CAR_Public/151230.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

          Wednesday, December 30, 2015, Vol. 17, No. 260


                            Headlines


7-ELEVEN: Faces Discovery Sanctions in NJ Franchise Litigation
AMERICAN TOBACCO: La. Residents Join Smoking Cessation Program
AP7: Settles Securities Class Action for $150 Million
ARAB BANK: 2nd Cir. Upholds Dismissal of Terrorism Financing Suits
ARIZONA: Same-Sex Couples to Get $300,000 to Cover Attorney Fees

ASHLEY MADISON: Data Breach Cases Consolidated in St. Louis Court
AUSTRALIA: Urged to Establish Williamtown Contingency Fund
BANKSIA SECURITIES: Liquidators Reach Out-of-Court Settlement
BED BATH: Enters Into Settlement with FTC Over Bamboo Mislabeling
BERNARD L. MADOFF: PwC Settles with Ponzi Scheme Victims

BIG BIRD: "Rodriguez" Suit Alleges FLSA Violation
BOSTIK INC: Faces "Clark" Suit Over "Defective" DURABOND D-70
BP PLC: Buzbee Gets Modest Verdict in 2011 Refinery Leak Case
BURLINGTON COAT: OT Class Settlement Gets Prelim. Court Approval
CASH CONVERTERS: Class Action Settlement Payouts Begin

CHEETAH: Former Dancers File Labor Suit in Atlanta
CHICAGO, IL: Police Officers Lose Overtime Class Action Bid
CYTRX CORPORATION: Continues to Defend Securities Litigation
CYTRX CORPORATION: Continues to Defend "Rajasekaran" Action
D.L.C. LIMOUSINE: "Munoz-Gonzales" Suit Alleges FLSA Violation

DIRECTV INC: High Court "Policing" Calif. Courts, Lawyer Says
DRAFTKINGS INC: Judge Upholds NY AG's Motion to Halt Operations
EXTREME SECURITY: Fails to Pay Overtime, "Infante" Suit Alleges
FACEBOOK INC: DOJ Lawyers Defend TCPA in Privacy Suit
FARMERS INSURANCE: Female Lawyers' Class Action Can Proceed

FEDERAL SIGNAL: Firefighters Sue Over Siren-Related Hearing Loss
FLINT, MI: Residents File Class Action Over Lead in Water Source
FOODWORKS SOLUTIONS: Faces Illinois Suit Over FLSA Violation
FORD MOTOR: Fails to Fulfill Toxic Cleanup Promises
FRANCIS' DRILLING: Faces "Lopez" Suit Alleging FLSA Violation

GENERAL ELECTRIC: Lawyers Balk at Swartz's FLSA Plaintiff Sign-Ups
GENERAL MOTORS: Pays Out $594.5MM to Fix Ignition-Switch Claims
GOGO: Airline Wi-Fi Class Action Settlement Gets Prelim. Okay
GOOGLE INC: 3rd Cir. Hears Arguments in Nickelodeon Cookies Suit
GUAM: Class Action Over Tax Refunds to Continue

HOME DEPOT: Bank Plaintiffs Seek Injunction in Data Breach Case
HOME DEPOT: Lawyer Questioned Over Data Breach Settlement Notices
HUTCHINSON TECHNOLOGY: Faces "Erickson" Suit Over TDK Merger Plan
INO'S TACOS: Fails to Pay Overtime, "Mata" Suit Alleges
JEFFERIES & CO: 2nd Cir. Orders New Trial in Securities Fraud Case

MANFREDINI LANDSCAPING: Violates FLSA, Ill. Wage Laws, Suit Says
MDC PARTNERS: Defending Firefighter Pension Plan's Suit in N.Y.
MDC PARTNERS: Defending "Paniccia" Class Suit in Ontario
MIA HOSPITALITY: Faces "Bello" Lawsuit Alleging FLSA Violation
MIA HOSPITALITY: "Rojas" Suit Seeks Payment of OT Wages

MORGAN STANLEY: Faces "Staines" Action in Ontario Superior Court
MORGAN STANLEY: Deal Reached in CDS Antitrust Litigation
NATIONAL COLLEGIATE: 2 Antitrust Class Actions to Proceed
NATIONAL COLLEGIATE: Plaintiffs Lawyers Get $12 Million in Fees
NATIONAL FOOTBALL: Critics Balk at Concussion Efforts

NETFLIX INC: Misclassifies Curators, "Moss" Suit Claims
OFFICE DEPOT: To Pay $500,000 for Lead Plaintiffs' Counsel Fees
OFFICE DEPOT: Continues to Defend "Heitzenrater" Case
OFFICE DEPOT: Continues to Defend "Rivet" Case
ORTHOFIX INTERNATIONAL: Settlement Documentation Pending

PAPA JOHN'S: Jan. 2016 Final Approval Hearing in "Perrin" Case
PHILIP MORRIS: $900,000 Non-Economic Damages Awarded in "Bullock"
PMC-SIERRA INC: Sued in Calif., Delaware Over Skyworks Deal
QUALCOMM INC: 3226701 Canada Files Securities Suit in S.D. Cal.
QUIKSILVER INC: Class Action Stayed Pending Bankruptcy

RED ROBIN: Settles Tip-Pooling Class Action for $1.3 Million
RIMAX CONTRACTORS: "Veliz" Suit Seeks Unpaid Wages
SLATER & GORDON: Management Aware of Missed Earnings Target
SMITH MANAGEMENT: Faces "Crevatas" Suit for FLSA Violation
TD BANK: Ex-Rothstein Lawyer Get Jail Time Over Ponzi Scheme

UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Faces "Gonzales" Suit Over TCPA Violation
UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Declared Legal in Australia Amid U.S. Suits
UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Revises Driver Contract to Enable Arbitration
UNIT CORPORATION: Panola Independent School Case Remains Pending
UPTOWN, LA: Residents File Class Action to Speed Up SELA Project

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Faces "Brady" Suit Over "Defeat Devices"
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Faces "Castagna" Suit Over "Clean Diesel" Cars
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: N.D. Calif. Court to Handle Emissions MDL
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: May Opt for Alternative Dispute Resolution
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Hausfeld to Pursue Claims in Germany

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Top Managers Not Spared From Emissions Probe
WARNER/CHAPPELL: Settles "Happy Birthday" Song Class Action
WESTMINISTER SHORES: Faces "Waters" Suit Over FLSA Violation
WORLD'S GOLD: Branden Alleges Violation of Cal. Business Code
WYNDHAM HOTELS: Enters Into Hacking Case Settlement Deal with FTC

YAKIMA REGIONAL: Violated Charity Care Act, Judge Says

* Judge Upholds Bond Requirement Rules for New York Nail Salons


                            *********


7-ELEVEN: Faces Discovery Sanctions in NJ Franchise Litigation
--------------------------------------------------------------
Zack Needles, writing for New Jersey Law Journal, reports that a
federal magistrate judge in Camden has sanctioned 7-Eleven Inc.
for what he said were repeatedly deficient discovery responses in
a case alleging the company unlawfully targeted South Jersey
franchisees and owners for termination.

While U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider of the District of New
Jersey stopped short of finding that 7-Eleven intentionally
withheld relevant information, he said the company's "obfuscation"
has made the litigation much more expensive and time-consuming
than it should have been.

"The court cannot underestimate the amount of time and resources
that were wasted because 7-Eleven did not do what it was supposed
to do," Judge Schneider said in a Dec. 11 opinion.  "One might ask
how could the failure to properly answer two interrogatories cause
so many problems.  This case is a 'poster child' for the havoc
that could result."

Judge Schneider said 7-Eleven violated Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 26(g) by failing to conduct a reasonable search for
information requested by the plaintiffs in their interrogatories,
and Rule 37(b)(2) by making a "lackluster and half-hearted effort
to comply" with an Oct. 16, 2014, discovery order.

The magistrate judge said the appropriate sanction for the 26(g)
violation was an admonishment of the company and its counsel at
Philadelphia-based Duane Morris, including a warning "that similar
conduct will be addressed more harshly in the future."

Judge Schneider also ordered 7-Eleven to pay the plaintiffs' fees
and costs associated with trying to get the company to comply with
the Oct. 16, 2014, order. Schneider did not give a dollar figure
but did lay out the specific work that must be reimbursed, adding
that plaintiffs counsel must show good cause for any other
requested reimbursements.

The plaintiffs in Younesv. 7-Eleven have alleged that 7-Eleven
undertook a coordinated effort to terminate weak South Jersey
franchises and oust franchisees and owners who complained about
the company.  Some of the plaintiffs have also alleged that the
company specifically targeted South Asian owners and franchisees,
according to court documents.

The plaintiffs served two interrogatories in November 2013 seeking
"all policies, plans or internal communications" regarding the
company's intention to terminate franchise agreements with the
plaintiffs and others in South Jersey, according to Schneider.
The plaintiffs also produced affidavits from two former 7-Eleven
employees who attested to the fact that such a plan existed.

In its January 2014 answer, 7-Eleven failed to identify any such
plan, Judge Schneider said.  Several months and numerous discovery
conferences later, however, the company "grudgingly acknowledged"
the plan, which it referred to internally as "Project P" or
"Project Philly," according to Judge Schneider.

"7-Eleven now describes Project P as an effort to staff stores
where franchises were going to be terminated because of alleged
fraud," Judge Schneider said.

But it took much too long for 7-Eleven to confirm the project's
existence and to subsequently hand over related documents, Judge
Schneider said.

The company did not produce the first Project P-related documents
-- two spreadsheets -- until September 2014, Judge Schneider said.
It then proceeded to release more material "in dribs and drabs"
well into 2015, despite an Oct. 16, 2014, discovery order
requiring the company to turn over all information related to the
project by Oct. 28, 2014, according to Schneider.

On March 11 of this year, still not satisfied with 7-Eleven's
responses, the court issued an order laying out the specific
Project P documents the company was to produce by April 1, Judge
Schneider said, adding that "it should not have been necessary to
'spoon-feed'" that information to the company.

"The court assumes that after the March 11, 2015, order 7-Eleven
finally produced responsive Project P documents since the parties'
Project P disputes largely dissipated. (Either that or a strategy
to 'wear down' plaintiffs was successful.)," Judge Schneider said,
noting that the plaintiffs have produced a large notebook filled
with responsive documents 7-Eleven eventually turned over.

Judge Schneider said that while he was reluctant to conclude that
7-Eleven intentionally obstructed discovery, it's clear the
company's initial search for information on Project P was
inadequate.

"There is no getting around the fact that if 7-Eleven had done an
objectively reasonable investigation in January 2014 it would have
and should have identified Project P," Judge Schneider said.  "Any
other conclusion is implausible.  After all, the project consumed
enormous 7-Eleven time and money and generated substantial reports
and emails."

Judge Schneider rejected the company's argument that its delay in
handing over Project P information was justified because the
plaintiffs' discovery requests referred to the plan as "Operation
Philadelphia."

Judge Schneider said that argument amounted to 7-Eleven "playing a
'gotcha' game."

The judge also turned back 7-Eleven's assertion that the
plaintiffs intentionally misled the company about what information
they were seeking.

"The notion that plaintiffs wanted to waste substantial time and
money seeking relevant discovery is, to put it mildly,
ridiculous," Judge Schneider said.

Still, Judge Schneider denied the plaintiffs' request to strike 7-
Eleven's answer entirely, saying it would be inequitable given
that the company eventually did comply with the discovery requests
and orders.

"It is true that 7-Eleven's conduct needlessly increased the cost
of litigation," Judge Schneider said.  "Nevertheless, the court
assumes that ultimately plaintiffs received most if not all of the
discovery to which they were entitled."

Counsel for the plaintiffs, Steven Angstreich of Weir & Partners
in Philadelphia, said he thought Schneider's ruling "was a little
long in coming" since the motion for sanctions was filed in
December 2014.

"But I thought that he understood what the issues were and
resolved them in a way that was fair to all," Mr. Angstreich said,
though he added, "I'm still not convinced I've gotten everything
that exists that was discoverable."

Mr. Angstreich said he plans to seek some counsel fees beyond what
Schneider specifically mentioned in his opinion and suspects 7-
Eleven will appeal the decision.

According to the docket, 7-Eleven is represented by Duane Morris
partners Susan Verda Metcalfe and Sheila Raftery Wiggins.  Duane
Morris spokesman Joshua Peck said the firm had no comment.


AMERICAN TOBACCO: La. Residents Join Smoking Cessation Program
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Advocate reports that more than 43,000 Louisiana residents are
now calling it quits.

Yes, tobacco companies spend billions on promoting their products
and their marketing efforts are relentless.  It's too bad the
report that Marsha Shuler addressed in her Dec. 9 article in The
Advocate (Report: Louisiana spends fraction of suggested amount on
anti-smoking initiatives; overall efforts rated poor) did not
mention the 43,000-plus Louisianians who have applied for
membership in the Smoking Cessation Trust.  The Smoking Cessation
Trust provides free medications, nicotine replacement therapy
(gum, patches, inhalers, etc.), group and individual counseling,
and quit-line coaching to help Louisiana residents who qualify to
go smoke-free.

The Smoking Cessation Trust is the result of a court judgment in a
14-year-old class-action lawsuit entitled Scott v. American
Tobacco Co.  The judgment became final in 2011 and ordered certain
tobacco companies to fund a statewide, 10-year smoking-cessation
program to benefit more than 210,000 Louisiana smokers who are
members of the plaintiff class (the "Scott Class").  The recipient
of the award was a court-established and court-supervised smoking-
cessation program to benefit all Louisiana residents who began
smoking cigarettes before Sept. 1, 1988.

The Smoking Cessation Trust is not allowed to spend one penny on
paid advertising.  Thanks to referrals from providers, health
plans, employers, friends, family, members and other influencers
throughout Louisiana, 43,462 cigarette smokers throughout the
state have applied for membership in the free program.  In fact,
since Jan. 1, 2014, the trust has been enrolling more than 1,500
new members per month.  The Smoking Cessation Trust began
enrolling members in 2012 and hopes to achieve its goal of helping
210,000 Louisianans become smoke-free by 2022.

The Smoking Cessation Trust works in partnership with growing list
of health care delivery systems to help meet the needs of their
patients and their communities, including Ochsner Health System,
Cardiovascular Institute of the South, West Jefferson Medical
Center, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and the
Rapides Foundation, to name a few.  The trust is also working with
the largest managed care plans in Louisiana to help introduce the
free program to providers and health plan members who might
benefit.


AP7: Settles Securities Class Action for $150 Million
-----------------------------------------------------
Susanna Rust, writing for Investment & Pensions Europe, reports
that Sweden's AP7 fund and its co-lead plaintiffs have reached a
$150 million (EUR138 million) settlement with JP Morgan Chase,
ending a 2012 securities class action over the trading and risk
management activities at the heart of what has become known as the
London Whale trading scandal.

AP7, the government-backed default option for the premium pension
system in Sweden, was lead plaintiff alongside US public pension
funds from the states of Arkansas, Ohio and Oregon.

Together, they have agreed to settle the class action for $150
million in cash.

Richard Groettheim, chief executive at AP7, who oversaw the
litigation on behalf of the scheme, said: "The settlement
represents an excellent recovery for the class after more than
three years of litigation.

"AP7's involvement in this matter illustrates its continued
commitment to represent the interests of investors."

The settlement marks the end of a six-month mediation process and
years of litigation, including the court's certification of a
class of investors.

The case was initially filed in a New York district court in July
2012.

The lead plaintiffs were appointed a month later and in April 2013
filed the complaint on which the mediation was based.

The complaint alleged JP Morgan violated federal securities law by
making false and misleading statements about the activities of its
CIO and the extent of the risk posed by the so-called London Whale
trades within the CIO's synthetic credit portfolio.

The complaint claimed these ultimately caused damage to investors.

Carried out by a trader called Bruno Iksil, nicknamed the London
Whale because of the size of his positions, the trades led to more
than $6bn in losses for the US investment bank and nearly $1bn in
fines from US and UK regulators.

The Ohio state joint-lead plaintiff was the Public Employees
Retirement System (OPERS).

One of Sweden's five buffer funds, AP1, recently announced that it
was stepping down as lead plaintiff in a consolidated lawsuit
against practices in so-called dark pools.


ARAB BANK: 2nd Cir. Upholds Dismissal of Terrorism Financing Suits
------------------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Keshner, writing for New York Law Journal, reports that the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a decision to
dismiss the terrorism financing suits that thousands of non-
citizens filed against Arab Bank, while suggesting the U.S.
Supreme Court might allow for corporate liability under the Alien
Tort Statute.

Judge Robert Sack, writing for the circuit on Dec. 8, said a
pivotal ruling for the Arab Bank litigation -- Kiobel I, a 2010
Second Circuit decision foreclosing corporate liability under the
Alien Tort Statute -- "is and remains the law of this circuit"
despite a Supreme Court affirmance of Kiobel on other grounds.

Judge Sack, joined by Judges Denny Chin and Susan Carney, affirmed
a lower court's dismissal of the cases despite the panel's view
that the high court's affirmance in Kiobel II "suggests that the
[Alien Tort Statute] may allow for corporate liability and our
observation that there is a growing consensus among our sister
circuits to that effect."

When it came to corporate liability under the statute, Judge Sack
said "Kiobel I now appears to swim alone against the tide."

The case, In Re: Arab Bank, PLC Alien Tort Statute Litigation, 13-
3605(L), was argued just over a year ago (NYLJ, Dec. 3, 2014).

The victims' estates or the victims of terrorist attacks in Israel
between 1995 and 2005 claimed the Jordanian-based Arab Bank
financed and facilitated the attacks of groups like Hamas.

The bank has hotly disputed assertions it knowingly aided
terrorists in its provision of banking services.

The plaintiffs in the five appealed cases are mostly Israeli and
count in the thousands. The cases are separate from six other
terrorism financing suits that U.S. citizens and their estates
have filed against the bank.

Those six cases, which include Linde v. Arab Bank, 04-cv-2799,
went to trial in the Eastern District last year on violations of
civil provisions in the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Judge Brian Cogan presided over a five-week trial, in which a jury
found the bank civilly liable for violating the Anti-Terrorism Act
in connection to more than 20 attacks between 2001 and 2004 (NYLJ,
Sept. 23, 2014).

With a damages trial just days away in August, the bank and
plaintiffs' counsel said the sides were agreeing to a confidential
settlement.

The five cases before the circuit on Dec. 8 contended Kiobel I was
no longer good law, or at least was not controlling.

When the U.S. Supreme Court took up Kiobel, it granted certiorari
to consider the question of whether the law recognized corporate
liability.

After oral argument, the court asked for briefing on another
question of whether and under what circumstances the statute
permitted courts "to recognize a cause of action for violations of
the law of nations occurring within the territory of a sovereign
other than the United States."


ARIZONA: Same-Sex Couples to Get $300,000 to Cover Attorney Fees
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Associated Press reports that lawyers representing several
same-sex couples who challenged Arizona's ban on gay marriage will
receive $300,000 from the state to cover attorney fees and other
costs, a federal judge ruled.

Judge John Sedwick approved the agreement in an order that calls
for a judgment of roughly $302,000.

The plaintiffs include national gay-rights organization Lambda
Legal, which filed a lawsuit in March 2014 on behalf of seven
couples and two surviving spouses.  The ban violated the couples'
rights to equal protection and due process under the U.S
Constitution, attorneys had argued at the time.

Then Attorney General Tom Horne was named as a defendant in the
complaint.  In October 2014, the conservative Horne gave up
fighting a federal court ruling that struck down Arizona's 1996
law barring same-sex marriage as well as a 2008 voter-approved
state constitutional amendment outlawing it.

The decision on the Arizona law came after gay marriage bans were
struck down in more than two dozen states.

Then, the U.S. Supreme Court declared this summer that same-sex
couples have a right to marry in all 50 states.

Federal law lets those who prevail in civil rights cases seek
compensation for the costs of bringing such lawsuits to court.

Judge Sedwick was the same judge who ruled in September that
lawyers for four same-sex couples in a separate class-action
lawsuit opposing the marriage ban receive $200,000 from the state.


ASHLEY MADISON: Data Breach Cases Consolidated in St. Louis Court
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Amanda Bronstad, writing for The National Law Journal, reports
that lawsuits filed over the cyberattack of extramarital site
AshleyMadison.com have been coordinated before a federal judge in
St. Louis.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Dec. 9
ordered 18 cases filed over the July data breach to be coordinated
before U.S. District Judge John Ross of the Eastern District of
Missouri, who is overseeing the first data-breach case filed
against Ashley Madison on July 22.  An additional case was filed
on Dec. 8 in the Central District of California.

"This district is a geographically central and accessible forum
for this nationwide litigation," MDL Panel chairwoman Sarah Vance
wrote.  "The Eastern District of Missouri also is relatively
convenient for defendants, which are located in Toronto, Canada.
The first-filed action is pending in this district, and this
district has the support of both plaintiffs and defendants."
Avid Life Media Inc., the Toronto-based parent company of Ashley
Madison, and some of the plaintiffs attorneys had pushed for the
Missouri judge.  Others had argued for districts in California and
Illinois.

Avid Life and its attorney, Kevin Rising, a partner in Barnes &
Thornburg's Los Angeles office, did not immediately respond to
requests for comment.

The breach compromised the personal information of about 37
million subscribers of the matchmaking site, which targets people
looking for an affair.  Avid Life chief executive officer
Noel Biderman stepped down on Aug. 28 after subscriber information
was released onto the Internet earlier that month.  Mr. Biderman
is named as a defendant in one of the suits.

Most of the lawsuits are class actions that accuse Avid Life of
negligence in allowing its customers' personal information to be
hacked in violation of several state consumer-fraud and data-
breach statutes.  Some claim Ashley Madison fraudulently induced
male subscribers to enter into contracts by setting up "fembot,"
or female robot, accounts.

A dozen of the cases have been filed anonymously. In the Missouri
case, Avid Life has already moved to dismiss because the
plaintiffs have improperly used "Doe" pseudonyms.


AUSTRALIA: Urged to Establish Williamtown Contingency Fund
----------------------------------------------------------
Joanne McCarthy, writing for Newcastle Herald, reports that labor
heavyweight Sam Dastyari and Port Stephens MP Kate Washington have
called on the Federal Government to establish an immediate
contingency fund for victims of the Williamtown contamination
scandal as a Port Stephens fisherman sent a three-word plea to
Defence Minister Marise Payne.

"Help us, please," said prawn fisherman Kevin Radnidge, who broke
down on Dec. 21 while describing the impact of not having an
income for four months because of the scandal, and his fears for
other fishermen.

"Some of the boys I'm really worried about," he said.

"They're saying things, self harm things. The RAAF base has taken
our businesses from us. It's not a natural disaster.  They can't
just leave it like this when we don't know if we'll ever be able
to fish again."

Senator Dastyari and Ms Washington wrote to Ms Payne, Minister for
Defence Materiel Mal Brough and Department of Defence secretary
Dennis Richardson on Dec. 21.  They called for an immediate,
pre-Christmas contingency fund for any Port Stephens residents who
have incurred costs because of water contamination from the
Williamtown base.

The call came on the eve of another day of evidence at a Senate
inquiry hearing in Newcastle on Dec. 15 about the Department of
Defence's response to fire fighting foam contaminants "exiting"
Williamtown RAAF base after decades of unrestrained use, and what
other government agencies knew about it.

Senator Dastyari and Ms Washington, who will give evidence at the
inquiry, said it was "reprehensible" that residents had to launch
a civil class action to force the Department of Defence and the
Federal Government to compensate people for what had become
considerable costs which could continue indefinitely.

"These are not costs that should be borne by affected residents
and businesses," Senator Dastyari and Ms Washington wrote.

"We believe it is reprehensible that residents would be forced to
undertake legal proceedings in order to receive fair compensation
for losses they have suffered as a direct result of actions
undertaken by the Department of Defence."

The Federal Government has also been called on to ensure Defence
accountability for the contamination scandal by "isolating funds
in anticipation of a future compensation package as a separate
line item in the upcoming Federal budget", Senator Dastyari and Ms
Washington wrote.


BANKSIA SECURITIES: Liquidators Reach Out-of-Court Settlement
-------------------------------------------------------------
John Dagg, writing for Herald Sun, reports that liquidators
winding up failed non-bank lender Banksia Securities have reached
an out-of-court settlement with its former directors, auditors and
legal advisers.

The key Banksia parties will agree to pay about $15 million but
not admit any legal liability over their role in the collapse of
the Kyabram-based financial group, Business Daily has been told.

Banksia collapsed in October 2012 owing $660 million to about
16,000 mainly older and rural investors.

The in-principle settlement covers legal actions against Banksia's
former directors, auditors and legal advisers run by liquidator
Ferrier Hodgson as well as a class action backed by litigation
maverick Mark Elliott.

It is expected to be lodged with the Supreme Court of Victoria for
approval.  The settlement does not cover Banksia's trustee, The
Trust Company, which is being sued by Ferrier Hodgson and is also
subject to a separate $200 million class action from Mr. Elliott.

The Trust Company, which has refuted any allegations of
negligence, is now owned by wealth management heavyweight
Perpetual.

Business Daily understands Ferrier Hodgson will also continue
legal action against a company that provided insurance services to
Banksia.

Ferrier Hodgson partner John Lindholm on Dec. 20 declined to
comment.

The liquidator had sought $150 million in damages from Banksia's
directors, auditors and legal advisers claiming they were
negligent in their duties.

Mr. Elliott said a settlement would narrow the focus of ongoing
legal actions against The Trust Company.  "We want to put the
brightest light we can on the trustee," he said.  Banksia
investors have so far received 80c back in every dollar.


BED BATH: Enters Into Settlement with FTC Over Bamboo Mislabeling
-----------------------------------------------------------------
C. Ryan Barber, writing for The National Law Journal, reports that
in the latest round of enforcement against deceptive advertising,
the Federal Trade Commission reached settlements on Dec. 9 with
four national retailers the agency accused of mislabeling rayon
products as being made of bamboo.

