Two New York citizens filed a class-action lawsuit this week against drugmakers and distributors of valsartan blood pressure products.
The lead plaintiffs in this consumer action allege pharmaceutical companies placed excessive amounts of the cancer-causing chemical, NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine), in their valsartan medications.
Attorneys would like victims who may have purchased tainted valsartan to join this lawsuit, as lead counsel plans to motion the courts next month to certify the plaintiff’s claim in a class-action.
A Missouri plaintiff hit Walmart with a class-action lawsuit this week after learning the sealed gift card she picked up at the superstore was worthless. Hackers have discovered a way to steal Walmart gift card credit balances before innocent consumers can use them.
Buyers and sellers of Tesla, Inc. securities filed a class-action lawsuit against the automaker and CEO Elon Musk for allegedly violating federal securities law during a class period of August 7, 2018, to August 14, 2018.
The plaintiffs filed their complaint in California federal court in late August, and lead attorneys this week notified the public about the October 9, 2018 deadline for class members who wish to petition the courts to become lead plaintiffs in this Tesla class-action lawsuit.
American veterans are a step closer to securing a right to sue the US Government in class actions after federal judges ruled this week that the courts would allow veterans to sue as class members in “appropriate” situations.
An ambitious Philadelphia attorney filed a class-action lawsuit against several opioid drug companies in late August, seeking remedies that will care for unnamed class members with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) injuries from exposure to opioids before birth.
A class of more than 600,000 plaintiffs will soon take part in a $3 million TCPA Jenny Craig class action settlement after a federal court approved final motions in August.
Jenny Craig denied the company breached the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) but decided to shell out $1500 to 628,610 class members to save on legal expenses.
A federal judge offered final approval on a record $115 million settlement to stop class action litigation against Anthem Inc. this week.
The Anthem data breach class action lawsuit arose from a 2015 hack that exposed consumer personal information to cyber thieves.
As part of the settlement, Anthem has agreed to set up a trust that provides credit monitoring services and reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses for customers damaged during the class period.
General Mills, maker of cereal products like Cheerios and Lucky Charms, will soon take on another glyphosate class-action lawsuit after a Florida resident claimed the conglomerate failed to warn consumers about traces of the controversial herbicide in its products.
Glyphosate is a chemical associated with weed killer products, and this lawsuit mimes a California personal injury complaint where a school groundskeeper won a $289 million jury verdict after claiming the glyphosate in Roundup gave him cancer.
Government Agencies Find NDMA Causes Cancer
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “reasonably anticipated” NDMA to cause cancer in humans, and the Environmental Protection Agency followed up in 2017 by determining NDMA most likely carries human carcinogens that may induce liver cancer when exposed at excessive levels.
By mid-2018, Government officials issued recalls on Valsartan products after discovering many samples contained unacceptable NDMA levels with contamination most likely starting in as early as 2012.
Drugmakers Recall Tainted Valsartan Heart Medication
Teva Pharmaceuticals, Prinson Pharmaceuticals, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd voluntarily recalled generic valsartan in July 2018, and by early August, ten other drugmakers and distributors joined in.
Soon after, sixteen companies announced valsartan recalls, according to an FDA posting in late August 2018.
Drugmakers recently claimed China-based manufacturer and supplier, Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals, was to blame for tainted valsartan products. Zhejiang Huahai countered by asserting changes in its manufacturing process authorized by the defendants in 2012 caused the contagion, according to the class-action lawsuit.
Government agencies are now testing valsartan for NDMA and are tracking its distribution in American markets.
Valsartan Consumers Take Legal Action
Valsartan victims, Elizabeth and John Duffy, are seeking the cause of actions against the following four defendants:
- Solco Healthcare U.S. LLC
- Prinston Pharmaceutical Inc.
- Throggs Neck Pharmacy
Both plaintiffs used valsartan treat their high blood pressure “for some time,” according to the lawsuit, and the Duffys allegedly possess evidence and testimony that proves their medications contained enormous amounts of NDMA.
The plaintiffs allege the defendants were negligent in manufacturing Valsartan and committed fraud in distributing the product to consumers. The Duffys further seek remedies under products liability, asserting the defendants placed inherently dangerous and defective products in consumer markets. [Case 1:18-cv-07460-RJS, S.D.N.Y 2018]
Walmart Gift Card Class Action Lawsuit
Consumer groups predict gift cards sales in the US will reach almost two hundred billion dollars in 2018; given this, a reasonable person would assume retailers would commit to making certain their gift cards are valid before customers buy them.
Many Walmart shoppers are discovering hackers zeroed out their “Saving Money and Living Better” gift cards after trying to use them to pay for goods online or in stores.
