The Litigation Counsellor®
Tuition Reimbursement Suit Against The Manhattan School of Music Survives Bid for Removal
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
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
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.
Cannabis Company Faces Copyright Infringement Claims Over Unauthorized Use of Sacha Baron Cohen Image
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 Headlines as Diamond Sponsor at AAJ Annual Convention
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.
Ulta Beauty Facing Claims that Virtual Makeup Try-On Programs Illegally Collects Users’ Data
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”).
McDonald’s Fights Back Against Class Allegations Surrounding AI Drive Thru Assistants
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
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
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.
$1.7M Verdict Reached in Second Plaintiff Victory in 3M Earplug MDL
On June 18, 2021, a federal jury awarded a $1.7 million verdict to service member Lloyd Baker in the third 3M Combat Arms Earplugs bellwether trial. This most recent plaintiff victory represents a second loss for 3M in the multidistrict litigation, following a staggering $7.1 million plaintiffs’ verdict in the first bellwether in April 2021.
Getting Back to "Normal": A Conversation with Amelia Warden
As law firms across the country continue to cautiously navigate the post-COVID landscape, many are reexamining what running a successful law firm looks like. For years, the thought of a remote or partially remote law firm seemed like an anathema to many lawyers. However, after successfully weathering over a year of restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic, many attorneys are seeing the benefits of embracing some of the virtual aspects of remote practice.
In this series, we are speaking to some of the all-stars of the plaintiffs’ bar to discuss how they are tackling the move back to “normal” firm life. We recently spoke with Amelia Warden, Chief Financial Officer of the renowned Flint Law Firm, to discover how her firm has changed over the past year-and-a-half and what the future holds for the firm.
Artists File Class Claims Against the NYPD over Destruction of Graffiti
On June 1, 2020, class claims were filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York by a group of artists who alleged that the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) and the City of New York violated the Visual Artists Rights Act by its willful destruction of a work of visual art during its ongoing campaign to clean up graffiti.
NYC Restaurants File Class Claims Against Food Delivery Apps
On June 7, 2021, popular food delivery services Grubhub, Seamless, Postmates, UberEats and DoorDash were served with class claims in federal court in the Southern District of New York, alleging that the companies are “bleeding New York City restaurants dry” by charging fees while collecting millions of dollars at the restaurants’ expense, in what the plaintiff referred to as a blatant disregard of the laws of the City of New York.
Pennsylvania Female Teachers Bring Class Claims Over Gender Pay Gap
On June 8, 2021, class claims were filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the Central Bucks School District (“the District”), by a group of female teachers who alleged that the District violated their rights under the federal Equal Pay Act.
In the complaint, named plaintiff Dawn Marinello described how she began working as a teacher within the District in 2016, entering the position with substantial career experience as an educator. Plaintiff alleged that she was expressly told by the District that salaries were decided by factors within a proscribed Salary Schedule and that the gender of the teacher did not impact their compensation.
Class Claims Against Neutrogena Makeup Remover Survive Bid for Dismissal
On May 28, 2021, U.S. Chief District Judge for New Jersey, Freda L. Wolfson, partially shot down a bid by Johnson & Johnson unit, J&J Consumer Inc. (“JJCI”), to dismiss class claims, alleging that the defendant’s popular Neutrogena brand makeup remover wipes caused adverse skin reactions by upholding eight of the 10 counts comprising the claims.