CAR_Public/171219.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R


           Tuesday, December 19, 2017, Vol. 19, No. 250



                            Headlines

ACORDA THERAPEUTICS: Jan. 17 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set
ADVANCED ANALYTICAL: Korean Tillery Opposes Bid to Transfer Suit
ADVANCED MICRO: February 27 Settlement Fairness Hearing Set
ALCON LABS: Foley & Lardner Attorney Discusses 3rd Cir. Ruling
ALKERMES PLC: Jan. 22 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set

ALLERGAN INC: Faces Antitrust Class Action in Texas
AMERADA HESS: Motion to Dismiss Gas Leak Class Action Pending
ANGLO AMERICAN: Nears Silicosis Case Out-of-Court Settlement
ANTHEM: AMA Mulls Suit Over Planned Physician Reimbursement Cuts
ARRAY BIOPHARMA: Jan. 22 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set

ARVEST BANK: 10th Cir. Revives Overdraft Fee Class Action
ASSET RECOVERY: Faces "Hudson" Suit in E. Dist. New York
AUSTRALIA: Darwin Residents Urged to Join PFAS Class Action
AVANGRID INC: Responds to Class Action Over Electric Prices
BANANA BOAT: Faces Class Action Over Sunscreen SPF 50+ Claims

BANC OF CALIFORNIA: Potential Securities Claims Investigated
BARCLAYS PLC: Wants 2d Cir. to Rehear Dark Pool Class Cert.
BEAVER COUNTY, PA: Argument to Tackle Issues on Two Statues
BLT RESTAURANT: Faces "Martinez" Suit in E.D. New York
BMNY CONTRACTING: "Hernandez" Suit Seeks Unpaid Overtime Pay

BMW BANK: Auto Finance Company Unable TO Shake TCPA Class Action
BRITISH COLUMBIA: To Pay Back $5.5MM in Fees to Methadone Patients
BROADSOFT INC: Monteverde & Associates Files Class Action
CAFFBENE FRANCHISE: Faces "Young" Suit in S.D. New York
CALGON CARBON: Faruqi & Faruqi Files Securities Class Action

CANADA: No Date Yet for Class Action Lawyer Disciplinary Hearing
CANADA: Strike-Hit College Students Balk at $500 Compensation
CENTURYLINK: Overbilling Suits Consolidated Into Class Action
COHN RESTAURANT: Faces Class Action Over Bill Surcharges
COLLEGE SERVITE: Priest Suspended After Sexual Abuse Class Action

DESJARDINS ENTITIES: Quebec Court of Appeal OKs Investor Suit
DESJARDINS FINANCIAL: Court Lowers Threshold for Class Action
DOCTORS CENTER: Faces "Araujo" Suit in District of New Jersey
DOLLAR TREE: Wins Jury Verdict in Electronic Wage Settlement Suit
DOLLAR TREE: Sheppard Mullin Attorneys Discuss Court Ruling

EQUIFAX INC: Faces New Class Action Over Data Breach in Atlanta
EQUIFAX INC: Hit with Suit by Windsor County Woman
ERIN ENERGY: Obtains Favorable Ruling in Stockholders' Suit
FORD MOTOR: WeirFoulds Discusses Ruling on Motion to Intervene
FRANKLIN COUNTY, PA: Sheriff Dropped from Privacy Class Action

FREDERIC I WEINBERG: Faces "Bouie" Suit in E. Dist. Penn.
GIGAMON INC: Mur Files Suit Over Onerous Merger Deal
GOLDEN STATE: Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Privacy Class Action
GOOGLE INC: Disputes Ex-Female Workers' Pay Discrimination Claims
HANOVER GREEK: "Montes" Seeks Overtime, Spread-of-Hours Pay, Tips

HOT SPRINGS, AR: Faces Class Action Over False Alarm Ordinance
HSBC: Slammed for Failing to Flag Ponzi Schemer
HULU: Faces Class Action in Massachusetts Over ADA Violation
IEI PLASTICS: Faces Class Actions Over Parkersburg Fire
INDIANA: Faces Class Action Over Illegal Trucking Fees

IXYS CORP: Monteverde & Associates Files Securities Class Action
KISLING NESTICO: Judge Recuses Herself in Class Action
LITTLE ROCK, AR: Lawsuit Calls Rental Checks Unlawful
LOUISIANA: Judge Recommends Dismissing Illegal Arrests Case
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS: Plaintiffs' Attorneys Object to Settlement

MAPLEBEAR INC: Set to Finalize OT Case Settlement in January 2018
MASSACHUSETTS: Contractors Suing State Over Full-Time Status
MASTERCARD: Class Action Over Credit, Debit Card Fees Pending
MCM PRODUCTS: Faces "Matzura" Suit in S.D. New York
MGM RESORTS: Faces Negligence Cases Over Las Vegas Mass Shooting

MGM RESORTS: New Lawsuits Filed Over Las Vegas Attack
MICHAEL FOODS: Judge Approves $75MM Egg Antitrust Settlement
MORRIS COLLEGE: Faces Class Action Over "Toxic" Mold
MYER: Class Action Law Firms Mull Investor Suit
NEW MOOSEJAW: Sued Over Wiretapping Activities

NEW YORK: NYPD Faces Promotion Discrimination Class Action
NEW YORK: Mayor Dead Wrong on 'No Harm' to Kids Exposed to Lead
NEWFIT DALLAS: "Robinson" Suit Seeks Unpaid Overtime Wages
NFL: Concussion Settlement Test of Judicial Power
NRC HEALTH: Faces Class Actions Over Class B Stock Shares Buyback

OCERA THERAPEUTICS: "Paulus" Sues Over Onerous Merger Deal
OVASCIENCE INC: Scott+Scott Files Securities Class Action
OXNARD, CA: Sued Over Illegal Special Education System
PALATINE, IL: Ballard Spahr Attorney Discusses Ruling
PARAGON COMMERCIAL: Franchi Files Suit Over Sale to Townebank

PENNSYLVANIA: Justices Drop Sheriff from Concealed Weapon Lawsuit
POWERSECURE INT'L: Securities Class Action Dismissal Affirmed
PTTEP AUSTRALASIA: Seaweed Farmers' Class Action Given Go-Ahead
QUDIAN: Investor Class Action Mulled Over Stock Price Drop
RECEIVABLE COLLECTION: Faces "Daniels" Suit in E.D. New York

REGENT CATERING: "Peralta" Suit Seeks OT, Spread-of-Hours Pay
RUBY TUESDAY: Monteverde & Associates Files Class Action
SAC CAPITAL: Reed Smith Loses Bid to Sue Co-Counsel Over Fees
SCANA CORP: Bernstein Litowitz Files Securities Class Action
SIGNATURE HEALTHCARE: "Hosein" Suit Seeks Overtime Pay, Damages

SNAP INC: Judge May Send Class Action Back to State Court
SONIC CORP: Faces "Dolembo" Suit in Northern District of Ohio
SOUTH AFRICA: DHET Faces Class Action Over Certificates Backlog
TENNESSEE: Sued for Suspending Licenses for Unpaid Court Debt
TEXAS: Burns Charest Lawyers to Lead Hurricane Harvey Claims

TEZOS: Hagens Berman Investigates Initial Coin Offering
TRIANGLE CAPITAL: Gainey McKenna Files Securities Class Action
TRIANGLE CAPITAL: Robbins Geller Files Class Action in New York
TURZA: Baker & Hostetler Discusses 7th Cir. Ruling
UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Seeks Dismissal of Pricing Model Class Action

UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Paid Hackers to Delete Stone Customer Data
UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Puts Profits Over Female Passenger Safety
UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Five States to Investigate 2016 Data Breach
UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Customer to Arbitrate Price-Fixing Claims
UGL: Investor Class Action Over Ichthys Disclosure Can Proceed

VODACOM: Faces Class Action Over "Disappearing Airtime"
WEYERHAEUSER CO: Faces Class Action Suit Over Floor Joists
WILBUR-ELLIS: Faces "Cisneros" Suit in California Super Court
WILLIS TOWERS: Bernstein Litowitz Files Securities Class Action
WOODFORD TRANSPORTATION Settlement Obtains Preliminary Approval

ZWICKER & ASSOCIATES: Faces "Murdolo" Suit in E.D. of New York

* Beer Manufacturers Face False Labeling Class Actions
* Data Breach Class Action Settlements Getting Bigger
* Number of CPLR Article 9 Class Actions Increases in New York
* Saudi Arabian CMA Board Approves Class Action Regulations
* Senate Votes to Nullify CFPB's Arbitration Rule





                            *********



ACORDA THERAPEUTICS: Jan. 17 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set
---------------------------------------------------------------
Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC, notified investors that a
class action lawsuit has been filed against Acorda Therapeutics,
Inc. ("Acorda" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: ACOR) and certain of its
officers, on behalf of a class who purchased Acorda securities
between April 18, 2016, and November 14, 2017, inclusive (the
"Class Period").  Such investors are encouraged to join this case
by visiting the firm's site: www.bgandg.com/acor.

This class action seeks to recover damages against Defendants for
alleged violations of the federal securities laws.

Acorda is a biotechnology company with a focus on the
identification, development, and commercialization of therapies
for neurological disorders.  On January 19, 2016, Acorda announced
an agreement to acquire Biotie Therapies Corporation ("Biotie")
for approximately $363 million (the "Biotie Acquisition").  In its
press release announcing the Biotie Acquisition, Acorda advised
investors, inter alia, that the Company "will obtain worldwide
rights to tozadenant, an oral adenosine A2a receptor antagonist
currently in Phase 3 development in Parkinson's disease (PD)."  On
April 18, 2016, Acorda acquired approximately 93% of the fully
diluted capital stock of Biotie.  In September 2016, Acorda
completed the Biotie Acquisition.

The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, Defendants
made materially false and misleading statements and/or failed to
disclose that: (1) tozadenant entailed significant undisclosed
safety risks; (2) accordingly, the Company had overstated
tozadenant's approval prospects and commercial viability; (3) for
the foregoing reasons, the Company had likewise overstated the
benefits of the Biotie Acquisition; and (4) consequently, Acorda's
shares traded at artificially inflated prices during the Class
Period.

On November 15, 2017, Acorda disclosed the deaths of several
patients in the Company's final-stage studies of tozadenant.
Acorda advised investors that it had paused new enrollment in the
drug's long-term safety studies, pending further discussion with
the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board and the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration. Following this news, Acorda stock dropped
$11.20 per share, or 39.72%, to close at $17.00 on November 15,
2017.

A class action lawsuit has already been filed.  If you wish to
review a copy of the Complaint you can visit the firm's site:
www.bgandg.com/acor or you may contact Peretz Bronstein, Esq. or
his Investor Relations Analyst, Yael Hurwitz of Bronstein, Gewirtz
& Grossman, LLC at 212-697-6484.  If you suffered a loss in Acorda
you have until January 17, 2018 to request that the Court appoint
you as lead plaintiff.  Your ability to share in any recovery
doesn't require that you serve as a lead plaintiff.

Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC is a corporate litigation
boutique.  Its primary expertise is the aggressive pursuit of
litigation claims on behalf of our clients.  In addition to
representing institutions and other investor plaintiffs in class
action security litigation, the firm's expertise includes general
corporate and commercial litigation, as well as securities
arbitration. [GN]


ADVANCED ANALYTICAL: Korean Tillery Opposes Bid to Transfer Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Heather Isringhausen Gvillo, writing for Madison - St. Clair
Record, reports that in its response to Advanced Analytical's
motion to dismiss or transfer, Korein Tillery argues that a forum
clause written into a contract with the research contractor and
two economists is voidable due to fraud in a suit involving a
minor league baseball class action.

In its complaint Korein Tillery argues that the defendants were
hired to estimate the work hours of minor league baseball players
and calculate their wage and hour damages by observing players
entering and leaving their ballparks.  The data was intended to be
used in a class action wage dispute involving minor league
baseball players.

However, the plaintiff alleges that five weeks before the expert
disclosure deadline, and after costing nearly $500,000, the
defendants admitted that they were unable to determine between
baseball players and other employees entering the ballparks.

Defendants Advanced Analytical Consulting Group Inc., Daniel Levy
and Audrius Girnius filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on
Oct. 11 through attorney W. Jason Rankin --
jrankin@heplerbroom.com -- of HeplerBroom LLC in Edwardsville.

Mr. Rankin argues that the parties agreed to a binding enforceable
forum selection clause within the contract, which states that any
action arising under the contract must be brought in a federal
court or any Massachusetts court.

After the case was originally filed in St. Clair County Circuit
Court in March, it was removed to federal court on May 4 and then
remanded to circuit court on Sept. 12.

The defendants also argue that they were dealing with Korein
Tillery attorneys from the St. Louis office and were unaware of
the actions in St. Clair County.

Citing the recent Bristol-Myers Squibb and Aspen decisions, Rankin
also wrote that the court does not have jurisdiction over the
defendants.

Korein Tillery filed a response to the defendants' motion to
dismiss on Oct. 23, through attorney Robert Sprague of Sprague and
Urban in Belleville.

"After one failed attempt to avoid this Court's jurisdiction by
improperly removing the case to federal court, now they want it
transferred or dismissed based on their claim they had no idea
they were dealing with an Illinois law firm and the untimely
assertion of a boilerplate forum selection clause that was
obtained by their fraud," the response states.

Recognizing the forum clause, Korein Tillery argues that the
objections to venue were raised too late and the contract was
"induced by Defendants' fraud."

"Having held themselves out as experts in this field, Defendants
knew or should have known that they could not perform as promised.
This is a classic case of fraud in the inducement," the response
states.

"Accordingly, the contract is voidable and Defendants cannot
enforce any part of it, including the forum selection clause," it
adds.

Korein Tillery also argues that the court has personal
jurisdiction over all of the defendants.

Girnius and Korein Tillery are Illinois residents, and Advanced
Analytical and Levy's contacts with Illinois relate directly to
the allegations of the complaint.

Korein Tillery adds that the complaint adequately states all
claims.

It argues that the defendants made false statements in reckless
disregard of the truth by repeatedly misrepresenting that they
could perform the requested study.

Further, Korein Tillery claims it adequately made claims for
breach of contract and negligence because the defendants failed to
complete the study after the plaintiff paid "very large" sums of
money.

"No expert acting in a prudent manner would continue to bill large
sums of money while performing a study that the expert knew could
not be performed as promised and without alerting the client to
the fact that the study could not be performed," the response
states. "Yet that is exactly what Defendants did to Korein
Tillery."

Korein Tillery also filed a separate response to the defendants'
motion to transfer venue on Oct. 23.

The firm argues that the defendants "failed to meet their burden
to show St. Clair County is an improper venue for the parties'
dispute, and they waived their objection to venue by failing to
timely raise it."

However, if the court intends to grant the motion to transfer, the
plaintiff requests discovery prior to transferring the case "in
order to develop a factual record on the venue issue."

Korein Tillery argues that St. Clair County is the proper venue
because negotiations and discussions as well as signing the
agreement all took place there.

"And these are the very facts that gave rise to Korein Tillery's
asserted cause of action," the response states.

As for the defendants' assertion that they were unaware that any
of the actions took place in St. Clair County, the plaintiff says
"it is no secret" where its offices are located and "any doubts
should be resolved in favor of Korein Tillery."

Korein Tillery also argues that the motion to transfer was filed
almost a month late, waiving their objection.

On Oct. 31, Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot continued the
defendants' motions.

Associate Judge Chris Kolker previously presided over the case
before it was reassigned to Lopinot on Oct. 17.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 17-L-98 [GN]


ADVANCED MICRO: February 27 Settlement Fairness Hearing Set
-----------------------------------------------------------
TO: ALL PERSONS AND ENTITIES THAT, DURING THE PERIOD FROM APRIL 4,
2011 THROUGH OCTOBER 18, 2012, INCLUSIVE, PURCHASED OR OTHERWISE
ACQUIRED THE PUBLICLY TRADED COMMON STOCK OF ADVANCED MICRO
DEVICES, INC.

YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED, pursuant to an Order of the United States
District Court for the Northern District of California, that Class
Representatives Arkansas Teacher Retirement System and KBC Asset
Management NV, on behalf of themselves and the certified Class,
and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., and the other named defendants
(collectively, the "Defendants"), have reached a settlement in the
above-captioned action (the "Action") in the amount of $29,500,000
in cash (the "Settlement Amount") that, if approved by the Court,
will resolve all claims in the Action.1

A hearing will be held before the Honorable Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers
of the United States District Court for the Northern District of
California in Courtroom 1, Oakland Courthouse, 4th Floor, 1301
Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612 at 2:00 p.m. on February 27, 2018
to, among other things, determine whether (1) the Settlement
should be approved by the Court as fair, reasonable, and adequate;
(2) the Plan of Allocation for distribution of the Settlement
Amount, and any interest thereon, less Court-awarded attorneys'
fees, Notice and Administration Expenses, Taxes, and any other
costs, fees, or expenses approved by the Court (the "Net
Settlement Fund") should be approved as fair, reasonable, and
adequate; and (3) the application of Class Counsel for an award of
attorneys' fees of no more than 30% of the Settlement Fund (or up
to $8,850,000) and payment of expenses of no more than $3,000,000
from the Settlement Fund, which may include the expenses of Class
Representatives pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995, should be approved.  The Court may change the
date of the Settlement Hearing without providing another notice.
You do NOT need to attend the Settlement Hearing in order to
receive a distribution from the Net Settlement Fund.

IF YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE CLASS, YOUR RIGHTS WILL BE AFFECTED BY
THE SETTLEMENT AND YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO SHARE IN THE NET
SETTLEMENT FUND.  If you have not yet received the full Notice of
Proposed Class Action Settlement and Motion for Attorneys' Fees
and Expenses (the "Settlement Notice") and a Proof of Claim and
Release form ("Claim Form"), you may obtain copies of these
documents by contacting the Claims Administrator or visiting its
website:

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Securities Litigation
Claims Administrator
c/o Epiq Systems, Inc.
P.O. Box 4349
Portland, OR 97208-4349
(844) 855-8569
info@AMDSecuritiesLitigation.com
www.AMDSecuritiesLitigation.com

Inquiries may also be made to Class Counsel:

LABATON SUCHAROW LLP
Jonathan Gardner, Esq.
140 Broadway
New York, NY 10005
(888) 219-6877
www.labaton.com
settlementquestions@labaton.com

-or-

MOTLEY RICE LLC
James M. Hughes, Esq.
28 Bridgeside Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC  29464
(800) 768-4026
www.motleyrice.com

If you are a Class Member, to be eligible to share in the
distribution of the Net Settlement Fund, you must submit a Claim
Form postmarked or electronically submitted no later than February
13, 2018.  If you are a Class Member and do not timely submit a
valid Claim Form, you will not be eligible to share in the
distribution of the Net Settlement Fund, but you will nevertheless
be bound by any judgments or orders entered by the Court in the
Action.

If you previously submitted a valid and timely request for
exclusion from the Class in connection with the Notice of Pendency
of Class Action ("Class Notice") and you wish to remain excluded,
no further action is required.  However if you did not, to exclude
yourself from the Class now, you must submit a written request for
exclusion in accordance with the instructions set forth in the
Settlement Notice such that it is postmarked no later than
February 6, 2018.  If you are a Class Member and do not exclude
yourself from the Class, you will be bound by any judgments or
orders entered by the Court in the Action.

If you previously submitted a request for exclusion from the Class
in connection with the Class Notice but you want to opt-back into
the Class now for the purpose of being eligible to receive a
payment from the Net Settlement Fund, you may do so.  In order to
opt-back into the Class, you must submit a request in writing such
that it is postmarked no later than February 6, 2018, in
accordance with the instructions set forth in the Settlement
Notice.

Any objections to the Settlement, Plan of Allocation, and/or
application for attorneys' fees and payment of expenses must be
filed with the Court and mailed to counsel in accordance with the
instructions set forth in the Settlement Notice such that they are
postmarked no later than February 6, 2018.

PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT, DEFENDANTS, OR DEFENDANTS'
COUNSEL REGARDING THIS NOTICE.  ALL QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS NOTICE,
THE SETTLEMENT, OR YOUR ELIGIBILITY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
SETTLEMENT SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO THE CLAIMS ADMINISTRATOR AT THE
ADDRESS LISTED ABOVE.

1 The complete terms of the Settlement are in the Stipulation and
Agreement of Settlement, dated October 9, 2017, which can be
viewed at www.AMDSecuritiesLitigation.com.
Dated: November 20, 2017

BY ORDER OF THE UNITED STATES
DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF
CALIFORNIA [GN]


ALCON LABS: Foley & Lardner Attorney Discusses 3rd Cir. Ruling
--------------------------------------------------------------
Aaron R. Wegrzyn, Esq. -- awegrzyn@foley.com -- of Foley & Lardner
LLP, in an article for The National Law Review, wrote that the
Third Circuit issued a 2-1 decision in Cottrell v. Alcon Labs.,
reversing a district court's dismissal of a class action lawsuit
on standing grounds.  The putative class in Cottrell is comprised
of consumers of prescription eye droplet medication used to treat
glaucoma.  In their complaint, the named plaintiffs allege that
the manufacturers and distributors of the droplets engaged in
unfair trade practices -- as prohibited by state consumer
protection statutes -- by selling them in dispensers that
discharge the medicine in doses that are too large (i.e., the
bottle's dropper squirts out 15mL when an average consumer
allegedly only requires 7mL).

In its decision below, the district court granted the defendants'
motion to dismiss on the grounds that the named plaintiffs lacked
Article III standing, reasoning that the plaintiffs' theory of
injury rested on speculation about hypothetical alternatives and
generalized disagreements about dispenser design.  However, the
Third Circuit saw things differently, ruling that the named
plaintiffs alleged a sufficient injury by claiming that the
defendants caused them to waste money on medication that was
effectively impossible for them to use.  In its opinion, the court
broadly interpreted the Supreme Court's phrase "invasion of a
legally protected interest," to hold that any allegation of
financial or economic injury -- regardless how hypothetical or
speculative -- suffices for purposes of Article III.

The appellate court stressed that the named plaintiffs had brought
suit pursuant to state consumer protection statutes that prohibit
"unfair" business practices in rejecting the argument that the
complaint merely expressed "dissatisfaction" with available
products.  The Third Circuit chided the lower court's decision for
improperly blending the merits issue of the validity of the named
plaintiffs' claim with the jurisdictional issue of whether they
possessed Article III standing to sue in federal court.  In doing
so, the Cottrell Court found the named plaintiffs' allegations
that a better-designed droplet dispenser would have saved them
money to be non-speculative and to have stated a concrete and
particularized injury.

Perhaps most interesting was that the Third Circuit consciously
decided to split with the Seventh Circuit, which had ruled on the
same issue in a nearly-identical case, called Eike v. Allergan,
Inc., just six months earlier.  In his short opinion in Eike,
Judge Posner focused on the fact that the plaintiffs had not
alleged any type of deception or misrepresentation on the
defendants' part and the market pricing "assumptions" built into
the plaintiffs' allegations of injury.  But in the Third Circuit's
estimation, the Eike decision failed to account for the fact that
the alleged misconduct related to an entirely separate category of
illegal business practices from fraudulent, deceptive, or
misleading practices -- "unfair" business practices.  More
fundamentally, the Third Circuit stated that Judge Posner got the
entire analysis backward for purposes of standing, beginning with
his assessment of whether the plaintiffs had a cognizable claim as
opposed to whether they alleged a cognizable injury.

Yet, in maintaining its bright line between standing and merits
issues, the Third Circuit's decision appears to overlook the
plausibility of the alleged injury, such as whether it is
plausible that an allegedly sub-optimal product design causes a
plaintiff a concrete financial or economic injury.  Judge Roth
picked up this point in his dissent from the panel decision,
characterizing the named plaintiffs' complaint as mere allegations
about what the defendants might be able to do (i.e., design a
better dispenser), rather than about any affirmative wrong they
actually had done.  His dissenting opinion also criticized the
named plaintiffs' argument as speculative to the extent that its
allegations of harm were premised on the assumption that no other
aspect of product pricing would change after the dispenser was
redesigned.  Finally, Judge Roth expressed his concern that the
pharmaceutical market was a particularly bad fit for this type of
claim, given the regulatory approval necessary for any product
redesign.

The Cottrell case is a notable illustration of the division among
the federal judiciary regarding the type of consumer harms that
suffice for Article III standing purposes, even at the court of
appeals level.  Where some judges see speculation and assumptions
about hypothetical alternative products and markets, others see
allegations of a concrete and particularized financial loss in the
form of a poorly-designed product.  The Third Circuit's panel
decision in Cottrell is concerning to the extent that it could be
interpreted as holding that a consumer possesses federal standing
to sue for unfair business practices whenever he or she alleges
that a manufacturer's current product design is sub-optimal, which
would appear to open the gates to a flood of class action
litigation.

The defendants in Cottrell filed a petition for rehearing en banc.
[GN]


ALKERMES PLC: Jan. 22 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set
--------------------------------------------------------
Pomerantz LLP disclosed that a class action lawsuit has been filed
against Alkermes plc ("Alkermes" or the "Company") (NASDAQ:ALKS)
and certain of its officers.  The class action, filed in United
States District Court, for the Southern District of New York, and
docketed under 17-cv-09178, is on behalf of a class consisting of
investors who purchased or otherwise acquired Alkermes securities,
seeking to recover compensable damages caused by defendants'
violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

If you are a shareholder who purchased Alkermes securities between
February 24, 2015, and November 3, 2017, both dates inclusive, you
have until January 22, 2018, to ask the Court to appoint you as
Lead Plaintiff for the class.  A copy of the Complaint can be
obtained at www.pomerantzlaw.com.  To discuss this action, contact
Robert S. Willoughby at rswilloughby@pomlaw.com or 888.476.6529
(or 888.4-POMLAW), toll-free, Ext. 9980. Those who inquire by e-
mail are encouraged to include their mailing address, telephone
number, and amount of shares purchased.

Alkermes plc is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the
development of treatments for central nervous system disorders
such as addiction, schizophrenia, depression and diabetes.  The
Company's marketed products include Vivitrol (naltrexone for
extended-release injectable suspension), a treatment for alcohol
and opioid dependence.

The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, Defendants
made materially false and misleading statements regarding the
Company's business, operational and compliance policies.
Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements
and/or failed to disclose that:  (i) Alkermes systemically engaged
in deceptive marketing campaigns to influence policymakers to use
Vivitrol in addiction treatment programs over more scientifically
proven and efficacious alternatives; (ii) the foregoing conduct,
when disclosed, would foreseeably subject Alkermes to heightened
regulatory and legislative scrutiny; (iii) accordingly, the
Company's revenues derived from Vivitrol during the Class Period
were unsustainable; and (iv) as a result of the foregoing,
Alkermes shares traded at artificially inflated prices during the
Class Period, and class members suffered significant losses and
damages.

On June 11, 2017, The New York Times published an article entitled
"Seizing On Opioid Crisis, a Drug Maker Lobbies Hard for its
Product."  The article described Alkermes' aggressive efforts to
market Vivitrol while denigrating the efficacy of other addiction
treatments.

On this news, Alkermes' share price fell $2.19, or 3.55%, to close
at $59.47 on June 12, 2017.

On November 6, 2017, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris announced the
opening of an investigation into Alkermes' sales practices for
Vivitrol.  Senator Harris specifically stated that the Company
"aggressively marketed" its medication, convincing judges and
prison officials to use it rather than more proven addiction-
treatment products, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars
lobbying policymakers.  According to Harris, Alkermes promoted
Vivitrol by using a "speaker's bureau composed of doctors paid to
promote the drug."

On this news, Alkermes' share price fell $2.23, or 4.37%, to close
at $48.76 on November 6, 2017.

With offices in New York, Chicago, Florida, and Los Angeles, The
Pomerantz Firm -- http://www.pomerantzlaw.com-- concentrates its
practice in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust
class litigation.  Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known
as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered
the field of securities class actions.  Today, more than 80 years
later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he
established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities
fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct.  The
Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on
behalf of class members. [GN]


ALLERGAN INC: Faces Antitrust Class Action in Texas
---------------------------------------------------
Dani Kass, writing for Law360, reports that a proposed class of
Restasis buyers on Nov. 17 accused Allergan Inc. in Texas federal
court of blocking low-cost generics for the dry-eye medication
through improperly obtained patents, sham infringement suits and
citizen petitions, and partnering with a Native American tribe to
avoid patent challenges.

The direct purchasers, led by FWK Holdings LLC, say if Allergan
hadn't been allegedly gaming the system, there would have been
generic drugs, which could have been purchased at a fraction of
the cost, on the market as early as May 2014.  Instead, Allergan
has hurt consumers using a multifaceted approach to keep generics
off the market, while making $3.9 billion off the drug over the
last three years alone, the Sherman Act suit states.

Much of the alleged misconduct stems from Allergan allegedly
securing patents it knew were likely to be invalidated as obvious.
Multiple generic-drug makers had already filed abbreviated new
drug applications at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when
Allergan pushed for the first of those second-round patents.  This
slowed down the generics process, the suit says.

At first, the generic-drug makers only had to file paragraph II or
paragraph III certifications in their ANDAs, saying that they
wouldn't infringe any patents because they wouldn't market any
generics before the relevant patents expired in May 2014.

When Allergan submitted its "eleventh-hour patent application,"
the generics companies had to file a paragraph IV certification,
saying the drugs wouldn't infringe patents because the patents are
invalid or unenforceable, the suit says.  The latter certification
opens generic-drug makers up to patent infringement litigation,
which, when filed, leads to an automatic 30-month stay on ANDA
approval.

"Allergan filed those suits not to vindicate any legitimate patent
infringement issues but to improperly use governmental process and
the workings of the Hatch-Waxman act to delay generic competition
to its Restasis monopoly," the complaint states.  "If it filed
even the most baseless of patent infringement suits, Allergan knew
it would still obtain and immediately benefit from the automatic
30-month stay of FDA final approval of any generic Restasis
product.  For a $1.5 billion [per] year franchise, every extra
month Allergan could postpone competition from generic Restasis
added another $125 million to its revenues!"

Allergan then filed citizen petitions debating how to properly
test for bioequivalence, with the drugmaker arguing that the
generics companies had to test the product on humans, instead of
in a lab.  The only result of the petitions was further delay, the
suit says.

Even though at least nine companies have filed ANDAs so far, no
generics have come to market, in part because of the "resource
drain, confusion and administrative delays" stemming from
Allergan's conduct, the potential class said.

The alleged issues culminate in Allergan's highly controversial
decision to transfer its patents to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe
and have the tribe license them back to Allergan.  The tribe is
immune from inter parties reviews at the Patent Trial and Appeal
Board, and Allergan claims it now is, too.

The potential class claims that Allergan has made it clear that
the company had "subjective bad faith" in trying to avoid PTAB
challenges and that the tribe had no reason to enter into such a
deal beyond money, as it has shown no interested in
pharmaceuticals before.

"No objectively reasonable litigant could expect these shenanigans
before PTAB to succeed," the complaint states. "Multiple cases
have rejected similar schemes to game the law, including in the
context of sovereign tribes where the only interest the tribe had
was in being paid for the cover of immunity."

In another suit in the same court, Senior U.S. Circuit Judge
William Bryson invalidated some of the patent claims right after
questioning whether the deal was a sham.  In a related suit before
PTAB, the tribe said the deal is legal, adding that there's been
no "coherent legal theory" explaining otherwise, with generic
drugmakers pointing to news stories to support their argument
rather than the law.

An Allergan representative didn't immediately respond to a request
for comment on Nov. 20.

"We hope to move the case along with reasonable dispatch in order
to ensure a fair, prompt and successful result," plaintiff
attorney Thomas M. Sobol of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP said
in an email.

FWK Holdings is represented by S. Calvin Capshaw --
ccapshaw@capshawlaw.com -- and Elizabeth L. DeRieux --
ederieux@capshawlaw.com -- of Capshaw DeRieux LLP, Thomas M. Sobol
and Kristen A. Johnson of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Joseph
M. Vanek and David P. Germaine of Vanek Vickers & Masini PC,
Robert N. Kaplan and Matthew P. McCahill --
mmccahill@kaplanfox.com -- of Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP and John
D. Radice and A. Luke Smith of Radice Law Firm PC.

Counsel information for Allergan was not immediately available.

The case is FWK Holdings, LLC v. Allergan, Inc., Case No. 2:17-cv-
00747 (E.D. Tex.).  The case is assigned to Judge Rodney Gilstrap.
The case was filed November 17, 2017. [GN]


AMERADA HESS: Motion to Dismiss Gas Leak Class Action Pending
-------------------------------------------------------------
Steve Whitmore, writing for SentinelSource.com, reports that a
state representative is moving forward for a second time with
legislation seeking to reduce the amount of a known carcinogen
allowed in drinking water.

The effort is a personal one for James W. McConnell, R-Swanzey, as
he and others believe methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), causes
cancer and even death in the town's west and Westport villages.

More than 20 residents and former residents of those villages have
joined a class-action lawsuit seeking damages for what they say
are illnesses and cancers linked to a gasoline leak at a nearby
gas station decades ago.  The leak caused MTBE to contaminate
private wells in the area.  The lawsuit lists several individuals
and businesses, including petroleum corporations, as plaintiffs.

Mr. McConnell's bill would reduce the amount of MTBE allowed in
public water systems from 13 micrograms per liter to 0.5
micrograms per liter.  MTBE, or MtBE, is a flammable and colorless
liquid that was used as an additive in gasoline starting in 1979.
The carcinogen was banned from being used in gasoline in New
Hampshire in 2007.

"Zero (micrograms) is what my constituents want," Mr. McConnell
said.  "But I'm trying to be practical.  Our goal is to make
progress."

Mr. McConnell introduced legislation in 2015 that would have
reduced the level to zero, but it never got out of committee, he
said.  This time, he said, he was going to put forth legislation
that will pass.

"This is going to make a difference and that's what's important,"
Mr. McConnell said.

The bill will be assigned a committee in January, and if passed by
the Legislature and signed into law, would go into effect July 1,
2018, according to James E. Rivers, director of communications for
the N.H. House of Representatives.  The bill's co-sponsor is Rep.
Mindi Messmer, D-Rye.

Although Mr. McConnell's bill is being applauded by many, at least
one area resident says it's not enough.

Patrick D. Short of West Swanzey has been fighting to eliminate
MTBE contamination since 2011 to no avail, he said. Short is part
of the class-action lawsuit filed in Cheshire County Superior
Court in April 2016.  The lawsuit alleges that seven major oil and
chemical companies, along with current and previous owners of the
Route 10 Mini-Mart at 968 West Swanzey Road, are liable for the
water contamination.

Mr. Short said he has documented more than 60 cases of cancer
among people who live near the station.  And he said there's a
series of houses next to each other on the same side of the street
whose occupants have gotten cancer.  Mr. Short's father, Kenneth,
died of non-small cell lung cancer in 2007.

State health officials have looked into the matter, concluding in
2014 that "a further in-depth community level (cancer) cluster
investigation is not warranted at this time."

MTBE was in gasoline that leaked from underground storage tanks at
the station more than two decades ago.  The gas station and the
convenience store are still in operation, Mr. Short said, and the
tanks are no longer leaking.

"But what about the groundwater?" Mr. Short asked.  "It's still in
the groundwater.  I don't drink any of the water.  I have a 5-
year-old granddaughter, and she can't drink any of the water
either."

Mr. Short said he lives across the street from the Route 10 Mini-
Mart, and drives about 17 miles, twice, every day to retrieve
water for his family's use.

"Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for what McConnell is doing,"
Mr. Short said.  "He's the voice behind all of this. He's working
hard for us. I just want out.  I've had enough.  I want to be paid
a fair price for my home, and I want out.  My neighbors do too."

The contaminated water has caused nearby property values to drop,
and has caused severe health problems, including cancer, rashes,
tumors and autism among people and animals who live or have lived
in the area, the lawsuit alleges.

A motion to dismiss the lawsuit is pending, according to Peter
McGrath, the attorney handling the class-action lawsuit, which has
22 plaintiffs.  Mr. McGrath, a former federal prosecutor, said the
defendants are asking the judge to dismiss the case on a
technicality.

"They say we didn't file on time" Mr. McGrath said.  "I don't
think they will prevail, but it's a lot of lawyering right now.
There are people that have died. This is a tragic story."

The defendants named in the suit are Amerada Hess Corp.;
ChevronTexaco Corp.; Chevron U.S.A. Inc.; Citgo Petroleum Corp.;
ConocoPhillips Co.; Exxon Mobile Corp; Shri Ganech Corp. c/o
Dharnem Patel; Faham and Shagugta Effendi; Joseph Hart; Richard
Cartier; Peterborough Oil Co. Inc.; and Lyondell Chemical Co.

"It wouldn't go in front of a jury for at least another year," he
said.  Mr. McGrath applauded McConnell's legislation, saying it's
the right thing to do, and long overdue.

"He's doing right by his constituents," Mr. McGrath said.  "It
won't affect the case, obviously, but he is doing the right
thing."

The Route 10 Mini-Mart was subject to an MTBE cleanup after
gasoline was found in two catch basins near the property in 1990.
Cleanup of the site included removing 440 tons of contaminated
soil around the gas station.  According to the N.H. Department of
Environmental Services, 13 micrograms per liter of MTBE is a safe
level "for ingestion exposure at an excess lifetime cancer risk of
one in one million."

Since then, the state tests 10 private wells twice a year in April
and October, according to James P. Martin, spokesman for the N.H.
Department of Environmental Services.  In October, Short's private
well tested 0.55 micrograms of MTBE per liter, well below the 13
micrograms per liter, Martin said.

Mr. Martin said he was unaware of the legislation introduced by
McConnell.

"We need to talk with the people that are putting forth the
legislation and have a dialogue to see if it's the right
standard," Mr. Martin said. [GN]


ANGLO AMERICAN: Nears Silicosis Case Out-of-Court Settlement
------------------------------------------------------------
Wendell Roelf, writing for Reuters, reports that lawyers acting
for thousands of gold miners who contracted lung diseases at work
in South African mines said on Nov. 22 an out-of-court settlement
with their employers could be reached by December.

A High Court ruling last year set the stage for protracted
proceedings on cases dating back decades in the largest class
action suit yet in Africa's most industrialised country.

Many of the nearly half a million miners who contracted silicosis
and tuberculosis, are from nearby countries who supplied labour to
South African mines.

Gold miners are appealing against that ruling while at the same
time six of the firms, including Anglo American, AngloGold
Ashanti, Sibanye and Harmony, are holding settlement talks with
the workers.

Richard Spoor and Charles Abrahams, lawyers for the workers, told
parliament's mineral resources committee that significant progress
had been made in those discussions.

"The parties are reasonably confident that a settlement will be
achieved in the course of this year," they said.

In a separate presentation made later to the committee, the
Working Group on Occupational Lung Disease which represents the
six gold mining firms, said provision for a pre-tax nominal total
of around 5 billion rand ($361 million) has been made.

"Settlement will include not only amounts to be paid to claimants,
but also ensuring as many as possible eligible claimants are
located and adequate financial provision for administration of a
trust," the mining firms said.

Mr. Spoor said about half the number of afflicted miners had died
since the legal process began a decade ago and that the longer the
remainder wait for a settlement, the more would die.

The suit, which has little precedent in South African law, has its
roots in a landmark ruling given by the Constitutional Court in
2011 that for the first time allowed miners suffering from lung
diseases to sue their employers for damages.

Any settlement that is reached will have to be confirmed by the
High Court, lawyers said.

If allowed, it could cost gold firms billions of rand as the
industry struggles with lower commodity prices, deeper ore bodies
and labour strife curbing output.
"We really do feel that in many ways we have a meeting of minds,"
said Charmane Russell, spokeswoman for the mines working group
dealing with silicosis.

Silicosis is a disease that causes shortness of breath, a
persistent cough and chest pains and makes people highly
susceptible to tuberculosis.  It has no known cure. [GN]


ANTHEM: AMA Mulls Suit Over Planned Physician Reimbursement Cuts
----------------------------------------------------------------
Ken Terry, writing for Medscape, reports that the American Medical
Association (AMA), at its recent interim annual meeting, took a
strong stand against Anthem, one of the largest health insurers.
According to the AMA, Anthem plans to reduce physicians'
reimbursement in eight states when they bill for a procedure and
an evaluation-and-management (E/M) visit on the same day.

A spokesman told Medscape Medical News that the association is
considering the steps recommended by its members to stop Anthem
from moving forward.
According to a news release, physicians at the AMA meeting adopted
a policy to "aggressively and immediately advocate through any
legal means possible, including direct payer negotiations,
regulations, legislation, or litigation, to ensure when an
evaluation and management (E&M) code is appropriately reported
with a modifier 25, that both the procedure and E&M codes are paid
at the non-reduced, allowable payment rate."

AMA President David O. Barbe, MD, said, "The AMA will work
aggressively to prevent implementation of unfair health insurer
rules that are detrimental to physicians who are trying to
practice medicine according to the needs of their patients. Health
insurers that deny E/M services associated with procedures
performed on the same day are needlessly forcing patients into
multiple visits and delaying the provision of necessary care."

The new Anthem policy will go into effect January 1 in California,
Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and
Wisconsin, the AMA said. In addition, Anthem's Missouri plan will
implement the policy on February 1.

Anthem is not the only insurer stirring the pot.  According to an
AMA spokesman, the association has heard from colleagues in state
medical and specialty societies that several other plans have
reduced payments by ignoring modifier 25s.  Among them are Harvard
Pilgrim Health Care (Massachusetts), Tufts Health Plan
(Massachusetts), Blue Cross Blue Shield Rhode Island, Independence
Blue Cross (Pennsylvania), AmeriHealth New Jersey, and Regence
Blue Shield Idaho.

According to the current procedural technology (CPT) description,
the spokesman said, modifier 25 provides the means to report a
significant, separately identifiable E/M service by the same
physician on the same day of a procedure or other service.  There
is no requirement that the E/M service and procedure be for
different conditions/diagnoses; the E/M code must be just for a
significant, separately identifiable service, as reflected in
documentation.  Nevertheless, "health insurers frequently ignore
modifier  25 and reimburse for just one service -- typically the
service with the lowest cost," said the news release.

The AMA and other medical societies have long battled the big
insurance companies over their payment policies.  Associations
that represented 950,000 physicians brought two massive class
action suits in 2002 and 2004, alleging that the plans violated
federal racketeering laws and state laws by systematically
reducing, denying, and delaying payments to doctors.  The insurers
eventually settled these suits with big payouts to doctors. Among
the plans that settled were Aetna, for $470 million; 35 Blue Cross
Blue Shield plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, $128
million; and Wellpoint (now Anthem), $498 million.

Medscape Medical News couldn't determine at press time whether the
modifier 25 was mentioned in these suits.  Whether it was included
or not, Anthem and the other plans appear to be taking a big risk
by resuming their efforts to reduce physician payments through
billing policies.

