/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/151027.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

            Tuesday, October 27, 2015, Vol. 17, No. 214


ABSOLUTE NUTRITION: Falsely Marketed Products, Suit Says
AFFINITY MEDICAL: Faces "Catalan" Suit Over Failure to Pay OT
ALTEVA INC: Faces "Hogan" Suit in N.Y. Over Proposed MBS Merger
AMAZON.COM: Faces NJ Class Action Over Employee Background Checks
ANGLO AMERICAN: Certification Sought for Silicosis Class Action

ANGLO AMERICAN: Plaintiffs' Silicosis Class Action Evidence Flimsy
ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV: Judge Approves Beck Packaging Settlement
ARAMARK UNIFORM: Doesn't Properly Pay Workers, Suit Claims
ASTOR WASHINGTON: "Pimentel" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid OT
AUSTRALIA: Kiwi Detainees Mull Class Action

BERKELEY INVESTMENTS: Sued Over Failure to Repair Unit Defects
BERNARD MADOFF: Trial in Fraud Case Begins in Seattle
BP PLC: To Pay $20MM Fines Over Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
BP PLC: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Costs Expected to Rise
BRIDGEHAMPTON STONE: "Mayancela" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid OT

CAFUA MANAGEMENT: Faces "Pulver" Suit Over Failure to Pay OT
CAMPBELL-EWALD: Supreme Court Split Over TCPA Class Action
CHINACACHE INT'L: Rosen Law Firm Files Securities Class Action
CINCINNATI BENGALS: Settles Cheerleaders' Wage Suit for $250,000
COMCAST CORP: Judge Approves $50MM Antitrust Class Settlement

COSMETIC INSTITUTE: Australian Women Mulls Class Action
CYCLONE DRILLING: Faces "Lunt" Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime
DAVIDSON COUNTY SPA: Class Action Mulled Over Sudden Closure
DIRECTV: Faces Another Antitrust Class Action
DUKE ENERGY: Settles Class Action for $80 Million

EI DUPONT: Ohio Woman Awarded $1.6MM in Water Contamination Suit
FACEBOOK INC: Ireland to Probe Data Transfer After EU Ruling
FANDUEL: Sued Over Alleged Illegal Sports Betting Business
FANDUEL: Bans Employees From Playing on Own Websites
FANDUEL: NY AG Opens Probe Over Alleged "Gambling" Claims

FEDEX GROUND: Judge Okays Classification Class Action Settlement
FIAT CHRYSLER: Underreported Deaths & Injuries, NHSA Alleges
FLORIDA COASTAL: Deceptive Practices Class Action Dismissed
FOREVER 21: Sued in Cal. Over Failure to Pay "On-Call" Shifts
FREEDOM INDUSTRIES: Sets Aside $2MM+ for Chemical Spill Claims

GALAXY INVESTMENTS: Faces "Flores" Suit Over Failure to Pay OT
GENERAL MOTORS: Sales Overcome Ignition Switch Recall Costs
GLAXOSMITHKLINE: Judge Dismisses Wellbutrin Antitrust Cases
GRUBHUB INC: Sued Over Delivery Driver Misclassification
HALLIBURTON CO: To Pay $18 Mil. in Back Wages to Employees

HEWLETT-PACKARD CO: Judge Rejects Merger Class Action Settlement
IEC US: "Sethman" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid OT Wages & Damages
INDONESIA: Kalimantan Residents File Haze Class Action
JEFFERSON CAPITAL: Illegally Collects Debt, "Hays" Suit Claims
JUPITER GOLF: Former Members Sue Over Terminated Memberships

KKR FINANCIAL: Dismissal of Shareholders' Merger Suit Affirmed
KOVACH LAW FIRM: Faces Class Suit Over Debt Collection Practices
LOS ANGELES, CA: LAUSD Sued Over "Teacher Jail" System
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS: Pleads Guilty to Illegal Timber Trafficking
MAJOR LEAGUE: Minor League Players Obtain Class Certification

MALLINCKRODT: Possible Cancer Cluster Near St. Louis Investigated
MALLINCKRODT: St. Louis Residents File Class Action
MCNEIL CONSUMER: Obtains Favorable Ruling in Motrin Case
MCNEIL CONSUMER: Consolidation of Motrin Cases Unlikely
MECHANIC'S HEATING: Faces $1.3 Million in Civil Penalties

METLIFE AUTO: Illegally Collects Debt, "Hyman" Suit Claims
MONTANA POWER: Trial Date in Flathead Lake Class Action Vacated
NAT'L COLLEGIATE: Antitrust Ruling May Jeopardize Attorney Fees
NEUSTAR INC: December 3 Settlement Fairness Hearing Set
NEVADA: Educate Nevada Now Files Suit Over New Voucher Law

NEW YORK: Rikers Island Fails to Report Inmate Sexual Abuse
NEW ZEALAND: Psa Class Action Heads to High Court Next Year
NOBILIS HEALTH: Faces Securities Class Action
NOBLE ENERGY: Dist. Ct. Adopts Magistrate Judge's Recommendation
PANASONIC CORP: Plaintiffs Lawyers Seek $200 Million in Fees

PF CHANG: Class Action Over Gluten-Free Menu Dismissed
PFIZER INC: Hundreds of Zoloft Birth-Defect Cases Dismissed
PHILIP MORRIS: Trial in Marlboro Lights Class Action Begins
PIER 1 IMPORTS: Bernstein Litowitz Files Securities Class Action
PIKE: Judge Issues Ruling on Merger Class Action

PRIDE MEDICAL: Patients Obtain Class Status in Privacy Suit
PROCTER & GAMBLE: Sued Over Flushable Wipes Design Defects
RICHARDSON FLOOR: Faces "Martin" Suit Over Failure to Pay OT
RIVER ROCKS: Faces "Payne" Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime
RJ REYNOLDS: Supreme Court to Decide on EU Racketeering Suit

RIVERBED TECHNOLOGY: Non-Cash Settlement Approved
RMI INTERNATIONAL: Faces "Lara" Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime
SANTA FE NATURAL: Faces Class Action Over "Natural" Cigarettes
SAUDI ARABIA: Judge Tosses Plaintiffs' Claims in 9/11 Case
SCHLUMBERGER TECHNOLOGY: Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid OT Wages

SEATTLE, WA: Franchise Owners Lose Bid to Bar Minimum-Wage Hike
SILVER BAIT: Workers Exempt From Overtime, 6th Cir. Rules
SONY PICTURES: Settles Hacking Class Action for $8 Million
SONY PICTURES: Settlement Money Not Much, Two Cases Still Pending
SPACEX: Former Technician Files Labor Class Action

SPRIG INC: Faces Suit Over Misclassification of Workers
STANFORD GROUP: Settles Ponzi Scheme Suit for $40 Million
SULPICIO LINES: Ordered to Pay $5.5MM to Ferry Accident Victims
UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Judge Rejects Arbitration Bid in Driver Suit
UNIVERSAL PROTECTION: Loses Bid to Overturn Arbitration Ruling

UPLAND VINEYARDS: Farmworkers File Wage Class Action
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: 8 Mil. EU Cars Affected by Emissions Probe
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: 101 Korean Audi Owners File Class Action
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Faces "Schwartz" Suit Over Defeat Devices
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Faces "Press" Suit in Va. Over Defeat Devices

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Faces "Rios" Suit in Cal. Over Defeat Devices
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Faces "Harris" Emissions Action in Texas
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Emissions Scandal Spreads Across Houston Area
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Bailey & Glasser Files Emissions Class Action
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Stanford Professors File Emissions Suits

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Statman Harris Files Class Action in Ohio
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Susman Godfrey Expands Emissions Class Action
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Hagens Berman, Quinn File Joint Emissions Suit
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Harris County Taps Mithoff in Emissions Suit
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Files Criminal Complaint v. Rogue Employees

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Mayer Brown Heads Defense Team
VOLKWAGEN GROUP: Emissions Scandal Due to Compliance Failure
WARNER/CHAPPEL: No Valid Copyright for "Happy Birthday" Song
WILLIAMS COMPANIES: Faces "Glener" Suit Over Energy Merger
YALE UNIVERSITY: Doctor Files Counterclaim in Sex Harassment Case

* CFPB Says Eliminating Arbitration Clauses to Benefit Consumers
* CFPB Releases Outline of Proposals on Arbitration Agreements
* Malay-Muslim NGOs to File Class Action Over Haze Problem
* Repeated Use of Same Law Firms in MDL Sparks Criticism
* U.K. Implements Antitrust Opt-Out Class Action Procedure

* Wilson Elser Provides Update on Mega Settlements


ABSOLUTE NUTRITION: Falsely Marketed Products, Suit Says
Barry A. Cohen, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated v. Absolute Nutrition, LLC a/k/a Absolute
Nutrition, Case No. CV-15-852627 (Ohio Comm. Pleas, October 14,
2015) is brought on behalf of all the consumers who purchased
Absolute(TM) Garcinia Cambogia weight loss supplement, that were
falsely marketed by the Defendant.

The Product contains 60% garcinia cambogia, a hydroxycitric acid
which, were it true and taken at the recommended dosage level,
would yield 1,800 mg of active ingredient HCA daily.

Garcinia cambogia is plant native to Indonesia, containing
hydroxycitric acid as its active nutrient. Garcinia cambogia has
been the focus of weight loss industry promotions following its
introduction on television's Dr. Oz Show in October 2012.

Absolute Nutrition, LLC is a Connecticut limited liability company
that does business in Ohio, referring to itself as "The Diet

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Michael L. Fine, Esq.
      3684 Silsby Road
      University Heights, OH 44118
      Telephone: (216) 320-9950
      Facsimile: (216) 320-9953
      E-mail: mfine@ohioconsumerlawyer.com

AFFINITY MEDICAL: Faces "Catalan" Suit Over Failure to Pay OT
Veronica Catalan, on behalf of herself and all others similarly
situated v. Affinity Medical Technologies, LLC and Does 1 through
100, Inclusive, Case No. BC597496 (Cal. Super. Ct., October 13,
2015) is brought against the Defendants for failure to pay
overtime wages in violation of the California Labor Code.

Affinity Medical Technologies, LLC is a Delaware limited liability
company that manufacturers medical cables and interconnect
products and systems.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Michael Nourmand, Esq.
      James A. DeSario, Esq.
      8822 W. Olympic Blvd
      Beverly Hills, CA 90211
      Telephone: (310) 553-3600
      Facsimile: (310) 553-3603

ALTEVA INC: Faces "Hogan" Suit in N.Y. Over Proposed MBS Merger
Missy Hogan and Jennifer Geiger, As Trustees For The Janice Lynn
Livingston Special Needs Trust U/A 2/17/11, individually and on
behalf of all others similarly situated v. Alteva, Inc., et al.,
Case No. 653367/2015 (N.Y. Super. Ct., October 8, 2015) is brought
on behalf of all the public shareholders of Alteva, Inc. against
members of Alteva's Board of Directors, MBS Holdings, Inc., and
Arrow Merger Subsidiary, Inc., alleging breaches of fiduciary
duties and other violations of state law, and aiding and abetting
thereof, in connection with the Board's decision to sell Alteva to
MBS for inadequate consideration, following a flawed sales
process, announced on September 2, 2015, to the detriment of the
Company's public shareholders.

Alteva, Inc. is a New York corporation with its principal
executive offices located at 401 Market Street, Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania 19106. Alteva's common stock is traded on the New
York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "ALTV."

MBS Holdings, Inc. is the parent holding company of Momentum
Telecom, Inc., a Voice over Internet Protocol provider
headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Shannon L. Hopkins, Esq.
      Sebastiano Tornatore, Esq.
      Christa A. Menge, Esq.
      733 Summer Street, Suite 304
      Stamford, CT 06901
      Telephone: (203) 992-4523
      Facsimile: (212) 363-7171
      E-mail: shopkins@zlk.com

AMAZON.COM: Faces NJ Class Action Over Employee Background Checks
Charles Toutant, writing for Law.com, reports that Amazon has been
hit with a putative class action in Newark federal court claiming
it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act in its use of background
checks to vet job applicants.

The suit says Amazon fails to provide a copy of the background
report to applicants before rejecting them based on information in
the report.  The online merchandiser also fails to provide job
seekers a statement of their rights under the Fair Credit
Reporting Act, according to the suit, Feldstein v. Amazon.com.

By its actions, the suit claims, the company systematically
violates 1681b(b)(3) of the FCRA by denying an applicant a chance
to dispute errors on the report or even to know who prepared it.

The suit seeks monetary relief on behalf of a class of Amazon job
seekers whose applications were not handled in compliance with the
FCRA's pre-adverse action notice requirements.

The class representative, Theo Feldstein, allegedly was turned
down for a job based on a criminal record that was disclosed on a
report obtained from Accurate Background Inc.  Amazon also failed
to provide him a statement summarizing his rights under the act,
according to the suit.

In April, when Mr. Feldstein filled out an online application for
a job as fulfillment associate at the company's warehouse in
Robbinsville, he attended an orientation meeting and was granted a
contingent offer of a job at $14 per hour.  He was also told
Amazon retained ABI to conduct a background check, including a
criminal background report.  Amazon received a report from ABI
listing criminal convictions for Mr. Feldstein, and when he logged
onto Amazon's online job portal to check on the status of his
application, it indicated he had "failed a contingency," according
to the suit.

When Mr. Feldstein emailed an Amazon representative to seek
clarification, he was told that he passed the drug test but failed
the background check, according to the suit.  He was not given a
copy of the report or a statement of his rights, but was told to
contact ABI for more information, the suit claims.

The Amazon representative also told him in an email: "If the
results of the background check are updated, Accurate will notify
Amazon of the update and the results will be re-evaluated in
relation to your hiring decision at that time," the suit claims.

According to the suit, ABI's records for Mr. Feldstein listed
criminal convictions, but he was never convicted of the offenses
listed because adjudication was withheld.  Mr. Feldstein disputed
the inaccurate information with ABI on July 28 and was informed on
August 11 that the information was corrected, the suit said.  When
he notified Amazon that the information was changed, he was told
his application had expired and he should re-apply, the suit said.

A similar suit was filed against Amazon in April in federal court
in Seattle, where the company has its headquarters.  That suit,
Williams v. Amazon.com, also claims that the company fails to show
job seekers copy of their background report before making an
adverse job action.  That suit also named as a defendant Staff
Management Inc., which provided the background report in that
case, and the case has been moved to the Northern District of
Illinois, where Staff Management is located. The defendants have
moved to dismiss that suit.

Other companies sued over allegations of using pre-employment
background checks in the District of New Jersey in recent months
include Uber Inc. and Michaels Stores.

The lawyers representing Feldstein and the class, James Francis
and John Soumilas of Francis & Mailman in Philadelphia, did not
respond to phone messages about the suit.

Representatives of Amazon also did not respond to a request for

ANGLO AMERICAN: Certification Sought for Silicosis Class Action
Daily Maverick reports that lawyers for the miners are asking the
three judges in the court to certify a class action which would
enable them to claim damages from the mining companies as a class,
instead of each sick former miner having to do so individually.
The application includes a request that 59 mineworkers who have
silicosis and/or TB should be accepted as representatives of the
wider class of miners affected by the disease and the dependents
of deceased miners.

Lawyers for the mining companies are arguing that the class action
should not be certified by the court.

Counsel for ERPM and DRD, Advocate Bruce Leech, said the
Constitution acknowledged the right of people to join together in
class actions in order to get access to the courts if they could
not take action individually.  But, he said, there must be a clear
definition of a class of persons affected to which all applicants
must conform in every particular; there must be common issues or
disputes between all the applicants and all the respondents; there
must be a valid cause of action; and finally there must be at
least one representative applicant identified for the class.  Even
if all these criteria were met, the court would still have to
decide whether a class action was in the interests of justice, or
whether some other procedure such as test cases or individual
litigation would be better.

"The precedents do not support the applicants' intention to have
the class action in the manner they propose, because it is
oppressive and inconsistent with the interests of justice" said
Mr. Leech.

Judge Basheer Vally said though these factors had to be taken into
account, the overriding consideration was the interests of
justice.  Chief amongst these would be the fact that without a
class action, the applicants would not have their constitutionally
guaranteed access to the courts.

Presiding Judge Phineas Mojapelo asked Leech directly whether in
his view there were common issues or disputes across the miners'
proposed class.  Mr. Leech replied that he was of the opinion that
there were no common issues affecting all members of the
"superclass" and all one hundred or so mining company respondents.

He questioned whether the mineworkers' attorneys had the capacity
to undertake and manage such a huge action in the interests of
their clients.  He questioned the justice of giving up a fight for
individual damages for every mineworker in favor of a collective

The miners wanted a license from the court to start a class action
process ending with individual claims for damages for perhaps
500,000 people and their dependents, Mr. Leech said.  This could
take an inordinate number of years, including possibly an appeal
against the findings on liability before damages could be
considered.  Mineworkers who did not opt out of this process would
have to accept the outcome and endure huge potential delays,
especially since the liability of each mining company would have
to be considered separately.

Mr. Leech asked the court to consider all this before certifying
such a huge class action, which would force all the mining
companies to be present during all the trials, unless there was a
series of mini-trials, which would mean that there was no longer a
single class action.

Referring to the proposed two classes (one of miners with
silicosis and one of miners with TB) and the two phases of trial
(one for the determination of liability and one for the
determination of damages), Judge Mojapelo asked: "What is wrong
with that procedure? Is it not adequate? Furthermore, does this
court have the power to tell the applicants that they must
reorganize their proposal?"

Mr. Leech conceded that the court did not, but argued that the
court should instead refuse to certify the class action.

Judge Mojapelo asked if the court had the power to grant
certification for the silicosis case, but not for the TB without
silicosis case.  Mr. Leech replied that it could, because there
was no commonality between silicosis and TB when it came to
damages (TB is curable, silicosis is incurable and progressively

Judge Leonie Wendell pointed out that there was no need for
commonality between class members when determining damages.

On the question of the number of years that one trial judge would
need to determine individual damages for hundreds of thousands of
mineworkers and the dependants of deceased, Judge Mojapelo
suggested that damages could be determined could be undertaken by
hundreds of judges sharing the workload.

Judge Vally asked if Leech would accept the class action if
determination of liability was carried out on an opt-in basis
(individual miners agreeing to join the class) instead of the
proposed opt-out (affected miners automatically part of the class
unless they chose not to be) basis? No, said Leech, proposing
instead that the court could certify only liability, but not

He argued that certification of the class would need
representatives to represent the entire class.  This was not a
"nice to have", he said; it was essential.  Yet at present there
was no representative applicant applicant for every respondent
mine, no representative for every time period, and no
representative dependent of a deceased mineworker at all.

Among his clients, Leech said, DRD mine had not done any
underground mining since 1997, and ERPM since 2008.  Since the
proposed class of mineworkers for the action was limited to
underground current and past mineworkers, his clients could not
fall into it, he said.

Representing Anglo American, Advocate Michael Cooper added further
objections to the proposed certification.  He argued that the
"opt-out" method of constructing the class of mineworkers for the
action might prejudice the applicants' right of access to the
courts, as their attorneys would have complete control over how
the case was fought.  The "opt-in" method was much better, he
said, because it allowed true informed consent with each person
coming forward.

Judge Vally sharply objected to the suggestion that by assisting
workers to get damages for silicosis and TB, their attorneys were
acting against the workers' true interests.  "That is
paternalistic!" he said. Cooper insisted that the opt-out method
of constructing a class for a class action was "constitutionally

He drew the court's attention to the public notice that the
attorneys for the applicants had drawn up calling for sick former
miners to come forward and be identified for the purposes of
claims.  He said that the notice was complex, and would be
incomprehensible and cause confusion.

Judge Mojapelo countered that at least the sick mineworkers and
their dependants would know that they are plaintiffs.  Judge Vally
added that the assumption that the mineworkers were isolated
individuals with no networks or contact points with the state was
wrong.  He was confident that the message to the potential masses
of sick mineworkers and their families would reach them, he said.

So far, 17,000 current and former mineworkers, and dependants of
deceased mineworkers, have come forward.

ANGLO AMERICAN: Plaintiffs' Silicosis Class Action Evidence Flimsy
Franny Rabkin, writing for BDlive, reports that the evidence
relied on by lawyers for gold mine workers in their silicosis
class action was so fragmented and incomplete that they had failed
to make out a prima facie case, the High Court heard on Oct. 20.

Oct. 21 was the eighth day in the 10-day hearing by the
Johannesburg High Court on whether it should certify a class
action on behalf of mineworkers in the gold sector against 30
mining companies for damages due to silicosis.  If the class
action were to go ahead, it would mean a potentially huge claim on
behalf of tens of thousands of workers.

But one of the requirements for certification is that there must
be a prima facie case to answer.  Anglo American SA's counsel,
Michael Kuper SC, said it meant that the mineworkers had to make
out a strong enough case that, if proved, would make the gold
mining companies liable.

In written argument, lawyers for the mineworkers said their
evidence and central argument was based on "systemic and pervasive
industry-wide failures by South African gold mining companies" --
including those it named in the court case.

"There is no reason to suppose that any particular mine or any
particular (mining company) was an exception to the industry
rule," they said.

But Mr. Kuper said the evidence on which this was based -- data
referred to in reports and studies -- was itself unreliable and
incomplete.  In particular, the data did not name which gold mines
it related to.  This meant there was nothing to indicate that the
data related to any of the mines associated with Anglo American.

"And the same is true of every respondent," he said.

Mr. Kuper said it was "legally impossible" to use this kind of
evidence to prove a case against specific mining companies.  "It's
the old problem of guilty by association," he said.

On the other hand, there was data available, which measured
average dust levels at specific mines; yet the mine workers'
lawyers had not referred to it.  This gave rise to an "element of
bewilderment of why so direct a case is not brought and the court
is asked to certify so indirect a case," he said.

Mr. Kuper added that, when it came to Anglo American, the mine
workers' lawyers had an additional hurdle in that Anglo American
did not, itself, employ any of the workers. Nor was it the parent
company of any the mines cited in the court case.

Instead, Anglo American was an investor and a financier in those
companies that the mineworkers wanted to sue, he said.

The mine workers' lawyers had earlier argued that Anglo American
was liable because it had service agreements with, and gave advice
to, 11 of the mines implicated in the court case.  "A claim . . .
lies against a party that gives negligent advice resulting in
loss," they said.

But Mr. Kuper argued that it would be impossible to call on Anglo
American to account for mines over which it did not have day-to-
day control.  Anglo American would simply not be able to prepare a
defense as it did not have the records, archival material or
personal knowledge of what happened on mines over which it did not
have day-to-day control over a period of forty years, he said.

The lawyers for the mineworkers was set to respond on Oct. 22 to
the arguments made by the mining companies over the last few days
on why the court should not certify the class action.  Oct. 23 was
reserved for questions from the bench.

ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV: Judge Approves Beck Packaging Settlement
Curt Anderson, writing for The Associated Press, reports that U.S.
drinkers of Beck's beer who thought the American-made brew they
were buying was still a fancy, century-old German import can get
cash payments under a $20 million settlement approved in a class-
action lawsuit over deceptive packaging.

On tap: People with proof they bought Beck's at retail outlets
could get up to $50 per household.  Those without receipts can
qualify for $12 maximum. Claims may be filed through Nov. 20 via a
court-approved website: www.becksbeersettlement.com

The settlement, approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge John J.
O'Sullivan, came in a lawsuit filed in 2013 by several Beck's
drinkers who noticed there was almost no visible "made in the
U.S.A." language on the beer's packaging even though it has been
brewed in St. Louis, Missouri, since 2012.

Instead, in big letters, the Anheuser-Busch InBev brand emphasized
its "German Quality," noted that it was made under the "German
Purity Law of 1516" and originated in Bremen, Germany.

All may be true, said plaintiffs' attorney Tucker Ronzetti, but
the point of the lawsuit is that a beer made in St. Louis
shouldn't be passed off as the import it once was -- with premium
pricing to boot.

"They realized they had been deceived," Mr. Ronzetti said of the
plaintiffs.  "The packaging didn't really explain that it was a
domestic beer."

There was some U.S.-made language on the packaging and bottles,
but it was difficult to find.  For example, a Beck's drinker had
to turn a 12-pack upside down to find the country of origin on the
box's bottom. Still, U.S. regulators approved the designs.

The original Beck's brewery, founded in 1873, remained in the same
family until 2002, when it was purchased by the Belgian
conglomerate now known as Anheuser-Busch InBev.  Court documents
show that Anheuser-Busch decided for cost reasons to shift brewing
for Beck's U.S. market in 2012 to St. Louis, where the company
makes Budweiser and other beers.

Yet the Beck's packaging still emphasized Germany, something
Mr. Ronzetti's lawsuit claimed was misleading and false
advertising.  One Miami plaintiff, Francisco Rene Marty, said in
court papers he bought a six-pack or 12-pack of Beck's every week
partly because it was supposedly brewed in Germany using local
ingredients that gave it a distinctive taste.

Marty said he "would not have purchased Beck's had he known
(Anheuser-Busch's) representations were false."

Anheuser-Busch initially tried to get the lawsuit thrown out but
finally agreed to the settlement earlier this year and changed its
packaging to more prominently show that Beck's is made in the U.S.
Under the settlement, the company does not admit any wrongdoing.

"We reached a compromise in the Beck's labeling case," said
Jorn Socquet, Anheuser-Busch vice president for marketing.  "We
believe our labeling, packaging and marketing of Beck's has always
been truthful, transparent and in compliance with all legal

An estimated 1.7 million U.S. households could qualify for
settlement payments. According to court documents, in 2012 the
company sold more than 2.6 million cases of Beck's in the U.S. at
an average price of about $27 each.

Mr. Ronzetti, who negotiated a similar settlement last year
involving Japan-originated Kirin beer also owned by Anheuser-
Busch, and his legal team will receive a flat $3.5 million in fees
and expenses -- about 11 percent of the potential payout to

The settlement applies only to Beck's beer sold at retail outlets,
not at bars or restaurants.

ARAMARK UNIFORM: Doesn't Properly Pay Workers, Suit Claims
Hector Heredia, on behalf of himself  and as a representative of
the People of the State of California v. Aramark Uniform & Career
Apparel Group, Inc., d/b/a Aramark Uniform Services, Inc., Gus
Gomez and Does 1-20, Case No. BC597783 (Cal. Super. Ct., October
13, 2015) is brought against the Defendants for failure to pay
overtime and minimum wages in violation of the California Labor

Aramark Uniform & Career Apparel Group, Inc. is a provider of
food, facilities and uniform services to education, healthcare,
business and industry, and sports, leisure and corrections

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Brett D. Szmanda, Esq.
      18351 Beach Blvd., Suite K
      Huntington Beach, CA 92648
      Telephone: (714)369-6861
      Facsimile: (360)851-7730
      E-mail: Brett@szmandalaw.com

ASTOR WASHINGTON: "Pimentel" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid OT
Ramsey Pimentel, and other similarly situated individuals v. Astor
Washington Corp d/b/a Hotel Astor and Karim Masrt, Case No.
33194590 (11th Ct. Fla., October 13, 2015) seeks to recover unpaid
overtime wages and damages pursuant to the Fair Labor Standard

The Defendants own and operate a hotel in Miami Dade County,

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Anthony M. Georges-Pierre, Esq.
      44 West Flagler St., Suite 2200
      Miami, FL 33130
      Telephone: (305) 416-5000
      Facsimile: (305) 416-5005
      E-mail: agp@rgpattomeys.com

AUSTRALIA: Kiwi Detainees Mull Class Action
Sam Sachdeva, writing for Stuff.co.nz, reports that Kiwis being
held in Australian detention centres are contemplating a class
action lawsuit against the Australian government over their
treatment, Labour MP Kelvin Davis says.

Mr. Davis, who has been at Christmas Island attempting to visit 52
New Zealanders in the detention centre there, told Radio NZ some
detainees had told him they wanted his help in taking "some sort
of legal action" against the Australian government.

He said he would speak to them about their options and help them
to find an Australian lawyer who would be able to help, but said
the likelihood of any lawsuit going ahead was "up in the air".

"They've had a bit of a talk amongst themselves.  They do have
cellphones, so I think they're trying to get in touch with other
detainees in other detention centers to try and get more resources

"Now I'm not sure what those resources look like, and how they
actually will get any money together."

Mr. Davis said he had received permission from the Australian
immigration service to visit the Kiwis at the Christmas Island
detention centre on Oct. 16, with final clearance coming about two
hours before he was scheduled to leave on Oct. 20.

The detainees were "ecstatic" that he would be able to visit and
provide them with some support.

"It seems [to them] like New Zealand is listening to their plight:
they sent us a text the night before we were due to leave and said
it feels like you're the nearest thing to family we've got."

While Prime Minister John Key has encouraged Kiwis facing
deportation to return to New Zealand and fight their cases from
here, Mr. Davis said most did not want to do so as they did not
trust promises made by the Australian and New Zealand governments.

"They believe that once they get off the ground from Australia
into New Zealand, Australia will just say, 'Well you're over there
now, you might as well stay', and deny them their Australian

BERKELEY INVESTMENTS: Sued Over Failure to Repair Unit Defects
Kerstin Schwarz v. Berkeley Investments, LLC, et al., Case No.
RG15789507 (Cal. Super. Ct., October 13, 2015) is brought on
behalf of the tenants who suffered emotional distress, physical
injury, over-payment of rent, and out-of-pocket expenses as a
result of the Defendants' failure and refusal to make repairs of
the habitability defects to the subject premises.

Berkeley Investments, LLC owns and operates a real estate agency
doing business in the County of Alameda, California.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Charles R. Ostertag, Esq.
      802 B Street
      San Rafael, CA 9490 I
      Telephone: (415) 938-7823
      Facsimile: (415) 873-3197
      E-mail: costertag@alamerelaw.com

BERNARD MADOFF: Trial in Fraud Case Begins in Seattle
Gene Johnson, writing for The Associated Press, reports that
nearly seven years after Bernie Madoff's investment empire was
revealed to be a $17.5 billion fraud, the battle by investors to
recover their losses ramps up in a case that went to trial earlier
this month in Seattle.

A Washington state investment company is seeking to pin about $100
million of its losses from Madoff's crimes on auditor Ernst &

FutureSelect Portfolio Management of Redmond lost a total of about
$129 million in the pyramid scheme.  In King County Superior Court
papers, the company alleges that Ernst & Young would have
uncovered the scheme if it had taken even the most basic steps to
verify Madoff's assets -- something the auditing firm denies it
had any obligation to do.

Ernst & Young said it had a very limited role with regard to
FutureSelect's investments.

Jury selection in the case was set to start on Oct. 12.

BP PLC: To Pay $20MM Fines Over Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Mike Sacks and Amanda Bronstad, writing for The National Law
Journal, report that BP PLC has agreed to pay $20 billion in fines
-- the largest in U.S. history -- for the Deepwater Horizon
disaster spill and cleanup of 3.1 million barrels of oil that
spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and onto the shores of coastal
states, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Oct. 5.

The agreement, detailed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch at a
press conference and in a consent decree filed in a New Orleans
federal court, includes $5.5 billion to be paid for civil claims
under the Clean Water Act, $7.1 billion in natural resources
damages under the Oil Pollution Act, $4.9 billion to the five Gulf
Coast states, and up to $1 billion to local governments.

The overall amount is larger than the tentative $18.7 billion
settlement announced in July.

"Once approved by the court, this agreement will launch one of the
largest environmental restoration efforts the world has ever
seen," Lynch said.

The consent decree, submitted to Judge Carl Barbier in the Eastern
District of Louisiana, makes official the terms BP detailed in a
July statement that said the company had set aside $18.7 billion
for payments.

The larger amount announced on Oct. 5 factors in "amounts of money
the company provided for the restoration to the gulf," Ms. Lynch
said, calling the $20 billion figure "a more exact number."
According to the court filing, BP would complete compensation by

BP offered additional clarification in a statement released after
the announcement.

"We are another step closer to finalizing the settlement we
announced on July 2, fulfilling our commitment to help restore the
Gulf economy and environment.  The filing of the consent decree
does not reflect a new settlement or any new money.  It covers the
same payments -- and same amounts -- disclosed by BP when we
announced this agreement in July.  The government has announced a
number that includes amounts previously spent or disclosed by BP,"
the company wrote.

Some 80 percent of the Clean Water Act penalty will go toward
environmental restoration work mandated by the Restore Act of
2012.  A trustee council -- including representatives from the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the departments of Commerce,
Interior and Agriculture, and the states of Alabama, Florida,
Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas -- will guide the projects funded
by the $7.1 billion in natural resources damages, $1 billion BP
committed under an earlier framework agreement and $700,000 set
aside for "adaptive management and unknown conditions."

"Taken as a whole, this restoration is strong and fitting,"
Ms. Lynch said.  "BP is receiving the punishment it deserves,
while also providing critical compensation to the damage to the
gulf region."

Washington lawyers Daryl Libow -- libowd@sullcrom.com -- of
Sullivan & Cromwell and Brian Israel -- Brian.Israel@aporter.com -
- of Arnold & Porter represented BP and the company's oil and
exploration subsidiary, respectively.  Neither were immediately
reached for comment.

BP's legal fees

The record decree, which is subject to objections during the next
60 days, is unlikely to face many challenges, said David Logan, a
professor at Roger Williams University School of Law.

"The chance of it being at this point unraveled by the judge
strikes me as pretty small," he said.  "This is the last chapter
in a book that's had many chapters."

Judge Barbier in New Orleans has scheduled a March 23 hearing on
final approval of the deal.

Separately, Judge Barbier on Oct. 5 approved legal fees and costs
that BP has agreed within 30 days to pay plaintiffs attorneys who
assisted in the case, including those who represented attorneys
general.  Those payments include:

   -- $40 million to a general common-benefit fund for lead
plaintiffs attorneys in the litigation against BP.

   -- $52 million to Panama City, Florida's Harrison, Rivard,
Duncan & Buzzett for its representation of the state of Florida.

   -- $20 million to the state of Louisiana, which was represented
by New Orleans-based Kanner & Whiteley.

In a statement on Oct. 5, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy
Caldwell said BP has agreed to reimburse the state for all of its
expenses, including legal fees and all litigation costs, in
addition to the $6.8 billion amount in the settlement.

"I am especially pleased that we have a firm commitment from BP
that all of Louisiana's costs, including litigation expenses and
attorneys' fees, will be paid by BP," Mr. Caldwell said in a
statement.  "No part of Louisiana's recovery will be used to fund
any of these reimbursements.  Therefore, this entire case was
handled on behalf of Louisiana at absolutely no cost to

   -- $10 million to the Alabama attorney general's office.
The fees include $6.2 million to Montgomery's Beasley, Allen,
Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles.  Beasley Allen principal Rhon Jones
-- rhon.jones@beasleyallen.com -- said the firm spent "many, many
thousands of hours" on the case.  "Beasley Allen worked very hard
on behalf of the state, on behalf of the governor, for this," he

Other firms that represented Alabama were New Orleans-based Lewis,
Kullman, Sterbcow & Abramson; Breit Drescher & Imprevento in
Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Mobile's Cunningham Bounds.
Another $10 million went to the attorney general's in-house legal
staff, according to a spokesman for Attorney General Luther

"The outcome is due in large part to the hard work of more than 20
state attorneys and staff," Strange said in a statement on
Oct. 5.  "Thanks to the thousands of hours they expended on this
task, my office was able to secure $10 million in legal fees from
BP, all of which will go to fill a hole in our current budget
created by a funding shortfall from the Alabama legislature."

   -- $5 million to the Mississippi attorney general's office,
which was represented by Mike Moore Law Firm in Flowood,

   -- $1 million to the state of Texas.

The settlement caps five years of litigation over the spill, but a
few loose ends remain. Lead plaintiffs lawyers in a separate $9.9
billion deal to resolve economic damages claims from individuals
and businesses have petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Fifth Circuit to reverse changes to the way claim amounts are

Former FBI director Louis Freeh, acting as special master, has
continued to seek the return of settlement payments to individuals
and businesses based on allegedly false claims.

BP PLC: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Costs Expected to Rise
Sue Reisinger, writing for Corporate Counsel, reports that the
Deepwater Horizon oil spill has already cost BP $54.6 billion in
legal and other costs, and that number is expected to rise over
the next few years.  And in its most recent quarterly report, BP
took a $10.8 billion charge related to its Gulf oil spill
"response" in the second quarter of 2015, according to documents
on its website.

The documents, and accompanying information, say $9.8 billion went
for state and federal claims arising from the April 2010 spill.
Another $460 million charge was for "business economic loss claims
not provided for," while the remainder went for "adjustments to
other provisions" and "ongoing costs of the Gulf Coast Restoration

There was no separate breakdown for its legal fees, and David
Nicholas, head of BP's group press office in London, said there
was no further breakdown of the Gulf oil spill expenese behond
what was offered in the quarterly report.  In February 2014 the
company reported it had already spent more than $1 billion on
lawyers' fees.  The company retained Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher,
Kirkland & Ellis and Williams & Connolly for work related to the
massive spill's aftermath.

The bulk of the second quarter claims involve the July 2
agreements BP made with the U.S., five Gulf Coast states and some
400 local governments.  The settlement commits BP to pay up to
$18.7 billion over the next 18 years.

The settlement does not cover other private claims or private
securities litigation, which could go on for years.

