CAR_Public/180115.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R


             Monday, January 15, 2018, Vol. 20, No. 11



                            Headlines


A1 ADVANCED: Trejos-Torrez Moves to Cert. Truck Operators Class
ABBOTT LABS: "Alexander" Designated Lead Case for Depakote Suits
ALIBABA GROUP: Securities Class Action Reinstated
ALLERGAN INC: Faces St. Paul Suit Over Sherman Act Violations
ALLIANCE CAS: "Smith" Sues Over Unauthorized Fee Adjustment

ALLIANCEONE RECEIVABLES: Syria Appeals Decision to Ninth Circuit
ALLIED EAGLE: Class of Drivers Certified in "Gonzales" Suit
AMERICAN EXPRESS: "Meza" Sues Over Illegal Telemarketing Calls
ANGLO AMERICAN: Nears ZAR5BB Silicosis Class Action Settlement
APPLE INC: Second Class Suit Over Throttling of iPhones Launches

AQUA METALS: Rosen Law Firm Files Securities Class Action
AQUA METALS: Feb. 13 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set
ARKANSAS SUPPORT: Failed to Pay OT Wages, Ferguson Suit Says
ARSTRAT LLC: "Calderon" Disputes Validity of Collection Notice
AT&T MOBILITY: McArdle Moves to Certify Roaming & Waiver Classes

AUSTRALIA: Class Action Called Over Lake Road Closure
BANC JACK: Doe Seeks Cert. of Titilations Go-Go-Bar Dancers Class
BANNER HEALTH: Arizona Judge Pares Down Class-Action Suit
BAYER CORP: Judge Denies Motion for New Trial in Xarelto Case
BIG PHARMA: Iowa Urged to Join Class Action Over Opioid Crisis

BIG PHARMA: Clinton County Joins Class Action Over Opioid Crisis
BIG PHARMA: City of Fort Wayne Files Suit Over Opioid Crisis
BIG PHARMA: Nashville Can Explore Suit Over Opioid Crisis
BRAZTECH INTERNATIONAL: Court Won't Review Bedwell Ruling
CANADA: Class Action Mulled Over Highway 20 Noise Problem

CAPELLA EDUCATION: Rigrodsky & Long Files Securities Class Action
CERRITOS INFINITI: "Lemus" Suit Alleges Labor Code Violations
CHS EMPLOYMENT: Does not Pay Overtime Wages, "Smith" Suit Says
CIRCLE GROUP: Settles Skyhouse Workers' Wage Class Action
CIRCLE GROUP: Workers, Advocates Celebrate Wage Settlement

CLOVERLEAF COLD: "Edwards" Suit Alleges IWPCA Violations
COMPADRES INC: Court Partly Dismisses 2nd Amended "Fuentes" Suit
CORNER BROOK: Deer Lake Litigation Must Go to Arbitration
COSMOS HOSPITALITY: Carmichael Seeks to Certify Class Under FLSA
COUNTRYWIDE FINANCIAL: Waldrup's Bid to Certify Under Submission

CRICKET COMMUNICATIONS: Intervenor Loses Bid to Stay "Bond"
CUSTARD INSURANCE: "Wadler" Suit Stayed Pending Supreme Ct. Order
DAF: Deutsche Bahn Files Class Action Over Alleged Cartel
DEUTSCHE BANK: 2nd Cir. Denies Bid to Appeal 401(k) Class Status
DIANA CONTAINERSHIPS: Pomerantz Law Firm Files Class Action

DOORDASH INC: Drivers File Class Action in Massachusetts
EATON CORP: Judge Denies Certification of Antitrust Class Action
EDUCATIONAL CREDIT: Ninth Circuit Appeal Filed in "Reyes" Suit
EL POLLO LOCO: Rule 23 Class Certification Sought in "Kim" Suit
EQUIFAX INC: Court to Consolidate Most of Over 240 Class Actions

ERICKSON RETIREMENT: Certification of HVF Residents Class Upheld
FACEBOOK INC: Class & Subclass Certification Sought in BIPA Suit
FIAT CHRYSLER: Court Hears Motion to Dismiss Emissions Case
FINANCIAL RECOVERY: Sued by Rehman for Violating FCCPA and FDCPA
FLORIDA: Seeks Dismissal of Matching Gifts Class Action

FLORIDA: New Policies in Place After Sexual Harassment Settlement
FS PROPERTY: Luna Files Suit Over Unpaid Overtime Wages
GATESTONE & CO: "Pickles" Disputes Validity of Collection Letter
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: Stone Appeals W.D. Wash. Ruling to 9th Cir.
GULF INTERSTATE: 6th Cir. Revives Wage-and-Hour Class Action

JOHNSON & JOHNSON: Local 295 Sues Over Infliximab Price Rigging
JOHNSON UTILITIES: Customers File RICO Class Action
JP MORGAN CHASE: "Johnson" Sues Over Excessive Overdraft Fees
JV REGRADING LLC: Denied "Mancia" Overtime Pay
HANIL DEVELOPMENT: "Hahn" Suit Settlement, Dismissal Affirmed

HEALTH INSURANCE: CIOE Securities Suit Transferred to M.D. Fla.
HERR'S: Faces "Slack-Fill" Packaging Class Action in New York
HSBC BANK: Giron Appeals C.D. California Ruling to Ninth Circuit
IDS PROPERTY: Ninth Circuit Appeal Filed in "Achziger" Class Suit
KIKI: 400 remaining Survivors, Relatives Can't Bring Claims

LIBERTY TAX: Feb. 13 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set
LOBLAW COS: Faces Class Action Over Alleged Bread Price-Fixing
LOBLAW COS: Remains Vulnerable to Price-Fixing Class Actions
LOBLAW COS: Bread Price Fixing Class Action Commenced
LOS ANGELES, CA: Ray Appeals C.D. Calif. Ruling to Ninth Circuit

MAJESTIC PRINCESS: Yarwood Wants to Proceed as Collective Action
MALAYSIAN AIRLINES: D.C. Hearing Set in Flight 370 Lawsuits
MANGAN INC: "Aguilera" Suit Alleges Labor Code Violations
MATTRESS FIRM: "Perez-Tejada" Sues Over Unpaid Overtime Premium
MCCABE TROTTER: Bid to Quash Gold Crown Subpoena Nixed

MERCHANTS CREDIT: Wins Prelim. Nod of "Taylor" Suit Settlement
MERRILL LYNCH: Judge OKs $25MM Settlement in Retirement Plan Case
MGC DIAGNOSTICS: "Franchi" to Halt Merger Deal, Needs Financials
MICROSOFT CORP: Won't Require Arbitration for Harassment Cases
MINED MINDS: Faces Class Action Over Miner Retraining Program

MONKEY CAPITAL: Silver Miller Files Class Action Over ICO
MRI INTERNATIONAL: Trustee Added as Party in Class Suit
MURRAY GOULBURN: Rival Bid Wants Class Action Sorted Out
NEW JERSEY TRANSIT: "Alleyne" Suit Alleges Discrimination
NORMAN BARWIN: Lawyers Seek More Patients for Possible Lawsuit

NORTHLAND GROUP: Santiago Moves for Approval of Settlement Class
NORTHROP GRUMMAN: Judge Says Plaintiffs Engage in Forum Shopping
OPTUM360 LLC: Objection to Other Fax Messages Request Sustained
OSI SYSTEMS: Vincent Wong Notifies Investors of Class Action
PARC RESTAURANT: Faces Class Action Over Unpaid Wages

PATRIOT NATIONAL: Laid-Off Employees Sue Over Severance Pay
PERRY ELLIS: Dismissal Notice Orders Affirmed
PERRY ELLIS: Notice Must Be Sent to Purported Class, Court Rules
PETSMART: Prescription Cat Food Price Class Action Dismissed
PHILADELPHIA, PA: Court Upholds Class Action Attorneys' Fee Award

PHILIP MORRIS: Rosen Law Files Securities Class Action Lawsuit
PHILIP MORRIS: Fla. Dist. App. Reverses Judgment in "Marchese"
POSEIDON CONCEPTS: Plaintiffs Reach Partial Settlement
PROFESSIONAL CLAIMS: Status Conference in "Covino" Set for Mar. 6
PUMA BIOTECHNOLOGY: Shareholders Class Certified in "Hsu" Suit

PURDUE PHARMA: County Employees' Fund Hits Opioid Drug Benefits
PURDUE PHARMA: Judge Has Yet to Sign $20MM Oxycontin Settlement
QUDIAN INC: Levi & Korsinsky Reminds of Lead Plaintiff Deadline
RADIO CORP: More Former Workers Join Class Action in Taiwan
RELAYRIDES INC: Court Denies w/o Prejudice Bid to Remand "Zhao"

RENT-A-CENTER INC: 9th Cir. Affirms Arbitration in "Carter"
RETAIL FOOD: Faces Potential Class Action Over Profit Warning
RMH FRANCHISE: Wins Bid to Dismiss Without Prejudice "Ivery" Suit
RUSHMORE LOAN: Renewed "Sellers" Class Certification Bid Denied
SEPHORA USA: Court Grants FLSA Certification in "Hernandez" Suit

STARBUCKS CORP: Seeks Dismissal of Underfilled Latte Class Action
STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL: Law Firms Mull Shareholder Class Actions
STEINHOFF INT'L: Innsworth Litigation Funding Mulls Suit
STEINHOFF INT'L: German Investors File Suit to Recover Funds
SYMPHONY POST: Faces Class Action Over BIPA Violation

T-MOBILE: Faces Class Action Over Age Discrimination
TRINET GROUP: Calif. Court Dismisses Securities Class Action
UNITED STATES: Faces Class Action Over Botched Somali Deportation
UNITED STATES: Court Won't Rehear Fort Derick Contamination Case
UNITED STATES: 22 Immigrant Teens Freed After Wrongful Arrests

UNITED STATES: Judge to Issue Opinion on Iraqi Detainees Case
UNITED STATES: ACLU Fights Abortion Ban for Undocumented Teens
UNITED STATES: Suit Over Wrongful NICS Denials Gaining Momentum
UNITED STATES: ABA Appeals Suit Dismissal to Federal Circuit
UNITED STATES: D.C. Circuit Appeal Filed in "Klayman" Class Suit

USAA GENERAL: WPRC Loses Bid to Appeal Denial of Class Cert
VITAMIN SHOPPE: Court Grants Summary Judgment Bid in "Segovia"
WELLINGTON COURT: Chinese Strata Discrimination Case to Be Heard
WINCO FOODS: Ninth Circuit Appeal Filed in "Mitchell" Class Suit

* Opioid Class Actions Seen as Next Big Tobacco Settlement
* Prospects for Reform Seen in Australian Class Action Regime
* Repeal of CFPB's Arbitration Rule Defeat for Consumers


                            *********


A1 ADVANCED: Trejos-Torrez Moves to Cert. Truck Operators Class
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Plaintiff in the lawsuit entitled ROBERTO TREJOS-TORREZ, on
behalf of himself and others similarly situated v. A1 ADVANCED
TOWING CORP., a Florida Profit Corporation, A1 ADVANCED WRECKER
CORP., a Florida Profit Corporation, A1 ADVANCED TOWING &
TRANSPORT INC., a Florida Profit Corporation, JEANNETTE MARTIN,
an individual, and FERNANDO MARTIN, an individual, Case No. 1:17-
cv-23896-JLK (S.D. Fla.), moves the Court for an order certifying
collective action and authorizing notice to all class members
pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

The class is defined as:

     All persons who operated tow trucks for Defendants during
     the three years preceding the filing of this lawsuit and who
     were not paid their overtime wages due for one or more
     weeks.

Mr. Trejos-Torrez also asks the Court to direct the Defendants to
produce to his counsel within 20 days a list containing the names
and last known addresses of putative 216(b) Class Members, and to
authorize the counsel to send a notice to all individuals whose
names appear on the list produced by the Defendants' counsel.

A copy of the Motion is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=AL2kO53T


The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Robert W. Brock II, Esq.
          LAW OFFICE OF LOWELL J. KUVIN
          17 East Flagler Street, Suite 223
          Miami, FL 33131
          Telephone: (305) 358-6800
          Facsimile: (305) 358-6808
          E-mail: robert@kuvinlaw.com

               - and -

          Angelo M. Filippi, Esq.
          Derek H. Sparks, Esq.
          KELLEY KRONENBERG
          1111 Brickell Ave., Suite 1900
          Miami, FL 33131
          Telephone: (305) 503-0850
          Facsimile: (954) 382-1988
          E-mail: afilippi@kelleykronenberg.com
                  dsparks@kelleykronenberg.com


ABBOTT LABS: "Alexander" Designated Lead Case for Depakote Suits
----------------------------------------------------------------
In the case captioned IN RE DEPAKOTE: RHEALYN ALEXANDER, et al.,
Plaintiffs, v. ABBOTT LABORATORIES, INC., Defendant, Case Nos.
3:17-cv-01077, 12-CV-52-NJR-SCW (S.D. Ill.), Judge Nancy J.
Rosenstengel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District
of Illinois has entered an order consolidating Depatoke cases
with the lead case, Alexander et al., v. Abbott Laboratories
Inc., Case No. 12-cv-52-NJR-SCW.

The Court currently has 129 cases, involving approximately 698
plaintiffs, pending on its docket directly related to the
Depakote litigation.  The first cases were filed in state court
in 2010 and removed to federal court on Jan. 18, 2012.  Cases
continue to be filed each month with the last case being filed,
as of the date of the Order, on Aug. 18, 2016.  To facilitate the
resolution of the vast number of outstanding cases, the Court
employed the "bellwether" approach, selecting representative
cases for fast-track trials thereby allowing the parties to
assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of the evidence and
the value of the remaining claims.

The Court intends to hold joint trials as to common issues of
fact and law to the maximum extent possible.  It is now clear to
Judge Rosenstengel that batching cases together along common
issues of fact and law is the only way to effectively,
efficiently, and justly move through the volume of cases before
the Court.  The failure of the bellwether approach requires the
Court to proceed with joint trials resolving as many common
issues as possible for as many plaintiffs with each trial.

While holding the three remaining bellwether trials will resolve
the three Individual Plaintiffs' cases, proceeding in such a
fashion will all but guarantee that other claims go unresolved
for decades.  Accordingly, to allow the parties to focus on the
completion of the prescriber depositions and to allow for the
identification and consolidation of issues to be jointly tried,
Judge Rosenstengel vacated the trial dates of: (i) H.B. and
parent Stacy Bartolini, 12-cv-0053; (ii) T.C. and parent Kayla
Rose McGuinness-Colon, 12-cv-0694; and (iii) E.R.G. and parent
Christina Raquel, 12-cv-0055.  Consequently, the pending pretrial
motions specifically related to each of these three cases are
denied without prejudice to be refiled at a later date.
Similarly, the pretrial motions in case number 15-cv-702 and 14-
cv-847 are also denied without prejudice to be refiled at a later
date; however, the Plaintiff's Motions to Show Good Cause
Regarding Sealed Documents in case No. 15-cv-702 are granted.
The Court will provide further guidance related to each of the
denied motions in a subsequent order.

The Judge recognizes that three of the bellwether cases were
prepped for October and November trial dates.  As stated in a
previous order, it is the Court's intention that the majority of
the cases on her docket will be tried by the end of 2017.  Thus,
the parameters of joint trials will be identified as soon as
possible, with a corresponding schedule for updated discovery and
motion practice related to those trials.

And finally, because the Judge is advised by Magistrate Judge
Williams that it is unlikely the parties will complete the 132
prescriber depositions by the current deadline for doing so, she
sua sponte extended the deadline until Nov. 7, 2016.

On March 14, 2013, Judge Murphy entered an Order consolidating
the original 15 Depakote litigation cases under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 42 and all future similarly related cases.  Since
the consolidation order, over 117 cases have been filed in the
district, under separate diversity jurisdiction, alleging injury
by Abbott's product, Depakote.  Many of the cases have already
been consolidated with the lead case.

Judge Rosenstengel finds that the remaining cases set forth in
Exhibit A present common issues of fact or law.  In an effort to
streamline and clarify filing and docketing in the Depakote
litigation cases, she ordered the following:

     a. Case No. 12-cv-52-NJR-SCW, Alexander et al., v. Abbott
Laboratories Inc., is designated as the lead case for claims
involving Depakote litigation.  All of the cases in Exhibit A
will be consolidated, and any cases filed thereafter will be
considered "tag along" cases.

     b. All other cases involving Depakote litigation, including
the cases noted in Exhibit A, are to be related to the lead case.

     c. Generally, filings that relate to the Depakote litigation
are to be filed in the lead case using Civil Case No. 12-cv-52-
NJR-SCW. Non-exhaustive examples include motions related to
scheduling and discovery motions that raise issues relevant to
more than one related case.

     d. Filings that are specific to an Individual Plaintiff, and
not to other Depakote litigation cases, are to be filed in their
individual cases specific to each Plaintiff or Plaintiffs.  Non-
exhaustive examples include joint or unopposed motions for leave
to file an amended complaint, notifications of death, motions to
substitute a Plaintiff, and declarations of proposed interim
estate representatives.

     e. Minute entries for hearings generally applicable to all
Depakote cases (i.e., motion and status hearings and case
management conferences) will be docketed in the lead case only.

     f. Minute entries for matters that are not generally
applicable to all Depakote cases will only be docketed in the
individual case and not in the lead case.

     g. Court orders generally applicable to all Depakote cases
will be docketed in the lead case only.  No other generally
applicable orders will be docketed in the individual cases
following issuance of the Order.

     h. Court orders that are applicable only to an Individual
Plaintiff or Plaintiffs will be docketed in the individual case
only.

     i. The counsel in individual cases are instructed to
associate themselves with the lead case if they have not already
done so by filing a notice of appearance in the lead case.

     j. New complaints involving the Depakote litigation are to
be filed as their own individual case and will be deemed related
to Case No. 12-cv-52-NJR-SCW.

     k. Currently, when filing an entry on CM/ECF relating to the
Plaintiffs, the parties are listing the names of every Plaintiff
in the text of the minute entry.  Any Plaintiff making a docket
entry on 12-cv-52-NJR-SCW will edit the text of the minute entry
to read "filed by Plaintiffs" in place of each Individual
Plaintiff.  The Defendants will also edit their minute entry text
before filing to ensure they are using the short form
"plaintiffs" instead of listing each Individual Plaintiff.  The
Court will continue to review each individual motion to ensure
there is no confusion as to the nature of the motions or the
parties to which they apply.

     l. The new counsel for tag along cases, including cases
filed originally in the Southern District of Illinois, filed
after the date of the Order will be responsible for checking the
lead case for all orders previously filed that may have relevance
to such new cases filed.

Judge Rosenstengel will be establishing a Plaintiffs' Leadership
Counsel and soliciting names for the Lead and/or Liaison counsel
by separate order.  She says the Plaintiffs need not submit any
names or filings related to the Leadership Counsel until directed
by the Court.  She directed the Clerk of Court to file the Order
in Case No. 12-cv-52-NJR-SCW and all cases listed in Exhibit A to
the Order.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Memorandum and
Order is available at https://is.gd/wDzNx3 from Leagle.com.

Wendy Driver, individually and as parent and natural guardian of
J.W. and Z.D., minors, Plaintiff, represented by Janet G. Abaray,
Burg, Simpson et al.

Abbott Laboratories, Defendant, represented by Stefan Mallen --
samallen@bryancave.com -- Bryan Cave LLP.

Abbvie Inc., Defendant, represented by Stefan Mallen, Bryan Cave
LLP.


ALIBABA GROUP: Securities Class Action Reinstated
-------------------------------------------------
Shiloh Rainwater, writing for The National Law Review, reports
that the Second Circuit has revived a putative securities class
action against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and four of its top
executives for alleged material misrepresentations in connection
with the company's $25 billion initial public offering in
September 2014 - the largest in U.S. history. Chief Judge Colleen
McMahon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
New York had dismissed the suit in June 2016, holding that the
plaintiffs failed to state a claim under the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934. In a summary order, the Second Circuit vacated and
remanded, concluding that Judge McMahon misapplied Rule 12(b)(6)
standards in dismissing the investors' claims.

According to the complaint, high-level Chinese regulators
summoned Alibaba executives to a secret meeting two months before
the IPO in which they threatened to levy hefty daily fines if the
e-commerce giant continued to host a marketplace for third
parties to sell counterfeit goods. This information was not
revealed until four months after the IPO, when China's State
Administration for Industry and Commerce ("SAIC") published on
its website a white paper about the "guidance" it had provided to
Alibaba.  Within two days of the publication of this information,
Alibaba's stock dropped 13 percent, erasing $33 billion in market
capitalization.

The complaint alleged that the facts underlying the white paper
were highly material to prospective investors and that they
should have been, but were not, disclosed in Alibaba's stock
registration statements. The Second Circuit, in apparent
agreement, noted that the information's revelation likely would
have had a multi-billion dollar negative effect on Alibaba's IPO.
Thus, "[a]ccepting Plaintiffs' allegations as true," the Second
Circuit concluded that Alibaba "had a duty to disclose these
facts, in a manner that accurately conveyed the seriousness of
the problems Alibaba faced, so as not to render Defendants'
public disclosures 'inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading.'"

The Second Circuit criticized the district court for reaching a
contrary result, reasoning that Judge McMahon improperly
discredited "significant allegations" upon which the plaintiffs'
claims relied, such as news reports about the secret meeting.
According to the Second Circuit, Judge McMahon failed to construe
the complaint's allegations in the light most favorable to the
plaintiffs and to draw all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiffs' favor, as Rule 12(b)(6) requires. Judge McMahon, for
example, gave too much weight to Alibaba's assertion that the
white paper must have been "unauthorized" and untrustworthy
because SAIC withdrew the paper within 12 hours; rather, under
Rule 12(b)(6), the judge should have credited the plaintiffs'
"reasonable inference" that the withdrawal resulted from
"Alibaba's influence over Chinese regulators."

The Second Circuit also concluded that the plaintiffs alleged
"strong circumstantial evidence" that Alibaba acted with scienter
in withholding information about its secret meeting with SAIC.
The Court reasoned: "Considering the high-level nature of the
meeting, the seniority of the attendees, its conduct in secret,
and the huge potential impact of the SAIC's threat made at the
meeting on Alibaba and its imminent IPO, it is virtually
inconceivable that this threat was not communicated to the senior
level of Alibaba's management." Consequently, according to the
Second Circuit, Alibaba's failure to disclose the meeting
concealed "true facts" about SAIC's threat to the company. [GN]


ALLERGAN INC: Faces St. Paul Suit Over Sherman Act Violations
-------------------------------------------------------------
St. Paul Electrical Workers' Health Plan, on behalf of itself and
all others similarly situated v.  Allergan, Inc., Case No. 1:18-
cv-00041 (E.D. N.Y., January 3, 2018), seeks damages and
injunctive relief under the Sherman Act.

This civil antitrust action arises from Allergan's conduct
designed to unlawfully prolong its monopoly in the market for
prescription cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion sales in the United
States. Plaintiff seeks damages on behalf of itself and a
proposed class of purchasers that purchased Restasis indirectly
from Defendant at supracompetitive prices.

Plaintiff St. Paul Electrical Workers' Health Plan, located in
St. Paul, Minnesota, is a jointly administered Taft-Hartley fund
authorized pursuant to Section 302(c)(5) of the National Labor
Relations Act, with its principal place of business in St. Paul,
Minnesota. The St. Paul Electrical Workers' Health Plan provides
health benefits, including prescription drug benefits, to
approximately 6,800 persons, including active plan participants
and their spouses and dependents.

Defendant Allergan, Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its
principal place of business located in Irvine, California, and
its corporate headquarters located in Parsippany, New Jersey.
Allergan is the holder of approved New Drug Application ("NDA")
No. 50-790 for Cyclosporine Ophthalmic Emulsion, 0.05%, sold
under the Restasis trademark.  [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Robert G. Eisler, Esq.
      Deborah A. Elman, Esq.
      GRANT & EISENHOFER P.A.
      485 Lexington Avenue
      New York, NY 10017
      Tel: (646) 722-8500
      Fax: (646) 722-8501
      E-mail: reisler@gelaw.com
              delman@gelaw.com

          - and -

      Renae D. Steiner, Esq.
      Vincent J. Esades, Esq.
      Jessica N. Servais, Esq.
      HEINS MILLS & OLSON, PLC
      310 Clifton Avenue
      Minneapolis, MN 55403
      Tel: (612) 338-4605
      Fax: (612) 338-4692
      E-mail: rsteiner@heinsmills.com
              vesades@heinsmills.com
              jsevais@heinsmills.com


ALLIANCE CAS: "Smith" Sues Over Unauthorized Fee Adjustment
-----------------------------------------------------------
James Smith, on behalf of himself and all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. Alliance CAS, LLC, Defendant, Case No.
17-cv-02130 (M.D. Fla., December 12, 2017), seeks actual
statutory and punitive damages, equitable relief, reasonable
attorneys' fees and costs incurred in this action, prejudgment
and post-judgment interest and such other and further relief
pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the
Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.

Smith arranged an amicable resolution over a debt that he owed
and part of the arrangement was a $5 online convenient fee for
his payments made online.  However, on several occasions, this
went up to $7.50 without his knowledge, says the complaint.

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Alex D. Weisberg
      WEISBERG CONSUMER LAW GROUP, PA
      5846 S. Flamingo Rd, Ste. 290
      Cooper City, FL 33330
      Tel: (954) 212-2184
      Fax: (866) 577-0963
      Email: aweisberg@afclaw.com


ALLIANCEONE RECEIVABLES: Syria Appeals Decision to Ninth Circuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiff Dana Syria filed an appeal from a court ruling in the
lawsuit titled Dana Syria v. AllianceOne Receivables Management,
Inc., Case No. 2:17-cv-01139-TSZ, in the U.S. District Court for
the Western District of Washington, Seattle.

The appellate case is captioned as Dana Syria v. AllianceOne
Receivables Management, Inc., Case No. 17-80254, in the United
States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter, AllianceOne
filed an appeal from a court ruling in the lawsuit.  That
appellate case is captioned as Dana Syria v. AllianceOne
Receivables Management, Inc., Case No. 17-80152.[BN]

Plaintiff-Petitioner DANA SYRIA, individually and on behalf of
all others similarly situated, is represented by:

          Jason Anderson, Esq.
          ANDERSON LAW OF KING COUNTY
          787 Maynard Ave. S.
          Seattle, WA 98104
          Telephone: (206) 395-2665
          E-mail: jason@jasonandersonlaw.com

               - and -

          Adam Jared Berger, Esq.
          Lindsay L. Halm, Esq.
          SCHROETER, GOLDMARK, & BENDER
          810 Third Avenue
          Seattle, WA 98104
          Telephone: (206) 622-8000
          Facsimile: (206) 682-2305
          E-mail: berger@sgb-law.com
                  halm@sgb-law.com

Defendant-Respondent ALLIANCEONE RECEIVABLES MANAGEMENT, INC., is
represented by:

          Marc Rosenberg, Esq.
          LEE SMART, P.S., INC.
          1800 One Convention Place
          701 Pike Street
          Seattle, WA 98101
          Telephone: (206) 262-8308
          Facsimile: (206) 624-5944
          E-mail: mr@leesmart.com


ALLIED EAGLE: Class of Drivers Certified in "Gonzales" Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Hon. Robert A. Junell granted the Plaintiff's motion for
conditional certification and motion for approval and
distribution of notice and for disclosure of contact information
in the lawsuit titled ELIZAR GONZALES, Individually and on behalf
of all others similarly situated v. ALLIED EAGLE TRANSPORTS, LLC,
and JOSE PENA, Case No. 7:17-cv-00111-RAJ-DC (W.D. Tex.).

The class of potential FLSA opt-in plaintiffs is defined as:

     All of Defendant's former and current Water Drivers, Milk
     Drivers, or similar tank truck drivers who worked at any
     time since June 5,2014.

On June 5, 2017, the Plaintiff originally filed this suit as a
collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The
Plaintiff seeks unpaid overtime compensation on behalf of himself
and all others similarly situated.

The Defendants shall provide the Plaintiff's counsel with the
names, last known addresses, e-mail addresses, and telephone
numbers of the potential opt-in plaintiffs in a usable electronic
format.  Telephone numbers shall be used only to verify addresses
or e-mail addresses for potential opt-in plaintiffs in the event
that putative class members' initial mailed Notice is returned as
"undeliverable," and shall not be used to solicit.

The Plaintiff's counsel shall, upon obtaining the Court-Ordered
Information, be permitted to send notices of this action in the
form set forth in Plaintiff's Proposed Notice by mail for a
period of 90 days from the date Defendants provide Plaintiff with
the Court-Ordered Information.  The Plaintiff's counsel shall
file an advisory of any sending of such notices with the Court
within seven days of doing so.

A copy of the Order is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=cmxcpJWS


AMERICAN EXPRESS: "Meza" Sues Over Illegal Telemarketing Calls
--------------------------------------------------------------
Steve Meza, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. American Express Co., Defendant, Case No.
17-cv-02492 (S.D. Cal., December 12, 2017) seeks damages,
injunctive relief and any other available legal or equitable
remedies under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

American Express provides various consumer credit products and
advertises those products through the use of telephone calls.
Meza received telephone calls on his cellular telephone from
Defendant utilizing an automatic telephone dialing system without
prior express consent, says the complaint. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     Abbas Kazerounian, Esq.
     KAZEROUNI LAW GROUP, APC
     245 Fischer Avenue, Unit D1
     Costa Mesa, CA 92626
     Telephone: (800) 400-6808
     Facsimile: (800) 520-5523
     Email: ak@kazlg.com


ANGLO AMERICAN: Nears ZAR5BB Silicosis Class Action Settlement
--------------------------------------------------------------
Linda Ensor, writing for Business Day, reports that a settlement
estimated at about R5bn is expected to be concluded early in 2018
by six mining companies following a class action brought by mine
workers suffering from silicosis and occupational tuberculosis.

The past and present workers have claimed damages from 32 gold-
mining companies for contracting these illnesses while working on
the mines.

Those involved in the litigation say that a settlement of the
case instituted in 2012 is "imminent".  The claim was brought
against 32 respondents and covered the period 1965 to date.

In May 2016, the high court gave the go-ahead for the class
action, which if successful could benefit about 100,000 people.

The action was brought by lawyer Richard Spoor, law firm
Abrahams Kiewitz and the Legal Resources Centre.

In a recent presentation to Parliament's mineral resources
committee, former Harmony CEO Graham Briggs, who heads the
working group representing six of the mining companies involved,
noted that talks with the class-action lawyers -- under way since
early 2015 -- were "well advanced".

The six mining companies involved in the working group are
African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold
Fields, Harmony and Sibanye Stillwater.

"From July to September due to the progress made each of the six
working group companies made financial provisions based on their
estimates of the costs to them respectively of a settlement,"
Briggs told MPs.

The nominal pretax amount came to about R5bn, which would be paid
into a trust.

Mr. Spoor said that the R5bn was the provision set aside by the
six mining companies and that the value of the final settlement
amount would be disclosed later.  He also said that no agreement
had been concluded, but that there was a draft agreement on the
table.