Medscape Medical News reached out to Anthem for comment but, at
press time, the company had no comment on the AMA's resolution or
its new payment policy. [GN]


ARRAY BIOPHARMA: Jan. 22 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set
-----------------------------------------------------------
Federman & Sherwood disclosed that on November 20, 2017, a class
action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for
the District of Colorado against Array Biopharma, Inc.
(NASDAQ:ARRY).  The complaint alleges violations of federal
securities laws, Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, including allegations of
issuing a series of material or false misrepresentations to the
market which had the effect of artificially inflating the market
price during the Class Period, which is December 16, 2015 through
March 17, 2017.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all Array
Biopharma, Inc. shareholders who purchased common stock during the
Class Period and are therefore a member of the Class as described
above.  You may move the Court no later than Monday, January 22,
2018 to serve as a lead plaintiff for the entire Class.  However,
in order to do so, you must meet certain legal requirements
pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

If you wish to discuss this action, obtain further information and
participate in this or any other securities litigation, or should
you have any questions or concerns regarding this notice or
preservation of your rights, please contact:

          Robin Hester
          FEDERMAN & SHERWOOD
          10205 North Pennsylvania Avenue
          Oklahoma City, OK 73120
          Email to: rkh@federmanlaw.com

Or, visit the firm's website at www.federmanlaw.com
[GN]


ARVEST BANK: 10th Cir. Revives Overdraft Fee Class Action
---------------------------------------------------------
Dena Aubin, writing for Reuters, reports that a federal appeals
court has declined to revive a large part of a proposed class
action accusing Arkansas-based Arvest Bank of charging improper
overdraft fees, but will allow customers' breach of contract
claims to proceed.

In a decision on Nov. 20, a unanimous three-judge panel for the
10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a lower court in Oklahoma
City was correct in dismissing the bank customers' claims for
fraud, unjust enrichment, and breach of a fiduciary duty. [GN]


ASSET RECOVERY: Faces "Hudson" Suit in E. Dist. New York
--------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Asset Recovery
Solutions, LLC. The case is styled Daryl Hudson, on behalf of
himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff v. Asset
Recovery Solutions, LLC, Defendant, Case No. 1:17-cv-07188-AMD-SMG
(E.D. N.Y., December 11, 2017).

Asset Recovery is a full service asset recovery management.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Daniel C Cohen, Esq.
   Daniel Cohen, PLLC
   407 Rockaway Avenue
   Brooklyn, NY 11212
   Tel: (646) 645-8482
   Fax: (347) 665-1545
   Email: dancohenlaw@gmail.com


AUSTRALIA: Darwin Residents Urged to Join PFAS Class Action
-----------------------------------------------------------
Ashley Manicaros, writing for NT News, reports that Darwin
residents are being asked to join a PFAS class action with a legal
firm letterbox-dropping areas near the airport.

Shine Lawyers special counsel Joshua Aylward has written to
residents who live "within an area which has been identified by
the department of Defence" as being subject to investigation
inviting them to a community meeting .  The NT News has obtained a
letter sent to a Parap home, less than 2.5km from RAAF Base
Darwin.

In the letter, the Brisbane-based firm said it has a team of
experienced solicitors who were presently running a class action
for the people of Oakey, Queensland, who have suffered losses as a
result of contamination of the "exact same toxic firefighting
chemicals used by the Department of Defence".

Mr Aylward was not available to talk to the NT News when
contacted.

There has been growing concern over the use of Poly-fluoroalkyl
Substances (PFAS) and contamination in Katherine and other areas
of the Territory.

The Defence Department faces a clean-up bill in the billions over
the use of potentially cancer-causing firefighting foams at air
force bases around the nation.  Test readings from water supplies
in Katherine have shown "spikes" above the 0.07 microgram per
litre guideline adopted by the Commonwealth Government.

Gorge Health Services GP Dr PJ Spafford called on the federal and
NT governments to fund research into the impacts of the
contamination.  He said his patients were very concerned about how
exposure to the potentially toxic chemical may have affected their
health.

Contamination concerns have also lingered around Darwin's Rapid
and Ludmilla Creeks.

The community meeting was set to be held on Dec. 4 from 6.30pm at
the Double Tree by Hilton on the Esplanade. [GN]


AVANGRID INC: Responds to Class Action Over Electric Prices
-----------------------------------------------------------
Andy O'Brien, writing for The Free Press, report that the Boston-
based law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP filed a class-
action lawsuit in a U.S. District Court against Central Maine
Power Company's parent company, Avangrid, and Eversource Energy
for allegedly causing electricity customers to incur $3.6 billion
in overcharges between 2013 and 2016.

Citing a study by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the suit
alleges that the two companies were able to use their "unique
monopolies" to artificially constrain natural gas pipelines during
peak winter demand times when gas was being used for heating and
electricity.  As a result of the scheme, the suit alleges that
electric rates went up 20 percent for 14.7 million people living
in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and
Rhode Island.  The law firm is inviting all New England residents
to join the class action suit at no cost.

"Eversource and Avangrid are two of the largest energy companies
in New England, and we believe they chose to use their substantial
market power to unlawfully jack up consumers' electric bills,"
said Tom Sobol -- tom@hbsslaw.com -- a partner at Hagens Berman,
in a statement.  "It appears these companies willfully engaged in
this scheme for years, and we intend to help those affected
reclaim their losses, and stop this behavior."

In an analysis of data from the Algonquin pipeline, which delivers
gas to New England through Connecticut and Massachusetts, EDF
economists concluded that wholesale electric rates were 20 percent
higher between 2013 and 2016 due to higher gas prices resulting
from unused pipeline capacity.  The researchers found that gas
utilities owned by Avangrid and Eversource routinely reserved more
pipeline capacity than they needed and then canceled the orders at
the last minute, leaving no time for other companies to use the
space to flow more gas.

"Reduced natural gas supply, caused solely by the Defendants'
last-minute downward order adjustments, resulted in spot market
natural gas prices that were 38% higher than they would otherwise
have been on average," the lawsuit states.  "During the cold
winter months, Defendants' conduct resulted in spot market natural
gas prices that were nearly 70% higher than they otherwise would
have been."

EDF's report doesn't ascribe a motivation for the practice, but it
noted that both Avangrid and Eversource own substantial interest
in non-gas-fired electrical generators in the region, which could
give them incentive to make it more expensive for their rival gas-
fired generators to run.  By restricting fuel to their
competitors, the grid operator had to call on non-gas power plants
-- like wind, coal and oil -- to ramp up, earning the two
companies more money.

Avangrid owns several utility and energy subsidiaries across New
England, including Central Maine Power, Maine Natural Gas,
Connecticut Natural Gas, Berkshire Gas and Avangrid Rewewables,
which owns 6,000 megawatts of wind capacity and 636 MW of natural
gas-fired generation.  Eversource owns United Illuminating,
Connecticut Light and Power Company, Western Massachusetts
Electric Company, NSTAR Electric Company and Public Service
Company of New Hampshire.

While EDF does not accuse the two companies of breaking any laws,
the Hagens Berman suit calls the practice the "largest market
manipulation scheme . . .  since Enron" -- the company responsible
for the illegal price fixing that led to the California
electricity crisis of 2000 and 2001.

In response to the EDF report, Connecticut regulators opened an
investigation into the allegations of market manipulation. Critics
have argued that the report puts into question the need for
electric customers to subsidize the construction of more natural
gas pipelines into the region to relieve winter constraints.

The Gas Industry Responds

Both Eversource and Avangrid vigorously deny that they engaged in
any impropriety.  The Northeast Gas Association, which includes
Avangrid and Eversource subsidiary members, issued a statement in
October calling the EDF report "profoundly misleading and
inaccurate."

"Two utilities cited in their report (Avangrid and Eversource) did
nothing irregular, improper, or legally questionable with their
reservation of gas capacity on an interstate natural gas
pipeline," the organization stated.  "In fact, they were acting
with the full approval of regulators and in the best interests of
their customers and their communities.  They planned prudently to
ensure they had sufficient, reliable supplies of natural gas
during some of the harshest cold weather New England experiences.
For EDF to portray these public utilities' responsible planning
and operations as nefarious only highlights the biased agenda of
the report and its sponsors."

The Northeast Gas Association also stated, "When weather
predictions are uncertain, as they often are in New England, it is
common sense to err on the side of caution in reserving gas supply
and to have a safety margin or cushion to cover unexpected
operational issues.  That is what Avangrid and Eversource did.  We
can only imagine the outcry if they had failed to reserve enough
gas supply and homeowners, schools, hospitals, nursing homes,
businesses, and industry lost access to fuel."

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro attorneys have successfully litigated
several high-profile consumer class-action lawsuits, including a
$216 billion settlement against the tobacco industry, a $27
billion anti-trust settlement against Visa-Masterard; the $1.6
billion settlement against Toyota for unintended acceleration in
cars; and the $1.6 billion settlement against Volkswagen for
cheating on emissions tests. [GN]


BANANA BOAT: Faces Class Action Over Sunscreen SPF 50+ Claims
-------------------------------------------------------------
Tony Ibrahim, writing for Choice, reports that seven Banana Boat
sunscreens have failed to meet the advertised SPF 50+ claims by
more than half, resulting in the potential filing of a class
action lawsuit by a mother and her five children.

Bannister Law is taking registrations against Edgewell Personal
Care Australia, the manufacturer of popular sunscreen brand Banana
Boat, after laboratory tests of its SPF50+ sunscreen sprays
averaged ratings of SPF20 or less.

"All seven aerosol varieties we tested fell well short of the
marketed SPF 50+," says Charles Bannister --
charles@bannisterlaw.com.au -- founder and principle of Bannister
Law.  "To claim SPF 50+, products need to test greater that 60+."

The best performing sunscreen achieved an average SPF rating of
20.2, while the worst performing scored 10.7.  Each sunscreen
spray was tested ten times according to international standards by
the laboratory Eurofins Dermatest.

Banana Boat SPF test results
Sunscreen SPF*
Banana Boat Kids Clear Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+ 20.2
Banana Boat Ultra Clear Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+ 17.7
Banana Boat Sport Clear Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+ 18.0
Banana Boat Everyday Clear Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+ 19.5
Banana Boat SunComfort Clear Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+ 10.7
Banana Boat Dry Balance Clear Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+ 13.5
Banana Boat Sport Coolzone Clear Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+ 16.1
Source: Bannister Law. Lab tests conducted by Eurofins Dermatest
Pty Ltd according to Australian Standards, which necessitate
following International Standard ISO 24444.
*Average of 10 test results.

Leading the class action is a mother and her five children, who
Bannister Law claims were repeatedly burned despite using two
Banana Boat products: its Ultra Clear Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+ and
Kids Clear Sunscreen Spray 50+.

All of her children are believed to be under the age of ten.

Edgewell Personal Care rejected the test results, instead
describing them as "anomalous".

"All Banana Boat products meet the SPF claim as labelled on pack,"
a company spokesperson tells CHOICE.

"These results are entirely inconsistent with the testing we have
conducted at Edgewell's reputable labs, in accordance with the
Australian mandatory standard as regulated by the TGA."

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) -- the Department of
Health body responsible for regulating sunscreens, as well as food
packaging and medication -- says it began investigating aerosol
sunscreens in May following widespread public concerns.

"TGA undertook preliminary testing to investigate their delivery
rates," a spokesperson tells us.  "We found the amount of
sunscreen delivered per second differed between brands.

"It is important consumers . . .'apply liberally' to ensure proper
coverage of the sunscreen."

Such a class action, if filed, could yield similar results to the
law firm's recent case against Nurofen, where a $3.5 million
settlement was reached over misleading claims in August.

But the class action against Banana Boat's manufacturer could
result in exemplary damages, in addition to refunds. "At this
stage, all options are open," says Bannister.

The class action lawsuit is in early stages, but Charles Bannister
says it will most likely go ahead.

"I don't see any reason why this class action won't proceed," he
tells CHOICE. "I would encourage the makers of Banana Boat to
resolve any issues."

Find out which everyday brands outrated the high-end ones in our
user trial of face sunscreens and SPF moisturisers.

Sunscreen SPF claims and the category's regulation were called
into question earlier this year, as summer neared its end, after
photos of people who were burned despite applying sunscreen went
viral on social media.

The category has come under continual scrutiny since 2015, after a
CHOICE investigation found four out of six sunscreens did not meet
advertised SPF50+ claims. [GN]


BANC OF CALIFORNIA: Potential Securities Claims Investigated
------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholder rights law firm Robbins Arroyo LLP is investigating
whether certain officers and directors of Banc of California
(NYSE: BANC) breached their fiduciary duties to shareholders.  On
January 26, 2017, a securities class action complaint was filed
against Banc of California in the U.S. District Court for the
Central District of California for alleged violations of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The complaint alleged that Banc
of California and certain of its executives had undisclosed ties
to Jason Galanis, an individual with an extensive history of
criminal securities fraud, which created a significant regulatory
risk for the company.  In a September 6, 2017 order, the Honorable
Andrew J. Guilford of the U.S. District Court for the Central
District of California denied in part Banc of California's motion
to dismiss in In re Banc of California Securities Litigation.

View this information on the law firm's Shareholder Rights Blog:
www.robbinsarroyo.com/shareholders-rights-blog/banc-of-california-
inc-nov-2017-2/

Banc of California Shareholders Have Legal Options

Concerned shareholders who would like more information about their
rights and potential remedies can contact attorney
Leonid Kandinov at (800) 350-6003, LKandinov@robbinsarroyo.com, or
via the shareholder information form on the firm's website.

Robbins Arroyo LLP -- http://www.robbinsarroyo.com-- is a
shareholder rights law firm.  The firm represents individual and
institutional investors in shareholder derivative and securities
class action lawsuits, and has helped its clients realize more
than $1 billion of value for themselves and the companies in which
they have invested. [GN]


BARCLAYS PLC: Wants 2d Cir. to Rehear Dark Pool Class Cert.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Dunstan Prial, writing for Law360, reports that Barclays PLC asked
a Second Circuit panel on Nov. 20 to partially rehear a decision
granting class certification to investors suing the bank over
losses tied to the bank's alleged misrepresentations about
oversight of its dark pool market, saying the ruling is
inconsistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

Barclays' new filing argues that the panel erroneously ruled that
plaintiffs in class action fraud cases can make fraud claims
against large, publicly traded companies without offering "direct
evidence" that the company's stock moved due to misstatements made
by the company, contrary to findings in the Supreme Court's 1988
Basic Inc. v. Levinson ruling.

If allowed to stand, the Second Circuit's earlier decision would
create a "rubber stamp" for any group of investors seeking class
certification in a securities case against a large, publicly
traded company, Barclays' lawyers said, asking for an en banc or
panel rehearing.

"Defendants will face the pressure of 'in terrorem' settlements
over 'groundless claims' as plaintiffs flock to this circuit,
where class certification is now a foregone conclusion," Barclays
said.

Plaintiffs' attorney Jeremy A. Lieberman, a co-managing partner at
Pomerantz LLP, told Law360 he believes the Second Circuit's
decision affirming class action status was "well considered and in
consonance" with earlier, related Supreme Court rulings.

"As such, we believe it highly likely that either an en banc
panel, or the Supreme Court for that matter, will leave this
decision undisturbed," he said.

Barclays did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Second Circuit panel upheld a lower court's ruling granting
certification to a class of investors who say Barclays shares fell
in the wake of a July 2015 announcement of a state investigation
that revealed Barclays had allegedly committed fraud through a
number of public assertions that the bank was policing its dark
pool platform to prevent stock manipulation by high-frequency
traders.

In that ruling, the panel shot down Barclays' arguments that
misstatements and omissions allegedly made by the bank regarding
the safety of its dark pools had no "statistically significant"
impact on the price of the London-based Barclays' American
depository shares, which trade like regular stocks on U.S.
markets.

The plaintiffs, led by Barbara Strougo, sued Barclays, alleging
the misstatements and omissions regarding the bank's dark pool,
known as Liquidity Cross or LX, helped artificially inflate the
price of the bank's shares, according to the shareholders' suit.

Dark pools allow investors to trade mostly anonymously, which is
attractive to big institutional investors who trade large blocks
of securities and want to avoid being targeted by high-frequency
traders who exploit large buy and sell orders through a tactic
known as front-running.  Barclays, according to the shareholder
suit, made frequent public statements saying it took a number of
measured precautions against abuses by high-frequency traders.

Barclays has argued in past filings that the alleged misstatements
cited by the investors weren't  material, and besides, the bank
said, its dark pool revenue amounted to about 0.1 percent of its
total revenue, not enough to materially impact shareholders.

Barclays' has also argued the Second Circuit's decision ran
contrary to the Supreme Court's ruling in Halliburton II, which
upheld an earlier high court ruling that placed the burden in
putative class action stock fraud cases on defendants to prove
that misstatements by a company had no impact on the company's
stock price.

The investors sought class status shortly after Barclays stock
fell more than 7 percent on the day after New York Attorney
General Eric Schneiderman announced his civil fraud suit.

Barclays agreed in January 2016 to pay $70 million to settle
claims by Schneiderman and the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission related to operation of its dark pool.

The shareholders are represented by Jeremy A. Lieberman, Emma
Gilmore, Tamar A. Weinrib, Patrick V. Dahlstrom and Joshua B.
Silverman of Pomerantz LLP.

Barclays is represented by Jeffrey T. Scott -- scottj@sullcrom.com
-- Matthew A. Schwartz -- schwartzmatthew@sullcrom.com -- Andrew
H. Reynard --reynarda@sullcrom.com -- and Brent J. McIntosh of
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.

The case is Strougo et al. v. Barclays PLC et al. Case No. 16-1912
(2nd Cir.).  The underlying case is Strougo v. Barclays PLC, case
number 1:14-cv-05797 (S.D.N.Y). [GN]


BEAVER COUNTY, PA: Argument to Tackle Issues on Two Statues
-----------------------------------------------------------
Ronald Mann, writing for SCOTUS Blog, reports that securities
litigators have spent the last two decades working out the
implications of two statutes Congress passed in the closing years
of the last century, both designed to limit securities class
actions.  The first was the Private Securities Litigation Reform
Act of 1995, known as the PSLRA.  When that statute produced more
of a flight to state courts than it did a decline in class
actions, Congress responded with the Securities Litigation Uniform
Standards Act of 1998, known as SLUSA.  It is a testament both to
the high stakes involved in securities litigation and to the
sloppy drafting of both the PLSRA and SLUSA that the Supreme Court
has faced numerous questions of interpretation under those
statutes.  Indeed, to the outsider the most remarkable thing about
the argument in Cyan, Inc. v. Beaver County Employees Retirement
Fund may be how many basic questions about the two statutes remain
unsettled.

Because Cyan does not involve any regulations, the Supreme Court
confronts a pure question of statutory interpretation.  And
because the relevant statutes are so intricate, some considerable
discussion of the contested provisions is necessary to elucidate
the problem at hand.  The first point to understand is the
tradition of concurrent jurisdiction over securities claims. From
the enactment of the Securities Act of 1933 during the Great
Depression, Congress traditionally expected (and explicitly
provided in the statute) that securities litigation would proceed
in both state and federal courts.  Thus, the statute always has
stated (in 15 USC Sec. 77v) that the "district courts shall have
jurisdiction, concurrent with State courts, of actions to enforce
any liability created by [the Securities Act of 1933]." Responding
to the PSLRA-driven flight of securities class actions from
federal court to state court, SLUSA added a major qualification to
Section 77v, which now provides that the state courts exercise
concurrent jurisdiction "except as provided in section 77p . . .
with respect to covered class actions."

The question in this case is whether that proviso bars from state
court both mixed class actions (those that present claims under
both federal and state law) and pure federal class actions (those
that assert claims only under the Securities Act), or only mixed
class actions.  That question, not surprisingly, depends on
exactly what Congress "provided in section 77p . . . with respect
to covered class actions."  It turns out that Section 77p does
several things of arguable relevance. One is that Subsection
77p(b) completely bars any state-court class action raising claims
under state law (which would include a mixed class action), so
long as the action is a "covered class action" and involves a
"covered security."  Section 77p also defines those terms,
providing that a securities class action is "covered" if it
involves 50 plaintiffs and that a security is "covered" if it is
traded on a national exchange.

The most that the Supreme Court can do then (because it doesn't
sit to write report cards assessing the quality of Congress'
literary craft) is decide whether it makes more sense to read the
proviso as barring all covered actions or instead as barring only
mixed class actions.  On the one hand, the employees argue that
interpreting the proviso as barring all covered actions confers a
lot of important substantive content on a phrase that reads as if
it is only cross-referencing substantive action that Congress took
elsewhere.  On the other hand, in Cyan's view, reading the proviso
as barring concurrent jurisdiction only over mixed actions doesn't
accomplish very much when Section 77p(b) already has barred them
categorically.

Much of the briefing, especially by the amici, raises policy
questions about the merits of state court versus federal court
resolution of securities class actions. Cyan's amici inveigh
against the danger of permitting the wild and ungovernable state
courts to torment our nation's large businesses, and the employees
stress the longstanding routine of trusting state courts to play
the major role in adjudicating commercial litigation in our
federal system.  In the past, the Supreme Court has shown a
willingness to read SLUSA as a compromise statute designed to
eradicate some, but clearly not all, state securities litigation.
Oral argument should provide an indication of whether the parties'
and amici's policy arguments will influence the justices'
resolution of the statutory interpretation questions in this case.

Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute
to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the
respondents in this case. The author of this post, however, is not
affiliated with the firm.

The case is Cyan v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund. [GN]


BLT RESTAURANT: Faces "Martinez" Suit in E.D. New York
------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against BLT Restaurant
Group, LLC. The case is styled Pedro Martinez, individually and as
the representative of a class of similarly situated persons,
Plaintiff v. BLT Restaurant Group, LLC doing business as: BLT
Restaurants and Esquared Hospitality, LLC doing business as: E2
Hospitality, Defendants, Case No. 21:17-cv-07196 (E.D. N.Y.,
December 11, 2017).

BLT Restaurant Group, LLC is in the restaurant business.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Dan Shaked, Esq.
   Shaked Law Group, P.C.
   44 Court Street, Suite 1217
   Brooklyn, NY 11217
   Tel: (917) 373-9128
   Fax: (718) 504-7555
   Email: shakedlawgroup@gmail.com


BMNY CONTRACTING: "Hernandez" Suit Seeks Unpaid Overtime Pay
------------------------------------------------------------
Mario J. Hernandez, on behalf of himself and all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. BMNY Contracting Corp., BMNY Construction
Corp. and Benedetto Cupo, Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-09375 (S.D.
N.Y., November 30, 2017), seeks unpaid minimum wages, overtime
wages, liquidated damages and prejudgment and post-judgment
interest, attorneys' fees and costs and such other relief for
violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor
Law.

Defendants are engaged in the construction business. The Plaintiff
and similarly situated employees performed non-exempt work for
them and regularly worked more than forty hours in a workweek, but
were not paid overtime premium. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

     Peter A. Romero, Esq.
     LAW OFFICE OF PETER A. ROMERO PLLC
     103 Cooper Street
     Babylon, NY 11702
     Tel. (631) 257-5588
     Email: promero@romerolawny.com


BMW BANK: Auto Finance Company Unable TO Shake TCPA Class Action
----------------------------------------------------------------
Brooke Conkle and Alan D. Wingfield, writing for Mondaq, reports
that the Third Circuit recently clarified in important ways its
ascertainability standard for class actions under Rule 23 in a
case that arose from the efforts of an auto finance company to
generate business by marketing efforts directed at automobile
dealers. The decision reflects two key findings: (1) that
defendants who argue a class is not ascertainable -- i.e., that it
is not administratively feasible to identify class members -- must
produce information in their possession regarding putative class
members during discovery; and (2) that affidavits from class
members, by themselves, do not satisfy the ascertainability
standard, but can suffice when combined with other records.

The genesis of the dispute is a 2012 agreement between
Creditsmarts, an internet-based "indirect business-to-business
lending tree" that helps independent car dealers connect various
lenders with potential customers, and BMW Bank of America, Inc.
and BMW Financial Services, LLC. BMW offers automotive financing
to customers through its "up2drive" division, which provides
borrowers with financing at independent car dealers, regardless of
make or model. The parties agreed that BMW would use the
Creditsmarts system at participating independent dealers to offer
up2drive loans to borrowers. Creditsmarts agreed "to establish
electronic systems to permit customers to communicate with
up2drive through mutually agreed secure lines of communication"
and to "process all application forms using the minimum credit
parameters established by up2drive and the information obtained
... from the application form including the customer's credit
history, that will provide sufficient data to determine whether
the customer may qualify for any loan programs offered ... by
up2drive." In exchange, BMW would compensate Creditsmarts for
customers referred through the up2drive system.

In late 2012, Creditsmarts used a fax broadcaster, WestFax, Inc.,
to fax advertisements to independent dealers, touting the up2drive
program. The advertisements included BMW's up2drive logo and
identified BMW Bank of North America as the sender. Creditsmarts
used WestFax to send 5,480 faxes in late November 2012, 5,107
faxes in early December, and another 10,402 faxes in late
December, using a list created from Creditsmart's customer
database. City Select Auto Sales, a recipient of one of the faxes,
brought a putative class action against the three parties, arguing
that the unsolicited faxes represented a violation of the
Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The database formed the lynchpin of the parties' arguments on
class certification. Class plaintiffs moved to compel production
of the database, while Creditsmarts resisted, arguing that the
database included more entries than the number of BMW faxes sent
in 2012. Plaintiff's motion to compel production of the database
was denied and the district court found that the plaintiff's
proposed class failed to meet the ascertainability standard of
Rule 23, because there was no reliable and administratively
feasible way to determine whether putative class members received
faxes during the three 2012 fax blasts.

The Third Circuit vacated the district court's decision and
remanded for further findings after production of the database.
The court further found that none of its previous decisions
foreclosed the possibility that the plaintiff could support a
class with affidavits combined with information from the
Creditsmarts database, and that the only factual determination
necessary for class membership was whether a given dealership in
the database received a fax from Creditsmarts on one of the three
2012 dates.

The case is City Select Auto Sales, Inc. v. BMW Bank of North
America, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 1-13-cv-04595 (D.N.J.).
[GN]


BRITISH COLUMBIA: To Pay Back $5.5MM in Fees to Methadone Patients
------------------------------------------------------------------
CBC News reports that an application filed in the British Columbia
Supreme Court says the provincial governments has agreed to pay
back more than $5.5 million in fees deducted from the income-
assistance cheques of methadone patients.

Details of the agreement were filed by plaintiff Laura Shaver and
outline how B.C. will reimburse 70 per cent of the $7.7 million,
plus interest, collected from more than 11,700 methadone patients.

A proposed class-action lawsuit was launched two years ago aimed
at preventing private methadone-dispensing clinics from receiving
$18.34 a month that the government allowed to be skimmed off their
clients' income-assistance payments.

The reimbursement applies to deductions made between November 2009
and July 2016, when the fees were suspended.

The court notice says the settlement agreement was reached in May,
while the B.C. Liberal government was still in power but was
conditional on approval from the province's treasury board.

The settlement is subject to court approval and will go before a
judge on Friday.

Shaver's lawyer, Jason Gratl, Esq. -- jason@gratlandcompany.com --
says the average settlement is between $400 and $500.

The B.C. government has declined comment, saying it does not speak
on matters before the courts. [GN]


BROADSOFT INC: Monteverde & Associates Files Class Action
---------------------------------------------------------
Monteverde & Associates PC disclosed that it has filed a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for The
District of Maryland, case no. 8:17-cv-03415, on behalf of
shareholders of BroadSoft, Inc. ("BroadSoft" or the "Company")
(NASDAQ: BSFT) who held BroadSoft securities and have been harmed
by BroadSoft and its board of directors' (the "Board") for alleged
violations of Sections 14(a), and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act") in connection with the sale of
the Company to Cisco Systems, Inc., through its subsidiary
Brooklyn Acquisition Corp., (collectively "Cisco").

Under the terms of the agreement, BroadSoft shareholders will be
entitled to receive $55.00 for each share of common stock they own
(the "Merger Consideration).  The complaint alleges that this
offer is inadequate and alleges that the proxy statement on
Schedule 14A (the "Proxy") provides materially incomplete and
misleading information about the Company's financials and the
transaction, in violation of Sections 14(a), and 20(a) of the
Exchange Act.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no
later than 60 days from November 22, 2017.  Any member of the
putative class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff
through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and
remain an absent class member.  If you wish to discuss this
action, or have any questions concerning this notice or your
rights or interests, please contact:

Click here for more information:
www.monteverdelaw.com/investigations/m-a/

It is free and there is no cost or obligation to you.

Monteverde & Associates PC -- http://www.monteverdelaw.com-- is a
boutique class action securities and consumer litigation law firm
committed that has recovered millions of dollars and is committed
to protecting shareholders and consumers from corporate
wrongdoing.

Contact:

          Juan E. Monteverde, Esq.
          MONTEVERDE & ASSOCIATES PC
          The Empire State Building
          350 Fifth Ave, Suite 4405
          New York, NY 10118
          United States of America
          jmonteverde@monteverdelaw.com
          Tel: (212) 971-1341 [GN]


CAFFBENE FRANCHISE: Faces "Young" Suit in S.D. New York
-------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Caffbene Franchise
Corp. The case is styled as Lawrence Young, individually and on
behalf of all other persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs v.
Caffbene Franchise Corp., Caffbene Business Consulting Inc. and
Caffbene Inc., Defendants, Case No. 1:17-cv-09716 (S.D. N.Y.,
December 11, 2017).

Caffä Bene is a coffeehouse chain based in Seoul, South Korea.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Douglas Brian Lipsky, Esq.
   Bronson Lipsky LLP
   630 Third Avenue, 5th Floor
   New York, NY 10017
   Tel: (212) 392-4772
   Fax: (212) 444-1030
   Email: dlipsky@bronsonlipsky.com


CALGON CARBON: Faruqi & Faruqi Files Securities Class Action
------------------------------------------------------------
Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP, disclosed that it has filed a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of
Delaware, case No. 1:17-cv-01572, on behalf of shareholders of
Calgon Carbon Corporation ("Calgon" or the "Company") (NYSE: CCC)
who have been harmed by Calgon's and its board of directors' (the
"Board") alleged violations of Sections 14(a) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act") in connection
with  the proposed merger of the Company with Kuraray Co., Ltd.
("Kuraray").

On September 21, 2017, the Board caused the Company to enter into
an Agreement and Plan of Merger ("Proposed Transaction"), under
which the Company's shareholders will stand to receive $21.50 in
cash for each share of Calgon stock they own (the "Merger
Consideration").

If you wish to obtain information concerning this action, you can
do so by clicking here: www.faruqilaw.com/CCCnotice

The complaint alleges that the Preliminary Proxy Statement on
Schedule 14A (the "Proxy") filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission ("SEC") on October 27, 2017, violates Sections 14(a)
and 20(a) of the Exchange Act because it provides materially
incomplete and misleading information about the Company and the
Proposed Transaction, including information concerning the
Company's financial projections and analysis, on which the Board
relied to recommend the Proposed Transaction as fair to Calgon
shareholders.

Take Action

Plaintiff is represented by Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP, a law firm with
extensive experience in prosecuting class actions, and significant
expertise in actions involving corporate fraud.  Faruqi & Faruqi,
LLP, was founded in 1995 and the firm maintains its principal
office in New York City, with offices in Delaware, California,
Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no
later than 60 days from November 22, 2017, the date of this
notice.  Any member of the putative class may move the Court to
serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may
choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.  If you
wish to discuss this action, or have any questions concerning this
notice or your rights or interests, please contact:

          Nadeem Faruqi, Esq.
          James M. Wilson, Jr., Esq.
          FARUQI & FARUQI, LLP
          685 3rd Avenue, 26th Floor
          New York, NY 10017
          Telephone: (877) 247-4292 or (212) 983-9330
          E-mail: nfaruqi@faruqilaw.com
                  jwilson@faruqilaw.com
          Website: http://www.faruqilaw.com[GN]


CANADA: No Date Yet for Class Action Lawyer Disciplinary Hearing
----------------------------------------------------------------
CHCH reports that a lawyer in Caledonia says the clock is ticking
for hundreds of people involved in the class action lawsuit
following the 2006 protests at Douglas Creek Estates.  If they
hope to receive the remaining $1.5 million owed to them, a claim
must be made to the Law Society.

John Findlay, the lawyer who won the $20 million class action
lawsuit and was handling the funds confessed that he spent the
remaining $1.5 million that was expected to be handed out this
year and faces disciplinary action.

Peter Murray has been a lawyer for over 45 years and says the Law
Society, which regulates licences and disciplines lawyers in
Ontario, maintains a fund for situations like this.  But there's a
catch, clients have only 6 months to make a claim after notice of
any wrong doing, that makes the deadline November 29th.

Mr. Murray's firm is in Caledonia and he was a plaintiff in the
class action lawsuit along with over 400 others who were affected
by the unrest in 2006 where activists from Six Nations took over a
housing development under construction to dispute land claims with
the Federal government.  He's offered to help those people regain
the last of the funds owed to them with a fee of 25% of the amount
recovered plus HST.  More than half of the plaintiffs have signed
on with Murray.

Peter Murray says he doesn't believe the Law Society will process
claims until John Findlay's final disciplinary hearing is held, a
date has not been set.  The Law Society says Findlay's law license
remains suspended and the investigation is ongoing. [GN]


CANADA: Strike-Hit College Students Balk at $500 Compensation
-------------------------------------------------------------
Jennifer Bieman, writing for The London Free Press, reports that a
$500 provincial payout for their five-week hardship? One strike-
weary college student says it's nowhere near enough.

As students at Ontario's 24 colleges returned to class on
Nov. 21, Fanshawe College student Caitlin Foulon, who's leading
the charge to take Ontario's colleges to court, said the potential
class-action lawsuit that was recently launched is as important as
ever.

"A lot of us pay $500 just for rent," she said.

"(The province's offer) hardly puts a dent in our costs . . .
We've been laughing about that, because it's pretty much a joke."

On Nov. 20, the province announced full-time and international
students can apply for reimbursement of as much as $500 for
unexpected costs, such as child-care fees, rebooked train or bus
tickets, or rent, from funds of strike-related savings set aside
by colleges.

Students will be able to apply to their college for financial
assistance, the province said -- a process Toronto-based Charney
Lawyers, the firm handling the proposed class action, warns
students to be wary of.

"There's a number of unanswered questions," said senior partner
Ted Charney, "including whether there'll be any additional
compensation for those students who elect for a full tuition
refund, or whether Ontario is going to require them to sign a full
and final release of all claims in exchange (for the payout)."

Mr. Charney is concerned students who apply for compensation may
be asked to sign a document that would prevent them from filing
future claims, including the potential class action.

The planned lawsuit, which includes plaintiffs from each of the
province's 24 public colleges, alleges students have paid for an
education they didn't receive because of the work stoppage.  It is
seeking damages for breach of contract and breach of the Ontario
Consumer Protection Act.

Mr. Charney said, barring new information from the province or a
more robust compensation offer, the law firm will file a statement
of claim against the colleges by mid-December.

"If it turns out to be a full compensation package that covers
everything, then we won't need a class action, but right now it's
only a piecemeal package," said Mr. Charney.

Ms. Foulon wants to see compensation that's at least double what
the province offered.  "We want a firm number, not an 'up to'
amount.  The fact that it's 'up to' and you have to prove your
financial need is ridiculous," she said.  "I feel like we still
aren't getting our full education that we paid up front for."

The government is also offering a full tuition refund to students
who choose to withdraw from the now-condensed fall term within two
weeks of their return to class on Nov. 21.

About 12,000 college faculty returned to campus on Nov. 20, one
day after the provincial government passed back-to-work
legislation despite opposition from the New Democrats.

All outstanding issues between the Ontario Public Service
Employees Union (OPSEU) and College Employer Council have been
referred to binding mediation-arbitration.  Both sides must
mutually select an arbitrator.

On Oct. 16, Fanshawe's 540 full-time and about 300 partial-load
instructors walked off the job after talks broke down.  Classes
were cancelled at Fanshawe's Simcoe, Woodstock and St. Thomas
campuses, Lambton College in Sarnia and St. Clair College's
Windsor and Chatham campuses. [GN]


CENTURYLINK: Overbilling Suits Consolidated Into Class Action
-------------------------------------------------------------
Annette E. Becker, Esq., and William H. Smith, Esq., of K&L Gates,
in an article for The National Law Review, wrote that CenturyLink
customers across Central Florida complained to the Orlando
Sentinel in August that their bills jumped higher every month,
they were paying for services never ordered and they were quoted
one price and billed another.

Things are bad when the local newspaper writes about a company
quoting frustrated and angry seniors waving their bills.  They're
worse when a pit bull of a lawyer steps in.

Poor CenturyLink. The same attorney who got neighborhood watch
volunteer George Zimmerman off on charges that he killed an
unarmed black teen is taking on the communications giant, and he's
got a whole pack of hungry dogs behind him.

Orlando lawyer Mark O'Mara has spent recent months kvetching with
about 25 other attorneys across the country who also have filed
similar lawsuits against CenturyLink, many over high-pressure
selling tactics and unpredictable bills.

The result: All of these suits, ranging from Oregon to Florida,
have been rolled into a single giant class-action suit with
Mr. O'Mara as one of the lead attorneys.  That's particularly
fortuitous for fed up CenturyLink customers in Central Florida who
will have easy access to one of the lawyers.

Take, for example, Robin Brubaker, who was promised a price of
$126.90 a month for internet and basic Prism TV when she and her
husband moved into a development near The Villages in 2015.

Her first bill was $341.83.  After that, the amounts varied every
month, but they never were the same twice.

She and her neighbors howled their frustration to the newspaper
and appeared in an August column detailing their problems.

Since then?

"Everybody involved here is just fine," Mr. Brubaker said.  "My
bill has not changed one iota.

"It's like it never happened."

Like it never happened . . . Ah, yes. Of course. Stung by bad
press, CenturyLink sprung into action, immediately fixing bills so
that angry customers forget their annoyance and choose not to get
into a lawsuit.

Too late. The cadre of lawyers already has 20 complainants and
several thousand are expected to join the suit in the next three
or four months.

Already CenturyLink is fighting behind the scenes -- and
Mr. O'Mara is growling over it.

About three weeks ago, the company sent notices to customers
advising them that if they have a dispute with the company they
must go through arbitration rather than file a lawsuit.  The
notice, which probably ended up in the garbage of 99.99 percent of
customers, gives them the opportunity to opt out of this
requirement.  Please raise your hand if you did so. Anybody see
their neighbors waving?

The arbitration requirement is the weak spot in the plaintiff's
case, Mr. O'Mara said.  CenturyLink's most vulnerable area is in
its sales force.

"I would tell you anecdotally that they have extraordinarily
aggressive sales tactics upselling people stuff that they would
never use," he said.

CenturyLink spokesman Mark Molzen wrote in an email: "Our position
is clear -- we aim to operate our business with honesty and
integrity."

He said the company will "vigorously defend ourselves."

Many class-action suits against big businesses end up with the
consumer getting useless coupons or a check for $4.33 or a deal on
another item if they purchase something.  Lawyers make money, and
consumers are no farther ahead.

Mr. O'Mara said his goal is to get several months of free internet
-- maybe even a year -- for customers treated shabbily.

CenturyLink's downfall, he predicted, will be the demographic of
customers who typically don't complain or scrutinize their bills:
seniors.

"The very population that they thought they could abuse easily --
these senior citizens -- there is a percentage retired at home and
paying really close attention to their bills," Mr. O'Mara said.
"If my dad got a bill that was 18 cents off, he'd say ?It's the
principle of it.' "

First, however, the lawyers must begin collecting complainants.
Have you had bills that are baffling? Whose amounts bounce all
over even though the service hasn't changed? That contain charges
for services never ordered?

A consolidated complaint including customers from a variety of
states is to be filed in Minnesota, likely in January, after the
lawyers sort out various legal mumbo-jumbo.  It will include
complaints not only from consumers but from stockholders who say
they have been harmed by CenturyLink's bad management practices.

One thing Mr. O'Mara is learning as he listens to story after
story of billing problems:

"I think CenturyLink thought these people [would] never know."
[GN]


COHN RESTAURANT: Faces Class Action Over Bill Surcharges
--------------------------------------------------------
Lori Weisberg, writing for San Diego Tribune, reports that
lawsuits have been filed against more than a dozen San Diego
restaurants and dining groups claiming they are defrauding their
patrons by illegally tacking on a surcharge to customers' bills
that many operators have been using to defray increasing labor
costs.

Named in the suits, which have been filed over the last eight
months by a local consumer rights law firm, are some of San
Diego's highest profile dining venues, from George's at the Cove
and Mister A's to Sammy's Woodfired Pizza & Grill and the Cohn
Restaurant Group, which has close to a couple dozen restaurants in
the county.

The surcharges, which can range from 2 percent to 4 percent of the
cost of a meal, have become increasingly common since San Diego's
minimum wage jumped to $11.50 an hour in January, which at the
time was the second such hike in six months.

The lawsuits allege that the surcharges violate multiple statutes
of the state business code, among them false advertising and
unfair competition.  A section of the California Consumers Legal
Remedies Act is also cited in some of the complaints to bolster
their claim that the surcharges are unlawful.

Specifically, the complaints assert that the restaurants are
deceiving customers by not reflecting the surcharge in the pricing
of the individual menu items.  The suits, in addition to seeking
class action status, are asking for a court order to halt the
practice and that consumers be refunded.

"Adding 3 percent to the bill or any percent is duplicitous," said
attorney Robert Hyde, whose firm Hyde & Swigart has filed 15 suits
so far on behalf of multiple clients, some of them other
attorneys.  The firm says it expects to have filed as many as 20
lawsuits by year's end.

"We're saying, just be up front with people.  Don't be deceptive.
If the steak is $50, say it's $50, don't say it's $50 plus 3
percent. Otherwise, they find out at the end of the meal that the
steak is really $51.50.  They shouldn't have to sit there and
figure out how much it costs."

The surcharges also have been the target of a crackdown from the
City Attorney's office.

While City Attorney Mara Elliott's office has not deemed the
charges themselves illegal, she has gone after restaurants that
she says have not "clearly and conspicuously" forewarned diners
that they are being charged an extra levy.

Ms. Elliott filed a civil enforcement action against Barefoot Bar
& Grill on Mission Bay for allegedly failing to disclose its menu
surcharge and then adding it to menus in extremely small print
after Elliott had sent an Aug. 30 warning letter.

In a statement responding to the private lawsuits, Ms. Elliott
said she thinks both her office's approach and that of the Hyde &
Swigart firm are legitimate ways of handling consumer protection
issues related to the surcharges.

"The law provides different tactics for addressing deceptive
restaurant pricing," Ms.  Elliott's office said.  "Our prosecutors
have taken one approach, a private law firm has taken another.
Both are valid and seek the same outcome, which is for restaurants
to tell customers the truth about the price of a meal."

She noted that since cracking down on restaurants who were not
following the law, the office has seen fewer complaints.

"We will watch these private lawsuits with interest, and hope they
also lead to greater consumer protection," Ms. Elliott said.