While BP claimed "an underlying profit" of $1.3 billion in the
quarter -- excluding the Gulf spill costs -- its overall bottom-
line showed a $6.3 billion loss.

FuelFix.com, a daily blog by energy and business reporters at the
Houston Chronicle and other Hearst newspapers, reported in June
that the ultimate cost of the spill to BP could run $60 billion to
$68 billion.

FuelFix quoted Bloomberg Intelligence energy analyst William Hares
telling investors, "For BP, these ongoing and upcoming litigation
liabilities are also occurring at one of the most challenging
periods for the company and the industry in recent memory.
Barring a worst-case scenario, BP will continue to exist, though
the impact from the litigation will be felt by investors."

BP has already sold billions of dollars worth of assets, laid off
workers, restructured its operations and drastically cut costs as
it struggles to regain some financial stability.

The same blog said that BP has been readying its defenses against
possible takeover efforts.  But it noted that the government
settlements contained an option that allows the government to
speed up payment of at least $12.6 billion in case of a change of
control or insolvency at BP -- a disincentive for any suitor. BP
declined to comment to FuelFix.

But David Berg, a Houston-based lawyer who has negotiated
settlements between polluters and municipalities, told the blog,
"I don't know anyone who'd want to buy a company with a $12.6
billion hickey they'd have to pay right away."

BRIDGEHAMPTON STONE: "Mayancela" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid OT
Juan Mayancela, on behalf of himself and all other persons
similarly situated v. Bridgehampton Stone Inc. and Daniel Messina,
Case No. 15-CV-5866 (E.D.N.Y., October 13, 2015) seeks to recover
unpaid overtime wages and damages pursuant to the Fair Labor
Standard Act.

The Defendants own and operate a masonry company in Suffolk
County, New York.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      David Stein, Esq.
      38 West 32nd Street, Suite 1110
      New York, NY 10001
      Telephone: (212) 563-9884
      E-mail: dstein@samuelandstein.com

CAFUA MANAGEMENT: Faces "Pulver" Suit Over Failure to Pay OT
Toni Pulver, individually and on behalf of all others similarly-
situated v. Cafua Management Company L.L.C. d/b/a Dunkin' Donuts,
et al., Case No. 1:15-cv-08022-AKH (S.D.N.Y., October 14, 2015) is
brought against the Defendants for failure to pay overtime
compensation for work in excess of 40 hours per week.

Cafua Management Company L.L.C. owns and operates over three
hundred Dunkin Donuts franchisees throughout the United States.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Marc S. Hepworth, Esq.
      Charles Gershbaum, Esq.
      David A. Roth, Esq.
      192 Lexington Avenue, Suite 802
      New York, NY 10016
      Telephone: (212) 545-1199
      Facsimile: (212) 532-3801
      E-mail: Rpredovan@hgrlawyers.com

CAMPBELL-EWALD: Supreme Court Split Over TCPA Class Action
Mark Sherman, writing for The Associated Press, reports that in a
case of interest to business and consumer groups, the U.S. Supreme
Court on Oct. 14 appeared to be divided over a company's effort to
end a class-action lawsuit by offering the person who first sued
everything he asked for.

The court heard arguments on Oct. 14 in a dispute over unsolicited
text messages sent by the Campbell-Ewald Company to the cellphone
of California resident Jose Gomez.  The messages were part of a
recruitment campaign the company was running for the Navy.

Mr. Gomez never consented to receive such messages and filed a
class-action lawsuit under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Among the issues for the court is whether the company's offer to
pay Mr. Gomez every penny to which he was entitled should end the
lawsuit.  That amounted to $1,503, far less than the company might
be liable for in a class action involving hundreds or even
thousands of plaintiffs.

But Gomez never accepted the offer and the two sides are disputing
whether there is anything left of the lawsuit.

Businesses often try to end class actions essentially before
they begin because the cost of the litigation as well as potential
settlements can be prohibitively expensive.  One tactic companies
use is to try to remove the lead plaintiff through some sort of
individual settlement.

Campbell-Ewald said the consumer protection law has allowed
unwanted text messages to be turned into multi-million-dollar
class-action settlements, with the bulk of the money going to
lawyers instead of consumers.

Chief Justice John Roberts was among the court's conservative
voices that were skeptical that Mr. Gomez' lawsuit could go
forward because Campbell-Ewald offered the most Mr. Gomez could
collect under the law.

"You won't take 'yes' for an answer," Justice Roberts told Gomez'
lawyer, Jonathan Mitchell.

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who appeared to favor Mr. Gomez, said
federal courts should have a role to play in deciding whether the
company's offer was sufficient.

"You get to say on your own, unilaterally, 'I offered you complete
relief,'" Justice Sotomayor said to Gregory Garre, who is
representing Campbell-Ewald.

The text message recruitment campaign that Campbell-Ewald
undertook for the Navy in 2006 was supposed to reach 150,000
people ages 18 to 24 taken from a list of those who consented to
be contacted via text.

"Destined for something big? Do it in the Navy," the text began.

But the campaign only sent about 100,000 messages and they did not
always reach their target audience. Gomez, for instance, was 40
years old when he got the unwanted texts.

The case is Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 14-857.

                           *     *     *

Judy Greenwald, writing for Business Insurance, reports that U.S.
Supreme Court oral arguments over the issue of an unsolicited text
message has left experts unsure of how the court is likely to rule
in a case that could have a significant impact on business'
success in handling class action litigation.

Jose Gomez received an unsolicited text message May 2006 from
marketing company Campbell-Ewald Co., which had a contract with
the Navy, urging his enlistment into the service, according to
court papers in Jose Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co. Inc.

He filed suit against Detroit-based Campbell-Ewald in U.S.
District Court in Pasadena, California, in 2010, charging the firm
had violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending the
unsolicited message. His lawsuit sought class action status.
Campbell-Ewald offered Mr. Gomez $1,503 per violation, plus
reasonable costs, to settle the case, but he rejected the offer by
allowing it to lapse.

Campbell-Ewald then moved to dismiss the case, arguing that Mr.
Gomez' rejection of the offer mooted both the personal and
putative class actions. In September 2014, a three-judge panel of
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco
overturned a lower court ruling and held that neither the
individual nor the class claims were mooted when Mr. Gomez
rejected the settlement. Campbell-Ewald then appealed the case to
the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Neutralizing" litigation before it becomes a class action is one
of the defense strategies used by defense counsel, said Joshua D.
Rogaczewski, a partner with McDermott Will & Emery in Washington,

Experts say a ruling in Ewald-Campbell's favor would make it
easier for business to avoid putative class action claim, by
"picking off" lead plaintiffs by offering them "full relief."

If Campbell-Ewald prevails, "plaintiffs' counsel would by
necessity be put in position of having to essentially constantly
go out and find new named plaintiffs," said Sylvia Rivera, a
partner with Morrison Foerster L.L.P. in Los Angeles. In these
cases "plaintiff lawyers don't necessarily have any idea"
regarding who potential class members are, and how to contact
them, she said.

Based on the questioning during the oral arguments, it is unclear
how the case is likely to rule, say attendees. Justices Anthony M.
Kennedy or Stephen G. Breyer could be swing votes in the case,
said Richard Samp, lead counsel at the Washington-based Washington
Legal Foundation. "It will be close" and could go either way, he

Mr. Rogaczewski said a ruling in the case can be expected as soon
as December, 2015 or January, 2016.

CHINACACHE INT'L: Rosen Law Firm Files Securities Class Action
Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, on Oct. 9
disclosed that it has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of
purchasers of ChinaCache International Holdings Ltd. securities
from April 11, 2015 through August 20, 2015, both dates inclusive.
The lawsuit seeks to recover damages for ChinaCache investors
under the federal securities laws.

To join the ChinaCache class action, go to the firm's website at
http://rosenlegal.com/cases-705.htmlor call Phillip Kim, Esq. or
Kevin Chan, Esq. toll-free at 866-767-3653 or email
pkim@rosenlegal.com or kchan@rosenlegal.com for information on the
class action.  The lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court for
the Central District of California.


According to the lawsuit, throughout the Class Period, Defendants
issued materially false and misleading statements to investors
and/or failed to disclose that (1) the platform migration to HPCC
was not successful; (2) the platform migration to HPCC posed the
risk of a negative impact on the Company's financial performance;
(3) as a result of the unsuccessful migration, the Company's
revenue for the second quarter of 2015 would be below
expectations; and (4) as a result, the Company's public statements
were materially false and misleading and/or lacked a reasonable
basis at all relevant times.  When the true details entered the
market, the lawsuit claims that investors suffered damages.

A class action lawsuit has already been filed. If you wish to
serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than
December 8, 2015.  A lead plaintiff is a representative party
acting on behalf of other class members in directing the
litigation.  If you wish to join the litigation, go to the firm's
website at http://rosenlegal.com/cases-705.htmlor to discuss your
rights or interests regarding this class action, please contact
Phillip Kim, Esq. or Kevin Chan, Esq. of Rosen Law Firm toll free
at 866-767-3653 or via e-mail at pkim@rosenlegal.com or

Rosen Law Firm represents investors throughout the globe,
concentrating its practice in securities class actions and
shareholder derivative litigation.

CINCINNATI BENGALS: Settles Cheerleaders' Wage Suit for $250,000
Mark Gokavi, writing for Dayton Daily News, reports that the
Cincinnati Bengals tentatively agreed to pay more than $250,000 to
settle a class action lawsuit brought by a former Ben-Gal
cheerleader alleging that the team violated federal minimum wage

Springboro native Alexa Brenneman and all members of the Ben-Gals
from 2011 to 2013 would receive at least $2,500 each per season in
back wages, according to a proposed settlement filed in U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

"The Bengals changed their compensation practices for cheerleaders
in response to the lawsuit for the (2014) season," said
Christian Jenkins, one of Ms. Brenneman's attorneys.  "The
settlement is designed to give them about twice the amount that
they would have gotten had the Bengals paid them properly in the
first place."

As the lead name in the Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit,
Ms. Brenneman, the 2008 Springboro High School graduate, would
receive an additional $5,000 from the Bengals.  None of the former
Ben-Gals from those seasons have to file a lawsuit to get paid.
A message seeking comment from one of the Bengals' attorneys was
not immediately returned, but a memo filed along with the proposed
settlement said the team "have denied and will continue to deny
any liability or wrongdoing with respect to the alleged facts and
causes of action asserted in the lawsuit."

The joint motion for settlement states that the Bengals could walk
away from the deal if a number of Ben-Gals opt out of the
agreement, which could open the team up to more litigation.  If
the Bengals opted out, the suit would go forward.  Mr. Jenkins
said that as of Oct. 20, no former Ben-Gals had opted out of the
proposed settlement.

A fairness hearing is scheduled for Dec. 3 in front of U.S.
District Court Judge Michael Barrett, who will rule on the
attorney fees that the Bengals will pay to Ms. Brenneman's

Ms. Brenneman filed suit in early 2014, alleging that she was
effectively paid just $2.85 per hour -- a violation of federal
minimum wage laws -- during her more than 300 hours working for
the Cincinnati Bengals from May 2013 to January 2014.

Ms. Brenneman alleged that though the cheerleaders were paid $90
per home game during her stint, their compensation was well below
Ohio's minimum wage of $7.85 when factoring in mandatory practices
and 10 "charity" appearances.  Practices were mandatory even
during weeks when there were no home games.

The Ben-Gals' 6-page rules included as an exhibit in the suit said
that cheerleaders had to show up in full makeup and hair at 7:45
a.m. for 1:00 p.m. games and that the six of the 30 Ben-Gals not
selected to cheer at that home game made just $45 but still had to
visit suite-holders.

"There's always been a lot of discussion within the squad and
other cheerleaders as well," Ms. Brenneman said in February 2014.
"We respect our craft and what we do and it is a job and we want
to be respected as athletes. Currently, we're not making minimum

The motion states that both sides believe evidence supports their
positions, but that going forward would be lengthy and expensive.
Similar lawsuits involving cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders
and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been settled.  Other suits still
pending include NFL cheerleaders for the Bills and Jets.

COMCAST CORP: Judge Approves $50MM Antitrust Class Settlement
P.J. D'Annunzio, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, reports that
a federal judge has approved a $50 million settlement in the long-
running Comcast antitrust class action, carving out $15 million of
that total for attorney fees.

U.S. District Judge John R. Padova of the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania signed off on the settlement, capping a class action
that had seen three trips to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit and one to the U.S. Supreme Court since its
initiation in 2003.

The plaintiffs in the case, representing roughly 800,000 current
and former Comcast cable subscribers from Philadelphia and the
four surrounding suburban counties, alleged the company
monopolized the regional cable market by "swapping" customers from
other providers and "clustering" them in certain geographic areas
that allowed the company to raise prices and limit customer

The settlement is broken down into a cash component of $16.7
million and a services component valued at $33.3 million.  The $15
million in attorney fees will come from the cash component.  Those
fees are broken down into $6.4 million for attorney compensation
and $8.6 million in expenses.

M. Norman Goldberger -- goldbergerm@ballardspahr.com -- a Ballard
Spahr attorney representing Comcast, did not return a call seeking

Representing the class members were 17 firms from across the
country, which had requested a combined sum of nearly $25 million
in fees and costs.  While Judge Padova's opinion did not list the
breakdown of each firm's share of the $15 million in fees and
costs he ultimately awarded, three firms had requested
compensation over the million-dollar mark.

Minneapolis-based firm Heins Mills & Olson, which performed 33,145
hours of work in the litigation, initially requested roughly $13
million.  Following Heins Mills, Houston-based Susman Godfrey put
in 11,807 hours of work and requested $5.6 million, while
Bolognese & Associates in Philadelphia put in 2,564 hours of work
and requested just over $1 million.

David Woodward of Heins Mills did not return a call seeking

In total, attorneys for the class members worked for a total of
65,511 hours.  According to Judge Padova, the attorneys asserted
their requested fees were well below those awarded in similar
antitrust cases.

As for the class members, Judge Padova wrote in his opinion that
current Comcast subscribers have two compensatory routes to choose
from: They can take a one-time $15 credit to their bill or select
from a series of Comcast services, including six pay-per-view
movies, valued at $35.94; four months of upgraded Internet
service, an estimated $40 value; or a two-month subscription to
The Movie Channel, valued at $43.90. Former subscribers will
receive a cash payment of $15.

If the payout obligation exceeds the amount in the cash component,
Judge Padova said Comcast has agreed to contribute additional
money to the settlement fund.  If there is any left over, Comcast
will apply the remaining cash as a one-time credit off
subscribers' bills.

Out of the entire class, there were only three members who
objected to the terms of the settlement, and Judge Padova
ultimately overruled their objections.

Judge Padova said the time was right for settlement.

"Class counsel note that this litigation is of long duration,
involved extensive discovery, motion practice, multiple trips
through appellate courts, a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on
class certification issues, 47 depositions, the review of millions
of pages of party and third-party documents, and the retention of
multiple experts by the parties, who issued reports and almost all
of whom were deposed," Judge Padova said.  "Based upon the
voluminous record, the court previously found 'that the level to
which this case was litigated supports a conclusion that the
settlement was reached with full appreciation by counsel of the
merits of the case.'"

COSMETIC INSTITUTE: Australian Women Mulls Class Action
Caroline Overington, writing for Women's Weekly, reports that more
than 60 women are considering a class action against one of
Australia's largest cosmetic surgery clinics, saying they were
left scarred or disfigured by breast surgery.

Seven News says some of the women woke to find breast implants up
under their armpits, or closer to their shoulders.

"Since our first report on The Cosmetic Institute, more than 60
women have come forward some with mis-shapen implants, some the
wrong size, mismatching, others with serious post-operative
infections and scarring," the report says.

One woman, Koebii Daley said: "They kept telling me it was going
to drop, then six months late I woke up with my boob practically
on my shoulder."

The lawyer investigating a class action believes there are many
more unhappy clients out there.

Sally Gleeson, from Turner Freeman Lawyers, told Seven News: "This
is an issue that we'll be taking very seriously, we'll be
investigating the matters vigorously and we're hoping that we'll
get a positive response from TCI because that's the sort of
response that these women deserve."

CYCLONE DRILLING: Faces "Lunt" Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime
Jesse Lunt, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. Cyclone Drilling, Inc., Case No. 1:15-cv-02262 (D.
Colo., October 13, 2015) is brought against the Defendant for
failure to pay overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor
Standard Act.

Cyclone Drilling, Inc. is a drilling contractor in the United
States with nearly 40 rigs operating throughout the Rocky
Mountains, including in Colorado.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Michael A. Josephson, Esq.
      Lindsay R. Itkin, Esq.
      Andrew W. Dunlap, Esq.
      Jessica M. Bresler, Esq.
      1150 Bissonnet
      Houston, TX 77005
      Telephone: (713) 751-0025
      Facsimile: (713) 751-0030
      E-mail: mjosephson@fibichlaw.com

         - and -

      Richard J. (Rex) Burch, Esq.
      8 Greenway Plaza, Suite 1500
      Houston, TX 77046
      Telephone: (713) 877-8788
      Facsimile: (713) 877-8065
      E-mail: rburch@brucknerburch.com

DAVIDSON COUNTY SPA: Class Action Mulled Over Sudden Closure
Jonquil Newland, writing for NewsChannel5, reports that customers
and employees of a Davidson County spa said they were caught off
guard when it unexpectedly closed for good.

When Sarah Allen visited Nashville's Laser Spa by Premier at the
Green Hills location she had no idea it would be her last time

Ms. Allen purchased a $4,000 hair removal package from the spa.
She was extremely satisfied with the results.  However, with a
handful of visits still on the books Ms. Allen said she fears the

"It's completely unreasonable," she explained.  "I actually have
an appointment on Oct. 16 and they're just nowhere to be found,"
Allen said.

A sign in the window which initially stated they were closed for
the day has been marked over with a more recent message, saying
they are closed -- permanently.

A statement on the company's web site states as of October 16 said
they were moving treatments for Nashville clients to Knoxville and
hoped it won't be inconvenient.  Treatments have typically have
been done every six to eight weeks.

The site provided a number to call, but NewsChannel 5's calls were
not answered and have not been returned.

"I've invested a ton of money in this.  I either want a refund, or
want to be able to set up my appointments here locally," said
Ms. Allen.

Ms. Allen wasn't the only one scratching her head.  NewsChannel 5
spoke to a former employee off camera who said everyone who worked
in the office was blind-sided.  Six people were laid off and at
least a thousand clients were left in the dark.

"I'm sure there are some customers right now that don't even know.
They were a Green Hills business.  I imagine they had a huge
clientele," Ms. Allen said.

She has considering a Class Action lawsuit, but in the meantime
hopes to hear from more former clients like herself. Ms. Allen can
be reached at premierproblems@gmail.com

DIRECTV: Faces Another Antitrust Class Action
Daniel Frankel, writing for FierceCable, reports that after
getting hit with two class-action anti-trust suits over the
summer, DirecTV and the NFL got smacked with another one on
Oct. 16, with bars in Oakland, Calif., New York and Arizona filing
a complaint in U.S. District Court in New York.

The plaintiffs operate venues including Bounce Sporting Club in
Manhattan, Pedal Haus Brewery in Arizona and Gringo Star Street
Bar in Arizona.  They claim DirecTV and the NFL are charging
"exorbitant prices" of up to $359 a season.

"Bars, restaurants, hotels and other commercial establishments
have it even worse," the lawsuit said.  "Limited to only one
source for the football programming that many of their customers
demand, commercial establishments pay anywhere from $1,458 per
year to more than $120,000 per year -- as much as 10 times more
than they pay for other sports packages.

DUKE ENERGY: Settles Class Action for $80 Million
WCPO reports that Duke Energy agreed to pay an $80 million
settlement to end a 2008 class action lawsuit, the utility
announced on Oct. 21.

Under the agreement, which is still pending court approval, up to
$25 million will go to those who were Duke Energy Ohio residential
customers between 2005 and '08.  The plaintiffs' attorneys, from
the firm Freking & Betz, said that residential customers who make
a claim can expect to receive between $40 and $400.

The settlement money is being paid by Duke Energy shareholders,
not customers, the utility said.

Another $25 million will go to non-residential Duke Ohio customers
from the same time period.  Non-residential customers who make a
claim can expect to receive between $300 and $6,000.

An as-yet-undetermined program to benefit any Duke Energy Ohio
customer from the time period will use as much as $8 million more,
and the rest of the settlement will cover legal fees, distribution
costs and other expenses.

The funds will be distributed by a five-person board, not by Duke

A group of Ohio plaintiffs had filed the lawsuit over what they
called "an illegal and fraudulent rebate scheme" initiated by
CG&E, Duke's predecessor, following a 2004 rate increase.  The
utility company "secretly arranged" for the difference between the
old rate and the new rate to be refunded to a small number of
customers, according to the plaintiff's attorneys.

"Duke's secret payments to 22 of its largest energy customers 10
years ago left hundreds of thousands of ratepayers who played by
the rules out in the cold," Bill Markovits, a lead counsel for the
class, said.

Duke Energy maintained that all their customers "were treated
equally and fairly, and paid appropriate rates as approved by the
Public Utilities Commission of Ohio during the years in dispute."

The utility agreed to settle "to avoid the costs and uncertainties
of continued litigation," they said in a press release.

Anyone with questions about the settlement fund can call 844-322-

EI DUPONT: Ohio Woman Awarded $1.6MM in Water Contamination Suit
Andrew Welsh-Huggins, writing for The Associated Press, reports
that an Ohio woman was awarded $1.6 million on Oct. 7 in the trial
of a lawsuit that alleged a chemical from a DuPont Co. plant
contaminated drinking water and contributed to her contracting
kidney cancer.

A jury awarded the damages to 59-year-old Carla Bartlett of
Guysville in one of two cases that could influence thousands of
similar lawsuits over the chemical giant's discharge of
perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8.  The chemical is used to
make Teflon.

Some 3,500 people say they became ill after the company dumped C8
into the Ohio River and their drinking water from its Washington
Works plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia.

The trial, which lasted about three weeks, was the latest
development in a yearslong battle between DuPont and residents of
the Mid-Ohio Valley in the heart of Appalachia.  Ms. Bartlett once
lived closer to the river. Her lawyer said she was thrilled by the

"She understands that she did good for the communities all up and
down the Ohio River," attorney Mike Papantonio said.

He said the jury decision was vindication for those who argued
that C8 is "bio-persistent," referring to its presence in the
bloodstream years after contamination.

DuPont, which maintains C8 didn't contribute to Ms. Bartlett's
cancer, said it expects to appeal.  Company spokesman Gregg
Schmidt said the jury decision not to award punitive damages
validates the company's position that DuPont never consciously
disregarded the risks to people living near the Parkersburg plant.

Workers and plant officials drank the same water as residents,
DuPont attorney Damon Mace told jurors during closing arguments on
Oct. 6.  Of its eight employees with cancer in 1989, only one had
worked at length with C8, he said.

But Mr. Papantonio and co-counsel Gary Douglas argued that
Delaware-based DuPont long knew the risks of C8 but showed
"conscious disregard" for Ohio and West Virginia residents by
downplaying or hiding the chemical's effects on the public.
Mr. Papantonio noted that the company tested the blood of those
working with the chemical.

Mr. Mace told jurors the company tested the workers because they
would have the greatest exposure to the chemical, which some
studies showed could possibly be linked to cancer.

About 80,000 residents filed a class-action lawsuit against the
company in 2001.  It resulted in a settlement in which DuPont
agreed to pay as much as $343 million for residents' medical
tests, the removal of as much C8 from the water supply as possible
and a science panel's examination into whether C8 causes disease
in humans.

FACEBOOK INC: Ireland to Probe Data Transfer After EU Ruling
Stephanie Bodoni and Dara Doyle, writing for Bloomberg News,
report that Ireland will investigate a complaint about U.S. spies
potentially accessing Facebook Inc. users' private details after
the European Union's highest court overturned a trans-Atlantic
pact that allowed the free flow of such data 15 years ago.

Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner agreed to probe the
complaint by Austrian law student Max Schrems following the
landmark Oct. 6 ruling by the EU Court of Justice, Paul Anthony
McDermott, a lawyer for the authority, said in a Dublin court on
Oct. 19.   The Irish data watchdog's initial refusal to examine
the complaint triggered the EU court case, which led to the
banning of the so-called safe-harbor accord, struck between the EU
and U.S. in 2000.

That original decision "must now fall" and the Irish regulator
"must investigate," Mr. McDermott said.  He said the probe
wouldn't be delayed.

The EU's top court based in Luxembourg focused on the validity of
the data-sharing accord in the light of revelations by former
National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about U.S.
government surveillance activities and mass data collection.  Last
year, an Irish judge asked the top EU court to decide on key
points in the Schrems case -- seeking guidance on whether the safe
harbor still protects privacy and whether national regulators have
the power to suspend illegal data flows from the EU to the U.S.
Fully Compliant

Facebook's lawyer Rossa Fanning said in court the company is fully
compliant with Irish and EU law and will be involved in the Irish
authority's investigation.

"Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give
the U.S. government direct access to our servers," the company
said in a separate e-mailed statement.  "We will respond to
enquiries from the Irish Data Protection Commission as they
examine the protections for the transfer of personal data under
applicable law."

The Irish case comes alongside parallel litigation in Vienna,
where Mr. Schrems sought a class action against Facebook, alleging
the company violated European privacy rules with its data policy
by complying with the U.S. NSA's Prism program, under which
companies turned over user data to the government.

In June, a Vienna court rejected the class action.  Facebook said
the appeal by Mr. Schrems was also overturned with a decision
saying he can't pursue litigation on behalf of others in court.
The social network said that "litigation was unnecessary."

Filed 22 Complaints

The decision at the top EU court gives teeth to
Mr. Schrems's actions in Ireland, because Facebook has its
European base in the country and the Irish privacy commissioner is
the one in charge of the company in the region.

Mr. Schrems alleged that Facebook's Irish unit illegally handed
over data to U.S. spies.  He had previously filed 22 complaints
against the company.

Facebook, like other tech giants, have been reeling from the
effects of the Snowden revelations in 2013.  The companies have
been trying to assure their users or customers that their products
are secure and that they don't willingly turn over data to the
U.S. government.

FANDUEL: Sued Over Alleged Illegal Sports Betting Business
Eric Sandy, writing for Cleveland Scene, reports that alleging a
"systematic and continued violation of the Ohio Revised Code and
various criminal laws," Scott Tyler of Mayfield and Owen McGrew of
Olmsted Falls filed a class-action lawsuit on Oct. 19 against
FanDuel and DraftKings.

"FanDuel and DraftKings are each operating an illegal online
sports betting business within the State of Ohio," the suit
claims.  The plaintiffs explain that the two daily fantasy sports
operations are based on wagers placed on the performance of
athletes -- making their "scheme" a game of chance, not skill,
which is prohibited in Ohio.

Tyler and McGrew -- and anyone else who may join this suit -- want
their lost wagers back.

FANDUEL: Bans Employees From Playing on Own Websites
Ryan Morgan, writing for JewoCity, reports that FanDuel and
DraftKings, two of the biggest names in online fantasy sports and
the targets of an investigation, responded to calls for greater
transparency by banning their own employees from playing on their
kind of websites.

Rovell's piece also said DraftKings' own investigation found that
the employee didn't have access to advantageous information,
although Rovell noted that "DraftKings co-founder Paul Liberman
said at a conference at Babson College that a few of the company's
employees made more off other fantasy sites than their salaries at

DraftKings also said it would permanently bar its employees from
for-cash daily fantasy competitions as well, adding "we are glad
to see that others in the industry have followed suit and believe
that this is an important next step in retaining the trust of our
players".  The employee incidentally won $350,000 through a
FanDuel tournament that same week, though there have not yet been
any allegations that the employee improperly used the inside
information to his advantage, and DraftKings vehemently denies

Mr. McCann has been writing about the scandal for Sports

FanDuel did not have a comment on the lawsuit.  And its two
dominant companies, DraftKings and FanDuel, are touting lucrative
opening week prizes to try to draw more customers as more
competitors pop up.

"Billions of dollars are being bet on these games . . ."

"Both companies have strong policies in place to ensure that
employees do not misuse any information at their disposal and
strictly limit access to company data to only those employees who
require it to do their jobs", they said.

For Yahoo, the venture into paid fantasy sports is new.
Thomas Starr, who worked for both DraftKings and Draftstreet,
another daily fantasy sports company, said one of the draws of
working at a fantasy company was spending the day talking about
playing the games.

"As a startup, we're no stranger to bumps in the road", he says.

DraftKings struck a deal with ESPN over the summer making it the
official daily fantasy company of the sports media giant.

Mr. Johnson says he spent at least $100 playing at DraftKings, but
would not have done so if he had known "defendants were working in
concert to allow employees of DFS sites to play against them".

Both daily fantasy sports companies had hired outside law firms
and former prosecutors to investigate the allegations raised and
review their internal controls.

FANDUEL: NY AG Opens Probe Over Alleged "Gambling" Claims
Jimmie Wilkins, writing for iSurfPaducash, reports that New York
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has already opened an
investigation into the scheme but not before the DraftKings
preemptively banned its employees from putting money down on these

In the letters sent to both DraftKings and FanDuel,
Mr. Schneiderman asked the companies to provide names and titles
of employees who compile player data, set roster values, deal with
ownership percentages for pending and historical contests and
aggregate the success of players who play on their sites.  The
inquiry is based on information that both companies had allowed
employees to play each other's sites and win substantial amounts
of money.  The week before, the employee, Ethan Haskell, had won
$350,000 playing in contests on FanDuel, raising questions about
whether he had used proprietary information to gain an edge on the

The legal stance by DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, however, is that
fantasy sports leagues are not based on chance.

Massachusetts attorney Michael McCann added more context in a
piece for Sports Illustrated.  It's big money.  It's easy to have
inside information. "It's clear now, with million dollar jackpots
and the advertising that goes on, that this is straight-out
gambling", Pallone said.

The folks at DraftKings and FanDuel have somehow convinced the
federal government to not regulate their businesses as gambling.

Daily fantasy sports -- or in the case of football, weekly -- have
been all over the headlines recently.

"There is a reason to think that if you are working for DraftKings
or FanDuel you might be very good at this particular product",
McCann said.  Key strategies from those analytics potentially
available to a few employees could possibly give an unfair
advantage to an employee playing on a competitor's site.

"We haven't seen anything yet, but we expect it's probably going
to be the next bubble such as the Internet sweepstakes centers",
said Brian Kongsvik, director of The Florida Council on Compulsive

Others say self-regulation would ultimately suffice if the
industry proves to customers that the sites are fair, including
stepping up internal controls.

A spokesperson for FanDuel said that employees from DraftKings had
won. The daily fantasy sports industry is eyeing a breakout season
as National Football League games begin.

DraftKings said it has hired a team from law firm Greenberg
Traurig, led by former U.S. attorney John Pappalardo, to probe the
allegations against its employees.

FEDEX GROUND: Judge Okays Classification Class Action Settlement
EmploymentLawAcademy.com reports that the judge overseeing a class
action lawsuit against FedEx Ground over its classification of
certain drivers as independent contractors instead of employees
has approved the company's June-announced $228 million settlement
with 2,300 California-based FedEx drivers.

The settlement will resolve the legal battle that's now stretched
a decade, as the original complaint in the case was brought
against the LTL giant in 2005.  Truck operators for the company
claimed their designation as contractors, and not company
employees, kept them from being eligible for certain state-
required employee benefits like overtime pay and rest breaks.

The settlement covers just the 2,300 drivers that worked at the
company in California between 2000 and 2007.  Other similar cases
in other states will proceed separately, said company spokesperson
Perry Colosimo.

The settlement came following an August 2014 ruling against FedEx
in the case.  The federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' Aug. 27,
2014-issued ruling said the drivers bringing the suit should have
been classified as employees.

This July, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals made a similar in
ruling against FedEx involving drivers in Kansas.  The federal
appeals upheld the Kansas Supreme Court's 2014 ruling that said
500 drivers based in the Sunflower State were improperly
classified as contractors instead of employees.  Both the 7th
Circuit and 9th Circuit appellate courts would be the last stops
before the Supreme Court.

FIAT CHRYSLER: Underreported Deaths & Injuries, NHSA Alleges
Jason Bisnoff, writing for New York Daily News, reports that Fiat
Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)  faces allegations from safety
regulators at The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) that the American automaker underreported deaths, injuries
and other information required by law.

The NHTSA says a preliminary inquiry found a number of problems
with Fiat Chrysler's system for gathering and reporting data.

"In late July, NHTSA notified Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of an
apparent discrepancy in FCA's Early Warning Report data," said
Mark Rosekind, NHTSA Administrator.  "FCA has informed NHTSA that
in investigating that discrepancy, it has found significant under-
reported notices and claims of deaths, injuries and other
information required as part of the Early Warning Reporting

Automakers report injuries and deaths so the NHTSA can find trends
and investigate auto safety issues.

Government officials say they will take appropriate action once
more information in available.

Mr. Rosekind went on to detail the NHTSA's early findings on the
issues: "Preliminary information suggests that this under-
reporting is the result of a number of problems with FCA's systems
for gathering and reporting EWR data.  This represents a
significant failure to meet a manufacturer's safety
responsibilities.  NHTSA will take appropriate action after
gathering additional information on the scope and causes of this

FCA has taken credit for finding the problems and notifying the
agency and insists they are cooperating with regulators.

Fiat-Chrysler did not wish to comment when reached by the New York
Daily News but said in a press release, "FCA US takes this issue
extremely seriously, and will continue to cooperate with NHTSA to
resolve this matter and ensure these issues do not re-occur."

This recent trouble is only months removed from a $105 million
fine levied on the automaker in July when NHTSA found FCA "failing
to properly address recalls involving safety issues."

FLORIDA COASTAL: Deceptive Practices Class Action Dismissed
Celia Ampel, writing for Daily Business Review, reports that a
federal judge dismissed a class action filed by graduates of a
Jacksonville law school alleging the school misled them about
their job opportunities after graduation.

Florida Coastal School of Law published employment data showing 80
percent to 90 percent of students had jobs within nine months of
graduation but did not specify whether the jobs were full-time,
permanent or required a law degree.

The private school also reported the class of 2010 earned a
$48,000 average starting salary, noting only 29 percent of
employed graduates responded to the salary survey.

Seven alumni sued on behalf of students and graduates in 2012,
seeking $100 million in damages and an injunction against
"deceptive" employment and salary reporting. The plaintiffs'
research showed just 30 percent to 40 percent of graduates found
full-time, permanent work requiring or preferring a law degree
within nine months of graduation.

U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis in Jacksonville found the
graduates did not have a claim under the Florida Deceptive and
Unfair Trade Practices Act and dismissed the case with prejudice
Sept. 28.

His decision was based on a recommendation by U.S. Magistrate
Judge Patricia D. Barksdale. She found it was unreasonable for
students to assume the employment numbers represented only full-
time legal work, particularly because Florida Coastal ranks in the
bottom 5 percent of accredited law schools based on grade-point
averages and LSAT scores.

The graduates, whose student-loan debt averaged $120,000 to
$150,000, could have deduced it would be difficult to find full-
time work at a law firm after graduating from a poorly ranked
school during a recession, Barksdale found.

They had plenty of information at their fingertips, including
American Bar Association and U.S. News & World Report law school
guides, she added.

"A person considering law school, while not necessarily
sophisticated, is college-educated and may be reasonably expected
to perform some due diligence that goes beyond glancing at a for-
profit enterprise's self-serving numbers before plunging into
substantial debt," Barksdale wrote.

The class action was the first of its kind in Florida but followed
many similar cases in other states with "mixed success" for the
plaintiffs, Barksdale noted.

The magistrate judge took her cues from a 2012 case against New
York Law School, in which appellate judges found college graduates
should not be surprised that most high-paying law jobs follow a
stint at a high-ranked law school. Other law schools defeating
similar claims include DePaul University in Chicago and Thomas M.
Cooley Law School in Michigan.

But a New Jersey federal judge was more sympathetic to graduates
suing Widener University, finding in 2013 that students shouldn't
be expected to assume employment statistics included work in other
fields because they went to law school to learn a particular

"If you look at some of the positions in other cases, this is
consistent with them and not surprising," said the Florida Coastal
graduates' attorney, Elio Martinez of Concepcion, Martinez &
Bellido in Coral Gables.

He would not comment on whether his clients planned to appeal.
He was joined by colleagues Carlos F. Concepcion and Richard Bec,
Manuel A. Rodriguez of Conrad & Scherer in Fort Lauderdale, David
Anziska of the Law Office of David Anziska in New York and Jesse
Strauss of Strauss Law in New York.

Florida Coastal's legal team was led by Venable partners Michael
Volpe and Ed O'Toole in New York, who also successfully defended
New York Law School in the putative class action that served as
the precedent in this case.

"We are pleased but not surprised that the court dismissed the
case with prejudice," Florida Coastal President Dennis Stone said
in a news release. "Florida Coastal School of Law has rigorous
internal control processes to ensure that the school maintains the
highest standards of accuracy regarding reporting of student and
graduate outcome data."

FOREVER 21: Sued in Cal. Over Failure to Pay "On-Call" Shifts
Raalon Kennedy, an individual, on behalf of himself and all others
similarly situated v. Forever 21, Retail Inc., Forever 21, Inc.,
and Does 1through 100, Inclusive, Case No. 597806 (Cal. Super.
Ct., October 14, 2015) arises out of the Defendant's practice of
scheduling employees in retail stores for "on-call" shifts but
failing to pay the employees required reporting time pay.

