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Consumer Fraud Archives

TCPA: UnitedHealthcare case revival and FCC's new ruling

Advances in technology have made communication easier and more efficient. We have come a long way from pigeon messengers through the evolution of "snail" mail, faxes, and emails. And the easier it is to pass along information, the easier it is for businesses to solicit. While some people may not mind receiving sales calls, others view solicitations as an intrusion on their time and privacy. Luckily for those in the latter population, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 ("TCPA") restricts telemarketing and the use of automated telephone equipment (artificial voice messages, SMS text messages, and fax machines) in several ways, including sending unsolicited advertising faxes.

The U.S. supplement industry and false advertising claims

With an estimated population of around 65 million, individuals who make up the so-called baby boomer generation have been influential in growing the American economy and shaping U.S. culture. By the year 2029, as the last of the baby boomers turn age 65, individuals of this generation are expected to make up roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population.

Priceline's Hidden Hilton Fees Prompt Class Action

Planning a trip can be stressful, but the ability of consumers to research and book hotels online helps to streamline the process and allows budget-conscious consumers to compare hotel prices. However, this system relies on the accuracy of the information presented by booking websites. An ongoing punitive class-action lawsuit against both The Priceline Group Inc. ("Priceline") and Hilton Worldwide Inc. ("Hilton") claims that travelers who book through Priceline are faced with extra fees in addition to the listed price for Hilton and other hotels.

Lawsuit claims Ford knowingly exposed vehicle owners to carbon monoxide gasses

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to carbon monoxide gas may leave those exposed suffering numerous and potentially life-threatening symptoms like dizziness, headaches, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. If exposure is prolonged, individuals may pass out and can subsequently die. In fact, an estimated 400 people in the U.S. die annually from CO poisoning and some 24,000 seek medical attention for and/or are hospitalized.

2nd Circuit: Apple Conspired With Publishers to Fix eBook Prices

The fight for dominance in the ebook industry has been hard-fought. While Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple were battling for market share in distribution, book publishers were likewise rushing to produce them. It was 2010 and Amazon already dominant in the market, so Apple had some catching up to do if it was to market ebooks for its new iPad.

NJ Court Upholds Consumers' Rights by Rejecting Ascertainability 'Requirement' From Federal Courts on Class Action Issue

In a New Jersey State Court case captioned, Daniels v. Hollister, 2015 WL 2342917 (N.J. Sup. May 13, 2015), a panel of judges held that adopting the "doctrine of ascertainability" to toss a class action "would violate New Jersey's long-standing belief that rules governing class-action lawsuits should be liberally construed in order to offer the broadest possible protections to wronged customers."1 In this class action, plaintiffs received a $25 gift card when they purchased more than $75 in merchandise from a Hollister store. The lead plaintiff found that when he went to use the gift card just over a year after he had received it, the card had expired. He and the other plaintiffs allege that they were never given notification that the cards had expiration dates and that the gift cards themselves did not show any expiration date.2

California Supreme Court Makes Important Ruling Regarding Pay-for-Delay Cases

Basing its ruling on the Supreme Court's ruling that "pay-for-delay" payments can be challenged under federal antitrust law, the California Supreme Court held that the patent settlements can similarly be challenged under state antitrust law. In the case FTC v. Actavis (133 S. Ct. 2223 (2013)), the Supreme Court did not rule that pay-for-delay arrangements were illegal, but it allowed such payments to at least be scrutinized via antitrust lawsuits. The California Supreme Court overturned decisions by lower courts in cases involving Cipro purchasers against Barr Laboratories Inc., Hoechst Marion Roussel Inc., The Rugby Group Inc., and Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc.1

Supreme Court Holds that State Claims Can Stand In Natural Gas Price-Fixing Case

The Supreme Court has reaffirmed a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that state antitrust law claims in a price-fixing case are not preempted by the Federal Natural Gas Act ("NGA"). In the case before the Supreme Court, Oneok, Inc., et al v. Learjet, Inc., et al, 2015 WL 1780926 (U.S. Apr. 21, 2015), Learjet and other purchasers of natural gas alleged that Oneok and other wholesale sellers had engaged in price fixing during the 2000-2002 energy crisis. Specifically, the buyers alleged that the sellers "reported false information to the natural-gas indices on which [buyers'] natural-gas contracts were based. The indices affected not only retail natural-gas prices, but also wholesale natural-gas prices."1

Supreme Court to Review DirecTV Arbitration Clause

The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to DirecTV in DirecTV v. Imburgia, No. 14-462, 2015 WL 1280237 (U.S. Mar. 23, 2015), a case regarding arbitration clauses in customers' contracts. The plaintiffs allege that DirecTV did not disclose early termination fees to customers when entering into the contract.1 DirecTV has an arbitration clause in the contract, mandating, according to DirecTV, that consumer disputes be settled by a private arbitrator rather than in a court of law. Plaintiffs brought an action against DirecTV as a class action, and a California appellate court ruled to allow the class action suit to proceed, a decision that DirecTV appealed to the Supreme Court.2

Target Close to Settling Consumer Class Action Over Data Breach

In December 2014, Judge Magnuson, of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, issued a ruling allowing most of a class of plaintiffs' statutory and common law claims to stand in light of Defendant Target's Motion to Dismiss ("Motion")(2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167802). After that ruling, Target and plaintiffs did not take long to work out a settlement. On March 19, 2015, Judge Magnuson gave preliminary approval to a settlement that would require Target to pay $10 million to a class of approximately110 million people, in addition to attorneys' fees and other related settlement fees.1