/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/170306.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

              Monday, March 6, 2017, Vol. 19, No. 46


1761 FONDA: Faces "Olivares" Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime
AMAZON: Faces Class Action Over Wrongful Prime Membership Debits
AMTRUST FINANCIAL: Rosen Law Firm Files Securities Class Action
AQ TEXTILES: Falsely Marketed Bed Linens, "Kremmel" Suit Claims
AUSTRALIA: Class Action Over Indigenous Workers' Wages Ongoing

BANK OF AMERICA: Sued Over Unlawful Home Mortgage Loan Policies
BOARD OF COMMERCE: JMCB Tax Suit Removed to M.D. La.
BP EXPLORATION: Faces "Juarez" Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime
BRICE, OH: Sued for Illegally Collecting Traffic Ticket Fines
CANADA: New Online Map May Help Boost Africville Class Action

CAPITAL ONE: Has Made Unsolicited Calls, "Pickett" Suit Claims
CARUSO TRUCKING: Overtime Pay Sought in "Magsby" Labor Suit
CENTRA CREDIT: Illegally Obtains Credit Reports, Suit Claims
CN RAIL: Class Action Mulled Over Makami River Derailment
COMCAST CORP: Judge Tosses Discrimination Class Action

CONWAY, AR: Court Allows Firefighters' Class Action to Proceed
DAYTON, OH: Ordered to Repay Speed Camera Ticket Fines
DIVERSIFIED CONTRACTORS: "Bowyer" Hits Misclassification, Seeks OT
EGALET CORPORATION: Faces "Klein" Suit Over False Business Report
ENCORE CAPITAL: Arbitration Clause Enforceable, 6th Cir. Says

EOG RESOURCES: Royalty Claim of Little Land Removed to E.D. Okla.
EVERGREEN HEALTH: "Kinsey" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid OT Wages
FOUGERA PHARMA: Teachers' Fund Sues Over Overpriced Clobetasol
GEO GROUP: Immigrant Detainees' Forced Labor Class Action OK'd
GOOGLE INC: Must Face Biometric Privacy Law Class Action

GRAEBEL VAN: Faces Class Action Over Driver Misclassification
GRANDE PIZZA: "Maxwell" Suit Claims Business-related Expenses
J&C NY RESTAURANT: "Galicia" Suit Seeks Overtime, Spread-of-Hours
JELLY BELLY: "Allen" False Advertising Suit Removed to E.D. Mo.
KLOPP INVESTMENT: "Ramsay" Suit Seeks Back Wages Under FLSA

LANDMARK CREDIT: "Behrens" Sues Over Illegal Overdraft Fees
LIGHT ME: Does Not Properly Pay Employees OT, "Levi" Suit Claims
LUCILLE ROBERTS: Faces "Norton" Class Suit in E.D. New York
MDL NO. 2406: Summary Judgment Bid Partly Granted
MICHIGAN STATE: Mich. Court Dismisses Marijuana Users' Suit

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS: McManus Suit Not NFL-Style Concussion Case
NFL ENTERPRISES: Court Denied Cheerleader's Plea to Use Alias
ONEFLOW ENERGY: "Keddy" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid OT Wages
PRESSLER & PRESSLER: New York District Court Stays Class Action
PROGRESSIVE AMERICAN: "Chapman" Case Transferred to N.D. Fla.

QUALCOMM INC: "Housenick" Files Anti-trust Suit Over Chipset
QUALCOMM INC: Tada File Suit in Cali. Over Anticompetitive Conduct
REGULUS THERAPEUTICS: Sued Over Misleading Financial Reports
SHAHEEN CAFE: "Bagum" Labor Suit Claims Overtime, Spread-of-Hours
SLATER & GORDON: Faces Cash Woes Amid Class Action

SLATER & GORDON: Shareholder Equity Wiped Out Amid Class Action
STATE FARM: Dismissal of Florida Suit Reversed
STATE FARM: District Court Denies Bid to Remand "LaVelle"
STERLING JEWELERS: Faces Sexual Harassment, Discrimination Claims
SUN PRINCESS: Passengers Mull Suit Over Norovirus Infections

TAKATA: Four Automakers Aware of Defective Airbags, Suit Claims
TX CONCIERGE: Fails to Pay Employees OT, "Llamas" Suit Claims
UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Chinese Drivers Compelled to Arbitrate Claims
UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Judge Grants Bid to Arbitrate "Peng"
UBIQUS REPORTING: "Lloyd" Suit Seeks Relief Under Labor Law

UNITED PARCEL: Sued Over Fair Credit Reporting Act Violation
UNITED STATES: Iowa Property Owners' $1.5MM Deal Has Prelim. OK
UNITED STATES: Faces "Cohen" Class Suit in Federal Court
VOLKSWAGEN AG: Boss Criticized Over Emissions Scandal

* Court Orders Disclosure of Third-Party Class Action Funding
* Government-Backed Fund Needed for Class Actions in Australia
* New Bills May Impact Class Action Litigation in Missouri
* Seyfarth Reports on 2016 Workplace Class Certification Trends


1761 FONDA: Faces "Olivares" Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime
Victor Mendez Olivares, on behalf of others similarly situated v.
1761 Fonda Mexico Magico LLC d/b/a Mexico Magico and Paco Paredes,
Case No. 1:17-cv-01082 (S.D.N.Y., February 13, 2017), is brought
against the Defendants for failure to pay overtime wages in
violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The Defendants own and operate a Mexican restaurant in New York.

Victor Mendez Olivares is a pro se plaintiff.

AMAZON: Faces Class Action Over Wrongful Prime Membership Debits
Jonathan Bilyk, writing for Cook County Record, reports that a
Chicago woman who claims Amazon continued to draw payments from
her bank account for an Amazon Prime membership she says she
didn't even purchase has filed a class action suit against the
online retailer.

On Feb. 20, plaintiff Latoya Christmas filed a complaint in
Chicago federal court against Seattle-based Amazon, alleging the
retailer violated the federal Electronic Funds Transfer Act and
Illinois' consumer fraud law for allegedly refusing to stop taking
the money after she demanded they stop.

Ms. Christmas is represented in the putative class action by
attorneys Todd M. Friedman and David B. Levin, of the Law Offices
of Todd M. Friedman P.C., of Chicago.

According to the complaint, Ms. Christmas discovered in September
2016 that Amazon had withdrawn $99 from her bank account, using
her debit card information for a one-year Amazon Prime membership.

Ms. Christmas alleged someone else had used her debit card
information to purchase the membership, without her authorization.

The complaint said Ms. Christmas contacted Amazon and demanded
they refund the money and cancel the membership.  She alleged
Amazon agreed to do so.

However, the lawsuit said Amazon again deducted $99 from her
account on Sept. 30, and has yet to refund the money.

In her complaint, Ms. Christmas alleges Amazon has likely done
this to others who were charged for Amazon Prime memberships they
did not wish to purchase.

The complaint did not estimate how many people they believe may
fit in the potential class of additional plaintiffs.  But the
plaintiffs said they believed those answers could be obtained in
discovery against Amazon.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs asked the court to include anyone
in the U.S. "whose bank accounts were debited by (Amazon) after
defendants received a cancellation request for their memberships"
within the preceding year.

The lawsuit also asks the court to include a special sub-class of
Illinois residents who were allegedly wrongly charged for Amazon
Prime within the past three years.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to order Amazon to pay actual
damages and statutory damages of $1,000 per alleged violation,
plus punitive damages and attorney fees.

AMTRUST FINANCIAL: Rosen Law Firm Files Securities Class Action
Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, on March 1
disclosed that it has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of
purchasers of AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. securities (AFSI)
from May 10, 2016 through February 24, 2017, both dates inclusive
(the "Class Period").  The lawsuit seeks to recover damages for
AmTrust investors under the federal securities laws.

To join the AmTrust class action, go to
http://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-1061.htmlor call Phillip Kim,
Esq. or Kevin Chan, Esq. toll-free at 866-767-3653 or email
pkim@rosenlegal.com or kchan@rosenlegal.com for information on the
class action.


According to the lawsuit, throughout the Class Period defendants
made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose
that: (1) AmTrust had ineffective assessment of the risks
associated with the financial reporting; (2) AmTrust had an
insufficient complement of corporate accounting and corporate
financial reporting resources within the organization; (3) in
turn, AmTrust lacked effective controls over financial reporting;
and (4) as a result, defendants' statements about AmTrust's
business, operations, and prospects, were materially false and
misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis at all relevant times.
On February 27, 2017, AmTrust issued a press release revealing
that it had identified material weaknesses in its internal control
over financial reporting that existed as of December 31, 2016.  On
this news, shares of AmTrust fell $5.32 per share or over 19% to
close at $22.34 per share on February 27, 2017, damaging

A class action lawsuit has already been filed. If you wish to
serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than May
1, 2017.  If you wish to join the litigation, go to
http://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-1061.htmlor to discuss your
rights or interests regarding this class action, please contact
Phillip Kim or Kevin Chan of Rosen Law Firm toll free at 866-767-
3653 or via email at pkim@rosenlegal.com or kchan@rosenlegal.com.

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

AQ TEXTILES: Falsely Marketed Bed Linens, "Kremmel" Suit Claims
Paulette Kremmel, Angela Barnes, Jamie Kilgore, Travis Garner,
Dominique Morrison, and Amy Hill, individually and on behalf of
all other similarly-situated v. AQ Textiles, LLC, Creative
Textiles Mills Pvt. Ltd., The TJX Companies, Inc. d/b/a TJ Maxx
and Home Goods, Ross Stores, Inc., Macy's Retail Holdings, Inc.,
and Belk, Inc., Case No. 3:17-cv-00147 (S.D. Ill., February 10,
2017), arises out of the Defendants' deceptive, unfair, and false
merchandising practices regarding the thread count of their
cotton-rich bed linens.

On the labels of the Products and in their marketing materials,
the Defendants represent that the Products are of particular
thread counts, however, thread counts of the Products are far less
than advertised.

The Defendants are engaged in wholesale distribution of home
furnishings and housewares.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Matthew H. Armstrong, Esq.
      8816 Manchester Rd., No. 109
      St. Louis, MO 63144
      Telephone: (314) 258-0212
      E-mail: matt@mattarmstronglaw.com

         - and -

      Stuart L. Cochran, Esq.
      R. Dean Gresham, Esq.
      Bruce W. Steckler, Esq.
      L. Kirstine Rogers, Esq.
      12720 Hillcrest Rd., Ste. 1045
      Dallas, TX 75230
      Telephone: (972) 387-4040
      Facsimile: (972) 387-4041
      E-mail: stuart@stecklerlaw.com

AUSTRALIA: Class Action Over Indigenous Workers' Wages Ongoing
Derek Barry, writing for The North West Star, reports that for
decades in the 20th century Indigenous workers across Australia
never got properly paid for their work.

Now a law firm, BELAW, is launching a class action in Queensland
to justice.

Barrister Joshua Creamer of BELAW said the stolen wages class
action was on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who
worked in Queensland prior to 1973 and had their wages controlled,
or whose deceased parents worked before 1973, if people know the
work details of their parents.

"We've been all over Queensland and about 3000 people have joined
the class action in the federal court jurisdiction," Mr Creamer

"The case has been running since September and there was a lot of
media when we first files because one of the lead applicants, Hans
Pearson, is Noel Pearson's uncle."

Mr Creamer said they were working to identify pontential group

"I'd suggest there is around 5000 potential claimants in
Queensland for people who were under in Act and working (up to)
1973," he said.

Mr Creamer said that Aboriginal people under the Act were managed
in every detail of their lives and had their wages put in trust
accounts, money most never saw.

"Many of those wages disappeared or went into state revenues," he

He said an historian had estimated there may be $500m worth of
wages involved.

Lawyers recently spoke to people in Mount Isa, Dajarra and
Camooweal.  To find out how to join the action go to

BANK OF AMERICA: Sued Over Unlawful Home Mortgage Loan Policies
Susan Lester, Jeanny T. Chan, Juan Guevara, Elma Coleman, Evie
Lengkong, Paul Lo, Jocelyn Tupas, Roger Tupas, Dr. Yasushi Tamura,
Reiko Tamura, Minerva Espiritu, Tony Ing, Lina Wong, Purita Romas
Silva, Josie Alejo, Ruth Bareng, Michael Bareng, Earl Lester,
Fujiko Suzuki Wen Zhong, Emigdio J. Perez, Noel Patricio Mosqueda,
Macarthur Medina, Elda Medina, Zita Chua, Martin Medina, Joelle
Medina, Jesse Malaguit, Rosita Malaguit, Rosita Malaguit, Kwon
Lee,  Samuel K. K. Chung, Lolita Cunanan, Nanette Ordona, Ponce
John Ordona, individually and on behalf of other members of the
public similarly situated v. Bank Of America, N.A.; J.P Morgan
Chase & Company; J.P. Morgan, Chase Bank, N,A ; Chase Home Finance
L.L.C; Wells Fargo Bank N.A.; Citimortgage, Inc.; Wholesale
America; U.S. Bank, N.A.; Union Bank of Switzerland; Indymac Bank;
CMG Financial; Firstkey Mortgage, LLC; EMC Mortgage LLC; Barclays;
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation; Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC;
Nationstar Mortgage LLC; Veriprise Processing Solution LLC;
Quality Loan Service Corp.;  SPS/Select Portfolio Servicing Inc.;
Provident Funding Associates LP; Recovery Services LLC; Cashcall
Inc.; Option One Mortgage Corp.; Soundview Home Loan Trust;  and
Does 1-100, Case No. 2:17-cv-01078 (C.D. Cal., February 10, 2017),
arises out of the misleading and fraudulent practices committed by
the Defendants in the course of home mortgage loan servicing
businesses, specifically by using an automated mortgage loan
management system, along with subsidiaries and inter-company
departments and divisions, in order to engage in a scheme to
fraudulently conceal their unlawful assessment of improperly
marked-up or unnecessary fees for default-related services.

Bank Of America, N.A., J.P Morgan Chase & Company, J.P. Morgan,
Chase Bank, N.A, Chase Home Finance L.L.C, Wells Fargo Bank N.A.,
Citimortgage, Inc., Wholesale America, U.S. Bank, N.A., Union Bank
of Switzerland, and Indymac Bank are banking and financial
services companies in the United States.

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation is a public government-
sponsored enterprise, headquartered in California.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Mia Yu, Esq.
      301 E. Foothill Blvd., Suite 202
      Arcadia CA 91006
      Telephone: (312) 622-7670
      Facsimile: (626) 226-5913
      E-mail: Lawyerym@hotmail.com

BOARD OF COMMERCE: JMCB Tax Suit Removed to M.D. La.
The case captioned JMCB, LLC, on behalf of itself and all others
similarly situated v. The Board of Commerce Industry, Louisiana
Department of Economic Development and Cameron LNG, LLC, Case No.
654026, was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Middle
District of Louisiana on February 9, 2017.

Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief, monetary damages against
Cameron LNG in the form of payment of ad valorem taxes not paid
and owed payable to the class members, plus penalties and interest
owed under Louisiana law as well as attorney's fees and legal

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Patrick W. Pendley, Esq.
      Stan P. Baudin, Esq.
      24110 Eden Street
      Plaquemine, LA 70764

            - and -

      Christopher D. Shows, Esq.
      601 St. Joseph Street
      Baton Rouge, LA 70802

            - and -

      Troy D. Morain, Esq.
      8550 United Plaza Blvd., Suite 702
      Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Defendant is represented by

      Linda S. Akchin, Esq.
      Charles S. McGowan III, Esq.
      Christopher J. Dicharry, Esq.
      Angela W. Adolph, Esq.
      II City Plaza
      400 Convention St., Suite 700
      Post Office Box 3513 (70821)
      Baton Rouge, LA 70802
      Telephone: (225) 387-0999
      Facsimile: (225) 388-9133
      Email: angela.adolph@keanmiller.com

BP EXPLORATION: Faces "Juarez" Suit Over Failure to Pay Overtime
Leslie Juarez, individually and on behalf of others similarly
situated v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., Case No. 4:17-cv-
00448 (S.D. Tex., February 10, 2017), is brought against the
Defendants for failure to pay overtime wages in violation of the
Fair Labor Standards Act.

BP Exploration & Production, Inc. is in the business of providing
oil exploration and production services.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

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

         - and -

      Michael A. Josephson, Esq.
      Andrew Dunlap, Esq.
      1150 Bissonnet St.
      Houston, TX 77005
      Telephone: (713) 751-0025
      Facsimile: (713) 751-0030
      E-mail: mjosephson@fibichlaw.com

BRICE, OH: Sued for Illegally Collecting Traffic Ticket Fines
Terri Sullivan, writing for WSYX/WTTE, reports that earlier in
February, Brice Police Chief Bud Bauchmoyer showed ABC 6/FOX 28
the camera he sometimes puts inside an orange barrel that many
believe to be a speed trap.

He insisted it's not that, instead it's a protective cover for a
camera he uses to catch drivers speeding through the tiny village
where it's 25 mph limit.

"It's not like we're trying to hide something," said the chief.

But Franklin County Municipal Court Clerk Lori Tyack's not so

"I'm very interested in seeing how the village of Brice is
handling these types of cases," she said.

"On behalf of the public, I think it should be fully

Two years ago, the state shut down mayor's courts in towns with
populations under 200.  That decision forced Brice to turn over
its court cases to Tyack's office. She said she received almost
500 cases, and what was in those files was shocking.

"The files that we received were incomplete," said Ms. Tyack.

"There were post-it notes indicating a defendant had paid for
instance $25 on their fines and costs, but there were no balance
sheets.  There were no official records or accounting of all they
money collected by that village during that time through the
mayor's court."

Rather than lose that mayor's court money, the village went to a
civil violations system.

Images captured by the speed camera are uploaded to an out-of-
state company, which then mails out the ticket.

The company then splits the resulting fine, 50-50, with Brice.

In 2015, Tyack said she compared the village's traffic ordinances
to Columbus.

"What we found were a number of situations where the village of
Brice actually made up new laws that were not already on the books
with the state or the city.  And they made up the amounts that
they wanted to collect on those violations."

Attorney David Goldstein said what Brice is doing is illegal.

"Here in the village of Brice, you get pulled over and the fines
are enormous," he said.

"I mean much greater than they would be under the Ohio Revised
Code.  Once they realized they were collecting too much money,
they enacted some additional legislation through their city
council, reduced some of those fines.  But what they do is if you
go on a payment plan, they charge a fee for that.  So, it's like
$20 there.  If you miss a payment, there's a fee for that."

Mr. Goldstein and attorney Gina Piacentino have filed a class
action lawsuit, which accuses Brice of illegally collecting money
from traffic tickets.  It also asks that all of the money the
village has collected from drivers under these civil citations be

On February 16, Brice Mayor Amy Evans was asked for the village's
financial records from the past two years. She said they're
working on it.

ABC 6/FOX 28 also asked her for an on-camera interview to talk
about the speed camera and fines.  She said she would pass along
the request to the village council, but didn't foresee it

CANADA: New Online Map May Help Boost Africville Class Action
Nina Corfu, writing for CBC News, reports that a former resident
of Africville is hoping a new online map, which documents how much
residents were paid when Halifax took the land in the 1960s, will
help bolster his case for compensation for those who lost their

Nelson Carvery is the proposed lead plaintiff in a lawsuit
initially launched in 1996, which aims to pay individuals who
lived in the black community along the Bedford Basin for their

Lawyers presented Mr. Carvery's case at Nova Scotia's Supreme
Court in November, but it hasn't yet been certified as a class
action lawsuit.

Amateur architectural historian Peter Ziobrowski, who founded the
Action Group for Better Architecture in Nova Scotia, met with
Mr. Carvery on Feb. 22 to show him an interactive map he designed
that shows how much Africville residents were paid when the city
expropriated their land.

A decade's worth of council minutes

Mr. Ziobrowski said he spent "hours and hours" reading through all
of the Halifax city council minutes from the 1960s and writing
down any reference to expropriation in Africville.

In particular, he tried to note the name of the landowner, the
property, and the amount they were paid in exchange for their
land. He then incorporated that information into an interactive
online map.

Some properties couldn't be found in the minutes or were mentioned
without specifying the payment amount, so the map is incomplete.

Mr. Carvery said projects like this one are important, because
they bring public attention to the need for additional
compensation for former residents.

'We got nothing'

He said the apology and accompanying settlement agreement between
Halifax Regional Municipality and the Africville Genealogy Society
in 2010 did not go far enough.

"We got nothing. Nothing that we can put our finger on,"
Mr. Carvery said.  "Apology, that's all we got. Can't take that to
the bank."

Mr. Carvery, who left Africville at the age of 18, said his
grandfather, William Carvery, owned 21 properties on approximately
three or four hectares of land.

"It was a beautiful place to grow up," he said.  "We had a very
sizable property with a big barn.  We had horses, we had cattle,
we had chickens and geese and pigs."

$500 plus expenses

Mr. Carvery said he didn't know enough about how much his
grandfather was paid during expropriation to say how much
compensation would be appropriate for his descendants.

Mr. Ziobrowski estimated William Carvery was paid $30,000 by the
city during expropriation, but cautioned that amount might reflect
the payment for only a portion of Mr. Carvery's properties.

In most cases where Africville residents had clear title,
Mr. Ziobrowski said, they appear to have been paid "full value"
for what they owned.

That wasn't the case for those who did not have clear title to
their land. In those cases, he said, they typically received $500
plus expenses.

Expropriation common

Mr. Ziobrowski said he built the map in the hopes of making
expropriation "visible in a way that perhaps hasn't been done

Expropriation was common in the 1960s as a means of urban renewal,
he said.

Halifax councillors handed out expropriation notices "the way they
now hand out paving contracts," Mr. Ziobrowski said.

CAPITAL ONE: Has Made Unsolicited Calls, "Pickett" Suit Claims
Darrell Pickett, on behalf of himself and others similarly
situated v. Capital One, N.A., Case No. 6:17-cv-00260-GAP-GJK
(M.D. Fla., February 13, 2017), seeks to stop the Defendants'
practice of using an artificial and prerecorded voice to deliver a
message without prior express consent of the called party.