The Defendants own and operate Forever 21 retail stores in Los
Angeles, California.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Patrick McNicholas, Esq.
      Michael J. Kent, Esq.
      10866 Witshire Boulevard, Suite 1400
      Los Angeles, CA 90024-4338
      Telephone: (310)474-1582
      Facsimile: (310)475-7871

         - and -

      Jason M. Frank, Esq.
      Scott H. Sims, Esq.
      520 Newport Center Drive, Suite 1400
      Newport Beach, CA 92660
      Telephone: (949) 706-7000
      Facsimile: (949)706-7050

         - and -

      Richard K. Bridgford, Esq.
      Michael H. Artinian, Esq.
      26 Corporate Plaza, Suite250
      Newport Beach, CA 92660
      Telephone: (949) 831-6611
      Facsimile: (949) 831-6622
      E-mail: Richard.Bridgford@bridgfordlaw.com

FREEDOM INDUSTRIES: Sets Aside $2MM+ for Chemical Spill Claims
Pam Ramsey, writing for The Associated Press, reports that more
than $2 million will be distributed to residents and businesses
affected by a 2014 chemical spill in West Virginia under a
liquidation plan approved by a bankruptcy judge.

Freedom Industries' plan also will provide $1.4 million to the
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and
environmental firms for continued cleanup work.  Freedom's parent,
Chemstream Holdings, is adding $1.1 million for the cleanup under
an agreement with the agency.

A $350,000 initial cash payment will be distributed to unsecured
claims, plus future payments from potential recovery sources.

"The plan is the result of extensive arm's-length discussions,
debate and/or negotiations among the debtor and key stakeholders
and is overwhelmingly supported by the creditors and other
parties-in-interest in the case," U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald
Pearson wrote in an Oct. 6 order approving the plan.

Judge Pearson said liquidating the company under Chapter 7 would
have reduced the amount of proceeds available for distribution to
claim holders because of increased administrative fees and other

Judge Pearson also approved the appointment of Robert Johns to
administer the plan, along with a spill claim oversight committee.
Johns and the committee will determine how funds will be used or

The plan's funding sources include about $2.7 million in sale
escrow fund proceeds, $300,000 from a settlement with former
Freedom President Gary Southern and $3.1 million from a settlement
with Freedom's insurer, AIG.

Coal-cleaning chemicals spilled into the Elk River from a Freedom
Industries' tank in Charleston on Jan. 9, 2014.  The spill
contaminated tap water for more than 300,000 water customers for
days.  Businesses that couldn't operate without water, including
restaurants, and individuals filed claims in bankruptcy court
seeking compensation.

Southern and five other former Freedom executives pleaded guilty
earlier this year to federal pollution violations.

GALAXY INVESTMENTS: Faces "Flores" Suit Over Failure to Pay OT
Laura Flores, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. Galaxy Investments, Ltd. and Does 1 through 50,
inclusive, Case No. 30-2015-00814157-CU-OE-CXC (Cal. Super., Ct.,
October 13, 2015) is brought against the Defendants for failure to
pay overtime wages in violation of the California Labor Code.

Galaxy Investments, Ltd. owns and operates Taco Bell franchises
with multiple locations in California.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Kevin Mahoney, Esq.
      Morgan E. Glynn, Esq.
      249 E. Ocean Blvd., Ste. 814
      Long Beach, CA 90802
      Telephone: (562) 590-5550
      Facsimile: (562) 590-8400
      E-mail: kmahoney@mahoney-law.net

GENERAL MOTORS: Sales Overcome Ignition Switch Recall Costs
Tom Krisher, writing for The Associated Press, reports that
General Motors' third-quarter profit fell slightly, but the
company rode strong North American sales to overcome $1.5 billion
in costs from its deadly ignition switch recall.

The Detroit automaker's net income slipped 1.4 percent from a year
ago, but still was $1.36 billion, or 84 cents per share.  That
compares with $1.38 billion, or 81 cents per share a year ago.

Without the recall costs, GM would have made a $1.50 per share,
soundly beating Wall Street expectations.  Analysts polled by
FactSet expected $1.18 per share.

The company posted a record $3.3 billion pretax profit in North
America, more than offsetting a small decline in China and a loss
in South America.

Revenue from July through September fell 1 percent to $38.8
billion, also beating analysts' forecasts.

The recall costs included $900 million to fend off criminal
prosecution over the ignition-switch scandal and about $600
million to settle multiple wrongful death and shareholder lawsuits
stemming from the problem.

The switches in older model small cars such as the Chevy Cobalt
can slip out of the "run" position and cut off the engine.  They
have been linked to at least 169 deaths.

GM said in September that ignition-switch scandal cost it over
$5.3 billion.  Even with the settlements, GM cannot close the
books on the scandal.  It still faces more than 400 death and
injury cases that have yet to be settled. Six cases are scheduled
for trial, including one in January.

GLAXOSMITHKLINE: Judge Dismisses Wellbutrin Antitrust Cases
P.J. D'Annunzio, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, reports that
a federal judge has dismissed all claims against GlaxoSmithKline
in the Wellbutrin XL antitrust litigation in which the
pharmaceutical giant was accused of delaying the entry of generic
versions of the antidepressant medication to market by entering
into illegal agreements with generic drug makers to settle patent
infringement lawsuits.

U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin of the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania granted GSK's motion for summary judgment on all
claims on Sept. 23.  The litigation was initiated by direct and
indirect purchasers of Wellbutrin in 2008.  Those plaintiffs
argued the Wellbutrin settlement was anti-competitive in nature.
However, McLaughlin said in the court's opinion that the benefits
of the settlement outweighed the negatives.

"Even if the plaintiffs had shown that the Wellbutrin settlement
had anti-competitive effects, the court finds that a reasonable
jury could not find that any anti-competitive effects outweigh the
pro-competitive benefits of the settlement," Judge McLaughlin

GSK had argued in its summary judgment motion that the plaintiffs
could not establish that they suffered an antitrust injury or
antitrust causation, while the plaintiffs argued they did so by
illustrating the large settlement payment and delay of generic-
drug entry into the market.

"In essence, the plaintiffs argue that once they have shown a
large payment and a delay, they have established not only
anti-competitive conduct but also antitrust injury or causation.
The court concludes that the principle propounded by the
plaintiffs would not only eviscerate the rule-of-reason analysis,"
Judge McLaughlin said, "but also ignores the longstanding and
strict principles of antitrust injury and causation."

Judge McLaughlin said an antitrust injury cannot be presumed just
because there was an agreement that caused harm to certain

In the litigation, Judge McLaughlin pointed to the U.S. Supreme
Court's decision in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, in which
the high court held "settlements in which the holder of a
pharmaceutical patent makes a payment to an alleged patent
infringer to resolve a challenge to the patent -- so-called
'reverse-payment settlements' -- 'can sometimes violate the
antitrust laws.'"

"The Supreme Court explained that such settlements are neither
presumptively unlawful nor presumptively lawful, and instructed
district courts to evaluate the settlements under the longstanding
rule-of-reason framework," Judge McLaughlin said.

She added the FTC brought the antitrust claims in Actavis, and the
FTC has a broader, more relaxed standard-of-causation requirement
than in the Clayton Antitrust Act, needing only to show that an
issue is "likely" to cause harm.

Reached on Sept. 23, one of GSK's attorneys, Stephen Kastenberg
-- kastenberg@ballardspahr.com -- of Ballard Spahr, declined to

Dianne Nast of NastLaw, representing the plaintiffs, did not
respond to a request for comment.

Two months prior to the dismissal of the claims, Judge McLaughlin
decertified the class of indirect purchasers in the litigation.
In her opinion relating to that decision, Judge McLaughlin granted
GSK's motion to decertify on the basis that the plaintiffs didn't
provide a mechanism to determine which class members qualified as
indirect purchasers.

She explained the plaintiffs had to show the class was
"ascertainable," in that "it can identify (1) which entities paid
some or all of the retail purchase price of Wellbutrin XL and
later purchased its generic equivalent ('generic XL'), and (2)
which individual consumers and entities paid some or all of the
retail purchase price of generic XL.  Individual consumers who
made only flat copayments for the generic drug are excluded from
the class."

While the parties agreed third-party payers, such as insurance
companies, fell within the class, there was a dispute as to
whether pharmacy benefit managers -- those who act as middlemen
between third-party purchasers and pharmacies to offer price
discount guarantees to their third-party customers -- qualified as
part of the class.

GSK argued the guarantees caused the middlemen to pay for
Wellbutrin and its generics, while the class argued those pricing
arrangements were "off-transaction financial flows," according to
Judge McLaughlin.

GSK further argued the class had no way to discern if any pharmacy
benefit managers (PBMs) qualified as class members, according to
Judge McLaughlin.

The class argued PBMs are not potential class members, Judge
McLaughlin said, and therefore it does not need to show that it
can ascertain which PBMs qualify as class members.

GRUBHUB INC: Sued Over Delivery Driver Misclassification
Marisa Kendall, writing for The Recorder, reports that the
plaintiffs attorney behind the driver suit that Uber Technologies
Inc. just can't shake is at it again.  This time her targets are
food delivery services GrubHub Inc. and DoorDash Inc.

Shannon Liss-Riordan, a Boston-based employment attorney, filed
complaints on Sept. 23 in San Francisco Superior Court, accusing
the two companies of improperly classifying their delivery drivers
as independent contractors and denying them employee benefits.
Both companies illegally force their drivers to pay their own work
expenses, including gas, vehicle maintenance, parking and
cellphone data, according to the suits.  GrubHub also pays its
drivers below minimum wage and denies them overtime pay, according
to the complaint.

Ms. Liss-Riordan has sued numerous "sharing economy" companies
that use independent contractors, including Uber, Lyft Inc.,
Postmates Inc. and Washio Inc. -- and earlier in September she won
class certification for a portion of her suit against Uber.  The
wave of litigation has prompted some companies to change their
business models.

DoorDash drivers travel to restaurants to pick up food for
customers they're matched with online or via mobile app.
Ms. Liss-Riordan argues the company asserts enough control over
its workers that they should be classified as employees.  DoorDash
requires drivers to sign up for shifts in advance and instructs
drivers on how to dress, where to go and how to handle the food,
according to the complaint.

Ms. Liss-Riordan filed a second suit against DoorDash asserting a
claim under the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) for failure to
reimburse work expenses and failure to provide itemized wage

Ms. Liss-Riordan also took another swing at Uber on Sept. 24.
In charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board, Ms.
Liss-Riordan accuses Uber of "using its fine print arbitration
agreements containing class action waivers to prevent drivers from
being included in the class action."

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen of the Northern District of
California ruled drivers who signed up with Uber after the summer
of 2014 cannot be part of Ms. Liss-Riordan's class, as they may be
bound by the company's arbitration agreement.

Class waivers are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act
(NLRA), Ms. Liss-Riordan wrote in an emailed statement, and
although some courts have ruled recent Supreme Court decisions
interpreting the Federal Arbitration Act trump the NLRA, the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has yet to weigh in on the

HALLIBURTON CO: To Pay $18 Mil. in Back Wages to Employees
Angela Neville, writing for Texas Lawyer, reports that the oil and
gas sector is infamous for demanding that employees work long
hours.  Therefore, it is not surprising that during the past few
years, the U.S. Department of Labor has ramped up an enforcement
initiative targeting companies in the oil and gas industry in the
Southwest and the Northeast that may be misclassifying workers as
independent contractors or as exempt from overtime.

After the Labor Department enforcement push began in 2012, it
proceeded to yield at least $4.5 million in back wages for 5,300
oil and gas industry workers by December 2014, according to the
department.  However, that amount was just a warm-up to its most
recent action.  In one of the largest Labor Department recoveries
of overtime wages in recent years, Halliburton has agreed to pay
$18,293,557 to 1,016 employees nationwide, according to a
statement recently issued by the department.

Halliburton, which was founded in 1919, is one of the world's
largest providers of products and services to the energy industry.
The company has more than 70,000 employees, representing 140
nationalities in more than 80 countries worldwide.

The department's Wage and Hour Division recently investigated
Halliburton as part of its ongoing compliance initiative.

Investigators found Halliburton incorrectly categorized employees
in 28 job positions as exempt from overtime, according to the
statement.  The company did not pay overtime to these salaried
employees -- working as field service representatives, pipe
recovery specialists, drilling tech advisers, perforating
specialists and reliability tech specialists-- when they worked
more than 40 hours in a workweek, in violation of the Fair Labor
Standards Act.  The company also failed to keep accurate records
of hours worked by these employees.

Juan Rodriguez, the deputy regional director in the department's
Office of Public Affairs in Dallas, recently commented about the
recent investigation of Halliburton.

"Halliburton agreed to properly classify the employees impacted by
this investigation and to pay them the additional compensation
they are entitled when they work more than 40 hours per week. The
company will maintain accurate records and has agreed to future
compliance," Mr. Rodriguez said.

Mr. Rodriguez explained that the investigators spent approximately
two months conducting their investigation of Halliburton before
they brought to the attention of the company's representatives
that they had failed to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act.
He said that "the actual administration of the investigation is
handled by the local district office.

"No formal court actions were taken or pursued," Mr. Rodriguez

When asked if the if the department might impose any fines against
Halliburton in the future related to its failure to properly pay
employees overtime wages as required under the Fair Labor
Standards Act, Mr. Rodriguez said, "The assessment of civil
monetary penalties is currently under consideration."

Mr. Rodriguez said about the message that the department intends
to send out to U.S. employers: "Wage and Hour's work to educate
and reach employers in the industry will continue in the coming
year.  The best possible result from any investigation, aside from
the individual employer coming into compliance, is that other
employers who may not be in compliance will take active steps to
get there."

James Ferguson, the deputy general counsel in Halliburton's
Houston office, did not return a call seeking comment.

William Fitzgerald, a Halliburton spokesman, recently discussed
the company's settlement with the Labor Department.

"During a self-audit, Halliburton identified a certain number of
jobs that were misclassified as exempt," Mr. Fitzgerald said.
"The company reclassified the identified positions, and throughout
this process, Halliburton has worked earnestly and cooperatively
with the U.S. Department of Labor to equitably resolve this

HEWLETT-PACKARD CO: Judge Rejects Merger Class Action Settlement
Liz Hoffman, writing for The Wall Street Journal, reports that a
Delaware judge rejected the settlement of a shareholder lawsuit
against Hewlett-Packard Co., saying the welter of litigation
challenging corporate mergers has become a systemic problem.

The lawsuit stemmed from H-P's $2.7 billion purchase of Aruba
Networks. It was brought on behalf of Aruba shareholders, but Vice
Chancellor J. Travis Laster said the proposed settlement offered
them little of value.  The agreement called for H-P to disclose
additional information about the sale process and pay the
plaintiffs' lawyers a fee of $387,500.

Such so-called disclosure-only settlements, in which the only
money paid goes to lawyers who bring the suits, are now the norm
in the litigation that follows nearly every corporate merger.

Mr. Laster and others on the Delaware Court of Chancery, the most
influential venue for corporate disputes, have become increasingly
critical of these pacts.

"We've reached a point where we have to acknowledge that settling
for disclosures only has created a real, systemic problem,"
Mr. Laster said.  "We've all talked about it for a couple years.
When you get the sue-on-every-deal phenomenon, it is a problem."

He said the formulaic arc that most M&A lawsuits take has created
a "misshapen legal regime" that doesn't benefit investors.

Mr. Laster sharply criticized the plaintiffs' case in Aruba as
thin and said they didn't investigate deeply enough to determine
whether there were actual problems with the transaction. He
dismissed the case on the grounds that the lawyers didn't
adequately represent shareholders' interests.

Gregory Nespole of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP, a
lawyer for the plaintiffs, said his firm disagrees with the
ruling.  "The firm prosecuted this case vigorously from start to
finish," Mr. Nespole said in an emailed statement.  "Disclosure
settlements (some not nearly as robust as this) have been approved
many times in Delaware and elsewhere around the country."

H-P agreed to buy Aruba, a provider of network software, in March
for $24.67 a share, a 34% premium to the stock's closing price the
day before the deal was announced.  Seven lawsuits were ultimately
filed, alleging the price was unfair and that process wasn't
robust enough.  The parties reached a settlement in April.

As is typical in such settlements, H-P agreed to release
additional details about the deal and pay a fee in exchange for
immunity from future lawsuits over the deal.  Mr. Laster and
others have criticized such releases as "intergalactic," saying
they are too broad and can paper over real misconduct that might
have been unearthed with a more vigorous investigation.

The proposed disclosures showed H-P offered Aruba Chief Executive
Dominic Orr a new employment contract earlier than H-P had said in
regulatory filings, a fact Mr. Laster said could have been grounds
for a full-fledged lawsuit seeking damages.

The decision doesn't affect a separate lawsuit brought by Aruba
shareholders seeking a higher price.  That so-called appraisal
case, filed under a different set of legal rules, is pending and
covers 2.3 million shares, worth about $56 million at the buyout

Most M&A-related lawsuits ultimately settle.  Last year, 80% of
the settlements were for disclosures only, according to
Cornerstone Research.  Critics of these cases say the fees paid
amount to a what one could call a merger tax, while proponents say
the cases act as incentives to directors to push for better deal
terms, knowing actions would be scrutinized.

Mr. Laster rejected a similar settlement in July stemming from
Cobham PLC's purchase of Aeroflex Holding Corp.  The same week,
another judge in the same court withheld approval of a settlement
in litigation over Roche Holding AG's $8.3 billion acquisition of
InterMune.  In September, a third judge approved a settlement
stemming from the private-equity buyout of Riverbed Technology
Inc. but put plaintiffs' lawyers and companies on notice that they
shouldn't expect him to do so in the future.

A tougher stance on settlements isn't necessarily a win for
companies.  Though they often complain about such lawsuits,
companies benefit from easy, relatively inexpensive settlements.

"The historical basis for this has been the defendants' desire for
complete peace," Mr. Laster said on Oct. 9.  "Just because you
want it doesn't mean you get it."

                     Cornerstone Research

Cornerstone Research's most recent report indicates that among
other things, shareholders challenged 93% of M&A transactions in
2014, but that shareholders did bring a smaller number of
competing lawsuits per deal, and in fewer jurisdictions.

A summary of the report's findings may be found at:


IEC US: "Sethman" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid OT Wages & Damages
John Sethman, in his own behalf and all similarly situated
individuals v. IEC US Holdings, Inc. d/b/a Florida Career College,
Case No. 9:15-cv-81404-DMM (S.D. Fla., October 13, 2015) seeks to
recover unpaid overtime wages and damages pursuant to the Fair
Labor Standard Act.

IEC US Holdings, Inc. is a Florida Profit Corporation that
provides educational services in Palm Beach County, Florida.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Andrew Frisch, Esq.
     600 N. Pine Island Rd., Ste. 400
     Plantation, FL 33324
     Telephone: (954) 318-0268
     Facsimile: (954) 333-3515
     E-mail: AFrisch@forthepeople.com

INDONESIA: Kalimantan Residents File Haze Class Action
Mongabay.com reports that international efforts to contain fires
and underground hotspots across Indonesia continued on Oct. 21 as
the minister in charge of the archipelago's anti-haze operation
called for 15 more aircraft to join the air operation.

In West Kalimantan, 46 complainants have joined in a class action
lawsuit against the government.

"The right to a decent environment and healthy life is a basic
right," Sulistiono, the chairman of the plaintiffs, told Mongabay.
"It is in the state's interest to ensure the realization of the
constitutional mandate to protect all citizens and the homeland of

Schools in Palangkaraya and other parts of Central Kalimantan
remained closed on Oct. 20.  The city government said it had
released 1.5 billion rupiah ($109,000) in additional funding since
declaring a state of emergency, some of which has gone directly to
the police. Flights in several parts of Kalimantan and Papua
remain subject to delays and cancellation.

In perhaps the strongest sign yet that the Indonesian government's
patience is wearing increasingly thin with the governance of some
companies, the minister in charge of the haze operation and the
country's police chief both publicly criticized Sinar Mas, the
parent company of Asia Pulp & Paper.

"There are fires in a Sinar Mas concession that are close to
sources of water," said Badrodin, the police chief.  "Why can't
they put out the fires? We are talking about thousands of liters
of water near the location of fires. They should not rely too
heavily on us."

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo told Indonesia's state-owned Antara
news agency that companies need to boost their firefighting

"Companies need to take responsibility and ensure they have the
means to handle fires," the president said.  "It cannot be that we
have been on fire for 18 years and yet we are still dealing with
the same problem."

Air quality was back in the unhealthy range on Oct. 19 and Oct.
20, while Malaysian officials were assessing whether Moto GP in
Kuala Lumpur would go ahead as scheduled.

Singapore has launched a total of 47 water-bombing operations and
says it has "put out" 35 hotspots.

Singapore's education ministry is working with the health ministry
and environment agency on revised education guidelines amid haze
following a petition by a parent.  The petition calls on the
education ministry to ensure adequate filtration in classrooms,
educate children in the correct use of N95 face masks and conduct
non-essential lessons via e-learning.

The Association of Indonesian Forest Concessionaires (APHI) said
on Oct. 20 it had lobbied the government to provide assistance to
the Indonesian companies being sued under Singapore's
transboundary pollution law.

"This should be helped by diplomacy," APHI's vice chairman said.
"Don't let the companies be subjected to this alone."

As Indonesian and Singaporean armies began an annual 12-day joint
military exercise, former Singaporean ambassador to Indonesia
Barry Desker writes that relations between the two countries could
be tested.

"Underlying the approach of many Indonesian policymakers is the
belief that Singapore has no natural resources and benefits from
exploiting Indonesia," Mr. Desker writes.  "The self-image is that
of Indonesia as a pretty girl courted by everyone at the party."

Elsewhere, a major 328-hectare "eco-resort" in Indonesia, which
will be accessible only by boat from Singapore when it opens next
year, claimed it would manage the impact of smoke next year by
planning "more underwater activities which will not be affected by

JEFFERSON CAPITAL: Illegally Collects Debt, "Hays" Suit Claims
Nicholas A. Hays v. Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC, Case No. 15-
3098-BLS (Mass. Cmmw., October 13, 2015) alleges that the
Defendant has operated as a debt collector in Massachusetts
without a license, subjecting Massachusetts residents to unlawful
collection activity and unlawfully obtaining substantial sums of
money from them.

Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC conducts business as a debt
collector throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Jose C. Culik, Esq.
      CULIK LAW, P.C.
      18 Commerce Way, Suite 2850
      Woburn, MA 01801
      Telephone: (617) 830-1795
      E-mail: jculik@culiklaw.com

JUPITER GOLF: Former Members Sue Over Terminated Memberships
Celia Ampel, writing for Daily Business Review, reports that while
Donald Trump can expect to be surrounded by campaign supporters on
Oct. 16 at his Doral golf resort, former members of a Jupiter golf
club he bought will be preparing to battle him in court.

Former members of the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club & Spa Jupiter dropped
the club's previous owner from a federal class action lawsuit
alleging their deposits should have been refunded when Trump
bought the club.  No settlement was involved.

The plaintiffs decided Oct. 13 to seek refunds from only Jupiter
Golf Club LLC, the company that runs Trump National Golf Club
Jupiter.  The focus on Trump was a "strategic decision" made after
the Ritz-Carlton's RBF LLC challenged class certification in
appellate court, plaintiffs attorney Seth Lehrman said.

"We wanted to focus the jury on the conduct of the Trump
Organization," said the partner at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing,
Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman in Fort Lauderdale.

Plaintiffs Norman Hirsch, Matthew Dwyer, Ralph Willard and more
than 100 others claim the Jupiter club owes them at least $5
million in deposits they made when they joined.

The plaintiffs put themselves on the "resignation list" for the
club while it was still under Ritz-Carlton ownership.  Putting
your name on the list amounted to a request for the club to sell
the membership, Mr. Lehrman said.  As soon as the club resells a
membership, the seller would get the deposit back.

The plaintiffs argue Mr. Trump terminated their membership
categories when he bought the club in December 2012, activating a
clause in the membership agreement that said their deposits should
be refunded within 30 days, Mr. Lehrman said.

The claim stems from a meeting shortly after the sale between club
members and the real estate mogul turned Republican presidential
candidate.  The club is a 288-acre gated community with a Jack
Nicklaus-designed golf course.  The club's homepage features a
photo of Mr. Trump finishing a golf swing and offers his "best

Mr. Trump wrote members after the meeting to say he would reduce
the dues and offer reciprocity at other local Trump clubs in
exchange for refunding the deposit.

"If you choose to remain on the resignation list, you're out," he

The plaintiffs did not take Mr. Trump's offer. They argued his
letter entitles them to an immediate refund based on their
membership agreement.

"The membership category that these members purchased no longer
existed," Mr. Lehrman said.  "They took away the ability for club
members simply to continue to roll along and to hold onto the same

How The System Works

Mr. Trump's lawyers argue the club fully intends to pay refunds
once new members join the club under the system that has been used
for years.

"That's not the issue here," Trump Organization attorney
Alan Garten said.  "The whole issue is that these plaintiffs are
claiming that because Trump bought the club, they should get their
refunds automatically all at once. That's not how the system

Mr. Garten said although the membership agreement entitles members
to refunds when a membership category is eliminated, Mr. Trump did
not eliminate a membership category.

"If you join the club and you are a tennis member and the club
decides they're no longer going to have tennis, you should get
your refund back," he said.  "We agree with that.  But that never

The plaintiffs also claim the club continued to bill them for dues
after Mr. Trump's declaration that they were "out" because their
names were on the resignation list.  They say they were turned
away from using the club after that point.

"You pay dues as long as you're on the resignation list,"
Mr. Garten said.  "That's not something that Mr. Trump changed.
That always existed."

The class is asking the court to clarify whether the plaintiffs
are liable for dues.  The Trump company filed a motion for summary
judgment Sept. 21 with U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra in
West Palm Beach. Trial is scheduled for March 21.

Mr. Garten said the plaintiffs are still on a list to receive
refunds ranging from about $35,000 to $210,000.

"All this litigation is about is a question of when," he said.
"What they're trying to do is jump the list [and say,] 'Now that
you bought the club, Trump, I want my money now.'  They just have
no right to it.  But no one's disputing their right to a refund
under the procedures and policies of the club, which existed long
before Trump."

The plaintiffs claims have survived motions to dismiss brought by
the Trump and Ritz-Carlton companies, Mr. Lehrman said.  They also
won class certification.

"We disagree with the Trump Organization's statements saying that
our claims lack merit," he said.  "We've proven round after round
in this litigation that the claims have merit."

The class is represented by Mr. Lehrman, Steven Jaffe --
seth@pathtojustice.com -- and Mark Fistos --
mark@pathtojustice.com -- of Farmer Jaffe.

The Trump club is represented by Herman Russomanno --
hrussomanno@russomanno.com -- Robert Borrello --
rborrello@russomanno.com -- and Herman Russomanno III of
Russomanno & Borrello in Miami.  They referred a request to
comment to Garten.  RBF was represented by Jerry Linscott --
jlinscott@bakerlaw.com -- and Julie Singer Brady --
jsingerbrady@bakerlaw.com -- of Baker & Hostetler in Orlando.
They did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

KKR FINANCIAL: Dismissal of Shareholders' Merger Suit Affirmed
Tom McParland, writing for The Recorder, reports that the Delaware
Supreme Court has affirmed a Court of Chancery ruling that
dismissed a stockholder challenge to a merger, saying the business
judgment rule is invoked when an acquisition is not subject to the
entire fairness standard and has been approved by a fully
informed, uncoerced majority of disinterested stockholders.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice Leo E. Strine Jr. called the
Chancery Court's decision "thoughtful and thorough," noting the
courts have a history of not second-guessing the judgment of
disinterested stockholder majorities in determining if such
mergers are in their best interests.

"In circumstances, therefore, where the stockholders have had the
voluntary choice to accept or reject a transaction, the business
judgment rule standard of review is the presumptively correct one
and best facilitates wealth creation through the corporate form,"
Chief Justice Strine wrote in the 13-page opinion, decided Oct. 2.

In Corwin v. KKR Financial Holdings LLC, a group of stockholders
challenged a stock-for-stock acquisition of KKR Financial Holdings
LLC by KKR & Co. L.P.

Their argument hinged on the assessment that the transaction was
subject to the entire fairness standard of review because KKR was
a controlling stockholder of Financial Holdings.

KKR had acquired each share of Financial Holdings' stock for 0.51
of a share of KKR stock, a 35 percent premium to the unaffected
market price, according to the opinion.  An affiliate of KKR, KKR
Financial Advisors, managed Financial Holdings, per a contractual
management agreement.

The Court of Chancery granted a motion to dismiss by KKR and
Financial Holdings, agreeing with the defendants' argument that it
could not be reasonably inferred that KKR was the controlling
stockholder of Financial Holdings because KKR owned less than 1
percent of Financial Holdings' stock, had no right to appoint
directors and had no contractual right to veto any board action.

On appeal, the plaintiffs claimed the 1986 Revlon v. MacAndrews &
Forbes Holdings ruling applied to their case, absent the entire
fairness standard.

The Chancery Court determined Revlon had no bearing on the case,
and the Supreme Court refused to even address the claim, saying
the "outcome-determinative" effect of the uncoerced and informed
stockholder vote trumped Revlon.

The chancellor, Chief Justice Strine said, "adhered to precedent
supporting the proposition that when a transaction not subject to
the entire fairness standard is approved by a fully informed,
uncoerced vote of the disinterested stockholders, the business
judgment rule applies."

Chief Justice Strine highlighted three main flaws in the
plaintiffs' argument that invoking the business judgment rule
would infringe on Revlon and Unocal v. Mesa Petroleum or expose
stockholders to unfair action by directors without protection.

The opinion said it was more important that all relevant facts
regarding the negotiation process, the board's interests and KKR's
interests had been fully disclosed.  Had the facts not been made
available, the business judgment rule would not have been invoked.

The intent of the Unocal and Revlon decisions is to provide a tool
of injunctive relief for stockholders and the Court of Chancery as
mergers happen in real time. The rulings shouldn't be applied as a
method for seeking post-closing money damages, Chief Justice
Strine said.

Finally, the Supreme Court reiterated its tradition of letting
stand the decisions of disinterested stockholders in order to
prevent further, unnecessary costs to stockholders.

"The reason for that is tied to the core rationale of the business
judgment rule, which is that judges are poorly positioned to
evaluate the wisdom of business decisions and there is little
utility to having them second-guess the determination of impartial
decision-makers with more information (in the case of directors)
or an actual economic stake in the outcome (in the case of
informed, disinterested stockholders)," Chief Justice Strine

In a statement to its clients, Potter Anderson & Corroon, which
was not involved with the case, said the decision reinforces the
importance of "full and complete disclosures," and it could serve
as an obstacle to stockholder and merger and acquisition
litigation.  "As a result of the renewed scrutiny courts are
applying to disclosure-only settlements, entrepreneurial
plaintiffs' counsel were incentivized to pursue post-closing
damages claims even in third-party deals.  This decision appears
to make such relief more difficult to obtain," the firm said in
the statement.

Stuart M. Grant of Grant & Eisenhofer in Wilmington argued for the
plaintiffs, and William Savitt of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
argued on behalf of KKR and Financial Holdings. Neither attorney
was immediately available for comment.

KOVACH LAW FIRM: Faces Class Suit Over Debt Collection Practices
John Council, writing for Texas Lawyer, reports that a Houston law
firm is named in a federal class action that alleges the firm
failed to identify itself as a third-party debt collector when
contacting consumer plaintiffs.  The suit also alleges that the
firm operated without a bond on file with the Texas Secretary of
State's Office.

The background to Rockmore v. Kovach Law Firm, which was filed in
U.S. district court in Dallas, is as follows.

The Kovach Law Firm is a third-party debt collector because,
although it is a law firm, it has nonattorney employees who
regularly make contact with debtors to collect debts.

During one of more telephone conversations with the plaintiff,
Kovach's employees "failed to disclose that the communication was
from a debt collector, as is required in every communication with
a consumer pursuant to [the Texas Finance Code]," according to the
Sept. 15 complaint.

The lawsuit also alleges that the firm did not have a bond on file
with the secretary of state, which is also a requirement of the
finance code.

The complaint notes that "the proposed class is so numerous that
joinder of all members is impracticable," and the exact number of
plaintiffs can only be ascertained through discovery.

"It appears to me that Mr. Kovach uses nonlawyers to act as debt
collectors in his practice, and Texas law makes it clear that in
that type of a case the law firm is required to be bonded with the
secretary of state.  And the Kovach Law Firm does not have a bond
on file with the secretary of state," alleges Jeff Wood of Little
Rock's The Wood Firm, who represents the proposed class in the

"They also in their conversations with my client failed to
disclose to my client that they were a debt collector attempting
to collect a debt.  And the two of those add up to a couple of
violations of state and federal law," Mr. Wood said.

James F. Kovach, managing partner of the Kovach Law Firm, did not
return a call for comment.

LOS ANGELES, CA: LAUSD Sued Over "Teacher Jail" System
Dan Conway, writing for World Socialist Web Site, reports that a
class action lawsuit involving approximately 2,000 teachers was
filed on Oct. 16 against the Los Angeles Unified School District

The lawsuit seeks damages arising out of the district's use of the
so-called "teacher jail" system wherein teachers accused of
various forms of professional misconduct are removed from the
classroom and made to report to nondescript office buildings

According to reports, teachers are given no access to the
Internet, electronic devices and are forbidden from speaking to
other teachers.  The lawsuit alleges that teachers are never
informed of the charges against them while in "teacher jail."
The suit also claims that the district regularly conducts witch
hunts against veteran teachers in a transparent effort divest
those teachers of their pensions and medical benefits.  Hardly a
week goes by without a new case of alleged misconduct by an LAUSD
teacher being reported in the media.

According to the lawsuit, a total of $500,000 in pension and
health benefits have been taken from the class of teachers as a
result of the district's actions. The lawsuit seeks $1 billion in
overall damages.

The lead plaintiff in the case is Rafe Esquith, a teacher with
over 30 years experience whose dismissal last March received wide
publicity.  Mr. Esquith is the founder of the Hobart
Shakespeareans, a group of elementary school students from
predominately working class and ethnic minority backgrounds who
put on Shakespeare's plays at least once a year.

The group has received the active support of renowned actors such
as Ian McKellan, John Lithgow and Hal Holworth.  Mr. Esquith has
also received numerous grants and award throughout his LAUSD

Earlier this year, the district removed Mr. Esquith from his
classroom over allegations that he told a joke to his classroom
regarding nudity in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn.  The district
also allegedly seized more than $100,000 worth of materials from
his classroom after the dismissal, including numerous books and
musical instruments.

Mr. Esquith initially responded with a lawsuit against the
district alleging defamation, intentional infliction of emotional
distress, retaliation and age discrimination.  That lawsuit has
now been expanded to the current class action after numerous
teachers contacted Mr. Esquith and his attorneys alleging similar
misconduct by the district.

The district has responded to Mr. Esquith's legal actions by
deepening its investigation into his activities both during his
time as an LAUSD teacher and even beforehand.  Although the
California Commission on Teacher Credentialing rejected the
district's allegations against him of abuse and misconduct for
lack of evidence, the district is nonetheless claiming that
Mr. Esquith should lose his right to teach.

Mr. Esquith was finally fired from his job shortly before his
attorneys filed the class action suit.  His attorneys also allege
that the district is engaging in whistleblower retaliation against
Mr. Esquith after he made claims of financial misconduct in
relation to the district's controversial student iPad program.

The current lawsuit, while providing much needed exposure of the
attack on public education, is politically limited.  The attack on
teachers' due process rights, for example, will not be stopped
through an injunction or even outright elimination of "teacher
jails."  In fact, voices in the corporate media, and the teachers
unions, including the United Teachers of Los Angeles, have been
pushing for an end to the practice, precisely because they are
seen as an insufficiently speedy method to remove veteran

In 2014, the Democratic-controlled State Assembly passed Bill 215,
scaling back due process rights for teachers.  The bill, which is
now responsible for the loss of thousands of teachers' jobs, was
backed by the California Teachers Association. The union had
publicly acknowledged its role in both crafting the bill and
insuring its passage.

It wrote on its web site: "CTA has been working with a coalition
of education stakeholders and lawmakers to again craft a bill that
would streamline the teacher dismissal process to keep students

Under AB 215, the accused teacher has 30 days to respond to
charges made against them.  If they do not respond within 30 days,
they are subject to immediate dismissal.  Moreover, the bill's
newly-created "Commission on Professional Excellence" convened to
decide a given teacher's case is reduced from five to only three

Under the terms of the bill, all such hearings must be completed
within a maximum of 7 months, substantially less time than those
teachers subject to the "teacher jail" system.

