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April 2017 Archives

Legal loophole allows faulty air bags back into salvage vehicles

We haven't heard very much in recent months about the federal government's largest auto product recall in history. It wasn't all that long ago that nearly every major news outlet had at least one headline offering up the latest bad news regarding Takata air bags. Age and the environment have not proven kind to certain models of these crash safety devices. As a result, many of them have come to be deadly defective products.

Wal-Mart and Investors Contest Privileged Docs Regarding Bribery Scandal

On April 21, 2012, the New York Times published an article concerning Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ("Wal-Mart" or the "Company") covering up a bribery campaign in Mexico. An internal Wal-Mart investigation had revealed widespread bribery. The story led to a steep decline in Wal-Mart's stocks, and because the investors were misled about the bribery, they sued the Company for violating U.S. securities laws. The shareholders are being led by a pension fund, City of Pontiac General Employees' Retirement System ("PGERS").

Cigna's $2.7M ERISA Settlement over Depression Treatment Tentatively Approved

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") establishes minimum standards for retirement plans in the private industry. These standards include that 1) plans must provide participants with information about the plan, such as plan features and funding; 2) minimum standards for participation, vesting, benefit accrual and funding; 3) accountability of plan fiduciaries; 4) the right for participants to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty; and 5) payment guarantees of certain benefits if a defined plan is terminated. Among retirement plans, ERISA also covers group health plans, which are welfare benefit plans for employees that are established or maintained by an employer or employee organization, and fiduciaries have certain responsibilities to participants of such plans.

Proposed Class Demands Docs in Namenda Antitrust Suit

The high costs of health care is a major issue in the U.S., which was highlighted in 2015 when Turing Pharmaceuticals notoriously increased the price of the drug that is used as the standard of care for treating a life-threatening parasitic infection from $13 to $750 overnight. When drug companies monopolize a drug through patents, it makes it extremely hard to maintain affordable prices, which becomes particularly unjust when dealing with people's health. Luckily, antitrust laws can help remedy this effect of monopolized drugs.

Report: 2016 notably concerning year for defective kids' products

A 12% jump regarding select subject matter relating to America's children can be salutary, indeed, if it is linked with something like collectively improved test scores, an increased immunization rate, lower rates of family-based domestic violence or some other positive development.

Jury Awards Class $454 Million in Consumer Fraud Case

In order for the rule of law to be effective in society, the consequences of breaking the law must be large enough to deter offenders. In the criminal system, the punishment for crime can be anywhere from paying fines to the death penalty. On the other hand, the civil system mostly deals with monetary damages and injunctive relief, which includes changes in policies or other non-monetary remedies. When determining monetary damages, there are two key factors: actual damages that were lost by the plaintiff and punitive damages that are meant to punish the defendant.

CEO of Dissolved E-Waste Recycling Company Hit with Securities Suit

The former CEO of a dissolved e-waste recycling company, GR Supply Chain Management Inc. ("GR"), has been accused by the company's investors of violating "virtually every" securities law. According to the shareholders, CEO, Zhiyu Luo ("Luo"), allegedly sold GR's inventory for his own personal profit and dissolved the company without any shareholder approval.

Anham Fights Against False Claims Allegations

In 2014, Anham FZCO ("Anham"), a United Arab Emirates-based food supply contractor for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, was accused of misleading the government about the construction of a warehouse and its transportation of goods through Iran. Anham currently holds an $8.1 billion vendor contract with the U.S. Department of Defense ("DOD"). One of Anham's competitors, Supreme Foodservice CmbH ("Supreme"), which had previously held that contract but was convicted of defrauding the government in 2014, brought forth claims that Anham also violated the False Claims Act ("FCA").

Explosive allegations prompt securities fraud class action claim

The sordid details surrounding a long-tenured private arbitration case became available for public scrutiny several weeks ago. The matter centrally pits the mega national jewelry manufacturer and retailer Signet Jewelers Ltd. (the parent company of Sterling Jewelers, which owns mall mainstays Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, respectively) against a stunning 69,000 female plaintiffs alleging pay and promotion discrimination, as well as sexual harassment.

Seventh Circuit Extends Civil Rights to Sexual Orientation

In June 2015, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the United States in its Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015) decision. Although it was considered a victory for the LGBTQ community, that community's right to jobs, education, and other civil liberties remained unprotected from discrimination. For example, Professor Kimberly Hively filed a discrimination lawsuit against her employer, Ivy Tech Community College ("Ivy Tech"), for discriminatory employment practices based on her sexual orientation. Her claims were originally dismissed until they reached the Seventh Circuit.

Allergan Kickback Claims Survive Provisional Stage

John Wood ("Wood") served as a senior territory manager for Allergan Inc. ("Allergan" or the "Company") from October 2008 through July 2010, during which time he became privy to the allegedly illegal practice of bribing physicians to prescribe Allergan drugs in exchange for $100 million worth of drug samples and other goods. Once Wood internally reported the purported misconduct to Allergan, his was terminated. Consequently, Wood brought a False Claims Act ("FCA") lawsuit on behalf of the federal government and 25 states.