/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/180110.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

            Wednesday, January 10, 2018, Vol. 20, No. 8


125 COURT STREET: 421-A Tenants Appeal Denial to 2nd Circuit
3M CO: Bair Hugger Plaintiffs Can Present Expert Witnesses
21ST CENTURY: Settles Class Action Over 2015 Data Breach
ABBOTT LABS: 9th Cir. Affirms Dismissal of Class Action
ABC CORP: "Castillo" Claims Unpaid Overtime, Spread-of-Hours Pay

ACCOUNT CONTROL TECH: "Nolan" Action Disputes Collection Letter
ADVANCED NEUROCARE: Faces Class Action Over Unsolicited Fax Ads
ALL GREEN: "Hinnant" Seeks to Recover Minimum and Overtime Wages
AMERICAN TRANSIT: Removes MSP Recovery Class Suit to S.D. Fla.
AQUA METALS: "Heath" Sues Over Share Drop from Failed Process

AT&T MOBILITY: 9th Cir. Refuses to Revive Broadband Class Action
ATLANTA HAWKS: Feb. 8 Settlement Opt-Out Deadline Set
AUSTRALIA: Manus Island Detainees to Get $70MM Settlement Payout
BAR TACO: Faces Class Action Over Hepatitis A Outbreak
BIG PHARMA: Randolph County Mulls Opioid Crisis Class Action

BIG PHARMA: Williamson County to Join Opioid Crisis Class Action
BIG PHARMA: Bloomington, Monroe County Join Opioid Class Action
BIG PHARMA: Dale County Invited to Join Opioid Class Action
BIG PHARMA: La Crosse County Weighing Options for Opioid Case
BIG PHARMA: Arkansas Municipalities File Opioid Class Action

CABLE & WIRELESS: Won't Delist Shares of Class Action Plaintiffs
CHENG DU: Didn't Pay Minimum & Overtime Wages, "Liu" Suit Says
CHICAGO, IL: Lawyer Objects to Red Light Camera Settlement
CITIGROUP INC: Defendants Ask 2nd Cir. Review of "Leber" Ruling
CITIZENS INC: Robbins Arroyo Investigates Fiduciary Duty Breach

CITY OF REDONDO BEACH: "Arnold" Action Seeks Unpaid Overtime Pay
COMBINED INSURANCE: Dolmage Appeals Ruling to Seventh Circuit
COOK COUNTY, IL: Faces Another Class Action Over "Pop Tax"
EDISON INT'L: Judge Says HR Reps Mishandled 401(k) Plans
ELECTRICITY MAINE: Zurich Doesn't Want to Cover Litigation Claims

EQUITY RESIDENTIAL: Judge Allows Tenants to Pursue Class Action
ETHICON: Fails to Fully Inform Doctors of Vaginal Mesh Risks
FACEBOOK INC: Gullen Moves for Certification of Non-User Class
FELIDIA RESTAURANT: Jara Seeks to Recover Minimum and OT Wages
FINISAR CORP: Shearman Comments on Denial of Class Certification

FUJITSU TECHNOLOGY: Settles 401(k) Plan Class Action for $14MM
GAP INC: Accused by "Kaible" of Sending Illegal Marketing Texts
GARDANT MANAGEMENT: Faces Class Action Over BIPA Violation
GARNETT STATION: "McGee" Seeks to Recover Wages for Shift Leaders
GC SERVICES: Mails Misleading Collection Letters, Jaber Claims

GENERAL MOTORS: Faces Class Action Over Salt Contamination
GEO GROUP INC: Underpaid "Novoa" Claiming Minimum Wages
GEORGIA: Retirees File Class Action Over Health Insurance Plan
GLOBAL CREDIT: "Goethel" Suit Claims FDCPA Violations
GOMEZ ENTERPRISES: Fails to Pay Overtime, "Calixto" Suit Alleges

GOOGLE INC: Fails to Refund Advertisers for Invalid Clicks
GOOGLE INC: Faces Class Action in B.C. Over Data Collection
GUAM: Settlement Unlikely in H-2B Visa Program Class Action
HILMER CONSTRUCTION: "Sandoval" Sues Over Unpaid Overtime
HOFFMANN-LA ROCHE: NJ Sup. Court Adopts Daubert in Accutane Case

HOME CAPITAL: West Face Files Suit Over Misleading Disclosures
HOME POINT FINANCIAL: "Noroma" Suit to Recover Overtime Pay
HYATT HOTELS: Livi Appeals E.D. Pa. Ruling to 3rd Circuit
HYLAND'S HOMEOPATHIC: Consumers Sue Over Teething Tablets Recall
INNATE INTELLIGENCE: Judge Dismisses TCPA Claims in Fax Case

INVENTURE FOODS: Faruqi & Faruqi Files Securities Class Action
JAMES HARDIE: Homeowners Have Until Jan. 30 to Join Cladding Case
KIMBERLY-CLARK CORP: Wants Court to Block Flushable Wipes Law
KINGSBRIDGE MARKETPLACE: Sued by "Estrada" Over Unpaid Overtime
LANNETT CO: Law Firm Investigates Potential Fiduciary Duty Breach

LULAROE CO: Accused of Operating Pyramid Scheme
LYFT INC: Settles Class Action Over Toll Charges
MARVELL TECHNOLOGY: Court Certifies Class in Shareholder Case
MASSACHUSETTS MUTUAL: Vitale Appeals Judgment in "Bacchi" Suit
MECTA CORPORATION: Riera Seeks Cert. of Patients, Spouses Classes

MEDICAL DATA: "Patti" Suit Seeks Redress for Collection Letters
MEDICIS PHARMA: March 12 Trial Set in Solodyn(R) Class Action
MERIDIAN BIOSCIENCE: Faces Shareholder Class Actions
MINED MINDS: Faces Class Action Over Fraudulent Training Program
MONITRONICS INT'L: Settles Class Action Over Illegal Robocalls

MONKEY CAPITAL: "Hodges" Claims Monkey Coin a Fraud
NASPERS: Faces Three Investigations Amid Class Action
NEW JERSEY: Faces Class Action Over Women's Prison Sexual Abuses
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Fan's Anthem Demonstration Suit No Chance
NEW YORK: Court OKs Inmates' Solitary Confinement Settlement

NFL: Judge Brody Blocks Litigation Funding Agreements
ONTARIO: Faces Class Action Over Abuse in Training Schools
ONTARIO: Koskie Minsky, Watkins File Suit Over Schools Abuses
OSI SYSTEMS: Bragar Eagel Files Securities Class Suit
PENNSYLVANIA: Referees File Class Action Over Contractor Status

PHARM-SAVE INC: W-2 Data Breach Class Action Can Proceed
PURITAN'S PRIDE: Seeks Dismissal of BOGO Class Action
QUDIAN INC: Faruqi & Faruqi Files Securities Class Action in NY
R&R MATTRESS: Fails to Pay Right Overtime, "Koutroupis" Suit Says
RANDHAWA INC: Faces "Pant" Suit in E.D. New York

REALREAL INC: Faces Class Action Over Inflated Gemstone Weights
RFR CAPITAL LLC: "Martin" Action Seeks Unpaid Overtime Pay
RHODE ISLAND: Health Secretary Faces "Scherwitz" Class Suit
SANOFI SA: Taxotere Label Didn't Warn of Hair Loss, Says "Dewees"
SANOFI SA: "McGaughey" Suit Alleges Hair Loss From Taxotere

SANTA BARBARA, CA: Class Action Seeks Reform at County Jail
SCOTTRADE INC: Ninth Circuit Appeal Filed in "Hine" Class Suit
SETERUS INC: "Corrigan" Sues Over Autodialed Collection Calls
SHAUN'S TOWING: Faces Class Action Over Unpaid Overtime Wages
SHREVEPORT, LA: Judge Tosses Non-Disclosure Contract Breach Case

SIMMONS FOODS: Faces Class Actions Over Work Camp Programs
SUNRUN INC: Slovin Moves for Certification of Seven Classes
TABLEAU SOFTWARE: Law Firm Probes Potential Fiduciary Breach
TAIWAN KAI: Feb. 16 Settlement Fairness Hearing Set
TEACHERS HEALTH: Faces Insurance Fraud Class Action

TEXAS: Judge Says Foster Care System "Broken"
TOYS OUTLET: "Guzman" Claims Overtime Pay, Minimum Wage
UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Settles Second US Lawsuit Over 2014 Rape
UNITED AIR: Removes "Johnson" BIPA Violations Suit to N.D. Ill.
UNITED STATES: Veterans File Class Action Over 1966 Bomb Accident

UNITED STATES: Veterans Affairs Mum on Radiation Class Action
US BANCORP: Tiran Appeals Ruling in "Wert" Suit to Ninth Circuit
VIRGINIA CREDIT: McLamb Sues Over Collection of Overdraft Fees
VOLVO CARS: Must Face Hybrid SUV False Marketing Class Action
WOLVERINE WORLD: Brokovich Serves as Consultant in PFAS Case

* Arbitrators Found to Have Significant Pro-Business Bias
* Defense Bar Losing War in Securities Class Action Litigation


125 COURT STREET: 421-A Tenants Appeal Denial to 2nd Circuit
Plaintiffs 421-A Tenants Association Inc., Richard Lebed and
Vinetta Scrivo filed an appeal from an order denying their motion
for reconsideration in the lawsuit entitled 421-A Tenants
Association Inc., et al. v. 125 Court Street LLC, et al., Case
No. 1:17-cv-00563-AMD-SJB (E.D.N.Y.).

The appellate case is captioned as 421-A Tenants Association
Inc., et al. v. 125 Court Street LLC, et al., Case No. 17-3964,
in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Judge Ann M. Donnelly on December 7, 2017, denied the Plaintiffs'
motion for reconsideration of the November 2, 2017 Order and for
leave to file a second amended complaint as to all claims.  In
her November 2 Order, Judge Donnelly granted the Defendants'
motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter on Dec. 15,
2017, the Plaintiffs appealed the November 2 Order.  That
appellate case is captioned as 421-A Tenants Association Inc., et
al. v. 125 Court Street LLC, et al., Case No. 17-3865.

The lawsuit arises from alleged violations of the Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.[BN]

Plaintiffs-Appellants 421-A Tenants Association Inc., Vinetta
Scrivo and Richard Lebed, on behalf of themselves and all others
similarly situated, are represented by:

          Robert John Valli, Jr., Esq.
          Sara Wyn Kane, Esq.
          Matthew L. Berman, Esq.
          VALLI & KANE, LLP
          600 Old Country Road, Suite 207
          Garden City, NY 11530
          Telephone: (516) 203-7180
          Facsimile: (516) 706-0248
          E-mail: rvalli@vkvlawyers.com

Defendants-Appellees 125 Court Street LLC, Two Trees Management
Co. LLC, 30 Main LLC, DW Associates LP, David C. Walentas, Jed D.
Walentas and 194 Atlantic LLC are represented by:

          Paul Shechtman, Esq.
          Rita Kathleen Maxwell, Esq.
          1251 Avenue Of The Americas, 49th Floor
          New York, NY 10200
          Telephone: (212) 508-6107
          Facsimile: (800) 404-3970
          E-mail: paul.shechtman@bracewelllaw.com

               - and -

          David Shargel, Esq.
          1177 Avenue Of The Americas, 19th Floor
          New York, NY 10036
          Telephone: (212) 508-6154
          Facsimile: (212) 938-3854
          E-mail: david.shargel@bgllp.com

3M CO: Bair Hugger Plaintiffs Can Present Expert Witnesses
Joe Carlson, writing for Star Tribune, reports that 3M's legal
strategy of winning thousands of hospital-infection lawsuits by
undermining their scientific credibility failed on Dec. 13, as
U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen ruled that the plaintiffs can
present their preferred expert witnesses to support their claims
in court.

Maplewood-based 3M sells a forced-air patient-warming device
called the Bair Hugger, which is widely used in hospitals to keep
patients warm during surgery as a way to promote healing and
prevent infections.

Thousands of people say the device caused their infections during
joint-replacement surgery by blowing contaminated air on them and
disrupting the normal flow of air that keeps contaminated
particles out of the surgical field.

"There is no evidence that the 3M Bair Hugger warming system
causes infections," a 3M spokeswoman said.  "Our product is a
safe and effective tool for warming patients before, during and
after surgery. 3M is eager to proceed to trial this year to
defend the integrity of the 3M Bair Hugger warming system."

The plaintiffs have no direct evidence of a bacteria-laden
particle being stirred up by the Bair Hugger and landing in
anyone's surgical incision.  Rather, the plaintiffs have
presented experts who testified that this likely happens, and a
computer model showing how it would happen.  3M asked Judge
Ericksen to exclude the plaintiffs' experts from the case and
then grant summary judgment because of a lack of expert opinions.

A three-day hearing was held in October.  Judge Ericksen on
Dec. 13 declined to exclude any of the experts from the case or
grant the 3M motion for summary judgment.

Rather, she ruled that both sides are free to cross-examine each
other's experts and present rebuttal testimony before a jury.

In a 30-page ruling that resolved 16 different pending motions to
exclude experts on both sides, Judge Ericksen quoted past court
rulings that found that judges must exclude experts only when the
expert opinions are so fundamentally unsupported that they can't
offer assistance to the jury. [GN]

21ST CENTURY: Settles Class Action Over 2015 Data Breach
Evan Sweeney, writing for FierceHealthcare, reports that after
filing for bankruptcy in May, 21st Century Oncology has agreed to
pay a $2.3 million fine to the Department of Health and Human
Services for a 2015 data breach that impacted more than 2.2
million patients.

The national cancer care provider headquartered in Fort Myers,
Florida, has also agreed to class action lawsuits filed in 2016,
according to court documents.

21st Century Oncology, which operates 179 treatment centers
across 17 states, first learned it had been attacked from the FBI
in November 2015.  A subsequent internal investigation revealed
the attacker had accessed a database through a remote desktop

According to a settlement approved by the United States
Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, in
addition to paying a fine to the Office for Civil Rights, 21st
Century Oncology has agreed to comply with a corrective action
plan that requires the company to appoint a compliance
representative, conduct a risk analysis, revise its cybersecurity
policies and develop internal breach reporting procedures.

The bankruptcy court also approved a settlement to resolve class
action lawsuits filed in Florida shortly after the company
announced the breach.  The settlement allows data breach
claimants to pursue and recover reimbursement from the company's
cybersecurity insurance policy through the Florida court.
According to court documents, there is approximately $4.2 million
remaining under the policy.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

21st Century Oncology filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy citing
changes to reimbursement and political uncertainty, as well as
the cost of complying with EHR regulations.  But the company was
also reeling from $55 million in settlements tied to allegations
that it billed government programs for medically unnecessary

Another settlement, also approved by the New York bankruptcy
court, will add to those costs.  The provider agreed to pay $26
million to settle recently unsealed allegations from a former
vice president that the company paid bonuses to physicians based
on patient referrals. [GN]

ABBOTT LABS: 9th Cir. Affirms Dismissal of Class Action
Tina Bellon, writing for Reuters, reports that a federal appeals
court on Dec. 12 affirmed the dismissal of a proposed class
action against Abbott Laboratories Inc. over its Ensure
nutritional shakes, saying the plaintiff insufficiently alleged
the company made false advertising claims.

The case before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stems from
a 2012 lawsuit brought by a California resident Michael Otto, who
alleged Abbott negligently misrepresented the health benefits of
its "Muscle Health" and "Clinical Strength" shakes, by touting
their ability to "rebuild" lost muscle and strength in normal,
healthy adults without exercise. [GN]

ABC CORP: "Castillo" Claims Unpaid Overtime, Spread-of-Hours Pay
Felix Castillo, individually and on behalf all other employees
similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. ABC Corp. and George Santas,
Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-07396, (E.D.N.Y., December 19, 2017),
seeks overtime compensation, unpaid spread-of-hours premium,
compensation for failure to provide wage notice at the time of
hiring and failure to provide paystubs, liquidated damages,
prejudgment and post-judgment interest and attorney's fees and
costs under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, New
York Wage Theft Prevention Act and New York Labor Law.

ABC Corp. operates as Cozy Diner & Cafe located at 1409 150th St.
3, Whitestone, NY 11357 where Mr. Castillo worked as a dishwasher
and food prepper from August 1, 2013 to October 15, 2017.

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Jian Hang, Esq.
      136-18 39th Ave., Suite #1003
      Flushing, New York 11354
      Telephone: (718) 353-8588
      E-mail: jhang@hanglaw.com

ACCOUNT CONTROL TECH: "Nolan" Action Disputes Collection Letter
Sondra Nolan, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. Account Control Technology, Inc. and John
Does 1-25, Defendant, Case No. 17-cv-01184 (W.D. Tex., December
19, 2017), seeks damages and declaratory and injunctive relief
pursuant to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

Nolan owed an obligation to Capella University who contracted
Defendant to collect the alleged debt.  Account Control allegedly
sent a letter that implied that Ms. Nolan's balance may increase
if not paid immediately despite her contest that the debt should
not be accruing interest. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

     Yaakov Saks, Esq.
     285 Passaic Street
     Hackensack, NJ 07601
     Phone: (201) 282-6500
     Fax: (201) 282-6501

ADVANCED NEUROCARE: Faces Class Action Over Unsolicited Fax Ads
Noddy A. Fernandez, writing for Madison - St. Clair Record,
reports that a chiropractic and wellness center has filed a class
action lawsuit against a Wyoming corporation for allegedly
wrongfully sending advertisements over fax machines.

Dr. Richard L. Thalman, doing business as Thalman Chiropractic &
Wellness Center, on behalf of all similarly situated, filed a
complaint on Dec. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of Illinois against Advanced Neurocare Systems, LLC and
John Does 1-10, alleging violation of the Telephone Consumer
Protection Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on Oct.
22, Dr. Thalman received an unsolicited fax from the defendants
advertising its products.

Dr. Thalman claims he and the class were deprived of paper and
ink or toner, use of their fax machine and loss of valuable time
they would have spent on something else while receiving the
unsolicited advertisements.

The plaintiff alleges the defendants made unlawful use of any
telephone facsimile machine, computer or other device to send an
unsolicited advertisement to a telephone facsimile machine.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment for
appropriate damages, injunction, costs of suit, and such other or
further relief as the court deems just and proper.

They are represented by Daniel A. Edelman, Cathleen M. Combs,
James O. Latturner and Heather Kolbus of Edelman, Combs,
Latturner & Goodwin, LLC in Chicago.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois case
number 3:17-cv-01318-JPG-RJD [GN]

ALL GREEN: "Hinnant" Seeks to Recover Minimum and Overtime Wages
JERRY THOMAS HINNANT III, and all others similarly situated under
Florida corporation, and PIER PAOLO ZANELLO, individually, Case
No. 1:17-cv-24437-KMW (S.D. Fla., December 7, 2017), seeks to
recover unpaid minimum and overtime wage compensation, as well as
an additional amount as liquidated damages, costs and reasonable
attorney's fees pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

All Green is a Florida corporation, conducting business in Miami-
Dade County, Florida.  Pier Paolo Zanello is an officer/director
of All Green.  All Green operated as an organization, which
purchased equipment and products manufactured outside the state
of Florida; provided services to or sold, marketed, or handled
goods and materials to customers throughout the United States;
and provided services for goods sold and transported from across
state lines.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Monica Espino, Esq.
          ESPINO LAW
          2250 SW 3 Avenue, 4th Floor
          Miami, FL 33129
          Telephone: (305) 704-3172
          Facsimile: (305) 722-7378
          E-mail: me@espino-law.com

AMERICAN TRANSIT: Removes MSP Recovery Class Suit to S.D. Fla.
The putative class action lawsuit titled MSP RECOVERY CLAIMS,
COMPANY, a Foreign Profit Corporation, Case No. 17-019505 CA 01,
was removed on December 8, 2017, from the 11th Judicial Circuit,
in Miami-Dade County, Florida, to the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of Florida.  The District Court Clerk assigned
Case No. 1:17-cv-24450-KMM to the proceeding.

The complaint, filed August 10, 2017, is a single cause of
action, asserting a violation of a federal statute, the Medicare
Secondary Payer Act.  The Plaintiff alleges that it was assigned
the right of "numerous" or "several" Medicare Advantage
Organizations ("MAOs"), which are insurers that the United States
Government pays to provide Medicare benefits to Medicare

The Plaintiff alleges that the MAOs paid for "medical items
and/or services" of an unspecified type, for an unspecified
number of Medicare beneficiaries who "suffered injuries related
to an accident."  The Plaintiff further alleges that American
Transit was obligated to reimburse the MAOs for those payments
because the MAOs were secondary payers under the Medicare Second
Payer Act and, therefore, entitled to reimbursement from American
Transit, which the Plaintiff alleges was a primary payer under
the statute.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          John H. Ruiz, Esq.
          5000 S.W. 75th Ave., Suite 400
          Miami, FL 33155
          Telephone: (305) 614-2222
          E-mail: serve@msprecovery.com

The Defendant is represented by:

          Christopher E. Knight, Esq.
          Helaine S. Goodner, Esq.
          Alexandra L. Tifford, Esq.
          Brickell Arch, Fourteenth Floor
          1395 Brickell Avenue
          Miami, FL 33131
          Telephone: (305) 789-9200
          Facsimile: (305) 789-9201
          E-mail: cknight@fowler-white.com

AQUA METALS: "Heath" Sues Over Share Drop from Failed Process
Grant Heath, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. Aqua Metals, Inc., Stephen R. Clarke,
Thomas Murphy and Mark Weinswig, Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-
07196, (N.D. Cal., December 19, 2017), seeks compensatory
damages, including interest, reasonable costs and expenses
incurred in this action, including counsel fees and expert fees
and such other and further relief under the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934.

Aqua Metals is engaged in the business of recycling lead,
focusing on its efforts on developing and testing their
"AquaRefining" process.

Plaintiff claims that Defendants failed to disclose that their
breaking and separating process was not operating reliably or
efficiently and were negatively impacting their output. On this
news, its stock price fell $0.08 per share, or 2.1%, to close at
$3.71 per share on November 10, 2017.  The stock price continued
to decline on the following trading days, falling $0.13 per share
(3.5%) on November 13, 2017, and $0.58 per share (16.2%) on
November 14, 2017, to close at $3.00 per share.  Heath is an
investor who acquired Aqua Metals securities between May 19,
2016, and November 9, 2017

Plaintiff is represented by:

     Rosemary M. Rivas, Esq.
     44 Montgomery Street, Suite 650
     San Francisco, CA 94104
     Telephone: (415) 291-2420
     Facsimile: (415) 484-1294
     E-mail: rrivas@zlk.com

AT&T MOBILITY: 9th Cir. Refuses to Revive Broadband Class Action
Wendy Davis, writing for MediaPost, reports that siding with
AT&T, a federal appeals court has refused to revive a class-
action alleging that the company falsely advertised "unlimited
data" but throttled wireless users who exceeded a monthly cap.

The ruling, issued on Dec. 11 by a three-judge panel of the 9th
Circuit Court of Appeals, upheld a trial judge's decision to send
the matter to arbitration.

The battle dates to 2014, when three California residents alleged
in a class-action complaint that AT&T duped people by selling
"unlimited" mobile broadband plans, and then throttling users who
hit monthly caps ranging from 3 GB to 5 GB.  From 2011 until
2015, AT&T allegedly throttled more than 3.5 million customers
with "unlimited" data plans. (The company recently revised its
throttling practices, and now only slows down customers who
exceed 22 GB in a month, and only when the network is congested.)

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen in the Northern District of
California sent the lawsuit to arbitration on the grounds that
AT&T's terms of service required arbitration of disputes.

The consumers then asked the 9th Circuit Court to restore the
lawsuit.  Among other arguments, they said the Federal
Arbitration Act -- which they contend enables companies to
include arbitration agreements in contracts -- unconstitutionally
deprives people of their right to petition the courts.

The 9th Circuit rejected that argument, stating that the Supreme
Court has already ruled that arbitration agreements are
enforceable.  "Plaintiffs disagree with this case law, but we are
bound by it," the judges wrote.

The Federal Trade Commission also sued AT&T over the mobile
broadband slowdowns.  A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit
dismissed the FTC's lawsuit last year, ruling that the agency
lacks authority to sue common carriers like AT&T.  The court
later agreed to reconsider that ruling, but has not yet issued a
decision. [GN]

ATLANTA HAWKS: Feb. 8 Settlement Opt-Out Deadline Set
AJ Williams, writing for Michigan Chronicle City, reports that if
you made a purchase or other transaction with your credit card or
debit card at any of the Philips Arena Hawks Shops at any time
during the period August 1, 2014 to January 24, 2016, a proposed
class action settlement may affect your rights and you may be
entitled to benefits.

What's This About and Who's Included?

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Atlanta Hawks, L.P.
("Hawks").  The lawsuit alleges that Hawks willfully violated a
federal law by printing credit card and debit card expiration
dates on receipts provided to customers at the Philips Arena
Hawks Shops.  The law which Hawks is alleged to have violated is
the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act ("FACTA").

What is a Class Action?

In a class action, one or more people called Class
Representatives sue on behalf of a group of people (referred to
as the Class) who have similar claims.  One court resolves the
issues for all of the people who are a part of the Class
(referred to as Class members), except for those people who
exclude themselves from the Class.

Am I a Class Member?

You are a Class member if you are an individual who made a
purchase or other transaction at any of the Philips Arena Hawks
Shops (located at One Philips Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30303) with
your personal credit card or debit card at any time during August
1, 2014 to January 24, 2016.

What Is Being Sought By This Lawsuit?

The lawsuit seeks to recover statutory damages in the range of
$100-$1,000 for each electronically printed customer receipt
provided to Class members on which receipt their credit card or
debit card expiration date was printed.  The lawsuit also seeks
other remedies such as attorneys' fees and costs.  The Court has
not yet decided in favor of either the Class or Hawks.

Why Am I Receiving This Notice?

Judge Paige Reese Whitaker, who is presiding over this lawsuit
(entitled Moskowitz, v. Atlanta Hawks, L.P., Fulton County
Superior Court, State of Georgia, Case No. 2017CV288354),
approved a proposed class settlement.  If you are part of the
Class, your legal rights will be affected by this settlement
unless you decide to exclude yourself.  The Court authorized this
notice to inform Class members about this settlement and their

Do I Have a Lawyer in the Case?

The Court appointed Chant Yedalian of Chant & Company A
Professional Law Corporation and Charles A. Gower Jr. and Shaun
P. O'Hara -- shaun@cagower.com -- of Charles A. Gower PC to
represent you and other Class members, as Class Counsel.  You
will not be charged for these lawyers.  If you want to be
represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own

What Are My Options?

If you are a Class member, you have the following options: (1)
remain in the Class and submit a claim for up to a $100 payment;
(2) do nothing and do not receive any payment from this
settlement but remain in the Class; (3) exclude yourself from the
Class and settlement; (4) remain in the Class and object to the
settlement; (5) remain in the Class and ask the Court for
permission to speak at the fairness hearing.  If you remain in
the Class, you will be bound by all of the Court's orders and
judgment. Staying in the Class also means that you can't sue or
be part of any other lawsuit against the Hawks and certain other
persons or entities about the issues involved in this lawsuit and
settlement.  You will not be responsible for any out-of-pocket
costs or attorneys' fees concerning this lawsuit if you stay in
the Class.  If, however, you would like to exclude yourself from
this lawsuit and settlement, you must send a request for
exclusion postmarked no later than February 8, 2018.  For further
information about this lawsuit and settlement and your options,
you may visit the website or call the toll-free number listed

Please call 1-888-233-2228 or visit www.HawksSettlement.com

AUSTRALIA: Manus Island Detainees to Get $70MM Settlement Payout
9News reports that about 1700 former Manus Island detainees will
start receiving their share of a $70 million compensation
settlement over coming days.

Slater and Gordon principal lawyer Andrew Baker says the payments
were set begin on Friday, Dec. 15, and the majority of the funds
should be paid to members of the class action group by the end of

"The uncertainty and looming relocation issues that have faced a
number of group members required a faster distribution time frame
than ever before faced by a class action of this kind and size,"
Mr Baker said on Dec. 14.

The individuals stand to receive anything from a few thousand
dollars to close to $100,000 under Australia's largest human
rights class action settlement, with most of the compensation for
false imprisonment following a PNG court ruling.

Hundreds of men have been moved, some forcibly, from the now-
closed offshore immigration detention centre to alternative
accommodation sites in Papua New Guinea.

New Zealand's offer to take 150 refugees from Manus Island has
been repeatedly rejected by the Turnbull government over concerns
it might provide a back door into Australia.

The class action, launched by Slater and Gordon three years ago,
was settled by the Australian government and centre operators in
June without any admission of liability.

Many of the group members are now spread around the world.

Mr Baker said once the payments start to be issued on Dec. 15,
the 1698 detainees who registered to participate in the $70
million settlement scheme should receive their funds in the
following days and weeks.

He said further batches of payments will be distributed over
coming weeks, noting regulatory compliance for some kinds of
international transactions takes additional time. [GN]

BAR TACO: Faces Class Action Over Hepatitis A Outbreak
News12 reports that a Yonkers couple is suing Port Chester's
Bartaco restaurant after they contracted hepatitis A during an
outbreak in October.

Joan and Michael Reda say they contracted the infection after
eating at Bartaco on Sept. 10.

"I think it's fair to say that any person has a right to expect
that the food they are being served is safe to eat," says the
couple's attorney, Paul Nunes.

Mr. Nunes says Bartaco was negligent in delivering contaminated

The illness resulted in debilitated systems and even caused
Michael to miss months of work without pay.

"The action is a focus on their pain and suffering, their medical
expenses and the unknown prognosis for their health going
forward," Mr. Nunes says.

Westchester County health officials say the hepatitis A outbreak
started with an infected Bartaco employee, prompting the Health
Department to vaccinate more than 3,000 residents.

The department confirmed there were seven cases of hepatitis A
related to the outbreak, and one of them caused a scare at the
Sleepy Hollow Country Club.

Shortly after the outbreak, some of the affected Bartaco
customers jointly filed a class-action lawsuit.  Mr. Nunes is
also one of the attorneys on the case.

News 12 reached out to Bartaco for comment but has not yet
received a response. [GN]

BIG PHARMA: Randolph County Mulls Opioid Crisis Class Action
Larry Penkava, writing for The Courier-Tribune, reports that
Randolph County could be taking legal action against
manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids coming
into the county.

County Manager Hal Johnson said the Opioid Advisory Council
decided at its Dec. 6 meeting to recommend to commissioners that
the county take such action due to the opioid crisis.  The number
of overdose victims has increased to the point that Randolph's
per capita figures are comparable to Mecklenburg, the largest-
population county in the state.

He said any legal actions taken would be based on damage done to
local citizens, including the number of overdose deaths,
responses to overdose victims by Emergency Services and other

Mr. Johnson stressed that the action would not be part of a class
action suit but would "look at damages just to Randolph County."
He said he would talk in more detail about the possible legal
action at the commissioners' Jan. 2 meeting, when the Opioid
Advisory Council makes its recommendations.

If the commissioners agree to the legal action, Mr. Johnson said,
the county will employ a national firm that specializes in this
type of lawsuit to "go after companies that distribute and
manufacture opioids."

Several counties in North Carolina have already begun the process
to take similar legal action in an effort to recover public costs
and stop the opioid epidemic.

By the numbers

Mr. Johnson had given an update on the opioid crisis during the
Dec. 4 meeting of the Randolph commissioners in preparation for
the commissioners' January agenda.

In August, the commissioners sponsored the first-ever "County
Leadership Forum on Opioid Abuse" -- one of the largest-attended
forums at that time held in North Carolina.

"This forum had a major impact in alerting our citizens to the
public health crisis stemming from the flood of opioids pouring
into our county, state and nation," Mr. Johnson said.

"Unfortunately, in Randolph County, the impact continues to
increase.  Our Emergency Services operations have responded from
January 2017 to Nov. 12, 2017, to over 349 calls related to
opioid or opioid-related drug overdose calls in all our
jurisdictions. This included 25 deaths by suspected drug
overdose.  The numbers in Randolph County are almost equal, on a
per capita basis, to Charlotte/Mecklenburg County."

According to information from Randolph County Emergency Services,
the breakdowns by jurisdiction are as follows:

   * County, 168;
   * Archdale, 36;
   * Asheboro, 77;
   * Franklinville, 4.
   * Liberty, 3.
   * Ramseur, 8.
   * Randleman, 29.
   * Seagrove, 3.
   * Staley, 1.
   * Trinity, 20.

The youngest was a 16-year-old overdosing on an illegal
substance. The oldest was an 84-year-old accidentally overdosing
on prescribed medication.

Of the 146 patients, 86 were male and 60 were female.

Expanding program

"We will soon begin the new budget cycle and our county agencies
are already struggling with the increased budget costs related to
the additional pressure on our resources that has been created by
this opioid crisis.  This includes our Emergency Services, law
enforcement, Social Services, public health and many other county
government agencies," Johnson told the commissioners in the
December meeting.

He said the health department and Emergency Services are working
together to expand the Community Health Paramedic initiative.

"This is a program where we will be sending out a special team,
consisting of paramedics and a health educator, to meet with
addicts and their families. T he addicts will be referred to the
team by our paramedics who respond to overdose calls.  This is a
great partnership between Emergency Services and Public Health
which will begin in January 2018." [GN]

BIG PHARMA: Williamson County to Join Opioid Crisis Class Action
Brooke Wanser, writing for Brentwood Home, reports that in a
special session of the Williamson County Commission,
commissioners voted 20-1 to join a mass tort lawsuit against
pharmaceutical companies and wholesale drug distributors in the
wake of the national opioid crisis.

"Many of you know that the highly addictive substance that we
often refer to as prescription opioids are ravishing our country
and our state, and they're also in our county," Williamson County
Mayor Rogers Anderson said.

During a closed session, Sheriff Long gave a presentation to the
commission about the effects of the opioid epidemic on the local

The commission then considered the proposition to contract with
Jeffrey D. Moseley of Buerger, Moseley & Carson PLC., a Franklin-
based health care lawyer and Archie Lamb, also a healthcare
attorney from Pensacola, Florida with Levin Papantonio.

The resolution passed with a vote of 20 to 1, with District 11
Commissioner Brandon Ryan dissenting.

Mr. Lamb is part of a larger group of counsel, representing
cities like Louisville, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Mr. Moseley said the case filing had been consolidated in the
district for Cleveland, Ohio, and that Williamson County would
join 180 other communities which have already joined the suit.

Mr. Lamb said other counties in Tennessee planned to join the
litigation, and their announcement was "imminent."

The county will not pay attorney's fees unless a settlement is
reached, Mr. Moseley said.

"Prescription drug manufacturers and distributors oversupplied
prescription drugs which led to the heroin and fentanyl
epidemic," Mr. Lamb said.  "The prescription drugs were the

Mr. Lamb said the suit asserts that drug companies knew, through
statistics, that they were addicting a population to drugs.

The three companies names in the lawsuit are AmerisourceBergen,
Cardinal Health and McKesson Corporation.  According to Mr. Lamb,
these companies control 85 to 90 percent of drugs being used

Under the Controlled Substances Act, companies are required to
monitor, investigate and halt excessive shipments.

"This lawsuit seeks to get compensations for cities and counties
for the excessive burdens on law enforcement, on health care, on
the communities at large," he said.

Mr. Lamb said no dollar figure has been determined yet.  He said
he expected it would be an amount to compensate for the past five
years and the effects the opioid epidemic will leave in the next

"We're seeking to address what is the cost to the community of
having to deal with these people that have been addicted as a
result of misconduct of the companies."

Mr. Lamb said the lawsuit, a mass tort, was different from a
class action lawsuit.

"A class action is when a bunch of people have been hurt exactly
the same way. A mass tort is when a bunch of different people
have been hurt differently," he said.  In turn, Williamson County
will have a different claim from other communities.

Sheriff Long said there were 17 drug overdoses in the county, and
two deaths due to overdose.  However, he couldn't say whether the
overdoses were from opioids.

"It's a danger that we're seeing all the time," Long said,
describing the resources being diverted to deal with drug
addictions and overdoses.

"That's a cost to our citizens, and it would be great to be able
to recoup some of that cost," he said. [GN]

BIG PHARMA: Bloomington, Monroe County Join Opioid Class Action
Jesse Naranjo, writing for Indiana Daily Student, reports that
the City of Bloomington and Monroe County announced on Dec. 13
they would be joining a class action lawsuit against opioid
manufacturers and distributors.

The suit, in part, claims false marketing by manufacturers and a
failure to stop suspicious shipments by distributors.

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton and the Monroe County Board of
Commissioners were joined at the press conference at the Monroe
County Courthouse by attorney Richard Shevitz, an IU alumnus and
partner at Indianapolis law firm Cohen & Malad.

"In the past the view of the medical profession toward opioids
was the view that we all hold -- they're dangerous and they're
addictive," Mr. Shevitz said.  "That medical approach left a very
narrow market for these opioids.  They were used for acute pain
after surgery, or end-of-life care for people who had been
suffering from cancer.  But opioids were not used for common back
pain, workplace injuries, sports injuries and that kind of

Opioid manufacturers realized that they could expand their market
by promoting its use for treatment toward more common and chronic
ailments, Mr. Shevitz said.  This has been a large contributor to
the nation's opioid epidemic.