The retailers -- Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc.,
Nordstrom Inc. and Backcountry.com LLC -- will be barred from
making inaccurate claims about bamboo content and also be required
to pay a combined $1.3 million in civil penalties.

"It's misleading to call bamboo that has been chemically processed
into rayon simply 'bamboo,'" said Jessica Rich, director of the
commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection.  "With consumers in
the midst of their holiday shopping, it's important for them to
know that textiles marketed as environmentally friendly
alternatives may not be as 'green' as they were led to believe."

In February 2010, the FTC sent the four companies a warning letter
about sales of rayon products advertised and labeled as containing
bamboo.  In spite of those warnings and announcements of
settlements with other companies, the four retailers continued
marketing and selling rayon textiles including scarves, socks,
napkins and shirts that were advertised as being made of bamboo,
according to the FTC's complaints.

The commission proposed that Bed Bath & Beyond and Nordstrom pay
$500,000 and $360,000, respectively. J.C. Penney would pay
$290,000 and Backcountry.com would pay $150,000 for violations of
the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act and commission
rules.

Lawyers for the four companies declined to comment or were not
immediately reached.  Dentons represented Bed Bath & Beyond;
Nordstrom was represented by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati;
Kelley Drye & Warren represented J.C. Penney; and Venable
represented Backcountry.

"We are committed to providing our customers with full and
accurate information about all the products we sell," Nordstrom
said in a statement. "To ensure that we're following through with
that commitment, we'll continue to look for opportunities to
improve our processes."

In its filings with the U.S. District Court for the District of
Columbia, the commission said rayon is manufactured by taking
purified cellulose from a plant source -- such as wood pulp or
bamboo -- and then putting it through chemical processing that
ultimately yields fibers.  But even if those fibers are made from
bamboo cellulose, they must be labeled and advertised as rayon,
government lawyers wrote.

The commission's complaints include several samples of rayon
products that were allegedly advertised as containing bamboo.  In
the complaint against Bed Bath & Beyond, the commission included
screenshot from the company's website showing the "Kassatex Bamboo
Bath Robe Collection."  In smaller print under the product
information tab, Bed Bath and Beyond claims that the fabric is
"40% rayon from bamboo" and 60 percent combed Egyptian cotton.  A
"Bamboo Daydream Blanket" advertised on Nordstrom's website was
described in finer print on the page as made of "100% rayon from
bamboo fiber."

The FTC also purchased products from Nordstrom, including a
"Gypsy05 Bamboo Waterfall Cami" and a "Barefoot Dreams Hooded Top
& Track Pants Set," that were labeled as containing bamboo but
found to actually be made of rayon.

In addition to mislabeling products, Backcountry, J.C. Penney and
Bed Bath & Beyond promoted items such as socks and pillow cases as
"antimicrobial" based on their supposed bamboo content, according
to the commission's complaints.

Nearly three years ago, the trade commission reached a similar
settlement with Amazon.com Inc. and three other retailers accused
of mislabeling rayon products. Amazon; Sears, Roebuck and Co.;
Macy's Inc.; and Leon Max Inc. agreed in January 2013 to pay a
total of $1.26 million to settle charges that they falsely labeled
rayon textiles as made of bamboo.


BERNARD L. MADOFF: PwC Settles with Ponzi Scheme Victims
--------------------------------------------------------
Celia Ampel, writing for Daily Business Review, reports that
accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers agreed to settle with
victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, topping off about $200
million Fort Lauderdale attorneys have helped secure for
investors.

Details of the settlement were not immediately available, but the
agreement will be presented to a federal judge in the coming
weeks, according to documents filed on Dec. 9 in the Southern
District of New York.

PwC Netherlands and PwC Canada were the last defendants in the
case, which pursued recovery for Madoff victims who invested
through feeder funds.  Trial had been scheduled for Jan. 4.

Boies Schiller & Flexner attorney Stuart Singer in Fort Lauderdale
helped negotiate the settlement on behalf of the plaintiffs, who
claimed PwC didn't fulfill its duty as auditor of the feeder
funds.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero last month approved the
plaintiffs' $125 million settlement with the financial services
company Citco Group Ltd.  An earlier defendant in the case,
Fairfield Greenwich Group, settled in 2012 for $80 million.
GlobeOp Financial Services LLC settled in 2013 for $10 million,
putting the investors' recovery at about $215 million before the
latest settlement.

In addition to Mr. Singer, the plaintiffs lawyers include Boies
Schiller attorneys Eli Glasser, Sashi Bach and Carlos Sires in
Fort Lauderdale and David Barrett and Howard Vickery in New York;
Robert C. Finkel of Wolf Popper in New York; and Christopher
Lovell and Victor E. Stewart of Lovell Stewart Halebian Jacobson
in New York.

PwC is represented by Kirkland & Ellis attorneys Andrew Genser,
George Bauer and Mindy Yu in New York and Matthew Buckley, Amy
Crawford, Brenton Rogers, Emily Nicklin and Timothy Duffy in
Chicago, as well as William Maguire, Sarah Cave and Gabrielle
Marshall of Hughes Hubbard & Reed in New York.


BIG BIRD: "Rodriguez" Suit Alleges FLSA Violation
-------------------------------------------------
Emiliano Rodriguez-Rodriguez and Benito Hernandez Moreno, On
Behalf of Themselves and All Others Similarly Situated, v. Big
Bird Tree Service, INC. and John Doe Defendants 1-10, Case 3:15-
cv-03815-N (N.D. Tex., November 28, 2015), was filed on behalf of
laborers seeking all damages available under the Fair Labor
Standards Act, including back wages, liquidated damages, legal
fees, costs and post-judgment interest.

Defendant represents to the public that its services include
commercial and residential yearly upkeep, pruning and shaping,
dead wooding, crown reduction/thinning, code compliance, deep root
fertilization, slow release fertilization, fertilizing, cabling
and bracing, branch grinding, brush hauling, emergency service,
storm repair, tree removal, tree grinding, stump removal, stump
grinding, mulching, tree lot clearing, mega-sized clearing, tub
grinding and firewood.

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

     Allen R. Vaught, Esq.
     Ryan J. Burton, Esq.
     BARON & BUDD, P.C.
     3102 Oak Lawn Avenue, Suite 1100
     Dallas, TX 75219
     Tel: (214) 521-3605
     Fax: (214) 520-1181
     E-mail: avaught@baronbudd.com
             rburton@baronbudd.com


BOSTIK INC: Faces "Clark" Suit Over "Defective" DURABOND D-70
-------------------------------------------------------------
Annette Clark, individually and on behalf of all those similarly
situated v. Bostik, Inc., a Delaware corporation; David C.
Greenbaum Co., Inc., a California corporation; Leonard's Carpet
Services, Inc., a California Corporation, and DOES 1 through 100,
inclusive, Case No. 3:15-cv-02670-JM-JLB (S.D. Cal.,  November 11,
2015), seeks to recover economic loss from the sale of an alleged
defective product, the cost to repair damage to single-family
homes in the form of cracked floor tiles, necessary relocation
expense, restitution, costs of suit, and attorneys' fees caused by
the defective DURABOND(R) D-70(TM) Premium Flexible Polymer
Modified Thin-Set Proven Adhesion and Crack Suppression Mortar
manufactured by defendant Bostik, Inc., supplied by defendant
David C. Greenbaum Co., Inc. and installed by Defendant Leonard's
Carpet Services, Inc.

Bostik is a global adhesive specialist in industrial
manufacturing, construction and consumer markets.

David C. Greenbaum Co., Inc., a California Corporation, was and is
doing business throughout the State of California and acted as a
material supplier of the D-70 which was incorporated into the
original construction of the single-family homes owned by
Plaintiffs.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     Stuart M. Eppsteiner, Esq.
     Andrew J. Kubik, Esq.
     EPPSTEINER &FIORICA ATTORNEYS, LLP
     12555 High Bluff Dr., Suite 155
     San Diego, CA 92130
     Tel: (858) 350-1500
     Fax: (858) 350-1501
     E-mail: sme@eppsteiner.com
             ajk@eppsteiner.com


BP PLC: Buzbee Gets Modest Verdict in 2011 Refinery Leak Case
-------------------------------------------------------------
Miriam Rozen, writing for Texas Lawyer, reports that Tony Buzbee,
well known for winning multimillion dollar verdicts, scored a much
more modest outcome recently.  After a four-week trial in a
federal case in Galveston against BP Products of North America,
Mr. Buzbee's four clients won a jury award of less than $4,000 per
plaintiff.

In the litigation, Mr. Buzbee's clients alleged that BP's
negligence and gross negligence during a 2011 leak at a Texas City
refinery, which the company operated at the time, exposed them to
harmful and toxic chemicals.  BP denied the allegations.  With its
Dec. 4 verdict, the jury held BP responsible only for the
negligence claim and $14,000 in total damages.

"We wanted more damages, but we didn't have an expert to connect
the exposure to the symptoms," Mr. Buzbee wrote in an email after
the verdict.  "We didn't have any chronic conditions, so we could
only prove symptoms from the release for a week. So, for an
exposure with acute but transitory symptoms, the result was good.
But, we will always feel that BP should have done more and could
have done more.  BP also claimed its monitors showed no elevated
levels of chemicals, but, we disagree with their accurateness,"
Mr. Buzbee wrote.

Asked about the failure to get the jury to agree to gross
negligence, Mr. Buzbee answered: "Gross negligence is difficult to
obtain.  Always has been, and certainly is in federal court."

Kenneth Tekell Sr. -- ktekell@tekellbook.com -- who is of counsel
to Tekell, Book, Allen & Morris in Houston, led BP's defense team.
Mr. Tekell declined to comment for this story.

During closing arguments, however, both Tekell and Buzbee spoke to
the jury about each other in unflattering ways.

"Mr. Buzbee -- how many times has he used the word 'liar'?"
Mr. Tekell asked jurors rhetorically during his closing. "If you
don't have a case, if you have fallen flat on your face in a
lawsuit, your best method of winning, as I have seen from other
lawyers through the years, is to start calling everybody on the
other side liars," Mr. Tekell said.

Mr. Buzbee responded in kind.

"Now, if I'm BP and I really screwed up, like really badly screwed
up, and I had screwed up time after time after time again, what
kind of lawyer would I hire if I'm getting ready to be popped?"
Mr. Buzbee asked.  He then provided the answer: "I would hire the
most likeable, nice, slow, easygoing, the kind of guy that is not
going to piss anybody off, hopefully, to slow things down," he
said.  Then, with apparent sarcasm, Mr. Buzbee told the jurors,
"Just maybe, you won't take it out on BP because Mr. Tekell is
just such a nice guy."

Mr. Buzbee also told the jurors that he had previously opposed
Tekell, who has practiced for more than 45 years, and as a result,
he has come to expect certain tactics from his opponent.

"This is the first time he hasn't said 'This is my last trial.' He
said that three times in a row in the trials I had with him,"
Mr. Buzbee told the jurors about Mr. Tekell before adding: "He
left that off this time. His typical thing is this is my last
trial with the hope that, OK, on this trial they are not going to
pop me.  Because why would they pop me? They wouldn't pop me on my
last trial."

The two lawyers have indeed squared off at previous trials, with
Mr. Buzbee representing plaintiffs and Mr. Tekell defending BP.
And most likely, the two will oppose each other again.  Mr. Buzbee
has some 600 other clients who have claims pending against BP
related to the same allegations based on the same leak that was
the focus at this trial.  And Mr. Buzbee has some 20,000 clients
with claims related to an earlier alleged leak at BP operations.

"The average recovery for these cases looks to be about $2,500 to
$3,000 based on this verdict," Mr. Buzbee wrote in his email.

In the same message, Mr. Buzbee identified Mr. Tekell as a "very
good" lawyer.  "It was enjoyable to try a case against them,"
Mr. Buzbee wrote about Tekell and his co-counsel.


BURLINGTON COAT: OT Class Settlement Gets Prelim. Court Approval
----------------------------------------------------------------
Gordon Gibb, writing for Lawyers and Settlements, reports that in
what should be a bit of Christmas cheer for plaintiffs, a federal
judge in California has signed off on a settlement that will end
an overtime pay laws and off-the-clock work dispute between a
class of disgruntled employees and their employer, Burlington Coat
Factory.

The settlement still faces final approval.  Nonetheless, the
granting of preliminary approval by US District Judge Dean D.
Pregerson allows a class tens of thousands strong to finally put
all this behind them.

The unpaid overtime and off-the-clock work settlement, which ends
a dispute involving allegations of missed rest breaks and time
spent languishing in bag checks, is valued at $1.8 million.

The named plaintiff in the California lawsuit is Amida Rodriguez,
who alleged in her initial lawsuit filed in 2012 that Burlington
Coat Factory's policy governing rest breaks and bag checks were
stiffing hourly workers of wages due.  Two years later, in 2014,
Rodriquez upped the ante with a motion aimed at certifying a class
of employees toiling at Burlington's 60 retail locations in the
state of California.

To back up allegations in her California overtime law class
action, Rodriguez referenced a "uniform policy" as it related to
both rest breaks and bag checks, including the company's own
written handbooks issued to managers that referenced the
undertaking of bag checks only after employees had clocked out, or
so it was alleged.

Burlington referenced the US Supreme Court decision from last
December in a similar case against Amazon, in which the court
ruled that Amazon did not have to pay employees for time spent
going through security checks.  There was also a suggestion from
Burlington that bag checks for employees in California were
conducted differently than for employees in other states and thus
any claim against Burlington's uniform policy with regard to
screenings and bag checks was not appropriate when referencing
employees in California.

As it turned out, there was no ruling on class certification as
the parties settled before the ruling could be brought.

The settlement, according to court documents, could benefit some
22,000 current and former employees of Burlington Coat Factory in
the state of California. The hearing to undertake arguments for or
against final approval is set for February 29.

The case is Armida Rodriguez v. Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse
Corp. et al., case number 2:13-cv-02426, in the US District Court
for the Central District of California.


CASH CONVERTERS: Class Action Settlement Payouts Begin
------------------------------------------------------
Sarah Danckert, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, reports
that Cash Converters loan customers based in New South Wales have
begun receiving payments from a successful class action settled by
the hockshop and payday lender six months ago over its allegedly
exorbitant interest rates.

Cash Converters settled the claim brought on behalf of its
customers in NSW in June for $23 million.

At the time the company said it was pleased to bring the matter to
a close without admitting any liability.

The action was run by Maurice Blackburn which netted $3 million in
fees for its work preparing and running the claim.

The remaining $20 million is now in the process of being returned
to the nearly 36,000 Cash Converters customers benefiting from the
class action claim.

Average payment across all customers is $555.55 each.
It was alleged Cash Converters improperly charged up to 633 per
cent interest on its one month loans and 145 per cent on its
seven-month loans.


CHEETAH: Former Dancers File Labor Suit in Atlanta
--------------------------------------------------
AJC.com reports that a handful of former dancers at high-profile
strip club The Cheetah have filed suit in federal court in Atlanta
and complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
For starters, they say the club got out of employer requirements
like fair wages and hours by claiming it didn't employ dancers at
all.  Instead, the women were dubbed "contractors."  Beyond that,
they say their right to a jury trial on the issue is being
quashed.

A few have put their names to the court complaint and they believe
there are more than 100 others who were similarly wronged.  Their
lawyer, Jim McDonough, said an average dancer could easily have
$50,000 or $60,000 a year taken back by the club from her customer
tips and fees (a figure the club's lawyer says "makes no sense").

Among other things, the dancers were required to "tip out" a
percentage of their earnings from dances and special sessions to
other staff in the club, such as disc jockeys, security floormen
and "house moms" -- the de facto supervisors.  Dancers want the
same legal treatment any worker would want, they say.

"Just because I'm a dancer doesn't mean I don't have a brain and a
conscience," the lead plaintiff, Alison Valente, told the AJC.

"The dancers understand when they are engaged that it is customary
in the industry to tip out certain personnel," the club's lawyer,
Bennet Alsher, insisted.

Ms. Valente started the ball rolling, claiming she was fired this
February for protesting illegal activities at the club.  The club
denies illegality and says she was fired for other reasons.

But Mr. Alsher said going after clubs on the contractor-vs.-
employee issue is just a product of greedy lawyers, "the cause du
jour for the plaintiff's bar."

However, last year in a lawsuit involving a DeKalb strip club, a
federal judge ruled that strip clubs must classify exotic dancers
as employees, not contractors.

There's a more fundamental and timely question at play in the
conflict.  The dancers' complaints involve other issues, including
one that has recently been on the front page of The New York Times
and is increasingly touching most American lives:  arbitration.

The dancers claim that after Ms. Valente brought her complaints to
the company in May and June, the Cheetah brought remaining dancers
an arbitration agreement -- which would prevent their access to
the traditional court system in case any disputes arose, as well
as quash their ability to band together for class action suits,
and asked them to sign.

The club says the timing was coincidental, tied to other events,
and that in any case it already had an arbitration policy.

In arbitration, disputes don't go before a jury but before a paid
professional, and there are far fewer rights.  Often the right of
individuals to try and sue together as a class, spreading the
costs of suing among a large group, is eliminated.

Arbitration is increasingly being adopted by businesses, by
inserting a clause somewhere in the initial contract the customer
or worker signs.  It's showing up in everything from cell phone
agreements to employment paperwork.

Supporters of arbitration say that it's much faster and cheaper
than a jury trial, and quashes ambulance chasing.  Opponents say
that arbitration may well be cheaper for the business, but not for
the individual when they're no longer able to band together with
others in a class action suit.  And businesses often fear juries
will be more sympathetic to an individual than an arbitrator will.

The New York Times published an investigation detailing the spread
of arbitration over the last decade or so, and its impact on the
little guy.  One federal judge appointed by Ronald Reagan called
it ominous, "among the most profound shifts in our legal history."

While the judge in the Cheetah case decides whether to make the
women give up on a jury trial and accept arbitration, the
contractor issue is on hold.

The Cheetah makes money on its reputation -- where the dancers are
both the sales reps and the product attracting customers.  One
website lists The Cheetah as having the area's "classiest"
dancers.  If the dancers are merely contractors and not employees,
the IRS says that means the club has the right to control only the
result of their work, not how they do it.

Meanwhile, the court briefs between The Cheetah and the exotic
dancers are flying back and forth.

One dancer said she was fired after not signing the agreement.
The club says no one was forced to sign and that dancer left the
job of her own accord.  It's not entirely clear why the signature
matters at all, since the 2015 document says they "agree" to the
contract just by walking in the door and dancing.  Still, one of
the club's legal filings says a pre-existing policy "requires all
entertainers to agree" to the system.

Speaking in general, not specifically about the Cheetah,
Mr. Alsher said it only made sense for businesses to support
arbitration because they fear they won't get a fair shake from
juries.

Neither the court suit nor the EEOC complaint has yet been
decided.  Ms. Valente, petite and well spoken, is no longer
dancing.  She says she took home at least $2,000 a night as a
dancer, due to success delivering extras like table dances and VIP
room sessions.  But she's looking to the future now.

So is Mr. Alsher.  "The notion that these are poor workers who are
downtrodden and fighting big business is ludicrous."


CHICAGO, IL: Police Officers Lose Overtime Class Action Bid
-----------------------------------------------------------
Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, writing for Chicago Tribune, reports that a
federal judge ruled against a group of Chicago police officers who
claimed unwritten rules discouraged them from filing for overtime
for off-duty work performed on their BlackBerrys.

In a 38-page opinion filed on Dec. 10, U.S. Magistrate Judge
Sidney Schenkier said the city has an established procedure for
filing overtime and did nothing to prevent officers from using it.

The class-action lawsuit, brought by Sgt. Jeffrey Allen in
May 2010, includes 51 current and former members of the Bureau of
Organized Crime who said they were expected to monitor and respond
to calls and messages on their department-issued BlackBerrys while
off-duty but were not expected to be paid for that work. It went
to a bench trial in August.

The case hinged on whether the Chicago Police Department had an
"unwritten policy" that kept members of the prestigious bureau
from filing for overtime pay for off-duty work on their
BlackBerrys.

Judge Schenkier wrote that while the plaintiffs did show they
performed off-duty work on their BlackBerrys, they "fell far short
of showing a uniform culture or well-grounded understanding" that
they would not be compensated for that work.  Several officers who
testified did submit time-due slips for BlackBerry work done off-
duty and were paid for it, he noted, and no one was ever told they
shouldn't.

Paul Geiger, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs,
said he planned to appeal.

"The only good news here is that all officers can be paid for off-
duty BlackBerry work going forward even though a police
department's general order says precisely the opposite,"
Mr. Geiger said in a written statement.

He continued: "The message this decision sends to employers
looking for guidance on off-duty smartphone or computer use is a
terrible one.  Employers can now implement a rule forbidding off-
duty smartphone use, not enforce that rule, and manage to get away
with not paying employees. That is wrong."

The city did not immediately comment on ruling.

Judge Schenkier also wrote the Police Department could have issued
a clearer policy asserting that time-due slips filed for necessary
work performed off-duty on BlackBerrys would be accepted.

Two general orders issued by the department on the topic were
considered just guidelines, were poorly understood and did little
to influence officers' behavior, Judge Schenkier said.

"We consider it unfortunate that this ambiguity, or confusion, was
allowed to linger," Judge Schenkier wrote. "But, the existence of
ambiguity or confusion does not constitute a policy forbidding
submission of time due slips for off-duty BlackBerry work."

He also said it was hard to accept the argument that plaintiffs
were scared of retribution if they filed for such overtime after
they had the "backbone" to sue the city about it.

In addition, the evidence showed supervisors didn't always know
when officers were working off-duty on their BlackBerrys or that
they were not filing overtime slips for that work, Schenkier
wrote.  The Fair Labor Standards Act says employers can't
knowingly allow people to work overtime without paying them for
it.

Judge Schenkier also wrote that simply monitoring the BlackBerry
does not constitute a substantial job duty compensable under the
labor law.

Joel Rice -- jrice@laborlawyers.com -- an attorney in the Chicago
office of Fisher and Phillips, a national labor and employment law
firm that represents employers, said the case illustrates the
importance of having a procedure to capture off-duty time and a
clear policy explaining it.

"If the city had had a clearer policy there would have been no
need for a trial because there would not have been any dispute,"
said Rice, who was not involved in the case.

The city paid $599,635 in legal bills to its attorneys at Laner
Muchin to defend itself against the lawsuit, according to invoices
dated through Sept. 1.

Employers also should be careful about issuing smartphones to
employees who are not exempt from receiving overtime pay, Rice
said.

Doug Hass, an attorney with DLA Piper who represents management in
labor and employment cases, said the overarching issue is that
employers must ensure nonexempt employees are trained in the
expectations about their availability during off hours and that
managers are trained not to email and text nonexempt subordinates
off the clock.  People must also be disciplined for violating such
policies, he said.

"It's really just another reminder that these issues aren't going
to go away," said Mr. Hass, who was not involved in the case.
"The smartphones are in the hands of everyone, whether you as a
company issued them or not."


CYTRX CORPORATION: Continues to Defend Securities Litigation
------------------------------------------------------------
CytRx Corporation said in its Form 10-Q Report filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015, for the
quarterly period ended September 30, 2015, that the Company
continues to defend the securities class action in California.

On June 13, 2014, three purported securities class action lawsuits
pending in the United States District Court for the Central
District of California, were consolidated in the matter of In re
CytRx Corporation Securities Litigation, 2:14-CV-01956-GHK (PJWx),
and lead plaintiff and lead counsel were appointed. On October 1,
2014, plaintiffs filed a consolidated amended complaint on behalf
of all persons who purchased or otherwise acquired the publicly
traded securities of CytRx between November 20, 2013 and March 13,
2014, against CytRx, certain Company officers and directors, a
freelance writer, and certain underwriters.

The complaint alleges that certain of the defendants violated the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by making materially false and
misleading statements in press releases, promotional articles, SEC
filings and other public statements. The complaint further alleges
that certain of the defendants violated the Securities Act of 1933
by making materially misleading statements and omitting material
information in the shelf Registration Statement on Form S-3 filed
with the SEC on December 6, 2012 and Prospectus Supplement on Form
424(b)(2) file with the SEC on January 31, 2014. These allegations
arise out of the Company's alleged retention of The DreamTeam
Group and MissionIR, external investor and public relations firms
unaffiliated with the Company, as well as the Company's December
9, 2013 grant of stock options to certain board members and
officers.

The consolidated amended complaint seeks damages, including
interest, in an unspecified amount, reasonable costs and
attorneys' fees, and any equitable, injunctive, or other relief
that the court may deem just and proper.  On December 5, 2014,
CytRx and the individual defendants filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint.

On July 13, 2015, the Court issued an order granting in part and
denying in part the motions to dismiss filed by the Company, the
individual defendants and the underwriters.  On August 7, 2015,
the plaintiffs filed a First Amended Consolidated Complaint.  On
September 8, 2015, the Company and the individual defendants filed
a motion to dismiss the claims alleged under Section 12(a)(2) of
the Securities Act of 1933, and under Section 15 thereunder, to
the extent they are predicated on claims under Section 12(a)(2).

On September 8, 2015, the plaintiffs filed a motion for
reconsideration of the part of the Court's July 13, 2015 order
dismissing Rule 10b-5(b) claims against the Company, Kriegsman and
Haen.  The Court was scheduled to hear argument on the defendants'
motion to dismiss and the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration
on October 26, 2015, but took both motions under submission and
the hearing off calendar on October 23, 2015.


CYTRX CORPORATION: Continues to Defend "Rajasekaran" Action
-----------------------------------------------------------
CytRx Corporation said in its Form 10-Q Report filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015, for the
quarterly period ended September 30, 2015, that the Company
continues to defend the case, Rajasekaran v. CytRx Corporation.