The substantive terms had been agreed on and the
focus would now be on improvements and the processes for
implementation.

"While we do not have an agreement, we are pretty far along and
the substantive terms such as what it is going to cost and what
the claimants are going to get, are settled," he said.

The settlement would include not only the amounts to be paid to
claimants but also ensure that as many of the eligible claimants
as possible were located and that there was adequate provision
for the administration of the trust.

One of the main tasks of the trust, which will operate from 10 to
15 years, will be to track and trace eligible claimants.

Briggs said that the terms of any settlement would have to be
ratified by the high court.

The committee members heard that the parties to the negotiations
had worked hard on reaching settlement. Briggs said that each
side believed it had a strong case.

Litigation would probably mean a 10-15-year legal process, the
outcome of which was uncertain for all parties.

Such a process would not be in the interests of elderly former
employees while shareholders would prefer certainty.  Resolution
of the litigation had been complex as it involved nine companies,
many mines and hundreds of shafts, nine sets of company lawyers,
three sets of claimant lawyers and two sets of foreign lawyers,
five trade unions, three government departments, nongovernmental
groups and former mine worker groups.  In addition there had been
internal and external tax, finance, actuarial and communication
advisers.

Between August 2014 and October 2017, the working-group
facilitator had been engaged for 46 weeks on achieving
settlement. [GN]


APPLE INC: Second Class Suit Over Throttling of iPhones Launches
----------------------------------------------------------------
Mike Wuerthele, writing for Apple Insider, reports that according
to the Chicago Sun Times on December 21 night, two Illinois
residents have teamed with citizens of Ohio, Indiana, and North
Carolina in the suit, with devices spanning the iPhone 5 to the
iPhone 7.

The filing says that Apple has acted in "deceptive, immoral, and
unethical" ways, with the iOS 10.2.1 update engineered to
"purposefully slow down or 'throttle down' the performance
speeds" of the iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 7. The filers claim
that Apple is in violation of consumer protection laws about
deceptive business practices.

Not noted in the filing is that the update prevented unexpected
shutdowns with a chemically depleted battery in the case of the
iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone SE. Batteries are considered
consumables, with users responsible for condition of the battery
after Apple's one-year warranty expires, or after two years if
AppleCare+ is purchased for the device.

The suit alleges that Apple has enacted the throttling willfully
to force users to buy new phones and "needlessly subjects
consumers to purchasing newer and more expensive iPhones when a
replacement battery could have allowed consumers to continue to
use their older iPhones." However, despite the suit's claims, a
$79 replacement battery does in fact return full speed to the
devices.

The plaintiffs have not specified how much money they are seeking
in damages.

A lengthy Reddit thread was started on Dec. 10, with several
satellite threads spun off over the weekend. All of the threads
had users claiming higher benchmark results after a battery
replacement. While there is no universal improvement in
benchmarks after a replacement, some additional users did confirm
that their devices felt faster after a replacement.

As a side-effect of the thread, and consequent reporting of it,
the conspiracy theory suggesting that Apple intentionally slows
down older iPhones to force purchasing a new device has risen
again. It has been conclusively proven in older testing, as well
as by benchmarks collated by GeekBench that older iPhone hardware
with an adequately functioning battery is no slower than it was
at launch.

Apple issued a statement about the theory on December 20, talking
about the iOS 10.2.1 implementing a low-voltage throttle on the
device's processor in the case of aged and depleted batteries on
the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone SE. No mention was made of
the iPhone 5 purported to be affected in the suit in Chicago.

The first lawsuit filed in California alleges essentially the
same harms to consumers. [GN]


AQUA METALS: Rosen Law Firm Files Securities Class Action
---------------------------------------------------------
Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, announces the
filing of a class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of the
securities of Aqua Metals, Inc. (NASDAQ: AQMS) from February 9,
2017 through November 9, 2017, inclusive (the "Class Period").
The lawsuit seeks to recover damages for Aqua Metals investors
under the federal securities laws.

To join the Aqua Metals class action, go to
http://rosenlegal.com/cases-1257.htmlor call Phillip Kim, Esq.
or Kevin Chan, Esq. toll-free at 866-767-3653 or email
pkim@rosenlegal.com or kchan@rosenlegal.com for information on
the class action.

NO CLASS HAS YET BEEN CERTIFIED IN THE ABOVE ACTION. UNTIL A
CLASS IS CERTIFIED, YOU ARE NOT REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL UNLESS YOU
RETAIN ONE. YOU MAY ALSO REMAIN AN ABSENT CLASS MEMBER AND DO
NOTHING AT THIS POINT. YOU MAY RETAIN COUNSEL OF YOUR CHOICE.

According to the lawsuit, defendants during the Class Period made
materially false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to
disclose that: (1) Aqua Metals' lead recycling process using its
AquaRefining technology to break and separate batteries was
facing substantial obstacles due to AquaRefining's need for a
much higher degree of separation than is normal in the industry;
(2) Aqua Metals' breaking and separating process was not
operating reliably or efficiently; (3) the breaking and
separating issues were negatively impacting Aqua Metals' output;
(4) Aqua Metals' four "operating modules" were being used
primarily for experimentation rather than production; (5) module
operators were assisting with lead removal; (6) as a result, the
ramp up of Aqua Metals' recycling process was being significantly
hindered and delayed; and (7) consequently, defendants'
statements about Aqua Metals' business, operations, and
prospects, were materially false and/or misleading and/or lacked
a reasonable basis. When the true details entered the market, the
lawsuit claims that investors suffered damages.

A class action lawsuit has already been filed. If you wish to
serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than
February 13, 2018. A lead plaintiff is a representative party
acting on behalf of other class members in directing the
litigation. If you wish to join the litigation, go to
http://rosenlegal.com/cases-1257.htmlor to discuss your rights
or interests regarding this class action, please contact Phillip
Kim, Esq. or Kevin Chan, Esq. of Rosen Law Firm toll free at 866-
767-3653 or via e-mail at pkim@rosenlegal.com or
kchan@rosenlegal.com.

Rosen Law Firm represents investors throughout the globe,
concentrating its practice in securities class actions and
shareholder derivative litigation. Since 2014, Rosen Law Firm has
been ranked #2 in the nation by Institutional Shareholder
Services for the number of securities class action settlements
annually obtained for investors.

         Laurence Rosen, Esq.
         Phillip Kim, Esq.
         Kevin Chan, Esq.
         The Rosen Law Firm, P.A.
         275 Madison Avenue, 34th Floor
         New York, NY 10016
         Tel: 212-686-1060
         Toll Free: 866-767-3653
         Fax: 212-202-3827
         Email: lrosen@rosenlegal.com
                pkim@rosenlegal.com,
                kchan@rosenlegal.com [GN]


AQUA METALS: Feb. 13 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set
-------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP disclosed that a class
action lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California on behalf of persons and
entities that acquired Aqua Metals, Inc. ("Aqua Metals" or the
"Company") (NASDAQ:AQMS) securities between February 9, 2017 and
November 9, 2017, inclusive (the "Class Period").

Investors who have incurred losses in Aqua Metals, Inc. are urged
to contact the firm immediately at classmember@whafh.com or (800)
575-0735 or (212) 545-4774. You may obtain additional information
concerning the action on our website, www.whafh.com

If you have incurred losses in the shares of Aqua Metals, Inc.
and would like to assist with the litigation process as a lead
plaintiff, you may, no later than February 13, 2018, request that
the Court appoint you lead plaintiff of the proposed class.
Please contact Wolf Haldenstein to learn more about your rights
as an investor in Aqua Metals, Inc.

On May 9, 2017, Aqua Metals held a conference call to discuss its
First Quarter 2017 results.  On the call, Defendant Stephen R.
Clarke ("Clarke"), the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
("CEO") of Aqua Metals, stated that "it took longer than we
planned to get the breaking and separation up and running." On
this news, the Company's stock price fell $4.34 per share, or
26%, to close at $12.31 per share on May 10, 2017.

Subsequently, on August 9, 2017, the Company held a conference
call to discuss its Second Quarter 2017 results.  On the call,
Clarke disclosed that the Company had made and installed
improvements such that "breaking and separation is now
operational," and "breaking and separation is operating
reliably."  On this news, the Company's stock price fell $2.56
per share, or 23.6%, to close at $8.31 per share on August 10,
2017.

On October 23, 2017, the Company issued a press release entitled
"Aqua Metals Provides Update on Plant's Operations."  The Company
disclosed that Aqua Metals had only "produced small quantities of
AquaRefined lead during the commissioning process" and that
"under certain conditions, the operators would need to
periodically assist the lead removal."  On this news, the
Company's stock price fell $0.96 per share, or 17.9%, to close at
$4.41 per share on October 23, 2017.\

Finally, on November 9, 2017, after the market closed, Aqua
Metals issued a press release entitled "Aqua Metals Provides
Third Quarter 2017 Corporate Update." The Company admitted that
it "faced . . . many challenges as [it] worked to ramp up
production."

Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP has extensive
experience in the prosecution of securities class actions and
derivative litigation in state and federal trial and appellate
courts across the country.  The firm has attorneys in various
practice areas; and offices in New York, Chicago and San Diego.

If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions
regarding your rights and interests in this case, please
immediately contact Wolf Haldenstein by telephone at (800) 575-
0735, via e-mail at classmember@whafh.com or visit our website at
www.whafh.com

Contact:

   Kevin Cooper, Esq.
   Gregory Stone
   Director of Case and Financial Analysis
   WOLF HALDENSTEIN ADLER FREEMAN & HERZ LLP
   Tel: (800) 575-0735
        (212) 545-4774
   Email: gstone@whafh.com
          kcooper@whafh.com
          classmember@whafh.com [GN]


ARKANSAS SUPPORT: Failed to Pay OT Wages, Ferguson Suit Says
------------------------------------------------------------
Shay Ferguson and Joshua Coleman, individually and on behalf of
all others similarly situated, v. Arkansas Support Network, Inc.,
Case No. 17-cv-05257 (W.D. Ark., December 12, 2017), seeks to
recover unpaid overtime, minimum wages, liquidated damages,
attorneys' fees and expenses and any other relief under the Fair
Labor Standards Act.

Arkansas Support Network, Inc. employs home care workers to
assist individuals with developmental disabilities.  Plaintiffs
worked regularly long shifts, generally 12 hours per day, without
being paid overtime compensation for their hours worked over 40.
[BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

     John Hollerman, Esq.
     Timothy Steadman, Esq.
     Jerry Garner, Esq.
     HOLLEMAN & ASSOCIATES, P.A.
     1008 West Second Street
     Little Rock, AR 72201
     Tel: 501.975.5040
     Fax: 501.975.5043
     Email: jholleman@johnholleman.net
            tim@johnholleman.net
            jerry@johnholleman.net


ARSTRAT LLC: "Calderon" Disputes Validity of Collection Notice
--------------------------------------------------------------
Iraida Calderon, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. ARStrat, LLC, Defendant, Case
No. 17-cv-07244 (E.D. N.Y., December 12, 2017), seeks damages,
attorneys' fees and costs together with such other relief for
violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Plaintiff incurred a debt and defaulted on her payments. Said
debt was assigned to ARStrat, who, in its efforts to collect the
debt, contacted Calderon via a collection letter which claimed
that it was the "Second Notice" even though it was the initial
notice from Defendant. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Craig B. Sanders, Esq.
      BARSHAY SANDERS, PLLC
      100 Garden City Plaza, Suite 500
      Garden City, NY 11530
      Tel: (516) 203-7600
      Fax: (516) 706-5055
      Email: ConsumerRights@BarshaySanders.com


AT&T MOBILITY: McArdle Moves to Certify Roaming & Waiver Classes
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Plaintiff in the lawsuit entitled STEVEN MCARDLE, an
individual, on behalf of himself, the general public and those
similarly situated v. AT&T MOBILITY LLC; NEW CINGULAR WIRELESS
PCS LLC; NEW CINGULAR WIRELESS SERVICES, INC., AND DOES 1 THROUGH
50, Case No. 4:09-cv-01117-CW (N.D. Cal.), asks the Court to
certify these classes:

   (1) The "Roaming Class": All California residents who, any
       time between February 6, 2005 and January 31, 2009, were
       charged international roaming fees by Defendants for
       unanswered incoming calls to their U.S.-based mobile
       numbers; and

   (2) The "Waiver Class": All California residents who, from
       May 29, 2005 through the date of class notice, were
       customers of Defendants pursuant to a wireless telephone
       services contract that purported to bar customers from
       bringing a claim for injunctive relief on behalf of the
       general public.

Mr. McArdle also asks the Court to appoint him as class
representative for both Classes and to appoint the firm of
Gutride Safier LLP as counsel for the Classes.  He further asks
the Court to order the parties to meet and confer and present
this Court, within 15 days of an order granting class
certification, proposed notice to the certified Classes.

The case concerns AT&T's alleged undisclosed prior practice of
charging international roaming fees for unanswered calls.  In
many instances, AT&T charged such fees not just once, but twice,
for each unanswered call, Mr. McArdle contends.

The Court will commence a hearing on March 6, 2018, at 2:30 p.m.,
to consider the Motion.

A copy of the Renewed Motion is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=DHqsDaHR

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Adam J. Gutride, Esq.
          Seth A. Safier, Esq.
          Kristen G. Simplicio, Esq.
          GUTRIDE SAFIER LLP
          100 Pine Street, Suite 1250
          San Francisco, CA 94111
          Telephone: (415) 336-6545
          Facsimile: (415) 449-6469
          E-mail: adam@gutridesafier.com
                  seth@gutridesafier.com
                  kristen@gutridesafier.com


ON THE FOLLOWING PERSON(S) IN THIS ACTION BY PLACING A TRUE COPY
THEREOF AS FOLLOWS:

          John Nadolenco, Esq.
          Kevin Ranlett, Esq.
          MAYER BROWN LLP
          350 South Grand Avenue, 25th Floor
          Los Angeles, CA 90071
          Telephone: (213) 229-5173
          Facsimile: (213) 625-0248
          E-mail: jnadolenco@mayerbrown.com
                  kranlett@mayerbrown.com


AUSTRALIA: Class Action Called Over Lake Road Closure
-----------------------------------------------------
Northern Star reports that plans are underway for a third rally
to protest the closure of the eastern road at Lake Ainsworth,
Lennox Head, with legal threats continuing, while those who want
the road closed are encouraging supporters to make a submission.

Submissions on Ballina Shire Council's Part V Application for the
south-east precinct of the lake close on January 29.

The application includes the closure of the eastern road and the
creation of a parkland.

The document was prepared following a legal challenge on a
previous application, which would have seen the road closed in
February 2017.

Pip Carter, from the group Preserving Lake Ainsworth Inc, which
wants to see the road remain open, said a protest rally is being
organised for January 13.

He has long argued the council isn't listening to the majority of
Lennox residents who he claims want the road to stay open.

Two previous rallies have attracted several hundred people.

Meanwhile, Denis Magnay, from the group Ballina and District
Ratepayers Association, is calling for expressions of interest
from those who want to join a class action being threatened if
the road closure goes ahead.

He said the class action would be based on restriction of public
access to the waterfront, and include the closure of the Angels
Beach four-wheel-drive track.

He admitted that calling for people wanting to take part in a
class action for a decision that hasn't been made yet could be
seen as a strategy to try and scare councillors into voting
against closing the road.

But he said the group wanted to be ready to go, if the council
decides to close the road. Email bigroscoe44@bigpond.com to get
involved.

Mr Magnay also claimed the council "doesn't appear to be
listening to the community."

He will be taking his Plan B for the precinct to the lake
regularly over the holiday period.

The Lake Ainsworth Interest Group wants the road to close, and
members of the group have been following the issue for more than
20 years.

Dr Lyn Walker, from LAIG, encourages supporters to make a
submission.

"We feel overwhelmingly positive about the project -- we're
hoping to gain a lovely new park for the community and long
overdue environmental works for the lake," she said.

However, she said the group weren't about to become complacent.

"There is still a possibility that the works won't happen -- at
the end of the consultation process it's the councillors who will
give the works the final go ahead," Dr Walker said.

"As recent votes for and against the lake park have been very
close, the group believe it's critical that those who support the
project say so."

The LAIG will hold information stalls on weekends throughout
January from 9:00 a.m.-noon.

To see all the consultation documents relating to the Lake
Ainsworth Improvement Works and the new parkland visit
www.ballina.nsw.gov.au and go to the "Documents on Exhibition"
section. [GN]


BANC JACK: Doe Seeks Cert. of Titilations Go-Go-Bar Dancers Class
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The Plaintiff in the lawsuit entitled JANE DOE 1, individually
and on behalf of all other persons similarly situated v. BANC,
JACK & JOE, LLC dba TITILATIONS GO-GO-BAR, BANC PERO, JOSPEH
CARERI, JACK PERO, ABC COMPANIES 1-10 and JOHN DOES 1-10, Case
No. 2:17-cv-03843-KSH-CLW (D.N.J.), moves the Court for an order:

   (1) certifying a collective class of Titilations Go-Go-Bar
       employees/independent contractors who worked as exotic
       dancers during the relevant time period;

   (2) granting the issuance of Court-authorized notice to the
       conditional class members of the class; and

   (3) compelling the production of names and addresses of such
       prospective members for the effective dissemination of
       notice as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff also seeks approval of a proposed form of order and
a proposed form of Notice and Consent to Sue.

A copy of the Notice of Motion is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=5wwk6oD5

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Charles X. Gormally, Esq.
          Lucas A. Markowitz, Esq.
          BRACH EICHLER L.L.C.
          101 Eisenhower Parkway
          Roseland, NJ 07068
          Telephone: (973) 228-5700
          Facsimile: (973) 618-5920
          E-mail: cgormally@bracheichler.com
                  lmarkowitz@bracheichler.com

The Defendants are represented by:

          Philip J. Morin III, Esq.
          FLORIO PERRUCCI STEINHARDT AND FADER, LLC
          235 Broubalow Way
          Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
          Telephone: (908) 454-8300
          E-mail: PMorin@fpsflawfirm.com


BANNER HEALTH: Arizona Judge Pares Down Class-Action Suit
---------------------------------------------------------
Evan Sweeney, writing for Fierce Healthcare, reports that a
district court judge in Arizona has tossed several claims against
Banner Health brought by patients affected by a 2016 data breach.

But the judge allowed portions of the case to move forward,
ruling that the plaintiffs had sufficiently demonstrated that the
breach presents an impending injury.

The class-action lawsuit was filed in August 2016 on behalf of
the 3.7 million individuals affected by a data breach in which
hackers gained access to Banner's network through its payment
processing system at food and beverage outlets. The intruders
ultimately gained access to servers containing patient and health
plan data.

The plaintiffs, including a former ophthalmologist at Banner
Thunderbird Hospital in Glendale, Arizona, alleged the health
system failed "to take adequate precautions" like multi-factor
authentication, firewalls and encryption. Although some of the
plaintiffs said their information had already been misused to
open up fraudulent accounts or credit cards, others argued that
the increased risk of identity theft was enough to claim harm
from the data breach.

The judge dismissed breach of contract, good faith and implied
duty of care claims, ruling that portions of the employee
handbook that addressed patient confidentiality and privacy are a
duty owed to Banner Health by its employees, not vice versa.

But the judge allowed the class-action suit to move forward with
its claims of unjust enrichment, negligence and violation of the
Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.

"There is at least a plausible inference that the identity theft
alleged by two of the Plaintiffs would not have happened but-for
Defendant's inadequate data security," Judge Susan R. Bolton
wrote, citing a similar ruling in Anthem's data breach
litigation. "Furthermore, there is a plausible inference that the
rest of Plaintiffs are now at an increased risk of identity theft
which they are incurring costs to prevent."

The case adds to a growing number of legal decisions about
whether the identity theft risks associated with a data breach
constitutes harm, even if an individual's information has not
been used inappropriately. That's a question CareFirst has
petitioned to the Supreme Court citing "growing uncertainty"
among circuit courts regarding the level of harm associated with
a data breach. [GN]


BAYER CORP: Judge Denies Motion for New Trial in Xarelto Case
-------------------------------------------------------------
Amanda Bronstad, writing for Law.com, reports that U.S. District
Judge Eldon Fallon denied the plaintiffs' motion for new trial in
a case over blood thinner Xarelto, which ended in the third
defense verdict in the multidistrict litigation in Louisiana.
Plaintiffs attorneys in the first two trials have appealed
similar denials to the 5th Circuit.

Meantime, defendants Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals have filed
their own post-trial motion after losing a nearly $28 million
verdict over Xarelto in Pennsylvania state court. Here's my
colleague Max Mitchell with that update.

According to that motion, members of the plaintiff's trial team
used the hashtag "#killinnazis," indicating that they were
engaged in a "premeditated plan" to link Bayer -- whose global
headquarters is in Germany -- with Nazis.  Bayer's North American
headquarters is in New Jersey.

Plaintiffs' counsel have countered that the posts have been taken
out of context, and were never seen by jurors.

American Pipe Deja Vu for SCOTUS?

The U.S. Supreme Court has taken up another case involving the
timing of securities class actions.

China Agritech Inc. v. Resh would appear to have much in common
with a case the Supreme Court decided in June called California
Public Employees' Retirement System v. ANZ Securities.  In the
CalPERS case, the court barred securities class actions from
being filed once a three-year statute of repose had lapsed.

In both cases, plaintiffs have turned to 1974 Supreme Court
decision in American Pipe & Construction v. Utah, which found
that individual class members who wanted to opt out of a class
action could bring their own cases past the deadline.  It's been
an important tool for large institutional investors that can
bring their own individual cases.  But the Supreme Court ruled in
CalPERS v. ANZ that American Pipe did not apply because the 1974
case dealt with the statute of limitations, not a statute of
repose.

Also, circuit courts are currently split as to whether American
Pipe applies to both individual and class claims.

Law.com's Ms. Bronstad checked in with Susan Saltzstein --
susan.saltzstein@skadden.com -- at Skadden Arps, who is following
both cases.

"One impact of adopting a broader allowance for tolling of class
claims is the real threat of serial class action filings even
where a district court has denied plaintiff's class certification
motion," she told me.  "In Resh, class certification had been
twice denied before another plaintiff pursued a third attempt."

Here's what else you need to know:

Parallel Tracks: the Dec. 18 derailment of an Amtrak train south
of Seattle that killed three people and injured more than 100
drew comparisons to the Philadelphia crash in 2015.  That crash
killed eight and injured more than 200.  Attorney Robert
Mongeluzzi, of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, who
represented 34 victims of the 2015 crash, told MyNorthwest.com
that the Dec. 18 derailment was "virtually identical" to the
Philadelphia crash, over which Amtrak in 2016 paid $265 million
to settle lawsuits.

Appealing Lead Paint: Three lead paint companies are now looking
to the California Supreme Court to overturn a judgment that once
stood at $1.15 billion.  A California appellate court upheld the
result, but cut the estimated damages award closer to $400
million.  The panel refused to rehear the case on Dec. 6.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal
Reform, the paint companies could petition the California Supreme
Court as early as Dec. 26.

Taking the Wheel in MDLs: Judges in California have appointed
lead counsel in two closely watched multidistrict litigation
dockets -- and it's mostly men running the show again, despite
calls to diversify MDL steering committees. On Dec. 14, U.S.
District Judge Charles Breyer named Bruce Simon of Pearson, Simon
& Warshaw lead counsel in an antitrust MDL against several German
automakers brought in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions
scandal -- with Warren Burns of Burns Charest co-lead counsel in
charge of the direct purchasers. On Dec. 11, U.S. District Judge
Andrew Guilford in Santa Ana named Robins Kaplan (Roman
Silberfeld) and Baron & Budd (Roland Tellis) to spearhead
litigation over Wells Fargo's sales practices. [GN]


BIG PHARMA: Iowa Urged to Join Class Action Over Opioid Crisis
--------------------------------------------------------------
Mark Newman, writing for Ottumwa Courier, reports that there's no
question, said one Wapello County supervisor, that Iowa has a
problem with prescription pain killers. But fighting the epidemic
may work best when counties team up.

Supervisor Jerry Parker is part of a multi-county committee
discussing action to reduce the dangers of opioids. Now, that
organization is talking about taking their grievance to the next
level.

"They've given us a few weeks to decide if we want to be part of
a [class-action] lawsuit," said Mr. Parker.

He explained later that this is something happening nationwide.
In this state, he said, we're all part of ISAC, Iowa's State
Organization of Counties.

"ISAC would like us on board because the more litigants, the more
powerful the suit will be."

Mr. Parker had mentioned the legal action toward the end of a
county board meeting.  Supervisors Brian Morgan and Greg Kenning
were there on Dec. 19 as well.

"I wonder if the finger is being pointed in the wrong direction,"
said Mr. Kenning.

At this point, Mr. Parker told the Courier, the target of the
complaint is the pharmaceutical industry.  Morgan told Mr.
Kenning that his understanding is that drug companies send out
tons of these pills, and offer incentives to doctors.

Mr. Kenning said he is aware of the deals made: His son is a
physician, and spent the first part of his new practice getting
patients off of opioids. County law enforcement warned the board
that addicts will go "doctor shopping" until they get a
cooperative physician -- or two.

It's hard to pull that with young Dr. Kenning: He's able to see
via computer what medications his patient is on, and who
prescribed it. So when a client requests a prescription to
Vicodin, said Supervisor Kenning, any doctor with this networking
ability can say, "I see another clinic has already given you a
prescription for that. So I won't be giving you another
prescription for the same medication."

Two law enforcement officers were in the courtroom to discuss
other county business.  The supervisors asked opinions from
Sheriff Mark Miller and Chief Deputy Don Phillips.

"There is a community," said Mr. Phillips, "where we were
receiving a large number of theft reports. They'd say someone had
stolen their medicine."

"We suspect they were reporting their medication stolen, then
taking the report to the doctor's office so they could get more
opioids."

Though the state association did not have spokesperson available
on Dec. 19.

ISAC is certainly aware of the problem. They've already planned
for an educational breakout session at a conference in 2018:
"Combating Opioid Misuse in Iowa: Responding to Evolving
Challenges by Dale Woolery, associate director of the Iowa Office
of Drug Control Policy."

Of the six classes available at their seminar, it's the first
session listed.

Information about the dangers of opioid use could help prevent
future addiction, said Mr. Parker.  He doesn't think there will
be a ton of money coming to Iowa counties due to the suit. But,
he said, there may be a mandatory education component added to
opioid distribution.

"That could make a difference," he said.

So why even hesitate? Get on board, and if there's money, we get
some.

"It's the principle," said Mr. Parker. "Are we blaming the drug
companies unfairly?"

Mr. Kenning is going to talk to doctors to learn more, he said.
And he's going to find out what the lawsuit will do for the
counties.  Both he and Mr. Parker said they don't think this
should like the big tobacco settlement in years past.

"There's no question that pain medication is helpful," explained
Mr. Parker.  "That if they didn't make it, it would be a loss for
those who do benefit from it. So do we blame them for making it?
For selling it, or marketing it?"

Or have doctors not been cautious enough? They aren't being sued,
Mr. Parker said.

"You can't buy it from the drug company, you need a doctor's
prescription."

Are any of these questions enough to keep the county out of the
class-action lawsuit?

"That is the question," said Mr. Parker. "We haven't decided
yet." [GN]


BIG PHARMA: Clinton County Joins Class Action Over Opioid Crisis
----------------------------------------------------------------
John Rohlf, writing for Clinton Herald, reports that Clinton
County is joining a lawsuit against opioid producers.

The Clinton County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 18 unanimously
approved a resolution to execute an engagement letter with
Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC, Crueger Dickinson LLC and von Briesen &
Roper, s.c., as counsel for claims against opioid manufacturers.
Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf recommended the Supervisors
agree to join in the lawsuit as plaintiffs on behalf of Clinton
County.

"At this point I think we're in capable hands with the firm that
came with the initial proposal," Mr. Wolf said.  "I did
appreciate Kevin Techau's offered input.  This is going to be
filed, as you heard the discussion, it's moving so rapidly. It
looks like it's going to be filed directly in Ohio anyway so we
wouldn't need Iowa counsel for that purpose.  And it seems like
anything locally would still be handled by the firm through a
national type of survey so it would be consistent for all
counties throughout the country.  So I think the county can
benefit from this as well to get a handle on what it is, to be
involved in that and since it's moving so quickly I think the
time is now."

Supervisor Dan Srp supported Clinton County joining the lawsuit,
citing benefits the lawsuit may have for Clinton County.  He said
joining the lawsuit is more than just the possibility of a
potential cash settlement.

"I still feel that this lawsuit as participation parallels pretty
well with a lot of the conversations we're having with CCJCC
(Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission) and working to
address the causes of a lot of our interactions in the criminal
justice system and emergency medical system," Mr. Srp said.  "It
can create significant drags on our local economy and our local
budgets both in our medical centers and also in our jail. I think
that the preventative opportunities that might present alone,
trying to address these addictions can be very well worth it.  If
there's some type of cease or desist type outcome in regards to
how these current practices are from some of these pharmaceutical
companies I think that's another added benefit."

Board Vice Chairman Tom Determann stated he is "not in favor of
class-action lawsuits," believing it is a way for attorneys to
make money.  Mr. Wolf stated the participating counties would
receive funds absent the attorney fees, which he said was typical
for a class action lawsuit.

"In this case I don't think we're talking a small amount for the
county," Mr. Wolf said.  "The issue would be possibly some
compensation for the county.  . . .  It's just like the tobacco
litigation where states did see some pretty substantial refunds
for the work that was done." [GN]


BIG PHARMA: City of Fort Wayne Files Suit Over Opioid Crisis
------------------------------------------------------------
Rosa Salter Rodriguez, writing for The Journal Gazette, reports
that the city of Fort Wayne has become the second local
government entity within days to announce it is fighting the
opioid epidemic with a lawsuit.

During a news conference on Dec. 18, Mayor Tom Henry said the
city would seek an undetermined amount of compensation from
distributors of the powerful prescription painkillers.  The drugs
have led to hundreds of city residents' deaths and overdoses in
recent years.

The suit is being filed against Amerisource Bergen, Cardinal
Health and McKesson Corp.  The three have combined annual
revenues of $400 billion and together control more than 80
percent of the opioid market, according to Chou-il Lee, an
attorney with Taft Stettinus & Hollister, the Indianapolis law
firm retained by the city.

The companies are the three largest wholesale distributors of the
drugs, not pharmaceutical manufacturers, Henry said.  That makes
the city's suit unlike one announced on Dec. 15 by the Allen
County commissioners.

The county's suit claims pharmaceutical companies misrepresented
the nature of opioid drugs they were recommending that doctors
dispense for other than severe pain problems, according to
William Fishering, county attorney.  That suit is being filed by
Crueger Dickinson LLC of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin.

The city's action takes the form of a public nuisance lawsuit,
according to Mr. Henry.  Such suits allege the action of an
individual or company has adversely affected the health, safety,
welfare or comfort of the public.

In Fort Wayne, the harm affects not only the health of
individuals and families, Mr. Henry said, but also the finances
of the public health and judicial systems and public safety
departments.