"These potential defendants spread the false message that opioids
were safe for chronic pain, and not addictive," Mr. Hamilton

A large portion of those who struggle with addiction became
addicted from actual prescriptions.  The Drug Enforcement
Administration reported that in 2014 the top two opioid
pharmaceuticals in the U.S., hydrocodone and oxycodone, accounted
for a total of 12.7 billion pills prescribed.

"The lawsuit is just one tool," commissioner Amanda Barge said.
"In fact, in 2017 the commissioners pledged to all of you that we
would do everything we could do to reverse this epidemic.  We're
tired of hearing about people dying."

The lawsuit represents cities and counties all over the state.
In September, Scott County filed its own suit against
manufacturers. More than 100 cities, states and other public
entities have filed opioid-related lawsuits in 2017 alone.

The lawsuit Bloomington and Monroe County announced its plans to
join implicates at least seven manufacturers and three
distributors of opioid pharmaceuticals.  Manufacturers included
as potential defendants include Purdue Pharma and Teva

Purdue is the manufacturer of Oxycontin, a brand name for
oxycodone. The company has faced legal action for the better part
of the last two decades for its role in producing these powerful

The distributors implicated in this suit are McKesson,
AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health.

Manufacturers and distributors have faced fines in the past, but
Mr. Shevitz said on Dec. 13 that these fines went to the federal
government, not to the communities that have been affected by the

County Commissioner Patrick Stoffers said at the press conference
that while there was no "magic bullet" solution to this issue, he
was glad those present were taking action to fight for their

"One party that's not here right now, it seems, is the state of
Indiana," Mr. Stoffers said.  "I'm not sure what they're waiting
on." [GN]

BIG PHARMA: Dale County Invited to Join Opioid Class Action
Michelle Mann, writing for The Southeast Sun, reports that two
unrelated lawsuits were discussed at the Dale County Commission
work session Dec. 5.

Whether to participate in a class action lawsuit against
pharmaceutical companies and an update on an unrelated school tax
lawsuit were issues brought to the table by Dale County
Commission Attorney Henry Steagall.

Mr. Steagall said that he has been contacted by law firms
participating in a class action lawsuit against the nation's drug
distributors for their role in the increasing opioid addiction
and abuse problem nationwide, charging negligence and aggressive
sales tactics.

Mr. Stegall said that his recommendation, should the commission
vote to join the class action suit, is to work with the
Montgomery-based Beasley Allen Law Firm.  "I can't speak to
whether it's a good lawsuit," Mr. Steagall said.  "It's just one
of those things where you join the class action and if there is a
settlement one day you get a part of it."

Dale County Commission Chairman Mark Blankenship said he had "a
real problem with" the lawsuit.  "People have got to take some
personal responsibility for their actions," Blankenship said.
"Even in the lawsuit, it talks about the fact that the doctors
are the Number 1 writer of opioid prescriptions so it looks like
the doctors are partly to blame.

"I mean, the pharmaceutical company is creating a drug that helps
people," Blankenship added.  "Where is it going to stop? Are we
going to include the folks that sell beer because people have
become alcoholics?"

Dale County Commissioner Charles "Chic" Mr. Gary disagreed with
Blankenship.  "The substance is so additive," Mr. Gary said.
"The pharmaceutical companies need to take a degree of
responsibility for what they present to the Federal Drug
Administration. (Pharmaceutical companies) are partially involved
in this thing because what they are putting out there is a highly
addictive prescription versus what we've had in the past."

Mr. Gary said he recommended that the county join the class
action lawsuit "because it's going to continue to get worse.  I
think the state is also going to be involved in it."

Mr. Steagall said his initial thought had been whether the opioid
abuse issue had caused damage to the county.  "But we do have to
pay medical bills for the prisoners in jail," he said.

Mr. Steagall said that he is also going to present information
about the class action lawsuit to the other municipalities that
he represents.

Blankenship said the issue will be an agenda item at the next
voting meeting.

Neighboring Coffee County has approved an agreement for such a
lawsuit with the Pensacola, Fla.-based Levin, Papantonio, Thomas,
Mitchell, Rafferty and Proctor law firm. Enterprise Attorney Dale
Marsh had presented information about the class action suit to
the Coffee commissioners and will serve as the local liaison.

Mr. Steagall also provided a brief update on an unrelated civil
lawsuit about school tax distribution.

That dispute centers on a directive from the State Department of
Education to the Dale County Revenue Commissioner Eleanor Outlaw
to include Enterprise and Dothan City Schools in the distribution
of Dale County school taxes.

Some 600 students attending Enterprise City Schools live in Dale
County and 29 students attending Dothan City Schools live in Dale

Thirty-third Judicial Circuit Judge Kimberly Clarke issued a
restraining order prohibiting Outlaw from sending checks to
Enterprise and Dothan schools pending the outcome of the

Mr. Steagall said that the Association of County Commissions of
Alabama has provided an attorney to represent Outlaw.  If the
parties cannot come to a resolution before then, a court hearing
is set for Jan. 10, 2018.

The next meeting of the Dale County Commission was scheduled for
Tuesday, Dec. 19, at the Dale County Government Building in
Ozark.  A work session begins at 10 a.m. and is followed
immediately by a voting meeting.  Both meetings are open to the
public. [GN]

BIG PHARMA: La Crosse County Weighing Options for Opioid Case
Randy Erickson, writing for Lacrosse Tribune, reports that nearly
50 of Wisconsin's 72 counties have filed suit against 14
pharmaceutical companies and individuals deemed responsible for
the opioid drug epidemic that has put a monumental strain on many
aspects of public service provided by counties.

La Crosse County, however, is not ready to jump on the bandwagon

Representatives of the Wisconsin Counties Association made a
strong pitch at a convention in September for counties to take
legal action, arguing it was a "moral imperative."  A coalition
of three law firms has offered to represent counties in
litigation against "big pharma" with no cost up front and no cost
if the lawsuit isn't successful.

While 48 counties already have filed lawsuits in federal court,
La Crosse County has been cautious about jumping in,
investigating issues and options, and that investigation will
continue for another month or two.

At the Dec. 13 meeting of the La Crosse County Board's Executive
Committee, the panel directed the county's legal department to
continue looking into a number of still unanswered questions.

"We are thoughtful and deliberative and thorough in our
investigation and the work that we do month in and month out,"
said Board Chair Tara Johnson, who objected to criticism the
county is "dithering on the sidelines" while other counties take
action. "The fact that we are talking about this in our December
cycle is because this is how we do things."

All the counties surrounding La Crosse County have either filed
lawsuits or approved filings in the past two months, with the
Monroe County Board voting 13-2 to sue. Crawford County is
pursuing litigation, but not as part of the WCA-endorsed effort.

County Administrator Steve O'Malley noted, however, that all but
one of the state's most populous counties still are exploring
their options.

The action urged by the Wisconsin Counties Association involves
the three legal firms filing individually on behalf of counties
-- these aren't class-action suits.  Megan DeVore, county
corporation counsel, said about 90 percent of the proposed 75-
page civil complaint will be the same for all the counties filing

The lawsuits filed so far target Purdue Pharma, Johnson &
Johnson, Endo Health Solutions Inc. and subsidiaries of the
companies as well as three doctors in California and Utah.  The
suits seek compensatory and punitive damages and legal costs,
alleging that the plaintiffs' "nefarious and deceptive" marketing
campaigns precipitated the nation's opioid overdose epidemic.

The lawsuit asserts that county health and law enforcement
services "have been strained to the breaking point" because of
the overdose crisis, which has claimed thousands of lives.  In
Wisconsin alone in 2016 there were 827 drug overdose deaths,
according to state Attorney General Brad Schimel, who has made
combating the opioid crisis one of his offices central missions.

More than two dozen states, cities and counties have filed
similar lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies, accusing them
of making false claims about the safety of their drugs to make a
profit.  "Defendants' goal was simple: to dramatically increase
sales by convincing doctors that it was safe and efficacious to
prescribe opioids to treat not only the kind of severe and short-
term pain associated with surgery or cancer, but also for a
seemingly unlimited array of less severe, longer-term pain, such
as back pain and arthritis to name but two examples," the lawsuit

Drug companies knew their "products were addictive, subject to
abuse, and not safe or efficacious for long term use," the
lawsuit says, claims that the plaintiffs have denied.

"We vigorously deny these allegations and look forward to the
opportunity to present our defense," Purdue Pharma said in a

Endo Health Solutions said its "top priorities include patient
safety and ensuring that patients with chronic pain have access
to safe and effective therapeutic options" while preventing
opioid abuse.

Johnson & Johnson said allegations in similar lawsuits are
"legally and factually unfounded."

The WCA endorsed legal action might seem on the surface like an
easy win-win for counties, with no upfront legal costs and no
obligation to pay anything if the litigation fails.  But the
county would likely face a significant cost and burden on staff
time during the "discovery" process, the pretrial investigatory
period when both sides can pursue any testimony and documents
that might be germane to the case.

Mr. O'Malley noted that a few years ago the county was involved
as the lead county in a class-action lawsuit against a guardrail
manufacturer.  That case was a much simpler matter than the
opioid case would be, but even so it required a lot of staff time
to comply with the defendant's discovery demands, including
taking up two full days of Highway Commissioner Ron Chamberlain's

In the opioid case, Ms. DeVore said, "the issue that requires the
most thought is the compensatory damage. . . .You have to prove
that there was a cost to the county and what that cost was."

Unraveling the cost to the county of the opioid crisis would be
no easy feat. There's no box to check on out-of-home child
placements, for example, to indicate that they were related to
parental abuse of prescription painkillers or use of heroin that
was precipitated by a previous addition to doctor-prescribed

Ms. DeVore noted the county also would have to spend a lot of
time blacking out names and private information in documents
because there is no implied waiver of confidentiality for county
records as there would be in a case of an individual suing the
county.  "We can't just make a copy of all the records and hand
them over," she said.  "They're going to require a significant
amount of redaction."

Counties are jumping in with opioid-related lawsuits now because
of lessons learned when states took on tobacco companies.
Counties expected to get a commensurate share of the tobacco
litigation settlement, but Ms. DeVore said that never happened.

Mr. Schimel noted in a guest column in the Dec. 13 La Crosse
Tribune that Wisconsin is part of a multi-state investigation
into the major opioid manufacturers.  More than 40 other states
are involved in the probe, and Mr. Schimel noted that similar
multi-state investigations have led to "substantial recoveries"
from defendants.

"Needless to say, if the coalition of states determines a lawsuit
is necessary, I will pursue this strategy," he wrote.  "However,
filing a lawsuit now will likely lead to delay tactics and
endless litigation that could last many years."

Ideally, the county would file a lawsuit and be offered a
pretrial settlement before having to go through the laborious
discovery process.  Whether the county could better achieve that
objective through the WCA-endorsed legal action or with another
law firm is one of a number of questions the county's legal
department will be researching over the next month or two.

Executive committee members' comments indicated they are on the
same page as Johnson in terms of taking a cautious and thoughtful

"I don't think taking our time and doing it deliberately is
detrimental," committee member Dave Holtze said.  "I'm not sure
we have to address it [today] because it's not going to be solved
tomorrow." [GN]

BIG PHARMA: Arkansas Municipalities File Opioid Class Action
Scott Carroll, writing for KATV, reports that a coalition of
Arkansas municipalities has filed a federal lawsuit against some
of the world's biggest opioid manufacturers and distributors,
accusing the companies of creating a public health crisis in
Arkansas and across the country by deceptively marketing
painkillers and persuading doctors to over-prescribe the drugs.

The Arkansas Municipal League filed the suit on Dec. 12 in U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.  The suit
accuses the companies of "borrowing a page from Big Tobacco's
playbook" by downplaying the risks of using opioids -- addiction,
in particular -- and overstating the benefits of using the drugs.

The 13 listed defendants are some the biggest companies in a
global multi-billion dollar industry.  They include Johnson &
Johnson; Purdue Pharma; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is based
in Belgium; Cardinal Health; McKesson Corporation, and Activis
Pharma, which is based in Ireland.

The 72-page lawsuit says the defendants "formed an opioid
marketing enterprise in violation of Arkansas law for the purpose
of illegally promoting the widespread use of opioids for chronic

It continues: "Arkansas is now awash in opioids and engulfed in a
public health crisis the likes of which have never been seen

"This epidemic, fueled by opioids lawfully prescribed by doctors,
has resulted in a flood of prescription opioids available for
illicit use or sale (the supply), and a population of patients
physically and psychologically dependent on them (the demand),"
the suit says.  "And when those patients can no longer afford or
legitimately obtain opioids, they often turn to the street to buy
prescription opioids or even heroin."

Arkansas has the second-highest opioid prescription rate in the
country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention.  The agency reported the rate to be 114.6 opioid
prescriptions per 100 people. The national average is 66.5
prescriptions per 100 people.

There were about 108 opioid-related deaths in Arkansas in 2017,
according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

A rise in opioid overdoses has led law enforcement agencies
across the state, from Benton police to Arkansas State Police, to
start carrying naloxone, a anti-overdose drug better known by its
brand name, Narcan.

The state has also taken action. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced in
September that pharmacists would no longer be required to write a
prescription to dispense naloxone.

The Arkansas Municipal League lawsuit is the latest in a wave of
litigation that cities and counties have filed against drug-
makers as opioid overdoses and deaths have surged across the

Chicago, Seattle and Indianapolis are among the cities that have
sued on grounds similar to the municipal league's lawsuit,
according to reports. Hospitals have also sued the drug-makers.

In 2017, a man filed a federal class-action lawsuit in
Fayetteville against several of the drug-makers named in the
municipal league lawsuit.

More than 400 cities and towns including North Little Rock,
Fayetteville, Fort Smith and Jacksonville are part of the
Arkansas Municipal League.  The group's lawsuit seeks punitive
damages, and for drug-makers' "scheme of false representations
and concealments of material fact regarding the use of opioids"
to be declared illegal.

Little Rock attorney Brent Moss, along with North Little Rock
attorneys John Wilkerson and Mark Hayes, filed suit on the
group's behalf.  They had not returned a call seeking comment
late on Dec. 13.

Spokesmen for the drug companies named as defendants could not be
immediately reached for comment. [GN]

CABLE & WIRELESS: Won't Delist Shares of Class Action Plaintiffs
Eric Smith, writing for Nation News, reports that Cable &
Wireless (C&W) has agreed not to apply to de-list from the
Barbados Stock Exchange, nor to cancel the shares held by the
minority shareholders named in a class action suit against the
company, until the case is determined.

Queen's Counsel Garth Patterson of Lex Caribbean, had filed an
application on behalf of the minority shareholders on November
22, seeking interim injunctions to prevent Cable & Wireless
(Barbados) Ltd from taking such action.

At the centre of the group's concern was a feeling that they were
being "forced" to sell their shares as a result of a merger of
C&W and Cable & Wireless Barbados, which traded as Flow.

This amalgamation first came to light in July when C&W Barbados
announced it had received a proposal from Cable & Wireless West
Indies to acquire all shares it did not already own by means of
an amalgamation.

On Dec. 8, Patterson, Bartlett Morgan and Taylor Laurayne of Lex
Caribbean, and counsel for Cable & Wireless, Barry Gale QC,
acting in association with Sir Henry Forde QC, Laura Harvey-Read
and Wendy Straker, appeared in the chambers of acting High Court
judge Alrick Scott in Supreme Court No. 9 for hearing of the
application. [GN]

CHENG DU: Didn't Pay Minimum & Overtime Wages, "Liu" Suit Says
behalf of themselves and others similarly situated v. CHENG DU 23
INC d/b/a Cheng Du 23, FU RESTAURANT LLC d/b/a Tsing Tao
Restaurant d/b/a Shanghai 46, YONGYI JIANG a/k/a Robert Jiang,
CHING XING LIN a/k/a Kevin Lin, and CINDY LIN, Case No. 2:17-cv-
12867 (D.N.J., December 10, 2017), accuses the Defendants of
willfully and intentionally committing widespread violations of
the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New Jersey State Wage and
Hour Law by engaging in a pattern and practice of failing to pay
their employees, including the Plaintiffs, the statutory minimum
wage and overtime compensation for all hours worked over 40 each

Cheng Du 23 Inc., doing business as Cheng Du 23, is a domestic
business corporation organized under the laws of the state of New
Jersey with a principal address in Wayne, New Jersey.  Fu
Restaurant LLC, doing business as Tsing Tao Restaurant, doing
business as Shanghai 46, is a domestic business corporation
organized under the laws of the state of New Jersey with a
principal address in Fairfield, New Jersey.  The Individual
Defendants are officers, directors, managers, and/or majority
shareholders or owners of the Corporate Defendants.

The Defendants operate, manage and/or own Chinese restaurants,
where the Plaintiffs work.[BN]

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          Aaron Schweitzer, Esq.
          John Troy, Esq.
          TROY LAW, PLLC
          41-25 Kissena Boulevard, Suite 119
          Flushing, NY 11355
          Telephone: (718) 762-1324
          E-mail: johntroy@troypllc.com

CHICAGO, IL: Lawyer Objects to Red Light Camera Settlement
Jonathan Bilyk, writing for Cook County Record, reports that
saying the deal "reeks of a collusive settlement" that will give
millions to lawyers and next to nothing for law-abiding residents
who dutifully paid their $100 fines, an attorney, who is pressing
his own class action case seeking to "dismantle" Chicago's red
light camera program, has filed an objection asking a Cook County
judge to undue a settlement Chicago city officials have said they
hope will allow City Hall to bring class action litigation over
the red light camera program to a relatively inexpensive end.

On Dec. 11, attorney Patrick Keating, of the firm of Roberts
McGivney Zagotta LLC, of Chicago, filed a motion on behalf of a
woman, identified as Maureen P. Sullivan, objecting to the city's
proposed $38 million settlement designed to end one of the class
action lawsuits faced by the city over its controversy-plagued
red light camera traffic enforcement program.

"Class Counsel are selling a 'settlement' that lets the City
administer its claim submission and payment process, that
provides class members no data to determine, or even estimate,
how much they will receive for their $100 ticket payments,"
Keating wrote in the motion.  "The deal is evidently structured
so that that the crowed-about refund of half of monies paid will
only apply if a small fraction of class members, faced with an
opaque notice and a disinterested class action administrator,
submit their claim forms in the short time allowed, upon a single
notice and using a non postage-paid return envelope.

"With checks that go void in 60 days." (sic)

In July, the Chicago City Council voted to approve the
settlement.  The deal had been described as an "unprecedented"
win for Chicago residents and others who were made to pay fines
of $100 per violation after receiving tickets for being
photographed by a red light camera posted at various
intersections throughout the city.

City officials also hailed the deal as a way to minimize the
potential blow to taxpayers, compared to how much the city may
have been made to pay, should the case have proceeded to trial
and a judgment had been entered against the city.

That settlement had itself followed a ruling in late 2016 from a
Cook County judge, who had determined the case, brought by
attorneys Myron Cherry and Jacie Zolna, of Myron Cherry &
Associates, of Chicago, should be expanded to include a class of
additional plaintiffs numbering conservatively in the hundreds of
thousands who had received a red light camera ticket, but had
received only one violation notice, while the city ordinance had
required a second notice be sent before the city began assessing
additional fines and fees for unpaid tickets.

Under the terms of the deal, the city pledged to pay $15 million
into a fund to be used to refund up to half of the cost of the
fines paid by those who had received red light tickets.  The city
also pledged to not use the tickets when determining whose
vehicles to "boot" or tow for unpaid fines; the city estimated
this aspect of the settlement, held out as a debt forgiveness
package, would be worth an additional $12 million.

And the city also agreed to not contest the Cherry firm's plan to
ask the court to pay attorney fees of nearly $12 million more.

As the deal moves toward final approval, Mr. Keating filed an
objection asking the court to undo or rework the deal to make it
more friendly to those who paid their fines.

In the motion, Mr. Keating assails virtually every aspect of the
deal, saying, on one hand, the deal goes "way too far" in
allowing the city to essentially escape the litigation on the
cheap, paying 10 percent or less of damages a court could have
ordered, while also effectively short-circuiting other class
actions now pending in Illinois courts over the red light camera

Mr. Keating is representing a group of plaintiffs challenging not
just procedural errors, but the very legal basis underlying the
red light camera program.  That case was dismissed by a Cook
County judge, but has been appealed.

Mr. Keating noted the Cherry firm lawyers were aware of his other
case, saying they specifically asked the court to not consolidate
their case with his, yet executed their deal, knowing the
settlement could be used by the city to attempt to negate any
other class actions, as most class members in other cases would
be covered by the terms of the settled case.

On the other hand, however, Keating said the deal doesn't go far
enough, as it could leave potential class members with far less
than refunds worth even half of the fines they paid --
potentially as little as $7 each, depending on how many ticket
recipients file claims for refunds.  And even those payments
could be sidestepped under an "opaque" claims process overseen by
the city, who would issue refunds using checks allowed to expire
60 days after issuance.

But at the same time, Keating said the deal gives the Cherry firm
nearly $12 million, which he said amounts to 43 percent of the
total settlement amount, when the "nearly worthless debt
extinguishment" estimate is excluded from the calculation.

"Maureen Sullivan submits that the payments to class members
would need to be much higher to support such a fee, if such a
payment can ever be justified with reference to the lodestar in
this case," Mr. Keating wrote in the objection.

Specifically, in the objection, Keating asks the court to order
the settlement be revised "clarifying the language . . . that
might affect or limit the rights of her and thousands of others
to pursue their remedies" in the other class action case, and
order the settlement be "modified to be more substantively and
procedurally adequate and fairer to Class Members." [GN]

CITIGROUP INC: Defendants Ask 2nd Cir. Review of "Leber" Ruling
Defendants Michael Carpenter, Paul Collins, James Costabile,
Virgil Cumming, David Dodillet, Doe Defendants, Robert Grogan,
William Heyman, Robin Leopold, Alan MacDonald, Michael Murray,
Christine Simpson, Richard Tazik, The Benefit Plans Investment
Committee of Citigroup, Inc., The Citigroup 401(K) Plan
Investment Committee, Todd Thomson, Timothy Tucker, David Tyson,
Ronald A. Walter, Guy Whittaker, Donald Young, James Zelter and
Bruce Zimmerman filed an appeal from a court ruling in the
lawsuit styled Leber, et al. v. CitiGroup, Inc., et al., Case No.
07-cv-9329, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District
of New York (New York City).

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter on Dec. 20,
2017, the District Court issued an Opinion and Order granting the
Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification.

The action involves allegations of self-dealing and imprudent
fiduciary conduct related to the administration of Citigroup's
401(k) Plan.  The Plan is a defined contribution plan, within the
meaning of 29 U.S.C. Section 1002(34).

The three named plaintiffs -- Marya J. Leber, Sara L. Kennedy,
and Sherri M. Harris -- are all participants in the 401(k) Plan,
and claim that the committees responsible for overseeing the Plan
during the putative class period, along with those committees'
individual members and officers, breached their fiduciary duties
of prudence and loyalty by persistently favoring certain
investment options despite the fact that those options had higher
management fees than comparable alternatives.

In their Fourth Amended Complaint, plaintiffs bring three counts,
reflecting three different ways in which defendants are alleged
to have improperly favored Citigroup's proprietary funds and
thereby breached their duties of prudence and loyalty, in
violation of the fiduciary standards outlined in sections 404(a)
and 405 of ERISA.

The appellate case is captioned as Leber, et al. v. CitiGroup,
Inc., et al., Case No. 17-3978, in the United States Court of
Appeals for the Second Circuit.[BN]

Plaintiffs-Respondents Marya J. Leber, and all others similarly
situated, Sara L. Kennedy, Leslie Highsmith and Sherri M. Harris
are represented by:

          James A. Moore, Esq.
          4530 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
          Washington, DC 20016
          Telephone: (202) 364-6900
          Facsimile: (202) 364-9960
          E-mail: jmoore@mctiguelaw.com

Defendants-Petitioners The Citigroup 401(K) Plan Investment
Committee, James Costabile, Robert Grogan, Robin Leopold, Doe
Defendants, 1-20, Christine Simpson, Richard Tazik, Timothy
Tucker, Donald Young, The Benefit Plans Investment Committee of
Citigroup, Inc., Michael Carpenter, Paul Collins, Virgil Cumming,
David Dodillet, William Heyman, Alan MacDonald, Michael Murray,
Todd Thomson, David Tyson, Guy Whittaker, James Zelter, Bruce
Zimmerman and Ronald A. Walter are represented by:

          Lewis R. Clayton, Esq.
          1285 Avenue of the Americas
          New York, NY 10019
          Telephone: (212) 373-3215
          E-mail: lclayton@paulweiss.com

CITIZENS INC: Robbins Arroyo Investigates Fiduciary Duty Breach
Shareholder rights law firm Robbins Arroyo LLP is investigating
whether certain officers and directors of Citizens, Inc. (NYSE:
CIA) breached their fiduciary duties to shareholders. Citizens,
through its subsidiaries, provides life insurance products in the
United States and internationally.

Citizens Accused of Engaging in Ponzi Stock Scheme

A securities class action complaint has been filed against
Citizens.  The complaint is brought on behalf of all purchasers
of Citizens securities between March 11, 2015 and April 27, 2017,
for alleged violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by
Citizens' officers and directors.  According to the complaint,
Citizens uses deceptive marketing practices to lure clients into
purchasing insurance policies.  While Citizens' brokers masque
themselves as financial advisors with international licenses,
they permit Citizens' sales associates to input inaccurate stock
projection information into marketing collateral distributed to
their clients.  Moreover, the multilevel marketing sales force
has continuously marketed the policies as tax-exempt even after
the company officially recognized that the majority of its
policies are not tax-exempt.  As a result, Citizens' stock price
was artificially inflated until March 8, 2017, when it was
reported that the company was under investigation by the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission and Internal Revenue Service
for its unlawful business practices.

Citizens 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 is a nationally recognized leader in
shareholder rights law.  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]

CITY OF REDONDO BEACH: "Arnold" Action Seeks Unpaid Overtime Pay
David Arnold, Matthew Alston, John J. Anderson, John Banach, John
Bruce, Christopher Bushman, Robert Carlborg, Mark Chafe, David M.
Christian, Yesenia Contreras, Ryan Crespin, Clinton Daniel,
Delvin Delery, Michael A. Diehr, Vincent Dileva, Justin Drury,
Joseph Fonteno, Erik Frame, Salvador Garcia, Catherine Garcia,
Daryn Glenn, Michael J. Green, Daniel Haley, Latoya Harris, Ryan
Harrison, Wesley Hatfield, Frank Hernandez, Todd Heywood, Edward
Jackson, Corey W. King, Patrick Knox, Richard A. Kochheim, Andrew
Lewis, Brian Long, Brett Manis, Robert S. Martin, Michael
Martinez, Timothy McFarland, Jonathan D. Naylor, Blake Nimmons,
Aaron Plugge, Charles T. Prestia, Bryan Ridenour, Victor Salazar,
Jason Sapien, Fabian Saucedo, Michael Snakenborg, Christopher
Sosenko, Stephen M. Sprengel, Joshua Spry, Terrence Stevens,
Michael Strosnider, William J. Turner, Keith Turner, Lou Velez,
Brian Weiss, Wayne Windman, and Jenna Wolfinger, and other
similarly-situated individuals, Plaintiffs, v. City of Redondo
Beach, Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-09097 (C.D. Cal., Dec. 19,
2017), seeks to recover overtime compensation, liquidated
damages, costs and reasonable attorney's fees under the
provisions of Fair Labor Standards Act.

City of Redondo Beach is a political subdivision of the State of
California of which Plaintiffs are City employees.

Plaintiffs are represented by:

     Michael A. McGill, Esq.
     4333 Park Terrace Drive, Suite 200
     Westlake Village, CA 91361
     Telephone: (805) 373-5900
     Facsimile: (818) 874-1382
     E-mail: mmcgill@adamsferrone.com

COMBINED INSURANCE: Dolmage Appeals Ruling to Seventh Circuit
Plaintiff Anne Dolmage filed an appeal from a court ruling in her
lawsuit, styled Anne Dolmage v. Combined Insurance Company of
America, Case No. 1:14-cv-03809, in the U.S. District Court for
the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.

The appellate case is captioned as Anne Dolmage v. Combined
Insurance Company of America, Case No. 17-3481, in the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The briefing schedule in the Appellate Case states that
appellant's brief is due on or before January 16, 2018, for Anne
Dolmage. [BN]

Plaintiff-Appellant ANNE DOLMAGE, individually and on behalf of
all others similarly situated, is represented by:

          Ben Barnow, Esq.
          One N. LaSalle Street
          Chicago, IL 60602-0000
          Telephone: (312) 621-2000
          Facsimile: (312) 641-5504
          E-mail: b.barnow@barnowlaw.com

Illinois Corporation, is represented by:

          Francis A. Citera, Esq.
          Brett Doran, Esq.
          77 W. Wacker Drive
          Chicago, IL 60601-0000
          Telephone: (312) 456-8400
          Facsimile: (312) 456-8435
          E-mail: citeraf@gtlaw.com

COOK COUNTY, IL: Faces Another Class Action Over "Pop Tax"
Jonathan Bilyk, writing for Cook County Record, reports that on
the day the controversial Cook County "pop tax" expired, one of
the law firms behind the rash of class action lawsuits against
area retailers and restaurants over the collection of the tax
brought perhaps one final class action claim against an area
retailer, saying a man was charged a few cents too much for club
sodas he purchased at two local Jewel supermarkets.

On Dec. 1, lawyers with the Zimmerman Law Offices P.C., of
Chicago, filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of
named plaintiff Martin Vera against Albertsons Companies, parent
company of local supermarket chain Jewel-Osco.

The lawsuit asserts Vera purchased three bottles of Jarritos-
brand club soda at two Cook County Jewel stores in November, yet
the store added the Cook County sweetened beverage tax to the
purchases, even though club soda contains no sugar or other added
sweeteners, meaning the beverages should have been excluded from
the tax.

In all, the lawsuit alleges the store's decision to charge the
tax cost Vera an additional 50 cents per bottle of club soda.

The lawsuit further alleges Jewel likely did this to many other
customers, and asks the court to expand the action to include
anyone who bought any unsweetened beverage at any of Jewel-Osco's
54 stores in Cook County from Aug. 1 to Dec. 1 and was charged
the sweetened beverage tax.

The lawsuit comes as the latest -- and perhaps the last -- such
class action filed against retailers operating in the county,
alleging improper collection of the county's controversy-plagued,
and now repealed sweetened beverage tax.

The Cook County Board, at the urging of Cook County Board
President Toni Preckwinkle, enacted the tax in late 2016, saying
they expected the tax would bring in about $200 million per year
to help the county maintain services while also helping to reduce
consumption of soda pop and other beverages with added
sweeteners, which public health officials have linked to obesity
and other negative public health consequences.

However, from the moment the tax was enacted, it was dogged by
controversy, and in the days before the tax was scheduled to take
effect on July 1, a group of retailers sued to challenge the tax
as unwieldy and unconstitutional.

A Cook County judge, however, while delaying the imposition of
the tax by one month, rejected that legal challenge. In his
dismissal, the judge, Daniel Kubasiak, also brushed aside
concerns raised by the retailers over the risk of lawsuits,
calling the retailers' worries "merely speculation."

But within days of the tax taking effect, the first such lawsuit
was filed, followed quickly by many others in ensuing weeks,
against such retailers and restaurants as Walgreens, 7-Eleven,
Subway, McDonald's, Circle K, KFC and even the Art Institute of

All of the lawsuits alleged those selling both sweetened and
unsweetened beverages had at some point charged customers a few
cents too much for an unsweetened beverage, allegedly in
violation of the county ordinance and state consumer fraud laws.
The lawsuits typically asked the courts to award compensatory
damages and attorney fees.

The Zimmerman firm brought several of the lawsuits, including
against 7-Eleven, Subway, PepsiCo and KFC.

However, as the lawsuits began to pile up, public anger at the
tax built, and retailers complained their beverage sales had
plunged by as much as half, with much of the business merely
going to stores in surrounding Lake, Kane and Will counties and
across the stateline into Indiana, where the tax wasn't charged.
Under such mounting pressure, the county board voted in October
to repeal the tax, effective Dec. 1.

Vera then made the purchases at the local Jewel stores at the
center of his Dec. 1 lawsuit, even as county officials wound down
collection of the tax.

And in October, plaintiffs began quickly and quietly to settle
some of those pending lawsuits.  The Zimmerman firm, for
instance, settled the lawsuits against PepsiCo and 7-Eleven in
October, within days of the pop tax repeal vote, according to
court records.

The firm's lawsuit against Subway is currently being contested by
the company in Cook County court, after a federal judge rejected
Subway's bid to take the lawsuit to federal court.  In court
filings in that case, Subway's parent company, Doctor's
Associates, blasted the "opportunistic nature" of the lawsuit.

And the case against KFC remains pending, according to Cook
County court records.

Cook County court records also indicate the Zimmerman firm still
has a separate class action, which it filed in August, pending
against Albertsons and Jewel on behalf of named plaintiff Antonia
Morales. [GN]

EDISON INT'L: Judge Says HR Reps Mishandled 401(k) Plans
Brian Menickella, writing for Forbes, reports that the vast
majority of HR representatives likely have no idea of the
significant liability they are exposed to in their duties
regarding their company's 401(k).  HR representatives are
responsible for a number of duties, but one important task they
should never overlook is the management of 401(k) plans.
Although it might seem like a secondary role, it is their
fiduciary duty to ensure that decisions regarding retirement
plans are always made in the employees' best interests.  Turning
a blind eye or missing a small detail may result in significant
legal consequences and personal liability -- potentially exposing
their personal assets.  One such example is the case Tibble v.
Edison International.  Through a series of unlikely events, this
case eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the
VP of human resources was found liable of a fiduciary breach.

What went wrong in Tibble v. Edison?
Former employees of Midwest Generation LLC, a subsidiary of
Southern California Edison Company (SCE), filed a lawsuit against
SCE, parent company Edison International, Edison International
Trust Investment Committee, SCE Benefits Committee, SCE's vice
president of human resources and others involved in overseeing
the funds, alleging these parties breached their fiduciary
duties.  Led by former employee Glenn Tibble, the plaintiffs
claimed the management of their 401(k) plans were mishandled,
costing them more than $7 million.  They pursued recourse under
the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in a class
action lawsuit.

In the initial lawsuit, plaintiffs alleged plan administrators
bought retail shares in March 1999 instead of institutional
shares, which would have incurred lower fees.  They also claimed
SCE used monies from the retail shares to offset plan management
costs charged by its record-keeper, Hewitt Associates, LLC.  The
district court ruled three of the funds invested after 2001
should have been purchased as institutional shares.  However, it
also ruled some of the plaintiffs' claims were barred by the
statute of limitations, ERISA Section 1113.

The plaintiffs appealed, and the statute of limitations ruling
was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The high court determined
the district court had erred in applying the statute of
limitations because it did not consider the nature of the
fiduciary duty that should have been followed.  The case was
remanded back to the district court . After a decade of legal
activity, on August 16, 2017, the court ultimately found the HR
vice president and plan administrators liable.  Plaintiffs were
awarded losses plus entitlement to additional damages, along with
attorney fees.

ERISA cases a growing trend
The number of ERISA lawsuits has been growing over the past
several years.  One big case relating to neglecting fiduciary
duties was recently initiated by employees of GE.  They filed a
lawsuit alleging GE violated ERISA and managed employees' 401(k)
plan for its own benefit at the expense of the employees, costing
them $300 million in potential gains.

That is only one of the latest in a series of lawsuits relating
to administrative mismanagement of retirement plans.  Companies
recently brought to court for ERISA violations and/or
mismanagement of 401(k) funds include Nordstrom Inc., Lockheed
Martin, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and several universities and
colleges.  In November, Bloomberg reported that these cases do
not seem to be slowing down.

What is the solution?
What can organizations do to seek a solution to the problems
associated with mismanagement of fiduciary duties? Hiring an
actual "Investment Fiduciary" either ERISA 3(38) or ERISA 3(21)
Fiduciary offers significant opportunities for Plan sponsors and
HR professionals who are playing active roles in the management
of their 401k plan to manage risk.  Additional opportunities to
address risk can be found in the proper creation of investment
committees.  A properly established committee can seek to prevent
these disasters and also address the risk to some of the
committee members from significant personal liability.