Several of the restaurateurs targeted in the lawsuits declined to
comment because the litigation is still ongoing, but one attorney
representing several of the restaurants, including George's at the
Cove, rejected the legal claims as being meritless.

"As their complaints are worded, their argument is that
restaurants are not notifying customers up front of the charge,
which is just an untrue statement," said attorney Lukas Clary,
whose clients also include Galaxy Taco and Rockin' Baja Lobster.
"And the statutes they cite don't prohibit the practice of a
surcharge.  If they did, no surcharges could be imposed.
Surcharges are a long-established and lawful practice across many
industries."

The California Restaurant Association was more blunt in its
assessment of the lawsuits, calling the legal action little more
than a shakedown.

"The lawsuits have been filed by a group of trial lawyers trying
to extort small businesses," said Sharokina Shams, vice president
for public affairs with the restaurant association.  "These are
the worst kind of shakedown lawsuits. They are not about standing
up for the consumer but achieving a quick payday for a group of
people made up of attorneys posing as everyday customers."

Mr. Hyde and his associate Kevin Lemieux, who is handling the
surcharge cases, acknowledged that the plaintiffs in a few of the
cases are lawyers but noted that they, too, dined at restaurants
where they were assessed a surcharge for their meal.

Attorney Mary Livingstone, a plaintiff in lawsuits filed against
Tom Ham's Lighthouse and the Bali Hai, said she did not want to
discuss the legal action but said she had taken her children out
to brunch at the Bali Hai and only noticed the surcharge after she
got home.

Said Mr.  Hyde, "Oftentimes lawyers come to us and we talk to each
other.  Certainly, some of these people are people we knew.  I
understand that people are cynical about lawsuits and the
motivations of attorneys, but we're just really trying to stop
this and if they cooperate, we will not sue them.  We're not
looking to gouge anyone. They can pay us for our hours and we'll
go away."

Messrs. Hyde and Lemieux say they are not aware of any other
lawsuits similar to theirs that are challenging the legality of
the restaurant surcharges.  Attorney Clary characterized the suits
as a "novel challenge."

Restaurateurs in Los Angeles were sued in a complaint last year
related to surcharges put in place there to help cover health
insurance costs, but the basis for the suit was different than
that of the San Diego cases. The L.A. suit alleged the restaurant
owners had conspired to violate price-fixing and collusion laws.

When San Diego restaurateurs decided to implement surcharges this
year, they said they did so to not only cover minimum wage
increases but to narrow the pay gap between their kitchen staff
and servers, who earn far more because they are tipped.

Restaurant operators argued that a surcharge allows them to more
fairly distribute those revenues to all their workers as the
minimum wage continues to climb.

Restaurateur Arsalun Tafazoli, whose firm Consortium Holdings
operates a number of high profile restaurants in San Diego, has so
far held off levying a surcharge or raising prices but knows he
will have to do something to address rising costs.

"I don't know if a surcharge is the right path or wrong path, but
frankly, we're just procrastinators.  I think the mentality of
others was to try to get in front of it," said Tafazoli, whose
most recent restaurant opening was the Born & Raised steakhouse in
Little Italy.  "One aspect of the surcharge I like is there's a
more equitable distribution of the funds.  But when I see
operators in the industry I think are better at this who have
rolled it out and then retracted it, it definitely gives us cold
feet." [GN]


COLLEGE SERVITE: Priest Suspended After Sexual Abuse Class Action
-----------------------------------------------------------------
CBC News, Radio-Canada and CBC Montreal's Kate McKenna report that
a priest who taught history at a Catholic boarding school in the
Eastern Townships has been suspended after an application for a
class-action lawsuit was filed alleging he sexually assaulted at
least one of his students.

In the document, a 57-year-old man accuses the College Servite in
Ayer's Cliff, Que., and the religious Servite Order community of
turning a blind eye to the alleged abuse he was a victim of
between 1973 and 1975, at the hands of Father Jacques
Desgrandchamps.

The man was 12 at the time.  He has chosen to remain anonymous,
but his lawyer, Robert Kugler, says a class action lawsuit was
chosen in order to allow other potential victims to come forward.

Mr. Kugler and his client are waiting on the approval of Quebec's
Superior Court to proceed with the lawsuit, and are asking for
nearly $2 million in damages.

No criminal charges have been laid.

'Nobody ever assisted him'

Kugler says his client was given alcohol and repeatedly sexually
abused in Desgrandchamps's bedroom in a wing off limits to
students.

"Nobody ever asked the question. Nobody ever intervened. Nobody
ever assisted him," Kugler said, adding the man has had a
difficult and lonely life since, suffering from anxiety,
depression, problems with drugs and alcohol.

The Servite Order says it immediately suspended Desgrandchamps
from his functions at the St. Anthony of Padua church in Ottawa,
when it received the lawsuit application.

Priest admits to having sex with some students

In an interview with Radio-Canada, Desgrandchamps said he was
upset, shattered and panicked by the allegations.

He confirmed he taught at the school in the 1970s, but doesn't
know who filed the motion. He also admitted to having sex with
some students when he was a teacher.

"There was no violence, it was a search for consolation. It's also
maybe, eventually, of being turned on by children," Desgrandchamps
told Radio-Canada.

He admitted to having done "silly things" but that he believed he
was being targeted because of "representing a certain authority to
them, a certain way of life and they'll try to ruin you,"
Desgrandchamps said of the allegations.

Diocese commits to safe space

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Ottawa said it is committed to
establishing "a safe environment in the church for minors and
other vulnerable persons."

"The Archdiocese of Ottawa encourages Catholics and all members of
society to protect minors and all vulnerable persons," the
Archdiocese said.

"And commit to rising to the height of their responsibilities and
obligations towards the victims in their search for justice and
truth."

School no longer run by priests

The College Servite is no longer run by priests, but its religious
roots can be felt from its name to the symbols that endow its
facade.

The College's director, Franáois Leblanc, said on Nov. 21 the
school has been made aware of the application and that it's taking
it seriously.

"It's very sad.  For me, it was a big surprise," Mr. Leblanc said.
[GN]


DESJARDINS ENTITIES: Quebec Court of Appeal OKs Investor Suit
-------------------------------------------------------------
Daniel Grodinsky, writing for Mondaq, reports that in Asselin v.
Desjardins Cabinet de services financiers inc., the Quebec Court
of Appeal authorized a class action against two Desjardins
investment entities relating to two under-performing investment
funds. The appeal court's decision continues its pattern of
reversing Quebec Superior Court decisions that have refused to
authorize class actions. In so doing, the Quebec Court of Appeal
may have further lowered the threshold at the authorization stage.

The proposed class action relates to allegedly under-performing
securities marketed by Desjardins Financial Services Firm and
Desjardins Global Assets Management. Two of the investment funds
were allegedly marketed as very secure and low risk products but,
in actuality, are alleged to have been highly leveraged, resulting
in the liquidation of a significant part of the assets needed to
produce returns. As a result, class members are alleged to have
received no return on their investment for up to seven years.

The Court of Appeal's may further lower the bar for the
authorization of class actions by inviting judges to be flexible,
to consider the substance of the allegations over its form and to
"read between the lines" of the plaintiff's allegations. In the
reasons, the Court of Appeal noted that in order to avoid class
actions monopolizing an already large share of court resources,
judges should consider whether the allegations meet a prima facie
case and therefore avoid an in-depth analysis of the merits of
potential grounds of defense.

The Court of Appeal also may have raised the threshold for class
action defendants to submit relevant evidence to resist
authorization. The Court of Appeal criticized the lower court
judge for permitting the parties to present a fairly substantial
evidentiary record at the authorization stage as it led to a more
detailed analysis than was appropriate at the authorization stage.
[GN]


DESJARDINS FINANCIAL: Court Lowers Threshold for Class Action
-------------------------------------------------------------
Luis Millan, writing for The Lawyer's Daily, reports that the
threshold for class action certification in Quebec, long
considered a class action haven, has become even lower following a
Quebec Court of Appeal ruling that advises trial judges to be
flexible, "read between the lines," and assess substance over form
when examining class action applications, according to class
action experts.

In overturning another decision by the Quebec Superior Court that
did not certify a class action, the Appeal Court held that trial
judges are far too often ruling on the merits of the case rather
than simply conducting a summary assessment that is flexible,
liberal and generous, as espoused by the Supreme Court of Canada
in a series of class action rulings.

"If we do not want class actions to monopolize an unwarranted
amount of court resources, limited resources, it would be useful
under the current state of law that we avoid at the certification
stage what should in reality belong to the merits," said Quebec
Court of Appeal Justice Marie-France Bich in a 73-page ruling in
Asselin v. Desjardins Cabinet de services financiers inc. 2017
QCCA 1673. Justices Marie St-Pierre and Claude C. Gagnon concurred
with the reasons.

The decision did not take class action experts by surprise, with
one Montreal lawyer going so far as to describe it as the "second
chapter" of the Boiron decision. A year ago, in Charles v. Boiron
Canada inc. 2016 QCCA 1716, Justice Bich invited the legislature
to reconsider the usefulness of the authorization stage in its
current form given that the SCC has imposed such a lax test for
certification. She added that she wonders whether such a low
threshold justifies the expensive, time-consuming resources that
is expended on class action authorizations.

"The Quebec Court of Appeal is stuck with the SCC's low
thresholds," remarked Jean-Michel Boudreau -- jmboudreau@imk.ca
-- a Montreal class action lawyer with IMK LLP.  "We see very few
cases where authorization is refused, and of those that are not
authorized, many are reversed on appeal.  What the Court of Appeal
seems to be saying is: 'There is no purpose to the authorization
process yet it exists. And it is clogging up the courts because
the parties are still making this a big thing even though the
outcome is sort of known.'"

In 2011 Ronald Asselin launched a class action against Desjardins
Financial Services Firm (DFSF) and Desjardins Global Asset
Management (DGAM) that alleged that two investment funds,
advertised as very secure and low risk, actually involved
significant leverage that resulted in the liquidation of the part
of the funds dedicated to producing returns.  As a result,
investors allegedly have not received any returns since 2008 and
will not receive any at the maturity date of their investments.
The class action seeks the reimbursement of the funds invested
plus interest and damages.

Superior Court Justice Claude Dallaire refused to certify the
action.  She found that the syllogism had no "colour of right" and
that the issues raised were not appropriate for a class action.
Justice Dallaire also found that the class action suit against
DGAM was inadmissible because of the existence of a release that
was accepted by Ontario Superior Court in 2008 and 2009 in the
Canadian asset-backed commercial paper market restructuring file.

The Appeal Court overturned the ruling and held that the trial
judge "liberally authorized" the parties to present fairly
substantial evidence, and that the analysis that ensued led it to
drift toward the merits of the case. Moreover the exception to
dismiss required evidence of the release, which the judge could
not admit or consider, said Justice Bich.

"The Quebec Appeal Court held that the release has a long reach
but it is not at the certification stage that is the time to
decide whether it is a valid argument or one destined to fail,"
noted Serge Letourneau of Letourneau Gagne LLP, one of four law
firms behind the class action.

"The case hinges not on whether the firms committed a fault by
selling asset-backed commercial paper.  It was putting them [in
the investment funds] after they were no longer good."

Heeding guidance from the Supreme Court in Infineon Technologies
AG v. Option consommateurs [2013] 3 SCR 600, among others, Justice
Bich noted that the authorization process does not amount to a
trial on the merits.  Applicants, she added, must only demonstrate
they have a prime facie case in light of the facts and not show
that they have a claim that will probably succeed. However, while
an applicant's allegations of fact are assumed to be true, it must
be accompanied by some evidence to form an arguable case.

"On the one hand if it is true one must not be satisfied by
vagueness, generalities or imprecisions, one cannot turn a blind
eye to allegations that are perhaps not perfect, but one in which
its true sense nevertheless emerges clearly," said Justice Bich.
"One has to read between the lines."

Montreal class action lawyer Jean Saint-Onge -- JSaintOnge@blg.com
-- is uneasy with this finding.  "The problem I have with that is
that the legislator has made it easy for the class action
plaintiff," said Mr. Saint-Onge, senior counsel at Borden Ladner
Gervais LLP. "All they have to do is allege specific facts.
That's all.  If in addition to that, you reduce their obligation
to a point where you can allege anything or allege something
superficial but the judge must be able to read between the lines,
it lightens the threshold for the plaintiff even more than it
already is."

Justice Bich also seems to have increased the threshold for class
action defendants to submit "relevant evidence."  Under article
574 of the Code of Civil Procedure, an application for
authorization may only be contested orally and the court may allow
relevant evidence to be submitted.  Often, class action defendants
use article 574 to examine the class action representative or to
file evidence to counter the allegations made by the plaintiff,
explained Mr. Saint-Onge.  But Justice Bich now says that it
should be "limited" to contest implausibilities or falsehoods.
"In other words, the allegations must be flagrantly inexact and
there must be incontestable certainty that that is the case," said
Mr. Saint-Onge.  "That I think increases the burden on defendant
who wishes to submit relevant evidence by virtue of article 574.
I'm pretty sure this is novel."

The decision has the potential of spelling the end of out-of-court
settlements, stated class action experts.

"The real battle is going to be moving more and more in Quebec
towards the trial on the merits," said Boudreau.  "We were seeing
a lot of cases settle after authorization, but one would now think
that the true debate will be postponed to the actual trial."

Mr. Saint-Onge concurred.  He said there was a time when
authorization "really" meant something.  It was an incentive for
defendants to sit down at the table and negotiate.  But the
flexible, liberal and generous approach espoused by the Quebec
Appeal Court has diminished the leverage that class action
plaintiffs used to have if they had their case certified, said
Saint-Onge.

Mr. Letourneau has said his client has not held any out-of-court
negotiations.  "The defendants do not seem to be open to that,"
remarked Letourneau.  The threshold for class action certification
in Quebec, long considered a class action haven, has become even
lower following a Quebec Court of Appeal ruling that advises trial
judges to be flexible, "read between the lines," and assess
substance over form when examining class action applications,
according to class action experts. [GN]


DOCTORS CENTER: Faces "Araujo" Suit in District of New Jersey
-------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Doctors Center
Management Corporation. The case is styled Susy Araujo
individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated,
Plaintiff v. Doctors Center Management Corporation and University
Physician Associates of New Jersey, Inc., Defendants, Case No.
2:17-cv-12883 (D.N.J., December 11, 2017).

Doctors Center Management Corporation is a management service
located in Newark, New Jersey.[BN]

The Plaintiff appears PRO SE.


DOLLAR TREE: Wins Jury Verdict in Electronic Wage Settlement Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Stephen L. Taeusch and Reanne Swafford-Harris, writing for Mondaq,
reports that on November 7, 2017, after a four-day trial, a
federal jury in Los Angeles, California returned a verdict in
favor of Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. in a class action filed against
the company by former employee Francisca Guillen. The case was
pending in the Central District of California before Hon. Michael
W. Fitzgerald.

The plaintiff did not dispute that Dollar Tree's wage statements
included all of the information required by California Labor Code
section 226(a), California's wage statement statute. Nor did she
dispute that the paper wage statements accompanying Dollar Tree's
paychecks complied with California law. Instead, she alleged that
store employees who elected to receive their wages by direct
deposit -- and who could only receive electronic wage statements -
- did not have easy enough access to those wage statements because
they could only be accessed from store cash registers.

Labor Code section 226(a) requires that wage statements be issued
"in writing" and that deductions be recorded "in ink or other
indelible form." In 2006, California's Labor Commissioner issued
an opinion letter regarding the circumstances in which employers
can issue electronic wage statements while still complying with
these requirements. According to the opinion letter, California
employers may provide employees with electronic wage statements as
long as:

   * Employees have the option to elect to receive wage statements
on paper;

   * The electronic wage statements contain all of the information
required by Labor Code section 226(a);

   * The employer retains pay records for at least three years and
employees retain access to them;

   * Safeguards are in place to protect the confidentiality of
employees' information; and

   * Employees who receive electronic wage statements have "the
ability to easily access the information and convert the
electronic statements into hard copies at no expense to the
employee."

The plaintiff contended that Dollar Tree failed to satisfy this
last requirement because store employees paid by direct deposit
could only access their wage statements through in-store cash
registers and could not access them over the Internet, a
limitation she claimed was particularly burdensome for employees
who were away from work.

In pre-trial briefing, the plaintiff conceded that there was "no
hard and fast minimum standard for 'easy' access to electronic
wage statements," but she contended that the "obvious takeaway"
from the Labor Commissioner's opinion letter and earlier court
rulings was that "the now-ubiquitous Internet by far is the most
convenient, and likely only, means available to gain easy access
to electronically delivered wage statements." She took the
position that "any mode of delivery of electronic wage information
that does not take advantage of the Internet simply cannot, from a
comparative standpoint, be considered 'easy.'"

Judge Fitzgerald's instructions to the jury explained that Dollar
Tree could be liable for wage statement violations if "employees
did not retain easy access" to their wage statements. The jury
instructions also explained that the term "easy access" does not
have any special legal meaning but that jurors should use their
ordinary understanding of the term in deciding Dollar Tree's
liability.

Ruling in Dollar Tree's favor, the jury evidently concluded that
the company provided its store employees with easy enough access
to their wage statements by making them available through stores'
cash registers.

Although Dollar Tree prevailed at trial, this case is yet another
reminder that employers' practices with respect to wage statements
are highly scrutinized. Because wage statement claims are
susceptible to class action treatment -- and because prevailing
class action plaintiffs can recover up to $4,000 in penalties per
affected employee (not to mention attorney's fees) -- even
technical violations of California's wage statement requirements
can create significant legal exposure. Employers should confirm
that their wage statements contain all of the required information
and should also ensure that employees who elect to receive
electronic wage statements have easy access to them and the
ability to print them. [GN]


DOLLAR TREE: Sheppard Mullin Attorneys Discuss Court Ruling
-----------------------------------------------------------
Stephen L. Taeusch, Esq. -- staeusch@sheppardmullin.com -- and
Reanne Swafford-Harris, Esq. -- rswafford-
harris@sheppardmullin.com -- of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter &
Hampton LLP, in an article for The National Law Review, wrote that
on November 7, 2017, after a four-day trial, a federal jury in Los
Angeles, California returned a verdict in favor of Dollar Tree
Stores, Inc. in a class action filed against the company by former
employee Francisca Guillen.  The case was pending in the Central
District of California before Hon. Michael W. Fitzgerald.

The plaintiff did not dispute that Dollar Tree's wage statements
included all of the information required by California Labor Code
section 226(a), California's wage statement statute.  Nor did she
dispute that the paper wage statements accompanying Dollar Tree's
paychecks complied with California law.  Instead, she alleged that
store employees who elected to receive their wages by direct
deposit -- and who could only receive electronic wage statements -
- did not have easy enough access to those wage statements because
they could only be accessed from store cash registers.

Labor Code section 226(a) requires that wage statements be issued
"in writing" and that deductions be recorded "in ink or other
indelible form."  In 2006, California's Labor Commissioner issued
an opinion letter regarding the circumstances in which employers
can issue electronic wage statements while still complying with
these requirements.  According to the opinion letter, California
employers may provide employees with electronic wage statements as
long as:

   -- Employees have the option to elect to receive wage
statements on paper;

   -- The electronic wage statements contain all of the
information required by Labor Code section 226(a);

   -- The employer retains pay records for at least three years
and employees retain access to them;

   -- Safeguards are in place to protect the confidentiality of
employees' information; and

   -- Employees who receive electronic wage statements have "the
ability to easily access the information and convert the
electronic statements into hard copies at no expense to the
employee."

The plaintiff contended that Dollar Tree failed to satisfy this
last requirement because store employees paid by direct deposit
could only access their wage statements through in-store cash
registers and could not access them over the Internet, a
limitation she claimed was particularly burdensome for employees
who were away from work.

In pre-trial briefing, the plaintiff conceded that there was "no
hard and fast minimum standard for 'easy' access to electronic
wage statements," but she contended that the "obvious takeaway"
from the Labor Commissioner's opinion letter and earlier court
rulings was that "the now-ubiquitous Internet by far is the most
convenient, and likely only, means available to gain easy access
to electronically delivered wage statements."  She took the
position that "any mode of delivery of electronic wage information
that does not take advantage of the Internet simply cannot, from a
comparative standpoint, be considered 'easy.'"

Judge Fitzgerald's instructions to the jury explained that Dollar
Tree could be liable for wage statement violations if "employees
did not retain easy access" to their wage statements.  The jury
instructions also explained that the term "easy access" does not
have any special legal meaning but that jurors should use their
ordinary understanding of the term in deciding Dollar Tree's
liability.

Ruling in Dollar Tree's favor, the jury evidently concluded that
the company provided its store employees with easy enough access
to their wage statements by making them available through stores'
cash registers.

Although Dollar Tree prevailed at trial, this case is yet another
reminder that employers' practices with respect to wage statements
are highly scrutinized.  Because wage statement claims are
susceptible to class action treatment -- and because prevailing
class action plaintiffs can recover up to $4,000 in penalties per
affected employee (not to mention attorney's fees) -- even
technical violations of California's wage statement requirements
can create significant legal exposure.  Employers should confirm
that their wage statements contain all of the required information
and should also ensure that employees who elect to receive
electronic wage statements have easy access to them and the
ability to print them. [GN]


EQUIFAX INC: Faces New Class Action Over Data Breach in Atlanta
---------------------------------------------------------------
Kenneth R. Harney, writing for Washington Post, reports that the
scenario that personal finance and credit experts feared most
about the heist of consumer data from Equifax may already be
underway: Criminals are using the stolen information to apply for
mortgages, credit cards and student loans, and tapping into bank
debit accounts, filing insurance claims and racking up substantial
debts, according to a major new class-action suit.

The suit pulls together dozens of individual complaints from
consumers in all 50 states plus the District and suggests that
cybercriminals aren't wasting time using the Social Security
numbers, credit card accounts, driver's license numbers and other
sensitive personal information they siphoned out of the credit
bureau's reputedly secure databases on 145.5 million Americans.

Filed in federal district court in Equifax's home territory of
Atlanta, the suit is intended to create a single, giant national
class action against the company.  It alleges violations of
federal and state laws and cites claims by more than 50 individual
plaintiffs whose information was hacked that significant financial
damage already is occurring.  A few examples:

Bridgette Craney of Virginia says that since the Equifax breach,
she has experienced "multiple fraudulent charges" on five of her
credit card accounts and had two fraudulent store credit accounts
opened in her name.

Robert Hunt of Georgia claims that multiple "unauthorized
mortgages" have been applied for using his stolen information.

Jennifer Wise of Vermont says she has been getting dunned by
collection agencies for "loans that she never opened."

Manuel Lucero of Mississippi says criminals have applied for
student loans using his identity; Kyoko Yamamoto of New York
claims "at least two" unauthorized charges have been made using
her debit card; and Jasmine Guess of Louisiana says fraudulent
insurance claims have been made using her stolen identity
information.

The suit, Allen et al v. Equifax, charges that the company "failed
spectacularly" in its legal responsibilities to protect consumers'
confidential data.  It also alleges that the company failed to
take steps to upgrade its security protocols, such as installing a
remedial patch provided by a software maker, and then delayed
informing consumers about the breach, thereby preventing them from
taking steps to minimize the damage.

[Theft of Equifax data could lead to years of grief for home
buyers and mortgage applicants]

Through Equifax's negligence, according to the suit,
cybercriminals gained access to data that now "permits thieves to
create fake identities, fraudulently obtain loans, swipe tax
refunds and destroy" consumers' creditworthiness.  Among the most
vulnerable potential and actual victims: home buyers and mortgage
applicants, who "tend to have significant information on file with
credit bureaus" and as a result are "especially at risk" for ID
theft after the Equifax data breach.

An Equifax representative had no comment on the litigation.
Lawyers representing the individual plaintiffs also declined to
comment.  The potential size of the class represented by the suit
is enormous -- "all residents of the United States whose personal
information was compromised as a result of the data breach
announced by Equifax."  The allegations include violations of the
federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Federal Trade Commission
Act and state consumer protection laws as well as rules regarding
deceptive practices and data breaches, all of which are recounted
in the 323-page filing.

The suit is particularly harsh in its criticism of Equifax's
alleged failures to heed red flags indicating that its systems
were not secure.  In April 2017, according to the suit, cyber-risk
analysis firm Cyence rated the probability of a security breach at
Equifax at 50 percent in the next 12 months.  Credit analytics
firm FICO gave Equifax low marks on data protection: an enterprise
security score around 550 on a scale of 300 to 850.  In 2014,
Equifax "left private encryption keys on its server," potentially
allowing hackers to decrypt sensitive data, according to the suit.

How might this suit affect you? If you own a home, have a mortgage
or received information from Equifax that your files were
accessed, you are probably part of the class.  You needn't do
anything to join. Keep in mind, though: The case may sound like a
slam-dunk, but it might not be. Lawyers will need to demonstrate a
link between plaintiffs' claims of identity theft and the Equifax
breach, which may be challenging to prove.

In the meantime, remember that it's not too late to get defensive.
If you're like the vast majority of consumers who have not yet
placed freezes on their files at Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and
Innovis, consider doing so now. For information on how to proceed,
go to consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs. [GN]


EQUIFAX INC: Hit with Suit by Windsor County Woman
--------------------------------------------------
Mike Donoghue, writing for Valley News, reports that a Windsor
County woman has filed a federal lawsuit against Equifax over its
massive data breach that put private financial records in peril
for at least 143 million Americans that had their personal
information stolen during the summer.

Shirley Cole, who has lived in Ascutney for several years, along
with Sandra Barrett, of Highgate Center, Vt., filed the lawsuit
seeking unspecified compensatory damages and restitution from the
massive consumer credit reporting agency.

The Windsor and Franklin county women also are asking a judge in
U.S. District Court in Rutland to declare the case a class action
lawsuit to include all other Vermonters similarly affected by the
breach. As of Sept. 30, there have been more than 240 class action
lawsuits filed against the company since it reported the breach
earlier in September.

Vermonters have been placed "at an imminent, immediate and
continuing increased risk of harm from identity theft and identity
fraud," the two women note in the lawsuit.

Equifax, including co-defendant Equifax Information Services,
failed to alert millions of Americans about the data breach until
Sept. 7 -- about six weeks after the company became aware of the
major incident, the plaintiffs maintain. They said the breach
began in May and was uncovered on July 29.

The multi-billion dollar corporation based in Atlanta responded to
the lawsuit with a statement through a spokeswoman last week.

"We cannot comment on pending litigation, but want to reassure
consumers that we are remaining focused on helping them to
navigate this situation and provide the best customer support
possible. We are listening to issues consumers have experienced
and their suggestions, which are helping to further inform our
actions as we continue to improve this process," the Equifax
statement said.

In a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission
on Sept. 30, Equifax painted a bleak picture. While the company is
taking steps to remediate the breach, the problem could happen
again, it said.

The company, in the filing, wrote, "We cannot assure that all
potential causes of the incident have been identified and
remediated and will not occur again. Because our products and
services involve the storage and transmission of personal
information of consumers, we will continue to be routinely
targeted by outside third parties, including technically
sophisticated and well-resourced bad actors attempting to access
or steal the data that we store."

It goes on to say, "If we experience additional breaches of our
security measures, sensitive data may be accessed, which could
cause us significant additional legal and financial exposure and
damage to our reputation that could have a material adverse effect
on our business."

The company will need to file a written response to the lawsuit by
early next month.

The stolen data included names, addresses, Social Security
numbers, birth dates and in some instances, driver's license
numbers, according to the 39-page lawsuit.

It says credit card numbers for about 209,000 U.S. consumers,
along with other personal identifying information for another
182,000 Americans were accessed.

"The data breach was the inevitable result of Equifax's inadequate
approach to data security and the protection of the (Personal
Identifying Information) that it collected during the course of
its business. Defendants knew and should have known of the
inadequacy of their own data security," the lawsuit claims.

The company also had three similar cybersecurity breaches on
smaller scales in 2013, 2016 and in January of this year, the
plaintiffs maintain.

"Privacy researchers and fraud analysts have called this attack
'as bad as it gets,' " the lawsuit noted. It added that on a 1-to-
10 scale in terms of risk to consumers, "it is a 10."

Cole and Barrett maintain they have invested considerable personal
time monitoring accounts and taking other steps to protect their
credit ratings and accounts from improper use of their stolen
data. They said they had entrusted Equifax -- one of the three
largest consumer credit reporting agencies in the United States --
with their personal information.

"While defendants took no steps at that time to inform the public
in the interim, defendants did not hesitate to protect themselves;
at least three Equifax senior executives, including CFO John
Gamble, upon information and belief, sold shares worth $1.8
million in the days following the data breach," the lawsuit said.

The stolen information is in the hands of third parties that "now
possess keys that unlock consumers' medical histories, bank
accounts, employee accounts and more. Abuse of sensitive credit
and personal information can result in considerable harm to
victims of security breaches," the lawsuit said.

"Criminals can take out loans, mortgage property, open financial
accounts and credit cards in a victim's name, obtain government
benefits, file fraudulent tax returns, obtain medical services and
provide false information to police during an arrest, all under
the victim's name," the filing noted.

The seven-count lawsuit alleges Equifax had both willful and
negligent violations of the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and
violation of the Vermont Consumer Protection Act.

The suit also outlines two counts of negligence and one of unjust
enrichment by getting paid to protect information, but failing to
provide the proper services.

The women are represented by Woodstock lawyer Richard Windish with
out-of-state assistance from attorney Kevin Sharp of Nashville,
Tenn.

The Nashville law firm has filed 35 Equifax lawsuits and plans to
file a handful more in the coming weeks, said Jamie Moss, a
spokesman for Sanford, Heisler Sharp.

Because the cases are filed throughout the United States, the
federal court is classifying its status as a multi-district
litigation, which provides for a way to speed the process of
handling complex cases, such as disasters and product liability
situations.

The first meeting of lawyers involved in the MDL is scheduled in
St. Louis on Nov. 30, Moss said.

The federal lawsuit is unrelated to a small claims suit filed in
Orange County by Jessamyn West, a librarian from Randolph. The
company has denied her allegations that it mishandled the recent
data breach and a hearing is scheduled for Jan. 17 in Chelsea.
[GN]


ERIN ENERGY: Obtains Favorable Ruling in Stockholders' Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------
Annette E. Becker, Esq., and William H. Smith, Esq., of
K&L Gates, in an article for The National Law Review, wrote that
in Lenois, et al. v. Lawal, et al., and Erin Energy Corporation,
C.A. No. 11963-VCMR (Del. Ch. November 7, 2017), plaintiff Robert
Lenois ("Plaintiff") on behalf of himself and other stockholders
brought a class action for breach of fiduciary duty against
controllers and the board of directors of Erin Energy Corporation
("Erin") for approving what was claimed to be an unfair
transaction.  The Delaware Court of Chancery dismissed the class
action suit under Court of Chancery Rule 23.1, holding that the
directors were protected by an exculpatory charter, and Plaintiff
failed to meet the heightened pleading standard for demand
futility set by the second prong of Aronson v. Lewis, 473 A.2d 805
(Del. 1984).  Although Plaintiff pled with particularity that one
director acted in bad faith, the complaint did not allege facts
sufficient to establish that a majority of the board faced a
substantial likelihood of liability for non-exculpated claims.

This case arises out of transactions between an oil and gas
exploration company Erin Energy Corporation ("Erin"), a Delaware
corporation. Plaintiff was a stockholder of Erin. Defendant Lawal
was Erin's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.  Lawal and CAMAC
Energy Holdings Limited ("CEHL"), a holding company controlled by
Lawal and his family, were Erin's controlling stockholders.  The
other defendant directors were members of Erin's board.

In the contested transaction, Public Investment Corporation
Limited ("PIC"), a third-party entity, invested in Erin in
exchange for Erin stock. Erin then transferred to a different
Lawal-affiliated company, Allied Energy Plc ("Allied"), the
majority of PIC's cash investment, Erin stock, and other
consideration in exchange for select Allied oil mining rights (the
"Transactions").  The other Erin stockholders received additional
shares.  Plaintiff brought a derivative class action alleging
breach of fiduciary duty claims against Lawal, CEHL, and the board
of directors for approving the allegedly unfair Transactions.
Before filing suit, Plaintiff did not make a demand on the board
under Court of Chancery Rule 23.1.  Instead, Plaintiff contended
that demand was futile under the second prong of Aronson because
Lawal acted in bad faith, or in the alternative, because the board
was inadequately informed and breached its duty of care.  In the
complaint, Plaintiff claimed that Erin allegedly overpaid by
between $86.2 million and $198.8 million for Allied's assets.  In
addition, Lawal not only initiated the transaction process and
acted as Erin's sole negotiator with PIC, but also acted as
Allied's sole negotiator with Erin as a counterparty.  Lawal was a
controller of both Erin and Allied at the time through CEHL, which
had 100% ownership of Allied and 58.85% ownership of Erin before
the Transactions. Plaintiff also asserted direct action for breach
of fiduciary duties against the board and Lawal separately,
arguing that Lawal aided and abetted the board's breach of the
duty of disclosure through disclosure violations in the
transaction proxy.

The defendants agreed that the case fell under the second prong of
Aronson.  The defendants countered, however, that the Rule 23.1
demand requirement was not excused for futility merely because
Lawal was an interested controller at the time the Transactions
were approved.  The defendants argued that a showing of demand
futility requires a holistic assessment of the board's culpability
in light of the exculpatory provision in Erin's charter.  The
defendants contended that Plaintiff failed to plead non-exculpated
claims concerning a majority of the board, offering instead only
non-exculpatory claims against a single director -- Lawal.  The
defendants also moved to dismiss the direct disclosure claims
under Court of Chancery Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that the alleged
disclosure claims damaged the Company, not the stockholders.

The Court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss as to both the
derivate and direct breach of fiduciary duty claims.  The Court
reached this conclusion by first clarifying the Court of
Chancery's demand futility jurisprudence, including the Delaware
Supreme Court's decisions in both Rales v. Blasband, 634 A.2d 927
(Del. 1993) and Aronson.  The Court explained that the Aronson and
Rales tests are complementary versions of the same inquiry:
whether the board's capacity for impartiality was compromised by
the threat of liability, more specifically, whether there was
reason to doubt the directors' ability to exercise their business
judgment in responding to a demand because those directors face a
substantial likelihood of personal liability from litigation.  In
light of this analysis, the Court held first that where an
exculpatory charter provision protects the board, demand futility
must be established under the Aronson second prong by pleading
that a majority of directors would have faced a substantial
likelihood of liability for non-exculpated claims had they
considered demand.  Neither breach of fiduciary duties by the
board nor a self-dealing and controlling stockholder alone is
sufficient to establish demand futility.

Applying this standard, the Court found that the complaint failed
to plead particularized facts showing that a majority of
individual directors could not consider demand impartially.
Although the complaint sufficiently alleged that Lawal acted in
bad faith, Plaintiff failed to raise a reason to doubt the honesty
and good faith of the reaming defendant directors.  The defendant
directors established a special committee to push back on Lawal's
timeline, hired and relied on the expert advice of an investment
banker and legal counsel, and negotiated more favorable terms for
the Erin stockholders at several points.  In addition, the special
committee sought approval from the entire Board (excluding the
controller and a conflicted director), issued a proxy statement to
stockholders, and received a majority-of-the-minority stockholder
approval.  The Court found that these actions did not evince
conscious and intentional disregard of fiduciary duty rising to
the level of bad faith. Because Plaintiff failed to plead bad
faith violations by a majority of the Erin board, the Court
dismissed the claims for failing to meet the demand futility
threshold under Rule 23.1.

The Court similarly dismissed the direct breach of fiduciary duty
claims under Rule 12(b)(6). Plaintiff requested rescissory damages
to be paid to the Erin stockholders for the alleged duty of
disclosure violations. The Court denied the direct claim and ruled
that the alleged injury and the damages belonged to Erin and not
the Erin stockholders .

The case is Robert Lenois, et al., v Kase Lukman Lawal, et al.,
and Erin Energy Corp. [GN]


FORD MOTOR: WeirFoulds Discusses Ruling on Motion to Intervene
--------------------------------------------------------------
Hayley Peglar, Esq. -- hpeglar@weirfoulds.com -- of WeirFoulds
LLP, in an article for Lexology, wrote that in Romeo v. Ford Motor
Co., a recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice,
Justice E.M. Morgan considered the principles applicable to a
motion to intervene in a certification motion in a class
proceeding.  This case offers a helpful reminder of first
principles applicable to interventions under the Class Proceedings
Act, S.O. 1992, c. 6 ("CPA").

The motion concerned two proposed multi-jurisdictional class
actions -- one in Saskatchewan and another in Ontario -- on behalf
of people in Canada who purchased or leased a Ford Focus or Ford
Fiesta equipped with a dual-clutch transmission.  The
representative plaintiffs in the proposed class action in
Saskatchewan (the "Moving Parties") sought leave to intervene in
the certification motion in the proposed Ontario class action.
Justice Morgan found that the proposed Saskatchewan class action
raised "essentially the same claim" as the proposed Ontario class
action.

The representative plaintiffs in the proposed Ontario class action
(the "Plaintiffs") had previously been granted standing to
intervene in the Saskatchewan certification motion.  The
Saskatchewan certification motion was heard roughly six months
before the motion to intervene in the Ontario certification
motion, and was still under reserve at the time Justice Morgan
heard the motion.

The parties agreed that rule 13 of the Rules of Civil Procedure
(which ordinarily governs intervenors) is inapplicable to a
certification motion governed by the CPA.

The case highlights a distinction between the Ontario and
Saskatchewan class action regimes with respect to intervention.
Subsection 6(2) of Saskatchewan's Class Actions Act, S.S. c. C-
12.01 expressly allows out-of-province parties to participate in a
Saskatchewan certification hearing.  In contrast, Ontario's CPA
does not contain a parallel provision.  Justice Morgan accepted
the Plaintiffs' argument that it is for the respective
legislatures of each province to determine on their own and for
their own policy reasons how class certification is to proceed.

The Moving Parties argued that the Court's obligation, under
subsection 5(1)(d) of the CPA, to assess whether "the class
proceeding would be the preferable procedure for the resolution of
the common issues" incorporates a need to consider the position of
claimants in an out-of-province action and requires an evaluation
of the "comparative virtues" of the two proposed class actions.

The Plaintiffs opposed the intervention on two grounds: (1) that
the Moving Parties had no standing to seek leave to intervene; and
(2) that the Moving Parties had nothing to add to the Ontario
proceeding and would not play a productive role in contributing to
the analysis on the question of certification.

On the question of standing, Justice Morgan noted that the CPA
does not contain a prohibition on a non-party having standing to
intervene.  Consequently, the broad inherent jurisdiction of the
Superior Court of Justice to govern its own processes permits the
Court to grant standing if it is just and equitable to do so.
Justice Morgan concluded that he would be willing to exercise the
Court's inherent jurisdiction to grant standing if the Moving
Parties otherwise qualified as proper intervenors.

However, Justice Morgan denied leave to intervene on the second
ground raised by the Plaintiffs, i.e. that the Moving Parties
would add nothing to the certification motion.

In arguing that the Moving Parties had nothing to contribute to
the certification proceedings, the Plaintiffs pointed to the fact
that the Moving Parties did not indicate in their materials what
position they would take on certification if they were permitted
to intervene.  The Moving Parties confirmed that they "were
keeping their options open in terms of specific ruling sought".
Citing Fairview Donut Inc. v. TDL Group Corp., Justice Morgan
turned to a first principles analysis, noting that motions to
intervene require not only a consideration of the proposed
intervenor's interest in the issue between the parties, but also
an evaluation of the likelihood that the intervenor can make a
useful addition to the resolution of the issues before the Court
without causing injustice to the parties.

Justice Morgan concluded that because the Saskatchewan action had
not yet been certified, the Moving Parties would potentially be
arguing for the exclusion of some part of the class from a claim
in either jurisdiction.  As such, the proposed intervention was
effectively aimed at potentially derailing the rights of a portion
of the class, rather than advancing them.  Moreover, he found that
the intervenors had nothing to contribute on the question of
certification because the opt-out provision of the CPA provides a
complete remedy for any class members (including the Saskatchewan-
based members) who might dissent from the proceeding being
certified as a class action.  Justice Morgan confirmed the holding
in Fairview Donut that allowing dissenting putative class members
to bypass the opt-out provision by instead intervening at the
certification stage would cause undue delay and expense, and would
be antithetical to the procedure contemplated under the CPA. [GN]


FRANKLIN COUNTY, PA: Sheriff Dropped from Privacy Class Action
--------------------------------------------------------------
Mark Scolforo, writing for Associated Press, reports that
concealed weapon permit-holders cannot sue a central Pennsylvania
sheriff over permit notices he sent out on postcards, which they
say violated their privacy rights, the state Supreme Court ruled
on Nov. 22.

The justices unanimously dismissed the former sheriff of Franklin
County from what could become a class-action case, although other
defendants remain.

The plaintiffs claim the postcards, informing people about permit
approvals, denials, revocations and renewals, violate privacy
rules in the Uniform Firearms Act which carry civil penalties for
violations.

The decision reverses a finding by the Commonwealth Court, which
said last year that the sheriff was not protected from lawsuits by
the concept of "high public official immunity."

"We decline to hold the General Assembly implicitly abrogated
immunity for the sheriff through the use of general, undefined
terms," wrote Justice Kevin Dougherty.  "We recognize permitting
such implicit abrogation of high public official immunity would
undermine the purpose and goal of the doctrine, the value of which
has been consistently upheld and recognized by this court."

A lawyer for the four anonymous people who are suing said they
plan to ask the justices for reconsideration or re-argument about
the constitutionality of high public official immunity.  The
decision released on Nov. 22 said explicitly it concerned the law
and was not decided on constitutional grounds.

Josh Autry, who represents the former sheriff, Franklin County and
the sheriff's office, said the case will return to county court.
Outstanding issues include whether the case will be certified as
class-action and how far back the statute of limitations goes.

At issue is state law that allows disclosure of concealed carry
license applicants' information only to courts or criminal justice
agencies.  Violations carry civil damages of $1,000 per occurrence
as well as legal fees, and triple damages for those who can show
how the policy actually harmed them.

The plaintiffs believe more than 10,000 licensees could be covered
by the case.

A county judge previously had dismissed the entire case before it
was revived by Commonwealth Court. [GN]


FREDERIC I WEINBERG: Faces "Bouie" Suit in E. Dist. Penn.
---------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against The Law Offices of
Frederic I. Weinberg & Associates, P.C. The case is styled Michael
Bouie, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff v. The Law Offices of Frederic I. Weinberg &
Associates, P.C., Frederic I. Weinberg, Jefferson Capital Systems,
LLC, Defendants, Case No. 2:17-cv-05537-GEKP (E.D. Penn., December
11, 2017).