That includes police and firefighters, who have been responding
to increasing numbers of overdoses and deaths, he said.

During the news conference, Fort Wayne Police Chief Steve Reed
said city police have dealt with 94 overdose deaths, with 50 more
pending, since the beginning of 2017.  Police have responded to
1,130 overdose calls in 2017.

Counting only man-hours on overdose calls, the city has spent
more than $90,000 in 2017, he said.

Drug arrests are up 97 percent and drug raids are up 53 percent,
from 67 in 2016 to 103 in 2017, he added in an interview after
the news conference.  Police also have seized 1,000 times more
fentanyl, an especially potent opioid, in 2017 than last, Reed
said.

Also after the news conference, Lee said his law firm is one of
several soliciting municipalities for opioid suits based in part
on distributors not complying with reporting requirements.

He said the firm was still determining city expenses from
department heads, so he could not predict how much the city would
seek or receive.

The law firm retains 30 percent of whatever damages are ordered,
Lee said.

"Fort Wayne has had a more active plan than some other areas in
trying to meet the trend, and I'm sure the (expense) numbers will
be high," he said.

Mr. Henry after the news conference that he estimated the total
cost to the city might exceed $10 million.

The suit is one of several that will be filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Indiana and will
likely be amalgamated with other cases in the Northern District
of Ohio, Lee said.

Other cities that have agreed to file with Lee's firm include
Noblesville, Westfield, Greenwood, Jefferson, New Albany, Muncie
and Terre Haute, Lee said.  Towns include Danville, Sheridan and
Chandler, he said, and Harrison County also is a client.

Henry said he was not troubled that county officials went their
own way in deciding to file suit. He said he encourages other
municipalities to join Fort Wayne by filing their own suits.

But the mayor said other communities could not simply join with
the city in this action because it is not a class-action lawsuit.
The city did not want to file that kind of suit because of the
difficulty in dividing benefits, he said.

Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan said the
Fort Wayne area needs money now to build a new system that would
more effectively handle addicted people.  She said the opioid
crisis was "the worst public health crisis" she had faced in her
tenure as commissioner.

"We applaud the mayor in joining this lawsuit," she said.

Mr. Henry said that in addition to helping defray expenses, he
would like "almost all" proceeds go to increased treatment
options for those addicted to the drugs.

Too many individuals' and families' lives have been torn apart,
by companies making and distributing the drugs, he said.  "We
have to step forward and let them know they must be accountable,"
Mr. Henry said. [GN]


BIG PHARMA: Nashville Can Explore Suit Over Opioid Crisis
---------------------------------------------------------
Joey Garrison, writing for USA Today Network, reports that after
facing an unexpected setback, Mayor Megan Barry's administration
is now cleared to use an outside law firm to explore a potential
lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors following
Metro Council action on Dec. 19.

The council voted 31-1 to defeat a motion to reconsider
contracting Nashville-based Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein,
LLP, reaffirming an initial vote from two weeks ago.

The Dec. 19 additional action was forced by At-large Councilwoman
Erica Gilmore, who at the Dec. 5 meeting held up the proposal's
passage by turning to a seldom-used tactic that allows the
council to reconsider approved legislation during its next
meeting.

Ms. Gilmore and multiple other African-American council members
have questioned whether minority-led law firms were considered
for the contract.  The contract was deferred against the
administration's will in November as well.

Easing some concerns, Lieff Cabraser has now partnered with
Manson, Johnson and Conner, a firm whose five partners are all
African-American.

"The opioid catastrophe has devastated families throughout our
community," said Mark Chalos, a partner at Lieff Cabraser. "We
are honored to represent our hometown in leading the fight
against the wrongdoers.  The lawsuit seeks to recover taxpayer
money spent to combat the effects of the opioid catastrophe in
our city."

Under the resolution approved on Dec. 19, attorneys will
investigate whether Metro should pursue litigation to seek
reimbursement for economic harms caused by the opioid crisis
locally.

According to a council legal analysis of the approved agreement,
the "economic impacts" of opioid addiction on Metro government
includes drug addiction treatment, emergency room visits, law
enforcement response, incarceration, child abuse and neglect, and
the cost for removing children from parental custody, as well as
medical treatment for prenatal opioid exposure.

In Nashville, the danger of prescription pills has received
heightened attention after Barry's 22-year-old son, Max, in
August died of an overdose that involved opioids.  Barry has
talked openly about her son's death, and become a voice in the
national opioid crisis, but a mayor's office spokesperson has
said Metro was considering legal action before Max's death.

Cities across the nation have taken legal action against opioid
distributors and manufacturers as the opioid crisis has deepened
in recent years.

On Dec. 19, Lieff Cabraser filed a lawsuit in federal court on
behalf of Smith County against a long list of companies seeking
to recover public dollars spent on combating the opioid epidemic
there. It is believed to be the first lawsuit of its kind filed
in Tennessee on behalf of a county.

Lieff Cabraser, which also has law offices in New York, San
Francisco, and Seattle, represents only plaintiffs, both in
class-action and individual cases.  In the past, the firm has won
successful past suits against the tobacco industry, Volkswagen in
the car company's recent "clean diesel" emissions fraud cases,
and employment practices of Walmart.

In Metro, Lieff Cabraser will be retained on a contingency fee
basis, meaning Metro won't pay attorney fees during the
litigation process.  The firm will instead receive compensation
only if it recovers a favorable verdict or reaches a settlement.
How much would depend on the amount recovered in litigation or a
settlement, and whether the defendant opioid manufacture or
distributor admits to wrongdoing. [GN]


BRAZTECH INTERNATIONAL: Court Won't Review Bedwell Ruling
---------------------------------------------------------
Judge Edwin G. Torres of the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of Florida denied the Plaintiffs' motion for
reconsideration in the case styled SUZANNE M. BEDWELL,
individually and as mother and next friend of R.Z.B., a minor and
ERNEST D. BEDWELL, individually and as father and next friend of
R.Z.B., a minor, Plaintiffs, v. BRAZTECH INTERNATIONAL, L.C.,
Defendant, Case No. 17-22335-Civ-TORRES (S.D. Fla.).

The Plaintiff filed the action on Sept. 16, 2016.  On Jan. 20,
2015, Ms. Bedwell purchased a new Rossi brand .357 Magnum
revolver at an outdoor equipment retailer in Wasilla, Alaska.  On
Feb. 21, 2015, she, along with her husband and son, drove to an
ammunition store to purchase supplies before driving to Palmer,
Alaska to engage in target practice.  In the process of exiting
the motor vehicle in the parking lot, the revolver inadvertently
fell out of its holster, landed on its hammer, and
unintentionally discharged a round of ammunition that struck Ms.
Bedwell's son in his left leg.  Ms. Bedwell suggests that the
accidental discharge of the firearm was directly and proximately
caused by the firearm's defective condition, including
manufacturing and/or design defects.  As a result of the injury
to Ms. Bedwell's son, Alaska state troopers were called to the
scene.  After hearing Ms. Bedwell's explanation for the cause of
the accident, the officers took the firearm into their
possession.

On April 14, 2015, the state troopers tested Ms. Bedwell's
firearm for a potential misfiring defect by tapping the revolver
on the hammer with a small mallet.  The test allegedly resulted
in an unintentional misfiring of the weapon.  The Plaintiff then
purchased three additional Rossi .357 revolvers and a local
gunsmith tested them for defects.  Out of the three, one
discharged in the same way as Ms. Bedwell's revolver when struck
on the hammer with a mallet.  As such, Ms. Bedwell filed the
class action seeking to force Defendants to recall, repair,
and/or repurchase the defective .357 revolvers sold to Ms.
Bedwell and the class.  In sum, the Plaintiffs allege that the
Defendant violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade
Practices Act, committed two counts of negligence (failure to
warn and failure to test), and breached several warranties.

On Oct. 25, 2017, the Court found that the Defendant's reliance
on the doctrine of apportionment of fault was not a counterclaim,
but an affirmative defense.  It also found that apportionment of
fault was not an affirmative defense because counterclaims -- by
their very definition -- are materially different.

Before the Court is the Plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration
against the Defendant.  The Defendant responded to the
Plaintiffs' motion on Nov. 16, 2017 to which the Plaintiffs did
not reply.  The Plaintiffs argue that the Court's prior Order re-
designating the Defendants' counterclaim as an affirmative
defense has the unintended effect of imputing any alleged
negligence of Mr. and Mrs. Bedwell onto their minor son, who is a
shooting victim and wholly without fault.

After considering all the arguments presented, Judge Torres finds
that there is no persuasive reason to grant the relief the
Plaintiffs seek.  While the Plaintiffs suggest that the re-
designation of Defendant's counterclaim as an affirmative defense
has the unintended consequence of holding an injured minor
responsible for his parent's negligence, they never made this
argument with respect to Defendant's "counterclaim."

In addition, the Judge says the Plaintiffs' motion also fails
because the Defendant is not claiming that the parents'
negligence should be imputed to the child.  Nor does the
Defendant contend that the child was himself negligent.  Instead,
the Defendant alleges that the parents were at least partially at
fault and their negligence contributed to the harm the child
suffered.  This means that the Defendant could raise the same
defense in relation to the conduct of a third party stranger and
any recovery on behalf of the minor child could be reduced
accordingly.  The fact that the Plaintiffs may have been
negligent in the operation of a firearm -- as opposed to a random
third party -- does not change the analysis.

Finally, Judge Torres finds that the Plaintiffs' motion lacks
persuasiveness because this is merely a motion to strike an
affirmative defense.  Even if their argument was correct on the
merits, the Court would have no basis to strike an affirmative
defense that complies with the Federal Rules.  The Plaintiffs may
ultimately be entitled to relief on the merits based on the
record evidence presented but such a determination cannot be made
at the pleading stage of a case.

Accordingly, Judge Torres denied the Plaintiffs' motion for
reconsideration.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Order is available
at https://is.gd/5278QV from Leagle.com.

Suzanne M. Bedwell, Plaintiff, represented by Brian William
Warwick -- bwarwick@varnellandwarwick.com -- Varnell & Warwick,
P.A..

Suzanne M. Bedwell, Plaintiff, represented by Christian Bataille,
Flanigan & Bataille, pro hac vice & Richard Blackburn Adams, Jr.,
Cole Scott & Kissane.

Ernest D. Bedwell, Plaintiff, represented by Brian William
Warwick, Varnell & Warwick, P.A., Christian Bataille, Flanigan &
Bataille, pro hac vice & Richard Blackburn Adams, Jr., Cole Scott
& Kissane.

Braztech International LC, Defendant, represented by John B.
Thorsness, Clapp, Peterson, Tiemessen, Thorsness & Johnson, LLC,
John P. Marino -- jmarino@sgrlaw.com -- Smith, Gambrell &
Russell, LLP, John F. Weeks -- jweeks@sgrlaw.com -- IV, Smith,
Gambrell & Russell, LLP & Kristen W. Bracken --
kbracken@sgrlaw.com -- Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.

Braztech International, L.C., Counter Claimant, represented by
John B. Thorsness, Clapp Peterson Tiemessen Thorsness & Johnson,
John Patrick Marino, Smith Gambrell Russell, John F. Weeks, IV,
Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP & Kristen Wenger Bracken, Smith
Gambrell & Russell, L.L.P..

Ernest D. Bedwell, Counter Defendant, represented by Brian
William Warwick, Varnell & Warwick, P.A., Christian Bataille,
Flanigan & Bataille & Richard Blackburn Adams, Jr., Cole Scott &
Kissane.

Suzanne M. Bedwell, Counter Defendant, represented by Brian
William Warwick, Varnell & Warwick, P.A., Christian Bataille,
Flanigan & Bataille & Richard Blackburn Adams, Jr., Cole Scott &
Kissane.


CANADA: Class Action Mulled Over Highway 20 Noise Problem
---------------------------------------------------------
Kathryn Greenaway, writing for Montreal Gazette, reports that the
Citizens' Sound Wall Committee of Beaconsfield wants the city to
acknowledge that there is a pressing, excessive-noise problem
along Highway 20 which must be addressed, so it has sent a
lawyer's letter to the mayor and director general demanding
action or it will launch a class-action lawsuit.

"What we want is a dialogue with the city that will lead to a
solution to a sound problem the citizens of Beaconsfield have
been suffering from for 30 years," committee member Andre Turenne
said.

The letter sent by Sylvestre Painchaud & associes is dated Dec.
15. The city has 30 days to respond.

"If we don't exert pressure, why should they bother doing
anything?" Turenne said. "But a class-action lawsuit is the last
resort."

During the Dec. 18 council meeting, Mayor Georges Bourelle said
the city can't do anything until the Quebec Transport Ministry
completes a preliminary study and that the city has yet to see
the contract outlining costs.  The city would pay a portion of
the costs for the study.

Mr. Turenne said the city isn't pushing hard enough.  He said the
committee, through access to information, received all email
correspondence between the city and the government.

"There were four email exchanges.  That's it," Mr. Turenne said.

As Highway 20 traffic increased in volume and speed over the
decades, sound levels have increased.  The sound-wall debate in
Beaconsfield reaches back to the mid-1980s when the transport
ministry conducted a environmental-impact study which said
hundreds of people living near the highway were being exposed to
excessive noise.

On Dec. 18, Mr. Bourelle presented a brief timeline beginning in
2010 with the government's estimate that the cost of building a
wall would be $20.5 million.  He said that estimate would have
increased by now. In 2015, the transport minister at the time
made an offer which would see the government pay 75 per cent of
the cost.  That same year, the city received a letter from the
transport ministry about conducting a technical study, a
necessary step before the construction of the wall. Beaconsfield
would pay a portion -- $50,000 -- for the study. Council passed a
resolution to pay the amount.  In October 2017 the ministry sent
another letter announcing its plan to proceed with the study.
Beaconsfield responded within the week, asking to see the
contract.

"We need to see the contract before we can pass another
resolution, because our portion of the cost (for the study) has
increased (by around $2,000)," Mr. Bourelle said.  "We haven't
heard back. I'm sure the ministry has many projects on its plate
and I'm pretty sure our sound wall is not at the top of the pile.
And when it comes to building the wall, we need to know what the
budget will look like.  We need to protect the city."

CSWCB and Beaconsfield paths diverge when it comes to discussing
how Beaconsfield would pay the 25 per cent of construction costs.

The CSWCB is opposed to Beaconsfield council's plan to take the
estimated wall budget to public consultation -- a move which
could, potentially, trigger a referendum on the project.  Another
option that has been bandied about is that people living close to
the highway pay more than people living at a distance.

The CSWCB's position is that a sound wall will benefit
Beaconsfield as a whole and all citizens should pay for it.
Turenne used an example of water breaching Beaconsfield's
shoreline and doing major infrastructure damage to the area.

"Would Beaconsfield insist that only the people living close by
foot the bill?" he said.  "We calculated and the (estimated) cost
for citizens would be $48 a year for 20 years." [GN]


CAPELLA EDUCATION: Rigrodsky & Long Files Securities Class Action
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Rigrodsky & Long, P.A., on Dec. 20 disclosed that it has filed a
class action complaint in the United States District Court for
the District of Minnesota on behalf of holders of Capella
Education Company ("Capella") (Nasdaq:CPLA) common stock in
connection with the proposed acquisition of Capella by Strayer
Education, Inc. and its affiliate ("Strayer") announced on
October 30, 2017 (the "Complaint").  The Complaint, which alleges
violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against
Capella, its Board of Directors (the "Board"), and Strayer, is
captioned Franchi v. Capella Education Company, Case No. 0:17-cv-
05288 (D. Minn.).

If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions
concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please
contact plaintiff's counsel, Seth D. Rigrodsky or Gina M. Serra
at Rigrodsky & Long, P.A., 2 Righter Parkway, Suite 120,
Wilmington, DE 19803, by telephone at (888) 969-4242, by e-mail
at info@rl-legal.com, or at http://rigrodskylong.com/contact-us/.

On October 29, 2017, Capella entered into an agreement and plan
of merger (the "Merger Agreement") with Strayer.  Pursuant to the
terms of the Merger Agreement, shareholders of Capella will
receive 0.875 shares of Strayer common stock for each share of
Capella they own (the "Proposed Transaction").

Among other things, the Complaint alleges that, in an attempt to
secure shareholder support for the Proposed Transaction,
defendants issued materially incomplete disclosures in a Form S-4
Registration Statement (the "Registration Statement") filed with
the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.  The
Complaint alleges that the Registration Statement omits material
information with respect to Capella's and Strayer's financial
projections, the analyses performed by Capella's financial
advisor, and potential conflicts of interest.  The Complaint
seeks injunctive and equitable relief and damages on behalf of
holders of Capella common stock.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court
no later than February 19, 2018.  A lead plaintiff is a
representative party acting on behalf of other class members in
directing the litigation.  Any member of the proposed class may
move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of
their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent
class member.

With offices in Wilmington, Delaware and Garden City, New York,
Rigrodsky & Long, P.A. -- http://www.rigrodskylong.com--
regularly prosecutes securities fraud, shareholder corporate, and
shareholder derivative litigation on behalf of shareholders in
state and federal courts throughout the United States. [GN]


CERRITOS INFINITI: "Lemus" Suit Alleges Labor Code Violations
-------------------------------------------------------------
Alex Lemus, as an individual and on behalf of all others
similarly situated v. Cerritos Infiniti, Inc. et al., Case No.
BC688327 (Calif. Super., January 3, 2018), seeks civil penalties
under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act.

Plaintiff Alex Lemus worked for Defendants from February 2017 to
August 2017 at their Cerritos Infiniti dealership in Cerritos,
California.

The Defendants are a group of car dealerships in California.
Defendants, and each of them, were members of and engaged in a
joint venture, partnership, and common enterprise, and acting
within the course and scope of and in pursuance of said joint
venture, partnership, and common enterprise. Further, Plaintiff
alleges that all Defendants were joint employers for all purposes
of Plaintiff and similarly aggrieved employees. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Paul K. Haines, Esq.
      Sean M. Blakely, Esq.
      Daniel J. Brown, Esq.
      HAINES LAW GROUP, APC
      222 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 1550
      El Segundo, CA 90245
      Tel: (424) 292-2350
      Fax: (424) 292-2355
      E-mail: phaines@haineslawgroup.com
              sblakely@haineslawgroup.com
              dbrown@haineslawgroup.com


CHS EMPLOYMENT: Does not Pay Overtime Wages, "Smith" Suit Says
--------------------------------------------------------------
Doniele Smith, on behalf of herself and other members of the
general public similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. CHS Employment
Services, LLC, Defendant, Case No. 17-cv-01077 (S.D. Ohio,
December 12, 2017), seeks to recover from Defendant unpaid
overtime wages, interest, liquidated damages and attorneys' fees
and costs for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Ohio
Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act and the Ohio Prompt Pay Act.

CHS is a healthcare provider who employed Smith as a licensed
State-Tested Nurse Aide from approximately November 2015 through
May 2017 assigning her to its Isabelle Ridgway Care Center
located at 1520 Hawthorne Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43203. She claims
to have worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek without
receiving overtime pay. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Matthew J.P. Coffman, Esq.
      COFFMAN LEGAL, LLC
      1457 S. High St.
      Columbus, OH 43207
      Telephone: (614) 949-1181
      Facsimile: (614) 386-9964
      Email: mcoffman@mcoffmanlegal.com

             - and -

      Peter Contreras, Esq.
      CONTRERAS LAW, LLC
      Amlin, OH 43002
      Phone: (614) 787-4878
      Fax: (614) 923-7369
      Email: peter.contreras@contrerasfirm.com


CIRCLE GROUP: Settles Skyhouse Workers' Wage Class Action
---------------------------------------------------------
Colleen Slevin, writing for The Associated Press, reports that
more than 150 workers who helped install drywall in a new luxury
high-rise in Denver will share in a settlement of over $800,000
in a class action lawsuit over unpaid wages.

Under the terms of the deal announced on Dec. 20 by lawyers for
nine workers who filed the case, workers who installed drywall
and others who cleaned up and hauled the debris from the work at
SkyHouse Denver between September 2015 and July 2016 will be
eligible to get about $200 for every week they worked.  The nine
workers who filed the case will also get an extra $1,000 each.

Besides those nine, lawyers estimate that another 150 to 200
workers, largely immigrants in the country both legally and
illegally, worked on drywall at the gleaming 25-story building,
which has a rooftop pool and one-bedroom apartments renting for
$1,605 and up.

Using addresses and phone numbers obtained as part of the
lawsuit, texts and letters are being sent to the workers who may
be eligible to collect the money, said Sarah Parady, one of the
lawyers representing the workers.

The settlement will be paid by The Circle Group, national drywall
subcontractor based in suburban Atlanta, as well as a labor
broker who hired the workers.  In court documents, Circle Group
said it was not legally the employer of the workers and denied
their claims, including that they worked up to 60 and 70 hours a
week with no overtime and sometimes no regular pay for hours they
worked.

Plaintiff Cesar Salazar said it was hard enough to spend so much
time away from his son while working at SkyHouse but it hurt to
have to tell him that he did not have enough money to take him to
McDonald's because he was not being paid enough.

Another lawyer for the workers, David Seligman, said using labor
brokers who skirt wage laws is common in booming cities like
Denver and allows contractors who use them to get an unfair
advantage over companies that follow the rules.

"It sends a message to contractors that they can't isolate
themselves financially by contracting out to shady companies,"
Seligman, who works for Towards Justice, a legal services group,
said of the settlement. [GN]


CIRCLE GROUP: Workers, Advocates Celebrate Wage Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------
Joe Rubino, writing for The Denver Post, reports that even though
he was putting in 12- to 16-hour days on the job, seven days a
week, Cesar Salazar said he wasn't concerned so much about being
paid overtime while hanging drywall at the SkyHouse Denver
apartment tower as it was under construction a few years ago.
His biggest worry was getting paid at all.

"I was just trying to keep up with my 40 hours.  At least give me
my 40 hours.  I have people at home relying on me," Mr. Salazar
said of the pay situation, which eventually prompted a class-
action federal lawsuit on behalf of himself and other laborers
who helped build SkyHouse.  "It never came out to more than $300
a week, and we were putting in some serious hours from Monday to
Sunday.  They would hold that money hostage to make us come in
and work Sundays."

On Dec. 20, Mr. Salazar, legal and union representatives
celebrated a pair of financial settlements that resulted from
that class-action suit.  In total, The Circle Group LLC, based in
Georgia, and a drywall subcontractor it brought on for the
project have to agreed to pay out more than $800,000, while
denying the claims, that over the next six months will be divided
up among workers who worked on the luxury apartment complex.
Gathered on the corner of 18th Street and Broadway in Denver,
across from the now complete building, advocates spoke on Dec. 20
about how prevalent violations of wage and hour compensation laws
are in Colorado and across the country.

"This is an important victory, but in some ways it's small," said
Nina DiSalvo, executive director of Towards Justice, the legal
services nonprofit that helped bring the suit.  "That's because
every day at Towards Justice, workers call us because they
believe themselves to be victims of wage theft. It is a humongous
problem. We see it in industries across our economy."

Ms. DiSalvo cited a statistic from the Colorado Fiscal Institute
claiming nonpayment of legally owed wages costs workers in the
state $750 million each year. Only in some instances do workers
speak up, let alone pursue legal action, particularly when those
workers are immigrants or are in the state temporarily for work.

Representatives from the Colorado Carpenters union, an arm of the
Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, visited the SkyHouse
during construction to advise workers of their rights and helped
connect Salazar with Towards Justice.  Mark Thompson, a special
representative with the union, said large contractors use
subcontractors and labor brokers to hire and pay workers as a
means to shield themselves from liability in wage disputes.  He
said the effect is to create an "underground economy" the union
is seeking to unmask via its "Criminal Colorado" public awareness
campaign.

In the settlement agreement, Circle Group denied all claims in
the lawsuit and maintained it was not an employer on the SkyHouse
project under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It only agreed to the
payments to avoid lengthy and expensive litigation, according to
the settlement.

"The construction industry here in Denver is out of control,"
veteran carpenter and Colorado Carpenters representative
Juan Arellano said on Dec. 20.  "Payroll fraud and wage fraud,
tax fraud, is common on a majority of the projects here in Denver
and the surrounding area."

Mr. Salazar was one of nine named plaintiffs in the suit, but
attorneys indicated the class pool could include 150 to 200
workers in total.  A website, circlegroupsettlement.com, has been
established so workers can claim payments out of the settlement
fund.  Many on Dec. 20 applauded Mr. Salazar for having the
courage to speak out on the job site and after leaving the
project.

"You have to do that. You have to speak out," he said.  "Because
so many people's families were relying on that money.  I could
see the struggle in their eyes." [GN]


CLOVERLEAF COLD: "Edwards" Suit Alleges IWPCA Violations
--------------------------------------------------------
Whitney Edwards, on behalf of herself and similarly situated
individuals v. Cloverleaf Cold Storage, Co., Case No. 2018-CH-
00071 (Ill. Cir., January 3, 2018), is brought against the
Defendant for not paying accrued vacation pay and making unlawful
and unauthorized deductions in violations of the Illinois Wage
Payment and Collection Act.

Plaintiff Whitney Edwards worked for the Defendant at its
facility in Cresthill, Illinois from early March 2017 through
late September 2017.

Defendant Cloverleaf Cold Storage, Co. is in the business of
processing meat products and storing them under cold temperatures
at one of its various warehouses across Illinois and the nation.
[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Alvar Ayala, Esq.
      Christopher J. Williams, Esq.
      WORKERS' LAW OFFICE PC
      53 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 701
      Chicago, IL 60605
      Tel: (312) 795-9121


COMPADRES INC: Court Partly Dismisses 2nd Amended "Fuentes" Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
In the case, JAIME FUENTES, individually and on behalf of others
similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. COMPADRES, INC., d/b/a
Tequila's (Golden), TEQUILAS THORNTON NUMBER 6, LLC, d/b/a
Tequila's (Thornton), TEQUILAS OF THORNTON, LLC d/b/a Tequila's
(Thornton), EL AGAVE AZUL, INC. d/b/a El Tequileno (Arvada), EL
NOPAL, INC. d/b/a El Tequileno (Lakewood), EL TEQUILENO #1 d/b/a
El Tequileno (Aurora), JOSE RAIGOZA DeJESUS GARCIA, and RODRIGO
SANCHEZ, Defendants, Civil Action No. 17-cv-01180-CMA-MEH (D.
Colo.), Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hagerty of the U.S. District
Court for the District of Colorado recommended that the Tequila's
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint and the
Tequileno Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint
be granted in part and denied in part.

Plaintiff Fuentes, on behalf of himself and others similarly
situated, initiated the action on May 12, 2017 and filed the
operative Second Amended Complaint on Sept. 15, 2017 alleging,
inter alia, that the Tequila Defendants and the Tequileno
Defendants, which are restaurants and alleged owners/managers of
the restaurants, failed to pay the proper overtime rate for hours
over 40 worked in the workweek, retained tips for management,
failed to provide adequate notice related to the tip credit, and
over-reported his tips on paystubs in violation of the Fair Labor
Standards Act ("FLSA") and the Colorado Wage Claim Act ("CWCA").

The Plaintiff worked for Tequila's Family Mexican Restaurant as a
waiter/bartender from Oct. 24, 2016 to Feb. 22, 2017.  When he
worked in Thornton, he estimates that, on average, he worked 45
hours per week.  In Golden, he estimates that he worked 55 hours
per week for the first three weeks after the location opened,
after which he worked about 45 hours per week.  The Plaintiff
usually worked six days per week, or every day of the week except
Tuesday, and he almost always worked both the lunch and dinner
shifts.  He, like others similarly situated, was never informed
about or provided notice of any tip credit claimed by the
Defendants.

The Plaintiff's pay scheme was sub-minimum wage plus tips.  In
2016 (and the first pay period of 2017), his regular hourly rate
was $5.28 per hour and his overtime rate was $7.92 per hour.
Thereafter in 2017, his hourly wage rate was $6.28 per hour and
the overtime rate was $9.14 per hour.  Thus, he was paid an
incorrect rate for all hours over 40 worked in a workweek.

Both the Tequila Defendants and the Tequileno Defendants
responded to the operative pleading by filing motions to dismiss
arguing that, since the Plaintiff was not employed by some of the
Defendants, he had no standing to bring claims against them and
the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear such claims.
In addition, they contend that the Plaintiff fails to state
plausible claims under the FLSA and CWCA, and the individual
Defendants are not liable under the CWCA.

The Plaintiff counters that, even where he not employed by some
the Defendants, his allegations plausibly demonstrate that all
Defendants are liable under the FLSA and CWCA as a "single
employer" or "single enterprise," which is a theory different
than the "joint employer" doctrine applied by the Defendants.
Further, he contends that for collective (or class) action
complaints such as that courts have historically found that a
plaintiff need not "determine conclusively" which of the
defendant companies was his or her employer at the pleading
stage.

The Plaintiff also contends that the individuals are properly
named as the Defendants under the FLSA and CWCA, FLSA coverage
questions are not proper for Rule 12 analysis, and his
allegations are sufficient to demonstrate plausible overtime
claims, improper retention of tips, and record-keeping failures.
Finally, he asks that, should the Court determine his allegations
are insufficient, he be granted leave to file a third amended
complaint.

The Defendants reply that they are separately owned and, thus, do
not meet the definition of a "single enterprise"; the Plaintiff
fails to establish an employee-employer relationship with certain
Defendants; he fails to properly rebut their argument that his
allegations do not demonstrate enterprise coverage; he should not
be granted leave to amend for the fourth time; his allegations
are insufficient to state claims for overtime and improper
retention of tips; and he cannot sue an individual under the CWA.

Magistrate Judge Hagerty concludes the Defendants are correct
that the Plaintiff's claims pursuant to the CWCA against the
individual Defendants must be dismissed.  However, he says the
Defendants have failed to demonstrate the Court must dismiss the
operative pleading for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and
they do not persuade the Court at this stage of the litigation
that the Plaintiff failed to plausibly allege an employment
relationship between the Plaintiff and the Defendants, individual
and enterprise coverage under the FLSA, and overtime violations
under the FLSA and CWCA.  Moreover, the Plaintiff's allegations
concerning "improper retention of tips" are intended to support
his minimum wage claims and the allegations regarding alleged
record-keeping failures are intended to support an assertion of
willfulness; neither is intended to state a separate claim for
damages and, thus, dismissal is unnecessary.

Therefore, based on the entire record and for the reasons he
stated, Magistrate Judge Hagerty respectfully recommends that the
Tequila's Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint
and the Tequileno Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Second Amended
Complaint be granted in part and denied in part as set forth.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Recommendation is
available at https://is.gd/ZS6VC8 from Leagle.com.

Jaime Fuentes, in his individual capacity and on behalf of others
similarly situated, Plaintiff, represented by Penn Anderson
Dodson -- penn@andersondodson.com -- Anderson Dodson, P.C..

Compadres, Inc., doing business as Tequila's (Golden), Defendant,
represented by James Francis Fosnaught -- jff@mountainlawfirm.com
-- Karp Neu Hanlon, P.C. & Shoshana Rosenthal --
sr@mountainlawfirm.com -- Karp Neu Hanlon, P.C..

