The Litigation Counsellor®

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On August 12, 2021, two Ohio counties filed a motion in limine in federal court in the Northern District of Ohio Eastern Division in preparation for the counties’ upcoming October bellwether trials in the Opioid Litigation.

In the motion, the two counties, Trumball and Lake County, seek to exclude any reference to prescription opioids as “legal” drugs or to distinguishing them from “illegal” drugs. The plaintiffs argue that characterizing prescription opioids and other controlled substances as “legal” or distinguishing them from “illegal” drugs is misleading and states a legal conclusion.

On July 27, 2021, class claims were filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York against insurance giant Progressive Corporation (“Progressive"), alleging that the company deceptively paid claimants less than the actual value for their vehicles that were completely destroyed.

On July 29, 2021, Black Widow star, actress Scarlett Johansson, filed suit against The Walt Disney Company (“Disney”) in the Superior Court for the State of California, alleging that Disney’s release of her latest film, Black Widow, on the Disney+ streaming service the same day as it was released in theaters was a violation of her contract.

In the complaint, the plaintiff argues that based on her impressive reputation as a reliable box office draw, Marvel Studios (“Marvel”) and its parent company Disney, agreed that her compensation for starring in Black Widow would be largely based on box office receipts generated by the movie.

Women in the Law—Informing the Patient

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

For most attorneys, there will always be select cases that stand out in their memory as unique for any number of reasons. Those are the cases that have become tried and true “war stories” and are dusted off at parties and events. However, not every attorney can boast that one of their most memorable cases went on to become a wildly successful true-crime podcast and ultimately an NBC television series.

Texas attorney, Kay Van Wey of Van Wey & Williams Trial Law Firm, boasts a career widely characterized by outstanding cases and newsworthy verdicts. On the heels of the premiere of the new NBC show, Dr. Death, a series based in part by one of Kay’s most well-known cases, we were able to sit down with Ms. Van Wey to talk about her intriguing career, the world of medical malpractice and what drives her to seek justice for her clients.

On July 26, 2021, class claims were filed in Massachusetts federal court against Dutch sleep apnea therapy machine manufacturers Koninklijke Philips N.V., Philips North America LLC and Philips RS North America LLC (collectively, “Philips”) alleging that through the degradation of a noise-abating insulation foam used in the majority of Philips’ defective sleep products, users were exposed to toxic chemicals.

On July 20, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York Katherine Polk Failla, issued an order refusing to dismiss claims of breach of implied contract and unjust enrichment against The Manhattan School of Music (“the School”). The suit was filed by a class of disgruntled students who were forced to pay the school’s full tuition and fees for the Spring 2020 semester, despite the majority of the semester being fully virtual.

Wine Label Class Action Survives Bid for Dismissal

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On July 14, 2021, Northern District of California Judge Richard Seeborg issued an order denying winemaker Cooper Cane’s bid to dismiss class claims alleging that the defendant intentionally misled consumers in describing certain vintages of its pinot noir.

Chobani Yogurt Faces Class Claims Over Fair Trade Certified Label

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On July 12, 2021, class claims were filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York against popular yogurt brand Chobani LLC, alleging that the brand misleads consumers by promoting itself as the first Fair Trade USA Dairy company.

In the complaint, named plaintiffs Jessica Austin and Peter Hoffman describe how Chobani proudly represents its products as Fair Trade Certified Dairy on the labels and boasts that when consumers purchase Chobani products, they are empowering dairy farmers and laborers, supporting safe working conditions for laborers and promoting animal care. However, the plaintiffs argue, that rather than supporting dairy workers, the so-called Fair Trade Certified Dairy Standard is a sham process that does not reflect the needs and values of workers.

On July 12, 2021, actor Sacha Baron Cohen and his company, Please You Can Touch, LLC, filed suit against cannabis company Solar Therapeutics, Inc. and its president, Edward Dow III, in federal court in the District of Massachusetts. The suit alleges that Solar Therapeutics deliberately featured both Mr. Baron Cohen’s likeness and his wildly popular “Borat” movie character, along with the phrase “It’s Nice,” referring to Borat’s common catchword “Nice!”, in a commercial billboard on a busy Massachusetts interstate highway.

Counsel Financial recently announced its continued commitment to the American Association for Justice (“AAJ”) as the headline Diamond Sponsor of the upcoming AAJ Annual Convention. The conference will take place July 12-15 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. The Convention draws the nation’s top plaintiffs’ lawyers who converge to discuss the latest developments in litigation across numerous practice areas, participate in specialized continuing legal education programs and network with fellow attorneys engaged in similar cases.

On June 24, 2021, class claims were filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois against popular cosmetic retailer Ulta Beauty Inc. alleging that the company has been illegally collecting, storing and using biometric identifiers and biometric information collected via its Virtual Beauty Programs without consent, in direct violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”).

On June 25, 2021, fast-food giant McDonald’s Corporation urged Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division Judge Charles R. Norgle, Sr. to toss out class claims alleging that the voice recognition technology utilized by the company’s drive-thru artificial intelligence (“AI”) voice assistant collects customers’ voiceprint biometrics without permission.

COVID-19 Juror Vaccination Mandate Lifted in the Opioid MDL

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On June 23, 2021, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Ohio, Judge Aaron Polster, issued an important order on whether jurors in the upcoming Prescription Opioid multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) would be required to have received a COVID-19 vaccination.

Class Claims Filed Over Carcinogen Found in Neutrogena Sunscreen

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On June 21, 2021, skincare giant Neutrogena was served class claims in federal court in the Central District of California alleging that the company’s sunscreen products contain dangerously high levels of benzene, a carcinogenic impurity that has been linked to leukemia and other cancers.