The Law Offices of Frederic I. Weinberg & Associates, P.C. is
engaged in law firm.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   CARY L. FLITTER, Esq.
   FLITTER MILZ, P.C.
   450 N. NARBERTH AVE, SUITE 101
   NARBERTH, PA 19072
   Tel: (610) 822-0782
   Fax: (610) 667-0552
   Email: cflitter@consumerslaw.com


GIGAMON INC: Mur Files Suit Over Onerous Merger Deal
----------------------------------------------------
Richard Sebastiaan Mur, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. Gigamon Inc., Corey M. Mulloy,
Paul A. Hooper, Michael C. Ruettgers, John H. Kispert, Paul J.
Milbury, Ted C. Ho, Robert E. Switz, Joan A. Dempsey, Dario
Zamarian, Arthur W. Coviello, Jr., Elliott Associates, L.P.,
Elliott Management Corporation, Elliott International, L.P.,
Elliott International Capital Advisors Inc., The Liverpool Limited
Partnership, Evergreen Coast Capital, Ginsberg Holdco, Inc., And
Ginsberg Merger Sub Inc., Defendants, Case No. 2017-0856, (D.
Del., November 30, 2017), seeks to enjoin defendants and all
persons acting in concert with them from proceeding with,
consummating, or closing the acquisition of Gigamon Inc. by
Ginsberg Holdco, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ginsberg
Merger Sub, Inc., Elliott Management Corporation, rescinding it
and setting it aside or awarding rescissory damages in the event
defendants consummate the merger, costs of this action, including
reasonable allowance for attorneys' and experts' fees and such
other and further relief under the Securities Exchange Act of
1934.

Pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement, Gigamon
stockholders will receive $38.50 in cash for each share they own.
Plaintiff is, and has been at all times relevant hereto, a
continuous stockholder of Gigamon. Mur claims that the said price
does not reflect Gigamon's intrinsic value or the value of the
company as the target of a full and fair sales process.

Defendants also agreed to certain deal protection devices in the
merger agreement that will prevent other bidders from making
successful competing offers, including a termination fee of up to
$47.2 million if it terminates the proposed buyout.

Gigamon develops innovative solutions that deliver visibility and
control of data-in-motion traversing enterprise, federal, and
service provider networks. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Juan E. Monteverde, Esq.
      Miles D. Schreiner, Esq.
      MONTEVERDE & ASSOCIATES PC
      The Empire State Building
      350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor
      New York, NY 10118
      Telephone: (212) 971-1341
      Email: jmonteverde@monteverdelaw.com
             mschreiner@monteverdelaw.com

              - and -

      Michael J. Palestina, Esq.
      Christopher R. Tillotson, Esq.
      KAHN SWICK & FOTI, LLC
      206 Covington Street
      Madisonville, LA 70447
      Tel: (504) 455-1400
      Fax: (504) 455-1498
      Email: michael.palestina@ksfcounsel.com
             christopher.tillotson@ksfcounsel.com

             - and -

      Blake A. Bennett, Esq.
      COOCH AND TAYLOR, P.A.
      The Brandywine Building
      1000 West Street, 10th Floor
      Wilmington, DE 19801
      Tel: (302) 984-3800


GOLDEN STATE: Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Privacy Class Action
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Ross Todd, writing for The Recorder, reports that a federal judge
in Oakland has breathed new life into a lawsuit against the Golden
State Warriors and a company that it partnered with to deliver
targeted advertising to fans via its Android app.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of the Northern District of
California on Nov. 20 denied the National Basketball Association
team's motion to dismiss a proposed privacy class action that
claims the Warriors Android app acts essentially as a bug,
recording fans' private conversations while it runs in the
background.

The Warriors app uses so-called proximity technology to serve
location-specific ads and promotions on game days.  The app
accesses microphones on mobile devices to listen for unique audio
signals produced by beacons placed around the team's home arena to
determine fans' locations -- something the team has claimed in
court papers nearly 90 percent of Major League Baseball teams and
half of NBA teams do to serve up location-specific promotions in
their home stadiums.

Lawyers at Edelson PC sued the team in August 2016 alleging that
the app intercepted fan communication in violation of the federal
Wiretap Act, which carries statutory penalties of $10,000 per
violation.

Judge White in February largely sided with the team and co-
defendants in an earlier motion to dismiss finding that Edelson
lawyers had failed to offer details that would support their
theory that the app used the content of LaTisha Satchell's
conversations rather than her location to conjure targeted ads.
But in the Nov. 20 order, Judge White found that Satchell's
lawyers had put forward "at least four instances where she had her
phone with her, the app was running, and she had conversations
about private matters, including nonpublic information during a
business meeting and private financial matters."

Michael Rhodes -- rhodesmg@cooley.com -- of Cooley, who represents
the team and co-defendant Sonic Notify Inc., which developed the
app's underlying beacon technology, declined to comment when
reached by email on Nov. 20.  A spokesman for the Warriors didn't
immediately respond to an email message.  Likewise,
representatives of Sonic Notify could not immediately be reached.

Edelson's Rafey Balabanian said in a phone interview on Nov. 20
that plaintiff had amended her complaint to show that she had
carried her phone into otherwise private areas such as business
meeting and her bedside table.

"The reality is that she's able to allege that the app was running
in the background when she was having private conversations," he
said.  "The bottom line is it's being recorded. There's all types
of things in this world where you don't think something is being
recorded."

Raymond Ridder, the team's vice president of communications, cited
team policy in saying the Warriors would have no comment.
[GN]


GOOGLE INC: Disputes Ex-Female Workers' Pay Discrimination Claims
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Erin Mulvaney, writing for Corporate Counsel, reports that lawyers
for Google Inc. argue a class action that accuses the company of
pay discrimination casts too wide a net with overbroad claims of
alleged gender inequities and unfair promotion opportunities for
women.

Google's attorneys at Paul Hastings are asking a San Francisco
judge not to certify the would-be class in Ellis v. Google and to
dismiss the complaint.  The lawsuit, filed in September in
Superior Court, accuses the Mountain View-based company of paying
women at all levels less than men in comparable positions and
assigning women lower-tier jobs.

The case is moving forward amid wider scrutiny of the technology
industry, including a federal investigation into Google itself,
and broad questions about whether Silicon Valley companies have
created barriers for female employees. A Google engineer made
headlines this summer when he wrote a widely shared memo
suggesting, in part, that women were not biologically suited for
the tech industry.

Google's attorneys called the class claims "generic" and said the
number of would-be class members was "a moving target."

"The class spans Google's entire California workforce, top to
bottom," the attorneys wrote in court documents made available on
Nov. 20.  "The plaintiff complaint makes clear they seek to
compare women to men in entirely different positions, at different
levels, in different ladders and departments.  They do not
identify which titles, levels, or ladders they seek to compare,
let alone provide a factual basis for why they contend employees
in completely different positions and departments perform
substantially similar or equal work."

The lawsuit was built on an investigation by the Labor
Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.  The
department's initial findings alleged pay discrimination among the
21,000 employees at the company's headquarters at every level.

A Google spokeswoman in September said the company has "extensive
systems in place to ensure that we pay fairly."  The company has
also disputed the Labor Department's findings.

The purported class of former and current employees is represented
by the law firms Altshuler Berzon and Lieff Cabraser Heimann &
Bernstein.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three former Google
employees, Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease and Kelli Wisuri, who said
they believe they received fewer opportunities and less pay than
their male counterparts.

"While Google has been an industry-leading tech innovator, its
treatment of female employees has not entered the 21st century,"
Kelly Dermody of Lieff Cabraser said at the time the lawsuit was
filed.  "This case seeks to ensure fairness for women at Google."

Google argued that the plaintiffs' approach is "infeasible,
inherently unmanageable and unfair" to the company.  The attorneys
argued that compensation decisions are quintessentially the type
of individual decisions that do not provide a basis for a class
action. Google argued that with tens of thousands of Google
employees working at different locations, in different departments
with different qualifications, the claims in the lawsuit are
amorphous.

The attorneys for the former Google employees cited the Labor
Department's investigation in making their case against the
company.  An administrative law judge earlier denied the agency's
request for broad discovery in that investigation.

Google argued in its court papers that the Labor Department
investigation is insufficient to prove plaintiffs' claims.  The
agency's findings at the company's headquarters, Google's
attorneys argued, would be only a subset of the class sought in
the lawsuit.

"Only in Alice's looking-glass world could an adjudication that
broad discovery is not warranted be used to allow plaintiffs to
initiate a class action to obtain even broader discovery here,"
Google's attorneys said. [GN]


HANOVER GREEK: "Montes" Seeks Overtime, Spread-of-Hours Pay, Tips
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Miguel Lopez Montes, Gerardo Carretero And Valentin Vivar Cruz,
individually and on behalf of others similarly situated,
Plaintiffs, v. 11 Hanover Group LLC, 11 Hanover Square Corp., DG
Hanover 11, LLC, Liberatos Brothers, LLC, Gerasimos Liberatos,
Aristomenis Mihalatos, Christos Liberatos, Panagioti Liberatos and
Fotios Liberatos, Defendants, Case 17-cv-09376 (S.D. N.Y.,
November 30, 2017), seeks unpaid minimum wages, overtime
compensation, liquidated damages, prejudgment and post-judgment
interest, unpaid spread-of-hours premium, unpaid agreed-upon-
wages, redress for unlawful retention of tips, compensation for
failure to provide wage notice at the time of hiring and failure
to provide paystubs in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act
and New York Labor Laws.

Defendants own, operate, or control a chain of Mediterranean
restaurants under the name "11 Hanover Greek" where Plaintiffs
were employed as a food preparers and ostensibly as food runners,
working in excess of 40 hours per week, without appropriate
minimum wage or overtime compensation for the hours that they
worked. The complaint says the Defendants failed to maintain
accurate recordkeeping of the hours worked, failed to pay
Plaintiffs appropriately for any hours worked, either at the
straight rate of pay or for any additional overtime premium. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Michael Faillace, Esq.
      MICHAEL FAILLACE & ASSOCIATES, P.C.
      60 East 42nd Street, Suite 4510
      New York, NY 10165
      Tel: (212) 317-1200
      Email: Faillace@employmentcompliance.com


HOT SPRINGS, AR: Faces Class Action Over False Alarm Ordinance
--------------------------------------------------------------
David Showers, writing for The Sentine-Record, reports that hot
Springs is one of three cities named as a defendant in class
action claims asserting fines authorized by false alarm ordinances
violate property and due process rights granted by the state
Constitution.

Newoods Inc., which does business at ABC Block & Brick, 907 Spring
St., filed a lawsuit in Garland County Circuit Court seeking to
invalidate the ordinance adopted by the Hot Springs Board of
Directors in 2006.  Newoods is also suing for a refund of all
false alarm fines and fees the prospective class paid over the
last three years, compensatory damages and attorney fees.

The company, which has 12 locations in Arkansas, filed the same
claim against the cities of Little Rock and Fayetteville.

The complaint filed by attorney Chris Corbitt, who is listed as
Newoods' vice president, said the ordinance imposes an undue
burden on property owners, making them solely responsible for
false alarms when installation and monitoring companies can also
be the cause.

"Nationwide, the reliability rate is almost 6 percent," the filing
said.  "This means 94 percent or higher of all alarm signals are
false alarms.  The problem with alarm reliability and false alarms
has persisted for decades."

The complaint said the ordinance is vague, allowing the police
department, in the absence of a clear standard enshrined in the
city code, to determine whether an alarm is false.  In addition to
installation and monitoring companies, the complaint said false
alarms can also be caused "by acts of God."

"What's to say what a false alarm is?" Mr. Corbitt said.  "Maybe a
perpetrator came by and shook the door. Maybe a storm or faulty
equipment caused it to go off."

A fine is levied after five false alarms, with property owners
paying $25 each for false alarms six through 10, $50 each for
false alarms 11 through 15 and $100 for every one after that.

A spreadsheet the city compiled at the request of the lead
plaintiff's attorneys, and that The Sentinel-Record obtained
through an Arkansas Freedom of Information Act request, showed the
city assessed 264 businesses, churches and residences false alarm
fines totaling $25,200 in 2014.

Billing records obtained by the newspaper showed Tractor Supply
Co. at 2307 Albert Pike Road has been fined the most since 2015,
with $9,525 in fines levied for 129 false alarms through July
2017. CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs was fined $1,275 for 24 false
alarms at its 1 Mercy Lane facility last year.

St. Mary's Catholic Church was fined $375 for 15 false alarms in
2015 and $575 for 17 false alarms last year.  The KFC at 114
Airport Road was fined $975 for 21 false alarms in 2015, and Las
Americas Supermarket was fined $875 for 20 false alarms last year.

The city fined ABC Block $125 for 10 false alarms from April to
August of this year.

Mr. Corbitt said the city presumes an alarm is false if the
subsequent response doesn't turn up an intruder, a standard he
said other calls for service aren't held to.

"Maybe the alarm did it's job and scared them off, or they've left
by the time the police get there," he said.  "If someone sees an
unusual guy creeping around their neighborhood, or something weird
going on, and they call the police, does that citizen get a fine
or invoice in the mail if the cops show up and can't find anyone?"

Mr. Corbitt said he's using billing information obtained from the
city to identify potential co-plaintiffs. [GN]


HSBC: Slammed for Failing to Flag Ponzi Schemer
-----------------------------------------------
Jeremy Shepherd, writing for North Shore News, reports that if a
bank had done its duty, investors could have kept their money away
from a Ponzi scheme.

That's the claim from Jastram Properties Ltd., a North Vancouver
company spearheading a class action lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court
accusing HSBC of failing to investigate fraud.

That fraud was perpetrated by Virginia Tan, a West Vancouver
businesswoman who garnered more than $30 million from investors
based on a bridge loan company and factoring businesses, both of
which were non-existent between 2011 and 2015.

However, Jastram Properties' lawsuit targets two bank accounts Tan
operated at HSBC between 2011 and 2013. One of the accounts was
under her name and the other was under a company she controlled:
Letan Investments.

According to the lawsuit, Tan was depositing and withdrawing $1
million per month from the accounts. The deposits were large
amounts in round numbers. The withdrawals were smaller cheques,
also in round numbers, written to individuals.

"These kinds of transactions are hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme," the
lawsuit charges.

The scheme carried on until early 2013 when HSBC became
"concerned" about the nature of the activity and conducted a
review, according to the claim. "HSBC knew, or concluded that it
was reasonably likely, that Tan was using the HSBC Tan Accounts
for fraudulent purposes," according to the claim.

In March 2013, Tan stopped using the HSBC accounts for her Ponzi
scheme.

"The particulars of the circumstances surrounding the termination
of activity . . . are best known to HSBC," according to the claim.
The claim blasts HSBC for failing to notify authorities or to warn
other financial institutions whose customers' money was being
deposited in Tan's accounts.

The lawsuit notes that Jastram Properties invested $2,962,000
prior to March 2013 as well as $3.45 million after April 2013. The
North Vancouver company received a total of$1,798,566 in interest
payments from Tan, putting them $4.6 million in the hole.

Had HSBC "properly discharged its duty," investors would likely
not have suffered financial losses after March 2013, according to
the lawsuit.

Jastram Properties is suing HSBC for damages.

Tan admitted to fraudulently raising at least $30 million as part
of a Ponzi scheme in a settlement agreement with the B.C.
Securities Commission in April.

Prior to 2011, Tan raised money from investors for short-term
high-interest loans. But beginning in 2011, Tan stopped using
investors' money for loans, instead paying them interest with
money contributed by new investors.

Tan would pay her investors at rates ranging from 12 to 24 per
cent a year while encouraging them to renew their investments,
according to the lawsuit.

By late 2015, Tan stopped making interest payments.

Tan has been banned from dealing in securities or promoting any
activities connected to the stock market.

HSBC has not yet responded to the lawsuit.

None of the claims have been proven in court. [GN]


HULU: Faces Class Action in Massachusetts Over ADA Violation
------------------------------------------------------------
The American Council of the Blind on Nov. 20 disclosed that a
coalition of blind and visually impaired individuals and advocacy
groups filed a nationwide class action on Nov. 20 against Hulu to
end the video streaming company's ongoing exclusion of blind and
visually impaired Americans.  The lawsuit -- filed in the U.S.
District Court for the District of Massachusetts -- challenges
Hulu's violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Hulu, one of the largest online-streaming services in the country,
offers thousands of shows and movies, including award-winning
original content, to most customers at the click of a mouse.
However, the company fails to provide audio description -- a
separate audio track that blind and visually impaired people need
in order to access the exclusively visual content of a show or
movie -- for any streaming videos.

Because Hulu fails to include audio description tracks on any of
its streaming content, blind and visually impaired individuals
cannot independently enjoy Hulu's video streaming services.  Audio
description is a separate audio track that, when activated,
provides a verbal description of visual elements on screen,
especially in scenes with no dialogue.  The audio description
track plays between pauses in dialogue.  Hulu boasts an extensive
library of live TV and on-demand movies and series -- including
its Emmy-award winning original series, "The Handmaid's Tale" --
but currently excludes customers who are blind and visually
impaired.

In addition, Hulu's website and applications are not accessible to
blind and visually impaired individuals who use screen readers to
navigate the internet.  A screen reader is software that converts
the visually displayed content on the screen into audible,
synthesized speech or outputs that information on a digital
braille display.

The American Council of the Blind, Bay State Council of the Blind,
and blind individuals brought this action to end Hulu's
discriminatory business practices.  Disability Rights Advocates
(DRA), a national nonprofit legal center, and the Disability Law
Center (DLC), Massachusetts's Protection and Advocacy system,
represent these individuals and organizations.

Kim Charlson, President of the American Council of the Blind,
said, "Movies and television are pillars of American culture.  As
delivery of such media transitions to video streaming services, it
is critical that these platforms be accessible in order to ensure
the inclusion of blind and visually impaired individuals in
contemporary society."

Rebecca Williford, Senior Staff Attorney at DRA, said, "Hulu is
owned by a collection of some of the most powerful companies in
the entertainment business and is itself one of the nation's most
popular online streaming services.  Its utter failure to provide
access to individuals who are blind and visually impaired is
astonishing."

"BSCB members have been expressing their concerns about Hulu's
lack of audio description for years now," said Brian Charlson,
President of Bay State Council of the Blind, "and it is time that
Hulu join with other industry streaming services out there and
meet its obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act."

"As forms of entertainment evolve, equal access must transition to
meet industry innovation. Equal access means the ability to fully
use and enjoy all aspects of entertainment, just like everyone
else," said Christine Griffin, Executive Director of DLC.

Plaintiffs do not seek monetary damages, but seek only to achieve
equal access to Hulu's services.

A copy of this press release and the Complaint can be found at
http://dralegal.org/press/nationwide-class-action-challenges-
hulus-discrimination-blind-visually-impaired-individuals/.

            About Disability Rights Advocates (DRA)

Founded in 1993, DRA -- http://www.dralegal.org-- is a leading
national nonprofit disability rights legal center.  Its mission is
to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types
of disabilities nationwide. DRA represents people with the full
spectrum of disabilities in complex, system-changing, class action
cases.  DRA's prior cases advocating for accessible entertainment
include Blanks v. AMC Theaters (2017) (reaching a settlement to
improve audio description in AMC theaters nationwide), and
negotiations with Netflix in 2016 that resulted in a settlement to
provide audio description for Netflix's streaming and disc rental
libraries, including "Netflix Originals."

               About Disability Law Center (DLC)

The DLC -- http://www.dlc-ma.org-- is the Protection and Advocacy
system for Massachusetts and is authorized under federal law to
protect and advocate for the legal rights of individuals with
disabilities in Massachusetts.  DLC worked with Bay State Council
of the Blind in a series of negotiations with Fleet Bank,
Sovereign Bank, and Citizens Bank to ensure that their ATMs,
websites, and other banking services were fully accessible to
individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

            About American Council of the Blind (ACB)

ACB -- http://www.acb.org-- works to increase the independence,
security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life, for all
people who are blind or visually impaired.  ACB advocates for
policies that provide services, opportunities, infrastructure, and
equipment that are necessary for an inclusive society, in federal,
state, and local governments, and among service providers and
industry.

           About Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB)

BSCB -- http://www.acbofma.org-- is a membership organization of
blind, visually impaired, and sighted individuals committed to an
enhanced quality of life for Massachusetts' residents who are
blind or visually impaired. BSCB convenes meetings and
conferences, organizes recreation activities, provides
publications, radio programs, and information, and advocates for
services and legislation that improve access for people who are
blind. [GN]


IEI PLASTICS: Faces Class Actions Over Parkersburg Fire
-------------------------------------------------------
Brad McElhinny, writing for MetroNews, reports that three lawsuits
over a massive warehouse fire in Parkersburg have been transferred
to federal court.

All three were originally filed in circuit court in Wood County.
They have been moved to federal court in Charleston at the
requests of the defendants, who are being represented by lawyers
with Bailey & Glasser.

Those who are suing say they represent a class of people who
suffered injuries from the inhalation of smoke and suspended
particulate matter that resulted from the fire, which started Oct.
21 and burned for the next eight days.

The blaze at the 420,000-square-foot property, which was storing
recyclable plastics for a company called IEI Plastics, sent a
plume of smoke billowing over the city and across the Ohio border.

The plaintiffs say they suffered respiratory ailments ranging from
irritation to exacerbation of serious preexisting
conditions.  They also say they were injured as a result of soot,
ash, and particulate matter, presenting an ongoing health risk
from potential contact, inhalation, or ingestion.

The class action lawsuits were filed against Surnaik Holdings,
Sirnaik LLC, Saurabh Naik, International Export Import Inc.,
Polymer Alliance Services LLC and Green Sustainable Solutions LLC
-- all entities with connections to the property that caught fire
in Parkersburg.

Defense attorneys say federal court is the proper venue because
the plaintiff and proposed class are from West Virginia and Ohio.
The proposed class in West Virginia and Ohio comprises a
population center of about 90,000 people.

The amount in dispute is more than $5 million, the defense lawyers
say -- although one of their filings says that likely low-balls
the amount.  The lawyers wrote that is "just $60 per member of the
alleged putative class, an amount easily dwarfed by any actual
cleanup costs and/or medical damages."

In a couple of the class action lawsuits, lawyers seek medical
monitoring of all West Virginia residents who were exposed to the
fire.

"The medical monitoring allegations, standing alone, plainly
exceed $5,000,000," the defense lawyers wrote.

The cases have been assigned to U.S. Circuit Judge Thomas
Johnston. [GN]


INDIANA: Faces Class Action Over Illegal Trucking Fees
------------------------------------------------------
CDL Life reports that the state of Indiana is facing down a class
action lawsuit handed down by a controversial figure in the
trucking community who alleges that Indiana illegally collected
approximately $1 billion in fees from truck drivers across the
country.

The lawsuit against the Indiana Department of Revenue (INDOR) was
filed in the Marion County Superior Court on Nov. 17 by prominent
conservative lawyer Jim Bopp on behalf of the Small Business in
Transportation Coalition (SBTC).

The lawsuit argues that the INDOR lacks the authority to collect
annual Unified Carrier Registration fees from truck drivers, which
it has been doing since 2008.  According to the lawsuit, Indiana
collects $100,000 in UCR fees from 400,000 truck drivers in 41
states every year.

SBTC's lawsuit is based on the claim that there is no state law in
place in Indiana "that authorizes the INDOR to enter into the UCR
Agreement, to contract with the UCR Board to administer the UCR
Plan, to register truckers under the UCR Plan, or to collect UCR-
related fees.  Thus the INDOR has been illegally collecting UCR-
related fees since 2008"

The lawsuit seeks to have the state of Indiana refund the fees to
the truckers who paid them.

Mr. Bopp told the Indianapolis Star, "I'm a conservative who does
not want to see government overreaching, taxing people and
collecting money unless the people authorize it through the
legislature. What's important to me is that government stays
within its bounds.  This has got to be one of the most expensive
violations of law that I've seen."

Lawsuit Organizer Accused Of Duping Truckers By FTC

SBTC founder and president James Lamb says that according to his
calculations, many drivers could see hundreds of dollars coming
their way if the suit is successful.

Mr. Lamb, who also runs the "Trucker Lives Matter" Facebook page,
also advocates for truck driver gun rights.  The Federal Trade
Commission has filed an injunction against Lamb for allegedly
duping tens of thousands of truckers out of more than $17 million
by impersonating a government agency.

From the injunction:

"By impersonating government agencies and misrepresenting
themselves as having a government affiliation, Defendants deceive
owners and operators of tractor-trailer trucks and other
commercial vehicles ("consumers") into paying the fees that
Defendants charge for filing federal and state motor carrier
registrations.  Many of the consumers harmed by Defendants' false
representations are small businesses with only a few employees and
fewer than five trucks.  Since at least 2012, Defendants have
taken in more than $17 million from tens of thousands of consumers
throughout the United States using threatening emails, official-
sounding telephone messages, and alarming texts from the
"Compliance Unit" of UCRRegistration and DOTAuthority, for
example."

Lamb has counter-sued the FTC, claiming that his marketing
materials made it clear that they were from a third party
organization.

According to a press release from the SBTC, "SBTC is a 501(c)(6)
non-profit trade organization located in Washington, D.C. SBTC has
over 8,000 members and represents, promotes, and protects the
interests of small businesses in the transportation industry. SBTC
is a watchdog group for the trucking industry that investigates
government fraud, waste, mismanagement, and abuse. It is the
policy of the SBTC to expose unlawful government activities and
improprieties whenever discovered." [GN]


IXYS CORP: Monteverde & Associates Files Securities Class Action
----------------------------------------------------------------
Monteverde & Associates PC disclosed that it has filed a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court For The
Northern District California, case no. 17-cv-06441, on behalf of
shareholders of IXYS Corporation, ("IXYS" or the "Company")
(NasdaqGS: IXYS) who held IXYS securities and have been harmed by
IXYS and its board of directors' (the "Board") for alleged
violations of Sections 14(a), and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act") in connection with the sale of
the Company to Littelfuse, Inc.

Under the terms of the agreement, IXYS shareholder will receive
(i) 23.00 in cash (subject to applicable withholding tax), without
interest (referred to as the cash consideration), or (ii) 0.1265
of a share of common stock, par value $0.01 per share, of
Littelfuse (referred to as the stock consideration and together
with the cash consideration, the merger consideration) (the
"Merger Consideration").  The complaint alleges that this offer is
inadequate and alleges that the Registration Statement in Form S-4
(the "Proxy") provides materially incomplete and misleading
information about the Company's financials and the transaction, in
violation of Sections 14(a), and 20(a) of the Exchange Act.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no
later than 60 days from November 21, 2017.  Any member of the
putative class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff
through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and
remain an absent class member.  If you wish to discuss this
action, or have any questions concerning this notice or your
rights or interests, please contact:

Click here for more information:
www.monteverdelaw.com/investigations/m-a/ It is free and there is
no cost or obligation to you.

Monteverde & Associates PC -- http://www.monteverdelaw.com-- is a
boutique class action securities and consumer litigation law firm
committed that has recovered millions of dollars and is committed
to protecting shareholders and consumers from corporate
wrongdoing.   Monteverde & Associates PC lawyers have significant
experience litigating Mergers & Acquisitions and Securities Class
Actions, whereby they protect investors by recovering money and
remedying corporate misconduct. [GN]


KISLING NESTICO: Judge Recuses Herself in Class Action
------------------------------------------------------
Cory Shaffer, writing for cleveland.com, reports that the judge
overseeing a potential class-action lawsuit against personal
injury law firm Kisling, Nestico and Redick unexpectedly removed
herself from the case on Nov. 17.

Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Alison Breaux earlier this
year successfully argued to stay on the case after lawyers
representing three former KNR clients who are suing the law firm
asked the Ohio Supreme Court to disqualify her.

The first-term judge reversed course and recused herself without
warning after she conducted her own review following the Supreme
Court's decision.

Judge Breaux wrote in her order that her own review turned up no
evidence that she has any bias or prejudice for or against any
parties in the suit, but she decided to step aside "out of an
abundance of caution and in the best interest of all parties."

Judge  Breaux's staff attorney Catherine Loya provided
cleveland.com a copy of the order, which was not yet available on
the Summit County Clerk of Courts online docket.  Ms. Loya said
the judge declined to comment on whether any new information came
to light to make her change her mind.

A new judge will be randomly assigned to the case, according to
the office of Administrative Judge Amy Corrigall Jones.

The order came as a surprise to lawyers on both sides of the case.

"We remain confident in the Ohio and Summit County court systems
and that our clients will obtain justice no matter who the judge
is going forward," said Peter Pattakos, the lawyer representing
the three former KNR clients who filed the lawsuit.

Jim Popson, who represents KNR, echoed Mr. Pattakos' sentiment.

"We look forward to working with whoever is assigned," Mr. Popson
said.

The order follows Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen
O'Connor's June decision not to order Breaux off the case.

Subodh Chandra, who at the time was acting as co-counsel with Mr.
Pattakos, claimed that contributions from KNR and partner Rob
Nestico, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, to Judge
Breaux's 2016 election campaign may have swayed her opinions in
several rulings against the plaintiffs.

Judge Breaux responded by saying she had no bias in the case and
noted that Nestico and KNR had also contributed to several other
judicial candidates, including her opponent in that same race.

Mr. Pattakos said on Nov. 20 that he and Mr. Chandra made the
request to have Breaux removed from the case after they began
looking into potential connections with KNR after she made two
rulings against them that they believed were not based in law.
Judge Breaux later reversed her decisions, and Mr. Pattakos said
he was confident that she would be fair to them.

Judge Breaux lifted her March order imposing a gag order
prohibiting lawyers from either side from discussing the case
publicly and preventing the Clerk of Courts from making any court
filings available online.

Cleveland.com and lawyers from the First Amendment and the Arts
Project at the Spangenberg Center for Law, Technology and the Arts
at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law challenged
the order in appellate court in May.

The lawsuit against KNR says the law firm, including partners
Nestico and Robert Redick, intentionally deceived and defrauded
clients with kickback schemes involving chiropractors and the now-
defunct loan company Liberty Capital Funding.  The law firm
charged an "investigation fee" for work that was never performed,
and for basic clerical services that are not legally chargeable to
clients, the suit says.

KNR has denied the allegations, and filed a countersuit against a
their former lawyer who they say stole internal emails and gave
them to Mr. Pattakos' clients.  Mr. Pattakos calls the
counterclaim an attempt to threaten the employee's livelihood and
bully him into silence. [GN]


LITTLE ROCK, AR: Lawsuit Calls Rental Checks Unlawful
-----------------------------------------------------
Chelsea Boozer, writing for Arkansas Online, reports that a
lawsuit filed in circuit court is challenging Little Rock's rental
inspection code, calling the mandatory inspection of rental units
every two years an "unlawful search."

Rental house owner Robert Moore filed suit against the city and
some of its employees at the beginning of November and is seeking
class action status.

Moore claims the city's inspections constitute unlawful searches,
and neither property owners nor tenants are told by city
inspectors that they have the right to refuse the inspection.

"During these inspections, city officials search for evidence that
can result in criminal charges, a declaration the property is a
nuisance, or condemnation of the property," the lawsuit says.

The city's code states that if a person refuses consent to these
searches, this refusal "is deemed to constitute an imminent threat
to the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Little
Rock and may lead to a declaration by the city that the rental
housing unit is a public nuisance."

Buildings that are declared a nuisance are sometimes condemned,
boarded up or have the utilities stripped.

Moore said in his lawsuit that he has been approached numerous
times for his rental property to be inspected and that he has
refused. The lawsuit says the tenants have a constitutional right
to privacy. The city threatened Moore with loss of his property
and criminal charges as a consequence of his refusal, he said.

Named as defendants are the city, Operations Supervisor Greg
Massanelli, Code Enforcement Division Manager Ed Garland, Code
Officer Morris Hunter and unknown code officers, currently listed
as John Does.

Moore's attorney, Chris Corbitt, said in the complaint that courts
addressing similar ordinances in other cities have found them
unconstitutional under federal standards.

He points to Baker vs. City of Portsmouth, Ohio, in which a judge
granted summary judgment for the property owner in 2015, and
another case a year later against the city of Flint, Mich., where
a property owner was granted a preliminary injunction.

Corbitt said the class of property owners who have been subjected
to Little Rock's inspections will likely exceed 1,000.

Questions to be determined by the court include whether the
inspections constitute unlawful searches, whether the inspection
code violates due process, whether the code fails to provide
adequate notice of the right to refuse, whether IT provides for
excessive fines in violation of the state constitution, whether
property owners are entitled to a refund of those fines, and
whether they are entitled to compensation.

"The Rental Inspection Code, and ordinances comprising that code,
are unconstitutional on their face," the complaint says.

Moore is seeking a jury trial. The complaint was filed Nov. 3, and
the city has yet to respond.

In Arkansas, renters have few rights under state law. It's the
only state where landlords do not have to provide a habitable
dwelling. Landlords also are not required to make repairs unless
it is stated in the lease agreement. And renters cannot withhold
rent for any reason.

Corbitt represented Moore in 2016 in a lawsuit against Moore's
tenants alleging failure to pay rent. The judge ruled in his
favor.

Within days of filing the rental code lawsuit, Corbitt had filed
another suit against Little Rock seeking class action status over
the city's false-alarm fees. The fees are charged to business and
property owners after a certain number of times that alarms go off
when there is no emergency, causing firetrucks to report to the
scene.

At the same time Corbitt also filed a class action suit against
the city of North Little Rock, claiming its city-owned electric
utility is a monopoly illegal under Arkansas law. [GN]


LOUISIANA: Judge Recommends Dismissing Illegal Arrests Case
-----------------------------------------------------------
Michael Kunzelman, writing for The Associated Press, reports that
a federal investigation revealed last year that authorities in a
rural Louisiana parish routinely used illegal "investigative
holds" to arrest hundreds of people for questioning, secretly
keeping them jailed for days on nothing more than a "hunch."

But a federal judge's ruling could preclude most of these people
from getting any class-action compensation for their ordeals.

In a court filing on Nov. 17, U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna
recommended dismissing three people's claims because they were
freed from jail more than a year before their lawyers sued the
city of Ville Platte and Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office over
the arrests.  A district court judge must decide whether to adopt
Judge Hanna's recommendations.

Plaintiffs' lawyers argued that a one-year statute of limitations
shouldn't apply in this case because people were told to keep
silent.  And these unconstitutional arrests in Evangeline Parish
were a "regular part of criminal investigations" for more than two
decades, the Justice Department said in a December 2016 report.

People often were strip-searched, held in cells without beds,
toilets or showers and detained for at least three days --
sometimes much longer -- without getting a chance to talk to loved
ones or contest their arrests, the department's report says.
Detectives told federal investigators they used these
investigative holds when they didn't have sufficient grounds for
an arrest but had a "hunch" or "feeling" that somebody may be
involved in criminal activity.

One woman told federal investigators that police detained her and
her family in 2014 after they went grocery shopping and may have
witnessed an armed robbery and shooting.  The woman wasn't a
suspect, only a possible witness, but she said she was detained,
strip-searched and jailed for roughly nine hours before police
questioned her.

The Justice Department, which began investigating in April 2015,
counted a "staggering" number of investigative holds for such a
sparsely populated community: Ville Platte police officers used
the practice more than 700 times between 2012 and 2014; the
sheriff's office made more than 200 such arrests over the same
period.

Evangeline Parish, approximately 80 miles west of Baton Rouge, has
a population of roughly 34,000 residents.  Ville Platte has
approximately 7,300 residents, with blacks accounting for 64
percent of the city's population.

Plaintiffs' attorneys said officers threatened people with more
jail time if they discussed what happened to them.  FBI agents who
questioned some potential class members told them not to discuss
the federal investigation until after the Justice Department
released its findings, the lawyers said.

On March 1, attorneys filed the class action on behalf of four
named plaintiffs.  Three of them had been released from
investigative holds more than four years before the suit was
filed, so Judge Hanna recommended dismissing their claims.

Judge Hanna said nobody alleged that federal authorities
questioned any of the four plaintiffs or told them not to discuss
their claims.

"Similarly, there is no allegation that anyone stopped the
plaintiffs from attempting to file a lawsuit at any time," he
wrote.

Plaintiffs' lawyers also argued that their clients lacked the
education or sophistication to know they could have viable claims,
but Hanna said they had enough information to investigate that.

Frank Schirripa, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys, said they
likely will file an objection to Hanna's recommendations.

A settlement agreement resolved a separate lawsuit that three
people filed against the city of Ville Platte and its police
chief, Neal Lartigue.  The suit accused police of arresting the
three people in 2014 and jailing them without explanation.
Settlement terms haven't been disclosed, and an attorney for the
city declined to comment on Nov. 21.

In its report, the Justice Department said the police department
and sheriff's office admitted that the holds are unconstitutional
and took "laudable steps to begin eliminating their use."

"More work remains to be done," the Justice Department said.  "The
agencies also must work to repair community trust, because many
people may still be justifiably reluctant to provide information
to law enforcement for fear that doing so could subject them to an
unconstitutional detention." [GN]


LUMBER LIQUIDATORS: Plaintiffs' Attorneys Object to Settlement
--------------------------------------------------------------
Amanda Bronstad, writing for Law.com, reports that lawyers
representing individual plaintiffs who say they became sick from
exposure to formaldehyde gas in laminate flooring have asked a
federal judge to spurn a $26 million class action settlement with
Lumber Liquidators.

The attorneys insist their clients were cut out of the deal, which
was struck.

The settlement resolved civil lawsuits brought on behalf of Lumber
Liquidators consumers who claimed economic losses.  Lumber
Liquidators stopped selling the products in 2015.

But attorneys Shawn Reed and Kevin Sullivan, who were appointed
lead counsel in August for personal injury plaintiffs, said class
counsel in charge of the multidistrict litigation cut them out of
settlement talks, according to a Nov. 8 motion.  They asked U.S.
District Judge Anthony Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia
for a hearing and to reject the settlement so they could
participate in negotiations.

"Unfortunately, lead plaintiffs' counsel decided to freeze these
lawyers out of the settlement process," they wrote.  "Because
these plaintiffs' claims have been negotiated by lawyers
admittedly not representing their interests, these plaintiffs have
been denied due process.  Any purported settlement is a nullity as
a result, and this case must proceed."

A Lumber Liquidators spokesman and the company's attorney,
Diane Flannery -- dflannery@mcguirewoods.com -- of McGuireWoods in
Richmond, Virginia, did not respond to a request for comment.  But
in a response filed on  Nov. 20, Ms. Flannery disputed many of the
facts.  She also said that Lumber Liquidators "has also offered to
continue mediating with the personal injury plaintiffs before
Judge Brinkema," referring to U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema
of the Eastern District of Virginia, "but as of the time of this
filing, the personal injury plaintiffs have not responded."

Mr. Sullivan, of The Sullivan Law Firm in Seattle, declined to
talk beyond the filings.  But he insisted in an email that the
settlement "was intended to include the claims of people who
suffered personal injuries from the flooring in their homes."

Not so, said Steve Toll -- stoll@cohenmilstein.com -- managing
partner of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll in Washington, D.C., one
of three attorneys appointed to lead the multidistrict litigation.

"They wanted to be included in our mediation and we didn't want
them there," he said.  "None of us wanted them there."

The response from Toll and the other lead attorneys, Steve Berman
of Seattle's Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and Nancy Fineman --
nfineman@cpmlegal.com -- of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy in
Burlingame, California, was due last week, as are the first
settlement documents to be filed with the court.

Attorney disputes over how to handle both consumer class actions
and personal injury plaintiffs in the same MDL have arisen in
other mass torts, such as in settlements with the National
Collegiate Athletic Association and National Football League over
concussion-related injuries.

More than 100 lawsuits were filed against Lumber Liquidators after
a "60 Minutes" expose in 2015 found that it mislabeled the safety
of flooring, which violated California emissions standards.  The
news caused Lumber Liquidators shares to plummet, and its CEO
resigned.

In July, Reed, of Howard, Reed & Pedersen in Covington, Louisiana,
and Sullivan appeared at a status conference on behalf of injured
plaintiffs.  They told Judge Trenga they were worried they
wouldn't get a seat at the settlement table and filed a motion to
create a separate track for injured plaintiffs to proceed with
discovery.

"For example, these plaintiffs should be allowed to participate in
all settlement conferences, have an attorney appointed to
represent their interests, and conduct settlement negotiations on
their own behalf," they wrote.

They initially estimated the number of injured plaintiffs be about
20, but revised it to about 75.  Then, on
Aug. 17, Judge Trenga halted discovery, which "came as a
surprise," according to the motion.

"The reason for the discovery stay was because a settlement
mediation had occurred the day before," they wrote.  "Neither
Mr. Sullivan nor Ms. Reed had been told about the mediation or
been invited to participate, although both lawyers had made this
request in open court and in their pending motion."

When Ms. Flannery emailed Reed and Sullivan about another
mediation session on Sept. 20, she said Ms. Toll and another lead
plaintiffs attorney, Alexander "Trey" Robertson of Robertson &
Associates in Westlake Village, California, did not want them to
be there, the motion says.

The settlement includes $22 million cash and $14 million in store
vouchers, according to a Lumber Liquidators press release. The
deal also resolves claims that Lumber Liquidators flooring
scratches too easily -- the subject of a second multidistrict
litigation proceeding created last year that also was before Judge
Trenga. [GN]


MAPLEBEAR INC: Set to Finalize OT Case Settlement in January 2018
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Gordon Gibb, writing for LayersandSettlements.com, reports that a
shopping service that found favor with busy urban professionals
but vilified by some of its service personnel is set to finalize a
settlement worth $4.6 million in January 2018, reports the San
Francisco Business Times (05/24/17).  The class action California
overtime lawsuit was brought by employees and independent
contractors of Maplebear Inc., doing business as Instacart, and
will settle plaintiff's angst over various allegations, including
a service fee that many users of the shopping service assumed was
a built-in tip for drivers, but wasn't.

Meanwhile, there are allegations that some Instacart workers
collected earnings that translate to as low as $1 per hour.  Such
a stipend falls short of requirements entrenched in pay laws
recognized by the State of California, as well as potential
violations of overtime pay laws.

This past January -- about a year before the proposed settlement
is due to be finalized -- the Los Angeles Times (01/27/17)
profiled Apoorva Mehta, a Canadian and alma mater of the
University of Waterloo who spent his immediate post-graduate years
working for tech companies such as Blackberry and Qualcomm before
moving stateside, landing in Seattle and beginning a stint as a
supply chain engineer at Amazon.com, where he was responsible for
developing fulfillment systems.

Mehta would eventually move on to trying his hand at various
start-ups. He told the Los Angeles Times that his first 20
attempts failed to take hold.  Instacart was Idea No. 21 that
finally gained traction, aimed as it was at busy and tech-savvy
professionals who would benefit from an on-demand grocery shopping
platform. Orders would be placed through an app in much the same
way as a commuter would hail a ride through Uber or Lyft, with
either employees or independent contractors serving as 'shoppers'
filling the orders and delivering them to the customer.

Based in San Francisco, Instacart was targeted by a class action
lawsuit in 2015 brought, the Los Angeles Times reports, by workers
who alleged they were misclassified as independent contractors,
rather than employees -- and thus were missing out on requisite
rates of pay and overtime pay (Cobarruviaz et al. v. Maplebear,
Inc. d/b/a Instacart, Case No. 3:15-cv-00697EMC, filed on January
9, 2015 and removed from the Superior Court for the County of San
Francisco on February 13, 2015).

