The Litigation Counsellor®

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Ford Faces Class Claims over Inaccurate Emissions Ratings

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On July 22, 2019, American automotive giant Ford Motors Co. was hit with a staggering $1.2 billion putative class action lawsuit in Michigan federal court alleging that Ford manipulated its coastdown testing and used inaccurate drag and resistant figures to boost the vehicles’ EPA mileage ratings, making the vehicles more appealing to potential buyers.

Lead Paint Case Settled for $305 Million after Decades-Long Fight

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On July 17, 2019, ConAgra Grocery Products Company, Sherwin Williams and NL Industries came to an agreement with ten counties in California that alleged the companies’ lead-based paint was the cause for a public health crisis in California. The settlement brings to an end nearly 20 years of litigation and demands each company pay a sum of $101,666,666.67—totaling $305 million—to be paid to the plaintiffs. The settlement states that the monies will be used “to address public health hazards, bodily injury, personal injuries, and property damage related to Lead Paint.”

Appellate Court Remands Case for Improper Jury Instructions

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On July 11, 2019, a California state appeals court found that a jury had heard erroneous instructions involving a plaintiff who hit a freeway barrier to avoid an errant flying mattress. The appellate panel found that the lower court erred in permitting a special exception that “excuses law violations if a defendant can prove it tried but could not comply with the law.”

Philadelphia Woman Awarded $500K in Verdict against Johnson & Johnson

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On June 28, 2019, a Philadelphia jury awarded $500,000 to plaintiff Linda Dunfee, against Johnson & Johnson, which was found liable for design defects in a pelvic mesh implant that left plaintiff in severe pain. This marks the ninth verdict against Johnson & Johnson and in favor of plaintiffs injured by pelvic mesh design defects.

BMW Hit With Class Claims Over Malfunctioning Motorcycle

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On July 5, 2019, BMW of North America LLC was met with proposed class claims in New Jersey federal court alleging that the company placed their customers in harm’s way by selling motorcycles with defective gear indicators; which, in turn heightened the risk of accidents, as well as opening the door to other safety issues. Named plaintiff Daniel Casey argued that the gear indicators in the motorcycle intermittently displayed the wrong gear or no gear at all. This phenomenon has been a point of a complaint by numerous customers, according to Casey.

Fashion Website Faces TCPA Class Claims Over Robo-Texts

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On June 28, 2019, online fashion website Fashion Nova Inc., was served with class claims in federal court in the Southern District of Florida by a group of plaintiffs alleging that the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) by negligently and willfully contacting consumer’s cell phones and therefore invading their privacy.

On June 21, 2019, a group of music industry heavyweights filed a proposed class action suit against UMG Recordings Inc. (“UMG”) in California federal court alleging that the recording company negligently stored artists’ Master Recordings in an inadequate and substandard storage warehouse located on the backlot of Universal Studios that was a known firetrap.

$8.2 Million Settlement Reached in Target Debit Card Class Actions

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On June 19, 2019, an $8.2 million settlement was proposed to California federal court Judge M. James Lorenz for preliminary approval, bringing an end to class claims that superstore chain Target Corp. (“Target”) engaged in deceptive marketing practices in the promotion of its Target REDCard.

On June 13, 2019, California federal court Judge Edward J. Davila granted preliminary approval for a $2.5 million settlement between The Coca-Cola Co. (“Coca-Cola”) and a proposed class of consumers who accused Coca-Cola of misleading consumers as to the true ingredients of its popular Seagram’s Ginger Ale products.

On June 12, 2019, premium humane milk producer Fairlife LLC was served with proposed class claims in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois claiming that the company engages in deceptive marketing tactics.

In the complaint, named plaintiff Andrew Schwartz and Alice Vitiello ague that Fairlife intentionally deceives customers into believing that the company treats its cows humanely in order to charge consumers a premium price for the product. Fairlife has built a brand image as a responsible, humane producer of milk and has boasted that its cows have comfortable sand beds and that freestanding stalls are provided to allow the cows constant care and relaxation.

Ninth Circuit Upholds $210 Million Settlement in Hyundai MDL

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On June 6, 2019, a $210 million settlement that brought a close to a multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) between Hyundai Motor America Inc. and a nationwide class of consumers who alleged that Hyundai, and its affiliate Kia Motors America, misrepresented the fuel economy on certain 2011, 2012, and 2013 vehicles including the popular Elantra and Sonata, was affirmed by an 8-3 en banc Ninth Circuit decision.

On May 31, 2019, Missouri federal judge Stephen R. Bough granted preliminary approval for a $15.25 million settlement between drugstore giant CVS and a class of its customer telephone service representatives.

Named plaintiffs in the suit, Timothy Woods and Kimberly Gibson, filed class claims against CVS in July 2014, alleging that CVS was depriving call center employees of proper compensation by requiring them to power up their computers and upload applications before officially clocking into work and starting their paid work day.

GM Facing Class Claims Over Chevy Malibu Defects

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On May 24, 2019, class claims were filed in Maryland federal court against General Motors LLC (“GM”) alleging that the American car maker knowingly sold and leased thousands of 2016-2018 Chevy Malibu vehicles (“class vehicles”) equipped with a defective electronic throttle control and/or accelerator pedal position sensor.

Women in the Law—Finding Your Authentic Style

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

It’s not an exaggeration to say that most people have, at some point in their lives, felt pressure to conform to an expectation that society has arbitrarily levied upon them. This is especially true for women. As women, we are constantly bombarded with contradictory representations in the media and on television of how the perfect modern woman should look and act. When it comes to the idealized image of the female attorney, generally the message is the same—she is aggressive, she is loud and she is always impeccably dressed and coifed. This image seldom bears any real resemblance to the actual women who spend their days tirelessly fighting for their clients and trying to change the tides of gender inequality in the legal field. This month, we spoke with attorney Brenda S. Fulmer to get her perspective on the challenges facing the modern female attorney—her answers were refreshing and hopeful for the future.