On January 22, 2014, retailer Neiman Marcus published a letter to consumers on its website, revealing that between July 16, 2013 and October 30, 2013, as many as 1.1 million customer payment cards used in the company’s US stores may have been illegally accessed by third parties.
According to the letter, hackers secretly installed “malicious software” in Neiman Marcus’ computer systems capable of collecting credit card information. As of January 22, 2014, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover have notified Neiman Marcus that approximately 2,400 credit and debit cards were fraudulently used after being used at Neiman Marcus stores. According to Neiman Marcus, social security numbers and birth dates were not compromised, the company has not seen any fraudulent activity on Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman cards, customers who have shopped online have not been affected, and Personal Identification Numbers (“PINs”) have not been compromised because the company does not use PIN pads for in-store purchases.
Neiman Marcus has not indicated what part of its computer system was infected by the malware, and it is not clear whether the attack on Neiman Marcus is related to the November-December 2013 attack on Target databases, which affected approximately 70 million individuals and 40 million credit and debit card accounts. Neiman Marcus is offering a free year of credit monitoring and identity-theft protection services to customers who shopped with the company between January 2013 and January 2014. The company also recommends its customers check their credit card statements for fraudulent activity and report any suspicious transactions to the card issuer immediately.
Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP is currently litigating a class action lawsuit against Adobe Systems, Inc. on behalf of American consumers in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (Case No. 13-cv-05596) related to a 2013 data breach. If you believe your personal and/or financial information has been compromised, you may be entitled to relief. Please call Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a confidential consultation.
A Los Angeles woman has filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s Corp. alleging that she was burned by hot coffee that spilled on her at one of the chain’s restaurants in Los Angeles.
The story is a familiar one, as this lawsuit comes 20 years after a jury awarded $2.9 million to an elderly woman who spilled coffee and suffered third degree burns which required skin graft surgery, after it was revealed that the restaurant was ordered to keep its coffee at dangerously high temperatures to maintain taste. Though the verdict was widely criticized, it is believed that the elderly woman passed away not long afterwards as a result of her serious injuries.
The new case was filed by Paulette Carr, who alleged that she was injured on January 9, 2012 after ordering coffee at the drive-thru window of the McDonald’s on Sepulveda Boulevard in Van Nuys, California. Specifically, the complaint explains, “The lid for the hot coffee was negligently, carelessly, and improperly placed on the coffee cup…resulting in the lid coming off the top of the coffee at the window, causing the hot coffee to spill onto the plaintiff.” However, the complaint does not allege what injuries she suffered as a result.
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury as a result of another person’s negligence, please contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a private consultation.
A California federal judge has certified a class action lawsuit that claims credit card equipment companies charged merchants excessive fees and hidden costs. According to the lawsuit, several major companies that provide electronic payment services participated in a scheme to charge merchants excessive fees and other hidden costs to lease credit and debit card processing equipment.
Specifically, plaintiffs claim that the companies convince merchants “through a series of deceitful misrepresentations and forged documents to enroll in fraudulent equipment leases.” Plaintiffs argue that the high cost of the equipment leases surpasses the cost of the equipment and, instead, the money is being used to pay commissions.
These companies used deceitful tactics to present their contracts as legitimate, claims the lawsuit. For example, plaintiffs claim that they were presented with only one page of a contract that apparently included multiple pages. Likewise, these companies presented contracts with signatures on the first page instead of the last page.
The plaintiffs allege claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), California’s Unfair Competition Law, California business law, and negligent misrepresentation. They sought certification of a class of merchants who entered into contracts or leases for card services with any of the defendants since March 26, 2006, plus five subclasses.
On December 20, California District Judge Claudia Wilken granted the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification in part, certifying two subclasses.
If you feel that you have been the victim of deceitful business practices, please contact Khorrami Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a private consultation.
Ford Fusion owner Sandra Storto has sued Ford Motor Co. in a federal class action in Chicago for problems consumers continue to experience with the MyFord Touch System. The system utilizes an LCD touch screen to control vehicle GPS navigation, satellite radio, Bluetooth communication, heat and air, and to contact emergency services after an accident.
According to Courthouse News Service, the MyFord Touch System has been installed in certain Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury models since 2011. Consumers pay a premium of up to $1,795 for the system, which the lawsuit alleges “does not perform as intended, advertised or promised by Ford.” Consumer complaints to Ford and found on the internet indicate that the system stops working intermittently, the screen goes dark or does not respond to touch commands, fails to properly connect to mobile phones and drops calls, interfaces poorly with Apple Computer products, and improperly calculates navigation routes. The lawsuit also alleges that the system poses safety risks to drivers associated with extended time focusing on malfunctioning features, decreased visibility due to malfunctions in the defrost system and rear-view camera, and failures of the 911 dial feature after an accident.
