew the contract.” (NJSA 56:8-42 i.) Judge Walls agreed with Martina that LA Fitness’ cancellation policy, requiring mailing of the cancellation notice and extension of the contract term post cancellation, is deceptive and presents an unacceptable barrier to cancellation.
In a similar class action lawsuit by California consumers concerning strict membership cancellation policies, the parties reached a settlement in which LA Fitness was required to provide aggrieved consumers with 45-day free passes to LA Fitness clubs. If the court grants final approval of the settlement reached between Martina and LA Fitness, New Jersey consumers will receive one-third of a month’s dues and a choice of two free training sessions or $100 toward a new membership, in addition to a 45-day free pass. Information about how consumers may file a claim in the New Jersey class action settlement has not yet been released.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of unlawful or deceptive business practices, you may be entitled to relief. Please call Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a confidential consultation.
An Orthodox Jewish woman, Rorie Weisberg, has sued Lancome for failing to live up to the promises made in the marketing of its “24-hour makeup,” Teint Idole Ultra 24H.
Teint Idole Ultra 24H claims it can provide “lasting perfection” for a fully day and night. Rorie Weisberg of Monsey, New York claims Lancome’s product did not deliver the promised results which prevented her from looking good and staying holy on the Sabbath.
As an Orthodox Jewish woman, Rorie asserts she relied on Lancome’s representations because she “abides by Jewish law by not applying makeup from sundown on Friday until nighttime on Saturday.” Rorie was hopeful that the makeup would last the entire duration of the Sabbath. The appeal of the long-term wear “was central to plaintiff’s purchase decision, as a long-lasting makeup assists with her dual objections of compliance with religious law and enhancement to her natural appearance.” Rorie was disappointed when the makeup “faded significantly” overnight especially since the make-up was priced at $45.00 for a one-ounce bottle.
Rorie filed a claim in Manhattan federal court accusing Lancome of violating New York business law through “deceptive acts and practices.” Rorie seeks unspecified damages from Lancome and would like the company to create a “corrective advertising campaign.”
L’Oreal spokesperson, Rebecca Caruso, stated “Lancome strongly believes that this lawsuit has no merit and stands proudly behind our products. We will strenuously contest these allegations in court. Consistent with our practice and policy, however, as this matter is currently in litigation, we cannot comment further.
If you or someone you love has purchased a product that did not perform as promised, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a private consultation.
GNC customer Michael Lerman has filed suit in California federal court, alleging GNC misrepresented the benefits of its Triflex dietary supplements. The advertisements, which are both online and on the product’s packaging, suggest that the supplement helps to “regenerate cartilage and lubricate joints thus supporting joint health integrity and function,” and “protect joints from wear and tear.”
According to the complaint, “the Triflex products do not promote flexibility or mobility, relieve joint discomfort, or cushion joints.” In fact, the complaint alleges that “clinical studies have proven that the primary active ingredients in the Triflex products, glucosamine and chondroitin, are ineffective, taken alone or in combination with the other ingredients in the products, with regard to the purported joint health benefits represented on the products’ packaging and labeling.”
Lerman also alleges that GNC has engaged in deception and omission in failing to disclose studies demonstrating that the active ingredients in the Triflex supplement are ineffective.
The complaint, which was filed on April 18, 2013, seeks to represent all California residents who purchased the Triflex products for personal use within the last four years.
If you or someone you know has purchased a product based upon false statements in the product’s advertisements, you may be entitled to relief. Please call Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.
A class action lawsuit has been filed in U.S. Federal Court by two “Production Appraisers” in JPMorgan Chase’s commercial lending division. The suit is seeking millions of dollars in unpaid overtime wages based on the appraisers being misclassified as exempt employees. The suit also alleges other violations of California and federal law.
According to the suit, Chase Production Appraisers were involved with the valuation of value commercial and multi-unit residential properties, which aided Chase in determining whether it would agree to loan or refinance requests made by the property owners.