The Los Angeles Times reports that Instacart eventually made its
'shoppers' part-time employees, with some qualifying for benefits
such as health insurance.  Today, according to the Los Angeles
Times, the startup has 300 full-time employees and a posse of
part-time shoppers that number into the tens of thousands.

However, things are not all rosy. On February 28 of this year yet
another proposed class action lawsuit was filed in the Superior
Court for the County of Los Angeles (Camp, et al v. Maplebear,
Inc. d/b/a Instacart, Case No. BC652216).  According to Court
documents various wage and hour violations are alleged including,
but not limited to violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act,
unpaid wages, failure to pay minimum wages, as well as unpaid
overtime.

Instacart has so far faced three class action lawsuits in its
young history. The most recent lawsuit prior to the 2017 filing
was Husting et al. v. Maplebear, Inc. d/b/a
Instacart, Case No. 3:16-cv-06921-EMC filed on December 1, 2016 in
California. [GN]


MASSACHUSETTS: Contractors Suing State Over Full-Time Status
------------------------------------------------------------
David Abel, writing for Boston Globe, reports that Michael McHugh
has spent the past 27 years protecting wetlands for the state
Department of Environmental Protection. Like most other state
employees, he works at least 37.5 hours a week and has his
performance regularly reviewed by supervisors.

But unlike a typical state employee, McHugh is one of thousands of
long-term state contractors who have never received health
insurance benefits, vacation days, or a pension. He can't join the
union, and he's not protected by antidiscrimination laws. He only
recently began receiving sick pay, and he has been ineligible for
a range of promotions because his year-to-year contract doesn't
allow him to supervise other employees.

"It's as if I'm a second-class employee, separate and unequal to
other state employees," said McHugh, 56, of Littleton, who once
earned a commissioner's citation for outstanding work.

McHugh and three other DEP employees have filed a class-action
lawsuit against the state, accusing it of violating equal
protection laws by denying them the same benefits and protections
as other state employees.

Their complaints reflect a growing problem in the workplace, as
employers increasingly rely on part-timers and contractors, who
are generally less expensive because companies often don't provide
them with insurance or other benefits.

The state contractors, classified as "03 employees," are asking a
Suffolk Superior Court judge to reimburse them -- and as many as
10,000 other current and former contractors -- for years of lost
benefits and compensation, an award that could cost the state
hundreds of millions of dollars.

While the contractors understood they were signing up for
positions that lacked benefits and job security, many of them
expected their positions would eventually lead to full-time work.

They're now demanding that the state reclassify them as regular
employees.

But state Attorney General Maura Healey, Esq. has rejected their
demands and has asked the court to dismiss the case.

Healey contends that the contractors lack the standing to sue
because the state has "sovereign immunity" from such claims,
meaning that a private party can't take state agencies to court
unless there's a specific waiver in the law.

Stefan Jouret, Esq., a Boston lawyer representing the plaintiffs,
disputed that argument in a 36-page response he submitted to the
court last week.

"The damage here to class members is immense, and justice requires
that they be allowed to have their day in court," he said. "The
doctrine of sovereign immunity is an outdated concept that is
fundamentally unconstitutional."

He also accused Healey of hypocrisy, noting that her office
released an advisory on workplace protections in May that noted
all workers in Massachusetts have "the right to be classified
properly as an employee" under the state's labor and employment
laws.

"Healey is functionally endorsing the privatization of public-
sector jobs," Jouret said.

Emily Snyder, a spokeswoman for Healey, said the attorney general
would not comment on the merits of the claims. Healey always
advises agency officials to comply with the law, she said.

It's unclear how many long-term contractors work for the state.

In 2010, the state auditor's office found the state had employed
18,600 contractors, at a cost of about $386 million. Most were
lecturers and other part-time faculty or student interns at the
state's colleges and universities.

Its audit reviewed a selection of contracts at six agencies and
found more than half failed to comply with a range of
requirements.

The state defines contractors as "temporary employees," and
forbids them from being used "as a permanent substitute for a
state employee position."

Yet the audit found that more than 40 percent of the contracts had
lasted "an excessive length of time," or more than three years. At
the Department of Environmental Protection, the audit found that
75 percent of the contracts reviewed lasted longer than three
years -- more than the other agencies.

"Some contract employees appeared to be working essentially as
full-time substitutes for state employees without receiving full-
time employment benefits," the report found.

State environmental officials have been aware of the issue for
years. In 2014, David Cash, the DEP commissioner at the time, said
he tried to convert as many of the longtime contractors to full-
time positions as possible. But complications arose, including
union negotiations and a lack of state funding.

His effort came as the agency was making substantial cuts to its
staff. Between 2006 and 2016, the agency lost nearly one-third of
its employees.

There had also been good reasons to hire -- and retain -- many of
the employees as contractors, Cash said. But the arrangement was
never meant to serve as a long-term solution.

"It became a trap and unfair," Cash said. "The whole system needs
to be rethought."

Since the suit was filed last spring, DEP officials have stepped
up their efforts to make more of the contractors full-time
employees.

"MassDEP is working to integrate all 03 contractors into full-time
positions," said Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the agency.

As of last month, 14 of the agency's 18 remaining contractors had
accepted offers to become full-time employees, while another
contractor is finishing a short-term project, he said.

They will become full-time employees at "salary levels that are
commensurate with their years of experience," Coletta said.

But McHugh and other contractors won't be eligible for back pay or
other compensation for benefits they never received -- a loss
equivalent to about $30,000 a year, they said.

"It's a Hobson's choice: accept conversion on DEP's terms with no
seniority or back benefits, or you're fired," Jouret said.

He disputed that the contractors were being offered appropriate
salaries and benefits. For example, as new employees, they would
not accrue past sick or vacation time.

The DEP is only taking action now "because the lawsuit serves as
flame to its feet," Jouret said. "This should have been done
decades ago."

Mark Stinson, a 63-year-old environmental analyst who has been
working at DEP as a contractor since 2005, worries he won't be
able to retire.

Stinson, who like McHugh earns about $90,000 a year, said more
than a third of his wages have gone to pay for private health
insurance. His expenses have been so high that he hasn't been able
to take vacations, he said.

"We always had to work harder than the regular employees because
we had no protection, and they could fire us at any time," Stinson
said. "This inequity has gone on long enough." [GN]


MASTERCARD: Class Action Over Credit, Debit Card Fees Pending
-------------------------------------------------------------
Nate Raymond, writing for Reuters, reports that an antitrust
lawyer pleaded guilty on Nov. 20 to federal charges that she
conspired with her husband to use two bogus vendors to defraud two
New York law firms out of $7.8 million.

Keila Ravelo, who prior to her 2014 arrest had been a partner at
law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, pleaded guilty in federal court
in Newark, New Jersey to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and tax
evasion, prosecutors said.

The Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey-resident's husband, Melvin Feliz,
pleaded guilty in 2015.  Ms.  Ravelo, 52, is scheduled to be
sentenced on March 5, prosecutors said.

Ms. Ravelo's lawyers, Lawrence Lustberg and Steven Sadow, in a
joint statement said that in pleading guilty, she accepted
responsibility for failing to expose her husband's fraud on the
law firms and MasterCard Inc, which was also defrauded.

"Instead, and under intense emotional pressure to keep silent, she
wrongfully covered up his fraud, and by doing so, allowed it to
continue," her lawyers said.

Prosecutors said Ms.  Ravelo and Mr. Feliz set up two bogus
vendors that from 2008 to 2014 billed the two New York law firms
where she was a partner, Hunton & Williams and later Willkie, for
litigation support services that were never performed.

Many of the payments were authorized by Ms. Ravelo, who along with
Mr. Feliz used the money for personal expenses and investments,
including $250,000 in payments to a jewelry store, prosecutors
said.

Ultimately, the two law firms paid the vendors $7.8 million,
prosecutors said. The law firms then in turn billed clients for
the litigation support services, according to court papers.

While undertaking an internal investigation following her arrest,
Willkie discovered communications in Ms. Ravelo's files with a
plaintiffs lawyer, Gary Friedman, who was representing retailers
in a class action lawsuit against American Express.

Those communications revealed that Mr. Friedman had shared
confidential information from the American Express case with
Ms.  Ravelo, who was one of MasterCard's defense lawyers in a
related class action.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn in 2015 said
Friedman's conduct "fatally tainted the settlement process."

Jduge Garaufis as a result rejected a settlement that would have
allowed merchants to impose a surcharge on American Express users
and allowed Friedman's law firm and two others to receive $75
million in fees.

MasterCard and Visa had at the time negotiated a $7.25 billion
settlement with retailers that accused the card networks of
improperly fixing credit and debit card fees.  A U.S. appeals
court tossed the deal in 2016.  The litigation remains pending.

The case is U.S. v. Ravelo, U.S. District Court, District of New
Jersey, No. 15-cr-00576. [GN]


MCM PRODUCTS: Faces "Matzura" Suit in S.D. New York
---------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against MCM Products USA
Inc. The case is styled as Steven Matzura and on behalf of all
other persons similarly situated, Plaintiff v. MCM Products USA
Inc. and MCM Worldwide, LLC, Defendants, Case No. 1:17-cv-09702
(S.D. N.Y., December 11, 2017).

McM Products USA Inc. is in the Women's Handbags and Purses
business.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Justin Alexander Zeller, Esq.
   The Law Office of Justin A. Zeller, P.C.
   277 Broadway, Suite 408
   New York, NY 10007
   Tel: (212) 229-2249
   Fax: (212) 229-2246
   Email: Jazeller@zellerlegal.com


MGM RESORTS: Faces Negligence Cases Over Las Vegas Mass Shooting
----------------------------------------------------------------
Ken Ritter, writing for The Associated Press, reports that
attorneys who filed one of the first lawsuits after the Oct. 1
mass shooting that killed 58 concert-goers and left hundreds
injured on the Las Vegas Strip filed four new negligence cases on
Nov. 20 on behalf of more than 450 victims.

This time, however, Houston-based lawyers Chad Pinkerton and Mo
Aziz filed the cases in Los Angeles against companies including
MGM Resorts International, the corporate owner of both the
Mandalay Bay resort and the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert
venue.

Mr. Pinkerton said the intent was to get the cases before a jury
less likely to be influenced by the size and clout of a casino
company that is both an active political contributor in Nevada and
the largest employer in the state.

"Los Angeles is a better venue for fairness for our clients,"
Mr. Pinkerton said in a telephone interview ahead of a news
conference announcing the filing of two wrongful death lawsuits, a
third case stemming from a woman's head wound and a fourth on
behalf of 450 people claiming injuries in the worst mass shooting
in modern U.S. history.

"There would be certain advantages for MGM to defend its case in
Nevada," Mr. Pinkerton said, adding that a jury in MGM Resorts'
hometown might include people with direct or indirect ties to the
company and its more than 70,000 employees.

The company has said through representatives it won't litigate
shooting lawsuits in the media.  In statements, it has blamed the
massacre on the gunman, Stephen Paddock.

Defendants in the new lawsuits also include Live Nation
Entertainment, the concert promoter.  In a statement, the Beverly
Hills, California-based company expressed sorrow for "countless
people forever impacted by this senseless act of violence" and
said it was cooperating with an active FBI investigation. It
declined to comment about the lawsuits.

Documents submitted on Nov. 20 in Los Angeles also seek
compensation from Mr. Paddock's estate.

They included a refiling of a negligence claim originally filed
Oct. 10 in Las Vegas on behalf of a wounded California woman,
Paige Gasper, with four new plaintiffs added.  Gasper's original
case was dismissed on Nov. 17 in Nevada.

"Most of our clients from California." Mr. Pinkerton said.  "Most
all are getting their treatment here."

The lawsuits do not seek class-action status, but Aziz said he
expects they will be consolidated during pretrial investigations
and evidence exchanges.

The new lawsuits followed a wave of cases filed in Nevada state
court in Las Vegas on behalf of 14 concertgoers, including some
who were shot, injured or say they were traumatized trying to
escape.

A Chicago law firm helped prepare those filings, involving
plaintiffs from the Chicago area and a California man who was shot
and wounded.

Police and the FBI say the 64-year-old Mr. Paddock rained bursts
of gunfire for 10 minutes from a 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay
Bay into a crowd of 22,000 people in the concert venue across Las
Vegas Boulevard.

Mr. Paddock, a high-stakes video poker gambler with homes in Reno
and the southern Nevada resort town of Mesquite spent several days
amassing an arsenal of assault-style weapons and ammunition in a
two-room suite.  Authorities say he killed himself before officers
reached his room.  A motive for the deadly rampage has not been
identified.

Plaintiffs in mass-shooting lawsuits face a high legal bar to
prove responsibility and liability by someone other than the
shooter, and lawsuits can take years in court.

But Mr. Pinkerton said he believes he can show that tragedy could
have been avoided if hotel and corporate officials followed hotel
weapon possession policies already in place and implemented recent
safety recommendations.

"We know in this day and age that evil does happen, and we have to
protect against that," the lawyer said.  "This was the largest
venue security failure in U.S. history." [GN]


MGM RESORTS: New Lawsuits Filed Over Las Vegas Attack
-----------------------------------------------------
Polly Mosendz, writing for Bloomberg News, reports that a slew of
new lawsuits have been filed by victims of the Las Vegas attack,
which left almost 60 dead and more than 500 wounded.  The alleged
gunman, Stephen Paddock, shot attendees of the Route 91 Harvest
country music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay
Resort on the night of Oct. 1.

The latest tide of litigation targets the entertainment company
that put on the show and the hotel, alleging they acted
negligently in the run up to the mass shooting.

The first complaints were filed within days of the attack.  Those
initial cases ranged from victims seeking class action status and
traditional negligence suits targeting the estate of Paddock --
who, authorities said, killed himself -- the hotel, the concert
organizers and the venue.

Las Vegas-based Titolo Law Office, along with the Chicago-based
firm Romanucci & Blandin, filed 14 lawsuits in Clark County
district court related to the shooting.  The defendants in the new
lawsuits include MGM Resorts International Inc., Mandalay Corp.,
Live Nation Entertainment Inc., Live Nation Group (doing business
as OneNationGroup LLC), Paddock's estate, bump stock maker Slide
Fire Solutions LP and several unidentified manufacturers and
retailers.

"We continue to be devastated by the tragedy at the Route 91
Festival, heartbroken for the victims, their families and the
countless people forever impacted by this senseless act of
violence and are cooperating fully with the active FBI
investigation," Live Nation said in a statement.  "We are,
however, unable to comment specifically on pending litigation."
(Other defendants didn't immediately reply to requests for
comment.)

Accused of breaching its "duty of reasonable care"

Luca Iclodean, who attended the festival and was shot in the
torso, is among the new plaintiffs. "MGM had a duty of reasonable
care in the protection and safeguarding of persons on the Mandalay
Bay and MGM premises," Mr. Iclodean alleged in the complaint. The
lawsuit alleges that the hotel didn't maintain a safe environment
for a litany of reasons, including failing to surveil those
entering and leaving the premises, failing to monitor the closed-
circuit television system, failing to record activity on the 32nd
floor, and failing to discover Paddock's weapons arsenal in his
hotel room.

A final claim in the lawsuit cited the defendant's failure to
"have gunshot detection devices in the hotel rooms." The new
lawsuits seek unspecified damages, though the claims could easily
total millions of dollars or more.

LiveNation was accused of breaching its "duty of reasonable care"
by failing to mark emergency exits at the festival, train staff in
emergency preparedness, or hire security staff.  Other plaintiffs,
including Heather Gooze and Shawna Lott, alleged they were
"severely injured" attempting to escape the area in which the
event was held.

Slide Fire Solutions, a bump stock manufacturer, is also named as
a defendant in the new cases. The firearm accessory allows a semi-
automatic weapon to fire more rapidly, mimicking a fully automatic
weapon, and a dozen such devices were found in Paddock's room,
though their manufacturer's name wasn't disclosed by authorities.

The Texas-based company is also being sued by the Brady Center to
Prevent Gun Violence. [GN]


MICHAEL FOODS: Judge Approves $75MM Egg Antitrust Settlement
------------------------------------------------------------
P.J. Dannunzio, writing for Law.com, reports that a judge has
signed off on a $75 million settlement from Michael Foods, a
subsidiary of packaged food producing giant Post, to settle claims
against it in the egg antitrust litigation in federal court.

The settlement, reached nearly a year ago, was given final
approval on Nov. 17 by U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter of
the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the presiding judge in the
litigation. The class action, brought by direct purchasers and
suppliers of eggs, continues against other defendants.

"The proposed settlement agreement is fair, reasonable, and
adequate.  Accordingly, the court grants plaintiffs' motion for
final approval of the class action settlement with defendant
Michael Foods," Judge Pratter wrote in her opinion.

The class, which Judge Pratter certified in September 2015, claims
the nation's major egg producers were involved in a conspiracy to
control and limit the supply of eggs in an effort to increase
prices, allegedly through short-term production restrictions, such
as slaughtering hens early, a pretextual animal welfare program
and a "calculated" series of exports of eggs at below-market
prices.

"While we remain confident that our conduct has at all times been
lawful and entirely appropriate, we believe this settlement is in
the best interest of our shareholders, employees, customers and
consumers because it effectively eliminates the distraction,
expense, and exposure of this complex litigation," Rob Vitale,
Post's president and CEO, said in a December 2016 statement.

An attorney for the class members, Stephen Neuwirth --
stephenneuwirth@quinnemanuel.com -- of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart &
Sullivan, said in December that the settlement was a step in the
right direction.

"This is a very important step toward ensuring compensation for
the direct purchasers of eggs who were victims of this longtime
conspiracy," he said then.

The litigation saw settlements from other parties in July 2016.

Defendant Midwest Poultry Services agreed to pay $2.5 million;
National Food Corp. agreed to pay $1 million; United Egg Producers
and United States Egg Marketers agreed to jointly pay $500,000;
NuCal Foods agreed to pay $1.425 million; and Hillandale Farms
agreed to pay $3 million, according to an opinion issued by
Pratter at the time.

In addition to the payments and agreeing to cooperate in the
ongoing litigation, the six defendants were released from any and
all claims from the direct purchasers.

Earlier in the case, Judge Pratter had denied certification to the
indirect purchaser plaintiffs -- those who purchased eggs produced
by the defendants but sold elsewhere -- because their proposed
class members were not easily categorized, did not have enough in
common and were not manageable.

As for the direct purchasers, Judge Pratter held in a September
ruling that the plaintiffs had demonstrated there was commonality
between the different proposed class members.

"The court concludes that common issues predominate with respect
to whether the alleged conspiracy had an impact on the members of
the shell eggs subclass," Judge Pratter had said.  "Plaintiffs can
use common evidence to demonstrate that (a) defendants made
efforts to reduce the supply of eggs and thereby raise the price
of eggs; (b) the egg market was structured so that the alleged
conspiracy to restrict the supply of eggs, if successful, would
have caused all or virtually all direct purchaser plaintiffs to
pay higher prices than they would have absent the conspiracy; and
(c) the conspiracy was successful in raising prices."

Those factors showed that the plaintiffs were affected by the
defendants' alleged anti-competitive behavior, Judge Pratter said.

Additionally, Judge Pratter said the direct purchaser plaintiffs
have compiled detailed discovery supporting their claim that a
class was warranted, relying heavily on the defendants' documents
illustrating the supply reduction initiatives.

The plaintiffs also argued that the lack of substitutes for eggs
and high demand played a part in the defendants' alleged
conspiracy, Judge Pratter said.

"Because of the lack of close substitutes for eggs, class members
could not have systematically avoided the effects of a lower
supply of eggs by obtaining a substitute for eggs, but would
instead have had to pay the increased prices of eggs," Judge
Pratter said. [GN]


MORRIS COLLEGE: Faces Class Action Over "Toxic" Mold
----------------------------------------------------
Bruce Mills, writing for the SumterITEM, reports that the
litigation attorney who filed a class-action suit on behalf of
five current and former Morris College students against the
college says the mold issues on the campus are "toxic" and that he
wants the college to step up and fix the problems.
Attorney John Harrell of Harrell Law Firm, PA, in Charleston, made
his comments on Nov. 20 concerning the case after the lawsuit was
filed and the college was notified.

Mr. Harrell said he first became aware of the alleged complaints
of health issues related to mold infestation at the Morris campus
about two months ago, when parents of students began to contact
him in September.

Since then, Mr. Harrell said he and his firm's representatives
have been on the campus "multiple times" to interview prospective
clients who have contacted his firm about the issues.

Students have also supplied him photographs taken with their
cellphones from their dormitories illustrating mold and other
hazardous substances, he said.

"The conditions at the college are toxic, and they're making
people literally sick to the point of having to go to the doctor,"
Mr. Harrell said.

The 17-page class-action complaint dates the mold problems at the
college back to at least 2013, but Harrell said he thinks -- based
on clients' testimony -- the problems date back to potentially
2007 or earlier.

In 2007, Mr. Harrell said a Morris student who lived in one of the
student dorms died from meningitis.  According to Mr. Harrell and
numerous medical sources, mold is a cause of meningitis.
According to code statutes, the college must notify students of
any threat or risk of contacting meningitis, but Mr. Harrell said
it never did after the 2007 incident, to his knowledge.

Dozens of students rallied at an area park to voice their
frustration on the campus' mold problems and to bring about
change.

After the October rally, the college posted on social media that
it had fixed the problems, Mr. Harrell said.  He said that's not
possible because he has obtained dormitory photos from students
since the rally.

The class-action complaint lists three campus dorms where mold has
been identified by the five representative plaintiffs but makes
reference to problems in other facilities on campus.

Mr. Harrell said on Nov. 20 he thinks virtually every building on
campus has mold problems, except for possibly the college's new
administration building.  He said he thinks some buildings have
worse mold issues than others.

He emphasized he is not against the college in any way but that he
wants it "to rise to the level of its historical status, which it
is not doing," he said.

Morris is a historically black, coeducational, liberal arts
college operated by the Baptist Educational and Missionary
Convention of South Carolina.  It was founded in 1908 by the state
convention.

On Nov. 20, college officials notified various members of its
board of trustees and the state convention on issues raised in the
complaint, according to the college's attorney, Thomas Levy of
Thomas B. Levy Law Office in Columbia.

The college has not issued an official statement yet, Mr. Levy
said.  Morris has 30 days from the time of being served to provide
an answer to the complaint, which will be about mid-December
according to Mr. Harrell.

The plaintiffs are seeking at least $55 million in damages from
the school. [GN]


MYER: Class Action Law Firms Mull Investor Suit
-----------------------------------------------
Sue Mitchell, writing Australian Financial Review, reports that
billionaire retailer Solomon Lew's Premier Investments is
considering taking legal action against Myer after losing almost
$40 million on its $101 million stake in eight months.

It is understood that Mr Lew is mulling his legal options after
claiming in September that Myer misled investors about the pace of
its turnaround under chief executive Richard Umbers' New Myer
strategy.

Mr Lew will decide his next move after Myer's annual meeting in
Melbourne on Nov. 24, where the Myer board faces harsh criticism
from shareholders following a 49 per cent fall in its share price
this year.

Premier Investments has called on shareholders to follow its lead
and vote against all the resolutions at the annual meeting,
including the election of chairman designate Garry Hounsell and
two other non-executive directors.

Premier has been inundated with proxy votes from aggrieved retail
investors, many of whom bought into Myer at the time of its 2009
initial public offer, paying $4.10 a share compared with the
Nov. 22 close of 70.5õ.

However, Premier is not expected to garner enough support from
retail and institutional investors to block the resolutions.

Proxy advisers Ownership Matters, CGI Glass Lewis and IRI and the
Australian Council of Superannuation Investors and the Australian
Shareholders Association have effectively backed the Myer board by
recommending shareholders vote in favour of Mr Hounsell, JoAnne
Stephenson and Julie Anne Morrison.

Mr Lew has reserved the right to call an extraordinary general
meeting, at which Myer shareholders would have the opportunity to
consider his nominees for the Myer board -- former Myer Grace Bros
managing director Terry McCartney, former UBS banker Tim Antonie
and Steven Sewell, chief investment officer of Abacus Property.

However, it is understood that Premier may postpone calling an EGM
until the new year, possibly after the release of Myer's first
half results in March.

Myer has rejected Mr Lew's request for board representation,
saying that inviting Premier's nominees onto the board would give
Mr Lew effective control without a full takeover bid and would
create unmanageable conflicts of interest.

Premier, which owns brands such as Portmans, Dotti, Just Jeans,
Jays Jays and Smiggle, and Mr Lew's unlisted businesses, are major
competitors to Myer, supplying about $200 million of goods every
year.

It is understood that the option of taking legal action is not
necessarily dependent on the outcome of the annual meeting or the
timing of an EGM.

Class action law firms are also understood to be sounding out
retail investors about a potential suit.  This follows the launch
of class action claims against Myer in December 2016 from former
shareholder TPT Patrol Pty Ltd, trustee for the Amies
Superannuation Fund, and in March 2015 by Melbourne City
Investments.  The MCI action was dismissed last December as an
abuse of process.

Premier acquired a 10.8 per cent stake in Myer in March at around
$1.14 a share or $101 million and has since seen the value of its
shares fall by more than $40 million.

Premier shareholders such as Airlie Funds Management founder
John Sevior are unhappy with the stake but are hoping the retailer
eventually makes a return on its investment, pointing to Mr Lew's
successful investment track record.

Mr Lew has laid out a seven-point plan for reversing a 20-year
slide in sales and earnings growth at Myer.  The plan includes
selling merchandise shoppers want; improving service levels,
closing new clearance floors, improving Myer's omni-channel
business and accelerating the closure of non-performing stores.
[GN]


NEW MOOSEJAW: Sued Over Wiretapping Activities
----------------------------------------------
Brady Cohen, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. New Moosejaw, LLC and Navistone, Inc.,
Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-09391, (S.D. N.Y., November 30, 2017),
seeks actual damages, disgorgement of any illegally-made profits,
statutory damages, preliminary and other equitable or declaratory
relief, punitive damages, reasonable attorney's fee and other
litigation costs reasonably incurred, prejudgment interest on all
amounts awarded, restitution and all other forms of equitable
monetary relief and injunctive relief for violation of the Wiretap
Act.

New Moosejaw and NaviStone are accused of wiretapping the
computers of visitors to the Moosejaw website, Moosejaw.com.
NaviStone allegedly employs these wiretaps to observe visitors'
keystrokes, mouse clicks and other electronic communications in
real time for the purpose of gathering visitors' personally
identifiable information. On several occasions, Cohen visited
Moosejaw.com, but has never made any purchase from Moosejaw.
During each of Plaintiff's visits, Moosejaw disclosed intercepted
data to NaviStone in real time to attempt to learn his identity,
postal address and other personal data.

New Moosejaw, LLC is located at 32200 North Avis Suite 100,
Madison Heights, Michigan. Moosejaw is an online seller of active
outdoor equipment carrying more than 400 brands. NaviStone, Inc.
is an online marketing company and data broker that deals in U.S.
consumer data and is based in 1308 Race Street, Cincinnati, Ohio
45202. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Scott A. Bursor, Esq.
      Neal J. Deckant, Esq.
      Frederick J. Klorczyk, III, Esq.
      Alec M. Leslie, Esq.
      BURSOR & FISHER, P.A.
      888 Seventh Avenue
      New York, NY 10019
      Telephone: (212) 989-9113
      Facsimile: (212) 989-9163
      E-Mail: scott@bursor.com
              ndeckant@bursor.com
              fklorczyk@bursor.com
              aleslie@bursor.com


NEW YORK: NYPD Faces Promotion Discrimination Class Action
----------------------------------------------------------
Eric Bachman, Esq. -- ebachman@zuckermanlaw.com -- of Zuckerman
Law, in an article for The National Law Review, wrote that a class
action case filed in federal court claims that African-American
detectives in the New York Police Department (NYPD) are illegally
excluded from higher-level promotions within the detective rank
(aka the glass ceiling).

The lawsuit asserts that the NYPD unlawfully denied promotions to
African-American detectives within the Intelligence Division of
the NYPD.  The lead plaintiffs are Jon McCollum and Roland
Stephens, as well as Sara Coleman, widow of Theodore Coleman.

"I hit a brick wall when it came to my career in Intel," said
Detective Stephens.  "I came to the painful realization that my
skin color mattered more than my skills and achievements."

The case is Coleman, et al. v. The City of New York, et al., 1:17-
cv-07265, (S.D.N.Y.).

The plaintiffs are represented by Emery Celli Brinkerhoff & Abady
LLP and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The NYPD is represented by the New York City Law Department.

Glass ceiling/promotion discrimination
Glass ceiling discrimination generally refers to an unfair,
artificial barrier that prevents certain employees (women; people
of color; LGBT) from fairly competing for upper management jobs.

In practice, it keeps qualified employees from reaching their full
potential and, depending on applicable law, illegally blocks them
from occupying the best-paid and most powerful positions.  The
glass ceiling can be caused by, among other things:

  -- entrenched attitudes/stereotypes about what type(s) of people
should get the "top" jobs;

   -- subjective/hard to define qualifications for promotions that
introduce conscious or unconscious biases into decision-making;
and/or

   -- a lack of networking and mentoring opportunities for women,
people of color, and other underrepresented groups
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as well as other federal
and state laws, make it illegal for an employer to use promotion
practices that create a glass ceiling.

Background about the NYPD's alleged glass ceiling
The crux of the case is laid out in the first paragraph of the
complaint, which states, "[f]or well over a decade, the NYPD's
Intelligence Division has implemented a secretive and unstructured
promotions policy, administered by white supervisors who refuse to
promote deserving African-Americans detectives."  It continues
that, "[a]s a result of these policies, Named Plaintiffs and other
African-American detectives have been repeatedly denied well-
deserved promotions -- even when recommended by their direct
supervisors -- without explanation, while less qualified white
detectives have been promoted above them."

Each of the three named plaintiffs joined the Intelligence
Division in 2001 and helped with the cleanup and investigation of
the September 11 attacks.  According to a press release, they
"tracked hundreds of leads and suspects. In spite of their
achievements and strong recommendations from their direct
supervisors, they were repeatedly passed up for promotion because
of their race."

"I watched countless white detectives from my class move up in
rank, but not me," recalled Detective McCollum.  "Multiple
supervisors told me if I were white I would have been promoted."

The promotion selection process

The complaint paints a picture of a highly subjective promotion
process that occurs in a vacuum.  For example, the plaintiffs
claim that:

"The NYPD does not publish when promotion decisions for
Intelligence Division detectives will be made, who will
participate in the decision-making process, or what weight, if
any, supervisor recommendations will be given"
"Candidates for promotion are not told how many vacancies there
are, who else they are competing against, or what criteria will be
used to decide promotions.  Often, they are not even informed that
they are being considered for promotion."
"In practice, promotions are the result of a highly subjective
decision-making process, with decisions about advancement made in
secret by all-white high-level supervisors."

African-American representation in the Intelligence Division

The plaintiffs describe the Intelligence Division as "one of the
most elite and prestigious divisions within the NYPD."  As of
2013, the unit employed approximately 600 people, including about
280 detectives.

As to the proportion of African-American employees, at the time
the EEOC charge of discrimination was filed in 2011:

African-Americans constituted 18% of all NYPD police officers and
16% of all NYPD detectives, but only 6% of Intelligence Division
personnel and 7% of Intelligence Division detectives.

White officers were substantially overrepresented in the
Intelligence Division, constituting 80% of the Intelligence
Division and 80% of Intelligence Division detectives but 50% of
all NYPD officers and 57% of all detectives.

"At higher levels of seniority, in 2011," the complaint says that
"there were no African Americans above the rank of Sergeant -- in
other words, no African American Lieutenants, Captains, or other
high-level supervisory personnel -- in the entire Intelligence
Division."

These numbers have apparently improved since then, but plaintiffs
assert that African-American detectives continue to lag behind
their white counterparts.

Class action versus an individual case
An individual case involves one employee (Joe Smith) suing his
employer for glass ceiling/promotion discrimination.  The way the
company treats its other employees will be relevant in an
individual case.  But the focus of the case and the available
remedies will remain on what happened to Joe Smith.  Individual
lawsuits are far more common than class action lawsuits.

Class action cases, on the other hand, involve a lead plaintiff(s)
who, along with the lawyer for the class, represent the interests
of a larger group of class members who have been harmed by the
company in some common way.  Class actions can range in size from
20-30 individuals to thousands of people.

The NYPD glass ceiling case is filed as a class action and seeks
to represent not only the three named plaintiffs but also, "[a]ll
African-American detectives of the NYPD Intelligence Division who,
as of December 14, 2008 or later, were not promoted or whose
promotions were delayed based on race? . . ."

Ultimately, the court will decide if the case can proceed as a
class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 or, instead,
if the lawsuit must be broken up into a series of smaller cases.
[GN]


NEW YORK: Mayor Dead Wrong on 'No Harm' to Kids Exposed to Lead
---------------------------------------------------------------
Melissa Russo, writing for NBC New York, reports that Mayor de
Blasio said earlier children have not suffered as a result of his
administration's failure to perform mandated annual lead paint
inspections in thousands of NYC Housing Authority units throughout
the city. But at least one family suing the city in federal court
begs to differ.

The class-action suit filed claims NYCHA knowingly and
intentionally neglected its obligations to perform lead paint
inspections, notify residents of hazards and remedy problems. It
alleges that pattern disproportionately harms low-income families
in violation of the Fair Housing Act and seeks unspecified
compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages.

Lead plaintiff Sherron Paige claims her son Kyan Dickerson was
poisoned by lead in their home in the Red Hook East Houses. She
says the boy was diagnosed with lead poisoning in July, after a
routine blood test found elevated blood lead levels at 12
microgram per deciliter. Any reading greater than 5 micrograms per
deciliter is considered dangerous, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.

Kyan lived in his apartment for his entire life, but in the past
two years his mother claims the housing authority saw and ignored
a gaping hole in their walls after a pipe burst.

Her attorney, Corey Stern, Esq. says that because Paige's building
is known to have had lead paint in the past, the hole should have
been a red flag that the apartment needed immediate inspection and
abatement. It was not inspected.

Documents obtained by the I-Team found that after Kyan's bloodwork
came back with dangerous lead levels, NYCHA disputed the
Department of Health's findings of lead hazards in the apartment,
further delaying remediation.

The lawsuit claims that "Kyan has suffered serious and permanent
injury as a result of NYCHA's actions."

Paige tells the I-Team her son has speech delays, difficulty
focusing and behaves aggressively.

"My son's not OK," she said. "My son has to suffer. And they need
to take responsibility for that. My child deserves an apology."

A recent report from the city's Department of Investigation found
that NYCHA had stopped doing required annual inspections of all
apartments where children age 6 and younger reside that are
suspected of having lead contamination. The report said the
mandated annual inspections stopped in 2012, under then-Mayor
Michael Bloomberg. The de Blasio administration did not resume the
inspections, but falsely claimed in federal paperwork that the
city was in compliance with the law when it was not, the DOI
report found.

NYCHA has pledged sweeping changes in the wake of that report, and
city officials said that childhood lead poisoning has declined by
90 percent since 2005.

"The NYC Department of Health makes the final determination on
abatement of all lead based paint hazards in both public or
private housing," said Herminia Palacio, the deputy mayor for
health and human services.

Data on the number of lead poisoned children in NYCHA so far in
2017, when Kyan's mother says the boy was poisoned, are not yet
available, the city says. At a news conference on Monday, de
Blasio focused on a three-year period -- 2014, 2015 and 2016 --
and said only four children living in NYCHA apartments tested with
elevated lead levels. His deputy mayor called the I-Team to say
those numbers were incomplete -- that six children had been lead
poisoned in NYCHA homes during that time.

At that November 20 briefing, the mayor acknowledged NYCHA's
failure to conduct required inspections on both Bloomberg's watch
and his own. He said it never should have happened and should have
been caught sooner. But he said the children who have been lead
poisoned have not had medical consequences.

"Thank God there has not been harm done to any child because of
the mistakes that were made," he added.

Research shows exposure to elevated lead levels can lead to
problems with learning and reading, delayed growth and hearing
loss, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry. High lead levels can cause permanent brain damage, the
group says. And even small amounts of lead can cause children to
appear inattentive, hyperactive and irritable.

Paige wants to know how the mayor can say there's been no harm
done.

"How does he know that?" Paige asked. "How does he know the
outcome of what the lead poisoning is gonna do to these kids?"
Stern echoed his client's question. He said that if the apartments
were never inspected, many families would never know to have their
children tested for lead in the first place.

"If I was his attorney, I would tell him to stop talking about it,
" Stern said of de Blasio. "He's a frog in the well that's talking
about the ocean. He has no idea what else is really out there, and
he's going to have to live with the words he puts out there
publicly." [GN]


NEWFIT DALLAS: "Robinson" Suit Seeks Unpaid Overtime Wages
----------------------------------------------------------
Brenton Robinson, on behalf of himself and all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff v. Newfit Dallas, Ltd, Defendant, Case No. 17-
cv-03254, (N.D. Tex., November 30, 2017), seeks to recover actual
and statutory damages, equitable relief, restitution,
reimbursement of out-of-pocket losses, other compensatory damages,
credit monitoring services with accompanying identity theft
insurance and injunctive relief including an order requiring
Equifax to improve its data security pursuant to the federal Fair
Credit Reporting Act and the Wisconsin Deceptive Trade Practices
Act.

Newfit Dallas operates Fitness Connection, a chain of health and
fitness clubs in the State of Texas where Robinson worked a
general manager at their Carrollton TX location. Plaintiff's
primary function was inside sales, making sales calls, conducting
appointments with prospective customers for the purpose of selling
them a membership or personal training, conducting tours of the
club and getting referrals in order to sell memberships. Plaintiff
routinely worked in excess of 40 hours but was not paid the
mandatory overtime wages. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Richard C. Dalton, Esq.
      RICHARD C. DALTON, LLC
      1343 W Causeway Approach
      Mandeville, LA 70471
      Tel: (985) 778-2215
      Fax: (985) 778-2233
      Email: rick@rickdaltonlaw.com


NFL: Concussion Settlement Test of Judicial Power
-------------------------------------------------
Alison Frankel, writing for Reuters, reports that the $1 billion
settlement of traumatic brain injury claims by retired NFL players
is shaping up to be an important test of judicial power to
regulate contracts between plaintiffs in multidistrict litigation
and outside legal funders.

There is, as you know, a booming industry in advancing cash to
plaintiffs expecting payouts in personal injury cases. Funding
deals can take a variety of shapes.  Some litigation funders
provide plaintiffs with non-recourse loans at relatively high
interest rates.  Other purchase an interest, or assignment, in
settlement proceeds at a discount from the plaintiffs' anticipated
payout. Either way, funding deals take place outside of the
underlying personal injury case. They're private agreements
between the funder and the plaintiff.

The industry was once almost entirely unregulated, but that's
changing.  As Ms. Frankel reported, nearly a dozen states have
recently enacted laws regulating some aspect of the business of
advancing cash to plaintiffs.  The federal Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau has also claimed authority over lawsuit lenders,
filing suits against two litigation financiers in 2016.

One of those CFPB cases is against the New Jersey funder RD Legal,
which has attacked the bureau's power to regulate its
transactions, which are structured as assignments in which
plaintiffs awaiting settlement payouts sell an interest in the
proceeds they expect to collect.  RD's lawyers at Boies Schiller
Flexner contend those transactions are not in the CFPB's
bailiwick.

Among RD Legal's clients are seven plaintiffs in the NFL brain
injury class. In total, an RD subsidiary advanced the seven NFL
retirees $1.63 million in exchange for rights to $3.43 million of
the cash they are expected to receive in the settlement. (The
$3.43 million RD assignments are only a portion of the total
$11.47 million these seven ex-players are slated to be paid.)

The plaintiffs' lawyers leading the NFL multidistrict litigation,
which was settled as a personal injury class action, filed an
amicus brief in the CFPB case against RD Legal, arguing that RD's
transactions with NFL retirees breached a provision of the
settlement agreement that prohibits plaintiffs from assigning an
interest in their claims to outside funders.  Class counsel said
they specifically included the no-assignment provision to stop
litigation financiers from reaping a windfall at the expense of
plaintiffs with cognitive impairments.  RD responded that it
hadn't taken advantage of anyone and hadn't violated the
settlement agreement because it did not acquire an interest in
plaintiffs' claims.  Instead, RD argued, it purchased an interest
in plaintiffs' settlement proceeds -- and those were not
specifically addressed in the anti-assignment clause of the class
action settlement.

To interpret the scope of the anti-assignment provision, U.S.
District Judge Loretta Preska of Manhattan, who is overseeing the
CFPB's case against RD, turned to her counterpart in the NFL case,
U.S. District Judge Anita Brody of Philadelphia.  Judge Preska
asked Judge Brody to determine if RD's agreements with its NFL
clients violated the class action settlement. RD, class counsel
and the CFPB (along with the New York attorney general) briefed
that issue earlier this fall.

That briefing dovetailed with Judge Brody's concern about funders
and self-described claims service providers exploiting NFL
retirees.  In July, after The New York Times documented a "feeding
frenzy" on ex-players covered by the settlement and class counsel
requested injunctions to block unauthorized solicitations to class
members, Judge Brody announced that she would hold a hearing on
these financial pitches to class members. She ordered class
counsel to conduct expedited discovery on outside claims
facilitators and litigation financiers pitching their services to
the NFL retirees.

Based on that discovery -- and with the scope of the anti-
assignment provision yet to be decided via the RD briefing --
class counsel from Seeger Weiss filed an extraordinary motion in
the NFL case on Oct. 23.  Seeger Weiss asked Judge Brody to issue
a freeze on payouts to 15 third-party funders and claims service
providers until the judge determined the validity of their claims.
The claims administrator should continue to process settlement
payouts to class members, Seeger Weiss said, but whatever portion
of their recovery is supposedly owed to funders or facilitators
should be placed in an escrow account.

Seeger Weiss's motion included the stunning disclosure that at
least 900 ex-players -- and possibly as many as 1,000 -- had
entered deals with the two claims facilitators and 13 litigation
funders named in the motion. It argued that unless Judge Brody
acts prospectively to protect those 900 class members from
"potentially unscrupulous third parties," it will be tough for
class counsel to recoup any money the third parties weren't
actually entitled to.

The motion asserted three justifications for freezing payouts to
facilitators and funders: the settlement agreement itself, which
barred plaintiffs from assigning claims and granted Judge Brody
continuing jurisdiction over class members and their lawyers; the
federal rules for class actions, which invest Judge Brody with a
responsibility to protect class members' interests; and the
inherent power of the court to "go beyond the matters immediately
underlying its equitable jurisdiction and decide whatever other
issues and give whatever other relief may be necessary."

It's entirely possible that just as many, or even more, plaintiffs
in other big personal injury MDLs have entered funding
arrangements.  These deals don't usually come to light, as I
mentioned, because they're private contracts struck outside of the
underlying litigation.  What's unusual about the NFL concussion
case is that it's a class action, which puts every member of the
class under the aegis of class counsel, and that Judge Brody
ordered discovery on outside solicitations to class members.