Tequilas Thornton Number 6, LLC, doing business as Tequila's
(Thornton), Defendant, represented by James Francis Fosnaught,
Karp Neu Hanlon, P.C. & Shoshana Rosenthal, Karp Neu Hanlon,
P.C..

Tequilas of Thornton LLC, formerly doing business as Tequila's
(Thornton), Defendant, represented by James Francis Fosnaught,
Karp Neu Hanlon, P.C. & Shoshana Rosenthal, Karp Neu Hanlon,
P.C..

El Agave Azul, Inc., doing business as El Tequileno (Arvada),
Defendant, represented by Christine Kessler Lamb , Fortis Law
Partners LLC d/b/a Friesen Lamb LLP.

El Nopal, Inc., doing business as El Tequileno (Lakewood),
Defendant, represented by Christine Kessler Lamb, Fortis Law
Partners LLC d/b/a Friesen Lamb LLP.

El Tequileno #1, doing business as El Tequileno (Aurora),
Defendant, represented by Christine Kessler Lamb, Fortis Law
Partners LLC d/b/a Friesen Lamb LLP.

Jose Raigoza DeJesus Garcia, Defendant, represented by James
Francis Fosnaught, Karp Neu Hanlon, P.C. & Shoshana Rosenthal,
Karp Neu Hanlon, P.C..

Rodrigo Sanchez, an individual, Defendant, represented by
Christine Kessler Lamb, Fortis Law Partners LLC d/b/a Friesen
Lamb LLP.


CORNER BROOK: Deer Lake Litigation Must Go to Arbitration
---------------------------------------------------------
Gary Kean, writing for The Western Star, reports that
Raymond Wagner isn't a fan of arbitration law at the best of
times because he feels it rarely works out for the plaintiff.

Now the Halifax lawyer representing plaintiffs in a class-action
lawsuit over seepage issues allegedly caused by the Deer Lake
Canal is faced with wading through an arbitration process based
on little-used legislation and agreements that date back more
than 100 years.

"I don't know if this process has ever been utilized," he said on
Dec. 19, hours after the release of a court ruling that the
arbitration procedure must be followed before any litigation
should proceed.

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper was successful in its application to
have court proceedings stayed in relation to the class action
brought forth by Mr. Wagner's law firm in May 2015.  It was filed
on behalf of a number of property owners who claim flooding
caused by the canal has resulted in damage to their homes.

The canal is part of the infrastructure built for the
hydroelectricity plant in Deer Lake that has been providing power
to the Corner Brook mill since it began operations in 1925.

The paper company, its parent company Kruger Inc. and subsidiary
Deer Lake Power, along with the Town of Deer Lake and the
provincial government, are all defendants in the lawsuit.

The application for the stay of proceedings was opposed not only
by the plaintiffs, but also the Town of Deer Lake and the
provincial government.  Neither Kruger, nor Deer Lake Power, made
any arguments on the matter.

In December 2016, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper argued in court
that there are century-old agreements between the company and the
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and subsequent
legislation dating back to the 1920s, which outline how disputes
between the company and third parties are to be settled.

The company argued the mechanisms in place include settling
disputes -- such as the issues these property owners have
'through arbitration, rather than litigation.'

The plaintiffs had argued that arbitration could involve hearings
for 350 or more individual cases.  The plaintiffs also wanted the
application to be heard as part of the class-action lawsuit and
not prior to the lawsuit's certification by the courts.

Justice David Hurley, who heard the arguments in the Supreme
Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, recently released his
decision to grant the stay of proceedings, provided the matter is
referred to mandatory arbitration.

Neither the paper company nor anyone from the Department of
Justice and Public Safety would do an interview or offer any
comment because they are parties involved in the matter before
the courts.

Mr. Wagner has not yet fully researched what the old legislation
entails or how it might be different from typical arbitration law
found in other jurisdictions.

"My sense of it is that this legislation applies to circumstances
that are no longer the case," he said of the century-old law
specific to the paper mill.  "I think this is just an effort to
avoid litigation."

The paper company argued in court that litigation would still be
available to those third parties if they were not satisfied with
the arbitration results, but Mr. Wagner said his understanding of
that is that litigation might only apply to challenging the
results of the arbitration process. [GN]


COSMOS HOSPITALITY: Carmichael Seeks to Certify Class Under FLSA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Plaintiff in the lawsuit captioned MISTY CARMICHAEL, and
behalf of herself and others similarly situated v. COSMOS
HOSPITALITY, INC., a Florida for-profit corporation d/b/a STARS
REST INN; ZODIAC21, INC., a Florida for-profit corporation; YBO
PARTNERS, INC., a Florida for-profit corporation f/k/a ZODIAC
INN, INC.; SA HOSPITALITY GROUP, INC., a foreign corporation, DEV
SHARMA, an individual; ARUN KAUSHAL, an individual; SANDIPA R.
KAUSHAL, an individual, Case No. 3:17-cv-00576-MMH-MCR (S.D.
Fla.), moves for preliminary class certification pursuant to the
Fair Labor Standards Act, and for permission for court supervised
notice to employees of their opt-in rights.

Ms. Carmichael proposes this class:

     All current and former hourly paid managers, front desk
     clerks, housekeepers, maintenance workers, kitchen staff,
     and security guards who worked at the Stars Rest Inn in
     Jacksonville, Florida in the past three years who lived at
     the Star Rest Inn and had their wages credited towards room
     charges or other fees.

On October 23, 2017, the Plaintiff filed her Amended Complaint
for damages against the Defendants.  The Complaint alleges three
counts: Count I -- Carmichael's FLSA claim for unpaid overtime
wages; Count II -- an FLSA claim for Carmichael's unpaid minimum
wages, and, Count III -- a FLSA Collective Action for Carmichael,
for herself, and other employees similarly situated.

To date, six individuals, including Plaintiff Carmichael, have
filed Consent to Join Forms: Tracy Johnson, Nicole Kinney, Amanda
Lane, Misty Carmichael, Gary Lane, and Jennifer Lane.

Ms. Carmichael also asks the Court to approve proposed notice
procedure, and to order the Defendants to produce a list of each
putative class member's necessary information and to post notice
in a conspicuous location for employees to see at the Defendants'
motel.

A copy of the Motion is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=LoWWrRJk

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Peter J. Bober, Esq.
          BOBER & BOBER, P.A.
          1930 Tyler Street
          Hollywood, FL 33020
          Telephone: (954) 922-2298
          Facsimile: (954) 922-5455
          E-mail: peter@boberlaw.com

               - and -

          Edward L. Birk, Esq.
          MARKS GRAY, P.A.
          Post Office Box 447
          Jacksonville, FL 32201
          Telephone: (904) 398-0900
          Facsimile: (904) 399-8440
          E-mail: ebirk@marksgray.com


COUNTRYWIDE FINANCIAL: Waldrup's Bid to Certify Under Submission
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Hon. Christina A. Snyder has taken under submission three
motions pending in the lawsuits styled BARBARA WALDRUP, ETC. v.
COUNTRYWIDE FINANCIAL CORPORATION; ET AL., Case No. CV13-8833-
CAS(AGRx), consolidated with Case No. CV16-4166-CAS(AGRx) (C.D.
Cal.):

   (1) Plaintiffs' motion for class certification;

   (2) Defendants' motion to strike portions of report of
       Plaintiffs' Expert J. Philip Cook; and

   (3) Defendants' motion to strike portions of Plaintiffs'
       expert Michael Lacour-Little's report.

According to the Court's civil minutes, hearing was held and
counsel are present.  Tentative order was provided.

Pursuant to the parties' request, this proceeding is held under
seal, noted the Civil Minutes.  Accordingly, the transcript to
this proceeding is ordered sealed.

A copy of the Civil Minutes is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=O9KrOltt

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          Daniel Alberstone, Esq.
          Mark Pifko, Esq.
          Evan Zucker, Esq.
          BARON & BUDD, P.C.
          15910 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1600
          Encino, CA 91436
          Telephone: (818) 839-2333
          Facsimile: (818) 986-9698
          E-mail: dalberstone@baronbudd.com
                  mpifko@baronbudd.com
                  ezucker@baronbudd.com

               - and -

          Christopher Pitoun, Esq.
          HAGENS BERMAN SOBOL SHAPIRO LLP
          301 North Lake Ave., Suite 920
          Pasadena, CA 91101
          Telephone: (213) 330-7150
          Facsimile: (213) 330-7152
          E-mail: christopherp@hbsslaw.com

The Defendants are represented by:

          Douglas A. Thompson, Esq.
          BRYAN CAVE LLP
          120 Broadway, Suite 300
          Santa Monica, CA
          Telephone: (310) 576-2100
          Facsimile: (310) 576-2200
          E-mail: douglas.thompson@bryancave.com


CRICKET COMMUNICATIONS: Intervenor Loses Bid to Stay "Bond"
-----------------------------------------------------------
In the case, TIM BOND, on his own behalf and on behalf of all
others similarly situated Plaintiffs, v. CRICKET COMMUNICATIONS,
LLC Defendant, Civil Action No. MJG-15-923 (D. Md.), Judge Marvin
J. Garbis of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
denied Proposed Intervenor Michael Scott's Motion for Stay
Pending Appeal.

Bond filed the putative class action against Cricket on May 8,
2015.  On Sept. 24, 2015, Scott filed a putative class action
against Cricket in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.  Scott's
lawsuit was removed to the Court, remanded back to state court,
appealed, and then remanded back to federal court.  During the
pendency of Scott's appeal, the state court granted Scott's
motion for class certification, which is now subject to a motion
to vacate in federal court.  Also pending in Scott's lawsuit is a
motion to vacate the state court's order denying Cricket's motion
to compel arbitration, a motion to remand the case back to state
court, a motion to stay proceedings in part, and a motion to
compel arbitration.

In August 2017, Bond and Cricket mediated a nationwide class
settlement in principle.  Scott asserts that the settlement is
not as favorable to the Plaintiffs as the settlement that Scott
could obtain.

Scott's attempt to intervene in Bond's lawsuit was denied as
untimely on Oct. 26, 2017.  He has appealed the Court's denial of
his intervention and by the instant motion, seeks a stay pending
the appeal.

Bond and Cricket have subsequently filed a Motion for Preliminary
Approval of Settlement, but request that the Court rule on the
motion only after an order is entered in Scott's lawsuit voiding
or vacating the state-court order certifying the class of
Maryland citizens.  The settlement agreement includes a clause
that gives Cricket the unilateral right to terminate the
settlement if the Maryland-certified class is not vacated.
Therefore, the rendering of a decision in the Scott lawsuit can
be considered a practical prerequisite to the effectiveness of
the Bond-Cricket Settlement Agreement.

Judge Garbis finds that Scott has demonstrated no more than a
mere possibility of success in his appeal and has not shown that
he will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a stay.  He has
not met his burden to show the circumstances that would justify a
stay.  Accordingly, the Court will deny Scott's motion to stay
the instant case pending his appeal.

For these reasons, the Judge denied Scott's Motion for Stay
Pending Appeal.  The Court will consider in due course the
pending Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement, and for
Approval of the Form, Manner and Administration of Notice.  He
directed the parties to notify the Court within seven days of the
decision on Crickets's Motion to Vacate State Court Class
Certification Order in Scott v. Cricket Communications, LLC.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Memorandum and
Order is available at https://is.gd/iGfGKy from Leagle.com.

Tim Bond, Plaintiff, represented by Cory L. Zajdel --
clz@zlawmaryland.com -- Z Law LLC.

Mr. Michael A Scott, Intervenor/Plaintiff, Plaintiff, represented
by Martin Eugene Wolf, Gordon, Wolf & Carney, Chtd & Benjamin
Howard Carney, Gordon, Wolf & Carney, Chtd.

Cricket Communications, LLC, Defendant, represented by John
Edward McCann, Jr. -- jmccann@milesstockbridge.com -- Miles and
Stockbridge PC, Ann Marie Duffy -- aduffy@mayerbrown.com -- Mayer
Brown, Archis A. Parasharami -- aparasharami@mayerbrown.com --
Mayer Brown LLP, Daniel R. Lanier -- dlanier@milesstockbridge.com
-- Miles and Stockbridge PC & Lynn C. Schlie --
lschlie@milesstockbridge.com -- Miles and Stockbridge PC.


CUSTARD INSURANCE: "Wadler" Suit Stayed Pending Supreme Ct. Order
-----------------------------------------------------------------
In a civil minutes entered in the lawsuit titled Wadler v.
Custard Insurance Adjusters, Inc., Case No. 3:17-cv-05840-WHO
(N.D. Cal.), the Hon. William H. Orrick grants the motion for a
stay pending the Supreme Court's resolution of the related cases
Ernst & Young LLP et al. v. Stephen Morris et al.; NLRB v. Murphy
Oil USA Inc.; and Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis (Ernst & Young
cases).

The Civil Minutes also states that the motion to compel
arbitration is denied, without prejudice to it being renewed once
the stay is lifted.  The Plaintiffs' motion for conditional
certification is denied, without prejudice to it being renewed
once the stay is lifted.  However, equitable tolling is granted
for all putative Fair Labor Standards Act class members' FLSA
claims and the statute of limitations on those FLSA claims is
tolled from the date this order is entered through the date when
the stay is lifted.

According to the Civil Minutes, the stay shall apply to all
proceedings in this case except for the requirements to make and
provide initial disclosures (including but not limited to
providing plaintiffs with a copy of the Employment Agreement
applicable to plaintiff Wadler).  Within 10 days of the Supreme
Court's decision in the Ernst & Young cases, the parties shall
contact the Court's Courtroom Deputy, Jean Davis, to schedule a
Case Management Conference to update the Court on the status of
the appeal in this matter and to set a schedule.

A copy of the Civil Minutes is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=pMvs16fs

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Corey Benjamin Bennett, Esq.
          SCOTT COLE & ASSOCIATES APC
          1970 Broadway, 9th Floor
          Oakland, CA 94612
          Telephone: (510) 891-9800
          E-mail: cbennett@scalaw.com

The Defendant is represented by:

          Brandon D. Saxon, Esq.
          GORDON & REES, LLP
          101 W Broadway, Suite 2000
          San Diego, CA 92101
          Telephone: (619) 696-6700
          Facsimile: (619) 696-7124
          E-mail: bsaxon@gordonrees.com


DAF: Deutsche Bahn Files Class Action Over Alleged Cartel
---------------------------------------------------------
Alex Lennane, writing for The Loadstar, reports that Deutsche
Bahn (DB) is leading dozens of German companies in a lawsuit for
damages from a cartel of truck manufacturers.

This morning, the German company filed a lawsuit in Munich
against DAF, Daimler, Iveco, MAN and Volvo/Renault.

They illegally agreed on gross list prices for trucks between
1997 and 2011 and have received fines totalling EUR3.8bn.  Now
they face class actions from customers as well.

Deutsche Bahn has joined its claim with that of the German Armed
Forces, which also had been "severely affected", and 40 or so
corporations, including airport operators and logistics
companies, have also assigned their claims to DB.  DB told The
Loadstar that the full list of companies is confidential.

The claim covers some 35,000 trucks, bought at a cost of more
than EUR2bn.

"Deutsche Bahn is absolutely determined to get full compensation
from the members of the cartel," said Ulrich Weber, DB board
member for human resources and legal affairs.

"The illegal price fixing has caused enormous damage to our
company and to the other parties concerned."

According to the UK's Road Haulage Association (RHA), which has
been encouraging hauliers to join its class action, claimants
could receive some GBP6,000 (EUR6,785) per truck, which in DB's
case could result in damages of some EUR237m -- the German
company said that at DB Schenker alone, several thousand trucks
were affected.

There are also other lawsuits pending.  The RHA  has urged
hauliers to come forward and join its own legal action against
the manufacturers.  It is working with law firm Backhouse Jones
and insurance broker Therium Capital Management, which is
underwriting the fees.

The EC case established that the truck manufacturers had
illegally agreed on gross list prices, delayed the introduction
of new technologies to reduce emissions and passed the costs for
these technologies on to the customers.

"The specialists at Deutsche Bahn have substantial experience and
have already been highly successful in enforcing cartel damage
claims," said Dr Katrin Suder, secretary of state in the Federal
Ministry of Defence.

Three years ago, much to the chagrin of the air cargo industry,
DB Schenker launched two civil litigation suits against a number
of major airlines which were found guilty of price-fixing and
gave "inadequate offers" of settlement.  It claimed not only for
damages, but interest accrued, amounting to $3.3bn.

It told media at the time it was hoping for out-of-court
settlements, which "irritated" the carriers.  One airline told
The Loadstar: "We believe there was no real financial damage to
our customers.  These are extremely high figures in a low-margin
industry, and they would have passed the surcharges on to their
customers -- so who suffered the damage, the forwarders or the
shippers?

"It's a dangerous development that makes life difficult for
everyone.  Having legal issues is normal, but is it wise to fight
such a war in the media? It's highly unusual." [GN]


DEUTSCHE BANK: 2nd Cir. Denies Bid to Appeal 401(k) Class Status
----------------------------------------------------------------
Carmen Castro-Pagan, writing for Bloomberg Law, reports that
Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp. for now isn't getting review
of a decision granting class treatment to some 22,000 current and
former workers who alleged the bank filled their 401(k) plan with
expensive, affiliated funds.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied Dec. 19
Deutsche's request for leave to immediately appeal the district
court decision that granted class treatment to the workers.

Without providing additional detail, a three-judge panel said the
"immediate appeal is unwarranted."

Deutsche's request had garnered much attention, especially from
business groups.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged the Second
Circuit to review the order that granted class treatment, saying
the case presented a unique opportunity for an appeals court to
resolve an issue that has evaded review for a long time because
of the "profound pressure" on defendants to reach early
settlements to avoid litigation costs.  No appeals court has
resolved the issue of whether challenges to defined contribution
plans, such as 401(k) plans, can be brought as mandatory class
actions under certain federal civil procedure rules, the Chamber
said.

The judges' one-paragraph order follows the same pattern of a
June 2017 ruling that rejected JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s request for
leave to immediately appeal a decision forcing the company to
defend a class action challenging its stable value funds.  In
November, JPMorgan agreed to pay $75 million to settle the class
action that accused it of investing its stable value funds in
risky, mortgage-related assets.
The order was issued by Judges Debra Ann Livingston, Raymond J.
Lohier Jr., and Susan L. Carney.

Goodwin Procter LLP represented Deutsche Bank.  Nichols Kaster
PLLP represented the class.  Mayer Brown LLP represented the
Chamber.

The case is Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp. v. Moreno, 2d
Cir., No. 17-2911, order denying petitioners' request for leave
to appeal 12/19/17. [GN]


DIANA CONTAINERSHIPS: Pomerantz Law Firm Files Class Action
-----------------------------------------------------------
Pomerantz LLP announces that a class action lawsuit has been
filed against Diana Containerships Inc. ("Crypto" or the
"Company") (OTCMKTS:CRCW) and certain of its officers.  The class
action, filed in United States District Court, for the Central
District of California, and docketed under 17-cv-09157, is on
behalf of a class consisting of investors who purchased or
otherwise acquired Crypto securities, seeking to recover
compensable damages caused by defendants' violations of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

If you are a shareholder who purchased Crypto securities between
August 21, 2017, and December 18, 2017, both dates inclusive, you
have until February 20, 2018, to ask the Court to appoint you as
Lead Plaintiff for the class.  A copy of the Complaint can be
obtained at www.pomerantzlaw.com.  To discuss this action,
contact Robert S. Willoughby at rswilloughby@pomlaw.com or
888.476.6529 (or 888.4-POMLAW), toll-free, Ext. 9980. Those who
inquire by e-mail are encouraged to include their mailing
address, telephone number, and the number of shares purchased.

The Crypto Company is engaged in the business of advising
regarding, investing in, trading and developing proprietary
source code for digital assets with diversified exposure to
digital asset markets. The Company's core services include
consulting and advising companies regarding investment and
trading in the digital asset market and investing in a manner
that diversifies exposure to the growing class of digital assets.

The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period,
Defendants made materially false and misleading statements
regarding the Company's business, operational and compliance
policies. Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading
statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) Crypto unlawfully
engaged in a scheme to promote and manipulate the Company's
stock; and (ii) as a result, Crypto's public statements were
materially false and misleading at all relevant times.

On December 19, 2017, the SEC temporarily suspended Crypto stock
from trading due to concerns that the stock was being manipulated
after the shares surged more than 17,000% in less than 3 months.
The SEC said it was alarmed about "the accuracy and adequacy of
information" relating to the compensation paid for promotion of
its and statements in SEC filings about the plans of the
Company's insiders to sell their stock. Crypto stock was trading
at $575 per share at the time trading was suspended and the
suspension will remain in effect until January 3, 2018.

The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Los
Angeles, and Paris, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms
in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class
litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as
the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered
the field of securities class actions.  Today, more than 80 years
later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he
established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities
fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The
Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on
behalf of class members. See www.pomerantzlaw.com

         Robert S. Willoughby, Esq.
         Pomerantz LLP
         Email: rswilloughby@pomlaw.com [GN]


DOORDASH INC: Drivers File Class Action in Massachusetts
--------------------------------------------------------
Joyce Hanson, writing for Law360, reports that online food
delivery app DoorDash was hit on Dec. 19 with a proposed class
action employment suit filed in Massachusetts by a driver who
alleges the app misclassifies contracted workers, arguing that
they should be considered employees under state law.

DoorDash.com Inc. is an on-demand food delivery service based in
Palo Alto, California -- which lets customers request a driver on
a website or mobile phone application who will go to a restaurant
and pick up and deliver food -- fails to reimburse drivers for
expenses such as gas.

The case is Austin v. DoorDash, Inc., Case No. 1:17-cv-12498 (D.
Mass.).  The case was filed December 19, 2017. [GN]


EATON CORP: Judge Denies Certification of Antitrust Class Action
----------------------------------------------------------------
Nicholas Malfitano, writing for PennRecord, reports that a
federal judge in Philadelphia struck down an effort to certify a
pair of anti-trust class action lawsuits filed against several
large truck manufacturers back in 2010, suits which encompassed
claims totaling in excess of $1 billion.

On Dec. 6, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania Judge Eduardo C. Robreno made the decision to reject
the certification of the class action lawsuits in question --
leading only individual actions remaining.

The suits were originally filed in 2010 in the U.S. District
Court for the District of Delaware versus several Class 8 truck
manufacturers and the supplier of their transmissions, Eaton
Corporation.  Representing Volvo Trucks North America and Mack
Trucks, Inc. was Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton.

The plaintiffs, looking to represent classes of direct and
indirect truck purchasers, claim the truck manufacturers entered
into a series of exclusive supply agreements with Eaton, with the
intent to eliminate Eaton's competitor, Meritor.

In 2015, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware Judge
Sue L. Robinson ruled the indirect purchaser plaintiffs failed to
fulfill Rule 23(b)(3)'s predominance requirement to certify a
class -- that is, indirect purchaser plaintiffs failed to
demonstrate that they could prove antitrust injury, an essential
element of their claim, through evidence common to the class.

Those plaintiffs appealed Judge Robinson's ruling to the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which affirmed the
District Court's decision denying class certification on Feb. 9,
2017.  The Third Circuit stated the "District Court procedurally
and substantively conducted a rigorous analysis of the
appellants' theory of class-wide impact and available evidence,
and that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in its
analysis."

When Judge Robinson's retired, the instant cases were transferred
to Judge Robreno's court in Philadelphia.  The plaintiffs asked
the District Court to re-open the discovery and to permit revised
expert reports and renewed class certification proceedings.

Subsequent to a hearing, Judge Robreno denied the plaintiffs'
request for additional discovery and additional class
proceedings, in addition to denying direct the purchaser
plaintiffs' pending class certification motion.  The District
Court ruled Judge Robinson's prior decision in the indirect
purchaser action, upheld by the Third Circuit, mandated that the
direct purchaser plaintiffs' class certification motion also be
denied, because both sets of plaintiffs used the exact same
expert analysis to satisfy Rule 23(b)(3)'s predominance
requirement.

Lead defense counsel and co-chair of Pepper Hamilton's Anti-Trust
and Competition Section Jeremy Heep -- heepj@pepperlaw.com --
said, "These rulings are massive wins that effectively deny and
end all efforts to seek class certification in this case, Though
individual actions may still move forward, this win is a complete
grand slam. Volvo Trucks and Mack Trucks are delighted with this
correct result."

Pepper Hamilton partner, executive committee member and fellow
member of defense counsel Daniel Boland -- bolandd@pepperlaw.com
-- concurred.

"We are extremely happy with the District Court's decision.
Plaintiffs had a full and fair opportunity to gather and present
evidence necessary to certify a class and failed.  We believe
that justice was done by bringing finality to the class
certification proceedings," Boland said.

The defendants are represented by Heep, Boland and Michael
Hartman -- hartmanm@pepperlaw.com -- of Pepper Hamilton, in
Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware cases 1:10-cv-
00260 & 1:11-cv-00009 [GN]


EDUCATIONAL CREDIT: Ninth Circuit Appeal Filed in "Reyes" Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Defendant Educational Credit Management Corporation filed an
appeal from the District Court's September 20, 2017 order
granting class action certification in the lawsuit titled A.
Reyes v. Educational Credit Management Corporation, Case No.
3:15-cv-00628-BAS-AGS, in the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of California, San Diego.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter, the lawsuit
is brought against the Defendant on behalf of a putative class
alleging violations of California's Invasion of Privacy Act
("CIPA").  Specifically, the Complaint alleges that ECMC violated
Section 632.7(a) of the CIPA in the course of dealing with the
Plaintiff and other putative class members by recording their
cellular phone calls without their consent.

The class that the Court certified is defined as all individuals
who, between Aug. 2, 2014, to March 31, 2015, inclusive,
participated in an inbound telephone conversation with a live
representative of ECMC that was: (i) placed to an ECMC phone line
that used the non-mandatory message setting for its admonition
that the call is being recorded; (ii) made from a telephone
number that includes a California area code; (iii) transmitted
via cellular telephone; and (iv) recorded without the caller's
consent.

The appellate case is captioned as A. Reyes v. Educational Credit
Management Corporation, Case No. 17-56930, 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 22, 2018;

   -- Transcript is due on February 20, 2018;

   -- Appellant Educational Credit Management Corporation's
      opening brief is due on April 2, 2018;

   -- Appellee A. J. Reyes' answering brief is due on May 2,
      2018; and

   -- Appellant's optional reply brief is due 21 days after
      service of the answering brief.[BN]

Plaintiff-Appellee A. J. REYES, on behalf of himself, and all
others similarly situated, is represented by:

          Kas Gallucci, Esq.
          Ronald A. Marron, Esq.
          Alexis M. Wood, Esq.
          LAW OFFICES OF RONALD A. MARRON
          651 Arroyo Drive
          San Diego, CA 92103
          Telephone: (619) 696-9006
          Facsimile: (619) 564-6665
          E-mail: kas@consumersadvocates.com
                  ron@consumersadvocates.com
                  alexis@consumersadvocates.com

               - and -

          Daniel Guinn Shay, Esq.
          LAW OFFICE OF DANIEL G. SHAY
          409 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 101B
          San Diego, CA 92108
          Telephone: (619) 222-7429
          Facsimile: (866) 431-3292
          E-mail: DanielShay@TCPAFDCPA.com

Defendant-Appellant EDUCATIONAL CREDIT MANAGEMENT CORPORATION is
represented by:

          David J. Kaminski, Esq.
          CARLSON & MESSER LLP
          5959 West Century Boulevard
          Los Angeles, CA 90045
          Telephone: (310) 242-2200
          E-mail: kaminskid@cmtlaw.com
                  MesserC@cmtlaw.com


EL POLLO LOCO: Rule 23 Class Certification Sought in "Kim" Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Peter Kim, Dr. Richard J. Levy, Sammy Tanner and Ron Huston,
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit captioned DANIEL TUROCY, et al.,
Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated v. EL
POLLO LOCO HOLDINGS, INC., et al., Case No. 8:15-cv-01343-DOC-KES
(C.D. Cal.), ask the Court to enter an order granting:

   (1) class certification pursuant to Rules 23(a) and 23(b)(3)
       of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure;

   (2) the appointment of the Plaintiffs as Class
       Representatives; and

   (3) the appointment of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP and
       The Rosen Law Firm, P.A. as Class Counsel pursuant to
       Rule 23(g).

The Court will commence a hearing on May 14, 2018, at 8:30 a.m.,
to consider the Motion.

A copy of the Motion is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=jzIAQYZ0

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          Ryan A. Llorens, Esq.
          Laurie L. Largent, Esq.
          Kevin A. Lavelle, Esq.
          ROBBINS GELLER RUDMAN & DOWD LLP
          655 West Broadway, Suite 1900
          San Diego, CA 92101
          Telephone: (619) 231-1058
          Facsimile: (619) 231-7423
          E-mail: ryanl@rgrdlaw.com
                  llargent@rgrdlaw.com
                  klavelle@rgrdlaw.com

               - and -

          Laurence M. Rosen, Esq.
          THE ROSEN LAW FIRM, P.A.
          355 South Grand Avenue, Suite 2450
          Los Angeles, CA 90071
          Telephone: (213) 785-2610
          Facsimile: (213) 226-4684
          E-mail: lrosen@rosenlegal.com

               - and -

          Philip Kim, Esq.
          THE ROSEN LAW FIRM, P.A.
          275 Madison Avenue, 34th Floor
          New York, NY 10016
          Telephone: (212) 686-1060
          Facsimile: (212) 202-3827
          E-mail: pkim@rosenlegal.com

               - and -

          Amber L. Eck, Esq.
          HAEGGQUIST & ECK, LLP
          225 Broadway, Suite 2050
          San Diego, CA 92101
          Telephone: (619) 342-8000
          Facsimile: (619) 342-7878
          E-mail: ambere@haelaw.com

               - and -

          Michael Goldberg, Esq.
          GOLDBERG LAW PC
          13650 Marina Pointe Dr., Suite 1404
          Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
          Telephone: (800) 977-7401
          Facsimile: (800) 536-0065
          E-mail: michael@goldberglawpc.com

Ryan A. Llorens, Esq., one the Plaintiff's counsel, certified
that these e-mail addresses in the Electronic Mail Notice List
have been notified of the filing:

   * Seth A Aronson -- saronson@omm.com,
     LitigationCalendar@omm.com;

   * Mary K Blasy -- mblasy@rgrdlaw.com, e_file_sd@rgrdlaw.com;

   * Amber L Eck -- ambere@haelaw.com, winkyc@haelaw.com,
     nadiak@haelaw.com;

   * Zachary Marc Faigen -- zack.faigen@skadden.com,
     Zack.Faigen@probonolaw.com;

   * Jonathan R Horne -- jhorne@rosenlegal.com;

   * Winston Ping Hsiao -- winston.hsiao@skadden.com;

   * Alec Johnson -- aljohnson@omm.com, skemp@omm.com;

   * Jay B Kasner -- jay.kasner@skadden.com;

   * Laurie L Largent -- llargent@rgrdlaw.com,
     e_file_sd@rgrdlaw.com, tjohnson@rgrdlaw.com,
     klavelle@rgrdlaw.com;

   * Kevin A Lavelle -- klavelle@rgrdlaw.com, karenc@rgrdlaw.com;

   * Brian Oliver O'Mara -- bomara@rgrdlaw.com,
     e_file_sd@rgrdlaw.com;

   * Michael W Restey -- michael.restey@skadden.com;

   * Darren J Robbins -- e_file_sd@rgrdlaw.com;

   * Laurence M Rosen -- lrosen@rosenlegal.com;

   * Jason D Russell -- jason.russell@skadden.com,
     nandi.berglund@skadden.com, DLMLCLAC@skadden.com,
     nandiberglund-4699@ecf.pacerpro.com,
     Jessica.barcus@skadden.com, hillary.hamilton@skadden.com;
     and

   * Evan Jason Smith -- esmith@brodskysmith.com


EQUIFAX INC: Court to Consolidate Most of Over 240 Class Actions
----------------------------------------------------------------
Beau Brunson, writing for American Banker, reports that though
people may (rightly) think Equifax deserves a punishment that
would put the company out of business, eliminating it would
ultimately do more harm than good for consumers.