AB 215 was also passed around the same time as the Vergara vs.
California court ruling.  That ruling found that the state's
system for dismissing teachers was cost and time prohibitive and
also claimed that tenure and seniority rights were

The defense of teachers rights are inseparably bound up with the
defense of public education as a whole.  The drive against Los
Angeles public school teachers is being spearheaded not simply by
the district, but also by the billionaire-led education reform
movement.  An initiative was recently made public by the Eli and
Edith Broad foundations to convert half of all LAUSD schools to
privately run charter institutions within the next five years.
Not only do charter school teachers receive substantially less
compensation than their public school counterparts, but they are
often treated as mere at-will employees with no job protections

LUMBER LIQUIDATORS: Pleads Guilty to Illegal Timber Trafficking
The Associated Press reports that Lumber Liquidators pleaded
guilty on Oct. 22 to environmental crimes related to importing
flooring manufactured in China from timber illegally logged in
eastern Russia, the habitat for the world's last remaining
Siberian tigers and Amur leopards.

The Toano, Virginia-based company entered a plea agreement to one
felony and four misdemeanors in U.S. District Court.  As part of
the agreement, the company agreed to pay $13.2 million to end a
federal investigation.  The Justice Department said the financial
penalty is the largest ever imposed for illegal timber

Sentencing was set for Feb. 1.

According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement,
Lumber Liquidators should have known the flooring manufactured in
China was made from illegally sourced Mongolian oak.  However, the
company failed to heed "red flags" as required by the company's
own internal procedures, the court papers say.

"Lumber Liquidators' race to profit resulted in the plundering of
forests and wildlife habitat that, if continued, could spell the
end of the Siberian tiger," Assistant Attorney General John C.
Cruden said in a written statement.

The government says the illegally harvested oak came from forests
that are home to the last 450 wild Siberian tigers and some of the
fewer than 50 remaining Amur leopards.

The plea agreement is unrelated to the controversy over some of
Lumber Liquidators' laminate flooring from China, which CBS' "60
Minutes" has reported contains high levels of the carcinogen

More than half of the financial penalty is a criminal fine.  The
company also will pay $1.23 million to the National Fish and
Wildlife Foundation and the foundation's Rhinoceros and Tiger
Conservation Fund, along with a $3.2 million civil fine.

MAJOR LEAGUE: Minor League Players Obtain Class Certification
Julia Cheever, writing for SFBay.ca, reports that a federal
magistrate conditionally ruled in San Francisco on Oct. 20 that a
labor lawsuit by minor league baseball players against Major
League Baseball and 22 clubs can proceed as a class action on
behalf of an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 present and former

The lawsuit claims that MLB, which sets rules for minor leagues,
and the major league clubs, which sponsor minor teams, are
violating federal and state labor laws by failing to pay minor
league players the minimum wage, overtime compensation, and wages
for off-season work.

It says most minor leaguers are paid between $3,000 and $7,500 per
year for 50- to 70-hour workweeks during the five-month
championship season and aren't paid at all for required work
during spring training and other times of year.

The suit was originally filed in federal court in San Francisco by
three individual players and was later joined by 40 more.
They asked U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero, the trial judge in the
case, to allow the case to be handled as a class, or group,
lawsuit on behalf of all players.

In the Oct. 19 ruling, Mr. Spero granted conditional class
certification, the first step in allowing a class action under the
U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act.

Bobby Poury, a lawyer for the players, estimated the class could
include 10,000 to 12,000 present and former minor league players
since 2011.

The players' lawyers can now go ahead with notifying present and
former minor leaguers and finding out which players want to opt in
to participating in the lawsuit.

The second step in class certification will be a May 20 hearing
before Mr. Spero, at which lawyers for the players and Major
League Baseball can argue whether the certification should be made

Players' attorney Bruce Simon said:

"This is a critical first step for thousands of minor leaguers who
have not been paid fairly.  Most of these players, many of whom
sign right out of high school, are paid below minimum wage, or not
paid at all for certain off-season work. . . . As a result of the
court's order on Oct. 20, past and current minor leaguers will
have the opportunity to request that they be included in the class
action, going forward.  Notice telling players of the details will
go out shortly."

MLB spokesman Michael Teevan said the organization had no comment.
The 22 clubs named in the lawsuit include the San Francisco Giants
and the Oakland A's.  The players originally sued all 30 MLB
franchises, but Mr. Spero dismissed eight that did not have a
substantial connection to California.

MALLINCKRODT: Possible Cancer Cluster Near St. Louis Investigated
Vinita Nair, writing for CBS NEWS, reports that an unusual number
of rare cancers has the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
taking a close look at a community outside St. Louis, Missouri.

"You'll never forget the moment they tell you, 'We found lesions
on your lung and your liver,'" said Mary Osckso, who has stage 4
lung cancer.

CBS News met with Ms. Osckso and six of her neighbors, all of whom
lived in the same north St. Louis suburbs.  Every one of these
people either has cancer, or lost a parent or child to it.

The neighborhood park where they played growing up is now
padlocked, while construction crews remove radioactive waste
discovered beneath the topsoil.

Jenelle Wright was one of the first neighbors that noticed the
common illnesses, when former classmates started re-connecting on

"If we did not have social media, if Facebook did not exist, we
would never have put these pieces together," she said.

The group put together a map showing more than 2,700 instances of
cancers, auto-immune disorders and brain and thyroid tumors.

"Within a six-house radius, I knew four people with brain cancer,
one a child, one a young professor," Ms. Wright told CBS News.
"And I just thought, 'This is really odd.'"

The area where they lived is called North County, which includes
Hazelwood and Florrisant.  Coldwater Creek runs thru the towns.

For decades, two sites near the creek were used to store
radioactive waste from America's nuclear weapons program.

The waste came from St. Louis's Mallinckrodt Chemical Company,
which the government hired to process uranium.

Tens of thousands of barrels of nuclear waste, many open to the
elements, contaminated the soil at the sites and the nearby creek.

What you see is an environmental health disaster unfolding slowly
over decades," said county health director Dr. Faisal Kahn.

Dr. Khan said identifying a true cancer cluster is very difficult,
but that what's happening in North County needs long-term study.

"The rates of appendix cancer, for instance, which is relatively
rare -- we see about 800 cases across the nation per year,"
Dr. Kahn said.  "To find seven or eight cases in one zip code or
one small geographic area is rather unusual."

Currently, engineers are testing the soil along the rest of the 15
mile creek. It will take years to complete -- years Mary Oscko
doesn't have.

"My husband and I had to sit down at night and discuss whether I
want to be cremated or buried," she said.  "I don't want to be
buried in North County, that's the one thing I told him -- I do
not want to be buried where this soil is."

Several residents have filed a class action lawsuit against
Mallinckrodt and other companies that handled the uranium.

It's very early in the legal process. In a statement, Mallinckrodt
told CBS News "The company worked under the direction of the U.S.
government and at no time did Mallinckrodt own any uranium or its

The atomic energy commission which hired the cleanup companies no
longer exists, so CBS News is seeking comment from the Department
of Energy.

MALLINCKRODT: St. Louis Residents File Class Action
NEWSCHANNEL 3 reports that several residents of a St. Louis suburb
have now filed a class action lawsuit after radioactive waste was
discovered beneath the topsoil of their neighborhood.

The group put together a map showing more than 2,700 instances of
cancers, auto-immune disorders, along with brain and thyroid

The area where they live is called North County.  For decades, two
sites near a creek were used to store radioactive waste from
America's nuclear weapons program.

The waste came from St Louis's Mallinckrodt Chemical Company,
which the government hired to process uranium.

Tens of thousands of barrels of nuclear waste, many open to the
elements, contaminated the soil at the sites and the nearby creek.

"Within a six house radius, I knew four people with brain cancer,
one a child, one a young professor, and I just thought this is
really odd," said Jenelle Wright who lives nearby.

"The rates of appendix cancer for instance, which is relatively
rare -- we see about 800 cases across the nation per year -- to
find 7 or 8 cases in one zip code or one geographic area is rather
unusual," said Dr. Faisal Khan, County Health Director.

The county health director says identifying a true cancer cluster
is very difficult, but says what's happening in North County needs
a long-term study.

Engineers are now testing the soil along the rest of the 15 mile
creek, which will take years to complete.

MCNEIL CONSUMER: Obtains Favorable Ruling in Motrin Case
P.J. D'Annunzio, writing for Law.com, reports that a federal jury
on Sept. 29 in a Children's Motrin case returned a verdict in
favor of Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary, McNeil Consumer

The plaintiffs, the parents of Riley Brown, had alleged in the
failure-to-warn case that their daughter's consumption of
Children's Motrin caused her to go blind.

Rosemary Pinto and Laura Feldman, the Philadelphia-based attorneys
handling the case for the plaintiffs, did not return a call to
their office seeking comment.  David Abernathy --
David.Abernethy@dbr.com -- a Drinker Biddle & Reath attorney
representing J&J, deferred comment to a company spokesperson.

"We sympathize with the Brown family for what they have been
through," a McNeil spokesperson said in a statement.  "McNeil
Consumer Healthcare Division acted appropriately, responsibly and
in the best interests of patients regarding Children's Motrin.  We
remain committed to providing consumers with safe and effective
over-the-counter medicines and recommend consumers always read and
follow the product label."

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to hear
argument in a Children's Motrin case that resulted in a $10
million verdict for a family of a 3-year-old severely blinded in
one eye after taking several doses of the medicine.

MCNEIL CONSUMER: Consolidation of Motrin Cases Unlikely
P.J. D'Annunzio, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, reports that
a federal jury on Sept. 29 in a Children's Motrin case returned a
verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary, McNeil
Consumer Healthcare, which was sued by the parents of a child who
they claim was blinded from taking the drug at age 3.

While the jury sided with the defendants in the case of Riley
Brown, a previous Children's Motrin case -- this one in
Pennsylvania state court -- resulted in a $10 million award for
the family of a child who suffered blindness in one eye, damage to
her reproductive system and permanent skin disfigurement.  Most
recently in that case, Maya v. Johnson & Johnson, the state
Supreme Court declined to hear argument after the Superior Court
upheld the verdict.

And in April, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld a
$63 million verdict in favor of the family of a 7-year-old girl
who developed Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) from taking
Children's Motrin, according to media reports.

Although J&J and McNeil came out on top in the Brown case, usually
jury trials involving injured children are tougher for defendants
to overcome than with adults, according to Duane Morris products
liability attorney Alan Klein.

"I think there's always a risk that having a minor plaintiff,
particularly a child who has been seriously injured, in any kind
of drug case always makes it more difficult for the defendant to
persuade the jury that there's no causation evidence," Mr. Klein

While he wouldn't classify such a circumstance as an uphill battle
for drug companies, Mr. Klein said the jury's sympathy factor is
an element to be taken seriously.

"In this particular case, the defendant, J&J, was able to overcome
the sympathy factor, from what I understand it was because there
was pretty persuasive evidence that the time the [Stevens-Johnson
syndrome] symptoms developed, the drug was not in the patient's
body and that there may have been another cause of the reaction,"
Mr. Klein said.

As for whether Children's Motrin cases will ever reach
multidistrict litigation proportions, Mr. Klein, who has litigated
SJS and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) cases, said consolidation
is unlikely since a variety of drugs can cause SJS/TEN and it is a
rare condition to begin with.

However, Brian McCormick -- bmccormick@rossfellercasey.com -- of
Ross Feller Casey said the rarity of SJS makes it a prime issue
for an MDL.

"SJS is not a common condition, and if a young child takes Motrin
within a reasonable amount of time with SJS developing I think
that clearly makes it a good case for an MDL and consolidation and
efficiency of the courts," Mr. McCormick said.  "Why wouldn't you
do it?"

While the facts in child injury cases are compelling enough in and
of themselves, Mr. McCormick said, sympathy for a minor plaintiff
from the jury will always be an element.

"In a case like this when you have a 3-year-old girl alleged to be
injured by a drug, the jury is going to look at the facts, but I
don't think you can ever write off the sympathy factor in cases
like this," Mr. McCormick said.

Rosemary Pinto and Laura Feldman, the Philadelphia-based attorneys
handling the case for the plaintiffs, did not return a call to
their office seeking comment.  David Abernethy, a Drinker Biddle &
Reath attorney representing J&J, deferred comment to a company

"We sympathize with the Brown family for what they have been
through," a McNeil spokesperson said in a statement.  "McNeil
Consumer Healthcare Division acted appropriately, responsibly and
in the best interests of patients regarding Children's Motrin.  We
remain committed to providing consumers with safe and effective
over-the-counter medicines and recommend consumers always read and
follow the product label."

In their pretrial memorandum, the plaintiffs in the Brown case
said Riley Brown developed SJS/TEN from taking Children's Motrin.
Along with the blindness, the plaintiffs said Riley Brown suffered
from skin sloughing, where the top layers of skin fall off the

"SJS/TEN is caused by drugs, in this case the propionic NSAID --
ibuprofen, which was sold to plaintiffs by defendants in the form
of Children's Motrin.  Motrin has long been associated with
causing SJS/TEN," plaintiffs' papers said.

Brown's parents claimed McNeil was negligent in failing to warn of
the dangers of SJS/TEN and negligent in failing to seek a safer
formula for Children's Motrin, which the plaintiffs assert has
long been associated with SJS/TEN.

"Defendants failed to warn of the SJS/TEN risks and failed to
instruct plaintiffs and their health care providers to discontinue
use of their products at the first sign of rash or
hypersensitivity, causing Riley's parents and health care
providers to unnecessarily continue her Motrin and further
exacerbate the severity of her injuries after the prodromal
symptoms of SJS/TEN were onset," plaintiffs' papers said.  "But
for defendants' failure to provide adequate warning and
instruction, plaintiff would not be blind."

In the defendants' pretrial memorandum, they argued the cause of
SJS/TEN is unknown, in part because the conditions are rare.

"No test exists to identify the cause of an individual patient's
SJS or TEN.  Certain highly suspected medications are commonly
associated with SJS and TEN. Ibuprofen is not one of these drugs.
Many drugs are associated with these diseases, but there are also
other potential causes -- including infections.  And many cases of
SJS/TEN are deemed idiopathic, meaning no cause is ever
determined," according to defense papers.

The defendants also argued the warning label on Children's Motrin
was adequate.

MECHANIC'S HEATING: Faces $1.3 Million in Civil Penalties
Katheryn Hayes Tucker, writing for Daily Report, reports that a
judge has ordered an air conditioning repair company and its owner
to pay $1.3 million in civil penalties for allegations of
overbilling, using Internet sites to post fake positive reviews
and intimidating customers who complained publicly.

Cobb County Juvenile Court Judge Joanne Elsey, sitting in for
Superior Court Judge Ann Harris, signed four orders after a
September hearing saying that Mechanic's Heating & Air
Conditioning and its owner, Monty White Jr., must pay $5,000 each
for 263 violations of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act.

The orders further direct Mr. White to remove content from a list
of websites, including Yelp.com, Kudzu.com and Google+Local.com,
on which the court found Williams had posted phony favorable
reviews from fictitious customers.

The court directed Mr. White to remove content from websites on
which he allegedly intimidated real customers into removing poor
reviews or dropping complaints.  The judge also directed the
company to cease doing business in Georgia and surrender trade

Judge Elsey's decision came from a lawsuit filed by Georgia
Attorney General Sam Olens and the Office of Consumer Protection,
which moved from the governor's office to the AG's office this
year.  The lawsuit alleged that Mr. White directed technicians to
recommend unnecessary repairs in order to inflate charges.

"On at least several occasions" the company instructed technicians
that "all service tickets for the week were required to be at
least $1,000, regardless of the repairs that were actually

"Deliberately dishonest, deceptive and intimidating tactics such
as these hurt consumers and steer business away from legitimate
companies," Mr. Olens said in an announcement.  "Our office will
do whatever it can to protect consumers from activities like

John Sours, director of the consumer protection office, said in an
interview that his team was able to track favorable reviews of the
company to IP addresses controlled by Mr. White.  "He planted
false testimonials," Mr. Sours said.  "They all sounded very much
alike.  That's one of the things that alerted us."

The investigation stemmed from complaints filed by customers to
the consumer protection office.  Many of those who complained also
reported being harassed by Mr. White and pressured to recant
negative reviews of the air conditioning service they had put on
consumer websites.  The state listed 62 websites White controlled
for this purpose, saying that they attacked the customers'
character and published private information and family photos.
One was called DirtyCustomer.com.

Robert Ingram and Jeffrey Daxe of Moore Ingram Johnson & Steele in
Marietta handled the case for the attorney general as special

The defendants did not appear for the hearing.  The last defense
counsel of record, Lawrence Burke of Marietta, withdrew from the
case.  Neither Burke nor White could be reached.

Asked about the prospects for collecting the $1.3 million,
Mr. Sours answered, "You can't set about collecting until you have
a judgment."  Mr. Sours said Mr. White has left Georgia and
relocated to Florida.  "We know where he is," Mr. Sours added.  He
said the attorney general's office will seek to enforce the
judgment in Florida.

The case is State of Georgia v. Mechanic's Heating & Air
Conditioning and Monty White Jr., No. 13-1-8809-56.

METLIFE AUTO: Illegally Collects Debt, "Hyman" Suit Claims
Philip Hyman, on behalf of himself and all others similarly
situated v. Metlife Auto & Home Insurance Agency, Inc. and
Claimfox, Inc., Case No. 15-1706A (Mass., Cmmw, October 13, 2015)
arises out of the Defendants' alleged unlawful practice of
attempting to collect, collecting and asserting a right to payment
of an alleged debt which is not due and owing, and which ClaimFox
represents is the cost associated with the production of documents
requested by way of a valid subpoena.

Metlife Auto & Home Insurance Agency, Inc. is in the business of
defending and indemnifying its insureds in civil litigation
throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Claimfox, Inc. is in the business of fulfilling subpoena document
requests in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      John R. Yasi, Esq.
      Robert E. Mazow, Esq.
      Michael C. Forrest, Esq.
      Brian P. McNiff, Esq.
      2 Salem Green, Suite 2
      Salem, MA 01970
      Telephone: (617) 231-7829
      Facsimile: (877) 599-8890
      E-mail: jyasi@forrestlamothe.com

MONTANA POWER: Trial Date in Flathead Lake Class Action Vacated
David Reese, writing for Bigfork Eagle, reports that it took 15
years to get the case to trial, and now it may be much longer
before a class action suit over Flathead Lake levels gets its day
in court.

A trial date set in the 1999 case that Rebecca Mattson filed
against Montana Power Co. has been vacated.  Co-defendants PPL
Montana filed a Montana Supreme Court challenge that claimed
Flathead County District Court was not the proper venue to hear
the case.  The supreme court disagreed and sent the case back to
Flathead County.  In the meantime, the case lost its Oct. 19 court
date, and it could take several more months before a new trial is
set, because the trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.

The class-action lawsuit against Kerr Dam operators Montana Power
and PPL Montana claims that the high lake levels in the late 1990s
caused significant shoreline erosion along the Flathead River and
Flathead Lake.

Kalispell attorney Amy Poehling Eddy said she hopes the final
court date for the trial "is within the year.  The plaintiffs are
ready o go to trial; they have been waiting 15 years."

Attorneys for the class of property owners settled with Montana
Power's insurance company in August for $1.45 million, which now
leaves PPL Montana as the sole defendant in the case.

Montana Power is no longer a corporate entity in Montana.  It went
bankrupt in 2001 after converting to a telecommunications company
called Touch America, but it had insurance coverage for the years
that it operated Kerr Dam.  The class action lawsuit dates back to
1999, when Mattson filed the suit to recover damages from high
lake levels that she claimed caused erosion on the Flathead River
and Flathead Lake.  PPL Montana took over operations of the dam
after Montana Power went bankrupt.

Plaintiffs claim the excessive high water was a trespass, while
defendants say the high water levels were within the scope of
their federal permit to operate Kerr Dam.  That original permit,
dating back to the 1930s, allowed the dam operators to submerge or
sub-irrigate portions of land along the Flathead River and
Flathead Lake.  The case is perhaps the longest-litigated case in
Flathead County.

While Montana Power is now out of the lawsuit by settling with the
plaintiff class, the portion of the case against PPL Montana
remains.  PPL Montana on July 29 had appealed the case to the
Montana Supreme Court over the district court's finding of fact
and jurisdiction.

Chicago attorney Michael Mulder represents the plaintiff class
along with Amy Eddy and Calvin Christian.  Mr. Mulder's office
received a fee of $551,136 when it settled with Montana Power's
insurance company in August.  Mr. Mulder said costs in the case
are significant.  The case has gone from Flathead County District
Court to the Montana Supreme Court four times, and in each appeal
the plaintiffs were successful in bringing it back to Flathead
County for further litigation.

Plaintiffs' attorneys also had to navigate the class-action suit
through Montana Power's bankruptcy proceedings.  "On at least two
occasions we had to breathe life back into the case," Mr. Mulder

Since Montana Power had insurance policies on a very narrow window
of time that the company owned Kerr Dam while the alleged damages
took place, proving those damages at trial would have been
difficult, Mr. Mulder said.

NAT'L COLLEGIATE: Antitrust Ruling May Jeopardize Attorney Fees
Marisa Kendall, writing for The Recorder, reports that colleges
can't be required to let star athletes cash in on their celebrity
status, a Ninth Circuit panel ruled on Sept. 30, reversing part of
a landmark antitrust decision that had called into question the
NCAA's entire business model.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found providing
athletes with money not related to school expenses undermines the
National Collegiate Athletic Association's commitment to amateur
sports.  The 2-1 panel vacated a decision from U.S. District Judge
Claudia Wilken of the Northern District of California that had
required the NCAA to allow athletes up to $5,000 a year as
compensation for use of their names, images and likenesses in TV
broadcasts and video games.

"The district court ignored that not paying student-athletes is
precisely what makes them amateurs," Circuit Judge Jay Bybee wrote
on behalf of the majority.  He was joined by U.S. District Judge
Gordon Quist of the Western District of Michigan. Chief Circuit
Judge Sidney Thomas dissented.

Once schools start paying athletes even a small amount, there is
no going back to amateurism, Judge Bybee wrote.  "Plaintiffs will
continue to challenge the arbitrary limit imposed by the district
court until they have captured the full value of their names,
images and likenesses," he wrote.

The opinion vacates a key part of Judge Wilken's 2014 bench
ruling, which proponents had hailed as a major step forward for
student-athletes' rights.  However, all three circuit judges
agreed with Judge Wilken that the NCAA's rules are subject to
scrutiny under U.S. antitrust law, and the majority affirmed her
ruling striking the NCAA's forced scholarship caps.

Hausfeld LLP partner Sathya Gosselin -- sgosselin@hausfeld.com --
who represents plaintiffs, said his team views the mixed opinion
as a win, "and a further affirmation that the NCAA and its member
schools have participated for decades in an illegal price-fixing

Michael Hausfeld argued the appeal for plaintiffs.  Wilmer Cutler
Pickering Hale and Dorr partner Seth Waxman, who argued for the
NCAA, declined to comment.  In a statement posted online on
Sept. 30, NCAA President Mark Emmert wrote his organization was
still reviewing the opinion, but agrees that the $5,000 per year
allowance was erroneous.

In his dissent, Thomas argued Judge Wilken was right to allow the
cash compensation.

"The NCAA insists that this multibillion-dollar industry would be
lost if the teenagers and young adults who play for these college
teams earn one dollar above their cost of school attendance," he
wrote.  "That is a difficult argument to swallow."

The NCAA already had abolished its scholarship limits for the
start of the current school year.  Still, the ruling could
encourage more litigation against the organization, said W.
Stephen Smith -- ssmith@mofo.com -- global co-chair of Morrison &
Foerster's antitust practice.

"The court does leave that door open," he said.

Judge Wilken was scheduled to weigh class certification on Oct. 1
in a similar case over student athlete compensation -- Jenkins v.
NCAA -- brought by Winston & Strawn.

On Sept. 30 the majority made clear its intent to set a high bar
for future challenges to NCAA rules.

"We are not declaring that courts are free to micromanage
organizational rules or to strike down largely beneficial market
restraints with impunity," Judge Bybee wrote, adding that a court
should only strike a rule if it is "patently and inexplicably
stricter than is necessary" to maintain amateurism.

But the majority's ruling also emphasized that the NCAA should
receive no special treatment under the Sherman Act.  As did the
lower court, the panel rejected the NCAA's argument that its rules
are exempt under antitrust law because they are rules governing
player eligibility, not commercial activity.

"The NCAA is not above the antitrust laws," he wrote, "and courts
cannot and must not shy away from requiring the NCAA to play by
the Sherman Act's rules."

The court's approach seemingly creates a split with the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which held NCAA rules were

The Sept. 30 ruling also could jeopardize the $46 million in
attorney fees snagged by plaintiffs lawyers in the case.  U.S.
Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins approved the award in July,
commending the Hausfeld team for a decisive victory in a case he
said "could significantly change American college sports."  The
award is awaiting final approval from Judge Wilken.

The appellate ruling "underscores the significant victory obtained
for college athletes," said Hausfeld's Gosselin, "and should only
support our efforts to obtain attorney fees in this landmark
antitrust action."

NEUSTAR INC: December 3 Settlement Fairness Hearing Set

YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED, pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure and an Order of the Court, that the Indiana
Public Retirement System ("Lead Plaintiff"), on behalf of itself
and the Settlement Class, on the one hand, and Neustar, Lisa A.
Hook, Paul S. Lalljie, and Steven J. Edwards (collectively,
"Defendants"), on the other hand, have reached a proposed
Settlement in the above-captioned action (the "Action") in the
amount of $2,625,000 in cash, plus any accrued interest (the
"Settlement Fund") that, if approved, will resolve all claims in
the Action.

A hearing will be held before the Honorable James C. Cacheris of
the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Virginia, at the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse, 401 Courthouse
Square, Alexandria, VA 22314 at 10:00 a.m. on December 3, 2015 to
determine, among other things, whether (1) the proposed Settlement
should be approved by the Court as fair, reasonable, and adequate;
(2) the Action should be dismissed with prejudice as set forth in
the Stipulation and Agreement of Settlement, dated as of July 28,
2015; (3) the proposed Plan of Allocation for distribution of the
Net Settlement Fund should be approved as fair and reasonable; and
(4) the application of Lead Counsel for an award of attorneys'
fees and payment of litigation expenses should be approved.  The
Court may change the date of the hearing without providing another
notice.  You do NOT need to attend the Settlement Hearing in order
to receive a distribution from the Net Settlement Fund.

SHARE IN THE NET SETTLEMENT FUND.  If you have not yet received
the full Notice of Pendency of Class Action, Proposed Settlement,
and Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Expenses (the "Notice") and a
Proof of Claim and Release form ("Proof of Claim"), you may obtain
copies of these documents by contacting the Claims Administrator
or visiting its website:

In re Neustar, Inc. Securities Litigation c/o A.B. Data, Ltd. P.O.
Box 170500 Milwaukee, WI 53217-8091 866-893-1052

Inquiries, other than requests for the aforementioned documents or
for information about the status of a claim, may also be made to
Lead Counsel:

          David J. Goldsmith, Esq.
          140 Broadway
          New York, NY 10005888-219-6877

If you are a Settlement Class Member, to be eligible to share in
the distribution of the Net Settlement Fund, you must submit a
Proof of Claim postmarked or received on or before February 3,
2016.  If you are a Settlement Class Member and do not timely
submit a valid Proof of Claim, you will not be eligible to share
in the distribution of the Net Settlement Fund, but you will
nevertheless be bound by any judgments or orders entered by the
Court in the Action.

To exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you must submit a
written request for exclusion in accordance with the instructions
set forth in the Notice such that it is received on or before
November 12, 2015.  If you are a Settlement Class Member and do
not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you will be bound
by any judgments or orders entered by the Court in the Action.

Any objections to the proposed Settlement, Plan of Allocation,
and/or application for attorneys' fees and payment of expenses
must be mailed to counsel for the Parties in accordance with the
instructions set forth in the Notice, such that they are received
on or before November 12, 2015 and filed with the Court on or
before November 12, 2015.


DATED:  OCTOBER 20, 2015


NEVADA: Educate Nevada Now Files Suit Over New Voucher Law
On October 20, 20115, Educate Nevada Now (ENN), a campaign of The
Rogers Foundation, and six parents who are suing the State of
Nevada over the new voucher law, Senate Bill 302 (SB302), filed a
preliminary injunction motion to prevent the loss of millions in
funding to their children's public schools.  The motion was filed
in Lopez v. Schwartz "the lawsuit filed by the parents in
September claiming the voucher law violates the Nevada
Constitution's ban on using public school funding to pay for
private education.

The parents' motion for a preliminary injunction was filed on
October 20, 2015, with Judge James Wilson in the First Judicial
Court in Carson City, case number 150C002071B.

According to court documents, the parents filed the preliminary
injunction to block the voucher law, which allegedly violates the
Nevada Constitution in three ways:

    * By diverting public school funding to pay for private school
    * By reducing public school funding below the amount necessary
for their operation;
    * By exempting voucher schools from public school
accountability, performance and anti-discrimination requirements.

According to court documents, the voucher law directs the State
Treasurer to deposit funds appropriated by the Legislature for the
operation of the Nevada public schools into private accounts to
pay for private school tuition, online classes, home-based
curriculums and related expenses, tutoring, transportation to and
from private schools, and other private expenses.

The Rogers Foundation supports the parents' lawsuit because it
addresses using public funding for private schools, an issue of
vital importance to all Nevada public school children and
taxpayers -- and one that must be resolved by the Nevada courts.

The parents' motion for an injunction makes clear that the
education of their children -- and the 450,000 children attending
public schools across the State -- will be irreparably harmed iif
the voucher law is not blocked.  According to estimates by the
State Treasurer, the public schools could lose over $200 million
or more to pay for the voucher program.

In statements to the court, officials from the White Pine, Washoe
and Clark County school districts explain that the loss of funding
will cause constant changes to their budgets and force them to
reduce or eliminate teachers and support staff, increase class
sizes, put off building repairs, and cut additional services for
students with disabilities, English language learners (ELLs) and
other special needs students.

In June, the Nevada Legislature passed SB302 authorizing an
unlimited program of private school vouchers.  The voucher law
directs the State Treasurer to deposit funds appropriated by the
Legislature for the operation of the Nevada public schools into
private accounts to pay for private school tuition, home-based
curriculums, tutoring, transportation and other private expenses.
The voucher program is expected to drain millions from the public
schools and trigger cuts to programs and services necessary to
educate public school children across the State.

In addition to the Munger, Tolles and Olson attorneys, David
Sciarra and Amanda Morgan of the non-profit Education Law Center
(ELC) in Newark, NJ, and Las Vegas, a Rogers Foundation partner,
are representing the students and parents.  They are also
represented pro bono by Justin Jones, attorney and associates from
Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin LLP in Nevada.

NEW YORK: Rikers Island Fails to Report Inmate Sexual Abuse
Kim Bellware, writing for The Huffington Post, reports that rape
and sexual abuse of Rikers Island inmates are almost never
reported to police, a New York City government watchdog asserts in
a new court filing.

The office of NYC Public Advocate Letitia James shared troubling
figures on Oct. 19 that suggest Rikers Island has a pervasive
sexual abuse problem -- and that officials look the other way when
inmates complain about it.

The data came from an Oct. 9 affidavit Ms. James filed in which
she supported the Rikers Island inmates' pursuit of class action
status that stems from a lawsuit filed in May by two female

Rikers Island failed to report to police a staggering 98 percent
of sexual abuse complaints last year, Ms. James asserts in her
Oct. 9 data, citing city health department and corrections
department data; of the 116 total complaints made to the
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, officials only pursued

"Sexual violence cannot be tolerated anywhere in our city --
including our jails," Ms. James said in a statement via email.
"Our affidavit proves the disturbing prevalence of sexual
harassment and abuse allegations on Rikers Island."

Ms. James called the substantiation rate of the sexual abuse
allegations "shockingly low" compared to other jurisdictions and
said the low rate raises questions about "access to justice
systems for our most vulnerable inmates."

In a May 19 lawsuit, two Jane Doe inmates alleged a horrifying
pattern of rape and abuse that they say prison officials were
aware of and ignored.

The women, one of whom is considered to have "diminished
intellectual capacity," allegedly were repeatedly raped and abused
by Rikers Island corrections officer Benny Santiago.

Santiago allegedly threatened to harm the women's families,
subject them to discipline or enlist other inmates to abuse them
if they reported him.  One of the women alleged Santiago would
anally rape her as punishment whenever he was angry with her or

The suit says at least two other guards knew that Santiago was
raping Jane Doe 2 and even confronted him, telling him "what
you're doing isn't right."  Neither guard reported Santiago's
alleged actions to supervisors.

When the same victim tried to report him to the prison mental
health and medical officials, they told her there was nothing they
could do about the abuse.  Guards friendly with Santiago
consequently harassed her for reporting, according to the suit.

In April, Ms. James' office sent a petition to the Board of
Correction outlining measures aligned with the federal Prison Rape
Elimination Act that the city's prisons could take to protect
female inmates from sexual abuse.

PREA guidelines indicate steps state prisons must take in order to
receive their certification. Due to a loophole in the law, states
only need to report sexual abuse data from the state prisons,
effectively exempting municipal jails from scrutiny.

"I have petitioned the Board of Correction to begin formal rule-
making to better protect inmates from sexual violence, and they
must start tackling this problem with the urgency it deserves,"
Ms. James said.

In her recent court filing, James yet again cited a grim fact she
included in her April petition: According a Justice Department
survey, 8.6 percent of the female inmates in the Rose M. Singer
Center (Rikers Island's female prison) reported being sexually
harassed or abused, compared with 3.2 percent of U.S. jail

The New York City Department of Corrections did not immediately
return requests for comment.

NEW ZEALAND: Psa Class Action Heads to High Court Next Year
NZherald.co.nz reports that a class action by kiwifruit
orchardists and post-harvest operators, who allege the Government
was negligent letting the Psa disease into New Zealand, will go
the High Court next year, a spokesman for the group said.

The action, supported by 212 claimants, is seeking almost $400
million in damages for the government's alleged negligence in
letting the Psa disease into New Zealand in 2010.  An initial
judgment on the substantive points may not be available until
mid-2017, the group said.

As the deadline to sign up closed on Oct. 16, growers representing
32 per cent of the total gold kiwifruit crop as at 2009/10 and 13
per cent of the green crop were confirmed as having completed the
process of signing by to the claim.

"The growers who have signed up to the claim estimate they alone
have suffered losses of $376.4 million as a result of the
outbreak," a spokesman for the claim, Matthew Hooton, said in a

"We expect the Treasury will need to include the claim as a
contingent liability in the December economic and fiscal update,"
he said.

The claimant's allege the government was negligent when it let a
specific shipment of anthers -- part of the plant's stamen that
contains pollen -- from a Psa-ravaged part of China into New
Zealand, and that this negligence is what caused the losses to
kiwifruit growers during the subsequent Psa outbreak across the

"The government denies that direct connection.  It also denies
that its decision to let in the anthers from an infected part of
China was negligent and even denies it owes a duty of care to
growers in protecting our country from pests and diseases anyway,"
he said.

"We think the government does have a legal duty of care to
growers, as well as its obvious moral and political duty to all
New Zealanders to take the utmost care when protecting our
country's agriculture and unique native flora and fauna from
foreign pests, and it should be accountable through the courts
when it carries out its critical biosecurity role."

Psa was first detected in New Zealand in the Bay of Plenty (Te
Puke) in November 2010.

Since then the disease has spread widely throughout the Bay of
Plenty and is now also present and is present in other parts of
the North Island as well.

The gold variety -- Hort16A -- was particularly susceptible but
the new variety, Gold3, has proven to be more resistant to the

NOBILIS HEALTH: Faces Securities Class Action
Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights firm, disclosed that a
class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of all purchasers of
Nobilis Health Corpsecurities from April 2, 2015 through
October 8, 2015.  The lawsuit seeks to recover investors' losses
under the federal securities laws.

To join the Nobilis class action, visit the firm's website at
http://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-744.htmlor contact Phillip Kim,
Esq. or Kevin Chan, Esq. toll-free at 866-767-3653 or via email at
pkim@rosenlegal.com or kchan@rosenlegal.com for information on the
class action.


According to the lawsuit, Defendants made false and/or misleading
statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1) Nobilis claimed
success rates for its AccuraScope procedure lacked recognition
from any university, medical body, or insurance company; (2)
Nobilis overstated its 2014 revenues by as much as $36 million;
(3) consequently, Nobilis misrepresented its 2014 revenue growth
rate as 161%, when it was actually only 44%; and (4) as a result
of the foregoing, Nobilis's public statements were materially
false and misleading at all relevant times. When the true details
entered the market, the lawsuit claims that investors suffered

A class action lawsuit has already been filed.  If you wish to
serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than
December 21, 2015.  A lead plaintiff is a representative party
acting on behalf of other class members in directing the
litigation.  If you wish to join the litigation, go to the firm's
website at http://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-744.htmlor to discuss
your rights or interests regarding this class action, please
contact Phillip Kim, Esq. or Kevin Chan, Esq. of Rosen Law Firm
toll-free at 866-767-3653 or via e-mail at pkim@rosenlegal.com or

Rosen Law Firm represents investors throughout the globe,
concentrating its practice in securities class actions and
shareholder derivative litigation.

NOBLE ENERGY: Dist. Ct. Adopts Magistrate Judge's Recommendation
District Judge Robert E. Blackburn of the United States District
Court for District of Colorado overruled Plaintiff's objections to
the Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge in the
case captioned, PHELPS OIL AND GAS, LLC, on behalf of itself and a
class of similarly situated royalty owners, Plaintiff, v. NOBLE
ENERGY, INC. and DCP MIDSTREAM, LP, Defendants, Case No. 14-CV-
2604-REB-CBS, and instead adopted said Recommendation.