The lawsuit was filed by two Long Beach, California residents, Kenneth Lee and Mark Thompson, who worked as Production Appraisers. According to Lee and Thompson, Production Appraisers have been deprived of overtime pay, meal and rest periods, itemized wage statements, and other reimbursements required by California law, because they were inaccurately characterized as exempt employees when they should have been classified as non-exempt employees. Lee and Thompson claim that Chase established various billing goals for appraisers, requiring working up to 70 hours a week in order to have a chance to make the goals. According to the suit, because the appraisers had to follow specific and detailed standards when filling out their appraisals, subject to reviews, the position did not qualify as “exempt.” Additionally, the Plaintiffs assert that appraisers had no authority to make administrative decisions or to deviate from the pre-approved appraisal criteria or formulas. The suit could represent the interests of about 150 appraisers who were or are misclassified as exempt employees.
According to federal law, employers must pay employees one and a half times their hourly wage for all hours worked after 40 per week. There are exceptions for various professions and positions. California law also requires overtime payments to employees of one and one half times their hourly rate for all hours worked over 40 in a week. California also requires that employees receive one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked over eight hours in a workday. In addition, California also requires employees receive double their pay for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday.
California overtime law, like federal overtime law, is subject to various exceptions. Particularly, California provides exemptions from overtime requirements for some Executive, Administrative, and Professional employees.
If you or someone you know has not received overtime that they were entitled to, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.
Anheuser-Busch, manufacturer of popular American beers, is accused of watering down its Budweiser, Bud Ice, Bud Light Platinum, Michelob, Michelob Ultra, Hurricane High Gravity Lager, King Cobra, Busch Ice, Natural Ice, Natural Light, and Bud Light Lime, causing their alcohol levels to fall “well below” the advertised 5% volume, in an attempt to increase profits.
James Clark, a former Director of Operations and Support for Anheuser-Busch, blew the whistle on his former employer in February, 2013 by providing evidence of the watering-down process to attorneys for a class-action lawsuit based on the company’s false advertising. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that, “Because water is cheaper than alcohol, AB adds extra water to its finished products to produce malt beverages that consistently have lower alcohol than the percentage displayed on its labels. By doing so, AB is able to produce a significantly higher number of units of beer from the same starting batch of ingredients.”
The lead attorney on the class-action suit, Josh Boxer, told the Associated Press that employees from 13 different breweries eventually came forward with more supporting evidence. Some of the employees came from high-level positions within the plants. Boxer explained, “Our information comes from former employees at Anheuser-Busch, who have informed us that as a matter of corporate practice, all of their products mentioned (in the lawsuit) are watered down. It’s a simple cost-saving measure, and it’s very significant.”
Lawsuits have been filed in San Francisco, Cleveland, Philidelphia, and New Jersey. One of the California plaintiffs, Nina Giampaoli of Sonoma County, said she has bought a six-pack of Budweiser every week for the past four years. She and other California plaintiffs are seeking $5 million in damages and are asking the court to require the company to promote a corrective advertising campaign.
Anheuser-Busch has since retaliated against Clark with a lawsuit of their own, claiming that he “improperly used and misrepresented our confidential information to instigate these lawsuits, all for his personal gain.”
If you or anyone you know has suffered as a result of false advertising, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a free and private consultation.
A California appeals court recently overturned a trial court decision to dismiss a personal injury lawsuit against United Airlines (“United”) for failure to provide a wheelchair to a disabled person. A person with a disability who is not properly accommodated during their time in an airport is quite likely to have those disabilities aggravated in some way or have some new injury result.
San Francisco native and plaintiff Michelle Gilstrap suffers from oseoarthiritis which makes it difficult for her to walk or stand for extended periods of time. In 2008 and 2009, Gilstrap claimed that United refused to provide her with a wheel chair and questioned the true nature of her disability. According to the complaint, at one point, a United agent from whom she asked for assistance, unilaterally revoked her ticket and booked her for a later flight after telling her that is what she got for refusing to stand in line.
Gilstrap sued for negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of duty of a common carrier, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Gilstrap did not allege violations of the Air Carrier Access Act but claimed that the Act was relevant to establishing her negligence claim.
Of major issue to the appeals court was whether the remedies in the Air Carrier Access Act were exclusive and thus precluded other kinds of causes of action, such as those lying in tort. The court found that the remedies were not exclusive and allowed the case to proceed.
Consequently, the effect is to give plaintiffs a real opportunity to redress violations of the federal regulation that aggravated and/or caused additional injuries.
If you feel that you or someone you know have been denied proper accommodation for a disability, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a private consultation.