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November 17, 2014 / iymanstrawder

Class Action Lawsuit against Gap and Banana Republic for Misleading Sales Tactics

Have you ever planned to make a purchase of an item solely because you thought it was on sale, only to find out at the cash register that the item is being sold at full-price? If so, you are not alone. Consumers in California have banned together to sue clothing retailers Gap Inc. and Banana Republic for allegedly using false and misleading advertisements to induce customers to pay full-price for items that they believed to be on sale. According to the complaints, sale signs and advertisements in both stores were unclear as to which items were being sold at discount and which items were being sold at full-price.

The class action lawsuits were brought on behalf of customers who met the following requirements: (1) saw a sale advertisement within the past 4 years offering a discount at a Gap or Banana Republic store in California, (2) shopped and purchased an item of clothing after seeing the advertisement, (3) purchased one or more items that was not discounted, and (4) did not have a have a Gap or Banana Republic credit card.

Both the Gap class action and the Banana Republic class action allege that the stores violated California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act by intentionally deceiving consumers by failing to designate which items were excluded from the sales promotion. More specifically the Gap class action lawsuit, states that Gap uses misleading sales advertisements on clothing racks that include very small print such as “selected styles” which are not detectable until the customer checks out at the cash register. Banana Republic allegedly uses a different sales tactic by displaying ads in the storefront window that state announcements such as “TODAY ONLY- 40%OFF YOUR PURCHASE.” Plaintiffs in the Banana Republic class action contend that the storefront ads mislead customers by failing to state that the sale only applies to certain items.

According to Plaintiffs in the Gap Class Action Lawsuit, consumers are “psychologically committed” to purchasing items before they are informed that the items are being sold at full-price. Psychological commitment in shopping ensues after customers have vested their time and energy into making a selection that they believed to be on sale. According to the Gap Class Action lawsuit, by the time customers are advised at the register that the selected item is being sold at full-price, the price difference can be worth less than the effort that it took them to find, try on, and bring it to the register. By this point, the customer is already psychologically committed and cannot walk away from the purchase, despite the fact that they started shopping on the assumption that the item was on sale.

If you have shopped at a retail store in recent years, and purchased a non-discounted item that you believed to be on sale, you may be entitled to relief. Please contact Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a confidential consultation.

November 17, 2014 / iymanstrawder

Tylenol Liver Failure Lawsuit

Tylenol, the #1 doctor recommended brand of pain relief and a name trusted by Americans for years to treat aches and reduce fevers, has been linked to liver failure. A Tylenol liver failure lawsuit has been filed against Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, McNeill-PPC, alleging that the company violated consumer protection laws and failed to warn consumers of the grave side effects of Tylenol. Plaintiff Antonia Oelke claims that the side effects of Extra Strength Tylenol caused her severe health problems, leaving her with acute liver damage.

The complaint asserts that the warnings about cases of liver failure from using Extra Strength Tylenol were not properly displayed on the labeling information. Oelke avers that she took Extra Strength Tylenol at the appropriate times and in the suggested amounts as recommended on the label. Despite following the recommended daily dosage instructions on the label, Oelke alleges that she was hospitalized for acute liver failure after ingesting the over-the-counter medication.

In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed the link between Tylenol and liver damage. Acetaminophen, the generic name for Tylenol and the active ingredient in Extra Strength Tylenol, is a chemical used to reduce pain and fever and is primarily metabolized in the liver. Under ordinary conditions, the liver can remove the acetaminophen and its byproducts; however, when too much acetaminophen builds up in the liver, the body has to use other pathways to eliminate the compound. When the alternate pathway in the liver is used to eliminate the byproduct, it creates a toxic compound called NAPQI, which can cause severe damage to the liver.

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription medicines, besides Tylenol. Liver damage is the most severe side effect of Tylenol and other acetaminophen based products, and can be fatal. For some people, even going slightly over the recommended dosage can cause acute liver failure which can have deadly consequences.