A Missouri citizen found out the fifty dollar Walmart gift card she received in exchange for returning an item had no credit balance after trying to sell the card on Craigslist.
When Walmart’s claims department informed her “it wasn’t their problem,” she pursued redress by contracting a class action lawyer to file a cause of action against the retail store giant.
Attorney, Craig Heinemann, entered the plaintiff’s class action lawsuit last week, claiming Walmart engaged in consumer fraud and was negligent for not keeping their gift cards safe before selling them.
Hackers Steal Pin Information from Vulnerable Walmart Gift Cards
Most Walmart gift cards are hung freely in aisles and at check stands where any individual can handle them before they’re sold.
According to this class action, hackers enter busy Walmart stores and rub off the tamper strips on the back of Walmart gift cards that secure PIN information.
Hackers then record the secret information and wait for the store to sell gift cards to innocent shoppers.
As soon as Walmart puts money on the card, the hackers use the card’s credit balance to make fraudulent online purchases.
The plaintiff further claims thieves go as far as taking photos of confidential gift card information and selling the images to hackers who specialize in monitoring Walmart gift activation and in applying gift card money to untraceable online purchases.
Walmart claims on its website “customers are responsible for keeping their gift card password safe.” However, Heinemann asserts this company policy does not address pre-sale misappropriation of gift card confidential information.
Walmart Gift Card Class Action Seeks Certification
Plaintiffs in this class action allege:
- Walmart knows of the hacking and does nothing about it.
- Walmart does not train its employees to inspect gift cards for tampering before selling them to customers.
- Walmart refuses to remedy or reimburse innocent consumers who buy worthless gift cards.
Heinemann has motioned the courts to certify his client’s lawsuit as a class action claim and is seeking potential class members who may have purchased zero-balance Walmart gift cards in the US.
Tesla Class Action Lawsuit
California investors are furious with Tesla’s Elon Musk after he made public comments in early August that effectively and temporally drove up company stock prices.
On August 7, 2018, the CEO tweeted “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” Musk sent a second tweet that same day claiming: “Investor support is confirmed. Only reason why this is not certain is that it’s contingent on a shareholder vote.”
Tesla class members are now claiming foul in their class-action lawsuit, accusing the vocal CEO of violating the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
According to pleadings, during the class period, Musk issued false and misleading statements on social media about the prospects of taking Tesla private.
The complaint further contends Musk’s comments were deceitful and fallacious because they distorted and/or concealed contrary facts about the company’s ability of going private.
Tesla Stock Prices Soar for a Week Then Crash
Investors seemed to go for what Musk had to say in August as Tesla’s stock price rocketed to almost 12% shortly after the CEO released his tweet.
Musk however neglected to reveal in his disclosures that he had not yet secured funding for his bold venture and that Tesla’s Board was not aware of his plan to take Tesla private.
Once investors learned the truth behind Musk’s misleading tweets, Tesla’s artificially inflated stock prices tanked during the lawsuit’s class period.
Tesla Stock Plummets After SEC Investigates Musk’s Tweeting
The SEC responded by carrying out investigations to find out if Musk’s lied in his tweets and to ask why the CEO made financial disclosures through social media postings instead of registering them with the SEC as the law requires.
News of the inquiry caused Tesla’s stock price to dive another 2%, prompting Musk to send out an August 13, 2018 tweet claiming he was negotiating with legal advisors to take Tesla private.
However, the following day, Bloomberg News contested Musk’s disclosure. The CEO eventually came clean in a New York Times interview, faulting his misleading tweets on high anxiety levels and Ambien misuse to cope with stress.
Deadline Set for Lead Plaintiff Joiners
Investors who purchased Tesla securities during the class period who want to pursue joinder with the lead plaintiff in this Tesla class action lawsuit have until October 9, 2018 to register a request with lead attorney Darren Robbins of Robbins Geller in San Diego.
Potential lead plaintiffs may also seek their own class-action specialist to represent them and to file their joinder motions; albeit, investors need not serve as lead plaintiffs to participate in any favorable jury verdict or settlement of this lawsuit.
Veterans Class Action Lawsuits
On April 6, 2015, plaintiff, Conley Monk, asked the courts to set aside a previously denied disability benefit claim for distress issues related his military service.
A federal court granted Monk’s plea in 2018, reversing a drawn-out precedent adopted by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to reject disability claims when claimants fail to show their injuries relate to a specific medical diagnosis.
The VA used such stare decisis to deny over 11,000 claims over a twenty-year period.
