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April 2018 Archives

Proposed Class Action against Dr. Pepper alleging Canada Dry Ginger Ale Does Not Contain Real Ginger

A class action was filed on July 27, 2017 alleging Canada Dry Ginger Ale ("Canada Dry"), owned by Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. ("Dr. Pepper"), does not contain a detectable amount of actual ginger and that the company falsely labels and markets its beverage. U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark, a Missouri federal judge, ruled on April 25, 2018 that the suit presents enough facts to make a case and denied Dr. Pepper's motion to dismiss Missouri resident Arnold E. Webb Jr.'s ("Webb") consumer fraud suit.

Trucking Companies To Pay $9.2M To Settle Wage Claims

On April 13, 2018, a putative class of employees filed a motion asking the Honorable Dale A. Drozd, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, for preliminary approval of a proposed deal under which Roadrunner Intermodal Services LLC, Central Cal Transportation LLC, and Morgan Southern Inc. (collectively, "Defendants") will pay $9.2 million to settle claims against them alleging that they misclassified employees as independent contractors.

NLRB Judge Rules Lowe's Rules Against Discussing Salary Are Illegal

On April 17, 2018, National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB" or "Board") Administrative Law Judge, Amita Baman Tracy, ruled that the confidentiality provisions in Lowe's Home Center LLC's ("Lowe's") Code of Business Conduct and Ethics that prevent employees from discussing salary information are in violation of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA").

Bai Drink Company Sued Over Allegedly Misleading Labeling

On April 19, 2018, California resident Kevin Branca ("Plaintiff"), on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, filed a putative class action against drink maker, Bai Brands LLC ("Defendant"), accusing the company of using misleading packaging that suggests its products are made with "all-natural" ingredients even though they are artificially flavored.

Facebook Users Granted Class Certification in Facial Recognition Suit

On April 16, 2018, the Honorable James Donato, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, granted class certification to a group of Illinois Facebook users ("Plaintiffs") who claim that the social media company, Facebook, Inc. ("Facebook" or "Defendant"), scanned images of their faces as part of its "Tag Suggestions" feature without first obtaining their consent, in violation of Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act ("BIPA").

$10 Million goes to Plaintiffs in ERISA case against Farmers & Merchants

On April 11, 2018, U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone was asked to grant the preliminary approval of a $10 million settlement in a putative class action ERISA suit against Farmers & Merchants Trust Company of Chambersburg ("F&M") in which more than 200 employees of the company allegedly paid into more than 500 employee benefits plans, and had millions of their dollars from their retirement funds diverted by a former attorney, John Koresko ("Koresko"). The settlement would resolve allegations that F&M breached its fiduciary duty under ERISA by allowing Koresko to divert $38.4 million of plan assets to his personal accounts, which money was allegedly spent "on boat rentals, property purchases in South Carolina and the Caribbean, and lobbying expenses, among other things." According to the complaint, F&M, now known as Community Trust Co., oversaw the two trusts that Koresko established to allegedly steal nearly $40 million from plan participants for over a decade. Koresko set up the trusts through now-defunct companies in order to market life insurance policies to various employee-benefits plans, the complaint alleged. After more than 500 plans purchased the policies, Koresko allegedly placed the plan assets into the trusts. Court documents detailed how Koresko transferred the interest from the trusts into more than 20 accounts he controlled, then allegedly used a portion of the money to make unauthorized loans that damaged the financial health of the life-insurance policies. As the trusts' administrator, F&M should have stopped this behavior, the plaintiffs said in the 2015 lawsuit against the company.

Security Company Sued Under Illinois Biometrics Law

On April 11, 2018, a putative class of employees led by Jacquette Smith (collectively, "Plaintiffs") filed a lawsuit in Illinois state court alleging their employer, Andy Frain Services Inc. ("Defendant"), was collecting and storing their personal information through a finger-scan timekeeping device, in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act ("BIPA").

Long-time profit driver for Johnson & Johnson now a clear nemesis

Executives with global colossus Johnson & Johnson are presently viewing talcum powder and other talc-based products in a manner sharply divergent from the elation that has long marked their preeminence as profit drivers for the company.

Whistleblower Is Awarded $2.2M Under Dodd-Frank Safe Harbor Rule

On April 5, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") announced that it has awarded $2.2 million to a whistleblower whose initial tip to another federal agency led to an SEC enforcement action. This marks the first instance in which the SEC has awarded a whistleblower for information from a tip that was previously reported to a different federal agency.

Consolidation of Suits over Alleged Data Breach of Wendy's Shareholders

On March 30, 2018, the Honorable Timothy S. Black of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio consolidated two filed class actions against Wendy's brought by shareholders, Thomas Caracci and James Graham ("Graham"), accusing the fast-food chain's top executives and board of directors of making poor security decisions that led to a 2016 data breach.

Fifth Third Bank Allegedly Charges Double Fees for ATM Usage

A proposed class action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on March 29, 2018 against Fifth Third Bank ("Bank") by a consumer, Carnell Smith ("Smith"), who claims the Bank fails to properly disclose that it charges consumers out-of-network ATM fees for checking their account balances, among other charges that are not disclosed openly.