The plaintiff, Phelps Oil and Gas, LLC, receives royalties from
the natural gas drilling operations of defendant Noble Energy,
Inc. on certain mineral leases. DCP buys natural gas from Noble,
processes the gas to make it ready for sale, and then sells the
gas. Under percentage-of-proceeds agreements (POP agreements)
between Noble and DCP, Noble receives from DCP a percentage of the
proceeds from the sale of the gas subject to the POP agreements.
Some of the gas that is subject to the agreements between Phelps
and Noble goes through the DCP post-wellhead services prior to
sale. In its complaint, Phelps alleges that DCP has failed to pay
to Noble the proper amounts due to Noble under the POP agreements
between DCP and Noble. As a result, Phelps alleges, Noble has not
paid Phelps the full amount of royalties due to Phelps under the
contracts between Phelps and Noble. On this basis, Phelps alleges
against DCP a claim for breach of contract, with Phelps claiming
to be a third-party beneficiary of the POP agreements between DCP
and Noble. Phelps also asserts a claim seeking declaratory
judgment for a determination of rights under the POP agreements
between DCP and Noble. In the alternative, Phelps alleges a claim
for unjust enrichment against DCP.

The Recommendation issued by the Magistrate Judge dated April 24,
2015, concludes that the facts alleged by Phelps, including the
content of the relevant POP contracts, are insufficient to state a
claim for breach of contract because the allegations and the POP
contracts do not show that Phelps or the class of royalty
interests it seeks to represent are third-party beneficiaries of
the POP contracts between DCP and Noble. He further recommends
granting Defendant's motion to dismiss.

In his Order dated September 22, 2015 available at
http://is.gd/ajB5HJfrom Leagle.com, Judge Blackburn found that
the magistrate judge provides in the recommendation a thorough
description of relevant allegations and the terms of the POP
agreements and provides an accurate application of the law to
those allegations and contract terms. Nothing in the objections of
the plaintiff vitiates the reasoning and conclusions of the
magistrate judge, he said.
Phelps Oil and Gas, LLC is represented by:

George A. Barton, Esq.
Robert G. Harken, Esq.
800 W 47th St #700, Kansas City,
MO 64112
Tel: (816)300-6250

Noble Energy, Inc. is represented by Michael John Gallagher, Esq.
-- mike.gallagher@dgslaw.com, Jonathan William Rauchway, Esq. --
jrauchway@dgslaw.com & Terry R. Miller, Esq. --
terry.miller@dgslaw.com -- DAVIS GRAHAM & STUBBS, LLP

PANASONIC CORP: Plaintiffs Lawyers Seek $200 Million in Fees
Marisa Kendall, writing for The Recorder, reports that plaintiffs
lawyers with Trump, Alioto, Trump & Prescott have requested $192
million in fees for their work settling a massive antitrust case
over the price of cathode ray tubes.

The fee request represents one-third of the $577 million
settlement fund, which lead counsel lauded as "one of the largest
recoveries ever on behalf of indirect purchasers."  The lawyers
also asked to be reimbursed for $3 million in litigation expenses
and to distribute $450,000 in incentive awards among the lead
plaintiffs, according to the fee motion filed on Sept. 23 in the
Northern District of California.

The court approved a $10 million settlement with Chunghwa Picture
Tubes Ltd. in 2012 and a $25 million settlement with LG
Electronics Inc. last year.  This year, the court granted
preliminary approval to additional deals struck with Panasonic
Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba Corp., Samsung SDI, Philips,
Technicolor S.A. and Technologies Displays Americas.

The deals resolve claims that defendants conspired between 1995
and 2007 to fix the prices of cathode ray tubes used in computer
and TV monitors.  Lead counsel with Trump Alioto proposed dividing
the fee award among 48 other firms that also put hours into the
case, including Kirby McInerney; Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel, Mason &
Gette; and Straus & Boies.

Lawyers with Trump Alioto pointed out the recovery goes directly
into the pockets of class members -- there will be no refund to
the defendants or cy pres distribution, and claimants won't be
paid with vouchers or coupons.  They also emphasized the
difficulties and risks of the case, which required lawyers to
travel the world tracking down evidence of the 20-year-old
conspiracy.  The proposed fee award equates to a 2.3 multiplier of
plaintiffs counsel's lodestar -- an inflation the lawyers called

A class of direct purchasers, represented by Saveri & Saveri, has
reached settlements totaling $137 million with defendants,
including Hitachi, Samsung and LG.

Hitachi is represented by Kirkland & Ellis; Panasonic is
represented by Winston & Strawn and Weil, Gotshal & Manges;
Philips is represented by Baker Botts; Samsung is represented by
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton; and Toshiba is represented by
White & Case.

PF CHANG: Class Action Over Gluten-Free Menu Dismissed
Jessica Karmasek, writing for Legal Newsline, reports that P.F.
Chang's wants an amended complaint filed by a woman who continues
to claim the restaurant chain violated federal anti-discrimination
laws by charging more for gluten-free items dismissed.

P.F. Chang's filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff Anna Marie
Phillips' first amended complaint for failure to state a claim.

Ms. Phillips sued P.F. Chang's in a California state court in
December, and the defendant later removed the case to U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of California.

The restaurant chain first moved to dismiss Phillips' class action
in February, claiming her celiac disease does not make her a
disabled person under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  It
urged Judge Ronald Whyte to dismiss the suit before the entire
restaurant industry was impacted.

Judge Whyte heard oral arguments in May.  According to the case's
docket, the motion to dismiss was "tentatively granted" at the
hearing, with a final ruling to be issued by the court later.

In August, the federal judge granted P.F. Chang's motion to
dismiss Phillips' original complaint.  The court ruled that the
plaintiff failed to allege facts showing that the restaurant chain
discriminated against her and other guests with celiac disease or
a gluten allergy/intolerance, by charging $1 more for some gluten-
free menu items compared to non-gluten-free versions of menu items
with a similar name but prepared and handled much differently.

However, Judge Whyte granted Ms. Phillips a leave to amend.

In doing so, the judge expressed his "reservations" about whether
the plaintiff could ever state a viable claim under her
discrimination theory.

P.F. Chang's, in its Sept. 24 motion to dismiss the first amended
complaint, contends the new complaint asserts the same disability-
discrimination claims and offers "few additional facts" and "none
that warrant a different result."

"The FAC remains devoid of any factual allegations suggesting how
P.F. Chang's gluten-free menu discriminates against those with
celiac disease," the restaurant wrote in its 28-page motion. "This
is a case that should be dismissed at the pleading stage because
it lacks a 'cognizable legal theory.'"

The plaintiff asserts, P.F. Chang's notes, that the gluten-free
menu items are "essentially the same" and are "not truly different
dishes" because they have the same basic ingredients.

"But the court has already rejected plaintiff's argument that the
gluten free and non-gluten-free items are the same, noting that
plaintiff's 'complaint belies that assertion,'" P.F. Chang's wrote
in its motion.

"The point is that gluten-free and non gluten-free products are
different -- both in ingredients used and in preparation. While
there is no law regulating menu prices, the FAC itself
demonstrates a need for both different ingredients and preparation
methods which, in turn, supports different prices."

Again, Ms. Phillips contends that the restaurant chain
"discriminated against customers with celiac disease and gluten
sensitivities by surcharging them for purchasing gluten-free menu
items" and "took advantage of these disabled customers, who had no
alternative but to purchase gluten-free items at the higher price
because they medically are unable to tolerate items that contain
or were exposed to gluten."

P.F. Chang's argues that the plaintiff dined at the restaurant of
her own free will, that she was not coerced into eating there.

"She could have patronized any of the numerous other restaurants
or grocery stores that offer gluten-free options," the restaurant
chain wrote, adding that Phillips has not alleged any difficulty
ingesting, chewing or swallowing food.

"In granting leave to file the FAC, the court expressed
'reservations' that plaintiff could ever state a viable claim.
The court's doubts were well founded," P.F. Chang's wrote.
"Plaintiff has taken her best shot and has come up short again.
As such, it would be futile to allow further amendment."

In an opposition filed Sept. 28, Ms. Phillips argues P.F. Chang's
motion to dismiss "largely regurgitates" the court's order without
giving "due consideration" to the "substantial" new allegations
that address the court's concerns.

"The First Amended Complaint shows that the modifications afforded
to non-celiac customers are substantial and for some dietary
preferences (e.g., nut allergies) generically similar to gluten-
free modifications.  Yet Defendant singles out celiac customers
for unequal treatment," the plaintiff wrote.

"Second, Plaintiff alleges a violation of the Unruh Act predicated
on the Americans with Disabilities Act.  By failing to modify menu
items for free, Defendant fails to provide celiac customers with
the same benefit it routinely affords to non-celiac customers."

Ms. Phillips also charges that P.F. Chang's created its gluten-
free menu "expressly to surcharge" celiac customers rather than
providing them with free modifications.

She points out that in her amended complaint she supplemented her
factual allegations to show why celiac disease constitutes a
disability and medical condition under Unruh -- a California civil
rights law that specifically outlaws discrimination based on sex,
race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability,
medical condition, marital status or sexual orientation.

"Because of the dire health consequences associated with consuming
gluten, persons suffering from celiac disease must follow a strict
and scrupulous dietary regimen that severely limits what, how, and
where they can eat," Ms. Phillips wrote in her 31-page opposition.
"These dietary proscriptions make two major life activities --
eating and participating in an important act of social bonding --
difficult to achieve."

A hearing to discuss P.F. Chang's motion had been set for Oct. 23.

PFIZER INC: Hundreds of Zoloft Birth-Defect Cases Dismissed
P.J. D'Annunzio, writing The Legal Intelligencer, reports that the
Zoloft birth-defect multidistrict litigation based in
Philadelphia, which once had as many as 600 cases, has been
reduced to roughly half its original size.  The drop is the result
of hundreds of cases involving non-cardiac injuries being

In June, the docket listed 550 total active cases, and over the
course of the summer, hundreds of cases were dismissed, bringing
the current number to 278, according to the MDL clerk's office.

The cases dismissed all related to non-cardiac birth injuries, as
opposed to the cardiac-only injury cases moving forward in the

"Plaintiffs who filed Zoloft lawsuits in the Zoloft MDL or state
courts alleging any non-cardiac injuries have advised the court
that they will dismiss their claims.  As a result, pending Zoloft
cases alleging non-cardiac injuries will be dismissed," said a
spokesperson of Zoloft's manufacturer, Pfizer.  "If any are
refiled they must meet several conditions established by the
court.  These cases were not settled."

Local counsel to the plaintiffs, Dianne Nast of NastLaw, said the
plaintiffs moved to dismiss the cases and proceed in cardiac-only
matters for greater efficiency.  Ms. Nast said cases can be
refiled with the understanding that the statute of limitations
will not be running.

Ms. Nast pointed to U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe of the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania's decision to exclude the
testimony of the plaintiffs' non-cardiac birth injury expert,
Dr. Anick Berard, as a factor in the decision to dismiss the

"I'm not saying we would have made a different decision if she had
passed muster with the court," Ms. Nast said, because efficiency
was the primary concern.

As for whether the dismissed cases will be refiled individually,
Ms. Nast said, "I think they would remain part of the MDL, because
they have the commonality that all the people took Zoloft,"
despite the differing injuries.

The Pfizer spokesperson also said, "While Pfizer has sympathy for
the families, the company has maintained from the outset of this
litigation that Zoloft is an important medicine and does not cause
birth defects and, accordingly, is pleased that plaintiffs will
dismiss pending non-cardiac Zoloft claims."

Most recently in the case, at a long-postponed Daubert hearing --
which allows parties in a case to challenge expert testimony
before the start of trial and is named for the 1993 U.S. Supreme
Court case Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals -- the
plaintiffs' cardiac causation expert was under scrutiny.

In addition to claiming expert Nicholas Jewell's conclusions were
not peer-reviewed and based on bad science, one of Pfizer's
lawyers, Mark Cheffo, told the court last month that new studies
have surfaced, including some from the American Heart Association
and the New England Journal of Medicine, indicating that "a causal
relationship between Zoloft and birth defects does not exist."

Mr. Cheffo said in drawing his conclusions that Zoloft presented
an increased risk of causing cardiac birth defects when taken by
pregnant women, Mr. Jewell, a professor of biostatistics at the
University of California, Berkeley, was trying to "fit a square
peg in a round hole."

Mr. Cheffo also claimed Mr. Jewell was unqualified in his capacity
as a causation expert because he is a statistician, not a medical
doctor.  He further attacked Jewell's opinions for being overly
broad.  Mr. Cheffo said Jewell also relied on a study that
actually reported there was no significant relationship between
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) -- the class of
drug Zoloft belongs to -- and causing birth defects.  He also
presented statements in which Jewell seemingly questioned the
relationship between Zoloft and birth defects.

Finally, Mr. Cheffo said that on Aug. 14, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration said the recommended label on Zoloft should include
the phrase, "There is no increased risk of cardiac malformation."
However, an attorney for the plaintiffs, Joseph J. Zonies, said in
his rebuttal at the hearing that Pfizer was cherry-picking parts
of Mr. Jewell's conclusions and presented his statements out of

Mr. Zonies claimed Mr. Jewell operated using sound methodology and
drew from peer-reviewed studies in developing his report.

Mr. Zonies also took issue with the American Heart Association's
study, claiming it relied on only two prior studies out of many to
come to its conclusions.  In that vein, Mr. Zonies questioned how
Pfizer could "come up here and excoriate Dr. Jewell."

Finally, Mr. Zonies summed up his argument by telling the court
that Pfizer didn't take into account all the factors within the
studies it cited, providing an incomplete picture.

PHILIP MORRIS: Trial in Marlboro Lights Class Action Begins
Jessica Karmasek, writing for Legal Newsline, reports that the
trial in a class action lawsuit filed nearly 20 years ago over
claims that cigarette maker Philip Morris USA misled the public
into thinking that its product, Marlboro Lights, would have lower
levels of tar and nicotine began.

According to Courtroom View Network, the trial in the long-running
class action Lori Aspinall, et al. v. Philip Morris USA, et al.,
began on Oct. 19.

The class action was originally filed in 1998 on behalf of nearly
200,000 Massachusetts smokers who bought Marlboro Light cigarettes
starting in 1994.  The plaintiff class is seeking more than $600
million from Altria Group Inc. subsidiary Philip Morris.

Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Edward Leibensperger is
hearing the case without a jury.

The class contends Philip Morris knew its Marlboro Lights product
did not have lower levels of tar and nicotine and intentionally
designed it so that cigarette smokers receive as much, or more,
tar and nicotine than if they smoked regular or other "full-
flavored" Marlboro cigarettes.

In fact, lead plaintiff Lori Aspinall and fellow class members
allege Philip Morris designed its Marlboro Lights to produce
Federal Trade Commission smoking machine test results that allow
the tobacco company to promote the cigarettes as "lights."

In particular, the class alleges the company modified the design
of the cigarettes to include the "strategic placement" of
microscopic ventilation holes in or around the cigarette filters.

The plaintiffs argue Philip Morris intended to create an
impression in the minds of customers that the cigarettes were
"healthier" than regular cigarettes, such as its Marlboro Reds,
all the while fully aware that Marlboro Lights would continue to
deliver addictive levels of tar and nicotine.

Ms. Aspinall's attorney, Thomas Urmy -- turmy@shulaw.com -- of
Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP, said during opening statements that the
evidence would prove the company engaged in a "deliberate and
cynical deception of consumers for over 30 years."

According to a CVN webcast of the Oct. 19 proceedings, Mr. Urmy
argued Philip Morris should pay $512 million if Marlboro Lights
are proven to be as harmful as Marlboro Reds, and $100 million
more -- $609 million -- if it is determined they are more harmful.

Attorneys for Philip Morris, in response, pointed to studies
performed by the company and the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention that prove Marlboro Lights contain less tar and
nicotine than Marlboro Reds.

Gregory Stone -- Gregory.Stone@mto.com -- of Munger Tolles & Olson
LLP also argued the plaintiff class suffered no actual injuries,
according to the CVN webcast.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

PIER 1 IMPORTS: Bernstein Litowitz Files Securities Class Action
Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP on Oct. 21 disclosed
that it filed a securities class action lawsuit on behalf of its
client Town of Davie Police Pension Plan against Pier 1 Imports,
Inc. and certain of its senior executives.  The action, which is
captioned Town of Davie Police Pension Plan v. Pier 1 Imports,
Inc., et al., No. 3:15-cv-03415 (N.D. Tex.), asserts claims under
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934,
15 U.S.C. 78j(b) and 78t(a), and SEC Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder, 17 C.F.R. 240.10b-5, on behalf of investors who
purchased or otherwise acquired Pier 1 common stock during the
period from December 19, 2013 to September 24, 2015, inclusive
(the "Class Period").

This case was filed as a related action to Kenney v. Pier 1
Imports, Inc., et al., No. 3:15-cv-02798 (N.D. Tex.) ()Kenney"),
the first-filed securities class action in this matter, which is
presently pending before the Honorable Sidney A. Fitzwater.
Pursuant to the notice published on August 27, 2015 in connection
with the filing of the Kenney action pursuant to the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, investors wishing to
serve as the lead plaintiff are required to file a motion for
appointment as lead plaintiff by no later than October 26, 2015.

The Complaint alleges that during the Class Period, Pier 1 and
certain of its senior executives violated provisions of the
Exchange Act by issuing false and misleading press releases,
financial statements, filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission, and statements during investor conference calls.
Based in Fort Worth, Texas, Pier 1 is a retailer of decorative
home furnishings and gifts imported from countries around the
world.  Although Pier 1 has traditionally been a "brick and
mortar" retailer, during fiscal year 2013, the Company began to
aggressively grow and develop online sales of its products.  To
that end, Pier 1 launched a new e-commerce website, Pier1.com, as
part of its "1 Pier 1" omni-channel initiative that sought to turn
the Company from an in-store retailer to a combined in-store and
online retailer.

As alleged in the Complaint, throughout the Class Period,
Defendants misrepresented the success of "1 Pier 1" and issued
earnings guidance that reflected significant growth, which it
attributed, in large part, to its burgeoning e-commerce business.
As months passed and costs associated with the implementation of
"1 Pier 1" began to mount, the Company continued to misrepresent
the success of its e-commerce initiative and assured investors
that the Company was well-positioned to handle the higher levels
of inventory needed to support the growth strategy, and that
increased inventories would not result in discounting of
merchandise or lower margins.  As a result of these
misrepresentations, Pier 1 stock traded at artificially inflated
prices during the Class Period.

On February 10, 2015, the Company sharply reduced its financial
guidance for the fiscal year ending February 28, 2015, which the
Company attributed to softer than expected sales in January and
February 2015 and "unplanned" expenses, primarily related to
supply chain costs associated with the "1 Pier 1" initiative.
Pier 1 also announced that the Company's Chief Financial Officer
Charles H. Turner had suddenly "retired."  Then, on September 24,
2015, the Company significantly reduced its earnings guidance for
fiscal 2016, which Pier 1 attributed to margin pressures from
increased promotional and clearance activity, as well as inventory
related issues within its distribution center network.  These
disclosures caused a material decline in the price of Pier 1
stock.  The Complaint filed on behalf of Davie Police expands upon
the Kenney action by alleging, among other things, that the full
truth concerning the Defendants' misrepresentations was not
disclosed until September 24, 2015, the end of the alleged Class

Davie Police is represented by BLB&G, a firm of over 100 attorneys
with offices in New York, California, Louisiana, and Illinois.  If
you wish to discuss this Action or have any questions concerning
this notice or your rights or interests, please contact Avi
Josefson of BLB&G at 212-554-1493, or via e-mail at

Since its founding in 1983, BLB&G -- http://www.blbglaw.com--
Specializing in securities fraud, corporate governance,
shareholders' rights, employment discrimination, and civil rights
litigation, among other practice areas, BLB&G prosecutes class and
private actions on behalf of institutional and individual clients

PIKE: Judge Issues Ruling on Merger Class Action
Mack Sperling, Esq. -- msperling@brookspierce.com -- of Brooks,
Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard LLP, in an article for The
National Law Review, reports that Judge Gale issued three rulings
in class action cases.

Two of the rulings were in consolidated class actions that had
been settled.  Those were in In re Pike S'holders Litig., 2015
NCBC 89 and 90.   The third decision was in a case just at its
commencement: Raul v. Burke, 2015 NCBC 91, about whether the
plaintiff challenging a merger transaction was entitled to
expedited discovery on her claims.

In The Pike Order, The Court Awarded Twice The Amount Of Fees
Which The Defendants Had Agreed To Pay

There's not much worthy of note in the first Pike "decision."  It
is merely an Order approving the settlement cut in the four
separate class action lawsuits attacking Pike's merger.

The decision in the second Pike case, In re Pike S'holders Litig.,
2015 NCBC 90, concerned an award of attorneys' fees to the lawyers
for the class.  The case is notable since the class' lawyers were
awarded double the amount of fees ($550,000) than the amount which
the Defendants' lawyers had agreed not to oppose ($275,000).

How did the Plaintiffs' lawyers pull that off?  They had to first
get past the Defendants' argument that the Court did not have the
authority to award fees in excess of the amount that they had
agreed not to contest.  That argument was pretty much foreclosed
by the language of the Memorandum of Understanding which led to
the settlement.  It said:

[i]f the parties are unable to reach agreement with respect to the
amount of such attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses to which
Plaintiffs' counsel are entitled, then Plaintiffs reserve the
right to submit an application for an award of attorneys' fees,
costs, and expenses to be paid to Plaintiffs' counsel (the
"Contested Fee Application"). . . . In the event of a Contested
Fee Application, Defendants agree to pay whatever award of
attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses that the Court awards.

Judge Gale, relying on the COA's recent decision in Ehrenhaus v.
Baker, held that: "when the parties agree to fee shifting but do
not agree on the amount of fees to be awarded, the Court may award
the amount that it determines to be fair and reasonable."

The Court assessed the reasonableness of the half million dollar
plus fee by breaking the fee down to an hourly rate (for the
1394.60 hours of time) of $550 per hour for lead counsel, $375 per
hour for partner hours of non-lead counsel, and $250 per hour for
associate time. Op. 37.  Judge Gale said that those rates were
"within, but at the higher end of, the range that this Court has
found to be reasonable for complex business litigation in North
Carolina."  Id.

The Court Awarded Fees Based On "North Carolina Rates"

Out of state lawyers looking to take on class action cases in the
Business Court might want to take caution from this part of Judge
Gale's ruling: "the affidavit of Lead Counsel [who was from
Pennsylvania] reflects billing rates that exceed those typically
charged in North Carolina.  The Court believes that there are
North Carolina lawyers who are fully capable of pursuing similar
litigation and, thus, that it would be unnecessary and
inappropriate to apply billing rates higher than those typically
charged by skilled counsel in North Carolina."  Op. 36 (relying on
GE Betz, Inc. v. Conrad, ____ N.C. App. __, 752 S.E.2d 634, 657

This Was A "Disclosure-Only" Settlement

Also significant was that this doubling of attorneys' fees came in
a disclosure only settlement.  Judge Gale expressed this view
regarding this type of settlement:

[t]he Court is mindful of substantial commentary that disclosure
settlements might often reflect more of a tax cost of a merger
transaction rather than a meaningful substantive benefit to the
settlement class, particularly when the accompanying release is
the broadest possible.  Those considerations perhaps underlie the
Delaware Court of Chancery's recent caution that fee requests in
disclosure-only settlements may now face more searching scrutiny,
particularly when accompanied by the broadest possible releases.
See In re Riverbed Tech., Inc. S'holders Litig., C.A. No, 10484-
VCG, 2015 Del. Ch. LEXIS 241, at *21-22 (Del. Ch. Sept. 17, 2015).

PRIDE MEDICAL: Patients Obtain Class Status in Privacy Suit
Greg Land, writing for Daily Report, reports that a Fulton County
judge has granted class status to a group of up to 379 potential
plaintiffs suing a gay-oriented medical practice over allegations
that it disclosed their HIV status to a local gay magazine.

According to the suit filed last year in Fulton County Superior
Court, the plaintiffs were patients of Pride Medical Inc. when the
disclosures occurred in 2012 and 2013.  The suit said one of the
practice's owners, Dr. Lee Anisman, emailed spreadsheets to the
publisher of a gay publication -- identified in a subsequent
pleading as Atlanta's Fenuxe Magazine -- that included the names
of hundreds of patients and indicated whether they were HIV-
positive or -negative, or whether that status was unknown.

The email address to which the emails were sent was a
"companywide" address that several magazine employees routinely
accessed, it said.

The complaint said that Dr. Anisman began compiling the data in a
spreadsheet called "How Did You Find Us?" in 2011 in order to keep
track of how patients were referred to the practice: through other
patients, magazine ads, its website or other means.

Among the suit's claims are that the disclosure violated signed
privacy agreements with patients, as well as breaching the federal
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Filed on behalf of John Does 1-4, the suit named Pride Medical and
Dr. Anisman as defendants, along with three other Pride owners and
a doctor there.  It includes counts for invasion of privacy,
breach of confidential relationship and fiduciary duty, violation
of Georgia law safeguarding confidential HIV/AIDS information, and

Todd Poole -- todd@poolehuffman.com -- who filed the suit with law
partner Jon David Huffman of Decatur's Poole Huffman, said that as
the suit has progressed, the defendants have admitted to sending
the lists to at least one other gay publication.

Mr. Poole said Dr. Anisman's rationale for compiling and
forwarding the lists to publications the practice advertised with
was to thank the publications for their role in the patients
coming to the medical practice.

Dr. Anisman apparently did not mean to include the patients' names
before sending the information, said Mr. Poole, who said he was
baffled by the decision to include their HIV status.

"It would have served just as well to say, 'thanks for sending me
these patients.' I don't think they needed any other

Neither of the publications ever published any of the information,
he said.

"That would be irresponsible and against their interests" as gay
publications, he noted.  But the information was re-forwarded to
several other people, he said.

Defense attorneys Jonathan Peters -- jpeters@petersmonyak.com  --
and Jeffrey Bazinet -- jbazinet@petersmonyak.com -- of Peters &
Monyak were not available.

On Sept. 22, Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville certified the
plaintiffs as representative of 379 Pride patients whose
information was disclosed, writing that they had satisfied all the
requirements for meeting class certification under Georgia law.
The order sets an Oct. 2 deadline for the attorneys to confer and
agree on a method notifying potential class members.

PROCTER & GAMBLE: Sued Over Flushable Wipes Design Defects
City of Perry, Iowa, on behalf of itself and all others similar
situated v. Procter & Gamble Company, et al., Case No. 1:15-cv-
08051 (S.D.N.Y., October 13, 2015) arises out of the harm caused
by Defendants' unfair practices associated with the design,
testing, manufacturing, marketing, distribution, and sale of
allegedly flushable bathroom wipes.

Procter & Gamble Company is a multinational consumer goods company
headquartered in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, United States.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Charles J. LaDuca, Esq.
      8120 Woodmont Ave., Suite 810
      Bethesda, MD 20814
      Telephone: (202) 789-3960
      Facsimile: (202) 789-1813
      E-mail: charles@cuneolaw.com

         - and -

      Taylor Asen, Esq.
      16 Court Street, Suite 1012
      Brooklyn, NY 11241
      Telephone: (202) 789-3960
      Facsimile: (202) 789-1813
      E-mail: tasen@cuneolaw.com

         - and -

      Michael McShane, Esq.
      711 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 500
      San Francisco, CA 94102
      Telephone: (415) 568-2555
      Facsimile: (415) 568-2556
      E-mail: mmcshane@audetlaw.com

         - and -

      J. Barton Goplerud, Esq.
      5015 Grand Ridge Drive, Suite 100
      West Des Moines, IO 50265
      Telephone: (515) 223-4567
      Facsimile: (515) 223-8887
      E-mail: jbgoplerud@hudsonlaw.net

RICHARDSON FLOOR: Faces "Martin" Suit Over Failure to Pay OT
Christopher Martin, on behalf of himself and all others similarly
situated v. Richardson Floor Covering Company, Inc., Case No.
3:15-cv-00162-TCB (N.D. Ga., October 13, 2015) is brought against
the Defendants for failure to pay overtime wages in violation of
the Fair Labor Standard Act.

Richardson Floor Covering Company, Inc. is in the business of
providing floor installation services to its customers.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Amanda A. Farahany, Esq.
      V. Severin Roberts, Esq.
      1100 Peachtree Street, Suite 500
      Atlanta, GA 30309
      Telephone: (404) 214-0120
      Facsimile: (404) 214-0125

RIVER ROCKS: Faces "Payne" Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime
Brendon Payne, and others similarly situated v. River Rocks, LLC,
et al., Case No. 6:15-cv-01727-PGB-DAB (M.D. Fla., October 13,
2015) is brought against the Defendants for failure to pay
overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standard Act.

River Rocks, LLC owns and operates a restaurant and bar located at
6485 U.S. 1, Rockledge, FL 32955.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Maurice Arcadier, Esq.
      Joseph C. Wood, Esq.
      2815 W. New Haven, Suite 304
      Melbourne, FL 32904
      Telephone: (321) 953-5998
      Facsimile: (321) 953-6075
      E-mail: office@wamalaw.com

RJ REYNOLDS: Supreme Court to Decide on EU Racketeering Suit
Sam Hananel, writing for The Associated Press, reports that the
Supreme Court will decide whether the European Union can pursue
its lawsuit claiming that tobacco company R.J. Reynolds sponsored
cigarette smuggling in Europe as part of a global money-laundering
scheme with organized crime groups.

The justices agreed on Oct. 1 to review an appeals court ruling
that said the EU and 26 of its member states were within their
rights to sue in U.S. courts under federal racketeering laws.

The suit alleges that RJR directed, managed and controlled the
scheme that involved laundering money through New York-based
financial institutions.

A federal judge threw out the claims, but a three-judge panel of
the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that
racketeering laws can apply to crimes committed in foreign

The EU alleges that RJR orchestrated the scheme with the help of
Colombian and Russian criminal groups and that the company
laundered money through New York-based financial institutions.
The EU claims the company's actions hurt the economies of EU
member nations by depriving governments of tax revenues.

The suit alleges several violations of racketeering laws,
including mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, violations of
the Travel Act and laws banning material support to foreign
terrorist organizations.

The company calls the claims baseless. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
is a subsidiary of Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Reynolds
American Inc.

Earlier this year, the full 2nd Circuit declined to reconsider the
case by an 8-5 vote, prompting four separate dissenting opinions.
Four of the dissenting judges warned that the court had reached a
new and far-reaching interpretation of the racketeering law "that
finds little support in the history of the statute, its
implementation, or the precedents of the Supreme Court."

Justice Sonia Sotomayor did not take part in the court's
consideration of the case.  She previously served on the appeals
court and wrote an opinion in the case in 2004 at an earlier stage
of the litigation.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments this winter in RJR Nabisco,
Inc. v. European Community, 15-138.

RIVERBED TECHNOLOGY: Non-Cash Settlement Approved
Gina Passarella, writing for Law.com, reports that in describing
the benefits of a class action settlement in a shareholders'
merger challenge as akin to the size of a peppercorn but the
rights bargained away only equal to a mustard seed, Vice
Chancellor Sam Glasscock III approved the noncash settlement over
the sole objection of a law professor.

But Vice Chancellor Glasscock expressed his concerns with the
breadth of the release and said the likelihood of customary
approvals of such releases in exchange for disclosures will be
diminished by his Sept. 17 opinion in In re Riverbed Technology
Stockholders Litigation as well as other recent Court of Chancery

Vice Chancellor Glasscock also reduced the award to the
plaintiffs' attorneys from the parties' agreed-upon amount of
$500,000 to about $330,000.

Vice Chancellor Glasscock devoted a piece of his 21-page opinion
to the inherent challenges and questions of agency presented by
shareholder class-action litigation when it comes to the interests
of the class representatives and their counsel and whether they
are in line with the interests of the other class members.

The vice chancellor had to decide whether to approve the
settlement between Riverbed Technology and a group of shareholders
who sought to enjoin the $3.6 billion sale of the remaining stock
to two private equity companies.  The parties ultimately agreed to
settle their differences for Riverbed's increased disclosures
about some of financial adviser Goldman Sachs' potential conflicts
of interest.

The only objector to the settlement was Sean J. Griffith, a
Fordham University School of Law professor who did not own stock
at the time of the settlement agreement.  Instead, he purchased
stock after the fact for the purpose of challenging the settlement
agreement, Vice Chancellor Glasscock said, noting Mr. Griffith has
written on the agency problems presented in such settlement

The plaintiffs argued Mr. Griffith lacked standing because he
didn't own stock at the time of the merger.

"This argument is made despite the fact that Mr. Griffith is
clearly a member of the class who will be affected by the
settlement, and that it is the settlement itself that is the
'transaction' he seeks to challenge," Vice Chancellor Glasscock

He rejected the plaintiffs' argument that granting standing to
someone in Mr. Griffith's position would cause "'professional'
objectors with nefarious strike-suit motives [to] pop up like
mushrooms after a two-day rain."

Vice Chancellor Glasscock said the court has tools to deal with
those scenarios, including the doctrine of unclean hands.  He
found Griffith had standing.

In approving the settlement, Glasscock said he didn't have to
ensure the deal was the best possible outcome for the class
members, but just that it was reasonable and not reached through
divided loyalties of the class representatives and their counsel.

"The concern of this court must be the agency problem described
above, in light of the defendants' interest in making a few low-
cost disclosures and consenting to a modest fee request in return
for release of what might be valuable claims both under fiduciary
common law and federal statutory law," Vice Chancellor Glasscock

The supplemental disclosures provided as part of the settlement
showed Goldman Sachs had "substantial" present engagements with
the purchasers of Riverbed.

While those disclosures are the type of "negative" disclosures the
court has previously found of value to the class, Vice Chancellor
Glasscock noted nearly 99.5 percent of the shareholders voted in
favor of the merger despite those disclosures.

"This demonstrates to me, even without resort to the academic
literature that questions the value of disclosures to the class,
that the disclosure here was not of great importance," Vice
Chancellor Glasscock said.

But the plaintiffs argued that their own expert said he could not
opine that the merger price was unfair to the class.  So while
viable fiduciary duty claims were being released under the
settlement, they were not claims that could have resulted in any
benefit to the class, Vice Chancellor Glasscock said.

Griffith argued there could have been other valuable claims
released under the settlement agreement that were unknown without
fully developing the record.

"This, in light of the rather meager benefit achieved by the
settlement for the class, as well as the broad release bargained
for, is a serious objection," Vice Chancellor Glasscock noted.
"In another factual scenario it might well carry the day."

But under the facts of this case, he said, the settlement was
appropriate.  Vice Chancellor Glasscock said that, among other
reasons supporting approval, the parties negotiated the settlement
with the understanding it would be approved by the court given
past precedent.

"I note that this factor, while it bears some equitable weight
here, will be diminished or eliminated going forward in light of
this memorandum opinion and other decisions of this court,"
Glasscock said.

Vice Chancellor Glasscock didn't approve the settlement without
first noting the breadth of the release was "troubling."

"It is hubristic to believe that upon this record I can properly
evaluate, and dismiss as insubstantial, all potential federal and
state claims," Vice Chancellor Glasscock said.  "If it were not
for the reasonable reliance of the parties on formerly settled
practice in this court, which I have found above, the interests of
the class might merit rejection of a settlement encompassing a
release that goes far beyond the claims asserted and the results

In approving attorney fees, Vice Chancellor Glasscock said the
settlement was "too modest a benefit" to warrant the $500,000
requested, which would have equaled an hourly rate of more than

"The judge making such an evaluation must be mindful that he
serves as a simulacrum for a market, and that his decision will
incentivize the amount and quality of litigation that will follow
in similar cases; that he must therefore compensate without
providing an unsavory windfall; that consistency in awards by this
court is of value, and, again, that expectations reasonably based
upon prior court practice are entitled to equitable
consideration," Vice Chancellor Glasscock said.

Vice Chancellor Glasscock found the supplemental disclosures
warranted a $200,000 fee and some disclosures that were mooted by
a definitive proxy earned a $100,000 fee.  He also awarded about
$30,000 in costs.

Attorneys from Andrews & Springer and Rigrodsky & Long in
Wilmington along with lawyers from Boston-based Block & Leviton
and New York-based Milberg LLP represented the plaintiffs.
Lawyers at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati represented Riverbed,
and attorneys at Kirkland & Ellis and Morris, Nichols, Arsht &
Tunnell represented the purchasers.  Mr. Griffith was represented
by Joseph L. Christensen of Wilmington.

Requests for comments from attorneys for the plaintiffs and
defendants were not returned.

Mr. Griffith hailed Vice Chancellor Glasscock's ruling.

"This is an important victory for shareholders across the country
because it shows that a majority of the Delaware Chancery Court
has significant concerns about 'disclosure-only' settlements in
merger-related lawsuits," said Griffith, director of the Fordham
Corporate Law Center, in a statement.  "Courts traditionally have
approved these settlements, which typically benefit only the
plaintiffs lawyers and do nothing to help shareholders, but this
ruling shows that these settlements now will have a much tougher
time getting judicial approval."