Such a broad inquiry into the propriety of funding agreements
could be a watershed for the litigation finance industry,
prompting other MDL judges to require plaintiffs to disclose post-
settlement funding agreements for their own protection. But that
can occur only if MDL judges actually have jurisdiction to monitor
these private contracts.

They don't, according to briefs in the NFL case from several of
the entities on Seeger Weiss's no-pay list.  The funders RD Legal
and Walker Preston and the claims facilitators Case Strategies
Group and Legacy Sports contend Judge Brody doesn't have authority
over parties outside of the MDL. Among other things, they all
pointed out that their clients, the NFL retirees, have not
contested the third-party agreements.  Nor have individual lawyers
for the ex-players. So according to them, there's no case or
controversy giving rise to federal court jurisdiction.

"The requested relief manufactures disputes between third parties,
class members, and their attorneys where none exist, and
effectively rewrites the contracts of nonparties -- all without
providing any admissible evidence of wrongdoing," wrote Case
Strategies' lawyers from Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads.
"Class counsel attempts to have the court invoke its equitable
powers to do what the law otherwise counsels against."

The briefs also argue that Seeger Weiss is effectively asking for
an injunction against paying the funders and facilitators without
even trying to meet the high bar for injunctive relief.  By its
own concession, class counsel's brief doesn't actually allege the
businesses on its no-pay list are not entitled to the money they
contracted to be paid by class members, just that the payments may
not be justified.  That sort of speculation, said Case Strategies,
Legacy and Walker Preston, falls way short of the persuasive
evidence that would justify an injunction. (RD Legal said it does
not oppose putting the contested payments in an escrow account; it
also argued that the proliferation of funding deals by NFL class
members proves RD's point that the settlement agreement's anti-
assignment clause is, at best, unclear.)

Nearly 40 percent of the civil cases on the federal court docket
are in MDLs.  As far as I'm aware, the NFL litigation will be the
first to determine if MDL judges' authority extends to third-party
funders who've entered deals with individual plaintiffs. This is
one to watch. [GN]


NRC HEALTH: Faces Class Actions Over Class B Stock Shares Buyback
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Matt Olberding, writing for Lincoln Journal Star, reports that two
shareholders have filed lawsuits seeking to stop NRC Health's plan
to buy back and retire its Class B stock shares.

Both lawsuits, filed in U.S. District Court, target CEO Michael
Hays and members of the Lincoln company's board of directors.

The suits, which are seeking class-action status, allege that the
plan to buy back the Class B stock shares is a ploy to allow Hays
to cash out of his Class B stock holdings while increasing his
voting control over the company.

One of the suits calls the plan an "extreme and illicit power
grab" by Hays, while the other refers to it as "conflicted and
self-serving."

Mr. Hays founded NRC Health, which specializes in providing
performance measurement and management software and services to
healthcare companies, in 1981.  The company became publicly traded
in 1997 and moved to two classes of stock in 2013 after it said it
wanted to increase flexibility and liquidity without diluting
voting rights of existing shareholders.

The recapitalization created Class A shares that were cheaper, and
more-expensive Class B shares that carried six times the dividend
rights and 100 times the voting rights of Class A shares.

Before the split into two classes, the stock was very thinly
traded and Mr. Hays owned more than half the shares.  The move to
two classes gave more people a chance to own shares without giving
outsiders much power over company decisions.

When it announced in September the plans to retire the Class B
shares, NRC Health said investors found the dual-class share
structure confusing.

Both lawsuits claim that the plan to retire the Class B shares
will unjustly enrich Hays while shortchanging other holders of
Class B stock.

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Hays' voting power will be increased
from 54 percent to 92 percent.  The suit also says the company's
offer of $53.44 per Class B share is inadequate because it is
lower than the price of the shares on the day it was announced.

NRC Health has said buying back and retiring the Class B shares
will cost more than $100 million, and it will have to borrow about
$70 million to complete the transaction.

The suit alleges that the plan violates Wisconsin law, which
prohibits a stock repurchase if after the repurchase, the
company's liabilities would exceed its assets.  NRC Health is
incorporated in Wisconsin.

Though the plan does have to be approved by shareholders, the
lawsuits say its approval is a foregone conclusion because Hays
holds more than half the voting rights.

Both lawsuits are seeking temporary and permanent injunctions to
stop the plan from going forward. One of the suits also seeks more
than $100 million in damages if the stock retirement is allowed to
go forward.

NRC Health officials declined to comment on the lawsuit. [GN]


OCERA THERAPEUTICS: "Paulus" Sues Over Onerous Merger Deal
----------------------------------------------------------
William Paulus, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly
Situated, Plaintiff, v. Ocera Therapeutics, Inc., Eckard Weber,
Linda S. Grais, Willard Dere, Steven P. James, Nina Kjellson, Anne
M. Vanlent and Wendell Wierenga, Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-06876,
(N.D. Cal., November 30, 2017), seeks to enjoin defendants and all
persons acting in concert with them from proceeding with,
consummating or closing the acquisition of Ocera by Mallinckrodt
PLC, rescinding it in the event defendants consummate the merger,
rescissory damages, costs of this action, including reasonable
allowance for plaintiff's attorneys' and experts' fees and such
other and further relief under the Securities Exchange Act of
1934.

Each shareholder of Ocera common stock will receive $1.52 per
share. Additionally, each Ocera share will be converted
automatically into the right to receive one Contingent Value
Right, estimated to be $2.58. The CVR together with the $1.52 in
cash represent the transaction consideration.

The Plaintiff says the merger documents omitted material
information regarding Ocera's financial projections as projected
free cash flows. Said disclosure of projected financial
information is material because it provides stockholders with a
basis to project the future financial performance of a company,
and allows stockholders to better understand the financial
analyses in support of its fairness opinion. Also the merger
agreement contains a no solicitation provision that prohibits the
company from taking any affirmative action to obtain a better deal
for Ocera stockholders. [BN]

Ocera is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the
development and commercialization of ornithine phenylacetate in
both intravenous and oral formulations for the treatment of
hyperammonemia and resultant hepatic encephalopathy in patients
with acute liver failure and acute-on-chronic liver disease.

Plaintiff is represented by:

      David E. Bower, Esq.
      MONTEVERDE & ASSOCIATES PC
      600 Corporate Pointe, Suite 1170
      Culver City, CA 90230
      Tel: (213) 446-6652
      Email: dbower@monteverdelaw.com

             - and -

      Juan E. Monteverde, Esq.
      MONTEVERDE & ASSOCIATES PC
      The Empire State Building
      350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor
      New York, NY 10118
      Telephone: (212) 971-1341
      Email: jmonteverde@monteverdelaw.com


OVASCIENCE INC: Scott+Scott Files Securities Class Action
---------------------------------------------------------
Scott+Scott, Attorneys at Law, LLP ("Scott+Scott"), a national
securities and consumer rights litigation firm, disclosed that it
has filed a class action against OvaScience, Inc. ("OvaScience" or
the "Company") (NASDAQ:OVAS) and certain of its senior executives
and directors (collectively, "Defendants").

The action, which is filed in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Massachusetts, asserts claims under Sections 11,
12(a), and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the "Securities
Act"), on behalf of investors who purchased OvaScience common
stock directly in the Company's January 8, 2015 Secondary Offering
and who were damaged thereby (the "Class").

OvaScience is a life science company that engages in the
discovery, development, and commercialization of new treatments
for infertility.  The Company is attempting to develop various
fertility treatment options purported to enhance egg health and
revolutionize in vitro fertilization ("IVF").  The Company's
Autologous Germline Mitochondrial Energy Transfer ("AUGMENT")
treatment, designed to improve the energy and health of the
woman's eggs by using mitochondria from a woman's egg precursor
cells ("EggPCs"), is available in certain IVF clinics in select
international regions.

According to the complaint, Defendants violated provisions of the
Securities Act by issuing false and misleading statements to
investors, including in filings with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission ("SEC").  Specifically, Defendants made false
and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1)
the very science behind AUGMENT was untested and in doubt; (2) the
patients that had received OvaScience's AUGMENT procedure in 2014
did not achieve a pregnancy success rate that was significantly
higher than the rate achieved without the Company's AUGMENT
procedure; (3) the Company had not chosen to undertake its studies
outside of the United States, but was forced to as it did not want
to meet stringent and expensive federal regulations; and (4) the
Company was far from being profitable, or even approaching
profitability.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no
later than January 22, 2018.  Any member of the proposed class may
move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their
choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain a member of the
proposed class.

If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions
concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please contact
plaintiff's counsel, Rhiana Swartz of Scott+Scott at (844) 818-
6980, or via email at rswartz@scott-scott.com.

           About Scott+Scott, Attorneys at Law, LLP

Scott+Scott has significant experience in prosecuting major
securities, antitrust, and employee retirement plan actions
throughout the United States.  The firm represents pension funds,
foundations, individuals, and other entities worldwide with
offices in New York, London, Connecticut, California, and Ohio.
[GN]


OXNARD, CA: Sued Over Illegal Special Education System
------------------------------------------------------
Alexa D'Angelo, writing for VC Star, reports that a lawsuit
seeking class-action status alleges the Oxnard School District has
been operating with an illegal system for identifying children
with special education needs, according to court records.

"These cases are representative of a widespread, systematic
failure by the district to ensure that it identifies students in
possible need of services and accommodations, timely evaluates for
such services, provides related procedural safeguards and
ultimately provides needed services and accommodations so that
these students can access their education in a meaningful way,"
the plaintiffs allege, according to court records.

The lawsuit alleges the K-8 district has been using an informal
system to identify students with potential disabilities instead of
following the rules and guidelines required by law -- which spell
out a formal assessment process for identifying students with
potential disabilities.

The informal system consists of "student success team" meetings
where school staff members discuss a student's progress, or lack
thereof, in school.  The lawsuit alleges these meetings do not
exist under any kind of education law and are provided instead of
mandatory referrals for assessment.

The main difference between the formal and informal system is that
the formal one requires an assessment be made by a child
psychologist, while the informal one is more of a discussion
between teachers and school staff members, according to court
records.

Janeen Steel, the co-executive director and co-founder of the
nonprofit Learning Rights Law Center, is one of three lawyers
representing the plaintiffs.  Ms. Steel, who is also the director
of litigation and advocacy at the Learning Rights Law Center, said
the lawsuit was originally filed in September and that she could
not yet say how many parties are in the class.

Ms. Steel is representing the plaintiffs with two other lawyers,
Shawna Parks from the Law Office of Shawna L. Parks and Stuart
Seaborn from Disability Rights California.

The lawsuit names the Oxnard School District Board of Trustees and
Superintendent Cesar Morales as defendants.

"All children should have access to education," Ms. Steel said.
"When you are taking away a child's trajectory in education . . .
it's not fair. I have not seen (these cases) at this breadth
before."

Ms. Steel said it's not uncommon to see individual cases of this
nature against districts, but the fact that there are many is
cause for concern and suggests a problem with the system the
district is operating in.  The cases aren't centralized to one or
two schools in the district, Steel said, but are at multiple
locations.

One of the students named in the lawsuit displayed obvious
difficulties in school as early as first grade during the 2013-14
school year, according to the lawsuit.  Despite those documented
struggles, the district held seven of the informal student success
team meetings over the course of four years before the student got
a formal evaluation.  When the student was formally evaluated,
results showed that the student functioned academically below 99.9
percent of peers, according to the lawsuit.

"Academically, it is as if (the student) has not received any
education at all," the plaintiffs allege, according to court
records.  "She cannot consistently write her name and reads at a
kindergarten level."

Ms. Steel said she hopes the lawsuit will encourage the district
to change its system and evaluate and provide services for
students with disabilities.

Morales said the district is utilizing its infrastructure for
identifying students with potential disabilities and that there
are "excellent systems in place."

"I'm confident that the district's present systems in place are
established to best meet the needs of students," Morales said.
"Whenever there is concern brought forward staff is ready to
problem-solve with parents and do that is in the best interest of
the student."

Mr. Morales said the student success teams are a "best practice"
the district uses, but that the district also adheres to the law
and operates using the formal assessment process.

Mr. Morales also noted the district has many special education
programs for specialized populations -- such as students with
hearing difficulties or autism.

"We are all committed to doing what is best for our students and
what is best for their needs," Mr. Morales said.

Ms. Steel and the other attorneys are filing a motion to certify
the class. [GN]


PALATINE, IL: Ballard Spahr Attorney Discusses Ruling
-----------------------------------------------------
Burt M. Rublin, Esq. -- rublin@ballardspahr.com -- and Wesley S.
Stevenson, Esq. -- stevensonw@ballardspahr.com -- of Ballard Spahr
LLP, in an article for The National Law Review, report that
addressing the often confusing issue of when class action tolling
ends, in Collins v. Village of Palatine, the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Seventh Circuit announced the adoption of a simple and
uniform rule: The statute-of-limitations clock resumes when a non-
certified class action lawsuit is dismissed, regardless of whether
an appeal is taken or the dismissal is with or without prejudice.

In American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah, the U.S. Supreme
Court held that filing a class action suit tolls the statute of
limitations for each member of the putative class.  Since American
Pipe, federal courts have clarified that tolling ends when class
action certification is denied, when class members opt out of a
certified class, when the suit is dismissed for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction or otherwise dismissed without prejudice, and
when the class component is voluntarily dismissed.  But what if
the original suit was dismissed with prejudice and there is an
appeal? Does tolling stop immediately upon dismissal, or does it
continue until any and all appeals are exhausted?

In Collins, Michael Collins brought a lawsuit in March 2016
alleging the Village of Palatine -- a small town in Cook County,
Illinois -- violated his privacy rights under the Driver's Privacy
Protection Act (DPPA) by displaying personal identification on a
ticket left on his car in June 2007.  Collins argued that his suit
was timely, despite the DPPA's four-year statute of limitations,
because an earlier class action suit, Senne v. Village of
Palatine, tolled his limitations period. Jason Senne's proposed
class action was filed in August 2010, and was dismissed with
prejudice just one month later for failure to state a claim.
However, over the next five years, Senne appealed -- until
November 2, 2015 -- when the Supreme Court denied certiorari.

The Seventh Circuit held that the tolling of the statute of
limitations on Collins' claim stopped on September 20, 2010 --
when Senne's proposed class action was dismissed with prejudice.
It grounded its holding in the same judicial efficiency concerns
at the center of American Pipe, and stressed that extending
tolling beyond the dismissal of a non-certified class action would
expose defendants to stale claims.  The Seventh Circuit reasoned
that this primary function of statutes of limitations is best
served by immediately resuming the limitations clock upon
dismissal, regardless of the pendency of an appeal. [GN]


PARAGON COMMERCIAL: Franchi Files Suit Over Sale to Townebank
-------------------------------------------------------------
Anthony Franchi, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. Paragon Commercial Corporation,
Paragon Commercial Bank, Howard Jung, Robert C. Hatley, Curtis C.
Brewer, III, K. Wesley M. Jones, Thomas B. Oxholm, Roy L. Harmon,
F. Alton Russell, Townebank and TB Acquisition, LLC, Defendants,
Case No. 17-cv-00591 (E.D. N.C., November 30, 2017), seeks to
enjoin defendants and all persons acting in concert with them from
proceeding with, consummating or closing the acquisition of the
Paragon firms by Townebank and TB Acquisition, rescinding it in
the event defendants consummate the merger, rescissory damages,
costs of this action, including reasonable allowance for
plaintiff's attorneys' and experts' fees and such other and
further relief under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Pursuant to the terms of the Merger Agreement, shareholders of
Paragon will receive 1.725 shares of Towne common stock for each
share of Paragon common stock.

According to the complaint, the merger documents omitted material
information regarding Paragon's financial projections for years
2020 through 2022 as well as projected free cash flows as well as
the valuation analyses performed by Raymond James & Associates.
Said disclosure of projected financial information is material
because it provides stockholders with a basis to project the
future financial performance of a company, and allows stockholders
to better understand the financial analyses in support of its
fairness opinion, it adds.

Paragon operates Paragon Bank, an independent, non-public bank
based out of Raleigh NC. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      RIGRODSKY & LONG, P.A.
      2 Righter Parkway, Suite 120
      Wilmington, DE 19803
      (302) 295-5310

            - and -

      RM LAW, P.C.
      1055 Westlakes Dr., Ste. 3112
      Berwyn, PA 19312
      Tel: (484) 324-6800

            - and -

      Janet Ward Black, Esq.
      Nancy Meyers, Esq.
      WARD BLACK LAW
      208 W. Wendover Ave.
      Greensboro, NC 27401
      Tel: (336) 333-2244
      Fax: (336) 379-9415
      Email: jwblack@wardblacklaw.com


PENNSYLVANIA: Justices Drop Sheriff from Concealed Weapon Lawsuit
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Mark Scolforo, writing for San Francisco Chronicle, reports that
concealed weapon permit-holders cannot sue a central Pennsylvania
sheriff over permit notices he sent out on postcards, which they
say violated their privacy rights, the state Supreme Court ruled
Wednesday.

The justices unanimously dismissed the former sheriff of Franklin
County from what could become a class-action case, although other
defendants remain.

The plaintiffs claim the postcards, informing people about permit
approvals, denials, revocations and renewals, violate privacy
rules in the Uniform Firearms Act which carry civil penalties for
violations.

The decision reverses a finding by the Commonwealth Court, which
said last year that the sheriff was not protected from lawsuits by
the concept of "high public official immunity."

"We decline to hold the General Assembly implicitly abrogated
immunity for the sheriff through the use of general, undefined
terms," wrote Justice Kevin Dougherty. "We recognize permitting
such implicit abrogation of high public official immunity would
undermine the purpose and goal of the doctrine, the value of which
has been consistently upheld and recognized by this court."

A lawyer for the four anonymous people who are suing said they
plan to ask the justices for reconsideration or re-argument about
the constitutionality of high public official immunity. The
decision released said explicitly it concerned the law and was not
decided on constitutional grounds.

Josh Autry, Esq. -- jautry@laverylaw.com -- who represents the
former sheriff, Franklin County and the sheriff's office, said the
case will return to county court. Outstanding issues include
whether the case will be certified as class-action and how far
back the statute of limitations goes.

At issue is state law that allows disclosure of concealed carry
license applicants' information only to courts or criminal justice
agencies. Violations carry civil damages of $1,000 per occurrence
as well as legal fees, and triple damages for those who can show
how the policy actually harmed them.

The plaintiffs believe more than 10,000 licensees could be covered
by the case.

A county judge previously had dismissed the entire case before it
was revived by Commonwealth Court. [GN]


POWERSECURE INT'L: Securities Class Action Dismissal Affirmed
-------------------------------------------------------------
Shearman & Sterling LLP, in an article for Lexology, wrote that on
November 15, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the
Fourth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative securities
fraud class action against PowerSecure International, Inc. (the
"Company" or "PowerSecure"), and Sidney Hinton, its president and
CEO. Maguire Fin. LP v. PowerSecure Int'l Inc., No. 16-2163 (4th
Cir. Nov. 15, 2017).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants defrauded
investors by knowingly making misrepresentations about the renewal
of a major contract in violation of Section 10(b) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The district court dismissed the
complaint after finding that plaintiffs failed to adequately
allege scienter.  The Fourth Circuit affirmed, stating that "[a]
plaintiff may not stack inference upon inference" to satisfy the
PSLRA's heightened pleading requirements for scienter.

PowerSecure provides utility and energy solutions to electric
utilities and their customers.  One of the Company's major
contracts was with Florida Power & Light ("FP&L"), the largest
electric utility in Florida.  In a press release in June 2013, the
Company announced that it had "renewed and expanded three year
utility infrastructure . . . award to serve one of the nation's
largest investor owned utilities." Hinton reiterated this
statement on an analyst call in August, stating that PowerSecure
was "blessed to announce securing a $49 million three-year
contract renewal, both the renewal and expansion with one of the
largest investor [owned] utilities in the country." The following
May, PowerSecure reported a first quarter loss of almost $4.3
million.  It attributed the loss to substantial increases in
operating expenses due to the fact that FP&L had changed the
geographies the Company was serving from West Palm Beach to Ft.
Myers.  The Company also stated that it "probably underestimated
the negativity [and] the complexity of basically starting from
scratch in a new territory," including losing employees who did
not want to commute over 100 miles to fulfill the new contract and
hiring and training new workers at significant expense.
PowerSecure's stock price fell more than 62% the following day,
and shareholders filed suit.

The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the
complaint on the basis that plaintiffs failed to adequately allege
scienter.  In so doing, the Court rejected plaintiffs' primary
argument that defendants' alleged knowledge that the statement was
false was sufficient to show scienter.  The Court explained that
plaintiffs' "argument fuses an inference that Hinton knew enough
to realize that his characterization was technically incorrect
with an inference that he intended it to deceive."  "Stacking
inference upon inference," the Fourth Circuit held, "violates [the
PSLRA's] mandate that the strong inference of scienter be
supported by facts, not other inferences."

The Fourth Circuit also found that the complaint, when taken as a
whole, did not allow the Court to draw a strong inference of
scienter.  First, The Court found that the statement at issue did
not support an inference that defendants intended to deceive
investors into thinking that the Company could continue to serve
the same region or otherwise maintain its profitability. Second,
the Court declined to find intent to deceive from defendants' use
of a "single possibly ambiguous word," noting that the fact of the
contract's renewal "itself embraces the possibility that the new
contract was not a renewal on identical terms."  Finally, the
Court rejected plaintiffs' attempt to establish scienter through
Hinton's own sale and transfer of PowerSecure stock, observing
that Hinton did not sell his shares when their value was at the
highest and that the transfer of shares was made months after the
alleged misstatement.

This case highlights the difficulty of pleading scienter and
further reinforces that, in order to do so, a plaintiff must plead
facts that give rise to a strong inference that defendants
intentionally or recklessly deceived, manipulated, or defrauded
investors. [GN]


PTTEP AUSTRALASIA: Seaweed Farmers' Class Action Given Go-Ahead
---------------------------------------------------------------
Stephanie Zillman, writing for ABC News, reports that federal
Court Justice David Yates granted the lead applicant in the class
action, Indonesian seaweed farmer Daniel Sanda, an extension of
time to bring the claim against PTTEP Australasia.

Under Northern Territory law, class actions typically have to be
lodged within three years of an incident, but Justice Yates waived
that limitation.

In 2009, thousands of litres of oil spewed into the Timor Sea for
70 days straight from an uncontrolled leak at PTTEP Australasia's
Montara petroleum rig.

The rig is in the Timor Sea, about 690 kilometres west of Darwin,
and 250 kilometres southeast of Rote Island, Nusa Tenggara Timur,
Indonesia -- where the majority of seaweed farmers live.

The company had previously told the ABC the oil spill was
contained and never reached the Indonesian coastline.

PTTEP Australasia has been contacted for a comment on the Federal
Court's decision to hear the class action.

Lawyer Ben Slade, Esq. who is leading the class action on behalf
of the 15,000 seaweed farmers, said their case would focus on the
core issues of alleged wrongdoing and compensation.

"We are now looking forward to presenting the farmers' evidence
and having it heard and determined by Justice Yates," Mr Slade
said.

"This win means we can get on with the real business of securing
appropriate redress for the thousands of Indonesian seaweed
farmers who have had their lives severely impacted by the oil
spill." [GN]


QUDIAN: Investor Class Action Mulled Over Stock Price Drop
----------------------------------------------------------
Xie Yu and Jane Li, writing for South China Morning Post, report
that Qudian, the Chinese online payday loan platform, could be
facing a rash of class-action lawsuits in the US after its share
price tumbled drastically on the New York Stock Exchange,
triggering concerns over the integrity of the firm.

New York-based law firm Faruqi & Faruqi, is now encouraging
investors in Qudian to get in contact with it, as it is now
"investigating potential claims against Qudian", it said in a
statement.  Qudian was unavailable for comment.

Shares in the leading provider of online small consumer credit in
China tumbled 5.28 per cent on Nov. 20 to close at US$20 in New
York, 16.7 per cent down from its IPO price of US$24, and more
than 40 per cent down from a historic intraday high of $35 reached
on its trading debut on October 18.

Qudian, which is backed by Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial,
raised US$900 million -- the largest IPO in the US by a Chinese
company this year.

Its share price have already been experiencing wild swings since
mainland social media reports accused the business of "exploiting"
students and blue collar workers, particularly, with high interest
rates, allegedly selling of customers' personal details, and that
it is now facing regulatory tightening in China.

Qudian on Nov. 21 denied the allegations that it had been selling
any customer data.

The investigation could prove another serious blow to the
reputation of China's payday loan industry.  Another P2P lender He
Xin Dai, which launched a US$88 million IPO in New York in early
November, also saw shares drop by 6.6 per cent on the Nasdaq on
Nov. 20, after it had added more than 60 per cent on its debut.

But when there is a lot of media coverage, or other public
scrutiny of the company's activities underlying the allegations,
it can be easier to file a lawsuit, and proceed quickly.

Bringing a case and proving the case are two different things
Meg Utterback, international partner at the law firm King & Wood
Mallesons in Shanghai, said traditionally "it has been challenging
to prove any wrongdoing from the relationship between a drop in
stock value and any alleged problems" with each case having to be
judged on their own merits.

"But when there is a lot of media coverage, or other public
scrutiny of the company's activities underlying the allegations,
it can be easier to file a lawsuit, and proceed quickly, she
added.  "Bringing a case and proving the case are two different
things.

Chinese companies have listed on US stock exchanges in increasing
numbers over the last decade, taking advantage of more readily
available capital, less stringent listing criteria, and the
greater recognition and prestige that comes with listing on the
world's largest bourses, she added.

"Stricter scrutiny, disclosure requirements, and weakness of some
companies' governance are now making it easier to become class-
action lawsuit targets.

"However, the profiles of Chinese companies going public in the
States have changed a lot too in the past few years with many
improving their levels of corporate governance, and becoming more
sophisticated about what are their listing requirements," she
said.

Qudian said revenue and profit rose more than 300 per cent in its
third quarter from a year ago, in its first quarterly report
following the IPO.

The three-year-old company, which focuses on providing short-term
loans to businesses and young adults who have a hard time getting
bank loans, reported a profit of $97.8 million, up from $23.2
million, in the prior-year quarter.

Chinese lawyer Wang Zhibin, from Shanghai-based Bright & Young Law
Firm, which mainly represents China's retail investors, added:
"The compensation scale of the class-action against Qudian could
be much larger than in China, ranging from several millions of US
dollars to even billions."

He explained this is because of the difference between the two
countries' law systems.

While China adopts a "no prosecution, no compensation" principle
which means only the investors who bring up the lawsuits against
the companies they invest in can get compensation once the court
finds the companies guilty, in the US, all investors who put money
into a company, as long as they fulfil the requirements set by the
court, are including.

"The class actions could last two years in China, and might be
longer in the US." he said. [GN]


RECEIVABLE COLLECTION: Faces "Daniels" Suit in E.D. New York
------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Receivable
Collection Services, LLC. The case is styled Tanisha Daniels, on
behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff v.
Receivable Collection Services, LLC, Defendant, Case No. 2:17-cv-
07206 (E.D. N.Y., December 11, 2017).

Receivable Collection Services, LLC is engaged in debt
collection.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Craig B. Sanders, Esq.
   Sanders Law, PLLC
   100 Garden City Plaza, Suite 500
   Garden City, NY 11530
   Tel: (516) 203-7600
   Fax: (516) 281-7601
   Email: csanders@sanderslawpllc.com


REGENT CATERING: "Peralta" Suit Seeks OT, Spread-of-Hours Pay
-------------------------------------------------------------
Jose Luis Peralta, on behalf of himself and all others similarly
situated, Plaintiffs, v. Regent Catering, Inc., Tommy
Kolitsopoulos and Francesca Kolitsopoulos (a/k/a Francesca
Mulone), Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-06993, (E.D. N.Y., November
30, 2017), seeks unpaid minimum wages, overtime compensation,
liquidated damages, prejudgment and post-judgment interest, unpaid
spread-of-hours premium, unpaid agreed-upon-wages, redress for
unlawful retention of tips, compensation for failure to provide
wage notice at the time of hiring and failure to provide paystubs,
liquidated damages, reasonable attorneys' fees, costs, prejudgment
and post-judgment interest in violation of the Fair Labor
Standards Act and New York Labor Laws.

Plaintiff worked for Defendants as a food preparer for their
coffee shop located at 3029 College Point Boulevard, Flushing, New
York, 11354 from December 1, 2014 to on or about August 28, 2017.
Defendants required Plaintiff to work a total of 80 hours per week
without overtime pay. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Louis M. Leon, Esq.
      LAW OFFICES OF WILLIAM CAFARO
      108 West 39th Street, Suite 602
      New York, NY 10018
      Tel: (212) 583-7400
      Email: LLeon@Cafaroesq.com


RUBY TUESDAY: Monteverde & Associates Files Class Action
--------------------------------------------------------
Monteverde & Associates PC disclosed that it has filed a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Tennessee Northern Division, case no. 3:17-cv-00478,
on behalf of shareholders of Ruby Tuesday, Inc. ("Ruby Tuesday" or
the "Company") (NYSE: RT) who held Ruby Tuesday securities and
have been harmed by Ruby Tuesday and its board of directors'
alleged violations of Sections 14(a) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act") in connection with the
merger of the Company to NRD Capital (the "Proposed Merger").

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Ruby Tuesday shareholders
are only anticipated to receive $2.40 in cash in exchange for each
share of Ruby Tuesday.  The complaint alleges that the Proposed
Merger is unfair to Ruby Tuesday shareholders and that the
preliminary proxy statement regarding the Proposed Merger (the
"Proxy") provides materially incomplete and misleading information
about the Company's financials and the fairness of the Proposed
Merger, in violation of Sections 14(a) and 20(a) of the Exchange
Act.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no
later than 60 days from November 16, 2017.  Any member of the
putative class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff
through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and
remain an absent class member.  If you wish to discuss this
action, or have any questions concerning this notice or your
rights or interests, please contact Monteverde & Associates PC:

Click here for more information:
http://monteverdelaw.com/investigations/m-a/. It is free and
there is no cost or obligation to you.

Monteverde & Associates PC is a boutique class action securities
and consumer litigation law firm that has recovered millions of
dollars and is committed to protecting shareholders and consumers
from corporate wrongdoing.  Monteverde & Associates lawyers have
significant experience litigating Mergers & Acquisitions and
Securities Class Actions, whereby they protect investors by
recovering money and remedying corporate misconduct.
Mr. Monteverde, who leads the legal team at the firm, has been
recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Securities
Litigation in 2013 and 2017, an award given to less than 2.5% of
attorneys in a particular field. [GN]


SAC CAPITAL: Reed Smith Loses Bid to Sue Co-Counsel Over Fees
-------------------------------------------------------------
Christine Simmons, writing for Law.com, reports that a federal
judge has shot down Reed Smith's attempt to sue its former
co-counsel, law firm Wohl & Fruchter, in state court for its share
of fees from a class action against SAC Capital Advisors, finding
Reed Smith was "seeking a mulligan." [GN]


SCANA CORP: Bernstein Litowitz Files Securities Class Action
------------------------------------------------------------
Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP ("BLB&G") disclosed that
it filed a securities class action lawsuit on behalf of its client
West Palm Beach Firefighters' Pension Fund against SCANA
Corporation ("Scana" or the "Company") (NYSE: SCG), and certain of
the Company's current and former senior executives (collectively,
"Defendants").  The action, which is captioned West Palm Beach
Firefighters' Pension Fund v. SCANA Corporation, No. 3:17-cv-
03141-MBS (D.S.C.), asserts claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act"), 15
U.S.C. Secs. 78j(b) and 78t(a), and SEC Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder, 17 C.F.R. Sec. 240.10b-5, on behalf of investors who
purchased Scana's publicly traded securities from January 19, 2016
to October 30, 2017, inclusive (the "Class Period").

This case is substantially related to Norman v. SCANA Corporation,
No. 3:17-cv-02616-MBS (D. S.C.) ("Norman"), the first-filed
securities class action in this matter, which is presently pending
before the Honorable Margaret B. Seymour. Pursuant to the notice
published on September 28, 2017 in connection with the filing of
the Norman action pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995, investors wishing to serve as Lead Plaintiff
are required to file a motion for appointment as Lead Plaintiff by
no later than November 27, 2017.

The Complaint alleges that during the Class Period, Defendants
falsely stated that the construction of two nuclear reactors at
the Company's Virgil C. Summer generating station was progressing
well.  The Complaint further alleges that Scana misrepresented
that it was acting prudently when working on the nuclear project,
and was therefore able to generate significant revenues to offset
its costs by increasing customer rates.  In truth, Defendants knew
that the V.C. Summer project suffered from a host of fundamental
issues that were far more serious than disclosed to investors, and
that Scana was not acting prudently when managing product.

Scana's misrepresentations regarding these facts have resulted in
criminal investigations by the U.S. Attorney's Office in South
Carolina and the FBI, culminating in former CEO Kevin Marsh's and
Executive Vice President Stephen Byrne's resignations.  The news
of the resignations caused the price of Scana stock to decline
from $46.50 per share on October 27, 2017 to $43.14 per share on
October 31, 2017, or approximately 7%.

West Palm Beach Firefighters' Pension Fund is represented by
BLB&G, a firm of over 100 attorneys with offices in New York,
California, Louisiana, and Illinois.  If you wish to discuss this
Action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights
or interests, please contact Avi Josefson of BLB&G at 212-554-
1493, or via e-mail at avi@blbglaw.com.

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


SIGNATURE HEALTHCARE: "Hosein" Suit Seeks Overtime Pay, Damages
---------------------------------------------------------------
Sourswatee Hosein, and other similarly situated individuals,
Plaintiff, v. Signature Healthcare Consulting Services, LLC (d/b/a
Golfcrest Nursing Home) and Signature Payroll Services, LLC,
Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-62348 (S.D. Fla., November 30, 2017),
seeks to recover money damages for unpaid minimum and overtime
wages, liquidated damages, costs, and reasonable attorney's fees
pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act and for violations of the
Florida Private Whistleblower Statutes.

Defendants operate 148 health care and rehabilitation facilities
in 11 states. Hosein worked as a line cook working approximately
40-45 hours per week, usually rendering off the clock work and
working through her lunch breaks.

Plaintiff was fired on August 10, 2017, for complaining about the
unsafe nature of certain tasks assigned to her, in particular,
cleaning steaming tables while still hot. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      R. Martin Saenz, Esq.
      SAENZ & ANDERSON, PLLC
      20900 NE 30th Avenue, Ste. 800
      Aventura, FL 33180
      Telephone: (305) 503-5131
      Facsimile: (888) 270-5549
      Email: msaenz@saenzanderson.com


SNAP INC: Judge May Send Class Action Back to State Court
---------------------------------------------------------
Melissa Daniels, writing for Law360, report that a California
federal judge on Nov. 20 said she's inclined to send back to state
court a putative class action from Snap Inc. investors accusing
the company of understating the stock-based compensation incurred
as part of its initial public offering by $300 million, while the
tech giant urged her to retain jurisdiction for the purpose of
sending a certified question to the Delaware Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips tentatively ruled to
remand the suit, which was filed by named plaintiff Joseph Iuso.
He says that Snap told investors it would incur $1.7 billion in
stock-based compensation in connection with its IPO, but a
subsequent securities filing said the expense was $2 billion.

The suit was initially filed in California state court this
August, but Snap removed it, pointing to a provision in its
charter that says federal securities claims must be litigated in
federal court.  In a motion to remand the case, Judge Iuso urged
the court to send the case back down, saying that provision is
invalid under the law in Delaware, where Snap is incorporated.

Snap's attorney, Boris Feldman -- Boris.Feldman@wsgr.com -- of
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC, urged Judge Phillips to
reconsider her tentative ruling, saying that if the court holds
onto the case, it can clear up whether the federal jurisdiction
provision is valid.

"You have the power to certify a question to the Delaware Supreme
Court," whereas the California Superior Court does not,
Mr. Feldman said.

Mr. Feldman also requested that Judge Phillips stay the action
until there is a ruling in Cyan Inc. et al. v. Beaver County
Employees Retirement Fund et al., a U.S. Supreme Court case over
whether it may be possible to remove class actions arising under
the Securities Act of 1933 to state courts.  That case is
scheduled to be heard by the Judge, Mr. Feldman said.

"I think it's more efficient to hold it here and see what way Cyan
turns out," Mr. Feldman said.

Judge Phillips took the matter under submission.  The hearing took
place in the third jurisdiction that the three-month-old case has
been in so far -- it was first filed in San Mateo County,
California, Court, then removed to the federal jurisdiction in the
Northern District of California, then transferred to Judge
Phillips in the Central District of California in June, court
records show.

The suit names a crop of Snap executives, including CEO Evan
Spiegel and Chief Technology Officer Robert Murphy and other
directors.  Other defendants include multiple financial groups
that were underwriters in Snap's IPO.

Judge Iuso claims that Snap informed its investors that its stock-
based compensation expense in connection with its IPO would be
$1.7 billion, though it ended up incurring an expense of $2
billion.

"When the truth was revealed, Snap's stuck plummeted, harming
plaintiff and other investors," the suit said.

The complaint said investors lost $700 million as a result of Snap
shares' dropping from a close of $22.98 per share to $18.05 per
share when the truth about its stock-based compensation came out.
By August 11, 2017, Snap stock closed at $12.58 per share, the
suit says.

The complaint brings a claim under the Securities Act of 1933 for
making allegedly untrue statements of material facts in the
company's registration statement.  The proposed class includes
those who bought Snap common stock pursuant to its IPO on
March 1, 2017.

In the motion for remand, Judge Iuso argued that Snap cannot
remove the case to federal court because the federal forum
provision in its charter is invalid in Delaware.  Judge Iuso also
opposed Snap's argument that state courts can't hear federal
securities law class actions under the Securities Litigation
Uniform Standards Act of 1998.

Jeffrey C. Block -- jeff@blockesq.com -- of Block & Leviton told
Judge Phillips at the Nov. 20 hearing that the plaintiffs agreed
with her tentative ruling to grant their motion to remand. Twenty-
four other cases in the circuit have seen courts reject the same
removal argument Snap is making regarding what the SLUSA allows,
he said.

"I think we're at 25-0," he said.

He also said that the court can't stay the action as Snap
requested.

"You don't have the authority to stay it because you don't have
jurisdiction," he said.

Mr. Feldman countered that such an argument is "black-and-white
wrong," saying a federal court can always have jurisdiction over a
federal claim.  He also reminded Judge Phillips that while the
initial state court filing occurred in Northern California, Snap's
headquarters are in Los Angeles County.

Attorneys for the parties declined to comment.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jeffrey C. Block --
jeff@blockesq.com -- Jacob A. Walker -- jake@blockesq.com -- and
Joel Fleming -- joel@blockesq.com -- of Block & Leviton LLP.

Snap Inc. and the individual defendants are represented by Boris
Feldman and Ignacio E. Salceda -- ISalceda@wsgr.com -- of Wilson
Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC.

Seven of the underwriter defendants -- Morgan & Stanley Co. LLC,
Goldman Sachs & Co., JP Morgan Securities LLC, Deutsche Bank
Securities Inc., Barclays Capital Inc., Credit Suisse Securities
(USA) LLC and Allen & Company LLC -- are represented by Matthew W.
Close -- mclose@omm.com -- of O'Melveny & Myers LLP.

Counsel for other underwriter defendants wasn't immediately
available.

The case is Iuso v. Snap Inc. et al., Case No. 2:17-cv-07176 (C.D.
Cal.).  The case is assigned to Judge Virginia A. Phillips.  The
case was filed September 28, 2017. [GN]


SONIC CORP: Faces "Dolembo" Suit in Northern District of Ohio
-------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Sonic Corp. The case
is styled as John Stephen Dolembo and Denise Ramirez, on behalf of
all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs v. Sonic Corp.,
Defendant, Case No. 1:17-md-02807 (N.D. Ohio, December 11, 2017).

Sonic Corp. operates a fast food restaurant company in Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma.[BN]

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

   Sean N. Payne, Esq.
   Law Office of Sean Payne
   Ste. 253-A213
   9550 South Eastern Avenue
   Las Vegas, NV 89123-7624

      - and -

   David H. Krieger, Esq.
   Haines & Krieger
   8985 South Eastern Avenue, Ste. 350
   Henderson, NV 89123
   Tel: (702) 880-5554
   Fax: (702) 383-5518

      - and -

   Mathew I. Knepper, Esq.
   Knepper & Clark
   10040 West Cheyenne Avenue, Ste. 107-109
   Las Vegas, NV 89129
   Tel: (702) 805-6060
   Fax: (702) 447-8048

      - and -

   Miles N. Clark, Esq.
   Knepper & Clark
   10040 West Cheyenne Avenue, Ste. 107-109
   Las Vegas, NV 89129
   Tel: (702) 825-6060
   Fax: (702) 447-8048

      - and -

   Carin L. Marcussen, Esq.
   Federman & Sherwood
   10205 North Pennsylvania Avenue
   Oklahoma City, OK 73120
   Tel: (405) 235-4560
   Fax: (405) 239-2112

      - and -

   Joshua D. Wells, Esq.
   Federman & Sherwood
   10205 North Pennsylvania Avenue
   Oklahoma City, OK 73120
   Tel: (405) 235-1560
   Fax: (405) 239-2112

      - and -

   William B. Federman, Esq.
   Federman & Sherwood
   10205 North Pennsylvania Avenue
   Oklahoma City, OK 73120
   Tel: (405) 235-1560
   Fax: (405) 239-2112
   Email: wbf@federmanlaw.com

The Defendant is represented by:

   Craig Cardon, Esq.
   Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton
   1901 Avenue of the Stars, Ste. 1600
   Los Angeles, CA 90067
   Tel: (310) 228-3749

      - and -

   Kari M. Rollins, Esq.
   Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton - New York
   30 Rockefeller Plaza
   New York, NY 10112
   Tel: (212) 634-3077
   Fax: (917) 438-6173
   Email: krollins@sheppardmullin.com

      - and -

   Amy J. Pierce, Esq.
   Corbyn Hampton Barghols Pierce
   211 North Robinson Avenue, Ste. 1910
   Oklahoma City, OK 73102
   Tel: (405) 239-7055
   Fax: (405) 702-4348

      - and -

   Joe M. Hampton, Esq.
   Corbyn Hampton Barghols Pierce
   211 North Robinson Avenue, Ste. 1910
   Oklahoma City, OK 73102
   Tel: (405) 239-7055
   Fax: (405) 702-4348


SOUTH AFRICA: DHET Faces Class Action Over Certificates Backlog
---------------------------------------------------------------
Gert Coetzee, writing for news24, reports that after seven years
of trying in vain to obtain a qualification certificate from the
Motheo Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)
College, a Mangaung woman's tenacious calls for help has led to a
class action against the Department of Higher Education and
Training (DHET).