An investment committee would be responsible for staying up-to-
date on the law, industry news, responsibilities under ERISA and
any other relevant information related to ERISA and other legal
responsibilities. Other activities may include:

   -- Drafting a charter stating the purpose of committee and
detailing how members are selected and what roles they play

   -- Establishing formal protocol for management of the plan's
investment strategy

   -- Determining fiduciary and non-fiduciary members

   -- Creating an investment policy statement

Members should be well-versed in the investment plan and strategy
and work towards ensuring the plan is responsibly managed and
adapted if necessary as legal precedents are set.  While
investment committees are not required under ERISA, they are a
good risk management mechanism and enable plan sponsors to focus
on the important issues that impact plan participants.
Committees aim to ensure due diligence and fiduciary duties are
always appropriately met and help avoid the types of decisions
that lead to costly lawsuits. [GN]

ELECTRICITY MAINE: Zurich Doesn't Want to Cover Litigation Claims
Jeff Sistrunk, writing for Law360, reports that Zurich American
Insurance Co. on Dec. 8 urged a Maine federal judge to hold that
it doesn't have to defend electricity supplier Electricity Maine
LLC in a proposed class action alleging the company overbilled
customers by about $35 million, contending that the underlying
complaint doesn't allege any potentially covered claims. [GN]

EQUITY RESIDENTIAL: Judge Allows Tenants to Pursue Class Action
Aaron Glantz, writing for Reveal, reports that a federal district
court judge in Oakland, California, has given the go-ahead for
tenants of one of the largest landlords in America to pursue a
class-action lawsuit alleging unlawful and excessive fees to
renters who are late on payments.

Notices to current and former tenants of Equity Residential's
properties went out after U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S.
White certified the class action, which argues that the company's
practice of charging a fee of either $50 or 5 percent of the
total delinquent rent when tenants are only one day late violates
California anti-profiteering statutes.

The company, founded and headed by billionaire Sam Zell, is the
third largest private owner of apartments in the United States,
with 78,000 units across six states, according to the National
Multifamily Housing Council.  Company filings show California is
its largest market, with more than 36,000 units in 150 properties
in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The tenants also argue that the company's practice of "stacking
late fees" by charging an additional penalty when rent is current
but an old late fee is outstanding is illegal under California

In court papers, company attorneys had argued that the fees were
legal and that the class action should not be certified because
"individual issues predominate."  A spokesman for Equity
Residential did not return multiple calls seeking comment for
this story.

Among the plaintiffs is child care worker Javanni Munguia-Brown,
who was raising three children in one of the company's East Palo
Alto apartments.  She said she paid her rent and all fees one day
early in March 2014. However, the company assessed an automatic
$50 late fee because she had a balance of $200 in previous late
fees and $122 in city administrative fees and water and sewer

"They're making a profit off people who can least afford it,
folks who are struggling to pay rent working in Silicon Valley in
food and landscaping," said Jason Tarricone, directing attorney
for the housing program at Community Legal Services in East Palo
Alto, which brought the case together with two California law
firms that specialize in class-action lawsuits.

"It's worse than payday lending," he said.  "We don't think of
these late fees as usurious interest but that's what it is. And
people will pay it because they don't want to lose their

Not all of Equity Residential properties are in poor
neighborhoods.  This reporter lived in one company's Palo Alto
apartment complexes, the Southwood Apartments, while completing a
journalism fellowship at Stanford University.  The company also
owns oceanside apartments in Santa Monica, a luxury tower on Park
Avenue South in Manhattan and a complex on Massachusetts Avenue,
a few blocks from the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Equity Residential is the latest large, corporate landlord to
come under scrutiny over what critics say are exorbitant fees.

In June, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting
exposed conditions at Colony Starwood Homes, a 35,000-house
rental empire founded by Tom Barrack, one of President Donald
Trump's oldest and closest friends.  Among the tenants featured
in the story was Evelyn Knights, a Los Angeles resident who
received a three-day eviction notice over a $49.33 late fee. The
company's stock filing showed it made $14 million in fees in 2016
and took in another $12 million tenant clawbacks, including
seized security deposits.

Mr. Barrack quit the company the day after Reveal's report and
the firm rebranded itself as Starwood Waypoint.  In November, ABC
News confronted company chief operating officer Charles Young
about the fees.

"It's part of the business," Young said. [GN]

ETHICON: Fails to Fully Inform Doctors of Vaginal Mesh Risks
Harriet Marsden, writing for Independent, reports that a global
medical company failed to fully inform doctors of the risks of
vaginal mesh implants, a BBC Panorama investigation is set to

The programme, which was set to air on Dec. 11, documents the
conflicts of interest, improper trialling and weak regulatory
system behind the vaginal mesh scandal, as reported in The
Independent in 2017.

The Panorama investigation reveals that Ethicon, which markets
mesh in the UK under brand name Gynecare TVT, did not update
doctors with the extent of risks for its leading mesh device.

It also discovered that the product was only tested in 31 women -
- and on sheep -- before being used in patients.

It comes just over a week after the death of Chrissy Brajcic, the
first woman reported to have died from mesh complications, and
the publication of a study on vaginal mesh in BMJ open revealing
the failures of the regulatory system and "weak evidence" used to
support device approval.

The transvaginal mesh procedure, which involves implanting a
polypropylene netted device into the vaginal wall, is performed
on at least 10,000 women in the UK every year to treat prolapse
and incontinence.

However, mounting evidence of higher risks, severe side effects
and insufficient trialling, as well as allegations of corruption
and whitewashing, have culminated in what's been branded "the
biggest health scandal since thalidomide".

Hundreds of thousands of women in the UK, US and Australia are
currently involved in lawsuits against mesh producers; at least
800 in the UK are suing the NHS.  Ethicon is a wholly-owned
subsidiary of multibillion-dollar Johnson and Johnson, one of the
main producers of mesh implants and currently the subject of
multiple class-action lawsuits.

The company produces "Instructions for Use" (IFU) leaflets to
accompany mesh products, designed to explain to doctors how to
insert the implants. They also explain the "adverse reactions",
or risks, associated with surgery, to help doctors explain these
to patients.

In 2009, Panorama will reveal, an associate medical director at
Ethicon warned, that the statements about side effects in the IFU
leaflets were not sufficient, as side effects were described as

However, thousands of women have suffered permanent or chronic
complications, sometimes manifesting years after the implant.

In an email in January 2009, the associate medical director
suggested that the wording be changed for three Ethicon Gynecare
TVT mesh implants, explaining: "From what I see each day, these
patient experiences are not 'transitory' at all."

But Ethicon admits it did not update the IFUs at the time. The
company's latest IFUs, updated in 2015, do make clear some
effects may be permanent, but use incomplete and insufficient
risk assessment data to do so.

Dr Wael Agur, a consultant urogynaecologist, told Panorama: "It's
so important for me as a surgeon to understand the full risks of
a medical device I'm about to implant . . . and my first resource
would be the IFU.

"I would expect the manufacturer to have a comprehensive list of
the adverse events and the risks within the instructions for use
so I fully understand these and communicate them."

The investigation also revealed that Ethicon's TVT-Secur implant
-- sold worldwide, and designed to be the company's safest mesh
product -- was launched in 2006 after only being tested on 31
women for five weeks, and some sheep.  The product was withdrawn
from the market in 2012.

Ella Ebaugh, from Pennsylvania, was fitted with a TVT-Secur
device in May 2007 to help cure mild incontinence.  It was one of
two mesh implants she had fitted; she later had surgery to try to
remove them.

She suffered chronic pain that left her needing a walking stick
and mobility scooter.  She sued Ethicon, and in September 2017
was awarded $57m (GBP42.6 million) by the court -- which Ethicon
is currently appealing.

In her first UK interview, she told Panorama: "If I was told that
I would need a wheelchair to get around, if I was told that I was
going to live with permanent disabilities for the rest of my
life, I wouldn't have had a surgery for a simple stress urinary
incontinence problem."

She added: "The pain that I have I will have to live with for the
rest of my life. There's nothing they can do to help me."

Figures compiled for Panorama by NHS Digital and NHS Wales show
that the NHS has implanted more than 130,000 mesh devices in the
last decade.

In that same period (2006-7 to 2016-17), there have been 6,000
procedures to remove or partially remove the implants.

However, the real number could be much higher: these figures only
relate to the NHS in England and Wales, and do not include women
who have paid to have the device removed privately, or who
received "partial snips" to stop the mesh cutting through the

Doreen Day, aged 70, for example, had a TVT implanted in 2007 to
treat pelvic organ prolapse.  The surgery left her in acute pain,
needing morphine and painkillers to function: "I was in sheer
agony, as if I had a cheese grater inside me."

In 2015 she travelled to Los Angeles to have her mesh partially
removed at a cost of รบ22,000, which she paid for out of her
personal savings. She is still suffering from pelvic nerve

Mesh implants for prolapse have led to higher complication rates
than mesh implants for incontinence.

A spokesperson for Ethicon said: "While we empathise with those
who have experienced complications, the vast majority of women
with pelvic mesh see an improvement in their day-to-day lives.

"All surgical pelvic floor procedures -- with and without mesh --
come with the risk of developing complications."

Dr Linda Cardozo, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and
Gynaecologists, echoed this, telling Panorama: "You cannot
operate without complications occurring in a small minority of
cases.  You are never aware of complications that may occur years
later, and that doesn't just occur with these tapes and meshes."

She has previously described a ban as a "retrograde step",
arguing: "If mesh is banned, there will be no more clinical
trials.  We will go back to how we were a century ago when we
couldn't offer women a range of options."

But Kath Sansom, founder of prominent anti-TVM campaign group
Sling the Mesh, claims that Dr Cardozo speaks with "a heavy

She commented to The Independent: "It is a shame that Linda
Cardozo has spoken out on this issue to Panorama without
declaring her ties to industry."

Dr Cardozo has previously admitted her ties to Ethicon, and also
accepts research monies from Pfizer.

In a 2012 study assessing colposuspensions for women with stress
incontinence, which she co-authored, the "Conflicts of interests"
section lists Dr Cardazo as a consultant for AdvaMed, Astellas,
Ethicon and Pfizer, as well as a speaker honorarium and trial
participant for Pfizer.

According to Ms Sansom: "Dr Cardozo should have made it very
clear that she is a consultant to four industry giants, and a
consultant to a UK company that promotes pharmaceutical products
and medical devices to the NHS.  That means she speaks with a
heavy bias."

The MHRA, the UK medical devices regulator, told Panorama it
recognises that some women develop serious complications, but
maintains that many women gain benefit from these surgical

It said: "We continue to work closely with NHS England, Nice and
professional bodies, and we are all committed to helping address
the serious concerns raised by women who have experienced

"Currently, from a regulatory perspective, these devices are
acceptably safe when used as intended and as part of an
appropriate treatment pathway."

In October, a cross-party group took a debate to Parliament
calling for a suspension pending full inquiry into the scandal,
which the Government refused.

Later this month, England's National Institute for Health and
Care Excellence (Nice) are expected to recommend banning the mesh
devices. [GN]

FACEBOOK INC: Gullen Moves for Certification of Non-User Class
The plaintiff in the lawsuit styled FREDERICK WILLIAM GULLEN,
individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v.
FACEBOOK, INC., Case No. 3:16-cv-00937-JD (N.D. Cal.), moves for
certification of this class:

     All individuals who have never subscribed to Facebook.com or
     any other Facebook, Inc. service and, while residing in
     Illinois, whose face was depicted in a photograph uploaded
     to Facebook.com from a device assigned an Illinois-based
     internet protocol address at any point in time between
     August 31, 2010 and the present (the "Non-User Class").

In his complaint, Mr. Gullen alleges individual and class claims
against Facebook for collecting his and millions of other non-
users' "scans of face geometry" -- personally identifying
biometric data extracted from user-uploaded photographs -- in
willful violation of Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Mr. Gullen also seeks his appointment as class representative and
the appointment of Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya, LLP, as class

A copy of the Motion is available at no charge at

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Frank S. Hedin, Esq.
          David P. Milian, Esq.
          1395 Brickell Avenue, Suite 700
          Miami, FL 33131
          Telephone: (305) 372-7474
          Facsimile: (305) 372-7475
          E-mail: fhedin@careyrodriguez.com

               - and -

          Francis A. Bottini, Jr., Esq.
          Albert Y. Chang, Esq.
          Yury A. Kolesnikov, Esq.
          7817 Ivanhoe Avenue, Suite 102
          La Jolla, CA 92037
          Telephone: (858) 914-2001
          Facsimile: (858) 914-2002
          E-mail: fbottini@bottinilaw.com

FELIDIA RESTAURANT: Jara Seeks to Recover Minimum and OT Wages
HECTOR JARA, on behalf of himself, FLSA Collective Plaintiffs and
cv-09622 (S.D.N.Y., December 7, 2017), alleges that pursuant to
the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Plaintiff and others similarly
situated are entitled to recover from the Defendants:

   (1) unpaid minimum wages, including those resulting from the
       Defendants' alleged unlawful deduction of a tip credit;
   (2) unpaid overtime premium;
   (3) unpaid wages due to time shaving;
   (4) liquidated damages; and
   (5) attorneys' fees and costs.

Felidia Restaurant, Inc., is a domestic business corporation
organized under the laws of the state of New York with a
principal place of business located in New York City.  Pola
Restaurant Inc., doing business as BECCO, is a domestic business
corporation organized under the laws of the state of New York
with a principal place of business located in New York City.

Il Posto LLC, doing business as DEL POSTO, is a domestic limited
liability corporation organized under the laws of the state of
New York with a principal place of business located in New York
City.  Pulpo LLC, doing business as ESCA, is a domestic limited
liability corporation organized under the laws of the state of
New York with a principal place of business located in New York

Each of the Corporate Defendants is a member of the Batali &
Bastianich Hospitality Group ("B&B"), a restaurant group fully-
owned by the Individual Defendants headquartered in New York
City.  The Individual Defendants are owners and principals of
each of the Corporate Defendants.

The Defendants collectively own and operate four high-end Italian
restaurants in New York City: (a) "Felidia," located at 243 East
58th Street, in New York City; (b) "Becco," located at 355 West
46th Street, in New York City; (c) "Del Posto," located at 85
10th Avenue, in New York City; and (d) "Esca," located at 402
West 43rd Street, in New York City.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

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

FINISAR CORP: Shearman Comments on Denial of Class Certification
Shearman & Sterling LLP, in an article for Lexology, reports that
on December 5, 2017, the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California denied class certification in a
putative securities fraud class action against Finisar
Corporation ("Finisar"), a technology company focused on fiber
optic subsystems, and its current chairman/CEO and former CEO, in
which plaintiffs alleged that defendants misled investors by
denying that Finisar's revenue growth was the result of inventory
build-up by customers.  In re Finisar Corporation Securities
Litigation, No. 5:11-cv-01252-EJD (N.D. Cal. Dec. 5, 2017).  In
denying plaintiffs' motion for class certification, the Court
ruled that defendants successfully rebutted the fraud-on-the-
market presumption of reliance by demonstrating that defendants'
statements had no statistically significant impact on Finisar's
stock price.

Plaintiffs' allege that, prior to the class period, Finisar
experienced six consecutive fiscal quarters of growth.  During
this growth phase, industry analysts opined that Finisar's growth
was driven by customers building inventory rather than customers
purchasing Finisar's products for immediate use.  On a call with
analysts and investors on December 2, 2010, Finisar's then-CEO
allegedly responded to an analyst's question by assuring the
analyst that there were no issues with inventory build-up.  The
day that Finisar's former-CEO made this comment, Finisar's stock
price increased, and it continued to increase throughout the
class period.  On March 8, 2011, Finisar issued a press release,
in which it disclosed that its revenues would be lower than
projected due in part to "previously undisclosed inventory build-
up." Following the issuance of the press release, Finisar's stock
price dropped 39 percent.

Plaintiffs filed a motion to certify a class of all persons and
entities who purchased or otherwise acquired Finisar's common
stock between December 2, 2010 (the date of the alleged
misstatement) and March 8, 2011 (the date of the alleged
corrective disclosure).  With respect to Rule 23(b)(3)'s
predominance requirement, plaintiffs contended that class-wide
issues predominated over individualized issues with regard to the
element of reliance because class members are entitled to a
presumption of reliance based upon the fraud-on-the-market
theory.  The Court analyzed the predominance requirement in two
steps.  First, the Court ruled that, because Finisar's stocked
traded on an open, well-developed, and efficient market,
plaintiffs had made a sufficient showing to invoke the fraud-on-
the-market presumption of reliance.  Second, the Court ruled that
defendants had rebutted the presumption of reliance by presenting
evidence that the alleged misstatement did not impact Finisar's
stock price.  In reaching this result, the Court relied heavily
on defendants' expert report, which showed that there was an
increase in Finisar's stock price in the hours leading up to the
alleged misstatement, but that there was not a statistically
significant price increase immediately following the alleged

The Court also rejected plaintiffs' argument that price impact
should be inferred from Finisar's stock price decline following
the alleged corrective disclosure on March 8, 2011.  While
acknowledging that many courts have found price impact based on
price movement following a corrective disclosure, the Court ruled
that, under existing precedent, defendants are permitted to
"sever the link" between the alleged misrepresentation and the
price paid by the plaintiff by demonstrating a lack of price
movement at the time of the misrepresentation.  The Court also
rejected plaintiffs' argument that defendants' expert's analysis
was flawed because the three-hour timeframe he analyzed following
the alleged misstatement was too limited. The Court ruled that
the defendants' timeframe was reasonable because "an efficient
market is said to digest or impound news to the stock price in a
matter of minutes."

This case highlights that, even when there is a significant
decline in stock price following a corrective disclosure,
defendants can still rebut the fraud-on-the-market presumption of
reliance by demonstrating through expert evidence that there is
no price impact at the time of the alleged misstatement.  [GN]

FUJITSU TECHNOLOGY: Settles 401(k) Plan Class Action for $14MM
Rob Kozlowski, writing for Pensions & Investments, reports that
Fujitsu has settled for $14 million a class-action lawsuit
against its American subsidiary and 401(k) plan executives
alleging the plan violated its ERISA duties by paying high fees
for investment options.

The lawsuit, Johnson et al. vs. Fujitsu Technology and Business
of America Inc. et al., filed June 30, 2016, in U.S. District
Court in San Francisco, alleged that plan executives "failed to
utilize the least expensive share classes for many mutual funds
with the plan," according to the original court filing.

In the Dec. 6 settlement filing, the "defendants admit no
wrongdoing or liability with respect to any of the allegation or
claims in the complaint or amended complaint, any wrongdoing or
liability being expressly denied by defendants and each of them."

The original complaint alleged that plan executives paid record-
keeping expenses "far in excess of what a prudent fiduciary would
pay for those same services," and also argued that the plan had
offered and implemented an "imprudently" designed custom target-
date fund series.

Until July 31, 2015, the lawsuit said defendant Shepherd Kaplan
LLC, an investment adviser, was a "named investment fiduciary"
that designed the custom target-date series.  In March 2016, the
Fujitsu 401(k) plan replaced the target-date series with a new
series designed by Callan, the lawsuit added.

As of Dec. 31, 2016, the Fujitsu Group Defined Contribution and
401(k) Plan had $1.35 billion in assets, according to the
company's most recent Form 5500 filing.

In a statement emailed by a spokesman, Fujitsu said: "The
reporting we have seen so far has been based almost entirely on
rote repetition of allegations in the amended complaint.  Those
allegations are denied in the answers filed by the defendants, to
which we refer anyone interested in the real posture of this case
at the time of settlement."

"We are confident that, if this case had proceeded further, we
would have prevailed against many or all of the claims against
us. However, the history of cases of this nature is that they are
complex and expensive to litigate, and that the resolution of
them can take as long as a decade.  Therefore, we came to
conclude that this settlement at this time is in the best
interests of everyone," the statement said. [GN]

GAP INC: Accused by "Kaible" of Sending Illegal Marketing Texts
ADRIANA KAIBLE, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated v. THE GAP, INC., a Delaware corporation and
OLD NAVY, LLC a Delaware limited liability company, Case No.
0:17-cv-62408-RNS (S.D. Fla., December 7, 2017), accuses the
Defendants of making consumers' cellular phones ring by sending
illegal marketing text messages providing different types of
"deals," "discounts" and "savings" for goods sold by the
Defendants without first obtaining express written consent to
send such marketing text messages as required to do so under the
Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The Gap, Inc., is a Delaware corporation whose principal office
located in San Francisco, California.  The Gap is the parent
company for five apparel brands: Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy,
Athleta and Intermix.  These brands are available in 90
countries, including the United States, through 3,300 company-
operated stores as well as through an online presence.

Old Navy, LLC, is a Delaware limited liability company
headquartered in San Francisco.  Old Navy is a member managed
company whose sole managing member is Gap.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Jibrael S. Hindi, Esq.
          110 SE 6th Street
          Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
          Telephone: (954) 907-1136
          Facsimile: (855) 529-9540
          E-mail: jibrael@jibraellaw.com

               - and -

          Scott D. Owens, Esq.
          SCOTT D. OWENS, P.A.
          3800 S. Ocean Dr., Suite 2345
          Hollywood, FL 33019
          Telephone: (954) 589-0588
          Facsimile: (954) 337-0666
          E-mail: scott@scottdowens.com

GARDANT MANAGEMENT: Faces Class Action Over BIPA Violation
Lhalie Castillo, writing for Madison - St. Clair Record, reports
that three employees filed a class action lawsuit against
biometric collectors for allegedly unlawfully collecting personal

Stephanea Boyce, Evadne Denzmore and Nichole Holm, individually
and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a complaint
on Dec. 4, in the St. Clair County Circuit Court against Gardant
Management Solutions Inc. and Does 1-100, alleging that they
violated the Biometric Information Privacy Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that the
defendants illegally collected, stored and used their biometric
identifiers and information without informed written consent.

As a result of defendants' unlawful acts, Boyce, Denzmore and
Holm suffered damages of less than $75,000 and fear and worry
that their private information may be used illegally.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek an order
certifying this case as a class action and appointing plaintiffs'
counsel as class counsel, injunctive relief to protect the
plaintiffs' interest, statutory damages of $5,000 for intentional
violation and $1,000 for negligent violation of the act,
attorney's fees, costs and any further relief that the court
deems appropriate.

They are represented by John D. Driscoll of The Driscoll Firm PC
in St. Louis.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 17-L-719 [GN]

GARNETT STATION: "McGee" Seeks to Recover Wages for Shift Leaders
DOROTHY McGEE and MARKEGIOUS POLK, Individually, and on behalf of
themselves and other similarly situated current and former
employees v. GARNETT STATION PARTNERS, LLC, A Delaware Limited
Liability Company, CAMBRIDGE FRANCHISE HOLDINGS, LLC, a Delaware
Tennessee Corporation, and, RAY MEEKS, TIM FURR, JOSEPH MIRABILE,
Case No. 2:17-cv-02884-JPM-dkv (W.D. Tenn., December 8, 2017), is
a collective action for wage theft under the Fair Labor Standards
Act, to recover unpaid minimum wages and unpaid overtime
compensation and other damages owed to the Plaintiffs and other
similarly situated current and former employees, classified as
hourly-paid Shift Leaders by the Defendants.

Garnett Station Partners, LLC, is a Delaware Limited Liability
Company with its principal executive office located in Bartlett,
Shelby County, Tennessee.  Cambridge Franchise Holdings, LLC, is
Delaware Limited Liability Company with its principal executive
office located in Bartlett.  Mirabile Investment Corporation,
doing business as MIC, is a Tennessee Limited Liability Company
with its principal executive office located in Bartlett.  The
Individual Defendants are partners, agents, employees, directors
or officers of the Corporate Defendants.

The Defendants own and operate approximately 120 Burger King
Restaurants.  The Defendants owned and operated Burger King
franchised restaurants in several states across the U. S.,
including Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky and Indiana.[BN]

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          Gordon E. Jackson, Esq.
          James L. Holt, Jr., Esq.
          J. Russ Bryant, Esq.
          Paula R. Jackson, Esq.
          262 German Oak Drive
          Memphis, TN 38018
          Telephone: (901) 754-8001
          Facsimile: (901) 759-1745
          E-mail: gjackson@jsyc.com

GC SERVICES: Mails Misleading Collection Letters, Jaber Claims
SABAH JABER, individually and as representative of a class of
similarly situated persons v. GC SERVICES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, a
Delaware limited partnership, Case No. 2:17-cv-13971-VAR-SDD
(E.D. Mich., December 8, 2017), challenges the Defendant's
alleged policy and practice of mailing false, deceptive, and
misleading collection letters to consumers whose credit card
accounts have been placed for collection with the Defendant.

GC Services is a limited partnership organized under the laws of
the state of Delaware, and is authorized to conduct business in
Michigan.  The Defendant regularly collects or attempts to
collect debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Nemer N. Hadous, Esq.
          HADOUS CO. PLLC
          24725 W. 12 Mile Rd., Suite 110
          Southfield, MI 48034
          Telephone: (248) 663-5155
          E-mail: nhadous@hadousco.com

               - and -

          Michael Jaafar, Esq.
          23400 Michigan Avenue, Suite 110
          Dearborn, MI 48124
          Telephone: (313) 846-6400
          E-mail: mike@fairmaxlaw.com

               - and -

          Rex C. Anderson, Esq.
          REX ANDERSON, P.C.
          9459 Lapeer Rd., Suite 101
          Davison, MI 48423
          Telephone: (810) 653-3300
          E-mail: rex@rexandersonpc.net

GENERAL MOTORS: Faces Class Action Over Salt Contamination
Peter Chawaga, writing for Water Online, reports that residents
living near General Motor's Michigan testing facility have come
together to file a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer,
claiming it has knowingly contaminated the local water supply
since at least the 1980s.

"The alleged source of the contamination, which includes high
levels of sodium and chloride, is the Milford Proving Grounds, a
4,011-acre vehicle testing facilities that borders Livingston and
Oakland counties," Michigan Live reported.  "Opened in 1924, the
Proving Grounds contains more than 100 miles of roads, 'numerous
parking lots,' and more than 150 buildings, according to the

The lawsuit points to the release of hundreds of thousands of
tons of salt over the last 30 years as the contaminant at issue.

"Prolonged exposure to unsafe amounts of sodium and chloride can
have a negative effect on liver and kidney, as well causing
hypertension and high blood pressure," per Michigan Live.

The lawsuit charged GM with fraud, violation of the Michigan
Environmental Protection Act, negligence, trespassing, and acting
as a public and private nuisance.  Plaintiffs are seeking a
$25,000-plus award for each affected resident, a stop to the
pollution, and a comprehensive cleanup.

The manufacturer has a different take.

"GM does not believe the suit has merit," the company said in a
statement, reported by The Macomb Daily.  "Salt deposits
naturally occur in this area, and salt is also used on the many
nearby public roads during winter.  Nonetheless, acting as a good
neighbor, salt usage at the Milford Proving Ground has been
reduced by 60% over the last two decades."

Residents claim that water tests conducted by the Michigan
Department of Environmental Quality have found elevated levels of
sodium chloride in their homes. Some have been drinking bottled
water since 2005.

According to The Macomb Daily, GM's 2013 Annual Salt Usage and
Monitoring Report indicated that 18,414 tons of salt were used at
the proving grounds between 2007 and 2013 and the lawsuit claims
that water sources demonstrated contamination within that
timeframe.  In 2014, GM acknowledged contamination.

"The suit alleges that until October 2014, when GM issued the
migration notices to residents admitting contamination, and
despite reports citing sodium chloride contamination for more
than 30 years, GM actively concealed and ignored the level of
pollutants leaching into neighboring groundwater and drinking
water sources," per The Macomb Daily. [GN]

GEO GROUP INC: Underpaid "Novoa" Claiming Minimum Wages
Raul Novoa, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. The Geo Group, Inc., Defendant, Case No.
17-cv-02514 (C.D. Cal., December 19, 2017), seeks disgorgement of
GEO's unjustly-acquired revenue, profits, declaratory and other
equitable and injunctive relief, reasonable litigation expenses
and attorneys' fees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

California's Adelanto Detention Center is a civil immigration
detention facility owned and operated for profit by The GEO
Group, Inc.  From 2012 through 2015, Mr. Novoa was detained at
the Adelanto Facility.  During those three years, he was employed
by GEO as a janitor and a barber.  He was paid only $1 per day
for his labor, regardless of how many hours he worked. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Warren T. Burns, Esq.
      Will Thompson, Esq.
      900 Jackson Street, Suite 500
      Dallas, Texas 75202
      Tel: (469) 904-4550
      Fax: (469) 444-5002
      E-mail: wburns@burnscharest.com

             - and -

      Korey A. Nelson, Esq.
      Lydia A. Wright, Esq.
      365 Canal Street, Suite 1170
      New Orleans, LA 70130
      Telephone: (504) 799-2845
      Facsimile: (504) 881-1765
      E-mail: knelson@burnscharest.com

             - and -

      R. Andrew Free, Esq.
      P.O. Box 90568
      Nashville, TN 37209
      Telephone: (844) 321-3221
      Facsimile: (615) 829-8959
      E-mail: andrew@immigrantcivilrights.com

GEORGIA: Retirees File Class Action Over Health Insurance Plan
James Salzer, writing for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
reports that a state board's decision five years ago to change
health insurance policies so that some recently retired educators
would pay dramatically more for coverage is now the subject of a
class-action lawsuit.

Some of the retirees -- who have seen their rates about triple
since they retired in 2017 -- argue in the lawsuit filed in
Fulton County Superior Court that the Department of Community
Health's board broke a contract with them to provide the same
state-subsidized insurance as other retirees.

"We just want to be treated fairly," said Chuck Trader, a second-
career Camden County teacher who retired over the summer and is a
plaintiff in the lawsuit.  "They have taken away what we've
earned.  Had I known, I would have maybe not chosen to become a

The lawsuit was filed about three weeks after The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution first reported on the policy.

A Department of Community Health spokeswoman was not available
for comment.

The policy was approved through a resolution a few weeks before
Christmas in 2011.

The resolution created a system that gave retirees -- teachers,
school staffers, state employees -- insurance subsidies based on
their years of service.  Anyone with less than five years of
service with the state or a school system on Jan. 1, 2012, would
get relatively little subsidy after 10 years.  But the subsidy
would increase with more time working for the state or school

While DCH officials sent out a memo in February 2012 to districts
and agencies informing them about the decision -- aimed at saving
the state plan money -- retirees and teachers contacted by the
AJC said they didn't know about what they called the "retroactive

The issue came to a head this fall because teachers, school
staffers and employees hired in the 2007-2008 school year became
vested in the state retirement systems after 10 years over the

They began retiring, expecting to continue receiving state health
insurance for the same premiums they were paying while they were

They say they found out after they retired that they'd have to
pay nearly the full freight on the health care plan because they
didn't have five full years in the system as of January 2012.

Mr. Trader had left a career in corporate finance to become a
middle school math teacher.  When he retired after 10 years, his
family's insurance went from $540 a month to $1,611.  That's
almost double the $870 pension check he receives for his decade
in the classroom

In November DCH officials declined a request for an interview on
the issue but said in written responses to questions that the
policy was "a proactive step toward plan sustainability for
current and future retirees."  The "plan" that the DCH statement
refers to is the $3 billion-a-year State Health Benefit Plan,
which covers about 650,000 teachers, state employees, retirees
and their dependents.

DCH officials have often projected massive deficits in the
program and have made several changes to it over the years to
keep it solvent.

In its written response to the AJC, the agency said it didn't
know how many teachers and state employees would be affected, and
it didn't answer a question asking how much the plan is projected
to save.

Besides the earlier memo, the DCH said the agency sent out a
letter in December 2016 to State Health Benefit Plan members who
had not been part of the plan as of Jan. 1, 2012, notifying them
about the policy.

Teachers and employees who retired in 2017 when they reached 10
years in the system said they weren't told about the issue when
they talked with benefits managers this spring prior to leaving.

Critics of the policy say it could put a damper on the plans of
second-career teachers, those wanting to teach 10 to 12 years
after successful careers in other fields with the incentive that
they'll be able to retire with affordable health insurance.

"This is going to affect the recruitment of teachers," Mr. Trader
said.  "And who is going to go to work for people who break their

The lawsuit asks for damages and for the policy change to not
affect those on the payroll when it was approved in 2011. [GN]

GLOBAL CREDIT: "Goethel" Suit Claims FDCPA Violations
NANCY GOETHEL, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. GLOBAL CREDIT & COLLECTION CORP. and John Does 1-25,
Case No. 1:17-cv-08852 (N.D. Ill., December 8, 2017), seeks
damages and declaratory and injunctive relief on behalf of a
class of Minnesota consumers under the Fair Debt Collections
Practices Act.

Global Credit and Collection Corp. is a "debt collector" as the
phrase is defined in the FDCPA.  The Defendant is a company that
uses the mail, telephone and facsimile and regularly engages in
business the principal purpose of which is to attempt to collect
debts alleged to be due another.  The Doe Defendants are
fictitious names of individuals and businesses alleged for the
purpose of substituting names of the Defendants whose identities
will be disclosed in discovery and should be made parties to this

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Yaakov Saks, Esq.
          RC LAW GROUP, PLLC
          285 Passaic Street
          Hackensack, NJ 07601
          Telephone: (201) 282-6500
          E-mail: ysaks@rclawgroup.com

GOMEZ ENTERPRISES: Fails to Pay Overtime, "Calixto" Suit Alleges
EMILIO JUAREZ CALIXTO, individually and on behalf of others
similarly situated v. GOMEZ ENTERPRISES USA CORP. (d/b/a CAFE
37), Case No. 1:17-cv-09617 (S.D.N.Y., December 7, 2017), alleges
that the Plaintiff has worked for the Defendant in excess of 40
hours per week, without receiving the applicable minimum wage or
appropriate compensation for the hours over 40 per week that he
has worked.

Gomez Enterprises USA Corp. is a corporation organized and
existing under the laws of the State of New York.  It owns a
restaurant under the name "Cafe 37" located at 47 West 37th
Street, in New York City.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Michael A. Faillace, Esq.
          60 East 42nd Street, Suite 4510
          New York, NY 10165
          Telephone: (212) 317-1200
          Facsimile: (212) 317-1620
          E-mail: Michael@Faillacelaw.com

GOOGLE INC: Fails to Refund Advertisers for Invalid Clicks
Jim Edwards, writing for Business Insider, reports that a web
advertising company named AdTrader, whose staff surreptitiously
recorded a phone conversation with a Google executive, claims in
a class-action lawsuit that Google does not refund money to
advertisers when it discovers that those advertisers have spent
money on fraudulent or invalid clicks.

If the suit is successful it could put Alphabet, Google's parent
company, under pressure to repay tens or hundreds of millions of
dollars to advertisers whose money was spent on websites that
Google later deemed broke its rules.  The suit, citing a 2014
report, claims AdX generates $1 million per hour for its

A Google spokesperson said, "We look forward to reviewing the
specific complaint. From what we have read in the press, these
allegations are without merit.  We have a longstanding policy of
refunding advertisers for invalid traffic.  As we recently
announced, this is currently being expanded to include ads
purchased via DoubleClick Bid Manager." That announcement was
made in September.

Google is likely to fight the case.  The company has an incentive
to remove bad actors from its systems in order to make its sure
its ad inventory is of high quality, to keep advertisers coming
back for more.

The search giant has suffered for years from unfounded rumours
that it retains money spent through its ad placement systems on
websites that break its rules.  The company often has difficulty
explaining publicly why it kicks publishers off its platforms
because to do so would offer clues to nefarious operators on how
to avoid Google's scam detection efforts.  Google is also plagued
by low-quality websites and advertisers who try to game its
systems to their own advantage, and the company is known to be
aggressive about removing them.

Nearly $500,000 - gone

About $80 billion of Google's $90 billion in annual revenue comes
from advertising sales.  Put very simply, Google provides a
massive set of platforms through which advertisers pay to place
their ads on thousands of available websites.  Advertisers simply
pick what type of people they want to target -- by gender or
location, for instance -- and Google automatically places those
ads on websites that fit the bill.  Similarly, Google allows
website publishers to offer their empty ad space for sale on
those systems.  That business is so lucrative, and so
complicated, that ad management companies have sprung up to
assist advertisers and publishers to get the best deals.

New Jersey-based AdTrader is one of those companies.  Its staff
came to believe there was a financial discrepancy in their
payments from Google, the US federal lawsuit claims, when they
taped a phone call with Google's Dublin-based director of online
partnerships, Anthony Nakache.  In the call, Nakache allegedly
says that $476,622 paid by advertisers that ran on sites that
fell afoul of Google's rules would be refunded to AdTraders'
advertising clients, according to the suit.  What Nakache did not
know, AdTrader claims, is that AdTrader was acting as both a
buyer and a seller of ad space for its clients and was thus able
to check whether that $476,622 actually arrived in its clients'

The money was never received from Google by the clients, the suit
claims, and AdTrader ended up reimbursing its clients for the
sum.   "Advertisers have long been promised that they would get
refunds or credits if Google determined that impressions or
clicks on their ads were invalid.  It appears that Google never
honored this promise, and this lawsuit is intended to force
Google to pay back its advertisers what they are owed," said
Randolph Gaw -- rgaw@gawpoe.com -- of the law firm Gaw Poe in San
Francisco, the attorneys representing AdTrader in the case.

The secretly recorded call
On May 19, 2017, Google informed AdTrader in an email that its
DoubleClick Ad Exchange (AdX) account was suspended, and $476,622
in ad sales accrued in it would be withheld.  The company was
also kicked off the AdX platform.  Google's email was not
specific as to why AdTrader was banned, but it mentioned that
placing ads on sites with "misguided navigation" issues, such as
"Linking to content that does not exist," as an example of the
violations AdTrader could have committed.

Over the next five days, AdTrader scrambled to find out why
Google was withholding its cash.  On May 24, 2017, someone on
AdTrader's staff began recording a phone call with Google's
Nakache.  The Google employee was in Ireland and the AdTrader
employee was out of the US at the time, so US privacy law did not
apply to the call, the lawsuit states. According to a transcript
prepared for the lawsuit, the conversation went like this:

AdTrader: All of the money is going to be refunded to

Nakache: Yes.