Capital One, N.A. is a bank holding company specializing in credit
cards, home loans, auto loans, banking and savings products.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Aaron D. Radbil, Esq.
      James L. Davidson, Esq.
      Jesse S. Johnson, Esq.
      Michael L. Greenwald, Esq.
      5550 Glades Rd. Ste 500
      Boca Raton, FL 33431
      Telephone: (561) 826-5477
      Facsimile: (561) 961-5684
      E-mail: aradbil@gdrlawfirm.com

CARUSO TRUCKING: Overtime Pay Sought in "Magsby" Labor Suit
Trent Magsby, individually and on behalf of those similarly
situated v. Caruso Trucking, Ltd., d/b/a Caruso Logistics, Caruso
Logistic Services, LLC and and Caruso, Inc., Defendant, Case No.
4:17-cv-00086, (E.D. Ark., February 9, 2017) seeks declaratory
judgment, monetary damages, liquidated damages, prejudgment
interest, costs and reasonable attorney's fee as a result of
failing to pay Plaintiff and other similarly situated individuals
proper overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act
and the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act.

Defendants operate food delivery and refrigerated trucking
services where Plaintiff worked as a route driver from
approximately October 3, 2016, through January 20, 2017.

Defendant is represented by:

      Josh Sanford, Esq.
      One Financial Center
      650 South Shackleford, Suite 411
      Little Rock, AR 72211
      Telephone: (501) 221-0088
      Facsimile: (888) 787-2040
      Email: josh@sanfordlawfirm.com

CENTRA CREDIT: Illegally Obtains Credit Reports, Suit Claims
Patricia Lloyd, on behalf of herself and all others similarly
situated v. Centra Credit Union, Case No. 1:17-cv-00444-TWP-MPB
(S.D. Ind., February 11, 2017), is an action for damages as a
result of the Defendant's practice of knowingly and intentionally
procuring credit reports of consumers whose debts had been
discharged in bankruptcy and there was, therefore, no permissible
purpose for accessing such reports.

Centra Credit Union operates a financial service company located
at 3801 Tupelo Dr, Columbus, Indiana, 47201.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      John T. Steinkamp, Esq.
      5214 S. East Street, Suite D1
      Indianapolis, IN 46227
      Telephone: (317) 780-8300
      Facsimile: (317) 217-1320
      E-mail: steinkamplaw@yahoo.com

         - and -

      Ryan R. Frasher, Esq.
      155 East Market Street, Ste. 450
      Indianapolis, IN 46204
      Telephone: (317) 634-5544
      Facsimile: (317) 630-5844
      E-mail: rfrasher@frasherlaw.com

         - and -

      Syed Ali Saeed, Esq.
     1433 North Meridian St., Suite 202
     Indianapolis, IN 46202
     Telephone: (317) 721-9214
     Facsimile: (888) 422-3151
     E-mail: ali@sllawfirm.com

CN RAIL: Class Action Mulled Over Makami River Derailment
Len Gillis, writing for Timmins Press, reports that as the two-
year anniversary approaches for the March 7 derailment and train
wreck near the Makami River Bridge near Gogama, a Timmins lawyer
said he is likely to launch a class action lawsuit for damages.

Lawyer James Wallbridge said on Feb. 27 he has already advised
many residents that a lawsuit should be a last resort, but he also
said that given the two-year limitation period for damages, it
would be prudent to file a statement of claim.

The firm Wallbridge Wallbridge has sent letters out to residents
living in the watershed north of Gogama advising of the two-year
anniversary and why it is good idea to move forward on the claims.

The letters are being sent to area residents who have contacted
the Timmins law firm in the past two years.

It was on March 7, 2015 that an eastbound CN Rail train hauling 94
tank cars had a derailment.  In all, 39 tank cars left the tracks.
Some of the cars fell into the Makami River by the bridge,
exploded and burst into flame.  Several of the cars were breached
releasing hundreds of thousands of litres of synthetic crude oil
into the river and the surrounding environment.

"My message to everyone at the last town hall meeting was that a
lawsuit should be the last resort and that you should organize as
a community and push very hard for a more comprehensive cleanup,"
said Mr. Wallbridge.

He added that the community is fortunate that local volunteer fire
chief Mike Benson is a driving force behind the clean-up efforts.

In the newsletter to clients, Mr. Wallbridge explained there are
two approaches for claiming damages in situations where a
contaminant has been spilled.

"The first is actual damage to your property. In most cases that
has not occurred.  The second type of claim is for stigma or
negative reputation that affects the value of your land and
business.  Most businesses have not reported a negative impact on
their bottom line," said the newsletter.

Mr. Wallbridge compared the second example to the situation in the
Highway 144 community of Cartier, north of Sudbury, which also
suffered an oil spill and contamination over a period of several
years.  He said actually getting the area cleaned up is important
in the long run.

"They have had a heck of a time, you know selling their
properties, getting mortgages, all of this.  And so that's what
I'm driving at.  I'm not saying they should sue.  I am saying they
should push very hard to make sure that clean up efforts are
pursued," said Mr. Wallbridge.

He added that because the Gogama Makami River spill is far from
being fully cleaned up, he does not believe the two-year lawsuit
limitation period will apply.

On the other hand, Mr. Wallbridge said he has to be careful
because there is always the possibility that the time period be
raised as an issue.

"I don't believe that the two-year limitation will coincide with
the two-year anniversary because the damages for these people
remains to be ascertained.  If cleanup efforts continue, that may
well affect our approach to damages," said Mr. Wallbridge.

"I think as a precaution it is wise to get the claim out.  So we
are probably going to issue a class action and then just wait and
see how the clean-up goes," Mr. Wallbridge revealed on Feb. 27.

He said it is too early to know what the full extent of damage
might be.

The Gogama-Makami River derailment was the second CN oil train
derailment in that area in the winter of 2015.  Both occurred
along the section of the CN mainline known as the Ruel
Subdivision.  Another train hauling tank cars had derailed three
weeks previous, on Feb. 14, 2015, in a remote bush and wetlands
area, about 35 kilometres north of Gogama.

Canada's Transportation Safety Board issued a report two weeks ago
saying that fatigued rail joints were suspected as a key cause of
that train wreck, along with the possibility that the speed of the
train -- although it was within the 40 mile per hour speed limit -
- was still too fast.

COMCAST CORP: Judge Tosses Discrimination Class Action
Bob Fernandez, writing for Philly.com, reports that a federal
judge based in Philadelphia denied a former Comcast Corp. call
center employee's bid for a class-action discrimination suit.

The former employee, Wilbert Spencer Jr., says in the lawsuit that
Comcast managers fired him for hanging up on a customer at the
Newark, Del., call center after he lodged a discrimination
complaint against his managers over a bad employee review.

Comcast managers tried to "cover up" the incident when the
Delaware Department of Labor sought information on Mr. Spencer's
termination for his unemployment insurance, the suit claimed.

U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick in February denied class
certification of the case -- Mr. Spencer's case lacks the names of
any other employees who were similarly discriminated against at
the Delaware call center -- and one count in the lawsuit.

The five other counts in the suit alleged by Mr. Spencer,
including retaliating against him and maintaining a hostile work
environment, will be litigated, according to court documents.

"Comcast adamantly denies the allegations in this case, and we
will defend ourselves vigorously in court," a company spokeswoman
said in a statement.  "This case has not been certified as a class
action, but rather has been brought by one former employee.
Comcast is committed to the fair and equitable treatment of all of
our employees.

"We have an exemplary long-standing track record of
nondiscrimination and treating our employees fairly,
professionally, and with the utmost respect, and we stand by that

Justin Robinette, Mr. Spencer's lawyer with Post & Post in Berwyn,
said that "although a minor part of the case is gone, we are happy
that the case is moving forward, and I hope Mr. Spencer can have
his day in court soon on all of the remaining discrimination and
retaliation claims."

Mr. Robinette said that he believed "the judge has left the door
open to certify a class action with more victims at a later date."

Last February, Comcast settled a discrimination class-action
lawsuit brought by African American employees at its South Chicago
facility for $7.2 million as the case was about to go to trial,
according to court documents and published reports.  The case had
been filed in 2011.

Ninety percent of the employees at the facility were African
American.  The suit claimed that Comcast didn't promote or train
employees there, subjected them to a hostile workplace, and denied
them adequate tools and equipment to do their jobs.  The suit also
said that the South Chicago employees were disproportionately
targeted with an internal disciplinary system. Court documents
show that Comcast headquarters had instructed local managers to
discontinue the use of the system, but that they did not.

Mr. Spencer, 55, who began at Comcast in June 2004 in the New
Castle call center, complained of discrimination March 13 and 17,
2015, after an annual employee review that graded him poorly for
cultural diversity, motivation, and interpersonal communication
skills, the suit says.

Two Comcast managers were scheduled to meet with Mr. Spencer over
his complaints March 27.  Comcast fired him three days later.  The
suit also claims that in early June, when the Delaware Department
of Labor requested information from Comcast as it investigated his
request for unemployment insurance, Comcast did not provide the

The company altered Spencer's March 17 complaint, submitted to an
internal database, so that it did not say "discrimination" or
"retaliation" but instead "unfair treatment (not discrimination),"
the suit says.

The suit also claims that there is a "near-total absence of
African-American/black employees from all but the lower echelons"
of Comcast's workforce at the Newark and New Castle call centers.

Although Comcast told Spencer it was firing him for hanging up on
a customer, the suit claims that "several white/Caucasian
employees regularly hang up on irate customers."

CONWAY, AR: Court Allows Firefighters' Class Action to Proceed
Nicholas Gueguen, writing for Legal Newsline, reports that the
Supreme Court of Arkansas on Feb. 16 decided to uphold a Faulkner
County Circuit Court certified a class of Conway police and
firefighters who are seeking salary increases.

Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Judge Rhonda K. Wood wrote in the
court's opinion that the case originated when Conway police
officers and firefighters brought a class action lawsuit against
the city in which they alleged breach of contract by the city
because it failed to put sales-tax revenues toward salary

The city appealed the circuit court's decision because it felt
that the individual issues in dispute were not enough to warrant a
class action.

Judge Wood explained in the court's opinion that the circuit court
certified a class including all city firemen and policemen, except
for department heads and officials who were elected, that the city
employed from Dec. 1, 2001 through Dec. 31, 2012, and named class
representatives at a class-certification hearing. Judge Wood said
in the opinion the circuit court also felt "there were
overarching, common questions that could be efficiently determined
on a class-wide basis."

Under Rule 23, there are six elements that must be present in
order for a lawsuit to attain class action status, which are
numerosity, commonality, typicality, adequacy, predominance and
superiority.  When the city appealed the circuit court's
certification, it questioned the court's opinions on four of those
six elements.

Judge Wood explained that the city contended that no common
questions exist because the claim of breaching contract means that
each plaintiff would have to figure out their individual issues
before common questions could be figured out.  According to the
opinion, the city also felt that it was not possible to establish
liability because each plaintiff's set of facts were different for
each of his or her claims.

Judge Wood also wrote in the opinion that the city argued that the
named class representatives made different claims than the rest of
the class and that class action does not constitute a superior way
to decide plaintiff's claims.

The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's decision that
commonality existed because the city was found to have treated all
its employees the same in terms of the city's human resources
department handing prospective employees a hiring packet of
information that included benefits, pay, and other employment
terms, including a pay grid.  Judge Wood also wrote in the opinion
that upon giving each prospective employee this grid, the city's
human resources department told the candidates the grid said how
much those candidates would get paid.

The court also affirmed the circuit court's finding of
predominance because it found that the fact that each employee got
the same pay grid and notification that told them how much they
would make proved that the common questions of whether the city
promised to pay them through the sales-tax resolution and whether
the employees accepting the employment offer meant they gave
enough thought outweighed the individual issues.

The court also affirmed that typicality exists in the case because
the class reps' claims, which the city tried to argue to the
circuit court did not match those of the rest of the class,
clearly came from the same alleged wrong that the class argued.

Finally, Judge Wood wrote in the court's opinion that the Arkansas
Supreme Court felt that a class action lawsuit would benefit the
city because the city would save money in trying to defend against
one claim instead of 200, and so agreed with the circuit court
that it would be more efficient to resolve all the claims at once.

DAYTON, OH: Ordered to Repay Speed Camera Ticket Fines
WHIO reports that a judge ordered a community repay people's
speeding ticket fines totaling $3 million.

Legal experts say they could impact drivers in other towns with
speed cameras.

The city of Dayton is one of six communities in our area that have
speed cameras.  They're effectively banned under a new state law
so most of them have gone dark.

New Miami's speed cameras were ruled unconstitutional in 2014, and
a local legal expert says this ruling could signal some green back
in the wallets of folks.

"I think it's very possible if the Ohio Supreme Court comes down
and says 'OK, this stature authorizing this type of conduct was
unconstitutional', then there'd be a perfectly good, legal
argument that they deserve their money back," said Tom Hagel,
professor emeritus at University of Dayton School of Law.

Jodi York of Union City was driving from Hamilton through New
Miami when she got a ticket a couple years ago.  She's still
hoping to get her $98 back.

"Right before you get to New Miami, it's 55 miles an hour, and
then without warning, if you don't know the town or that
particular part of that intersection, it'll drop to 35," York
said.  "The people deserve their money back because I felt that
was a speed trap zone."

A ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court is expected sometime this
year on Dayton's red light camera.

DIVERSIFIED CONTRACTORS: "Bowyer" Hits Misclassification, Seeks OT
Oakey Bowyer, Christopher Velez and Carlos Torres, individually,
and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v.
Diversified Contractors Inc., an Ohio Corporation, George Rumack,
an individual and Eric Lilly, an individual, Defendants, Case No.
2017-CH-01786, (N.D. Ohio, February 9, 2017) seeks to recover
unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages, interest, and
attorneys' fees and costs under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Diversified Contractors Inc. is a general construction and remodel
company in Lorain, Lorain County, Ohio where Plaintiffs were
employed as Construction Repair Technicians doing building and
repair, new construction and/or remodeling of single-family homes,
installation of roofing, siding and framing, setting windows and
doors, trim work, painting, electrical work and other similar
construction and remodeling-related work. They allege to be
misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees,
thus denied basic benefits, including overtime pay.

Defendant is represented by:

Clifford P. Bendau, Esq.
      Christopher J. Bendau, Esq.
      6350 E Thomas Rd #330
      Scottsdale, AZ 85251
      Tel: (480) 296-7887

EGALET CORPORATION: Faces "Klein" Suit Over False Business Report
Steven Klein, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. Egalet Corporation, Robert S. Radie, Stanley J.
Musail, and Jeffrey M. Dayno, Case No. 2:17-cv-00617-MMB (E.D.
Penn., February 10, 2017), alleges that the Defendants made false
and misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material
adverse facts about the Company's business, operational and
compliance policies.

Egalet Corporation is a specialty pharmaceutical company
developing, manufacturing, and commercializing innovative
treatments for pain and other conditions.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Evan J. Smith, Esq.
      Marc L. Ackerman, Esq.
      Two Bala Plaza, Suite 510
      Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
      Telephone: (610) 667-6200
      E-mail: esmith@brodsky-smith.com

         - and -

      Jeremy A. Lieberman, Esq.
      J. Alexander Hood II, Esq.
      Hui M. Chang, Esq.
      600 Third Avenue, 20th Floor
      New York, NY 10016
      Telephone: (212) 661-1100
      Facsimile: (212) 661-8665
      E-mail: jalieberman@pomlaw.com

         - and -

      Patrick V. Dahlstrom, Esq.
      10 South La Salle Street, Suite 3505
      Chicago, IL 60603
      Telephone: (312) 377-1181
      Facsimile: (312) 377-1184
      E-mail: pdahlstrom@pomlaw.com

ENCORE CAPITAL: Arbitration Clause Enforceable, 6th Cir. Says
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed
the district court's order compelling arbitration, but reversed
the district court's order granting in part and denying in part
the plaintiffs' motion to unseal, and remanded the case captioned
JACOB J. DANLEY; JEFFREY J. McINTYRE, JR., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
MIDLAND FUNDING, LLC., Defendants-Appellees, No. 16-1670 (6th

Plaintiffs Jacob Danley and Jeffrey McIntyre opened credit-card
accounts and, after they stopped making payments on their
respective accounts, their creditors charged off the debts.

Defendants purchased plaintiffs' debts years later, seeking to
collect the debts and accrued interest post-charge off, totaling
approximately $2,000 for each account.

Plaintiffs commenced a class action in 2015, claiming defendants'
attempts to collect charged-off interest violates the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1692 et seq., and the
Michigan Collection Practices Act, M.C.L. Section 445.251, et seq.
Defendants moved to compel arbitration based upon the binding
arbitration agreements in plaintiffs' respective credit-card
account agreements. The arbitration agreements provide that they
are governed by the Federal Arbitration Act, are assignable and
survive assignment, and contain a delegation provisions agreement
to arbitrate threshold issues concerning the arbitration

Based on the arbitration provisions contained in plaintiffs'
various account agreements, the district court compelled the
parties to arbitrate, ruling that the agreements were enforceable
and that the parties expressly authorized via a delegation clause
an arbitrator to consider plaintiffs' various gateway challenges
to the arbitration provisions. In a separate order, the district
court sealed several documents on the basis that the documents
fell within the purview of the parties' protective order.

Plaintiffs appeal the orders granting arbitration and denying
their motion to unseal documents.

Judge Griffin affirmed the district court's order compelling
arbitration, but reversed the district court's order denying in
part plaintiffs' motion to unseal documents, and remanded the case
for further proceedings.

A copy of the Sixth Circuit's opinion penned by Circuit Judge
Richard Allen Griffin, dated February 22, 2017, is available at
https://goo.gl/PbKUt2 from Leagle.com.

EOG RESOURCES: Royalty Claim of Little Land Removed to E.D. Okla.
The case captioned Little Land Company, L.P., on behalf of itself,
and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. EOG Resources,
Inc. (including affiliated predecessors and affiliated
successors), Defendant, Case No. 17-CJ-02, filed in Marshall
County District Court, was removed to the U.S. District Court of
Eastern Oklahoma on February 9, 2017.

Case seeks compensatory damages, attorney fees, punitive damages
and a constructive trust resulting from breach of fiduciary
duties, breach of oil and gas lease terms, deceit and constructive

Plaintiff alleges that EOG has underpaid royalties on natural gas
in Oklahoma from January 1, 1993 to the present by deducting
processing fees and expenses, reducing payments for drip
condensate and helium.

Plaintiff is represented by:

       Rex A. Sharp, Esq.
       Barbara C. Frankland, Esq.
       REX A. SHARP PA
       5301 W. 75th St.
       Prairie Village, KS 66208
       Tel: (913) 901-0419
       Email: rsharp@midwest-law.com

Defendant is represented by:

       Michael E. Smith, Esq.
       Chase Tower
       100 North Broadway, Suite 2900
       Oklahoma City, OK 73102-8865
       Telephone (405) 553-2828
       Fax (405) 553-2855
       Email: mesmith@hallestill.com

              - and -

       Daniel M. McClure, Esq.
       Rebecca J. Cole, Esq.
       1301 McKinney, Suite 5100
       Houston, TX 77010-3095
       Telephone (713) 651-5151
       Fax: (713) 651-5246
       Email: dan.mcclure@nortonrosefulbright.com

EVERGREEN HEALTH: "Kinsey" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid OT Wages
Carolyn Kinsey, on behalf of herself and all others similarly
situated v. Evergreen Health Cooperative, Inc., Case No. 1:17-cv-
00387-JKB (D. Md., February 10, 2017), seeks to recover unpaid
wages, liquidated damages, interest, reasonable attorneys' fees
and costs under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Evergreen Health Cooperative, Inc. operates a healthcare insurance
cooperative, which provides insurance plans to individual
subscribers and corporate groups.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Benjamin L. Davis III, Esq.
      George E. Swegman, Esq.
      36 South Charles Street, Suite 1700
      Baltimore, MD 21201
      Telephone: (410) 244-7005
      Facsimile: (410) 244-8454
      E-mail: bdavis@nicholllaw.com

FOUGERA PHARMA: Teachers' Fund Sues Over Overpriced Clobetasol
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Health and Welfare Fund, on
behalf of itself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v.
Fougera Pharmaceuticals Inc., Hi-Tech Pharmacal Co., Inc., Perrigo
Co. PLC, Perrigo Company, Perrigo New York, Inc., Sandoz, Inc.,
Taro Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., Wockhardt Usa LLC, Defendants, Case
No. 1:17-cv-00964, (S.D. N.Y., February 9, 2017), seeks to recover
treble damages, costs of suit and reasonable attorneys' fees
resulting from Defendants' overcharging of clobetasol propionate
topical ointment in violation of the Sherman Act and Clayton Act.

Clobetasol is a high-potency prescription corticosteroid used in
the treatment of various skin disorders including eczema,
psoriasis, dermatitis and vitiligo. It is reportedly one of the
most prescribed dermatological drugs in the United States.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Health and Welfare Fund is a
voluntary employee benefits plan providing health benefits to
eligible participants and beneficiaries, including prescription
drug benefits, to approximately 34,000 participants, and their
spouses and dependents.

Fougera Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a New York corporation with its
principal place of business in Melville, New York. Fougera is a
specialty dermatology generic pharmaceutical company that markets
and sells generic fluocinonide throughout the United States.
Fougera is a wholly owned subsidiary of Defendant Sandoz, Inc., a
Colorado corporation with its principal place of business in
Princeton, New Jersey. It deals in generic pharmaceuticals and
bio-similars and is a subsidiary of Defendant Novartis AG.

Hi-Tech Pharmacal Co., Inc., a subsidiary of Akorn, Inc., is a
Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in
Amityville, New York. It markets and sells Clobetasol throughout
the United States.

Perrigo Company PLC is incorporated under the laws of Ireland with
its principal place of business in Dublin, Ireland. Perrigo's
North American base of operations is located at 515 Eastern
Avenue, Allegan, Michigan 49010, where Perrigo's domestic
subsidiaries are pharmaceuticals manufacturers.

Taro Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. is a New York corporation with its
principal place of business in Hawthorne, New York. It is an owned
subsidiary of Taro Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd.

Wockhardt Ltd., an international pharmaceutical and biotechnology
company headquartered in Mumbai, India, manufactures, markets and
sells generic drugs, including Clobetasol, throughout the United
States. Wockhardt maintains manufacturing plants and substantial
operations in the United States, including its wholly-owned
subsidiary Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals, Inc., through which it
sold Clobetasol products to customers in the United States.