The Pretoria-based firm of attorneys which has taken on the cause
of Keneilwe Molawa (35), who hails from Thaba Nchu, is now looking
for other former DHET students in the same quandary to join the
group action.  It has emerged that the DHET has a backlog of
almost 200 000 certificates that should have been issued.

Molawa studied Civil Engineering and Building Construction NQF
Level 4 at the Thaba Nchu Campus of the Motheo College from 2008
to 2010. At that time she was 25.

On her graduation day in 2011 she and fellow students were
presented with toilet rolls covered in paper in lieu of a real
graduation diploma.

To her repeated appeals for a real graduation certificate, Motheo
responded that the DHET had refrained from providing the
certificates.  Nothing has been forthcoming since, despite the
DHET's Backlog Elimination Project, which should have been
completed by early 2016.

The lack of a certificate hampers Molawa --and others like her --
in her effort to get a job in line with her qualification.  She is
working 70 km away from home for less than R4 000 per month. If
she had initially received a certificate, she would have gone on
to university.

Molawa had in the past years approached Motheo, the DHET, the
Public Protector, the President's Office, the Department of Human
Settlements (where she had hoped to get employment), the Chief
Justice, Section 27, Parliament and the Mangaung mayor for help.

The Pretoria-based firm Maluleke, Seriti, Makume and Matlala Inc.
has now agreed to help take the DHET to court.

Mmuso Matlala, spokesperson of the law firm, says thus far 12
affected students have replied.

"We need more than the current number to proceed with the matter.
It will be challenging if we have less than a hundred students,
hence we are appealing to them to contact us so we can assist
them," says Matlala.

Molawa's correspondence includes the initial Motheo TVET College's
recruitment advertisement, in conjunction with the DHET, looking
for students who want to follow "vocational training as a career
path".  The advert proclaimed: "It's cool to be a 21st Century
Artisan."

Despite her successful study, Molawa (and others) are years later
still stuck without certificates.

"It is very frustrating to wait so long without any assistance.  I
have been taken from pillar to post with nobody telling the truth
about what is actually happening.  Given my treatment, I strongly
maintain that TVET Colleges are worthy institutions to further
education," says Molawa.

For details on the class action, contact Mmuso Matlala at
Maluleke, Seriti, Makume and Matlala Inc. on 087-232-1799, send a
fax to 086-234-7306 or an email to mmuso@-msmminc.co.za, or see
www.msmminc.co.za. [GN]


TENNESSEE: Sued for Suspending Licenses for Unpaid Court Debt
-------------------------------------------------------------
Beth Schwartzapfel, writing for The Marshall Project, reports that
in April 2015, Ashley Sprague was making $2.13 an hour plus tips
as a waitress at Waffle House when she was pulled over for
speeding in a small city near her home outside Nashville.  The
speeding ticket, plus another citation for failure to have proof
of insurance, totaled $477.50, a sum that might as well have been
a million dollars. Over the course of the next 13 months, she was
cited twice more for administrative infractions, including -- she
was surprised to discover -- driving on a suspended license.

Tennessee is one of 43 states, plus the District of Columbia, that
suspends driver's licenses for people with unpaid court debt,
according a recent report by the Legal Aid Justice Center, a
Virginia-based organization that filed a lawsuit there challenging
the practice.  Although Tennessee says it gives drivers 30 days
notice before suspending a license, Sprague and her lawyers say
she was not told about her suspension and the state does not
notify people in every case.  Only four states require a hearing
beforehand to determine whether the failure to pay is willful or
simply a reflection of poverty, the report found. Almost a million
people in Virginia and 150,000 in Tennessee currently have their
licenses suspended for failure to pay, according to documents
filed in lawsuits there.

The lawsuits in Virginia and Tennessee are part of a nascent trend
around the country: lawmakers are beginning to reconsider the
practice, and lawsuits in at least five states are challenging it.
They argue that suspending driver's licenses for unpaid court debt
traps poor people in an unfair and counterproductive cycle: if
they can't drive, they can't work; if they can't work, they can't
pay; if they can't pay, they can't drive.  Ms. Sprague and others
made this argument in a class action suit filed this fall, and in
a preliminary ruling in Nashville, U.S. District Judge Aleta
Trauger agreed.  She ordered the state to reinstate the licenses
of Sprague and a
co-plaintiff, Fred Robinson, writing that "no person can be
threatened or coerced into paying money that she does not have and
cannot get.  "In court filings, the state of Tennessee argued that
a license is a privilege and not a right, and that the state "has
a compelling public interest in promoting public safety by
enforcing its traffic laws and keeping serial violators off the
road.  "In addition to the ones in Virginia and Tennessee, similar
lawsuits are pending in California, Michigan, and Montana.  At
least three states plus the District of Columbia are reconsidering
the practice.  Lawmakers in California this summer passed a bill
ending driver's license suspensions for unpaid court debt.
Instead, courts can arrange a payment plan, a reduced payment, or
community service for those who cannot afford to pay but can no
longer suspend driver's licenses for failure to pay. A package of
bills has been introduced in the Michigan legislature that would
help those with unpaid traffic debt to get their licenses back.

This year the Mississippi Attorney General's office reached an
agreement with local advocacy groups to end the practice,
according to Sam Brooke, a lawyer at the Southern Poverty Law
Center who participated in the meetings.  The Attorney General's
office declined to comment, referring questions to the Department
of Public Safety.  A spokesman there did not return phone calls or
email messages.  The mayor's office in Washington started a pilot
program to allow district residents returning home from prison
with unpaid traffic debt to have their licenses reinstated, noting
that this is a vulnerable time when the mobility to look for work
and attend appointments is crucial.

"The No. 1 reason for recently released men and women being re-
incarcerated . . .  is for driving without a valid license, which
also can lead to additional charges for failing to stop and other
related crimes," Susana Castillo, a spokeswoman for Mayor Muriel
Bowser, said in an email.

The Washington program provides for those returning home from
prison to defer payment for up to a year while they look for work,
or to pay a significantly reduced amount up front, according to
the mayor's office.  The lawsuits tell the stories of people
jailed for driving after having had their licenses suspended for
failure to pay court debt -- a situation that critics liken to
debtors' prison.  Robert Taylor is a plaintiff in the Virginia
case who was earning $9.62 per hour working for T-Mobile and was
pulled over for running a red light.  This set off a cycle of
debt, license suspensions, and new convictions for driving with a
suspended license, that landed him in jail for 20 days last year.
He still owes more than $4,000 in court debt.

"When you are faced with the uncertainty of potentially being
pulled over and being incarcerated versus the certainty of losing
your job and not being able to provide for your family, most
people would choose to drive, and that's what most people choose,"
says Angela Ciolfi, a lawyer representing Taylor and the other
plaintiffs in the Virginia suit.  "We don't live in a society
where most people can rely on public transportation and work and
shop and meet their basic needs without driving.  "Most of the
movement on this issue began in the last two years, sparked by a
Department of Justice investigation into the predatory practices
of the Ferguson, Mo., municipal court.

The report, issued in 2015, found that the local police and court
system were run with an eye toward maximizing revenue, often on
the backs of those who could least afford it.  "Ferguson made it
part of the national debate -- the way states coerce people into
paying and deprive them of their livelihood," says Ms. Ciolfi.  As
for Ashley Sprague, facing $946 in traffic debt and $388 in
reinstatement fees, she had no hope of getting her license back
until the judge's October ruling.  She had lost her job when a
colleague who had been giving her a ride could no longer do so.
Now she is back waiting tables at Waffle House and has plans to
start nursing school in Nashville this spring -- a 30-mile trip
that would have been impossible without a car.  Having her license
back means being able to get a job to provide for her children who
have been living with relatives, Ms. Sprague says, because she
could not afford to care for them.  "To be able to save up money
so I can have them back." [GN]


TEXAS: Burns Charest Lawyers to Lead Hurricane Harvey Claims
------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has appointed two attorneys from
the firm of Burns Charest LLP to lead proposed class-action claims
arising from flooding in Houston that resulted from Hurricane
Harvey.

Seasoned trial lawyers Daniel Charest -- dcharest@burnscharest.com
-- and Larry Vincent -- lvincent@burnscharest.com -- of Burns
Charest were appointed co-lead counsel, along with Charles Irvine
of Irvine & Conner PLLC, to manage discovery and dispositive
motions. Mr. Vincent was also appointed co-lead counsel for
jurisdictional discovery and motions to dismiss.

The plaintiffs in the case are Houston homeowners whose properties
were ravaged by floodwater releases from the Addicks and Barker
reservoirs, which were designed for flood control.

During the massive rains that resulted from Hurricane Harvey, the
Army Corps of Engineers performed controlled releases of
floodwater from the reservoirs out of concern the dams would
break.  But the retention of flood water and subsequent releases
inundated many neighborhoods, leading to hundreds of millions of
dollars in damage both upstream and downstream of the reservoirs.
The homeowners claim that by intentionally flooding the area, the
government took their land without providing compensation in
violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

"Our clients suffered enormous damages as a result of the
government's design of the reservoirs and actions during Hurricane
Harvey," said Mr. Charest.  "We are committed to helping the
people of Houston receive just compensation."

Burns Charest represents homeowners whose properties are in the
flood zone upstream of the reservoirs.  There are currently
hundreds of upstream lawsuits pending before the U.S. Court of
Federal Claims, but the attorneys estimate that number could
eventually grow to more than 15,000. The court has laid out an
aggressive schedule, with dispositive motions due by June 15,
2018.

"We are very pleased that the court recognizes the urgency in
resolving these claims and the need to help residents who are
desperate to move forward with plans to recover, rebuild or
relocate," said Mr. Charest.

Burns Charest has brought claims on behalf of American consumers
and businesses in cases throughout the United States, and is
currently leading the national class action litigation against
EpiPen manufacturer Mylan, and against 3M Co., based on claims of
defective dental crowns.

The Houston case is In re Addicks and Barker (Texas) Flood-Control
Reservoirs, Master Docket No. 17-3000L, U.S. Court of Federal
Claims.

Burns Charest -- http://www.burnscharest.com-- is a Dallas and
New Orleans-based trial law firm with a national practice
representing consumers and businesses.  The firm represents
clients in large, complex class actions; antitrust claims; oil and
gas royalty disputes; environmental pollution cases; and asbestos
exposure claims. [GN]


TEZOS: Hagens Berman Investigates Initial Coin Offering
-------------------------------------------------------
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is alerting crowdfund investors to
the Tezos class action and the firm's investigation into
recovering the bitcoins (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) or other
consideration paid in the Tezos Initial Coin Offering ("ICO").
The SEC recently determined that those who engage in distributed
ledger or blockchain-enabled means for raising capital tokens must
take appropriate steps to ensure compliance with the U.S. federal
securities laws.  The "Tezzies" or "XTZ" token offering strongly
resembles an offering of securities subject to the securities
laws.  The Tezos ICO is now subject to two securities class action
lawsuits pending in the California Superior Court for the County
of San Francisco and in the U.S. District Court for the Middle
District of Florida with claims for securities law violations.

If you purchased or otherwise acquired the right to purchase TEZOS
currency in the July 2017 offering or crowdsale contact Hagens
Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.  For more information visit:

              https://www.hbsslaw.com/cases/XTZ

or contact Reed Kathrein, who is leading the firm's investigation,
by calling 510-725-3000 or emailing XTZ@hbsslaw.com.

Capitalizing on the recent enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies and
blockchain technologies, the Tezos founders collected over $232
million worth of bitcoin and Ethereum from investors.  Meanwhile,
both bitcoin and Ethereum have seen significant gains since July.
Even a timely delivery of the tokens investors paid for would have
saved investors a significant amount of funds.  Instead, the Tezos
project has stalled, and it's now unclear that the investors will
receive their Tezzies or XTZ any time soon, as Tezos founders and
Dynamic Ledger Solutions, Inc. (DLS) are now engaged in a public
fight for control over the Tezos Foundation, a Swiss foundation.

Moreover, when the SEC announced that DAO tokens are securities
within the meaning of the federal securities laws, and that DAO's
or other distributed ledger or blockchain-enabled means for
capital raising must comply with the U.S. federal securities laws,
and that such tokens must be registered with the SEC or qualify
for an exemption in July 2017, Defendants were put on notice that
they had to comply with the securities laws, including, for
instance, registering the Tezos tokens with the SEC as required.
Nonetheless, during July 2017, Defendants conducted the Tezos ICO
and sold over 607 million unregistered Tezzies to the public in
exchange for digital currency worth approximately $232 million at
the time.

"Tezos investors have sustained significant damages by investing
in the ICO.  Not only did the Defendants disregard the SEC's
registration requirements but the delay in the launch of Tezos
token has forced investors to helplessly watch as their funds are
tied up by people skirting the law," said Hagens Berman partner
Reed Kathrein.

Whistleblowers: Persons with non-public information regarding the
Tezos ICO should consider their options to help in the
investigation or take advantage of the SEC whistleblower program.
Under the new program, whistleblowers who provide original
information may receive rewards totaling up to 30 percent of any
successful recovery made by the SEC.  For more information, call
Reed Kathrein at 510-725-3000 or email XTZ@hbsslaw.com.

                      About Hagens Berman

Hagens Berman -- http://www.hbsslaw.com-- is a national investor-
rights law firm headquartered in Seattle, Washington with 70+
attorneys in 11 offices across the country.  The firm represents
investors, whistleblowers, workers and consumers in complex
litigation. [GN]


TRIANGLE CAPITAL: Gainey McKenna Files Securities Class Action
--------------------------------------------------------------
Gainey McKenna & Egleston disclosed that a class action lawsuit
has been filed against Triangle Capital Corporation ("Triangle
Capital" or the "Company") (NYSE:TCAP) in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of
a class consisting of investors who purchased or otherwise
acquired Triangle Capital securities on the open market from May
7, 2014 through November 1, 2017, inclusive (the "Class Period"),
seeking to recover compensable damages caused by Defendants'
violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
The Complaint alleges Defendants made materially false and/or
misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1) as early
as 2013, Triangle Capital's investment professionals had
internally recommended moving away from mezzanine loan deals due
to market changes that no longer made these investments attractive
risk-reward opportunities; (2) Triangle Capital's former CEO
ignored the advice of Triangle Capital's investment professionals
to chase higher short-term yields by causing Triangle Capital to
invest in mezzanine debt; (3) as a result, Triangle Capital's
entire vintage of 2014 and 2015 investments were at substantial
risk of non-accrual due to the poor quality of the investments and
deficient underwriting practices in place at the time of the
investments; (4) consequently, Triangle Capital's business,
prospects, and ability to maintain its dividend level were
materially impaired.  When the true details entered the market,
the lawsuit claims that investors suffered damages.
Investors who purchased or otherwise acquired shares during the
Class Period should contact the Firm prior to the January 22, 2018
lead plaintiff motion deadline.  A lead plaintiff is a
representative party acting on behalf of other class members in
directing the litigation.  If you wish to discuss your rights or
interests regarding this class action, please contact Thomas J.
McKenna, Esq. -- tjmckenna@gme-law.com -- or Gregory M. Egleston,
Esq. -- gegleston@gme-law.com -- of Gainey McKenna & Egleston at
(212) 983-1300. [GN]


TRIANGLE CAPITAL: Robbins Geller Files Class Action in New York
---------------------------------------------------------------
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP ("Robbins Geller") on Nov. 21
disclosed that a class action has been commenced on behalf of
purchasers of Triangle Capital Corporation ("Triangle")
(NASDAQ:TCAP) common stock during the period between May 7, 2014
and November 1, 2017 (the "Class Period").  This action was filed
in the Southern District of New York and is captioned Dagher v.
Triangle Capital Corporation, et al., No. 17-cv-9102.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no
later than 60 days from November 21, 2017.  If you wish to discuss
this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your
rights or interests, please contact plaintiff's counsel, Samuel H.
Rudman or Brian E. Cochran of Robbins Geller at 800/449-4900 or
619/231-1058, or via e-mail at djr@rgrdlaw.com. If you are a
member of this class, you can view a copy of the complaint as
filed at http://www.rgrdlaw.com/cases/triangle/. Any member of
the putative class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff
through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and
remain an absent class member.

The complaint charges Triangle and certain of its current and
former officers and directors with violations of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934.  Triangle is a business development company
that provides customized financing to lower middle market
companies located primarily in the United States.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
made false and misleading statements and failed to disclose
adverse information regarding Triangle's business and prospects.
Specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants failed to
disclose that, as early as 2013, Triangle's investment
professionals had internally recommended moving away from
mezzanine loan deals due to changes in the market that no longer
made these investments attractive risk-reward opportunities.  As a
result, the Company's entire vintage of 2014 and 2015 investments
were at substantial risk of non-accrual because of the poor
quality of the investments and deficient underwriting practices in
place at the time of the investments.  As a consequence,
Triangle's business, prospects and ability to maintain its
dividend level were materially impaired.  As a result of
defendants' false statements and omissions during the Class
Period, the price of Triangle stock was artificially inflated,
reaching a high of more than $28 per share.

On August 2, 2017, Triangle announced its financial results for
the quarter ended June 30, 2017, revealing that the amount of full
non-accrual assets in the Company's portfolio had increased to
5.4% and 2.5% as a percentage of the Company's total portfolio at
cost and at fair value, respectively.  Moreover, the Company
disclosed that it had moved two investments to payment-in-kind
non-accrual status during the quarter. On this news, the price of
Triangle stock declined nearly 15%, or $2.56 per share, to close
at $14.63 per share by August 4, 2017.

Then, on November 1, 2017, Triangle announced its financial
results for the quarter ended September 30, 2017, revealing that
the fair value of the Company's investment portfolio had declined
nearly 7% from the prior quarter and that it had suffered $8.9
million in net realized losses and $65.8 million in net
unrealized depreciation to its portfolio during the quarter.  The
Company also disclosed that it had moved seven investments to full
non-accrual status during the quarter and that the amount of
investments on non-accrual had ballooned to 13.4% and 4.7% of the
Company's total portfolio at cost and at fair value, respectively.
On this news, the price of Triangle stock declined nearly 21%, or
$2.57 per share, to close at $9.68 per share by November 2, 2017.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all purchasers of
Triangle common stock during the Class Period (the "Class").  The
plaintiff is represented by Robbins Geller, which has extensive
experience in prosecuting investor class actions including actions
involving financial fraud.

Robbins Geller -- http://www.rgrdlaw.com-- is a law firm advising
and representing U.S. and international investors in securities
litigation and portfolio monitoring.  With 200 lawyers in 10
offices, Robbins Geller has obtained many of the largest
securities class action recoveries in history. [GN]


TURZA: Baker & Hostetler Discusses 7th Cir. Ruling
--------------------------------------------------
Kristen N. Hawes, Esq. -- khawes@bakerlaw.com -- of Baker &
Hostetler LLP, in an article for Lexology, reports that on
November 14, 2017, the Seventh Circuit issued its third opinion
ending a class action that was almost a decade old. Holtzman v.
Turza, No. 17-2330, 2017 WL 5450484 (7th Cir. Nov. 14, 2017).

The class action alleged that the defendant violated the Telephone
Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. Sec. 227, by sending an
"unsolicited facsimile advertisement" to the class. The district
court certified the class of fax recipients in 2009, and later
granted summary judgment in favor of the class, finding that the
newsletter qualified as an unsolicited advertisement under the
TCPA and ordering the defendant to pay $500 in statutory damages
for each of the 8,430 faxes, totaling $4,215,000.  The court
stated it planned to distribute the sum to the class members and
donate any remainder to a charity.

In 2013, the Seventh Circuit issued its first published decision
upholding summary judgment, but vacating and remanding the
district court's order regarding the distribution of unclaimed
money to charity. Holtzman v. Turza, 728 F.3d 682 (7th Cir. 2013).
On remand, the district court ordered that class counsel receive
one-third of the judgment (about $1.4 million) as compensation for
legal services, while the remaining two-thirds (or $333 per fax)
would be distributed to each class member.  If there were
unclaimed settlement funds, there would be a second distribution
to the class members, with the total maximum paid out per fax to
be $500.  Any remaining funds would be returned to the defendant
if counsel received $1.4 million and all members who could be
located received $500 per fax.  The defendant appealed.

In its second and most notable opinion, the Seventh Circuit
reversed, holding that the allocation was inconsistent in two ways
with the American Rule on the allocation of fees -- that litigants
must cover their own legal costs. Holtzman v. Turza, 828 F.3d 606
(7th Cir. 2016), cert. denied, 137 S. Ct. 1330, 197 L. Ed. 2d 517
(2017).  First, the distribution was inconsistent because the
order essentially awarded counsel attorneys' fees even if a
recipient could not be located or did not claim the funds.  The
Seventh Circuit noted that "awarding counsel $167 per fax when the
class member gets nothing would be equivalent to treating the
[TCPA] as a fee-shifting statute."

Next, the second round of distributions was held inconsistent with
the American Rule because it would allow the class members to
receive up to $500 per fax whereas the defendant would be required
to pay separately for the class members' attorneys' fees. This
would exceed the $500 statutory damages cap (absent a "willfull"
or "knowing" violation) under the TCPA and would improperly shift
the responsibility for those fees from the plaintiffs to the
defendant.

The Seventh Circuit remanded the case with instructions that the
$4.215 million be allocated as follows: (1) class members are to
receive a check for $333 per fax; (2) for every $333 that is
cashed, class counsel will receive $167; and (3) any remaining
funds will be returned to the defendant.  After another appeal,
the Seventh Circuit affirmed the trial court's order regarding
class notice on November 14, 2017, thus ending the decade-long
litigation.

The Seventh Circuit's opinion is notable for class actions because
it ties class counsel's recovery of attorneys' fees, in the
context of a judgment, to the amount claimed by the class.
Moreover, the opinion serves as a reminder that defendants should
carefully scrutinize judgments that may have the effect of
improperly shifting attorneys' fees. [GN]


UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Seeks Dismissal of Pricing Model Class Action
----------------------------------------------------------------
Linda Chiem, writing for Law360, reports that Uber slammed a
California driver's assertion it stiffs drivers on wages with a
pricing model that deceptively charges passengers a higher fare
based on a longer route, but requires drivers to take the shortest
route, insisting the suit lobs "convoluted" breach of contract and
other claims.

Uber Technologies Inc. and its subsidiaries Rasier LLC and Rasier-
CA LLC fired back in response to plaintiff Sophano Van's bid to
keep alive his proposed class action challenging an "upfront"
pricing model that Uber implemented sometime between June 2016 and
September 2016, saying Van's breach of contract, conversion and
fraud claims are all deficient.

Mr. Van's lawsuit, first filed in April and amended in August,
alleges the pricing model ended up stiffing drivers on full fares
by giving prospective riders using the Uber app a fare estimate
based on a longer-than-intended route, while the driver is
directed to use the shortest direct route.

Uber said in a reply backing up its motion to dismiss that Van
still hasn't sufficiently pled the terms of the operative contract
that was supposedly breached, and his claims against Rasier LLC
and Uber Technologies fail because neither is a party to the
December 2015 technology services agreement that Mr. Van agreed to
when he started driving for Uber.

"The convoluted and incomprehensible explanation of the TSA's
terms that plaintiff provides in an effort to support his breach
of contract claim is inconsistent with its plain and unambiguous
terms," Uber said in a reply brief supporting its motion to
dismiss.  "Those terms clearly provide that the fare paid to
drivers is based on a 'base amount' plus additional amounts based
on the actual distance and/or time of the trip.  As a result,
plaintiff has not alleged sufficiently that Uber breached the
TSA."

Uber also tore into Mr. Van's other claims, saying he hasn't
provided any specifics to back up his conversion, unfair
competition or California Labor Code claims.

"Plaintiff's fraud claim also fails because he has not identified
the specific allegations giving rise to the 'who, what, when, and
where' of Uber's supposed fraud or that confer a duty on Uber to
disclose any information it allegedly concealed from him or other
drivers," the company said.

Mr. Van said drivers had no way of knowing the alleged upfront
price was based on a route that was substantively different than
the route provided to the Uber drivers, calling Uber's deception
"a purposeful, well-planned scheme to deceive drivers and users."

Mr. Van countered Uber's dismissal bid, insisting he laid out a
sufficient cause of action for breach of contract.
Mr. Van argued in a Nov. 9 opposition brief that a California
federal court overseeing a similar class action challenging Uber's
upfront pricing model, called Dulberg v. Uber Technologies Inc.,
has already examined this issue and concluded that a sufficient
claim for breach of contract was asserted under substantively
similar allegations.

In that Dulberg case, U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled July
31 that the allegations of Uber miscalculating driver pay were
sufficient enough to move ahead at that stage of the litigation.

"Defendants ask the court to ignore this ruling but the basis for
this request is entirely unpersuasive," Mr. Van had said.
"However, even ignoring the ruling in the Dulberg matter, to
defeat Uber's claims Mr. Van must only demonstrate one thing: that
he has provided a plausible interpretation of the parties'
agreement."

Mr. Van's interpretation -- i.e. that the fare that passengers pay
with upfront pricing is the same fare defined in the agreement --
easily clears this hurdle, he said.

Mr. Van's lawsuit claims Uber deliberately manipulated the
navigation data used in determining the fare amount paid by its
users and the amount reported and paid to its drivers.  The
software that calculates the upfront price that is displayed and
charged to app users calculates the expected distance and time
using a route that is often longer in both distance and time to
the one shown in the driver's app, according to the suit.

The complaint alleges that drivers like Van were deprived of the
total fares collected from Uber app users and riders, minus the
20- to 25-percent service and booking fees Uber usually charges
drivers.  But Mr. Van goes further to allege the fare discrepancy
is equivalent to workers being denied proper wages under
California labor law.

Although many Uber drivers are classified as independent
contractors, they are actually employees based on the operating
parameters Uber places on drivers using its app, the complaint
alleges.

"They are required to follow a litany of detailed requirements
imposed on them by Uber and they are graded, and are subject to
termination, based on their failure to adhere to these
requirements (such as rules regarding their conduct with
customers, the cleanliness of their vehicles, their timeliness in
picking up customers and taking them to their destination, what
they are allowed to say to customers, etc.)," the complaint says.

Mr. Van's amended complaint asserted claims for breach of
contract, conversion, fraud by concealment, unfair competition,
independent contractor misclassification, and violation of
California's Private Attorneys General Act.  Mr. Van launched the
suit on behalf of a proposed class of all Uber drivers, including
all UberPool, UberX, Uber Select, Uber Black and Uber SUV drivers,
who have worked for Uber in California.

Mr. Van's attorneys were not immediately available for comment on
Nov. 20.  An Uber spokesman said the company had no additional
comment beyond what is in the briefs.

Mr. Van is represented by Bobby Saadian and Daniel B. Miller of
Wilshire Law Firm.

Uber and Rasier are represented by Molly M. Lane --
molly.lane@morganlewis.com -- Jason S. Mills --
jason.mills@morganlewis.com -- Joseph V. Marra III --
joseph.marra@morganlewis.com -- and Nicholas E. Frontera --
nicholas.frontera@morganlewis.com -- of Morgan Lewis & Bockius
LLP.

The case is Van v. Rasier LLC et al., case number 2:17-cv-02550,
in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The case is assigned to Judge Dolly M. Gee.  The case was filed
April 3, 2017. [GN]


UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Paid Hackers to Delete Stone Customer Data
-------------------------------------------------------------
Eric Newcomer and Erik Larson, writing for Bloomberg News, report
that hackers stole the personal data of 57 million customers and
drivers from Uber Technologies Inc., a massive breach that the
company concealed for more than a year.  Recently, the ride-
hailing firm ousted its chief security officer and one of his
deputies for their roles in keeping the hack under wraps, which
included a $100,000 payment to the attackers.

Compromised data from the October 2016 attack included names,
email addresses and phone numbers of 50 million Uber riders around
the world, the company told Bloomberg on Nov. 21.  The personal
information of about 7 million drivers was accessed as well,
including some 600,000 U.S. driver's license numbers.  No Social
Security numbers, credit card information, trip location details
or other data were taken, Uber said.

"None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses
for it."

At the time of the incident, Uber was negotiating with U.S.
regulators investigating separate claims of privacy violations.
Uber now says it had a legal obligation to report the hack to
regulators and to drivers whose license numbers were taken.
Instead, the company paid hackers to delete the data and keep the
breach quiet.  Uber said it believes the information was never
used but declined to disclose the identities of the attackers.

"None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses
for it," Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over as chief executive
officer in September, said in an emailed statement.  "We are
changing the way we do business."

After Uber's disclosure on Nov. 21, New York Attorney General Eric
Schneiderman launched an investigation into the hack, his
spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said.  The company was also sued for
negligence over the breach by a customer seeking class-action
status.

Hackers have successfully infiltrated numerous companies in recent
years. The Uber breach, while large, is dwarfed by those at Yahoo,
MySpace, Target Corp., Anthem Inc. and Equifax Inc. What's more
alarming are the extreme measures Uber took to hide the attack.
The breach is the latest scandal Mr. Khosrowshahi inherits from
his predecessor, Travis Kalanick.

Mr. Kalanick, Uber's co-founder and former CEO, learned of the
hack in November 2016, a month after it took place, the company
said.  Uber had just settled a lawsuit with the New York attorney
general over data security disclosures and was in the process of
negotiating with the Federal Trade Commission over the handling of
consumer data.  Mr. Kalanick declined to comment on the hack.

Joe Sullivan, the outgoing security chief, spearheaded the
response to the hack last year, a spokesman told Bloomberg.
Sullivan, a onetime federal prosecutor who joined Uber in 2015
from Facebook Inc., has been at the center of much of the
decision-making that has come back to bite Uber this year.
Bloomberg reported that the board commissioned an investigation
into the activities of Sullivan's security team. This project,
conducted by an outside law firm, discovered the hack and the
failure to disclose, Uber said.

Here's how the hack went down: Two attackers accessed a private
GitHub coding site used by Uber software engineers and then used
login credentials they obtained there to access data stored on an
Amazon Web Services account that handled computing tasks for the
company.  From there, the hackers discovered an archive of rider
and driver information.  Later, they emailed Uber asking for
money, according to the company.

A patchwork of state and federal laws require companies to alert
people and government agencies when sensitive data breaches occur.
Uber said it was obligated to report the hack of driver's license
information and failed to do so.

"At the time of the incident, we took immediate steps to secure
the data and shut down further unauthorized access by the
individuals," Mr. Khosrowshahi said.  "We also implemented
security measures to restrict access to and strengthen controls on
our cloud-based storage accounts."

Uber has earned a reputation for flouting regulations in areas
where it has operated since its founding in 2009.  The U.S. has
opened at least five criminal probes into possible bribes, illicit
software, questionable pricing schemes and theft of a competitor's
intellectual property, people familiar with the matters have said.
The San Francisco-based company also faces dozens of civil suits.

U.K. regulators including the National Crime Agency are also
looking into the scale of the breach.  London and other
governments have previously taken steps toward banning the
service, citing what they say is reckless behavior by Uber.

In January 2016, the New York attorney general fined Uber $20,000
for failing to promptly disclose an earlier data breach in 2014.
After last year's cyberattack, the company was negotiating with
the FTC on a privacy settlement even as it haggled with the
hackers on containing the breach, Uber said.  The company finally
agreed to the FTC settlement three months ago, without admitting
wrongdoing and before telling the agency about last year's attack.

The new CEO said his goal is to change Uber's ways.  Uber said it
informed New York's attorney general and the FTC about the October
2016 hack for the first time on Nov. 21.

Mr. Khosrowshahi asked for the resignation of Mr. Sullivan and
fired Craig Clark, a senior lawyer who reported to Mr. Sullivan.
The men didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Khosrowshahi said in his emailed statement: "While I can't
erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that
we will learn from our mistakes."

The company said its investigation found that Salle Yoo, the
outgoing chief legal officer who has been scrutinized for her
responses to other matters, hadn't been told about the incident.
Her replacement, Tony West, will start at Uber on Nov. 22 and has
been briefed on the cyberattack.

Mr. Kalanick was ousted as CEO in June under pressure from
investors, who said he put the company at legal risk.  He remains
on the board and recently filled two seats he controlled.

Uber said it has hired Matt Olsen, a former general counsel at the
National Security Agency and director of the National
Counterterrorism Center, as an adviser.  He will help the company
restructure its security teams.  Uber hired Mandiant, a
cybersecurity firm owned by FireEye Inc., to investigate the hack.

The company plans to release a statement to customers saying it
has seen "no evidence of fraud or misuse tied to the incident."
Uber said it will provide drivers whose licenses were compromised
with free credit protection monitoring and identity theft
protection. [GN]


UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Puts Profits Over Female Passenger Safety
------------------------------------------------------------
Linda Bentley, writing for Sonoran News, reports that on Nov. 14,
two women, identified as Jane Doe 1, a resident of Miami, Fla. and
Jane Doe 2, a resident of Los Angeles, Calif., filed a class
action complaint against Uber Technologies, Inc. claiming Uber's
message to women is basically "Our profits over your safety."

According to the complaint, "Since Uber launched in 2010,
thousands of female passengers have endured unlawful conduct by
their Uber drivers including rape, sexual assault, physical
violence and gender-motivated harassment.  Recently, the number of
reported sexual assaults and rapes of female passengers by male
Uber drivers has sky-rocketed."

The lawsuit alleges Uber, over the past seven years, has utilized
low-cost, "woefully inadequate" background checks for its drivers
while failing to monitor drivers for any violent or inappropriate
conduct after they're hired and states, "Nothing meaningful has
been done to make rides safer for passengers -- especially women."

In order to sidestep state and local regulatory scrutiny that taxi
and limousine drivers are subjected to, Uber labels itself a
"technology platform" company rather than a "transportation"
company, allowing Uber to avoid spending more money on driver
screening and to avoid regulatory measures directed at safety.

The complaint suggests numerous safety measures Uber could
implement to drastically reduce harm to female passengers,
including:

   -- Bar registered sex offenders or individuals with assault or
rape convictions (no time limit) from becoming Uber drivers;

   -- Require all Uber drivers nationwide to undergo in-person
screening interviews and vehicle examinations;

   -- Install tamper-proof video cameras in all Uber vehicles
which immediately set off alarms if they are disabled or
malfunction;

   -- Perform national criminal background checks of all drivers
every six months;

   -- Voluntarily submit driver information to states that wish to
conduct their own screening through state maintained criminal
databases, such as in Maryland and Massachusetts;

   -- Require drivers to inform Uber within 24 hours if they have
been indicted or charged on any felony involving physical force,
violence or weapons, including kidnapping, or misdemeanors
involving physical or sexual conduct;

   -- Require drivers to inform Uber within 24 hours of physical
restraining orders issued in domestic violence matters; and

   -- A number of other recommendations including the use of
facial recognition software and/or fingerprinting, require GPS
tracking systems in their cars that trigger alarms if turned off,
disabling child-lock features, in-app panic buttons that send
messages to Uber, local police and a designated safety contact,
and more.

Had these measures been in place, the complaint claims thousands
of women would have been spared the pain and humiliation suffered
at the hands of their Uber drivers.

However, it claims Uber's goal to dominate and control the
"ridehailing" market at the expense of consumer safety "is a
calculated decision made by senior executives that continues
through the present."

The complaint not only details the sexual assaults Uber drivers
committed against Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, it raises the
Oct. 31, 2017 terrorist attack in lower Manhattan, where Sayfullo
Saipov, 29, intentionally drove a rental truck into a crowded
pedestrian and bicycle path, killing eight people and seriously
injuring 11 others.

Shortly after Saipov was arrested, Uber released a public
statement disclosing he was a driver for Uber that same day.

Uber said Saipov passed its background check to become a driver
and had been actively driving on the Uber app for more than six
months.

The complaint asserts Uber's background checks of potential
drivers is inherently flawed and the background checking methods
used by Uber cannot assure passengers that the driver does not
have a history of violence or other background information that
would cause "a reasonable company to make further inquiries into a
potential driver's history."

The application process to become an Uber driver is entirely
online and involves filling out a few short forms and uploading
photos of a driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of
insurance. However, drivers are not required to show that they own
the vehicle that will be used to transport passengers.

Additionally, at no point does Uber verify that the person
applying to drive is uploading his or her own personal documents,
including his or her own profile photo.

As a result, the lawsuit contends, numerous drivers have
registered to drive on the Uber app by using falsified identities,
false social security numbers, false driver's licenses and false
photos.

Some of the systems Uber utilizes to perform background checks
simply run potential drivers' social security numbers through
record databases, similar to those held by credit agencies, which
only go back seven years and do not capture all arrests and/or
convictions.

For example, if a potential driver was convicted of a violent
crime ten years prior to applying, Uber would have no way of
knowing such facts and turns a blind eye when it comes to any acts
that may have occurred prior to the arbitrary seven-year cut-off.

Uber also fails to conduct a seven-year review of any information
for drivers who have resided in the United States for less than
that time and ignores any period beyond the records it can obtain
in the United States.

The complaint points out Uber's faulty and defective screening of
drivers' histories was recently exposed by the states of
Massachusetts and Maryland.

In January 2017, Uber and Lyft, a similar ridehailing app, were
required to subject drivers to state-run background checks.  This
additional screening was intended for drivers that had already
passed Uber's and Lyft's background checks.

Out of the approximately 70,789 Uber and Lyft drivers checked,
8,206 drivers were rejected by the state's screening, of which
1,599 drivers were found to have a history of violent crime.

Incredibly, the Uber and Lyft background checks also failed to
identify 51 registered sex offenders.

In Dec. 2016, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC)
approved alternative background checks for Uber and Lyft drivers
after both companies claimed that their background screening
processes were more comprehensive than fingerprint-base checks.

Maryland required more stringent background checks, including
written confirmation that Uber and Lyft have verified the identity
of the driver and extended the background checks to the
applicant's entire adult life.

In April 2017, figures released by the state since implementing
the expanded background checks, revealed, of the 70,999 Uber
applicants, 4,310 were rejected for reasons that included criminal
convictions not caught by Uber's "more comprehensive" background
checks.

In October 2017, Maryland PSC reported, over the previous six
months, nearly 15 percent of new ridehailing drivers were rejected
and banned from driving in Maryland, despite passing Uber's and
Lyft's background checks.

Of those rejected, Maryland PCS reported 95 percent of the
individuals rejected were drivers for Uber, including at least 460
drivers banned because of "disqualifying criminal histories."

Other issues raised in the complaint had to do with insurance,
whereas Uber drivers were surprised to learn their personal
insurers disclaimed coverage once it determined the driver was
providing transportation for Uber.  Most insurers would require
drivers to purchase commercial coverage, which could be cost
prohibitive for an Uber driver.

"For rapes, sexual assaults or other gender-motivated violence
that takes place when the driver turns off his app or exits the
vehicle and commits the violence outside the vehicle, on the
street or even several hundred feet from the vehicle, Uber's
policies state that the Company is not responsible for harm during
this 'gap.'"

Because Uber fails to address this concern, over thirty states
have issued public consumer warnings about the lack of insurance
coverage involved with rides on the Uber app.

The relief sought in the complaint includes entry of a permanent
injunction directing Uber to immediately implement stricter and
more thorough screening of potential Uber drivers as well as
subject existing Uber drivers to an immediate review of conduct
engaged in by all drivers during the last 12 months; implement a
policy to monitor driver conduct after they have been accepted to
drive on the app; implement changes to provides a means to monitor
rides during transport an centralize methods to quickly notify
Uber when a driver has gone off the app during a ride or
substantially driven off route during an ongoing ride; and
implement adequate insurance coverage for all stages of a ride and
clearly inform the public about its insurance coverage polices,
and an award of damages to be determined at trial.

Another complaint was filed in October 2015 by two women who were
sexually assaulted by their Uber drivers.

The complaint points out how Uber markets itself extensively as
the best option for a safe ride home after a night of drinking.

In fact, Uber commissioned a report with Mothers Against Drunk
Driving (MADD) in which it declared, "When empowered with more
transportation options like Uber, people are making better choices
that save lives."

Uber went on to claim, "Uber and MADD are working toward a world
where a safe ride is always within reach and where drunk-driving
is a thing of the past."

Uber would even use taglines at concerts such as "Drink up & Uber
on."

The complaint goes on to state, "But what Uber does not share with
riders is that making the choice to hail a ride after drinking
also puts them in peril from Uber drivers themselves.  By
marketing heavily toward young women who have been drinking while
claiming that rider safety is its #1 priority, Uber is instead
putting women at risk."

In that case, Jane Doe 1 was sexually assaulted by an Uber driver
named Abderrahim Dakiri in Boston, Mass.

It states, "The Uber app was used to arrange a ride to take Jane
Doe 1 and several friends home.  After dropping off her friends,
Dakiri took Jane Doe 1 on an off-route detour to her destination,
during which he took the opportunity to sexually assault her."

Jane Doe 2 was sexually assaulted in Charleston, S.C. by an Uber
Driver named Patrick Aiello.

After dropping off her friend, under the guise of driving Jane Doe
2 home, Aiello instead took her on an off-route detour, during
which he took the opportunity to viciously rape her.

Uber settled that case for an undisclosed amount in November 2016.

On Nov. 21, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced he recently
learned in late 2016 Uber became aware of a breach of user data
stored on a third-party cloud-based service it uses.

The information accessed included the names and driver license
numbers of around 600,000 Uber drivers in the United States and
some personal information of 57 million Uber users around the
world, including names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers.

In a statement released on Nov. 21, 2017, Khosrowshahi said, "You
may be asking why we are just talking about this now, a year
later.  I had the same question, so I immediately asked for a
thorough investigation of what happened and how we handled it.
What I learned, particularly around our failure to notify affected
individuals or regulators last year, has prompted me to take
several actions:

   -- We are individually notifying the drivers whose driver's
license numbers were downloaded.
   -- We are providing these drivers with free credit monitoring
and identity theft protection.
   -- We are notifying regulatory authorities.

While we have not seen evidence of fraud or misuse tied to the
incident, we are monitoring the affected accounts and have flagged
them for additional fraud protection."
He also stated, "Effective Nov. 22, two of the individuals who led
the response to this incident are no longer with the company."

Mr. Khosrowshahi said even though none of this should have
happened, he can't erase the past and can only commit to learning
from their mistakes by changing the way they do business, putting
integrity at the core of every decision they make and working hard
to earn the trust of their customers. [GN]


UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Five States to Investigate 2016 Data Breach
--------------------------------------------------------------
Tony Romm and Johana Bhuiyan, writing for Recode, report that new
revelations that Uber suffered a major security breach in 2016 --
and initially withheld details from drivers, riders and regulators
alike -- is touching off another round of government probes and
customer lawsuits targeting the ride-hailing giant.

At least five states -- Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New
York and Connecticut -- told Recode that they would investigate
the matter, after Uber revealed on Nov. 22 that the intrusion
affected 57 million customers, compromising names, addresses and
driver's license numbers in some cases.

Meanwhile, Uber must contend with the possible threat of a new
probe at the Federal Trade Commission.  The agency, which acts as
the U.S. government's top privacy and security watchdog, penalized
Uber for its privacy and security practices just this August.  But
it may not have known that Uber had suffered a major security
breach in 2016, even as they investigated the company at the same
time for other, unrelated security missteps.  For now, the agency
merely said it's "closely evaluating the serious issues raised."