AdTrader: Does that mean that every single impression and every
single click for all of our publishers has been?

Nakache: Exactly. Everything in the account, the account is in
violation of our policy, advertisers have been impacted, and as a
result we have made the decision to refund all the advertisers
and all the revshare from Google.

AdTrader: So, every single advertisers who has bought a single
impression for the past two months from any of our publishers
will get their money back? Is that correct?

Nakache: Yes.

AdTrader: I see. OK, so we are not going to receive anything
unless the appeal is successful we will not be paid anything.

Nakache: No, the money is going to be paid back to the

AdTrader: So, whether the appeal is successful or not, we will
still not receive the payment, is that correct?

Nakache: Yes.

Puzzled, AdTrader asked its other clients if they had ever
received a refund from Google.  None of them had received any
money, the suit alleges.

The plaintiffs do not say how much money they believe Google
withholds from publishers each year.  Google doesn't break out
how much revenue runs through its various online ad products,
which include DoubleClick Ad Exchange, DoubleClick Bid Manager,
AdWords, AdSense, and others.  So it is difficult to estimate how
much money is at stake if Google loses or settles the case.

What's at stake
Google has hundreds of different apps and platforms that generate
its sales, but it breaks down those revenues into only five large
segments.  Some products, such as AdX and Bid Manager, can be
used to buy Google ads in more than one segment.

Google earned $15.5 billion in 2017 from its "Google Network
Members" segment, which includes web publishers, according to its
annual report.

It is not clear what percentage is spent through AdX, or what
percentage is taken by Google in disputed circumstances.
Brian Wieser, a senior research analyst at the Pivotal Research
Group who has covered Google for years, believes $14 billion
might run through the system that AdTrader was using.  But he
calls that a "crude guess" because "it's difficult to know with
much precision."

Separately, Google said in August that it would refund 7-10% of
total purchases back to advertisers after it had discovered
invalid clicks on ads bought in Q2 2017 through DoubleClick Bid

Another suit has been granted class-action status
The AdTrader allegations bear a resemblance to a similar set of
allegations that surfaced in 2014, when Google was accused by at
least seven web publishers of wrongly taking millions in ad fees
their sites had earned using Google's AdSense program.  The sites
all claim they were following Google's strict advertising rules,
and some say they were encouraged by Google's sales employees to
continue what they were doing.  But then their AdSense accounts
were suddenly cancelled, and all the money in their accounts
removed.  Google denied their appeals and gave little detail on
what prompted the cancellations.

Three companies sued.  One of them, Free Range Content Inc.,
persuaded a federal judge in Northern California to grant its
lawsuit class-action status in July of 2017.  That suit now
covers all AdSense publishers in America from 2013 onwards who
may be owed money, according to the ruling.  The class likely
includes thousands of customers. The case is ongoing. Google
denies the allegations.

Why would Google kick publishers and ad managers off its system,
when it needs those companies to generate the ad inventory
Google's own revenues are dependent on? AdTrader claims in the
suit that it has discovered an answer.

Balint Torok, a strategic partner manager based at Google in
Dublin, told AdTrader that some companies appear on Google's
radar when they reach a certain revenue run-rate, for instance
$4-5 million, the suit claims.  AdTrader's own employees believed
that at that level, its clients might be creating enough revenue
that Google would want to cut out the middleman and work directly
with them, the suit alleges.

A few days after Google terminated AdTrader on May 19, it
contacted one of AdTrader's most important clients, a video game
highlights company called DingIt, to begin a direct relationship,
the suit claims. [GN]

GOOGLE INC: Faces Class Action in B.C. Over Data Collection
Business Vancouver reports that Vancouver resident Kipling Warner
is suing Google LLC in a proposed class action for alleged
privacy violations after news broke that Android smartphones
collect location data on users even when "location services" are
shut off and SIM cards are removed.

Mr. Warner filed a notice of civil claim under the Class
Proceedings Act on November 28 in BC Supreme Court.

"Google collects, uses, retains and commercialises [sic] the
location data it takes from users, and profits from it," the
claim states. "Google's wrongful acts violated the Privacy Act .
. . and unjustly enriched it at the expense of users.  Through
this suit, Canadian users seek to hold Google accountable for
this unlawful conduct."

Mr. Warner claims he owns a Samsung Galaxy S4 that runs Google's
Android operating system and had the phone's location services
feature disabled. He claims that in 2017, the internet behemoth
"began a program of mass user surveillance."  The data, according
to the lawsuit, enabled Google to monitor and identify users'
movements and locations.

"Google's decision to collect the Location Data was planned and
deliberate, and was made knowing that users had not consented to,
and were not aware of, its collection," the claim states.

In turn, Kipling claims, Android users' privacy was violated and
the data collection could allegedly facilitate "surveillance by
hackers or undesireable state actors" while people who need their
locations kept secret such as victims of abuse, journalists and
confidential sources, or undercover police officers, are under
"increased risk of personal harm from disclosure," the claim

Kipling seeks an order certifying the suit as a class proceeding,
damages for breach of the Privacy Act, and "disgorgement of all
benefits received by Google attributable to the unauthorised
[sic] collection, retention, and use of the Location Data."

The allegations have not been tested in court, and Google had not
filed a response by press time. [GN]

GUAM: Settlement Unlikely in H-2B Visa Program Class Action
Haidee V Eugenio, writing for Pacific Daily News, reports that it
is unlikely that a settlement will be reached in the case
involving the use of skilled foreign labor on Guam, attorneys
stated in documents filed on Dec. 13 in the U.S. District Court
of Guam.

The Guam Contractors Association and nearly a dozen local
businesses that have used foreign labor under the federal H-2B
visa program sued the federal government in October 2016 after
immigration officials started denying nearly all visa
applications under the program.  A foreign work force that in
recent years exceeded 1,000 on Guam under the program is now
fewer than 50.

None of the plaintiffs in the case have any H-2B workers
remaining on the payroll.

The impact is widespread, businesses have stated, resulting in
the inability to take on new projects, with rising costs for any
construction work that does manage to start.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood on
Dec. 11 held a day-long hearing on issues related to the case,
including a motion to dismiss and a motion to certify the case as
a class-action.  She also must decide whether to issue a
temporary injunction, as requested by the businesses.

Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan, who presided over preliminary
issues in the case, has recommended that the request for an
injunction be denied because he believes the plaintiffs are
unlikely to win their case.

Judge Tydingco-Gatewood ordered the parties to state, by noon on
Dec. 13, whether settlement is a viable option, before she makes
a decision on the pending motions.

Settlement does not appear to be a viable option at this time,
according to attorneys Jeff Joseph and Jennifer Davis, who are
counsels for the plaintiffs.

They stated that the plaintiffs had proposed two settlement
options to the federal government, and both were rejected. They
stated if there is to be a settlement, they expect the federal
government to come up with a proposal.

They said they received a Dec. 12 email from the federal
government, indicating the government has no settlement proposal
to offer.

"As such, unless the defendants are willing to consider the
plaintiffs' previous offers of settlement, it appears that
settlement is not a viable option at this time," Joseph and Davis

President Trump signed the 2018 defense budget bill, which will
allow as many as 4,000 H-2B visa workers on Guam each year, but
only for military-related projects. [GN]

HILMER CONSTRUCTION: "Sandoval" Sues Over Unpaid Overtime
Jaime Mosqueda Sandoval, individually and on behalf of all
similarly situated persons, Plaintiff, v. Hilmer Construction
Services LLC and Hilmer James Morgan, Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-
03804, (S.D. Tex., December 19, 2017), seeks to recover unpaid
overtime compensation, liquidated damages and attorney's fees
under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

Hilmer Construction Services operates as Ace Construction
Services where Mr. Sandoval was employed as a general
construction worker.  Mr. Sandoval regularly worked in excess of
40 hours in a workweek without overtime premium. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Josef F. Buenker, Esq.
      Vijay A. Pattisapu, Esq.
      2030 North Loop West, Suite 120
      Houston, Texas 77018
      Tel: (713) 868-3388
      Fax: (713) 683-9940
      E-mail: jbuenker@buenkerlaw.com

HOFFMANN-LA ROCHE: NJ Sup. Court Adopts Daubert in Accutane Case
Michelle M. Bufano, Esq. -- mmbufano@pbwt.com -- and Louis M.
Russo, writing for Law.com, wrote that causation is an essential
element needed to prove a products liability claim and which
often involves scientific and medical complexities. In such
instances, expert testimony is required.

It has been the position of many products liability lawyers that
the New Jersey standard for admissibility of expert testimony
needs to be more stringent and consistent with the federal
standard set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., 509 U.S. 579
(1993).  Applying a strict standard to judicial gatekeeping of
scientific evidence, Daubert is intended to ensure that "junk
science" is not permitted to reach the jury.

New Jersey, however, adheres to the Kemp standard, which, in
practice, provides for less scrutiny of an expert witness's
methodology than the approach followed in other courts.
New Jersey's adherence to Kemp incentivizes litigation where the
plaintiff's medical/scientific theory of the case may be less
than sound -- and results in many of these cases being filed in
New Jersey because of the more lenient standard of admissibility.

Most recently, in In re Accutane Litig., 451 N.J. Super. 153
(App. Div. 2017), the Appellate Division applied an even more
"relaxed standard," which accepted the arguments of plaintiffs'
experts without addressing whether they employed a coherent
methodology.  As a result, the Accutane defendants have filed a
petition for certification to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which
seeks clarification of the New Jersey standard for expert
admissibility and advocates for more stringent judicial
gatekeeping.  As a result, the New Jersey Supreme Court has been
presented with the perfect opportunity to adopt Daubert and
ensure that there are robust checks on the expert testimony
presented in New Jersey courts, as well as to stop the
proliferation of cases filed in New Jersey by out-of-state
plaintiffs, who seek to take advantage of this less rigid

Expert Testimony in Pharma Products Liability Litigation

As stated above, expert testimony is critical in pharmaceutical
products liability cases.  In fact, every jurisdiction requires
expert testimony to prove medical causation -- that is proof that
a medicine can cause a disease and that the medicine was the
cause of plaintiff's disease. See, e.g., In re Accutane Litig.,
451 N.J. Super at 191-92. Ultimately, a significant portion of
products liability cases are won and lost based on proof (or lack
thereof) of causation.  Indeed, the admissibility of expert
testimony on causation often means the difference between costly
and protracted litigation and resolution at the summary judgment

Federal and State Standards

At the federal level and in most states, the admissibility of
expert testimony is governed by Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm.,
509 U.S. 579 (1993), and Federal Rule of Evidence 702.  Under
Daubert, a party must show: (1) that the reasoning and
methodology underlying their expert's testimony is scientifically
valid; and (2) that the proffered opinion assists the trier of
fact in understanding the evidence or determining a fact at
issue. Daubert, 509 U.S. at 592-93; see also In re: Zoloft
(Sertraline Hydrochloride) Prods. Liab. Litig., 858 F.3d 787,
792-93 (3d Cir. 2017).

Under Daubert, trial courts "serve as gatekeepers for expert
witness testimony." In re: Zoloft, 858 F.3d at 792. In that role,
the court must first determine if a witness is qualified "by
knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education," and then
determine whether the offered testimony "is the product of
reliable principles and methods[] and . . . the expert has
reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the
case." Daubert, 509 U.S. at 579. Under Daubert, courts conduct a
robust review of an expert's opinion, considering "the
testability of the hypothesis, whether it has been peer reviewed
or published, the error rate, whether standards controlling the
technique's operation exist, and whether the methodology is
generally accepted."  In re Zoloft, 858 F.3d at 792. The Daubert
standard is codified in Federal Rule of Evidence 702, which
permits expert opinion where:

   (a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized
knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence
or to determine a fact in issue;

   (b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;

   (c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and
methods; and

   (d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods
to the facts of the case.

The Daubert standard applies in federal courts and 37 state

A minority of states, including New Jersey, apply what is
referred to as the Frye standard -- named for Frye v. United
States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923).  While called a standard,
in practice, the states that do not apply Daubert apply a varying
set of "relaxed" principles to the admissibility of expert
testimony.  The Kemp standard is New Jersey's articulation of
Frye.  These inconsistent and relaxed standards invite forum
shopping and lead to inconsistent outcomes in cases involving
similar products and plaintiffs.  The Accutane appeal presents an
opportunity for the New Jersey Supreme Court to adopt Daubert,
and join the majority of states applying a uniform standard to
the admissibility of expert testimony.  This approach would bring
New Jersey in line with the majority of courts and discourage
forum shopping.

The 'Kemp' Standard

The New Jersey Supreme Court first enunciated a less rigorous
standard for expert admissibility in toxic tort cases in Rubanick
v. Witco Chem. Corp., 125 N.J. 421, 449 (1991).  Expanding on
Rubanick, the New Jersey standard for the admissibility of expert
testimony in pharmaceutical products liability cases was
announced in Kemp ex rel. Wright, 174 N.J. 412 (2002). In Kemp,
the court acknowledged that it "relaxed the standard for
admissibility of scientific evidence," due to what it called the
"'extraordinary and unique burdens' plaintiffs faced when they
sought to prove medical causation." Id. at 425 (quoting Rubanick,
125 N.J. at 433). Despite articulating a "relaxed" standard, the
court cited Daubert favorably, acknowledging that "the inquiry is
a 'flexible one,' and that its focus must be 'solely on
principles and methodology, not on the conclusions that they
generate.'" Id. at 426 (quoting Daubert, 509 U.S. at 594-95).

Under Kemp and its progeny, and like Daubert, in exercising their
gatekeeping function, trial courts are supposed to focus on the
reliability of an expert's methodology. Id at 427.  However,
unlike Daubert, in Kemp, the Supreme Court specifically declined
to adopt concrete guidelines, including fit, testability and
error rate, which were adopted in Daubert. The failure to adopt
these concrete guidelines ultimately results in a situation where
parties litigating nearly identical cases can present tenuous and
often misleading expert testimony in one courtroom, whereas the
same testimony would never be permitted in a federal court just
across the street.

'Kemp' as Applied in Accutane

In In re Accutane, plaintiffs alleged that they developed Crohn's
disease as a result of taking Accutane.  Plaintiffs proffered the
opinions of two experts, who both testified, inter alia, on the
basis of epidemiological studies. In re Accutane Litig., 451 N.J.
Super. at 162. Even though (1) plaintiff's experts acknowledged
that none of the six studies was able to demonstrate
statistically significant evidence of a correlation between
Accutane and Crohn's disease; (2) plaintiff's experts relied on
statistically insignificant evidence of a positive association
between Accutane and Crohn's disease, while ignoring evidence of
a negative association; and (3) plaintiffs relied on studies that
reached opposite conclusions to support their opinion.  Despite
these flaws, the Appellate Division permitted the testimony
because, in its words, it is the "jury's core function to weigh
the credibility of expert witnesses, and the trial court should
not use a Kemp hearing as a vehicle to dismiss a case the court
perceives as weak." Id. at 212.

Based on the Appellate Division's holding in In re Accutane, it
is the jury's responsibility to identify and discredit junk
science, a position contrary to Daubert, and Kemp for that
matter.  The Appellate Division usurped any gatekeeper role.
Instead, it chose to relax the standard so far that the only
meaningful considerations for a court are whether the expert is
"qualified," employs the correct terminology, and looks at the
right evidence, not whether the expert employed a methodology
accepted by the scientific community. The result of that approach
is that pharmaceutical companies must litigate cases whenever an
expert can cabin a theory of causation into the words of the
trade, regardless of whether their methodology is actually
scientifically reliable.

Why the More Stringent 'Daubert' Standard is Necessary in NJ

There are three compelling reasons why New Jersey needs to adopt
the more stringent standard articulated in Daubert.  Daubert
would ensure that: (1) juries are only presented with real and
reliable science; (2) cases litigated in New Jersey are
consistent with other courts; and (3) New Jersey courts are not a
magnet for litigation based on dubious science.

The essential holding of the Appellate Division in Accutane is
that plaintiff's experts are permitted to disagree with the
entire body of science, including not only the pharmaceutical
companies themselves, but independent researchers and the FDA. At
its most simple level, in New Jersey, the jury can credit an
opinion that no scientist other than a litigation-hired expert
agrees with.

Daubert does not permit this sort of junk science. Courts that
follow Daubert acknowledge that "the courtroom is not the place
for scientific guesswork, even of the inspired sort.  Law lags
science; it does not lead it." Rosen v. Ciba-Geigy Corp., 78 F.3d
316, 319 (7th Cir. 1996).  In fact, federal and state courts have
rejected the exact same evidence presented to the Appellate
Division because Daubert requires courts to consider the
particular degree of acceptance within a scientific community.
Daubert, 509 U.S. at 594.  Where the scientific and medical
community does not agree that a medicine can cause an injury,
Daubert ensures that a litigation-driven opinion that is, at
best, ahead of that science is not permitted to reach the jury.

The consequences of failing to adopt Daubert are profound. New
Jersey is home to many of the largest pharmaceutical companies in
the world.  This fact is of particular importance given a recent
U.S. Supreme Court precedent limiting where companies are subject
to personal jurisdiction.  New Jersey is a potential forum for
major percentages of pharmaceutical products liability
litigation. In fact, as it stands now approximately 93 percent of
all cases filed against New Jersey-based pharmaceutical
manufacturers are filed by non-New Jersey plaintiffs. 2013-2015
Report of the Supreme Court Committee on Rules of Evidence, Part
II, at 15, 108 (Jan. 15, 2015), available at

The failure to adopt a more vigorous approach to expert testimony
that is in line with the majority of jurisdictions will
incentivize plaintiffs to continue to inundate New Jersey courts
with cases that may be based on dubious scientific evidence.  As
it stands now, large plaintiffs firms have actually urged
plaintiffs to file cases in New Jersey state court to take
advantage of the more relaxed standards for expert testimony. Id.
at 107.  Adopting Daubert would help stem that tide.

Mr. Bufano is a partner in the Litigation department of Patterson
Belknap Webb & Tyler in New York, representing companies in
complex products liability and mass tort litigation.  Mr. Russo
is an associate in the Litigation department, where his practice
currently focuses on products liability defense and complex
commercial litigation.  [GN]

HOME CAPITAL: West Face Files Suit Over Misleading Disclosures
Barbara Shecter, writing for Financial Post, reports that
alternative asset manager West Face Capital Inc. has formally
filed a lawsuit against Home Capital Group Inc. and three former
executives, seeking $70 million in damages over claims the
mortgage lender's public disclosure was "inaccurate, incomplete
and misleading."

In a 17-page statement of claim filed in the Ontario Superior
Court of Justice's Commercial List, West Face described taking a
large short position in Home Capital in 2013, based on the
investment thesis that the lender had "aggressive" growth targets
and would have to take on more risk to achieve them.

Between Apr. 30 and Aug. 2, 2013, West Face said it built the
short position by borrowing and selling 2,586,800 shares of Home
Capital, betting the share price would fall if Home Capital
missed its "ambitious" growth targets, or "engaged in
increasingly risky lending practices, with an inevitable
deterioration in the quality of its loans."

However, public disclosure in subsequent financial statements and
on quarterly conference calls showed that Home Capital was
achieving growth in its mortgage business, and was engaged in
active risk management to prevent deterioration in the quality of
the mortgage portfolio.  At the same time, the document notes,
Home Capital's share price continued to increase.

"In reliance on these repeated public representations and in the
absence of any disclosure of heightened risk in the mortgage
portfolio or relaxed credit review standards, West Face reduced
its position and ultimately abandoned its investment thesis," the
asset manager says in the statement of claim filed on Dec. 7,

Between October of 2013 and April of 2015, West Face purchased
2,586,800 shares of Home Capital to cover its short position,
according to the court document.

West Face alleges that it subsequently learned the public
disclosures on which it had relied to buy those shares and close
out its short position "were inaccurate, incomplete and

In the court document, the asset manager points specifically to
"corrective disclosures" issued by the company in July of 2015,
and "a confidential report completed by KPMG for the Board of
Directors of Home Capital . . . (that) was leaked on the
Internet" in August of 2017.  West Face alleges the KPMG report
"revealed for the first time that Home Capital and the individual
defendants had been misleading the market with respect to Home
Capital's risk management practices since at least 2013."

The statement of claim says West Face said it "would not have
made the same investment decisions had Home Capital's disclosure
been timely, accurate, and complete."

What's more, it alleges "the price at which West Face purchased
Home Capital's shares was inflated by virtue of the fact that
market participants were unaware of the material information that
Home Capital had withheld."

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Home Capital disclosed in November that West Face had delivered
what was, at the time, an un-filed claim seeking damages.  The
lender said then that it "believes it has valid defences" against
the allegations, and pledged to "fully defend its conduct" if
West Face filed its claims in court.

The statement from Home Capital in November also said the lender
would "investigate the conduct of various short sellers and the
propriety of their actions whether acting alone or in concert
with others."

Home Capital's disclosure was the subject of settlements last
summer with the Ontario Securities Commission and shareholders
who had filed a class-action lawsuit.  At issue was the company's
public disclosure after it discovered in late 2014 and early 2015
that some mortgage brokers had submitted falsified income
information for borrowers.  Those problems, and the remedies
undertaken to prevent a recurrence, including cutting ties with a
number of brokers, caused mortgage originations to drop.

The class-action lawsuit was settled in August for $29.5 million.
The court document filed by West Face says the alternative asset
manager opted out of the class-action settlement "on the basis
that investors who purchased common shares of Home Capital to
close out a short position were excluded from compensation under
the settlement terms."

A West Face spokesperson said the firm is raising its claim
directly with Home Capital because it has a fiduciary duty to
protect its investors "who were excluded from the class-action
proceeds." [GN]

HOME POINT FINANCIAL: "Noroma" Suit to Recover Overtime Pay
Brandon Noroma, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, Plaintiff, Home Point Financial Corporation
and Does 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendant, Case No. 17-cv-
07205, (N.D. Cal., December 19, 2017), seeks to recover unpaid
wages and overtime compensation owed, liquidated damages,
reasonable attorneys' fees and costs of the action as provided
for by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Defendants are in the business of selling loans to consumers.
Home Point operates its business throughout the country,
including in the State of California where Noroma worked as a
mortgage professional. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

     Matthew Righetti, Esq.
     John Glugoski, Esq.
     Michael Righetti, Esq.
     456 Montgomery Street, Suite 1400
     San Francisco, CA 94101
     Telephone: (415) 983-0900
     Facsimile: (415) 397-9005
     E-mail: matt@righettilaw.com

            - and -

     Reuben D. Nathan, Esq.
     600 W. Broadway, Suite 700
     San Diego, CA 92101
     Telephone: (619) 272-7014
     Facsimile: (619) 330-1819
     E-mail: rnathan@nathanlawpractice.com

HYATT HOTELS: Livi Appeals E.D. Pa. Ruling to 3rd Circuit
Plaintiff Nancy Livi filed an appeal from a court ruling in the
lawsuit titled Nancy Livi v. Hyatt Hotels Corp, et al., Case No.
2-15-cv-05371, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter on Nov. 29,
2017, the District Court had granted the Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment.

Nancy Livi brings suit on behalf of herself and a proposed class
of banquet servers against four defendants: Hyatt Hotels
Corporation, Hyatt Corporation d/b/a Hyatt at the Bellevue,
Defendant Bellevue, Inc. and Bellevue Associates for violations
of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage
Act and the Pennsylvania's Wage Payment and Collection Law, and
for Unjust Enrichment.  Livi also brings suit on behalf of
herself and a proposed sub-class of banquet servers against Hyatt
for violation of the Philadelphia Administrative Code.

The appellate case is captioned as Nancy Livi v. Hyatt Hotels
Corp, et al., Case No. 17-3646, in the United States Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit. [BN]

Plaintiff-Appellant NANCY LIVI, on behalf of herself and all
others similarly situated, is represented by:

          Noah I. Axler, Esq.
          1845 Walnut Street, Suite 1100
          Philadelphia, PA 19002
          Telephone: (267) 534-7400
          E-mail: naxler@donovanaxler.com

               - and -

          Marc A. Goldich, Esq.
          1650 Market Street
          Philadelphia, PA 19103
          Telephone: (267) 534-7400

Defendants-Appellees HYATT HOTELS CORP, HYATT CORP, DBA Hyatt at
represented by:

          Scott F. Cooper, Esq.
          BLANK ROME LLP
          130 North 18th Street
          One Logan Square
          Philadelphia, PA 19103
          Telephone: (215) 569-5487
          E-mail: cooper@blankrome.com

               - and -

          Noah A. Finkel, Esq.
          Cheryl A. Luce, Esq.
          233 South Wacker Drive, Suite 8000
          Chicago, IL 60606
          Telephone: (312) 460-5000
          E-mail: nfinkel@seyfarth.com

HYLAND'S HOMEOPATHIC: Consumers Sue Over Teething Tablets Recall
Laurie Villanueva, writing for RX Injury Help, reports that a
group of plaintiffs has filed a class action lawsuit against
Hyland's Homeopathic which seeks refunds for consumers who
purchased products included in a teething tablets recall
conducted by the company in 2017.

The complaint, which was filed on September 15th in the U.S.
District Court, Southern District of New York, claims that
Hyland's "falsely advertised its teething products as 'safe,'"
leading the plaintiffs to buy the products, "which are now
worthless to them and cannot be used given the FDA's concerns
about the safety of this medicine."

The teething tablets lawsuit also names Standard Homeopathic,
Hyland's parent company, CVS Pharmacy and Target as defendants.

FDA Teething Tablets Warning
Standard Homeopathic Company recalled all lots of Hyland's Baby
Teething Tablets and Hyland's Baby Nighttime Teething Tablets in
April 2017, after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
determined that the products contained inconsistent amounts of
belladonna alkaloids that could differ from the calculated amount
on the products' labels.

Belladonna is often used in homeopathic medications due to its
sedative effects.  However, exposure to excessive amounts of this
ingredient can prove toxic for children, leading to:

   -- Difficulty breathing
   -- Lethargy
   -- Excessive sleepiness
   -- Muscle weakness
   -- Skin flushing
   -- Constipation
   -- Difficulty urinating
   -- Agitation
   -- Seizures
   -- Death

The FDA initially warned parents and caregiver not to give
homeopathic teething tablets to children in September 2016, after
such products had been tied to hundreds of injuries and 10 infant
deaths. According to the agency, many of the reported incidents
suggested belladonna poisoning.

The FDA's warning prompted CVS, Target and several other
retailers to remove homeopathic teething pills and gels from
their store shelves. Hyland's Homeopathic also announced that it
would stop selling its teething remedies in the U.S.  However,
the company declined to issue a recall at that time.

Teething Tablets Recalls
In November 2016, Raritan Pharmaceuticals announced a recall of
its homeopathic teething tablets and ear pain remedies after
testing confirmed that those products might contain inconsistent
amounts of belladonna.

Hyland's only agreed to issue its teething tablets recall after
the FDA made a formal request.  Despite agreeing to the recall,
Hyland's and Standard Homeopathic have not acknowledged that the
products are dangerous.  In fact, the companies are trying to
have the teething tablets class action lawsuit dismissed.

"Speculation that the products 'may pose' a risk based on alleged
inconsistent ingredient levels, or unproven anecdotal claims that
a child had a seizure while taking the product, does not
establish that the products are unsafe and therefore
'worthless,'" they argued in papers file with the court in
December. [GN]

INNATE INTELLIGENCE: Judge Dismisses TCPA Claims in Fax Case
Sam Knef, writing for St. Louis Record, reports that U.S.
District Judge Stephen Limbaugh has dismissed Telephone Consumer
Protection Act claims against a number of defendants in a
proposed class action.

Levine Hat Co. filed its original complaint against Innate
Intelligence LLC and Nepute Enterprises LLC in the U.S. District
Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.  In 2017, the
plaintiff amended the complaint to add an additional nine
defendants, identified as falling into three groups, some of whom
argued for dismissal based on lack of personal jurisdiction.

The claims against the defendants included allegations that "opt-
out" notices contained in faxes that promoted things such as a
"Free Lunch 'n Learn on Stress Management for your employees,"
did not comply with minimum requirements spelled out by federal

The plaintiff alleges that the defendants are directly liable for
the alleged TCPA violations because faxes were sent on their
behalf and "they are vicariously liable because defendant Innate
was their alter ego and/or agent."

Defendants in subgroups identified as the Bria, Eyler and Pure
defendants argued that they did not have sufficient contacts with
Missouri for the court to exercise personal jurisdiction
consistent with Missouri's long-arm statute and the requirements
of due process.

Regarding Pure Family Chiropractic, the court had allowed the
plaintiff to take discovery to try to establish that Pure was an
alter ego of Innate, and thus subject to personal jurisdiction.

"Plaintiff failed to take any discovery," Judge Limbaugh wrote in
the Nov. 7 order.  "Further, plaintiff's argument in favor of the
'alter ego' analysis is identical to its argument that was
rejected by this Court in July.

"Based on the foregoing, the Court finds that plaintiffs have
failed to allege sufficient facts that the Court may assume
personal jurisdiction over the Pure and Eyler defendants under
Missouri's long-arm statute and the Due Process Clause," he
ruled. [GN]

INVENTURE FOODS: 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
Arizona, case no. 2:17-cv-04256, on behalf of shareholders of
Inventure Foods, Inc. ("Inventure Foods" or the "Company")
(NASDAQ:SNAK) who held Inventure Foods common stock and have been
harmed by Inventure Foods' and its board of directors' (the
"Board") alleged violations of Sections 14(e), 14(d)(4), and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act")
and SEC Rule 14d-9 in connection with the proposed acquisition of
the Company by Heron Sub, Inc., a direct and wholly-owned
subsidiary of Utz Quality Foods, LLC (collectively, "Utz").

On October 26, 2017, the Company announced that it had entered
into an agreement and plan of merger with Utz, by which Utz will
acquire all outstanding shares of Inventure Foods common stock
through an all-cash tender offer (the "Tender Offer").  The
Tender Offer commenced on November 15, 2017 and is set to expire
on December 13, 2017.

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

Pursuant to the terms of the Purchase Agreement, which was
unanimously approved by the Board, Inventure Foods shareholders
stand to receive $4.00 per share in cash for each share they own.
The complaint claims that this offer is inadequate given
Inventure Foods' recent financial performance and strong growth
prospects and alleges that the Schedule 14D-9 (the "14D-9")
provides materially incomplete and misleading information
concerning Inventure Foods' financial projections and the
valuation analyses performed by the Company's financial advisor,
in violation of Sections 14(e), 14(d)(4), and 20(a) of the
Exchange Act.

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, and Pennsylvania.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court
no later than 60 days from December 11, 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:

          Nadeem Faruqi, Esq.
          James M. Wilson, Jr., Esq.
          FARUQI & FARUQI, LLP
          685 3rd Avenue, 26th Floor
          New York, NY 10017
          Tel.: (212) 983-9330
          Fax: (212) 983-9331
          E-mail: nfaruqi@faruqilaw.com
                  jwilson@faruqilaw.com [GN]

JAMES HARDIE: Homeowners Have Until Jan. 30 to Join Cladding Case
Times Online reports that East Auckland leaky homeowners have
received good news -- their case will proceed as a class action.

And others still have until January 30 2018 to join the legal
fight against corporate giant and cladding manufacturer, James

A judgment released in November declined James Hardie's leave to
appeal to the Supreme Court meaning the Court of Appeal decision
stands, allowing the claim to proceed as a class action, with a
final opt-in date of January 30.

Leaky building owners represented by Wellington law firm Parker &
Associates are encouraging people to move quickly.

Thousands of properties were built using Harditex from 1987 until
the early 2000s and Titan Board was widely used from 1995.

The Howick-Pakuranga area greatly expanded during this time, as
many new residential subdivisions were developed, the group's
lawyer, Dan Parker said.

Parker & Associates is aware there are many owners of properties
clad in Harditex or Titan Board in the east Auckland region and
have had many enquiries from property owners in this area.

"The firm is dealing with a large number of enquiries, many from
people who have seen and are responding to the claim for the
first time.

"A number of owners have approached us unaware of any problems
with their properties until expert investigations identify
issues. They have subsequently joined the claim," Mr Parker said.

"We will be pushing forward now to deal with owner enquiries and
to get as many owners signed on as possible.  As it is a self-
funded action, the bigger the group is, the lower the costs per

"The opt-in period will be the last chance for most affected
owners to pursue any legal action for recovery of their losses.

"If they join during the opt-in period they will not be affected
by a 15-year limitation long-stop that will probably otherwise
bar claims after the opt-in period expires," Mr Parker said.

"Also, the Supreme Court confirmed in 2016 in the leaky schools
litigation that the 10 year Building Act limitation long-stop
does not apply to a product liability claim like this,"

The group first brought a product liability claim against James
Hardie New Zealand Limited and James Hardie company, Studorp
Limited, in negligence and for breach in the Fair Trading Act in

Owners allege that leaks in their homes are attributable to
inherent defects in cladding systems manufactured by James

They also claim James Hardie made misleading statements about its
cladding systems in its technical literature.  James Hardie
denies the allegations.

Thousands of properties were built using Harditex from 1987 until
the early 2000s. Titan Board was widely used from 1995.

Mr Parker urges owners of monolithic clad buildings constructed
since 1987 using Harditex or Titan board to get in touch to find
out how to opt in to join the claim.

Experts can be arranged to investigate whether the materials in
question have been used and whether damage has resulted.

Because experts need to investigate to determine weather tight
issues the law firm is urging people to get in touch sooner
rather than later as time is running out to be able to join the

For further information contact Parker & Associates, 04 499 390
OR www.parkerandassociates.co.nz. [GN]

KIMBERLY-CLARK CORP: Wants Court to Block Flushable Wipes Law
Amena Saiyid and Josh Block, writing for Bloomberg Law, report
that Kimberly-Clark Corp., the leading global tissue maker, will
try to persuade a federal judge Dec. 13 to block the District of
Columbia from implementing the nation's first-ever law regulating
flushable wipes.

In seeking an injunction that would prevent the law from taking
effect, the manufacturer of flushable wipes sold under the
Cottonelle, Scott Naturals, and Pull-Ups Big Kid brands, contends
the city's law will penalize the company as soon as it takes
effect and argues that it violates the Commerce Clause.

The law was supposed to take effect Jan. 1, 2018, but District of
Columbia officials said Dec. 8 they wouldn't enforce the law
until the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment has written
rules to implement it and the associated compliance period

Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia will hear arguments from Kimberly-Clark and
the lawyers for the city.  Kimberly-Clark wants to block the
Nonwoven Disposable Products Act of 2016 until the court has
resolved the underlying challenges.

The law requires the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment
working with the city's sewer and water agency, DC Water, to
write rules ensuring that wipes labeled "flushable" are in fact
what they claim.

Disposable wipes are a big concern for wastewater utilities.
Most varieties of disposable, nonflushable wipes, such as those
used for makeup removal and baby care, are being flushed anyway,
according to DC Water.  Nonflushable wipes can gum up sewers and
cause costly blockages.

No Penalties for Local Retailers

Kimberly-Clark claimed in a court filing that the law violates
the Commerce Clause because it penalizes out-of-state
manufacturers, but has no effect on local retailers who are
selling their products.

"Local retailers can continue to do whatever they want with
flushable wipes -- including making the sales that trigger
liability for Kimberly-Clark," the company told the court in a
filing. "Defendants do not identify a single labeling law
anywhere that works like this one -- by punishing out-of-state
manufacturers for permitted sales rather than by controlling what
may be bought or sold locally."

The city's lawyers disagree with Kimberly-Clark's assertion that
local retailers are off the hook. They also say the law has no
teeth until the implementing regulations are issued.  They point
out that the agency hasn't even proposed the rules yet.

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies, which
represents publicly owned wastewater treatment plants, and the
Water Environment Federation, a nonprofit providing education and
training for water quality professionals, are backing the
District of Columbia law because of the costly problems
disposable wipes cause in sewer systems.

The case is Kimberly Clark Corp. v. District of Columbia, D.D.C.,
No. 17-01901, oral arguments 12/13/17.

The case in the video above is Kurtz v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., No.
14-CV-1142, 2017 BL 96204 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 27, 2017) [GN]

KINGSBRIDGE MARKETPLACE: Sued by "Estrada" Over Unpaid Overtime
Javier Estrada, on behalf of himself and others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. Kingsbridge Marketplace Corp., Vernon
Marketplace, Inc. and Esmail Mobarak, Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-
09890 (S.D.N.Y., December 19, 2017), seeks unpaid wages for off-
the-clock work caused by time shaving, unpaid spread-of-hours
premium, liquidated damages, statutory penalties and attorneys'
fees and costs under the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York
Labor Law.

Defendants own and operate "Foodtown" supermarkets located at
5555 Broadway, Bronx, NY 10463 where Estrada was employed by
Defendants as a stocking clerk regularly working for 12 hours a
day for a total of over 68 hours per work-week without overtime
pay. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      C.K. Lee, Esq.
      Anne Seelig, Esq.
      30 East 39th Street, Second Floor
      New York, NY 10016
      Tel: (212) 465-1188
      Fax: (212) 465-1181

LANNETT CO: Law Firm Investigates Potential Fiduciary Duty Breach
Shareholder rights law firm Robbins Arroyo LLP is investigating
whether certain officers and directors of Lannett Company, Inc.
(NYSE: LCI) breached their fiduciary duties to shareholders.
Lannett develops, manufactures, and distributes generic versions
of brand pharmaceutical products in the United States.