Plaintiff is represented by:

Marc H. Edelson, Esq.
      3 Terry Drive, Suite 205
      Newtown, PA 18940
      Tel: (215) 867-2399
      Fax: (267) 685-0676
      Email: mcdelson@edelson-law.com

             - and -

      Paul J. Scarlato, Esq.
      8 Tower Bridge, Suite 1025
      161 Washington Street
      Conshohocken, PA 19428
      Tel: (484) 342-0700
      Fax: (484) 580-8747
      Email: scarlato@lawgsp.com

GEO GROUP: Immigrant Detainees' Forced Labor Class Action OK'd
Elizabeth Llorente, writing for FoxNews.com, reports that a
federal judge based in Denver approved a class-action lawsuit by
former and current immigrant detainees against one of the largest
private prison management companies in the United States.

The lawsuit, filed in 2014, alleges that at a 1,500-bed detention
center in Aurora, Colorado, that is run by GEO Group under
contract to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE,
detainees were forced to work for little or no pay and threatened
with solitary confinement and criminal charges if they failed to

U.S. District Judge John Kane, who has refused requests by GEO to
dismiss the lawsuit or not allow it to proceed as a class-action
case, said in a ruling on Feb. 27 that there appeared to be
sufficient basis in the complaint to allow it to move forward on
behalf of some 50,000 former and present detainees held there.

The lawsuit says GEO unjustly enriched itself through forced labor
and violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which
prohibits obtaining labor or services from someone by "means of
force, threats of force, physical restraint, or threats of
physical restraint."

The detainees, most of whom are held for civil immigration-related
violations, were pressured to sweep and mop floors and clean
toilets and showers, among other chores. For a $1 a day, the
complaint said, detainees did laundry, prepared meals and cleaned
the facility.

"Detainees were aware of the Sanitation Policy during their
detention and claim that they performed the required duties to
avoid solitary confinement," the judge wrote in his decision. Kane
added that the only recourse for immigrants held at the facility
was a class-action suit, since "many . . . lack English
proficiency . . . have limited financial resources and reside in
countries around the world. It is very likely that these claims
would not be brought by individual detainees, especially
considering the case's innovative nature."

Nina DiSalvo, executive director of Towards Justice, a nonprofit
legal group representing the detainees, said to Fox News that
using immigrant labor was how GEO was able to get by with just one
full-time custodian for a large facility that houses more than
1,000 people.  She said the judge's ruling paves the way for
immigrant detainees to fight back against what she described as
exploitation by private prison firms.

"American immigration policy is too often driven by the profit
motives of the private corporations that we pay to round up and
detain our immigrants," Ms. DiSalvo said.  "Judge Kane's ruling
allows vulnerable detainees to band together and hold GEO
accountable for profiteering on the backs of its captive labor

In a statement to Fox News, GEO denied the allegations and said it
will fight the suit.  The company says it abides by federal
standards in its management of the detention center.

"We have consistently, strongly refuted these allegations, and we
intend to continue to vigorously defend our company against these
claims," Pablo Paez, GEO's vice president of corporate relations,
told Fox News.

"The volunteer work program at immigration facilities as well as
the wage rates and standards associated with the program are set
by the federal government," Mr. Paez said.  "Our facilities,
including the Aurora, Colo. facility, are highly rated and provide
high-quality services in safe, secure, and humane residential
environments pursuant to the federal Government's national

GOOGLE INC: Must Face Biometric Privacy Law Class Action
Jonathan Bilyk, writing for Cook County Record, reports that a
Chicago federal judge has refused Google's request to delete a
class action lawsuit accusing the tech titan of violating an
Illinois law by automatically creating and storing face scans of
people in photos uploaded to its cloud-based Google Photos service
without first collecting written authorization from those whose
faces were scanned.

On Feb. 27, U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang sided with
Lindabeth Rivera and Joseph Weiss, named plaintiffs in the action,
saying, to date, Google had not done enough to short-circuit their
claims under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

"It is conceivable that discovery will reveal that what Google is
actually doing does not fit within the definition of biometric
identifiers as interpreted by the Court," Judge Chang wrote.
"Until that time, however, the Plaintiffs' allegations must be
taken as true, and they adequately state a claim under the Privacy

Ms. Rivera and Mr. Weiss are represented in the action by
attorneys with the firms of Lite DePalma Greenberg LLC, of
Chicago; Carey Rodriguez O'Keefe Milian Gonya LLP, of Miami, Fla.;
and Ahdoot & Wolfson PC, of West Hollywood, Calif.

The class action was first filed in March 2016, accusing the
Mountain View, Calif.-based Google of violating the Illinois BIPA
when it allegedly created and stored face scans of Illinois
residents Rivera and Weiss, without their consent, from photos
that others uploaded onto Google's photo sharing service.

It is one of a number of cases brought by a number of different
plaintiffs and attorney firms alleging various tech companies,
including social media giant Facebook and photo sharing service
Shutterfly, violated the Illinois law by applying facial
recognition technology to uploaded and stored photos.

Under the Illinois law, which was enacted in 2008, private
entities are barred from obtaining and possessing people's
biometric identifiers without their consent.  The law defines a
biometric identifier as "any personal feature that is unique to an
individual, including fingerprints, iris scans, DNA and 'face
geometry,' among others," and establishes biometric information as
"any information captured, converted, stored, or shared based on a
person's biometric identifier used to identify an individual."

According to the class action complaint, Google Photos has
"created, collected and stored" millions of "face templates or
face prints -- highly detailed geometric maps of the face -- from
millions of Illinois residents, many thousands of whom are not
even enrolled in the Google Photos service," using "sophisticated
facial recognition technology" to organize and group photos based
on the people pictured.

The complaint noted the law allows for damages of $5,000 for each
intentional violation and $1,000 for each negligent violation,
meaning Google could be on the hook for millions of dollars in

In response to the lawsuit, Google asked the judge to dismiss the
action, essentially arguing the law should not apply to such
photographs, and the Illinois state law cannot be applied across
the country, under the U.S. Constitution, as it would effectively
force Google to comply everywhere with a law enacted only in

Judge Chang set aside Google's arguments on the law's scope and
constitutionality, saying those would be better left for a later
time after further discovery into the case could be conducted.

The judge, however, said, for now, the plaintiffs had established
Google's face scans may have violated Illinois law.

And Chang said Google's arguments crashed over the applicability
of the law to photos.

According to the judge's opinion, Google had attempted to argue
the law should only apply to face scans generated in person, and
not scans generated from photos uploaded by users.

But, said the judge, the text of the law does not support Google's

"Rivera and Weiss nowhere argue that the photograph itself is the
biometric identifier," the judge wrote. "Indeed, if Google simply
captured and stored the photographs and did not measure and
generate scans of face geometry, then there would be no violation
of the Act."

The judge indicated he would set a discovery scheduled at the
case's next hearing.

Google is represented in the action by the firm of Perkins Coie
LLP, of San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago.

GRAEBEL VAN: Faces Class Action Over Driver Misclassification
Land Line reports that a California trucker's lawsuit against
Graebel Van Lines seeks class action status for wage and labor
violations alleging driver misclassification, according to court

The lawsuit, which was filed Feb. 27 in Los Angeles County
Superior Court, seeks back pay and overtime wages for class
members who were allegedly misclassified as independent
contractors, and subsequently denied compensation for meal and
rest breaks under California state law.

The lawsuit was filed by Los Angeles-based Haffner Law, on behalf
of truck driver Fidel Coronel and other similarly-situated
truckers who were employed by Graebel during the last four years.
Last fall, the law firm filed similar lawsuits seeking class
action status against Atlas Van Lines and Stevens Transport.

According to court documents, Coronel worked as a driver for
Graebel, where the lawsuit claims he and other members of the
proposed class were incorrectly classified as independent

Graebel is accused of failing to pay drivers all wages, failure to
reimburse business expenses, and failure to provide meal and rest
breaks under California law. The class includes drivers who worked
or lived in California and were employed by the company within the
last four years.

The class action complaint alleges the company violated California
labor codes by requiring drivers to work shifts lasting more than
four hours without receiving a 10-minute rest break; requiring
drivers to work shifts longer than five or 10 hours and not
providing or allowing required 30-minute meal breaks; and failing
to pay class members for all hours worked. The suit also alleges
that class members suffered loss of wages and compensation by
failing to be paid for all hours worked, and failing to be paid
minimum and overtime wages.

"Defendants (Graebel Van Lines) have engaged in a pattern and
practice of misclassifying their employees as independent
contractors to avoid the taxes, insurance and other costs that
accompany employees," the complaint states.

GRANDE PIZZA: "Maxwell" Suit Claims Business-related Expenses
Stephen Eric Maxwell and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v. Grande Pizza Co., Salvatore Amico and Joseph M. Lay,
Defendants, Case No. 0:17-cv-60315, (S.D. Fla., February 9, 2017)
seeks to recover monetary damages, liquidated damages, interests,
costs and attorney's fees for violations of the minimum wage pay
provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Grande Pizza Co. operates pizzerias under the name "Grande Pizza."
Defendants require delivery drivers, including the Plaintiff, to
maintain and pay for his own safe, legally-operable, and insured
automobile, shouldering the costs of gasoline, vehicle parts and
fluids, automobile repair and maintenance services, elevated
automobile insurance, and depreciation of their vehicle while
delivering food and beverages. These expenses render their net
wages way below the mandated minimum wage rates.

Defendant is represented by:

     Daniel T. Feld, Esq.
     2847 Hollywood Blvd.
     Hollywood, FL 33020
     Tel: (305) 308 - 5619
     Email: DanielFeld.Esq@gmail.com

            - and -

     Isaac Mamane, Esq.
     1150 Kane Concourse, Fourth Floor
     Bay Harbor Islands, FL 33154
     Telephone (305) 773 - 6661
     E-mail: mamane@gmail.com

J&C NY RESTAURANT: "Galicia" Suit Seeks Overtime, Spread-of-Hours
Sergio Galicia, on behalf of himself and others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. J & C NY Restaurant Inc., Zhu Wu Chen and
Coco Tan, Defendants, Case No. 2:17-cv-00754, (E.D. N.Y., February
9, 2017), seeks unpaid minimum wages, unpaid overtime wages,
reimbursement for tools of the trade, liquidated damages,
prejudgment and post-judgment interest and attorneys' fees and
costs pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Plaintiff also
seeks unpaid spread of hours premium and compensation for
Defendants' failure to provide wage notices at the time of hiring
and failure to provide paystubs in violation of New York Labor

Defendants operate Golden Temple, a restaurant in Syosset located
at 417 Jericho Turnpike, Syosset, NY 11791, where Galicia worked
as a dishwasher, kitchen helper and busboy.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Jian Hang, Esq.
      136-18 39th Ave., Suite 1003
      Flushing, NY 11354
      Tel: (718) 353-8588
      Email: jhang@hanglaw.com

JELLY BELLY: "Allen" False Advertising Suit Removed to E.D. Mo.
The case captioned Jason Allen, individually and on behalf of all
other similarly-situated current citizens of Missouri, Plaintiff,
v. Jelly Belly Candy Company, Defendant, Case No. 1622-CC11517
(Mo. Cir., December 12, 2016) was removed to the U.S. District
Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on February 10, 2017.

Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages, disgorgement or restitution,
attorneys' fees and injunctive relief from unjust enrichment
resulting from the mislabelling of Jelly Belly's Superfruit Mix,
Sport Beans and Sports Beans Extreme in violation of the Missouri
Merchandising Practices Act.

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Matthew H. Armstrong, Esq.
      8816 Manchester Rd., No. 109
      St. Louis, MO 63144
      Tel: (314) 258-0212
      Email: matt@mattarmstronglaw.com

             - and -

      Stuart L. Cochran, Esq.
      12720 Hillcrest Rd., Ste. 1045
      Dallas, TX 75230
      Tel: (214) 300-1765
      Email: scochran@scochranlaw.com

Defendant is represented by

      Paul A. Del Aguila
      77 West Wacker Drive, Suite 3100
      Chicago, IL 60601
      Tel: (312) 456-8400
      Fax: (312) 456-8435

KLOPP INVESTMENT: "Ramsay" Suit Seeks Back Wages Under FLSA
DANIEL RAMSAY, for himself and on behalf of others similarly
situated, the Plaintiff, v. KLOPP INVESTMENT CORP., a Foreign
corporation d/b/a EASY RENTAL, the Defendant, Case No. 1:17-cv-
20584-JAL (S.D. Fla., Feb. 15, 2017), seeks to recover unpaid back
wages, liquidated damages, reasonable attorney's fees and costs
under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

From 2006 to 2016, Defendant failed to compensate Plaintiff and
other account managers at a rate of one and one-half times each
account manager's regular rate for all hours worked in excess of
40 hours in one or more workweeks.

Klopp Investment provides consumer electronics & appliances rental

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Angeli Murthy, Esq.
          MORGAN & MORGAN, P.A.
          600 N. Pine Island Road, Suite 400
          Plantation, FL, 33324
          Telephone: (954) 318 0268
          Facsimile: (954) 327 3016
          E-mail: Amurthy@forthepeople.com

LANDMARK CREDIT: "Behrens" Sues Over Illegal Overdraft Fees
Danell Behrens, individually, and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. Landmark Credit Union and Does
1-100, Defendants, Case No. 3:17-cv-00101, (W.D. Wis., February 9,
2017), seeks monetary damages, restitution and injunctive relief
due to  breach of contract and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.

Defendant is a Wisconsin state-chartered credit union with its
headquarters in New Berlin, Wisconsin with its primary business
activities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Plaintiff complains of the
Defendant's policy and practice of charging overdraft fees even if
there was sufficient money in her account to cover the

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Douglas P. Dehler, Esq.
      Laura J. Lavey, Esq.
      111 East Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1400
      Milwaukee, WI 53202
      Telephone: (414) 276-5000
      Facsimile: (414) 276-6581
      Email: Doug.Dehler@wilaw.com

             - and -

      Richard D. McCune, Esq.
      Jae (Eddie) K. Kim, Esq.
      3281 East Guasti Road, Suite 100
      Ontario, CA 91761
      Telephone: (909) 557-1250
      Facsimile: (909) 557-1275
      Email: rdm@mccunewright.com

             - and -

      Taras Kick, Esq.
      Robert Dart, Esq.
      201 Wilshire Boulevard
      Santa Monica, CA 90401
      Telephone: (310) 395-2988
      Facsimile: (310) 395-2088
      Email: Taras@kicklawfirm.com

LIGHT ME: Does Not Properly Pay Employees OT, "Levi" Suit Claims
Robert Levi, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated v.
Light Me Up Signs LLC, d/b/a Yesco Houston, Case No. 4:17-cv-00441
(S.D. Tex., February 10, 2017), is brought against the Defendants
for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, by forcing its
employees to work a substantial amount of overtime without
properly paying all compensation due.

Light Me Up Signs LLC operates a lighting and sign repair company
that provides its installation and maintenance services in and
around the Houston, Texas area.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Robert W. Cowan, Esq.
      Justin Jenson, Esq.
      Katie McGregor, Esq.
      440 Louisiana Street, Suite 2100
      Houston, TX 77002
      Telephone: (713) 425-7100
      Facsimile: (713) 425-7101
      E-mail: rcowan@bpblaw.com

LUCILLE ROBERTS: Faces "Norton" Class Suit in E.D. New York
A class action lawsuit has been commenced against Lucille Roberts
Health Clubs, Inc.

The case is captioned Larena Norton, on behalf of herself and all
others similarly situated v. Lucille Roberts Health Clubs, Inc.,
Case No. 1:17-cv-00796 (E.D.N.Y., February 13, 2017).

Lucille Roberts Health Clubs, Inc. operates a chain of health
clubs for women in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      C.K. Lee, Esq.
      30 East 39th Street, 2nd floor
      New York, NY 10016
      Telephone: (212) 465-1188
      Facsimile: (212) 465-1181
      E-mail: cklee@leelitigation.com

MDL NO. 2406: Summary Judgment Bid Partly Granted
Judge David Proctor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of Alabama, Southern Division, granted in part and denied
in part the parties cross motions in the case captioned IN RE:
No. 2:13-CV-20000-RDP (N.D. Ala.)

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama (BCBSAL) has employed rating
classifications for its group insurance products as follows: (a)
for groups of 2-14, BCBSAL has applied a community-rating
methodology, and adjusts base rates using benefit plan and group-
size adjustment factors; (b) for groups of 15-50, BCBSAL has
applied a demographic-rating methodology, and adjusts base rates
using demographic adjustment factors such as gender and age; and
(c) for groups of 50 or more, BCBSAL has applied an experience-
rating, or merit-rating, methodology, adjusting base rates using
the claims experience of each group.

From January 1, 2008, through the present, the two Alabama
subscriber plaintiffs named in the subscriber track amended
consolidated class action complaint, CB Roofing, Inc. and American
Electric Motor Services, Inc. (AEMS), purchased products covered
by BCBSAL's Small Group category of business. CB Roofing became a
BCBSAL customer in 2009. Since 2009, CB Roofing has had either two
or three enrolled subscribers. AEMS became a BCBSAL customer
before 2008. Since 2008, AEMS has had between two and four
enrolled subscribers. BCBSAL's undisclosed cap and hold variances
were not applied to the premiums paid by either CB Roofing or

On November 14, 2016, subscriber plaintiffs moved for leave to
amend their complaint in American Electric Motor Services, Inc.,
et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, et al., and to file a
second amended consolidated class action complaint in In Re Blue
Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation MDL 2406 to add small group
plaintiffs Consumer Financial Education Foundation of America,
Inc., Fort McClellan Credit Union, Rolison Trucking Co. LLC,
Conrad Watson Air Conditioning, Inc., Hilton Cooper Contracting,
Inc., and Bradford Building Company, Inc.

On November 22, 2016, the court granted subscriber plaintiffs'
motions, and on December 2 and 7, 2016, respectively, subscriber
plaintiffs filed their amended class action complaint and their
second amended consolidated class action complaint adding those
plaintiffs and alleged that BCBSAL charges at least some of their
subscribers health insurance premium rates that were never filed
or approved because such rates vary from the base rates it files
with the state.

Before the court are defendants' amended and restated motion based
on the Filed Rate Doctrine for summary judgment on the Alabama
subscribers' damages claims and Alabama subscriber plaintiffs'
cross-motion for partial summary judgment on the Filed-Rate
Doctrine. With regard to the Filed Rate Doctrine, the parties have
stipulated to the following facts: (1) the doctrine does not apply
to the damages claims of plaintiffs whose groups contained more
than fifty members because BCBSAL did not file rates for such
market segment; and (2) the parties consent to entry of judgment
as a matter of law against BCBSAL with respect to its Filed Rate
Defense targeted at plaintiffs' groups which contain more than
fifty members.

Defendants contend that application of the doctrine entitles them
to summary judgment on the damages claims asserted by the two
subscriber plaintiffs. Subscriber plaintiffs respond that it is
actually they who are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on
the affirmative defense because BCBSAL has systematically charged
rates that varied from the rates they filed with the Alabama
Department of Insurance.

Judge Proctor held that the Filed Rate Doctrine is judicially
created and finds its origins in principles of federal preemption.
In the antitrust context, it operates to bar treble damages claims
that are based upon challenges to rates that have been filed with
regulatory agencies. The Filed Rate Doctrine only bars recovery of
money including treble damages. It has no effect on claims for
declaratory or injunctive relief.  Thus, the Filed Rate Doctrine
only bars claims for money damages by subscriber plaintiffs who
were charged and paid rates that were actually filed and approved.
Defendants' amended and restated motion based on the Filed Rate
Doctrine for summary judgment on the Alabama subscribers' damages
claims, and Alabama subscriber plaintiffs' cross-motion for
partial summary judgment on the filed-rate are each due to be
granted in part and denied in part.

A copy of Judge Proctor's memorandum opinion datede February 23,
2017, is available at https://goo.gl/3P8Cyv from Leagle.com.