On April 3, 2014, a purported class action lawsuit was filed
against the Company and certain of its officers and each of its
directors, as well as certain underwriters, in the Superior Court
of California, County of Los Angeles, captioned Rajasekaran v.
CytRx Corporation, et al., BC541426. The complaint purports to be
brought on behalf of all shareholders who purchased or otherwise
acquired the Company's common stock pursuant or traceable to its
public offering that closed on February 5, 2014. The complaint
alleges that defendants violated the federal securities laws by
making materially false and misleading statements in the Company's
filings with the SEC. The complaint seeks compensatory damages in
an unspecified amount, rescission, and attorney's fees and costs.
On October 14, 2014, the Court granted the parties' joint ex parte
motion to stay this proceeding pending resolution of motions to
dismiss in the related federal action,  In re CytRx Corporation
Securities Litigation, 2:14-CV-01956-GHK (PJWx).  On August 21,
2015, the Court continued the stay pending resolution of any
motions to dismiss the First Amended Consolidated Complaint filed
in the related federal action.


D.L.C. LIMOUSINE: "Munoz-Gonzales" Suit Alleges FLSA Violation
--------------------------------------------------------------
Alejandro Munoz-Gonzales, on behalf of himself, individually, and
on behalf of all others similarly situated, v. D.L.C. Limousine
Service, Inc., and Chris Thornton, individually, and Melissa
Thornton, individually, and John D' Agostino, individually, Case
1:15-cv-09368-JPO (S.D.N.Y., December 2, 2105), seeks damages and
equitable relief for the Defendant's alleged violations against
former and current drivers, of the Fair Labor Standards Act and
the New York Labor Law.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     Jeffrey R. Maguire, Esq.
     Alexander T. Coleman, Esq.
     Michael J. Borrelli, Esq.
     BORRELLI & ASSOCIATES, P.L.L.C
     655 Third Avenue, Suite 1821
     New York, NY 10017
     Tel: (516) 248-5550


DIRECTV INC: High Court "Policing" Calif. Courts, Lawyer Says
-------------------------------------------------------------
Marisa Kendall, writing for The Recorder, reports that Horvitz &
Levy partner John Querio -- jquerio@horvitzlevy.com -- said the
U.S. Supreme Court's Dec. 14 ruling in a case against DirecTV is
another example of the Supreme Court policing California courts
that historically have been resistant to arbitration.

"Given the outcome," he wrote in an email, "we can probably expect
the U.S. Supreme Court to remain vigilant to any backsliding by
California courts into their old bad habits."  Mr. Querio did not
represent a party in the case.

In another victory for companies favoring arbitration, the Supreme
Court on Dec. 14 held that DirecTV customers can't use California
law as a way around the company's arbitration agreement.

A divided Supreme Court found the arbitration agreement binding,
even though the contract specified that it was unenforceable if
the "law of your state" made class arbitration waivers
unenforceable.  The parties cannot choose to entirely avoid pro-
arbitration federal law in favor of more plaintiff-friendly state
law, the justices ruled.

"The Federal Arbitration Act is a law of the United States, and
[AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion] is an authoritative interpretation
of that act," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote on behalf of the 6-3
majority.  "Consequently, the judges of every state must follow
it."

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony
Kennedy, Samuel Alito Jr. and Elena Kagan joined in the majority
opinion. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a passionate dissent,
writing the court "has again expanded the scope of the [Federal
Arbitration Act], further degrading the rights of consumers and
further insulating already powerful economic entities from
liability for unlawful acts."

Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined Ginsburg's dissent, and Justice
Clarence Thomas issued his own brief dissent.

In an opinion written by Presiding Justice Frances Rothschild, the
Second District Court of Appeal had rejected the DirecTV
arbitration agreement under California's Discover Banks rule --
which said class arbitration waivers weren't enforceable -- even
though that case law was invalidated by the Supreme Court's 2011
decision in Concepcion.

"The court of appeal did not explain why parties might generally
intend the words 'law of your state' to encompass 'invalid law of
your state,'" Justice Breyer wrote.

He added that the appellate panel also erred by viewing the
arbitration agreement through a different lens than it would have
used for another type of contract.  No courts have reached a
similar ruling -- deferring to now-defunct state law -- when
considering other contracts, Justice Breyer wrote.  That implies
the appellate court gave the DirecTV contract special
consideration because it is an arbitration clause, Justice Breyer
wrote, a type of favoritism that is banned under federal law.

In her dissent, Ginsburg decried the overuse of arbitration as a
way to thwart class action litigation.

"The court holds that consumers lack not only protection against
unambiguous class-arbitration bans in adhesion contracts," she
wrote.  "They lack even the benefit of the doubt when anomalous
terms in such contracts reasonably could be constructed to protect
their rights."

When DirecTV drafted the agreement, Justice Ginsburg added, it
assumed its arbitration clause would be unenforceable in
California.  Customers who signed would have no way of
anticipating that Concepcion would change the contract's terms and
render them suddenly subject to arbitration.

In his short dissent, Justice Thomas wrote that he continued to
view the Federal Arbitration Act as not applying in state courts.
The Dec. 14 ruling stems from a 2008 case in which DirecTV
customers sued in California court over the company's early-
termination fees.  The trial court denied DirecTV's request to
move the case into arbitration, and the appellate court affirmed.
The California Supreme Court denied review, but the U.S. Supreme
Court agreed to take up the issue.

Plaintiffs lawyer Brian Kabateck of Kabateck Brown Kellner said
that although the Dec. 14 ruling is a narrow one, it sends a clear
message that plaintiffs now have few ways to avoid arbitration.

"I think we have to start accepting reality that in consumer class
actions we're going to start seeing, more so than we have already,
a dramatic turnback in consumer rights," said Mr. Kabateck, who
was not involved with the case.

Christopher Landau -- christopher.landau@kirkland.com -- of
Kirkland & Ellis argued for DirecTV.  Thomas Goldstein --
tgoldstein@goldsteinrussell.com -- of Goldstein & Russell argued
for the plaintiffs.


DRAFTKINGS INC: Judge Upholds NY AG's Motion to Halt Operations
---------------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Denney, writing for New York Law Journal, reports that a
Manhattan judge has granted Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's
motion to halt daily fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel
from doing business in the state.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez on Dec. 11 also
denied motions by the two companies to block Mr. Schneiderman from
taking enforcement actions against them.  On Dec. 11, the
companies appealed to the Appellate Division, First Department.

The Associated Press reported that Justice Paul Feinman granted an
emergency stay allowing FanDuel and DraftKings to keep operating
in New York through at least next month.  A full panel of the
judges will then rule on whether the companies can do business in
the state while the appeals process unfolds.

The companies offer games in which customers pay to put together
rosters of real-life professional athletes and compete against
others in online leagues.

In October, Mr. Schneiderman's office launched an investigation
into the two companies after a DraftKings employee won $350,000
from FanDuel after beating 200,000 other players, which raised
questions about insider training.

Last month, Mr. Schneiderman sent the companies cease-and-desist
letters, declaring them illegal gambling operations.

Mr. Schneiderman argued that, while contestants' skill is a
factor, the companies offer games that ultimately depend on the
performance of professional athletes on the field and other
factors that are out of the contestants' control, including
injuries to athletes and rain delays.

The companies countered that they offer games of skill and that
contestants essentially assume the role of general managers of
sports teams and rely on teams that do not exist in reality.
Mr. Schneiderman alleges that the companies violated Penal Law
Sec. 225, which defines gambling as someone risking something of
value "upon the outcome of a contest of chance" or an event "not
under his control or influence."

Justice Mendez wrote in People v. DraftKings, 453054/15, and
People v. FanDuel, 453056/15, in his order to grant the
preliminary injunction against the companies that under Executive
Law Sec. 63 [12] the attorney general is entitled to injunctive
relief upon a showing that there was a repeated statutory
violation a prima facie claim of fraud is established by showing
that, "the act complained of has the capacity or tendency to
deceive, or creates an atmosphere conducive to fraud."

Justice Mendez wrote that the entry fee, which can be as high as
$10,600, could "certainly be deemed risking something of value"
and that the language of Penal Law Sec. 225 is "broadly worded and
as currently written sufficient for finding that [daily fantasy
sports] involves illegal gambling."

While Justice Mendez denied the companies' motions for preliminary
injunction, he said it was not a "final determination of the
merits and rights of the parties" and that "discovery is needed
after joinder of issue."

In the pre-argument statements the companies filed along with
their motions to appeal Justice Mendez's ruling, attorneys for
DraftKings wrote that the judge "misapplied" the law, and
attorneys for FanDuel wrote that daily fantasy sports do not
constitute gambling under New York law and thus Mr. Schneiderman
did "not demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits,
irreparable harm, or a balance of equities in the state's favor."

Boies, Schiller & Flexner partner David Boies, one of the
attorneys representing DraftKings, said in a statement that the
company attributed to Mr. Boies that he was disappointed with
Justice Mendez's decision.

"Daily fantasy sports contests have been played legally by New
Yorkers for the past seven years and we believe this status quo
should be maintained while the litigation plays out," Mr. Boies
said.

FanDuel said in a statement that Justice Mendez noted FanDuel is
permitted to operate in other states, thus making New York an
outlier on the issue.

Most states have no laws that specifically address fantasy sports
but do have gambling laws that might dictate whether they're
legal, according to the Associated Press.  Both DraftKings and
FanDuel have said they have hundreds of thousands of customers in
New York, and Mr. Schneiderman's office has estimated the two
companies account for 90 to 95 percent of the daily fantasy sports
market.

FanDuel also said the AG's argument about the legality of season-
long fantasy sports "doesn't hold water" and that if "season-long
fantasy is legal, then daily fantasy is legal and vice-versa."

The New York-based FanDuel is represented by Debevoise & Plimpton
partners John Kiernan, Matthew Fishbein and Eric Dinallo; and
counsels Carl Micarelli and David Sarratt.

FanDuel is also represented by ZwillGen's Marc Zwillinger and
Sharon Cohen Levin, a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and
Dorr.

The other Boies Schiller attorneys representing the Boston-based
DraftKings are partners Jonathan Schiller, Randall Jackson and
Joshua Schiller; and associates Leigh Nathanson --
lnathanson@bsfllp.com -- Benjamin Margulis -- bmargulis@bsfllp.com
-- and John Nicolau.

In addition to Boies Schiller, DraftKings is represented by
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partners Randy Mastro --
rmastro@gibsondunn.com -- Debra Yang -- dwongyang@gibsondunn.com
-- Avi Weitzman, Thomas Dupree Jr. and Alexander Southwell and
associate Matthew Benjamin.

Handling the case for Mr. Schneiderman's office are assistant
attorneys general Kathleen McGee, Justin Wagner, Jordan Salberg
and Aaron Chase; Senior Enforcement Counsel and Special Advisor to
the Attorney General Tim Wu; Senior Advisor and Special Counsel
Simon Brandler, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic
Justice Karla Sanchez.

"We are pleased with the decision, consistent with our view that
DraftKings and FanDuel are operating illegal gambling operations
in clear violation of New York law," Mr. Schneiderman said in a
news release on Dec. 11.  "I have said from the beginning that my
job is to enforce the law, and that is what happened."


EXTREME SECURITY: Fails to Pay Overtime, "Infante" Suit Alleges
---------------------------------------------------------------
Abelardo Armando Izaguirre Infante and all others similarly
situated v. Extreme Security Service Corp., Claudio Azocar, Case
1:15-cv-24414-JLK (S.D.Fla., November 30, 2015), alleges non-
payment of overtime and/or minimum wages in violation of the Fair
Labor Standards Act.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     J.H. Zidell, Esq.
     J.H. ZIDELL, P.A.
     300 71st Street, Suite 605
     Miami Beach, FL 33141
     Tel: (305) 865-6766
     Fax: (305) 865-7167
     E-mail: zabogado@aol.com


FACEBOOK INC: DOJ Lawyers Defend TCPA in Privacy Suit
-----------------------------------------------------
Ross Todd, writing for The Recorder, reports that lawyers for the
federal government have weighed in against Facebook Inc. in a
privacy lawsuit where the company is raising a constitutional
challenge to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The TCPA allows private plaintiffs to seek up to $1,500 in
statutory damages for each unsolicited robocall or text message
they receive, but exempts emergency warnings.  Plaintiffs counsel
at Lemberg Law filed a class action in March in the Northern
District of California claiming that Facebook violated the TCPA by
sending unsolicited text messages to people who hadn't provided
their cellphone numbers to the company via its "login
notifications" alerts.

As part of a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Facebook's lawyers at
Kirkland & Ellis raised a First Amendment challenge to the TCPA's
carve-out for emergency messages.  The exemption, Kirkland's
Elizabeth Deeley wrote, amounts to an unconstitutional "content-
based regulation of noncommercial speech."

But in a brief filed on Dec. 11, a lawyer with the Civil Division
of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., defended
the law.  DOJ trial attorney Bailey Heaps argued that Facebook's
text messages were commercial speech and should be subject to a
lower level of constitutional scrutiny than the company proposed.
Heaps further wrote that the Ninth Circuit has previously found
that the TCPA regulations are "a permissible content-neutral,
time, place, and manner restriction" on otherwise protected
speech.

"Where significant government interests permit a blanket
prohibition, the Supreme Court has noted, it is not content-based
discrimination to exempt from that prohibition a narrow band of
speech that is unrelated to the significant government interest at
stake," Mr. Heaps wrote.

The underlying case, Duguid v. Facebook, 15-985, is pending before
U.S. District Judge John Tigar.


FARMERS INSURANCE: Female Lawyers' Class Action Can Proceed
-----------------------------------------------------------
Marisa Kendall, writing for The Recorder, reports that plaintiffs
lawyers have cleared their first hurdle in a lawsuit against
Farmers Insurance, winning conditional certification for a class
of female attorneys who claim they were paid less than their male
counterparts.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Dec. 9 green-lighted a prospective
national class of about 300 women who have worked in Farmers'
claims litigation department since 2012.  Even though the lawyers
held various job titles and worked in different office locations,
Judge Koh wrote, their working situations are similar enough to
allow them to pursue a collective action under the federal Equal
Pay Act.

"The evidence in the record tends to show that the compensation
and related performance evaluation policies are common across job
titles, salary grades, and geographic area," Judge Koh wrote,
noting the standard at this stage is "fairly lenient" and
certification is typically granted.  Judge Koh ruled on the
papers, vacating the Dec. 10 scheduled arguments.

Farmers, represented by Paul Hastings, declined to comment.
Judge Koh's order allows plaintiffs to send notice to potential
class members who must opt-in to be part of the litigation.

Farmers is expected to move to decertify the class once discovery
is complete, at which point the parties will engage in a more
substantive fight on the merits of the case.  Plaintiffs also
eventually will move for class certification of their civil rights
claims.

Plaintiffs lawyer Lori Andrus of Andrus Anderson in San Francisco
said it's especially important to publicize equal-pay cases
because many women don't realize they're being underpaid.

"Hundreds of women across the country are going to get notice of
this lawsuit," Ms. Andrus said, "and I think that's going to
strike up some revealing conversations."

For each of the suit's 11 individual plaintiffs, Ms. Andrus and
her team identified a male comparator who did the same work with
the same qualifications but earned more money.  For example, in
2014 named plaintiff Lynne Coates was making just under $100,000 a
year while a less-experienced male colleague made $185,000,
according to the complaint.  Ms. Coates argues her unequal pay is
the result of Farmers' discriminatory compensation, case
assignment, promotion and performance evaluation policies.

Farmers had argued the case would become unmanageable if certified
as a collective action because plaintiffs don't perform
"substantially equal work."  Judge Koh rejected that argument,
finding it holds plaintiffs to too high a standard.  Furthermore,
any manageability issues likely can be solved with the creation of
subclasses, Judge Koh wrote, though she found that issue would be
best addressed at a later stage.

Ms. Andrus said she'll likely file additional claims under the
state's new plaintiff-friendly Fair Pay Act, which goes into
effect next year.  The law shifts the burden from the employee to
the employer, and could be a game-changer for wage-disparity
litigation.


FEDERAL SIGNAL: Firefighters Sue Over Siren-Related Hearing Loss
----------------------------------------------------------------
Charles Toutant, writing for New Jersey Law Journal, reports that
plaintiff lawyers have made New Jersey the latest front for
litigation by firefighters over alleged hearing loss from long-
term exposure to sirens.

According to a suit removed to federal court in Newark on Dec. 4
the pitch and decibel on fire truck sirens made by Federal Signal
Corp. are unreasonably dangerous to firefighters.  Five fire truck
manufacturers are also named in the suit, which was filed on
behalf of 34 current and former firefighters.

The law firms that filed the New Jersey suit also brought 20 suits
against the same defendants on behalf of 193 Buffalo, New York,
firefighters in October 2014.  Those cases are still pending in
the Western District of New York.

Other hearing loss cases against Federal Signal on behalf of
firefighters are pending in federal court in Rochester, New York,
and in state courts in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Orange County, New
York; and in Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Chicago, said
Marc Bern of Bern Ripka in New York.

In all, about 4,400 firefighter hearing-loss cases are pending
nationwide, according to Bern, who said he is lead counsel in all
those cases.

Federal Signal has faced numerous suits over alleged hearing loss
caused by its sirens around the country since 1999.  Most of the
cases that went to trial ended in defense verdicts, but in 2011
the company agreed to a $3.8 million settlement with 1,125
claimants.

The New Jersey and Buffalo suits name fire truck manufacturers
American LaFrance, Kovatch Mobile Equipment Corp., Mack Trucks
Inc., Pierce Manufacturing and Seagrave Fire Apparatus, in
addition to Federal Signal.  Those suits cite Federal Signal's Q-
Siren and another labeled e-Q2B, which was installed on fire
trucks made by the other defendants.

The New Jersey suit, Alvarez v. American LaFrance, brings claims
of strict liability against Federal Signal, which, the suit
claims, failed to produce a siren that was safe to human hearing,
and failed to test its products to determine whether the noise
they emitted was harmful to hearing.

The suit includes claims for defective design, manufacture and
inadequate testing, failure to warn, and breach of implied
warranty under the New Jersey Products Liability Act against the
five fire truck manufacturers, claiming their vehicles allow
excessive noise to enter the crew cab and lack sufficient sound
insulation.  The suit also includes a count for negligence against
all defendants.

Notwithstanding the inclusion of the fire truck manufacturer
defendants, "we believe the overwhelming majority of the liability
rests with Federal Signal," Mr. Bern said.

Plaintiffs in the case are current or former firefighters in
Elizabeth, Linden, Bayonne, Union, Ridgewood, Kearny, Cranford and
West New York.  They suffered "profound injuries that are
permanent and continuing in nature," will require medical
treatment, and will incur medical expenses as a result, the suit
claims.

The plaintiffs also have been "kept from ordinary activities and
duties and will continue to experience physical and mental pain
and suffering," according to the suit.

"These guys will be at home and their wives say, 'how come that TV
is so loud? I can hear it two blocks away,' and the guys don't
realize they have the TV so loud.  Sitting in a crowded
restaurant, the guy can't hear what the daily specials are.  They
don't lose their jobs but they lose their dignity," Mr. Bern said.

Most of the cases that have gone to trial have ended in defense
verdicts.  That's because the previous lead counsel for the
plaintiffs was disbarred, according to Mr. Bern, who said he has
represented firefighters who were injured at the World Trade
Center during 9/11 while with his former firm, Napoli Bern Ripka
Skolnik.

"I felt an obligation to these men and women, these heroes who run
into burning buildings.  I felt an overwhelming responsibility to
help them," Bern said.

J. David Duffy -- dduffy@thompsoncoburn.com -- of Thompson Coburn
in Chicago, who represents Federal Signal, said his client
"believes these cases are not well-founded and will aggressively
defend them. Federal Signal sirens are life-saving safety products
that protect the public and the firefighters bringing these cases.
The company has successfully defended similar cases in other
jurisdictions and is confident that it will successfully defend
these cases in New Jersey."

Kevin McKeon -- kmmckeon@mdwcg.com -- of Marshall, Dennehey,
Warner, Coleman & Goggin in Cherry Hill, who is representing Mack
Trucks, declined to comment.

Seagrave's lawyer, Russell Massey of Billet & Associates in Mount
Laurel, did not return a call seeking comment.  Neither did
Peter Freed -- pfreed@smithstratton.com -- of Smith, Stratton,
Wise, Heher & Brennan in Princeton, representing Pierce
Manufacturing; or Morgan Sack of Cipriani & Werner in Blue Bell,
Pennsylvania., representing Kovatch Mobile Equipment.

Defendant American LaFrance closed its doors in 2014, according to
multiple reports.


FLINT, MI: Residents File Class Action Over Lead in Water Source
----------------------------------------------------------------
Science Alert reports that a state of emergency has been declared
in the city of Flint, Michigan, due to dangerously high levels of
lead being discovered in the blood of local children.  The culprit
appears to be a change in the city's main water source, and a
number of residents have filed a class-action federal lawsuit
against the state, the city, and several officials for exposing
their families to highly toxic drinking water.

"For more than 18 months, state and local government officials
ignored irrefutable evidence that the water pumped from the Flint
River exposed [city residents] to extreme toxicity," says the
lawsuit.  "The deliberately false denials about the safety of the
Flint River water was as deadly as it was arrogant."

So what can lead exposure actually do to the body? A whole lot, as
it turns out, and very quickly too.  Yang Wang reports for The
Washington Post that parents in Flint have been turning up at
their local GPs for months, concerned that their children had been
poisoned.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), when it comes to
lead poisoning, the onset of learning disabilities and changes in
behavior are just the beginning.  While exposure in adults can
cause kidney damage and high blood pressure, young children are
especially vulnerable, because they can absorb up to five times as
much lead from the same source as adults. Once inside the body
lead is distributed to organs such as the brain, kidneys, liver
and bones, and accumulates.

"In particular, lead affects children's brain development
resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral
changes such as shortening of attention span and increased
antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment," says the
WHO.  "Lead exposure also causes anaemia, hypertension, renal
impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive
organs.  The neurological and behavioural effects of lead are
believed to be irreversible."

The lawsuit also mentions hair loss and skin lesions as effects
reported by the exposed residents.

A report from the Hurley Medical Centre in Flint has shown that
since April 2014, the number of local children with above-average
levels of lead in their blood has almost doubled.  In some places,
15 percent of the children tested have shown dangerous levels of
lead in their blood.  This has gotten everyone very, very worried.

That 2014 date is important -- it's when the city switched its
main water source from the Detroit river system to the local Flint
River, and that decision has since been blamed for the health
crisis.

What's perhaps most troubling is that residents have been
complaining about the quality of the water ever since the change
was put in place almost two years ago.  The fact that Flint Mayor
Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency on Dec. 15 to get the
attention and assistance of federal officials didn't come as a
surprise -- it was a long time coming for the locals.

"Almost immediately after the city started drawing from the Flint
River in April 2014, residents began complaining about the water,
which they said was cloudy in appearance and emitted a foul
odour," Wang reports.

"Since then, complications from the water coming from the Flint
River have only piled up. Although city and state officials
initially denied that the water was unsafe, the state issued a
notice informing Flint residents that their water contained
unlawful levels of trihalomethanes, a chlorine byproduct linked to
cancer and other diseases."

Locals were advised by the city that children, the elderly,
pregnant women, and anyone with a weakened immune system should
seek advice from their doctor about whether they should be
drinking the water.  In the face of all the evidence that the
water was dangerous to their health, the Flint residents had but
two choices: live off expensive bottled water indefinitely, or
take a risk and drink the tap water. Understandably, they've been
protesting and petitioning this for months.

As recently as this October, Flint officials finally caved and
switched the main water supply back to the Detroit river system.
Their original plan had been to keep using the Flint River system
till some time in 2016, so the state could construct a new
pipeline connecting the city to Lake Huron in Detroit.  The plan
was supposed to save them millions of dollars when complete.

With a state of emergency now in place, officials are in damage
control.  According to Arielle Duhaime-Ross at The Verge, the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has sent 28,000 litres
of bottled water to a local food bank.

Michigan governor Rick Snyder -- who many hold responsible for the
crisis -- has financed the multi-million-dollar switch back to the
Detroit river system.  Flint is offering the locals free water
testing and free water filters, and is assessing homes fitted with
lead piping that could be making things even worse.

But even now, there could be some areas in the city where the
water is still unsafe to drink if left unfiltered, and there's no
telling what the long-term effects of the exposure will be.  As
The Washington Post reports: "[Flint Mayor, Karen] Weaver thinks
that these health consequences will lead to a greater need for
special education and mental health services, as well as
developments in the juvenile justice system."


FOODWORKS SOLUTIONS: Faces Illinois Suit Over FLSA Violation
------------------------------------------------------------
Daniel Escalera and Lorena Cazares, individually and on behalf of
other employees similarly situated, v. Foodworks Solutions, Inc.;
Mago SB, LLC; Carrie Johnsen, individually Nahlawi Carrie,
individually, and Richard Munoz, individually, Case: 1:15-cv-10688
(N.D. Ill., November 28, 2015), seeks redress for Defendants'
alleged wilful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the
Illinois Minimum Wage Law failing to pay Plaintiffs and other
similarly situated employees overtime wages.

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

     Raisa Alicea, Esq.
     CONSUMER LAW GROUP, LLC
     6232 N. Pulaski, Suite 200
     Chicago, IL 60646
     Tel: 312-800-1017
     E-mail: ralicea@yourclg.com


FORD MOTOR: Fails to Fulfill Toxic Cleanup Promises
---------------------------------------------------
Scott Fallon, writing for NorthJersey.com, reports that ten years
ago, a series in The Record documented the ocean of toxic paint
sludge dumped by the Ford Motor Co. that was still strewn
throughout a Native American community in the mountains of
Ringwood -- despite assurances from the federal government that it
had been cleaned up years before.

The "Toxic Legacy" series prompted a number of extraordinary
moves: Federal officials were forced to reinstate the area as a
Superfund site, after taking it off the list 11 years earlier, a
first in the program's 35-year history.  Ford was required to
excavate seven times the amount of polluted soil than it had in
past cleanups. Scientists, for the first time, tested nearby homes
for contamination.

And both Ford and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pledged
to thoroughly clean up the area.