Monk accordingly petitioned the courts to certify his complaint as a class action to band with other veterans who the VA afore denied benefits under similar circumstances.
An en banc federal court struck down Monk’s motion for class certification this week; but, a majority ruling opened the possibility for veterans to file future class-action lawsuits against the US Government.
Federal Judges Lay Paths for VA Class Action Lawsuits
Despite ruling against Monk’s motion for class certification for failing to satisfy class action civil procedural rules, the appellant court held the courts may entertain certifying future VA class action lawsuits in “appropriate cases.”
Judge Allen held the decision “has been decades in coming,” and Chief Judge Robert Davis concurred by ruling “the court’s decision will shape our jurisprudence… and bring about positive change for our nation’s veterans.”
Advocates across America agreed that this week’s judgement will alter how lawyers litigate cases against the VA moving forward.
Private Lawsuits vs. Class Action Claims
To prevail in individual lawsuits brought against the VA, plaintiffs must show the government was negligent or had provoked specific harm on them that proximately caused their actual damages.
Class action lawsuits can strengthen a veteran’s claim because they demonstrate the government’s wrongful or harmful activity applies equally to a larger group; such evidence would authorize the courts to grant more comprehensive remedies.
Veteran Class Actions May Provoke Policy Changes
Most likely, veterans will soon band together to pursue class action redress when litigating their legal matters with the VA, specifically in their claims for disability benefits.
Veterans will have to wait and watch if the courts will certify future motions for class certification.
Still, last week’s court ruling will most likely force the government to respond quicker to veteran claims; and it may further coerce the VA into changing long-standing policies that were historically detrimental to a plaintiff’s appeal.
NAS Class Action Lawsuit
Attorney, John Weston at Sacks Weston Diamond filed his innovative class action complaint in federal court on August 24, 2018, naming an anonymous baby boy and his mother as plaintiffs.
Weston believes his claim holds standing in federal court given that state and municipal courts have previously heard and settled similar NAS class action lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies to redress damages related to the national opioid crisis.
The lead attorney is suing the defendants under the legal doctrines of product liability and fraud holding those pharmaceutical companies launched a nationwide opioid epidemic by aggressively marketing their opioid products while keeping silent about the drug’s addictive properties.
If the courts certify Weston’s lawsuit, children whose mothers could prove prescription opioids gave their newborn NAS would become class members.
Infants Born in Withdrawal
NAS is a term that doctors use to diagnosis problems that infants experience when withdrawing from post-natal narcotics exposure.
Drugs like opioids pass from the mother to fetus through the bloodstream. Children in the womb then become drug dependent and addicted, which continues after birth.
The newborn’s central nervous system soon becomes overstimulated as the infant passes through withdrawal with some symptoms lasting for more than a year.
Withdrawal signs often begin right after birth but can start as late as ten days postpartum.
The most common NAS symptoms in full-term babies may include:
- Tremors, convulsions, rigidness, excessive crying
- Hyperaction, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting
- Diarrhea, dehydration, extreme sweating
Lawsuit Seeks New Precedent in Civil Class Action Procedure
Weston’s NAS class-action lawsuit contends unnamed plaintiffs born with NAS will deal with long-term, adverse injuries-in-fact as they age; and they are too young to file a complaint for themselves.
Albeit, in regard of civil procedure, the courts, therefore, are entitled to classify the lawsuit as a class action based on the merits of the complaint and on the specific remedy pleadings that redress the harm pharmaceutical companies caused by placing dangerous and addictive opioids into the hands of pregnant women.
Jenny Craig Class Action Lawsuit
Last May, Florida resident Zoey Bloom filed a TCPA class action complaint against Jenny Craig in federal court, alleging the weight loss company’s autodialer texted her with marketing offers without her consent.
Jenny Craig’s text messages were also “excessively lengthy,” according to the lawsuit, causing Bloom’s cellular provider to overbill her for text message services.
Jenny Craig Denies Using Autodialer Marketing
The defendants in this TCPA class action complaint have argued the company adopted a mix of hardware and software tools to generate, store or dial sequential cell phone numbers from a file of former customers and consenting clients, which does not constitute as auto dialing.
Bloom counter-argued by pleading Jenny Craig’s electronic software either texted cell phones in mass quantities or dialed phone numbers and played a recorded message after a live person answered the call.
The weight-loss company, therefore, used autodialer technology in their marketing schemes, according to Bloom.
She further asserted the defendant knew or should have known its marketing department was auto-dialing unsolicited text messages to consumers who never gave the company express permission to do so.
TCPA Protects Consumers from Telemarketing Nuisance
Congress wrote the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in 1991 to shield consumers from unconsented telemarketing and business solicitations.