Special Master, Special Master, represented by Edgar C. Gentle,
III -- escrowagen@aol.com -- at Gentle Turner Sexton & Harbison

Plaintiffs' Counsel, Plaintiff, represented by Helen Lynne
Eckinger -- psheehan@whatleykallas.com -- Deborah J. Winegard --
dwinegard@whatleykallas.com -- Edith M. Kallas --
ekallas@whatleykallas.com -- Henry C. Quillen --
hquillen@whatleykallas.com -- Joe R. Whatley, Jr. --
jwhatley@whatleykallas.com -- Michael S. Lyons --
mlyons@whatleykallas.com -- Patrick J. Sheehan --
psheehan@whatleykallas.com -- Tucker Brown --
tbrown@whatleykallas.com -- at WHATLEY KALLAS LLP; Joseph H.
Webster -- harland@chapman-lewis-swan.com -- at CHAPMAN LEWIS &
SWAN PLLC; Megan Jones --  mjones@hausfeld.com -- William
Butterfield -- wbutterfield@hausfeld.com -- Arthur N. Bailey, Jr.
-- abailey@hausfeld.com -- Braden Beard -- bbeard@hausfeld.com --
Jeannine M. Kenney -- jkenney@hausfeld.com -- Melinda Coolidge --
mcoolidge@hausfeld.com -- Michael D. Hausfeld --
mhausfeld@hausfeld.com -- Scott Allen Martin --
smartin@hausfeld.com -- Swathi Bojedla -- sbojedla@hausfeld.com --
at HAUSFELD LLP; Richard A. Feinstein -- rfeinstein@bsfllp.com --
David Boies -- dboies@bsfllp.com -- James Wells Harrell --
wharrell@bsfllp.com -- Jonathan R. Voegele -- jvoegele@bsfllp.com
-- Kathleen Simpson Kiernan -- William A. Isaacson --
wisaacson@bsfllp.com -- at BOIES SCHILLER & FLEXNER LLP; Aaron S.
Podhurst -- apodhurst@podhurst.com -- John Gravante, III --
jgravante@podhurst.com -- Matthew P. Weinshall -- Matthew P.
Weinshall -- Peter Prieto -- pprieto@podhurst.com -- at PODHURST
ORSECK PA; Ami Swank -- at Ami Swank Law Firm; Andrea Layne
Stackhouse -- Lawrence L. Jones, II -- larry@jonesward.com -- at
Jones Ward PLC; Andrew England Brashier --
andrew.brashier@beasleyallen.com -- Archibald I. Grubb, II --
archie.grubb@beasleyallen.com -- Rebecca Diane Gilliland --
rebecca.gilliland@beasleyallen.com -- Wilson Daniel Miles --
dee.miles@beasleyallen.com -- Leslie Lee Ann Pescia --
leslie.pescia@beasleyallen.com -- at BEASLEY ALLEN CROW METHVIN
PORTIS & MILES PC; Andrew Allen Lemmon -- Irma L. Netting -- at
Lemmon Law Firm; Andrew M. Stone -- astone@stone-law-firm.com --
at STONE LAW FIRM LLC; Annesley H. DeGaris -- at DeGaris Rogers
Attorneys at Law; Anthony F. Jackson -- at BECK & AMSDEN; Archie
C. Lamb, Jr. -- alamb@archielamb.com -- at ARCHIE LAMB AND
ASSOCIATES LLC; Augusta S. Dowd -- adowd@whitearnolddowd.com --
Hope S. Marshall -- hmarshall@whitearnolddowd.com -- J. Mark White
-- mwhite@whitearnolddowd.com -- Katherine R. Brown --
kbrown@whitearnolddowd.com -- Linda G. Flippo --
lflippo@whitearnolddowd.com -- at WHITE ARNOLD & DOWD PC; Barry A.
Ragsdale -- bragsdale@sirote.com -- at SIROTE & PERMUTT PC; Ben W.
Gordon, Jr. -- bgordon@levinlaw.com -- Virginia M. Buchanan --
vbuchanan@levinlaw.com -- at LEVIN PAPANTONIO THOMAS MITCHELL
RAFFERTY & PROCTOR; Benjamin L. Barnes -- at Benjamin L. Barnes
Attorney @ Counselor at Law; Benjamin J. Sweet --
bsweet@carlsonlynch.com -- Edwin J. Kilpela, Jr. --
ekilpela@carlsonlynch.com -- at CARLSON LYNCH SWEET & KIPELA;
Bradley A. Wasser -- at LAW OFFICES OF DAVID BALTO; Brian M. Clark
-- bclark@wigginschilds.com -- Dennis G. Pantazis --
dgp@wigginschilds.com -- at WIGGINS CHILDS PANTAZIS FISHER &
Bruce C. Jones -- bruce@jonesandswartzlaw.com -- Eric B. Swartz --
eric@jonesandswartzlaw.com -- at JONES & SWARTZ PLLC; Bryan L.
Clobes -- bclobes@caffertyclobes.com -- Patrick E. Cafferty --
pcafferty@caffertyclobes.com -- at CAFFERTY CLOBES MERIWETHER &
SPRENGEL LLP; Carl S. Kravitz -- ckravitz@zuckerman.com -- Cyril
V. Smith, III -- csmith@zuckerman.com -- D. Brian Hufford --
dbhufford@zuckerman.com -- Daniel Patrick Moylan --
dmoylan@zuckerman.com -- at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP; Carl Wesley
Pittman -- at THE PITTMAN FIRM PA; Casey Langston Lott -- at
LANGTSON & LOTT, P.A.; Charles D. Hudson --
charlie@pennandseaborn.com -- L. Shane Seaborn --
shane@pennandseaborn.com -- John W. Partin --
will@pennandseaborn.com -- Myron C. Penn --
myron@pennandseaborn.com -- at PENN AND SEABORN LLC; Charles C.
Hunter -- at HAYES HUNGER PC; Charles M. Thompson -- at CHARLES M.
THOMPSON PC; Charles R. Watkins -- charlesw@gseattorneys.com --
David J. Guin -- DavidG@gseattorneys.com -- Tammy McClendon Stokes
-- tstokes@gseattorneys.com -- at GUIN STOKES & EVANS LLC;
Christina D. Crow -- ccrow@jinkslaw.com -- Lynn W. Jinks, III --
ljinks@jinkslaw.com -- Nathan A. Dickson, II --
ndickson@jinkslaw.com -- at JINKS CROW & DICKSON PC; Christopher
T. Cain -- at SCOTT & CAIN; Christopher L. Coffin --
ccoffin@pbclawfirm.com -- Nicholas R. Rockforte --
nrockforte@pbclawfirm.com -- Patrick W. Pendley --
pwpendley@pbclawfirm.com -- Stanley P. Baudin --
sbaudin@pbclawfirm.com -- at PENDLEY BAUDIN & COFFIN LLP;
Christopher T. Hellums -- ChrisH@pittmandutton.com -- Jonathan S.
Mann -- JonM@pittmandutton.com -- at PITTMAN DUTTON & HELLUMS PC;
Clint Sargent -- at MEIERHENRY SARGENT LLP; Dale Ernest Akins --
at AKINS LAW FIRM; Daniel E. Gustafson --
dgustafson@gustafsongluek.com -- Daniel C. Hedlund --
dhedlund@gustafsongluek.com -- Jason S. Kilene --
jkilene@gustafsongluek.com -- Ellen M. Ahrens -- at GUSTAFSON
Daniel A. Small -- dsmall@cohenmilstein.com -- Laura Alexander --
lalexander@cohenmilstein.com -- Meghan M. Boone -- at COHEN
DAVID BALTO; David F. Evans -- at HICKEY & EVANS; Dennis Craig
Reich -- at, REICH & BINSTOCK LLP; Donald D. Knowlton, II --
don@alalawyers.net -- Emily Hawk Mills -- hawk@alabamatortlaw.com
-- Gregory S. Cusimano -- greg@alabamatortlaw.com -- Michael L.
Roberts -- mlr@alabamatortlaw.com -- at CUSIMANO ROBERTS & MILLS
LLC; Donna Smith Cude -- John D. Saxon -- at JOHN D. SAXON PC;
Earnest William Wotring -- ewotring@bakerwotring.com -- Karen R.
Dow -- kdow@bakerwotring.com -- at Connelly Baker Wotring LLP

Plaintiffs' Liaison Counsel, Plaintiff, represented by Barry A.
Ragsdale -- bragsdale@sirote.com -- at SIROTE & PERMUTT PC; Ben W.
Gordon, Jr. -- bgordon@levinlaw.com -- at LEVIN PAPANTONIO THOMAS
FIRM; Rebekah Keith McKinney -- at WATSON MCKINNEY LLP

Defendants' Counsel, Defendant, represented by Aaron G. McLeod --
aaron.mcleod@arlaw.com -- Stephen A. Rowe -- steve.rowe@arlaw.com
-- at ADAMS & REESE LLP; Adam H. Charnes --
Acharnes@kilpatricktownsend.com -- Chad Dwight Hansen -- Daniel R.
Taylor, Jr. -- Dantaylor@kilpatricktownsend.com -- at Kilpatrick
Townsend & Stockton LLP; Alan D. Rutenberg -- arutenberg@foley.com
-- Erik F. Benny -- ebenny@foley.com -- Michael A. Naranjo --
mnaranjo@foley.com -- Samantha A. Robbins -- srobbins@foley.com --
at FOLEY & LARDNER LLP; Andrew Phillip Campbell --
andy.campbell@campbellguin.com -- Andrew T. Campbell --
todd.campbell@campbellguin.com -- Stephen D. Wadsworth --
stephen.wadsworth@campbellguin.com -- Yawanna Nabors McDonald --
aclark@phillipslytle.com -- Edward S. Bloomberg --
ebloomberg@phillipslytle.com -- John G. Schmidt, Jr. --
jschmidt@phillipslytle.com -- at PHILLIPS LYTLE LLP; Anne Salomon
-- anne.salomon@kirkland.com -- Casey R. Fronk --
casey.fronk@kirkland.com -- Christa C. Cottrell --
christa.cottrell@kirkland.com -- Daniel E. Laytin --
daniel.laytin@kirkland.com -- David J. Zott --
david.zott@kirkland.com -- Erica Zolner --
erica.zolner@kirkland.com -- Helen E. Witt --
helen.witt@kirkland.com -- Ian R. Conner --
ian.conner@kirkland.com -- Jeffrey J. Zeiger --
jeffrey.zeiger@kirkland.com -- Jessica Staiger --
jessica.staiger@kirkland.com -- Mark Edward McKane --
mark.mckane@kirkland.com -- Sarah J. Donnell --
sarah.donnell@kirkland.com -- Zach Holmstead --
zachary.holmstead@kirkland.com -- at KIRKLAND & ELLIS LLP; Antonio
M. Clayton -- at CLAYTON & FRUGE; April N. Ross --
aross@crowell.com -- Honor R. Costello -- hcostello@crowell.com --
Kathleen Taylor Sooy -- ksooy@crowell.com -- Tracy A. Roman --
troman@crowell.com -- Michael Wyld Lieberman --
mlieberman@crowell.com -- at CROWELL & MORING LLP; Arthur Patrick
Fritzinger -- afritzinger@cozen.com -- John W. Reis -- Lezlie
Madden -- lmadden@cozen.com -- Matthew L. Bleich --
mbleich@cozen.com -- Paul K. Leary, Jr. -- pleary@cozen.com -- at
COZEN O'CONNOR; Ashley M. Lowe -- alowe@bakerdonelson.com -- D.
Keith Andress -- kandress@bakerdonelson.com -- Gary C. Shockley --
gshockley@bakerdonelson.com -- Matthew G. White --
mwhite@bakerdonelson.com -- R. Mark Glover --
mglover@bakerdonelson.com -- at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell
& Berkowitz, PC; Brian P. Kappel -- bkappel@lightfootlaw.com --
John M. Johnson -- jjohnson@lightfootlaw.com -- at LIGHTFOOT
FRANKLIN & WHITE LLC; Brian K. Norman -- bkn@snlegal.com -- at
SHAMOUN & NORMAN LLP; Bruce F. Rogers --
brogers@bainbridgemims.com -- at BAINBRIDGE MIMS ROGERS & SMITH
LLP; Carl S. Burkhalter -- cburkhalter@maynardcooper.com -- Grace
Robinson Murphy -- gmurphy@maynardcooper.com -- Jacob Joel Franz -
- jfranz@maynardcooper.com -- James L. Priester --
jpriester@maynardcooper.com -- John T.A. Malatesta, III --
jmalatesta@maynardcooper.com -- Sarah S. Glover --
sglover@maynardcooper.com -- Scott S. Brown --
scottbrown@maynardcooper.com -- at MAYNARD COOPER & GALE PC;
Cavender C. Kimble -- ckimble@balch.com -- at BALCH & BINGHAM LLP;
Charles L. Sweeris -- Mary C. St. John -- at BLUE SHIELD OF
CALIFORNIA; Cheri D. Green -- Christopher A. Shapley -- James A.
McCullough, II -- jmccullough@brunini.com -- M. Patrick McDowell -
- pmcdowell@brunini.com -- Norman E. Bailey, Jr. -- R. David
Kaufman -- dkaufman@brunini.com -- Scott F. Singley --
ssingley@brunini.com -- at BRUNINI GRANTHAM GROWER & HEWES PLLC;
Christine Varney -- cvarney@cravath.com -- Evan Chesler --
echesler@cravath.com -- Karin DeMasi -- kdemasi@cravath.com --
Margot Miller -- mamiller@cravath.com -- Rowan D. Wilson -- at
CRAVATH SWAINE & MOORE; Christopher G. Scanlon -- Paul A. Wolfla -
- paul.wolfla@FaegreBD.com -- at FAEGRE BAKER DANIELS LLP;
Courtney B. Green -- David A. Coulson -- coulsond@gtlaw.com -- at
craig.hoover@hoganlovells.com -- David Newmann --
david.newmann@hoganlovells.com -- E. Desmond Hogan --
desmond.hogan@hoganlovells.com -- Elizabeth A. Jose --
elizabeth.jose@hoganlovells.com -- Emily M. Yinger --
emily.yinger@hoganlovells.com -- J. Robert Robertson --
robby.robertson@hoganlovells.com -- N. Thomas Connally, III --
tom.connally@hoganlovells.com -- Robert F. Leibenluft --
robert.leibenluft@hoganlovells.com -- at HOGAN LOVELLS US LLP; D.
Bruce Hoffman -- bhoffman@hunton.com -- Todd M. Stenerson --
tstenerson@hunton.com -- at HUNTON & WILLIAMS LLP; D. Kent Meyers
-- kent.meyers@crowedunlevy.com -- Elizabeth Barnett LaBauve -- at
Crowe & Dunlevy; Devin Clarke Dolive -- ddolive@burr.com -- Gary
M. London -- glondon@burr.com -- at BURR & FORMAN LLP; Douglass
C.E. Farnsley -- dfarnsley@stites.com -- at STITES & HARBISON
PLLC; Erin M. Wilson -- wilsonem@lanepowell.com -- Gwendolyn C.
Payton -- paytong@lanepowell.com -- at LANE POWELL PC; Gregory
Haynes -- ghaynes@wyattfirm.com -- at Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP;
Gustavo Adolfo Pabon Rico -- pabong@reichardescalera.com -- Rafael
Escalera-Rodriguez -- escalera@reichardescalera.com -- Sylvia Maria
Arizmendi -- at REICHARD & ESCALERA LLP; Henry James Koch --
hjk@ajlaw.com -- at ARMBRECHT JACKSON LLP; J. Bentley Owens, III -
- bowens@wefhlaw.com -- at ELLIS HEAD OWENS & JUSTICE; James
Thomas Williams, Jr. -- jwilliams@brookspierce.com -- Jennifer K.
Van Zant -- jvanzant@brookspierce.com -- at Brooks, Pierce,
McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP; Jason Gourley -- at BODMAN PLC;
Jess Randall Nix -- jnix@spotswoodllc.com -- Joshua K. Payne --
jpayne@spotswoodllc.com -- Mary Godwin Menge --
mmenge@spotswoodllc.com -- Michael Sansbury --
msansbury@spotswoodllc.com -- Morgan Brooke Franz --
mfranz@spotswoodllc.com -- Robert K. Spotswood --
rks@spotswoodllc.com -- at SPOTSWOOD SANSOM & SANSBURY LLC; John
D. Briggs -- jbriggs@axinn.com -- Kenina Lee -- klee@axinn.com --
Rachel J. Adcox -- radcox@axinn.com -- at AXINN VELTROP HARKRIDER
LLP; John Stone Campbell, III --
johnstone.campbell@taylorporter.com -- L. Adam Thames --
adam.thames@taylorporter.com -- at Taylor, Porter, Brooks &
Phillips; John Martin -- john.martin@nelsonmullins.com -- Lucile
Cohen -- lucie.cohen@nelsonmullins.com -- at NELSON MULLINS RILEY
& SCARBOROUGH LLP; Jonathan M. Redgrave --
jredgrave@redgravellp.com -- Victoria Ann Redgrave --
vredgrave@redgravellp.com -- at REDGRAVE LLP; Kimberly R. West --
kwest@wallacejordan.com -- Mark Montgomery Hogewood --
mhogewood@wallacejordan.com -- at WALLACE JORDAN RATLIFF & BRANDT
LLC; Kristen Jordana Gillis -- Tyrone Carlton Means -- at MEANS
GILLIS LAW, LLC; Pamela B. Slate -- pslate@hillhillcarter.com --
pzuger@serklandlaw.com -- at SERKLAND LAW FIRM; Robert R. Riley,
Jr. -- at RILEY & JACKSON PC; Samuel Andrew Diddle --

MICHIGAN STATE: Mich. Court Dismisses Marijuana Users' Suit
Chief District Judge Denise Page Hood of the U.S. District Court
for the Eastern District of Michigan, Eastern Division, granted
defendants' motion to dismiss the case captioned MAXWELL LORINCZ,
et al., Plaintiffs, v. COLONEL KRISTE KIBBEY ETUE, et al.,
Defendants, Case No. 16-12290 (E.D. Mich.).

On June 21, 2016, Plaintiffs Maxwell Lorincz, Jason Poe, Earl
Cantrell Carruthers, and Brandon Shobe, individually and on behalf
of a class of all others similarly situated, filed a complaint
against defendants Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue in her official
capacity as the Director of the Michigan State Police, and
Inspector Scott Marier in his official capacity as the Interim
Director of the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division or
the State defendants and against Captain Joe Quisenberry in his
official capacity as Commanding Officer of the Forensic Services
Laboratory for Oakland County, and Michael Bouchard in his
official capacity as Sheriff of Oakland County or the County

Plaintiffs and the proposed class are all licensed medical
marijuana patients and/or caregivers in Michigan who use marijuana
oils and edibles, and allegedly possess such items at almost all
times. The class action complaint alleges Due Process and Fourth
Amendment violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Sections 1983 and 1988,
and seeks only declaratory and injunctive relief. Specifically,
plaintiffs seek: (a) class certification; (b) a declaratory
judgment that defendants' policy of reporting oils and edibles
containing THC as scheduled 1 THC when two or more naturally
occurring cannabinoids other than THC are also found in the sample
violates plaintiffs' and class members' constitutional rights; (c)
a declaratory judgment that defendants' failure to note in
laboratory reports analyzing oils and edibles that naturally
occurring cannabinoids other than THC were found violates
plaintiffs' and class members' constitutional rights; (d) an
injunction enjoining defendants from issuing laboratory reports in
the future contrary to the declaratory relief sought; (e) an order
requiring defendants to amend existing laboratory reports in
pending criminal cases to conform with the declaratory relief
sought; (f) the appointment of a crime lab monitor to assure
compliance with the injunctive relief sought; and (g) attorney's
fees and costs.

State and County defendants filed separate motions to dismiss
arguing that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because
plaintiffs lack standing to bring the action.

Judge Hood concludes that plaintiffs lack standing and do not meet
the preconditions for asserting injunctive and declaratory relief
in federal forum.  Even if the named plaintiffs were exposed to
illegal conduct in the past, and even if they may bring a Section
1983 action to recover damages, they cannot show a present case or
controversy regarding injunctive and declaratory relief because
they cannot establish continuing present adverse effects. In
short, taking the allegations in the complaint as true, the named
plaintiffs have not established that they have personally suffered
some actual or threatened injury that is immediate and concrete
and fairly traceable to the alleged illegal conduct of State and
County defendants such that any potential injury will be redressed
by the injunctive and declaratory relief sought. The motions to
dismiss are granted and the action is dismissed. Plaintiffs may
file a motion to amend their complaint, as to state defendants
only relative to the recent changes in the law and in State
Defendants' reporting policy, within fourteen days of the entry of
the order if plaintiffs believe they can overcome the standing
issues which the court concludes result in dismissal.

A copy of Judge Hood's order dated February 23, 2017, is available
at https://goo.gl/o9LKEc from Leagle.com.

Plaintiffs, represented by Timothy A. Daniels --
tim.daniels@figdav.com -- at Figari, Davenport; Michael A. Komorn
-- at Komorn Law

Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue and Inspector Scott Marier, Defendants,
represented by Mark E. Donnelly -- Rock A. Wood -- at Michigan
Department of Attorney

Captain Joe Quisenberry and Sheriff Michael Bouchard, Defendants,
represented by David N. Asmar -- Keith J. Lerminiaux -- Nicole B.
Tabin -- at Oakland County Corporation Counsel

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS: McManus Suit Not NFL-Style Concussion Case
The Australian reports that James McManus isn't Ray Easterling,
the former American football player who first filed a lawsuit
against the NFL over the game's handling of concussion which
ultimately led to a billion-dollar settlement with the governing

Crucially, Mr. McManus isn't suing the NRL.  He isn't alleging
that the NRL has concealed the dangers of concussion and rushed
injured players back onto the field.

Nor is he alleging they have glorified the sort of sickening
collisions that featured on reels of NFL footage, allegations that
were at the heart of legal action taken by Mr. Easterling and a
handful of others which ultimately became the central premise in a
class action involving more than 4500 athletes.

What he does have in common with Mr. Easterling and those
pioneering few NFL players is that he faces a protracted and
painstaking battle through the courts if he persists with legal
action against his former club, the Newcastle Knights.

Fears that Mr. McManus's action could prompt a flood of litigation
are probably unfounded.

Since the concussion issue became part of the rugby league
landscape several years ago, there has been no shortage of legal
types attempting to generate interest in a class action of the
type that recently ended in the US.

Thus far, their attempts have failed. During that period, the NRL
has made significant strides in the area of concussion.

It has strict protocols surrounding head knocks and heavy
penalties for clubs and officials who violate the rules.

Intriguingly, McManus continues to be employed by the Knights
after retiring last year following a series of concussions.

He played his last game for the club in 2015 and chairman
Brian McGuigan has reiterated his employment is not threatened by
the current legal action.

Mr. McManus's last concussion was suffered in July 2015, only a
matter of months after the NRL made significant changes to its
rules designed to strengthen concussion protocols.

The rules were tightened to help doctors determine what action
should be taken when a player suffered a head injury.  The
Knights' application of those rules and their subsequent treatment
of Mr. McManus will be central to the player's case against the

The matter is due to appear before the Supreme Court on March 17
but it shapes as a lengthy process if recent history is any guide.
Paul Aiton, Anthony Tupou and Nathan Stapleton were among a group
of players who commenced legal action against the Sharks over the
peptide scandal.

While several players reached settlements with the club, the trio
remain locked in a court battle that stretches back more than a
year and shows few signs of reaching a resolution.

Likewise, former Sharks forward Michael Greenfield commenced legal
action against the Australian Rugby League Commission in mid-2015
after alleging his career was ended by a shoulder charge, a case
viewed as potentially a landmark one for the code.

That case is due for its latest mention in the Supreme Court on
Friday, March 3, the day after his former club is due to open the
NRL season against the Brisbane Broncos at Southern Cross Group
Stadium, a ground where he once plied his trade.

Another former Knights player, Alex McKinnon, has also
foreshadowed legal action against the NRL and Melbourne Storm over
the tackle that left him in a wheelchair, although it is believed
no damages claim has yet been lodged as talks continue.

Mr. McKinnon was seen at Rugby League Central on Feb. 24, spending
more than an hour at the game's headquarters where it's understood
he received information about his role as an ambassador with the

Regardless, he too faces a lengthy battle in the courts should he
decide to follow through on his plan to seek recompense for the
devastating injuries that ended his career.