But with the passage of time and the spotlight faded, those
promises unraveled.  This year, the EPA reversed its original plan
to excavate 166,000 tons of contaminated soil next to a
neighborhood.  Instead, the agency approved a plan by Ford and the
borough of Ringwood to build a new recycling center atop the
O'Connor Disposal Area.  The pollution will remain on site,
covered by clean soil, a geotextile fabric and asphalt.

The new plan will save the car manufacturer and the borough almost
$30 million in cleanup costs.

The move left many Ramapoughs -- a Native American tribe who have
called the area home for more than 200 years -- feeling, once
again, betrayed.

"There doesn't seem to be anybody in authority who cares about
what we're going through," said Vincent Mann, chief of the
Ramapough's Turtle Clan, who has led recent efforts demanding a
complete cleanup.  "We've gotten one raw deal after another."

A top EPA official who approved the new plan said he believes the
capping will still protect residents from dangerous substances.
But he said recently that he was "personally disappointed" that
members of the community feel the government had let them down.

"I believe we have fulfilled the promise to the community," said
Walter Mugdan, who, as an EPA official in charge of Superfund
cleanups in New Jersey and New York, has worked on the Ringwood
site for years.  "I don't think all of the members of the
community would agree with that.  I recognize that they would
probably not believe that's the case."

Jon Holt, a Ford spokesman, said the company supports the EPA's
decision because it will transform the site "into a beneficial
reuse for the community as a recycling center."

Seeking alternatives

With work not set to get under way until 2017, the Ramapoughs are
searching for ways to overturn EPA's decision.

Tribal leaders have contacted lawyers to identify if there is any
way to take the agency to court.  The Ramapoughs, who maintain
that Ford's pollution is responsible for many illnesses and deaths
among their members, hope a new health study of their community by
New York University will persuade EPA officials to change course.

"They may think we've gone away quietly, but we haven't," said
Vivian Milligan, a longtime resident and community leader.

The pollution dates to 1967, when Ford contractors began dumping
paint sludge and other industrial waste on 500 acres in the Upper
Ringwood, including deep within abandoned mines.  The waste came
from a plant the company operated at the time in Mahwah.

A 1970 letter from then-Mayor John Kulik to Ford indicated that
the borough government had given the auto giant permission to
dispose its waste in the area about a mile north of the Wanaque
Reservoir.

Over about six years, the sludge was dumped at three major sites:
Peter's Mine Pit in Ringwood State Park, Cannon Mine off Van Dunk
Lane and the O'Connor Disposal Area, which once served as a
municipal landfill off Peters Mine Road.

The sites were found to be so polluted with carcinogens like
benzene and arsenic as well as lead and other dangerous
substances, that the area was put on the federal Superfund list in
1983.  Ford dug up and removed about 7,700 cubic yards of sludge
and soil under EPA orders in the late 1980s.  The company was
tasked with monitoring the area and, after reporting no more paint
sludge, the site was taken off the Superfund list in 1994.

But residents knew paint sludge -- some of it still brightly
colored after all those years -- was still everywhere.  It could
be found in the woods, near streams, even in the yards around some
of their homes. And despite calls to environmental regulators,
little was done.

In 2005, a team of Record reporters spent months investigating the
pollution in Upper Ringwood.  That October, the newspaper
published the five-part, multimedia series showing how federal
officials had allowed Ford to walk away from the cleanup.  The
series detailed the health concerns of residents, who said too
many people, particularly the young, had died of tumors, cancers
and other diseases -- illnesses they believed were related to the
contamination on their land.

The series was widely credited with forcing the EPA and Ford to
turn their attention back on Ringwood.

With the site back on the Superfund list, Ford was required to
excavate 47,000 to 53,000 tons of paint sludge and soil from about
18 areas.

Politicians held news conferences urging the EPA to "get the job
done right" this time.  The issue became national news, with HBO
airing "Mann v. Ford," a documentary on the contamination and the
plight of the Ramapoughs to get some compensation for land that
had been turned into a toxic dumping ground.

In 2009, former state Environmental Commissioner Lisa Jackson even
brought Ringwood residents to her confirmation hearings in
Washington after she was nominated to take over the EPA.  She
introduced each, saying they were vivid reminders of what happens
when "EPA falls short."  In the years ahead, she would often
mention Ringwood in speeches as an example of the agency carrying
out its mission.

As Mr. Mugdan said at the time: "When we screw up, we have an
extra obligation to clean it up."

Hopes fade

But the attention and momentum died down over the years and, with
it, the hopes of the Ramapoughs for the restoration of their land,
enhanced long-range health care for their people and ample
remuneration for all the dumping.

A class-action lawsuit against Ford and other polluters garnered a
$12.5 million award for 633 current and former residents  --  far
less by many standards than other major pollution cases across the
nation.

A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would later
show that lead contamination was moving through the food chain in
the area, and could be found in small animals, wild carrots and
other plants.  It was a troubling development in a community where
residents live off the land, but one that also didn't seem to
garner much outrage beyond the Ramapoughs.

The EPA unveiled its long-term cleanup plan in September 2013.
That $46.7 million plan called for most of the pollution in both
Peter's Mine and Cannon Mine to be allowed to remain because it
was buried so deeply in the ground.

There was a bright spot for the Ramapoughs, however.  The plan
would remove all of the 166,000 tons of contaminated soil -- more
than 5,000 dump trucks worth of pollution -- from the O'Connor
Landfill, which is located across the street from dozens of homes.
The EPA saw O'Connor's future use as a safe open space where
Ramapoughs might hunt game and children would play.  To eliminate
any health threat, the EPA wanted full excavation.

But three weeks before the plan became official, Ringwood
officials went to the EPA's New York offices and presented what
Mr. Mugdan later called a "vague and ambiguous" proposal to build
a recycling center at O'Connor.  It changed everything.

Instead of a full excavation and removal, the polluted soil from
the fringe areas of the site would be dug up and moved to the
center of the property. A 2-foot-thick layer of soil along with a
geotextile fabric would be placed on top followed by asphalt.

The new plan would drop the cleanup cost at O'Connor from $32.6
million, to $5.4 million to be paid by Ford and Ringwood.  It was
later revealed that Ford had agreed to pay for the entire $1.5
million recycling center, leading critics like Mr. Mann to say the
borough and Ford had hatched the plan together in order to get a
much cheaper cleanup bill.  Although town officials said they need
a new recycling center, many in the community said the current
one, just across the road from O'Connor, is fully functioning and
does not need to be replaced.

The EPA agreed to the plan in April.

In a recent interview, Mr. Mugdan said he thought it was "a bit of
a stretch" to dig out all of O'Connor since capping and excavation
provided the same level of risk reduction under the Superfund
program. He said he had pushed for excavation because it was what
the community wanted.

"I was happy to be able to provide something to the local
community that was really going to remove all of the contamination
from a certain area," he said. "This was one area where I thought
maybe we can remove entirely the wastes that were dumped there.
But the way in which we had to justify that was the future use of
open space."

When the recycling center came up, Mr. Mugdan said his hands were
tied by federal rules that have to take into account local land
use decisions and consider "most cost-effective alternative."

"It was disappointing to the local residents and therefore it was
disappointing to me," he said.

Jackson, now an executive at Apple Inc., declined to be
interviewed for this article.  She left EPA nine months before
Ringwood approached the agency with the recycling plan.

'Lies and failure'

Critics say Mr. Mugdan and other EPA officials had discretion and
could have pressed for excavation.

"They promised the community one thing and gave us another," said
Robert Spiegel, who has led a community group that has pushed EPA
for a better cleanup.  "It's a pattern of lies and failure. And
it's going to leave behind a toxic legacy that's going to be there
forever."

The recent news stories about EPA's reversal got the attention of
Judy Zelikoff, who leads an environmental and health research team
at NYU School of Medicine.  A year ago she published a report that
linked polluted groundwater under a Garfield neighborhood to
elevated chromium levels in residents.

Scientists have never been able to conclusively link the pollution
to the Ramapoughs' ailments. For example, a report this year by
the state Department of Health found "statistically significant"
elevated levels of mortality among men, lung cancer among men and
cervical cancer. But the report says it "draws no conclusion
related to environmental factors of concern."

Ms. Zelikoff wants to take it a step further in a study.

Her staff will collect as much health data as possible on 200 to
400 current and former residents of Upper Ringwood and how often
they were exposed to the areas where paint sludge lay on the
surface for decades.

"We're hoping to get to some correlation to, say, playing in the
area as a kid and elevated levels of a certain disease," said
Ms. Zelikoff.

Ms. Zelikoff recognizes the survey is limited.  The information
will be self-reported not gleaned from medical records.  And she
said the study will not be able to prove a definitive "cause-and-
effect relationship" between the pollution and disease.

But she said it would come closer than other studies. "The data
will be scientifically sound and we'll stand behind our
interpretation," said Ms. Zelikoff.  "How EPA responds to it no
one really knows."

While Mr. Mann, the Ramapough chief, hopes it will be a game
changer, Mr. Mugdan said it's unlikely the survey's results will
change EPA's plans, particularly since the agency already assumes
the pollution has affected health.

"That's why we put it on the Superfund list the first time around
and, quite frankly, the second time, too," Mr. Mugdan said.  "Our
working assumption all along is that there are unacceptable
amounts of risk being posed by this site."

NYU expects to continue gathering health data on the Ramapoughs
over the next six months through online surveys, phone interviews
and in-home visits.

"We know we're sick. We know we're dying," Mr. Mann said.  "I
think EPA would be compelled to look at this study, to see what
this community has suffered through.

"The people here have fought for years to get this site fully
cleaned," Mr. Mann said.  "We're not going to stop now."


FRANCIS' DRILLING: Faces "Lopez" Suit Alleging FLSA Violation
-------------------------------------------------------------
Oscar Lopez, individualy and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. Francis' Drilling Fluids Ltd., Case 7:15-cv-00203
(W.D. Tex., November 30, 2015), seeks to recover overtime
compensation for current and former yard hands, under the Fair
Labor Standards Act.

Francis -- http://www.fdfltd.com/-- is a drilling fluid company
on the Gulf Coast.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     Lisa K. Hoper
     LYNCH, CHAPPELL & ALSUP
     300 North Marienfeld
     Midland, TX
     Tel: (432) 683-3351
     Fax: (432) 683-2587


GENERAL ELECTRIC: Lawyers Balk at Swartz's FLSA Plaintiff Sign-Ups
------------------------------------------------------------------
Charles Toutant, writing for New Jersey Law Journal, reports that
General Electric Co. is claiming that plaintiffs' lawyers in a
wage-and-hour suit are improperly soliciting claimants online
after the opt-in period's conclusion.

More than 500 home appliance technicians opted in to the Fair
Labor Standards Act case by the court-ordered deadline of May 28,
signing up by way of an online form on the website of the
plaintiff's firm, Swartz Swidler of Cherry Hill.  But the sign-up
form remains posted online, and an additional eight technicians
have signed up after the deadline, according to court documents.
The allegations come not long after Swidler sought a sanction
against GE for allegedly failing to preserve evidence.

On Dec. 8, a lawyer for GE complained to Chief U.S. District Judge
Jerome Simandle of the District of New Jersey about "improper
solicitations of additional opt-ins, which flouts the court-
approved notice process."

GE's lawyer, Nina Markey -- nmarkey@littler.com -- of Littler
Mendelson in Philadelphia, said in a court document that she asked
her adversary, Justin Swidler, to take down the online opt-in
form, but he refused.  Ms. Markey said GE would not seek to
dismiss the late-arriving claimants "at this time," but she calls
it "unfair" for her client to have "no finality with regard to the
opt-in period."  She said the Swartz Swidler website fails to make
clear that the opt-in period has ended.

A link provided to GE by plaintiff counsel, targeted at
prospective claimants, does specify that the opt-in period has
expired, Ms. Markey acknowledged in court papers.  But she said a
Google search yields a different link on the website, which
includes no limiting language.

Ms. Markey requested a status conference with Judge Simandle,
citing the U.S. Supreme Court's 1989 holding in Hoffman-LaRoche v.
Sperling, which said that notice should not amount to
encouragement to join a suit, and that the courts "have a
substantial interest in managing communications with potential
plaintiffs, to avoid the potential for misuse of the class device
by misleading communications."

The suit claims the GE technicians are not paid for performing
certain duties at the start and end of each shift, such as booting
up and logging onto their computers, checking lists of service
calls, reading e-mails, and contacting the day's first customer.
The suit was filed in January 2014 and was granted conditional
certification as a collective action under the FLSA in November
2014.

An opt-in period for claimants began last Jan. 28 and was extended
to May 28.  Four individuals sought to opt in June, three in
August and one in November.

On Dec. 4, following the most recent late-arriving opt-in
claimant, Ms. Markey wrote in an e-mail to Mr. Swidler, saying she
would ask the judge for a hearing on the issue if he did not take
down the opt-in form from his website.

Ms. Markey asked Mr. Swidler to take down the form once before, in
an e-mail exchange on Aug. 27, according to court documents.  He
responded that his online form does not violate any court order,
and said that if any late-arriving opt-ins are rejected from the
case by the judge, he could file a new suit and then move to
consolidate.  He agreed to change the language on the site to make
clear that the opt-in deadline was passed and that any untimely
form might be rejected by the court.

Ms. Markey replied in an e-mail that the language revision did not
address her objection to the form's continued availability on
Mr. Swidler's website.  He responded that the court has not
restricted the content on his website and to do so would "violate
our right to practice law and potentially our Constitutional
rights," the documents indicated.

Mr. Swidler, too, has been on the offensive.  On Oct. 13, he moved
for a finding of spoliation and sanctions against GE based on the
company's alleged practice of destroying all data from its Afaria
in-house computer network when it becomes 60 days old.  GE had
notice that the data is critical to the case because it could help
the plaintiffs prove their allegations about how long they spend
logging into their computers at the start of each shift,
Mr. Swidler said.  He sought a finding that the log-in period
should be presumed to take 10 minutes, and he also asked for an
award of attorney fees and costs related to the data destruction,
and any costs related to recovering the data.

Ms. Markey said in response on Dec. 7 that the spoliation and
sanctions motion was "a futile attempt to tarnish GE's image with
the court."  She said that the plaintiffs suffered minimal
prejudice, if any, from the deletion of data.

Ms. Markey also said that a revision to Rule 37(e) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, which went into effect Dec. 1, requires
plaintiffs to show the company acted with intent to deprive
plaintiffs of the data and that they suffered prejudice before
sanctions are awarded -- a standard that she claims was not met.
Neither Mr. Swidler nor Ms. Markey responded to requests for
comment.


GENERAL MOTORS: Pays Out $594.5MM to Fix Ignition-Switch Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
Tom Krisher, writing for The Associated Press, reports that
lawyers hired to compensate victims of General Motors' faulty
ignition switches have paid out $594.5 million to settle 399
eligible claims.

The numbers were released on Dec. 10 in a final report from
compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg.

A total of 4,343 claims were filed with the GM fund.  Only 9.2
percent were deemed eligible for payments, including claims for
124 deaths and 275 injuries.

The fund says more than 90 percent of the offers it made were
accepted.  Camille Biros, the compensation fund's deputy director,
has said that the claims that were rejected "couldn't support any
connection to the ignition switch."

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 crashes that caused at least 169 deaths.

The ignition switch scandal triggered a companywide safety review
that resulted in dozens of recalls of millions of vehicles. GM
says it has made safety a priority and now is catching problems
sooner to avoid large recalls.  The company said in September that
the recalls cost it over $5.3 billion.  Since then, it has paid
out another $1.6 billion to settle U.S. criminal charges and
recall-related related lawsuits, bringing the total cost to about
$6.9 billion.

The fund's final report says that it paid 128 claims from crashes
that happened before GM emerged from bankruptcy in July of 2009,
which the company was not required to do.  A bankruptcy judge has
ruled that the new company that emerged from bankruptcy is
shielded from such claims.

Despite the settlements, GM still faces costs from the recalls. In
its most recent quarterly report filed with U.S. regulators the
company said it still faces 217 wrongful death and injury lawsuits
in the U.S. and Canada, as well as 122 lawsuits alleging that the
recalls reduced values of owners' cars.

GM spokesman Jim Cain said the Feinberg compensation fund was
fair, compassionate and non-adversarial to crash victims and their
families.  "We faced the ignition switch issue with integrity,
dignity and a clear determination to do the right thing both in
the short and long term," he said in a statement.


GOGO: Airline Wi-Fi Class Action Settlement Gets Prelim. Okay
-------------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Keshner, writing for New York Law Journal, reports that a
federal judge has given his preliminary approval to a litigation
settlement between travelers purchasing airline Internet service
and the Internet provider.

The consumers bought Wi-Fi connections on domestic air flights
from a company named Gogo but claimed they were tricked into
accepting automatic monthly renewals billed to their credit cards.

Eastern District Judge Jack Weinstein granted preliminary approval
on the putative class action litigation accord on Dec. 4.  The
proposed pact would give class members limited free use of Gogo's
services through promotional codes.

The length of the free use would depend on the amount of unused
Gogo service. For example, one to four months of unused service
would result in a one-day pass while more than nine months would
result in six one-day passes.

Judge Weinstein acknowledged settlements generally viewed as
offering "coupons" are disfavored and said the codes "have the
flavor and scent of coupons."  He suggested the claims
administrator "attempt to set up a market for the promo codes
enabling recipients to convert them to a cash equivalent. . . .
This market would take the curse of a 'coupon' characterization
out of the case."

But creating such a market was not essential for approval, he said
in Berkson v. Gogo, 14-cv-1199, and scheduled an April 5 fairness
hearing.

Judge Weinstein had permitted plaintiffs to proceed with the case
(NYLJ, April 13).  He said Gogo changed its practice to alert
customers of ongoing costs after the case was filed.

The proposed settlement terms said each named plaintiff would
receive up to $5,000.  Judge Weinstein said the sides agreed to a
fee of up to $750,000 for the class counsel.

George Volney Granade, II and Michael Reese of Reese LLP in
Manhattan represented the plaintiffs.

Anthony Joseph Laura -- alaura@ebglaw.com -- a member at Epstein
Becker & Green, represented Gogo.


GOOGLE INC: 3rd Cir. Hears Arguments in Nickelodeon Cookies Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
P.J. D'Annunzio, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, reports that
a debate over whether Google has the ability to glean children's
personal information from websites they visit took center stage
during arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third
Circuit.

Lawyers representing children who visited the Nickelodeon
network's website argued Google had the ability to extrapolate the
children's identities from usernames, birthdates and gender
information they provided to Nickelodeon's parent company, Viacom,
for use of the website.  Google's cookies, installed on the
website, would take that information and combine it with
additional data gathered from other Google services to pinpoint
the children's names and addresses, their lawyers argued.  Cookies
are small bits of data collected by websites to record browser
activity.

Jefferson City, Missouri-based lawyer Jason O. Barnes argued on
behalf of the plaintiffs, who were part of multiple classes whose
cases had been dismissed by the district court for failing to show
that the information collected by Google was personally
identifiable.

Mr. Barnes told the appellate panel -- consisting of Judges Patty
Shwartz, Julio Fuentes, and via teleconference, Franklin Van
Antwerpen -- that Viacom and Google had violated the Video Privacy
Protection Act.  Viacom provided the information to Google through
cookies, and Google was a willing recipient, he argued.

"So Viacom discloses a specific name to Google?" Mr. Fuentes
asked.

Mr. Barnes said no; the entire "suite of information" in Google's
possession makes the individual personally identifiable.

"How does that personally identify an individual?" Mr. Fuentes
shot back.

Mr. Barnes stressed the case was not about children being
identified, but Google's ability to identify them from the
information it has.

"There's a difference between identifier and identifiable,"
Mr. Barnes said.

Alan J. Butler, arguing for the amicus appellant, Electronic
Privacy Information Center, reiterated Barnes' point that being
identifiable is distinguished by the ability to trace personal
information from a source, like a Social Security number.

This boiled down to companies being able to profile people,
Mr. Butler said.

"But no one has pleaded that that has actually happened yet, that
anyone has been identified," Van Antwerpen said over the
loudspeaker.

Mr. Butler said no, but the statute does not require
identification to occur.

David A. O'Neil -- daoneil@debevoise.com -- of Debevoise &
Plimpton, representing Viacom, was next up to the podium.
Mr. O'Neil told the panel that cookies are nothing more than
anonymous computer codes that exist to direct data from point to
point in the Internet.

                           *     *     *

P.J. D'Annunzio, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, in an
earlier report, said Viacom indicated in its court papers that the
plaintiffs have not pointed to an injury suffered by the class
members.  Viacom said in its court papers that the plaintiffs have
not pointed to an injury suffered by the class members.

Viacom also said the plaintiffs' argument "that Viacom used
anonymous data about their Internet activity to facilitate the
delivery of the very advertising that makes Viacom's websites
available for free to them and the rest of the public" fell short.
Additionally, Viacom argued that the plaintiffs did not allege
Viacom ever collected their names or any other information about
their identities or that it knowingly disclosed that information
to Google.

Evan Rosenberg of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy in Edison, New
Jersey, representing the plaintiffs, did not return a call seeking
comment.

Colleen Bal -- cbal@wsgr.com -- of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich &
Rosati in San Francisco represents Google and did not return a
call seeking comment.

Viacom's attorney, Jeremy Feigelson -- jfeigelson@debevoise.com --
of Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, declined to comment.


GUAM: Class Action Over Tax Refunds to Continue
-----------------------------------------------
Ken Quintanilla, writing for KUAM News, reports that a class
action lawsuit over the payment of tax refunds continues.  And the
Government of Guam is arguing it's more than just the payment of
tax refunds and attorney fees, but resolving issues over Guam's
relationship with the federal government.

"As the governor likes to say, these interpretations out of the
Ninth Circuit were neither fish nor fowl, or were fish when it's
convenient and fowl when it's convenient for the federal
government," stated Arthur Clark, chief policy advisor for
Governor Eddie Calvo, in reference to Guam's relationship with
Uncle Sam.  It was back in October when the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals denied the Government of Guam's petition to rehear a case
related to the class action lawsuit over the payment of tax
refunds.  Specifically, GovGuam requested for a full panel review
on the payment of attorney fees on the case.  That was denied and
now GovGuam has the opportunity to bring the matter before the
Supreme Court of the United States -- a venture Mr. Clark says
they will pursue.

"So we're moving forward with that particularly for a (petition
for) writ of certiorari because of the Ninth Circuit decision,
there's a decision out there that Guam has to pay $1.7 million in
attorney fees.  We've already petitioned the Ninth Circuit to
delay the payment of the fees pending our request to the US
Supreme Court, that has been denied, so now we're taking that to
the US Supreme Court itself," he said.

Mr. Clark says a writ of certiorari is not a mandatory but a
discretionary appeal.  Mr. Clark says its decision to take the
matter to the US Supreme Court has more to do with a federal
territorial relationship issue, noting, "Not just on Guam but with
respect to the other territories itself, it seems like the circuit
courts of the United States have come up with different
interpretations of when Guam is a federal entity and when it's
not.  And the Ninth Circuit in particular has been very
inconsistent in how it applies it -- it seems like at the end of
the day, it always take the interpretation that ends up impacting
Guam the most significant, most adversely," he said.

Mr. Clark adds part of the decision is also important as Guam
addresses our political status and self-determination.  And as the
request goes before the US Supreme Court, the Governor's Office
was able to retain leading firm Kirkland and Ellis on a pro-bono
basis.  "Kirkland and Ellis is a US law firm with 1,500 attorneys,
so it's a big hitter, very big firm," Clark said. "And they also
represent Puerto Rico and American Samoa in various cases before
the Supreme Court dealing with the federal territorial
relationship issues."

Mr. Clark says the AG's Office coordinated the initial
communication with Kirkland, who wanted to represent GovGuam's
interest in going before the US Supreme Court.  He adds the
initial tax refund case at the trial court level was handled by
the AG's Office.  When it went to the Ninth Circuit level, they
substituted Governor Calvo's private counsel, which is Messrs.
Calvo, Fisher and Jacob.  He says Kirkland's handling of the case
will not come at any cost to the people of Guam.


HOME DEPOT: Bank Plaintiffs Seek Injunction in Data Breach Case
---------------------------------------------------------------
R. Robin McDonald, writing for Daily Report, reports that
financial institutions suing The Home Depot over last year's
massive data breach of customer information are asking a federal
judge to issue an injunction that would vacate any settlement
agreements secured over the Thanksgiving holiday as a result of
notices announcing that Home Depot and MasterCard International
Inc. had reached a deal.

U.S. District Chief Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. had set a hearing for
Dec. 14 on the injunction request.  Attorneys for the financial
institutions who asked for the hearing also have asked the judge
to direct Home Depot to provide any settlement details to the
court and to plaintiffs' lawyers, who were unaware of the proposed
deal when the notices were sent.

In their injunction request, the plaintiff financial institutions
accused Home Depot of attempting to "hijack" a separate
reimbursement process established through its contracts with
MasterCard, customers' banking institutions and third-party
payment processors that govern the use of credit and debit cards.
According to the plaintiffs, that process provides for partial
compensation of some losses financial institutions might incur as
a result of data breaches but does not require a release of any
claims.

"Home Depot and MasterCard instead have sought to turn the card
recovery process into a pseudo-class settlement that releases all
the claims in this litigation," the plaintiffs lawyers wrote.  "In
the meantime, class members have received misleading and coercive
messages about what is happening and are being told they must act
immediately or lose their rights."

In a pleading filed on Dec. 7, Home Depot lawyers claimed they
were not aware of the notices announcing a settlement with
MasterCard and neither sent nor authorized them.  They also
objected to any limitations on Home Depot communications with
financial institutions that might be parties or potential parties
to the ongoing litigation.  Home Depot lawyers also accused the
plaintiffs and their attorneys of making "significant factual
misstatements and misrepresentations" about Home Depot in their
pleadings.

Plaintiffs' lawyers countered that it is "unfathomable that no one
at Home Depot knew" payment processors had mailed out the
settlement notices and "would be reaching out to class members and
named class representatives in order to effectuate a proposed
settlement."