The U.S. financial system relies heavily on the consumer credit
data collected and controlled by credit rating agencies.
Equifax, one of the principal U.S. credit reporting agencies,
experienced an unparalleled data breach affecting more than 145
million consumers this fall, and months later, the details of the
breach continue to unfold.

Thus far, consumers have filed over 240 class-action lawsuits
against Equifax.  A federal court will consolidate most of these
cases into one before hearing it.  However, a massive class-
action lawsuit or settlement may not necessarily lead to the best
result for consumers.  Equifax would not be able to withstand the
magnitude of a cash award for the millions of consumers affected
and their lawyers, so the case will probably settle.

That might be for the best. Getting rid of the company would
increase consolidation in an industry that already has few
consumer options and significant barriers for new entrants.
Experian and TransUnion, as the only other credit bureaus dealing
with prime borrowers, would be in the best position to buy the
liquidated company's data assets.  However, this would create
even more consolidated risk for consumers, as a new business
would be unlikely to fill the void left by Equifax's elimination.

Furthermore, if Equifax were no longer operating, consumers could
lose the credit monitoring and identity theft services the
company is providing to affected parties.  For its carelessness,
Equifax has offered to provide affected parties with a credit-
monitoring package for one year that includes up to $1 million in
identity theft insurance as well as complimentary "credit
locking."  While this is only the first step in a long process,
these services at least serve as temporary mitigation for some of
the damages caused in the breach's wake.  Because Equifax is
unlikely to accept settlement terms that would put it out of
business, the company may only agree to a modified version of
what it has already offered, in lieu of a cash award to
plaintiffs.

Consumers deserve recompense for the harm Equifax's negligence
has caused them.  This compensation should be fair, but it should
not take the form of a lawsuit that would bankrupt the company
and force it out of business.  Dismantling or eliminating Equifax
would decrease competition in an already lean competitive
landscape, which would not benefit consumers.

As the Equifax disaster unwinds via litigation, regulation and
legislation, it is crucial that consumer welfare serves as the
guiding framework of these efforts -- not only by providing fair
and reasonable restitution to the victims, but also by ensuring
marketplace competition.

Until the fallout from this incident settles, credit bureaus
remain the linchpin of the credit market.  Consumer participation
in the system is all but mandatory, which makes it all the more
imperative that the system functions properly, even as Equifax is
held accountable for the well-being of the consumers harmed by
the credit bureau's negligence. [GN]


ERICKSON RETIREMENT: Certification of HVF Residents Class Upheld
----------------------------------------------------------------
In the case, ERMA ROGERS REVOCABLE TRUST, by DAVID PLUMLEY,
Trustee, on Behalf of Themselves and All Others Similarly
Situated, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ERICKSON RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES,
REDWOOD CAPITAL INVESTMENTS, INC., SENIOR CAMPUS LIVING, INC.,
and SENIOR CAMPUS SERVICES, LLC, Defendants, and HENRY FORD
VILLAGE, INC., REDWOOD-ERC MANAGEMENT, LLC, and LIFE CARE
SERVICES, LLC, Defendants-Appellants, Case No. 332495 (Mich.
App.), the Court of Appeals of Michigan affirmed the trial
court's order certifying a class action.

Plaintiff Plumley, as trustee of his mother's revocable trust,
filed the action in May 2014 against the Defendants alleging that
they engaged in false and misleading actions that defrauded his
mother and many other residents of Defendant Henry Ford Village
("HFV") who had entered into residential agreements before Dec.
1, 2000, for independent living units.

He filed the action and alleged claims for breach of contract,
fraud in the inducement, breach of the duty of good faith and
fair dealing, violation of the Michigan Living Care Disclosure
Act ("LCDA"), and conversion.

The Plaintiff asked the trial court to certify a class action
consisting of all residents of HFV who did not receive a full
refund of their entrance deposits on their individual units as
advertised and promised by defendants.  Following a hearing, the
trial court certified a class action consisting of all persons,
and the representatives of their estates, who entered into
Residence and Care Agreements with HFV prior to Dec. 1, 2000 who
have received less than a 100 percent full refund as adjusted for
agreed outstanding charges of their entrance deposit and persons
subject to declaratory relief.

The Defendants filed for leave to appeal the trial court's order,
which the Court granted.  They argue, among other things, that
the trial court applied an incorrect legal standard in deciding
the Plaintiff's motion for class certification and improperly
based its decision on disputed allegations, that the trial
court's definition of the class is overly broad because it
includes current residents, and that the Plaintiff's position is
at odds with the entire class, or at least current residents,
because he is seeking to force an overall reduction in the
amounts charged for entrance deposits, and to force HFV to repay
entrance deposits before units are reoccupied.  The Defendants
contend that if the Plaintiff is successful, it will increase the
likelihood that HFV will file for bankruptcy protection because
it already has a negative cash flow and has been in default to
its secured bondholders.

The Court finds that contrary to the Defendants' assertion, the
trial court did not rely solely on the pleadings.  Rather, it
clearly considered evidence beyond the pleadings to find that
class certification was appropriate.  Such an analysis is
consistent with Henry v Dow Chem Co, and it finds no error.

Because the basis for the Plaintiff's class action is the
existence of common questions concerning the Defendants'
liability for breach of contract and fraud with regard to the
Residence and Care Agreements, and these claims arose from the
Defendants' practices of inducing residents who were entitled to
a full refund of their entrance deposits to agree to accept a
lesser refund so that their units could be marketed, the Court
says it was appropriate to allow current residents to join the
class action.  Even though these residents had not yet suffered
damages, it was permissible to add them to the class because
declaratory or injunctive relief was available to them for the
same legal questions that formed the basis of the class action.

The Court is not persuaded that the Plaintiff's claims would
necessarily cause an increased risk of bankruptcy.  In
particular, the Plaintiff is only claiming that the Defendants
are unwilling to fairly market a unit unless a resident signs an
agreement to accept a lesser refund.  Further, the amount of an
entrance deposit that HFV accepts from new residents has been
left to HFV.  The Court finds it inappropriate for the Defendants
to argue that the Plaintiff will be responsible for any economic
harm that may occur to HFV when it was HFV who offered 100%
refunds of entrance deposits.  The Defendants have not shown that
the Plaintiff cannot properly represent the interests and claims
of other class members.

For these reasons, the Court affirmed.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Order is available
at https://is.gd/RhJ8pg from Leagle.com.

DAVID M. HONIGMAN -- dhonigman@manteselaw.com -- for PLUMLEY
DAVID TRUSTEE/ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED.

JILL M. WHEATON -- jwheaton@dykema.com -- for HENRY FORD VILLAGE
INC, Defendant-Appellant.

RICHARD P. SMITH, for REDWOOD-ERC MANAGEMENT LLC, Defendant-
Appellant.

JEFFREY C. GERISH -- jgerish@plunkettcooney.com -- for LIFE CARE
SERVICES LLC, Defendant-Appellant.


FACEBOOK INC: Class & Subclass Certification Sought in BIPA Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Plaintiffs in the lawsuit styled In re Facebook Biometric
Information Privacy Litigation, Case No. 3:15-cv-03747-JD (N.D.
Cal.), ask the Court to certify these Class and Subclass:

   Class: All Facebook users living in Illinois whose face
          appeared in a photo uploaded to Facebook from Illinois
          between June 7, 2011, and the final disposition of this
          action.

   Subclass: All people living in Illinois for whom Facebook has
          a stored "face template" that was created between
          June 7, 2011, and final disposition of this action.

The Plaintiffs' claims in this case under the Illinois Biometric
Information Privacy Act center on fact-finding regarding the
operation of facial-recognition software that remained materially
unchanged over a period of years, and on the legal significance
of contractual language that likewise remained unchanged over
that same period.  In 2010, Facebook, Inc., introduced a new
feature on its omnipresent social-networking site: Tag
Suggestions, the Plaintiffs contend.

The Plaintiffs also ask the Court to appoint Adam Pezen, Carlo
Licata, and Nimesh Patel to represent the Class and Subclass, and
appoint Labaton Sucharow LLP, Robbins, Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP,
and Edelson PC as Class Counsel.

The Court will commence a hearing on February 16, 2018, at 10:00
a.m., to consider the Motion.

A copy of the Motion is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=2NPX2Pk7

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          Joel H. Bernstein, Esq.
          Corban S. Rhodes, Esq.
          Ross M. Kamhi, Esq.
          LABATON SUCHAROW LLP
          140 Broadway
          New York, NY 10005
          Telephone: (212) 907-0700
          Facsimile: (212) 818-0477
          E-mail: jbernstein@labaton.com
                  crhodes@labaton.com
                  rkamhi@labaton.com

               - and -

          Shawn A. Williams, Esq.
          David W. Hall, Esq.
          ROBBINS GELLER RUDMAN & DOWD LLP
          Post Montgomery Center
          One Montgomery Street, Suite 1800
          San Francisco, CA 94104
          Telephone: (415) 288-4545
          Facsimile: (415) 288-4534
          E-mail: shawnw@rgrdlaw.com
                  dhall@rgrdlaw.com

               - and -

          Paul J. Geller, Esq.
          Stuart A. Davidson, Esq.
          Mark Dearman, Esq.
          ROBBINS GELLER RUDMAN & DOWD LLP
          120 East Palmetto Park Road, Suite 500
          Boca Raton, FL 33432
          Telephone: (561) 750-3000
          Facsimile: (561) 750-3364
          E-mail: pgeller@rgrdlaw.com
                  sdavidson@rgrdlaw.com
                  mdearman@rgrdlaw.com

               - and -

          James E. Barz, Esq.
          Frank A. Richter, Esq.
          ROBBINS GELLER RUDMAN & DOWD LLP
          200 S. Wacker, 31st Floor
          Chicago, IL 60606
          Telephone: (312-674.4674
          E-mail: jbarz@rgrdlaw.com
                  frichter@rgrdlaw.com

               - and -

          Travis E. Downs III, Esq.
          ROBBINS GELLER RUDMAN & DOWD LLP
          655 West Broadway, Suite 1900
          San Diego, CA 92101
          Telephone: (619) 231-1058
          Facsimile: (619) 231-7423
          E-mail: travisd@rgrdlaw.com

               - and -

          Jay Edelson, Esq.
          Alexander G. Tievsky, Esq.
          EDELSON PC
          350 North LaSalle Street, 13th Floor
          Chicago, IL 60654
          Telephone: (312) 589-6370
          Facsimile: (312) 589-6378
          E-mail: jedelson@edelson.com
                  atievsky@edelson.com

               - and -

          Rafey S. Balabanian, Esq.
          EDELSON PC
          123 Townsend Street, Suite 100
          San Francisco, CA 94107
          Telephone: (415) 234-5342
          Facsimile: (415) 373-9495
          E-mail: rbalabanian@edelson.com


FIAT CHRYSLER: Court Hears Motion to Dismiss Emissions Case
-----------------------------------------------------------
Nicholas Iovino, writing for Courthouse News Service, reported
that with lengthy settlement talks on the horizon, Fiat Chrysler
on Dec. 19 sought to fight off the same emissions cheating claims
that cost Volkswagen billions of dollars in fines and settlements
over the last two years.

Fiat Chrysler attorney Robert Giuffra Jr. --
giuffrar@sullcrom.com -- who also defended Volkswagen in its
dieselgate scandal, told U.S. District Judge Edward Chen that
consumers cannot sue his client for emissions cheating because
only U.S. regulators can enforce those rules under the Clean Air
Act.

"Any attempt to enforce emission standards is preempted,"
Mr. Giuffra, of Sullivan & Cromwell in New York, told Judge Chen.

But class attorneys say their clients are not suing for Clean Air
Act violations.  They seek damages for a conspiracy to trick them
into paying more for "EcoDiesel" cars that Fiat Chrysler claimed
were environmentally superior to other diesels.

"These were not environmentally friendly diesels, and they never
have been," class attorney Stacey Slaughter with Robins Kaplan in
Minneapolis said.

The class accuses Fiat Chrysler of installing emissions cheating
software in nearly 104,000 Grand Jeep Cherokees and Ram 1500
EcoDiesel trucks between 2014 and 2016.

Like Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler used defeat devices created by
German auto parts maker and codefendant Robert Bosch to mask
nitrogen dioxide pollution during emissions tests, the class
claims.  The cars spew up to seven times more pollution on the
road than when hooked up for tests, according to a 378-page class
action complaint.

The parties will spend several days hammering out a potential
settlement in January, according to court-appointed settlement
master Kenneth Feinberg, a veteran who also handled claims from
victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the BP oil spill.

On Dec. 19, the two sides spent more than two hours arguing over
Fiat Chrysler's motion to dismiss the consumer class action.

Mr. Giuffra said Fiat Chrysler never orchestrated a nationwide
advertising campaign to tout its vehicles as environmentally
friendly, as Volkswagen did. Volkswagen has paid more than $20
billion in U.S. penalties and settlements, and one of its
executives was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for it
in December.

Mr. Giuffra argued that the Fiat Chrysler complaint lacks
allegations that even one car buyer relied on any false statement
the automaker made about emissions.

"The only thing they can point to is a vague label: EcoDiesel,
which is actually puffery," Mr. Giuffra said.

Puffery is defined as an exaggerated statement that no reasonable
consumer could rely on as factual.  For instance, "Our cars are
the best in the world," is puffery, whereas, "Our cars are better
than Volkswagens" states a specific claim.

"No consumer could think EcoDiesel means these cars are
compliant," Mr. Giuffra argued.

Ms. Slaughter replied that whether "EcoDiesel" is puffery is a
question of fact that must be resolved at a later stage of
litigation.

Turning to the question of preemption under the Clean Air Act,
Judge Chen asked how the class could show misrepresentations were
made about emissions without proving noncompliance with emissions
rules.

If the Clean Air Act did not exist, class attorney Kevin Budner
said, consumers could still sue Fiat Chrysler for fraud.

"It's about telling consumers you're getting a clean diesel
vehicle," said Mr. Budner, with Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann and
Bernstein in San Francisco.

Judge Chen said that even if Chrysler Fiat had a duty to tell
consumers about emissions, the issue still overlaps significantly
with Clean Air Act rules.

"The knowledge was exclusively in the hands of the defendant.
It's completely one-sided knowledge of a material fact, and
there's a duty to disclose," Judge Chen said.  "Assuming that's
true, isn't that claim squarely in the bull's eye of the Clean
Air Act?"

Mr. Budner replied that the alleged fraud does not turn on
compliance with the Clean Air Act, but on Fiat Chrysler's
misstatements and omissions.

Mr. Giuffra said Fiat Chrysler is confident it can create a fix
that will make the vehicles compliant with federal emissions
standards.

Leigh Rende, with the Department of Justice, said the
Environmental Protection Agency might approve an emissions fix
for the nearly 104,000 vehicles by April 2018. [GN]


FINANCIAL RECOVERY: Sued by Rehman for Violating FCCPA and FDCPA
----------------------------------------------------------------
NAJIB REHMAN v. FINANCIAL RECOVERY SERVICES OF MINNESOTA, INC.,
Case No. 9:17-cv-81395-DMM (S.D. Fla., December 25, 2017), seeks
redress for the alleged unlawful conduct of the Defendant, to
wit, violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the
Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.

On behalf of two putative classes of consumers, the Plaintiff
alleges that the Defendant has dispatched thousands unlawful
collection letters to Florida consumers, whereby each such letter
contains identical violations of the FCCPA and the FDCPA.

Financial Recovery is a Minnesota corporation, with its principal
place of business located in Edina, Minnesota.  Financial
Recovery engages in interstate commerce by regularly using
telephone and mail in a business whose principal purpose is the
collection of debts.[BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

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

               - and -

          Thomas J. Patti, Esq.
          THOMAS-JOHN LAW, P.A.
          1451 W. Cypress Creek Road, Suite 300
          Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305
          Telephone: (954) 543-1325
          Facsimile: (954) 507-9975
          E-mail: tpatti@thomasjohnlaw.com


FLORIDA: Seeks Dismissal of Matching Gifts Class Action
-------------------------------------------------------
Tampa Bay Times reports that the state of Florida's lawyers
argued on Dec. 18 that courts cannot compel the Legislature to
provide matching funds for $460 million in private donations to
Florida universities and state colleges.

Asking for a lawsuit to be dismissed, Andy Bardos, representing
the Florida House and Senate, said the separation-of-powers
doctrine prevents a judge from ordering the Legislature to come
up with more than $600 million under Florida's matching-gift
laws, which have been suspended since 2011.

"What they seek is an order commanding the Legislature to
appropriate funds in the future.  We contend, your honor, this is
beyond the power of the court," Mr. Bardos told Circuit Judge
Charles Dodson in a Leon County court hearing.

University of Florida graduates and Florida State University
donors filed now-combined class action lawsuits contending the
state's failure to provide matching funds for programs has
undermined educational opportunities and violates a contractual
obligation between donors and the state.  The programs pay for
new campus facilities and scholarships.

"They created these statutes to encourage giving. And they were
massively, massively successful," said Grace Mead, a lawyer
representing the FSU donors and UF graduates.  "Were they a
private party, not only would we be here suing for breach of
contract, we would be suing for fraud."

Facing a tight budget during the recession, the Legislature cut
back on funding for the matching-grant programs and then
suspended the initiatives in 2011.

The programs include two construction-related funds, the Alec P.
Courtelis University Facility Enhancement Challenge Grant Program
and the Florida College System Institution Capital Facilities
Matching Program, as well as the Dr. Philip Benjamin Matching
Grant Program and the University Major Gifts Program.

Under the 2011 law, the programs cannot be restarted until a
backlog of $200 million in donations for the Courtelis program
and the other three matching-grant programs have been matched.

Mead characterized the Legislature's decision to halt funding for
the matching programs as a failure to carry out a contract,
similar to the state contracting to build a prison.

"When an agency is authorized by statute to do something which
necessarily required entering a contract, the state is bound by
that contract," Ms. Mead said.

But Jordan Pratt, a deputy solicitor general with the Attorney
General's Office, said the contract claim is flawed because the
agreement was between donors and the university or state college
and not the Legislature.

He said there is no legal precedent for someone contracting with
one state agency and then suing "an entirely distinct agency."

Dodson questioned the state lawyers closely about their claim
that despite the matching-grant laws there was no obligation by
the state to fund the programs.

If the funding is discretionary, Dodson asked: "Why did they need
to do a suspension?"

Mr. Bardos said the suspension, which took place on June 30,
2011, "put people on notice" that future donations may not be
matched and argued that the Legislature has the sole discretion
to fund or not fund the programs.

Ms. Mead said the matching-gift laws are not discretionary.

"If that were true, the statutes would have said the state has no
obligation to match a single dollar contributed by a single donor
for a single college or university program," she said. "They
don't come close to staying that."

Ms. Mead said statutes spell out the need for the scholarship and
building programs, and the statutes collectively use the "the
words shall or must" 76 times.


"Absent the obligation to match, it has no incentive.  It's not
simply a tracking program." Ms. Mead said.  "It is in fact a
command to match."

Judge Dodson gave the lawyers for the state and the matching-gift
proponents until Jan. 5 to file proposed orders in the case.  His
ruling will come sometime after that. [GN]


FLORIDA: New Policies in Place After Sexual Harassment Settlement
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Natasha Stoynoff, writing for People, reports that vulgar
catcalls, gang rape plots, breast groping, and men standing
inches away fondling their exposed genitals.  Until recently,
that was all in a day's work for the female employees at
Florida's Coleman prison.

"The inmates would grab themselves and make [obscene] gestures as
I walked down the compound," Taronica White, who began working as
a senior correctional officer specialist at the prison in 2005,
tells PEOPLE.  "They made sexual comments and sexual threats."

Tammy Padgett worked her way up from correctional officer to unit
manager after she arrived at the prison in 2002, even though the
constant harassment over the years left her "always angry and
exhausted."

The harassment and threats had been going on for decades at
Coleman -- the country's largest federal correctional complex for
men -- and endured by hundreds of female guards, nurses, and
office workers.

Like many before them, Ms. Padgett and Ms. White regularly
complained to superiors and filed incident reports, but rarely
saw proper action taken.

"Some of those reports got shredded," says Ms. White, "and some
got lost."

"The expectation," says Ms. Padgett, "was that as a female, if I
worked in a prison I was going to be subjected to that.  I had to
either suck it up and deal with it, or find a new job."

By 2011, Ms. White and Ms. Padgett were sick of sucking it up.

They filed a class-action sexual harassment lawsuit against the
U.S. government's prison agency and the Department of Justice on
behalf of 524 past and present female employees at Coleman,
alleging that prison managers repeatedly failed to protect them
from sexual harassment and threats from inmates.

This past February, after an arduous six-year battle, the women
won a $20 million settlement, one of the largest payouts in a
class-action sexual harassment case in U.S. history.

"This victory should send the message that sexual harassment is
never acceptable," says the women's D.C. attorney, Heidi
Burakiewicz.  "Not in any workplace, not by any person, not even
when the federal government is involved.  No employer or person
is too big or powerful to get away with sexual harassment."

Most important to Ms. Padgett and Ms. White were the new policies
put in place at the prison as part of the settlement --
additional training for staff and more efficient methods to
report harassment, for example.

"The improvements are slow-rolling," says Ms. Padgett, "but we're
going to maintain our fight to see an end to sexual harassment.
As women, all we have is our voice and we have to speak out. If
we don't, it's never going to change."

Their fight, says Ms. White, "was not just for us, but for all
the women who come after us." [GN]


FS PROPERTY: Luna Files Suit Over Unpaid Overtime Wages
-------------------------------------------------------
Osvaldo Luna, individually and on behalf of others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. FS Property Maintenance, Inc. and Frank
Schulz, individually, Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-02124, (M.D.
Fla., December 12, 2017), seeks to recover overtime pay, monetary
damages, liquidated damages and reasonable attorneys' fees and
costs as a result of willful violation of the Fair Labor
Standards.

FS Property Maintenance, Inc. operates and conducts business in
the Orlando, Orange County FL. Plaintiff served as a general
laborer at their place of business located at 3314 Lukas Cove,
Orlando, FL 32820 and was responsible for sweeping parking lots
for multiple Walmart locations, cleaning and picking up garbage,
filling up cleaning trucks with gas, assigning routes and
answering calls. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Carlos V. Leach, Esq.
      MORGAN & MORGAN, P.A.
      191 Peachtree Street, N.E., Suite 4200
      Post Office Box 57007
      Atlanta, GA 30343-1007
      Tel: (404) 965-8811
      Facsimile: (404) 496-7405
      Email: CLeach@forthepeople.com


GATESTONE & CO: "Pickles" Disputes Validity of Collection Letter
----------------------------------------------------------------
Helen Pickles, on behalf of herself and all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. Gatestone & Co. International Inc., a
Delaware Corporation, Defendant, Case No. 17-cv-14433 (S.D. Fla.,
December 12, 2017), seeks statutory damages, attorney's fees,
litigation expenses and costs of the suit and such other or
further relief for violation of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act.

Gatestone & Co. International Inc. is a Delaware Corporation
engaged in the business of collecting consumer debts, which
operates from offices located at 1000 N. West Street, Suite 1200,
Wilmington, Delaware 19801. On or about September 14, 2017,
Defendant sent a letter to Plaintiff that sought to collect an
alleged debt due to AT&T Mobility.  Said letter failed inform the
Plaintiff of her right to dispute the debt, or any portion
thereof. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Leo W. Desmond, Esq.
      DESMOND LAW FIRM, P.C.
      5070 Highway A1A, Suite D
      Vero Beach, FL 32963
      Telephone: (772) 231-9600
      Facsimile: (772) 231-0300
      Email: lwd@desmondlawfirm.com


GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: Stone Appeals W.D. Wash. Ruling to 9th Cir.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs Megan Stone and Christine Carosi filed an appeal from
a court ruling entered in their lawsuit entitled Megan Stone, et
al. v. GEICO, Case No. 3:16-cv-05383-BHS, in the U.S. District
Court for the Western District of Washington, Tacoma.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter, Judge
Benjamin H. Settle denied the Plaintiffs' motion to remand the
case.

Ms. Stone was involved in a hit and run car accident on May 22,
2014.  She had an automobile insurance policy with Defendant
GEICO.  She was unable to use her car for about 105 days while
GEICO investigated her claim and while her car was being
repaired.

On June 17, 2015, Ms. Stone filed a class action complaint
against GEICO in Pierce County Superior Court, claiming that
GEICO failed to pay her for "loss of use" damages.

Ms. Stone sought to certify the class of all GEICO insureds with
Washington policies issued in Washington State, where GEICO
determined the loss to be covered under the Underinsured Motorist
("UIM") coverage, and their vehicle suffered a loss requiring
repair, or the vehicle was totaled, during which time they were
without the use of their vehicle, for a day or more.

The appellate case is captioned as Megan Stone, et al. v. GEICO,
Case No. 17-80253, in the United States Court of Appeals for the
Ninth Circuit.[BN]

Plaintiffs-Petitioners MEGAN STONE and CHRISTINE CAROSI,
individually and as the representatives of all persons similarly
situated, are represented by:

          Stephen M. Hansen, Esq.
          LAW OFFICES OF STEPHEN M. HANSEN, P.S.
          1821 Dock Street, Suite 103
          Tacoma, WA 98402
          Telephone: (253) 302-5955
          E-mail: steve@stephenmhansenlaw.com

Defendant-Respondent GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY is
represented by:

          Stephanie L. Bloomfield, Esq.
          Andrea H. McNeely, Esq.
          GORDON THOMAS HONEYWELL LLP
          1201 Pacific Avenue
          Tacoma, WA 98402
          Telephone: (253) 620-6500
          Facsimile: (253) 620-6565
          E-mail: sbloomfield@gth-law.com
                  amcneely@gth-law.com

               - and -

          Joshua Grabel, Esq.
          LEWIS ROCA ROTHGERBER CHRISTIE LLP
          201 E. Washington Street
          Phoenix, AZ 85004-2595
          Telephone: (602) 262-5759
          E-mail: jgrabel@lrrc.com


GULF INTERSTATE: 6th Cir. Revives Wage-and-Hour Class Action
------------------------------------------------------------
Robert Iafolla, writing for Reuters, reports that a federal
appeals court has revived a wage-and-hour class action against a
Houston-based pipeline construction company, ruling that the
plaintiffs would only be exempt from federal overtime
requirements if their pay was guaranteed.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals said on Dec. 19 that two former workers for Gulf
Interstate Field Services Inc were paid enough to be exempt from
overtime requirements under Fair Labor Standards Act regulations.
But whether their compensation -- equivalent to more than
$100,000 per year -- was guaranteed is in dispute and should be
resolved at trial, the panel said. [GN]


JOHNSON & JOHNSON: Local 295 Sues Over Infliximab Price Rigging
---------------------------------------------------------------
Local 295 IBT Employer Group Welfare Fund, Individually and on
behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, vs. Johnson &
Johnson and Janssen Biotech, Inc., Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-
05570, (E.D. Pa., December 12, 2017), seeks to recover threefold
damages, interest, costs of suit and reasonable attorneys' fees
resulting from Defendant's anticompetitive foreclosure of
infliximab sales in violation of the Sherman Act.

Johnson & Johnson allegedly suppressed competition and raised
prices to purchasers of the biologic by imposing exclusionary
contracts on both health insurers and healthcare providers to
maintain and extend its monopoly in the market for biologic
medication, Remicade or infliximab.

Biologic products include vaccines, blood and blood components,
allergenics, somatic cells, gene therapy, tissues and recombinant
therapeutic proteins used to treat a variety of medical
conditions for which no other treatments are available.

Local 295 IBT Employer Group Welfare Fund is a union representing
air freight chauffeurs, handlers, warehousemen, allied workers
and other industrial employees. It is an employee welfare benefit
plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and a
jointly managed multi-employer plan under the National Labor
Relations Act. It purchased Remicade from the Defendants for its
beneficiaries.

Johnson & Johnson is an international pharmaceutical company and
was the sole supplier of infliximab, marketed as Remicade.
Janssen Biotech, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson &
Johnson. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:


     Patrick J. Coughlin, Esq.
     David W. Mitchell, Esq.
     Alexandra Senya Bernay, Esq.
     Carmen Anthony Medici, Esq.
     Brian O. O'Mara, Esq.
     ROBBINS GELLER RUDMAN & DOWD LLP
     655 W. Broadway, Suite 1900
     San Diego, CA 92101
     Tel: (619) 231-1058
     Email: patc@rgrdlaw.com
            davidm@rgrdlaw.com
            bomara@rgrdlaw.com
            xanb@rgrdlaw.com
            cmedici@rgrdlaw.com

             - and -

      Jayne A. Goldstein, Esq.
      James C. Shah, Esq.
      Natalie Finkelman Bennett, Esq.
      SHEPHERD, FINKELMAN, MILLER & SHAH, LLP
      475 White Horse Pike
      Collingswood, NJ 08107
      Telephone: (856) 858-1770
      Facsimile: (866) 300-7367
      Email: jshah@sfmslaw.com
             nfinkelman@sfmslaw.com
             jgoldstein@sfmslaw.com

             - and -

      Randi D. Bandman, Esq.
      ROBBINS GELLER RUDMAN & DOWD LLP
      30 Vesey Street, Suite 200
      New York, NY 10007
      Telephone: (212) 693-1058
      Fax: (212) 693-7423
      Email: randib@rgrdlaw.com

             - and -

      Dennis Stewart, Esq.
      HULETT HARPER STEWART LLP
      550 West C. Street, Suite 1500
      San Diego, CA 92101
      Phone: (619) 338-1133
      Fax: (619) 338-1139
      Email: dstewart@hulettharper.com


JOHNSON UTILITIES: Customers File RICO Class Action
---------------------------------------------------
Scott Buffon, writing for Courthouse News Service, reported that
customers of an Arizona water utility claim in court the
company's owner bribed a state regulator for clearance to charge
excessive prices.

