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April 24, 2014 / Corina Valderrama

Lawsuit Filed Against Wells Fargo for Loan Modification Violations

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Henry and Renee Garcia have filed a potential class action lawsuit in California federal court against Wells Fargo alleging it violated California consumer laws by billing late fees to, or foreclosing on, state homeowners who had loan modification applications pending with the bank.

According to the lawsuit, Wells Fargo practices “dual tracking”, which is when a bank pursues a foreclosure while simultaneously processing loan modifications. On January 1, 2013, the California Homeowner Bill of Rights was enacted, prohibiting this conduct.

The Garcias allege that they applied for a loan modification with Wells Fargo but the bank charged them $840 in late fees and prepared to foreclose on their property before their application process was complete. The lawsuit seeks to establish two subclasses: one for alleged victims of dual tracking and another for homeowners who were illegally charged late fees.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a similar experience, please contact Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a private consultation.

April 24, 2014 / Corina Valderrama

Bayer Sued for Mirena IUD Birth Control Complications

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Nine women have filed a lawsuit in California federal court against Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc. alleging complications related to its birth control device, Mirena IUD.

Mirena is designed to be inserted into the uterus by a physician to prevent pregnancy through hormonal actions and can remain in place for up to five years. The lawsuit itself does not discuss the details of the plaintiffs’ injuries but other lawsuits and complaints have listed several alleged complications with the device. Among these are claims that the device can perforate the uterus or punch its way through the walls of the organ and cause damage to other organs of the pelvis and abdomen. Other alleged complications include permanent damage to the reproductive systems that can cause sterility.

The litigation against Bayer over the Mirena IUD has taken the form of a multidistrict litigation comprising of hundreds of individual Mirena lawsuits filed across the country.

If you or someone you know has suffered injury as a result of a defective product, please contact Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a private consultation.

April 24, 2014 / Cathy Kim

Takeda to Pay $6 Billion in Actos Cancer Lawsuits

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On April 7, 2014, a federal court in Louisiana ordered Japanese drug maker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. to pay $6 billion in punitive damages in settlement of allegations that the company concealed information regarding the risk for cancer associated with its diabetes drug Actos.  Eli Lilly and Co., a co-defendant in the case, was ordered to pay $3 billion in punitive damages and $1.45 billion in compensatory damages.  This was the first federal case to be tried in a consolidated multidistrict litigation comprising of more than 2,900 lawsuits. 

Actos is a member of class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones, used to treat type 2 diabetes.  The side effects of Actos include increased risk for bladder cancer, congestive heart failure, serious liver problems, and fractures.  According to Eli Lilly and Co., 75 percent of the liability was allocated to Takeda and 25 percent to Lilly.  Takeda plans to appeal the award, stating that judgments were entered in its favor in all three previous Actos trials. 

If you or someone you know has been affected by the drug Actos, please contact Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a consultation.

April 24, 2014 / Corina Valderrama

Heinz Distilled White Vinegar Not “All Natural”

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The U.S. based food company, H. J. Heinz Company (“Heinz”), markets its Heinz Distilled White Vinegar as “all natural” despite the fact that the product is made with genetically modified crops. Genetically modified crops are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified and altered through genetic engineering in a way that does not occur naturally.

Feeding into the recently growing health-conscious trend, some manufacturers have been quick to label products as “all natural” to boost sales; even though many products still contain GMOs and additives. Consumers pay more for a product, or choose one product over another, based on the representation that these products are “all natural.”

Although the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are charged with enforcing the labeling laws on food manufacturers, neither agency has specifically defined the term “natural” or “all natural” creating an environment that allows manufacturers to loosely play with the terms. Until there is more detailed regulation, consumers can protect their rights through the judicial system by bringing claims for false advertising and fraud.

If you or anyone you know has recently purchased Heinz’s Distilled White Vinegar, please contact Khorrami Boucher, LLP at (213) 596-6000 and ask to speak to Corina for a private consultation.

 

April 24, 2014 / Brandon Brouillette

Crisco ‘Natural’ Cooking Oils False Advertising Investigation

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The law offices of Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP are investigating allegations of false advertising made by the J.M. Smucker Co. in relation to the marketing and advertising several of its Crisco® brand cooking oils as “all natural.”

Under the Crisco® brand moniker J.M Smucker Co. sells various cooking oils, including Crisco® Pure Canola Oil, Crisco® Puritan Peanut Oil, Crisco® Natural Blend Oil, Crisco® Pure Corn Oil, and Crisco® Vegetable Oil. J.M. Smucker Co. represents through its advertising and product labels that each of these products are “all natural.” However, some, if not all of these products are said to contain Genetically modified (GM) foods.

GM foods are defined by the World Health Organization as those “derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, e.g. through the introduction of a gene from a different organism.” Over time more and more consumers are becoming wary of GM foods and the unknown side effects that they may cause. Moreover, many consumers do product comparisons when they shop and look for “all natural” or similar labeling on a product before they decide which product to purchase. Based on that decision consumers may end up paying a higher cost solely on the basis of a representation that may not be true.

If you would like to put a stop to misleading food labeling practices and have purchased Crisco® brand cooking oils on the false belief that the products were “all natural,” please contact the law offices of Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a free confidential consultation regarding your potential claims for relief.

April 24, 2014 / Brandon Brouillette

Chase Freedom Card False Advertising Investigation

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The law offices of Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP are investigating allegations of false advertising made by Chase Bank USA in relation to marketing and advertising the Chase Freedom Card credit card.