"Whether or not it was done with Home Depot's explicit knowledge,
it was certainly done at Home Depot's request as Home Depot is the
only entity who benefits from and sought a release of claims,"
plaintiffs lawyers argued in a brief supporting their injunction
request.

They also claimed that they have learned that Home Depot's
proposed settlement with MasterCard would take effect if it covers
65 percent of the MasterCards issued by financial institutions
that were compromised by the breach and that the settlement
agreements are secured by Saturday, Dec. 12.  The proposed
settlement between MasterCard and Home Depot also, according to
plaintiffs' counsel, contains a confidentiality provision
prohibiting disclosure of the settlement amount or any numerical
information by which it could be calculated.

A Home Depot spokesman told the Daily Report on Dec. 7 that the
home improvement chain had reached "a tentative settlement" with
MasterCard that is contingent on its acceptance by an unspecified
number of plaintiffs.


HOME DEPOT: Lawyer Questioned Over Data Breach Settlement Notices
-----------------------------------------------------------------
R. Robin McDonald, writing for Daily Report, reports that the
judge presiding over multidistrict litigation concerning Home
Depot's data security breach that imperiled 56 million customers'
financial information said on Dec. 14 that settlement notices sent
to some potential plaintiffs over Thanksgiving were both
misleading and "clearly coercive."

U.S. District Chief Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. made the finding at
the end of a two-hour hearing after lawyers for the Atlanta-based
home improvement chain revealed that it had negotiated a
conditional settlement with MasterCard International and made
settlement offers to the 27 largest financial institutions that
are potential plaintiffs in the litigation.

Judge Thrash, however, deferred a decision on whether to grant an
injunction requested by attorneys for the financial institutions
who have sued Home Depot.  They have asked the judge to vacate any
liability releases secured by Home Depot as a result of the
notices, which were sent over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Some
notices gave the recipients as little as two business days to
decide whether to join the settlement.

Instead, he gave lawyers for the financial institutions, many of
them small banks and credit unions, until next month to conduct
discovery for evidence about the terms of any settlements Home
Depot may have reached, what financial institutions may have been
contacted as a result, the nature of those communications, and who
may have agreed to release Home Depot from any further liability.
The judge also scheduled a hearing next month and signaled that he
could grant additional relief to the plaintiff financial
institutions.

Judge Thrash also signed an order that Home Depot lawyers had
requested in October to govern communications regarding settlement
offers and releases with potential parties in the multidistrict
litigation.  The order allows the parties or their counsel to
communicate about settlement offers with potential plaintiffs in
what may eventually become a class action.

The order directs Home Depot to provide to these potential
plaintiffs details of the pending class action suit and the nature
of the allegations; disclose the rights of any potential class
members to participate in the litigation; and explain that the
settlement offer represents a lesser recovery than they may
potentially recover if they remain parties in the class action and
are successful in the litigation.

At the Dec. 14 hearing in federal court in Atlanta, Alston & Bird
partner Cari Dawson -- cari.dawson@alston.com -- defending Home
Depot, acknowledged that the retail chain was negotiating with
MasterCard and the 27 largest potential plaintiff banks to settle
their claims while Judge Thrash was still considering Home Depot's
request to communicate with potential parties without court
scrutiny.  Those other banks include Bank of America, CitiBank,
Wells Fargo, SunTrust, CapitalOne and Chase.

Ms. Dawson contended that MasterCard and 27 banks were provided
details of the pending class action, the terms of the settlement,
and the financial payouts if they agreed to release Home Depot
from liability.  She said that before the MasterCard settlement
becomes final, 65 percent of the financial institutions that
issued MasterCards jeopardized by Home Depot's data breach must
agree to the settlement terms.

Ms. Dawson also acknowledged that the settlement Home Depot has
reached conditionally with MasterCard was "outside the normal
process" dictated by the terms of contracts among Home Depot, the
credit card companies and the financial institutions that allowed
for financial recovery from security breaches that might expose
private financial data.

But Ms. Dawson insisted that settlement notices sent out over the
Thanksgiving holiday containing far less information were not sent
by or on behalf of Home Depot and that Home Depot was not aware of
the communications.  Moreover, she contended that the notices were
communications between larger banks that were negotiating
settlements with Home Depot and other smaller banks which may have
contracted with them to provide credit card services -- all of
whom were potential plaintiffs in the case.

Joseph Guglielmo -- jguglielmo@scott-scott.com -- a partner at New
York's Scott & Scott and lead co-counsel, with Atlanta's Ken
Canfield for the plaintiff financial institutions, argued that
Home Depot's secret settlement negotiations and the sparse
settlement notices sent to plaintiffs and potential plaintiffs
were an attempt to "do an end run around this court" and
"undermined this court's authority."

Mr. Guglielmo said the Thanksgiving notices provided "insufficient
information" as to what the plaintiffs either were entitled to and
what they were agreeing to in exchange for releasing Home Depot
from any further liability.  He also argued that the dispute
resolution process in Home Depot's contracts with credit card
providers involving recovery of losses triggered by a data breach
did not require any release of liability from the ongoing
multidistrict litigation, despite Home Depot's claims to the
contrary.  Mr. Guglielmo also insisted that the notices, which
announced the proposed settlement between Home Depot and
MasterCard, were "at the direction of Home Depot."

"It's implausible to think they didn't know this was happening,"
he said.

During the hearing, Judge Thrash questioned Ms. Dawson as to why
the smaller banks had been sent settlement notices if, as she
contended, Home Depot was negotiating settlements only with the
larger banks. Dawson responded that Home Depot "had nothing to do
with it," and that the larger banks had contacted the smaller
banks "on their own initiative."

Judge Thrash said he was confused by her explanation that Home
Depot had nothing to do with settlement notices that would absolve
the retail chain of liability.  He said he was also puzzled as to
why the big banks would be sending settlement notices to the small
banks.

Ms. Dawson argued that "confusion" did not rise to the level of
misleading communications that would warrant court intervention.
Thrash replied, "Confusion can certainly be misleading, which is
one of the elements . . . for issuing limitations" on
communicating with potential plaintiffs.

In questioning Dawson, Judge Thrash pounced on her acknowledgment
that Home Depot had been negotiating settlement agreements not
only with the credit card companies but also with more than two
dozen large banks.  "All this was going on while I had your motion
pending before me to allow [those] communications?" he asked.
"Don't you think it would have been helpful to me when you filed
the motion . . . to let me know these communications were going
on?"

"I recall you saying you were negotiating with MasterCard and
Visa.  I don't remember anything about communicating with the
banks."

Ms. Dawson suggested that references in defense pleadings to the
financial institutions -- including a footnote in one filing --
signaled that settlement talks were in progress.

Judge Thrash read excerpts from the pleadings aloud from the
bench, then noted, "That didn't tell me . . . that you were
engaging in negotiations with the banks at the time you made this
motion."

Ms. Dawson insisted anew that Home Depot's settlement negotiations
were only with the larger banks and the credit card companies.
But Thrash asked whether Home Depot intended to enforce any
settlement releases that might have been signed by one of the
smaller financial institutions not privy to the settlement talks.
"Do the settlements with the larger banks bind the little banks?"
he asked.

Ms. Dawson didn't answer the judge's question, saying instead that
Home Depot was not privy to any private agreements among the
larger and smaller banks and "the Home Depot doesn't authorize
. . . or tell them what to do."

She would not agree that any banks that signed the Thanksgiving
settlement releases were invalid, although she allowed, "If we had
to do it all over again, we wouldn't want a communication to go
out that would cause confusion."

Judge Thrash then observed, "The little banks have not received
the kind of information you agree they would have to have to
validly and intelligently decide whether to settle claims against
Home Depot."  The notices, he added, "are misleading . . . and
clearly coercive in giving people only two days to accept or
reject it."


HUTCHINSON TECHNOLOGY: Faces "Erickson" Suit Over TDK Merger Plan
-----------------------------------------------------------------
David Erickson, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly
Situated, v. Hutchinson Technology Incorporated, Richard J. Penn,
Wayne M. Fortun, Martha Goldberg Aronson, Russell Huffer, Frank P.
Russomanno, Philip E. Soran, and Thomas R. Verhage, CASE 0:15-cv-
04261 (D. Minn., November 30, 2015), alleges violation of the
Securities and Exchange Act in connection with the proposed merger
between Hutchinson and certain entities beneficially owned by TDK
Corporation.

Hutchinson Technology Incorporated is a Minnesota corporation that
manufactures and supplies suspension assemblies for hard disk
drives.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     Renae D. Steiner, Esq.
     James W. Anderson, Esq.
     HEINS MILLS & OLSON P.L.C.
     310 Clifton Avenue
     Minneapolis, MN 55403
     Tel: (612) 338-4605
     Fax: (612) 338-4692
     E-mail: rsteiner@heinsmills.com
             janderson@heinsmills.com

        - and -

     Juan E. Monteverde, Esq.
     Miles D. Schreiner, Esq.
     FARUQI & FARUQI, LLP
     685 Third Avenue, 26th Floor
     New York, NY 10017
     Tel: (212) 983-9330
     Fax: (212) 983-9331
     E-mail: jmonteverde@faruqilaw.com
             mschreiner@faruqilaw.com


INO'S TACOS: Fails to Pay Overtime, "Mata" Suit Alleges
-------------------------------------------------------
Socorro Mata, Maria Cruz Solis, Beronica Hernandez, Antonio Avila,
Roselia Vega, and Jose Fernandez, on behalf of themselves and all
other similarly situated employees, known and unknown, v. Ino's
Tacos #1 Inc., an Illinois corporation, Ino's Tacos #2 Inc., an
Illinois corporation, Richard Diaz, and Ana Diaz, individually,
Case: 1:15-cv-10691 (N.D. Ill., November 28, 2015), arises under
the Fair Labor Standards Act as a result of the defendants'
alleged failure to pay overtime compensation to the plaintiffs.

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

     Paul Luka, Esq.
     LAW OFFICE OF PAUL LUKA P.C.
     120 S. State Street, Suite 400
     Chicago, IL 60603
     Tel: (312) 971-7309
     E-mail: paul@lukapc.com


JEFFERIES & CO: 2nd Cir. Orders New Trial in Securities Fraud Case
------------------------------------------------------------------
Christian Nolan, writing for The Connecticut Law Tribune, report
that a federal appeals court has ordered a new trial for a
Connecticut-based securities trader sentenced to two years in
prison for allegedly lying to potential investors about mortgage
bond prices.  Experts say the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Second Circuit changes the way future securities fraud
criminal trials will play out and could potentially make the cases
more difficult to prosecute.

The appeals court said there was nothing wrong with the legal
theory used by federal prosecutors to convict Jesse Litvak, but it
faulted the trial judge for restricting defense questioning of a
witness who was prepared to testify that Mr. Litvak's alleged
misrepresentations to bond buyers were nothing out of the
ordinary.

While the decision was clearly a victory for Mr. Litvak, who was
freed from prison, it was not a total defeat for prosecutors,

Connecticut white-collar lawyers said.  "The key takeaway is that
the case survived," said Stanley Twardy Jr., managing partner at
Day Pitney and a former U.S. attorney.  "That was the issue for
the government: would it survive at all, if the court finds
[Litvak's] misrepresentations about the process were, as a matter
of law, not securities fraud."

Mr. Litvak, 41, of New York City, was a registered broker-dealer
and managing director at Jefferies & Co. Inc.  He worked on the
company's trading floor in Stamford before being fired in 2011.

At a 2014 trial in Connecticut, prosecutors said Mr. Litvak duped
clients into paying artificially increased prices for mortgage
bonds, or for agreeing to sell them at artificially decreased
prices.  The result, authorities said, was $6.3 million in
fraudulent profits for Jefferies & Co.  The federal government had
promoted the case as the first conviction to result from an abuse
of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which used bailout funds
after the 2008 financial meltdown to restart trading markets for
mortgage-backed securities.

Mr. Litvak argued through his lawyers that he was singled out for
employing typical Wall Street sales techniques used to deal with
sophisticated investors, and that those prospective bond buyers
already had a handle on the market through their own research.

The trial judge, U.S. District Judge Janet Hall, blocked a defense
witness, Ram Willner, a business school professor and former
portfolio manager, from testifying about how investment managers
operate.  The defense wanted Mr. Willner to discuss how bond
traders such as Litvak were generally regarded by their
negotiating counterparts to be biased and often misleading.

The blocked testimony was a key reason that the Second Circuit, in
an opinion written by Judge Chester Straub, reversed Mr. Litvak's
conviction for making false statements. It vacated his conviction
on securities fraud charges and ordered a new trial.

"The government called to testify several purported victims
(portfolio managers and traders), each of whom testified that
Mr. Litvak's misstatements were important to them in the course of
the trades charged in the indictment," wrote Judge Straub.

"Litvak's primary defense was that, despite the victims'
testimony, Litvak's statements were not material to a reasonable
investor.  Without Willner's testimony on this point, Litvak was
left with little opportunity to present his non-materiality
defense."

Judge Straub said the expert testimony was part of a defense
strategy of "educating" the jury about differences between the
sales of complex mortgage bonds and more common transactions
involving equities and bonds traded in traditional markets, such
as on the New York Stock Exchange.

John Coffee, a professor and securities law expert at Columbia Law
School, said the decision "complicates" future securities fraud
prosecutions.  Going forward, he said, prosecutors will know to
expect a slew of defense expert witnesses during securities fraud
trials.  "Most trial judges in my experience do not want expert
witnesses testifying before a jury in a criminal case," said Mr.
Coffee.

He said Mr. Litvak and his attorneys should have an edge in the
retrial.  "You know what the testimony is going to be so you can
prepare a better defense," said Mr. Coffee.  "Also the defendants
will be able to put their experts on the stand who will say this
information is immaterial.  Whether that will influence the jury,
I don't know."

In response to the 2008 financial collapse, the U.S. Treasury
Department introduced the Legacy Securities Public-Private
Investment Program and used more than $22 billion from TARP to
reinvigorate the trading markets for many troubled securities,
including certain kinds of residential mortgage-backed securities,
or RMBS.

RMBS are pools of mortgages deposited into trusts and then sold as
securities to investors, who receive a stream of income as
individuals make mortgage payments.  The program created nine
public-private investment program funds and more than 100 firms
applied to manage the funds.  TARP infused between $1.4 billion
and $3.7 billion into the funds, which were to be invested
alongside private capital.

Jefferies & Co. traders bought and sold RMBS on the secondary
market.  In 2009, according to federal prosecutors, certain
employees fraudulently increased the profitability of RMBS trades
in various ways, including by misrepresenting sellers' and buyers'
asking prices. According to the government, the company then
pocketed the difference in the money collected from the buyer and
promised to the seller.

At times, according to prosecutors, members of Jefferies & Co.'s
management became aware that employees were making
misrepresentations to customers and did nothing to stop it.

The federal government said Mr. Litvak siphoned off millions in
private investment funds and government bailout money.  Jefferies
& Co., meanwhile, reached a $25 million settlement with the
federal government to settle civil and criminal allegations. Of
that amount, up to $11 million would go for restitution to victims
and up to $4.25 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission.

Mr. Litvak could have faced up to 20 years behind bars but was
sentenced to two years.  His appellate lawyer, Kannon Shanmugam of
Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., said he was "very
pleased" with the Second Circuit decision. "In the event there is
a retrial, we certainly think the evidentiary rulings will be
helpful," Mr. Shanmugam said.

Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly noted that despite its
reversal of the trial court, the Second Circuit nevertheless
concluded that a jury could find that Mr. Litvak's
misrepresentations were material.  "We are gratified that the
panel unanimously upheld the government's securities fraud theory
and found that the jury was justified in concluding that
Mr. Litvak's misstatements were material to investors," said Daly.
"The government continues to review the opinion in its entirety
and will proceed with retrying the securities fraud charges
against Mr. Litvak."

Richard Slavin, managing partner of Cohen and Wolf's Westport
office and chairman of the firm's securities group, said he's
curious about the retrial and the defense team's explanation of
why Mr. Litvak's lying to investigators wasn't against the law.

"It's kind of an interesting case to me because here you have
someone who admits he wasn't telling the truth but the case got
overturned anyway," said Mr. Slavin.  "I guess there's more to
being convicted for securities fraud than simply not telling the
truth, which is counterintuitive to what the common person might
think."


MANFREDINI LANDSCAPING: Violates FLSA, Ill. Wage Laws, Suit Says
----------------------------------------------------------------
Jose B. Rivera And Victor Varela, on behalf of themselves, and all
other similarly situated plaintiffs known and unknown, v.
Manfredini Landscaping Company, d/b/a Manfredini Landscaping &
Design,Also d/b/a Manfredini Landscaping & Design Co., And Enrico
Manfredini, individually, Case: 1:15-cv-10692 (N.D.Ill., November
29, 2015), was brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the
Portal-to-Portal Act, the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, and the
Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act.

Manfredini Landscaping Company, d/b/a Manfredini Landscaping &
Design, also d/b/a Manfredini Landscaping & Design Co., provides
landscaping, gardening, snowplowing, maintenance services, and
builds custom fireplaces and outdoor kitchens.

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

     John W. Billhorn, Esq.
     BILLHORN LAW FIRM
     53 W. Jackson Blvd. Suite 840
     Chicago, IL 60604
     Tel: (312) 853-1450

        - and -

     Meghan A. VanLeuwen, Esq.
     FARMWORKER AND LANDSCAPER ADVOCACY PROJECT
     33 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 900
     Chicago, IL 60602
     Tel: (312) 784-3541


MDC PARTNERS: Defending Firefighter Pension Plan's Suit in N.Y.
---------------------------------------------------------------
MDC Partners Inc. said in its Form 10-Q Report filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015, for the
quarterly period ended September 30, 2015, that the North Collier
Fire Control and Rescue District Firefighter Pension Plan filed on
July 31, 2015, a putative class action suit in the Southern
District of New York, naming as defendants the Company, CFO David
Doft, Mr. Nadal, and Mr. Sabatino. The plaintiff alleges
violations of Sec. 10(b), Rule 10b-5, and Sec. 20 of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, based on allegedly materially
false and misleading statements in the Company's SEC filings and
other public statements regarding executive compensation, goodwill
accounting, and the Company's internal controls. The Company
intends to vigorously defend this suit.


MDC PARTNERS: Defending "Paniccia" Class Suit in Ontario
--------------------------------------------------------
MDC Partners Inc. said in its Form 10-Q Report filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015, for the
quarterly period ended September 30, 2015, that Roberto Paniccia
issued on August 7, 2015, a Statement of Claim in the Ontario
Superior Court of Justice in the City of Brantford, Ontario
seeking to certify a class action suit naming as Defendants the
Company, former CEO Miles S. Nadal, former CAO Michael C.
Sabatino, CFO David Doft and BDO U.S.A. LLP. The Plaintiff alleges
violations of section 138.1 of the Ontario Securities Act (and
equivalent legislation in other Canadian provinces and
territories) as well as common law misrepresentation based on
allegedly materially false and misleading statements in the
company's public statements, as well as omitting to disclose
material facts with respect to an SEC investigation. The Company
also intends to vigorously defend this suit.


MIA HOSPITALITY: Faces "Bello" Lawsuit Alleging FLSA Violation
--------------------------------------------------------------
Leydis B. Bello and other similarly-situated individuals, v. Mia
Hospitality, LLC d/b/a Fairfield Inn And Suites a/k/a Fairfield
Inn Miami Airport and Natalia Fernandez, individually, Case No.
1:15-cv-24394-JAL (S.D. Fla., November 30, 2015), seeks to recover
money damages for alleged unpaid overtime wages under the Fair
Labor Standards Act.

The Defendant provides lodging services to the general public.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     Zandro E. Palma, Esq.
     ZANDRO E. PALMA, P.A.
     9100 S. Dadeland Blvd.
     Suite 1500
     Miami, FL 33156
     Tel: (305) 446-1500
     Fax: (305) 446-1502
     E-mail: zep@thepalmalawgroup.com


MIA HOSPITALITY: "Rojas" Suit Seeks Payment of OT Wages
-------------------------------------------------------
Yamilet Rojas and other similarly-situated individuals, v. Mia
Hospitality, LLC d/b/a Fairfield Inn And Suites a/k/a Fairfield
Inn Miami Airport and Natalia Fernandez, individually, Case 1:15-
cv-24403-MGC (S.D. Fla., November 30, 2015), seeks to recover
money damages for unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor
Standards Act.

The Defendant provides lodging services to the general public.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     Zandro E. Palma, Esq.
     ZANDRO E. PALMA, P.A.
     9100 S. Dadeland Blvd., Suite 1500
     Miami, FL 33156
     Tel: (305) 446-1500
     Fax: (305) 446-1502
     E-mail: zep@thepalmalawgroup.com


MORGAN STANLEY: Faces "Staines" Action in Ontario Superior Court
----------------------------------------------------------------
Morgan Stanley said in its Form 10-Q Report filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015, for the
quarterly period ended September 30, 2015, that several foreign
exchange dealers (including the Company and an affiliate) were
named on September 11, 2015, as defendants in a purported class
action filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice styled
Christopher Staines v. Royal Bank of Canada, et al. The plaintiff
has made allegations similar to those in the In Re Foreign
Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation and seeks C$1
billion as well as C$50 million in punitive damages. On September
16, 2015, a parallel proceeding was initiated in Quebec Superior
Court styled Christine Beland v. Royal Bank of Canada, et al.
based on similar allegations and seeking C$100 million as well as
C$50 million in punitive damages.


MORGAN STANLEY: Deal Reached in CDS Antitrust Litigation
--------------------------------------------------------
Morgan Stanley said in its Form 10-Q Report filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015, for the
quarterly period ended September 30, 2015, that the Company
reached on September 30, 2015, an agreement with plaintiffs in In
Re: Credit Default Swaps Antitrust Litigation to settle the
litigation. The settlement is subject to court approval.


NATIONAL COLLEGIATE: 2 Antitrust Class Actions to Proceed
---------------------------------------------------------
Marisa Kendall, writing for The Recorder, reports that a federal
judge in California has green-lighted two more class actions that
seek to make more cash available to NCAA players, the latest in a
wave of litigation challenging the athletic association's business
practices.

On Dec. 4 U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken of the Northern
District of California certified classes of Division 1 football
and basketball players who claim the National Collegiate Athletic
Association violated antitrust law by capping player compensation.

"This is a critical first step in restructuring the NCAA
conference rules so that actual competition dictates how student
athletes are compensated as opposed to anti-competitive conduct,"
co-lead plaintiffs counsel Bruce Simon of Pearson, Simon & Warshaw
wrote in an emailed statement.

The order follows last year's victory for student athletes, in
which Wilken ruled the NCAA must allow member schools to pay
student athletes licensing revenue when their images are used on
television and in video games.  Ruling following a bench trial in
O'Bannon v. NCAA, she required the NCAA to allocate licensing
revenue by upping its scholarship caps to cover the full cost of
attendance, and to allow member schools to pay athletes up to
$5,000 in additional licensing revenue.  The U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Ninth Circuit struck the $5,000-payment portion of the
ruling in September, and plaintiffs have filed a petition for
re-hearing en banc.

The cases in the Dec. 4 order, Jenkins v. NCAA and a MDL
transferred to California from New Jersey, focus on "grant-in-aid"
scholarships instead of licensing revenue. But all three cases aim
to wrest for players a larger portion of the billions generated by
big-time college sports.  The NCAA has argued its rules
restricting player compensation are necessary to preserve amateur
character, and appeal, of collegiate sports.

"The NCAA and its members award $2.7 billion in athletics
scholarships every year to more than 150,000 student-athletes,"
Donald Remy, chief legal officer for the NCAA, wrote in an emailed
statement responding to the Dec. 4 order.  "The plaintiffs
continue to misconstrue and inaccurately portray these
scholarships. As other federal court decisions have consistently
stated, agreeing to appropriate limits on financial aid does not
violate antitrust laws."

The NCAA did away with its scholarship caps at the beginning of
this school year, before plaintiffs filed Jenkins and the MDL.
But Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, co-lead
plaintiffs counsel, said that doesn't make the litigation moot.
Without a court order, he said, the NCAA could reinstate the caps
as soon as the issue of student compensation fades from the
spotlight.  Mr. Berman said his team also will seek money for
educational and living expenses not covered by the current
scholarships, such as graduate school, laundry and gas.

The Dec. 4 order certifies classes of players for injunctive
relief only, but plaintiffs plan to follow up with a motion to
certify a damages class.

The NCAA, represented by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom,
argued that the suits are moot because some plaintiffs are no
longer eligible for scholarships.  But Judge Wilken dismissed that
argument.  Plaintiffs only have four seasons to play college
sports, she wrote, and they couldn't be expected to finish
litigating their claims in such a short time period.

The NCAA lawyers also argued the student-athlete classes couldn't
be certified because plaintiffs have conflicting interests.  If
colleges were free to match compensation to a player's worth, many
marginal players would see their scholarships dramatically
reduced, the lawyers argued.  But, Judge Wilken wrote, that
argument is based on speculation that assumes an injunction would
"create a completely unrestricted open market in which schools
would compete to pay higher and higher amounts to a select few
student-athletes without any requirements to provide a minimum
number of full [grant-in-aid] scholarships."


NATIONAL COLLEGIATE: Plaintiffs Lawyers Get $12 Million in Fees
---------------------------------------------------------------
Marisa Kendall, writing for The Recorder, reports that plaintiffs
lawyers with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro netted $12 million in
fees and costs on Dec. 10 for their work settling litigation over
college athletes' appearances in video games.

The Hagens Berman lawyers received $5.8 million in fees for their
role in a $20 million settlement reached with the National
Collegiate Athletic Association last year, and $5.7 million for a
$40 million 2013 settlement with EA Games and the Collegiate
Licensing Co.  The lawyers had asked for a total of $14 million in
fees.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in the Northern District of
California granted Hagens Berman a 1.7 multiplier on the firm's
$6.8 million lodestar, to compensate the lawyers for the
"outstanding result" they secured litigating the case over six
years.