In a federal racketeering class action filed on Dec. 18,
customers of Johnson Utilities say the water utility's owner,
George Johnson, using a lobbyist as a go-between, bribed a former
state regulator and his wife to "corruptly charge the public
excessive prices."

Johnson Utilities is headquartered in Scottsdale and provides
water and wastewater service in central Arizona's Pinal County.

According to the class action, Johnson planned with lobbyist Jim
Norton to funnel $31,500 to former Arizona Corporation
Commissioner Gary Pierce through his wife, Sherry.

The lawsuit names Johnson, Johnson Utilities, Johnson
International, the Pierces, and Norton as defendants.

In exchange for the money, Pierce introduced an amendment in 2011
to a previous decision barring Johnson Utilities from a rate
increase and tax reimbursement, the class claims.

"Gary Pierce and a majority of the ACC voted -- against ACC staff
recommendations -- to approve the amendment and grant Johnson the
requested rate increase and ability to request income tax
reimbursement in the future," the lawsuit says.

To funnel the funds to Sherry Pierce, money was sent to a
co-conspirator consultant that is unnamed in the indictment.  The
consultant opened up a separate bank account to pay Sherry
Pierce, as an alleged employee of the consulting firm.

Payments were made to the Pierces from November 2011 through
August 2012, the class claims.

Johnson, the Pierces, and Norton were indicted May 23 on
conspiracy, bribery and fraud charges.  They have all pleaded not
guilty, and face trial Jan. 3.

The May indictment also claims the Pierces were in discussion of
receiving a property worth $350,000 supposedly to be paid for by
Johnson.  It is unclear if that property was ever received.

The class includes a number of Pinal County residents who had
their rates increased.

"These plaintiffs are looking forward to their opportunity to
present to the court the wide array of Mr. Johnson's misconduct,
as well as the other defendants," Jeffrey Goulder, an attorney
for the class, told Courthouse News.  "They're trying to do
what's best for the entire community."

Johnson's actions allegedly arose after an Aug. 24, 2010,
decision in which the Arizona Corporation Commission -- on
recommendation from its staff -- rejected his request for a
wastewater rate increase, and to allow Johnson to have his
personal income taxes reimbursed by payments made by Johnson
Utilities customers.

The original response, in which Pierce was a voting member,
unanimously deemed Johnson Utilities' request inappropriate.

"It is not appropriate or in the public interest to allow pass-
through entities such as [Johnson Utilities] to recover personal
income tax expenses through rates. [Johnson Utilities'] request
is not reasonable and will be denied," the commission said in its
rejection.

Mr. Goulder says more people may be later added as defendants.

"Frankly Mr. Johnson has a reputation of retaliation in lawsuits
where he is sued, he oftentimes will file countersuits against
those that take him on," Mr. Goulder said.  "This group of
citizens is willing to step up, do the right thing, and try to
bring some justice to the people who have suffered these rate
overcharges."

Johnson Utilities did not respond to requests for comments before
publication.

The class action seeks class certification, restitution and
damages on claims of fraud and violations of the Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. [GN]


JP MORGAN CHASE: "Johnson" Sues Over Excessive Overdraft Fees
-------------------------------------------------------------
Brandie Johnson, on behalf of herself and all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., Case No. 17-
cv-02477, (C.D. Cal., December 12, 2017), seeks monetary damages,
restitution, punitive damages and injunctive relief against
Defendant arising from their practice of charging excessive
overdraft fees in breach of contract, breach of the implied
covenant of good faith and fair dealing and in violation of the
Consumers Legal Remedies Act, the National Bank Act and
California Unfair Competition Law.

J.P. Morgan operates Chase Bank, a national bank with its U.S.
headquarters and principal place of business located in Columbus,
Ohio. It also operates numerous retail banking centers throughout
nationwide and throughout California.

Johnson asserts that Chase's routine practice of assessing its
customers so-called "Extended Overdraft Fees" that is deducted
from a customer's account in addition to an initial overdraft fee
if and when the customer's overdraft status remains in effect for
a period of five consecutive business days after the account
balances goes negative far exceeds the permissible limit under
the National Bank Act. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Jeffrey D. Kaliel, Esq.
      KALIEL PLLC
      1875 Connecticut Avenue NW, 10th Floor
      Washington, DC 20009
      Tel: (202) 615-3948
      Email: jkaliel@kalielpllc.com


JV REGRADING LLC: Denied "Mancia" Overtime Pay
----------------------------------------------
Marta Mancia, and all others similarly situated under 29 U.S.C
206(B), Plaintiff, v. J.V. Regrading, LLC, CAP Services, LLC, S&A
Regrading, LLC, Juan C. Vasquez, Alfred Caporale and Soccoro
Restrepo, individually, Case No. 17-cv-24490, (S.D. Fla.,
December 12, 2017), seeks damages against Defendants, for lost
and withheld compensation, overtime compensation for all hours
that she worked for Defendants over forty hours per week,
liquidated damages, reasonable attorney's fees, costs, interest
and expenses of this litigation and any other further relief
under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938.

J.V. and S&A are regrading service providers owned by Juan
Vasquez, Alfred Caporale and Soccoro Restrepo that did work for
CAP.

Defendants jointly employed Plaintiff as a non-exempt laborer
since 2011 through December 2, 2016, earning a minimum wage
throughout the entire course of her employment, regularly working
an average of sixty hours per week, forty regular hours and
twenty overtime hours. Defendants failed/refused to pay to
Plaintiff the federally-required overtime rate for the overtime
hours she worked, says the complaint. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

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


HANIL DEVELOPMENT: "Hahn" Suit Settlement, Dismissal Affirmed
-------------------------------------------------------------
In the case, HARRY HAHN et al., Plaintiffs and Respondents, v.
HANIL DEVELOPMENT, INC. et al., Defendants and Respondents; MYUNG
JA KANG et al., Objectors and Appellants, Case No. B268596 (Cal.
App.), Judge Luis A. Lavin of the Court of Appeals of California
for the Second District, Division Three, dismissed the Objectors'
appeal on the trial court's judgment approving the settlement of
a class action lawsuit and dismissing the action brought by the
Representative Plaintiffs against the Defendants.

According to the operative complaint, each of the class members
purchased a membership to Aroma Spa Resort located in the
Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles.  They paid initiation fees
ranging between $10,000 and $30,000 in exchange for either a 10-
year or lifetime membership at Aroma.  The complaint asserted the
memberships violated the Health Studio Services Act and the
Unfair Competition Law.

The Representative Plaintiffs initiated the class action on Aug.
30, 2011, and filed the operative complaint on May 11, 2012.  The
trial court certified a class of all individuals and/or families
who purchased lifetime memberships and 10-year memberships at
Aroma during the period of November 2000 to present.  The cause
was extensively litigated but the parties ultimately negotiated a
settlement shortly before the trial was to take place.  The court
granted the Representative Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary
approval of the settlement on April 10, 2015, and set July 10,
2015 as the deadline for class members to object or reject the
terms of the settlement.  More than 100 of the 301 class members
objected to the settlement.

On July 16, 2015, a group of 10 class members filed a motion
asserting that one of the Representative Plaintiffs promised them
a greater recovery than was provided by the settlement.  The
class members requested that the court retroactively extend the
date to opt out of the class action so they could then opt out of
the class.  The court denied the motion.

Meanwhile, the Representative Plaintiffs filed a motion for final
approval of the settlement.  The same 10 class members submitted
a written opposition to the motion.  After hearing argument, the
court requested and received supplemental briefing from the 10
class members and the parties.  On Oct. 2, 2015, the court
granted the motion for final approval of the class action
settlement and dismissed the action pursuant to the terms of the
settlement agreement.  A timely notice of appeal was filed on
behalf of 94 objecting class members.

Judge Lavin holds that the fact that unnamed class members have
the opportunity to object to a settlement before it is approved
and judgment is entered by the trial court provides a safeguard
for the class where no trier of fact determines the outcome of
the case.  That safeguard is plainly unnecessary in the event a
class action cause proceeds to trial.  But he sees nothing about
this procedural distinction which would, in and of itself, confer
standing to appeal on unnamed class members who choose not to
become parties of record -- and who thereby avoid shouldering the
responsibilities of the class representatives.

In addition, after the court certified the class, the class
members were advised that they may choose to remain in the class
or to opt out of it.  Further, they were informed that they would
be bound by the outcome of the lawsuit unless they requested to
be excluded from the class.  If they elected to opt out of the
class, however, the class members would not be bound by any
judgment and could file a separate lawsuit against the
Defendants.  Having elected to stay in the class, or having
failed to opt out in a timely manner, the Objectors cannot be
heard to complain on appeal that they are bound by the judgment.

Because he finds that the Objectors lack standing to appeal, the
Judge does not reach their contentions with respect to the merits
of the appeal.  Further, he rejects the Objectors' suggestion
that he should stay the appeal until the Supreme Court issues a
decision in Hernandez v. Muller.  He says the appropriate course
is for the Objectors to file a petition for review with the
Supreme Court and allow that court to consider what relief, if
any, is appropriate.

For these reasons, Judge Lavin dismissed the appeal.  In the
interests of justice, no costs are awarded on appeal.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Opinion is
available at https://is.gd/i0Tr9g from Leagle.com.

Moon & Dorsett, Dana M. Dorsett and Jeremy Cook --
dm@danamoon.com -- for Objectors and Appellants.

Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack and Steven J. Lipscomb --
slipscomb@elllaw.com -- Law Offices of Henry H. Bahk and Henry H.
Bahk; Stalwart Law Group, Paul A. Traina -- paul@stalwartlaw.com
-- and Ian P. Samson -- ian@stalwartlaw.com -- for Plaintiffs and
Respondents.

Lee, Hong, Degerman, Kang & Waimey, Douglas Smith --
dsmith@lhlaw.com -- Yvonne Dalton -- yvonne.dalton@lhlaw.com --
and Matthew J. Soroky -- msoroky@lewitthackman.com -- for
Defendants and Respondents.


HEALTH INSURANCE: CIOE Securities Suit Transferred to M.D. Fla.
---------------------------------------------------------------
The case captioned CIOE Investments Inc., Individually and on
behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. Health
Insurance Innovations, Inc., Gavin D. Southwell and Michael D.
Hershberger, Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-05316 (E.D. N.Y.,
September 11, 2017), was transferred to the U.S. District Court
for the Middle District of Florida on December 12, 2017, under
Case No. 17-cv-02980.

Plaintiff seeks to recover compensable damages caused by
Defendants' violations of the federal securities laws and to
pursue remedies under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934.

Health Insurance Innovations operates as a developer,
distributor, and administrator of cloud-based individual health
and family insurance plans, and supplemental products in the
United States. It failed to disclose that its application for a
third-party insurance administrators license with the Florida
Office of Insurance Regulation was denied due in part to material
errors and omissions and that the possibility that its
application in other states would be denied as well given the
same premises. On this news, its shares fell $6.55 per share, or
almost 22%, from its previous closing price to close at $23.35
per share on September 11, 2017.

Plaintiff claims to have purchased Health Insurance Innovations
securities at artificially inflated prices and lost substantially
upon the revelation of the alleged corrective disclosures. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Phillip Kim, Esq.
      Laurence M. Rosen, Esq.
      THE ROSEN LAW FIRM, P.A.
      275 Madison Ave., 34th Floor
      New York, NY 10016
      Telephone: (212) 686-1060
      Fax: (212) 202-3827
      Email: lrosen@rosenlegal.com
             pkim@rosenlegal.com

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is represented by:

      Robert Allen Scher
      FOLEY & LARDNER LLP
      90 Park Avenue, 37th Floor
      New York, NY 10016
      Tel: (212) 682-7474
      Fax: (212) 687-2329
      Email: rscher@foley.com


HERR'S: Faces "Slack-Fill" Packaging Class Action in New York
-------------------------------------------------------------
John O'Brien, writing for Forbes, reports that though it might
look like the world's worst attempt at a bribe, Herr's had a
reason to send a couple of empty potato chip bags to a federal
judge presiding over a class action lawsuit against it.

The company has been sued by a prolific New York City lawyer,
described by one of his opponents as the orchestrator of
"shakedown" lawsuits, over how full its bags of chips are.

And the company says attorney C.K. Lee's complaint measured its
bags incorrectly.

"Plaintiffs' failure to accurately measure bag heights is deeply
troubling on a number of levels," attorneys for the company wrote
earlier in 2017 when they asked U.S. District Judge Frederic
Block to dismiss the case.

"If the plaintiffs can't accurately measure the height of bags
based on a horizontal line of measurement, how can it be assumed
that their self-reporting of the alleged 'heights' of chips of
uneven disposition and shape in those bags are reliable and
plausible?"

That lawsuit, like many of Lee's, alleges Herr's packaging
contains too much air -- known as "slack-fill."  Plaintiffs in
these cases claim they were misled by the discrepancy between the
size of the package and the amount of product within.

Ordinarily, defendants quickly settle by paying off the lead
plaintiff and his or her attorney before a class is ever
certified.  Even a demand letter, issued by plaintiffs lawyers
before a lawsuit, can bring in tens of thousands of dollars.

Lee is hardly the only attorney making money on these cases,
which have been on the rise in recent years.  The law firm
Perkins Coie concluded that 30 were filed in 2015 and 37 in 2016.

Among the products mentioned in these cases are Jolly Ranchers,
Hot Tamales, Mike and Ikes, Whoppers, Ice Breakers, Reese's
Pieces and pepper.

Unlike the term "natural," slack-fill has an official definition
from the FDA, but defendants argue it can be necessary and
useful.  Plus, labels show the products' weight and how many
servings are inside.

Still, plaintiffs lawyers have pushed their theories on many
companies -- a few of them, like Herr's, are even putting up a
fight.

Stacking fish

Traditional defenses to slack-fill cases include arguments over
whether the plaintiff has standing, whether a reasonable consumer
would be misled by the packaging and whether the slack-fill
serves a function.

Sometimes, though, companies are forced to simplify.  The maker
of Swedish Fish recently told a judge that its packaging isn't
misleading, but the pictures provided by the plaintiff of it are.

The picture below that was provided in the complaint aimed to
show how much empty space comes in a package of Swedish Fish.

"But the amount of slack-fill is exaggerated in Plaintiff's
picture because the candies are apparently stacked on top of each
other such that they exceed the width of the box," attorneys for
Mondelez International wrote earlier in 2017 in a motion to
dismiss.

"If the candies are laid flat (as they must to fit into the box),
the amount of slack-fill is minimal and tailored to its
functional purposes."

Judge Margo Brodie, of the Eastern District of New York, has not
issued a decision on Mondelez's motion.  In fact, very little has
occurred in the case since June.

Another picture Mondelez provided highlighted the nutrition
chart, showing seven pieces per serving and two servings per box.
How can a consumer be misled by packaging that discloses
approximately how many pieces are inside?

"Because the box allows (and, in fact, inevitably requires) the
consumer to hear and feel any empty space contained within, the
product is not deceptive as a matter of law.  Plaintiff cannot
rely on willful blindness to pursue his claims," the company
wrote.

"In sum, Plaintiff focuses exclusively on the size of the Swedish
Fish box while ignoring the express disclosures of weight and
serving size, the rustling of the contents inside, and the fact
that a consumer can easily press the thin cardboard box to feel
the contents."

Lee says Mondelez is "dancing on a needlepoint to support its
position."

"Plaintiff, as a reasonable consumer, expected far more candy in
her product because similar candy has more candy per box," he
wrote.

"Plaintiff knows that comparable products have less slack-fill
than Defendant's, and reasonably infers that, at minimum, the
slack-fill in the product that is in excess of comparable
candies' is non-functional."

Mondelez has already defeated at least one slack-fill case,
earning a victory on Oct. 26 in Lee's lawsuit over Sour Patch
Kids candy.  Lee alleged 44 percent of the packaging is empty
space with no legitimate purpose, but Judge Colleen McMahon
dismissed all claims.

Lee's plaintiff could not establish a claim for injury, even
after arguing Sour Patch Kids are more expensive per ounce than
other candies on the market.

"Comparing the candy to Hot Tamales and Junior Mints is the
saccharine equivalent of comparing apples with oranges," she
wrote.

"Such a comparison tells the court nothing about the value of the
candy, or whether the cost of the candy was inflated by
Mondelez's allegedly misleading packaging.  Rather, Plaintiffs
have impermissibly set up the deception as both act and injury, a
theory specifically disallowed by our courts."

Trial dates

A company that sells dried fruit is actually suing class action
lawyers before they could file their lawsuit after receiving a
letter demanding $28,000.

Fruit Bliss is also wondering how packaging that is flat and
allows customers to feel how much of it is filled with dates
could be the subject of a slack-fill case that Scott Ferrell of
Pacific Trial Attorneys threatened and eventually filed.

The company says it is one of many small- to medium-sized
businesses in New York being threatened by groundless demand
letters from plaintiffs attorneys who are threatening class
actions if their settlement demands aren't met.

"The latest flavor of the month is the 'slack-fill' threat where
businesses are peppered with dubious assertions devoid of fact
that their product contains impermissible slack-fill," attorneys
for the company wrote in their August complaint.

"Fruit Bliss, and likely the rest of the food industry, has had
enough of this new troll mill which is nothing more than a scheme
to rake in cash for attorneys and their so-called 'lead'
plaintiffs."

The product in question comes in 6x9-inch re-sealable, zip-lock
style bags that are flat until the customer opens them for the
first time.  Inside are five ounces of dried dates.

"By definition, there is no impermissible slack-fill since the
package is not 'puffy' or filled with air as to deceive a
consumer," the company says.

It remains to be seen whether Judge Dora Lizette Irizarry will
issue a declaratory judgment that says Fruit Bliss can't be sued
over slack-fill.  The company has recently discovered Anthony
Buso as the plaintiff threatening it.

Buso's class action, which he filed a month after Fruit Bliss
filed its lawsuit, is his fourth lawsuit in 2017.  Fruit Bliss
says that complaint is a "copy-and-paste job" of the others.

"Common sense dictates that Plaintiff has likely sent more
spurious demand letters with meritless slack-fill claims, some he
has no doubt settled to his advantage," the company says.

Attorneys for Buso say the company is bullying him and that the
New York court lacks jurisdiction.  They have urged that court to
dismiss Fruit Bliss' lawsuit, while Fruit Bliss has asked a
California judge to do the same with Buso's.

It's hard to tell if the whole thing is headed for a settlement.
After Buso's lawyers sent their demand letter, Fruit Bliss'
counter-offer was that Buso pay it $8,000.

Wrapped up in lawsuits

Some judges have refused to dismiss slack-fill lawsuits like the
one that continues against the maker of Mike and Ike and Hot
Tamales candies. A class action settlement with StarKist shows
how lucrative these cases can be.

StarKist agreed to pay $12 million, and plaintiffs attorneys are
taking more than $3.5 million. The lead plaintiff even got
$5,000.

So, plaintiffs attorneys who are looking for another big score
will continue to seek out targets.  As sandwich shop Pret A
Manger, sued over the size of its wraps, and Tootsie Roll
Industries, facing legal action over the amount of Junior Mints
in its boxes, have found out, any packaging could lead to
litigation.

To defend itself, Pret is using the Sour Patch Kids decision to
bolster its technical arguments. But as it whittles any slack-
fill issues down to a more basic level, the company is forced to
point fingers at its own workers.

The simple explanation? Maybe, every once in a while, someone
messes up.

"For a wrap to have slack-fill as Plaintiffs have alleged, it can
only be the result of human error in the preparation, rolling,
cutting and/or packaging of the individual wrap -- an error made
contrary to Pret's express directions by the specific individual
who prepared that wrap by hand . . ." the company wrote in a
recent motion to dismiss. [GN]


HSBC BANK: Giron Appeals C.D. California Ruling to Ninth Circuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs Ramiro Giron, Nicolas J. Herrera and Orlando Antonio
Mendez filed an appeal from a court ruling in their lawsuit
titled Ramiro Giron, et al. v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., et al., Case
No. 2:15-cv-08869-ODW-JC, in the U.S. District Court for the
Central District of California, Los Angeles.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter on Dec. 12,
2017, Judge Otis D. Wright, II, granted the Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment, denied the Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify
Class, and denied as moot the Defendant's Motion for Sanctions
and the Plaintiffs' Motion to Strike and Exclude.

The Plaintiffs seek to represent a putative class of individuals
who invested and lost money with any of the WCM777 entities by
transferring or having their money transferred to one of the
WCM777 accounts at HSBC Hong Kong.  The Named Plaintiffs did not
own an account with HSBC USA, and did not wire transfer any money
through HSBC USA.  Instead, they allege HSBC USA is liable
because it wire transferred other people's money to WCM777's HSBC
Hong Kong bank accounts.  The Plaintiffs argue that because HSBC
USA provided a way for other victims to wire money to the
fraudulent scheme, they aided and abetted WCM777's fraudulent
activities.

On Jan. 11, 2016, the Plaintiffs filed an Amended Class Action
Complaint alleging five claims for relief against HSBC USA and
HSBC Hong Kong, including: (i) aiding and abetting fraud; (ii)
aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty; (iii) aiding and
abetting an endless chain scheme; (iv) violations of the
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"); and
(v) violations of California's Unfair Competition Law ("UCL").
The Plaintiffs subsequently filed additional amended complaints,
and the Defendants filed responsive pleadings challenging the
sufficiency of the Plaintiffs' allegations.

The appellate case is captioned as Ramiro Giron, et al. v. HSBC
Bank USA, N.A., et al., Case No. 17-56866, 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 12, 2018;

   -- Transcript is due on February 12, 2018;

   -- Appellants Ramiro Giron, Nicolas J. Herrera and Orlando
      Antonio Mendez's opening brief is due on March 23, 2018;

   -- Appellees Does and HSBC Bank USA, N.A.'s answering brief is
      due on April 23, 2018; and

   -- Appellant's optional reply brief is due 21 days after
      service of the answering brief.[BN]

Plaintiffs-Appellants RAMIRO GIRON, NICOLAS J. HERRERA and
ORLANDO ANTONIO MENDEZ, On behalf of themselves and a class of
all others similarly situated, are represented by:

          Julio Joaquin Ramos, Jr., Esq.
          LAW OFFICES OF JULIO RAMOS
          35 Grove Street Suite 107
          San Francisco, CA 94102
          Telephone: (415) 948-3015
          E-mail: ramosfortrustee@yahoo.com

Defendant-Appellee HSBC BANK USA, N.A., a national banking
association, is represented by:

          Stuart M. Richter, Esq.
          Gregory S. Korman, I, Esq.
          KATTEN MUCHIN ROSENMAN LLP
          2029 Century Park East
          Los Angeles, CA 90067
          Telephone: (310) 788-4582
          E-mail: stuart.richter@kattenlaw.com
                  greg.korman@kattenlaw.com


IDS PROPERTY: Ninth Circuit Appeal Filed in "Achziger" Class Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiff Gene Achziger filed an appeal from a court ruling in
the lawsuit entitled Gene Achziger v. IDS Property Casualty
Insurance Company, AKA Ameriprise, Case No. 3:14-cv-05445-BHS, in
the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington,
Tacoma.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter on Dec. 12,
2017, the District Court granted the Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment in the case.

Plaintiff Gene Achziger filed a class action complaint against
IDS in Pierce County Superior Court asserting claims against IDS
for breach of contract and violations of the Washington Consumer
Protection Act (CPA).

The appellate case is captioned as Gene Achziger v. IDS Property
Casualty Insurance Company, AKA Ameriprise, Case No. 17-35996, 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 11, 2018;

   -- Transcript is due on February 12, 2018;

   -- Petitioner Gene Achziger's opening brief is due on
      March 22, 2018;

   -- Respondent IDS Property Casualty Insurance Company's
      answering brief is due on April 23, 2018; and

   -- Appellant's optional reply brief is due 21 days after
      service of the answering brief.[BN]

Plaintiff-Petitioner GENE ACHZIGER, individually and as the
representative of all persons similarly situated, is represented
by:

          Stephen M. Hansen, Esq.
          LAW OFFICES OF STEPHEN M. HANSEN, P.S.
          1821 Dock Street, Suite 103
          Tacoma, WA 98402
          Telephone: (253) 302-5955
          E-mail: steve@stephenmhansenlaw.com

               - and -

          Charles Clinton Hunter, Esq.
          HAYES HUNTER, PC
          4265 San Felipe, Suite 1000
          Houston, TX 77027
          Telephone: (281) 768-4731
          E-mail: chunter@hayeshunterlaw.com

Defendant-Respondent IDS PROPERTY CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, AKA
Ameriprise, is represented by:

          Fletcher C. Alford, Esq.
          Jordan Shae Altura, Esq.
          GORDON REES LLP
          275 Battery Street, Suite 2000
          San Francisco, CA 94111
          Telephone: (415) 986-5900
          E-mail: falford@grsm.com
                  jaltura@grsm.com

               - and -

          Shannon Wodnik, Esq.
          GORDON & REES LLP
          701 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2100
          Seattle, WA 98104
          Telephone: (206) 695-5100
          E-mail: swodnik@grsm.com


KIKI: 400 remaining Survivors, Relatives Can't Bring Claims
-----------------------------------------------------------
Christopher Patz, writing for Open Democracy, reports that the
European Commission proposes that consumers should be able to
take class actions in future, in the wake of the VW Dieselgate
scandal.  But it has forgotten other victims of corporate harm.

A fire in a textile factory in Pakistan killed over 260 workers
on 11 September 2012. The workers were producing directly for the
German clothes retailer KiK! ("Kunde ist Konig!" or Consumer is
King!) in a building without fire alarms, emergency exits, or
fire extinguishers.  Of the roughly four hundred relatives and
injured survivors, only four were able to afford to bring claims
for compensation against the clothes brand in Germany, financed
by German NGOs.  These four separate claims all argue the same
thing: the brand broke its duty to ensure the factory had fire
safety measures in place.  In August 2016, German judges accepted
jurisdiction over the cases and granted the four individuals
legal aid.

Now, at the end of 2017, the roughly 400 remaining survivors and
relatives are time-barred from bringing more cases, as they were
unable to raise the necessary funds in time.

Collective redress (also known as "class action") is a procedure
allowing many individuals to bring their judicial claims together
in a single proceeding against a common defendant.  It economises
the proceedings for claimants by enabling them to run the one
same case for many, at roughly the same financial cost and risk.
It economises the functioning of the judiciary, as numerous
identical claims are dealt with together, thereby saving the
courts time and resources.

Had collective redress been available in Germany, all fire
survivors and relatives of the deceased workers could have
brought one combined claim against Consumer is King!. However it
isn't, and its availability across EU Member States is a
disharmonised patchwork.  The Consumer is King! case is just one
current example from an EU Member State where the lack of
collective address has resulted in the denial of access to
justice for hundreds of people having suffered grievous harm.

In October 2017 the European Commission announced plans for EU-
wide legislation for collective redress.  But unlike previous,
non-binding efforts from the Commission that applied to all
victims of corporate harm, the current binding proposal is only
for consumers.  So if people who bought jeans from Consumer is
King! somehow suffered harm as a result (say, the jeans didn't
perform the way they were advertised), they could join together
and claim their rights against the company as the consumers of
its products.  But those who made the jeans, or any others
suffering harm as a result of the company's malpractice
(hypothetically say, a factory waste spill, or discriminatory
hiring practices), are not afforded the right.

Whilst it is very clear the Commission's proposal comes in
response to the VW Dieselgate scandal (where consumers in the US
were able to obtain billions in compensation, whilst those in the
EU struggle to obtain anything), it is far from clear why others
harmed by gross business misconduct are excluded from the
proposal.

One study has found that over half of the companies listed on the
UK FTSE 100, France's CAC 40 and the German DAX 30 have been
identified in allegations or concerns regarding adverse human
rights impacts.  Without question, not all these allegations or
concerns would meet the requisite standard of proof required by a
court in order to order compensation.  Nonetheless the numbers
are alarming, and testify to the reality that whilst
globalisation has granted corporations much freedom of operation,
rules for their accountability and the protection of the people
they harm lag behind.

Harm caused by large corporate entities seriously affects all
manner of people.  When a mine barrage breaks and 100,000 square
meters of cyanide laced water spills into the Danube river
system, huge numbers of people suffer as a result. In 2000,
collective redress was not available for the Romanian and
Hungarian victims of the worst environmental disaster in Europe
since Chernobyl.  It isn't today, and indeed it still wouldn't be
under the Commission's current proposed legislation.

Similar situations persist in cases of discrimination, labour
abuse, violations of anti-trust law as well as data protection.
The disharmonised patchwork of collective redress across the EU
also has a negative impact on fair competition, as varied
corporate exposure to deterrent (injunctive) and corrective
(compensatory) action across Member States means some companies
are more easily subjected to class-action litigation than others,
depending on where they operate within the single market.  This
is creating an unfair playing field for companies.

Compared to consumer cases, the barriers to justice in corporate
environmental harm and human rights cases are typically even more
extreme.  To begin with, such cases require masses of expert
evidence, testimony, and studies in order to prove causation of
harm; they involve prolonged legal fees, not to mention the
intimidating prospect of financial ruin in the event of loss (the
loser-pays principle standard to EU legal systems means a
claimant must pay the defendant's legal costs if the claimant
loses).  For a corporate defendant on the other hand, the
decision to litigate is often hardly even a matter for
consideration. 69 of the world's 100 largest economies are
corporations, not nation-states. Such a disempowering set of
circumstances often leaves individuals with claims against large
corporate entities with a convenient and oft-proclaimed right to
access justice and remedy on paper, but not in practice.

The worldwide deficit concerning access to remedy in cases of
harm occasioned by corporations is real and significant.  It has
been acknowledged by the international community and is the
subject of one of the tree pillars of the United Nations Guiding
Principles on Business & Human Rights (UNGPs), a breakthrough,
yet non-binding international instrument agreed by the UN Human
Rights Council in 2011 and endorsed by all major European
countries as well as the EU itself.  The UNGPs confirm that
States have a duty to ensure the effective functioning of their
judicial systems for victims of business harm. This means
addressing the clear and blatant power imbalances between
individual claimants and large, well-resourced corporations.

Allowing individual claimants the right to bring their cases
together is a concrete and effective way to fulfil this state
duty, and gives tangible practical effect to the right to
effective remedy for victims.  Indeed, it is a plea being made by
international and European human rights bodies and public
agencies including the Council of Europe, the EU Fundamental
Rights Agency, the European Economic and Social Committee as well
as a diverse cross-section of civil society and various MEPs.

By crowning the consumer king, the EU commission ignores the
legitimate right to remedy for all other people suffering serious
harm occasioned by irresponsible corporate conduct.  Europe can
still seize the opportunity to make equal the right to effective
remedy for all those harmed by business malpractice. [GN]


LIBERTY TAX: Feb. 13 Lead Plaintiff Motion Deadline Set
-------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP on Dec. 20 disclosed
that a federal securities class action lawsuit has been filed
against Liberty Tax, Inc. ("Liberty Tax" or the "Company")
(NASDAQ:TAX) and certain of its officers, on behalf of
shareholders who purchased Liberty Tax securities between June
29, 2016 and December 11, 2017, both dates inclusive ("Class
Period").  The case has been filed in the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Investors who have incurred losses in Liberty Tax, Inc. are urged
to contact the firm immediately at classmember@whafh.com or (800)
575-0735 or (212) 545-4774. You may obtain additional information
concerning the action on our website, www.whafh.com

If you have incurred losses in the shares of Liberty Tax, Inc.
and would like to assist with the litigation process as a lead
plaintiff, you may, no later than February 13, 2018, request that
the Court appoint you lead plaintiff of the proposed class.
Please contact Wolf Haldenstein to learn more about your rights
as an investor in Liberty Tax, Inc.