Lannett Accused of Colluding With its Peers to Fix Generic Drug

Investors of Lannett filed a securities class action complaint
against the company's officers and directors for alleged
violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 between May 9,
2013 and November 3, 2016.  According to the complaint, Lannett
conspired with its industry peers to fix the prices of at least
four of the company's generic drugs in order to reap higher
profits and secure the financing needed to make a series of
massive acquisitions.  The extent of Lannett's fraud was first
revealed on July 16, 2014, when Lannett disclosed that it
received an inquiry from the Connecticut Attorney General
regarding its pricing of Digoxin.  Lannett officials maintained
that the company had done nothing wrong while Lannett continued
to become the focus of multiple government investigations.  On
November 3, 2016, Bloomberg reported that Lannett was being
investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for suspected
price collusion, causing the company's stock to fall to $17.25
per share that day.  Lannett's stock has yet to recover to its
class period high of $71.15 per share.

Lannett 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]

LULAROE CO: Accused of Operating Pyramid Scheme
David Pierson, writing for Los Angeles Times, reports that
Betsy Stover was 17 when her mother asked her to help fax
strangers, hawking a service that had the markings of a pyramid

"I always felt like a creep sending unsolicited faxes," said
Ms. Stover, who hated the chore, but knew the work required cold
calls to succeed.

Ms. Stover, now a 38-year-old comedian based in Los Angeles, had
largely forgotten about the experience until about three years
ago. That's when her Facebook feed started filling up with new
direct sales posts touting cosmetics, jewelry and leggings.

Unbeknownst to her, friends Ms. Stover hadn't seen in years had
added her to private Facebook groups promoting body oils and
makeup. She had little interest.  It felt too similar to her
mother's get-rich-quick schemes, which had more to do with
recruiting new distributors than selling actual products.

"It was super awkward," said Ms. Stover, who discreetly left the
groups.  "With these people, there was always a looming sales
pitch in the background."

Unsolicited calls and face-to-face pitches once defined
multilevel marketing -- a $35-billion industry that recruits an
ever expanding network of independent distributors to sell their
products rather than rely on bricks-and-mortar stores.

Instead, today's generation of multilevel marketing brands
including Rodan + Fields, Stella & Dot and LipSense are often
discovered on social media platforms such as Facebook, which
gives distributors instant access to a vast network of potential
customers and recruits with the swipe of a finger.

Rather than suffer the humiliation of cold calling, adherents can
blast sales pitches and promote their brands online with little
effort, attracting increasingly distant acquaintances who would
have been previously unreachable.

It's why many women such as Stover have seen their news feeds
transformed from a place to keep up with friends and family into
a clutter of livestreamed sales events, invitations to trunk
shows and incessant promotional threads about moisturizers and

"This is what multilevel marketing has always done," said
Robert FitzPatrick, president of watchdog group Pyramid Scheme
Alert. "It is the only business that ignores the boundaries of
private life and professional life.  It simply follows where
people are gathered, and now that people communicate on digital
forums like Facebook, it has invaded social networks."

No recent company exemplifies the industry's shift more fittingly
-- and controversially -- than LuLaRoe, a Corona multilevel
marketing brand that through Facebook developed a cult-like
following for its patterned leggings and is now the target of
five class-action lawsuits.

One of those suits, filed in October, seeks $1 billion in damages
and alleges LuLaRoe operated a pyramid scheme, enriching itself
by primarily selling inventory to its distributors, or sales
consultants, rather than its customers.

The plaintiffs say the company did this by using social media to
lure a sales force mostly made up of stay-at-home mothers into
paying thousands of dollars to become consultants with dim hopes
of turning a profit.

"Defendants achieved such rapid growth by enticing consultants
with social media posts boasting large bonus checks and other
lavish material possessions," the suit says. Those rewards were
celebrated with the hashtag #becauseofLLR.

Another popular social media slogan, "Part-time work for full
time pay," has been chided by critics as mostly untrue except for
those lucky enough to get in on the business early.

LuLaRoe, which was founded in 2012 and surpassed $2 billion in
annual sales this year, called the lawsuits baseless.  The
company said it has given thousands of consultants the
opportunity to earn income.  And it rejected allegations it was a
pyramid scheme, explaining it does not reward consultants for
simply signing up new sellers, but instead offers bonuses based
on a cut of retail sales achieved by a consultant's recruits.

Only 27% of LuLaRoe's consultants received such bonus payments
last year, which means about a quarter of the company's
consultants were involved in recruiting and maintaining a sales
team -- the multilevel part of multilevel marketing.

"LuLaRoe has grown exponentially over the last four years.  Our
success has made us the target of orchestrated competitive
attacks and predatory litigation.  We take all litigation --
regardless of its lack of merit -- seriously," the company said
in a statement.

In addition to the pyramid scheme claims, LuLaRoe has been
saddled with complaints about shoddy merchandise, an unfair
return policy and unsympathetic leadership (consultants say the
company pressured mothers to sell their breast milk to pay for
more inventory).

"It was an endless chain.  They always wanted you to buy more,"
said Pamela Winkelman, a Minnesota consultant who was introduced
to LuLaRoe over Facebook and is a member of the $1-billion class

Before the lawsuits, LuLaRoe had built an ultra-loyal following
thanks to its buttery soft leggings.  The company's embrace of
all body types positioned it as something of an anti-Lululemon,
the maker of pricey yoga pants whose former chief executive once
suggested its clothes weren't appropriate for bigger women.

By 2015, LuLaRoe had become a social media sensation.  Its
clothes couldn't be found at stores or e-commerce sites.
Instead, women had to join private Facebook groups run by the
company's consultants.

Once in, they had to hope the seller had their size and pattern
-- not an easy task because consultants had no say over what
pieces LuLaRoe would give them to sell.

Those restrictions on supply sparked a frenzy.  Women joined
multiple Facebook groups scavenging for rare leggings -- known as
unicorns -- with playful prints such as purple dragons or the
solar system. Eventually, unicorns would show-up on EBay for
double or triple their typical $25 sticker price.

The clamor for leggings also boosted the ranks of consultants,
who were charged a minimum of $5,000 for their initial batch of
inventory.  LuLaRoe had about 30,000 consultants by the middle of
2016.  Since then, the number has grown to more than 80,000.

"I never would have heard of LuLaRoe if it wasn't for Facebook,"
said a 31-year-old consultant in Southern California who didn't
want to use her name for fear of reprisal from the company. (She
is not a member of any of the lawsuits directed at LuLaRoe).

"I saw how these women were buying these crazy prints left and
right. I figured there was a lot of money to be made," she added.

The mother of two signed-up as a LuLaRoe consultant in 2015 and
initially made a tidy profit.  But within months, her suburban
neighborhood was saturated with rival consultants who cut her
earnings by two-thirds.

"Now I'm sitting on $22,000 of inventory in my spare bedroom that
I can't move," she said.

Consultants say new recruits were being minted each day, in no
small part because of LuLaRoe's pervasiveness on Facebook.  They
say the company drove up engagement on the platform by
encouraging consultants to post and comment as much as possible.
It also urged consultants to launch Facebook business pages from
which they could place ads.

LuLaRoe says it was its consultants who pioneered the company's
Facebook strategy. The brand adopted the strategy because it
allowed consultants to interact more intimately with customers in
a manner similar to salespeople in bricks-and-mortar stores.

"[W]e want to help get you to a place where you are a Facebook
diva and your Facebook group isn't just helping your business
it's practically running it for you," the company says in a
Facebook strategy tutorial posted on its website.

The Facebook groups, which routinely had hundreds of members, had
a culture of their own. Negative comments about the brand were
frowned upon.  Acronyms such as FSOT (for sale or trade) and DISO
(desperately in search of) abounded.  "Roe" became a blanket
verb, said Jill Robbins, a San Antonio blogger who wrote about
her observations as a member of several LuLaRoe Facebook groups.

"I found a lot of people who drank the Kool-Aid," Robbins said.

LuLaRoe rose as the number of people involved in all manner of
direct selling in the U.S. grew to a record 20.5 million in 2016,
up from 15.9 million in 2012, according to the Direct Selling

Experts say economic insecurity born out of the Great Recession
has pushed more Americans to multilevel marketing -- not unlike
the way people have seized on the gig economy working for
companies such as Uber.

With her background in direct sales, LuLaRoe co-founder DeAnne
Brady has said she started the company envisioning a sales force
of mothers who could earn income while raising children.

Jessica Wernz, a writer focused on family issues, says direct
selling appeals to women in several ways: It offers a path to
entrepreneurship and a promise of "sisterhood" to stay-at-home
moms who otherwise struggle to find time for socializing.  And it
gives mothers in the workforce an alternative source of income
that allows them to spend more time with their children.

What troubles Ms. Wernz is that it perpetuates the idea that
mothers are best suited at home, not in an office.

"I love the idea of empowering women, but this is the exact
opposite," she said.  "These companies are selling them on the
idea that they'll miss their kids' childhoods if they have to go
into an office."

Facebook has taken a hands-off approach to multilevel marketing,
saying it has no reason to limit the industry's presence on the
social network.  A Facebook spokesman declined to share any data
about LuLaRoe.

The deluge of posts about direct sales can easily be removed by
selected "hide post" next to any unwanted content, the spokesman
added. Otherwise, posts about LuLaRoe and other multilevel
marketing brands are subject to the whims of Facebook's algorithm
like most other topics.

The rules are different for paid ads.  Facebook requires
multilevel marketing brands to "fully describe the associated
product or business model" and never to "promote business models
offering quick compensation for little investment."  However,
LuLaRoe consultants interviewed for this story who placed ads on
Facebook say they never disclosed such information.

Facebook also prohibits ads and landing pages from containing
"deceptive, false, or misleading content, including deceptive
claims, offers, or methods."  Even if Facebook decided to banish
pyramid schemes from its networks, it would have a hard time
determining which companies to target.

Pyramid scheme isn't a legal term, and the nation's laws are
notoriously vague about what it means.  Most experts and industry
officials, including those at the Direct Sales Assn, say the bar
for a scam is when the majority of revenue is derived from
recruiting new consultants rather than sales.

But others say that's not enough.  They argue the majority of
multilevel marketing is predatory because it's founded on the
false promise of quick returns, when in reality, the overwhelming
majority of consultants lose money.

"I've never once met a single person who earned income in
multilevel marketing sustainably from retailing," said
FitzPartick of Pyramid Scheme Alert.  "The model is impossible."

Mr. FitzPatrick said legal ambiguity and powerful lobbying has
protected multilevel marketing, an industry with close ties to
the Trump administration.  Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is
married to former Amway CEO Dick DeVos, the son of Amway co-
founder Richard DeVos.  President Trump was once a paid promoter
of direct sales firm ACN Inc.

Some of the biggest names in the industry, including Amway, Avon
and Mary Kay have survived scrutiny for decades.  Other stalwarts
such as Herbalife and Nu Skin have paid millions in settlements,
while upstarts such as beverage distributor Vemma Nutrition were
effectively shuttered by the Federal Trade Commission.

LuLaRoe needs to take its consultants' concerns more seriously if
it hopes to continue growing, said Terri Villasenor.  The
Whittier resident signed up with the brand in August 2016 and
believes it expanded too fast.

"The first three months were OK, but then it plateaued because
they were saturating the market," said Ms. Villasenor, 55, who
gave her middle and maiden names because she worried LuLaRoe
would retaliate.

She's now stuck with 200 pieces of clothing no one wants to buy.
She has no intention of purchasing any more inventory.  Though
not a member of any of the lawsuits against LuLaRoe, Ms.
Villasenor is encouraged that disgruntled consultants are
fighting back.

Dissenters are even exchanging ideas through private Facebook
groups -- much like the ones they started to lure recruits and
customers.  The forums can feel liberating to consultants such as
Ms. Villasenor, who were wary of questioning LuLaRoe's business
until they saw others come forward.

"I felt like I was stuck in a cult," she said. [GN]

LYFT INC: Settles Class Action Over Toll Charges
Sara McCleary, writing for Legal Newsline, reports that after
receiving a positive ruling from a federal judge, ride share
company Lyft has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against it by a
New York plaintiff who had sought class action certification for
his suit over toll charges.

In a June 26 opinion, the court granted Lyft's motion to compel
arbitration. On Aug. 1, plaintiff Josh Applebaum and Lyft filed a
stipulation of dismissal, agreeing to dismiss Applebaum's
individual claims with prejudice and those of the other class
members without prejudice.

Mr. Applebaum had filed his case in the U.S. District Court for
the Southern District of New York in 2016, alleging that Lyft
overcharged customers by charging the full, non-discounted cash
rate of tunnel and bridge tolls, rather than the discounted E-Z
Pass rate that drivers actually pay.

Mr. Applebaum claimed that Lyft misled consumers, making them
believe they would only be charged the discounted rate.  He
sought reimbursement, disgorgement of profits, an injunction to
stop the overcharging, attorneys' fees, and special damages.

Though Mr. Applebaum sought a trial by jury, Lyft filed a motion
to dismiss the case, or in the alternative, stay the action and
compel arbitration as per its terms of use.

The company argued that Mr. Applebaum had agreed to its Feb. 8,
2016, terms of service, which included a provision to arbitrate
all disputes between himself and Lyft, by clicking a box
confirming "I agree to Lyft's terms of service" when signing up.

The court found that the presentation of the agreement -- that
is, that the user could click the box without opening or reading
the agreement and Lyft had not made clear the importance of the
agreement -- meant that a reasonable consumer could not have been
expected to be aware that they were accepting the arbitration

Therefore, "the plaintiff cannot be bound by the arbitration
provisions in that contract," reads Judge John G. Koeltl's June
26 decision.

Lyft was successful, however, in its argument that Mr. Applebaum
had agreed to its updated Sept. 30, 2016, Terms of Service,
"which were presented to him as a scrollwrap agreement,"
according to Judge Koeltl.

This time, the screen shown to users stated explicitly "Before
you can proceed you must read & accept the latest terms of
service" and required users to click on a bar that read "I

The court further addressed Mr. Applebaum's contention that his
claims were outside the scope of the arbitration agreement.  It
pointed to agreement's provision that called for all disputes
about the arbitrability of an issue to be decided by the
arbitrator. [GN]

MARVELL TECHNOLOGY: Court Certifies Class in Shareholder Case
The following statement is being issued by Robbins Geller Rudman
& Dowd LLP regarding the Marvell Technology Group, Ltd. Class


YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED, pursuant to a Court Order dated
October 27, 2017, that a Class has been certified in a class
action entitled Luna v. Marvell Technology Group, Ltd., et al.,
No. 3:15-cv-05447-WHA (the "Action"), which is now pending before
the United States District Court for the Northern District of
California (the "Court").

The Action is brought on behalf of all persons and entities who
purchased shares of Marvell Technology Group, Ltd. ("Marvell")
common stock during the period from February 19, 2015 through
December 7, 2015, inclusive (the "Class").  Lead Plaintiff, on
behalf of the Class, alleges that Defendants made false and
misleading statements and/or failed to disclose adverse
information regarding Marvell's business, operations and
prospects, including that Marvell reported revenue and earnings
during the Class Period that were misleading as a result of
undisclosed pull-in sales.

Defendants deny any wrongdoing or having violated any provisions
of the 1934 Act.

The Court has certified the following Class of plaintiffs:

All persons and entities who purchased or otherwise acquired the
common stock of Marvell Technology Group, Ltd. ("Marvell" or the
"Company") during the period from February 19, 2015 through
December 7, 2015, inclusive (the "Class Period"), and were
damaged thereby.  Excluded from the Class are investors who sold
all of their shares prior to September 11, 2015, and Defendants,
present or former executive officers of Marvell and their
immediate family members (as defined in 17 C.F.R. Sec. 229.404,
Instructions (1)(a)(iii) and (1)(b)(ii)).

On December 4, 2017, a Notice of Pendency of Class Action (the
"Notice") was mailed to persons who purchased or otherwise
acquired Marvell common stock during the Class Period, as
reflected on the books and records of Marvell and its transfer
agent.  The Notice contains important information regarding the
rights of Class members, including the right to seek exclusion
from the Class and the deadline for doing so.  If you believe you
are a member of the Class as defined above, and if you have not
received a copy of the Notice by mail, you are urged to request a
copy free of charge by mailing your request to Luna v. Marvell
Technology Group Ltd, et al., c/o Gilardi & Co. LLC, Post Office
Box 404041, Louisville, KY 40233-4041.  You may also download a
copy of the Notice at www.MarvellSecuritiesClassAction.com

Questions may also be directed to:

          SCOTT H. SAHAM
          655 West Broadway, Suite 1900
          San Diego, California 92101 [GN]

MASSACHUSETTS MUTUAL: Vitale Appeals Judgment in "Bacchi" Suit
Class member and interested party Francis Vitale filed before the
First Circuit Court of Appeals an appeal from the memorandum and
order, and judgment entered on November 8, 2017, in the lawsuit
entitled Bacchi v. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company,
Case No. 1:12-cv-11280-DJC (D. Mass.).

The rulings granted final approval to the $37.5 million class
settlement in the lawsuit.

The appellate case is captioned as KAREN L. BACCHI, individually
and on behalf of all persons similarly situated, Plaintiff -
Appellee v. FRANCIS VITALE, Class Member, Interested Party -
Case No. 17-2190, in the United States Court of Appeals for the
First Circuit.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter on Dec. 11,
2017, interested party Caroline Tucker also filed an appeal from
the ruling.

On November 8, 2017, Judge Denise J. Casper granted final
approval to the class settlement in the case.  The settlement
provides for a common fund of $37.5 million for class members,
MassMutual will continue for at least ten years to provide safety
fund calculations to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance and
MassMutual will pay the costs and expenses for administrating and
distributing the settlement funds to class members (an expense
that Plaintiffs estimate to exceed $3 million).

Over five years ago, Ms. Bacchi brought the action against
MassMutual on behalf of a purported class of similarly situated
MassMutual policyholders asserting claims regarding MassMutual's
safety fund calculation, alleging that the company retained
monies that it should have distributed to policyholders as
dividends.  After several years of hard fought litigation between
the parties and a mediation that resulted in the proposed
settlement, the Court preliminarily granted approval of that
settlement agreement and certification of the class for this
purpose, approved the procedure for providing notice to the class
of same and scheduling a hearing for consideration of the final
approval of the settlement and determination of any fee

Plaintiff-Appellee Karen L. Bacchi, Individually and on Behalf of
all Persons Similarly Situated, is represented by:

          Jason B. Adkins, Esq.
          John P. Zavez, Esq.
          90 Canal St., Suite 500
          Boston, MA 02114-0000
          Telephone: (617) 367-1040
          Facsimile: (617) 742-8280
          E-mail: jadkins@akzlaw.com

               - and -

          Andrew S. Friedman, Esq.
          Francis J. Balint, Jr., Esq.
          2325 E. Camelback Road, Suite 300
          Phoenix, AZ 85016
          Facsimile: (602) 274-1199
          Telephone: (602) 274-1100
          E-mail: afriedman@bffb.com

               - and -

          F. Paul Bland, Esq.
          1825 K Street NW, Suite 200
          Washington, DC 20006
          Telephone: (202) 797-8600
          E-mail: pbland@publicjustice.net

               - and -

          Mark A. Chavez, Esq.
          CHAVEZ & GERTLER
          42 Miller Avenue
          Mill Valley, CA 94941-5572
          Telephone: (415) 381-5599
          E-mail: mark@chavezgertler.com

Defendant Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company is
represented by:

          James R. Carroll, Esq.
          Kurt Wm. Hemr, Esq.
          Alisha Quintana Nanda, Esq.
          500 Boylston Street
          Boston, MA 02116
          Telephone: (617) 573-4800
          Facsimile: (617) 573-4822
          E-mail: James.Carroll@skadden.com

               - and -

          Scott T. Lashway, Esq.
          1295 State Street
          Springfield, MA 01111
          Telephone: (413) 744-7383
          E-mail: scott.lashway@hklaw.com

Movant Babson Capital Management LLC is represented by:

          Kurt Wm. Hemr, Esq.
          500 Boylston Street
          Boston, MA 02116
          Telephone: (617) 573-4800
          Facsimile: (617) 573-4822
          E-mail: kurt.hemr@skadden.com

Interested Party and Objector Christina Chavez is represented by:

          Mary T. Rahmes, Esq.
          Timothy Morris, Esq.
          550 S. Hope St., Suite 1645
          Los Angeles, CA 90071
          Telephone: (213) 489-1600
          E-mail: mary.rahmes@gmlawyers.com

Interested Parties and Objectors Christina Chavez and M.D.
Michael D. Myers are represented by:

          Mark F. Murphy, Esq.
          30 Walpole Street
          Norwood, MA 02062
          Telephone: (781) 762-0088
          Facsimile: (781) 762-3133
          E-mail: mmurphy@markmurphylaw.com

Interested Party and Objector Caroline Tucker is represented by:

          Mardi Harrison, Esq.
          125 Edison Furlong Road
          Doylestown, PA 18901
          Telephone: (267) 252-1035
          E-mail: mardi@suetheboss.com

               - and -

          Elaine W. Sharp, Esq.
          196 Atlantic Avenue
          Marblehead, MA 01945
          Telephone: (781) 639-1862
          Facsimile: (781) 639-1771
          E-mail: elainesharp@sharplaw.net

MECTA CORPORATION: Riera Seeks Cert. of Patients, Spouses Classes
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit titled JOSE RIERA; MICHELLE HIMES;
BENJAMIN, individually, and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. MECTA CORPORATION; SOMATICS, LLC; and DOES 1 through
10, inclusive, Case No. 2:17-cv-06686-RGK-PJW (C.D. Cal.), ask
the Court to certify these classes:

   (1) All individuals in the United States who received ECT
       treatment in California, and suffered resulting injuries
       from May 28, 1982 through to the date of judgment, where
       such treatment was administered by an ECT device
       manufactured, sold, and/or distributed by either
       Defendant, Mecta or Somatics, after May 28, 1982; and

   (2) The spouses of the patients who have suffered related loss
       of consortium damages.

The Court will hold a hearing on the Motion on January 22, 2018,
at 9:00 a.m.

A copy of the Notice of Motion is available at no charge at

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          David M. Karen, Esq.
          Kimberly K. Offenbacher, Esq.
          Connor M. Karen, Esq.
          DK LAW GROUP, LLP
          3155 Old Conejo Road
          Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
          Telephone: (805) 498-1212
          Facsimile: (805) 498-3030
          E-mail: dk@dk4law.com

MEDICAL DATA: "Patti" Suit Seeks Redress for Collection Letters
REVENUE SERVICE, Case No. 0:17-cv-62424-WPD (S.D. Fla., December
10, 2017), alleges violations of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.

On behalf of the putative classes, the Plaintiff seeks redress
for the alleged unlawful conduct of the Defendant in dispatching
thousands of unlawful collection letters to Florida consumers,
whereby each such letter contains identical violations of Section
1692e(11) of the FDCPA.

Medical Data Systems Inc. is a Florida corporation, with its
principal place of business located in Vero Beach, Florida.  It
engages in interstate commerce by regularly using telephone and
mail in a business whose principal purpose is the collection of

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Jibrael S. Hindi, Esq.
          110 SE 6th Street, Suite 1744
          Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
          Telephone: (954) 907-1136
          Facsimile: (855) 529-9540
          E-mail: jibrael@jibraellaw.com

MEDICIS PHARMA: March 12 Trial Set in Solodyn(R) Class Action
If you paid for Solodyn(R), a class action lawsuit may affect
your rights

You may be affected by a class action lawsuit against Medicis
Pharmaceutical Corp., and Impax Laboratories, ("Defendants").
The lawsuit claims that Defendants unlawfully delayed the
availability of allegedly less-expensive generic versions of
Solodyn and that Defendants' conduct caused certain consumers and
third-party payors to pay too much for Solodyn in these states
and territories.  Defendants deny any wrongdoing.


As a consumer, you may be a member of the End-Payor Class if
after July 23, 2009 you purchased or paid for some or all of the
purchase price for 45mg, 55mg, 65mg, 80mg, 90mg, 105mg, 115mg,
and/or 135mg Solodyn and/or its generic versions of one or more
of these dosages, in the United States and its territories,
including Puerto Rico, in tablet form, for consumption by
yourself or your family.  Purchases made directly from
Defendants, for resale purposes, for fixed dollar co-payments
that do not vary between brand and generic drug, through
Medicaid, or consumers who purchased Solodyn prior to July 23,
2009 are not included.


DO NOTHING: If you do nothing you are choosing to stay in the
End-Payor Class and you will be able to share in any money or
benefits that may occur in this case.  You will be bound by all
orders and judgments of the Court and you will give up your right
to sue the Defendants as part of any other lawsuit for the claim
made in this case.

yourself from the End-Payor Class (i.e. opt out), you will not be
entitled to money or benefits if they are awarded or obtained.
You will be bound by all orders and judgments of the Court and
you will give up your right to sue the Defendants as part of any
other lawsuit for the claim made in this case.  The deadline to
exclude yourself from the End-Payor Class is February 10, 2018.


The Court will hold a trial in this case on March 12, 2018 at the
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, 1
Courthouse Way Boston, Massachusetts 02210.  You may hire your
own lawyer at your own expense, but you do not have to.


Go to www.SolodynCase.com, call 1-800-332-7414, or write to In re
Solodyn Antitrust Litigation (End-Payor Action), P.O. Box 173034,
Milwaukee, WI 53217. [GN]

MERIDIAN BIOSCIENCE: Faces Shareholder Class Actions
360Dx reports that two class action lawsuits have been filed on
behalf of Meridian Bioscience shareholders stemming from the
recalls of lead poisoning tests and test systems by the company's
Magellan Diagnostics subsidiary.

The class action suits were filed by Rosen Law Firm and by the
Klein Law Firm on Dec. 11 on behalf of purchasers of Meridian
Bioscience securities between March 25, 2016 and July 13, 2017.
Both suits allege that the defendants provided false or
misleading statements related to lead test results that were
inaccurate, and they seek to recover damages suffered by

Magellan Diagnostics announced in May 2017 that it was recalling
lead poisoning tests and test system due to inaccurate test
results, following a warning from the US Food and Drug

Earlier that month, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention recommended retesting people who were tested for
lead levels with Magellan's products, after data suggested
inaccurate results from tests performed on blood drawn from a
vein. The FDA and CDC both reported that data indicated results
from tests might have been lower than the actual level of lead in
the blood. Samples from finger pricks and heel sticks were not

In October, the FDA issued a warning letter to Magellan
Diagnostics alleging several violations of federal law, including
marketing "significantly modified versions" of two blood-based
lead testing systems without the FDA's required clearance or

Both law firms said that shareholders have until January 16, 2018
to petition the court if they want to serve as lead plaintiff.
Shareholders who do not petition the court may remain as absent
class members and would still share in the recovery.

The suit filed by Klein was filed in the US District Court for
the Southern District of Oho, according to the firm's statement.
It was not clear in which court Rosen Law Firm filed its suit.

Attorneys at the firms did not return calls or emails.

In afternoon trading on the Nasdaq, Meridian's shares were up
more than 1 percent to $14.30. [GN]

MINED MINDS: Faces Class Action Over Fraudulent Training Program
Annie Moore, writing for WVVA, reports that when Ty Cook and Tori
Frame first heard about Mined Minds, Cook was a bank teller and
Frame worked in the retail industry.  They decided to take a
chance on the non-profit claiming to re-train coal miners and
others for high-paying coding jobs in the tech industry.

Mr. Cook cut his hours at the bank from full-time to four-hours a
week.  Ms. Frame quit her job altogether.  Both claimed they were
promised minimum wage to participate.

"We became suspicious on day one when we learned there was no
pay.  We were told to quit our jobs but come everyday to still
study.  Later on, we did research in the tech world and realized
we don't have the skills people are asking for with these tech
jobs," explained Cook.

Mr. Cook quit the program in November and Ms. Frame followed
suit. "We got more suspicious when we saw articles where there
were issues in Pennsylvania and the company's problems there.
That's when I became very concerned about my future with Minded

Mr. Cook and Ms. Frame are have joined several others in a class-
action lawsuit against Mined Minds filed on Dec. 7 by Beckley
attorneys Adam Taylor and Stephen New.  The suit seeks damages
for fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty.

"Based on the information we're getting, it was run very
haphazardly," said Mr. Taylor.  "The instructors were under-
qualified.  It was very unorganized.  It was nothing to merit the
devotion these students gave."

In an interview with Minded Minds founder Amanda Laucher, she
claimed the non-profit never promised pay.  She said their first
graduating class had four students who were hired internally,
three hired in tech jobs outside the company, one who retired,
and two who were let go during their apprenticeship for policy

"No student has ever received money from Mined Minds to attend
our free training class and there has never been a mention of a
stipend anywhere in Mined Minds documentation.  The vast majority
of Americans pay for their education.  We are shocked and
saddened that this young couple would believe that they deserve
compensation in addition to free training."

On Dec. 12, 2017, Ms. Laucher said the company graduated four
more students, all of whom were offered jobs inside Mined Minds.
"We expect four more graduates.  All will have offers."

According to a Pittsburgh CBS-affiliate KDKA story in November
2017, Mined Minds was forced to quit their operations in
Pennsylvania because of a cease and desist letter from the state
Department of Education demanding they be licensed as a school.
Instead of requesting a hearing or applying for a license, Mined
Minds folded their training operations there.  Ms. Laucher
confirmed their decision not to seek licensure on Dec. 12, saying
"the associated fees are prohibitive to us obtaining that

According to New, Mined Minds has built their operations in West
Virginia in the last two years with considerable help from
federal funds.

"We have it on good authority that perhaps as high as 1.8 million
in federal funding was used to start up these programs and bring
jobs in the tech sector to West Virginia.  But clearly they never
intended to follow through on that promise."

"It's a violation of the student's trust.  It's a violation of
the public's trust. The public gives that money to the Appalachia
Regional Commission (ARC) to develop under privileged areas like
Southern West Virginia.  The program was marked to place coal
miners in high-tech jobs.  And the money wasn't used for that

Ms. Laucher also fired back at those claims, saying the company
has only spent $60,000 of a $700,000 grant awarded through the
ARC, most of which was spent on teacher pay.

As for Cook and Frame, Ms. Laucher said "Tori and Ty were both
within days of completing the initial training and were to be
offered a paid apprenticeship position upon completion.  The
dating couple both dropped out of class in support of Tori's
mother, who was asked to leave the class because of
unprofessional behavior, sexual harassment and sexual assault
complaints from four different team members while traveling to a
tech conference in Europe.  We have written complains on file as
well as the record of a detailed letter asking Stephanie not to
return to class."

But when pressed on whether any of the team members filed police
reports, Ms. Laucher said the matter was handled internally.

New responded to those allegations saying one of the team members
Ms. Laucher is referring to denies he was sexually harassed or
assaulted.  In fact, he said he too has joined the class action
suit seeking damages from Mined Minds. [GN]

MONITRONICS INT'L: Settles Class Action Over Illegal Robocalls
Al Vaughters, writing for WIVB, reports that when the phone rings
at Gary Gotsch's home in the Town of Evans it is likely to be a
telemarketing call he does not want, or an illegal robocall
trying to sell him something he does not need.  The retired
safety manager's enrollment in the Do Not Call registry seems to
be irrelevant.

"I get approximately 70 to 80 phone calls a month -- unwanted
phone calls, unknown phone calls -- from all over the country."

So Gotsch can sense a scam when he sees it, and when he got a
postcard in the mail, asking for personal information to claim a
share of a class action settlement, Gary had his suspicions.

"It tells me to send in the postcard, with my phone number, to
get a check back as a settlement claim, or go on the website."

Gary contacted Call 4 Action, and is now able to let his guard
down -- the card is legitimate, the settlement is real.

Millions of cards like Gotsch's are being sent to phone customers
all over the country, informing them of a $26 million class
action settlement, involving a company called Monitronics

The lawsuit centers on complaints accusing Monitronics -- or
marketing firms linked to Monitronics -- of initiating illegal
robocalls to consumers, or unauthorized calls to consumers who,
like Gary, are on the Do Not Call registry.

Attorneys involved in the litigation estimate consumers' share of
the settlement could range from $15 to $25.  Gary feels it is
better than nothing, "if they have a lump sum settlement, the
lawyers are going to get their big share of it, but if everybody
else can get something out of it, why not?"

The retired Evans homeowner is relieved someone seems to be
paying for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act,
designed to protect consumers from bothersome telemarketers, but
Gotsch would like to see the government step up its enforcement
of the law.

How does Gary feel about that class action settlement? "I've now
got the postcard filled out, ready to send in to see what

Attorneys say the amount consumers receive from the class action
settlement will depend on how many people return those cards. A
federal judge in West Virginia will determine the final amount
sometime next year.

You can get more information on the class action lawsuit by
logging onto the official settlement website at

MONKEY CAPITAL: "Hodges" Claims Monkey Coin a Fraud
Andrew Hodges, Vladimir Cood, Gautam Desai, Jody Powell, Jeffrey
Heberling and Shammi Nabukumar, individually and on behalf of all
others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. Monkey Capital, LLC and
Daniel Harrison, Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-81370 (S.D. Fla.,
December 19, 2017), seeks to enjoin Defendants from making
further transfers or dissipations of the investment funds and
assets raised in connection with the promoted cryptocurrency, or
using such funds and assets in any further purchases or
transactions, equitable restitution, including, without
limitation, rescission of their investments in Monkey Capital,
restoration of all cryptocurrency or fiat currency paid to
Defendants, compensatory damages, punitive damages, incidental
damages and consequential damages, prejudgment and post-judgment
interest, attorneys' fees, expenses and the costs of this action
in violation of the Securities and Exchange Act and Florida's
Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Defendants allegedly developed a unified network of data
distribution with respect to virtual capital assets, as well as a
private cryptocurrency exchange and decentralized hedge fund.
Their cryptocurrency called Monkey Coin purportedly would
skyrocket in demand and value once the Monkey Capital Market was
launched on August 8, 2017.  The launch never occurred and their
fundraising website disappeared.  Plaintiffs invested their
bitcoin with Monkey Capital and claim returns for their
investment. [BN]

Plaintiffs are represented by:

      David C. Silver, Esq.
      Jason S. Miller, Esq.
      11780 W. Sample Road
      Coral Springs, FL 33065
      Telephone: (954) 516-6000
      E-mail: DSilver@SilverMillerLaw.com

NASPERS: Faces Three Investigations Amid Class Action
Ferial Haffajee, writing for Huffington Post, reports that "This
company is aggressive and entrepreneurial.  We often go with our
gut," says a MultiChoice executive to explain revelations of the
company's negotiating tactics, which have landed its parent
company Naspers in a mighty pickle.

Naspers is facing three investigations: a litigious class action
by a US law firm is exploring the allegations; a parliamentary
inquiry on the scale of the Eskom probe is being planned for
early 2018; and MultiChoice's board is engaged in a probe to get
to the bottom of the allegations.

MultiChoice and Naspers are in the crosshairs of public
opprobrium for playing tough tackle in their negotiations to
protect their market dominance, but the company says this is
standard lobbying.  Here's a recap of what's bugging the global
Internet and media company:

An investigation by News24 into the #Guptaleaks emails revealed
how a company regulatory affairs honcho wrote policy for
government that landed up on the email servers of the Gupta
family after being mailed through by former communications
minister Faith Muthambi.

A set of minutes, which the DA calls secret, but which
MultiChoice says never was, alleges that MultiChoice tied an
agreement to pay the SABC for digital channels to support for a
position that excluded encryption and protected the company's

MultiChoice's support and contracts with the National Association
of Manufacturers in Electronics components in return for their
lobbying against encryption.

Analysts say industry incumbents who write policy for government
engage in regulatory capture -- this is where private interests
drive public policy. In mining, a similar trend is apparent.
Special interests that are not immediately visible to the public
motivate the writing of draft laws and practices such as
aggressive inspections and work stoppages.

Standard lobbying

Executives at MultiChoice who spoke to HuffPost SA on condition
of anonymity are taken aback at the allegations.  The company
would not formally respond as lobbying and regulatory affairs are
part of the ongoing probe at the company.

One said that companies often wrote draft policy positions for
government as part of the lobbying process. Broadcasting is
complex and the South African state's governance thereof has been
sclerotic: there have been five communications ministers in the
eight years that President Jacob Zuma's been in office.

"In lobbying, we are saying what we think the law should say."
As to how the email landed up on a Gupta company server, an
executive said: "Faith Muthambi told us she didn't like those
people [the Guptas] at all."

The executive says only 10% of its recommended policy proposals
ended up in the final law, which clarified what the respective
functions would be of Telecommunications and Postal Services
Minister Siyabonga Cwele and the communications minister after
Zuma split the department in two.

"[It's true], though, that we lobbied everyone and their dog on
encryption," said an executive.  This is a separate policy to the
one that ended up in the hands of Gupta man Ashu Chawla.