NFL ENTERPRISES: Court Denied Cheerleader's Plea to Use Alias
Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of California, denied plaintiff's motion to proceed under
a pseudonym, in the case JANE DOE, individually and on behalf of
all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. NFL ENTERPRISES, LLC,
et al., Defendants, No. C 17-00496 WHA (N.D. Cal.).

Plaintiff, a former cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers,
brought an action under the pseudonym Jane Doe. The complaint
alleges that the National Football League and its member clubs
conspired to eliminate competition for recruiting cheerleaders and
to keep cheerleaders' wages below market value. On February 3,
plaintiff filed a motion to proceed a pseudonym, claiming she will
be subject to harassment, injury, ridicule, or personal
embarrassment if forced to maintain the action under her legal
name. Plaintiff's counsel also submitted a declaration stating
that he had discussed the motion with defense counsel the same day
and requested that defendants stipulate to the motion, but
received no response to his request.

Plaintiff cites Jane Roes 1-2 v. SFBSC Mgmt., LLC, a case
involving exotic dancers, for the proposition that highly
sensitive situations involving social stigmatization or sexuality
warrant anonymity.

Judge Alsup denied plaintiff's motion observing that the plaintiff
has not shown that public disclosure of her identity presents
substantial risk of harm. Moreover, the suggestion that exotic
dancers and professional cheerleaders share comparable risks of
stigmatization, ridicule, or embarrassment because the latter wear
revealing uniforms is unpersuasive particularly since the
complaint emphasizes that professional cheerleaders are skilled
female athletes but does not mention any sensitivity,
stigmatization, or sexuality in the profession, Judge Alsup
pointed out.

For purposes of testing the pleadings, however, and assuming that
the defendants will move to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12, the court will allow the plaintiff to use only her
true first and last initials in pleadings for the time being. If
the defendants choose to answer rather than move under Rule 12, or
if the complaint survives past the Rule 12 stage, then the
plaintiff will likely be required to re-file her complaint using
her true full name.

A copy of Judge Alsup's order dated February 22, 2017, is
available at https://goo.gl/YgcMPa from Leagle.com.

Jane Doe, Plaintiff, represented by Thomas Joseph Obrien --
tobrien@bradshawassociates.com -- Drexel Andrew Bradshaw --
drexel@bradshawassociates.com -- at Bradshaw Associates

ONEFLOW ENERGY: "Keddy" Suit Seeks to Recover Unpaid OT Wages
Shane Keddy, Chris Browning, and Joshua Mullins, each individually
and on behalf of all others similarly situated v.
Oneflow Energy Services, LLC, Case No. 5:17-cv-00142-C (W.D. Ok.,
February 10, 2017), seeks to recover the unpaid overtime wages and
damages pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Oneflow Energy Services, LLC operates an oilfield service company,
providing frac, water transfer, and well tank services to the oil
and gas industry.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

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

         - and -

      Michael A. Josephson, Esq.
      Andrew Dunlap, Esq.
      1150 Bissonnet St.
      Houston, TX 77005
      Telephone: (713) 751-0025
      Facsimile: (713) 751-0030
      E-mail: mjosephson@fibichlaw.com

PRESSLER & PRESSLER: New York District Court Stays Class Action
Nathan Alexander, Esq. -- alexander.nathan@dorsey.com -- and
Michelle Ng, Esq. -- ng.michelle@dorsey.com -- of Dorsey & Whitney
LLP, in an article for JDSupra, report that in Zambrana v.
Pressler & Pessler LLP, the Southern District Court of New York
stayed a putative class action against various creditors for
alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(FDCPA), referring the matter to arbitration.

In the case, lead plaintiff Alicia Zambrana (Zambrana) obtained a
Best Buy credit card from, and entered into a cardholder agreement
with, Household Bank N.A (HSBC) in 2003 (2003 Agreement).  The
2003 Agreement includes a mandatory arbitration clause, obligating
the parties to arbitrate all future disputes.  In 2010, HSBC
allegedly sent Ms. Zambrana a change in term notice and an amended
cardholder agreement (2010 Agreement).  The 2010 Agreement
included a revised arbitration clause that allowed cardholders to
opt out of arbitration by notifying HSBC within 30 days of
receiving the 2010 Agreement.  Ms. Zambrana never sent HSBC an
opt-out notice.  In 2012, Ms. Zambrana defaulted on her account.
By then, her account had been assigned to a number of creditors,
initially from HSBC to Capital One, and then to other creditors
(defendants).  The defendants initiated a separate state action
against Ms. Zambrana for the outstanding debt.  In turn, Ms.
Zambrana initiated the instant action claiming that the
defendants' collection practices violated the FDCPA.

Ms. Zambrana argued that the defendants could not compel
arbitration for two reasons:

First, neither the arbitration provision in the 2003 Agreement nor
the 2010 Agreement was enforceable as to her.  Specifically, she
argued that the 2003 Agreement was inoperative because it had been
superseded by the 2010 Agreement.  The 2010 Agreement -- including
the arbitration clause therein -- was also unenforceable because
the defendants could not prove that they sent her the 2010
Agreement -- thus whether or not she opted out of arbitration in
2010 was a non-issue.

Second, Ms. Zambrana argued that the defendants lacked standing
because the initial assignment of her account from HSBC to Capital
One was improper, thereby rendering all subsequent assignments
invalid as well.

In response, the defendants submitted a declaration of the HSBC
senior legal counsel responsible for the Best Buy credit card
portfolio in 2010, who stated that because the 2010 Agreement was
sent to all HSBC Best Buy cardholders, and Ms. Zambrana was a
customer at the time, she would have been sent one as well.  With
respect to standing, the defendants submitted business records,
including a Bill of Sale, showing that Ms. Zambrana's account was
assigned by HSBC to Capital One.

The court found the legal counsel's declaration insufficient to
prove that HSBC in fact sent Ms. Zambrana the 2010 Agreement,
because, while he had knowledge of the creation of the 2010
Agreement, he did not have personal knowledge of how or when the
2010 Agreement was sent out to Ms. Zamrabana, and therefore the
defendants failed to establish ordinary office procedures to prove
that Ms. Zambrana received the 2010 Agreement.  Nevertheless, the
court held that the 2003 Agreement required arbitration.
Rejecting Ms.  Zambrana's "heads I win, tails you lose" argument
that both the 2003 and 2010 Agreement were inoperative, the court
determined that "[e]ither the 2010 Agreement was sent to her so
that her failure to opt out of arbitration means that she is bound
by the 2010 Agreement, or it was never sent to her, in which case
the 2003 Agreement with its arbitration provision remains in
force."  Since there was no evidence that Ms. Zambrana received
the 2010 Agreement, the arbitration clause in the 2003 Agreement
remained in effect.

The court also found that the defendants had standing.   Unlike in
a debt collection case, defendant creditors seeking to enforce the
arbitration clause in a binding contract need not prove a complete
chain of title over the account in order to prevail.  Instead, the
court held that the defendants need only show "by a preponderance
of the evidence that [Zambrana]'s account and corresponding
cardholder agreement were assigned." Defendants did so by
submitting evidence that the initial assignment from HSBC to
Capital One was valid.

The case presents some takeaways for financial institutions
seeking to enforce arbitration agreements in their agreements:

   -- Establish and implement ordinary mailing procedures for
disseminating important notifications to customers; and

   -- Present evidence of these ordinary office procedures to the
court, not just evidence of the creation of the agreement or the
purpose of the agreement.

PROGRESSIVE AMERICAN: "Chapman" Case Transferred to N.D. Fla.
The case captioned Richelle Chapman, Plaintiff, v. Progressive
American Insurance Company, Defendant, Case No. 16000959, (Fla.
Cir., December 16, 2016), was transferred to the U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of Florida on February 9, 2017.

Chapman filed this suit on behalf of herself and an unknown number
of persons insured by Progressive due to its failure to pay the
$10,000 automobile insurance benefits coverage despite policy
holders obtaining emergency medical condition determinations from
their treating physicians. Defendants allegedly hired independent
medical examiners to contradict their findings, thus depriving
them of some $7,500.00.

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Christopher M. Vlachos, Esq.
      244 East Intendencia Street
      Pensacola, FL 32502
      Email: chris@vlachosinjurylaw.com

             - and -

      James L. Kauffman, Esq.
      1054 31st Street, Suite 230
      Washington, DC 20007
      Email: jkauffman@baileyglasser.com

Defendant is represented by:

      Marcy Levine Aldrich, Esq.
      Ross E. Linzer, Esq.
      Three Brickell City Centre
      98 Southeast Seventh Street, Suite 1100
      Miami, FL 33131
      Phone: (305) 374-5600
      Fax: (305) 374-5095
      E-mail: marcy.aldrich@akerman.com

QUALCOMM INC: "Housenick" Files Anti-trust Suit Over Chipset
Craig Housenick, Ryan Margulis, Richard Rizzo, on behalf of
themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v.
Qualcomm Incorporated, a Delaware Corporation, Defendant, Case No.
5:17-cv-00675, (N.D. Cal., February 9, 2017), seeks to recover
damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs of suit, including
reasonable attorneys' fees resulting from unjust enrichment and
violation of California state consumer protection statutes, state
antitrust and restraint of trade laws, unfair competition law and
the Cartwright Act and Sherman Act.

Qualcomm is a developer of cellular technology, such as the Code
Division Multiple Access (CDMA) standard on which network carriers
rely upon. It is the dominant producer of CDMA chipsets and holds
the largest number of Standard Essential Patents for CDMA
technology incorporated into virtually every relevant cellular
standard in the last several years.

Plaintiff alleges that Qualcomm has not adhered to fair,
reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms, but has instead taken
advantage of the standard-setting process to acquire and maintain
monopoly control of the modem chipset market by refusing to
license and/or impose onerous restrictions on licenses of its
patents to competing chipset makers.

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Michael P. Lehmann, Esq.
      Christopher L. Lebsock, Esq.
      Bonny E. Sweeney, Esq.
      Bruce J. Wecker, Esq.
      Samantha J. Stein, Esq.
      600 Montgomery St., Suite 3200
      San Francisco, CA 94111
      Tel: (415) 633-1908
      Fax: (415) 358-4980
      Email: mlehmann@hausfeld.com

             - and -

      Michael D. Hausfeld, Esq.
      1700 K Street, NW, Suite 650
      Washington, DC 20006
      Tel: (202)-540-7200
      Fax: (202)-540-7201
      Email: mhausfeld@hausfeld.com

            -  and -

      Eugene A. Spector, Esq.
      William G. Caldes, Esq.
      Jonathan M. Jagher, Esq.
      Len A. Fisher, Esq.
      1818 Market Street, Suite 2500
      Philadelphia, PA 19103
      Telephone: (215) 496-0300
      Email: espector@srkw-law.com

QUALCOMM INC: Tada File Suit in Cali. Over Anticompetitive Conduct
individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, the
Plaintiffs, v. QUALCOMM INCORPORATED, the Defendant, Case No.
5:17-cv-00762 (N.D. Cal., Feb. 15, 2017), seeks damages and
injunctive relief from Defendant arising from Defendant's
anticompetitive conduct in acquiring and maintaining a monopoly
over the modem chipset (baseband processor) market.

The anticompetitive conduct also includes abusing the intellectual
property rights underlying that technology, and charging an
excessive and unlawful royalty on cellular phones or devices
incorporating such patents, with the result that each end-user
purchaser pays an inflated price for each cellular phone or
device. Plaintiffs are purchasers of cellular telephones and other
cellular devices utilizing baseband processors

Qualcomm is an American multinational semiconductor and
telecommunications equipment company that designs and markets
wireless telecommunications products and services.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Stephen R. Basser, Esq.
          Samuel M. Ward, Esq.
          600 West Broadway, Suite 900
          San Diego, CA 92101
          Telephone: (619) 230 0800
          Facsimile: (619) 230 1874
          E-mail: sbasser@barrack.com

REGULUS THERAPEUTICS: Sued Over Misleading Financial Reports
Li Jin, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. Regulus Therapeutics Inc., Joseph P. Hagan, Paul C.
Grint, and Timothy Wright, Case No. 3:17-cv-00267-LAB-JMA (S.D.
Cal., February 10, 2017), alleges that the Defendants made false
and misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material
adverse facts about the Company's business, operations, and

Regulus Therapeutics Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused
on discovering and developing first-in-class drugs that target
microRNAs to treat a broad range of diseases.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Adam C. McCall, Esq.
      445 South Figueroa Street, 31st Floor
      Los Angeles, CA 90071
      Telephone: (213) 985-7290
      E-mail: amccall@zlk.com

         - and -

      Nicholas I. Porritt, Esq.
      Alexander A. Krot III, Esq.
      1101 30th Street N.W., Suite 115
      Washington, DC 20007
      Telephone: (202) 524-4290
      Facsimile: (202) 333-2121
      E-mail nporritt@zlk.com

SHAHEEN CAFE: "Bagum" Labor Suit Claims Overtime, Spread-of-Hours
Muktha Bagum, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. Shaheen Cafe, Inc., Zishan Hamid and Omar
Zia, Defendants, Case No. 2:17-cv-00769, (E.D. N.Y., January 10,
2017), seeks unpaid minimum wages and unpaid overtime pay with
liquidated damages, unpaid spread of hours pay, statutory damages,
reasonable attorneys' fees, costs and injunctive and declaratory
relief as provided for by Fair Labor Standards Act and New York
Labor Laws.

Defendants operate Shaheen Restaurant located at 255 South
Broadway, Hicksville, New York 11801 where Bagum was employed by
Defendants as a server, stocker, cleaner and cashier.

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Troy L. Kessler, Esq.
      Tana Forrester, Esq.
      534 Broadhollow Road, Suite 275
      Melville, NY 11747
      Tel: (631) 499-9100

            - and -

      David Urena, Esq.
      123 William Street, 16th Floor
      New York, NY 10039
      Tel: (646) 459-3037

SLATER & GORDON: Faces Cash Woes Amid Class Action
Stephen Bartholomeusz, writing for The Australian, reports that
The Slater & Gordon result tells us little that we already didn't
know.  The group is in the hands of its bankers and, with an
enterprise value smaller than its bank debt, there is no escape

With borrowings of around $740 million, a deficiency in
shareholders' funds of $126m and cash flows that were negative to
the tune of $11.4m in the December half, the fate of the group --
rather than its shareholders -- rests on the recapitalisation plan
it has to put to lenders by May 26.

It is probable that there will be a plan acceptable to the lenders
because the alternative for a business whose assets walk out the
door each evening is that the lenders face a near total wipe-out.

While the group does still have a market capitalisation, a modest
$56m, it would appear reasonable to assume that shareholders will
get wiped out by a recapitalisation that will seek to limit or
eliminate any liability from class actions beyond that which might
be recovered from insurers.

The result the group issued on Feb. 27 shows there is some urgency
in devising a solution to the crisis created by Slater & Gordon's
disastrous decision to acquire the Quindell business in the UK.
Slater & Gordon wrote another $350m off the value of that business
in the half, which was a major factor in the $425.1m loss it
reported.  In the same half of 2015-16, the UK business drove the
group to a $958m loss.

If the performance were only due to non-cash impairment charges
against assets whose paucity of value was recognised not long
after they were acquired, it wouldn't be as disconcerting.

Across the group, however, there were big declines in revenue,
with the core Australian business suffering a 17.5 per cent fall
that resulted in a $4.4m loss at the earnings before interest,
tax, depreciation and changes in work-in-progress level.

It is apparent that, as acknowledged by the group's managing
director, Andrew Grech, the prolonged period during which Slater &
Gordon has been under a destabilising spotlight is impacting its
ability to generate income.

It is perhaps surprising -- and something of a testament to its
ability to retain its people -- that the impact hasn't been even
more significant.

The group's lenders will, however, look at the shrinking of the
group's revenue base as a warning sign that, if they are to
recover anything of substance, there needs to be a
recapitalisation that permanently stabilises the group and removes
the distractions and uncertainty around it so that it can operate
more normally.

It is going to take some ingenuity to do that, given the
relationship between debt and equity, the class action and, in the
background, an Australian Securities and Investment Commission
investigation as to whether the group's accounts were deliberately
falsified or manipulated.

That investigation could have some implications for the group's
insurance coverage and therefore the moneys available in the
overall pot for creditors.  It remains a messy and difficult
situation for the group and its bankers to resolve.

SLATER & GORDON: Shareholder Equity Wiped Out Amid Class Action
Brian Robins, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, reports that
the clock is now ticking on the financial future of the ailing law
firm Slater and Gordon, with a 90-day deadline to finalise
negotiations with its bankers to ensure its survival.

The company has until May 26 to complete the negotiations, it
said, which is likely to see the investment of shareholders wiped

Earlier on Feb. 27, the company disclosed more heavy losses amid a
warning from its auditor about the "material uncertainties" over
the company's financial survival.

In a filing with the stock exchange, the company disclosed that
losses have now reached $1.3 billion, which exceeds the $1.1
billion of equity on its balance sheet, so that all of the
shareholder funds have now been wiped out.  The underlying value
of each of its shares on issue is now minus 36c, since the lawyer
had a negative net worth of $126 million as of December 31.

The company is negotiating a new financing package with its
bankers in what is seen as a 'life-saving' deal for the company.

"The continued support of the company's lenders is fundamental,"
it warned in the sharemarket filing, "as current levels of bank
debt exceed total enterprise value."

The slide in the group's fortunes follows a slump in revenue to
$322.7 million in the December half, which is well below the
$487.5 million earned a year earlier.  This resulted in the loss
for the December half running at $425.1 million.

The company is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the
corporate watchdog ASIC, the Australian Securities Investments
Commission, and has been hit by a shareholder class action which
asserts the company "engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct"
as well as breached continuous disclosure obligations of public

And its auditors, Ernst & Young, have also warned of "material
uncertainties" relating to the group's survival, highlighting the
latest loss, the negative cashflow as well as the fact that all
shareholder equity has been wiped out.

The steady flow of bad news saw the shares down a heavy 20 per
cent at 12.75c in late trading, after hitting a new all-time low
of 12c.

One of the few analysts who still follows the company,
Morningstar's Gareth James, warned that the shares "look worthless
following another bad result".

"We maintain our 'extreme fair value uncertainty' rating and 1c
per share fair value estimate for Slater & Gordon following
another poor financial result," he told clients on Feb. 27.  "At
16c per share [Friday's closing share price], we continue to
believe the shares are materially overvalued and reiterate our
intention to cease coverage of the company early this month."

STATE FARM: Dismissal of Florida Suit Reversed
The District Court of Appeals of Florida, Fourth District,
reversed and remanded the case captioned NORTHWEST CENTER FOR
COMPANY, Appellee, No. 4D15-2881 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App.).

Three State Farm insureds were all issued separate automobile
insurance policies with PIP benefits by State Farm Mutual
Automobile Insurance Company. In 2008, while the policies were all
in effect, the insureds were injured in separate accidents.
Following the accidents, appellant Northwest Center for
Integrative Medicine and Rehabilitation, Inc., provided care to
some of the insureds, and appellant Randy Rosenberg, D.C., P.A.,
provided care to another insured. This care was covered under the
insureds' policies with State Farm. Appellants received
assignments of benefits from the insureds and billed State Farm
for the care under the assignments.
Under section 627.736, Florida Statutes (2008), the PIP statute,
an insurer may elect to calculate medical reimbursements in one of
two ways: (a) it can pay a reasonable amount consistent with
subsection (5)(a)1. of the statute; or (b) it can elect to apply
the Medicare fee schedules, as set forth in subsection (5)(a)2. of
the statute. However, in order to exercise the subsection (5)(a)2.
option, the insurer must provide notice in the policy of its
election to use the fee schedules. State Farm did not elect
subsection 5(a)2. in the insureds' policies. The insureds'
policies all provided that State Farm would pay 80% of all
reasonable expenses incurred for medically necessary services and
treatments. State Farm reimbursed appellants for the insureds'
medical care at Medicare Fee schedule amounts.

Appellants filed suit for a class action declaratory judgment
regarding the calculation of reimbursement under the policy.

State Farm moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that there was
no live controversy between the parties because the issue had been
resolved in the case of GEICO General Insurance Co. v. Virtual
Imaging Services, Inc., 141 So.3d 147, 159 (Fla. 2013). It
conceded that the policies did not elect to apply the Medicare fee
schedules pursuant to section 627.736(5)(a)2., Florida Statutes,
but rather the fact-dependent methodology of section
627.736(5)(a)1., Florida Statutes. However, State Farm asserted
that under Virtual Imaging, it was still entitled to consult a
variety of sources, including the Medicare fee schedules, in
determining a "reasonable" amount under subsection (5)(a)1. It
also argued that the issue was not a proper subject for a class

The court granted State Farm's motion to dismiss and dismissed the
fifth amended complaint with prejudice. Appellants moved for
rehearing, arguing that the court erred in relying on State Farm's
characterization of Virtual Imaging.  State Farm opposed the
motion.  The court denied rehearing and appellants an appeal.

Appellants challenge the dismissal, arguing that Virtual Imaging
did not resolve the dispute because the insurance policy did not
rely on permissive Medicare fee schedules, but instead used a
fact-based determination of a reasonable fee based on section
627.736(5)(a)1., Florida Statutes, yet the insurer exclusively
used the Medicare fee schedules to calculate provider fees.

Judge Warner agrees with the appellants that the Virtual Imaging
case did not conclusively resolve the issue, hence the order of
dismissal is reversed and the case is remanded for reinstatement
of the complaint and for further proceedings.

Judge Warner held that the issue in the case, unlike the issue in
Virtual Imaging, is the proper methodology for calculating
reimbursement under (5)(a)1 and whether, under that provision and
the policy language, use of Medicare fee reimbursement rates to
calculate provider reimbursements is authorized. The trial court
erred in concluding that Virtual Imaging fully answered the issues
in the present controversy.

A copy of the District Court of Appeals of Florida, Fourth
District opinion penned by Judge Martha C. Warner, is available at
https://goo.gl/gEhFxo from Leagle.com.