If you or a loved one has suffered liver injury or liver failure after taking Tylenol or another drug containing acetaminophen, you may be entitled to relief. Please contact Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a confidential consultation.

November 3, 2014 / iymanstrawder

Police Department Settles Lawsuit for 2.5 Million after Man Dies in Police Custody

A Long Island police department has agreed to pay a $2.5 million settlement to the family of a sickly bipolar man who died in custody after police denied him access to his medication.   Widow Danielle McDonnell and the couple’s young son filed a $50 million lawsuit against Suffolk County police department, alleging that the police used excessive force while arresting and detaining her husband, Daniel McDonnell.

The incident in question occurred on May 5, 2011, when 40-year-old Daniel McDonnell, was arrested after a neighbor claimed that he violated a protection order by driving too closely to him as he entered his driveway. The husband and father to young, Devon McDonnell, spent 18 hours at the First Precinct in West Babylon, where his mental condition began deteriorating. Danielle McDonnell says that her father-in-law warned officers about her husband’s bipolar disorder and his heart condition. Despite the information that was told to police, Daniel was still denied medication after his mother went to the precinct to give an officer her son’s medication. Purportedly, that same officer reassured Daniel’s mother that he would be taken to the emergency room if any problems were to occur.

Problems did arise. After McDonnell was denied his medication, he became disorderly. He began crying out for his medication and sweating profusely as he paced back and forth. After McDonnell removed his clothing and placed them in the lavatory which caused flooding, police responded by trying to restrain him. According to the McDonnells’ attorney, Stephen Civardi, “McDonnell had been shot with a stun gun up to six times, kicked by officers wearing boots, held down by a riot shield pressed against his body, and pinned to the floor by the hands, feet, and weight of up to 13 officers.” Although McDonnell died in a violent struggle with officers, two officers falsely informed the McDonnell family that Daniel died of a heart attack. A report by the state Commission on Correction stated that “McDonnell’s naked and bruised body was lying face down and handcuffed in a pool of water on the floor, a spit sock hood on his head and face, after a fierce struggle in the 6-by-8 foot cell.” The state Commission of Correction concluded that McDonnell’s death was a preventable homicide.

Just two days before the case went to trial, the parties reached a $2.5 million settlement which U.S. District Judge William Kuntz approved last Wednesday.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of police brutality, you may be entitled to relief. Please contact Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a confidential consultation.

November 3, 2014 / iymanstrawder

Judge Orders Zaken Corporation to Pay 25 Million for Work-at-Home Scam

U.S. District Court judge ordered The Zaken Corp. and company president, Tiran Zaken, to pay $25 million after finding that the company made false and misleading statements to consumers regarding their expected earning capacity after purchasing the defendant’s QuikSell program. Out of the 110,000 consumers that purchased the QuikSell program, the court found that “more than 99.8 percent never earned any commission whatsover.” In response to this finding, the court ordered the defendants to pay $25,406,781 to compensate consumers for their injury.

The Zaken Corp. deceived consumers into purchasing a “Wealth Building Home Business Plan” called QuikSell. After paying the initial $148, consumers would become Associates of QuikSell Liquidations and received a manual with instructions on how to locate businesses with excess inventory. In theory, purchasers of the program were supposed to identify and notify Zaken after finding businesses that were interested in selling their excess inventory. Then Zaken would find buyers for the inventory and if the corporation was successful in negotiating a sale, they would give the associate, a commission equal to half of the profit of sale.

The Zaken Corp. mislead customers’ expectation by stating that for just two to four hours a week, purchasers of the program could expect to earn between $3,000 and $6,000. Further the corporation claimed that “the average commission check . . . will be approximately $4,280” when in actuality less than one percent of the consumers ever earned any income at all. After purchasing the program, consumers received additional advertisements to purchase “tools” that ranged from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The Zaken Corp. told customers that if they were “serious about this business and really wanted to make the kind of money that others made” that they would need to make an additional investment of $2,300. After consumers paid the additional $2,300, they were given a directory that consisted of “largely outdated numbers of companies who were out of business.”