ANC MP and former communications minister Yunus Carrim says
Naspers chairperson Koos Bekker ". . . almost saw himself as an
adviser to me [on encryption] as somebody new to the sector.  And
yet, because of his vested profit and other interests in the
pay-tv sector, he obviously couldn't play any such role."

A DStv decoder for you, you and you

As a young MP, Carrim sat on parliament's communications
committee.  One day, he remembers a furious Frene Ginwala, who
was the National Assembly speaker, calling out MPs for taking
MultiChoice's gifts of decoders for MPs.  She said it was absurd
because "we have to make policy impacting broadcasters".

Carrim would like to see an end to gifting by MultiChoice and
other government-facing companies, which depend on public
regulation or licence to operate.

He says the lobbying become more aggressive as certain members of
the ANC study group were courted by MultiChoice to take positions
against encryption, even though the ANC policy at the time was
for conditional access to the set-top boxes that will enable
converting old TVs for digital television.

"Of course, business should lobby government as vigorously as
they want, but they can't seek to buy government policy. Lobbying
should be within reasonable limits and within a generally
accepted framework of ethics," says Carrim.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme says establishing a code of conduct for
public policy lobbyists is essential and will be part of an
investigation into state capture in the communications sector in
the new year.

MultiChoice responds

"We note that your questions deal with the parameters of an
acceptable level lobbying.  We think it is inappropriate to deal
with that at this time, as the MultiChoice Board's Audit and Risk
committees are specifically and currently reviewing these
matters.  We don't want to pre-empt or influence the outcome of
that process.  The audit and risk committees are chaired by an
independent non-executive Director.  Their report will be
submitted to the MultiChoice Board on completion of the review.
When this process is concluded, we will communicate the outcome."

We believe that no improper conduct took place in our meeting
with the SABC.  It was not a clandestine meeting. The meeting was
held at the request of the SABC, on their premises and was
recorded.  Top management and board members of both parties were
represented.  No kickbacks were paid.  It was a negotiation
meeting and the final decision on our proposal lay with the SABC

As you know, the Constitutional Court has found in favour of the
Minister's policy.  Ultimately, the SABC considered its position
and decided to enter into the agreement.  Our position on
encryption of set-top box for digital migration was well known
and had been in the public domain.

We have a long-standing relationship with the SABC dating back to
the early 1980s.  The parties have bought and sold content from
and to each other for many years and will continue to do so."

NEW JERSEY: Faces Class Action Over Women's Prison Sexual Abuses
Ted Sherman, writing for NJ.com, reports that New Jersey's
women's prison was hit with a class action lawsuit on Dec. 11,
charging state officials with closing their eyes for years to
rampant sexual harassment and assaults by guards on inmates.

The civil action comes a week after two inmates at the prison in
Hunterdon County lodged a separate lawsuit charging they were the
victims of repeated assaults or abuse by at least four guards,
and faced retaliation when they complained.

Attorney Mark Frost of Philadelphia, one of the lawyers in both
cases, said the class-action litigation on behalf of all inmates,
and anyone who has been released since 2014, was far-reaching.

"Prison administrators have had a long history of turning a blind
eye and ignoring complaints of sexual harassment by female
inmates, which has fostered a climate of systemic sexual
discriminatory acts by correction officers at the Edna Mahan
Correctional Facility," said Frost.

There are currently 613 women incarcerated at the prison in Union
Township, where Frost said at least 16 women have been assaulted
by prison officers in the past five years.

The class-action lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in Mercer
County, charged a pattern of sexual discriminatory acts, alleging
the "systematic, inappropriate and illegal treatment of
plaintiffs and the other women" being held at the prison,
resulting from "a long-standing, prison-wide culture of abuse
within the institution," which it claimed was fostered and
endorsed by New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Named were Gary Lanigan, the commissioner of the department,
along with the prison's administrators and at least 10
corrections officers or supervisors at the prison.

The lawsuit questioned why male correction officers were allowed
"unfettered physical access to female prisoners and their
belongings, including permitting them to observe females in a
state of undress, in showers, in their living space, and/or
permitting male officers to 'pat down' or conduct strip searches
of female prisoners, without reason and/or restrictions to their
'private' body parts."

A spokesman for the Department of Corrections declined to respond
to the allegations in lawsuit.

"We do not have a comment; the department does not comment on
pending litigation," said Patrick Lombardi.

Three inmates were named as plaintiffs on behalf of all women who
may have been assaulted at Edna Mahan.  One said a corrections
officer grabbed her crotch through her clothes and then pressed
up against her from behind.  She said the officer repeatedly saw
her naked after showering.  Another penetrated her sexually with
his finger.

A second woman alleged she had been repeatedly sexually harassed,
and then was the target of retaliation after she complained.  A
third inmate said she was similarly harassed.

The prison, which for years reported no cases, or under-reported
cases of sexual abuse, has come under growing scrutiny. An NJ
Advance Media special report in 2017 documented abuse claims at
the women's prison, reporting that officials had fired three
officers in 2010 after one was accused of abusing more than a
dozen inmates, and tried to keep the disciplinary actions

At the same time, at least five corrections officers and once
civilian employee at Edna Mahon have been criminally charged with
sexually abusing inmates over the past three years.

Bonnie Kerness, who heads the Prison Watch program for the
American Friends Service Committee in Newark, said the
administrators at Edna Mahan have had a long history of ignoring

"In the over 25 years of monitoring, my experience has been that
men in prison will call, write, have families let us and others
know exactly what is going on.  The women rarely do," she said.
"Sometimes this is complete fear, sometimes its the quid pro

In the lawsuit filed in state Superior Court, also by Mr. Frost,
two other inmates -- both serving lengthy sentences for robbery
--said they were forced into sexual acts with a number of
corrections officers. They included two officers who have already
been criminally charged in cases involving other women

Contact between an inmate and an officer is considered sexual
assault under state law, which recognizes that prisoners cannot
consent to sexual relationships with those charged with
overseeing them. [GN]

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Fan's Anthem Demonstration Suit No Chance
Eric Macramalla, writing for Forbes, reports that a New Orleans
Saints season-ticket holder is suing the team over players'
national anthem demonstrations.  The plaintiff, Lee Dragna, is
requesting a refund of his ticket costs plus attorney fees.

As part of the claim, Mr. Dragna is alleging that he bought the
tickets for "entertainment" and "enjoyment" and would never have
purchased the tickets had he known that Saints players would use
the games as a "platform for protest."  Mr. Dragna also claims
the players have been "disrespecting the flag, the anthem, the
USA and those who have served and are serving the USA in our
military."  Also according to the claim, Mr. Dragna hasn't been
to a game since Week 2 (which is a shame since he's missed out on
the live version of Alvin Kamara).

As far as the merits of the lawsuit, Mr. Dragna doesn't have a
chance. A ticket to a game is a revocable license that grants you
access to a sports venue and lets you sit in your seat and use
the stadium facilities.  Effectively, fans are not entitled to
much else beyond access.  In addition, that license may be
revoked by the team for any reason.

Back in 2009, Jets fan Carl J. Mayer launched a class-action
lawsuit against the New England Patriots, Coach Bill Belichick
and the NFL on behalf of New York Jets season-ticket holders over
the Spygate scandal.  The lawsuit alleged that by videotaping
signals from the Jets' coaches, the Patriots had rigged the games
against the Jets, thereby defrauding fans.

Both the district and appellate courts dismissed the case.
Basically, the courts found that by virtue of his ticket,
Mr. Mayer possessed nothing more than a contractual right to a
seat from which to watch an NFL game between the Jets and the
Patriots, and this right was clearly honored.  The District Court
wrote that "the uniform weight of established case law holds that
a failure to satisfy the subjective expectations of spectators at
a sporting event is not actionable under law."  The U.S. Supreme
Court declined to hear the case.

Bottom line is, courts don't care about a fan's expectations
going into a sporting event.  The only certainty in sports is
uncertainty, and to allow this type of lawsuit to get traction
would be to open the floodgates to an endless stream of lawsuits
filed by disappointed fans. [GN]

NEW YORK: Court OKs Inmates' Solitary Confinement Settlement
Ashley Southall, writing for New York Times, reports that for
years, it was a rule in New York City's jail system: If an inmate
at Rikers Island who had been serving a stretch in solitary
confinement before release returned to the jail, the person would
be forced back into solitary no matter how much time had passed.

The city dropped the rule, called the old time policy, in 2015,
in response to a lawsuit, but by then hundreds of people had
served long stints in solitary confinement at the notorious jail

On Dec. 11, a federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn gave
preliminary approval to a class-action settlement in which the
city agreed to pay a total of $5 million to 470 people who were
put in solitary confinement under the policy between Nov. 23,
2012, and Sept. 16, 2015.  The lawsuit that prompted the
settlement, Roy Parker et al. v. the City of New York, alleged
that the practice was inhumane and violated pretrial detainees'
due process rights.

Judge Cheryl L. Pollak, in her order, said the settlement was
"fair and reasonable."  Her decision gives the plaintiffs'
lawyers, Alexander A. Reinert and Eric Hecker, the green light to
start notifying clients to file claims or objections.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, each eligible
plaintiff will receive $175 for each day in solitary, and those
who were under 18 or had been found to have a serious mental
illness will receive $200 per day.

"The conditions in solitary confinement at Rikers are awful, and
these men and women should not have been there," Mr. Hecker, a
lawyer at Cuti Hecker Wang L.L.P., said.  "We're happy they are
getting some compensation for what they went through."

Mr. Reinert, a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of
Law at Yeshiva University, said he believed this was the first
case in the country in which a court awarded compensation to a
class of pretrial detainees wrongfully held in solitary
confinement.  The number of people covered by the class action
was limited by a three-year statute of limitations, he said.

The settlement comes amid a continuing debate over the use of
solitary confinement.  While jail and prison authorities and
unions have argued that it is a necessary tool to maintain safety
and order, former prisoners, researchers and reform advocates say
it is overused and harms inmates.

Inmates are often sent to solitary confinement as punishment for
violating rules, such as by fighting guards or bringing in

Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has outlined a plan to close
Rikers, the city has moved away from solitary confinement.

Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city's Law Department, said
the agency was "pleased" with the settlement's approval.
Rescinding the old policy was one of several reforms adopted by
the city and the Department of Correction over the last four
years, "which have reduced punitive segregation use by more than
85" percent, he noted.

According to the Correction Department, the number of inmates
housed daily in "punitive segregation," the term officials use
for solitary confinement, decreased to 114 in 2017 from 874 in
2013.  [GN]

NFL: Judge Brody Blocks Litigation Funding Agreements
John Freund, writing for Litigation Finance Journal, reports that
Judge Anita Brody has issued a ruling in the heavily-scrutinized
NFL Concussion Case.  The underlying case involves thousands of
ex-NFL players who settled with the NFL for $1B over concussion-
related injuries sustained during their careers. Numerous
claimants sought litigation funding from roughly a dozen Consumer
Legal Funders while waiting for their payout from the NFL.

NFL class counsel, led by co-lead counsel Christopher Seeger, has
been accusing those funders of 'predatory' behavior, claiming
they preyed on cognitively impaired athletes by issuing usurious
lending agreements.  Mr. Seeger has been seeking to block the
funding agreements, and in a shock ruling, U.S. District Judge
Anita Brody of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania agreed with
Seeger's position, and has voided the litigation funding

As LFJ reported, class counsel in the NFL Concussion Case
settlement has been seeking to void the litigation funding
agreements between ex-players and a litany of Consumer Legal
funders, including Atlas Funding, RD Legal, and Cash4Cases.
Seeger argued that the funders preyed on cognitively impaired ex-
players, and that the settlement agreement's anti-assignment
language barred any such funding from taking place.

The Consumer Legal Funders shot back that their funding
agreements do not violate the settlement agreement because no
interest in plaintiffs' claims were acquired. Instead, funders
purchased an interest in plaintiffs' settlement proceeds -- and
those were not specifically addressed in the anti-assignment
clause of the class action settlement.

For example, RD Legal advanced 7 NFL retirees $1.63 million in
exchange for rights to $3.43 million of the cash they are
expected to receive in the settlement (that's out of a total
$11.7 million those 7 players are slated to receive).  None of
the players, funders, or individual lawyers for the players have
contested these funding agreements.  Therefore RD Legal is
claiming that their agreements can in no way be considered

What's more, Atlas Legal funding recently filed an accusation
against Seeger that he failed to disclose his past ties to
litigation funder Esquire Bank, which funded mass tort and class
action claims, including those in the NFL concussion case itself.

Yet despite the accusation, Judge Brody has sided with Seeger's
position. She declared all funding contracts void, referencing
section 30.1 of the settlement agreement, which states:

"Neither the Settlement Class nor any Class or Subclass
Representative or Settlement Class Member has assigned, will
assign, or will attempt to assign, to any person or entity other
than the NFL Parties any rights or claims relating to the subject
matter of the Class Action Complaint.  Any such assignment, or
attempt to assign, to any person or entity other than the NFL
Parties any rights or claims relating to the subject matter of
the Class Action Complaint will be void, invalid, and of no force
and effect and the Claims Administrator shall not recognize any
such action."

In a copy of the Judge's Order obtained by Litigation Finance
Journal, Judge Brody concludes that: "To the extent that any
Class Member has entered into an agreement that assigned or
attempted to assign any monetary claims, that agreement is void,
invalid and of no force and effect.  Class Members receiving
awards are, by definition, cognitively impaired. A Third-Party
funder entering an agreement with a Class Member would obviously
know that simple fact.  Additionally, the anti-assignment
language in the Settlement Agreement clearly states the intent
that Class Members are unable to make assignments.  Thus, the
Court has little sympathy for a Third-Party Funder that will not
receive a return on its "investment."  Nevertheless, under the
principle of rescission, Class Members should return to the
Third-Party Funder the amount already paid to them.  Accordingly,
if the Third-Party Funder is willing to accept rescission and
execute a valid waiver relinquishing any claims or rights under
the entire agreement creating the assignment or attempted
assignment, then the Claims Administrator will be authorized to
withhold -- from the Class Member's monetary award -- the amount
already paid to the Class Member under the agreement and return
it to the Third-Party Funder."

Attorney Raul Sloezen, who represents Cash4Cases and Atlas Legal
Funding, expressed his disappointment with the ruling, and claims
the issue should be decided in arbitration. He noted that neither
Cash4Cases, nor Atlas Legal were involved in the motion, which
was expressly issued against RD Legal and its funding agreements.
Though clearly this decision now puts Atlas and Cash4Cases -- as
well as the other Consumer Legal Funders involved in the NFL
Concussion Case -- directly in Seeger's crosshairs.

"We still have to make a decision about how to proceed,"
Mr. Sloezen said.

Jeffrey Hammer of Boies Schiller Flexner, who is representing RD
Legal, has yet to comment. [GN]

ONTARIO: Faces Class Action Over Abuse in Training Schools
Kenyon Wallace, writing for Toronto Star, reports that a proposed
class action lawsuit has been launched against the Ontario
government alleging horrific sexual, physical and psychological
abuse perpetrated on former students of the province's "training
schools" between 1931 and 1984.

The schools were residential institutions operated by the
province to house children between the ages of 8 and 16 who were
deemed by the courts to be "incorrigible" or difficult to
control. Children could be sent to training school without having
committed any crime.  Truancy, running away from home, or even
begging could land a child at any one of the province's more than
a dozen institutions.

"The repercussions (of training school) were unreal in my life,"
said representative plaintiff Kirk Keeping, who was sent at age
15 to a training school in Bowmanville, where he says he was
forced into sexual acts with male and female staff members and
suffered frequent beatings.

The two years he spent in training school had a profound effect
on his life, said Mr. Keeping, 64. "I just spiralled down for
many years in my life.  It was a roller-coaster ride trying to
hold down jobs, trying to have a family and live normal.  It was
a hard thing."

The lawsuit, filed in Thunder Bay, where Mr. Keeping lives, is
seeking $500 million in damages for negligence, breach of
fiduciary duty and vicarious liability, as well as $100 million
in punitive damages.  Lawyers who filed the claim believe there
could be thousands of class members.

"Training schools contained a toxic environment in which
degrading and humiliating treatment of children in the Crown's
care was the norm, physical, sexual, and psychological abuse was
rampant, and residents of training schools were systematically
denied their dignity and basic human rights," reads the claim,
filed in court on Dec. 8, which lists 14 training institutions
operated by the province.  "Through the Crown's systemic
negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, this improper conduct
continued for decades."

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Attorney General said it would
be inappropriate to comment "as this matter is subject to

A recent Star investigation found that the province has secretly
settled 220 lawsuits launched by individual former training
school residents.  As a condition of settlement, victims had to
sign confidentiality agreements -- "gag orders," as some former
residents called them  --  to receive financial compensation.

The Star also found that two provincial officials warned of
student mistreatment at the hands of training school staff and
teachers, but that the province appeared to have ignored these

Mr. Keeping, the representative plaintiff, told the Star a judge
sent him to Pine Ridge training school in Bowmanville in 1968,
not for committing any crime, but for simply for being a "wild
boy with a slingshot in his pocket."

The statement of claim alleges that he was assigned to work in
Pine Ridge's kitchen, where he was taken into a back room by a
female staffer who performed oral sex on him and touched his
genitals.  The staffer then allegedly took Keeping, who was a
virgin, into a large cooler and had sex with him.

The claim also states that he was sent to work at the school's
dairy farm to milk cows.  After a few weeks, a male employee
known only as "Jake" became friendly with Mr. Keeping, giving him
tobacco, rolling papers and matches.  One night, Jake called
Keeping down to the farm and performed oral sex on him, the claim
alleges. Jake then told Keeping he would show him "how girls got
pregnant," and then jumped on Keeping and "performed simulated

The sexual abuse continued for the next several weeks, Keeping
alleges.  He also says he saw Jake touch the genitals of other
residents.  Mr. Keeping also alleges that staff would put him in
a locker and hit him with running shoes when he misbehaved.

He says he is participating in the class action because he wants
to hold the government to account for "the damage that was done
to a lot of us."

"(The staff) had too much authority . . . we were very
vulnerable.  We were wide open for them to do as they chose,"
Mr. Keeping said.

Among the other abuses against training school residents that the
lawsuit alleges: lengthy punishments in solitary confinement,
known as "the hole"; being denied access to the washroom, thus
forcing residents to soil themselves; and, being made to scrub
floors with toothbrushes.  In addition, the claim alleges that
staff members were unqualified and improperly supervised.

Jonathan Ptak, a partner at the firm Koskie Miskie and the lead
lawyer on the claim, said it could take as long as a year for a
judge to hear evidence and make a decision on whether to certify
the case as a class action proceeding.

"We hope to be able to shine a light on this chapter in history,
which is really a shameful one in respect of how Ontario has
treated its most vulnerable children in its care," Mr. Ptak said.
"And we're hoping for institutional change and behavioural change
with respect to these kinds of circumstances and places in the
future as well."

If the suit is certified, Mr. Ptak said, notice will be then
given to the class in various forms, such as ads in newspapers
and other media so that former students can opt out of the class
action if they wish.

But some lawyers who practise in sexual assault law have raised
concerns that class action lawsuits may not be the best vehicles
for survivors.

Loretta Merritt, a Toronto lawyer who focuses on sexual and
physical abuse law, said the requirement for victims to "opt out"
of a class action lawsuit is problematic.

"If class members don't opt out by a date specified by the court,
they are deemed to be included, even if they don't know about the
lawsuit or don't feel ready to come forward with their
experiences," said Ms. Merritt, who has filed dozens of
individual lawsuits on behalf of former training school residents
alleging sexual abuse.  "Once a class action finishes, the law
states that those who did not opt out and didn't participate are
now barred from pursuing an individual claim."

She noted that the requirement to come forward by a specific time
in class actions runs counter to the province's decision in March
2016 to eliminate limitation periods for civil sexual assault

"It's a conflict in the law that denies abuse survivors access to
justice." [GN]

ONTARIO: Koskie Minsky, Watkins File Suit Over Schools Abuses
Koskie Minsky LLP in Toronto, and Watkins Law, P.C., in Thunder
Bay, Ontario, have commenced a class action against the Province
of Ontario on behalf of survivors of abuse at Ontario Training

The Training Schools were juvenile detention facilities for
children that were established the Province of Ontario from the
1930s to 1984.  The claim seeks $600 million from the Province of
Ontario in damages for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and
vicarious liability.

It is estimated that there are as many as 10,000 survivors of the
Ontario Training Schools.

The Statement of Claim alleges that in establishing and operating
the Training Schools, the Province of Ontario created a toxic
environment in which physical, sexual and psychological abuse of
children in its care was frequent and widespread.

It further alleges that cruel and degrading punishment
perpetrated on children in the care of the Province was common.
For example, staff disciplined residents for alleged misbehaviour
using the "blanket treatment" whereby a blanket was placed over
the resident and the resident was beaten by staff members and

Although the Province of Ontario has already entered into
settlements with survivors of St. Joseph's Training School for
Boys, St. John's Training School for Boys, and Grandview Training
School, survivors of Ontario's additional twelve Training Schools
were left out.

The representative plaintiff in this class action is Kirk
Keeping.  Kirk was sent to Pine Ridge School when he was 15 years
old.  While at Pine Ridge, Kirk was repeatedly sexually abused by
employees of the Province of Ontario.   "I was just a kid," says
the representative plaintiff Kirk Keeping. "What happened to me
at Pine Ridge, I have had to live with that for the rest of my

"Ontario's most vulnerable children were locked away in
geographically isolated communities where they were preyed upon
and abused," says Jonathan Ptak, lead counsel at Koskie Minsky
LLP.  "The legacy of Ontario Training Schools is still being felt
to this day."

"It's time these historic wrongs are righted," says
Christopher Watkins, counsel at Watkins Law P.C.

If you were a resident of: (1) Reception and Assessment Centre -
Oakville; (2) Reception and Diagnostic Centre for Girls - Galt
(Reception, Diagnostic, and Treatment Centre - Galt); (3) Ontario
Training School for Girls - Lindsay (Kawartha Lakes School); (4)
Trelawney House - Port Bolster; (5) Reception Centre for Boys -
Bowmanville (Reception Centre, Bowmanville); (5) Ontario Training
School for Boys - Simcoe (Glendale School); (6) Ontario Training
School for Boys, Hagersville Junior School (White Oaks Village);
(7) Ontario Training School for Boys, Hagersville Senior School
(Sprucedale School); (8) Ontario Training School for Boys,
Bowmanville (Pine Ridge School); (9) Ontario Training School for
Boys, Cobourg (Brookside School); (10) Ontario Training School
for Boys, Guelph (Hillcrest School); (11) Coldsprings Forestry
Camp; (12) Cecil Fraser School; or Project D.A.R.E., please call
1 866 860 9364, visit https://kmlaw.ca/cases/ontario-training-
schools  or email trainingschoolsclassaction@kmlaw.ca

Koskie Minsky LLP, based in Toronto, is one of Canada's foremost
class action, pension, labour, employment and litigation firms.
Its class actions group has been a leader in class actions since
1992 and has prosecuted many of the leading cases in the area.
For example, Koskie Minsky LLP was counsel in Cloud v. Canada,
the first Indian Residential Schools class action certified in
Canada which was settled for $5 billion.  Koskie Minsky LLP was
also counsel in Dolmage v. Ontario and three other related cases
against the province of Ontario on behalf of thousands of people
with disabilities which were settled for more than $107 million.
Koskie Minsky LLP is also counsel in the recently settled class
actions on behalf of survivors of the Sixties Scoop and the LGBT
Purge in the Canadian military and public service.

Christopher Watkins of Watkins Law PC, based in Thunder Bay,
bring extensive courtroom and trial experience in the areas of
personal injury, criminal and class action litigation. [GN]

OSI SYSTEMS: Bragar Eagel Files Securities Class Suit
Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., disclosed that a class action
lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central
District of California on behalf of all persons or entities who
purchased or otherwise acquired OSI Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSIS)
securities between August 16, 2013 and December 6, 2017 (the
"Class Period"). Investors have until February 5, 2018 to apply
to the Court to be appointed as lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.

On December 6, 2017, Carson Block, the founder of Muddy Waters
Capital, alleged in a video documentary that OSI Systems, the
maker of Rapiscan airport metal detectors is "rotten to the core"
and further alleged that there was corruption in the 2013 award
of OSI's Albania concession.  Following this news, the stock
price of OSI Systems, Inc. fell $24.55 per share, or 29%, to
close at $59.52 on December 6, 2017.

The Complaint alleges that Defendants failed to disclose: (1)
that OSI acquired the Albania concession through bribery or other
illicit means; (2) that OSI transferred 49% of its project
company associated with the Albania concession, S2 Albania SHPK,
an entity purportedly worth millions, for consideration of less
than $5.00; (3) that OSI engaged in other illegal acts, including
improper sales and cash payments to government officials; (4)
that these practices caused the Company to be vulnerable to
potential civil and criminal liability, and adverse regulatory
action; and (5) that, as a result of the foregoing, Defendants
statements about OSI's business, operations, and prospects, were
materially false and/or misleading and/or lacked a reasonable

If you purchased or otherwise acquired OSI Systems securities
during the Class Period and suffered a loss, continue to hold
shares purchased prior to the Class Period, have information,
would like to learn more about these claims, or have any
questions concerning this announcement or your rights or
interests with respect to these matters, please contact Brandon
Walker or Melissa Fortunato by email at investigations@bespc.com,
or telephone at (212) 355-4648, or by filling out this contact
form. There is no cost or obligation to you.

Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C. --http:/www.bespc.com -- is a New
York-based law firm concentrating in commercial and securities
litigation. For additional information concerning the OSI
Systems, Inc. lawsuit, please go to http://www.bespc.com/osis

PENNSYLVANIA: Referees File Class Action Over Contractor Status
Dan Packel, writing for Law360, reports that two Western
Pennsylvania referees filed a federal class action suit on Dec. 8
accusing the organization that oversees high school sports in the
state of improperly categorizing them as independent contractors
and shorting them on wages.

Charles Ruslavage and Mario Seneca, both of Washington County,
say the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association
required them to work off the clock without any pay and also to
work overtime without receiving time-and-a-half wages. [GN]

PHARM-SAVE INC: W-2 Data Breach Class Action Can Proceed
Michael E. Nitardy, Esq., and Jane Hils Shea, Esq., of
Frost Brown Todd LLC, in an article for Lexology, wrote that the
fallout from the seemingly endless W-2 phishing scams continues
to be felt.  On December 1, 2017, a federal court in Louisville,
Kentucky, in Savidge v. Pharm-Save, Inc., 2017 WL 5986972, *1
(W.D.Ky. Dec. 1, 2017) determined that former employees could
proceed with certain claims against their former employer arising
from the improper disclosure of W-2's as a result of a phishing
scam suffered by the employer.

The underlying facts of the Savidge case involve a 2016 phishing
email scheme that resulted in defendant Pharm-Save, Inc. (and, as
alleged in the Complaint under alter-ego theories, co-defendant
Neil Medical Group, Inc.) disclosing employee W-2s to the
criminal perpetrators.  The plaintiffs are former employees who
filed suit in a class action against Defendants on behalf of all
current and former employees who were impacted by the breach.

The Complaint included counts for negligence, negligence per se,
breach of implied contract, breach of privacy, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of
emotional distress.  The Defendants moved to dismiss the
complaint as to all counts, but the Court agreed to permit the
case to proceed on two of the claims.  In doing so, it provided
insight into how courts may analyze such data breach cases.

The Negligence Claim

For the "duty" and "breach" elements of a negligence claim, while
the Court admitted the allegations in the Complaint were "scant,"
the Court accepted that a reasonable inference that, because
Plaintiffs' information was released to unauthorized individuals,
Defendants breached their duties to safeguard that information.

While a number of data breach cases have failed on the damages
element due to the speculative nature in which damages in this
area have been pled, the Court in Savidge found sufficient
pleading of damages to maintain the negligence action -- though
it noted that the mere attempted filing of a fraudulent tax
return in one of the Plaintiffs' name alone was not enough to
cause cognizable injury.

Instead, the Court found persuasive the Plaintiffs' allegations
of damages from out-of-pocket expenses incurred and lost
productivity time spent in monitoring activity to prevent and
address possible fraudulent tax returns, damages which other
courts have deemed too speculative to withstand a motion to

The Court relied upon a growing number of federal district and
appellate courts that have recognized as "injury-in-fact" the
expense incurred in purchasing credit monitoring services and the
costs expended to deal with fraudulent activity following the
theft of PII, particularly where such stolen PII has already been
used by the perpetrators.  For example, the Court found the
perpetrators' attempted filing of a tax return for Plaintiff
Savidge compelling on this point.

In addition, the Court found a sufficient "nexus" between the
data breach and the alleged fraudulent activity to satisfy the
"causation" element.  In so finding, the Court relied on the fact
that the Defendant itself warned its employees and former
employees of possible attempts by the criminals to file
fraudulent tax returns.  The Court stated that because that was
precisely what happened in Plaintiff Savidge's case, a sufficient
nexus had been established.

Breach of Implied Contract Claim

The Court had no problem finding an implied promise by the
Defendant to keep confidential the personal information of the
Plaintiffs necessary to create the W-2 forms, and a breach of
that promise by their unauthorized release of that information to
the perpetrators.  It cited the involuntary nature of the
requirement that employees provide employers with their sensitive
information, such as Social Security numbers, and that that
requirement gave rise to an implied agreement by the Defendants
to protect the Plaintiffs' information.


Although the two claims that survived Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss are based on different legal theories, they both are
based on an employer's obligation to protect employees' personal

As a result, Savidge continues the movement of courts towards
finding that if sensitive employee personal information is
disclosed to third-parties without the employee's consent, it is
not unreasonable to assert at the pleading stage that such
disclosure was the result of a breach of an employer's duty or an
employer's promise.  This has consequences not only for
employers, but also for all individuals and entities that use or
control personal information.  Given the ever-increasing number
of breaches and scams, and the increasing likelihood for
organizations that a breach is not a matter of "if" but "when,"
being able to demonstrate that the breach or scam was not the
result of any duty or promise that was breached by the
organization becomes incredibly important.  Potential ways to
demonstrate that no duty was breached include providing regular
training of employees on potential phishing threats and
maintaining an up-to-date IT system.  Failure to perform these
tasks may make organizations vulnerable to class action suits
should they find themselves victimized by hackers and scammers.

In addition, Savidge also supports the concept that pleading
additional out-of-pocket costs incurred with the reasonable
threat of harm as a result of the breach or disclosure will meet
a plaintiff's requirement to sufficiently plead damages in a data
breach case.  Given that many companies currently provide credit
monitoring of some type for at least a year after a data breach,
companies may rightly wonder if such a provision will be enough
to ward off future claims for damages. [GN]

PURITAN'S PRIDE: Seeks Dismissal of BOGO Class Action
John Revak, writing for Legal Newsline, reports that Puritan's
Pride and The Nature's Bounty have asked a federal judge dismiss
a class action lawsuit over a buy-one-get-one-free deal.

A hearing on the case was expected for Dec. 14 in the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of California in San
Francisco with Judge James Donato presiding.

The claim, originally brought in Mendocino County Superior Court
in October 2016 before being removed to federal court was brought
against the company and its subsidiaries over a buy-one-get-one-
free alleged marketing scheme.

Plaintiffs Darcey Sharp and Ludolph-Aliaga contended that the
scheme was fraudulent because the cost of the second free product
allegedly was accounted for in the first product's price.  They
also allege the promotion was labeled as being for a "limited
time only" despite the fact that it has gone on indefinitely.

The complaint, filed as a class action on behalf of wronged
consumers in California and New York, alleges violations of a
slew of different consumer protection and false advertising
statutes, including the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and New York
consumer protection statutes.

"Plaintiffs and members of the class would not have believed that
they were obtaining the same value for their purchases had they
known that the price for purchased products included the price
for the purportedly 'free' products, such that they were not
receiving a deal or price reduction at all," the class action
complaints states.

The defendants allege the lawsuit should be dismissed because the
court lacks jurisdiction, plaintiffs lack standing and the
complaint fails to state a claim for relief.

According to the defendants' motion, they allege that the
plaintiffs have failed to establish necessary facts regarding the
false advertising claim and how the advertising was deceptive.

Additionally, the defendants argue the plaintiffs claim that the
only relief available under the California Unfair Competition Law
and False Advertising Law is restitution.

For restitution, the plaintiffs must prove that the price they
paid for the product exceeded the products' value, and according
to the defendants; the defendants allege the plaintiffs have
failed to do this.

The motion alleges that the plaintiff's other claims for unjust
enrichment and consumer protection statutes violations fail due
to lack of standing, personal jurisdiction, and failure to
establish price/value differential.

"The complaint alleges no facts showing any entitlement to
monetary relief under the UCL, FAL or CLRA.  The court should
accordingly dismiss all monetary claims for relief under these
statutes," the motion to dismiss reads. [GN]

QUDIAN INC: Faruqi & Faruqi Files Securities Class Action in NY
Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP, a national securities law firm, on Dec. 12
disclosed that it has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of
all those who purchased Qudian Inc. ("Qudian" or the "Company")
(NYSE:QD) American Depository Shares ("ADSs") pursuant to the
Company's initial public offering on or about October 18, 2017
(the "IPO"), seeking to recover damages for alleged violations of
Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the "Securities
Act").  The case, Ramnath v. Qudian Inc., et al., No. 1:17-cv-
9741, was filed on December 12, 2017 in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York.  If you
wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later
than 60 days from December 12, 2017.

If you invested in Qudian ADSs pursuant to the Company's IPO and
would like to discuss your legal rights, click here:

There is no cost or obligation to you.  You can also contact us
by calling Richard Gonnello toll free at 877-247-4292 or at
212-983-9330 or by sending an e-mail to rgonnello@faruqilaw.com

Qudian is a Chinese provider of online micro-lending credit
products.  The complaint charges Qudian, certain of its officers
and directors, and the underwriters (collectively, the
"Defendants") of the IPO with violations of the Securities Act.

On or about September 18, 2017, Qudian filed with the Securities
and Exchange Commission ("SEC") its Registration Statement on
Form F-1, which would later be utilized in the IPO following
multiple amendments on Form F-1/A--the last of which was filed on
October 13, 2017--and being declared effective by the SEC on
October 17, 2017.  On October 17, 2017, the Defendants priced the
IPO at $24.00 per ADS.  Then, on or about October 18, 2017,
Qudian filed the final prospectus for the IPO, which forms part
of the Registration Statement.  That same day, Qudian ADSs began
trading on the NYSE under the ticker symbol "QD."

The lawsuit focuses on whether the Defendants violated federal
securities laws by making false and/or misleading statements in
the IPO's Registration Statement by failing to disclose that: (i)
Qudian's loan collection practices were materially deficient
and/or nonexistent as the Company treated bad loans as welfare,
and (ii) Qudian's data systems and procedures were materially
inadequate to safeguard sensitive borrower data against breach,
and that breaches had occurred.

At the time of the filing of the lawsuit, Qudian's ADSs were
trading at $13.19, which is approximately 45% lower than the
$24.00 IPO price.

The court-appointed lead plaintiff is the investor with the
largest financial interest in the relief sought by the class who
is adequate and typical of class members who directs and oversees
the litigation on behalf of the putative class.  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.  Your ability to share in any
recovery is not affected by the decision to serve as a lead
plaintiff or not.

Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP -- http://www.faruqilaw.com-- also
encourages anyone with information regarding Defendants' conduct
to contact the firm, including whistleblowers, former employees,
shareholders and others. [GN]

R&R MATTRESS: Fails to Pay Right Overtime, "Koutroupis" Suit Says
SHARON KOUTROUPIS, Individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated v. R&R MATTRESS INVESTMENTS, LLC d/b/a
2:17-cv-00373 (S.D. Tex., December 7, 2017), alleges that the
Defendants knowingly and deliberately failed to compensate the
Plaintiff and the putative class members overtime of at least one
and one-half times their regular rates for all hours worked in
excess of 40 hours per workweek.

R M Depot, Inc., is a Texas For-Profit Corporation.  R&R Mattress
Investments, LLC, is a Texas Limited Liability Corporation.  R&B
Mattress Stores Partnership LLC, RTL Mattress Investments, LLC,
and KM Furniture Depot Investments, LLC, are Texas Limited
Liability Companies.

Headquartered in Corpus Christi, Texas, the Defendants sell
mattresses and home furniture throughout South Texas.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Clif Alexander, Esq.
          Austin W. Anderson, Esq.
          Lauren E. Braddy, Esq.
          Carter T. Hastings, Esq.
          ANDERSON2X, PLLC
          819 N. Upper Broadway
          Corpus Christi, TX 78401
          Telephone: (361) 452-1279
          Facsimile: (361) 452-1284
          E-mail: clif@a2xlaw.com

RANDHAWA INC: Faces "Pant" Suit in E.D. New York
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Randhawa Inc. The
case is styled as Shantaji Pant, individually and on behalf of
all others similarly situated, Plaintiff v. Gurdip Singh,
Harpreet Kaur Randhawa and Randhawa Inc., Defendants, Case No.
1:18-cv-00015 (E.D. N.Y., January 2, 2018).