And some affected customers are similarly taking action.  On
Nov. 22 -- hours after the breach became public -- an Uber user
filed a lawsuit accusing the company of negligence and deceptive
business practices.  The plaintiff, Alejandro Flores, is seeking
to represent a class of affected riders and drivers alike.

Taken together, the repercussions for Uber's silence already seem
vast.  Once again, the ride-hailing company faces the threat of
costly litigation and other stiff penalties or fines -- all at a
time when the tech giant is battling back a slew of other civil
and criminal probes.

"We've been in touch with several state attorney general offices
and the FTC to discuss this issue, and we stand ready to cooperate
with them going forward," an Uber spokesperson said.

Hackers set their sights on Uber in late 2016, according to the
company, while Travis Kalanick still led the company.  By
accessing a public repository of Uber data, two individuals were
able to see -- but perhaps not steal -- personal information for
57 million Uber users around the world.

At the time, Uber suppressed information about the breach -- and
it paid the hackers a $100,000 ransom to delete the data they had
obtained.  Roughly a year later, though, new Uber CEO Dara
Khosrowshahi opted to make information about the security incident
public, along with an apology and a promise to improve the
company's digital defenses.

But Mr. Khosrowshahi's mea culpa is unlikely to satisfy
regulators.

For one thing, 48 states maintain some version of a law that
requires companies that suffer a data breach to communicate what
happened to consumers.  In most cases, companies must disclose a
security incident if hackers steal very sensitive customer data --
such as driver's license numbers, which happened with Uber in late
2016.

To that end, the attorneys general in Illinois, Connecticut and
New York have said they are probing the breach at Uber -- perhaps
with an eye on whether the company skirted state laws.  The top
prosecutors in other major states, like Pennsylvania and Florida,
did not immediately respond to emails on Nov. 22 seeking comment.
California's AG declined to comment.

State laws also form the basis of an emerging class action suit,
which alleges that Uber's failure to disclose the 2016 breach runs
afoul of notification rules in California, Illinois, Hawaii and
others. For some of these states, such as Illinois, the rider
information that was exposed doesn't require disclosure but the
600,000 driver's license numbers accessed do.

In the nation's capital, meanwhile, Uber faces the prospect of
more pain.

Months earlier, the company brokered a draft agreement with the
FTC to settle charges dating back to 2014 that it mishandled
customers' data.  In that fight, the agency contended that Uber
had "deceived consumers" by allowing its employees to access
riders' most personal information, including the details of their
trips.

But Uber's settlement with the FTC isn't technically final; the
commission still must vote on it. That opens the door for the
agency perhaps to rethink the order, weigh new penalties or open
another probe into Uber entirely as a result of the revelations.
Some U.S. lawmakers explicitly urged the FTC on Nov. 22 to do
precisely that.

Perhaps complicating matters, the FTC in 2014 and 2015
specifically ordered Uber to preserve all documents and records
related to privacy and security for investigators to review,
according to copies of civil investigative demands sent to the
company at the time and later obtained by Recode.  Otherwise, the
orders said, Uber could face additional civil or criminal
liability.  It is unclear how those demands might apply in a case
like this one, where Uber did not disclose a breach in the midst
of an unrelated investigation.

Asked about the matter, a spokeswoman for the FTC confirmed the
agency is "aware of press reports describing a breach in late 2016
at Uber and Uber officials' actions after that breach." While the
aide said the agency is "closely evaluating the serious issues
raised," she did not elaborate on whether that amounted to an
investigation.

Two sources, however, told Recode that Uber had briefed the agency
on the matter in recent days.

Even abroad, Uber faces immense criticism -- and perhaps
additional scrutiny.  A top regulator in the European Union on
Nov. 22 highlighted Uber's handling of the breach to make the case
for greater regulation of U.S. tech giants.

Much of the responsibility for fixing Uber's new troubles now
falls to Tony West, the company's new chief legal officer.  A
former PepsiCo executive who served as the assistant attorney
general of the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama,
West is also tasked with overseeing Uber's fights in a wide array
of other regulatory woes -- including a federal probe on foreign
bribery charges. [GN]


UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Customer to Arbitrate Price-Fixing Claims
------------------------------------------------------------
Jonathan Stempel, writing for Reuters, reports that a U.S. judge
ruled that Uber can force an unhappy Connecticut customer's price-
fixing case against the ride-service company into arbitration,
after the customer said the proposed class action belonged in
court because he never agreed to arbitrate.

In an order dated November 22, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in
Manhattan also dismissed claims by the customer, Spencer Meyer,
against former Uber Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Travis
Kalanick, unless Meyer wished to arbitrate.

Rakoff, long a critic of mandatory arbitration, said he would
explain his reasoning later. Reuters obtained a copy of his order,
which was not available in online court records.

"We are awaiting the court's opinion and will consider all options
as to how to proceed," John Briody, a lawyer for Meyer, said in an
email on November 23.

Uber said in an email: "We are pleased with the court's decision."
Lawyers for Kalanick did not immediately respond on November 23 to
requests for comment.

Arbitration clauses are often buried in lengthy terms of service
that customers never see or would struggle to read.

Critics say the clauses, which often forbid class actions,
dissuade many people from pursuing claims at all.

Meyer had accused San Francisco-based Uber and Kalanick of
conspiring with drivers, whose earnings are shared with Uber, to
charge "surge pricing" fares during peak demand periods.

He said he never agreed to arbitrate because a keypad had obscured
a hyperlink to Uber's terms of service, including the arbitration
clause, when he signed up with his smartphone.

Uber countered that Meyer had an unobstructed view of the
hyperlink, and waived the keypad issue because he could have
raised it sooner. The lawsuit began in December 2015.

Kalanick said claims against him must be dismissed because he was
no longer Uber's chief executive. He resigned in June after a
shareholder revolt.

On Aug. 17, the federal appeals court in Manhattan had reinstated
the arbitration provision, overturning a July 2016 ruling by
Rakoff that found it unenforceable.

Later that month, the appeals court said Rakoff may consider new
evidence about how long Uber customers could see the hyperlink,
including when entering credit card information.

Internet companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have argued
during the litigation that a loss by Uber could inhibit e-commerce
and threaten the enforceability of online contracts.

The case is Meyer v. Kalanick et al, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York, No. 15-09796. [GN]


UGL: Investor Class Action Over Ichthys Disclosure Can Proceed
--------------------------------------------------------------
Jenny Wiggins and Katie Walsh, writing for Australian Financial
Review, report that a class action alleging contractor UGL delayed
informing investors about cost blowouts on a power plant contract
for INPEX's Ichthys gas project in late 2014 will proceed with
investment group Clime Capital as the representative applicant.

The action, which has been under consideration for more than a
year, will claim tens of millions of dollars for losses suffered
by investors after UGL's stock slumped in November 2014 after it
revealed problems with the power contract.

Investors have previously asked the Australian Securities and
Investments Commission (ASIC) to investigate UGL's failure to
disclose the cost blowouts, given its joint venture partner CH2M
Hill had said in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange
Commission in August 2014 that it was worried about rising costs
and the potential for liquidated damages.

"We would welcome ASIC talking to us about the action and are a
little bit perplexed why they haven't," said John Abernethy,
chairman of Clime Capital.

The class action was initially considered by Slater & Gordon in
2016, but was delayed by the departure of lawyers who established
their own boutique firm, Phi Finney McDonald.

IMF Bentham will fund the claim and Phi Finney McDonald will
represent Clime Capital, which acquired several million shares in
UGL before it announced it had taken a $US170 million ($222
million) provision on the power contract.  UGL subsequently
announced hundreds of millions of dollars of further writedowns.

UGL is now owned by construction group CIMIC, which walked away
from the power contract in February 2017 after buying the smaller
contractor in a hostile takeover in late 2016.  Former UGL
chairman Kate Spargo is now a non-executive director on CIMIC's
board.

Participants in the class action believe they have a strong case
against UGL, because other companies such as Credit Corp have been
forced to settle actions alleging breaches of continuous
disclosure obligations.

Falling stock

UGL was aware its American joint venture partner, CH2M Hill, was
considering taking provisions on the troubled $550 million power
plant contract at least a month before the Australian contractor
informed shareholders on November 6, 2014, that it was facing cost
blowouts due to delays.

UGL's stock fell almost 15 per cent on November 6, losing $1.01 to
$5.89 after it disclosed the additional costs. The stock fell
further in subsequent days.

The class action will allege that during the claim period, UGL
failed to keep the market informed about problems on the power
plant contract.

Former UGL chief executive Richard Leupen had previously told
analysts at a briefing following the company's annual results on
August 24, 2014, that all costs related to the Ichthys gas project
had been taken "into account" and that he was not aware of any
problems.

LIke UGL, CH2M Hill has subsequently been acquired by a bigger
company, with US engineering group Jacobs buying the smaller
American firm in August.

Both CIMIC and Jacobs have strong balance sheets, enabling them to
easily settle class actions.

Phi Finney McDonald director Odette McDonald said shareholder
class actions had played "an important role" in improving
corporate governance practices of listed entities.

"The willingness of Clime, an institutional investor, to take such
an active role in this matter is a further positive step in the
right direction," Ms McDonald said.

The class action has not yet been filed in court. [GN]


VODACOM: Faces Class Action Over "Disappearing Airtime"
-------------------------------------------------------
MyBroadband reports that Vodacom is facing a class action lawsuit
for tens of millions for "unauthorised fees" the company charged
subscribers.

The unauthorised charges, which are often experienced as
disappearing airtime by users, come from wireless application
service providers (WASPs).

Vodacom supplies the WASPs with the ability to bill subscribers'
accounts for services, which often happens without the consent of
the subscriber, stated the complainants.

It is up to subscribers to check their cellphone account to see if
they are the victim of rogue WASPs.

The problem of unauthorised billing by WASPs has existed for many
years, with thousands of Vodacom subscribers falling victim to
unauthorised billing.

While Vodacom has put measures in place to prevent fraudulent
billing by WASPs, companies find ways to bypass these measures.

Many people have called on Vodacom to make WASP billing an opt-in
option, but to date these calls have fallen on deaf ears.

Bidvest executive taking action

When Bidvest Car Rental executive William Douglas saw his Vodacom
account was billed without his consent for "content services", he
decided to take action.

Noseweek reported that Douglas laid charges against Vodacom with
the police, and is launching a class action lawsuit against the
mobile operator.

He feels that the way cellphone companies operate in this regard
is "offensive and downright criminal".

MyBroadband contacted Douglas for comment on his action against
Vodacom, but he could not immediately provide details, as he was
busy with an expose for Carte Blanche.

Vodacom explains

Vodacom confirmed that two WASP content aggregators -- both of
which charged Douglas -- were in contravention of WASPA's code of
conduct.

"The WASPs have since been suspended while a further investigation
is conducted," said Vodacom.

Vodacom said Douglas has been fully refunded for the fraudulent
activity on his account.

"Pending the outcomes of the second investigation, Vodacom is
committed to taking appropriate action that could include
terminating services of WASPs and their affiliate content
aggregators," it said.

Vodacom did not state why it is unable to stop unlawful billing by
WASPs, or why it does not make WASP services opt-in rather than
opt-out.

It did state it has zero tolerance for any illegal activity on its
network and continuously adds security features to enhance its
double-opt-in solution.

"The next upgrade will come into effect in December. Additionally,
we are actively implementing anti-fraud detection software."

It is also developing a capability in the My Vodacom App that
gives customers a view of content services subscribed to -- with
the option to delete unwanted content.

Customers can unsubscribe from WASP services by sending an SMS
stating "STOP ALL" to 31050, said Vodacom. [GN]


WEYERHAEUSER CO: Faces Class Action Suit Over Floor Joists
----------------------------------------------------------
Ryan J. Farrick, writing for Legal Reader, reports that Ohio
attorneys are eyeing "toxic homes" for a potential class action
lawsuit.

Last year, ABC 6 and other media outlets reported problems with
Weyerhaeuser floor joists. Thousands of units across the United
States were marked as in need of remediation.

A press release issued in July 2016 explained a change
Weyerhaeuser had made to its joists. A chemical switch in its
"Flak Jacket" fire-resistant coating contained a formaldehyde-
based resin, which ABC 6 suggests was likely responsible for
causing noxious odors in newly-constructed houses.

In Central Ohio, 150 "Westport Homes" were identified as affected
by the problem joists.

Two Lithopolis, OH, residents interviewed by ABC 6 spelled out the
problems they believe Weyerhaeuser joists caused their family.

According to Michael and Courtney Walker, they'd planned to build
a home after Michael returned from an Air Force posting in the
island nation of Qatar.

Not long after construction was complete and the Walkers moved in,
Courtney began developing what seemed like bad allergies.

Constantly sick and sneezing, Mrs. Walker figured the cause may
come from dust or the atmosphere.

"I chalked it up to really bad allergies," she said. "I was taking
two allergy pills per day."

Michael suffered similar symptoms, too, figuring into ABC 6's
original coverage of the "toxic homes" last year.

"I can't be in [the house] more than 5 minutes without having dry
eyes, burning in my nose. So it's not a fun atmosphere to be in,"
Courtney said.

The Walkers say they would never have built the house with
Weyerhaeuser components if they'd known the company had switched
its "Flak Jacket" chemical base to something as toxic as
formaldehyde.

While Weyerhaeuser has sponsored the cost of renovation -- ripping
up and replacing the toxic joists -- the couple have reached out
to attorneys in hopes of sparking a class action suit. They, along
with others involved, say litigation isn't about a possible
financial reward.

Since last year's admission and press release, Weyerhaeuser has
earmarked millions of dollars to repair the foul-smelling and eye-
irritating wood. They've purportedly put aside between $50 to $60
million to rehabilitate affected homes.

Weyerhaeuser and BizJournal statements and reportage don't
indicate the "Flak Jacket" coating causing any physical irritation
to customers -- rather, representatives for the company say it
simply exudes a strong "pickle-like" odor.

Most of the homes built with the noxious joists remain unoccupied
and will be repaired before going back on the market. [GN]


WILBUR-ELLIS: Faces "Cisneros" Suit in California Super Court
-------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Wilbur-Ellis
Company, LLC, an unknown entity. The case is styled as Javier
Cisneros, individually, and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff v. Wilbur-Ellis Company, LLC, an unknown
entity, Defendant, Case No. BCV-17-102836 (Cal. Super. Ct.,
December 11, 2017).

Wilbur-Ellis Company Inc. markets and distributes agricultural
products, animal feed, and specialty chemicals and ingredients in
the United States and internationally.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Douglas Han, Esq.
   Justice Law Corporation
   411 North Central Avenue Suite 500
   Glendale, CA 91203
   Tel: 818.230.7502
   Fax: 818.230.7259
   Email: dhan@justicelawcorp.com


WILLIS TOWERS: Bernstein Litowitz Files Securities Class Action
---------------------------------------------------------------
Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP ("BLB&G") disclosed that
it filed a securities class action lawsuit on behalf of its client
Cambridge Retirement System ("Cambridge") against Willis Towers
Watson plc (NasdaqGS: WLTW), Towers Watson & Co. ("Towers"),
Willis Group Holding plc ("Willis"), ValueAct Capital Management,
John J. Haley, Dominic Casserley, and Jeffrey W. Ubben
(collectively "Defendants").  The action, which was filed in the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia,
asserts claims under Sections 14(a) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act"), 15 U.S.C. Secs. 78n(a)
and 78t(a), and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC")
Rule 14a-9 promulgated thereunder, 17 C.F.R. Sec 240.14a-9, on
behalf of all Towers shareholders of record as of October 2, 2015,
the record date for Towers shareholders to be eligible to vote on
the merger between Towers and Willis.

This action arises from the merger between Towers and Willis (the
"Merger"), which closed on January 4, 2016.  The Complaint alleges
that, in connection with the Merger, Defendants violated
provisions of the Exchange Act by issuing false and misleading
statements in proxy materials filed with the SEC.  Prior to the
Merger, Towers was a leading global consulting company that helped
organizations improve performance through risk management, human
resources, actuarial and investment services.  Willis, which was
based in London, was a multinational risk advisor, insurance
brokerage, and reinsurance brokerage company.

On June 30, 2015, Towers and Willis announced that they had
entered into an agreement to merge, pursuant to which Towers
stockholders would receive 2.649 shares of Willis stock and a
$4.87 per share cash dividend in exchange for each Towers share.
Under the agreement, Towers shareholders would own 49.9% of the
combined entity, with Willis shareholders owning the remaining
majority.

The merger required the approval of a majority of Towers
shareholders.  Facing waning shareholder support for the merger,
the Towers Board of Directors authorized Towers Chairman and CEO
Haley to renegotiate the deal terms.  Rather than negotiate in the
best interests of Towers shareholders, Haley conspired with Willis
executives and a major Willis shareholder, ValueAct, and not
negotiate to maximize the value of Towers shares.  Instead, Haley
worked to persuade Towers' Board and Towers shareholders that a
meager $5 increase in the special dividend was the most he could
extract from Willis.  Defendants made numerous misrepresentations
to Towers shareholders to mislead them into accepting
consideration from the Merger that was well below fair value for
their Towers shares.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff for the Class, you must
file a motion with the Court no later than January 22, 2018, which
is the first business day on which the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is open that is 60 days
after November 22, 2017.  Any member of the proposed class may
move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their
choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain a member of the
proposed class.

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

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


WOODFORD TRANSPORTATION Settlement Obtains Preliminary Approval
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Register-Herald reports that Greenbrier County Judge Robert E.
Richardson gave preliminary approval on Nov. 20 to a class action
settlement agreement of $4 million in an action brought against
Kenneth Pritt, Woodford Transportation and Woodford Oil Company
following exposure to a diesel spill into a tributary that fed
into the Anthony Creek in January 2015.

The incident occurred on W.Va. 92 just south of Neola when a
tanker truck left the roadway and entered into the tributary.  The
tanker separated from the truck portion when it went into the
tributary where it started leaking, according to the suit.

As a result of the spill, contaminants were introduced into the
Greenbrier River, causing the city of Lewisburg to shut down its
water treatment plants on Jan. 24, 2015.  By the afternoon of
Jan. 25, 2015, the water supplies in these areas were exhausted,
leaving parts of the community with no water.

Area businesses, restaurants, schools and daycares were ordered
closed by the Greenbrier County Health Department; and individuals
were left without potable water for drinking, bathing, cooking and
cleaning.

The Class includes all persons who resided in a dwelling that was
supplied tap water by the Lewisburg Municipal Water System that
was shut off on January 24, 2015, due to the diesel spill in
Anthony Creek, and all owners of or persons who were hourly wage
earning employees in a business supplied by the Lewisburg
Municipal Water System that was shut off January 24, 2015.

According to a press release, the settlement terms are to be
distributed as follows:

   -- $250 for each residential household including one person,
and $150 for each additional person in said residential household,
which was provided tap water service from the water treatment
plant operated by the City of Lewisburg on January 24, 2015, and
who was without water as a result of the January 23, 2015, diesel
spill into Anthony Creek.

   -- $240 for each person employed on January 24, 2015, at a
business that was provided tap water service from the water
treatment plant operated by the City of Lewisburg that shut down
or partially shut down because it was without water as a result of
the January 23, 2015, diesel spill into Anthony Creek and who was
not paid wages as a result of that shut-down; and

   -- Payment of not more than $3,100 to each business that
operated a property location provided tap water service from the
water treatment plant operated by the City of Lewisburg.

According to previous reports, Mr. Pritt was not charged or cited
for the accident. [GN]


ZWICKER & ASSOCIATES: Faces "Murdolo" Suit in E.D. of New York
--------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Zwicker &
Associates, P.C. The case is styled Frederico Murdolo, on behalf
of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs v.
Zwicker & Associates, P.C., Defendant, Case No. 2:17-cv-07208
(E.D. N.Y., December 11, 2017).

Zwicker & Associates, P.C. is a law firm and Professional
Corporation organized under the laws of Massachusetts in 1991.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Craig B. Sanders, Esq.
   Sanders Law, PLLC
   100 Garden City Plaza, Suite 500
   Garden City, NY 11530
   Tel: (516) 203-7600
   Fax: (516) 281-7601
   Email: csanders@sanderslawpllc.com


* Beer Manufacturers Face False Labeling Class Actions
------------------------------------------------------
Alva C. Mather, Esq. -- matherac@pepperlaw.com -- of Pepper
Hamilton, in an article for Law.com, wrote that following a trend
for food and beverage manufacturers generally, beer manufacturers
have seen an increasing number of class action lawsuits filed
against them under state false labeling and consumer fraud
statutes.  2017 has been no exception to this trend with
plaintiffs in multiple lawsuits narrowing in on claims of
deception advertising by beer manufacturers related to the
perceived disconnect between where their advertising statements
and related packaging suggest their beer is produced as opposed to
its actual place of production.  In a series of judicial decisions
on defendant brewers' motions to dismiss it is clear that the
legal landscape is a mixed case for both plaintiffs pursuing false
labeling claims as well as brewers ability to defend their product
advertising.

Early Victories

In early 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
New York tackled and granted motions to dismiss false labeling
claims related to the sale of "Australian" and "Japanese" beer.
In the first case, Bowring v. Sappora, U.S.A., 234 F. Supp. 3d
386, 388 (E.D.N.Y. 2017), the plaintiff alleged that the defendant
"created a misleading impression that Sapporo beer is a Japanese
import, when in fact, it is produced in the United States and
Canada."  Reviewing the history of Sapporo beer, the court noted
that "Sapporo beer was originally brewed in Japan in 1877, and
first imported to the United States in 1964.  In 1984, defendant
Sapporo Inc. was established in the United States . . . All
Sapporo now sold in the United States is brewed in La Cross,
Wisconsin, or Guelph, Ontario, Canada." According to the
complaint, the following advertisements and slogans caused the
plaintiff to purchase and pay a premium for Sapporo beer based on
the misleading impression that the beer was brewed in Japan and
imported into the United States: "a television commercial with
imagery of a 'Japanese landscape being traveled into American
landscape,' ending with the slogan 'The Original Japanese Beer;'"
"Slogans 'Sapporo-the Original Japanese Beer' and 'Japan's Oldest
Brand;'" "Statements on the defendant's website that 'Sapporo is
the original Japanese beer;'" and an "Image of the North Star, a
'symbol of pioneers in the area of Sapporo' on labels."  Despite
these slogans and statements, the beer labels themselves provided
on each beer label either the statement "Imported by Sapporo
U.S.A., Inc., New York, N.Y." followed by "Brewed and canned [or
bottled] by Sapporo Brewing Company, Guelph, Ontario, Canada" if
manufactured in Canada, or "Brewed and Bottled [or Canned] by
Sapporo Brewing Company, La Cross, Wisconsin for Sapporo U.S.A.,
New York, N.Y." In considering whether plaintiffs adequately
pleaded claims for false advertising under Illinois and New York
state law, the court specifically considered whether these
disclaimers as well as their font size, placement and emphasis
were sufficient to alert a reasonable consumer that such products
were not, in fact, brewed in Japan. After reviewing these factors,
the court determined that Sapporo's conduct would not mislead a
reasonable consumer. In particular, "the disclosure statement on
Sapporo appears in contrasting, visible font, and states in clear
language where the product is produced." Indeed, "the use of a
trademarked start symbol and allusion to the company's historic
roots in Japan are eclipsed by the accurate disclosure statement."

Several months later, another judge in the same district,
considered and granted defendant MillerCoors' motion to dismiss a
similar lawsuit brought by the same plaintiffs' counsel related to
the advertising of Foster's Beer.  In Nelson v. MillerCoors, 246
F. Supp. 3d 666, 671 (E.D.N.Y. 2017), the plaintiff alleged that
he purchased and paid a premium for Foster's Beer based on the
misleading campaign and advertisements that Foster's was produced
in Australia, rather than Fort Worth, Texas.  In support, the
plaintiff pointed to "the brand slogan 'Foster's-Australian for
Beer," the 'How to Speak Australian' television ads 'depicting
Foster's as being a product from Australia by using Australian
accents and scenery' and the official website for Foster's Beer"
which references the use of Australian hops and Australian
imagery.  In assessing the plaintiff's claims, the court again
looked to the effectiveness and impact of MillerCoors disclaimers
on an objectively reasonable consumer.  Here, the court found that
"Foster's Beer labels contain an explicit disclaimer as to the
place of production -- 'Brewed and packaged under the supervision
of Foster's Australia LTD, Melbourne, Australia by oil can
breweries, Albany, Georgia and Fort Worth, Texas." Of particular
significance to the court was the fact that these disclaimers were
displayed on every bottle and can of Foster's and that MillerCoors
used no exterior packaging that would obstruct the disclaimer.  In
the end, the court granted MillerCoors' motion finding that "every
single representation the plaintiff pleaded reliance on, across
every medium, is accompanied by language indicating the beer is
brewed in the United States" and that "the images of a kangaroo
and a constellation and allusion to the company's historic roots
in [Australia] are eclipsed by the accurate disclosure statement."

Recent Defeats

After successfully defeating proposed class action claims in the
Eastern District of New York, beer manufacturers sought similar
results in two cases filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District and Central District of California.
Unfortunately for these defendants, in both instances the
plaintiffs were able to overcome similarly styled motions to
dismiss to continue to pursue their claims.

The first case, Broomfield v. Craft Brew Alliance, No. 17-cv-
01027-BLF, 2017 BL 310562 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 01, 2017), relates to
allegations that Craft Brew Alliance (or CBA) misled consumers
into believing that its Kona Brewing Company beer was exclusively
brewed in Hawaii.  In support of its claims, the plaintiff point
to several factors including the fact that while Kona has a
Hawaiian brewery that makes draft beer sold in Hawaii, all of the
beer sold outside of Hawaii is produced in the states of Oregon,
Washington, New Hampshire and Tennessee.  Further, the plaintiff
alleged that Kona beer was packaged and marketed with various
images depicting Hawaiian-related images as well as an image of a
map of Hawaii which marks the location of the Kona Brewing Co.,
statements that consumers are invited to visit the brewery and
pubs in Hawaii, as well as including the specific Hawaiian address
for the brewery.  As with Sapporo and Foster's beer, CBA provided
a disclaimer on its label that listed the five locations Kona beer
is produced including "Kona, Hawaii, Portland, Oroegon,
Woodinville, Washington, Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Memphis,
Tennessee."  However, in the end, this disclaimer did not overcome
the plaintiff's allegations in the court's mind. Specifically, in
denying CBA's motion to dismiss, the court found that if there
were only "alleged pictures of surfboards and the vague phrase
'Liquid Aloha' on the beer packaging, the case would end there."
Here, in contrast, the "Hawaiian address, the amp of Hawaii
identifying Kona's brewery on the Big Island, and the statement
'visit our brewery and pubs whenever you are in Hawaii' are . . .
specific and measurable representations of fact that could deceive
a reasonable consumer into believing that . ..  Kona beer was
brewed in Hawaii." In distinguishing the New York cases, the court
also noted that while the disclaimer was on beer label, the
plaintiffs alleged that the packaging was deceptive which both did
not include the disclaimer and obstructed the disclaimer language
on the label. Given these findings the court denied CBA's motion
to dismiss allowing the plaintiff's claims to go forward.

Finally, in a decision in Shalikar v. Asahi Beer U.S.A., No. 17-
cv-02713 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 16, 2017), Asahi Beer lost its motion to
dismiss claims that it falsely led consumers into believing its
beer was brewed in Japan rather than the United States and Canada.
In support of its claims, the plaintiff pointed to the inclusion
of Japanese script and related English translations on the label
and packaging of Asahi beer. The plaintiff also alleged that in a
recent survey of 1,000 representative adults, 86 to 87 percent of
respondents believed that the beer was brewed in Japan based on
the labels and packaging. As with the other brewers, Asahi Beer
provided a disclaimer on its label and packaging that stated:
"Brewed and bottled under Asahi's supervision by Molson Canada,
Toronto, Canada, imported by Asahi Beer U.S.A., Inc., Torrance,
California product of Canada. However, this disclaimer was not
sufficient to defeat the plaintiff's claims. In deciding to deny
Asahi's motion to dismiss, the court held that a motion "may be
granted if a disclosure on the product concerning the challenged
language does not contradict other representations or inferences
on the packaging and labels . . ." Given the contradictions
between the Japanese script, as well as the alleged survey
results, the court determined that the existence of the disclaimer
in-and-of-itself was not sufficient to dismiss the plaintiff's
suit.

Lessons Learned

While it's difficult, in part, to determine a common thread
between these four cases beyond jurisdictional distinctions a few
points stand out.  The first, is that any disclaimer needs to
specifically identify where the beer is being brewed, not just
where it could be produced  The second, is that the disclaimer
needs to be prominent in size and contrast and be visible to the
consumer on the packaging as well as the beer label.  The third,
and final lesson, is that brewers should be particularly sensitive
to specific statements or claims that suggest a beer styled as an
import is actually manufactured outside of the United States (or
Canada).

Alva C. Mather is a partner in the health sciences department of
Pepper Hamilton, resident in the Philadelphia office.  She is
chair of the firm's alcoholic beverage industry practice group and
co-chair of the food and beverage industry practice group. [GN]


* Data Breach Class Action Settlements Getting Bigger
-----------------------------------------------------
Hanley Chew, Esq., and Tyler Newby, Esq. of Fenwick & West, in an
article for Law.com, report that in June 2017, Anthem, Inc. agreed
to pay a record $115 million to settle class action lawsuits
stemming from a 2015 data breach that involved the personal
information of nearly 80 million of Anthem's customers. Although
the Anthem settlement appears to be an outlier, there have been a
number of other notable data breach settlements in the past few
years.  In 2016 and 2017, Home Depot settled the class action
lawsuits based on the breach it had suffered for $19.5 million.
Similarly, in 2015 and 2016, Target paid $10 million to settle the
data breach class action lawsuits.

Are these settlements coincidental, or are they party of a trend
that is likely to continue? Although each data breach class action
arises out of its own particular circumstances, there are a number
of factors that seem to be contributing to these large
settlements.

First, overall, more data breach class actions appear to be
proceeding past challenges at the pleadings stage, although there
are some exceptions in certain circuits.  Prior to the last two
years, the vast majority of courts dismissed data breach lawsuits
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because plaintiffs failed
to allege concrete injuries that established Article III standing.
Despite the breaches, many plaintiffs (and proposed class members)
were not actual victims of identity theft. Instead, these
plaintiffs relied on allegations that the breaches subjected them
to an increased risk of becoming identity theft victims.  The
courts typically found such allegations too speculative to
constitute harm sufficient to meet the constitutional requirements
for standing.

A few circuits with large population centers still adhere to this
position. In 2017, the Second (Whalen v. Michaels Stores, Inc.,),
Fourth (Beck v. McDonald) and Eighth (In re SuperValu, Inc.
Customer Data Security Breach Litigation) Circuits all held that
data breach plaintiffs must allege an actual injury in the form of
successful fraudulent charges on their existing credit or debit
card accounts or the opening of new fraudulent accounts based upon
their stolen personal information to satisfy Article III's
standing requirements to survive a motion to dismiss for lack of
standing.

In contrast, the Sixth (Galara v. Nat. Mut. Ins. Co.), Seventh
(Lewert v. PF Chang's China Bistro, Inc.) and D.C. (Attias v.
CareFirst, Inc.) Circuits have adopted a broader interpretation of
what is required to establish standing in data breach cases. These
Circuits have found that allegations that the personal information
of plaintiffs was stolen in a data breach resulting in a
heightened risk of future identity theft and that plaintiffs
incurred mitigation costs in response to that increased risk
establish an injury sufficient to establish Article III standing.
The Sixth and Seventh Circuits have also found that an offer by a
company or organization to provide free identity fraud protection
and credit monitoring services following a data breach can create
an inference that the company recognizes that the risk of future
harm from that breach is substantial.  In these circuits, data
breach complaints are more likely to be able to survive a motion
to dismiss for lack of standing.

Second, the class sizes of persons affected by data breaches seems
to have increased in recent years.  Three of five largest data
breaches of all time -- Yahoo (3 billion user accounts), Adult
Friend Finder (412.2 million accounts), and Equifax (personal
information of 143 million accounts) -- have occurred in the last
two years. The more customer information that is involved in a
breach will typically also increase the costs associated with that
breach, including any settlement.

There are numerous reasons why the potential size of data breaches
have grown.  The amount of data online has grown exponentially in
the past few years.  More than 3.8 billion people are currently
using the Internet.  A 2016 IBM Marketing Cloud report estimates
that these people are generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of
electronic data every day.  This staggering amount of available
data (much of which organizations collect and store) greatly
increases the scope of potential data breaches.

In addition, the potential sources of data breaches have also
become more varied and advanced.  Not only does the individual
hacker continue to pose a threat, but the threat landscape has
swelled to include criminal organizations, nation-states and
ideologically-motivated hacktivists.  Given the significant
potential return from a data breach, many of these threats have
devoted considerable resources to developing increasingly
sophisticated hacking tools and techniques.

Third, as data breaches have become larger, so have the number of
parties seeking some type of redress for those breaches.  A
company that has suffered a data breach of its customer
information must now face not only class action lawsuits from
those customers but also potential investigations and enforcement
actions from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and/or state
attorney general and consumer protection offices.

In settling investigations or actions based on data breaches, the
FTC typically does not impose a monetary penalty on the company
that has been breached.  Instead, the company and FTC will agree
to a consent order requiring the company to rectify any identified
vulnerabilities or deficiencies, establish a comprehensive
information security program and conduct annual or biannual
assessments of its network security for a set period of time
(which is usually 20 years).  For example, after filing a
complaint against Wyndham Worldwide Corp. for allegedly deficient
security practices that purportedly led to three data breaches,
the FTC did not fine Wyndham but instead settled the case with a
consent order requiring Wyndham to establish a comprehensive
security program designed to protect cardholder data, comply with
Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards, and undergo third party
security assessments for 20 years.

In contrast, state attorney general and consumer protection
offices typically seek monetary penalties in addition to remedial
action on the part of the company that has suffered the breach.
For instance, Hilton Worldwide recently settled an investigation
by the New York and Vermont attorney general offices by agreeing
to pay $700,000, improve its monitoring for potential threats and
adhere to PCI standards.  The settlement amount usually rises if
more states are involved.  In one of the largest settlements with
state attorney general offices, Target agreed to pay $18.5 million
to settle claims by 47 states and the District of Columbia and
resolve a multi-state investigation into the 2013 data breach that
it suffered.

The latest entrant into the data breach settlement arena have been
banks and credit unions, which have bring lawsuits to recoup the
damages that they suffered from data breaches, such as the cost to
issue new payment cards to customers.  Target agreed to pay $39.4
million to resolve claims by banks and credit unions resulting
from its 2013 data breach.  Home Depot also agreed to pay $25
million to resolve a putative class action brought by financial
institutions which were allegedly harmed by Home Depot's 2014 data
breach.  The presence of so many claimants may be producing
pressure for companies to not only settle but settle for large
dollar amounts.

Given the potential growth in the size of data breaches and
corresponding settlements, the best thing that companies can do is
to take preventative measures to increase the likelihood that
breaches do not occur:

1. Companies should conduct frequent risk/security assessments and
vulnerability scans/penetration testing to discover the
deficiencies in their network security.

2. Companies should keep the operating system and other software
on their systems constantly updated with the latest patches.
Unpatched vulnerabilities in operating systems and software are a
common entry point for malware.

3. Companies should vet the security of vendors that have access
to the companies IT systems.  As the Target breach demonstrated,
vendors can introduce vulnerabilities that allow malicious actors
access to corporate networks.

4. Companies should employ up-to-date and multiple antivirus
programs to maximize the likelihood of preventing a malware
infection.

5. Organizations should educate all employees that unauthorized
network intrusion often rely on malicious email attachments or
links in phishing emails.  Companies should train their employees
to verify the legitimacy of an email before opening an attachment
or clicking on a link in the email.  They should also be trained
to confirm any unusual instructions they might receive in what
seems to be a legitimate email.

6. Organizations should not enable any macros that originate from
email attachments.  If a user opens an email attachment and
enables a macro from the attachment, embedded code may execute
malware.

7. Organizations should consider using an advanced email filtering
solution to keep suspicious or malicious files in a "demilitarized
zone" off the company's network.

8. Finally, organizations may wish to use application
whitelisting, which lists the legitimate applications that may be
run on a system but blocks other unauthorized programs.  An ounce
of prevention may go a long way to prevent the payment of a big
settlement.

Hanley Chew is Of Counsel in the Litigation Group with Fenwick &
West.  He focuses his practice on privacy and data security
litigation, counseling and investigations, as well as intellectual
property and commercial disputes affecting high technology and
data driven companies.  Tyler Newby is a Partner in the Litigation
Group and Co-Chair of the Privacy & Cybersecurity Group with
Fenwick & West.  He focuses his practice on privacy and data
security litigation, counseling and investigations, as well as
intellectual property and commercial disputes affecting high
technology and consumer-facing companies. [GN]


* Number of CPLR Article 9 Class Actions Increases in New York
--------------------------------------------------------------
Thomas A. Dickerson, writing for Law.com, reports that since the
Court of Appeals' expansive decision in Borden v. 400 East 55th
Street Associates, 24 N.Y. 3d 382 (2014), there has been a
noticeable increase in the number of CPLR Article 9 class actions,
particularly, those brought on behalf of consumers, tenants and
employees.  This year has been no exception. First, the Appellate
Division, First Department sought to protect shareholder interests
in "merger tax" litigation by enhancing the standards for the
approval of disclosure-only class action settlements. Gordon v.
Verison Communications, 148 A.D.3d 146 (1st Dept. 2017);
Dickerson, "Disclosure-Only Settlements in State Courts," N.Y.L.J.
(Sept. 14, 2017).  Second, the First Department sought to protect
employees by declining to enforce an arbitration agreement as
violative of the National Labor Relations Act. Gold v. New York
Life Insurance Company, 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5627 (1st Dept.
2017); Dickerson, "New York State Class Actions: Taking a Stand
for Labor," N.Y.L.J. (Aug. 10, 2017). [GN]


* Saudi Arabian CMA Board Approves Class Action Regulations
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Saudi Arabian Capital Market Authority (CMA) issued a
statement stating that the CMA board has issued its resolution to
approve the Class Action Suit Regulations and to amend the
Resolution of Securities Disputes Proceedings Regulations
accordingly.  A class action suit can be defined as "a suit filed
by a group of plaintiffs against one or more defendants, where the
group of plaintiffs' suit share the same legal bases, merits and
the subject matter of the requests. Any decision made on the case
shall affect all of its parties".

The Chairman of the Board of the CMA, H.E Mohammed bin Abdullah
Al-Quwaiz, said that the Authority, through enabling and
regulating the Class Action in securities disputes, aims at
protecting investors and facilitating the procedures of litigation
for the participants in the capital market, especially in cases
where the plaintiff is a large group of persons, who share the
same legal bases, merits and the subject matter of the requests,
which is appropriate to the nature of the listed companies and the
size of their shareholders.  Al-Quweiz added that the regulation
of the Class Action would bring about a qualitative leap in
securities disputes in the Kingdom, which in turn would enhance
the attractiveness of the capital market and reduce the risk of
investing in it, in addition to reducing the time required to
resolve investors compensation cases and reducing litigation costs
in this type of cases.  Al-Quwaiz stressed that this project comes
within the framework of the Authority's numerous initiatives aimed
at protecting investors, such as the "Investor Protection
Department", which was recently established within the Authority,
and the electronic system for receiving and resolving reported
violations of the Capital Market Law and its Implementing
Regulations, In addition to mandating listed companies to make
electronic voting available for shareholders in the general
assemblies of such companies.

Mr. Bader Bin Mohammed Balghonaim, the Deputy of Legal Affairs and
Enforcement, stated that during the drafting of the Class Action
Regulations, the Authority has taken into account the best
relevant international practices, in accordance with the nature of
the Saudi capital market and in conformity with the applicable and
established rules of litigation in the Kingdom, where relevant
legislations has been examined and studied in many developed
markets such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and
Hong Kong.  Balghonaim pointed out that the Authority, in line
with its interest to communicate and consult with investors and
government and private entities about the draft regulations prior
to its issuance, has published earlier the draft of the Class
Action Regulation for public consultation, praising the magnitude
of interest that the project of Class Action Regulations received
from the public, and appreciating all opinions, observations and
suggestions received from various parties and individuals, all of
which have been taken into account.

Balghonaim added that the Authority intends to organize workshops
on the Class Action Regulations in securities disputes, directed
to legal advisors and interested parties in order to discuss the
Class Action's provisions, mechanisms and objectives and, and the
locations and times of these workshops will be announced at a
later date.

The regulations included several detailed provisions that were
meant to clarify the mechanisms and procedures of the class
actions and the rights of its parties.  For example, it included
the provisions of registering a class action suit, the conditions
for accepting a request to register a claim as a class action
suit, the addition of new plaintiffs after the suit was
registered, the regulation of the representation of the plaintiffs
and restrictions on them, the rights of the parties of the claim,
the criteria for selecting the lead plaintiff and the lead
appellant, in addition to regulating the procedures of withdrawing
and settlement, and the role of the "Committee Resolution of
Securities Disputes" in the management of the class action.

In regards of the selection of the lead plaintiff, the regulation
sets forth the criteria on which the members of the group of
plaintiffs select the lead plaintiff, including the plaintiff's
suitability to take actions related to the proceedings of the
class action while taking into account the interests of the
members of the group of plaintiffs, stating that the lead
plaintiff shall be able to perform these functions at all stages
of the proceedings, to adequately understand his obligations
toward the group of plaintiffs and to be fully aware of the all
details of the case and the facts relating thereto.  The
regulation also paid attention to regulating the relationship
among members of the group of plaintiffs and toward each other by
a written agreement between them that shall identify many relevant
aspects, determining the lead plaintiff's obligations toward the
suit and the group of plaintiffs, including the level of power
vested in the lead plaintiff as whether to appoint a lawyer to
follow up with class action suit, in addition to determining the
compensations of the lead plaintiff and the lawyer (if any), and
any other terms, restrictions or obligations that the group of
plaintiffs deems fit. [GN]


* Senate Votes to Nullify CFPB's Arbitration Rule
-------------------------------------------------
The Associated Press reports that the Senate has voted to nullify
a consumer-oriented rule that would let millions of Americans band
together to sue their banks or credit card companies.
Vice President Mike Pence has cast the tie-breaking vote to stop
the rule from going into effect.

Many consumers must go through an arbitrator to resolve financial
disputes, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized a
rule that bans most types of mandatory arbitration clauses.
The rule exposed banks to large class-action lawsuits.

Supporters say that possibility would help ensure banks, credit
card companies and other lenders treat consumers appropriately.
The vote comes months after House action and reflects the effort
of the Trump administration and congressional Republicans to undo
regulations that the GOP argues harm the free market. [GN]




                             *********


S U B S C R I P T I O N  I N F O R M A T I O N

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