After learning this information, the court found that The Zaken Corp. and the company’s president made false claims about consumers’ earning potential in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Business Opportunity Rule which requires sellers of business opportunities to provide truthful and specific information to consumers prior to their purchase. In addition to ordering the defendants to pay $25 million, the court granted a permanent injunction which effectively bans The Zaken Corp. and Tiran Zaken from ever advertising or selling any work-at-home opportunities again.

If you have been a victim to online business schemes, you may be entitled to relief. Please contact Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a confidential consultation.

October 21, 2014 / Shauna Madison

IKEA Swing Falls Short of Expectations; Injures Children

After IKEA  received various reports of children falling out of the GUNGGUNG swing and injuring themselves, it has recalled more than 2,000 swings in the US and 300 swings in Canada. The recall states that “IKEA urges customers who have a GUNGGUNG children’s swing to immediately remove the swing from children and bring it back to any Ikea store for a full refund.”

In its advertisement, IKEA boasts that swinging develops a sense of balance and body perception as well as brings a feeling of well-being and relaxation. However, after three months of being on the market, IKEA has received four reports of the suspension fitting breaking while in use, causing children to fall from the swing and injure themselves. In one particular incident, a child fell from the swing and sustained a fractured leg.

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

October 21, 2014 / Shauna Madison

Transgender Inmate Fails To Prove Jail Ignored Sexual Assault Risks

On December 7, 2012 D.B., a transgender inmate housed at Orange County Jail, filed a lawsuit against Orange County and Orange County Jail officials for the sexual assault she endured as a result of being housed with another inmate rather than in protective custody. D.B. is a male-to-female transgender individual who was “assigned female at birth” but identifies as a male and has undergone various procedures, including breast and cheek augmentation.

Despite D.B.’s status as a transgender inmate, fear of being housed with other inmates, and evidence that transgender inmates are thirteen times more likely to face sexual assault in prison than non-transgender inmates, Orange County Jail housed D.B. with another inmate. As a result of her placement, D.B. was sexually assaulted on December 8, 2009. After the assault, D.B. filed a lawsuit against the jail seeking to prove a violation of her Eight Amendment rights as well as to hold them responsible for the assault. However, on September 18, 2014, a federal judge dismissed this case.

The judge held that D.B. “failed to produce evidence from which a reasonable factfinder could determine that Orange County was deliberately indifferent to the risk of sexual assault faced by transgender inmates.” In ruling against D.B., the judge also noted evidence that simply stating there had been prior incidents of sexual assault to transgender inmates at Orange County Jail was too vague to support D.B.’s assertions that the Defendant’s deliberately ignored the risks.

If you or someone you know has experienced what you believe is a violation of your constitutional rights, you may be entitled to relief. Please call Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a confidential consultation.

October 21, 2014 / iymanstrawder

New Litigation Blames Johnson’s Baby Powder for Causing Ovarian Cancer

For over a hundred years, new moms have trusted Johnson & Johnson baby products to provide the purest and gentlest care for their newborn babies. In addition to being used by babies, Johnson’s Baby Powder has been used for generations by many Americans as a hygienic product and as a method to treat various skin issues and infections. The multibillion-dollar company markets its baby products as “clinically proven to be pure, mild, and gentle,” but just how pure and gentle are these products?