The complaint alleges that Defendants made false and/or
misleading statements and failed to disclose that:

   -- Liberty Tax's former CEO John T. Hewitt created an
inappropriate tone at the top of the organization;

   -- the inappropriate tone at the top led to ineffective entity
level controls over the organization; and

   -- consequently, defendants' statements about Liberty Tax's
business, operations and prospects were materially false and
misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis at all relevant
times.

On September 6, 2017, Liberty Tax announced that its founder and
Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") John T. Hewitt had been
terminated.  On November 7, 2017, Liberty Tax announced the
resignation of Kathleen Donovan, its Vice President and Chief
Financial Officer.  On this news, shares of Liberty Tax fell
$2.25 per share or over 16% from its previous closing price to
close at $11.00 per share on November 8, 2017.

Subsequently, on December 11, 2017, Liberty Tax filed a Form 8-K
with the SEC, reporting that KPMG LLP resigned as its independent
registered public accounting firm and that Liberty Tax will delay
the filing of its quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter
ended October 31, 2017.  KPMG reportedly expressed concerns
regarding internal controls over financial reporting as related
to the integrity and tone at the top set by Liberty Tax's former
CEO John T. Hewitt.

Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP has extensive
experience in the prosecution of securities class actions and
derivative litigation in state and federal trial and appellate
courts across the country.  The firm has attorneys in various
practice areas; and offices in New York, Chicago and San Diego.
The reputation and expertise of this firm in shareholder and
other class litigation has been repeatedly recognized by the
courts, which have appointed it to major positions in complex
securities multi-district and consolidated litigation.

If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions
regarding your rights and interests in this case, please
immediately contact Wolf Haldenstein by telephone at
(800) 575-0735, via e-mail at classmember@whafh.com or visit our
website at www.whafh.com [GN]


LOBLAW COS: Faces Class Action Over Alleged Bread Price-Fixing
--------------------------------------------------------------
Marina Strauss, writing for The Globe and Mail, reports that
Grocery giant Loblaw Cos. Ltd. has admitted to participating in a
scheme to increase packaged bread prices for more than 14 years,
saying it will co-operate with a Competition Bureau investigation
into the industry.

And Loblaw says it will start offering $25 gift cards on Jan. 8
to customers who declare they bought certain (as yet unnamed)
breads at some of its (as yet unnamed) chains before March 1,
2015 -- a gesture that the company says could cost as much as
$150-million.

How to receive a $25 Loblaw card after bread price-fixing
arrangement

The parent of Loblaw, George Weston Ltd., which owns bread-maker
Weston Bakeries, also admitted to participating in the price-
fixing -- and said another major bread producer and other big
grocery chains were also involved.  Loblaw said it would provide
more details on gift-card eligibility in January.

Loblaw's revelations come amid a bureau criminal probe into bread
price-fixing and the acknowledgment this fall by major
supermarket retailers, as well as Canada Bread Co. Ltd., this
country's other major bread producer along with Weston Bakeries,
that they were co-operating in the bureau's inquiry.

"This sort of behaviour is wrong and has no place in our business
or Canada's grocery industry," Galen G. Weston, chairman and
chief executive office of both Loblaw and George Weston, said in
a statement late on Dec. 19.

Loblaw and George Weston provided information under the bureau's
"immunity and leniency" program, which gives incentives for
parties in exchange for "co-operation against others involved in
the cartel," bureau spokesman Marcus Callaghan said.

As a result of their co-operation, Loblaw and George Weston will
not face criminal charges or other penalties in the continuing
investigation, the companies said. Montreal-based Metro, Sobeys
and Canada Bread have all said they are co-operating with the
investigation.

In a statement on Dec. 19, Metro said it continues to co-operate
fully and has launched an internal investigation.  The grocer
said it has "found no evidence" that it violated the Competition
Act and does not believe that the probe will have a "material
adverse effect" on its business.

Sobeys Inc. said in an e-mail on Dec. 19 it has "no reason to
believe that Sobeys, nor any of its employees, have been involved
in price-fixing."  Sobeys said that Loblaw's "reckless assertion
of industrywide price fixing has not been validated."

Penalties for price-fixing include fines of up to $24-million,
imprisonment of a maximum of 14 years, or both, Mr. Callaghan
said.

Bread producers and retailers have felt the heat of intense
discounting of products such as bread -- which is often used as a
so-called loss leader -- as well as the pinch of consumers
shifting away from buying bread as they seek alternatives that
are considered healthier.

Loblaw estimated that the gift cards would cost it between $75-
million and $150-million, which suggests that consumers will use
between three million to six million cards.

Loblaw plans to take a charge for the expense in its fourth
quarter and further charges may be taken at both Loblaw and
George Weston once estimates of civil damages are better
understood.

Civil class-action suits have been filed against Loblaw,
George Weston and other industry companies involved, said
Irene Nattel, retail analyst at RBC Dominion Securities.  Loblaw
and George Weston remain open to a reasonable settlement, Mr.
Weston said.

"Although the disclosure that Loblaw and Weston participated in
industrywide price-fixing involving certain packaged bread
products is disappointing, the companies did act as highly
responsible corporate citizens in reporting the issue to the
Competition Bureau immediately upon discovery of the scheme,"
Mr. Nattel said in a note.

Overwaitea Food Group of Langley, B.C., participated in the
inquiry as a "fact witness" helping the bureau in its probe but
"we were not a target of the investigation," Overwaitea
spokeswoman Julie Dickson said.

Spokespersons for Wal-Mart Canada Corp. and Canada Bread said
this fall that they were co-operating with the investigation. A
Sobeys spokeswoman confirmed in November that bureau officials
were in its offices checking records under the probe's search
warrants. Wal-Mart and could not be reached late on Dec. 19.

"Canada Bread and its associates operate with the highest ethical
standards and is cooperating with the investigation," Canada
Bread spokeswoman Sylvia Sicuso said in an e-mailed statement.
"Neither the company nor any associates have been charged with
any offences."

The probe is looking into pricing activities dating back to 2001
of the two bread suppliers and Loblaw, Sobeys and Metro, in that
ranking order of major grocers, along with discounters Wal-Mart
and Giant Tiger, according to information obtained by The Globe
and Mail in late October from a search warrant in the
investigation.

Loblaw said on Dec. 19 that court filings about the bureau's
searches were made available to the affected companies earlier in
the day, prompting Loblaw and George Weston to disclose their
part in the price-fixing.

When first discovering this anti-competitive behaviour in March
of 2015, Loblaw and George Weston immediately reported it to the
bureau and subsequently co-operated fully with it, the companies
said.

They said they have taken actions to address the role in
industry-wide price-fixing of bread. Loblaw runs such chains as
Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills and Provigo.

The bread price-fixing took place from late 2001 to March of
2015.

Loblaw and George Weston said their knowledge of the
investigation is limited and they have been co-operating with it
as "an immunity applicant" since March of 2015, under a
requirement to keep the information confidential.  The court
filings with more details about the inquiry remain sealed, they
said.

The employees responsible for Weston Bakeries' and Loblaw's role
in the price-fixing are no longer with the companies, they said.

Loblaw and George Weston said they have tightened up measures to
prevent a similar price-fixing occurrence from happening again,
going further than the bureau's own requirements, including more
training and certification.

The companies set up a new independent compliance office, led by
a chief compliance officer, to make sure they follow competition
laws. [GN]


LOBLAW COS: Remains Vulnerable to Price-Fixing Class Actions
------------------------------------------------------------
Hollie Shaw, writing for Financial Post, reports that Loblaw Cos.
Ltd. may have obtained immunity from criminal charges after
blowing the whistle on former employees involved in a 14-year
scheme to fix bread prices, but the retailer remains vulnerable
to class-action lawsuits.

Loblaw and its bread-producing parent company George Weston
confirmed on Dec. 19 that they were behind a tip-off to the
Competition Bureau about an alleged industry-wide price-fixing
scheme that affected packaged bread prices between 2001 and 2015.

As a follow-up goodwill gesture, Loblaw also announced that
customers can sign up through e-mail to receive a $25 gift card
from Canada's biggest grocery company that can be used before
May.

But with many unanswered questions related to the other
participants in the scheme and the financial extent of the
collusion, the price-fixing drama is expected play out for far
longer than that.

"The investigation into price fixing in relation to packaged
bread products is negative for all industry participants," retail
analyst Keith Howlett said in a research note on Dec. 20, while
noting that investigations into price-fixing and any related
prosecutions thereafter can take several years.

Price-fixing cases related to retail fuel prices in
Victoriaville, Thetford Mines and Sherbrooke in 2008 are still
ongoing for some defendants, Mr. Howlett noted.

Thus far, class action lawsuits have been launched in Quebec and
Ontario, with the latter seeking $1 billion in damages and $100
million in punitive damages.  The Ontario suit brought by Toronto
firm Strosberg Sasso Sutts alleges Loblaw, and other retailers
Sobeys Inc., Metro Inc., Walmart Canada Corp., Giant Tiger Stores
Ltd., bread producers Canada Bread and Weston Foods and their
parent corporations conspired to fix the price of packaged bread
in Canada since 2001.

Corporate boards are becoming increasingly attuned to cultural
oversight and so-called 'market conduct risk' within companies,
said Richard LeBlanc, a professor of law, governance and ethics
at York University -- how the negative actions of employees
inside an organization can impact the corporation.  "It shows
leadership of Loblaw to come forward and be candid and it sets
the tone for everybody in the industry to come forward and act.
The awarding of these ($25) cards signals an intent to remedy,
but it won't insulate them from class action lawsuits."

Loblaw said on Dec. 19 that the $25 gift card should not be
viewed as an estimate of legal damages.

The retailer estimates the offer will cost it up to $150 million
this quarter, depending on how many customers apply for one, and
"to be an offset against civil liability Loblaw may face in this
matter."

As yet, it is not clear what other businesses were involved in
the alleged collusion.  In addition to Weston Bakeries, Canada
Bread and several retailers including Metro, Sobeys and Walmart
confirmed that they were co-operating with the Bureau's probe
when it was announced in October.

After Loblaw and George Weston made the announcement on Dec. 19,
Metro and Sobeys both said neither company had reason to believe
they violated the Competition Act and that both were co-operating
with authorities.

"Although Loblaw Companies Limited and George Weston Limited have
acknowledged wrongdoing by their companies and certain of their
employees, it is important to note that their reckless assertion
of industry-wide price fixing has not been validated," added
Cynthia Thompson, a spokeswoman at Sobeys, in an emailed comment
on Dec. 20.

Strosberg Sasso Sutts said the move to have the class-action
lawsuit certified will proceed even though questions remain about
what other industry players were involved.

"There will be very little about this conspiracy that we will not
be able to uncover through the civil process," said
David Wingfield, a lawyer at the firm and former head of the
Competition Bureau's legal services.  The class action will have
to be certified before the discovery process of the civil suit
can proceed. Certification could happen in the next six months,
the firm said.

Loblaw said on Dec. 20 that people who redeem the $25 gift card
will not have to refrain from participating from seeking
settlements in the class action lawsuit.

"Getting compensation in situations like this can take many
years, while our $25 card will be available more immediately,"
said company spokesman Kevin Groh.  "The card is an effort to
show our customers that we take this issue and their trust
seriously.  Even if they accept our offer, customers can still
receive additional compensation from us or any of the other
retailers named in class action lawsuits." [GN]


LOBLAW COS: Bread Price Fixing Class Action Commenced
-----------------------------------------------------
Irene Brockton, a resident of Elliot Lake, Ontario and an anti-
poverty activist, has started a proposed class action in the
Ontario Superior Court of Justice seeking $1 billion in damages
on behalf of all Canadian purchasers of bread and other packaged
baked goods.

On December 19, 2017, George Weston Ltd. and Loblaw Companies
Ltd. revealed in a joint statement that they participated in an
industry-wide bread price-fixing arrangement that lasted at least
14 years, beginning in late 2001. The Canadian Competition Bureau
is conducting a criminal investigation into the allegations.

In addition to Loblaws, the following retailers are under
investigation by the Competition Bureau: Metro, Sobeys, Wal-Mart,
Giant Tiger.

In addition to George Weston Ltd. (which bakes bread under
various labels including Wonder, Weston, Country Harvest) the
class action targets Canada Bread (which includes the Dempster's,
Sunshine and Villaggio brands).

"There are millions of people who struggle to put food on the
table every week. Illegally inflating the price of bread
literally takes food out of people's mouths," explains Sotos
Partner Louis Sokolov. "Courts have likened price-fixing to theft
and fraud. The fourteen year scheme described by Weston and
Loblaws amounts to a massive fraud on Canadian consumers."

Ms. Brockton added that "people living on fixed incomes or
otherwise living hand to mouth can least afford to pay inflated
prices. It is unconscionable for big and wealthy corporations to
manipulate the price of bread." She further stated, "I started
this lawsuit to make sure this money is returned to consmers."

The proposed class action includes all residents of Canada who
purchased bread or other packaged baked goods from any food
retailer, beginning January 1, 2001.

The statement of claim alleges, that the defendant grocery
retailers and suppliers conspired with each other to raise,
maintain, fix and/or stabilize the price of bread and other
packaged baked goods contrary to Part VI of the Competition Act,
RSC 1985, c C-34.

Sotos LLP represents the plaintiff. [GN]


LOS ANGELES, CA: Ray Appeals C.D. Calif. Ruling to Ninth Circuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs Trina Ray and Sasha Walker filed an appeal from a
court ruling in their lawsuit entitled Trina Ray, et al. v. LOS
ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SOCIAL SERVICES, Case No.
2:17-cv-04239-PA-SK, in the U.S. District Court for the Central
District of California, Los Angeles.

The appellate case is captioned as Trina Ray, et al. v. LOS
ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SOCIAL SERVICES, Case No. 17-
80250, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth
Circuit.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter, the County
of Los Angeles filed an appeal from a court ruling in the
lawsuit.  That appellate case is captioned as Trina Ray v. County
of Los Angeles, Case No. 17-56581.

The lawsuit is brought pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act
on behalf of those employed by the Defendants as homecare
workers, home care providers, or in other similar job titles,
through the In-Home Supportive Services program and in the County
of Los Angeles.[BN]

Plaintiffs-Petitioners TRINA RAY, individually, and on behalf of
all others similarly situated, and SASHA WALKER, individually,
and on behalf of all others similarly situated, are represented
by:

          Matthew C. Helland
          Daniel S. Brome, Esq.
          NICHOLS KASTER, LLP
          235 Montgomery Street, Suite 810
          San Francisco, CA 94104
          Telephone: (415) 277-7235
          Facsimile: (415) 277-7238
          E-mail: helland@nka.com
                  dbrome@nka.com

               - and -

          Philip Bohrer, Esq.
          BOHRER BRADY, LLC
          8712 Jefferson Highway, Suite B
          Baton Rouge, LA 70809
          Telephone: (225) 925-5297
          Facsimile: (225) 231-7000
          E-mail: phil@bohrerlaw.com

Defendant-Respondent LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC
SOCIAL SERVICES, Erroneously Sued As County of Los Angeles, is
represented by:

          Jennifer Mira Hashmall, Esq.
          MILLER BARONDESS, LLP
          1999 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 1000
          Los Angeles, CA 90067
          Telephone: (310) 552-4400
          Facsimile: (310) 552-8400
          E-mail: mhashmall@millerbarondess.com


MAJESTIC PRINCESS: Yarwood Wants to Proceed as Collective Action
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Plaintiff in the lawsuit styled GERI YARWOOD, on behalf of
herself and all others similarly situated v. MAJESTIC PRINCESS
CRUISES, INC., a Florida Corporation, Case No. 9:17-cv-80549-DLB
(S.D. Fla.), files her motion to proceed as a collective action
against the Defendant.

Ms. Yarwood filed her Collective Action Complaint under the Fair
Labor Standards Act, "on behalf of himself and all others
similarly situated" against the Defendant, who willfully failed
to pay minimum wage compensation to the Plaintiff, in
contravention of the FLSA.

Ms. Yarwood also asks the Court to: (1) adopt her attached
"Consent Notice to Become Party Plaintiff," and (2) order the
Defendant to disclose to her the names and last known mailing
address of all present and former 'tipped' servers and bartenders
where a 'tip-credit' was claimed from the past three years from
the filing date of the complaint, who was employed by the
Defendant or any related company or institution, within 20 days
of the Court's Order permitting this case to proceed as a
collective action.

A copy of the Motion is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=FRSbqZZp

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Chad E. Levy, Esq.
          LAW OFFICES OF LEVY & LEVY, P.A.
          1000 Sawgrass Corporate Parkway
          South Pointe I, Suite 588
          Sunrise, FL 33323
          Telephone: (954) 763-5722
          Facsimile: (954) 763-5723
          E-mail: chad@levylevylaw.com


MALAYSIAN AIRLINES: D.C. Hearing Set in Flight 370 Lawsuits
-----------------------------------------------------------
Amanda Bronstad, writing for Law.com, reports that a federal
judge in Washington D.C. is set to hear arguments on Dec. 19 over
whether to dismiss lawsuits brought by the families of about 70
passengers of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared
over the Indian Ocean in 2014.

Malaysian Airlines and Boeing, maker of the 777 aircraft, have
raised a host of defenses, but what's most interesting is the
differences of opinion going on among the plaintiffs firms.
Podhurst Orseck's Steve Mark, a veteran airplane crash litigator,
has cited exceptions to the 1999 Montreal Convention, an
international treaty that generally prohibits foreign passengers
from suing foreign airlines in U.S. courts.

But Motley Rice's Mary Schiavo -- mschiavo@motleyrice.com -- the
former U.S. Department of Transportation inspector general, has
taken the unusual move of suing Allianz, the insurer of Malaysian
Airlines, which reorganized its corporate structure after Flight
370's disappearance.  She's citing Article 32 of the Montreal
Convention, which states: "In the case of the death of the person
liable, an action for damages lies in accordance with the terms
of this convention against those legally representing his or her
estate."

Only, in this case, Malaysian Airlines is the dead "person" whose
legal representative is now Allianz.

We'll see if that theory flies. [GN]


MANGAN INC: "Aguilera" Suit Alleges Labor Code Violations
---------------------------------------------------------
Amos Aguilera, individually and on behalf of other members of the
general public similarly situated v. Mangan, Inc. and Does 1
through 100, Case No. BC688766 (Calif. Super., January 3, 2018),
seeks monetary damages and restitution under the California Labor
Code.

Plaintiff Amos Aguilera worked for Defendant as an hourly-paid,
nonexempt employee, from approximately February 2015 to
approximately April 2015, in the State of California.

Defendant Mangan Inc. is a specialty engineering, automation and
integration company providing a full-range of services for the
refining, gas & oil, pipeline, renewable, chemicals and life
sciences industries. Defendant was established in Long Beach,
California in 1990. [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Edwin Aiwazian, Esq.
      LAWYERS FOR JUSTICE, PC
      410 West Arden Avenue, Suite 203
      Glendale, CA 91203
      Tel: (818) 265-1020
      Fax: (818) 265-1021


MATTRESS FIRM: "Perez-Tejada" Sues Over Unpaid Overtime Premium
---------------------------------------------------------------
Mack Perez-Tejada, Roger Ricks II, Roy McElroy, Ashraf Meshriky
and Ezenwa Onukwue, on behalf of themselves and all others
similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. Mattress Firm, Inc., Kenneth
E. Murphy, Individually and Jim Black, individually, Defendants,
Case No. 17-cv-12448 (D. Mass., December 12, 2017) seeks overtime
wages, treble damages, interest, costs, reasonable attorneys'
fees and further consequential damages pursuant to the Fair Labor
Standards Act and Massachusetts General Law.

Mattress Firm currently operates approximately 3,500 mattress
retail stores in the United States, including approximately 90
retail stores in Massachusetts.

Perez-Tejada, Ricks, Meshriky, McElroy and Onukwue worked as
inside sales employees by the Defendants at their Massachusetts,
Texas, New Jersey, Illinois and Georgia locations respectively,
selling furniture products to Mattress Firm customers in person
at Mattress Firm retail stores. They claim to have worked during
Sundays and were not compensated for this excess day and that
their commissions cannot compensate the overtime premium that
they incurred when working in excess of 40 hours per work week.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

     Raymond P. Ausrotas, Esq.
     Sarah E. A. Sousa, Esq.
     ARROWOOD LLP
     10 Post Office Square, 7th Floor South
     Boston, MA 02109
     Tel: (617) 849-6200
     Fax: (617) 849-6201
     Email: rausrotas@arrowoodllp.com
            ssousa@arrowoodllp.com


MCCABE TROTTER: Bid to Quash Gold Crown Subpoena Nixed
------------------------------------------------------
In the case, Mills K. Allison and Caitlin M. Barca, a.k.a.
Caitlin Barca Allison, Plaintiffs, v. McCabe, Trotter & Beverly,
P.C., Defendant, C.A. No. 2:17-cv-1727-PMD (D. S.C.), Judge
Patrick Michael Duffy of the U.S. District Court for the District
of South Carolina, Charleston Division, denied the Defendant's
motion to quash, and granted in part and denied in part both
motions to compel filed by the Plaintiff and the Defendant.

The Plaintiffs purchased a house that is subject to the
Charleston National Community Association, a homeowners'
association ("HOA") that charges annual assessments.  The HOA
employs the Defendant to represent it in collections of
assessments.

The Plaintiffs allege that the Defendant violated the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") by attempting to collect, and
actually collecting, amounts not currently due on HOA's accounts.
They also allege that the Defendant made misrepresentations in
violation of the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act
("UTPA").  They intend to bring a class action on behalf of
themselves and other homeowners or community association members
whose debts were referred to the Defendant for collection.

Before the Court are Defendant's motion to quash, the Plaintiffs'
motion to compel, and the Defendant's motion to compel.

Gold Crown Management serves as the managing agent for the HOA.
On Aug. 2, 2017, the Plaintiffs served Gold Crown with a subpoena
asking for various documents related to Gold Crown's interactions
with the Defendant between June 14, 2016, and June 14, 2017
(approximately 6 months before and after the Plaintiffs moved
into their home in Charleston National).  According to
Plaintiffs, Gold Crown did not object to the subpoena.  However,
the Defendant moved to quash the subpoena on Sept. 18, 2017.

Judge Duffy finds that the Defendant has not established any
privilege or protection that can be used to assert standing to
quash the subpoena served on Gold Crown.  Since every item the
Plaintiffs seek from Gold Crown is a document that involved the
Defendant, the Defendant should provide these documents to the
extent that it can.  The Plaintiffs may renew their subpoena if
the Defendant cannot provide the requested documents.  Thus, the
Defendant is ordered to provide the requested documents, and the
Plaintiffs' subpoena to Gold Crown is quashed without prejudice
to its renewal should the Defendant fail to produce the documents
requested within 30 days from the date of the Order.

The Plaintiffs served these interrogatories and requests for
production on June 14, 2017:

     a. Interrogatory 7 asks the Defendant to furnish a detailed
factual basis for each affirmative defense it asserts in its
Answer, including reference to any documents that support its
defense.

     b. Interrogatory 9 asks the Defendant to identify all people
who have assisted it with collecting homeowners' assessments
since Jan. 1, 2016.

     c. Interrogatory 10 asks the Defendant for the number of
liens it has filed and right-to-cure letters it has sent as part
of homeowners' assessment collections since Jan. 1, 2016.

     d. Interrogatory 12 asks the Defendant how many times, from
Jan. 1, 2016 through the present, has it sent a homeowner a
right-to-cure letter which stated an amount greater than the
amount stated on the HOA account statement.

     e. Request for Production 5 asks the Defendant to produce
all liens it has filed as part of homeowners' assessment
collections between Jan. 1, 2014, and June 13, 2017.

     f. Request for Production 11 asks the Defendant to produce a
copy of all statements it created and sent to the Plaintiff[s] or
anyone else claiming that those statements represented the
Plaintiffs' account with the HOA.

     g. Request for Production 12 asks a copy of a letter which
the Defendant was unable to locate.

     h. Request for Production 20 asks all attorney's fee
agreements the Defendant had with South Carolina HOAs or
community associations that were relied upon when sending right-
to-cure letters from Jan. 1, 2016, through the present.

Judge Duffy granted in part and denied in part the Plaintiffs'
motion to compel.  He ordered the Defendant to respond to the
Interrogatories and Requests for Production as set follows:

     a. Interrogatory 7: To the extent that the Defendant has
withheld presently-known facts on that basis, it is ordered to
provide those facts.  While Defendant is ordered to provide known
facts that were withheld on the basis of privilege, it is not
required to guess what other facts the Plaintiffs still request
in response to this interrogatory.  The Plaintiffs will have
ample opportunity to ask the Defendant for more specifics as
discovery progresses.

     b. Interrogatory 9: The Defendant must identify those
involved with the collections of other people's assessments to
enable the Plaintiffs to learn information relevant to certifying
their class, such as whether the Defendant used the same
procedures in all of its collections activities.

     c. Interrogatory 10: The Defendant must provide the number
of liens it has filed and right-to-cure letters it has sent as
part of homeowners' assessment collections since Jan. 1, 2016.

     d. Interrogatory 12: The Defendant is ordered to undertake
reasonable investigative efforts to respond to the interrogatory
and either answer the question, or explain why it cannot answer
and the efforts made to obtain the information.

     e. Request for Production 5: The Request for Production 5 is
modified to require the Defendant to produce a representative
sample of 50 liens filed between Jan. 1, 2014, and June 13, 2017.
It is ordered to tell the Plaintiffs which HOAs have hired it to
pursue collections over this time period, and provide them with
any information they may need to search public records for
additional liens filed during the time period.

     f. Request for Production 11: The Defendant is ordered to
produce all such Charleston National statements from Jan. 1, 2017
through June 13, 2017.

     g. Request for Production 12: The Defendant is ordered to
continue to make a reasonable effort to locate the letter and to
produce the letter as soon as it is located.  If it cannot
produce the letter within 30 days from the issuance of the Order,
it is ordered to inform the Plaintiffs of the efforts it took to
locate the letter.

     h. Request for Production 20: The Defendant is ordered to
produce the fee agreements, subject to any objections from its
clients.

The Defendant served these interrogatories and request to
produce:

     a. Interrogatory 10 and Request to Admit 1 asks the
Plaintiffs the date they mailed the check attached as Exhibit 2
to the Complaint.

     b. Interrogatory 3 asks the Plaintiffs for an itemized
statement of damages.

     c. Interrogatory 7 asks the Plaintiffs to list their
addresses for the last 10 years.

     d. Interrogatory 9 asks when the Plaintiffs moved into their
house in Charleston National.

     e. Request to Produce 12 requests a copy of all governing
documents the Plaintiffs maintain apply to the property.

Judge Duffy granted in part and denied in part the Defendant's
motion to compel.  He ordered to the Plaintiffs to respond to the
interrogatories and request to produce as follows:

     a. Interrogatory 10 and Request to Admit 1: The Plaintiffs
are ordered to provide a complete response to Interrogatory 10,
and to supplement Request to Admit 1, if needed.

     b. Interrogatory 3: The Plaintiffs are ordered to specify
the amount they agree was owed, and thus are not disputing.

     c. Interrogatory 7: The Defendant is free to request this
information through future discovery, as relevant.

     d. Interrogatory 9: The Plaintiffs are ordered to respond to
when they moved into their house in Charleston National.

     e. Request to Produce 12: The Plaintiffs are ordered to
produce a copy of all governing documents they maintain apply to
the property.

Lastly, given that both parties' lack of cooperation, Judge Duffy
finds it would be unjust to award the Defendant the expenses it
incurred.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Order is available
at https://is.gd/DJ6DhA from Leagle.com.

Mills K Allison, Plaintiff, represented by Justin Simon Kahn ,
Kahn Law Firm.

Mills K Allison, Plaintiff, represented by Mary Leigh Arnold ,
Mary L Arnold Law Office.

Caitlin M Barca, also known as Caitlin Barca Allison, Plaintiff,
represented by Justin Simon Kahn, Kahn Law Firm & Mary Leigh
Arnold, Mary L Arnold Law Office.

McCabe Trotter & Beverly PC, Defendant, represented by Andrew
Wesley Countryman -- awc@countrymanlawfirm.com -- Countryman Law
Firm & Robert P. Wood -- robert.wood@rtt-law.com -- Rogers
Townsend and Thomas PC.


MERCHANTS CREDIT: Wins Prelim. Nod of "Taylor" Suit Settlement
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Hon. Joseph F. Bataillon granted the Plaintiff's unopposed
motion for preliminary approval of settlement and notice to class
in the lawsuit captioned JANNETTE TAYLOR, on behalf of herself
and all others similarly situated v. MERCHANTS CREDIT ADJUSTORS,
INC., and PANSING, HOGAN, ERNST & BACHMAN, L.L.P., Case No. 8:16-
cv-00452-JFB-SMB (D. Neb.).

The Findings and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge
Susan M. Bazis are adopted in full and incorporated herein by
reference.

These Settlement Classes are preliminarily certified for
settlement purposes:

   * FDCPA CLASS NO. 1:

     This action is brought as a class action on behalf of a
     class defined as: (i) all persons with addresses in Nebraska
     (ii) against whom Defendants filed a county court collection
     complaint in the form of Exhibit A attached to Plaintiffs
     Complaint (iii) in an attempt to collect an alleged debt
     (iv) which was for personal, family, or household purposes
     (v) during the period one year prior to the date of filing
     this action.

   * FDCPA CLASS NO. 2:

     This action is brought as a class action on behalf of a
     class defined as: (i) all persons with addresses in Nebraska
     (ii) to whom Defendants sent, or caused to be sent Requests
     for Admissions in the form of Exhibit C attached to
     Plaintiff's Complaint (iii) in an attempt to collect an
     alleged debt (iv) which was for personal, family, or
     household purposes (v) during the period one year prior to
     the date of filing this action.

   * NCPA CLASS NO. 1:

     This action is brought as a class action on behalf of a
     class defined as: (i) all persons with addresses in Nebraska
     (ii) against whom Defendants filed a county court collection
     complaint in the form of Exhibit A attached to Plaintiffs
     Complaint (iii) in an attempt to collect an alleged debt
     (iv) which was for personal, family, or household purposes
     (v) during the period four years prior to the date of filing
     this action.

   * NCPA CLASS NO. 2:

     This action is brought as a class action on behalf of a
     class defined as: (i) all persons with addresses in Nebraska
     (ii) to whom Defendants sent, or caused to be sent Requests
     for Admissions in the form of Exhibit C attached to
     Plaintiff's Complaint (iii) in an attempt to collect an
     alleged debt (iv) which was for personal, family, or
     household purposes (v) during the period four years prior to
     the date of filing this action.

