Nestlé Facing Class Claims Over Alleged Child Labor Abuses
Chocolate giant Nestlé USA Inc. (Nestlé) is facing a proposed class action in Massachusetts federal court which alleges that Nestlé failed to disclose to consumers that much of its chocolate products are made from chocolate sourced from areas of West Africa where forced child labor is prevalent.
Popular cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty is facing prospective class claims in Illinois federal court after a complaint was filed by a California customer of the cosmetics-retailer who alleged that the company was instructing its stores to repackage and reshelf returned products alongside new products.
Women’s rights and equality continue to take a central role in the media as many continue to come forward and share their stories. However, the majority of the narrative surrounding such empowering movements as #MeToo and #TimesUp has been made up of negative stories of male chauvinism and times when women felt powerless. While such stories are necessary to make change and bring a sense of awareness to an ongoing problem it is just as important to bring forth empowering stories of female victories to renew in ourselves a sense of how truly far women have come and how strong our voices can be.
On February 6, 2018, a $975,000 settlement was submitted to U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, Alison J. Nathan, for preliminary approval by a class of current and former servers of famed New York City eatery Serendipity 3.
On February 5, 2018, plaintiffs in the Stericycle Inc. employee wage dispute class action asked U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt to grant preliminary approval for a $2 million settlement agreement.
The suit was originally filed by named plaintiff, Sergio Gutierrez, in Los Angeles Superior Court in 2014. Plaintiff argued that the defendant medical waste disposal company denied its employees proper breaks, rounded payroll time thus cheating employees out of wages for time spent working and failed to compensate employees for time spent changing into their company-required uniform.
On February 5, 2018, Chiquita Brand International (“Chiquita”) announced that it had reached a confidential settlement agreement with plaintiffs in three cases consolidated into the larger multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) that claims Chiquita supported Columbian terror group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Columbia in the 1990s. The terror group was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of six Americans, whose families are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
On January 29, 2018, a three-judge panel in California appeals court reversed a lower court ruling and reinstated the Tinder Inc. age discrimination class action.
On January 26, 2018, popular clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. filed a proposed $25 million settlement in Ohio federal court. The proposed settlement will bring an end to class claims from around 250,000 Abercrombie & Fitch employees in California, Florida, New York and Massachusetts.
On January 22, 2018, a confidential settlement was reached between premier bar exam preparatory course, BarBri, and a proposed class of blind law students who claimed that BarBri violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
On January 18, 2018, proposed class claims were filed against organic grocery store chain, Whole Foods, in California Superior Court. Plaintiffs in the suit allege that the company has been including an excessive amount of vitamin B12 in Whole Foods’ house brand of liquid vitamin B supplements. Named plaintiff, Matthew Palmer, argues in the complaint that if consumers had known the actual amount of vitamin B12 per serving they would not have purchased or consumed the products and accuse Whole Foods of a lack of quality control.
Many Americans are hopeful, as we begin the new year, for a fresh start for our country and perhaps time to mend broken bridges and band together. A glance at the most-read stories from the New York Times in 2017 reflected a tumultuous year. One of the biggest news stories to break was the seemingly unending stream of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct allegations concerning powerful men across all walks of public life, from politics to entertainment. As accusations continued to hit the newsstands a safe place was suddenly created for women, and in some cases men, to come forward and speak out about what they had experienced. The resounding message to come forth is that women should be able to speak up and not apologize for having an opinion. 2017 began with women hitting the streets worldwide to protest for equal rights and came full circle at year-end with women banding together to support one another, lending a voice for those who were afraid to speak out.
On January 11, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick ordered that the trial in the Ramen Noodle price-fixing class action will proceed next month, upon his refusal to grant defendants’ bid for dismissal. The suit was initially filed in 2013 by consumers and food retailers in 23 different states against South Korean Ramen manufacturers Nongshim Co. and Ottogi Corp.
On January 11, 2018, U.S. District Judge James Donato granted preliminary approval of a $14 million settlement between Hitachi Chemical Co. and two putative classes of indirect purchasers. The deal seeks to resolve claims made by indirect buyers of electrolytic capacitors who alleged Hitachi and competitor tech companies conspired to fix the prices of this device.
On January 10, 2018, class claims were filed against defunct digital currency exchange Vircurex in Colorado federal court. Vircurex subscriber, Timothy Shaw, alleges that the Beijing-based company unlawfully froze subscribers’ accounts when it disabled the ability to withdraw Bitcoin, Litecoin, Terracoin and Feathercoin. Vircurex launched in October 2011 as a virtual exchange where account holders could deposit USD and EUR to buy, sell and exchange digital currencies.
On January 10, 2018, a class of direct buyers asked a Michigan judge to approve a $34 million settlement with Toyoda Gosei Co. over alleged price-fixing of safety systems found in certain automobiles. As part of a massive multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) that has already procured over $1 billion in fines, the proposed settlement would be the most recent deal to emerge from the sprawling lawsuit.