This is not the first lawsuit against Ford related to the malfunctioning system as The Center for Defensive Driving filed a similar class action in a California federal court on July 15, 2013 (Case No. CV13-5068). Since that lawsuit was filed, Ford has issued software updates, attempting to fix the problems, but has not remedied the issues experienced by Storto and other class members.
Storto has alleged fraud, unjust enrichment, deceptive trade, and Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act violations. She claims that she and other consumers would not have purchased or leased the vehicles or would have paid substantially less for them had they known of the defects.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of fraud or has purchased a product that does not perform as promised, you may be entitled to relief. Please call Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a confidential consultation.
The creator of a popular Android flashlight app recently settled a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) case alleging that the phone app deceived customers about how their information would be shared.
Goldenshores Technologies, LLC, creator of the “Brightest Flashlight Free” Android app which has been downloaded by millions of users, was accused of deceptively failing to disclose that the app transmitted user geo-location and other unique information to third parties such as advertisers, even when users opted not to share.
The settlement reached with the FTC requires the company to provide accurate disclosures informing users of how their information will be shared and requires express consent from the user before the information is shared.
The FTC has been diligent in its prosecution of app companies and developers who violate user privacy. In February of 2013, the FTC issued “Mobile Privacy Disclosures: Building Trust Through Transparency,” a series of recommendations of best practices regarding mobile privacy for key players in the mobile industry. Although the recommendations are not being strictly enforced, it has made stakeholders aware of the FTC’s heightened scrutiny in this arena.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a privacy violation, please contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a private consultation.
Luis Rosado filed a class action lawsuit against eBay, Inc. in California federal court on July 30, 2012, alleging that eBay engages in unfair and deceptive business practices by prematurely delisting items when a buyer clicks the “Buy It Now” button but does not pay for the item. Rosado argues that by delisting items before the fixed listing period has expired because a potential buyer clicks the “Buy It Now” but does not pay, he and other eBay sellers do not receive the benefit of the bargain they paid for.
Rosado acknowledges he was aware that eBay listing fees are nonrefundable, even when items do not sell, but argues that consumers “have no reason to suspect their item may be delisted prematurely by a prospective buyer clicking the ‘Buy It Now’ button but not paying.” The complaint alleges that a potential buyer clicked the “Buy It Now” button on the 7th day of a 21 day listing he had placed to sell his car, causing eBay to delist the vehicle, thus preventing other persons from buying it. Instead of paying for the item using PayPal or a credit card, the potential buyer offered to pay with a cashier’s check that exceeded the purchase price and asked Rosado to refund the difference in cash. Suspecting fraud, eBay requested Rosado not complete the transaction. Rosado asked eBay to refund the $36 listing fee he had paid or credit him the remaining 14 days, allowing the listing to run for the entire 21 day period he had contracted for, but eBay refused, refunding only $4.25. The complaint alleges that “reasonable person[s] would expect that in order to ‘Buy It Now’ and cause the item to be delisted, one would have to complete the transaction by purchasing the item.”
Rosado has alleged false advertising, violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law, breach of quasi-contract, and declaratory relief, and seeks compensatory damages, restitutionary and equitable relief, and attorneys’ fees, among other relief, on behalf of all United States residents who paid eBay listing fees and had their items delisted prematurely after a buyer had clicked the “Buy It Now” button but then failed to pay during the last 4 years. Currently before the court is eBay’s motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that it acted in accordance with its policies and that Rosado failed to purchase a service requiring immediate payment for “Buy It Now” listings.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of fraud, you may be entitled to relief. Please call Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a confidential consultation.
On October 3, 2013, Adobe Systems, Inc. (“Adobe”) first announced that approximately 3 million Adobe user accounts, including user login data, names, company names, email addresses, payment information, and other personal information, had been accessed by unauthorized parties. More recently, reports claim that as many as 150 million Adobe user accounts may have been impacted by this data breach.
We understand that the security of your personal information is important. We provide reasonable administrative, technical, and physical security controls to protect your personal information.
After a business becomes aware that its customers’ personal information has been accessed by unauthorized parties or otherwise compromised, the California Data Breach Act requires Adobe to disclose the security breach to inform affected consumers “without unreasonable delay.” However, despite admitting that it was aware of the data breach as early as September 17, 2013, many Adobe customers were not notified that their information had been compromised until mid-October 2013, while some customers have not been notified at all.