Hausfeld lawyers snagged $6 million in fees and costs from the EA
Games settlement.  Judge Wilken gave Hausfeld an extra $2 million
safety net to be awarded if the lawyers can't recover fees
stemming from a related bench trial.  The firm scored a $46
million payday this summer after Wilken ruled the NCAA can't
prohibit member colleges from compensating athletes for licensing
deals.  But that $46 million fee award is at risk after the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed Wilken in
September.

If the NCAA pays Hausfeld fees from the trial, that $2 million
will go to the Hagens Berman team instead.

New Jersey firms Lum, Drasco & Positan and The McKenna Law Firm
received $272,000 for their work on the EA Games settlement.

The Lanier Law Firm and New Jersey solo Timothy McIlwain received
$743,000 -- a far cry from the nearly $5 million they had
requested. Judge Wilken wrote she found "little evidence" that
claims the firm litigated contributed to the common fund.


NATIONAL FOOTBALL: Critics Balk at Concussion Efforts
-----------------------------------------------------
John Kryk, writing for Toronto Sun, reports that concussion
protocols at American football's highest level haven come a long
way,especially in recent years -- 120-year-old outrages and stark
comparisons aside.

That is not to say today's NFL players are always cared for
properly when concussed. Nor does it mean there are easy fixes.

It's fashionable and easy to pillory the NFL for its actions on
the issue.  The league, which made $7.24 billion US last year, is
not exactly the Red Cross.  But some of these seemingly black-and-
white issues are as grey as the delicate cranial matter this is
all about.

Concussions in the NFL have never been more newsworthy.
Controversial delays in assessing concussed quarterbacks Case
Keenum of St. Louis and Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh -- plus
the pending Christmas Day release of the film Concussion -- have
placed America's mightiest pro sports league under intense
scrutiny and criticism.

Concussion tells the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic
pathologist who discovered shocking neurodegenerative damage in
the brain of Pittsburgh Steelers legend Mike Webster.  Dr. Omalu
would find the same condition in the brains of other deceased
NFLers, labelling it chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

A dismissive NFL belittled Dr. Omalu's findings and denied any
link between head hits and such serious brain damage.

A decade later, CTE is a widely accepted medical condition, even
if the NFL still has no official stance on whether it exists.  PBS
show Frontline reported in September that 87 of 91 deceased
NFLers' brains examined tested positive for CTE.

Four years ago, ex-NFLers began to sue the league. Myriad lawsuits
eventually folded into one class-action suit with 5,000 former
players and/or their families as plaintiffs.  In April, a
Pennsylvania judge approved an estimated $1-billion settlement.
Plaintiffs did not have to prove pro football caused brain
maladies such as ALS, dementia and Parkinson's, while the NFL did
not have to admit any guilt.  Initial payments have been delayed
until an appeal filed by 94 of the plaintiffs is resolved early in
2016.

So what about current players? Is the NFL doing enough today to
protect them?

League's measures

Off the field this decade, the NFL has poured more than $100
million into concussion research and science, equipment
improvement and other health ailments and safety issues  --  more
than any sports league in North America.

The NFL has also taken a leading role in uniting pro sports
leagues and governing bodies around the world to share and improve
concussion research, knowledge and protocols.

On the field, the NFL has passed 39 rules over the past 10 years
to make its game safer.  As a result, kickoff returns (football's
most dangerous play) are down, hits to defenceless players fell 68
per cent from 2013 to 2014 and the number of concussions dropped
35 per cent from 2012 to 2014. (However, Frontline reports
concussions are up considerably in 2015, from 112 suffered last
year to 154 through Week 14.)

Game-day concussion protocols have evolved over the past few years
to take player removal and return decisions away from coaches.

At every game, each sideline has two team-employed physicians, as
well as one unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant.  There is also a
certified athletic trainer who watches the game from the press box
and has access to TV replays.  For the first time this season,
this trainer is connected by radio communication with sideline
medical personnel, as well as with on-field officials -- empowered
to stop the game if he or she sees a potentially concussed player
not getting medical attention.

Critics not impressed

The NFL's harshest critics beg to differ.

They say such initiatives are long overdue and the medical
philanthropy is just clever PR, intended to mask what at its core
remains a heartless business.

"At no point has the league said, 'Let's go back to the drawing
board and be progressive,' " Concussion Legacy Foundation founder
Chris Nowinski said.  "Rather it's, 'What's the least we can do to
get people off our backs?' Yes, the NFL is slowly making changes
to the game that make sense.  But a lot of those changes were
pushed by the medical community and by the players' association.
We laid out this kind of a game plan in 2006.

"Actually, it's being kind to say all of these changes were urged
10 years ago.  Not all knowledge on the dangers of concussions is
new. You can find concussion guidelines in the '80s.  You can find
statements from medical associations in the 1930s."

What's more, cynics snickered when the new sideline concussion
protocol still failed the Rams' Keenum, who needed 15 seconds to
stumble back to his feet after a vicious hit, yet was allowed to
continue playing.  Mr. Keenum was diagnosed with a concussion
afterward and missed two games.

A week later, no one stopped Roethlisberger from playing after he
took a helmet-to-helmet hit that laid him out for eight seconds.
He later took himself out of the game, bothered by blurred vision
and worried about long-term CTE effects.

"The most glaring way the NFL's system is designed to get
concussed players quickly back onto the field is they do not
consider on-field symptoms in the most conservative way,"
Mr. Nowinski said.

Conundrum

Here's a sobering conundrum: The NFL cannot take concussion-
protocol reforms much further before making the game more
dangerous. On that, both sides agree.

If the NFL were to mandate that any player hit hard in the head
must immediately leave the field for a full examination -- a
seemingly logical measure -- guess what would happen?

"First, you'd have a lot of players taken out of a game," says
Bill Polian, a former NFL GM and competition committee chairman.
"And worse, you might well incentivize defensive players to do
just that -- take a player out with a deliberate hit to the head.
That's the last thing you want."

Even one of the most outspoken critics of the NFL's concussion
protocols, Mr. Nowinski, foresees negative outcomes if the league
ever mandated automatic removal and concussion evaluation after
every head hit.

Currently, there is no mandated minimum recovery period.

Instead, the NFL has a five-step return-to-play protocol: Rest and
recovery, light aerobic exercise, aerobic exercise and strength
training, football-specific activities and full clearance
ascertained first by a team doctor then confirmed by the team's
assigned independent neurological consultant.  Recovering players
are assessed at least once per day throughout the process. Any
player who regresses or shows symptoms again is moved back at
least one step.

But many experts are outraged that a player such as Roethlisberger
can advance through those five stages so quickly.

"How can anyone pass Stage 1 the next day?" Mr. Nowinski said.
"Everybody knows symptoms might not show up for two or three more
days."

But Jeff Miller, the NFL's senior vice-president for health and
safety policy, told Postmedia in October the league has no plans
to mandate a minimum period of recovery time.

"It's totally a medical decision," Mr. Miller said.  "The team
physician and an independent doctor are going to make that
decision.  In some cases as I understand it, concussions clear
very quickly.  And if that player has been cleared and gone
through the protocol as documented, and determined by us and the
players' association jointly, then good."

The NFL might want to reconsider. If the league is serious about
tackling its concussion problem, then it needs to be perceived as
a leader in concussion protocols, not a grudging follower.  Only
then will the NFL convince its critics the meat-market mentality
of player handling is long gone.

Many steps taken for concussion testing

Dr. Robert Heyer, team physician for the Carolina Panthers and
president of the NFL Physicians Society, spoke to Postmedia about
how NFL players are checked for a concussion.

Each team has 10 sideline medical personnel, including two
primary-care physicians, one unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant
and four athletic trainers. Others who may suggest a player be
checked for a concussion include an "eye in the sky" certified
athletic trainer, as well as coaches, teammates and game
officials.

Once a concern is raised, per protocol, a team doctor and sideline
neurotrauma consultant will (1) ask the player to explain what
happened, (2) review "go/no-go" signs and symptoms and (3) check
orientation through what are known as "Maddock's questions."

If in the team doctor's opinion there is any doubt as to whether
the player is fit to return to play, then the doctor and
neurotrauma consultant will accompany the player to the locker-
room and begin a full assessment.

The primary no-go sign is confusion, Dr. Heyer said.

"We'll ask, Where are you? Who are we playing? What's the score?
Who won last week? Things that all players would know.  We also
check if they have any other obvious signs of having been
concussed, such as headache, dizziness, nausea."

A full evaluation in the locker-room includes BESS (Balance Error
Scoring System) tests, which are standard in concussion diagnosis,
and a complete neurological evaluation, using eye function tests
to check for such problems as nystagmus -- a slight fluttering of
the eyeballs that suggest something's amiss in the brain.

Orientation questions are compared against the baseline test
players take in the off-season.

"As examples, we'll ask players to repeat the months backward,
repeat numbers backward up to five or six in a row, ask a player
to repeat words, then ask them to repeat those same words at the
end of the test."

Dr. Heyer said while there is no league policy on medicating the
concussed, "we do our best not to hand out medications, because in
general it's not helpful.  Those need to be reserved for specific
reasons."

No anti-inflammatory drugs should be taken the first couple of
days after a head injury, Dr. Heyer said, as they could prove
harmful if there's any bleeding in the brain.  Tylenol is usually
fine. Doctors also advise players to avoid alcohol and abstain
from over-stimulating the brain with the TV, computer or
smartphone.

Dr. Heyer prefers to go over such procedures with someone besides
the concussed athlete.

"I usually try to have a family member present -- a spouse, a
girlfriend or somebody that's with the player that day," Dr. Heyer
said.  "That's because the player may not remember it completely.
It's helpful to (have family also) tell them, 'Listen, you're not
normal right now. You maybe think you feel fine, but you're not."

"We know that player pretty well.  If there's something that's not
right in their personality (or demeanor), we can usually tell."

Personality change is a universally recognized concussion symptom.

"We have had situations where the trainer said, 'He says he feels
great, but he's not himself yet.' Then we don't let him play.
Usually that player understands after he finally has returned to
normal that maybe he wasn't quite as back-to-normal as he'd
thought."


NETFLIX INC: Misclassifies Curators, "Moss" Suit Claims
-------------------------------------------------------
Lawrence Moss, individually and on behalf of others similarly
situated, v. NETFLIX, Inc., a Delaware corporation doing business
as NETFLIX; and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Case No. BC602420
(Cal. Super. County of Los Angeles, Central, November 25, 2015),
seeks unpaid overtime compensation, statutory penalties,
restitution, declaratory and injunctive relief, attorneys' fees
and costs, prejudgment interest, and other relief on behalf of
video and still image curators working on "Project Beetlejuice"
who were allegedly misclassified as independent contractors under
California Industrial Welfare Commission, California Code of
Regulations, California Labor Code, California Code of Civil
Procedure, California Business and Professions Code and California
common law.

NETFLIX is a subscription-based film and television program rental
service that offers media to subscribers via Internet streaming
and through the U.S. mail.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     Lisa L. Maki, Esq.
     Alex DiBona, Esq.
     LAW OFFICES OF LISA L. MAKI
     523 W. 6th Street, Suite 450
     Los Angeles, CA 90014
     Tel: (213) 745-95U
     Fax: (213)74S-9611


OFFICE DEPOT: To Pay $500,000 for Lead Plaintiffs' Counsel Fees
---------------------------------------------------------------
Office Depot, Inc. has agreed to pay $0.5 million to lead
plaintiffs' counsel for attorneys' fees and expenses in full
satisfaction of their claim for attorneys' fees and expenses in a
class action, the Company revealed in its Form 10-Q Report filed
with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015,
for the quarterly period ended September 26, 2015.

On February 4, 2015, Staples and Office Depot entered into the
Staples Merger Agreement under which the companies would combine
in a stock and cash transaction. Beginning on February 9, 2015, a
number of putative class action lawsuits were filed by purported
Office Depot stockholders in the Court of Chancery of the State of
Delaware ("Court") challenging the transaction and alleging that
the defendant companies -- Office Depot, Staples, Merger Sub, and
Starboard Value LP --  and individual members of Office Depot's
Board of Directors violated applicable laws by breaching their
fiduciary duties and/or aiding and abetting such breaches. The
plaintiffs sought, among other things, injunctive relief and
rescission, as well as fees and costs. The Court subsequently
consolidated all nine of the Delaware cases and named Jamison
Miller and Steve Renous as lead plaintiffs. The consolidated case
is named In re Office Depot, Inc. Stockholders Litigation
Consolidated, C.A. No. 10655-CB.

After limited discovery, the plaintiffs and defendants agreed on
certain additional disclosures to the Company's definitive proxy
statement filed on May 18, 2015, which were made in a Form 8-K
filing on June 5, 2015, and the plaintiffs withdrew from the
calendar their planned motion to preliminarily enjoin the
stockholder vote on the merger.

On September 18, 2015, the Delaware Court of Chancery approved a
stipulation under which lead plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the
action with prejudice as to themselves and without prejudice as to
the putative class members. The Court retained jurisdiction solely
for the purpose of adjudicating lead plaintiffs' counsel's
anticipated application for an award of attorneys' fees and
reimbursement expenses in connection with the disclosures in the
June 5, 2015 Form 8-K. The Company subsequently agreed to pay $0.5
million to lead plaintiffs' counsel for attorneys' fees and
expenses in full satisfaction of their claim for attorneys' fees
and expenses in the action.


OFFICE DEPOT: Continues to Defend "Heitzenrater" Case
-----------------------------------------------------
Office Depot, Inc. said in its Form 10-Q Report filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015, for the
quarterly period ended September 26, 2015, that the Company
continues to defend the case, Heitzenrater v. OfficeMax North
America, Inc., et al.

Heitzenrater v. OfficeMax North America, Inc., et al. was filed in
the United States District Court for the Western District of New
York in September 2012 as a putative class action alleging
violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law.
The complaint alleges that OfficeMax misclassified its assistant
store managers ("ASMs") as exempt employees.

The Company believes that adequate provisions have been made for
probable losses and such amounts are not material. However, in
light of the early stage of the case and the inherent uncertainty
of litigation, the Company is unable to estimate a reasonably
possible range of loss in the matter.

OfficeMax intends to vigorously defend itself in this lawsuit.


OFFICE DEPOT: Continues to Defend "Rivet" Case
----------------------------------------------
Office Depot, Inc. said in its Form 10-Q Report filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015, for the
quarterly period ended September 26, 2015, that the Company
continues to defend the case, Kyle Rivet v. Office Depot, Inc.

Kyle Rivet v. Office Depot, Inc., formerly known as Constance
Gibbons v. Office Depot, Inc., a putative class action that was
instituted in May 2012, is pending in the United States District
Court for the District of New Jersey. The complaint alleges that
Office Depot's use of the fluctuating workweek (FWW) method of pay
was unlawful because Office Depot failed to pay a fixed weekly
salary and failed to provide its ASMs with a clear and mutual
understanding notification that they would receive a fixed weekly
salary for all hours worked. The plaintiffs in both complaints
seek unpaid overtime, punitive damages, and attorneys' fees.

The Company believes in this case that adequate provisions have
been made for probable losses and such amounts are not material.
However, in light of the early stage of the case and the inherent
uncertainty of litigation, the Company is unable to estimate a
reasonably possible range of loss in these matters. Office Depot
intends to vigorously defend itself in these lawsuits.


ORTHOFIX INTERNATIONAL: Settlement Documentation Pending
--------------------------------------------------------
Orthofix International N.V. said in its Form 10-Q Report filed
with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015,
for the quarterly period ended September 30, 2015, that parties in
a securities class action complaint expected that settlement
documentation would be presented to the court for its review in
late November 2015 or early December 2015.

On August 14, 2013, a securities class action complaint against
the Company, previously styled Tejinder Singh v. Orthofix
International N.V., et al., and which is now styled Plumbers &
Pipefitters National Pension Fund v. Orthofix International N.V.,
et al., was filed in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York arising out of the then anticipated
restatement of our prior financial statements and the matters
described above. Since the date of original filing, the complaint
has been amended.

The lead plaintiff's complaint, as amended, purports to bring
claims on behalf of persons who purchased the Company's common
stock between March 2, 2010 and July 29, 2013. The complaint
asserts that the Company and four of its former executive
officers, Alan W. Milinazzo, Robert S. Vaters, Brian McCollum, and
Emily V. Buxton (collectively, the "Individual Defendants"),
violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as
amended (the "Exchange Act"), and Securities and Exchange
Commission Rule 10b-5 ("Rule 10b-5") by making false or misleading
statements in or relating to the Company's financial statements.
The complaint further asserts that the Individual Defendants were
liable as control persons under Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act
for any violation by the Company of Section 10(b) of the Exchange
Act or Rule 10b-5. As relief, the complaint requests compensatory
damages on behalf of the proposed class and lead plaintiff's
attorneys' fees and costs. On March 6, 2015, the court granted the
defendants' motion to dismiss as to Mr. Milinazzo and denied it
with respect to the Company and the other Individual Defendants.

The Company said, "On October 22, 2015, following negotiations
facilitated by an independent mediator, the Company, the remaining
Individual Defendants and their insurers reached an agreement in
principle with the plaintiff, individually and on behalf of the
class it purports to represent, to settle and release all claims
with respect to this matter subject to final court approval. Under
the terms of the agreement in principle, the Company, through its
insurers, would make a payment to the plaintiff, and the class it
purports to represent, to resolve all claims related to the
matter, including any claims for plaintiff counsel's fees and
expenses. The Company has previously incurred and expensed fees
and expenses in connection with this matter up to and exceeding
its insurance policy deductible; as a result, the Company expects
that the full amount of the settlement payment will be covered by
and paid by its insurers. The parties have notified the court of
the settlement in principle, and are currently drafting definitive
documentation to memorialize all of the terms of the agreement in
principle. The parties currently expect that the settlement
documentation will be presented to the court for its review in
late November 2015 or early December 2015."

"The Company has accrued both the amount of the settlement payment
under the agreement in principle, and a corresponding insurance
receivable from its insurers, with respect to these matters.
However, there can be no assurance that the parties will agree on
final documentation, or that the terms of the settlement will be
approved by the court as proposed by the parties.  In the event
that the settlement were not finalized and approved on the terms
agreed in principle, we cannot reasonably estimate the possible
loss, or range of loss, to the Company in connection with this
matter."


PAPA JOHN'S: Jan. 2016 Final Approval Hearing in "Perrin" Case
--------------------------------------------------------------
Papa John's International, Inc. said in its Form 10-Q Report filed
with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015,
for the quarterly period ended September 27, 2015, that a court
has scheduled a final approval hearing in January 2016 in the
case, Perrin v. Papa John's International, Inc. and Papa John's
USA, Inc.

Perrin v. Papa John's International, Inc. and Papa John's USA,
Inc. is a conditionally certified collective and class action
filed in August 2009 in the United States District Court, Eastern
District of Missouri ("the Court"), alleging that delivery drivers
were not properly reimbursed for mileage and expenses in
accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").
Approximately 3,900 drivers out of a potential class size of
28,800 opted into the action. In late December 2013, the Court
granted a motion for class certification in five additional
states, which added approximately 15,000 plaintiffs to the case.

The trial, originally scheduled for August 2015, was stayed in
June 2015, pending U.S. Supreme Court review of another relevant
case regarding certification. After the stay was granted, the
parties reached a settlement in principle, which has been
preliminarily approved by the Court in September 2015. The Court
has scheduled a final approval hearing in January 2016.

The Company continues to deny any liability or wrongdoing in this
matter. In accordance with this preliminary settlement agreement,
the Company recorded a pre-tax expense of $12.3 million in June
2015 under the provisions of ASC 450, Contingencies.  There was no
impact for the quarter ended September 27, 2015. This amount is
separately reported as Legal settlement expense in the condensed
consolidated statements of income.


PHILIP MORRIS: $900,000 Non-Economic Damages Awarded in "Bullock"
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Amanda Bronstad, writing for The National Law Journal, reports
that Attorney Michael Piuze stunned the plaintiffs bar when he got
a record $28 billion punitive damages verdict in 2002 for a Los
Angeles woman who sued Philip Morris USA Inc. after being
diagnosed with lung cancer.  On Dec. 10, a federal jury in Los
Angeles awarded $900,000 in noneconomic damages on behalf of the
woman's daughter, Jodie Bullock.

It's a whimpering end to the litigation that catapulted Mr. Piuze
into legal fame during the days of the tobacco wars.

Much has changed for smokers suing Big Tobacco since Bullock's
mother first filed suit in 2001.  Back then, lawsuits were more
common and the focal point of the trial was on the
"misrepresentation and deceit" of the tobacco companies, said
Robert Rabin, a torts professor at Stanford Law School.  Today,
lawsuits are few, and trials revolve around the plaintiff's
awareness of the dangers of smoking.

"Virtually every juror at this point knows people who quit
smoking," he said. "And that can be at the back of their mind: Why
didn't she quit smoking at some point?"

Mr. Piuze, of the Law Offices of Michael J. Piuze in Los Angeles,
did not respond to a request for comment.  Brian May, a spokesman
for Altria Group Inc., parent company of Philip Morris USA,
declined to comment.

Ms. Bullock's mother, Betty Bullock, started smoking Marlboro
cigarettes when she was 17 years old.  Her verdict was for $28
billion in punitive damages and $850,000 in compensatory damages.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge reduced the total award to
$28.8 million. Bullock died in 2003 at age 64.

Over the years, Mr. Piuze went on to handle other tobacco cases
and lawsuits over automotive crashes.  But the Bullock case was
far from over.  In 2008, California's Second District Court of
Appeal reversed the award for a retrial on punitive damages.  A
second jury in Los Angeles Superior Court awarded $13.8 million in
punitive damages, which was upheld on appeal in 2011.

Jodie Bullock filed her case originally in Los Angeles Superior
Court on Feb. 11, 2014, but Philip Morris immediately removed it
to federal court.  U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer of the Central
District of California rejected Philip Morris' attempt to re-
litigate its liability over Bullock's death, setting the stage for
a trial on noneconomic damages under California law.  At issue was
not whether cigarettes caused her mother's lung cancer, but how
much her mother's love and companionship was worth to her.

It's not the first time Mr. Piuze has sought noneconomic damages
for the child of a smoker.  One year before Betty Bullock's record
award, Mr. Piuze got a $3 billion verdict on behalf of a man who
got lung cancer (It was subsequently reduced to $50 million.)  He
later represented the smoker's son in obtaining $12.8 million in
noneconomic damages, which was upheld on appeal in 2013.
He even faced the same firm on the other side: Shook, Hardy &
Bacon.

Jodie Bullock's trial lasted less than two days.  Under California
law, noneconomic damages aren't capped -- but that also means
award amounts could be just about anything, Rabin said.
Jurors, Mr. Rabin said, "really have discretion."


PMC-SIERRA INC: Sued in Calif., Delaware Over Skyworks Deal
-----------------------------------------------------------
PMC-Sierra, Inc. said in its Form 10-Q Report filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015, for the
quarterly period ended September 26, 2015, that on October 8,
2015, October 14, 2015 and October 21, 2015, respectively, three
purported class action complaints were filed in the Superior Court
of California for Santa Clara County and the Delaware Court of
Chancery, challenging the proposed transaction between PMC and
Skyworks Solutions, Inc. ("Skyworks").  The actions are captioned
Bhakta v. PMC-Sierra, Inc., et al., Case No. 1-15-CV-286967
(Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County), Pietrus
Industries Limited v. PMC-Sierra, Inc., Case No. 11610-VCG
(Delaware Court of Chancery) and Azzalini v. Lang et al., Case No.
1-15-CV-287124 (Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County).

Plaintiffs, purported shareholders of PMC, allege that the members
of the PMC board of directors breached their fiduciary duties to
PMC's stockholders by agreeing to a transaction with Skyworks that
is the result of conflicts of interest on the part of PMC's
directors and which offers PMC stockholders an unfair and
inadequate price, and by agreeing to unreasonable deal protection
devices that preclude competing offers from emerging. Plaintiffs
also allege that PMC, Skyworks and Skyworks' merger subsidiary
aided and abetted the PMC directors' alleged breaches of fiduciary
duty.  The actions seek, among other things, injunctive relief
preventing the parties from completing the proposed transaction
or, in the event the transaction is completed, rescission thereof,
an order directing defendants to account to PMC's stockholders for
damages suffered as a result of the alleged wrongdoing, and awards
of attorneys' fees and expenses for plaintiffs.  The actions are
in their initial stages.


QUALCOMM INC: 3226701 Canada Files Securities Suit in S.D. Cal.
---------------------------------------------------------------
3226701 Canada, Inc., Individually and on Behalf of All Others
Similarly Situated, V. Qualcomm, Inc., Steven M. Mollenkopf, Derek
K. Aberle, George S. Davis, Venkata S.M. Renduchintala, and Tim
McDonough, Case No. 15cv2678 MMA NLS (S.D. Cal., November 11,
2015), was filed on behalf of those who purchased or otherwise
acquired Qualcomm common stock and call options and/or sold/wrote
Qualcomm put options 'between November 6, 2014 and July 22, 2015,
inclusive, seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934.

Qualcomm is a global semiconductor company that designs,
manufacturers and markets worldwide digital communications
products and services.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     Lionel Z. Glancy, Esq.
     Robert V. Prongay, Esq.
     Lesley F. Portnoy, Esq.
     GLANCY PRONGAY & MURRAY LLP
     1925 Century Park East, Suite 2100
     Los Angeles, CA 90067
     Tel: (310) 201-9150
     Fax: (310) 201-9160
     E-mail: rprongay@glancylaw.com

        - and -

     Howard G. Smith, Esq.
     LAW OFFICES OF HOWARD G. SMITH
     3070 Bristol Pike, Suite 112
     Bensalem, PA 19020
     Tel: (215) 638-4847
     Fax: (215) 638-4867


QUIKSILVER INC: Class Action Stayed Pending Bankruptcy
------------------------------------------------------
Quiksilver, Inc. said in its Form 8-K Report filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015, that a
court has entered an order staying a class action pending
bankruptcy proceedings.