Gary M. Farmer, Sr. -- gary@pathtojustice.com -- at Farmer Jaffe
Weissing Edwards Fistos & Lehrman P.L., for appellants

Nancy A. Copperthwaite -- nancy.copperthwaite@akerman.com -- Marcy
Levine Aldrich -- marcy.aldrich@akerman.com -- Ross E. Linzer --
ross.linzer@akerman.com -- at Akerman LLP, for appellee

The District Court of Appeals of Florida, Fourth District panel
consists of Judges Martha C. Warner, Robert M. Gross and Melanie
G. May.

STATE FARM: District Court Denies Bid to Remand "LaVelle"
Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District
of Columbia denied plaintiffs' motion to remand the case captioned
16-1082 (RBW) (D.D.C.).

On August 9, 2015, the plaintiffs' vehicle was struck by an
uninsured driver in the District of Columbia and sustained damages
that required over $17,000 to repair. According to the plaintiffs,
as a result of the damage suffered to the vehicle in the accident,
the vehicle was worth less after it was repaired than it was
before the accident.

State Farm, the plaintiffs' insurer, covered the vehicle's repair
costs pursuant to the plaintiffs' Uninsured Motor Vehicle
Coverage, but did not cover the diminution of value damages the
plaintiffs suffered.

Plaintiffs filed a class action complaint in the Superior Court
and alleged that State Farm failed to cover the diminished value
of the vehicle pursuant to their policies, and assert breach of
contract, unlawful and deceptive trade practices in violation of
the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act, and
breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing as
their causes of action and request for actual damages in the form
of payment of the difference between the insured vehicles' pre-
loss fair market values and their projected fair market values as
repaired vehicles immediately after the accident in amounts to be
determined at trial, treble damages or $1500 per violation of the
Consumer Protection Act for each District of Columbia consumer,
whichever is greater, costs of suit including reasonable attorney
fees and punitive damages in amounts to be determined at trial.

State Farm filed its Notice of Removal, removing the case from
Superior Court to the District of Columbia pursuant to the class
action fairness act. Plaintiffs filed their motion for remand,
arguing that the court does not have federal subject-matter
jurisdiction because State Farm has not demonstrated that the
amount in controversy exceeds the $5 million threshold requirement
of the class action fairness act.

Judge Walton observed that the amount in controversy exceeds the
$5 million threshold required by the class action fairness act,
and concludes that the requirements for federal subject matter
jurisdiction are satisfied. Judge Walton denied plaintiffs' motion
to remand.

A copy of Judge Walton's memorandum opinion dated February 22,
2017, is available at https://goo.gl/oAtnqz from Leagle.com.

Plaintiffs, represented by:

     Jonathan B. Nace, Esq.
     5335 Wisconsin Ave., NW
     Washington, DC 20015
     Tel: 202-478-9677

        -- and --

     Jacob M. Lebowitz, Esq.
     3221 M St NW
     Washington, DC 20007
     Tel: 202-524-0123

represented by Brittany Michelle Cambre --
brittanycambre@eversheds-sutherland.com -- Gail Lynn Westover --
gailwestover@eversheds-sutherland.com -- Thomas William Curvin --
tomcurvin@eversheds-sutherland.com -- Tracey Katagi Ledbetter --
traceyledbetter@eversheds-sutherland.com -- Wilson G. Barmeyer --
wilsonbarmeyer@eversheds-sutherland.com -- at EVERSHEDS SUTHERLAND

STERLING JEWELERS: Faces Sexual Harassment, Discrimination Claims
Drew Harwell, writing for Washington Post, reports that hundreds
of former employees of Sterling Jewelers, the multibillion-dollar
conglomerate behind Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay
Jewelers, claim that its chief executive and other company leaders
presided over a corporate culture that fostered rampant sexual
harassment and discrimination, according to arbitration documents
obtained by The Washington Post.

Declarations from roughly 250 women and men who worked at
Sterling, filed as part of a private class-action arbitration
case, allege that female employees at the company throughout the
late 1990s and 2000s were routinely groped, demeaned and urged to
sexually cater to their bosses to stay employed. Sterling disputes
the allegations.

The arbitration was first filed in 2008 by more than a dozen women
who accused the company of widespread gender discrimination.  The
class-action case, still unresolved, now includes 69,000 women who
are current and former employees of Sterling, which operates about
1,500 stores across the country.

Most of the sworn statements were written years ago, but the
employees' attorneys were only granted permission to release them
publicly on Feb. 26.  One of the original women who brought the
case, those lawyers said, died in 2014 as proceedings crawled on
without resolution.

The statements allege that top male managers, some at the
company's headquarters near Akron, Ohio, dispatched scouting
parties to stores to find female employees they wanted to sleep
with, laughed about women's bodies in the workplace, and pushed
female subordinates into sex by pledging better jobs, higher pay
or protection from punishment.

Though women made up a large part of Sterling's sales force, many
said they felt they had little recourse with their mostly male
management.  Sanya Douglas, a Kay sales associate and manager in
New York between 2003 and 2008, said a manager even had a saying
for male leaders coaxing women into sexual favors to advance their
careers, calling it "going to the big stage."

"If you didn't do what he wanted with him," she said in the 2012
sworn statement, "you wouldn't get your (preferred) store or

Sterling spokesman David Bouffard told The Post in a statement on
Feb. 27 that company officials "have thoroughly investigated the
allegations and have concluded they are not substantiated by the
facts and certainly do not reflect our culture."

The company "has created strong career opportunities for many
thousands of women working at our stores nationwide" and takes
allegations of pay and promotion discrimination seriously, with
"multiple processes in place to receive and investigate
allegations of misconduct," Mr. Bouffard said.

Allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination "involve a
very small number of individuals," he said, adding that their
claims were included in arbitration filings by employees'
attorneys "to paint a negative and distorted picture of the

In arbitration, Sterling presented experts it said had reviewed
some employee allegations and concluded that the company "devotes
adequate resources to manage complaints of unwanted sex-related
behavior," according to a 2015 filing.

Complaints that were reported to the company were thoroughly
investigated, Mr. Bouffard said, and action was taken where
appropriate.  He added that the company encourages all employees
to report any workplace concerns so officials can investigate and
respond appropriately.

Not all of the 69,000 class members are alleging sexual
impropriety.  Many are accusing Sterling of wage violations,
arguing women were systematically paid less than men and passed
over for promotions given to less experienced male colleagues.

The former and current employees are seeking punitive damages and
years of back pay, though no estimate of the potential damages has
been given.  A class hearing, during which witnesses will be
called to testify before the arbitration judge for the first time,
is scheduled for early next year.

Sterling, like other U.S. companies, requires all workers to waive
their right to bring any employment-related disputes against their
employer in public courts.  Instead, complaints must be decided in
arbitration -- a private, quasi-legal system where cases are
guaranteed little transparency.

Since 2015, The Post has requested to review the employee
statements submitted as part of arbitration, all of which were
designated as confidential.  Employees' attorneys have also sought
to make them publicly available.  Attorneys for the employees and
the company recently reached an agreement that the documents could
be made public on the condition that they not identify any of the
individuals to whom conduct was attributed.

More than 1,300 pages of sworn statements were released on Feb. 26
and feature company-approved redactions that obscure the names of
managers and executives accused of harassment or abuse.  But a
memorandum by the employees' attorneys supporting their motion for
class certification, filed in 2013, revealed that top executives
including Mark Light, now chief executive of Sterling's parent
company, Signet Jewelers, were among those accused of having sex
with female employees and promoting women based upon how they
responded to sexual demands.

Mr. Light did not respond to requests for comment, and the company
did not make him available for an interview.  The company declined
to address detailed questions about the allegations made by former
employees against Light and other managers.

Many of the most striking allegations stem from the company's
annual managers meetings, which former employees described as a
boozy, no-spouses-allowed "sex-fest" where attendance was
mandatory and women were aggressively pursued, grabbed and

Multiple witnesses told attorneys that they saw Light "being
entertained" as he watched and joined nude and partially undressed
female employees in a swimming pool, according to the 2013

Routine sexual "preying" at company events "was done out in the
open and appeared to be encouraged, or at least condoned, by the
company," Melissa Corey, a manager of Sterling stores in
Massachusetts and Florida between 2002 and 2008, said in her

Ellen Contaldi, a Sterling manager in Massachusetts between 1994
and 2008, said in her declaration that male executives "prowled
around the (resort) like dogs that were let out of their cage and
there was no one to protect the female managers from them."

"I didn't like being alone, anywhere. I used to dread going" to
the meetings, Ms. Contaldi told The Post in an interview.  "If you
were even remotely attractive or outgoing, which most salespeople
are, you were meat, being shopped."

"It was like nobody knew right from wrong, and there was nobody
trying to show anybody right from wrong," Ms. Contaldi added.
"There was no discipline. There was no consequence. You were on
your own."

Former employees who sought help or reported abuse through an
internal hotline alleged in their declarations that they were
verbally attacked or terminated.  Kristin Henry, a five-year
Sterling employee who said she was 22 when an older district
manager tried to kiss and touch her at a managers event, told The
Post she was falsely accused of theft and quickly fired after
reporting his advances to superiors at Sterling.

The case, Jock et al. v. Sterling Jewelers, was filed before the
American Arbitration Association, one of the nation's largest
arbitration organizations.  Kathleen A. Roberts, the case's
arbitrator and a retired federal magistrate, is forbidden by
association rules from speaking with the media.  Like other
arbitrations, the case before Roberts is conducted in private and
is legally binding.  While arbitrator decisions are appealable,
there are very limited grounds on which decisions can be
overturned. The confidential nature of the case has made it
difficult to determine why it has taken so long to resolve.

In a 2015 decision to grant class-action status to the women,
Roberts wrote that the testimony includes references to
"soliciting sexual relations with women (sometimes as a quid pro
quo for employment benefits), and creating an environment at
often-mandatory Company events in which women are expected to
undress publicly, accede to sexual overtures and refrain from
complaining about the treatment to which they have been

"For the most part Sterling has not sought to refute this
evidence," Roberts wrote.  Instead, she wrote, "Sterling argues
that it is inadmissible, irrelevant and insufficient to establish
a corporate culture that demeans women."

The case could deeply tarnish a business that sells billions of
dollars worth of jewelry a year through romance-centered marketing
campaigns such as "Every Kiss Begins with Kay."  Signet told
shareholders in an annual report last year that it would have to
"pay substantial damages" if it lost the case.

Sterling's mall outlets and storefronts account for a large chunk
of America's jewelry market, as well as more than 18,000 jobs
across all 50 states.  Its parent company, Signet, which is
domiciled in Bermuda but headquartered in Ohio, is the world's
largest retailer of diamond jewelry, selling more than $6 billion
of jewelry, watches and services in 2015, company filings show.

Joseph M. Sellers, a partner at the Cohen Milstein law firm and
lead counsel for the case, told The Post in an interview that the
former employees' statements provide "breathtaking evidence of
ways in which women were mistreated in the workplace."

"It was terribly demeaning to them as women," Mr. Sellers said,
"not just because they themselves were mistreated but because they
saw how their co-workers were treated as sexual objects."

'Backed into a corner'

When Heather Ballou left her job at a small jewelry store and
moved to a Kay retail outlet in Pensacola, Fla., in 2000, she
believed she had made the right move to advance her young career.
Sterling seemed to offer high standards, a professional atmosphere
and managers willing to groom and mentor new employees, Ms.
Ballou, a class member in the arbitration, said in an interview
with The Post.

As she worked her way up to store manager, though, she said, she
became increasingly disturbed at the frequency of sexual
harassment from the company's crude "boys club."  At a managers
meeting in 2005, a district manager promised to help transfer her
to a better store if she had sex with him, she said in her sworn
statement.  That night, she did, believing she was "backed into a
corner" and had no other way to advance.

"Looking back, I can't believe I did some of the things I had to
do," Ms. Ballou, 41, told The Post, adding that in the moment she
thought: "You suck it up and do what you have to do for your
family. You need this job."

Ms. Ballou attended four of Sterling's multi-day managers
meetings, where attendance was mandatory for managers at company
stores nationwide.  The events, which were mostly held in Orlando,
included daytime work seminars but were infamous for their wild
parties at night, employees said. It was common practice, former
employees said, for executives and high-level managers to ply
subordinates with alcohol.

One night, Ms. Ballou told The Post, she saw a top executive
watching as female managers in varying stages of undress splashed
in a hotel pool.  "He had a drink in one hand and a cigar in the
other, just taking it all in, like, 'I am the king and this is my
harem,'" she told The Post.  She was prevented by her attorneys
from naming which executive was involved, because of the condition
of the arbitration documents' release.  The 2013 class-action
motion states Light took part in a pool-related incident similar
to the one Ms. Ballou described.

Ms. Henry, who attended the 2005 meeting, said she was retrieving
her shawl from a hotel room when a male district manager who was
her father's age, and whom she had been told to treat like a
mentor, forcibly tried to kiss and touch her.  Stunned, she left
immediately afterward and called her parents for advice.

"I was so embarrassed," she told The Post.  "I was afraid of what
would happen next, how I would be treated, if it was something he
would tell other employees about."

A few days later, she called an internal hotline to report the
encounter, believing her identity would be protected.  But within
days of her report, a regional boss visited her store for two
days, interviewed her co-workers and reviewed surveillance video
before accusing her of stealing a gold necklace and $100 in cash.
She told The Post she showed the boss evidence that she had not
stolen anything, but Sterling fired her, a few days before she was
set to receive an annual commission payment worth roughly $30,000,
she alleged.

Because she was fired and accused of theft, she told The Post, she
was unable to find a job at another jewelry store. Now 34, she
works as a nurse in Florida.

"Friends to this day ask: What ever happened to that job? And it's
one of those situations: Do I tell the truth? Or do I say I just
moved on, to save myself the embarrassment?" she told The Post.
Seeing Kay commercials, she said, continues to unnerve her.

"They're still hiring younger women, and I worry about those
women," she told The Post.  "I worry about what might happen to

Julia Highfill, a nine-year Sterling manager in Florida, Louisiana
and Mississippi, said in her sworn statement that the company "did
not have an effective or serious mechanism by which female
employees could complain about their mistreatment."  After calling
the company to report that a district manager had arrived to work
late and reeking of alcohol, she alleged that he called soon after
to warn her against calling again.  He told her, "Anything you
say, I'm going to know," she recalled in an interview.

Men who are not part of the class also filed sworn statements
alleging Sterling was a hostile workplace for women.
Richard Sumen, who worked for Sterling in Ohio from 1992 until
2005, said in his declaration that a group of managers and
officers commonly known as the "good ole boys" was infamous for
"protecting and promoting their friends, and wild escapades of
sex, drugs, excessive drinking and womanizing."  He recalled one
former Ohio-based executive saying, "Why pay women more when they
just get pregnant and have families?"

In his sworn statement, Mr. Sumen also recounted an incident at
corporate headquarters in which an executive pointed to a female
secretary and asked a district manager, "Are you doing her?" The
secretary looked visibly uncomfortable, Mr. Sumen said, but the
executive said again, louder, "I want to f---ing know if you are
f---ing doing her."

Mr. Sumen told The Post that he remained troubled by what he
called Sterling's discriminatory corporate climate.  He wrote in
his 2008 declaration, "This culture of sexism and womanizing was
so prevalent that female management employees were pressured to
acquiesce and participate."

Like 'an abusive relationship'
This culture seemingly arose in a company whose sales force was
mostly women.  More than 68 percent of Sterling's store managers
are women, the company told The Post.  Three of Signet's 10
executive officers are women.  A job-recruitment video calls
Sterling "your place to shine" and promises an "exciting and
fulfilling career."

Mr. Light was made Sterling's chief executive in 2006 and presided
over an eight-year growth streak during which the company's sales
more than tripled. Light, now 54 and chief executive of Signet,
earned about $7.4 million in salary, stock and bonuses in fiscal
2016, up from $2.4 million in 2014, company filings show.

Signet, the parent company of Sterling, Zales and other jewelry
brands, has struggled in recent months because of disappointing
holiday sales, investors' worries over how much of its jewelry is
bought on credit, and a scandal during which Kay customers alleged
diamonds they had brought in for cleaning were swapped for lesser-
quality stones.  The company denied the diamond-swapping
allegations. Its share price has dropped by half since its late-
2015 peak.

Since 1998, Sterling has forced all employees to agree to
arbitration -- a no-judge, no-jury resolution system that allows
companies to keep potentially embarrassing labor disputes and case
records mostly confidential.

The nonprofit American Arbitration Association, where the Sterling
case is being heard, allows companies to refuse arbitrators they
believe will not fairly rule on their case.

Some companies have argued that arbitration allows them a quicker
path to resolving employee disputes beyond traditional courts.
Workers effectively consent to the rules when they sign agreements
requiring arbitration as a condition of their employment, as seen
with Sterling's contracts.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a report last
year that mandatory arbitration policies "can prevent employees
from learning about similar concerns shared by others in their

Ms. Ballou, who left the company in 2009, is hoping the case leads
to more than back pay.  Now 41, the single mother is back in
school studying to become a registered nurse and working as an
office manager for a real estate company, where she told The Post
she "hasn't encountered an inkling" of what she saw at Sterling.

"What's sad is that I was there for so long, it was almost like
when someone is in an abusive relationship: You think that's what
normal is," she told The Post.

"I can't even go into a Kay anymore.  It just turns my stomach,"
she added.  "Even seeing those 'Every Kiss Begins with Kay'
commercials revolts me, thinking of what's behind them.  All the
good things they do, all the lovely things they promise.  It's a

She told The Post she wanted to speak out in hopes that it could
help other women, as well as her 8-year-old daughter.

"I was a victim, and I didn't have anyone to speak for me,"
Ms. Ballou said.  "As humiliating as it was, it was worth it,
because now maybe it won't happen to her."

SUN PRINCESS: Passengers Mull Suit Over Norovirus Infections
Robyn Ironside, writing for Herald Sun, reports that passengers
caught up in a series of gastro outbreaks on board the Sun
Princess are preparing to take legal action against the cruise
ship for "disappointment" and personal injury.

Since mid-December the 21-year-old ship has been at the centre of
three mass norovirus infections involving hundreds of passengers.

In the most recent, 176 people were struck down during a 14-day
cruise between Brisbane and Auckland.

The ship had just completed a 12-day voyage from Papua New Guinea,
during which about 100 passengers fell ill.

Previously, the Sun Princess was involved in another outbreak
during a 13-day coastal cruise off Western Australia in December.

Shine Lawyers' Transport Law Manager Thomas Janson said they had
been contacted by several passengers and were keen to hear from
others laid low by gastro on their Sun Princess cruise.

He said a legal precedent existed in the case of Baltic Shipping
versus Dillon, in which a Sydney cruise ship passenger
successfully sued for disappointment when the vessel sank halfway
into a two-week trip.

"The High Court awarded the passenger $5000 which at the time
(1986) was a considerable sum," said Mr Janson.

"You can only imagine what that would be worth in today's terms so
it stands to reason why cruise companies are on the front foot
about giving holiday credits and refunds."

In addition to securing adequate compensation for passengers
aboard the Sun Princess, Mr Janson said he would like to see a
change in the laws to allow government officials to inspect cruise

"They currently have no jurisdiction to go on board and force more
thorough sanitation and cleaning," he said.

"If laws were introduced to monitor the cleaning of vessels, it
would act as an incentive for cruise companies to not turn around
these vessels so quickly."

In the case of the Sun Princess, passengers were disembarked for
just two hours when the 18-deck ship arrived from Papua New Guinea
in order for it to be cleaned.

Mr Janson said the next step would involve approaching the cruise
company Carnival Australia to discuss compensation, and if they
did not wish to compensate satisfactorily, file a class action.

"At this stage (the claim) would be seeking damages for
disappointment, a full refund and damages for any personal injury
due to the outbreak of illness," he said.

A Carnival Australia spokeswoman said they were unaware of any
legal action.

"We are aware that is the practice of some law firms to seek
business in this way but we have no knowledge of any class action
and are confident in the high standards maintained by Princess
Cruises," said the spokeswoman.

It is common cruise ship practice to confine passengers with the
norovirus symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea to their cabin to
prevent infection spreading.

Ships also dispense antibacterial hand gel at the door of
restaurants and frequently wipe down handrails, lift buttons and

TAKATA: Four Automakers Aware of Defective Airbags, Suit Claims
Hiroko Tabuchi and Neal E. Boudette, writing for The New York
Times, report that at least four automakers knew for years that
Takata's airbags were dangerous and could rupture violently but
continued to use those airbags in their vehicles to save on costs,
lawyers representing victims of the defect asserted in a court
document filed on Feb. 27.

The Justice Department's criminal investigation into Takata's
rupture-prone airbags has so far painted automakers as unwitting
victims duped by a rogue supplier that manipulated safety data to
hide a deadly defect, linked to at least 11 deaths and over 100
injuries in the United States.

But the fresh allegations against Ford, Honda, Nissan and Toyota,
made as part of a class-action lawsuit in Florida and based on
company documents, point to a far deeper involvement by automakers
that used Takata's defective airbags for years.

Honda vehemently denied the new allegations on Feb. 27.  The three
other automakers either declined to comment or said a response
would come through legal channels.

Last summer, The New York Times reported indications that
automakers, rather than being the victims of Takata's missteps,
had pressed their suppliers to put cost before all else.  That
report focused on General Motors, which is not named in the
Florida case, though plaintiff lawyers said they were preparing to
take action against the company.

The defect has prompted the nation's largest automotive recall
ever, affecting nearly 70 million airbags in 42 million vehicles.

The plaintiffs' filing came hours before Takata pleaded guilty,
under a deal announced in January, to charges of wire fraud for
providing the false data, a rare outcome for businesses accused of
wrongdoing.  Federal prosecutors also said in January that they
had charged three Takata executives with fabricating test data and
fined the Tokyo company $1 billion.

"I deeply regret the circumstances that resulted in the
agreement," Yoichiro Nomura, Takata's chief executive, said at the
federal court hearing in Detroit.  The company's actions were
"completely unacceptable," he said.

"Takata is fully committed to ensuring such conduct never happens
again," he added.

The allegations in the Florida case came in response to a court
document filed by the automakers that pointed to Takata's plea
deal to argue that the supplier alone was culpable.

But the plaintiffs, who could gain from suing the deep-pocketed
automakers alongside Takata, argue that the automakers were more
deeply involved in the handling of the defect.  The fines and
costs associated with the scandal have also taken a heavy
financial toll on Takata, and it has been searching for a
financial lifeline -- possibly in the form of a white knight that
would effectively take it over.

