Just one week ago, the Hebrew Homes Health Network, Inc., along with its former president and executive director, came to an agreement with the authorities: They would pay $17 million to close the False Claims Act case against them.
Takata Corporation ("Takata" or the "Company") is a Japanese company that supplies automobile parts for major car manufacturers. Beginning in the fall of 2014, it was charged with more than 70 class action lawsuits due to allegations relating to its production of faulty airbags. In February, a large class action suit against Takata were filed against the Company in the Southern District of Florida. In addition to that class action, numerous other plaintiffs have brought suit against Takata and automobile manufacturers that utilized its products for personal injuries and deaths caused by the airbags' malfunction.1
The landscape of class action litigation in the United States has been shaped by evolving judicial interpretations of class certification requirements, and the Supreme Court of the United States ("SCOTUS") is once again primed to interpret these requirements. SCOTUS has granted certiorari in Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, No. 14-1146, in order to address the use of representative samples - also referred to as the "trial by formula" method - in calculating liability and damages with respect to an entire class, and whether a class may include members who were not actually injured by the controversy at issue in a litigation.
U.S. businesses are required to follow and abide by various legal rules and regulations. Many of the laws that govern U.S. business activities are in place to protect consumers and the environment. Additionally, regulatory measures have been enacted to ensure for the safety and wellbeing of employees as well as to safeguard against unfair and deceptive business practices.
Washington D.C. ("D.C.") public schools have reached a $19.4 million settlement with Chartwells, a food contractor that is a subsidiary of Compass Group USA Inc. The D.C. school district alleged that Chartwells violated the United States False Claims Act by overcharging schools when providing its meal programs for children. Specifically, the complaint alleged that Chartwells was "obligated to purchase food 'at the lowest possible price'" but the company "used a corporate affiliate to purchase foods from 'companies that manufacture highly processed foods and charge higher prices.'" Additionally, the whistleblower, Jeffery Mills, ("Mills") who was previously Director of Food and Nutrition for D.C. public schools, alleged that Chartwells delivered food late, often spoiled, and frequently in inadequate amounts. Providing nutritious and quality food for students is especially important in D.C., where "a majority of students are poor, and many rely on the school nutrition program for meals."
When an employee blows the whistle on an employer and files a qui tam lawsuit on behalf of the government, the government can choose whether or not to join the lawsuit. If the government investigates the case and decides not to join, the whistleblower can still go ahead with the lawsuit and, if successful, receive a percentage of any amount that is recovered.
Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California will hear a case to decide whether or not government officials need search warrants to access cell phone tower data. The information from the towers can be very useful in determining the location of suspects as well as helpful in gaining other valuable information for prosecuting a case. Judge Koh will decide if the Fourth Amendment can apply to users' cell phone tower data, which has historically been made readily available to government investigators without search warrants.
In the workplace, technology has been credited with improving efficiency and in general making it easier for employees to communicate with superiors, colleagues and customers. Increasingly, however, many workplaces are using technologies like laptops, email and smartphones to exploit workers who are expected to essentially be on call and respond to work-related matters during the evenings and on the weekends.
Cephalon, Inc. ("Cephalon") has agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC"), pursuant to which it will pay $1.2 billion to reimburse purchasers of the narcolepsy drug, Provigil. In the suit, the FTC alleged that Cephalon paid generic drug companies "to hold off on launching their own version" of Provigil.1 This settlement comes after the Supreme Court's decision in FTC v. Actavis (133 S. Ct. 2223 (2013)), in which the Court held that pay-for-delay can result in violations of federal antitrust laws. Even more recently, the California Supreme Court determined that pay-for-delay cases can potentially violate state antitrust laws in In re. Cipro Cases I & II (2015 Cal. LEXIS 2486).