In April 2015, two putative securities class action complaints
were filed against the Company and two of its former officers in
the United States District Court for the Central District of
California under the following captions: Leiland Stevens,
Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated v.
Quiksilver, Inc., et al. and Shiva Stein, Individually and on
Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated v. Quiksilver, Inc., et
al. On June 26, 2015, the court consolidated these lawsuits and
named Babulal Parmar as the lead plaintiff.

On August 25, 2015, lead plaintiff filed an amended complaint in
the consolidated action. The amended complaint asserts claims for
violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act, as
amended, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The putative class
period in this action is from June 6, 2014 through March 26, 2015.
The complaint seeks designation of this action as a class action,
an award of unspecified compensatory damages, interest, costs and
expenses, including attorneys' fees and expert fees, and such
other relief as the court deems appropriate.

The Company cannot predict the outcome of this matter or estimate
the potential impact on its results of operations, financial
position or cash flows. The Company has not recorded a liability
for this matter.

On September 21, 2015, the court entered an order staying the
action pending bankruptcy proceedings.


RED ROBIN: Settles Tip-Pooling Class Action for $1.3 Million
------------------------------------------------------------
Ben Seal, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, reports that Lehigh
Valley Restaurant Group Inc., which owns and operates 19 Red Robin
restaurant franchises in Eastern Pennsylvania, has agreed to a
$1.3 million settlement in a class action lawsuit in the Middle
District of Pennsylvania over minimum-wage violations.  The
settlement agreement was granted preliminary approval Dec. 2 by
Judge James M. Munley.

Named plaintiffs Matthew Ford and Elisabeth Yuscavage brought suit
alleging violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum-wage
requirement, which mandates payment of $7.25 per hour.  They
alleged they were paid $2.83 per hour, as servers at the
defendant's Wilkes-Barre and Dickson City restaurants, and took a
"tip credit" of $4.42 per hour, according to a memorandum order
from Judge Munley.

But the restaurants' mandatory tip credit policy had a caveat
requiring servers to contribute 3 percent of their gross sales to
a "tip pool," which was then distributed among other restaurant
employees, including bartenders, expediters and busboys, Judge
Munley said.

The plaintiffs alleged that the other employees worked
predominantly in the kitchen and rarely interacted with customers,
putting their inclusion in the tip pool in violation of the FLSA.
Section 203(m) of the FLSA allows the "'pooling of tips among
employees who customarily and regularly receive tips,'"
Judge Munley said, but the parties disputed whether the back-of-
the-restaurant employees regularly receive tips.

The plaintiffs argued the other employees should not be included
because they almost always work in the kitchen area.  Lehigh
Valley Restaurant Group argued that because the employees
regularly shared in the proceeds of the mandated tip pool, they
should be included in the category of employees who regularly
receive tips, Judge Munley said.

Peter D. Winebrake of Winebrake & Santillo, representing the
plaintiffs, said he was pleased with the settlement and called it
a "hard-fought" lawsuit.

"We look forward to notifying the class members of the settlement
and seeking Judge Munley's final approval," he said.

Mr. Winebrake said the class stands at around 2,000 members,
meaning the minimum average payout is going to be around $400 per
member.

David J. Freedman -- dfreedman@barley.com -- of Barley Snyder,
representing Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group, declined to comment.


RIMAX CONTRACTORS: "Veliz" Suit Seeks Unpaid Wages
--------------------------------------------------
Oscar Veliz and Jose Mejia on behalf of themselves and other
persons similarly situated v. Rimax Contractors, Inc. and Ricardo
Arbelaez, Case 2:15-cv-06339 (E.D. La., November 27, 2015), seeks
to recover from Defendants unpaid wages, interest, liquidated
damages, and attorneys' fees and costs under the Fair Labor
Standards Act.

RIMAX is a labor supplier for the construction industry.

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

     Roberto Luis Costales, Esq.
     3801 Canal Street, Suite 207
     New Orleans, LA 70119
     Tel: (504) 914-1048
     Fax: (504) 272-2956
     E-mail: costaleslawoffice@gmail.com

        - and -

     William H. Beaumont, Esq.
     3801 Canal Street, Suite 207
     New Orleans, LA 70119
     Tel: (504) 483-8008
     E-mail: whbeaumont@gmail.com


SLATER & GORDON: Management Aware of Missed Earnings Target
-----------------------------------------------------------
Kylar Loussikian, writing for The Australian Business Review,
reports that Slater & Gordon's management became aware of
information that would have "a material effect on the price or
value of its securities" a week before telling investors it would
not meet its earnings target.

Responding to queries from the Australian Securities Exchange, the
company said draft results from its poorly performing British
operations had circulated among executives on Dec. 16.

The law firm only ditched previous earnings forecasts on Dec. 17,
a week after executives saw a draft of the figures.

Confidence in the company's management, led by Andrew Grech, had
already weakened in November after warnings it was "now a
likelihood" the law firm would have negative cash flow of up to
$40 million for the first half of the year.

Despite this, the company repeatedly reaffirmed of $205 million
for the financial year, a claim most market analysts suggested
would be difficult if not impossible to achieve.

The law firm said the information took more than a week to be
released because it was "internal management information, which,
without verification, was insufficiently definite to warrant
disclosure".

"Specifically, it was necessary to undertake a fulsome assessment
of the information in order to determine whether or not the
information required the company to revise (its guidance)," Helen
Vines, the company's general counsel, wrote to the ASX.

However, Slater & Gordon said on Dec. 17 that a review initiated
by incoming chief financial officer Bryce Houghton and other
independent advisers had led to a "reconsideration" of guidance.

It has not disclosed a new guidance forecast.

Shares fell more than 17 per cent on that announcement, following
a long period of decline starting in June, after reports the
Australian Securities & Investments Commission had questioned some
of the company's financial reporting.

Shares have fallen more than 80 per cent since June. Shares in
Slaters on Dec. 21 opened 5 per cent lower at 79 cent each.

Slater & Gordon, which is well-known for its class action
litigation against major Australian companies, could itself be the
target of a lawsuit.

ACA Lawyers said it was examining whether investors had a claim
against Slater & Gordon, largely related to big changes in the
earnings guidance and the way the firm raised $890m for its ill-
fated takeover of British firm Quindell.


SMITH MANAGEMENT: Faces "Crevatas" Suit for FLSA Violation
----------------------------------------------------------
Francis Crevatas, on behalf of himself and similarly situated
employees, v. Smith Management and Consulting, LLC, Case No. 3:15-
cv-02307-MEM (M.D. Pa., November 30, 2015), seeks all available
relief under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Pennsylvania
Minimum Wage Act.

The Defendant is "an oilfield services company" that specializes
in "providing the industry with experienced, dependable
consultants for drilling and completion operations, with
particular care related to safety, environmental and technical
issues, as well as overall project costs."

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     Peter Winebrake, Esq.
     R. Andrew Santillo, Esq.
     Mark J. Gottesfeld, Esq.
     WINEBRAKE & SANTILLO, LLC
     715 Twining Road, Suite 211
     Dresher, PA 19025
     Tel: 215-884-2491
     Fax: 215-884-2492

        - and -

     Galvin B. Kennedy, Esq.
     Don J. Foty, Esq.
     John Neuman, Esq.
     KENNEDY HODGE L.L.P.
     711 W. Alabama Street
     Houston, TX 77006
     Tel: (713) 523-0001
     Fax: (713) 523-1116


TD BANK: Ex-Rothstein Lawyer Get Jail Time Over Ponzi Scheme
------------------------------------------------------------
Curt Anderson, writing for The Associated Press, reports that a
former bank executive who is the last remaining defendant in
imprisoned ex-lawyer Scott Rothstein's $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme
was sentenced on Dec. 18 to more than two years in federal prison
for intentionally misleading investors.

Frank Spinosa, a former regional vice president at TD Bank, became
the 29th person sent to prison since Rothstein's fraud scam
imploded six years ago.  Mr. Spinosa pleaded guilty to wire fraud
conspiracy in October, avoiding a trial and a potentially much
longer time behind bars.

U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom shaved about seven months off the
sentence sought by prosecutors, even though she rejected
contentions by Spinosa lawyer Sam Rabin that he was a minimal
player in the scheme.  Mr. Spinosa used his prestige as a senior
banker to falsely assure jittery Rothstein investors their money
was safe, the judge said.

"You knew you could use your authority to give these investors a
false sense of security," Bloom said.  "You didn't ask the right
questions. You didn't step away.  You didn't stop and you didn't
say no."

Mr. Spinosa was ordered to report to prison Feb. 18 to serve his
2.5-year sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence LaVecchio said Mr. Spinosa was
key to Rothstein's attempt to rescue his then-failing Ponzi scam,
which collapsed in October 2009.  He said Mr.  Spinosa wanted to
do everything possible to keep Rothstein as a customer, including
committing crimes.

"Scott Rothstein could not conduct this scheme alone. He needed
help," Mr. LaVecchio said of Mr. Spinosa.  "He was willing to do
what he needed to do to keep Rothstein happy."

Mr. Spinosa, 54, could have gotten up to five years.  Prosecutors
have said Rothstein had 38 TD Bank accounts used in the fraud
scheme, which lured investors with promises of big profits from
supposedly confidential legal settlements.  Investors were told
the plaintiffs in those cases were willing to accept a lower lump
sum in return for signing over the larger settlements that would
be paid to them in installments.  But in fact, there were no
plaintiffs or settlements.

Court documents show Mr. Spinosa's role was to sign so-called
"lock letters" assuring investors that their money was safe in TD
Bank accounts and that no one else had access to the cash.  In
fact, prosecutors said, Mr. Rothstein was using the money to pay
previous investors in classic Ponzi scheme fashion or to finance
his lavish lifestyle.

Mr. Spinosa told Judge Bloom he acknowledges wrongdoing but at the
time was not aware he was committing a crime.  Dabbing at his
eyes, Mr. Spinosa said he has since lost his career, family and
home.

"I know that what I did was wrong.  I wish I could take it back.
I can't," he said.

The collapse of Rothstein's scam cut a swath through Fort
Lauderdale's legal and business community -- Spinosa lawyer Rabin
called him "the scourge of Broward County" -- and led to collapse
of the once high-profile Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm.

"He ruined a lot of lives," Mr. Rabin said.

TD Bank previously paid out $67 million in a civil lawsuit to a
group of Texas investors who sued the bank. Authorities were able
to seize enough assets from Rothstein and others to repay those
investors.

Mr. Rabin said Mr. Spinosa was unaware Rothstein was running a
Ponzi scheme but did know the lock letter that led to his guilty
plea was false.  Mr. Rothstein later forged Mr.  Spinosa's
signature on other letters without his knowledge, Mr. Rabin said,
adding that Mr. Spinosa was taken in like many others by
Mr. Rothstein's money, prestige and larger-than-life persona.

Mr. Rothstein, who briefly fled to Morocco when the scheme fell
apart and then returned to Florida, is serving a 50-year prison
sentence after pleading guilty to several charges.


UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Faces "Gonzales" Suit Over TCPA Violation
------------------------------------------------------------
Elvira Gonzalez, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, v. Uber Technologies, Inc., Case 1:15-cv-06818
(E.D.N.Y., November 30, 2015), seeks to recover damages for
alleged wilful violation by the Defendant of the federal Telephone
Consumer Protection Act and New York's anti-robocalling statute,
and General Business Law.

Uber provides a "ridesharing" software application that allows
customers in need of transportation to use their smartphones to
request a ride from Uber drivers (whom Uber refers to as
independent, third-party contractors).

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     Andrea Bierstein, Esq.
     Mitchell Breit, Esq.
     SIMMONS HANLY CONROY
     112 Madison Ave., 7th floor
     New York, NY 10016
     Tel: (212) 784-6400
     E-mail: abierstein@simmonsfirm.com
             mbreit@simmonsfirm.com

        - and -

     Martin Fleisher, Esq.
     MARTIN FLEISHER, J.D, P.C.
     7 Times Square, 27th floor
     New York, NY 10036-6516


UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Declared Legal in Australia Amid U.S. Suits
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Australian Financial Review reports that the rise of Uber
Technologies was indisputably one of the biggest stories in global
business this year.  The world's most valuable privately held
technology company (it feels silly to describe a $US60 billion
plus firm, with thousands of employees, and many more contracted
drivers, as a start-up) raised billions of dollars in new funding,
and continued its relentless march into new territories such as
China.

In a local context, 2015 was a big year for Uber in Australia as
well. And as the year draws to a close, the company's battles with
regulators are rapidly dwindling, so it felt like a good time to
update our interactive on the subject.

The company's ridesharing service, Uber X was finally declared
legal in the nation's most populous state -- New South Wales, as
well as in Western Australia.  That followed Uber's breakthrough
approval in the ACT in September.

But Uber hasn't got its way everywhere in Australia. Yet.

Uber X was effectively declared illegal in the second most
populous state, Victoria, after a court ruling found that a
Melbourne Uber driver was operating without the correct
credentials.  The Victorian government is reviewing ridesharing
laws, but cautioned that it won't be rushed into any decision.  On
Dec. 21, the Herald Sun reports that Uber is willing to let
drivers pay a $150 license fee to operate legally in the state.

Don't forget, Uber lost an extraordinarily bitter skirmish with
the Australian Tax Office over whether its drivers should be
forced to charge GST. They are now doing that, although Uber has
taken this dispute to the Federal Court, so it could change.

Global experience suggests that when the Uber gets into a fight
with authorities, more often than not, it wins.  That is in no
small part because consumers, who can't get enough of the product,
are well and truly on its side.

In the US, Uber has engaged in fierce battles with regulators in
key states such as Illinois and New York, and not just emerged
victorious, but arguably in a stronger position.

However, in Uber's home country the narrative started to subtly
shift this year from "Wow this is an great service, and a much
better experience than taxis", to concerns about the future of
work and the so-called "gig economy", where employment and income
is much less stable.

Remember, Uber drivers are contractors, and not employees.  This
is a sore point, and it is being challenged in a pivotal class
action lawsuit in California that could seriously impact the
company's business model.

Perhaps these issues are uniquely concerning to the US, where
employers have historically provided health insurance, where there
is no such thing as compulsory superannuation, and where the
welfare safety is pretty low.

Uber enjoys bi-partisan support across Australia, with politicians
at the moment (belatedly) rushing to embrace anything and
everything digital.  But it will be interesting to see whether
these issues rise to prominence in Australia as the company
continues its unstoppable expansion.


UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Revises Driver Contract to Enable Arbitration
----------------------------------------------------------------
Marisa Kendall, writing for The Recorder, reports that Uber
Technologies Inc. is taking a new approach in its fight to keep
its drivers out of court and classified as independent
contractors.

The company appears undeterred by a recent federal court ruling
that rejected its arbitration agreement and expanded a class of
drivers seeking employee status and benefits.  On Dec. 11, Uber
released a new driver contract that purports to fix problems that
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen of the Northern District of
California said made arbitration requirements in the previous
agreement unenforceable.

"We believe strongly that our agreements are valid," an Uber
spokesman wrote in an email on Dec. 11, "but we are making some
changes and clarifications to remove uncertainty for drivers and
for us as we work through our multiple appeals on this issue."

Plaintiffs attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who represents drivers
in the O'Connor v. Uber litigation, filed an emergency motion to
block enforcement of Uber's new agreement late on Dec. 11.

"Uber cannot undercut the court's ruling on class certification,"
she wrote in an email.  "We believe this is an illegal attempt by
Uber to usurp the court's role in overseeing the process of who is
included in the class."

Judge Chen's ruling on Dec. 9 expanded the O'Connor class to
include drivers who had agreed to Uber's 2014 and 2015 arbitration
terms.  Those arbitration agreements are void because they include
an unenforceable waiver of claims brought under California's
Private Attorney General Act (PAGA), Judge Chen wrote.  He found
the PAGA waiver cannot be severed from Uber's arbitration
agreement, voiding the entire agreement.

Uber appealed the ruling.

Uber's new arbitration agreement specifies that its PAGA waiver is
severable. It also removes the requirement that arbitration be
kept confidential and changes the agreement's effective date.

An Uber spokesman said the company does not intend to enforce the
arbitration agreement for drivers who already are part of a
certified class, including the O'Connor class.  But if Judge Chen
upholds the agreement, the company could use it to prevent new
drivers from joining the O'Connor class.


UNIT CORPORATION: Panola Independent School Case Remains Pending
----------------------------------------------------------------
Unit Corporation said in its Form 10-Q Report filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2015, for the
quarterly period ended September 30, 2015, that the case, Panola
Independent School District No. 4, et al. v. Unit Petroleum
Company, No. CJ-07-215, District Court of Latimer County,
Oklahoma, remains pending.

Panola Independent School District No. 4, Michael Kilpatrick, Gwen
Grego, Carla Lessel, Thelma Christine Pate, Juanita Golightly,
Melody Culberson, and Charlotte Abernathy are the Plaintiffs in
this case and are royalty owners in oil and gas drilling and
spacing units for which the company's exploration segment
distributes royalty. The Plaintiffs' central allegation is that
the company's exploration segment has underpaid royalty
obligations by deducting post-production costs or marketing
related fees. Plaintiffs sought to pursue the case as a class
action on behalf of persons who receive royalty from us for our
Oklahoma production.

"We have asserted several defenses including that the deductions
are permitted under Oklahoma law. We have also asserted that the
case should not be tried as a class action due to the materially
different circumstances that determine what, if any, deductions
are taken for each lease," the Company said.

On December 16, 2009, the trial court entered its order certifying
the class. On May 11, 2012 the court of civil appeals reversed the
trial court's order certifying the class. The Plaintiffs
petitioned the supreme court for certiorari and on October 8,
2012, the Plaintiff's petition was denied.

On January 22, 2013, the Plaintiffs filed a second request to
certify a class of royalty owners that was slightly smaller than
their first attempt. Since then, the Plaintiffs have further
amended their proposed class to just include royalty owners
entitled to royalties under certain leases located in Latimer, Le
Flore, and Pittsburg Counties, Oklahoma.

"In July 2014, a second class certification hearing was held
where, in addition to the defenses described above, we argued that
the amended class definition is still deficient under the court of
civil appeals opinion reversing the initial class certification,"
the Company said.  "Closing arguments were held on December 2,
2014. There is no timetable for when the court will issue its
ruling. The merits of Plaintiffs' claims will remain stayed while
class certification issues are pending."


UPTOWN, LA: Residents File Class Action to Speed Up SELA Project
----------------------------------------------------------------
Robert Morris, writing for Uptwon Messenger, reports that property
owners near the construction of major new drainage canals across
Uptown New Orleans are asking a judge to intervene in the
management of the project contracts, seeking an end to the
interminable delays, they announced on Dec. 18.

Standing on Prytania Street -- which was originally intended to be
complete by this past summer, but instead remains closed with a
deep trench down the middle -- attorney Michael Whitaker and
residents of several construction corridors announced that they
have filed a class-action suit asking a federal judge to appoint a
"special master" to oversee the work. They are asking for an
injunction in the case, not to stop the work, but actually to
speed it up, Whitaker said.

"We're halfway through this thing.  We can't just stop make them
stop and go back," Mr. Whitaker said.  "We've got to stop and ask
them to put somebody in charge and reload and do this in a well
thought-out and logical way that any other normal jobs that should
be done.  There should be deadlines; there should be penalties."

The basis for the lawsuit is an agreement from the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers to protect the areas surrounding the construction
corridors on South Claiborne, Louisiana, Napoleon and Jefferson
avenues and Prytania Street, according to the National Historic
Preservation Act.  The Corps' agreement requires that precautions
be taken to minimize damage from the construction project, such as
by monitoring vibrations from the heavy equipment, Whitaker said
on Dec. 18.

The vibrations are not being properly monitored, however, and the
sensors are placed improperly to detect the maximum vibrations,
Mr. Whitaker said.  Further, the construction has dragged on for
months beyond its deadline, with contractors apparently able to
start and stop work at will without penalty, Mr. Whitaker said.

"They can pull off when they want and go to another job, and
there's no control over that," said Bill Sewell, a Prytania Street
resident and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

A special master would be able to oversee the progress on the
project, and recommend to the judge specific actions to ensure
that the project moves along according to schedule, Mr. Whitaker
said.  For example, they would ask the special master to give
specific completion dates for each project, for set work times for
the contractors, and for modern standards for the vibration
monitoring, he said.

"We are asking the court to impose an independent person to
control this, because they are playing without any rules
whatsoever," Mr. Whitaker said.  "It is crazy to me, because
there's no logic or sequence to this at all."

The long periods of apparent inactivity on the project would not
be tolerated anywhere else, Mr. Whitaker said.

"In another city, they would block the street off, no one would be
able to get in and out of here, and they would finish this in a
month," Mr. Whitaker said.  "They would cordon off areas, work a
little bit at a time, finish it and move on."

The class-action lawsuit -- while involving the same attorneys and
some of the same plaintiffs -- is separate from a case they filed
in May against the Sewerage & Water Board.  The S&WB case simply
alleges that the SELA projects damaged more than 100 homes around
it, and seeks to have the property owners fully compensated for
their losses.

Mr. Whitaker has previously said that the S&WB case is heavily
based on a similar case when the SELA project was in Broadmoor, in
which homeowners successfully proved that the S&WB was liable for
the damages.  Unlike the S&WB case, however, the class-action
lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has no direct
local precedent that Whitaker was aware of: Homeowners in the
previous case may not have known about the agreement signed by the
Corps to abide by the historic-preservation laws, Whitaker said.

Whitaker said he expects an initial hearing on his requests in the
coming weeks.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers declined to respond to the
allegations through spokesman Ricky Boyett, citing a policy
against commenting on pending litigation. The most recent estimate
for a completion date on Prytania Street is February 2016.


VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Faces "Brady" Suit Over "Defeat Devices"
----------------------------------------------------------
Lynette Brady, Individually, and on Behalf of all Others Similarly
Situated 7618 Michelle Court Manassas, Virginia 20109 v.
Volkswagen Group Of America, Inc. 2200 Ferdinand Porsche Drive
Hemdon, Virginia 20171, Case No. 1:15-cv-01592-LO-MSN (E.D. Va.,
November 27, 2015), alleges that the Defendant perpetrated fraud
on consumers and regulators by installing a "defeat device"
software that created the false impression of high fuel efficiency
and high performance with extremely low emissions.

Volkswagen manufactured, distributed, sold, leased and warranted
the vehicles with defeat devices under the Volkswagen and Audi
names throughout the United States.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     David M. Kopstein, Esq.
     KOPSTEIN & ASSOCIATES, LLC
     9831 Greenbelt Road, Suite 205
     Seabrook, MD 20706
     Tel: (301) 552-3330
     Fax: (301) 552-2170
     E-mail: dkopstein@cox.net

        - and -

     Adam Janet, Esq.
     JANET, JENNER & SUGGS
     1777 Reisterstown Road, Suite 165
     Baltimore, MD 21208
     Tel: (410) 653-3200
     Fax: (410) 653-9030


VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Faces "Castagna" Suit Over "Clean Diesel" Cars
----------------------------------------------------------------
Jean Castagna, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, v. Volkswagen Group Of America, Inc., No. Case 2:15-cv-
08340-JLL-JAD (D.N.J., November 30, 2015), alleges that the
Defendant intentionally and systematically cheated its customers,
lied to the government, and misled the public about the efficacy
of its four cylinder diesel-engine vehicles sold under the
Volkswagen and Audi brands by falsely marketing its so-called
"clean diesel" vehicles as high performing, fuel efficient, and
environmentally friendly.

Volkswagen and its parent Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft
("Volkswagen AG"), and/or their dealerships, designed,
manufactured, distributed, sold, leased and warranted the Impacted
Vehicles under the Volkswagen and Audi brand names throughout the
nation, and created and distributed, or caused to be created and
distributed, the manuals, advertisements, and other promotional
materials relating to the Impacted Vehicles.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     James E. Cecchi, Esq.
     Lindsey H. Taylor, Esq.
     CARELLA, BYRNE, CECCHI, OLSTEIN, BRODY & AGNELLO P.C.
     5 Becker Farm Road
     Roseland, NJ 07068
     Tel: (973) 994-1700

        - and -

     Christopher A. Seeger, Esq.
     Jeffrey S. Grand, Esq.
     Scott Alan George, Esq.
     SEEGER WEISS LLP
     77 Water St., 26th Floor
     New York, NY 10005
     Tel: (212) 584-0700


VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: N.D. Calif. Court to Handle Emissions MDL
-----------------------------------------------------------
Amanda Bronstad, writing for The National Law Journal, reports
that a federal judicial panel has picked U.S. District Judge
Charles Breyer in California's Northern District to handle the
litigation against Volkswagen A.G. over its emissions scandal.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, which heard
arguments Dec. 3 on where to transfer more than 500 class actions
filed against Volkswagen in 60 federal courts, acknowledged in its
order that several of the districts bore some geographical
connection to the litigation, but it appeared persuaded by
Judge Breyer's experience in handling MDLs.

In choosing California's Northern District, the panel rejected
arguments from Volkswagen and from most plaintiffs lawyers who had
sought venues in other parts of the country.  Judge Breyer, who is
the brother of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, has
handled nine MDLs, according to its Dec. 8 order.  He currently
presides over an MDL involving price-fixing against the world's
largest airlines.

Judge Breyer, the panel noted in its order, is "a jurist who is
thoroughly familiar with the nuances of complex, multidistrict
litigation," adding that some of those matters "involved numerous
international defendants."  Judge Breyer, who sits on the MDL
panel, did not participate in the decision.

The MDL panel, in selecting California, was not convinced by
arguments from Volkswagen, which supported the Eastern District of
Michigan.

"We have received the order of the United States Judicial Panel on
Multidistrict Litigation, and we will vigorously defend the
company in these cases," wrote Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine
Ginivan.

At the same time, the MDL panel rejected arguments from most of
the plaintiffs attorneys, who pushed for venues in 28 districts.