One of the plaintiffs' lawyers, Kevin R. Dean, filed an objection
to Takata's plea deal on Feb. 27 in Detroit, arguing that the
automakers were accomplices in the cover-up.  He urged the judge
to reject the agreement and for the Justice Department to further
investigate the automakers' role.

The plaintiffs have taken particular issue with the amount set
aside for victims in Takata's plea -- a total of $125 million.  In
contrast, the automakers will have recourse to draw on an $850
million fund to offset continuing recall costs.

Judge George Caram Steeh dismissed Mr. Dean's objections, saying
that Takata's plea deal was in the best interest of the victims.
He said any further action against the automakers should be
pursued in civil court, and approved the plea deal as is.

Randi Johnston, 26, of Farmington, Utah -- who was injured in
September 2015 when the airbag in her 2003 Honda Civic ruptured
and metal shards struck her throat -- attended the hearing and
said afterward that she was shocked by the judge's decision. The
shards severed most of her vocal cords, leaving her able to speak
only in a whisper.

"I really don't have any words right now," said Ms. Johnston, a
plaintiff in the Florida class-action case.

The filing by the plaintiffs says emails and internal documents
turned over by Honda show that in 1999 and 2000, the automaker was
intimately involved in developing a problematic propellant, or
explosive, used in Takata's airbags.  The propellant is housed in
a steel container called the inflater, which in the Takata case
can rupture, shooting metal fragments toward the car's driver or

That propellant, based on a volatile compound, raised concerns
internally at Takata at the time, and long plagued the company's
engineers. During testing of Takata's inflaters in 1999 and 2000
at Honda's own facilities, at least two inflaters ruptured,
according to the filing.  Still, Honda pushed a particularly
problematic configuration of the propellant over Takata's
objections, the filing said.  Honda chose Takata's airbags because
of their relative "inexpensiveness," the filing quoted Honda
documents as saying.

The first recalls of Takata's airbags did not take place until
almost a decade later, when Honda recalled 4,000 vehicles in 2008.
The Times has reported that Honda and Takata became aware in 2004
of an airbag explosion in a Honda Accord in Alabama that shot out
metal fragments and injured the car's driver.  But the two
companies deemed it "an anomaly" and did not issue a recall or
seek the involvement of federal safety regulators.

On Feb. 27, Honda strongly y denied the allegations in the
plaintiffs' filing.  When it installed Takata's airbags, it said
in a statement, "Honda reasonably believed, based on extensive
test results provided by Takata, that they were safe."

Honda said it believed it reacted "promptly and appropriately" in
handling known airbag defects. It also said Takata's airbags had
not necessarily been cheaper than those of its competitors.

"Sometimes they were more expensive, sometimes less," the carmaker

The filing also cites internal documents from Ford, Nissan and
Toyota indicating that cost considerations influenced the
automakers' decision to adopt Takata's airbags in the early 2000s,
despite safety concerns.

Toyota used Takata's airbags "primarily" for cost reasons, even
though the automaker had "large quality concerns" about Takata and
considered the supplier's quality performance "unacceptable," the
filing said.  In 2003, a Takata inflater ruptured at a Toyota
facility during testing, the court filing said.

In 2005, Nissan began investigating the use of adding a drying
agent to Takata's airbag inflaters out of concern that exposure to
moisture made the propellant particularly unstable, the filing
says.  Takata engineers had long known that its explosive was
sensitive to moisture and adopted it despite internal concerns
over its safety.  Although patents show that its engineers have
long struggled to tame the propellant, the company still maintains
that the explosive can be stabilized to withstand moist

Ford chose Takata's inflaters over the objections of the
automaker's own inflater expert, who opposed the use of Takata's
propellant because of its instability and sensitivity to moisture,
the filing said.  Ford overrode those objections because it
thought Takata was the only supplier that could provide the large
number of inflaters Ford needed, the filing says.

The filing says that Ford, Honda, Nissan and Toyota were also
aware of instances of ruptures years before any recalls.

It also mentions the German carmaker BMW and points to
circumstantial evidence that BMW was similarly involved in what
federal prosecutors, in their criminal complaint and in announcing
the Takata guilty-plea agreement, have called a cover-up. But BMW
has so far refused to submit documents in the case, the filing

Representatives of Nissan and BMW said the companies could not
comment on active cases.  A Toyota representative also declined to
comment.  A Ford spokeswoman said the automaker would respond
through appropriate legal channels.

TX CONCIERGE: Fails to Pay Employees OT, "Llamas" Suit Claims
Miguel Angel Llamas, on behalf of himself and all others similarly
situated v. TX Concierge, Inc. a/k/a TXC Bookkeeping Services,
Dallas Valet Service, Inc. a/k/a Fort Worth Valet a/k/a McKinney
Valet a/k/a Southlake Valet a/k/a DVS a/k/a Valet Dallas a/k/a
Dallas Valet a/k/a DFW Valet, BMW of Dallas, Abdallah Demachkie
a/k/a Danny Demachkie, and Ahmad Demachkie, Case No. 3:17-cv-
00394-L (N.D. Tex., February 10, 2017), is brought against the
Defendants for failure to pay overtime wages for work in excess of
more than 40 hours in any work week.

The Defendants own and operate a valet parking service company in

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      J.H. Zidell, Esq.
      Robert L. Manteuffel, Esq.
      Joshua A. Petersen, Esq.
      J.H. ZIDELL, P.C.
      6310 LBJ Freeway, Ste. 112
      Dallas, TX 75240
      Telephone: (972) 233-2264
      Facsimile: (972) 386-7610
      E-mail: zabogado@aol.com

UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Chinese Drivers Compelled to Arbitrate Claims
Judge Pamela K. Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of New York granted defendant's motion to remand the case
INC., Defendant, No. 16-CV-598 (PKC) (CLP) (E.D.N.Y.).

Uber Technologies, Inc., is a technology company that allows
drivers and potential riders to connect through a smartphone

Plaintiffs are native Chinese speakers who speak little or no
English. They started working as Uber drivers in the summer and
fall of 2015. When plaintiffs registered to use Uber, they
downloaded a Chinese version of the Uber App. When they signed up
to use the Uber App, the operative agreement was the software
license and online services agreement dated April 3, 2015 along
with the driver addendum to software license and online services
agreement dated November 10, 2014. The April 2015 services
agreement contained a clause stating that Uber could modify the
terms and conditions of the agreement or the driver addendum at
any time and that by using the Uber Services, or downloading,
installing, or using the driver app, customer is bound by any
future amendments and additions to the Agreement.

On or about December 11, 2015, Uber issued an updated services
agreement and driver addendum that contains an arbitration
provision and informs the drivers that they will be required to
resolve any claim that they may have against Uber on an individual
basis, except as provided, pursuant to the terms of the agreement
unless they choose to opt out of the arbitration provision, and
that the provision precludes them from bringing any class,
collective, or representative actions except under California's
Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 against Uber or from
participating in any such actions. The Arbitration Provision also
contains a delegation clause an opt-out provision.

Plaintiffs brought a putative class action against Uber alleging
breach of contract as Uber failed to pay them money they were owed
under Uber's New York City 2015 Guarantee Program. They alleged
that the 2015 December services agreement and addendum were in
English, and none of them could, or did, read it. Defendant moves
to compel arbitration.  The plaintiffs oppose and argue that they
are not bound by either of the Services Agreements on which
defendant relies in moving to compel arbitration, because the
terms were not reasonably communicated to them, and they did not
knowingly agree to the terms, including the arbitration clause.

Judge Chen granted the defendant's motion to compel arbitration
and the proceedings are stayed pending arbitration of plaintiffs'
claim.  Judge Chen held that even when the failure to read the
contract is attributable to the party's inability to read or
understand the language in which the contract is written, the
party is still bound by his or her assent.

A copy of Judge Chen's memorandum and order dated February 23,
2017, is available at https://goo.gl/tg5pc6 from Leagle.com.

Plaintiffs, represented by:

     Anne Seelig, Esq.
     C.K. Lee, Esq.
     Lee Litigation Group, PLLC
     30 E 39th St
     New York, NY 10016
     Telephone: 212-465-1180

Uber Technologies, Inc., Defendant, represented by Adam James Hunt
-- adamhunt@mofo.com -- David John Fioccola -- dfioccola@mofo.com
-- Tiffani B. Figueroa -- tfigueroa@mofo.com -- at Morrison &
Foerster LLP

UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Judge Grants Bid to Arbitrate "Peng"
Judge Pamela K. Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of New York granted defendant's motion to arbitrate the
case captioned KAI PENG, SAIZHANG GUAN and LONGBIN LI Plaintiff,
v. UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., Defendant, No. 16-CV-545 (PKC) (RER)

Uber Technologies, Inc. is a technology company that allows
drivers and potential riders to connect through a smartphone
application. In New York City, before drivers can use the Uber App
to find riders, they must enter into an agreement with Uber USA,
LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Uber.

Plaintiffs Kai Peng, Saizhang Guan and Longbin Li are all native
Chinese speakers who speak little or no English. They started
working as Uber drivers in the summer and fall of 2015.

When they registered to use Uber, they downloaded a Chinese
version of the Uber App, which had an interface that was entirely
in Chinese. When they signed up to use the Uber App, the operative
agreement was the software license and online services agreement
dated April 3, 2015 along with the driver addendum to software
license and online services agreement dated November 10, 2014. The
registration process itself was in Chinese, but the April 2015
services agreement and addendum were not translated into Chinese,
and were only available in English. The April 2015 services
agreement contained a clause stating that Uber could modify the
terms and conditions of the agreement or the driver addendum at
any time and that by using the Uber Services, or downloading,
installing, or using the driver app, customer is bound by any
future amendments and additions to the Agreement.

On or about December 11, 2015, Uber issued an updated services
agreement and driver addendum, and once again drivers had to
accept the updated agreement and addendum to continue working. The
services agreement contains an arbitration provision and informs
the drivers that they will be required to resolve any claim that
they may have against Uber on an individual basis, except as
provided, pursuant to the terms of the agreement unless they
choose to opt out of the arbitration provision, and that the
provision precludes them from bringing any class, collective, or
representative actions except under California's Private Attorneys
General Act of 2004 against Uber or from participating in any such
actions. The Arbitration Provision also contains a delegation
clause an opt-out provision.

Plaintiffs brought a putative class action against Uber alleging
breach of contract as Uber failed to pay them money they were owed
under Uber's New York City 2015 Guarantee Program. They alleged
that the 2015 December services agreement and addendum were in
English, and none of them could, or did, read it. Plaintiffs
failed to timely opt out of the Arbitration Provision because none
of them had the means to have any of the services agreements
translated into Chinese, and none of them has the resources to pay
an arbitrator to pursue their individual claims, even if the costs
are split with Uber.

On April 18, 2016, defendants moved to compel arbitration.

Judge Chen granted defendant motion to compel arbitration and the
proceedings are stayed pending arbitration of plaintiffs' claim.
Judge Chen held that while the court is sympathetic to plaintiffs'
argument that their assent was not informed because they were
unable to read the services agreement, which was provided solely
in English, the court is bound by clearly established law holding
that failure to read a contract is not a defense to contract

A copy of Judge Chen's memorandum and order dated February 23,
2017, is available at https://goo.gl/gylsMC from Leagle.com.

Plaintiffs, represented by:

     Anne Seelig, Esq.
     C.K. Lee, Esq.
     Lee Litigation Group, PLLC
     30 E 39th St
     New York, NY 10016
     Telephone: 212-465-1180

Uber Technologies, Inc., Defendant, represented by Adam James Hunt
-- adamhunt@mofo.com -- David John Fioccola -- dfioccola@mofo.com
-- Tiffani B. Figueroa -- tfigueroa@mofo.com -- at Morrison &
Foerster LLP

UBIQUS REPORTING: "Lloyd" Suit Seeks Relief Under Labor Law
on behalf of all others similarly situated, the Plaintiff, v.
Case No. 151499/2017 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., Feb. 15, 2017), seeks relief
for the Class pursuant to the applicable provisions of the
New York Labor Law (NYLL) to remedy Defendants' failure to pay all
wages due, in addition to injunctive relief.

The Plaintiffs and the putative class members were previously, or
are currently, employed by the Defendants and were denied gap time
wages as required by state wage and hour laws. The Defendants
further took unlawful deductions from Plaintiffs' paychecks by
failing to reimburse them for use of personal cellular devices.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Christopher Q. Davis, Esq.
          Rachel M. Haskell, Esq.
          225 Broadway, Suite 1803
          New York, NY 10007

UNITED PARCEL: Sued Over Fair Credit Reporting Act Violation
John Riley, on behalf of himself and on behalf of all others
similarly situated v. United Parcel Service of America, Inc., Case
No. 6:17-cv-00254-ACC-DCI (M.D. Fla., February 13, 2017), is
brought against the Defendants for violation of the Fair Credit
Reporting Act.

United Parcel Service of America, Inc. is a package delivery
company and a provider of supply chain management solutions.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Brandon J. Hill, Esq.
      1110 N Florida Ave Ste 300
      Tampa, FL 33602-3343
      Telephone: (813) 224-0431
      Facsimile: (813) 229-8712
      E-mail: bhill@wfclaw.com

UNITED STATES: Iowa Property Owners' $1.5MM Deal Has Prelim. OK
Under the proposed settlement, the 26 settling class members would
receive a total of $1,527,231.55, of which $561,037.13 is
principal for the value of the land at issue, $429,891.71 is
accrued interest as of April 1, 2017, and $536,302.71 is
attorneys' fees and costs of pursuant to the Uniform Relocation
Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act, 42 U.S.C.

Senior Judge Nancy B. Firestone of the United States Court of
Federal Claims granted preliminary approval of proposed class
action settlement and notice plan and scheduling public fairness
hearing in the case captioned STEVEN JENKINS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v. THE UNITED STATES, Defendant, No. 09-241L (Fed. Cl.).

The case arises from the conversion of a railroad corridor in
Dallas County, Iowa, to a recreational trail. The court granted
the plaintiffs' motion to certify the class.  The Federal Circuit
found that the appraiser should have taken into account the
physical remnants of the railroad when determining the value of
each landowner's property before the taking occurred.  On remand,
the parties determined that the Federal Circuit's decision
potentially affected 27 class members.  The parties held that they
reexamined the properties and calculated adjustments to previously
appraised values to reflect the physical condition of the railroad
corridor and conducted settlement discussions to resolve the
claims based on those adjusted figures and other information
concerning the properties.

The parties filed a joint motion for preliminary approval of a
proposed class settlement for the 26 of the 27 class members
remaining in the case and proposed notice plan pursuant to Rule
23(e) of the Rules of the Court of Federal Claims.

Under the proposed settlement, the 26 settling class members would
receive a total of $1,527,231.55, of which $561,037.13 is
principal for the value of the land at issue, $429,891.71 is
accrued interest as of April 1, 2017, and $536,302.71 is
attorneys' fees and costs of pursuant to the Uniform Relocation
Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act, 42 U.S.C.
Section4654(c). Upon review of the proposed settlement agreement,
the court does not find any collusive activity, preferential
treatment, or other deficiencies in the proposed settlement. The
court preliminarily approves the proposed settlement agreement.

The parties propose to use the notice and forms approved by the
court on January 23, 2017, to which the court finds that the
approved notice is reasonable and adequate to alert class members
of their rights and obligations under the terms of the proposed
settlement and to afford them opportunity to comment on or object
to the proposed settlement in advance of the fairness hearing. The
parties shall provide the attached approved notice via U.S. mail
for each member of the opt-in class, and do not need to provide
additional notice by publication.

Class counsel will mail the approved notice and forms to class
members by March 3, 2017.  The 30-day notice period will begin on
March 3, 2017 and shall close on April 3, 2017. The approved
notice will be mailed to the opt-in class members, along with the
attached forms that will allow class members to submit comments
and request to speak at the fairness hearing in advance of the
hearing. Class counsel will serve the government with copies of
all comments and requests to speak at the fairness hearing, and
file copies of the same with the court, no later than April 7,

The court schedules a fairness hearing to take place on Friday,
April 14, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. The fairness hearing will be held over
the phone. The court will provide call-in information to the
parties and any participating class members in advance of the

A copy of Judge Firestone's order dated February 22, 2017, is
available at https://goo.gl/CaOuEE from Leagle.com.

Plaintiffs, represented by:

     Thomas Scott Stewart, Esq.
     2100 Central Suite 22
     Kansas City, MO 64108
     Tel: 816-303-1500

USA, Defendant, represented by Jacqueline Camille Brown -- U.S.
Department of Justice

UNITED STATES: Faces "Cohen" Class Suit in Federal Court
A class action lawsuit has been commenced against the U.S.
government. The case is captioned Rafael Cohen and the class of
all others similarly situated v. USA, Case No. 1:17-cv-00211-VJW
(U.S. Fed. Ct., February 14, 2017).

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Frederick Martin Oberlander, Esq.
      28 Sycamore Lane, P.O. Box 1870
      Montauk, NY 11954
      Telephone: (212) 826-0357
      Facsimile: (212) 202-7624
      E-mail: fred55@aol.com

VOLKSWAGEN AG: Boss Criticized Over Emissions Scandal
Martin Williams, writing for Herald Scotland, reports that the
boss of Volkswagen has come attack for failing to cover the total
current cost to the taxpayer over the emission-rigging scandal
while dismissing the compensation claims of over 10,000 British
motorists including hundreds in Scotland.

Paul Willis, in giving evidence to the transport select committee,
said that while paying GBP12.3 billion to settle claims in the US
and buy back polluting cars, there was "no legal basis" for
similar claims in Britain, he had "misled nobody" and that his
company did not set up cars to cheat emissions regulations.

It also emerged that the payments to cover the cost to the
taxpayer of re-testing vehicles so far has not yet been fully paid
with ministers seeking a further GBP1 million over and above the
GBP1.1 million paid by Volkswagen.

Transport minister John Hayes told MPs that the government were
engaging with VW to cough up the further GBP1 million and to press
for further compensation to customers who have been affected.

VW say it believed that the GBP1.1 million paid was sufficient to
cover taxpayer costs.

Willis told MPs that fewer than half of the UK vehicles caught up
in the Volkswagen emissions scandal had been fixed.  Around
470,000 of the 1.2m vehicles fitted with software to cheat
environmental tests have been dealt with, he said.

SNP MP Stewart McDonald, who is a member of the committee has now
written to the Volkswagen managing director raising concerns about
the compensation failure and the clearness and inconsistencies of
his evidence saying the evidence session was "extremely
disappointing and unacceptable".

During the hearing, MPs attacked VW's UK boss for failing to give
answers to straight answers, repeatedly using phrases such as "to
the best of my knowledge" and "I can't recall".

Mr McDonald said: "There are obligations that have not been met,
including the payment of compensation warranty to cover the
taxpayer's costs to fix this, which appears still not to have been
paid in full.

"The whole thing is causing frustration for the committee still
trying to get to the bottom of this and of course for all the
consumer and customers of the company.

"The motor industry -- and Volkswagen in particular -- have got to
live up to a higher standard than this, otherwise their
reputations and the reputation of their products is going to be
irreparably damaged."  He is also concerned that the UK government
appears not to have yet received the full report from Volkswagen
over the emissions scandal.

Paul Willis, Volkswagen Group UK managing director defends a
failure to provide compensation at the parliamentary committee.

Harcus Sinclair is applying for a group litigation order -- which
is similar to a US class action lawsuit -- in the High Court.

Glasgow-based Thompsons Solicitors is representing more than 250
motorists in Scotland affected by the scandal.

The legal action is aimed at securing compensation for people who
own or have previously owned one of the vehicles.

In the UK around 1.2 million diesel engine cars are affected by
the emissions scandal.

Of the UK vehicles affected by the crisis, there were estimated to
be 508,276 Volkswagen cars, 393,450 Audis, 131,569 Skodas, 79,838
VW commercial vehicles and 76,773 Seats.

Around 20,000 cars a week are being fixed by the company,
Mr. Willis told MPs.

Mr Willis was being questioned by the transport select committee
on the emissions scandal following revelations in 2015 that 11m
diesel-engined VW cars worldwide failed to meet pollution

Mr Willis said there had been no change in fuel consumption and,
from all the data he had seen, there had been no detrimental
effect to the residual value of vehicles.

VW accepts that 8.5 million vehicles in Europe were fitted with
software that could detect when they were being tested for

But it denies that the software amounts to a "defeat device" under
EU law.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Economy Secretary Keith
Brown strongly expressed his concerns about a lack of compensation
for the VW customers in Scotland when he met
Mr Willis last year and he underlined his commitment to getting
customers the deal they deserve.

* Court Orders Disclosure of Third-Party Class Action Funding
Melonia Bennett, Esq. -- mbennett@bakerlaw.com -- of
BakerHostetler, in an article for JDSupra, reports that for years,
certain lenders have agreed to fund all or part of a party's
litigation costs, usually in exchange for an agreed share of any
recovered proceeds, as part of a practice called "third-party
litigation funding."  This has spawned widespread debate over the
propriety of such funding and the degree of transparency parties
and courts should have as to the nature and amount of the funding
(as well as the identity of the funders themselves).

Many types of third-party litigation funding arrangements exist,
including investor-based class action funding.  According to the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute of Legal Reform, third-party
litigation financing from investors has been on the rise in the
United States dating back to 2007.  Third-party funding of mass
litigation and class actions is also on the rise in other

Proponents of third-party litigation financing of class actions
assert that it allows plaintiffs with limited resources to bring
legitimate claims that otherwise might not be asserted.  Opponents
believe the practice unhinges litigation strategy and related
considerations, including the plaintiffs' motivations or
willingness to settle.  Opponents also question the adequacy of
representation in the appointment of class counsel and if class
counsel is motivated to protect the interest of the class, or to
protect the investors bankrolling the suit.

At least one federal district court is taking steps to increase
the transparency of third-party litigation funding.  Effective
January 17, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of California announced changes to its Standing Order
that require automatic disclosure of third-party funding
agreements for proposed class action lawsuits.  The Northern
District of California encompasses jurisdictions including San
Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Eureka.