Randhawa, Inc. is an architectural and construction firm that
specializes in designing and building high end quality homes in
the Washington DC metropolitan area.[BN]

The Plaintiff appears PRO SE.

The Defendant appears PRO SE.

REALREAL INC: Faces Class Action Over Inflated Gemstone Weights
The Fashion Law reports that The RealReal might not be so real
after all, or at least not according to a new $5 million-plus
lawsuit filed against it in December.

According to the complaint, which filed by Gaby Basmadjian in a
federal court in Northern California, the San Francisco-based
luxury consignment website has "systematically inflated the total
weights of small uncertificated gemstones knowing that the
average consumer would have no way to know that the weights were

Novi, Michigan-based Basmadjian alleges that on August 30, 2017,
she purchased a ring from TheRealReal.com for $982.62.  She
asserts that "the ring was represented [as containing] 2.10
carats of diamonds.  At the time of the purchase, [Basmadjian]
had no way to know whether the diamond weight listed on the
description was accurate and was entitled to assume that the
label was accurate."

Ms. Basmadjian further states, "After receiving the ring for
which the purchase was not returnable, she had the ring inspected
to measure the total weight of the diamonds.  Through detailed
measurements performed by a gemologist, the ring was found to
contain approximately 1.2 carats of diamonds.  This is a
discrepancy of approximately 0.9 carats," or an "overstatement of
75 percent."

This difference in carats, per Ms. Basmadjian, is particularly
problematic for two reasons.  One reason being that The RealReal
"held [itself] out as an expert in the field of gemology."  Due
to its authentication process -- which The RealReal advertises as
including "a team of authentication experts, horologists, and
gemologists" -- the site "guarantees that every item sold on
their website and in stores is '100% the real thing.'" Secondly,
the discrepancy runs afoul of federal law, as "the Federal Trade
Commission requires that [advertised] diamond weights be accurate
to the last decimal place."

Ms. Basmadjian asserts that according to the Federal Trade
Commission's standard, "the allowable range of weights [for the
1.2 carat ring she purchased] based upon the description was
2.0955 to 2.1055 carats."

By "intentionally overstating the weight of the gemstones in
[its] jewelry," Ms. Basmadjian claims that The RealReal has
"charged [her and the other potential plaintiffs] a higher price
than they should have been charged."

As for who those other potential plaintiffs are, in addition to
seeking monetary damages of upwards of $5 million in connection
with The RealReal's alleged fraud, negligent misrepresentation,
and violations of various California state laws, Ms. Basmadjian
has asked the court to approve her proposed class action lawsuit
in order to enable others to join her suit.

The class of individuals eligible to join the case, should the
court approve the class action, include, "All persons who, in the
United States after December 1, 2013, purchased from [The
RealReal]: (1) one or more pieces of jewelry where the weight of
gemstones indicated on the product label exceeded the actual
weight of the gemstones in the jewelry by more than 1/100 of a
carat (1 point, 2mg)."

A spokesman for The RealReal told TFL, "The RealReal is committed
to the highest standards in everything we do.  All gemstones sold
by consignors on our website are evaluated by our team of skilled
gemologists consistent with industry standards. The lawsuit is
without merit and The RealReal will aggressively defend itself
against these baseless claims.  We have no further comment on the

The case is Gaby Basmadjian, individually and others similarly
situated, v. The RealReal, Inc., 3:17-cv-06910 (N.D.Cal). [GN]

RFR CAPITAL LLC: "Martin" Action Seeks Unpaid Overtime Pay
Addison N. Martin, on behalf of himself and all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. RFR Capital, LLC, Defendant, Case No. 17-
cv-00560 (S.D. Ala., December 19, 2017), seeks damages and other
legal and equitable remedies resulting from violations of the
Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Alabama Telephone
Solicitations Act.

RFR placed allegedly calls to the Plaintiff using an automatic
telephone dialing system for marketing Defendant's money lending
services.  Martin registered his cellular telephone number with
the National Do Not Call Registry for the express purpose of
avoiding unwanted telemarketing calls. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Earl P. Underwood, Jr.
      21 South Section Street
      Fairhope, AL 36532
      Telephone: (251) 990-5558
      Facsimile: (251) 990-0626
      E-mail: epunderwood@alalaw.com

RHODE ISLAND: Health Secretary Faces "Scherwitz" Class Suit
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Eric Beane. The
case is styled as Christopher Scherwitz and John E Figuried, on
behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs
v. Eric Beane in His Official Capacity as Secretary of RI
Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Defendant, Case
No. 1:18-cv-00005-WES-LDA (D. R.I., January 2, 2018).

The Defendant is a government representative.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

   Ellen M. Saideman, Esq.
   7 Henry Drive
   Barrington, RI 02806
   Tel: (401) 258-7276
   Email: esaideman@gmail.com

SANOFI SA: Taxotere Label Didn't Warn of Hair Loss, Says "Dewees"
LLC, separately, and doing business as WINTHROP U.S.; SANDOZ,
PACKAGING, Case No. 2:17-cv-15874 (E.D. La., December 8, 2017),
alleges that the warning and precautions in the Taxotere Label do
not warn against permanent hair loss, and the adverse reactions
do not state that use of Taxotere could cause permanent hair

The lawsuit is part of the multidistrict litigation styled In Re:
md-02740-KDE-MBN.  The actions in the litigation involve product
liability suits alleging, inter alia, that Defendants Sanofi
S.A., Aventis Pharma S.A. and Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC
manufactured, marketed, distributed, supplied, promoted and sold
Taxotere(R), which is defective and unreasonably dangerous in
that it causes permanent hair loss (alopecia); that Sanofi knew
or should have known of the risk of alopecia associated with
Taxotere(R) usage; that Sanofi marketed, distributed and/or sold
Taxotere(R) without adequate warnings concerning its risks; and
that as a direct and proximate result of using Taxotere(R), women
across the nation have suffered serious injuries, physical and
mental pain and suffering, as well as economic loss.

Based in Paris, France, Sanofi S.A. is a global healthcare
company, focused on patient needs and engaged in the research,
development, manufacture and marketing of therapeutic solutions.

Based in Antony, France, Aventis Pharma S.A. manufactures and
markets pharmaceutical products under various brands such as

Based in Princeton, New Jersey, Sandoz, Inc., a subsidiary of
Novartis AG, develops, produces and markets generic
pharmaceuticals, including generic Clobetasol, throughout the
United States.

Based in Lake Forest, Illinois, Hospira is in the business of
manufacturing and selling prescription drugs and medical devices.

Based in New York, Pfizer Inc. is engaged in the business of
research, designing, testing, formulating, inspecting, labeling,
manufacturing, packaging, marketing, distributing, producing,
processing, promoting, and selling drugs.

Based in Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey, Actavis Generics
develops, manufactures, and commercializes generic and branded
pharmaceutical products, and biologics and medical devices for
patients worldwide.  Actavis offers products in central nervous
system, eye care, medical aesthetics, gastroenterology, women's
health, urology, cardiovascular, and anti-infective therapeutic

McKesson Corporation, based in San Francisco, California,
provides pharmaceuticals and medical supplies in the United
States and internationally.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Lydia Murphy, Esq.
          BARON & BUDD, P.C.
          3102 Oak Lawn Avenue, Suite 1100
          Dallas, TX 75219
          Telephone: (214) 521-3605
          Facsimile: (214) 520-1181
          E-mail: lymurphy@baronbudd.com

SANOFI SA: "McGaughey" Suit Alleges Hair Loss From Taxotere
LLC, separately, and doing business as WINTHROP U.S.; SANDOZ,
INC. and NORTHSTAR RX, LLC, Case No. 2:17-cv-15967 (E.D. La.,
December 8, 2017), alleges that the warning and precautions in
the Taxotere Label do not warn against permanent hair loss, and
the adverse reactions do not state that use of Taxotere could
cause permanent hair loss.

The lawsuit is part of the multidistrict litigation styled In Re:
md-02740-KDE-MBN.  The actions in the litigation involve product
liability suits alleging, inter alia, that Defendants Sanofi
S.A., Aventis Pharma S.A. and Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC
manufactured, marketed, distributed, supplied, promoted and sold
Taxotere(R), which is defective and unreasonably dangerous in
that it causes permanent hair loss (alopecia); that Sanofi knew
or should have known of the risk of alopecia associated with
Taxotere(R) usage; that Sanofi marketed, distributed and/or sold
Taxotere(R) without adequate warnings concerning its risks; and
that as a direct and proximate result of using Taxotere(R), women
across the nation have suffered serious injuries, physical and
mental pain and suffering, as well as economic loss.

Based in Paris, France, Sanofi S.A. is a global healthcare
company, focused on patient needs and engaged in the research,
development, manufacture and marketing of therapeutic solutions.

Based in Antony, France, Aventis Pharma S.A. manufactures and
markets pharmaceutical products under various brands such as

Based in Princeton, New Jersey, Sandoz, Inc., a subsidiary of
Novartis AG, develops, produces and markets generic
pharmaceuticals, including generic Clobetasol, throughout the
United States.

Based in Lake Forest, Illinois, Hospira is in the business of
manufacturing and selling prescription drugs and medical devices.

Accord Healthcare, Inc., a generic pharmaceutical company,
provides products in the areas of oncology, cardiology,
neurology, nephrology, urology, psychiatry, diabetology, pain
management, and gastroenterology.

Based in New York, Pfizer Inc. is engaged in the business of
research, designing, testing, formulating, inspecting, labeling,
manufacturing, packaging, marketing, distributing, producing,
processing, promoting, and selling drugs.

With headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, Eagle
Pharmaceuticals Inc. develops and distributes injectable
products, primarily in the critical care and oncology areas.

Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Northstar Rx LLC is a subsidiary of
McKesson Corporation.  McKesson provides pharmaceuticals and
medical supplies in the United States and internationally.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Lydia Murphy, Esq.
          BARON & BUDD, P.C.
          3102 Oak Lawn Avenue, Suite 1100
          Dallas, TX 75219
          Telephone: (214) 521-3605
          Facsimile: (214) 520-1181
          E-mail: lymurphy@baronbudd.com

SANTA BARBARA, CA: Class Action Seeks Reform at County Jail
Janene Scully, writing for Noozhawk North County, reports that a
federal class-action lawsuit claims the Santa Barbara County Jail
fails to provide basic mental-health and medical care, misuses
solitary confinement, discriminates against people with
disabilities, and provides "inhumane, unsanitary, and unsafe
living conditions."

The lawsuit, naming inmates Clay Martin Burt Murray, David
Franco, Shareen Winkle, Maria Tracy and Eric Brown as plaintiffs,
lists Santa Barbara County and the Sheriff's Department as

"This is a system with critical deficiencies that have not been
addressed for too long," said Aaron Fischer, litigation counsel
at Disability Rights California.  "These issues put people with
disabilities at risk of harm every day."

The inmates are represented by Disability Rights California, the
Prison Law Office, and King & Spalding, which is handling the
matter on a pro bono basis.

The 91-page complaint recounts a litany of physical and
operational flaws due to the 50-year-old jail facility often
referred to as "Franken-Jail.

Modifications made over the years created a facility that is
"haphazard, substandard, and riddled with architectural barriers,
deficiencies, and limitations," the complaint claims.

Inmates, including those with serious health conditions and
disabilities, sleep on the floor, and many, including mentally
ill inmates, are kept in solitary confinement, the plaintiffs'
attorneys say.

Suicide attempts are common among those in solitary-confinement
settings, the complaints said, with 12 prisoners attempting
suicide in a 5-month period. One man died.

The jail is designed to house approximately 818 people, but its
population typically exceeds 1,100, or 120 percent of the

"Defendants have been deliberately indifferent to the substantial
risk of pain and suffering and harm to prisoners, including
serious injury, clinical deterioration, and death, caused by
their inadequate, unlawful, and unconstitutional policies and
practices," the complaints said.

Sheriff Bill Brown noted the county has made efforts to improve
conditions for inmates.

"The Sheriff's Office takes seriously the treatment of all
inmates in our custody, especially the most vulnerable," Brown
said in a written statement.  "We take these allegations
seriously and remain committed to the proper care and treatment
of those under our watch."

Many of these deficiencies have been cited through the years in
Santa Barbara County Grand Jury reports.

To ease overcrowding, the county's new Northern Branch Jail is
under construction at the corner of Betteravia and Black roads
near Santa Maria, with opening scheduled for 2019. Brown presided
over the groundbreaking ceremony last fall.

But the inmates' attorneys say some of the problems won't go away
once the new jail opens since the county plans to continue to use
the existing jail facility.

"This is a county jail that has clearly been dealing with
overcrowding, insufficient staffing, and crumbling infrastructure
for years," said Joshua Toll -- jtoll@kslaw.com -- pro bono
partner at King & Spalding, "and it is our hope that this case
will lead to significant reforms."

The inmates allege jail conditions violate their constitutional
rights under the Eighth Amendment banning cruel and unusual

They also allege violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, which
forbids restricting the basic rights of citizens or other

Other flaws cited in the civil lawsuit include a severe shortage
of correctional deputies.

Also, the lawsuit criticized the policy of punishing prisoners by
serving them a "disciplinary diet" described as "a tasteless and
disgusting 'meatloaf' with two slices of bread served twice daily

"Serving this sort of disciplinary diet as punishment is banned
in many jail and prison systems," the complaint said.

Conditions for disabled inmates violate the Americans with
Disabilities Act, the claim said, noting Murray, who uses a
wheelchair, can't easily access rooms for confidential meetings
with his attorney.

The complaint asks a judge to order county jail staff to
immediately provide adequate medical and mental-health care,
including sufficient intake screening, timely access to
appropriate clinicians, timely prescription and distribution of
appropriate medications and supplies, timely access to specialty
care, and timely access to adequate therapy, inpatient treatment,
and suicide prevention.

Additionally, the lawsuit seeks equal access to programs,
services and activities for people with disabilities. Because of
where they are housed in the jail, many with disabilities miss
out on programs other inmates can access, the inmates attorneys

Santa Barbara County Public Defender Tracy Macuga said her office
supports efforts seeking to improve inmate health care and living

"As defenders of the public, our attorneys and staff will
continue vigorously fighting to protect and restore clients'
lives, including advocating for the humane treatment of those in
our local jail," the Public Defender's Office said in response
the lawsuit.

Santa Barbara County is expected to file a response within 60
days. [GN]

SCOTTRADE INC: Ninth Circuit Appeal Filed in "Hine" Class Suit
Plaintiff Stephen Hine filed an appeal from a court ruling in the
lawsuit entitled Stephen Hine v. Scottrade, Inc., Case No. 3:17-
cv-01796-JM-JLB (S.D. Cal.).

The appellate case is captioned as Stephen Hine v. Scottrade,
Inc., Case No. 17-80249, in the United States Court of Appeals
for the Ninth Circuit.[BN]

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter, the lawsuit
was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California,
County of San Diego (Case No. 37-201600035493-CU-MC-CTL), and was
later removed to the District Court.

Scottrade, Inc. is a securities brokerage firm based in St.
Louis, Missouri, that provides brokerage and other financial
services to its customers.

In his complaint, inter alia, the Plaintiff alleged that he and a
putative class of "[a]ll California residents whose personal or
financial information was compromised as a result of the data
breach first disclosed by Scottrade on or about October 2, 2015"
are entitled to monetary and other damages from Scottrade due to
Scottrade's alleged failure to maintain adequate cybersecurity
measures, which he alleges resulted in the cybersecurity incident
at issue.

Plaintiff-Petitioner STEPHEN HINE, on Behalf of Himself and All
Others Similarly Situated, is represented by:

          Timothy G. Blood, Esq.
          501 West Broadway
          San Diego, CA 92101
          Telephone: (619) 338-1100
          Facsimile: (619) 338-1101
          E-mail: tblood@bholaw.com

               - and -

          Timothy Douglas Cohelan, Esq.
          J. Jason Hill, Esq.
          605 C Street
          San Diego, CA 92101-5305
          Telephone: (619) 595-3001
          Facsimile: (619) 595-3000
          E-mail: tcohelan@ckslaw.com

               - and -

          Joseph Siprut, Esq.
          SIPRUT, PC
          17 North State Street, Suite 1600
          Chicago, IL 60602
          Telephone: (312) 236-0000
          Facsimile: (312) 427-1850
          E-mail: jsiprut@siprut.com

Defendant-Respondent SCOTTRADE, INC., a Missouri Corporation, is
represented by:

          Helen B. Kim, Esq.
          2029 Century Park East
          Los Angeles, CA 90067
          Telephone: (310) 282-2500
          Facsimile: (310) 282-2501
          E-mail: hkim@thompsoncoburn.com

SETERUS INC: "Corrigan" Sues Over Autodialed Collection Calls
Sandra Corrigan, individually and on behalf of others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. Seterus, Inc., Defendant, Case No. 17-cv-
02348 (M.D. Pa., December 19, 2017), seeks actual damages,
statutory damages, injunctive relief, attorneys' fees and costs
and other relief in violation of the Federal Telephone Consumers
Protection Act.

Seterus is a loan servicing company and debt collector attempting
to collect unpaid mortgage payments from Corrigan using auto-
dialed telephone calls.

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Stefan Coleman, Esq.
      201 s. Biscayne Blvd., 28th floor
      Miami, FL 33131
      Tel: (877) 333-9427
      Fax: (888) 498.8946
      E-mail: law@stefancoleman.com

             - and -

      David S. Senoff, Esq.
      130 N 18TH Street, Suite 1600
      Philadelphia, PA 19103
      Telephone: (215) 790-4550
      Fax: (215) 875-7733
      E-mail: dsenoff@anapo1weiss.com

             - and -

      Benjamin H. Richman, Esq.
      350 N. LaSalle, 13th Floor
      Chicago, IL 60654
      Tel: (312) 589-6370
      E-mail: brichman@edelson.com

SHAUN'S TOWING: Faces Class Action Over Unpaid Overtime Wages
Rick Carroll, writing for The Aspen Times, reports that a class-
action suit is brewing against Shaun's Towing and Recovery, a
valley wide service that stands accused of not paying overtime
wages to its employees.

A former employee filed suit in Denver federal court "on behalf
of all others similarly situated" who have worked for Shaun's
Towing.  Shaun Healy, the owner of the business and also a
defendant, said he pays his employees "just like everybody else"
but declined to comment further about the allegations.

Mr. Healy said he was unaware of the suit's filing until notified
of it by a reporter.

Shaun's Towing, which started in 2005, serves the entire Roaring
Fork Valley.  The city of Aspen also reached a deal with Shaun's
in October to handle its towing work in 2018.  Under the
agreement, the city will pay Shaun's $185 to tow vehicles to the
impound lot at the Pitkin County Landfill, while the violator
will pay the city $200.  Shaun's will receive $145 to impound
cars in town, with the violator paying the city $160, according
to city records.

Spurring the suit is former Shaun's Towing employee Joseph
Durrant, who said in an affidavit, which is part of the
complaint, that he will proceed with the case individually if it
does not achieve class-action status.  The suit is seeking
employees who worked for the service since Dec. 6, 2014, "and
were paid hourly plus commission, but did not receive overtime
for all hours worked over 12 in a day and/or 40 in a week."

The suit was filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the
Colorado Wage Claim Act and the Colorado Minimum Wage Act.  Its
goal is to "recover all unpaid overtime and other damages allowed
under the FLSA" to Mr. Durrant and others who possibly join the

Mr. Durrant worked as a driver for Shaun's Towing from August
2015 until February 2016, earning $13 an hour plus a 30 percent
commission payment for each tow, says the suit, which alleges he
"did not receive overtime compensation at the required rate of
time-and-one-half for all hours worked over 40 each workweek."

The suit adds that Mr. Durrant and other employees "worked long
hours," often more than 50 a week.

Shaun's Towing engaged in an "illegal pay practice" that violated
state and federal labor laws, the suit argues.

"Shaun's is a sophisticated party and employer, and therefore
knew (or should have known) its policies were in violation of the
FLSA," the suit says.  "(Durrant) and the FLSA Collective Members
(potential future plaintiffs), on the other hand, are (and were)
unsophisticated laborers who trusted Shaun's to pay overtime in
accordance with the law."

The lead law firm representing Mr. Durrant is Anderson2X PLLC,
which is based in Corpus Christi, Texas.  The firm did not return
messages seeking comment on Dec. 12.

SHREVEPORT, LA: Judge Tosses Non-Disclosure Contract Breach Case
Nancy Cook, writing for ArkLaTex, reports that Caddo Parish Judge
Ramone Lafitte on Dec. 11 dismissed the lawsuit against the City
of Shreveport and City officials that claimed the City breached a
non-disclosure contract signed by the City Attorney.

However, the class action lawsuit claiming the City has been
over-billing customers for more than 10 years is continuing to
make its way through the courts.

The lawsuit dismissed on Dec. 11 was filed by Scott Pernici and
Michael Wainwright in October 2016, after they found errors in
the City's water billing software and devised a plan to correct
the errors.

They notified the City of their findings, and asked for a fee to
fix the problem. But the City asked to see their plan, which they
agreed to do, providing the officials seeing it signed a non-
disclosure agreement.

As soon as City officials were shown the plan, the lawsuit
alleged they immediately began implementing the changes.

According to the press release, "The Court found that no
confidential information was disclosed and that the City of
Shreveport had the right to correct billing errors without paying
Pernici and Wainwright $1.8 million."

Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler said, "I am very grateful the Court
ruled in the City' favor."

The class action lawsuit is on the Caddo Parish Civil Court
docket for a Jan. 22, 2018 hearing. [GN]

SIMMONS FOODS: Faces Class Actions Over Work Camp Programs
Brianna Bailey, writing for NewsOK, reports that OK Foods, owned
by the Mexican transnational corporation Bachoco, is using
workers bussed in from a Muskogee drug recovery program at its
Muldrow poultry plant.

A worker told The Oklahoman he was required to turn his whole
paycheck over to the recovery program to stay out of jail.

Arkansas-based OK Foods' parent company Bachoco is one of the
largest integrated poultry producers in the world.  The company's
chicken products are sold at fast-food restaurants and grocery
stores across North America.

Ray's House is a faith-based program based out of a cluster of
trailers and a few metal buildings just off a state highway in
Muskogee.  It is not licensed by the Oklahoma Department of
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

John Jamel Thompson, 25, who graduated from Ray's House in
October, said Ray's House sent him to work full time at OK Foods'
poultry processing plant, an hour's drive away in Muldrow.

Mr. Thompson said Ray's House forced him and several other
program participants to quit their fast food and other various
unskilled jobs in order to be bussed to the poultry plant --
where they could earn higher wages.

Thompson said he made $600 a week working at the poultry plant,
first on a production line and then as a forklift operator.
Thompson said he was required to hand over all of his paycheck to
Ray's House in order to stay in the program and out of jail.

In a statement, OK Foods said it does not have any contract with
Ray's House to provide workers at the Muldrow plant.

"We have not had any contract for services agreement with Ray's
House, or any other similar rehabilitation group," OK Foods said.
"Individual employees earn an equitable wage based on their job
skills and are free to direct their earnings to any individual or
entity they wish."

Mr. Thompson said the men's dormitory at Ray's House was infested
with bedbugs and Ray's House sent him to work with two bologna
sandwiches every day and nothing else.

Ray's House founder Ray Welch, a recovering drug addict with
multiple felony convictions, created the Ray's House program in

"This is a faith-based operation," Mr. Welch said.  "If you don't
get the good Lord in your life, you will be back doing the same
old thing."

The program requires participants to work and attend services at
Choices Church, which is also on the Ray's House campus.

Many Ray's House participants are sent to the program through the
state court system after probation violations or as a condition
for receiving suspended sentences.

"He knows you are court ordered there and he throws it in your
face all the time," Mr. Thompson said.  "That man is hiding
behind God and using people to get their paycheck."

Mr. Thompson said he sometimes put in 12-hour days at the OK
Foods plant, but never saw any of his wages.

After graduating from Ray's House, Mr. Thompson said he tried to
keep working at the OK Foods plant, but the job was just too far
of a drive and he had to quit.

Mr. Welch says the bulk of Ray's House clients, about 30 people,
now work at OK Foods.  Requiring participation strengthens their
work ethic and helps bring stability to their lives, he said.

"OK Foods has been a blessing to them," Mr. Welch said.

One recent graduate from the Ray's House program has even decided
to stay at the program so he can continue to keep getting a ride
to work each day to the OK Foods plant, he said.

"We look for that to be the same way with a few other clients and
we will continue to get them back and forth to work. That way
they can continue to save money," Mr. Welch said.

Ray's House participant Leslie Watson, 58, works cleaning and
gutting chickens for OK Foods at the Muldrow plant and said she
loves the job.  Wearing her OK Foods shirt and smoking a
cigarette in front of the women's dorm at Ray's House, Watson
said OK Foods treats her well.  She works about 35 to 38 hours a
week, she said.

"I made a choice to be here to try and help myself," Mr. Watson
said, "I prefer to work."

Similar work camp programs that send court-ordered clients to
work gutting chickens for the company Simmons Foods in Arkansas
are now facing multiple class-action lawsuits over the practice.

The lawsuits accuse those recovery programs and Simmons Foods of
using the court system to funnel workers into dangerous, unpaid
manual labor jobs.  The programs named in the lawsuits are
Christian Alcoholics and Addicts in Recovery in Jay and the DARP
Foundation in Tahlequah. [GN]

SUNRUN INC: Slovin Moves for Certification of Seven Classes
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit entitled LYNN SLOVIN, an
individual, on her own behalf and on behalf of all others
similarly situated v. SUNRUN, INC., a California corporation,
CLEAN ENERGY EXPERTS, LLC, a California limited liability company
doing business as SOLAR AMERICA, and DOES 1-5, inclusive, Case
No. 4:15-cv-05340-YGR (N.D. Cal.), move to certify these classes
for both damages and injunctive relief:

   * CEE ATDS Cellular Class:

     All natural persons in the United States who received a
     non-emergency call from CEE to their cellular telephone
     number through the use of an automatic telephone dialing
     system at any time from November 20, 2011 through the date
     the Court certifies the class.

   The CEE ATDS Cellular Class is limited to Direct Calls made by
CEE through its Twillio dialer.  This proposed class will include
calls by CEE made through Callfire dialer when CallFire completes
its production of call records.

   * Sunrun ATDS Cellular Class:

     All natural persons in the United States who received a
     non-emergency call from Sunrun to their cellular telephone
     number through the use of an automatic telephone dialing
     system at any time from November 20, 2011 through the date
     the Court certifies the class.

   The Sunrun ATDS Cellular is limited to Direct Calls through
the Five9 and InContact dialers.

   * Defendants National Do Not Call Class:

     All natural persons in the United States whose telephone
     number was registered with the national Do-Not-Call registry
     for at least thirty days, who received more than one
     telephone call by or on behalf of Defendants that promoted
     solar energy products or services within any 12-month period
     at any time from November 20, 2011 through the date the
     Court certifies the class.

   This proposed class includes Direct Calls by Defendants and
will include calls by Defendants through Skype and Callfire when
additional records are received in the future.  With respect to
Sunrun, this class is limited to direct calls by Sunrun and live
transfers to Sunrun where the call was transferred by SMT, Media
Mix (for calls made up through May 11, 2016) or The Lead Tree.
With respect to CEE, this class is limited to Direct Calls by CEE
and live transfers to CEE where the call was transferred by
Epath, SMT or Lead Tree, or with respect to VTDs, such transfers
by Epath to CEE.

   * Defendants Internal Do Not Call Class:

     All natural persons in the United States who received more
     than one call during a 12-month period by or on behalf of
     Defendants, after requesting that their telephone numbers be
     placed on Defendants' do-not-call list, at any time from
     November 20, 2011 through the date the Court certifies the

   This class is limited to Direct Calls by Defendants and live
transfers to Defendants where the transfer was from Media Mix,
Solar Media Team, The Lead Tree or Epath.  "By or on behalf" is
defined to mean calls live transferred to Defendants by Media
Mix, SMT, The Lead Tree or Epath, or where Epath sent a VTD to
Defendants, and with respect to Solar Media Team, where there was
more than one direct call by Solar Media Team.

   * SMT National Do Not Call Class:

     All natural persons in the United States whose telephone
     number was registered with the national Do-Not-Call registry
     for at least thirty days, who received more than one
     telephone call from Solar Media Team, with the exception of
     any calls which were live transferred to Sunrun or CEE, on
     behalf of Defendants that promoted solar energy products or
     services within any 12-month period, whose telephone number
     appear in dialer logs produced by Solar Media Team, at any
     time from November 20, 2011 through the date the Court
     certifies the class.

   This proposed class is limited to calls found in SMT's dialer
logs, with the exception of calls live transferred to Defendants.

   * SMT ATDS Cellular Class:

     All natural persons in the United States who received a
     non-emergency call from Solar Media Team to their cellular
     telephone number through the use of an automatic telephone
     dialing system, with the exception of any calls which were
     live transferred to Sunrun or CEE, on behalf of Defendants
     that promoted solar energy products or services, whose
     cellular number appear in dialer logs produced by Solar
     Media Team, at any time from November 20, 2011 through the
     date the Court certifies the class.

   This proposed class is limited to the calls found in SMT's
dialer logs, with the exception of any calls transferred to

   * California Class (Injunctive Relief Only):

     All natural persons in California who received a call from
     on behalf of Defendants which played a prerecorded
     without an unrecorded, natural voice first informing the
     person answering of the name and organization of the caller
     and either the address or telephone number of the caller,
     such call occurred at any time from November 20, 2011
     the date the Court certifies the class.

The Plaintiffs also ask the Court to appoint plaintiffs Samuel
Katz, Justin Birkhofer, Lynn Slovin and Jeffery Price as class
representatives, and to appoint Parisi & Havens LLP and Parasmo
Lieberman Law as counsel for the proposed classes.  The
Plaintiffs further propose a form of notice.

The Court will commence a hearing on February 13, 2018, at 2:00
p.m., to consider the Motion.

A copy of the memorandum of points and authorities filed in
support of the Motion is available at no charge at

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          David C. Parisi, Esq.
          Suzanne Havens Beckman, Esq.
          212 Marine Street, Suite 100
          Santa Monica, CA 90405
          Telephone: (818) 990-1299
          Facsimile: (818) 501-7852
          E-mail: dcparisi@parisihavens.com

               - and -

          Yitzchak H. Lieberman, Esq.
          Grace E. Parasmo, Esq.
          7400 Hollywood Blvd., #505
          Los Angeles, CA 90046
          Telephone: (917) 657-6857
          Facsimile: (877) 501-3346
          E-mail: ylieberman@parasmoliebermanlaw.com

               - and -

          Ethan Preston, Esq.
          4054 McKinney Avenue, Suite 310
          Dallas, TX 75204
          Telephone: (972) 564-8340
          Facsimile: (866) 509-1197
          E-mail: ep@eplaw.us

               - and -

          Alan Himmelfarb, Esq.
          80 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. # 304
          Sierra Madre, CA 91024
          Telephone: (626) 325-3104
          E-mail: consumerlaw1@earthlink.net

TABLEAU SOFTWARE: Law Firm Probes Potential Fiduciary Breach
Shareholder rights law firm Robbins Arroyo LLP is investigating
whether certain officers and directors of Tableau Software, Inc.
(NYSE: DATA) breached their fiduciary duties to shareholders.
Tableau provides business analytics software products.

"I'll close where I began, which is we don't see it fundamentally
changing the competitive dynamic for Tableau."

Tableau Accused of Concealing Competitive Threats

Purchasers of Tableau filed a securities class action complaint
against the company's officers and directors for alleged
violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 between June 3,
2015 and February 4, 2016.  According to the complaint, Tableau
failed to disclose that product launches and upgrades by its
competitors were negatively impacting the company's
profitability.  In fact, during the company's November 5, 2015
earnings call, Tableau's Chief Executive Officer Christian Chabot
stated: "I'll close where I began, which is we don't see it
fundamentally changing the competitive dynamic for Tableau."
Then, just a few months later, on February 4, 2016, Tableau's
Chief Financial Officer finally admitted that "the competitive
dynamic has become more crowded and difficult."  As news of the
true effects competition was having on Tableau's growth and
outlook for profitability reached the market, Tableau's stock
fell $73.54 per share, or over 64%, to close at $36.60 per share
on February 9, 2016.  The stock has yet to recover to its class
period high of $114.87.

Tableau 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 is a shareholder rights law firm.  The firm
represents individual and institutional investors in shareholder
derivative and securities class action lawsuits. [GN]

TAIWAN KAI: Feb. 16 Settlement Fairness Hearing Set
Stueve Siegel Hanson, LLP, and Heins Mills & Olson, P.L.C.,
disclosed that all persons and entities in the United States, and
it territories and possessions, which purchased Aftermarket
Automotive Sheet Metal Products ("AMSM") directly from Taiwan Kai
Yih Industrial Co., Ltd., Tong Yang Industry Co., Ltd., TYG
Products, L.P., Jui Li Enterprise Company, Ltd., Gordon Auto Body
Parts Co. Ltd., Auto Parts Industrial, Ltd., or Cornerstone Auto
Parts, LLC between January 1, 2003 and May 14, 2015 (the
"Settlement Class" or "Class"), may be affected by a class action
settlement with Jui Li Enterprise Company, Ltd.

Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs claim that Defendants violated the
United States federal antitrust laws by agreeing to fix prices
and limit supply for AMSM. AMSM includes hoods, doors, bumpers,
fenders, bonnets, floor panels, trunk assemblies, trunk lids,
tailgates, roof panels and reinforcement parts.  Defendants have
denied and continue to deny each and all of the claims and
contentions alleged by Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs, as well as
all charges of wrongdoing or liability.  The Court has not
decided in favor of either Party.

A proposed Settlement has been reached with Jui Li Enterprise
Company, Ltd. for USD$3,350,000 in cash, which, after Taiwan
taxes, will net USD$2,680,000 in a settlement fund ("Settlement
Fund").  Prior settlements were reached with Tong Yang Industry
Co., Ltd., Taiwan Kai Yih Industrial Co., Ltd., and TYG Products,
L.P., and Gordon Auto Body Parts Co. Ltd. After deducting costs,
fees and expenses, the balance of the Jui Li Settlement Fund will
be distributed to the Class on a pro-rata basis depending on how
much you spent on AMSM during the Class Period from all the
Defendants.  The lawsuit will continue against the Non-Settling
Defendants -- Auto Parts Industrial, Ltd. and Cornerstone Auto
Parts, LLC.

You are included in the Court certified Settlement Class if you
fit the following description: All persons and entities in the
United States, and its territories and possessions, that
purchased Aftermarket Automotive Sheet Metal Products directly
from any of the Defendants between January 1, 2003 and May 14,

You are included in the Court certified Litigation Class if you
fit the following description: All persons and entities in the
United States, and its territories and possessions, that
purchased AM Sheet Metal Parts directly from a Defendant between
at least as early as January 1, 2003, and September 4, 2009.

If you are included in the Court certified Settlement Class and
you submitted a valid Claim Form in 2015, you will automatically
receive a payment from this Settlement if it is approved and
becomes final.  If you are included you may object to all or any
part of the Settlement and give reasons why you think the Court
should not approve it.  Your written objection must be mailed to
the Settlement and Litigation Administrator, Class Counsel,
Counsel for Jui Li, and the Court and must be postmarked no later
than January 11, 2018.  You may also request to appear and speak
at the Final Approval Hearing.  You may have your own attorney
attend, at your own expense, but are not required to.  If you are
included in the Court certified Settlement Class and Court
certified Litigation Class you may ask to be excluded from the
Settlement and Litigation.  To do so, you must send a letter by
mail to the Settlement and Litigation Administrator stating that
you want to be excluded from Fond du Lac Bumper Exchange, Inc.,
et al. v. Jui Li Enterprise Co. Ltd., et al., 2:09-cv-00852 (E.D.
Wis.) postmarked no later than January 11, 2018.  More
information regarding how to object to the Settlement, request to
appear at the Final Approval Hearing, and request how to exclude
yourself from the Settlement Class and Litigation Class can be
found in the Long Form Notice available at

The Court will hold the Final Approval Hearing beginning at
11:30 a.m. February 16, 2018, at the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.  At this hearing, the
Court will listen to any objections and consider whether to
approve the Settlement as fair, reasonable, and adequate; a
request by Class Counsel for attorneys' fees and expenses; and a
service award of $5,000 to each of the Class Representatives
(Fond du Lac Bumper Exchange Inc. and Roberts Wholesale Body
Parts, Inc.).  Class Counsel is requesting attorneys' fees in the
amount of no more than 33% of the Net Settlement Fund (that is,
the Settlement Fund amount after deduction of Taiwan taxes) and
payment of litigation costs and expenses.  These costs and
expenses include each law firm's reported expenses and common
costs to date. As the litigation continues, Class Counsel will
incur more expenses and may ask the Court for an additional
payment. Class Counsel's motion for attorneys' fees and costs and
service awards will be available at
www.AftermarketSheetMetalSettlement.com on or about December 28,

For more information go to
www.AftermarketSheetMetalSettlement.com or call 1-866-413-5892.

TEACHERS HEALTH: Faces Insurance Fraud Class Action
Darcy Spears, writing for KTNV, reports that we count on them to
teach and care for our children every day.

But in many cases, they cannot care for themselves.