Although California was a favored venue, many had put their weight
behind districts in Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia and Tennessee.
The vast majority of cases against Volkswagen are nationwide class
actions filed by consumers alleging they were duped into paying
premium prices for "clean diesel" cars that the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency has said emit as much as 40 times
the standard for nitrogen oxides.  Volkswagen has admitted that 11
million vehicles, including 482,000 cars in the United States,
have a "defeat device" in them designed to cheat emissions tests.

On Dec. 10, Volkswagen supervisory board chairman Hans Dieter
P”tsch, speaking about the findings of its internal audit, blamed
the cheating on a chain of mistakes that began in 2005.

In its order, the MDL panel noted that one-fifth of the Volkswagen
cases had been filed in California, yet plaintiffs lawyers had
favored the Central District of California, where U.S. District
Judge James Selna oversaw the sudden-acceleration litigation
against Toyota Motor Corp. None had suggested Judge Breyer.

Eric Gibbs -- ehg@classlawgroup.com -- a partner at San
Francisco's Girard Gibbs who attended the MDL panel's hearing and
filed court papers advocating for either the Northern or Central
districts of California, said the order showed the importance of
sending MDLs to an experienced judge.  "The panel was searching
for that type of judge: seasoned, particularly in large MDL
matters with docket conditions that could accommodate what could
be a very burdensome case for a shorter period of time.  They
figured out that Judge Breyer fit that bill, and I doubt there's
anyone in the country who would disagree."

RAPID DEVELOPMENTS

The Volkswagen cases have moved through the courts at a frenetic
pace.  In New Jersey and Michigan, federal judges already had
ordered immediate settlement discussions.  In addition, Volkswagen
took the unusual step of asking the MDL panel to issue its
transfer order prior to oral arguments in New Orleans.  The MDL
panel took less than a week to issue its order. Breyer has set an
initial status conference for Dec. 22.

Class action critic Ted Frank, founder of the Center for Class
Action Fairness, filed a rare amicus brief before the MDL panel
arguing for U.S. District Judge William Alsup of the Northern
District of California, who has a history of critiquing class
action settlements.  Mr. Frank, whose group is now part of the
Competitive Enterprise Institute, had said that the judge
overseeing the litigation should ensure fairness to all class
members when evaluating a predicated settlement.

In response to the MDL panel's ruling, Frank wrote in an email
that "Breyer is not one to blindly rubber-stamp settlements."


VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: May Opt for Alternative Dispute Resolution
------------------------------------------------------------
Angelo Young, writing for International Business Times, reports
that Ken Feinberg is back in the news.  Just days after announcing
his work managing a General Motors victim compensation fund is
nearing completion, America's most well-known legal-liability
referee has been hired by Volkswagen to figure out how much money
will satisfy hundreds of thousands of bilked VW diesel car owners
in the United States.  The German automaker's global emissions-
cheating scandal will once again put in the spotlight an unusual
but long-standing, uniquely American, alternative to class-action
and individual-injury lawsuits: alternative dispute resolution, a
way for companies and customers to come to an agreement on
compensation without prolonged legal battles that can take years.
GM is using the process to pay out nearly $595 million in claims
linked to its fatal ignition-switch defect in 2.6 million of its
older cars.

Now Volkswagen is hoping Feinberg, 70, can use a similar process
to settle with as many as 500,000 U.S. car owners who bought
Volkswagens, Audis and Porsches that pollute far more than the
company claimed.

Volkswagen has yet to announce what it intends to do to correct
wrongs with its customers.  Fixing the vehicles won't be enough,
because the repairs drive down the fuel economy and acceleration
time that were used to lure buyers.  Whether the company will
offer cash compensation to customers, or simply buy back the
cars -- a much costlier option for the world's top automaker --
has not yet been announced. And this is what the U.S. customers
want to know.

But legal experts say whatever Volkswagen decides to do, relying
on Feinberg will be the quickest path to settlement, one that
doesn't involve prolonged courtroom drama, hefty lawyers' fees and
the risk of an unsatisfying outcome.

"If I were an individual VW car owner, I would look seriously at
what Feinberg offers in this case," said John C. Coffee Jr., a
Columbia University law professor and an expert on mass tort, or
civil actions involving numerous plaintiffs.  "A Ken Feinberg cash
plan, or Ken Feinberg new-vehicle plan, will be better than paying
lawyers for a nominal cash award and some coupons from
Volkswagen."

Uniquely American

Volkswagen on Dec. 17 announced it was retaining Feinberg to
establish an alternative dispute resolution program for owners of
certain vehicles with 2-liter and 3-liter Turbocharged Direct
Injection (TDI) diesel engines.  As in his work in the massive
General Motors ignition-switch defect that's been linked to 124
deaths, Feinberg will be in charge of administering an alternative
dispute resolution program for Volkswagen.

"His extensive experience in handling such complex matters will
help to guide us as we move forward to make things right with our
customers," said Michael Horn, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America,
in a statement on Dec. 17.

For GM, Feinberg settled 399 claims through his program, costing
the company nearly $595 million but avoiding drawn-out legal
battles with these individuals.  "What's strong about Feinberg's
program is that it's economically comparable to what someone would
get through litigation, where at least 25 percent of the money
goes to an attorney," said Frank J. Vandall, a law professor at
Emory University who specializes in product liability litigation.
"And it can take 10 years before you get a penny."

Feinberg says alternative dispute resolutions are largely limited
to the United States because it has a more litigious culture than
Europe or Asia.

"Face-to-face negotiation to resolve disputes has always been part
of the business culture in this country," Mr. Feinberg said in an
email on Dec. 18 to International Business Times.  "But, in the
past 50 years, it has taken on a new life and dynamic because of
the ever-mounting costs, inefficiencies and uncertainties of
litigation. The September 11 Victim Compensation Fund was a
striking example of government support of an ADR [alternative
dispute resolution] process."

A Go-To Mediator

In addition to resolving disputes between companies and customers
in faulty-product cases, Feinberg has emerged rivals in the
business of distributing dollars to victims in the wake of
disasters, including the 9/11 attacks and the massive 2010 BP oil
spill off the coast of Louisiana.  Long before any company had
tried establishing alternative dispute resolution systems like the
one GM set up early last year, and the one Volkswagen is
establishing, Mr. Feinberg had developed a reputation as a go-to
mediator.

"It is very, very exciting, challenging, to help people resolve
the cases instead of fighting all the time," Mr. Feinberg told the
Boston Globe in 2004, describing his work 20 years earlier
mediating a battle between thousands of Vietnam War veterans and
their families, and the manufacturers of the war-era defoliant
Agent Orange, which has since been linked to serious health
problems.

After Mr. Feinberg was tapped by the federal government to
organize the distribution of $7 billion to thousands of 9/11
victims and families, he stressed the challenges of weighing the
cost of human life.  "To be judge, jury, accountant, lawyer,
rabbi, etc., is very, very difficult," he told the Washingtonian
in 2008.

For his work at Volkswagen, Mr. Feinberg won't be doing the grim
task of valuing human life and debilitating lifelong injuries as
he has done in the past.  It won't be like the BP oil spill where
he had to measure the financial impact of the spill to everyone
from coastal oyster fishers to Bourbon Street bartenders.  The
work he'll do for Volkswagen is a relatively straightforward
process of determining the value of the damage individual car
owners received when they were misled about fuel economy,
performance and emissions levels of their "clean diesel" cars.

It will take years for Volkswagen to heal its self-inflicted
wounds, but by hiring a man who has already been in the trenches
over more serious harms, the automaker has at least begun a proven
dispute-resolution process for righting its wrongs.


VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Hausfeld to Pursue Claims in Germany
------------------------------------------------------
Hausfeld, a global claimants' law firm dedicated to competition
and other complex litigation and cross-border dispute resolution,
announced its expansion in Germany.  At the same time, Burford
Capital ("Burford"), a global finance and professional services
firm focused on law, announced that it was making available EUR30
million in financing to Hausfeld for its clients' German
competition and other commercial claims.

With their German agreement in place and in light of the two
firms' shared depth of experience in complex dispute resolution,
they announce that Hausfeld, with additional and substantial
financing from Burford, will bring its expertise to bear on the
multifaceted global disputes pending as a result of the recent
Volkswagen AG ("VW") scandal.

VW admitted on September 18, 2015 that it installed "defeat
devices" in millions of diesel cars sold worldwide, thereby
harming a variety of constituencies.  Achieving a resolution of
this global dispute will require expertise in complex negotiation
as well as coordinated litigation and cooperation with regulators
and governments in the US and Europe.

Hausfeld is ideally suited to play a lead role in this process,
given the firm's recognition as one of the world's 50 leading
negotiators and successes in commercial litigation across multiple
jurisdictions.  Burford will provide additional financing to
support Hausfeld's representation of those harmed by VW's
misconduct.

Michael Hausfeld, Chairman of Hausfeld, said: "This is a complex
global dispute with broad ramifications not only for VW, but for
German workers, business, and the German economy.  The combination
of our firm's skills and achievements with the strength of
Burford's financial backing, make it ideally suited to spearhead a
just resolution."

Christopher Bogart, Burford's CEO, commented: "Burford has
unparalleled expertise in financing complex commercial litigation,
and we're proud to support Hausfeld in this effort.  We're well
positioned to work with Hausfeld and we remain committed to
ongoing innovation in the field of litigation finance."


VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: Top Managers Not Spared From Emissions Probe
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Associated Press reports that Volkswagen's chairman indicates
that the investigation into the German carmaker's emissions
scandal won't spare top managers.

In a news conference at the company headquarters in Wolfsburg,
Germany, Hans Dieter Poetsch said "we are relentlessly searching
for those responsible for what happened and you may rest assured
we will bring these persons to account."

He added on Dec. 10: "This is not only about direct but overall
responsibility."

Mr. Poetsch said that the company still believes that a relatively
small number was actively involved in the manipulation of
emissions.

                           *     *     *

David Rising, Kerstin Sopke and Tom Krisher, writing for The
Associated Press, report that a small group of Volkswagen
engineers began working as early as 2005 on emissions cheating
software after they were unable to find a technical solution to
U.S. emissions controls as the automaker pushed into the North
American market, executives said on Dec. 10.

The company in September admitted to have cheated on U.S. diesel
emissions tests with the help of software installed in engines.
The software was built into 11 million cars globally, about
500,000 of which in the U.S., from 2009 to 2015.

It has so far confirmed to have cheated only on the U.S. tests,
which are more rigorous than European ones for the polluting
emission nitrogen oxide.

In an update on the company's investigation in the case, Chairman
Hans Dieter Poetsch said engineers in 2005 were unable to find a
technical solution to U.S. nitrogen oxide emissions within their
"timeframe and budget" and came up with the software that
manipulated results when lab testing was done.

Later, when a technical solution became available, it was not
employed, Mr. Poetsch said.

"We are not talking about a one-off mistake, but a whole chain of
mistakes that was not interrupted at any point along the time
line," he told reporters at Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg,
Germany.

Mr. Poetsch did not say if any VW models from before 2009 had the
cheating software in the U.S. A spokeswoman for the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency would not immediately comment on
whether any more model years are under investigation.  VW sold
some diesel models in the U.S. during the 2005 and 2006 model
years but suspended sales in 2007 and 2008 after the EPA imposed
stricter pollution standards.

Volkswagen is "relentlessly searching for those responsible" for
the software, Mr. Poetsch said.  "We still do not know whether the
people who were involved in this issue from 2005 to the present
day were fully aware of the risks they were taking and of the
potential damage they could expose the company to, but that's
another issue we will find out," he said.

CEO Matthias Mueller said the investigation so far had revealed
that "information was not shared, it stayed within a small circle
of people who were engineers."

Mr. Poetsch confirmed the company had suspended nine managers for
possible involvement in the scandal.  He said there are so far no
indications that board members were directly involved, but the
company's probe is ongoing and broad.

"This is not only about direct, but overall responsibility," he
said.

He said the investigation has so far analyzed data from laptops,
phones and other devices from 400 employees.  More than 2,000 have
been informed in writing that they cannot delete any data in case
it becomes relevant to the investigation, he said.

External auditors have already gone through 102 terabytes of data,
which he said was the equivalent of 50 million books.

"I'm not saying all of those people are under suspicion, but what
it means is that on computers, SIM cards, or USB sticks there
might be information that could be important," he said.  "We still
believe that only a comparatively small number of employees was
actually actively involved in the manipulations."

Mr. Mueller said that the scandal had so far not caused the
massive slump in business that some had feared earlier.  "The
situation is not dramatic, but as expected it is tense."  Sales in
the U.S. fell nearly 25 percent in November, the first month to
show the full impact of the scandal.

"We are fighting for every customer and every car."

He suggested that the company was not considering any cuts to
fulltime jobs, but that it might have to shed some workers with
fixed-term contracts.

"Temporary jobs are a tool of ensuring flexibility, that is not
new," he said.  "If changes come to our production, then this may
have an impact on the number of temporary workers."

Mr. Mueller said Volkswagen's finances are strong enough, however,
that the company does not have to consider selling any units to
cope with the costs of the scandal as has been speculated by some.
The automaker has estimated the scandal would cost 6.7 billion
euros, though analysts expect that figure to ultimately be much
higher.

To help restore confidence in the company and prevent a repeat of
such a scandal, Mr. Poetsch announced that Volkswagen was
instituting new, more stringent and transparent emissions testing
for all of its vehicles. He said Volkswagen would go beyond lab
tests -- so far the norm in the U.S. and Europe -- had proved too
easy to cheat.

"Our emissions tests will, in future, be verified by external and
independent third parties," he said.  "We will also be introducing
universal on-road emissions measurements during real-life driving,
and we hope that will help us win back trust."


WARNER/CHAPPELL: Settles "Happy Birthday" Song Class Action
-----------------------------------------------------------
Cheryl Miller, writing for The Recorder, reports that a long-
standing legal fight over ownership rights to the song "Happy
Birthday" appears to have ended.

U.S. District Judge George King of the Central District of
California on Dec. 8 announced that plaintiffs in a class action
had reached a settlement with Warner/Chappell Music Inc. over the
music house's claims that it held the copyright to the birthday
standard.  Judge King vacated the scheduled Dec. 15 trial date.
Terms of the agreement were not revealed.

The settlement follows a September ruling by King that
Warner/Chappell does not own a valid copyright to the song's
lyrics.  The judge found that Clayton F. Summy Co., a predecessor
to Warner/Chappell, only held rights to a certain arrangement of
the "Happy Birthday" melody and not the lyrics.

The settlement may also have been motivated by Judge King's order
on Dec. 7 granting plaintiffs' motion to expand the class from
members who paid to use the song after 2008 to anyone who paid for
the song after 1948.

"Warner/Chappell was facing the prospect of potentially having to
reach back 65 years and potentially having all those people and
companies who paid to use that song over that time try to get that
money back," said Aaron Moss, the chair of Greenberg Glusker
Fields Claman & Machtinger's litigation department, who isn't
involved in the case.

Warner/Chappell issued a statement on Dec. 9 saying only that
"While we respectfully disagreed with the court's decision, we are
pleased to have now resolved this matter."

Betsy Manifold -- manifold@whafh.com --  the interim lead class
counsel in the case and a partner with Wolf Haldenstein Adler
Freeman & Herz, did not return messages left on Dec. 9.

Though the history of -- and disagreements over -- the
originations of "Happy Birthday" stretch back more than 100 years,
the current lawsuit was filed in 2013 when documentary producer
Jennifer Nelson challenged Warner/Chappell for charging her $1,500
to use the song in a film about its history.  New York attorney
Randall Newman joined class action specialists from Wolf
Haldenstein to represent plaintiffs who had paid "Happy Birthday"
licensing fees to the publishing company.

After Judge King declared that Warner/Chappell did not possess a
valid copyright to the song, a charity known as the Association
for Childhood Education International in November filed to
intervene.  ACEI has historical ties to "Happy Birthday" author
Patty Hill, and its leaders argued that if Warner/Chappell didn't
own rights to the song, the charity should.  ACEI was included in
the settlement announced on Dec. 8.

The fact that ACEI joined the settlement is a good indication that
the agreement will place the song into the public domain, Moss
said.

"If you assume the settlement does not allow either
[Warner/Chappell or ACEI] to extract licensing fees -- since that
was the point of the lawsuit -- then there's a pretty good chance
that this song is going" to be in the public domain, he said.


WESTMINISTER SHORES: Faces "Waters" Suit Over FLSA Violation
------------------------------------------------------------
Paula Waters, on her own behalf and others similarly situated, v.
Westminister Shores Inc., Case 8:15-cv-02755-SDM-TBM (M.D. Fla.,
November 27, 2015), seeks to recover unpaid wages in the form of
overtime wages, liquidated damages, and reasonable attorneys' fees
under the Fair Labor Standards.

The Defendant is a nursing and personal care facility.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     W. John Gadd, Esq.
     2727 Ulmerton Rd. Ste. 250
     Clearwater, FL 33762
     Tel: (727)524-6300
     E-mail: wjg@mazgadd.com


WORLD'S GOLD: Branden Alleges Violation of Cal. Business Code
-------------------------------------------------------------
Branden & Co., Inc., a California Corporation, on behalf of itself
and all others similarly situated v. World's Gold & Diamond, Inc.,
a Texas Corporation; and DOES 1 through 20, inclusive, Case No.
BC602533 (Cal. Super., County of Los Angeles, Central District,
November 25, 2015), seeks statutory damages, punitive damages,
costs and attorneys' fees for Defendant's alleged violation of
California Business and Professions Code.

The Defendant is a wholesaler of jewelry.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     Daren M. Schlecter, Esq.
     BRANDEN & CO INC.
     1925 Century Park East, Suite 830
     Los Angeles, CA 90067
     Tel: (310)553-5747
     Fax: (310)553-5487


WYNDHAM HOTELS: Enters Into Hacking Case Settlement Deal with FTC
-----------------------------------------------------------------
John Fontana, writing for ZDNet, reports that the Federal Trade
Commission and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts have agreed to settle a
case involving the company's security practices that led to the
exposure of credit card information for more than 600,000
consumers.

Wyndham will not face a fine and will not have to admit
wrongdoing, but the injunction requires Wyndham to submit to
oversight for the next 20 years.  Wyndham and the FTC both waived
their rights to an appeal.

The settlement comes three months after a U.S. appellate court
ruled the FTC can sue Wyndham over computer system hacks in 2008
and 2009.  The ruling validated the FTC's power to pursue legal
remedies from companies it deems to have inadequately invested in
computer security as judged by claims made via their privacy
policies.

At the time of the appellate court ruling, Electronic Privacy
Information Center attorney Alan Butler told Wired magazine, "This
is a huge victory for the FTC, but also for American consumers."

The court injunction was filed in U.S. District Court for the
District of New Jersey.

As part of the agreement, Wyndham must develop "a comprehensive
information security program that is reasonably designed to
protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of Cardholder
Data that it collects."  The company must also provide an annual
written assessments as to compliance with the Payment Card
Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

"This settlement marks the end of a significant case in the FTC's
efforts to protect consumers from the harm caused by unreasonable
data security," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement.
"Not only will it provide important protection to consumers, but
the court rulings in the case have affirmed the vital role the FTC
plays in this important area."


YAKIMA REGIONAL: Violated Charity Care Act, Judge Says
------------------------------------------------------
The Associated Press reports that a judge says a hospital in
Yakima has violated the state Charity Care Act by demanding
payment from indigent patients.

The Yakima Herald reports that Superior Court Judge Susan Hahn
says the actions of Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center
constituted a breach of contract between the hospital and the
patients in question.  She also granted a motion requiring the
hospital to turn over certain information long sought by the
plaintiffs to bolster their class-action lawsuit.

"We got into this case because we think it's essential that
hospitals treat patients who are suffering, regardless of how much
money they make, and that they not work to deny them care or to
squeeze them for money that they can't afford to pay," said
Andrea Schmitt, a Columbia Legal Services attorney who is
representing the plaintiffs.  "So we're very pleased with this
ruling."

The lawsuit was filed in 2013 against Regional and its former
owner, Florida-based Health Management Associates.  It alleges the
hospital discouraged indigent patients from seeking care by
requiring payments or deposits before procedures.  Documents show
employees could earn bonuses based on how much money they could
wring out of self-pay patients.

Regional's current owner, Community Health Systems, which
inherited potential liability in the case, has declined to
comment.

Washington's Charity Care Act requires hospitals to offer at least
partial charity care to any patient who falls below 200 percent of
the federal poverty level, without requiring credit checks or
anything else to verify patient eligibility.  In her Dec. 14
ruling, Judge Hahn agreed that Regional "routinely" violated the
Charity Care Act by requiring deposits from poor patients before
screening them for charity care.

"Some overpayments were eventually refunded.  Nevertheless, it is
likely some indigent patients were unable to pay these deposits
and as a result denied access to qualified medical services," she
wrote.

Judge Hahn also shot down Regional's argument that a violation of
the Charity Care Act was not necessarily a violation of the
contract between the hospital and patients.

Patient contracts demanded a certain amount of payment, which "was
incorrect and the result of the Defendants' failure to determine
CCA eligibility before setting the contract payment amount," Judge
Hahn wrote.

As to the order compelling discovery, Ms. Schmitt and the other
attorneys for the plaintiffs have long been asking Regional to
provide documents listing patients the hospital has taken to court
over collections.

"We were just asking for, basically, a list of those actions so
that we could see whether the hospital was suing people who were
eligible for charity care on their debt," Ms. Schmitt said.

Department of Health records show that in 2013, Regional provided
charity care worth about 1.45 percent of its total adjusted
patient revenue.  The regional average among hospitals in Central
Washington was three times that, at 4.4 percent.

The partial summary judgment helps pave the way for the next step,
Schmitt said, in which the plaintiffs' attorneys have a claim
pending that Regional's actions violated the Consumer Protection
Act by being "unfair and deceptive."


* Judge Upholds Bond Requirement Rules for New York Nail Salons
---------------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Keshner, writing for New York Law Journal, reports that
nail salon trade groups challenging a new requirement to post a
bond that covers unpaid wages to their employees have failed to
convince a judge that the state acted unfairly.

The ruling by Acting Justice Michael Melkonian, sitting in Albany
County, upholds New York Department of State regulations and
followed by state law.

The laws at issue are intended to protect some 40,000 workers, the
vast majority female immigrants, from being mistreated and shorted
on pay.

The Korean American Nail Salon Association of New York and the
Chinese Nail Salon Association of East America sued, saying their
businesses were unfairly singled out and too few insurers offered
the now-required wage bonds.  Moreover, the trade groups said the
bond terms were onerous and would drive many salon proprietors out
of business.

In Korean American Nail Salon Association of New York v. Cuomo,
15-4582, Acting Justice Melkonian said the state had valid
concerns.  He said lawmakers had "found abuses in the nail salon
industry" and decided laws were needed to protect workers.

"The state of New York has a legitimate interest in protecting
workers in the nail salon industry from unsafe working conditions
and unfair labor practices, including wage theft and payment of
below-minimum wages," he said.

In May 2014, the state Department of Labor conducted an
investigation and found 116 wage violations in 29 nail salons
throughout the state.

The agency findings were mentioned in articles on the industry in
The New York Times, which said the agency's findings came after it
inquired about the labor department's enforcement record.

In May 2015, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the introduction of
legislation and emergency regulations to protect nail salon
workers.  On the same day in May, the Department of State filed an
emergency regulation requiring all "appearance enhancement
businesses" to buy wage bonds as security for unpaid wages in the
event the business would collapse.

In July, Mr. Cuomo signed the legislation into law.  Among other
things, the law permits New York's secretary of state to issue
fines or cease-and-desist orders if businesses are found not to
have the wage coverage.

The law said the provisions did not become enforceable until 60
days after the Department of Financial Services submitted a
certification that the wage coverage was "readily available" in
the market; it was submitted in August.

In September, the Department of State filed notices of emergency
adoption and of proposed rule making that, according to Acting
Justice Melkonian, "affirmatively impos[ed] the wage bond
requirements on appearance enhancement businesses that employ two
or more individuals on a full-time basis to provide nail specialty
services."

The trade groups filed suit less than two weeks after the
Department of State's emergency regulations.

They contended the certification of "readily available" wage
coverage was arbitrary and capricious and they attempted to void
the Department of State's regulation.

Rejecting the claims, Acting Justice Melkonian noted that the
Department of Financial Services had determined nine insurers and
12 producers in the surety industry intended to issue and sell the
bonds.

The judge also dismissed claims that the Department of Financial
Services lacked the statutory authority to make such a
certification, noting the July law "expressly grants" the agency
sole authority to make that decision.

The plaintiffs attempted to advance an argument that the
certification breached their equal protection rights.  They said
the certification and September regulations focused only on
appearance enhancement salons with services for nails, and the
wide majority of such businesses were owned by Asian Americans,
they said.

The judge said the certification and regulations were neutral on
their face.  As result, he said the question became "whether there
is a rational relationship between the legislation and a
legitimate state interest."

And here, the judge concluded, there was a legitimate state
interest in protecting workers.

"As such, the legislation is related to a legitimate purpose and
there has been no violation of equal protection," he said.

The Korean-American Nail Salon Association of New York and the
Chinese Nail Salon Association of East America said in a statement
that they were disappointed in the ruling but "we continue to
stand by the fact that the wage bond emergency regulations as
promulgated by Governor Cuomo's Administration, while well
intentioned, violate the letter of the law."

The nail salon groups also said the law is "in practice unjust,
jeopardize thousands of small businesses, and the livelihoods of
tens of thousands of workers.  We will continue to seek a just
solution that protects small businesses and their workers."

In a statement, Mr. Cuomo praised the ruling, saying, "this
administration believes in the promise of a fair day's pay for a
fair day's work and this requirement will ensure that nail salon
workers are paid what they are legally owed."

Michael Park -- park@consovoymccarthy.com -- a partner at Consovoy
McCarthy Park, and J. Michael Connolly, counsel, represented the
trade groups.

Assistant Attorney General Justin Engel appeared for the state.


                            *********

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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Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. ISSN 1525-2272.

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