Under the Northern District of California's amended Standing
Order, third parties funding a proposed class action in the will
have to disclose their involvement in the lawsuit in a joint case
management statement.

The pertinent part of the Standing Order for All Judges in the
Northern District of California reads:

Disclosure of Non-party Interested Entities or Persons: Whether
each party has filed the "Certification of Interested Entities or
Persons" required by Civil Local Rule 3-15.  In addition, each
party must restate in the case management statement the contents
of its certification by identifying any persons, firms,
partnerships, corporations (including parent corporations) or
other entities known by the party to have either: (i) a financial
interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the
proceeding; or (ii) any other kind of interest that could be
substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.  In any
proposed class, collective, or representative action, the required
disclosure includes any person or entity that is funding the
prosecution of any claim or counterclaim.

This change to the Standing Order is in lieu of proposed, but
ultimately rejected, revisions to Civil Local Rule 3-15 that
similarly would have required parties to disclose the person or
entity funding the prosecution of the claims.

Notably, the Standing Order change follows the April 2016 Judicial
Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules' consideration of
disclosure requirements of third-party litigation funding for all
federal courts; however, the Committee has yet to finalize any
proposals. This rule change also follows Gbarabe v. Chevron Corp.,
No. 14-cv-00173, 2016 WL 4154849 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 5, 2016), which
centered on the plaintiffs' class action claims alleging that the
defendant was liable for damages related to an exploratory gas
well explosion.  During a discovery dispute, the Northern District
of California compelled the named plaintiff to produce his
litigation funding agreement to the defendant.

To date, the Northern District of California's Standing Order
regarding third-party litigation financing is unique.  It appears
that the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules
might begin to study litigation financing, which is expected to
grow over the next decade.  In the interim, class action
defendants should inquire about the existence of any third-party
litigation funding in discovery.

* Government-Backed Fund Needed for Class Actions in Australia
Mathew Dunckley, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, reports
that a government-backed fund is needed to ensure access to
justice for cases where litigation funders and plaintiff lawyers
are unwilling to back court action, says a leading expert in the

Vince Morabito, a professor at the Monash Business School, said a
fund to pick up strong cases that were unattractive to commercial
operators would help ensure access to justice for vulnerable
claimants such as homeless people, refugees or Aboriginal

"That's one of the crucial things, we need some kind of legal
fund," Professor Morabito said.

He said just such a fund was recommended in 1988 by the Law Reform
Commission as part of the work that helped eventually lead to the
establishment of a class action regime in 1992.

"Class actions on behalf of vulnerable people was what they had in
mind, where it might not be as commercially attractive or it might
not make sense to run on a no-win, no-fee basis," he said.

"Litigation funders are the major players and so far they have had
a clear preference for shareholder class actions."

The reluctance to back cases on behalf of the vulnerable ignored
the relatively strong success rate of such actions when they were
brought, he said.

A fund would probably need between $15 million and $20 million in
seed funding and would need to pick cases very carefully initially
but would not necessarily need ongoing funding, he said.

In Canada, a similar fund was self funding due to the proceeds
from settlements being reinvested, he said.

Professor Morabito will speak at the Maurice Blackburn BusinessDay
Class Actions Symposium event in March to mark 25 years of class
actions in Australia.

He referenced a 2014 study he did with Maurice Blackburn's Jarrah
Ekstein that found 54 per cent of such case resulted in success
for the plaintiffs, usually through a settlement.

"We actually found that the success rate of those class actions on
behalf of vulnerable people was slightly higher than all other
class actions," he said.

There were also some encouraging signs that litigation funders
would look at broader types of class actions, he said, pointing to
IMF's funding of a Queensland floods action.

"They are beginning to look beyond the shareholder class actions,"
he said.

Another development that would assist was the landmark full
Federal Court judgment on open funding of class actions, which
would allow suits to be brought before the individuals represented
were completely identified.

Professor Morabito said the introduction of contingency fees, as
recommended by the Productivity Commission its 2014 inquiry, would
also boost competition and would help the non-investor class
actions get up.

"It would make for a much more competitive market than it is now,"
he said.

* New Bills May Impact Class Action Litigation in Missouri
Miranda Moore, writing for Missourian, reports that Missourians
who sue a company, employer or physician will face more obstacles
if a slew of bills making their way through the Missouri General
Assembly become law.

Bills introduced in both the Missouri House and Senate, if passed,
would result in significant changes to how and where class action
lawsuits can be filed, the amount of damages a plaintiff may
pursue and who could be held liable.

Supporters of the more than two dozen bills (and counting)
currently making their way through the legislature said they
believe that the legal climate in Missouri, specifically St.
Louis, inflates insurance costs and deters businesses from coming
to the state.  In his State of the State address in January, Gov.
Eric Greitens cited lawsuits brought under the Missouri
Merchandising Practices Act as an obstacle to economic growth.

"Our judicial system is broken, and the trial lawyers who have
broken it, well, their time is up," Mr. Greitens said during the

Each of the tort bills introduced so far have been sponsored by

Critics of the proposed policies say that the bills would create
all but insurmountable barriers for someone bringing a lawsuit in
the state of Missouri, making it difficult, if not impossible, for
people who have been wronged to seek remuneration in the civil
court system.

"I have yet to see solid evidence of any tort reform bill reducing
insurance costs," said Rep. Gina Mitten, D-St. Louis. "Each and
every one of these bills are to create barriers for people to

What is a tort, and why "reform" the law?
The term "tort reform" is mentioned casually by politicians, but
it refers to a body of law that is quite complex.

"A tort means any harm. It can be a negligent harm, or it can be
intentional harm," said Genevieve Nichols, a St. Louis trial

When a tort is committed, the law allows the injured party to sue
for recompense from the injuring party, or tortfeasor.

Examples of reasons someone might sue under tort laws would be if
they were injured by harmful consumer products, or by a doctor's
malpractice.  Suits can be brought individually, but in situations
where many people have been injured by the same wrongdoing, class-
action suits provide a way for the court to use one set of facts
to find resolution for many people.

Proponents of "tort reform," however, say the current system gives
preference to excessive suits brought by profit-motivated trial
attorneys, which inflates insurance costs for businesses.

"We want to make sure that we're putting the pendulum back in the
middle, I think, where it's supposed to be in the tort-consumer
relationship," Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said at a press
briefing.  Sen. Rowden, who has sponsored two tort bills and
serves on the Senate Government Reform Committee that hears most
of the tort legislation, did not respond to multiple requests for

An annual report produced by the American Tort Reform Association
(ATRA), cited by the governor in his State of the State speech and
by legislators in a number of bill hearings, identified the
Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis as a "judicial hellhole."
ATRA said this designation was earned because when looking at the
already-high volume of tort cases in the St. Louis civil justice
system, most plaintiffs are not from St. Louis or Missouri.
Attorneys from across the country move their lawsuits to St. Louis
to "exploit a weak venue law," said ATRA president Tiger Joyce.

Opponents to the proposed legislation say that restricting a
plaintiff's options in the civil justice system is merely a chance
for already-rich corporations to further pad their bottom line by
skirting civil responsibility when someone is harmed by the
corporations' actions.

"All of these bills were paid for by elite billionaires," Rep.
Mitten said, referring to campaign contributions to lawmakers
supporting the measures.  "At the end of the day, the folks that
actually pay are working Missourians."

A list of ATRA's sample members from November 2016, pulled from
internet archives, listed many high-profile doctors groups,
pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and automobile
manufacturers, but this list is no longer on ATRA's website.
Darren McKinney, communications director for ATRA, said the
website was out of date and had been recently upgraded, but
declined to provide a list of specific members beyond a founding
organization, the American Medical Association, and the National
Federation of Independent Business.  He noted that, as a
nonprofit, ATRA is not required to disclose the list.

What would change?
Republicans' proposed changes to Missouri tort law have been
introduced piece by piece in dozens of bills.  These bills could
later be grouped together and, if passed, sent to the governor's
desk as one package of legislation.  If no significant challenge
to these bills materializes, there is a real chance that the
Republican supermajority will usher in these changes during the
current session.

Missouri Merchandising Practices Act

Among the most controversial tort bills introduced this session is
Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard,

The bill in its original form, if passed, would effectively gut
the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, said David Angle, a
Columbia-area trial attorney.

According to the attorney general's office, the Merchandising
Practices Act allows for Missourians to sue if they are sold a
product or service under dishonest or deceptive circumstances. The
current law says that the suit may be filed either in the county
where the seller resides, or in the county where the transaction

Angle, who works on behalf of clients who say they are victims of
fraudulent business practices, said that the Merchandising
Practices Act was approved in 1967 as part of a nationwide trend
in the growth of state-level unfair or deceptive acts or practices
laws, or UDAP laws.  Since only the government can sue under the
Federal Trade Commission Act, these state-level unfair practices
laws were intended to allow consumers the option to sue for
wrongdoing, Angle said.

Under the original version of Senate Bill 5, the proposal would
change the statute of limitations to further restrict the time
during which a claimant may sue, prevent any business that is
regulated by any government authority from being sued and require
co-plaintiffs in a class action suit to prove their cases
individually, rather than as a group.

Angle said that unfair practices laws are intended to be flexible
because the types of fraud committed against consumers vary
widely, and people who commit fraud are versatile and resourceful.

"The ingenuity of folks who commit fraud is never going to stop,"
Angle said.

The bill was on the formal calendar for perfection on the Senate
floor, but has since been moved to the informal calendar, said
Lauren Hieger, communications director for the Missouri Senate
Majority Caucus.  Richard is currently working on revising the
bill, he said in a news conference on Feb. 9, but has not released
further information on any planned changes.

Missouri businessman David Humphreys has contributed hundreds of
thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Richard and other
lawmakers sponsoring tort legislation.  Humphreys is the CEO of
TAMKO, a roofing supply company that has been the defendant in
extensive tort litigation spanning many years, including
allegations of wrongful death, personal injury and asbestos-
related injuries.  TAMKO is currently facing asbestos-related
class action litigation in St. Louis.


Several of the bills under consideration attempt to redefine who
can be held liable for wrongdoing under tort law.

One such bill, Senate Bill 237, introduced by Sen. Rowden, revises
the law that determines how hospitals may define what they call an
employee.  During debate on the Senate floor,
Sen. Rowden said the bill protected health care providers from
unnecessary litigation. Currently, Missouri law requires hospitals
to be responsible for harm that occurs under their roof,
regardless of whether the harm is committed by employees or others
who use their facilities.

"(The bill) makes sure that folks who enter into contractual
agreements, if there are issues, that the folks who caused the
issues are the ones that are held liable, whether it's a hospital
or doctor," Sen. Rowden said during a news conference.

Sen. Rowden said that by revising liability and litigation rules,
the bill aims to keep health care costs low, which he emphasized
is of particular importance to his constituents.

Critics of this bill say that it gives carte blanche to hospitals
to avoid taking responsibility for errors committed under their

"What employer in the health-care industry would ever pay a
health-care provider directly under this bill? Because all they
have to do is set up some sort of artifice of indirect payment,
and they're no longer responsible for what anybody does under
their roof," said Sen. Scott Sifton, D-Affton, during floor

Kansas City trial attorney Brett Emison, who testified in
opposition to SB 237, said that doctors could also suffer if this
bill becomes law.

"It creates a situation where the hospitals are hanging the
doctors out to dry," Mr. Emison said.  "If (doctors) haven't
purchased enough medical malpractice insurance, it risks doctors'
personal assets."

Mr. Emison said that hospitals are looking to reduce their
liability, but doing so this way is to the detriment of both
doctors and patients.

The bill passed the Senate on Feb. 16, and has been sent to the
House. House Bill 452, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Austin, R-
Springfield, is identical to SB 237.

Venue and Joinders

Among the more technical bills introduced are those that address
court rules governing where lawsuits may be filed and whether
suits can be joined together.

Venue rules in Missouri currently allow people outside the state
to sue in Missouri if the defendant, including a corporation, is
based in the state.  Joinder rules allow plaintiffs bringing
separate lawsuits to join together if the suits are based on the
same set of facts against the same defendant.

Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer, R-Odessa, sponsored House Bills 459 through
463, a set of legislation that would change court rules pertaining
to venue and joinders.  Rep. Kolkmeyer said during a Jan. 30
hearing for the House Special Committee on Litigation Reform that
the legislature has the authority to change court rules, a task
normally reserved for the Missouri Supreme Court.

Rep. Kolkmeyer said that by separating plaintiffs by venue, as
well as preventing plaintiffs from grouping their lawsuits
together (including out-of-state plaintiffs), these bills would
distribute cases throughout the state rather than clogging an
overburdened court system.

"Trying the cases of all these parties in our state courts causes
court congestion, overworked judges, restricted access to courts
for our Missouri citizens and huge expenditures of funds to keep
the court system functioning," Rep. Kolkmeyer said.

Restricting plaintiffs' ability to join their lawsuits together in
a single venue, thereby forcing them to pursue their suits
individually, would prove cost-prohibitive, said Jack Garvey, a
trial attorney and former judge in St. Louis who testified in
opposition to the bills.

Garvey said that because of the size of the jury pool and the
costs involved in trials, St. Louis is better equipped to handle
large tort cases, whereas more rural courthouses might be
overwhelmed. He also said that St. Louis judges can manage their
own dockets without interference from the legislature.

Rep. Mitten, who sits on the House Special Committee on Litigation
Reform, said that these measures will increase costs to Missouri
taxpayers if plaintiffs are prohibited from joining related cases.

If joinders are no longer allowed and if venue rules are
restricted, what could be litigated under current law as a single
case, such as a class-action suit, would instead be litigated as
separate cases for each plaintiff in a different venue.

"You have to pay for a judge in different counties, but it's all
the same facts," Rep. Mitten said.

Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, sponsored the Senate
counterparts to Rep. Kolkmeyer's bills, Senate Bills 258 through
262.  The House bills were passed out of committee on Feb. 20, and
have not yet been scheduled for floor debate.  The Senate bills
are through committee and are on the Senate floor calendar for
Feb. 27.


Senate Bill 45, sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington,
proposes to reroute disputes between employers and at-will
employees away from the court system and into private arbitration

"What this allows is for the business and the employee to come to
an agreement that any employee controversies be dealt with through
an arbitration process," Sen. Romine said during floor debate.

This bill was especially contentious among its opponents, who said
that by forcing disputes into private arbitration, it will allow
discrimination and employer retribution to occur without adequate
remedy to the victim.

"That bill will effectively deny access to the courts for
Missourians who believe that they have had adverse employment
actions as a result of sexual harassment complaints, or employment
discrimination complaints," Sen. Sifton said.  "You're going to
see far fewer sexual harassment victims and victims of racism and
sexism and ageism in the workplace have a chance to make their
case to a jury."

Other initiatives

The scope of the more than two dozen tort bills so far introduced
in the General Assembly runs the gamut of tort-specific processes,
procedures and judgments. Other bills that have been introduced
include measures that potentially reduce judgements, create a
distinction between employees of franchisors and franchisees, add
time limits to the settlement process and address product
liability and asbestos claims.

Summary of bills filed proposing changes to class action lawsuits

A summary of the bills that would make significant changes to how
and where class action lawsuits can be brought, the amount of
damages a plaintiff may pursue and who could be held liable.

* Seyfarth Reports on 2016 Workplace Class Certification Trends
Gerald Maatman, Jr., Esq. of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, in an article for
JDSupra, reports on key trends for workplace class action
litigation in 2016.  In terms of the sheer number of rulings, a
significant trend saw wage & hour class action and collective
action certification decisions outstripping all other types of
certification orders over the past year.  This reflects the simple
truism that with more wage & hour litigation case filings over the
last 36 months than all other varieties of workplace class
actions, there have been more conditional certification and
decertification decisions in that space than in any other area of
workplace class action litigation.  The takeaway for employers is
that the tidal wave of this type of workplace class action claim
is not ending anytime soon.


An undeniable fact of litigation statistics is that wage & hour
certification decisions in 2016 increased geometrically as
compared to last year.  Of the 224 wage & hour certification
decisions in 2016, there were 195 conditional certification
rulings and 29 decertification rulings.  In contrast, in 2015,
there were 175 wage & hour certification decisions, including 153
conditional certification rulings and 22 decertification rulings.
While plaintiffs' lawyers won more conditional certification
motions than compared to prior years, employers also won
decertification motions at higher rates than as compared to 2015.
At the same time, that led to a more rapid and robust development
of case law on conditional certification and decertification
issues in the wage & hour context.

The Story Behind The Numbers

While shareholder and securities class action filings witnessed an
increase in 2016, employment-related class action filings remained
relatively flat.

By the numbers, filings for employment discrimination and ERISA
claims were basically flat over the past year, while the volume of
wage & hour cases decreased for the first time in over a decade.

By the close of the year, ERISA lawsuits totaled 6,530 filings
(down slightly as compared to 6,925 in 2015 and 7,163 in 2014),
FLSA lawsuits totaled 8,308 filings (down as compared to 8,954 in
2015 and up from 8,066 in 2014), and employment discrimination
lawsuits totaled 11,593 filings (an increase from 11,550 in 2015
and a decrease from 11,867 in 2014).

In terms of employment discrimination cases, however, the
potential exists for a significant jump in case filings in the
coming year, as the charge number totals at the EEOC in 2015 and
2016 reached record levels in the 52-year history of the
Commission; due to the time-lag in the period from the filing of a
charge to the filing of a subsequent lawsuit, the charges in the
EEOC's inventory will become ripe for the initiation of lawsuits
in 2017.

By the numbers, FLSA collective action litigation filings in 2016
far outpaced other types of employment-related class action
filings; virtually all FLSA lawsuits are filed and litigated as
collective actions.  Up until 2015, lawsuit filings reflected
year-after-year increases in the volume of wage & hour litigation
pursued in federal courts since 2000; statistically, wage & hour
filings have increased by over 450% in the last 15 years.

The fact of the first decrease in FLSA lawsuit filings in 15 years
is noteworthy in and of itself. However, a peek behind these
numbers confirms that with 8,308 lawsuit filings, 2016 was the
second highest year ever in the filing of such cases (only
eclipsed by 2015, when 8,954 lawsuits were commenced).

Given this trend, employers may well see record-breaking numbers
of FLSA filings in 2017.  Various factors are contributing to the
fueling of these lawsuits, including: (i) new FLSA regulations on
overtime exemptions in 2016, which have been delayed in terms of
their implementation due to legal challenges by 13 states; (ii)
minimum wage hikes in 21 states and 22 major cities set to take
effect in 2017; and (iii) the intense focus on independent
contractor classification and joint employer status, especially in
the franchisor-franchisee context.  Layered on top of those issues
is the difficulty of applying a New Deal piece of legislation to
the realities of the digital workplace that no lawmakers could
have contemplated in 1938. The compromises that led to the passage
of the legislation in the New Deal meant that ambiguities, omitted
terms, and unanswered questions abound under the FLSA (something
as basic as the definition of the word "work" does not exist in
the statute), and the plaintiffs' bar is suing over those issues
at a record pace.

Virtually all FLSA lawsuits are filed as collective actions;
therefore, these filings represent the most significant exposure
to employers in terms of any workplace laws.  By industry, retail
and hospitality companies experienced a deluge of wage & hour
class actions in 2016.

What The Numbers Should Mean To Employers

The story behind these numbers is indicative of how the
plaintiffs' class action bar chooses cases to litigate. It has a
diminished appetite to invest in long-term cases that are fought
for years, and where the chance of a plaintiffs' victory is
fraught with challenges either as to certification or on the
merits.  Hence, this reflects the various differences in success
factors in bringing employment discrimination and ERISA class
actions, as compared to FLSA collective actions.

Obtaining a "first stage" conditional certification order is
possible without a "front end" investment in the case (e.g., no
expert is needed unlike the situation when certification is sought
in an ERISA or employment discrimination class action) and without
conducting significant discovery due to the certification
standards under 29 U.S.C. Sec. 216(b).  Certification can be
achieved in a shorter period of time (in 2 to 6 months after the
filing of the lawsuit) and with little expenditure of attorneys'
efforts on time-consuming discovery or with the costs of an
expert.  As a result, to the extent that litigation of class
actions by plaintiffs' lawyers are viewed as an investment,
prosecution of wage & hour lawsuits is a relatively low cost
investment without significant barriers to entry relative to other
types of workplace class action litigation.  As compared to ERISA
and employment discrimination class actions, FLSA litigation is
less difficult or protracted, and more cost-effective and
predictable.  In terms of their "rate of return," the plaintiffs'
bar can convert their case filings more readily into certification
orders, and create the conditions for opportunistic settlements
over shorter periods of time. The certification statistics for
2016 confirm these factors.

An increasing phenomenon in the growth of wage & hour litigation
is worker awareness.  Wage & hour laws are usually the domain of
specialists, but in 2016 wage & hour issues made front-page news.
The widespread public attention to how employees are paid almost
certainly contributed to the sheer number of suits.  Big verdicts
and record settlements also played a part, as success typically
begets copy-cats and litigation is no exception.  Yet, the
pervasive influence of technology is also helping to fuel this
litigation trend.  Technology has opened the doors for
unprecedented levels of marketing and advertising by the
plaintiffs' bar -- either through direct soliciting of putative
class members or in advancing the overall cause of lawsuits.
Technology allows for the virtual commercialization of wage & hour
cases through the Internet and social media.

Against this backdrop, wage & hour class actions filed in state
court also represented an increasingly important part of this
trend.  Most pronounced in this respect were filings in the state
courts of California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New
Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.  In particular, California
continued its status in 2016 as a breeding ground for wage & hour
class action litigation due to laxer class certification standards
under state law, exceedingly generous damages remedies for
workers, and more plaintiff-friendly approaches to class
certification as well as wage & hour issues under the California
Labor Code.  For the fourth year out of the last five, the
American Tort Reform Association ("ATRA") selected California as
one of the nation's worst "judicial hellholes" as measured by the
systematic application of laws and court procedures in an unfair
and unbalanced manner.  Calling California one of the worst of the
worst jurisdictions, the ATRA described the Golden State as indeed
that for plaintiffs' lawyers "seeking riches and the expense of
employers. . ." and where "lawmakers, prosecutors, and judges have
long aided and abetted this massive redistribution of wealth."


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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Christopher G. Patalinghug, and Peter A. Chapman, Editors.

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. ISSN 1525-2272.

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