"Medication is not affordable and access to care is not
available," Clark County School District teacher Sheri DeBartolo
told Darcy Spears in May.

DeBartolo has since left CCSD in order to get more reliable
health insurance.

"And it's very difficult and it's very frustrating," said former
CCSD school psychologist Diana Goodsell, who also quit CCSD over
inadequate healthcare.

Goodsell, DeBartolo and CCSD Special Education Facilitator Paul
Feaker are spearheading the lawsuit against Teachers Health
Trust, its administrator, WellHealth, and its board of directors
for negligence, fraud and deception.

"When you purchase a product, especially a health insurance
product, you expect to have your medical claims paid," said
Attorney Matthew Callister, whose firm is representing the

According to the lawsuit, Teachers Health Trust routinely denies
valid medical claims and charges sky high co-pays.

CCSD educators often have to choose between paying out of pocket
or not getting care.

After Diana Goodsell was side-swiped in a car accident, she was
forced to delay a needed cervical spinal fusion surgery when her
entire year's out-of-pocket expense was demanded up front.

"It was $6,800 in one lump sum."

She says she didn't find that out until the morning of the
surgery when she was being admitted.

"It was shocking to me that there would be any kind of average
family that worked for the school district -- or even the average
family in this valley -- that could afford to pay that much to
have a needed surgery."

The lawsuit also says teachers are being turned away by doctors,
even "sued by providers WellHealth refused to pay."

"I can't fathom the fact that we can treat people so poorly who
do so much for the kids in this community, and do so little to
make sure that they're taken care of, and really to the point of
putting people and families on the brink of medical bankruptcy."

The school district says it provided a $9 million-dollar bailout
to the Teachers Health Trust in 2016, but the trust paid 100,000
fewer claims in 2016 than the year before.

The class action could cover an estimated 30,000 people. [GN]

TEXAS: Judge Says Foster Care System "Broken"
Michael Marks, writing for Texas Public Radio, reports that a
six-year-old class action lawsuit over the system of foster care
in Texas may be reaching a climax.  It's the case in which a
federal judge found Texas' foster care system to be so dangerous
to foster kids as to be unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge
Janis Graham Jack has called the system that cares for some
10,700 kids "broken."  Now, court special masters are making
recommendations that are sure to attract pushback from the state
of Texas, which has been aggressively privatizing the foster care

Robert Garrett of the Dallas Morning News reports Texas could be
forced by the court to recruit thousands of foster parents, as
the crisis in child protective services continues.

Garrett says private agencies took over recruiting foster parents
in Texas some 25 years ago, and the state has continued to
privatize the system since then. In the 2000s, a number of
children died in foster care, and what Garrett calls "bad
operators" were exposed.

"There has been a push for seven or eight years now by the state
to further privatize [foster care] as the way to solve it," he
says, "by putting one company in charge in a region."

The deaths and abuses of children in the system resulted in the
2011 case, which is now close to an end, as court-appointed
special masters are set to release a roadmap for foster care
reform, that requires the state to find more foster parents.  The
court says the state also needs to hire more case workers, known
as conservatorship workers, who interact with foster children
directly, and provide information to the court.  The court also
wants the state to create an electronic case file for each foster

Mr. Garrett says the distribution of families available to take
on foster children in Texas uneven. Some areas have a surplus of
families, while others have too few.

He says the latest foster care bill passed by the Legislature
amounts to "privatization on steroids." The legislation calls for
a community-based care model, with a lead agency managing foster
care services in a large region, and hiring contractors and
subcontractors to handle local cases.

Mr. Garrett says Child Protective Services, or CPS, the state
agency charged with implementing the Legislature's plan, isn't in
sync with the court's special masters and their plan.

"The CPS is basically saying, 'We're improving the system on our
own, thank you, and we don't need a federal judge to monitor us.'
But it's not clear whether the state is going to be able to win
at the Fifth Circuit, and get rid of this judge looming over
everything it does in child welfare for the next few years," he
says. [GN]

TOYS OUTLET: "Guzman" Claims Overtime Pay, Minimum Wage
Jorge Bolivar Guzman, individually and on behalf of others
similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. Toys Outlet Inc., Izzy
Furniture Inc. and Israel Aboutboul, Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-
09901, (S.D.N.Y., December 19, 2017), seeks to enjoin defendants
and all persons acting in concert with them from proceeding with,
consummating, or closing the proposed merger between Deltic and a
subsidiary of Potlatch 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.

Defendants own, operate, or control two furniture stores, located
at 410 East 149th Street, Bronx, New York 10455 under the name
"Furniture Express" and at 385 East 149th Street, Bronx, New York
10455 under the name "Izzy Furniture," where Guzman was employed
as general laborer and claims to have worked in excess of 40
hours per week, without appropriate minimum wage and overtime
compensation.  Plaintiff alleges that Defendants failed to
maintain accurate recordkeeping of the hours worked, failed to
pay him appropriately for any hours worked, either at the
straight rate of pay or for any additional overtime premium.

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Michael Faillace, Esq.
      60 East 42nd Street, Suite 4510
      New York, NY 10165
      Tel: (212) 317-1200
      E-mail: Faillace@employmentcompliance.com

UBER TECHNOLOGIES: Settles Second US Lawsuit Over 2014 Rape
Aroon Deep, writing for Medianama, reports that Uber has settled
the second US lawsuit filed by the victim of a widely covered
2014 rape that pit the company against Indian police, reports
Reuters. The victim withdrew her first lawsuit, a class-action
demanding $15 million, in 2015.  She filed her second lawsuit
after it emerged that Eric Alexander, a then-top Uber Asia-
Pacific executive, flew down to India and got his hands on her
confidential medical records.

A toxic culture
This marks a turbulent reversal of Uber's culture, which was
marked by the firing of Travis Kalanick, the company's founding
CEO.  His firing came in the heels of increasing shareholder
pressure on the company to fix the toxic culture it had fostered.
This culture problem started getting attention after a blog post
by a former Uber engineer, Susan Fowler. Fowler detailed
systematic gender discrimination and harassment by the company's
employees and executives.

Dara Khosrowshahi was hired away by Uber's board from the travel
website Expedia to replace Kalanick as CEO. Since his appointment
as CEO, he has taken a more let's-fix-this approach to dealing
with regulators and law enforcement around the world.  This is in
contrast with what happened before Kalanick's ousting, when Uber
tried to make sure regulators couldn't even get on an Uber.
After the service was banned in London, for instance,
Mr. Khosrowshahi wrote a letter apologising to the city's
residents and vowed to make things right.

Later, Mr. Khosrowshahi ordered that a security breach that had
taken place under Kalanick be made public. T he breach affected
over 57 million riders and drivers.  It was hushed up by top Uber
management at that time, and the hackers were paid off to delete
copies of the stolen data (it's not clear if they deleted that
data).  The security officials who dealt with the breach resigned
soon after.

Moving on
Mr. Khosrowshahi faces the daunting task of reforming a work
culture where a reliability team was said to have just around 3%
women; one where its previous CEO privately accused its
competitor Ola of fabricating the Delhi rape case against it.
While Mr. Khosrowshahi's course correction atones for its past
mistakes -- perhaps settling the rape victim's lawsuit is part of
moving on -- it remains to be seen how much of its global growth
and dominance can withstand these changes.

Uber also faces a potentially damaging lawsuit from Google's
Waymo self-driving car company. The suit alleges that an employee
poached from the latter had stolen several files from Google
before leaving.  The company is now being investigated by the
US's Justice Department.  Closer to home, both Uber and Ola face
discontent from drivers, some of whom say they are facing
financial ruin as the companies' incentives for drivers reduce
from what they used to be. [GN]

UNITED AIR: Removes "Johnson" BIPA Violations Suit to N.D. Ill.
The putative class action lawsuit styled DAVID JOHNSON,
individual and on behalf of similarly situated individuals v.
UNITED AIR LINES, INC., a Delaware corporation, and UNITED
CONTINENTAL HOLDINGS, INC., a Delaware corporation, Case No.
2017-CH-14832, was removed on December 8, 2017, from the Circuit
Court of Cook County, Illinois, to the U.S. District Court for
the Northern District of Illinois.  The District Court Clerk
assigned Case No. 1:17-cv-08858 to the proceeding.

On November 7, 2017, Mr. Johnson filed a class-action complaint
against the Defendants, alleging that they have violated the
Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act by implementing a
timekeeping system that relied on the collection, storage, and
usage of employees' fingerprints and biometric information
without informed consent.

The Plaintiff further alleges that the Defendants violated BIPA
by not making available a written policy addressing retention and
destruction of such information and not obtaining consent for any
transmission of such information to third parties.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Myles McGuire, Esq.
          Evan M. Meyers, Esq.
          MCGUIRE LAW, P.C.
          55 W. Wacker Drive, 9th Floor
          Chicago, IL 60601
          Telephone: (312) 893-7002
          Facsimile: (312) 275-7895
          E-mail: mmcguire@mcguirelaw.com

The Defendants are represented by:

          Gerald L. Pauling, Esq.
          Ada W. Dolph, Esq.
          Thomas E. Ahlering, Esq.
          Abigail Cahak, Esq.
          233 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 8000
          Chicago, IL 60606-6448
          Telephone: (312) 460-5000
          Facsimile: (312) 460-7000
          E-mail: gpauling@seyfarth.com

UNITED STATES: Veterans File Class Action Over 1966 Bomb Accident
Dave Collins, writing for The Associated Press, reports that
veterans who say they responded to a 1966 accident involving U.S.
hydrogen bombs in Spain and then became ill from radiation
exposure asked a federal appeals court on Dec. 11 to allow a
class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans

Yale Law School students in Connecticut filed the request with
the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on behalf of
veterans who sought disability benefits from the VA but were
denied.  The students represent Air Force veteran Victor Skaar,
of Nixa, Missouri, and want to include other veterans who believe
they deserve VA benefits.

The motion names Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin as the
defendant.  The VA said on Dec. 11 it hadn't seen the filing and
couldn't address it.

On Jan. 17, 1966, a U.S. B-52 bomber and a refueling plane
crashed into each other during a refueling operation near the
southern Spanish village of Palomares, killing seven of 11 crew
members but no one on the ground. At the time, the U.S. was
keeping nuclear-armed warplanes in the air near the Soviet border
as the Cold War was in full swing.

The midair collision resulted in the release of four U.S.
hydrogen bombs.  None of the bombs exploded, but the plutonium-
filled detonators on two went off, scattering 7 pounds (3
kilograms) of highly radioactive plutonium 239 across the

The 1,600 servicemen who were sent to the crash site area to
recover the weapons and clean up the contamination were exposed
to dangerous levels of radiation daily for weeks or months at a
time, according to the court motion filed on Dec. 11.  Many of
the servicemen later developed various forms of cancer, blood
disorders, heart and lung dysfunction and other sicknesses but
were denied disability benefits by the Department of Veterans

"This class action seeks to compel the VA to acknowledge that
veterans at Palomares participated in a radiation-risk activity
that would make any radiogenic conditions they developed
presumptively service-connected," said Derek Mraz, one of the
Yale students working on the case.  "The VA acknowledges this
service connection for many other atomic veterans."

Mr. Skaar, the Air Force veteran, said he suffers from a blood
disorder and developed melanoma and prostate cancer, which were
successfully treated. He said he believes his ailments were
related to his service in Palomares.

Mr. Skaar, 81, said he and other military members responded
quickly to the Palomares accident and did not wear protective
clothing or masks as they determined the scope of the
contamination and "cleaned" it up.  The cleanup involved removing
topsoil in some areas and hosing down buildings with water.

Mr. Skaar said he and his fellow servicemen did what they were
ordered to do without complaint at Palomares and now feel
betrayed by their government.

"It's absolutely ridiculous to see how we have been treated," he
said.  "We're all hurt. We were ignored, absolutely ignored."

The Yale students said they believe this is the first federal
appeals court case involving Palomares veterans.  The Court of
Appeals for Veterans Claims, which hears appeals of VA denials of
benefits, only recently was given authority to hear class action
cases, they said.

The law school students also sued the Department of Defense in
October on behalf of veterans groups seeking to compel it to
release records relating to the Palomares accident, including
environmental testing data and urine testing results. A
department spokesman said he could not comment on pending

The Yale students said original testing showed that many
Palomares veterans were exposed to dangerously high levels of
radiation, but a 2001 report commissioned by the VA concluded
those results were "unreasonably high."  And in 2013, VA
officials used the 2001 report to conclude the veterans' exposure
to radiation wasn't high enough to qualify them for free VA
medical care and other benefits.

The students said the report and the 2013 conclusion are flawed.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, said the VA needs to
take another look at the veterans' claims.

"These veterans were exposed to dangerous radiation while they
faithfully served our nation in the cleanup of the hydrogen bomb
accident," he said in a statement.  "They deserve a fair and
consistent process for determining veterans benefits related to
such exposure." [GN]

UNITED STATES: Veterans Affairs Mum on Radiation Class Action
The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs says it can't comment on a class action lawsuit being
sought by veterans who say they responded to a 1966 accident
involving U.S. hydrogen bombs in Spain and then became ill from
radiation exposure.

Yale Law School students in Connecticut on Dec. 11 filed a
request with the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on behalf
of veterans denied VA disability benefits.  A VA spokesman says
the VA has not seen the filing and can't address it.

On Jan. 17, 1966, a U.S. B-52 bomber and a refueling plane
crashed into each other near the Spanish village of Palomares,
releasing four hydrogen bombs and scattering highly radioactive
plutonium 239.

Servicemen sent to clean the contamination say they developed
cancers and blood disorders but were denied disability benefits.

A federal appeals court has been asked to allow a class-action
lawsuit against the Veterans Affairs Department by veterans who
say they became ill from radiation exposure after responding to a
1966 accident involving U.S. hydrogen bombs in Spain.

Yale Law School students in Connecticut filed the request on
Dec. 11 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on
behalf of veterans who sought disability benefits from the VA but
were denied.

The students represent Air Force veteran Victor Skaar, of Nixa,
Missouri, and want to expand the lawsuit to include other

VA officials did not immediately return messages on Dec. 11.

Radioactive plutonium was released near Palomares, Spain, in
January 1966, after a U.S. B-52 bomber and refueling plane
crashed.  Four hydrogen bombs crashed, but there were no nuclear
explosions. [GN]

US BANCORP: Tiran Appeals Ruling in "Wert" Suit to Ninth Circuit
Objector Lonnie Tiran filed an appeal from a court ruling in the
lawsuit titled Monica Wert, et al. v. U.S. Bancorp, et al., Case
No. 3:13-cv-03130-BAS-AGS, in the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of California, San Diego.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter, District
Judge Cynthia Bashant granted the Parties' Motion for Final
Approval of Class Action Settlement.

Ms. Wert, on behalf of herself and other class members, filed
claims against the Defendants, claiming they failed to provide
compliant itemized wage statements in violation of California
Labor Code Section 226, and the Plaintiff was entitled to the
recovery of civil penalties for this violation under the Private
Attorneys General's Act.  Additionally, the Plaintiff requested
civil penalties under the PAGA, alleging that Defendants violated
California Labor Code Section 512 when they failed to comply with
California's meal period requirements.

The appellate case is captioned as Monica Wert, et al. v. U.S.
Bancorp, et al., Case No. 17-56849, in the United States Court of
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The briefing schedule in the Appellate Case is set as follows:

   -- Transcript must be ordered by January 8, 2018;

   -- Transcript is due on February 5, 2018;

   -- Appellant Lonnie Tiran's opening brief is due on March 19,

   -- Appellees Does, U.S. Bancorp, U.S. Bank National
      Association and Monica R. Wert's answering brief is due on
      April 19, 2018; and

   -- Appellant's optional reply brief is due 21 days after
      service of the answering brief.

Objector-Appellant Lonnie Tiran, of San Diego, California,
appears pro se.[BN]

Plaintiff-Appellee MONICA R. WERT, Individually and on Behalf of
Other Members of the Public Similarly Situated, is represented

          George C. Aguilar, Esq.
          600 B Street, Suite 1900
          San Diego, CA 92101
          Telephone: (619) 525-3990
          E-mail: gaguilar@robbinsarroyo.com

Defendants-Appellees U.S. BANCORP and U.S. BANK NATIONAL
ASSOCIATION are represented by:

          Joan Fife, Esq.
          101 California Street
          San Francisco, CA 94111
          Telephone: (415) 591-1513
          E-mail: jfife@winston.com

               - and -

          Emily Claire Schuman, Esq.
          Emilie Consuelo Woodhead, Esq.
          333 South Grand Avenue
          Los Angeles, CA 90071
          Telephone: (213) 615-1737
          E-mail: ewoodhead@winston.com

VIRGINIA CREDIT: McLamb Sues Over Collection of Overdraft Fees
MHL (E.D. Va., December 8, 2017), is a purported class action
lawsuit seeking monetary damages, restitution and declaratory
relief from the Defendant arising from the unfair and
unconscionable assessment and collection of "Overdraft Fees" on
accounts that were never actually overdrawn.

VACU is a credit union with approximately $3.5 billion in assets.
VACU is one of the 55 largest credit unions in the country.  VACU
is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, and does business across
the state of Virginia.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Kristi C. Kelly, Esq.
          Andrew J. Guzzo, Esq.
          Casey S. Nash, Esq.
          3925 Chain Bridge Road, Suite 202
          Fairfax, VA 22030
          Telephone: (703) 424-7572
          Facsimile: (703) 591-0167
          E-mail: kkelly@kellyandcrandall.com

               - and -

          Jeffrey D. Kaliel, Esq.
          KALIEL PLLC
          1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, 10th Floor
          Washington, DC 20009
          Telephone: (202) 350-4783
          E-mail: jkaliel@kalielpllc.com

               - and -

          Jeff Ostrow, Esq.
          Jonathan M. Streisfeld, Esq.
          1 West Las Olas Blvd., 5th Floor
          Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
          Telephone: (954) 525-4100
          E-mail: ostrow@kolawyers.com

VOLVO CARS: Must Face Hybrid SUV False Marketing Class Action
Dee Thompson, writing for Cook County Record, reports that a
federal judge has ruled that a couple who were upset over their
hybrid Volvo's ability to hold a charge have legitimate claims
against Volvo, turning aside the automaker's attempt to again
pull the plug on the couple's class action lawsuit.

In April 2016, Xavier Laurens and Khadija Laurens filed their
suit against Volvo Cars of North America LLC and Volvo Car USA
LLC, maintaining the twin-engine gas-electric Volvo XC90 T8 they
had purchased had not performed as advertised.  Specifically, it
wouldn't go the advertised 25-mile range on a full battery

The opinion was issued by U.S. District Judge Harry D.
Leinenweber in November in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois.  Judge Leinenweber noted he had
previously dismissed the case in October 2016, after Volvo filed
a motion arguing the case was moot because Volvo had offered to
refund the Laurens' purchase price.  However, the couple
appealed, and the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
overturned Judge  Leinenweber's decision and sent the case back
to him for further proceedings.

According to their lawsuit, the Laurens purchased their Volvo
after reading it could go about 25 miles on electric battery
power alone.  They claimed they wanted to purchase the car
because of environmental concerns and to save money on gas. After
the purchase, however, they found the car could only go eight to
10 miles on a single charge.  They returned the car to the dealer
so the reason for that mileage discrepancy could be discovered.

"The dealer initially pointed out to them that the 'sticker' on
the new Volvo claimed that the T8 had only a 13-mile electric
driving range rather than the 25-mile range promised in the
advertising material," Judge Leinenweber said in the decision.
"The dealer [then] sought to test drive the T8 but was only able
to travel 10 miles in electric mode under normal driving
conditions.  The dealer then tested the T8 by driving at no more
than 40 mph, with all safety features and the heat turned off,
and was able to achieve a distance of between 14 and 18 miles."

Based on that, the Laurens brought a four-count putative class
action suit for alleged violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud
Act (CFA), common law fraud, breach of express warranty and
unjust enrichment.

Volvo argued that a CFA claim can't stand if the representations
are not false.  The company claimed that the press release the
Laurens' read spoke of mileage in kilometers, and stated that
"vehicle specifications may vary from one country to another and
may be altered without prior notification," according to the
court decision.

The plaintiffs countered that the defendants were ignoring the
advertising materials, and that "all of these marketing materials
contain mileage claims that [the] plaintiffs' Volvo dealer was
unable to come close to matching.  They also point out that it
does not take a genius to convert 40 kilometers to 25 miles,"
according to Judge Leinenweber's decision.

Judge Leinenweber dismissed all of the counts of the defendants'
motion, except the CFA count against Volvo Cars of North America

"If, in fact, the T8 could only achieve 8 to 10 miles, as opposed
to 25, this could be considered a violation of an express
warranty, and the allegation clearly rises above the speculative
level," Judge Leinenweber said in the decision.

The Laurenses were represented in the matter by attorneys with
the firm of Siprut P.C., Chicago.

Volvo was defended by the firm of Reed Smith LLP, of Chicago.

WOLVERINE WORLD: Brokovich Serves as Consultant in PFAS Case
Mark Tower, writing for MLive, reports that environmental and
consumer advocate Erin Brockovich was set to join a team of
attorneys at a meeting with local residents impacted by water
contamination tied to the dumping of toxic chemicals by Rockford-
based Wolverine World Wide.

Ms. Brockovich is working as a consultant for one of three legal
firms pursuing a class action lawsuit against Wolverine World
Wide, 3M and Waste Management.

The case centers around the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances
named PFAS (or PFCs) in 3M Scotchgard that Wolverine used for
decades to make Hush Puppies shoes at the company's former
Rockford tannery, demolished in 2010.

The lawsuit, filed on Dec. 1 in the U.S. District Court Western
District, alleges the companies dumped toxic waste and polluted
groundwater in Belmont, Rockford and other areas of Kent County.
It seeks blood testing, monitoring, and damages for residents
harmed by the dumping.

Ms. Brockovich and representatives from the three law firms plan
to meet directly with area residents.

The complaint filed against the three companies was announced
Dec. 5 in a press release from the law firms, which were
Michigan-based The Miller Law Firm, California's Robbins Geller
Rudman & Dowd and New York's Weitz & Luxenberg.

The lawsuit initially named eight plaintiffs, each identified as
a current or former resident affected by the contamination of
drinking water in the area.  It claims the federal court has
jurisdiction in the case under the Class Action Fairness Act
because the total claims of class members exceed $5 million.

Rediscovery of a forgotten 1960s-era landfill on House Street NE
in Belmont in 2017 sparked an ever-expanding investigation into
Wolverine's waste disposal around the northern Grand Rapids
suburbs.  Next door to the House Street dump, drinking water
wells are polluted at levels far above the EPA's health level
advisory level for PFOS and PFOA.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is also
investigating Wolverine's dumping in Plainfield Township in
connection to PFAS chemicals found at low levels in the township
municipal water system, which serves 40,000 people.

Ms. Brockovich, who works as a consultant for Weitz & Luxenberg
on certain projects, issued a statement in advance of the
upcoming community meeting.

"The scope of this contamination is alarming, and thousands in
Kent County are now faced with unsafe drinking water and
increased health risks," Ms. Brockovich said in the statement.
"This lawsuit puts these corporations on notice that they will be
held accountable for their actions and should make it clear to
other corporate polluters that they can't get away with poisoning
our water."

Ms. Brockovich first signaled her interest in the Kent County
issue in an Oct. 24 Facebook post.

Ms. Brockovich has also taken on the issue of PFAS contamination
elsewhere in Michigan, assisting a group of veterans who say
they've been poisoned the toxic chemicals found in firefighting
foam used at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda.

In response to the news of the new class action lawsuit,
Wolverine said in a statement it does not comment on ongoing

William A. Brewer III -- wab@brewerattorneys.com -- partner at
Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and counsel for 3M, responded on
the company's behalf.

"Under Michigan law, we believe 3M has no liability for any
damages allegedly caused by Wolverine's manufacturing and waste
disposal practices," Brewer said in a statement. "3M never
manufactured or disposed of PFC-containing materials in Michigan.
We believe this lawsuit lacks merit."

The class action lawsuit accuses Waste Management of failing to
properly maintain the State Disposal Landfill it owns through a
subsidiary. The landfill, located at 3954 East Beltline Ave. NE,
is a Superfund site and a known Wolverine dump site.

A Waste Management spokesperson responded by saying the company
is aware of the lawsuit and will "respond accordingly via the
court system."

The lawsuit filed in federal court is not the first legal action
taken by local residents. Three complaints were filed against the
company in Kent County Circuit Court on Tuesday, Nov. 28. [GN]

* Arbitrators Found to Have Significant Pro-Business Bias
Nicholas Lindseth, writing for Brown Political Review, reports
that the Equifax hack shocked Americans in both its scope and
preventability.  The Social Security numbers of over 143 million
citizens were exposed, despite the fact that a patch for the
exploited vulnerability had been available for months prior to
the breach.  As customers attempted to secure their exposed
information using Equifax's reparation offer of one free year of
credit monitoring, they came up against a roadblock in their
pursuit of accountability.  Using the one-year service required
consumers to sign a mandatory arbitration clause.  This meant
that any disputes raised against the company would have to be
resolved outside the court system through individual arbitration.
Unfortunately, arbitrators often have incentives to side with
corporations, and payouts for individuals often pale in
comparison to the filing fee.  Massive public outcry forced
Equifax to clarify that this clause applied only to claims
arising from the one year of monitoring, as opposed to the
breach, but further public pressure pushed the company to waive
it entirely.

All this commotion shined a light on an issue little-known to the
public, but one continually rehashed among lawmakers and
regulators.  A 2015 survey conducted by the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau (CFPB) revealed that 75 percent of Americans
did not know whether they had signed an arbitration clause with a
financial company, despite the ubiquity of such clauses within
the industry.  Most recently, the CFPB issued a regulation in
July banning arbitration clauses that restrict a consumer's right
to pursue class-action lawsuits.  In late October, however, the
Senate repealed the rule, meaning that, although it seems
unlikely, broad legislative action is sorely needed.

The arguments in favor of mandatory arbitration clauses are
narrow and cater to business interests at the expense of
consumers and employees.  From the perspective of business
owners, arbitration clauses allow cases to be settled cheaply,
privately, and expediently.  Most importantly, arbitration
clauses often prohibit class action suits, meaning that
businesses are insulated from large damages and consumers are
disincentivized from even pursuing their claims in the first
place.  Many argue that such clauses help protect small business
from frivolous lawsuits, which significantly burden economic
growth, and ensure that cases avoid juries, where many tend to
side against the corporation even without adequate evidence of

The drawbacks of such a system directly target consumers and
employees.  In the case of the 2016 Wells Fargo scandal, which
revealed that the bank encouraged, and sometimes coerced,
employees to open millions of additional accounts for preexisting
customers without consumer authorization in order to meet sales
quotas, consumers had raised claims against such practices in
arbitration venues.  Yet the private nature of these proceedings
and the inability of customers to form a class action suit kept
this behavior out of the public eye and prevented a suit from
taking place earlier.  In the case of Fox News, the inclusion of
an arbitration clause in Gretchen Carlson's employment contract
meant that her sexual harassment suit against Roger Ailes would
be kept behind closed doors and the details of the network's work
environment had to be hidden from the public.  As a result of
such clauses, large firms insulate themselves from any real
accountability and incentives to change malicious behavior. Bad
practices are simply not exposed.

Further compounding the problem, arbitrators have been found to
have a significant pro-business bias.  According to the advocacy
group Public Citizen, a four-year survey of California
arbitration claims involving banks and credit card companies
revealed that arbitrators ruled in favor of consumers only six
percent of the time.  Arbitrators have a financial incentive to
side with businesses, because they can become repeat customers.
At every step of the way, mandatory arbitration clauses
systemically favor businesses in ways that disproportionately
harm consumers and employees.

Prior to 1925 -- and even continuing into the mid-century --
arbitration clauses were met with hostility in the court system,
making their rise all the more confusing.  But in 1925, the
Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) laid the groundwork for mandatory
arbitration as we see it today.  Though not intended to open the
floodgates of mandatory arbitration, the bill has since been
interpreted by the Supreme Court as creating "a national policy
favoring arbitration" that governs both federal and state courts,
setting a very arbitration-friendly modern precedent.

Challenges to this standard have been placed before the Supreme
Court in recent years, most notably with the 2013 case of AT&T
Mobility LLC v. Concepcion regarding arbitration clauses in
consumer contracts.  According to California state law, any
arbitration clause that included a class action waiver was
unenforceable since it protected one of the parties from recourse
taken against them for their wrongful behavior.  In a 5-4
decision, the Court ruled that "individualized proceedings are an
inherent and necessary element of arbitration that do not permit
blanket rules banning class action waivers."  In effect, this
rejected any sort of state law that would attempt to preempt and
avoid the mandates of the FAA.

At the state level, there have been moderately successful
attempts at decreasing the power of mandatory arbitration
clauses.  In New Jersey, the state's Superior Court in the cases
of Dispenziere v. Kushner Companies and Atalese v. United States
Legal Services Corp held that the arbitration clauses in subject
were unenforceable as they lacked "clear and unambiguous
language" that the "plaintiff is waiving her right to seek relief
in court for a breach of her statutory rights."  By relying on
the principle of mutual consent -- the requirement that parties
agree on the basic facts of a contract when agreeing to one --
the New Jersey court used the exception permitted by the FAA that
allows courts to void arbitration clauses "upon such grounds as
exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract."
Nevertheless, these rulings provide little hope for widespread
change since arbitration clauses could easily be amended to
include the necessary language.

With legal precedent well established -- the Supreme Court is
expected to reaffirm the validity of mandatory arbitration
clauses in employee contracts in 2017 -- and the FAA still on the
books, the only way forward is through regulatory or legislative
action that would rewrite the rules governing arbitration

The Senate's repeal of the CFPB's ruling was a step in the wrong
direction.  For consumers in the financial industries under the
agency's purview, the rule would have allowed them to form class
actions that would more easily and effectively recover damages
resulting from corporate malfeasance.  Given the larger payments
that corporations would theoretically be doling out, this would
have undoubtedly changed practices within the industry and
created strong deterrents against misbehavior.

In the wake of the CFPB regulation's repeal, broader action,
which can only be achieved through legislation overruling the
FAA, must be taken.  In 2016, Democratic Senators Patrick Leahy
of Vermont and Al Franken of Minnesota introduced a bill dubbed
the Restoring Statutory Rights Act, which would have, according
to George Slover of Consumers Union, "restore[d] the Federal
Arbitration Act to what Congress intended, arbitration as a way
for businesses to decide to handle their business disputes, but
not as a way to insulate their misconduct from accountability to
consumer." Unfortunately, it died in Congress before being put to
a vote. With Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress,
any similar bills in the near future are likely to suffer the
same fate.

The need for pressure from advocacy groups so that this issue
becomes a legislative priority in the next Democratic Congress is
even more critical in light of this bleak prognosis.  The Equifax
hack provided a timely reminder of the ways that mandatory
arbitration clauses serve business interests while failing to
protect consumers and employees. By keeping proceedings in
private and preventing class-action lawsuits, the current system
insulates companies from accountability and perpetuates bad
behavior.  In their mandate that parties pursue claims
individually -- often at exorbitant expense -- arbitration
clauses prevent claimants from doing so in the first place.  And
even in cases where claims are pursued, a pro-business bias
distorts proceedings.  At a time when consumer and employee
rights are slowly eroding, banning mandatory arbitration clauses
provides a chance to restore balance and justice to a system
which is sorely lacking both. [GN]

* Defense Bar Losing War in Securities Class Action Litigation
John F. Nucci, Esq. -- JFNucci@mintz.com -- and Peter M.
Saparoff, Esq. -- PMSaparoff@mintz.com -- of Mintz, Levin, Cohn,
Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., in an article for The National
Law Review, report that Douglas Greene, one of the United States'
most well-known securities litigators -- on either side of the
bar -- recently wrote a four-part treatise, titled Who is Winning
the Securities Class Action War -- Plaintiffs or Defendants?, in
which he discussed the various ways in which the defense bar is
losing the "securities class action war."  Mr. Greene's thorough
analysis is well-worth reading in full, but we will briefly
summarize and comment on his piece.

In part I, Mr. Greene notes that, while defendants often win
battles (such as the passing of the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995 and several victories at the U.S. Supreme
Court), they are "losing the war."  Mr. Greene posits that this
is due to several key differences between the plaintiffs' bar and
the defense bar.  For example, while the plaintiffs' bar is
relatively small, the defense bar is highly splintered and filled
with attorneys who may not be qualified or specialized enough to
deal with the specific issues that arise in a securities class
action lawsuit.  He also points to the plaintiffs' bar's
contingent-fee structure, which arguably incentivizes efficiency,
in contrast to the defense bar's arguably inefficient structure
due to hourly billing and the safety net of D&O insurance

Mr. Greene goes on to explain the series of factors which he
believes led to the plaintiffs' bar's current position as the
industry leader.  He notes cases such as the stock options
backdating scandal giving valuable experience and cash windfalls
to plaintiffs' firms that filed options backdating cases.  The
same result occurred in the wake of the credit crisis, during
which "the plaintiffs' bar had a war chest and was ready for
battle."  He also notes that the Chinese reverse-merger scandal
created a new breed of securities class action plaintiffs' firms
when smaller plaintiffs' firms inherited these cases while the
larger firms were dealing with credit-crisis cases for higher
damages.  All of this combined to allow smaller firms to expand
the cases they initiate beyond "lawsuit blueprint cases," leading
to the current landscape, which "now clearly consists of a
combination of two different types of cases: smaller cases
brought by a set of smaller plaintiffs' firms on behalf of retail
investors, and largest cases pursued by the larger plaintiffs'
firms on behalf of retail investors" (the larger cases may also
benefit institutional investors).  In other words, the
plaintiffs' bar is now relatively small, but it is experienced
and centralized when compared to the defense bar.[1]

In part II, Mr. Greene discusses the splintering of the defense
bar.  Unlike the relatively small plaintiffs' bar, the defense
bar is enormous.  "Every firm in the AmLaw 200 has a securities
class action defense group and conceivably could be hired to
defend a securities class action."  However, these firms
generally do not specialize and do not consist of attorneys who
work exclusively on securities litigation.  Mr. Greene estimates
that the number of actual securities litigation senior partners
on the defense bar is about 10% of the "so-called securities
defense bar."  Thus, because the defense bar is busy with non-
securities matters, "the average defense lawyer handles far fewer
-- and a narrower range of -- cases than the average plaintiffs'

The problem, according to Mr. Greene, is that this structure
results in sub-optimal defense, which is compounded by the rising
rates of litigation defense.  This results in the possibility
that a company's D&O insurance program will be unable to cover
the fees, which Mr. Greene feels may be "the biggest risk
directors and officers face from securities litigation."

Mr. Greene of course adds that the defense bar wins a lot of
dismissals at the pleading stage.  However, this is tempered by
the fact that those victories usually result in a dismissal
without prejudice, allowing the plaintiff to replead.  Mr. Greene
posits that, given "skyrocketing" defense costs, most cases
settle at this stage to avoid the danger that their D&O insurance
policy would be unable to cover the fees of a strong defense and
later settlement.  This means that "motions to dismiss are the
whole ballgame these days," and Greene argues that they are not
always being argued effectively.

Mr. Greene's solution to this problem: use the D&O insurer
representatives already associated with defending the litigation
and give them a bigger voice in the defense process.  He argues
that "D&O insurers see the big picture in securities class action
in a way no defense lawyer ever could, and could easily provide
input that would help solve these problems."

Mr. Greene expands on this and other solutions in part III, in
which he discusses the reasons why his proposal should be
considered.  He lists several possible paths forward, outlining
the pros and cons of each option.  First, Greene discusses
proposals to eliminate or otherwise reforming securities class
actions.  He states that this would be "an enormous error," given
that eliminating securities class actions would allow plaintiffs
to file non-class securities actions that would be far less
manageable for defendants than class action lawsuits.  Second, he
mentions the possibility of forming industry groups (like the
accounting profession) to oversee securities class actions.  He
posits that public companies probably could not adopt this
approach, since the types of companies sued in securities class
actions have far more numerous and diverse issues than the
accounting firms.

Finally, Mr. Greene turns to the possibility of giving D&O
insurers greater control, which he states is "the only clear
path."  He argues that D&O insurers are "the only repeat players
on the defense side," and that they have the greatest economic
interest in the outcome.  Mr. Greene also argues that these
insurers have the experience and the motivation to work for an
advantageous outcome for class action defendants at the lowest
possible price.

While the defense bar is filled with talented and hardworking
attorneys, it is true that they do not always experience the
sheer volume of specialized cases that the plaintiffs' bar does.
That is why it is important that the defense attorney involved in
the case actually has extensive experience with the types of
issues involved in the case.  In contrast, by creating new
theories in novel areas, plaintiffs' attorneys are gaining
knowledge of the issues involving new areas more quickly.  Giving
a greater role to D&O insurers could help fill that experience
gap.  As Mr. Greene correctly points out, they have a vested
interest in obtaining a positive outcome for defendants.  Of
course, this is not to suggest that defense attorneys do not have
the same interest; they clearly do.  Mr. Greene's point is simply
that D&O insurers should be given a greater seat at the table in
order to ensure the best possible defense and result for
defendants in securities class actions. [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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