New lawsuits suggest that the Johnson & Johnson’s pure and gentle baby powder causes ovarian cancer. In a South Dakota lawsuit, the court found in favor of plaintiff Deane Berg, an avid user of Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 49. Similar lawsuits have been filed alleging a link between baby powder and cancer. Talc, the key ingredient in baby powder, is a soft mineral that is crushed and dried for use in consumer products. Talc is used in baby powder for its ability to absorb moisture, reduce friction, and prevent rashes. When talc-based products such as baby powder are dusted on sanitary pads and tampons or when applied directly to the genital area, talc particles can travel through the bloodstream and into a woman’s fallopian tubes, causing cancerous cells to develop. With nearly 14,000 American women losing their lives in 2013 to ovarian cancer, researchers have suggested that a significant percentage of ovarian cancer cases can be linked to the talc ingredient. A study at Harvard Medical School, led by Dr. Margaret Gates found in a 2009 study that women who use talcum powder around their genital area are 40 percent more likely to have ovarian cancer.

With the growing concern over talcum powder causing cancer, baby powder litigation has become more frequent with plaintiffs alleging that Johnson & Johnson knew about the dangers of the talc ingredient and failed to warn them that the powder could possibly cause ovarian cancer. While most of the baby powder cancer lawsuits have been filed individually, a recent lawsuit filed in the Circuit Court of St. Louis Missouri, seeks to bring a class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of 65 women. While the lawsuit initially faced adversity when Johnson & Johnson tried to dismiss the case, it returned back to Missouri state court where it was originally filed and remains in the litigation process. Each of the women involved in the lawsuit allege that they have ovarian cancer as a result of using either Johnson’s Baby Powder or the company’s Shower to Shower powder.

If you have ever used Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower Powder and were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you may be entitled to relief. Please contact Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a confidential consultation.

October 6, 2014 / iymanstrawder

Parents of a Toddler Who Fell to His Death at Staples Center Are Allowed to Seek Punitive Damages

Last Friday, a judge ruled that the parents of a two year old boy who fell to who his death at Staples Center can seek punitive damages in their wrongful death lawsuit against L.A. Arena Co. and L.A. Arena Funding. On November 21, 2010, two year old Lucas Tang and his parents sat in a luxury box at a Lakers game against the Golden State Warriors. About an hour and a half later, young Lucas was placed on a beverage bar which is an 11 inch wide shelf that sits below a small wall and a 10 inch glass barrier. Hoia Mi Nguyen, the mother of the two year old, placed the toddler on the beverage bar so that she could “take a picture and capture the moment for his first Lakers game.”

After taking four pictures, two year old Lucas fell over the barrier in the luxury box. Nguyen states, “I was holding my camera and I took the last picture of him and I glanced down at the fourth picture. When I glanced back up to take the next one, I noticed he wasn’t there.” Two year old Lucas fell more than 25 feet from the third row of the luxury box and suffered head injuries. Later that evening, Lucas died in the hospital.

Lucas’ parents, Hoia Mi Nguyen and Henry Tang, originally brought suit against Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc. (AEG), but was later replaced with its subsidiary, L.A. Arena Co., who own and manage the Staples Center. In plaintiffs’ original complaint they alleged that the design of the luxury box “sacrifices the safety of users and places them in a position of risk of bodily harm or death.” The case was brought before Judge Susan Bryant- Deason who granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment, finding that the Staples Center had no obligation to properly supervise Lucas to prevent him from falling. In Judge Bryant-Deason’s opinion, it was not reasonably expected that Lucas’ parent would place him “in an openly and obviously dangerous situation by putting him on top of the beverage bar where . . . he could climb over the tempered glass and fall.”

After finding that Judge Bryant-Deason abused her discretion, the case was sent back to Los Angeles Superior Court where Judge Mitchell Beckloff is presiding. Judge Mitchell decided that Lucas’ parents could move forward with their claims for unlawful business practices against L.A. Arena Co. and L.A. Arena Funding and could sue for punitive damages. Judge Beckloff scheduled trial of the lawsuit for July 28th.

If you or someone you know has been injured due to unsafe premises, you may be entitled to relief. Please contact Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a confidential consultation.