RMI INTERNATIONAL: Faces "Lara" Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime
Melissa Lara, an individual, on behalf of herself and on behalf of
all persons similarly situated v. RMI International, Inc. and Does
1 through 50, Inclusive, Case No. BC597695 (Cal. Super. Ct.,
October 14, 2015) is brought against the Defendants for failure to
pay overtime wages in violation of the California Labor Code.

RMI International, Inc. is a security organization that provides
security officers and related services utilized by a wide range of
clients as they promote their organization to its variety of

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Norman B. Blumenthal, Esq.
      Kyle R. Nordrehaug, Esq.
      Aparajit Bhowrnik, Esq.
      2255 Calle Clara
      La Jolla, CA 92037
      Telephone: (858) 551-1223
      Facsimile: (858) 551-1232

SANTA FE NATURAL: Faces Class Action Over "Natural" Cigarettes
The Associated Press reports that the company behind a line of
cigarettes touted as natural is being targeted in a class-action

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports a Florida law firm filed the
lawsuit against the maker of American Spirit cigarettes, Santa Fe
Natural Tobacco Co., and its parent company, Reynolds American

The plaintiffs say the cigarette maker's marketing deliberately
tries to mislead smokers into believing their products are
healthier than other tobacco products.

According to documents, the lawsuit cites a Food and Drug
Administration warning that the use of words such as "natural" or
"additive free" in their advertising violates federal law.

Santa Fe Natural Tobacoo Co. spokesman Seth Moskowitz said Oct. 2
that he could not comment on the lawsuit because of company

However, the company has asked to meet with the FDA about its

SAUDI ARABIA: Judge Tosses Plaintiffs' Claims in 9/11 Case
Mark Hamblett, writing for New York Law Journal, reports that a
federal judge has thrown out claims by family members of victims
of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks seeking to hold Saudi Arabia liable
for assisting the hijackers.

Southern District Judge George Daniels said he lacked jurisdiction
over Saudi Arabia and the Saudi High Commission for Relief of
Bosnia & Herzegovina (SHC) under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities

The reason, Daniels said, was a lack of plausible allegations
connecting Saudi Arabia and the hijackers, out of whom 15 of 19
were Saudi citizens.  The judge said there was insufficient
evidence showing that the torts alleged in the complaint to be
committed by Saudi Arabia and the SHC were committed in the United

The plaintiffs in In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001,
03-MDL-1570, had also alleged that the development of al Qaida
into a terrorist organization was funded and supported by Saudi
government "da'awa organizations" called "charities" by the

Faced with a high bar for subject matter jurisdiction set by the
Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec.1602, the families
claimed the defendants were nevertheless deprived of immunity by
the act's noncommercial tort exception.

For the exception to apply, the "entire tort" must be committed
inside the United States and the tortious act or omission cannot
be a "discretionary function" of the government being sued -- a
judgment or choice that is grounded in social, economic and
political policy.

Judge Daniels noted that the complaint alleged four Saudi "agents"
assisted the hijackers, including one Saudi intelligence official,
Omar al-Bayoumi, who purportedly helped hijackers Khalid al-
Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, but the judge called those allegations

Similarly, the allegations about the "da'awa" organizations, which
included the Muslim World League, the Saudi Red Crescent Society
and the International Islamic Relief Organization, failed "to
sufficiently show that Saudi Arabia controlled the day-to-day
operations of these charities" and thus "fail to implicate Saudi
Arabia under an alter-ego theory."

The plaintiffs, Judge Daniels said, "have not alleged a tortious
act or omission by Saudi Arabia or SHC, or of any official or
employee of Saudi Arabia or the SHC while acting within the scope
of his office or employment, that was committed in the United

Judge Daniels said the complaint and the averment of facts "turn
in large part on speculative opinions," including the opinion of
9/11 Commission member and former secretary of the Navy John
Lehman, who affirmed "I believe Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-
Mihdhar knew who to go to for support, and that their initial
encounter with Omar al-Bayoumi immediately following al-Bayoumi's
meeting" with an official from the Saudi Consulate's Ministry of
Islamic Affairs "was not at all coincidental."

The plaintiffs cited the statements of two former U.S. senators,
including Robert Graham of Florida, who was in the minority on the
commission and said, "I am convinced that there was a direct line
between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the
September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia."
They also cited statements of the would-be "20th hijacker,"
Zacarias Moussaoui, who is serving life in prison after pleading
guilty to the conspiracy in 2005.  Mr. Moussaoui claimed a Saudi
prince supported the plot.

Judge Daniels, however, said these statements "do not give this
court a legal basis to strip the defendants of the immunity to
which they are presumptively entitled."

The plaintiffs had asked Daniels to allow them extensive
"jurisdictional discovery" they said would reveal facts sufficient
to show the torts were committed in the United States, including
still-classified information from the 9/11 Commission. But Daniels
said their "allegations do not give rise to a genuine issue of
jurisdictional fact."

Sean Carter, a Cozen O'Connor partner and one of the lawyers
representing the plaintiffs, said they plan to appeal.  Mr. Carter
lamented that evidence critical to his clients' claims remains
classified by the U.S. government.

"It's unfortunate how much of a hand the U.S. government has had
in the inability of the families to secure access to the courts to
pursue these claims," Mr. Carter said.  "And it's not just the
classified information -- the government has filed amicus briefs
in support of the Saudi positions."

Michael Kellogg of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel in
Washington D.C., one of the attorneys who represented the
defendants, declined to comment on the decision.

SCHLUMBERGER TECHNOLOGY: Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid OT Wages
Ryan Riva, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. Schlumberger Technology Corporation, Case No. 4:15-cv-
03002 (S.D. Tex., October 13, 2015) seeks to recover unpaid
overtime compensation, liquidated damages, attorneys' fees, and
costs, pursuant to the Fair Labor Standard Act.

Schlumberger Technology Corporation is a Texas corporation that
supplies technology, integrated project management and information
solutions to customers working in the oil and gas industry.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Clif Alexander, Esq.
      Austin W. Anderson, Esq.
      819 N. Upper Broadway
      Corpus Christi, TX 78401
      Telephone: (361) 452-1279
      Facsimile: (361) 452-1284
      E-mail: calexander@phippsandersondeacon.com

SEATTLE, WA: Franchise Owners Lose Bid to Bar Minimum-Wage Hike
Ross Todd, writing for Law.com, reports that in a ruling that
could clear a path for more cities to raise the floor on workers'
wages, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Sept. 25
turned back franchise owners trying to block implementation of
Seattle's minimum-wage boost.

The International Franchise Association Inc. and a group of
Seattle franchisees represented by Bancroft's Paul Clement sued
the city in 2014 to bar parts of the city's new $15 minimum-wage
law.  In particular they argued that classifying franchisees as
"large employers," which forced them to implement the wage
increases more quickly than smaller businesses, violated the state
and federal constitutions and federal statutes.

The Ninth Circuit panel upheld a decision by U.S. District Judge
Richard Jones of the Western District of Washington, who earlier
this year denied the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary
injunction.  Circuit Judge Michael Daly Hawkins wrote that the
plaintiffs "did not raise serious questions going to the merits on
any of its claims, nor did it show that an injunction is in the
public interest."

In an emailed statement, City Attorney Pete Holmes said that
Seattle was "heartened by the thorough and swift ruling upholding
Judge Jones."

Seattle's law, which went into effect in April, requires "large
employers," those with more than 500 employees, to raise their pay
to $15 an hour over the next three years.  Smaller businesses have
until 2021 to phase in the increase.

The franchise association argued that classifying franchisees as
large employers violated the dormant commerce clause's prohibition
on laws designed to burden out-of-state business.  The group put
forth evidence that 96.3 percent of Seattle franchisees were
affiliated with out-of-state companies.  The organization also
contended that the ordinance violated the First Amendment because
franchises operate under prescribed marketing plans and are
associated with trademarks or other protected commercial symbols.

Judge Hawkins wasn't buying the franchisees' constitutional
arguments. He wrote that they had failed to show that out-of-state
firms would be "excluded from the market, earn less revenue or
profit, lose customers, or close or reduce stores." He also wrote
that the ordinance was "plainly an economic regulation that does
not target speech or expressive conduct."

"The ordinance does not classify employers based on the location
of their headquarters, the location of their workers, or the
extent to which they participate in interstate commerce," he wrote
"Rather, it classifies based on the number of employees (a
facially-neutral classification) and the business model (a
facially-neutral classification)."

In an emailed statement, Robert Cresanti, executive vice president
of government relations and public policy for the International
Franchise Association, noted that the Eleventh Circuit has struck
down size-based and franchise-based laws under the dormant
commerce clause.

"The absence of controlling Supreme Court precedent, and the
conflict among the decisions of the federal circuit courts,
suggests that Supreme Court review of the Ninth Circuit's decision
may be appropriate," Mr. Cresanti said.

Mr. Clement didn't immediately respond to messages.

SILVER BAIT: Workers Exempt From Overtime, 6th Cir. Rules
Marlisse Silver Sweeney, writing for Corporate Counsel, reports
that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit took the
bait, and held that worm farmers are exempt from overtime under
the Fair Labor Standards Act in a recent decision, according to J.
William Manuel -- wmanuel@babc.com -- of Bradley Arant Boult

The FLSA requires employers to pay overtime when workers put in an
excess of 40 hours in a week.  But it carves out many exceptions,
including one for an "employee employed in agriculture," explains
Mr. Manuel.  The farm at issue, Silver Bait, in rural Tennessee,
houses, grows and packages bait worms for retailers.  "Workers on
the farm place baby worms onto beds, feed the worms and eventually
harvest them for delivery to bait shops," says Manuel.  Not your
typical carrots or beets!

According to Mr. Manuel, the Department of Labor had investigated
the farm's labor practices and determined the employees fell
within the agriculture exemption and were not entitled to
overtime, but several workers filed a private action against the
worm farm.  "The Sixth Circuit noted that exemptions to the FLSA
are narrowly construed against the employers seeking to assert
them," says Mr. Manuel.  The court recognized that although worms
are not "a traditional farm animal," the definition of farming
should not be "frozen in time."

SONY PICTURES: Settles Hacking Class Action for $8 Million
Dominic Patten, writing for Deadline.com, reports that just less
than a year after the hacked studio saw digital reams of private
information, corporate emails and more exposed, Sony Pictures
Entertainment has put a price tag on the cost to end the resulting
lawsuits.  That price is around $8 million, court documents filed
on Oct. 19 reveal.

And a big chunk of that is going to the lawyers.

"SPE will pay any attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses awarded by
the Court, not to exceed $3,490,000, separately from the relief
for the Settlement Class Members, and thus the attorneys' fees,
costs, and expenses will not reduce the relief for the Settlement
Class," said the plaintiffs' lawyers in a memorandum of points
filed October 19.

Sony's security systems and internal files were torn open on
November 24 last year with everything from executive emails,
budgets, development slates and personal information on an
estimated 3,000 former The Interview release Sony and current Sony
employees exposed.  Studio and federal officials ultimately put
the blame on a North Korean-originated hack steaming from the
studio's distribution of The Interview, which was pulled, then put
online and back in movie houses.  The first lawsuits over the hack
were filed on December 15 last year, beginning a continuous fight
between the plaintiffs and the studio -- including Sony trying to
get the actions tossed out of court.  Now that's almost all over,
if federal Judge R. Gary Klausner grants approval to the deal on
the table and no significant objections come from the notified
class members.

Over a month and a half after Deadline exclusively revealed that a
deal had been reached in the legal action from former Sony
employees, the rest of the settlement breaks down to $2.5 million
to "Settlement Class Members who experience unreimbursed losses
from identity theft or misuse as a direct result of the SPE
Cyberattack."  That portion will be maxed out at $10,000 per
individual.  Also, the initial plaintiffs who instigated the class
action will receive "service awards" up to $3,000 "to compensate
them for their commitment and effort on behalf of the Settlement

Then there is a "$2 million non-reversionary fund" to pay back
class members for money they've had to pay out in the last year
protecting themselves from the fallout from the hack.  Even though
Sony at one point disputed such consequences, Michael Corona,
Christina Mathis and other plaintiffs detailed back in July that
ID theft and unauthorized credit card charges were occurring due
to their info being all over the Internet.  While still admitting
no wrongdoing or liability on its part in the hack or inadequate
digital security, Sony is now making good on part of the cost of
fixing it.  "Settlement Class Members who submit valid claims with
documentation will be eligible to recover up to $1,000," said the
Oct. 19 filing.

Picking up on moves it made in the early days after the hack, the
studio will also provide former employees with ID protection via
AllClear up until December 31, 2017, to help monitor further
violations of their data. That comes with $1 million ID theft
insurance, among other elements.

If all goes as planned in the approval process, this could all be
wrapped up by year's end.  A hearing is set for November 16 to get
preliminary approval underway.

Attorneys representing plaintiffs in the case and the subsequent
certified class are from several firms, with Cari Laufenberg of
Seattle's Keller Rohrback LLP taking the lead.  The firm of Wilmer
Cutler Pickering Hale And Dorr LLP has been repping Sony in the

SONY PICTURES: Settlement Money Not Much, Two Cases Still Pending
Sam Thielman, writing for The Guardian, reports that the Sony
Pictures hack left thousands of employees vulnerable and scared,
but when the dust settles on their class action lawsuit, the cash
doled may not amount to much.  Especially after the lawyers are

In a settlement proposed by the plaintiffs, Sony will pay between
$5.5 million and $8 million to end the suit, according to the
Hollywood Reporter.  The "maximum base payment" against potential
identity theft will be $1,050 cash for each class member (all
current and former Sony employees whose information was exposed in
the hack) out of a $2m cash fund.  Anyone who has actually had
their identity stolen as a result of the hack will be eligible for
a $10,000 maximum.

Counsel for the plaintiffs will receive at least $3.49 million.

The hack is one of the largest in corporate history and led
directly to the departure of Sony Pictures chairman Amy Pascal
after she was criticized over the content of her emails.  But
Pascal's story was only one of dozens that resulted from the hack.
Revelations that Jennifer Lawrence was paid a fraction what her
male costars earned for her Oscar-nominated work in American
Hustle also came to light.

If so many people apply for relief that the $2 million is
exhausted, their claims will be diminished to squeeze them all in;
if few enough apply that some of the $2 million is left over, the
claims will be increased to a new cap of $2,000.  The fund of cash
available to people whose personal information has been provably
used to defraud them isn't capped in the same way, and could
increase the total payout to exposed Sony workers to $4.5m.

Plaintiffs in two other cases pending in California against Sony
will have to agree to dismissal for the deal to go through.  In
the settlement, Sony will not have to admit that it could have
done anything further to secure its employees' data.

The company will also provide two years of credit protection
services through AllClearID, its vendor of choice for the last
hack before the big, allegedly state-sponsored breach of its HR
documents and executive emails, which affected customers of the
PlayStation Network.

SPACEX: Former Technician Files Labor Class Action
Andrew J. Hawkins, writing for The Verge, reports that like his
fellow tech CEOs, electric car manufacturer and darling of the
commercial space community Elon Musk has cultivated a reputation
as a bit of a taskmaster.  He is said to work 100 hours a week and
is never satisfied. A former employee described him as a "master
diamond maker" in reference to the enormous pressure he places on
his workers.  But sometimes that top-down demand he places on his
employees at SpaceX and Tesla can blow up in his face.

A former technician became the latest in a series of disgruntled
ex-employees to file a class action lawsuit against SpaceX
claiming it routinely violated California labor laws in its quest
to become a pioneer in private space exploration.  Stan Saporito,
whose LinkedIn profile describes him as a structures and
integration technician at SpaceX, is seeking up to $5 million in
damages from the company for allegedly forcing him and other
employees to "shave" time off their timesheets, as well as denying
them overtime pay and legally required meal breaks. The lawsuit
was first reported by Motherboard.


According to the lawsuit, Mr. Saporito was employed at SpaceX from
June 2013 to February 2015.  During that time, he claims the
company required its employees to "work off the clock without
paying them for all the time they were under SpaceX's control
performing post-shift duties, specifically by failing to provide
enough labor hours to accomplish all the job tasks that SpaceX
expected" Mr. Saporito and his fellow plaintiffs to complete.

Mr. Saporito's attorney Nicholas De Blouw declined to comment on
the specifics of the case, preferring to let the complaint speak
for itself. He did say, though, that cases like these can take
years to litigate.  Mr. De Blouw also said his firm has overseen
many complaints against tech firms over alleged labor law
violations. "This is the way they shave labor costs," he said.

John Taylor, communications director for SpaceX, said in an email
to The Verge, "SpaceX denies the claims made in this complaint and
will refute them in court."

California labor law requires employers to provide 30-minute meal
breaks for employees who work more than five hours and a second
meal break if the employee works more than 10 hours.  It also
requires employers to allow 10-minute rest breaks for every four
hours worked.

Allegations against SpaceX for violating labor laws are becoming a
common occurrence.  Over a year ago, two lawsuits were filed in
Los Angeles County by former employees claiming the rocket maker
denied them breaks and forced them to work off the clock.  In
April 2015, an ex-clerical worker named Sebring Whitaker filed a
class action suit that made similar accusations, including denial
of severance when he and others were laid off. A few months later,
a California judge denied Musk's attempt to dismiss a pair of
class action lawsuits claiming SpaceX laid off hundreds of workers
with state-mandated warning.

Lawyers for Mr. Saporito have requested a jury trial for their
case.  SpaceX has 30 days to file a response before a judge can
decide whether to hear it.

SPRIG INC: Faces Suit Over Misclassification of Workers
Marisa Kendall, writing for The Recorder, reports that Sprig Inc.
is the latest on-demand company to face litigation over its
practice of labeling its workers as independent contractors.

The San Francisco company, which boasts "healthy, organic meals
delivered in 15 minutes," uses an app to dispatch "servers" who
deliver customer orders.  The servers should be classified as
employees, according to the complaint filed on Sept. 25 in San
Francisco Superior Court, because the company exercises
significant control over their work. Instead, by misclassifying
its workers, the plaintiffs claim Sprig denied them benefits
including minimum wage, off-duty meal periods and reimbursement
for work expenses.

"Despite Sprig's extensive right to control," the lawyers wrote,
"Sprig willfully and intentionally misclassified its servers as
independent contractors."

Sprig requires servers to clock in and out for designated work
shifts, instructs them on how to complete deliveries, tracks their
location and reserves the right to terminate servers who receive
low customers ratings, according to the complaint.

The suit makes no mention of Sprig's announcement that it would
make its servers employees.

Plaintiffs are represented by lawyers with Goldstein, Borgen,
Dardarian & Ho and Browne Labor Law, who also sued cleaning-
service Homejoy Inc. over its practice of classifying workers as
independent contractors.  Homejoy has since shut its doors.  The
litigation is part of a larger push against so-called "sharing
economy" companies that use the independent-contractor business
model.  Lawsuits have targeted companies including Uber
Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc. and GrubHub Inc.

STANFORD GROUP: Settles Ponzi Scheme Suit for $40 Million
John Council, writing for Texas Lawyer, reports that
Ed Valdespino -- edward.valdespino@strasburger.com -- who
represents a committee of investors in R. Allen Stanford's $7
billion Ponzi scheme, said "It was a good settlement, there's no
doubt about it.

"It's going to get some money to the victims that's badly needed,
and it really does pave the way for additional settlements."
U.S. District Judge David Godbey has approved a $40 million
settlement against the BDO USA accounting firm -- the largest yet
against a civil defendant accused of helping assist convicted
Houston financier R. Allen Stanford pull off a $7 billion Ponzi

A committee representing thousands of investors and a court-
appointed receiver sued BDO, which allegedly provided deposit
audits to Stanford entities that sold fraudulent certificates of
deposits.  The plaintiffs accused BDO of audit malpractice and
aiding and abetting a fraudulent scheme, among other claims.
Stanford is currently serving 110 years in prison after a Houston
federal jury convicted him of numerous fraud allegations.  And
more than 100 civil actions involving Stanford assets are pending
before Judge Godbey.

Before approving the deal, Judge Godbey considered whether $40
million was enough compensation for Stanford's victims in light of
the risks and costs of litigation.  He concluded that it was.
"For the purpose of compensating Stanford investors, $40 million
is a sufficient settlement amount," Judge Godbey wrote in his

Judge Godbey also noted that whether BDO pays the settlement out-
of-pocket or with insurance has no bearing on whether Stanford
investors are fairly compensated.

"The degree to which the amount obtained punishes the defendant's
conduct through out-of-pocket cost is not a persuasive factor in
that analysis," Judge Godbey wrote.  "If anything, the source of
payment of the settlement funds -- BDO's insurance policies --
weighs in favor of approving the settlement."

Ed Valdespino, a partner in Strasburger & Price who represents the
investors committee in the litigation, said the settlement is the
most significant in a series of class action suits filed against
third-party defendants accused of aiding and abetting the Stanford
Ponzi scheme.

"It was a good settlement, there's no doubt about it,"
Mr. Valdespino said.  "It's going to get some money to the victims
that's badly needed, and it really does pave the way for
additional settlements."

In a statement released by BDO the accounting firm said it is
making no admission of wrongdoing by accepting the settlement

"BDO Seidman was never the auditor of Stanford International Bank,
the entity where Robert Allen Stanford committed his fraud.  BDO
audited an affiliated company whose financial statements are not
alleged by plaintiffs to have contained any material
misstatements," according to the statement.

"However, after four years of litigation and the likelihood of
more to come, this settlement makes the most sense for our
partnership given our relevant insurance coverage and the costs,
as well as the loss of time and energy, associated with continuing
this case.  With this settlement, the firm is making no admission
of any wrongdoing."

SULPICIO LINES: Ordered to Pay $5.5MM to Ferry Accident Victims
Oliver Teves, writing for The Associated Press, reports that a
Philippine court has ordered the owners of a passenger ferry that
capsized as it sailed into a typhoon seven years ago to pay about
242 million pesos ($5.47 million) to the families of dozens of
passengers who perished.

The Manila Regional Trial Court ruling made public on Oct. 14
found Sulpicio Lines Inc., which operated the MV Princess of the
Stars, negligent for sailing the vessel through the path of the
storm on its way to Cebu City.

The ferry capsized as it was battered by huge waves and fierce
winds on June 21, 2008, off the central Philippine island of
Sibuyan.  Only 56 of around 900 passengers and crew survived.

Rescuers found the 23,824-ton ferry belly up with more than half
of its keel above the water.

"To me, justice prevailed because the court has declared that (the
company) failed to exercise extraordinary diligence," said
Persida Acosta, chief of the Public Attorney's Office, which
represented the plaintiffs in the civil suit.  "This is a court
battle and we won."

Heirs of 69 people who died and two who survived filed the civil
damage claims at the Manila court, but the court recognized only
64, including the two survivors.  Ms. Acosta said she will ask the
court to reconsider that decision and grant recognition to all of
the claimants.  A similar suit has been filed in Cebu by families
of more than 60 other passengers, Acosta said.

She said the court reached its decision on Sept. 18 and that she
and the claimants received notice of the ruling by mail only on
Oct. 14.

The court said the ship's captain, who is among the missing, "was
not unaware of the typhoon signals" that were raised along both
its regular and alternate routes.  The ship owners gave "no
specific instruction" for the ferry to take shelter, it added.

Ms. Acosta said the company can appeal the court's decision.

She said about 500 bodies have been recovered.  The plaintiffs
included three siblings who lost both their parents and their five
other siblings, she said.

Sulpicio, now named Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp., also owned
the Dona Paz, which sank in December 1987, killing 4,340 people,
after colliding with a fuel tanker in the world's worst peacetime
maritime disaster.

UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Judge Rejects Arbitration Bid in Driver Suit
Cheryl Miller, writing for Law.com, reports that a San Francisco
judge has rejected Uber Technologies Inc.'s attempt to force a
former driver into arbitration, concluding that the ride-hailing
company's contract is contradictory and "substantively

The ruling, handed down on Sept. 21 in San Francisco Superior
Court, only affects one litigant, San Francisco resident Barbara
Berwick.  But it's another blow for Uber, which is fighting claims
on multiple fronts -- with mixed success -- that its drivers are
employees, not independent contractors.

"The Uber partner in this case agreed to resolve disputes of this
nature through arbitration when she joined the platform last
year," Uber spokeswoman Jessica Santillo said in an email.  "The
right to arbitrate disputes has been confirmed multiple times by
the Supreme Court.  Consequently, Uber will appeal to the
California Court of Appeals."

In June, the state Labor Commissioner's Office concluded that
Berwick met the legal definition of an employee and awarded her
$4,152 for money she spent on gas and bridge tolls while shuttling
passengers for Uber.  Uber appealed the commissioner's decision to
San Francisco Superior Court, asking a judge to send the dispute
to arbitration.  The company was represented by Littler Mendelson.

But in his ruling, Judge Ernest Goldsmith found numerous problems
with the arbitration language in Uber's contract with Ms. Berwick.
Terms on one page of the contract call for an arbitrator to decide
the suitability of resolving the dispute outside of court.  A
provision on another page leaves the task to a judge.  The
contract also precludes so-called private attorney general suits
and includes a confidentiality clause that "favors Uber as a
repeat player in the arbitration arena," Judge Goldsmith wrote.

"The judge clearly perceived that the arbitration clause was
unconscionable and so stated repeatedly," said Ms. Berwick's
attorney, Richard Rogers of the Law Office of Richard Rogers.  "If
Uber had prevailed, Ms. Berwick could not afford to proceed with
arbitration.  The costs, if she lost, would be several times her
award if she won."

In a federal suit addressing similar issues, U.S. District Judge
Edward Chen of the Northern District of California earlier in
September certified a class of Uber drivers seeking designation as
employees and reimbursements for withheld gratuities.  Uber
appealed the class certification.

It will likely be years before Ms. Berwick sees any award -- if
she prevails.  In the meantime, she's launched Rideshare School,
that she says will teach drivers for ride-hailing companies "how
to enforce their rights as employees."

UNIVERSAL PROTECTION: Loses Bid to Overturn Arbitration Ruling
Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, in article for Lexology, reports that
an appellate court in California denied Universal Protection
Service, LP and their affiliate's mandamus petition, seeking to
overturn a lower court ruling compelling arbitration.  The court
found that whether an arbitration agreement permitted class-wide
arbitration is a question for an arbitrator, and not the court.

Plaintiffs, a group of security officers formerly in the employ of
Universal, sought arbitration following their employment
termination -- allegedly -- after filing an administrative
complaint.  The issue before the court centered on whether an
arbitration agreement within plaintiff's employment contract gave
an arbitrator the power to determine whether an arbitration
agreement allowed for class action arbitration.  The court looked
to whether there was "clear and unmistakable evidence" that
Universal and the plaintiffs planned for an arbitrator to handle
such disputes.

Universal argued that because the arbitration agreement did not
reference class actions specifically, this was concrete evidence
that the parties did not intend the question of class action
arbitration to be within the purview of an arbitrator.  The court
disagreed, finding that mere silence within an arbitration
agreement is not sufficient. Instead, the court noted that the
parties incorporated the American Arbitration Association's
("AAA") rules pertaining to employment disputes including the
AAA's Supplementary Rules for Class Arbitrations.  Despite noting
that some federal cases have rejected similar conclusions, the
court held that because the parties intentionally made the AAA
apart of their employment contract, this inclusion authorizes an
arbitrator to decide whether the arbitration agreement permits
class actions.

Universal Prot. Serv., LP v. Superior Ct. of Yolo Cnty., No.
C078557 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 18, 2015)

UPLAND VINEYARDS: Farmworkers File Wage Class Action
KIMATV.com reports that some farmworkers have filed a class-action
lawsuit against an Outlook farm.  They claim the owners fired them
after they complained about reduced wages.

The workers' complaint says supervisors at Upland Vineyards
promised them $3.25 for every bucket of cherries they picked, then
lowered that to $2.75 several days later.

They say they asked for the original wage, but the owners refused
and called deputies to remove them.

They also claim supervisors didn't give them required rest breaks.
KIMA reached out to Upland Vineyards for a comment, none was

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: 8 Mil. EU Cars Affected by Emissions Probe
David Rising and Frank Jordans, writing for Findlaw.com, report
that Volkswagen says 8 million cars in the European Union are
affected by an investigation into whether the automaker
manipulated emissions tests, according to a letter received on
Oct. 5 by German lawmakers.

Volkswagen has previously said that 11 million diesel vehicles
worldwide had engines fitted with software that can help them
cheat U.S. emissions tests.

"Rest assured that at the moment we are working hard and
coordinating closely with the authorities and the (German) federal
government on a technical solution for the vehicles concerned,"
Volkswagen told lawmakers in the letter, which was obtained by The
Associated Press.

"In the European Union eight million type EA 189 EU5 diesel
engines with a 1.2 liter, 1.6 liter and 2.0 liter engine capacity
are affected," said the letter, which was signed by VW lobbyists
Thomas Steg and Michael Jansen.

"We know that the wrongdoing of a few people has caused great harm
to our entire company," the letter dated Oct. 2 added.

As the U.S. Congress prepares to question Volkswagen officials in
Washington over its manipulation of emissions tests, German media
reported over the weekend that the company itself is focusing on
three development managers who have been suspended.

Bild newspaper reported on Oct. 4 that Heinz-Jakob Neusser, head
of development at VW, and engineers Ulrich Hackenberg and Wolfgang
Hatz had been put on forced vacation in the wake of the scandal.
Other newspapers had similar reports.

Mr. Hatz declined comment through a spokesman and neither of the
other two responded to emails seeking comment.  VW spokesman
Eric Felber on Oct. 5 refused to comment on "various public

Bild reported that VW's internal investigation had turned up
contradictory information on Hackenberg's possible involvement,
while Hatz denied knowledge.

From 2002 to January 2007, Hackenberg was in charge of concept
development, superstructure development and electronics at VW
subsidiary Audi.  In 2007 he was appointed a member of the VW
brand's board for development, and has been a member of Audi's
management board since July 2013.  He had responsibility for
technical development of all of the VW group's brands.

Mr. Hatz joined the VW group in 2001 and served as head of engines
and transmissions development at Audi until 2009, assuming the
same function at VW in 2007.  In February 2011 he became a member
of Porsche's board of management in charge of research and
development and is also head of engines and transmissions
development for the Volkswagen group.

VW and Porsche merged in 2012 after years of wrangling.

Mr. Neusser was in charge of drivetrain development of Porsche
from 2001 to 2011 before joining VW to head powertrain development
there, taking over the job for the whole Volkswagen group in 2012.
The next year, he was named management board member for the
Volkswagen brand in charge of development.

VW's top manager in the US, Michael Horn, was to testify before
Congress earlier this month.

                           *     *     *

Ronnie Greene and Michael Biesecker, writing for The Associated
Press, report that leaders of the Senate Finance Committee said on
Oct. 6 that panel is opening a separate investigation, this one
concerning federal tax credits the company gave VW buyers.

The House subcommittee's chairman, Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., said
lawmakers will investigate Volkswagen's admission that it
installed "defeat-devices" in some diesel vehicles that emitted
far more exhaust pollution than was legal.  "The American people
want to know why these devices were in place, how the decision was
made to install them and how they went undetected for so long,"
Murphy said in a statement.  "We will get them those answers."

Campaign finance records show only a few thousand dollars in
federal campaign donations by Volkswagen's top executives during
the most recent election cycle -- a figure dwarfed by the
political giving of its top global competitors.

VW did report spending about $1 million a year on its in-house
lobbying operation run out of the German giant's U.S. headquarters
in northern Virginia.  It spent $260,000 or so more annually on
outside help from a DC-based lobbying law firm, largely focusing
on issues affecting diesel engines, emissions regulations and fuel
efficiency standards, records show.

However, compare that to General Motors, which spent seven times
as much as VW on federal lobbying in 2014.  Ford Motor Co. spent
four times as much, while Toyota's lobbying expenditures were
about triple those of VW.

Volkswagen has one U.S. manufacturing plant that employs about
2,200 workers in Tennessee.  Prior to opening the facility in
2011, the automaker hired five local lobbyists to help it secure
hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives and tax breaks from
the state legislature and governor.  While VW's lobbying has been
limited in the U.S., it employs large lobbying corps abroad.

Toyota, meanwhile, has 10 U.S. plants, including major facilities
in Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas.  Those deep U.S.
ties, and tens of thousands of U.S. workers dependent on the
company for jobs, helped give the Japanese automaker the political
capital to weather a recent criminal investigation into the
company's handling of problems with unintended acceleration in its
cars.  In a 2014 agreement with the U.S. Justice Department,
Toyota agreed to pay a $1.2 billion fine.

Similarly, GM agreed to pay $900 million last month to resolve its
deadly ignition-switch scandal, striking a deal with the Justice
Department that avoided criminal charges against any individual

Volkswagen could face penalties of up to $18 billion from the
Environmental Protection Agency, although any fine isn't expected
to be the full amount.

The automaker says it has set aside more than $7 billion to pay
fines, recall costs and legal settlements.  There are also signs
the company is moving to strengthen its presence in Washington,
though the required disclosures of any new hires or increased
spending won't be due for weeks.

"Typically when companies are having trouble, one of the things
they do for damage control is step up their lobbying," said
Dale Eisman, spokesman for the public interest group Common Cause.
"It certainly would fit the pattern of other companies that have
had embarrassing episodes with corporate mistakes. You step up
your lobbying and do what you can to repair your image with
decision makers."

A VW spokeswoman, Jeannine Ginivan, said this week that in-house
staff and outside agencies will handle the company's public
relations, marketing and lobbying efforts in the wake of the

"We're all quite busy," Ms. Ginivan said.  "We understand it's
going to take time to rebuild the brand and the trust."

VW has hired Jones Day, one of the nation's largest law firms, to
conduct a review of how computer code designed to game emissions
tests ended up in nearly a half million vehicles sold in the
United States.  According to federal regulators, the trick boosted
driving performance of VW's "Clean Diesel" engines while spewing
up to 40 times the allowed levels of pollution.

VW is also likely to launch a wide-ranging public relations effort
to restore its image with customers.  In a statement, the company
said it is "committed to communicating with various stakeholders
and ensuring them that we are working very hard to make things

"I wouldn't be at all surprised to see . . . commercials that say,
'We know we messed up. We made mistakes, we're contrite, but we're
determined to do better in the future,'" Mr. Eisman said.  "That
type of thing you hear from not only corporations, but from
politicians who get in trouble."

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: 101 Korean Audi Owners File Class Action
Yonhap reports that a group of South Koreans who drive
Volkswagen's luxury brand, Audi have filed a class action suit
against the German automaker to retract their contracts after it
admitted to cheating on U.S. emission tests, industry sources said
on Oct. 22.

A total of 101 Audi owners filed the suit with a Seoul district
court against Volkswagen Group, Audi Volkswagen Korea and local
dealers to demand their purchasing contracts of cars in question
be annulled and they be given a full refund.

"If Volkswagen Group did not cheat on its emission tests,
consumers would not have paid a large sum of money to buy the cars
that failed to pass the tests," the plaintiffs said.

Among the cars owned by the plaintiffs are the A4, the A5, the A6
2.0 TDI, the Q3 and the Q5 2.0 TDI equipped with EA 189 diesel
engines, which are embroiled in the fake test scandal.

Some Audi owners have joined Volkswagen users to sue the German
automaker following the scandal, but it is the first time that
Audi drivers have filed their own suit at home and abroad.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that Volkswagen used
software that activates emission controls only when the car is
going through official testing to fake test results and pass
strict emissions standards.

The world's No. 1 carmaker admitted to the accusation and decided
to recall about 500,000 vehicles in the United States alone. It
also admitted that more than 10 million cars sold globally might
be equipped with the "defeat device."

Since the scandal surfaced, 266 people have filed lawsuits against
Volkswagen Group, Audi Volkswagen Korea and local dealers with the
Seoul Central District Court.

Market experts presume that about 120,000 Volkswagen and Audi
vehicles might have been manipulated in South Korea by the same
software found by the U.S. environment regulators and be subject
to a recall.

                           *     *     *

Lee Kyung-Ho, writing for Korea IT Times, reports that local
consumers of German car maker Volkswagen are set to file class
action suits in the U.S.

The law firm Barun in charge of the case said, "We are planning to
file class action suits at the U.S court against the headquarters
of Volkswagen and its sales agencies in partnership with the U.S.
law firm Quinn Emanuel."

The firm plans to allow the local consumers to have compensation
in punitive damages.

Barun said, "Through the class action, we will make the local
consumers to have compensation in punitive damages," adding that,
"We will also make sure the local consumers would not have
discrimination compared to the U.S. consumers."

The number of the local consumers joining the case stands at 429,
who have bought cars made since 2008 from Volkswagen and Audi.
The total local consumers who filed suits against the German car
maker came to a total of 695.