The TCPA expressly prohibits businesses from:
- Using autodialers, robocalls or pre-recorded message to contact large consumer groups;
- Distributing unsolicited text messages;
- Contacting or texting consumers without establishing a business relationship first;
- Not providing opt-out options in marking calls or texts; or
- Contacting people listed on the national “Do Not Call Registry.”
Companies that violate that TCPA must pay a $500 to $1,500 penalty per unwanted call, text message or fax.
Courts Approves Jenny Craig TCPA settlement
A federal court in Florida approved Bloom’s unopposed motion to move ahead with the three million dollars Jenny Craig TCPA class action settlement.
Court records show exactly 628,610 individuals received at least one text message on their cell phone from Jenny Craig throughout the class period.
The weight loss company denies any wrongdoing but agreed to settle the TCPA complaint to escape the risk and costs associated with litigating the class action further.
Anthem Data Breach Class Action Settlement
In February 2015, health insurance provider, Anthem, reported its data server was a victim of an external cyberattack that compromised the names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and health care ID numbers of over 78 million policyholders from 2014 to 2015.
Anthem did not recognize the breach immediately, as it took almost a year for a systems administrator to notice a database query was running under his username without authority, according to the class action complaint.
The insurance company giant agreed to pay class members $115 million in June 2017; however, California District Judge Lucy Koh balked at accepting the agreement after examining the class counsel’s request for legal fees.
Judge Sashes Excessive Attorney Fees
In February 2018, Koh criticized class counsel after noticing the lead attorneys partnered with fifty-three other law firms to bring forward the class action complaint.
The District Judge further found class counsel’s billing hours were “almost necessarily excessive” in time billed for depositions and interviews.
Koh, therefore, ordered a special master to review billing of the lead counsel who was seeking $38 million in legal expenses.
This week’s final order reduced the class council’s legal fees to $31.05 million, a nearly twenty percent slash after Koh considered recommendations from the special master.
California Judge Finally Approves Complex Data Breach Agreement
Judge Koh found “fair, adequate, and reasonable” grounds to let the $115 million data breach settlement move forward after taking $8.05 million in lead counsel fees and placing the money into the class member claims fund.
Class members can now submit claims from a $51 million cash pool of which the class administrator will distribute as follows:
- Customers who suffered out-of-pocket costs from the data breach can stake a claim from a $15 million reserve;
- Plaintiffs who require credit-monitoring services can take from a $17 million fund;
- Class members who already have credit-monitoring services can obtain alternative cash compensation from a $13 million reserve in lieu of not accepting credit monitoring services.
Anthem must further modify its information technology operations and must beef up its cybersecurity performance for three years, according to the settlement agreement.
General Mills Glyphosate Class Action Lawsuit
Lead plaintiff Mounira Doss took legal action against General Mills this week after reading news from an independent environmental group that reported the conglomerate’s Cheerios products contain 470 to 530 parts per billion (ppb) of glyphosate.
Doss’ lawsuit asserts she would have never fed her children General Mills cereals if she knew the company tainted its products with glyphosate.
Scientists worldwide have publicly documented that glyphosate contains probable human carcinogen, and state governments have classified the deadly chemical as a cancer-causing agent in numerous hazardous material indexes, according to Doss.
This General Mills glyphosate class-action complaint accuses the company of concealing detrimental health information from the public.
Doss further contends General Mills was negligent for failing to reasonably disclose their cereals contained glyphosate before customers purchased them.
Cereal Company Downplays Allegations
In response to Doss’ lawsuit, General Mills claims its cereal products are safe and contain glyphosate levels well below safety standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The company further argued the EPA has already investigated and addressed the issue in a 2002 publishing that set rules as to how cereal makers and farmers cultivate their wheat and oats.
General Mills also contends before the company adds farming products to its cereals, it works jointly with the supplier to make sure the producer uses minimal pesticides on their crops and that the chemicals used did not exceed EPA-regulated, human tolerance levels.
Glyphosate Class Actions Complaints are Trending
After the California Roundup class action jury verdict, advocates expect companies that produce glyphosate tainted commercial products will face an unprecedented number of legal challenges in the years to come.
News agencies are now reporting thousands of potential class action plaintiffs believe glyphosate gave them cancer, and Doss’ lawsuit asserts she does not want her loved ones to become another glyphosate-related causality.
Doss’ complaint is the second glyphosate class action brought against General Mills within two years.
The cereal maker’s first glyphosate-related legal battle took place in August 2016 when consumer groups sued the corporation for allegedly mislabeling its granola bar products as “natural” when they contained residues of glyphosate.