September 24, 2014 / Shauna Madison

Lewis County Jail Sued For Outdated “Post Card Only” Policy

On April 11, 2014, Prisoner Legal News (PLN), a project of the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), filed a lawsuit against Lewis County of the State of Washington and several of its employees directly involved in the operation of Lewis County Jail. The complaint alleged that defendants violated several of the prisoners First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by enforcing a “post card only” policy. PLN also asserted that the rights of the individuals who attempted to correspond with these prisoners were also violated.

PLN publishes and distributes a 64-page monthly magazine that reports on criminal justice issues as well as prison and jail related civil ligation with an emphasis on prisoner rights. From September 2013 through October 2013, PLN mailed informational brochures to several prisoners of Lewis County Jail. Unbeknownst to PLN, the Lewis County Jail had a “post card only” policy. This policy prompted the County Jail employees to return over 45 mailings to PLN due to their “unauthorized status.”

On April 21, 2014, PLN filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop Lewis County from enforcing their “post card only” policy during litigation. Although the Lewis County Jail argued that the policy has since been changed and that the case is now moot, Judge J. Richard Creatura of the U.S. District Court of Washington at Tacoma stated that “there is substantial evidence to believe that this policy has not been adopted.”

In a 27-page order, Judge Creatura granted PLN’s injunction and enjoined defendants from restricting incoming and outgoing prisoner mail to postcards only, and ordered defendants not to refuse to deliver or process prisoner personal mail on the ground that it is in a form other than a postcard.

In this order, Judge Creatura explained that in order to obtain a preliminary injunction, four elements must be met: (1) that plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits, (2) that plaintiff is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, (3) that the balance of equities tips in plaintiff’s favor, and (4) that the injunction is in the public interest. In his discussion of how these elements were met, Judge Creatura also stated that the post card only policy “prevents family members from sending items like photographs, copies of bills, and medical information; None of these things can be easily replaced by telephone calls or regular visitation.”

If you or someone you know have experienced what you believe is a violation of Constitutional rights, you may be entitled to relief. Please call Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a confidential consultation.

September 24, 2014 / iymanstrawder

Faulty Ignition Switch in GM Vehicles Causes 19 Deaths

General Motors agrees to set up a victim’s compensation fund to pay for 19 deaths caused by faulty ignition switches in their vehicles. The estimate of deaths due to ignition switch problems originally stood at 13, but has recently risen to 19 deaths and is likely to go higher. Compensation expert for General Motors, Kenneth Feinberg, has determined that 19 wrongful death claims are eligible for compensation. Due to confidentiality agreements, Feinberg is not at liberty to identify any of the victims eligible for payment, or to state whether the 19 wrongful death claims include the 13 deaths originally documented by General Motors.

The ignition switch defect responsible for the 19 deaths was installed in 2.6 million GM cars and causes the ignition to slip out of the “run” position which stalls the vehicle and disables the car’s airbags. Although GM admitted to knowing about the ignition switch problem for over a decade, it did not begin recalling the vehicles until earlier this year. Feinberg has received 125 death claims due to faulty ignition switches in older Chevrolet models and over 320 claims for compensation due to injuries. Of the 320 injury claims, 58 fell into the most serious category seeking compensation for injuries resulting in amputation, permanent brain damage, and loss of limb. The remaining 262 claims fall into less serious injuries that resulted in hospital stays or outpatient medical treatment within 2 days of the car accident. Feinberg has not released the dollar amount that GM plans to offer each eligible claim, but GM estimates that it will cost $400 million to compensate all victims, acknowledging that it can rise to $600 million.

The compensation fund began accepting claims on August 1st, and the deadline for filing a claim is December 31st. The fund accepts claims from anyone who was a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or an occupant of another vehicle that was injured in a car accident caused by the ignition switch defect. Those who file a claim and accept compensation, agree not to sue GM, while those who do not take part in the compensation fund are free to file a lawsuit against GM.

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries as result of a defective product, you may be entitled to relief. Please contact Khorrami Boucher LLP for a confidential consultation.

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