In marketing and advertising the Chase Freedom Card, Chase Bank USA allegedly promised consumers a reward of 20,000 points if they opened a new Chase Freedom Card account and made $500 in purchases within three months of opening their account. The 20,000 points could then be redeemed for $200 bonus. However, several consumers have reported that despite holding up their end of the bargain by applying for a new Chase Freedom Card account and making $500 worth of purchases in the ensuing three months, Chase Bank USA only issued 10,000 points, which could only be redeemed for $100, or half of the Chase Freedom Card’s advertised limited time bonus.

If you are a Chase Bank USA customer that opened up a new Chase Freedom Card account during their 20,000 point promotion and did not receive the 20,000 points or $200 promised, then you may be entitled to relief. Please contact the law offices of Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a free consultation.

April 22, 2014 / Brandon Brouillette

First Financial Services, Inc. Class Action Lawsuit Investigation

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The law offices of Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP are conducting an ongoing investigation into the business practices of First Financial Services, Inc. on suspicion that it violated various federal regulations. First Financial is a direct –to-consumer home mortgage lender that offers low interest mortgage loans through its website and online marketplaces like www.zillow.com.

The Truth in Lending Act requires that loan applicants are provided a Truth in Lending disclosure statement setting forth the material terms of a loan before they are assessed any fees other than an initial credit application fee.

The Real-Estate Settlement Procedures Act requires that loan applicants are provided a Good Faith Estimate setting forth the material terms of a loan before they are assessed any fees other than initial application fee.

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act requires creditor to notify applicants within 30 days after receiving a completed application concerning the creditor’s approval of, counteroffer to, or adverse action on the application. If a creditor receives an incomplete application that an applicant can complete, then the creditor is required to notify the applicant within 30 days of either any adverse action taken on the incomplete application, or alternatively, that the application is incomplete and specifying the additional information needed to complete the application.

In addition, some consumers that have applied for loans from First Financial have complained that they were told that their loan terms would be ‘locked in’ during the loan application process for a long enough time to close the loan, only to experience extended delays in processing the loan and an expiration of any ‘locked in’ terms, such that they were required to pay additional charges or a higher interest rate in order to close the loan.

If you applied for a loan from First Financial Services, Inc. and believe you may have not received any of the required notices above, or did not receive the benefit of your ‘locked in’ terms, then please contact an attorney from the law offices of Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a confidential consultation.

 

April 14, 2014 / Nic Underhill

GM Recalls Recalled Cars for New Defect

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General Motors (“GM”) has issued a new recall to replace another part of the ignition mechanism in small cars that had already been recalled for faulty ignition switches.

 The new recall is for 2003 to 2011 car models, including the Saturn Ion, Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac Solstice, Pontiac G5, Saturn Sky, and Chevrolet HHR. The recall is to replace the lock cylinder. The lock cylinder is where the key is inserted to the vehicle’s ignition. The current lock cylinders allow the key to be pulled out while the car is running.

GM says that the lock cylinder problem could lead to “a possible roll-away, crash and occupant or pedestrian injuries.” GM further states that it is “aware of several hundred complaints of keys coming out of ignitions.” It said that searches of GM and government databases found one roll-away in a parking lot that resulted in a crash and one injury claim.

GM dealers are now receiving the new ignition switches for the recall fix. Dealers will now replace the ignition lock cylinders and if necessary, reprogram new keys.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this recall or has been injured by any other defective products, please contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a private consultation.

April 8, 2014 / Nic Underhill

T-Mobile Settles Robocall Class Action Suit

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T-Mobile USA Inc. has agreed to settle a putative consumer class action in the amount of $5 million. The suit alleges that T-Mobile used autodialing technology to call non T-Mobile customers on their cellular telephones for telemarketing purposes without first obtaining the customer’s consent.

The suit alleges that T-Moblie violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) by using a “robo-dialer” to make mass-marketing calls to non-T-Mobile customers without their consent. A robo-dialer, or autodialer, is a type of telephone technology designed to call large numbers of people and play pre-recorded messages. Robo-dialers allow companies to make large-scale telemarketing calls at a very low cost.

 However, this practice is illegal under most circumstances pursuant to the TCPA. Passed in 1991, the TCPA restricts telephone solicitations and the use of automated telephone equipment. The TCPA limits the use of automatic dialing systems, artificial or prerecorded voice messages, SMS text messages, and fax machines. The TCPA allows for a private right of action to consumers whose rights are violated under the law, as a means to deter violations.

 The 106,157 class members will each receive up to $90 if they submit a claim. Class members include any non-T-Mobile customer who received a cellphone call from T-Mobile using an automated system between September 4, 2008 and September 4, 2012. Class members had not given T-Mobile express consent prior to T-Mobile’s contact with them.               

If you or someone you know has being similarly harassed of or has been the victim of any other unfair business practices, please contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a private consultation.

April 7, 2014 / Steven Soliman

Hotel Fees at the Center of Recent Class Action Investigation

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A recent  investigation has been launched to explore the possibility of a class action lawsuit against hotel chains who engage in deceitful practices regarding hotel fees.

Specifically, there have been numerous complaints over the years that some hotels, like the Marriot and Hilton, have engaged in a practice of additional fees labeled “hotel fees” or “resort fees,” with terms varying among  hotels. However, many customers have complained that they are not alerted of the fees until check-in, even when the customer reserved the room online. In more egregious cases, the customers were not made aware of the extra charges until the time of check-out.

  In response to these deceptive and wide-spread practices, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent warning letters to several different hotel chains cautioning them that not mentioning the fees may be considered a violation of advertising laws.

 Now consumers are attempting to take action, evidenced by the recent class action investigation. If you have been the victim of a mandatory resort fee, please contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a private consultation.

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