Protecting your Social Media Presence
The challenges presented in 2020 have caused most people to radically alter the way they do business and how they live their lives in general. Activities that were once conducted in-person have been transitioned to taking place online, from trials and court hearings to holiday dinners and birthdays.
Now more than ever, many of us may find ourselves glued to our devices as we strive to stay connected, through social media apps like Facebook, or to look for mindless entertainment on apps like TikTok. But while most people don’t see the harm in hours spent on social media, it’s important to be aware of the amount of potentially sensitive personal information that you may be inadvertently revealing online.
On December 10, 2020, class claims were filed in New York Supreme Court in New York County against the popular at home fitness company Peloton alleging that the company has denied, and continues to deny, deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals equal access to the same goods, services and benefits it provides to non-disabled Peloton app subscribers.
On December 11, 2020, class claims were filed against American automaker General Motors (“GM”) in federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan. The suit alleges that GM failed to inform consumers of a serious defect in the lithium-ion battery used on the company’s popular Chevrolet Bolt (“Chevy Bolt”) vehicle.
On December 6, 2020, class claims were filed against the makers of the popular snack food PopChips in federal court in the Southern District of New York. The suit alleges that PopChips Ridges Cheddar & Sour Cream chips (“the product”) are mislabeled in an attempt by the manufacturer to intentionally mislead consumers as to the true ingredients in the product.
On November 25, 2020, preliminary approval was granted by U.S. District Court Judge Henry Edward Autry for a $5,000,000 settlement ending class claims between superstore giant Walmart and a class of plaintiffs who alleged that the defendant routinely and systematically breaches the terms of its return policy.
On November 19, 2020, class claims were filed against Kimberly-Clark Corporation (“Kimberly-Clark”) in federal court in the Eastern District of New York. The suit alleges that the company neglected safety and sanitation responsibilities owed to its customers and the public at large when it was discovered that the defendant’s Cottonelle Flushable Wipes and GentlePlus Flushable Wipes products were contaminated with a dangerous bacterial strain.
On November 16, 2020, Eastern District of New York Judge Eric R. Komitee granted preliminary approval for a $1.3 million proposed settlement that ended claims between pet supply store Petco and a class of former employees.
On November 13, 2020, major home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corporation (“Whirlpool”) was served with class claims in federal court in the Southern District of California alleging that the company manufactured and distributed defective refrigerator-freezers.
On November 3, 2020, class claims were filed against Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco”) and dog food maker Diamond Pet Foods Inc. (“Diamond”) in federal court in the Western District of Washington. The suit alleges that Diamond’s brand—Kirkland Nature Domain—mislabeled its Turkey Meal & Sweet Potato Formula for Dogs and Chicken and Pea Formula for Puppies (together, “Kirkland Products”), thereby misleading consumers as to the true nature of the ingredients of the products.
On October 19, 2020, class claims were filed against Frito-Lay Inc. in federal court in the Southern District of California by a class of consumers who allege that the defendant chip company knowingly misrepresented the true ingredients in its Baked Lays Cheddar & Sour Cream flavor chips (“the mislabeled chips”).
What’s Important to Know About Virtual Trials
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, the legal community has been forced to adapt and adjust to a new way of practicing law. Attorneys have incorporated technology into the daily minutiae of their practices, given that in-person events have largely shifted to a virtual format in most jurisdictions. While you may have already taken part in telephone court hearings or zoom depositions, you probably have not yet experienced a virtual trial.
On October 15, 2020, airport food supplier, Host International Inc., was served with proposed class claims in California Superior Court in the County of Los Angeles. A group of former Host International employees allege that the company failed to pay past wages and accrued vacation time owed to the former employees, despite being aware of the dire economic circumstances many of them faced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdown.
On October 13, 2020, class claims were filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York against famed ice cream brand, Haagen-Dazs, alleging that the front label on the brand’s Coffee Almond Crunch ice cream bars misled consumers as to the true ingredients of the product.
On October 1, 2020, class claims were filed against grocery delivery company, Instacart in federal court in the District of Georgia alleging that Instacart’s policies violate the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).
In the complaint, named plaintiff Nieves Lopez describes how she was hired by Instacart in February 2019 as a salaried employee in a managerial position. In April 2020, the plaintiff was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, adjustment disorder, anxiety and depression. She subsequently requested and was granted intermittent FMLA leave through June 1, 2020. The complaint further explains that plaintiff believed that, based on Instacart’s representations, that she would be able to use her paid time off (“PTO”) in connection with her extended FMLA leave.
On September 24, 2020, class claims were filed against popular food delivery service, DoorDash Inc., by a Missouri restaurant in federal court in the Northern District of California. The suit claims that the defendant engaged in a pattern of behavior that deceptively directed customers away from restaurants with whom DoorDash does not have a relationship.