On December 3, 2013, Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of American consumers in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (Case No. 13-cv-05596). To date, two other class action lawsuits (Halpain v. Adobe Systems, Inc., Case No. 13-cv-05226; and Heimlich v. Adobe Systems, Inc., Case No. 13-cv-05611) have also been filed against Adobe on behalf of American consumers related to the 2013 data breach. Each of the complaints alleges that Adobe implemented substandard security measures, made material misrepresentations regarding its security measures, failed to protect consumers’ personal information, and failed to timely inform consumers that their personal information had been compromised.
Search tools are available online, such as http://rpi.ricklubbers.nl/random/adobe/, to help consumers determine if whether their Adobe customer account information may have been accessed by unauthorized persons as a result of the recent data breach. If you believe your personal information has been compromised, we would like to hear from you and learn more about your experience as part of our ongoing investigation into Adobe’s violations of consumer rights. Please call Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a confidential consultation.
Rob Brown, the star of HBO’s “Treme,” filled a federal filed a federal class action lawsuit against Macy’s department store for alleged racial profiling. Brown claims he was handcuffed by NYPD cops after buying an expensive watch and for being black.
The actor purchased a $1,300 Movado watch for his mother from the Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square in New York City. Shortly after his purchase, he was stopped by three white NYPD cops who “publicly and falsely” accused Brown of credit card fraud. According to Brown, he was then taken to a holding cell where he was berated for an hour and only released after cops realized that he was a successful actor.
The complaint cites 14 other minority customers who have sued Macy’s because they were allegedly singled out mainly out of suspicion because of their race. The lawsuit also states that Macy’s has not changed its security practices in light of a 2005 settlement with the Attorney General over racial profiling complaints.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of racial profiling please contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner and Sanguinetti, LLP for a private consultation.
The manufacturer and marketers of Meaningful Beauty skin care products claim that the product is Cindy Crawford’s secret for ageless, beautiful skin. The products’ key ingredient is marketed as a “rare French melon,” which is described on the product line’s website as a “patented melon extract” that is “taken from a rare form of ‘cantaloupe charentais,’ which is grown only in the South of France.” The companies represent that, by “utilizing this first generation antioxidant, Meaningful Beauty’s formulas are designed to help protect your skin against the visible signs of aging in a remarkable way.” This melon extract is also known as superoxide dismutase, or SOD. According to Dr. Sebagh, the purported “founder” of the melon extract, “It’s been a very difficult process to extract the enzyme from this melon, and we’ve been the first ones to use this melon extract in a very high concentration, which is exclusive to Meaningful Beauty.”
Advertisements promise that the Meaningful Beauty products are “gentle and safe for all skin types” and that users will experience “dramatic, visible results, right away.” In support of these claims, an 8-week consumer study of 132 women is advertised on the product line’s website, in which “98% saw improvement in the tone and texture of their skin; 93% saw healthier, younger looking skin; 93% saw a significantly more even complexion; and 85% felt a significant reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” However, additional details on this study are unavailable.
Consumer complaints suggest that, contrary to these claims, the Meaningful Beauty products are not safe for all skin types and users do not experience dramatic, visible results. Indeed, many users claim to have suffered serious reactions and have not seen any of the promised results.
California consumer protection laws make it illegal to use false or misleading advertising, or claims of positive health benefits, in order to sell a product to consumers. We are currently investigating whether the manufacturer and marketers of the Meaningful Beauty product line have violated the rights of California consumers by making false or misleading claims about these products. If you or someone you know are a California resident who purchased Meaningful Beauty’s skin products, please contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a free and confidential consultation concerning your legal rights.
Kia Motors is now facing a class action lawsuit for allegedly selling cars with dangerously defective gas tanks. In Texas, three passengers were driving a Kia Soul and were completely engulfed in flames after the gas tank exploded.
The gas tanks, which are located directly below the passenger’s seat, are neither reinforced with straps nor shielded with sheet metal, creating a risk of explosion in the event of a collision. As the complaint states, “Failure to use straps, as most auto manufacturers do, increases the risk that the has tank will shift or dislodge and ignite in a major collision. This location, coupled with the use of a plastic instead of a metal fuel pump service cover, increases the likelihood that in a major collision, fire will penetrate the rear cabin through the plastic service cover like a ‘blow torch.’”
The lawsuit, which was filed on November 13, 2013 in California federal court, seeks to represent a class of consumers who purchased, leased and/or currently own or lease any Kia model with a gas tank that is either not connected to the underside of the vehicle with reinforced straps, is not protected by a shield tank, or has a plastic fuel pump service cover that is accessible from the passenger compartment of the car.