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Faces "Schwartz" Suit Over Defeat Devices
Adam Schwartz, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Case No. 2:15-cv-
01980 (D. Nev., October 13, 2015) arises out of the Defendants'
alleged intentional installation of defeat devices in certain
model year 2009 through 2015 diesel vehicles, which were designed
to bypass, defeat, or render inoperative elements of the vehicles'
emission control system to comply with the Clean Air Act emission

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. Volkswagen Group of America,
Inc. is engaged in the business of designing, manufacturing,
marketing, distributing, and selling automobiles and other motor
vehicles and motor vehicle components throughout the United States
of America.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Charles "Dee" Hopper, Esq.
      Sergio Salzano, Esq.
      1640 Alta Drive, Ste. 11
      Las Vegas NV 89106
      Telephone: (702) 868-1115
      Facsimile: (702) 868-1114

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Faces "Press" Suit in Va. Over Defeat Devices
Frederic Press, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., et al., Case No.
1:15-cv-01330-LO-MSN (E.D., Va., October 13, 2015) arises out of
the Defendants' alleged intentional installation of defeat devices
in 2009-2015 vehicles equipped with 1.6 or 2.0 liter diesel

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. Volkswagen Group of America,
Inc. is engaged in the business of designing, manufacturing,
marketing, distributing, and selling automobiles and other motor
vehicles and motor vehicle components throughout the United States
of America.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Robert O. Wilson, Esq.
      Douglas G. Thompson, Jr., Esq.
      Mila F. Bartos, Esq.
      L. Kendall Satterfield, Esq.
      1077 30th Street, N.W., Suite #150
      Washington, DC 20007
      Telephone: (202) 337-8000
      Facsimile: (202) 337-8090
      E-mail: rwilson@finkelsteinthompson.com

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Faces "Rios" Suit in Cal. Over Defeat Devices
Cynthia Rios, on behalf of herself and all others similarly
situated v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Case No. 2:15-cv-
08016 (C.D. Cal., October 13, 2015) arises out of the Defendants'
alleged intentional installation of defeat devices in certain
model year 2009 through 2015 diesel vehicles, which were designed
to bypass, defeat, or render inoperative elements of the vehicles'
emission control system to comply with the Clean Air Act emission

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. Volkswagen Group of America,
Inc. is engaged in the business of designing, manufacturing,
marketing, distributing, and selling automobiles and other motor
vehicles and motor vehicle components throughout the United States
of America.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      George S. Azadian, Esq.
      Edrik Mehrabi, Esq.
      790 E. Colorado Blvd., 9th Floor
      Pasadena, CA 91101
      Telephone: (626) 449-4944
      Facsimile: (626) 628-1722
      E-mail: George@azadianlawgroup.com

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Faces "Harris" Emissions Action in Texas
Brenda Sapino Jeffreys, writing for Texas Lawyer, reports that
just days after the EPA announced that Volkswagen had installed
devices on diesel cars sold in the United States that override
emissions controls, a Nueces County woman filed a federal class
action complaint against the German carmaker alleging violations
of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Holly Harris, who purchased a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta diesel in
2014, seeks certification of a nationwide class and a Texas
subclass.  She seeks temporary and permanent court orders to
enjoin Volkswagen Group of America from "continuing the unlawful,
deceptive, fraudulent, unfair business practices;" injunctive
relief in the form of a recall or free replacement program; and
costs, restitution, actual and punitive damages, disgorgement and

In addition to the DTPA cause of action on behalf of the class,
Harris brings breach of contract, fraud by concealment and unjust
enrichment causes of action against Volkswagen on behalf of the
Texas subclass.

Ms. Harris alleges the class includes hundreds of thousands of
current or former owners or lessees of Volkswagen vehicles
including 2009-2015 VW Jettas, 2009-2015 VW Beetles, 2009-2015 VW
Golfs, 2013-2015 VW Passats and 2009-2015 Audi A3s.

Andreas Lampersbach, head of corporate and business communications
for Volkswagen, did not immediately respond to an email request
for a comment on the allegations in Harris v. Volkswagen Group of

Plaintiff's attorney Robert Hilliard, a partner in Hilliard Munoz
Gonzales in Corpus Christi, did not immediately return a telephone
message seeking a comment.  However, in a press release, Hilliard
wrote that Volkswagen "deceived" millions of people.

"It engaged in a widespread marketing campaign to promote vehicles
containing what Volkswagen claimed was 'Clean Diesel' technology
all the while knowing that it cheated the system," Mr. Hilliard

As alleged in the complaint, the Environmental Protection Agency
on Sept. 18 issued a notice of violation finding that "defeat
devices" in Volkswagen vehicles would "bypass, defeat or render
inoperable" parts of the vehicle emission control systems intended
to comply with Clean Air Act emission standards.  The defeat
device, according to the EPA, is a switch that will put the
emission system into operation when it is being tested, but
deactivates it when not being tested.

"Despite knowingly and purposefully installing the 'defeat device'
in these diesel vehicles, Volkswagen continued to market and sell
the vehicles as though they were fully compliant with the
applicable EPA laws and regulations," Ms. Harris alleges in the

"Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act, defrauded its customers,
and engaged in unfair competition under state and federal laws
when it manufactured and sold these vehicles with 'defeat
devices," she alleges.

Ms. Harris alleges Volkswagen aggressively marketed its "clean
line" of diesel vehicles in the United States, and charged a
premium for the vehicles.

Ms. Harris alleges that when she purchased her Jetta in Corpus
Christi, she did not know about the defeat device, nor know that
it allowed her car to emit as much as 40 times the alleged level
of pollutants.

"Plaintiff did, however, pay a premium for her so-called
'CleanDiesel' 2012 Jetta," Ms. Harris alleges in the complaint.

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Emissions Scandal Spreads Across Houston Area
Mike D. Smith, writing for the Houston Chronicle, reports that
fallout from the Volkswagen emissions scandal is spreading across
the Houston region, where sales have slipped and a class-action
lawsuit is under way in federal court.

New sales figures show 5.3 percent fewer local residents purchased
Volkswagen Group cars in September, from a year earlier.  That's
likely due to a combination of negative press related to the
company's admission that it equipped millions of diesel vehicles
with devices to cheat emissions tests and the number of affected
vehicles that dealers cannot sell until the issue is resolved,
said Steve McDowell, owner of InfoNation in Sugar Land, which
tracks regional auto sales.

Litigation and other investigations could cost the company
further.  Houston lawyer Dennis Reich, who so far has signed up
two plaintiffs for a fraud and deceptive trade practices lawsuit
against Volkswagen, said it's too early to calculate the potential
liability for buyers of the diesel-engine cars that are worth less
than they'd been led to believe.

He said the market has yet to set resale values.

Volkswagen officials have said software adjustments can help newer
models, but the older models will need mechanical repairs, the
Associated Press reported.  Details for how those fixes will be
made are still being sorted out, but Reich said it is not too
early to sue.

"VW may propose certain remedial measures, but those measures
won't erase the damage including diminution in resale value of the
vehicle associated with the ownership of the defective vehicles,"
he said.

Company spokesman Mark Gillies said the automaker doesn't comment
on pending lawsuits.  The AP reported that more than 200 suits
have been filed in the weeks since it was revealed that Volkswagen
Group added software on about 11 million diesel-powered Golf,
Jetta, Passat, Beetle and Audi A3 models, dating to 2009, that
helped those vehicles cheat emissions tests.

Mr. McDowell said it will take a few more months of data to
understand the full impact of Volkswagen's woes on the Houston-
area auto market.

Meanwhile, it remained unclear whether any Volkswagen vehicles are
on hold at the terminal it leases at the Port of Houston.
Vehicles are held at the terminal until duty is paid on them and
they are released to dealers. The company said it would not
comment on the status of shipped vehicles.

Feeling deceived

Donna Knowles of Friendswood was looking for performance when she
swapped her 2005 Cadillac DeVille for a 2015 Passat TDI in July.
Volkswagen's environmentally friendly "clean diesel" technology
and the "peppier" handling won her over, even at the premium price
she paid for the features.

Two months into ownership, the scandal broke.

"I read it and went,' Wow, I can't believe this has happened,'"
Knowles said on Oct. 21.

"I really like the car and felt they had deceived me in some way."

Ms. Knowles is one of two Houston-area residents so far who have
signed on to the class-action lawsuit, charging that if they had
known about the so-called defeat devices, they would have either
paid less than they did or they wouldn't have bought or leased any
of the affected models.

Modifying the vehicles to reach environmental compliance will
change their performance and efficiency and cause "actual harm and
damages" for owners and lessees, the federal lawsuit alleges.

"Once repaired, their vehicles will no longer perform as
advertised and as they did when they were acquired, causing a
diminution in value," it says.

Mr. Reich and attorney Richard Schechter said beyond performance
and value, there are potential health and societal effects from
the enhanced emissions.

"If it's not environmentally friendly, am I more at risk being
exposed to fumes I shouldn't be exposed to?" their client added.

Fearing diesel exhaust

Mr. Reich said in a diesel exhaust case involving a locomotive
that he tried in Laredo in 1999, research showed long-term
exposure can heighten chances of ailments such as bloodborne
illnesses, respiratory conditions and lung cancers, with similar
effects to cigarette smoke.

"If people don't like to be around tobacco smoke, they certainly
don't want to be around diesel exhaust," he said.

Mr. Schechter noted that in 1974, Volkswagen settled a federal
complaint for failing to modify pollution controls on four 1973
models.  In 2005, the company paid a $1.1 million fine for not
notifying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and correcting
faulty oxygen sensors on 300,000 cars.  The recall cost more than
$25 million.

The effects on used cars and resale value also hasn't been
calculated, the attorneys said.  Their estimate shows there are
about 6,000 affected models in Harris County alone.

The lawsuit seeks, among other things, a recall or free-
replacement program, repayment for being overcharged and punitive

Mr. Reich, the Houston attorney in the case, said investigations
that have begun in the U.S. and other countries would have no
bearing on lawsuits moving forward.  If the federal government
joins the suit, discovery and any federal investigations can be
done concurrently, he said.

Typically, multiple lawsuits for similar cases are consolidated
into one case.

Volkswagen also faces lawsuits on behalf of entities such as
Harris County, which filed suit seeking damages for the cheating
vehicles' impact on air quality.

The falloff in Volkswagen sales failed to derail an otherwise
stellar month for the local auto business.  InfoNation, which
publishes TexAuto Facts, reported a total of 38,922 new vehicles
were sold in September for the region's best monthly performance
in 15 years.

Trucks and SUVs accounted for 60 percent of sales, with that
category surging 15 percent higher than one year ago.  Car sales
rose 5 percent.

Mr. McDowell credited continued strong sales to population growth,
low interest rates and incentives, and improved fuel efficiency
and lower maintenance costs on vehicles.

"I don't see how we can help but see a slowdown coming here pretty
soon with all the reports about unemployment and so on,"
Mr. McDowell said.

But even if sales decline the next few months, 2015 is shaping up
to be a great year, he said.

In 2014, which dealers consider an outstanding year, a strong
September was followed by gradual declines through the end of the

Nationally, more than 1.4 million vehicles were sold, a 15.7
percent increase from a year earlier.

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Bailey & Glasser Files Emissions Class Action
The Boston office of Bailey & Glasser LLP filed a class action
lawsuit on Sept. 24 against Volkswagen Group of America for
deceptively marketing "clean diesel" engines.  The suit describes
Volkswagen's secret software device designed to fool emissions
testers and purchasers into believing that these diesels were
eco-friendly when in fact they spew pollutants more than 40 times
greater than clean air laws allow.  The suit, filed in federal
court in Boston, seeks to recover the inflated purchase price
Volkswagen charged the duped Massachusetts' buyers, and ultimately
that the court multiply those damages by a factor of three under
the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act.  It also seeks to have
Volkswagen repair or replace these cars and stop further

On September 18th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued
a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen for using
this software program to switch engines to a cleaner mode only
during official emissions testing.  When the cars are being used
during normal driving situations, the controls are turned off,
allowing them to emit as much as 40 times as much pollution as
allowed under the Clean Air Act.  Volkswagen initially denied this
manipulation, but has recently admitted it.

The recall involves the following list of Volkswagen and Audi
diesel vehicles from model years 2009-2015:

VW Diesel Jetta (Model Years 2009 - 2015)
VW Diesel Beetle (Model Years 2009 - 2015)
VW Diesel Passat (Model Years 2009 - 2015)
VW Diesel Golf (Model Years 2009 - 2015)
Audi Diesel A3 (Model Years 2009 - 2015)

The software was designed to conceal the cars' emission of the
pollutant nitrogen oxide.  According to the EPA, exposure to the
pollutants is linked to a range of health problems, including
asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses.

If you live in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut,
Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky,
Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York,
Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, or West Virginia and
own one of the vehicles listed above, contact Bailey & Glasser at
(877) 852-0342 for a free evaluation of your potential claim.

Bailey & Glasser has significant experience in auto defect class
action work.  In 2009, Bailey & Glasser lawyers were appointed to
key leadership roles for plaintiffs in multidistrict litigation
alleging sudden-acceleration problems with millions of Toyota
vehicles, in what came to be one of the largest products liability
cases ever filed.  The economic-loss claims settled for $1.6

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Stanford Professors File Emissions Suits
Marisa Kendall, writing for The Recorder, reports that two
Stanford University professors are among Volkswagen drivers to sue
the company over its recent emissions scandal.

Law professor Bernadette Meyler and theater and German studies
professor Matthew Smith say they purchased their Passats based on
false claims that the cars were environmentally friendly and
emitted low levels of pollutants.  The professors, represented by
Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, sued Volkswagen Group of America Inc.
on Sept. 25 in the Northern District of California.

The suit is part of a flurry of litigation filed in September
after a government investigation revealed Volkswagen used
sophisticated software to cheat emissions tests.  Similar suits
have been filed in the Northern District of California by firms
including Girard Gibbs; Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein; Hagens
Berman Sobol Shapiro; and Audet & Partners.

The "defeat devices" installed in the cars sensed when they were
being tested for emissions compliance by reading indicators such
as the car's steering wheel position, speed and duration of engine
operation.  The device turned on emission controls when testing
was taking place, and turned them off when the vehicle ran under
normal conditions.

Volkswagen had advertised its cars as "clean" diesel vehicles,
when in reality, according to the Cotchett lawyers, the cars
emissions levels were up to 40 times higher than permitted by the
Clean Air Act.  The devices affect nearly 500,000 vehicles sold in
the U.S. between 2009 and 2015, according to the complaint,
including the VW Jetta, Beetle, Passat and Golf.  The lawyers
estimate nearly 11 million consumers were affected worldwide.
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned on Sept. 23 after
apologizing to customers for the scandal.  He was replaced by
Porsche brand chief Matthias Muller on Sept. 25.

For Steve Berman of Hagens Berman, who has filed four suits
against the car company, the case hits close to home.  He owns
three Volkswagen "clean diesel" cars -- he bought one for each of
his sons as their first post-college car, and another for the
Hagens Berman competitive bicycling team.  The firm-sponsored team
needed a car to drive behind the cyclists and provide food and
mechanical assistance during races, Berman said, and he chose
Volkswagen because he wanted a "clean image" associated with the

I "completely bought into the clean diesel concept," Mr. Berman
wrote in an email on Sept. 25.  "So the minute this broke and a
client contacted us, I knew what this meant to consumers."

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Statman Harris Files Class Action in Ohio
Statman, Harris & Eyrich, LLC, on Oct. 21 disclosed that it has
filed in the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio a
class action complaint against Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.,
Volkswagen AG and VW Credit, Inc. (Case No. 1:15-cv-00686),
alleging that Volkswagen manufactured and installed defeat devices
in certain model year 2009 through 2015 diesel light-duty vehicles
equipped with 2.0 liter engines and that VW Credit financed the
purchase or lease of these vehicles.  These defeat devices
allegedly bypass, defeat or render inoperative elements of the
vehicles' emission control system that exist to comply with
emission standards of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. Secs. 7401-
7671q) and its implementing regulations.  As a result, the
complaint alleges that Volkswagen and VW Credit engaged in
deceptive practices, fraud and made deceptive representations when
it offered for sale and sold or leased those vehicles to the

Consumers who leased from VW Credit Volkswagen models 2009-2015 VW
Jetta; 2009-2015 VW Beetle; 2009-2015 VW Golf; 2014-2015 VW Passat
or 2009-2015 Audi A3 equipped with a defeat device are encouraged
to contact Jeffrey P. Harris, Esq. at (513) 587-4443 or at
classaction@statmanharris.com for further information about their
legal rights, without any cost or obligation.

Statman, Harris & Eyrich, LLC -- http://www.statmanharris.com--
which has significant experience in consumer and securities fraud
class actions and derivative litigation, has offices in Chicago,
Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; and Detroit, Michigan.

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Susman Godfrey Expands Emissions Class Action
Susman Godfrey, one of the nation's top law firms, has expanded
its nationwide class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen Group of
America to include plaintiffs in 18 states, including Arizona,
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois,
Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New
York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

Originally filed Sept. 24 in California, the suit claims
Volkswagen secretly used software designed to cheat emissions
tests and falsely advertised its vehicles as environmentally
friendly.  Due to those actions, consumers were deceived into
purchasing what they believed were eco-conscious "CleanDiesel"
vehicles that actually emit up to 40 times the legal limit of
nitrogen oxide.

"We are pleased to expand this lawsuit, as we know hundreds of
thousands of people across the country have been affected by
Volkswagen's deceptive actions," said Steven Sklaver, a Susman
Godfrey attorney on the Volkswagen case.  "We look forward to
helping compensate these consumers for their losses."

Buyers of the 2009 to 2015 Jetta and Jetta SportWagen models, 2010
to 2015 Audi A3 and Golf models, 2012 to 2015 Beetle, Beetle
Convertible and Passat models, and the 2015 Golf SportWagen model
are alleged to have paid a significant premium for so-called
"CleanDiesel" vehicles.  It now appears these consumers actually
received vehicles that cannot even pass state and federal
emissions standards.

Susman Godfrey is seeking customers who purchased "CleanDiesel"
vehicles from Volkswagen to potentially join its class-action
suit.  If you own, or lease, one of the vehicles listed above,
visit susmangodfrey.volkswagen-classaction.com or contact John
Dolan at Susman Godfrey at jdolan@susmangodfrey.com.

With a long track record of achieving substantial verdicts and
settlements for its clients in numerous high-profile cases, Susman
Godfrey has been recognized repeatedly for its prowess in
plaintiffs' litigation.  Recently, Law360, published by Portfolio
Media, honored the firm on its "Most Feared Plaintiffs Firms" list
for the third year in a row.  The National Law Journal, published
by American Lawyer Media, named the firm to its 2014 "Plaintiffs
Hot List."

The firm's recent results include an historic $1.6 billion
settlement in the Toyota unintended acceleration class action,
where Marc Seltzer served as co-lead counsel for the class.  The
Toyota class received net benefits valued at approximately $1.4

The lawsuit filed by Susman Godfrey against Volkswagen alleges
United States Environmental Protection Agency and California Air
Resources Board investigations found Volkswagen secretly installed
emission "defeat devices" in over 482,000 vehicles in the United
States alone.  Volkswagen has now admitted to installing similar
devices in 11 million vehicles worldwide. The devices allow
Volkswagen vehicles to defeat emissions tests by engaging
emissions controls only when testing is detected by the vehicles
in question.  When the vehicles are not undergoing emissions
testing, those emission controls are disengaged, allowing the
vehicles to emit pollutants in quantities up to 10 to 40 times the
legal limit.

According to the lawsuit, Volkswagen concedes that it installed
the defeat devices in its "CleanDiesel" vehicles, and the head of
Volkswagen's United States Division gave the following confession:
"Let's be clear about this.  Our company was dishonest.  With the
EPA, and the California Air Resources Board, and with all of you.
And in my German words, we have totally screwed up."

Susman Godfrey is representing plaintiffs seeking to hold
Volkswagen accountable for the harm it has caused to hundreds of
thousands of consumers.  For more information on the lawsuit,
including information on how to participate as a named plaintiff,
visit susmangodfrey.volkswagen-classaction.com or contact John
Dolan at Susman Godfrey at jdolan@susmangodfrey.com

                 About Susman Godfrey L.L.P.

For more than 35 years, Susman Godfrey --
http://www.susmangodfrey.com-- has focused its nationally
recognized practice on just one thing: high-stakes commercial
litigation. It is one of the nation's leading law firms, with
offices in Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York.

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Hagens Berman, Quinn File Joint Emissions Suit
Marisa Kendall, writing for The Recorder, reports that Hagens
Berman Sobol Shapiro and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan The
firms filed a joint complaint on Sept. 29 in the Central District
of California, following a government investigation that revealed
Volkswagen A.G. used sophisticated software to cheat emissions

It's a formidable legal partnership, and one that could help give
the lawyers an edge when they eventually vie with other top firms
for control of the litigation.

"We make a lead-counsel team that's hard to beat," said
Shon Morgan -- shonmorgan@quinnemanuel.com -- chair of Quinn
Emanuel's national class action practice group.

Plaintiffs powerhouse Hagens Berman and corporate litigation
leviathan Quinn Emanuel make an unlikely couple and recently
worked opposite sides of a consumer suit against Hyundai Motor
America and Kia Motors America Inc. -- with Hagens Berman
representing plaintiffs and Quinn's Morgan representing Hyundai.
Yet the two firms have also been toying with the idea of a
partnership for some time.  John Quinn --
johnquinn@quinnemanuel.com -- of Quinn Emanuel visited Hagens
Berman's Seattle office this summer and said he wanted to find a
way for the two firms to work together, said Hagens Berman
managing partner Steve Berman.  After the Volkswagen scandal broke
earlier this month, Morgan called up Hagens Berman partner
Robert Carey and suggested they team up to go after the car
company, Mr. Berman said.

"We put our heads together and thought it was a good idea,"
Mr. Berman said.

The team's complaint, which weighs in at more than 500 pages,
accuses Volkswagen of misleading customers with claims that its
diesel vehicles were environmentally friendly and emitted low
levels of pollution.  In reality, the complaint alleges, the cars'
emission levels were up to 40 times higher than permitted by the
Clean Air Act.  "Defeat devices" installed in the cars sensed when
they were being tested for emissions compliance, and turned on
emissions controls only during the tests, according to the

The Quinn lawyers' experience in the Hyundai case will give them
valuable insight into Volkswagen's legal strategy in the emissions
litigation, Mr. Berman said.

Quinn also boasts three offices in Germany and more than 25
German-speaking lawyers, Morgan added, which will be an advantage
as the plaintiffs begin to investigate and take discovery of the
German car company.

From Quinn's point of view, the partnership gives the
traditionally defense-oriented firm a leg up in coordinating the
complaints that are streaming in from thousands of plaintiffs.
Hagens Berman has the infrastructure to handle the massive
lawsuit, Morgan said, which includes class representatives from
all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The case already has become something of a pet project for Steve
Berman, who personally owns three of the Volkswagen "clean diesel"
cars.  But the team is likely to face tough competition from firms
including Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy; Girard Gibbs; Lieff Cabraser
Heimann & Bernstein; and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd -- all of
which have filed their own complaints in the Northern and Central
Districts of California.

Though Quinn Emanuel has made a name for itself on the defense
side of the bar, the firm has been taking on more complex
plaintiffs-side litigation, Morgan said. The firm evaluates every
matter on a case-by-case basis, and the Volkswagen emissions case
was a prime contender.

"This is an unusual situation in that [Volkswagen] admitted fault
right out of the gate," Mr. Morgan said.

Taking the plaintiffs-side case involved careful consideration of
whether the representation would create a conflict with Quinn's
other auto manufacturer clients, including Hyundai, Kia, Fiat
Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and General Motors Co.  But the
emissions allegations are safe because they are specific to
Volkswagen, Morgan said, not a general assault on the auto
industry, or a theory that can be applied to other manufacturers.

Furthermore, Volkswagen's alleged actions also allowed the company
an unfair advantage in the market, hence hurting competitors,
Morgan said.  He added: "Holding [Volkswagen] accountable for this
is fully consistent with our defense work for other auto

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Harris County Taps Mithoff in Emissions Suit
Brenda Sapino Jeffreys, writing for Texas Lawyer, reports that
Richard Mithoff, the Houston trial lawyer who secured a $2.2
billion settlement in 1998 for Texas counties against tobacco
companies, is now going up against Volkswagen Group of America and
Audi of America in vehicle emissions litigation for Harris County.

On Sept. 29, the Harris County Commissioners Court agreed to hire
Mithoff and his firm, Mithoff Law, and lawyers from two other
Houston firms, Baker, Wotring, and Abraham, Watkins, Nichols,
Sorrels, Agosto & Friend to represent the county in a $100 million
lawsuit filed on Sept. 29.

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, whose office is also working on
the suit, said Harris County may be the first government entity to
file an emissions suit against Volkswagen since the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 18 issued a notice of
violation against Volkswagen. The EPA alleges that "defeat
devices" in Volkswagen diesel vehicles would bypass parts of the
vehicle emission control systems intended to comply with emission

The firms have a contingency-fee agreement with the county.

In a petition filed in the 234th District Court in Harris County,
Harris County alleges Volkswagen, collectively for Volkswagen and
Audi, violated Texas environmental laws in Harris County when it
sold vehicles with "fraudulently manipulated vehicle emissions
control devices in an effort to circumvent emissions testing

"Volkswagen's deceptive acts have undermined Harris County's
efforts to improve air quality, reach attainment status, and
protect our citizens," the county alleges in Harris County v.
Volkswagen Group of America Inc.

Harris County alleges in the petition that Volkswagen sold more
than 6,000 "fraudulently manipulated emission control vehicles" in
Harris County from the 2009 model year through Aug. 31.

Harris County seeks at least $100 million from the defendants.  It
seeks civil penalties for violations of the Texas Water Code and
the Texas Health & Safety Code, and attorney fees.  The civil
penalty is up to $25,000 a day for each day of each violation
prior to Aug. 31, according to the petition.

Mr. Mithoff said that under the Texas statutes, tampering with an
emission control device is a violation of the law, as is selling a
vehicle with a tampered device.

"In order to get a jury and judge persuaded . . . we have to
pursue fully the nature of the fraud, the extent of the fraud, who
all was involved at a management level, to what lengths did the
entities go to cover up the fraud and for how long was it
underway," Mr. Mithoff said.  "All of those things taken together
aggravate the violation."

Gabriele Selch, a spokeswoman for Volkswagen in Germany, did not
immediately respond to an emailed request for a response to the
allegations in the suit.

Earlier in September, a Nueces County woman who owns a diesel
Jetta filed a federal class action in Houston against Volkswagen,
alleging violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

At Mithoff Law Firm, attorneys Sherie Beckman --
sbeckman@mithofflaw.com -- and Warner Hocker --
whocker@mithofflaw.com -- are also working on the Volkswagen suit.
The county's outside team also includes Debra Baker --
dbaker@bakerwotring.com -- and Earnest Wotring --
ewotring@bakerwotring.com -- partners in Baker, Wotring, and Benny
Agosto and Muhammad Aziz, partners in Abraham Watkins.

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Files Criminal Complaint v. Rogue Employees
Sue Reisinger, writing for Corporate Counsel, reports that
Volkswagen AG and its U.S. general counsel, David Geanacopoulos,
are not opposing a criminal investigation into its emission
scandal.  In fact, the German-based automaker is filing its own
criminal complaint with German prosecutors.

The executive committee of VW's supervisory board met on Sept. 23
and decided to file the criminal complaint after accepting the
resignation of its CEO, Martin Winterkorn.  The panel expressed
confidence in Winterkorn and noted that he "had no knowledge of
the manipulation of emissions data," according to a statement.
Saying the committee "takes this matter extremely seriously," the
statement lists nine immediate actions, saying "that these
incidents need to be clarified with great conviction and that
mistakes [need to be] corrected."

And in an unprecedented act of transparency, one of the stated
actions is this: "The company will voluntarily submit a complaint
to the state prosecutors' office in Brunswick [Germany].  In the
view of the executive committee criminal proceedings may be
relevant due to the irregularities."

The company clearly sees itself as a victim of rogue employees,
and wants to identify those responsible for the illegal actions
that manipulated its vehicle pollution devices.

"The investigations of the state prosecutor will be supported in
all form [sic] from the side of Volkswagen," the statement adds.

In other steps, the statement says that "internal group
investigations are continuing at a high tempo.  All participants
in these proceedings that have resulted in unmeasurable harm for
Volkswagen, will be subject to the full consequences."

It adds that further personnel consequences are expected in the
coming days, and that recommendations for new personnel will be
considered at the next meeting of the supervisory board on
Sept. 25.  The company first learned of the emissions problem from
California investigators on July 8, and it has been investigating
the issue internally.  The scandal then erupted into public view
when the Environmental Protection Agency sent a notice of
violation of the Clean Air Act on Sept. 18 to Mr. Geanacopoulos,
the GC of VW Group of America Inc., and to Stuart Johnson, general
manager for engineering and environmental affairs.  Mr.
Geanacopoulos is headquartered at VW offices in Herndon, Virginia,
while Johnson works in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

VW has admitted that about half a million vehicles in the U.S. and
11 million worldwide were designed and manufactured with a so-
called "defeat device" to bypass the emissions control systems
during normal driving.  But the device would engage the systems
during lab testing in order to meet pollution standards.
The EPA's investigation into the tampering continues.  And
Bloomberg news reported that investigations are under way by the
Department of Justice, the FBI in Detroit, and various state
attorneys general, including New York's.

The company said it has set aside about $7.2 billion in the third
a quarter "to cover the necessary service measures and other
efforts to win back the trust of our customers."  But that's just
the beginning of the economic costs. About 20 civil lawsuits have
been filed against VW, and the EPA has indicated its penalties
alone could reach as high as $18 billion in the U.S.

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Mayer Brown Heads Defense Team
Susan Beck, writing for The Am Law Daily, reports that Mayer Brown
has assumed a leading role defending Volkswagen against consumer
lawsuits in the U.S. arising from its emissions scandal, according
to one of the plaintiffs lawyers spearheading a lawsuit against
the company.

John Quinn -- johnquinn@quinnemanuel.com -- of Quinn Emanuel
Urquhart & Sullivan told The American Lawyer that he learned on
Oct. 6 that Neil Soltman -- nsoltman@mayerbrown.com -- a partner
in Mayer Brown's Los Angeles office, will head a team defending VW
in the quickly escalating U.S. litigation.

Mayer Brown and Mr. Soltman had already submitted a filing for VW
on Oct. 5 in a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles brought by a
different group of plaintiffs.  Altogether, more than 175 class
actions in 32 states have been filed over the emissions scandal
that erupted last month.  The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict
Litigation, which will decide where to coordinate the cases, is
scheduled to review the VW class actions at a Dec. 3 meeting.

The consumer complaints accuse Volkswagen of misleading customers
with false claims that its diesel vehicles were environmentally
friendly and emitted low levels of pollution.  The Quinn Emanuel
lawsuit, filed with co-counsel at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro,
seeks compensation not just for fixing the cars and the decline in
their value, but also for remediation to the environment.

Alison Frankel of Reuters reported on Oct. 5 that Mayer Brown was
representing VW in one of the lawsuits filed in California.  Mayer
Brown declined to comment, and VW did not respond to a request for

It's not clear how much litigation Mayer Brown has previously
handled for the automaker.  Appellate lawyer Stephen Shapiro lists
Volkswagen of America as a client on his firm biography, and
appellate lawyer Timothy Bishop represented Volkswagen's German
parent company in a wrongful death lawsuit that was heard by the
U.S. Supreme Court in 1988.  Mayer Brown has also done some
finance work in Germany for the carmaker, according to the firm's

Mayer Brown joins a growing list of law firms that are helping VW
navigate this corporate disaster.  The company announced that
Volkswagen's board had selected Jones Day to conduct an internal
investigation.  German partners Johannes Perlitt in Frankfurt and
Johannes Zoettl in Dsseldorf will both play a role, according to
the German publication Juve.  Both joined the firm last year from
Clifford Chance as part of Jones Day's expansion in that country,
where the firm now lists more than 100 lawyers. Jones Day declined
to comment.

In Washington, D.C., Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has recently
done lobbying work for Volkswagen Group of America related to
emissions issues.  The firm has billed $140,000 through the first
two quarters of this year to advise on "discussion regarding
diesel regulatory issues (including federal regulations covering
auto emissions)," according to a federal filing.  The filing lists
three Akin Gump partners: Charles Johnson IV, Jeffrey McMillen and
James Tucker Jr. Volkswagen paid Akin Gump $260,000 last year for
lobbying.  The firm declined to comment.

As The Am Law Daily previously noted, Kirkland & Ellis partner
Stuart Drake -- stuart.drake@kirkland.com -- was copied on the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Sept. 18 notice of
violation to VW revealing the investigation.  Kirkland has
declined to comment on exactly what role it has played for VW, and
whether its work for the company continues.

VOLKWAGEN GROUP: Emissions Scandal Due to Compliance Failure
Donna Boehme, writing for Corporate Counsel, reports that as
careful observers of the compliance field may have noted, the
profession has spent more than a decade working to define itself.
This has meant dispelling a number of persistent and dangerous
myths that gave rise to a legacy Compliance 1.0 model (Compliance
as a captive arm of Legal), which itself can be found at the roots
of many of the big compliance train wrecks that litter the
corporate landscape.  It's not too hard to understand the flawed
reasoning that created Compliance 1.0 in the early days of the
evolving profession:

"If it involves legal risks, it must be a subset of Legal"; which
then led to

"Any general counsel or senior lawyer is qualified to be the chief
compliance officer (CCO) and manage Compliance"; and then

"Why wouldn't we appoint a big-name ex-prosecutor, ex-regulator or
ex-law firm partner as CCO to impress our regulators, stakeholders
and the financial press? This is too easy!"

And now we can add Volkswagen to the growing list of Compliance
1.0 train wrecks in the headlines.  The German auto giant has been
reeling from a scandal of monumental proportions after admitting
that it had been using a "defeat software" to help its diesel cars
pass emissions testing in the U.S. and Europe.  VW has lost nearly
a third of its share price and seen the resignation of a longtime
CEO as the scandal rocks the global auto industry and German
business establishment.  Amid investigations estimated to take
months, it has been reported that a company engineer and Bosch, a
supplier, both tried to warn management that use of the software
was illegal.  In less than a week, the scandal has battered the
reputation of "German engineering," a brand synonymous with
performance and reliability that the German auto industry has
guarded closely for decades.

So what went wrong here? As noted by Mike Scher of the FCPA blog,
Compliance 2.0 is finally a "no-brainer."  Unfortunately for
Volkswagen, its attempt at Compliance 2.0 didn't quite make the
grade, and merely qualified as another unfortunate case of
Compliance 1.0.  A modern Compliance 2.0 program would have
ensured that the two internal whistleblower complaints would have
been taken seriously and even escalated to the governing body.  In
a 2011 announcement, the company gamely announced the appointment
of a "Group Chief Compliance Officer" reporting to the chairman of
the board. The announcement noted with fanfare:

"Volkswagen's good name is our most valuable asset.  There can be
no compromises as far as complying with our code of conduct is
concerned.  Volkswagen is adopting an innovative approach by
bringing together Governance, Risk and Compliance in a single

For Compliance 2.0 watchers, the positioning of the new CCO and
overall compliance function seems to pass the Compliance 2.0
"empowered and independent" test with flying colors.  So what's
missing? Just a little detail called "subject matter expertise."
As Scher observed: "Compliance failures happen when you build and
run a big, complex company without a first-class compliance

WARNER/CHAPPEL: No Valid Copyright for "Happy Birthday" Song
Ross Todd, writing for The Recorder, reports that in a ruling that
could upend an 80-year licensing campaign for the song "Happy
Birthday," a federal judge in Los Angeles has concluded that
Warner/Chappell Music Inc. doesn't own a valid copyright for the
song's lyrics.

The ruling on Sept. 22 from U.S. District Judge George King of the
Central District of California is a loss for Warner/Chappell and
its lawyers at Munger, Tolles & Olson.  Plaintiff's lawyers at
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz hope to certify a class
action to recoup the millions in dollars in licensing fees
collected on the tune.

Judge King's decision is a 41-page dive into the 122-year history
of the song and a set of decades-old disputes over rights to it.
The judge found that the Clayton F. Summy Co., a predecessor to
Warner/Chappell, only held a copyright to a certain arrangement of
the melody of "Happy Birthday," and not the lyrics.

"Because Summy Co. never acquired the rights to the Happy Birthday
lyrics, defendants, as Summy Co.'s purported successors-in-
interest, do not own a valid copyright in the Happy Birthday
lyrics," Judge King wrote.

Wolf Haldenstein's Mark Rifkin, the lead lawyer for the
plaintiffs, wasn't immediately available on Sept. 23. Rifkin,
whose clients include a group of documentary filmmakers producing
a film on the history of the song, told the Los Angeles Times on
Sept. 22 that he will seek damages for royalties paid to use the
song since "at least" 1988.  Mr. Rifkin said the plaintiffs could
possibly pursue claims going back as far as 1935.

Munger's Kelly Klaus didn't immediately respond to a phone
message.  A firm spokesperson directed a message to the company.

A Warner/Chappell spokesperson provided the following statement by
email: "We are looking at the court's lengthy opinion and
considering our options."

WILLIAMS COMPANIES: Faces "Glener" Suit Over Energy Merger
Ira Glener and Denis McLaughlin, On Behalf of Themselves and All
Others Similarly Situated v. The Williams Companies Inc., et al.,
Case No. 11606 (Del. Ch., October 13, 2015) is brought on behalf
of all the public stockholders of The Williams Companies, Inc.
against the members of Williams' Board of Directors for their
breaches of fiduciary duties arising out of their attempt to merge
the Company with Energy Transfer Equity, L.P., for an unfair price
and inadequate consideration.

The Williams Companies Inc. is an energy infrastructure company
focused on connecting North America's significant hydrocarbon
resources to growing markets for natural gas, natural gas liquids
and olefins.

Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. is a Fortune 500 natural gas and
propane company, with headquarters located at 3738 Oak Lawn
Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75219.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Seth D. Rigrodsky, Esq.
      Brian D. Long, Esq.
      Gina M. Serra, Esq.
      Jeremy J. Riley, Esq
      2 Righter Parkway, Suite 120
      Wilmington, DE 19803
      Telephone: (302) 295-5310
      E-mail: sdr@rl-legal.com

         - and -

      Richard A. Acocelli, Esq.
      Michael A. Rogovin, Esq.
      Kelly C. Keenan, Esq.
      1500 Broadway, 16th Floor
      New York, NY 10036
      Telephone: (212) 682-3025
      E-mail: racocelli@weisslawllp.com

YALE UNIVERSITY: Doctor Files Counterclaim in Sex Harassment Case
Megan Spicer, writing for Law.com, reports that a former Yale
University doctor who was sued for sexual harassment by six
employees of a private dialysis company in February has filed a
counterclaim, arguing that the sexual harassment charges were
invented to force him out of his position.

Dr. Rex Mahnensmith was a nephrology professor at Yale, which has
a working agreement to supply a medical director to DaVita Renal
Healthcare, which supplies dialysis services statewide.  He is
demanding $2.8 million in damages, arguing that the renal clinic
was behind the sexual harassment lawsuit because his patient-first
approach to health care was driving up costs for DaVita and
cutting into the company's profits.

In the initial suit filed in February, which also named Yale
University and DaVita as defendants, five women and one man who
worked at DaVita had claimed that Mahnensmith had engaged in
sexually inappropriate behavior and made comments that left the
staff feeling uneasy and embarrassed.  The clinic employees are
represented by Jennifer Zito of Meriden.  Dr. Mahnensmith is
represented by Robert Mitchell of Mitchell & Sheahan in Stratford.

In one instance in November 2013, plaintiff Jeannine Simard said
she was sitting in a chair in a conference room when
Dr. Mahnensmith "entered the room and stood directly behind
plaintiff Simard thrusting his pelvis in a sexual manner into the
back of her chair, rocking it to and fro," according to the

"In an effort to stop him, [Warren] Fleming offered Dr.
Mahnensmith a seat and told him to sit down," the lawsuit
continues.  "Dr. Mahnensmith replied with a smirk, 'I'm not
finished yet,' and continued to sexually gratify himself until
announcing to the group that he was finished."

In his counterclaim, Dr. Mahnensmith argued that he suffers from
"severe lumbar-sacral degenerative disc disease with spur
formation and osteoarthritis, and right leg sciatica."  He claims
during the episode in question, he was doing lower back exercises,
which include pelvis tilts and tummy tucks, to loosen the muscles
and reduce the pain.

In February 2013, after Karen Lawlor, another one of the
plaintiffs, gave birth to her child, Dr. Mahnensmith texted her to
ask if she was going to breastfeed and that her son was "in for a
real treat," according to the lawsuit. He continuously blamed her
"perceived failures" in the clinic on the fact that she was
lactating, often making such claims in front of other employees,
the lawsuit claims.

"Plaintiff Lawlor was the object of Dr. Mahnensmith's obsession:
he would continually assign his patients to her, gawk at her, lust
after her, touch her on her stomach, waist and thighs in an
inappropriate and sexual way causing her to be overworked,
offended, embarrassed and uncomfortable," according to the

Several of the plaintiffs allege that Dr. Mahnensmith "would rub
his penis with his hands down the front of his pants and massage
his nipples while engaging in clinical discussion."  Among those
complaining was Maureen Leone, another plaintiff, who said she was
told by another "supervisor that this was the 'culture of the
clinic' and to avoid Dr. Mahnensmith if possible," according to
the lawsuit.

                        'Revenue Obstacle'

Dr. Mahnensmith, however, contends that it was his medical
approach and not his interaction with other professionals that led
to the filing of the initial lawsuit.

Dr. Mahnensmith was responsible for management of three dialysis
clinics, one of which was losing money, according to his
counterclaim.  Dr. Mahnensmith stated that he tended to patients'
medical issues outside of their kidney problems, which DaVita
mangers took issue with because it reduced the number of patients
coming through the clinic.  "DaVita objected to Dr. Mahnensmith's
putting patient care ahead of profit," his counterclaim states.

And so, according to Dr. Mahnensmith, several managers hatched a
plan.  "[They] encouraged and participated in creating the
plaintiffs' false and defamatory narrative of alleged sexual
harassment on Dr. Mahnensmith's part in order to remove him as a
revenue obstacle in the facilities where DaVita held them
responsible for financial performance," according to his

The claim further argues that one of the plaintiffs in the sexual
harassment suit "repeatedly and falsely told new staff members, as
well as current staff members, both that Dr. Mahnensmith had been
sexually harassing women for years, and that Dr. Mahnensmith's
patients were afraid of him."

Dr. Mahnensmith no longer works for DaVita or Yale.  He claims he
was forced to resign because of the sexual harassment claims.  He
states that he now works in a garden store.

* CFPB Says Eliminating Arbitration Clauses to Benefit Consumers
James R. McGuire, Esq. -- jmcguire@mofo.com -- and Nancy R.
Thomas, Esq. -- nthomas@mofo.com -- of Morrison & Foerster LLP, in
an article for Lexology, report that on October 7, the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it is
considering two rulemaking proposals that would severely limit the
use of pre-dispute arbitration clauses in consumer financial
service contacts.  Ignoring the well-documented problems and
abuses associated with class action litigation, the Bureau has
concluded that because class actions effect a greater aggregate
transfer of wealth from alleged "wrongdoers" to plaintiffs' class
action lawyers and plaintiff classes than does arbitration, it is
in the public interest and for the benefit of consumers to
eliminate arbitration clauses that would limit its use.  The
Bureau has also concluded, as it must under the Dodd-Frank Act,
that imposing such limitations by regulation would be consistent
with its recent Report to Congress.


The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
(Dodd-Frank Act) mandated a CFPB study on the use of pre-dispute
arbitration clauses in consumer financial products and services,
with a report of its findings sent to Congress.

The Dodd-Frank Act further authorized the CFPB to prohibit or
impose conditions or limitations on the use of arbitration clauses
by regulation if the CFPB determined that it would be in the
public interest and for the protection of consumers to do so.
However, any such regulation must be consistent with the findings
of the CFPB's study.

The CFPB commenced its process in 2012, and from the beginning, it
has appeared that the CFPB would target arbitration clauses
requiring individual arbitration.  The Supreme Court held that
state laws barring these agreements were preempted by the Federal
Arbitration Act in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct.
1740 (2011).  On March 10, 2015, the CFPB released its Final
Report to Congress which removed all doubt.  As Morrison &
Foerster wrote in its Client Alert at the time, the "Report's
conclusion, and Director Richard Cordray's remarks, were as
expected: consumers are better served by litigation -- and
particularly, class action litigation -- than by agreements to
arbitrate disputes."

The CFPB's October 7 announcement of the planned rulemaking seeks
to implement this conclusion.


The Bureau announced that it is considering two proposals. First,
the Bureau proposes to require an arbitration provision "to say
explicitly that it does not apply to cases brought on behalf of a
class unless and until the class certification is denied by the
court or the class claims are dismissed in court."  It does this
to "prohibit companies from blocking group lawsuits through the
use of arbitration clauses in their contracts."

The Bureau's first proposal is based on its view that its Report
to Congress shows that class litigation, unlike current
arbitration practices, is in the "public interest" and will
"benefit consumers."

It is hard to understand how the Report could support those
conclusions.  The Bureau's Report to Congress, like the materials
accompanying its proposed regulations, assiduously avoids
addressing the hard questions about the true public interest value
of the class action litigation.  Reasonable people could differ
about that value, both in general and in particular cases.  The
Bureau simply ignores that question. Instead, the Bureau focuses
on which approach results in a greater aggregate shift of wealth
from financial institutions to plaintiffs' class action lawyers
and plaintiff classes.  Indeed, the Bureau devotes a lone sentence
in its outline to the topic, using the passive voice to note only
that "class lawsuits have been subject to significant criticism"
but noting that the Bureau "believes" that "consumer are
significantly better protected from harm by consumer financial
service providers when they are able to aggregate claims." Others,
however, believe that there is at least the potential for abuse:

Judge Friendly, who was not given to hyperbole, called settlements
induced by a small probability of an immense judgment in a class
action "blackmail settlements." Henry J. Friendly, Federal
Jurisdiction: A General View 120 (1973).  Judicial concern about
them is legitimate, not "sociological," as it was derisively
termed in In re Sugar Antitrust Litigation, 559 F.2d 481, 483 n. 1
(9th Cir. 1977).

In re Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, Inc., 51 F.3d 1293, 1298-99 (7th Cir.
1995). The CFPB has simply accepted, uncritically, one side of
this debate.

Nor does the Bureau's Report seem to support its conclusion that
consumers benefit from class litigation any more than they do from
individual arbitration.  As the law firm explained in its earlier
Client Alert, the Bureau's Report does not support the conclusion
that consumers are better served by class action litigation than
by arbitration.  Instead, the Report showed that, while consumers
do not much care about dispute resolution provisions, the market
offers consumers significant choice as to whether to enter into an
agreement with a business that employs arbitration and that many
consumers whose consumer financial product agreements include an
arbitration clause can pursue their claims in court.  It further
showed that the arbitration clauses in consumer financial product
agreements rarely place limits on a consumers' recovery or require
confidentiality with respect to the proceedings, that arbitrations
take place in locations convenient to the consumers and that, in
general, arbitration is less expensive and speedier than

Second, the Bureau is considering requiring those entities that
continue to use arbitration agreements "to submit initial claim
filings and written awards in consumer finance arbitration
proceedings to the Bureau through a process the Bureau would
expect to establish as part of [its] rulemaking" and is also
considering whether "to publish the claims or awards to its
website, making them available to the public."

Although the Bureau's first proposal suggests that it will not
impose a total ban on arbitration clauses, the second proposal
seems designed to do just that by inflicting a reporting
obligation on any institution seeking to use it in the limited
circumstances in which it would remain "permissible."  It is
difficult to understand how it is in the "public interest" to
burden what is supposed to be a cheap and efficient process with
these requirements. Nor were these requirements the subject of the
Bureau's Report to Congress, which may mean this proposal is ultra


In its outline of proposals, the CFPB indicated that it would
convene a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act
(SBREFA) panel.  The panel will include representatives from the
Bureau, the Small Business Administration and Office of Management
and Budget, who will meet with "small entity representatives"
(SERs) to obtain feedback on the potential economic impacts of
complying with the proposed regulations.  It has since been
announced that the panel will be convened during the week of
October 19, and a list of questions has been published. According
to the CFPB, the panel will issue a report within 60 days of

It thus appears that the Bureau will be in a position to issue a
proposed rule in early 2016 and finalize such a rule before the
end of that year.  As the Bureau notes, and as Congress required,
any such rules will apply only to arbitration agreements entered
into 180 days after the effective date of any final rule.  For
companies providing consumer financial products whose agreements
include arbitration clauses, this prospective application of the
rule will mean different customers will be governed by different
arbitration terms based on when those customers opened their


Financial service companies that employ arbitration provisions in
their customer agreements will be impacted by the Bureau's
proposed rules.  Such companies should consider participating in
the rulemaking process so that their views can be heard and made
part of the administrative record. Such companies should also
start to consider how they will manage what will eventually be two
customer populations -- those with whom they have an arbitration
agreement and those with whom they don't.  Providers of consumer
financial services products and services that do not currently use
arbitration for dispute resolution, may want to consider adding
arbitration clauses to their agreements before the application
date of any Final Rule.

* CFPB Releases Outline of Proposals on Arbitration Agreements
Christopher L. Allen, Esq., David F. Freeman, Jr. Esq., Teresa L.
Johnson, Esq., Michael A. Mancusi, Esq., Brian C. McCormall, Esq.,
and Michael B. Mierzewski, Esq. of Arnold & Porter LLP, in article
for Lexology, disclosed that on October 7, 2015, the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) took its latest step
toward promulgating rules regulating the use of arbitration
agreements by releasing an outline of proposals under
consideration (Outline).  Arbitration agreements frequently govern
the resolution of consumers' disputes with providers of consumer
financial products and services, and the CFPB, as required by
Section 1028(a) of the Dodd-Frank Act, is continuing its inquiry
into such agreements and their role in consumer financial
services.  The Outline's two main proposals seek to ban the
application of pre-dispute arbitration agreements in class action
litigation and require submission to the CFPB of all arbitral
disputes and awards for review and possible publication.

The CFPB released the Outline, in part, to seek input from
industry participants at a Small Business Review Panel, as
prescribed under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement
Fairness Act (SBREFA).  SBREFA directs the Bureau to convene a
panel when it is considering a proposed rule that could have a
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small
entities.  This step in the CFPB's administrative rulemaking
process, which was similarly taken in March with respect to the
CFPB's payday lending rule, follows the CFPB's release of an
arbitration study earlier this year.

Both of the Outline's main proposals would apply to pre-dispute
arbitration agreements between a "covered person" and a consumer
for a "consumer financial product or service."  Importantly, the
CFPB's Outline does not contemplate an absolute prohibition on the
use of pre-dispute arbitration agreements.  Nonetheless, the
Outline details restrictions and requirements that could
significantly impair the use of pre-dispute arbitration as an
effective dispute-resolution mechanism for these customer

I. Proposal to Prohibit Contracts in Which Consumers Forfeit Their
Right to Join a Class Action

Recognizing that few consumers file individual claims against
consumer financial service companies, the CFPB is contemplating
rules that would facilitate aggregate relief to harmed consumers
through private class action litigation.  Even though class action
litigation is often the subject of criticism and can be expensive
and cumbersome for all parties involved, the CFPB stated that, on
balance, consumers would be significantly better protected from
harm by consumer financial service providers if they were able to
aggregate claims.  In furtherance of this belief, the CFPB is
considering requiring "any arbitration agreement included in a
contract for a consumer financial product or service offered by [a
covered person] to provide explicitly that the arbitration
agreement is inapplicable to cases filed in court on behalf of a
class unless and until class certification is denied or the class
claims are dismissed."

II. Proposal to Require Submission to the CFPB of Arbitral
Disputes and Awards

The CFPB is also contemplating a proposal to collect and possibly
publish information on arbitral disputes and awards.  One of the
generally accepted benefits of arbitration is that it is
confidential in nature.  In the agency's view, though, increased
transparency would deter unfair arbitrations and expose any
unfairness, which the CFPB believes may result from biased
arbitrators.  Specifically, the CFPB is considering a proposal to
require covered entities that use arbitration clauses in their
consumer contracts to submit initial claim filings and written
awards in consumer finance arbitration proceedings to the CFPB.
In addition, the CFPB is considering whether to publish those
claims or awards to its website, making them available to the
public.  Similar to the CFPB's existing consumer complaint
database, the proposed collection would allow the CFPB to monitor
arbitral developments and identify issues affecting consumers.


Impact on Consumers and Industry. Although the proposals outlined
by the CFPB are well-intentioned, they will result in a relatively
minor benefit to individual consumers, if any benefit at all.
Indeed, as conceded in the CFPB's Outline, class action litigation
may only aggregate "relatively paltry potential recoveries into
something worth someone's (usually an attorney's) labor."
Moreover, the CFPB suggests that encouragement of class action
litigation may ultimately reduce the likelihood of public
enforcement actions, as settled class action cases would provide
finality and bind consumers who have not opted out of the class.
In reality, given the duration of class action suits (from class
formation to settlement or judgment), combined with the CFPB's
likely collection of arbitral disputes and awards as a means to
develop enforcement leads, consumer financial services companies
may face parallel enforcement actions and class action lawsuits.

Consumers may also be negatively affected as a result of the
difficult business decisions companies might be forced to make as
a result of the proposals.  Faced with increased litigation risk
and the potential for significant legal expense, consumer
financial services companies required to allow class action suits
for minor consumer disputes may simply adjust the prices of their
products and services.  In addition, companies may decide to
abandon arbitration clauses altogether to avoid developing costly
compliance systems equipped to handle multiple avenues to dispute
resolution.  Ultimately, consumers may lose the opportunity to
individually resolve disputes, be forced into protracted class
resolutions, and pay more for products and services.

Relation to Federal Arbitration Act. It is worth noting that the
effect of the proposed rules would conflict with the intended
purpose of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), which serves as the
primary statutory foundation for arbitration agreements.  In 1925,
through enactment of the FAA, Congress declared a national policy
favoring arbitration and withdrew the power of the states to
require a judicial forum for the resolution of claims that the
contracting parties agreed to resolve by arbitration.  Indeed, the
legislative history of the FAA indicates that, in addition to
ensuring judicial enforcement of privately made agreements to
arbitrate, Congress recognized that arbitration clauses may assist
in cleaning up judicial dockets and avoiding the "costliness and
delays of litigation."

Timing. The Outline demonstrates the CFPB's intention to move
forward with a rule limiting the financial service industry's use
of arbitration clauses.  The CFPB's Outline is one of several
administrative steps that must be taken by the CFPB prior to new
arbitration rules becoming effective, and which may ultimately
mean a rule is not finalized under the current presidential
administration. In addition to conducting an SBREFA panel meeting,
the CFPB must draft and publish in the Federal Register a proposed
rule.  The CFPB must then reserve a period for public comments and
review those comments before publishing a final rule. By statute,
any final rule published by the CFPB would only apply to contracts
entered into between a business and consumer 180 days after the
effective date of the final rule.

In our view, the CFPB, industry participants attending the Small
Business Review Panel, and all consumers and consumer financial
services companies should carefully evaluate the potential impact
of the proposals presented in the Outline.

* Malay-Muslim NGOs to File Class Action Over Haze Problem
Today reports that companies that have been using forest fires to
clear land in Indonesia will face a class action lawsuit in about
a month, several Malay-Muslim groups said on Oct. 21 after voicing
frustration over the annual haze problem.

Nadzim Johan, who heads the Muslim Consumer Association of
Malaysia (PPIM), said the proposed lawsuit will be a good way for
those affected by the haze to express their anger against the
firms responsible.

"So we want to collect information, who burns forest, who is the
owner and we ask the lawyers that have expertise in legal matter,
maybe international laws to gather and discuss with the purpose of
taking legal actions against companies, especially Malaysian
companies," he told reporters at a press conference.

Abd Kareem Said Khadaied, another activist present at the media
conference, said the Malay-Muslim groups involved in the planned
lawsuit are currently in a "fact-finding" process to determine if
10 companies in their list are truly responsible for contributing
to the haze.

"We identify the companies, some of the 10 companies are
subsidiaries of GLCs and we also know that Malaysia's GLCs have
much involvement with farming in Indonesia.

"So we hope those who are involved, come to us, before we come and
find them," the secretary-general of Muslim group Pertubuhan
Tarekat Muktabar Malaysia (Pertama) said.

The Malay-Muslim groups that are currently listed as part of the
class action suit include Perkasa, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia
(ISMA), Pewaris, Yayasan Muamalat Belia, Yayasan Patriot Negara

Mr Abd Kareem later told reporters that the eventual list of non-
governmental organisations involved in the lawsuit could easily go
up to 250, which he claimed would represent one million consumers.

He said Gabungan Amin, a coalition of 50 Malay-Muslim NGOs that he
said he leads, represents half a million consumers and will also
be part of the lawsuit.

Like Mr Nadzim who said that any NGO is welcome to join the suit
and even lead it, Mr Abd Kareem said that Chinese and Indian
groups are also welcomed to do so as the matter transcends racial

"The issue at hand has got nothing to do with race, so although
the base is basically Malay and Muslim NGOs, we welcome non-Malay
NGOs to come with us, because the issue at hand surpasses racial
barriers, this is something that affects the entire Malaysian
population so we should get together and take collective action,"
he said.

Abd Kareem said another action that can be taken is to launch a
boycott against companies that are involved in forest burnings,
but said time would first be given for these companies to step
forward and offer solutions.

"We are in the process of finalizing our investigations and before
we initiate the boycott, we are giving the room to these people
who are responsible to come to us.  So we do not want to launch
the boycott immediately.

"No, we won't be contacting them, they will be contacting us.
Because they know who they are," he said, having cautioned that
the power of consumers should not be underestimated.

Mr. Nadzim said the boycott could be on an international scale,
saying that they might ask environmentally-conscious countries to
join in the protest and seek for them to be blocked from certain
markets like the European Union zone.

* Repeated Use of Same Law Firms in MDL Sparks Criticism
Amanda Bronstad, writing for The National Law Journal, reports
that the high number of plaintiffs attorneys appointed to steer
multidistrict litigation and the repeated use of the same firms
are drawing criticism from lawyers competing for those posts and
from the judiciary involved in several prominent MDL cases this

The tasks of heading an MDL -- a civil procedure mechanism that
coordinates hundreds or thousands of lawsuits against the same
defendants -- come with great risks because attorneys must work on
contingency while representing plaintiffs in cases spread across
the country.  But there can be huge rewards to the attorneys'
reputations and pocketbooks, given that the bulk of the legal fees
go to them and settlements can be in the billions of dollars.

The number of leadership posts in an MDL range in size from a
handful of firms to, as in the Vioxx personal injury cases, more
than 100 spearheading the litigation.  Lawyers in lead roles,
which can include lead counsel or members of a plaintiffs steering
committee, make key legal decisions such as pretrial motions and

Some judges appoint every attorney who serves in a leadership
position.  Other judges allow lead counsel to reach out informally
to other firms, often creating subcommittees for particular
specialties like discovery or science issues.  "The size can sort
of reflect -- and this is probably a bad way of putting it --
whose back needs to be scratched in this litigation," said
University of Georgia School of Law professor Elizabeth Burch, who
published the first list of "repeat players" in MDLs as part of a
2015 law review article called "Judging Multidistrict Litigation."
"It's a small group of people, most are repeat players, and so
when you create committees, you create committees based on who
supported you in the last MDL."

When the "usual cast of characters," as attorney Wayne Travell --
wtravell@ltblaw.com -- described it, filed applications for lead
roles in the MDL against Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. over
dangerous levels of formaldehyde in its wood flooring, he argued
in court papers filed in September for the appointment of Cullin
O'Brien, a solo practitioner in Fort Lauderdale, whom Mr. Travell
described as a person "of color."  Mr. Travell, managing partner
of Leach Travell Britt in Tysons Corner, Virginia, also pushed for
Carin Marcussen, a "female attorney" at Oklahoma City's Federman &

"The 'good ol' boy' network should not be used to exclude
qualified, capable attorneys," he wrote.  Mr. Travell, Mr. O'Brien
and Ms. Marcussen did not respond to requests for elaboration.

That network has long existed anecdotally.  But Ms. Burch's report
for the first time analyzed a representative sample of 72 MDLs
focused on products liability and sales practices that were
pending on a particular day, May 14, 2013.  Topping the list of
law firms was Pensacola, Florida's Levin Papantonio Thomas
Mitchell Rafferty & Proctor; Motley Rice of Mount Pleasant, South
Carolina; and New York's Parker Waichman.  Even though less than
41 percent of firms had lawyers appointed to more than one lead
position, lawyers from those firms held 78 percent of the
leadership posts, Ms. Burch found. That suggests law firms are
retaining their repeat-player status by encouraging many of their
lawyers to apply for lead roles in MDLs, Ms. Burch said.  Her
report cautioned that the presence of repeat players could lead to
a dearth of diverse ideas on leadership committees and encourage
collusive settlements.


The shops that frequently serve in lead roles in multidistrict

   Law Firm                                  # of MDL positions*
   --------                                  -------------------
Levin, Papantonio, Thomas,
  Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor                      22
Motley Rice                                         21
Parker Waichman                                     21
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault                          20
Seeger Weiss                                        20
Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles       18
The Lanier Law Firm                                 18
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein                  17
Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis           16
Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz                 15
Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman                    15
Ashcraft & Gerel                                    14
Becnel Law Firm                                     14
Hanly Conroy Bierstein Sheridan
  Fisher & Hayes (now Simmons Hanly Conroy)         13
Anapol Schwartz (now Anapol Weiss)                  12
Lockridge Grindal Nauen                             12
Roda Nast (now NastLaw)                             12
Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah                  12
Douglas & London                                    11
Sanders Viener Grossman                             11
Clark, Love & Hutson                                10
Morgan & Morgan                                     10
Weitz & Luxenberg                                   10
Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley                  9
Climaco, Wilcox, Peca, Tarantino & Garofoli          9
Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris
  (now Cory Watson Attorneys)                        9

* Numbers for some firms include all four pelvic mesh MDLs.
Source: Elizabeth Burch, professor, University of Georgia School
of Law.

Paul Geller, who lost a bid to lead the data-breach MDL against
Anthem Inc. on his own, also said the repeat-player trend has
resulted in large leadership committees, often in cases that don't
really need them.  "These are not complex cases with millions of
pages of documents," said Mr. Geller, a partner at Robbins Geller
Rudman & Dowd.  "You need an expert, maybe two, but you don't need
the level of resources you do in something like Vioxx."

Seattle's Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, one of three firms
appointed on Aug. 5 to lead the Lumber Liquidators MDL, argued
that the "bloated leadership" proposals from competing law firms
would lead to duplicative work and more attorney fees.

"In this case, I thought it was particularly important to have a
small leadership team because of only one defendant, and there's
really one major issue that affects all the cases," said managing
partner Steve Berman.

Some judges also have pushed for smaller leadership committees,
often to keep down the costs of the litigation.  For example, U.S.
District Judge Lucy Koh requested a committee of a "very lean
structure" in the Anthem MDL.

Eric Gibbs, a partner at San Francisco's Girard Gibbs, said courts
are becoming "more sensitive" to the size of committees.  His firm
was one of four appointed to lead the Anthem MDL.  "That allows
the courts to manage the cases better and ultimately allows the
courts to keep attorney fees in check," he said.But that's not the
case for all judges.  In litigation against General Motors Co.
over ignition-switch recalls, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman
last year appointed 15 attorneys to lead the MDL.

Complex cases, such as the GM case, often need larger leadership
committees, some lawyers say.  "This is an extraordinary David
versus Goliath dynamic," said Richard Arsenault of Neblett, Beard
& Arsenault in Alexandria, Louisiana.  "A lot of deference should
be given to experienced plaintiffs counsel who have been in these
wars and understand what kinds of teams they need to put

Other lawyers said repeat players are the nature of the beast.  In
convincing judges to give them lead roles, lawyers often advocate
for colleagues who worked with them on prior cases. "You've got to
have people who have experience and have done this type of
litigation before," said Brian Barr -- bbarr@levinlaw.com -- a
shareholder at Levin Papantonio.

Joseph Rice, founding member of Motley Rice, who joined a
leadership committee of 15 attorneys in the Deepwater Horizon oil-
spill MDL, said not every firm has the financial wherewithal to
lead an MDL, which could take years and cost millions of dollars.

"The litigants deserve to have firms that are able to go toe to
toe with firms like Kirkland & Ellis that have 1,000 lawyers and
an unlimited budget," he said.

* U.K. Implements Antitrust Opt-Out Class Action Procedure
Oliver Heinisch, Esq., James L. McGinnis, Esq., Nadezhda Nikonova,
Esq. of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, in an article for,
The National Law Review report that winds of change are blowing
through Europe's national courts, beginning with a new antitrust
damages Directive requiring changes in national laws to facilitate
private enforcement of competition law.  This step was a major
change, and an equally significant development has taken place in
the U.K., which will make it even more attractive to private
enforcement.  As of October 1, 2015, the U.K.'s long-anticipated
opt-out class action procedure will be available.

Given the general proximity between the U.K. and U.S. legal
systems and with a body of U.S. case law that has been developed
for over half a century, we can expect there to be close
examination of U.S. class action procedures.  Despite commonly
expressed views critical of "the excesses of the U.S. class action
system," U.S. class action jurisprudence, for better or worse,
remains the only reference point for the U.K.'s new procedure.
Put simply, to what extent will the responsible UK court look
across the Atlantic for guidance and be able to benefit from it?
What conclusions can be drawn, if any, for potential success of
the new collective action system?

In this first in a series of articles examining recent EU
developments, we address the U.K.'s collective action rules and
compare them to key aspects of current U.S. class action practice.
Next up will be a discussion of recent procedural enhancements and
changes in U.K. competition procedures.  Lastly, we will offer
predictions of what we can expect to see from European Union
member states in the course of implementing the private damages
Directive required to be in place by December 27, 2016.

I. Class Actions in the U.K.

The U.K. courts have been driving the development of private
enforcement, with France, Germany and the Netherlands being other
important jurisdictions.  Thanks to a broad interpretation of
jurisdiction, existing rules on disclosure, and specialized courts
conducting proceedings in English, the U.K. has become one of the
most attractive venues for antitrust plaintiffs, though class
actions have been scarce.  Things are about to heat up even
further.  In effect, as of October 1, 2015, the U.K. government
has enacted the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA15) as well as
the most drastic amendments to the procedural rules extending the
jurisdiction of the Competition Appeal Tribunal ("CAT") since its
creation in 2003, by adding competition law collective actions
exclusively to its remit.  In doing so it went further than any
other European Government and to a large extent overcame the fear
spreading through most European jurisdictions of opening
floodgates to U.S.-style class actions.

A. The Rules

In addition to the preparatory legislative material, there are now
three new sources in which rules are set out: 1. the CRA15, 2.
the Competition Appeal Tribunal Rules 2015 and 3. the CAT Guide to
proceedings 2015.  An important fourth source will be case law
interpreting these rules.

1. Bringing a Collective Action

Collective actions will have to be brought exclusively before the
CAT.  Before an action can proceed, the CAT must grant a
collective proceedings order ("CPO").  The CAT will certify claims
that are eligible for inclusion.  Three requirements must be

(1) There must be an "identifiable class" such that it is
"possible to say for any particular person, using an objective
definition of the class, whether that person falls within the

(2) Claims must raise common issues, i.e., only claims with "same,
similar or related issues of law and fact" are eligible.  This
might require "the assessment of individual issues" which,
however, is "not fatal."  After reviewing all of the
circumstances, the CAT may approve collective proceedings in
relation to only part of the claims.  For instance, the CAT may
grant a CPO for the liability portion of the case and then "direct
that the quantification of damages proceed as individual issues."

(3) Claims must be "suitable" for collective proceedings as
opposed to individual proceedings as determined by eight broad
factors, including a fairness and cost-benefit analysis.

The CAT will decide whether the collective action will proceed as
opt-in or opt-out.  In doing so, it will determine the "strength
of the claim" and the degree of commonality and whether opt-in
would be practical.  It will also certify the representative who
has applied to represent the class if it is "just and reasonable"
to do so.  There was considerable discussion on that point during
the protracted consultation process which was seen key to avoiding
U.S.-style class actions in the U.K.  The Government decided not
to include a presumption that law firms, special purpose vehicles
and third-party funders would not fairly and adequately act in the
interest of class members:  instead the entities are acceptable.
However, the Government made clear that admitting those
organizations will be the exception rather than the rule, and the
CAT has broad discretion when deciding on whether it is just and
reasonable for a representative to act and when deciding whether
they would act fairly and adequately in the interest of the class.

[W]hether that person

   (a) would fairly and adequately act in the interests of the
class members;
   (b) does not have, in relation to the common issues for the
class members, a material interest
   (c) that is in conflict with the interests of class members;
   (d) if there is more than one applicant seeking approval to act
as the class representative in respect of the same claims, would
be the most suitable;
   (e) will be able to pay the defendant's recoverable costs if
ordered to do so; and
   (f) where an interim injunction is sought, will be able to
satisfy any undertaking as to damages required by the Tribunal.

2. Collective Settlement

There will be no cost-shifting as a result of an early settlement
offer by the defendants.  However, settlement offers can be made
without prejudice except as to cost.  The fact that a party
rejects a settlement offer can be taken into account at the end of
the case when a decision is made as to cost.  Otherwise, the usual
rule fee-shifting rules apply.

3. Damages

There will be no punitive or treble damages in collective
proceedings.  However, the introduction of collective opt-out
actions has the potential to increase the overall liability for
defendants.  Where the Court makes an award of damages in opt-out
class actions, any unclaimed damages must be paid to a charity or
the Tribunal can order that the representative is paid an amount
to cover his costs and expenses in connection with the
proceedings.  This limitation was introduced to prevent
representatives being driven by the financial incentive of
unclaimed damages. The CAT will be able to calculate damages
"aggregately," via sub-classes, or individually.  When dealing
with a "large class with largely identical individual claims" the
CAT "may calculate the damages on a class-wide basis" by either
calculating "a lump sum award against the defendant" or by "using
a formula to determine each represented person's claim."  Although
the class representative is required to provide an estimate of the
damages and a proposal for how they would be distributed among
class members, it is ultimately up to the CAT "to give directions
as to how each class member or represented person's entitlement is
to be calculated" by either "specifying a formula" or appointing
an "independent third party to determine the claims or any
disputes regarding quantification."  Another important limitation
is that damages-based agreements will not be permitted.

4. The CAT's Discretion and Guidance

As the rules make clear the CAT will have wide discretion on a
number of matters prompting Government and the CAT to provide
detailed guidance.  In its latest response to the public
consultation the Government also provided some insights into how
it intends discretion should be exercised when deciding on various
procedural requirements at the certification stage and throughout
the proceedings, but none of the Guidance provided seem to resolve
two fundamental questions that have been at the heart of U.S.
class action litigation in general and certification in
particular: what will the standards be, and how will they be

The U.K. standard appears similar to U.S. "Rule 23," and it is
obvious that the collective proceedings order is a critical stage
in the proceedings.  That has always been true of the analogous
"class certification order" in the U.S., if not more so.  In the
U.S. it is well understood that exposure to class wide damages --
automatically trebled in competition cases plus an award of
attorney's fees -- provides a nearly overwhelming pressure to
settle if the class is certified.

* Wilson Elser Provides Update on Mega Settlements
Anjali C. Das, Esq. of Wilson Elser provided update on litigation
developments and mega settlements.

Dole Food, Inc. shareholders sued Dole Chairman and CEO David
Murdock and Dole President Michael Carter in connection with
Murdock's buy-out (or "freeze out") of the company for $13.50 per
share.  Plaintiffs filed suit in Delaware Chancery Court alleging
that defendants intentionally drove down the price of Dole's stock
and misled the board committee, which comprised independent
directors, regarding Dole's financial outlook so that Murdock
could acquire the company for less money.

On August 27, 2015, the Delaware Chancery Court (Vice Chancellor
Laster) issued a scathing decision in the case following a nine-
day trial finding that Murdock and Carter engaged in "fraud" to
gain approval of the deal at a reduced price, and that their
conduct was "intentional and in bad faith."  The court held that
Murdock and Carter breached their duty of loyalty and were
personally liable for $148 million, representing damages of $2.74
per share.

In re Activision Blizzard -- Largest Cash Recovery Ever in
Derivative Action

Plaintiffs challenged a transaction in which Vivendi divested its
controlling equity position in Activision Blizzard, Inc.
(Activision). The transaction restructured Activision's governance
profile and stockholder base. Shortly before trial the parties
entered into a settlement whereby defendants agreed to pay $275
million to Activision.  The Delaware Chancery Court (Vice
Chancellor Laster) approved the settlement. The court observed
that the "monetary consideration of $275 million is the largest
cash recovery ever achieved on stockholder derivative claims."
The settlement represented the 10 percent spread between
Activision's stock price on the open market and sale price in the
transaction.  The court also awarded plaintiff's counsel $72.5
million pursuant to the common fund doctrine "founded on the
equitable principle that those who have profited from litigation
should share its costs."

Duke Energy -- M&A Dispute in the Guise of a Section 11 Claim
A securities class action was filed against Duke Energy and its
directors and officers in connection with its $26 billion merger
with Progress Energy.  When the merger was proposed, it was
announced that the head of Progress Energy (Bill Johnson) would
become the CEO of the merged entity.  However, shortly after the
merger closed, the Board of the combined company voted to make the
CEO of Duke Energy (Jim Rogers) the head of the combined company.
Shareholders filed a securities class action lawsuit alleging that
the merger registration statement and prospectus contained
materially untrue and misleading information regarding Johnson's
anticipated role as CEO of the newly combined entity.  On March
10, 2015, Duke Energy announced that it had reached an agreement
to pay $146.25 million to settle the class action claims.

Freeport-McMoRan -- Settlement Paid as a Special Dividend to

Freeport's shareholders filed a derivative action in Delaware
Chancery Court alleging that the company overpaid when it bought
two companies, McMoRan Exploration and Plains Exploration &
Production, for a combined $9 billion.  Plaintiffs alleged that
the Freeport Board had conflicts of interest while negotiating the
acquisition due to overlapping boards and ownership interests of
the three companies involved in the transaction.  The parties
agreed to settle the lawsuit for a payment of $137.5 million plus
corporate governance reforms.  The settlement is to be paid out in
the form of a "special dividend" to Freeport shareholders, net of
attorney's fees and costs.


S U B S C R I P T I O N  I N F O R M A T I O N

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Washington, D.C., USA.  Marion
Alcestis A. Castillon, Ma. Cristina Canson, Noemi Irene A. Adala,
Joy A. Agravante, Valerie Udtuhan, Julie Anne L. Toledo,
Christopher G. Patalinghug, and Peter A. Chapman, Editors.

Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. ISSN 1525-2272.

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