Judge Bataillon approved the Proposed Class Notice.  Judge
Bataillon directed Defendant Pansing, Hogan, Ernst and Bachman,
L.L.P., to cause the Notice, through a claims administrator, to
be delivered to Class Members by Mail, based on address
information gathered from business records of the Defendants, and
subsequent search of each name and address in the National Change
of Address database.

Plaintiff Jannette Taylor is appointed as class representative.
Pam Car, Esq., and William Reinbrecht, Esq., of the law firm Car
& Reinbrecht, P.C. LLO, and Tregg Lunn, Esq., of the Law Office
of Tregg Lunn are appointed as class counsel.

A final fairness hearing is set for May 17, 2018, at 1:30 p.m.

A copy of the Order is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=f0mxTDVD


MERRILL LYNCH: Judge OKs $25MM Settlement in Retirement Plan Case
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Emily Zulz, writing for ThinkAdvisor, reports that a Miami court
ruled in favor of a multimillion-dollar class action settlement
against Merrill Lynch after two years of litigation.

Merrill Lynch must pay $25 million in a class action settlement
brought by the trustees of two Miami-area retirement plans in a
case filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of
Florida.

The plaintiffs -- trustees for the LAAD Retirement Plans -- asked
a federal judge in the Southern District of Florida on Nov. 28 to
grant final approval to the settlement.  A fairness hearing was
then held on Dec. 13, and the judge approved the settlement
agreement on Dec. 18.

The suit was filed in 2015 on behalf of two LAAD plans that
suspected Merrill's $79 million refund to thousands of small
business retirement customers -- a portion of which resulted from
a FINRA fine -- was insufficient.

In June 2014, Merrill entered into a letter of acceptance, waiver
and consent with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, in
which Merrill acknowledged its failure to provide appropriate
sales charge waivers for mutual fund purchases for certain
charities and retirement accounts.

Typically, Class A shares of mutual funds have lower fees than
Class B and C shares, but charge customers an initial sales
charge.  Many mutual funds waive their upfront sales charges for
retirement accounts and some waive these charges for charities.

According to FINRA, at various times since at least January 2006,
Merrill Lynch did not waive the sales charges for affected
customers when it offered Class A shares.  FINRA found that this
resulted in approximately 41,000 small-business retirement plan
accounts, and approximately 6,800 charities and 403(b) retirement
accounts, either paying sales charges for Class A shares, or
paying higher fees and expenses for other share classes.

Merrill made two sets of remediation payments -- one voluntary
and a second pursuant to the FINRA letter -- to most of the
accounts of present and former customers affected.  The
remediation payments totaled about $79 million, according to the
suit.

The LAAD Retirement Plan trustees -- suspecting their remediation
payments were insufficient -- asked Merrill to explain the
methodology by which their remediation was calculated.

When they did not receive a satisfactory response, they filed
suit alleging breaches of fiduciary duty under ERISA.  In
addition to a complete remediation, they also sought the
disgorgement of profits derived by Merrill as a result of the
sales.

The settlement agreement they reached with Merrill features a
corrective remediation payment of at least $8.8 million, which
includes the deficient remediation payments and interest; and an
additional recovery of about $16 million in disgorged profits.

The settlement also includes attorney's fees equal to 35% of the
settlement amount ($8.75 million), plus litigation expenses
(roughly $223,000), and the case contribution fee ($150,000) --
to be paid from the settlement amount.

Vanderbilt Law professor Brian Fitzpatrick says in the motion for
final approval of the settlement that he is "not aware of any
class action settlement that has recovered so much more than the
class's damages."

Mr. Fitzpatrick has conducted a comprehensive empirical study of
federal class settlements and maintains a large database of class
settlement data. [GN]


MGC DIAGNOSTICS: "Franchi" to Halt Merger Deal, Needs Financials
----------------------------------------------------------------
Adam Franchi, on behalf of himself and all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, v. MGC Diagnostics Corporation, Mark W.
Sheffert, John R. Baudhuin, Wendy D. Lynch, Robert E.
Munzenrider, Hendrik Struik, Terrence W. Bunge, MGC Parent LLC,
AC Breathe Merger Sub Inc. and Altus Capital Partners, Inc.,
Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-02667, (M.D. Fla., November 6, 2017),
seeks to enjoin defendants and all persons acting in concert with
them from proceeding with, consummating, or closing the
acquisition of MGC Diagnostics Corporation by Altus Capital
Partners, Inc. and its affiliates, 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.

Shareholders of MGC will receive $11.03 in cash for each share of
MGC common stock.

MGC is a global medical technology company dedicated to
cardiorespiratory health solutions.

The complaint says Defendants filed a proxy statement that failed
to include financial projections and valuation analyses performed
by its financial advisor, Craig-Hallum Capital Group, LLC,
specifically Discounted Cash Flow Analysis, tax savings
attributable to federal net operating losses, terminal value of
the company and inputs and assumptions underlying the terminal
growth rates ranging from 2.0% to 4.0% and discount rates ranging
from 14.0% to 22.0%. [BN]

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Brian D. Long, Esq.
      Gina M. Serra, Esq.
      RIGRODSKY & LONG, P.A.
      2 Righter Parkway, Suite 120
      Wilmington, DE 19803
      Tel: (302) 295-531
      Facsimile: (302) 654-7530
      Email: bdl@rl-legal.com
             gms@rl-legal.com

             - and -

      Richard A. Maniskas, Esq.
      RM LAW, P.C.
      1055 Westlakes Dr., Ste. 3112
      Berwyn, PA 19312
      Tel: (484) 324-6800

             - and -

      Adam Altman, Esq.
      Douglas B. Altman, Esq.
      ALTMAN & IZEK
      901 North Third Street, Suite 140
      Minneapolis, MN 55401
      Telephone: (612) 335-3700
      E-mail: adam@altmanizek.com


MICROSOFT CORP: Won't Require Arbitration for Harassment Cases
--------------------------------------------------------------
Nitasha Tiku, writing for WIRED, reports that on Dec. 19,
Microsoft announced that it will no longer require employees to
resolve sexual-harassment claims through private arbitration, one
of the first signs that the legal contracts long used to hide
workplace misconduct may be starting to crumble under the
pressure of the #MeToo movement.

Roughly 60 million Americans are subject to mandatory arbitration
agreements, generally as part of employment contracts they signed
when they were hired.  The agreements compel employees to address
claims through a private arbiter rather than in court, which can
keep victims in the dark about prior harassment claims, shield
serial abusers, and hide sexual harassment from public scrutiny.

Microsoft says it made the change as it prepared to throw its
support behind a bill proposed by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-
South Carolina) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) that would
make forced arbitration in harassment cases unenforceable under
federal law. "After returning from Washington to Seattle, we also
reflected on a second aspect of the issue.  We asked ourselves
about our own practices and whether we should change any of
them," Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer
wrote on the company's corporate blog.

Forced arbitration agreements are popular in Silicon Valley,
where employers often impose strict confidentiality provisions
that keep employment issues private. Now the question is whether
other big players will follow Microsoft's lead.

Amazon says it doesn't ask employees to sign mandatory
arbitration agreements.  A Facebook spokesperson says the company
is looking into the Graham-Gillibrand proposal and referred to
the company's harassment policy.  Uber, Google, and Apple did not
immediately respond to questions from WIRED about arbitration
agreements for sexual harassment or their support for the new
bill.  Uber's employment contracts include a binding arbitration
clause, but the company now gives employees 30 days to opt-out of
that clause, Uber told WIRED in June.

Confidentiality provisions, including nondisclosure agreements
(NDAs) and non-disparagement clauses, came under fire after news
reports revealed how these contracts were used to shield serial
abusers like Harvey Weinstein, Bill O'Reilly, and Roger Ailes, by
silencing victims.

Earlier in December, experts told WIRED that reforming these
contracts would help pierce the secrecy around sexual harassment.
Both former Uber engineer Susan Fowler and former Fox News host
Gretchen Carlson have identified forced arbitration clauses as
legal impediments for harassment victims.  Fowler, whose
harassment allegations led to the ouster of former Uber CEO
Travis Kalanick, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in August in
support of an ongoing Supreme Court case to determine whether
forced arbitration violates federal law. Carlson, who sued Ailes
for sexual harassment, joined Graham and Gillibrand at a press
conference introducing their bill earlier in December.

Microsoft's public stand against secrecy follows a Bloomberg
story about a rape claim from a female Microsoft intern, which
came to light as part of a two-year-old class-action lawsuit
against Microsoft for gender discrimination.

The rape allegation from the Microsoft intern emerged in recently
unsealed documents in the class action suit. According to
Bloomberg, the intern was required to keep working alongside her
alleged rapist while the company investigated her claim.

The policy change may be relatively simpler to implement at
Microsoft, which typically does not include arbitration
agreements in its employment contracts. In his blog post, Smith
said a review found that only "a small segment" of its 125,000
employees "have contractual clauses requiring pre-dispute
arbitration for harassment claims in employment agreements." That
covers a few hundred people.  A Microsoft spokesperson says the
company also will not compel arbitration related to gender
discrimination, which is included in the proposed legislation.
[GN]


MINED MINDS: Faces Class Action Over Miner Retraining Program
-------------------------------------------------------------
Wendy Holdren, writing for The Tribune-Democrat, reports that
roughly 60 plaintiffs are claiming a nonprofit tasked with
preparing underserved rural Appalachians for tech jobs failed to
properly train them, and failed to pay them as promised.

Filed Dec. 6 in Raleigh County Circuit Court, the case is being
proposed as a class action lawsuit. A judge has not yet certified
it as such.

Mined Minds Foundation Inc., a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit
corporation, had a mission of "growing tech hubs in areas of
economic need within rural Appalachia" by "working with training
providers to grow a talented and diverse workforce, as well as
working to create and bring new career opportunities to the
region."

One of the goals was to educate unemployed coal miners to become
proficient in tech jobs, such as coding, the suit said.  Mined
Minds, which offered programs in West Virginia and Pennsylvania,
consisted of a training, apprenticeship and employment phase.

According to the suit, students were guaranteed well-paying jobs
in the tech industry, so long as they were fit candidates.

During informational and recruitment sessions, students were
further promised monetary compensation for their time in the
training and apprenticeship phases.

At least one of these sessions happened in Raleigh County.

"The one thing we know for sure is that Mined Minds promised $15
an hour in the apprenticeship period, after Phase 1 was over,"
said attorney Stephen P. New.  He said the defendants have 30
days to file a response.

The lawsuit not only alleges the students were not paid as
promised, but were not sufficiently prepared for a job in the
tech field.

Instructors did not adhere to the syllabus, and many instructors
were undertrained or ill-suited to teach, as they were recent
graduates of the program themselves.

"Upon information and belief, no graduate of the defendant Mined
Minds Foundation's program has ever found a job in the tech
industry other than those who eventually worked for Mined Minds
or a company directly related thereto."

One of the plaintiffs, Victoria Frame, said she was told
compensation was not available at the time, but would be
forthcoming. When she found out operations had ceased in
Pennsylvania, she dropped out of the program.

The suit said Mined Mines received a cease and desist order which
stated they must be licensed as a school to continue the program.

Also named in the suit as defendants are the owners of Mined
Minds -- Amanda Laucher, Jonathan Graham and Marvin Laucher.

The complaint alleges the defendants were given substantial
grants and government funding to conduct the classes.

The plaintiffs claim they have suffered financial and
professional harm.

They are seeking damages, punitive damages, costs, attorneys fees
and other relief.  Additional plaintiffs could be added to the
suit, as New said the roughly 60 individuals he represents were
from the latest class.

"My understanding is there are two or three other classes of that
same size," he said.  In addition to New, the plaintiffs are
being represented by Adam D. Taylor.  The case has been assigned
to Raleigh County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Dimlich. [GN]


MONKEY CAPITAL: Silver Miller Files Class Action Over ICO
---------------------------------------------------------
Silver Miller -- the leading cryptocurrency investor law firm in
the country, with actions currently pending against the Coinbase,
Kraken, and Cryptsy exchanges as well as the first federally-
filed class action lawsuit against heavily-embattled Tezos and
its billion dollar Initial Coin Offering (ICO) -- has filed a new
federal court class action lawsuit against Monkey Capital and its
principal, Daniel Harrison.  As the lawsuit alleges, Monkey
Capital fraudulently promoted an ICO that violated numerous state
and federal securities laws.  Almost as quickly as it had
gathered millions of dollars in cryptocurrency from solicited
pre-ICO investors, Monkey Capital aborted its ICO just days
before it was scheduled to commence, deactivated its website,
liquidated the investors' funds, and devalued the market of the
Coeval cryptocurrency options that Monkey Capital had created and
issued to its investors in exchange for their investment funds.
Silver Miller's lawsuit pleads that the Court rescind all
investments in Monkey Capital; return to all investors their
cryptocurrency; require Monkey Capital to account for all funds
raised from investors; and adjudicate that Monkey Capital and Mr.
Harrison violated multiple securities laws when they promoted and
abruptly abandoned the unregistered, pre-functional ICO.

As ICOs have become more frequently used as a fundraising tool
for start-up block chain technology companies, so too has fraud
upon cryptocurrency investors become more frequent; and Monkey
Capital appears to have been a prime example of the harm
investors can suffer in the wild world of cryptocurrency.  Silver
Miller continues to be a strong advocate for aggrieved
cryptocurrency investors harmed by the misrepresentations and
illegal actions of digital asset exchanges, trading platforms,
and ICO promoters.

Monkey Capital investors concerned about protecting their
investment are urged to contact Silver Miller at 954-516-6000 to
join the class action and to protect their rights.  You can also
reach Silver Miller through the firm's website at
www.SilverMillerLaw.com or by e-mail at
DSilver@SilverMillerLaw.com.  The class in this case has not yet
been certified; and until certification occurs, your interests
remain unrepresented in this matter unless you hire an attorney.
[GN]


MRI INTERNATIONAL: Trustee Added as Party in Class Suit
-------------------------------------------------------
Judge Howard D. McKibben of the U.S. District Court for the
District of Nevada added Catherine Suzuki as a party in her
capacity as trustee of the Junzo Suzuki Irrevocable Trust, the
Keiko Suzuki Irrevocable Trust, and the Junzo and Keiko Suzuki
Irrevocable Trust, as Defendants to the case captioned SHIGE
TAKIGUCHI, FUMI NONAKA, MITSUAKI TAKITA, TATSURO SAKAI, SHIZUKO
ISHIMORI, YUKO NAKAMURA, MASAAKI MORIYA, HATSUNE HATANO, and
HIDENAO TAKAMA, individually and on behalf of all others
similarity situated, Plaintiff, v. MRI INTERNATIONAL, INC., EDWIN
J. FUJINAGA, JUNZO SUZUKI, PAUL MUSASHI SUZUKI, LVT, INC., dba
STERLING ESCROW, and DOES 1-500, Defendants, Case No. 2:13-cv-
01183-HDM-NJK (D. Nev.).

Junzo and Paul Suzuki and their affiliated entities and trusts
(excepting First Hawaiian Bank), entered into a settlement
agreement with the Plaintiffs on Sept. 20, 2017.  The parties
previously sought First Hawaiian Bank's execution of the
settlement.

On Dec. 6 and 8, 2017, Junzo, Keiko, Catherine (Ishii), and Paul
Suzuki removed First Hawaiian Bank as trustee of their three
irrevocable trusts and appointed Catherine Suzuki as trustee in
its place.  Catherine Suzuki has executed the settlement as the
trustee of (i) the Junzo Suzuki Irrevocable Trust, (ii) the Keiko
Suzuki Irrevocable Trust, and (ii) the Junzo and Keiko Suzuki
Irrevocable Trust.  The addition of Catherine Suzuki as trustee
of the trusts will help facilitate Court approval of the class
action settlement.

Based on the foregoing, the parties stipulated and the Judge
approved that the Court adds Catherine Suzuki as trustee of the
Junzo Suzuki Irrevocable Trust, the Keiko Suzuki Irrevocable
Trust, and the Junzo and Keiko Suzuki Irrevocable Trust, as
Defendants to the action.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Order is available
at vhttps://is.gd/3HH2mh from Leagle.com.

Shige Takiguchi, Plaintiff, represented by James Edwin Gibbons --
jeg@manningllp.com -- Manning & Kass Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester
LLP.

Shige Takiguchi, Plaintiff, represented by James R. Olson, Olson,
Cannon, Gormley, Angulo & Stoberski, Mariko Taenaka, Law Offices
of Robert W. Cohen, Robert W. Cohen, Law Offices of Robert W.
Cohen, APC & Steven Jeff Renick -- sjrnull@nullmanningllp.com --
Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP.

Fumi Nonaka, Plaintiff, represented by James Edwin Gibbons,
Manning & Kass Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, James R. Olson,
Olson, Cannon, Gormley, Angulo & Stoberski, Mariko Taenaka, Law
Offices of Robert W. Cohen, Robert W. Cohen, Law Offices of
Robert W. Cohen, APC & Steven Jeff Renick, Manning & Kass,
Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP.

Kaoruko Koizumi, Plaintiff, represented by James Edwin Gibbons,
Manning & Kass Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, James R. Olson,
Olson, Cannon, Gormley, Angulo & Stoberski, Mariko Taenaka, Law
Offices of Robert W. Cohen, Robert W. Cohen, Law Offices of
Robert W. Cohen, APC & Steven Jeff Renick, Manning & Kass,
Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP.

Tatsuro Sakai, Plaintiff, represented by James Edwin Gibbons,
Manning & Kass Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, James R. Olson,
Olson, Cannon, Gormley, Angulo & Stoberski, Mariko Taenaka, Law
Offices of Robert W. Cohen, Robert W. Cohen, Law Offices of
Robert W. Cohen, APC & Steven Jeff Renick, Manning & Kass,
Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP.

Mitsuaki Takita, Plaintiff, represented by James Edwin Gibbons,
Manning & Kass Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, James R. Olson,
Olson, Cannon, Gormley, Angulo & Stoberski, Mariko Taenaka, Law
Offices of Robert W. Cohen, Robert W. Cohen, Law Offices of
Robert W. Cohen, APC & Steven Jeff Renick, Manning & Kass,
Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP.

Shizuuko Ishimori, Plaintiff, represented by James Edwin Gibbons
, Manning & Kass Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, James R. Olson ,
Olson, Cannon, Gormley, Angulo & Stoberski, Mariko Taenaka , Law
Offices of Robert W. Cohen, Robert W. Cohen , Law Offices of
Robert W. Cohen, APC & Steven Jeff Renick , Manning & Kass,
Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, pro hac vice.

Yoko Hatano, Plaintiff, represented by James Edwin Gibbons,
Manning & Kass Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, James R. Olson,
Olson, Cannon, Gormley, Angulo & Stoberski, Mariko Taenaka, Law
Offices of Robert W. Cohen, Robert W. Cohen, Law Offices of
Robert W. Cohen, APC & Steven Jeff Renick, Manning & Kass,
Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP.

Yuko Nakamura, Plaintiff, represented by James Edwin Gibbons,
Manning & Kass Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, James R. Olson,
Olson, Cannon, Gormley, Angulo & Stoberski, Mariko Taenaka, Law
Offices of Robert W. Cohen, Robert W. Cohen, Law Offices of
Robert W. Cohen, APC & Steven Jeff Renick, Manning & Kass,
Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP.

Hidehito Miura, Plaintiff, represented by James Edwin Gibbons,
Manning & Kass Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, James R. Olson,
Olson, Cannon, Gormley, Angulo & Stoberski, Mariko Taenaka, Law
Offices of Robert W. Cohen, Robert W. Cohen, Law Offices of
Robert W. Cohen, APC & Steven Jeff Renick, Manning & Kass,
Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP.

MRI International, Inc., Defendant, represented by Daniel L.
Hitzke, Hitzke & Associates & Erick M. Ferran.

Edwin J Fujinaga, Defendant, represented by Daniel L. Hitzke,
Hitzke & Associates & Erick M. Ferran.

Junzo Suzuki, Defendant, represented by Jeffrey A. Silvestri --
jsilvestri@mcdonaldcarano.com -- McDonald Carano Wilson, Nicolas
Morgan -- nicolasmorgan@paulhastings.com -- Paul Hastings LLP,
pro hac vice & Paul J. Georgeson -- pgeorgeson@mcdonaldcarano.com
-- McDonald Carano Wilson LLP.

Paul Musashi Suzuki, Defendant, represented by Jeffrey A.
Silvestri, McDonald Carano Wilson, Nicolas Morgan, Paul Hastings
LLP, pro hac vice & Paul J. Georgeson, McDonald Carano Wilson
LLP.

ICAG, INC., Defendant, represented by Jacob A. Reynolds --
jreynolds@hutchlegal.com -- Hutchison & Steffen, Mark A.
Hutchison -- mhutchison@hutchlegal.com -- Hutchison & Steffen,
LLC & Robert T. Stewart -- rstewart@hutchlegal.com -- Hutchison &
Steffen, LLC.

First Hawaiian Bank, Defendant, represented by Christopher R.
Ramos -- cramos@vedderprice.com -- Vedder Price (CA), LLP, pro
hac vice, Rex Garner -- rex.garner@akerman.com -- Akerman LLP,
Ariel E. Stern -- ariel.stern@akerman.com -- Akerman LLP, Lisa M.
Simonetti -- lsimonetti@vedderprice.com -- Vedder Price, LLP.

Suzuki Enterprises, Inc. Profit Sharing Plan, Defendant,
represented by Gregg D. Zucker -- gregg@foundationlaw.com --
Foundation Law Group & Robert A. Rabbat --
rrabbat@enensteinlaw.com -- Enenstein Ribakoff LaVina & Pham.

Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert, Interested Party, represented by
Paul D. Alston -- PAlston@ahfi.com -- Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing,
Albert G. Marquis -- amarquis@maclaw.com -- Marquis & Aurbach,
Candice Renka -- crenka@maclaw.com -- Marquis & Aurbach &
Nickolas A. Kacprowski -- NKacprowski@ahfi.com -- Alston Hunt
Floyd & Ing.

Mary Luszczyk, Material Witness, represented by Mark S.
Dzarnoski, Gordan & Silver, Ltd.


MURRAY GOULBURN: Rival Bid Wants Class Action Sorted Out
--------------------------------------------------------
Peter Hemphill, writing for The Weekly Times, reports that a
rival bid to the Saputo deal for Murray Goulburn will guarantee a
payment of $1 for each share or listed unit in the dairy co-
operative.

One of the proponents for the rival deal said the syndicate of
bidders would also guarantee a farmgate milk price of $6/kg milk
solids for the current season.

"All our finance requirements are based on that premise, so it is
superior to Saputo's bid," a source said.

"And our preference is that we want the class action to be sorted
out at the same time -- essentially a total clean up of Murray
Goulburn."

The Weekly Times reported that two syndicates were eyeing off MG,
potentially lobbing counter-bids to trump the Saputo deal.

One source said rival bids for MG would have to be of the order
of $1.8 billion to make it attractive to MG shareholders and unit
holders.

Canadian dairy giant Saputo has offered $1.31 billion for MG.

The rival bid would put severe pressure on the Saputo-MG deal,
which has yet to go before the co-operative's voting
shareholders.

When MG announced the Saputo deal on October 27 -- just hours
before the dairy co-operative's annual general meeting -- it said
the $1.31 billion bid would translate to a net estimated return
of $1.10 to $1.15 a share to shareholders and unit holders after
its debts and liabilities were paid out.

But MG would retain up to $222 million for outstanding legal
costs and funds to cover a payout to unit holders taking a class
action against the dairy co-operative.

It said that would leave an estimated 75 cents a share or unit
after paying for class action and legal costs.

But the source on one of the rival bids said there was no
guarantee shareholders and unit holders would receive 75c for
each share or unit, as they were just "estimates".

"We are not going to be flopping on the 75c," he said.  "Murray
Goulburn has been indistinct on these numbers."

Murray Goulburn was contact for comment but did not respond to
questions from The Weekly Times.

Meanwhile, the Federal Court ratified the agreement between
Murray Goulburn and the Australian Securities and Investments
Commission.

The court declared MG should pay a penalty of $650,000 to settle
action taken against it by ASIC. [GN]


NEW JERSEY TRANSIT: "Alleyne" Suit Alleges Discrimination
---------------------------------------------------------
Anthony Alleyne, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated v. New Jersey Transit Corporation, Case No.
ESX-L-000062-18 (N.J. Super., January 3, 2018), is brought
against the Defendant for disability discrimination in violation
of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

Plaintiff Anthony Alleyne is a resident of the State of New
Jersey and is currently employed by Defendant NJ Transit, working
as a locomotive engineer during the applicable statute of
limitations.

Defendant NJ Transit is a state-owned public transportation
system that operates within the State of New Jersey, as well as
in parts of Pennsylvania and New York. NJ Transit operates one of
the largest regional public transportation networks in the United
States.  [BN]

The Plaintiff is represented by:

      Patricia A. Barasch, Esq.
      SCHALL AND BARASCH, LLC
      110 Marter Avenue, Suite 105
      Moorestown, NJ 08057
      Tel: (856) 914-9200
      Fax: (856) 914-9420


NORMAN BARWIN: Lawyers Seek More Patients for Possible Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Duffy, writing for Ottawa Citizen, reports that could
problems related to the practice of an Ottawa fertility doctor
accused of inseminating couples with his own sperm stretch back
four decades?

That's the prospect lawyers in a pending class action lawsuit are
raising as they appeal to anyone who saw Dr. Norman Barwin for
fertility help to contact them.

Barwin was hired in 1973 at what was then the Ottawa General
Hospital as director of its high-risk pregnancy unit and co-
director of its fertility clinic.

He also established a sperm bank at the clinic.

Barwin worked at the facility, now known as The Ottawa Hospital's
General campus, until 1984, when he set up a private practice,
the Broadview Fertility Clinic.

Errors made at that clinic have spawned at least four lawsuits
against Barwin, including the class action filed in 2016, and
professional sanctions from the Ontario College of Physicians and
Surgeons.

In 2013, Barwin told a disciplinary hearing that he had "no idea"
how three clients at his Broadview clinic were inseminated with
the wrong sperm.  As part of a plea bargain in that case, he was
banned from practising medicine for two months and agreed to
permanently end his fertility practice.

"It is hard to imagine a more fundamental error in your former
speciality," disciplinary panel chairman Dr. William King said at
the time.

Ottawa lawyers Peter Cronyn and Frances Shapiro Munn now allege
similar issues may go back decades in Barwin's career.

"Since the class action was issued in 2016, we continue to be
contacted by many people who were former patients of Dr. Barwin,
and their children," says a website developed by the law firm,
Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP, to provide information to plaintiffs
in the lawsuit.

Although not yet able to provide full details about what those
people have alleged, the firm says several things "are becoming
apparent," including the possibility that problems with Barwin's
work "may have occurred at all points in time throughout his
practice in Ontario."

"Therefore," the lawyers said, "it is important to note that
anyone at any point in time who saw Dr. Barwin for assistance in
conceiving a child in Ontario at either The Ottawa Hospital or
the Broadview Fertility Clinic may be affected."

Asked about those allegations, Barwin's lawyer, Karen Hamway,
said the doctor has no comment.

The class action lawsuit was launched in 2016 and alleges that
Barwin inseminated two couples with his own sperm at the
Broadview clinic.  According to the lawsuit, DNA tests have
confirmed that two of the now adult women conceived at the clinic
are half-sisters based on their paternal line.

The lawsuit contends that one of the women, Kat Palmer, 26, was
also told by Barwin in an October 2015 email that he was her
biological father based on a paternity test to which he agreed.

Lawyers have asked the court to order Barwin, 78, to provide a
DNA sample so that other children conceived at his clinic can
find out whether he's their father.

The lawsuit has yet to be certified by a judge, and none of its
allegations have been tested in court.

Lawyer Peter Cronyn said he expects the case to move forward in
early 2018.  The next case conference is scheduled for Jan. 31.

During his decades-long medical career, Barwin was immensely
popular with patients, and helped thousands of them conceive
children.  He received many accolades and honours for his work,
including an honorary degree from Carleton University and an
appointment to the Order of Canada, from which he resigned in
2013.

The South African-born Barwin was a pioneer in the field of
transgender surgery, and a tireless advocate for both abortion
rights and government-funded fertility treatments. [GN]


NORTHLAND GROUP: Santiago Moves for Approval of Settlement Class
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Plaintiff in the lawsuit captioned NORMA I. SANTIAGO, on
behalf of herself and those similarly situated v. NORTHLAND GROUP
INC. and PINNACLE CREDIT SERVICES, LLC, Case No. 2:15-cv-03608-
CLW (D.N.J.), moves the Court for an order granting preliminary
approval of a proposed settlement class and related relief.

A copy of the Notice of Motion is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=8jUMnzSS

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Bharati Sharma Patel, Esq.
          THE WOLF LAW FIRM, LLC
          1520 U.S. Highway 130 - Suite 101
          North Brunswick, NJ 08902
          Telephone: (732) 545-7900
          Facsimile: (732) 545-1030
          E-mail: bpatel@wolflawfirm.net

               - and -

          Yongmoon Kim, Esq.
          KIM LAW FIRM, LLC
          411 Hacksensack Avenue, 2nd Floor
          Hackensack, NJ 07601
          Telephone: (201) 273-7117
          Facsimile: (201) 273-7117
          E-mail: ykim@kimlf.com

The Defendants are represented by:

          Han Sheng Beh, Esq.
          HINSHAW & CULBERTSON LLP
          800 Third Avenue, 13th Floor
          New York, NY 10022
          Telephone: (212) 471-6238
          E-mail: hbeh@hinshawlaw.com


NORTHROP GRUMMAN: Judge Says Plaintiffs Engage in Forum Shopping
----------------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Denney, writing for New York Journal, reports that an
effort by plaintiffs to move a class action suit over alleged
contamination at a former defense plant in Nassau County from
federal to state court indicates forum shopping, according to a
judge's ruling.

The suit concerns the former site of Northrop Grumman's Grumman-
Aerospace-Bethpage facility, which sat on 635 acres in Nassau
County, and an 18-acre tract of land that the defense giant
donated to the town of Oyster Bay that is now Bethpage Community
Park.

Northrop and the Navy began operating manufacturing, research and
testing facilities at the site in the late 1930s; concerns about
pollution from the area began as early as the late 1940s when
chromium was found in the groundwater in the area.

In 1983, it was added to the list of New York State's Superfund
sites.

In a suit filed in 2016 in Nassau County Supreme Court, a class
of plaintiffs alleges that Northrop Grumman left behind a
combination of contaminants that include trichloroethylene,
tetrachloroethylene, and other volatile organic compounds, as
well as polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, cadmium, chromium,
lead and mercury.

The contaminants combined into a massive, toxic underground plume
that measures 4.5 miles long and 3.5 miles wide that has caused a
public health scare on Long Island and prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo
to order Northrop Grumman to open its wells on the site to the
state Department of Environmental Protection for testing.

Northrop Grumman successfully moved to transfer the lawsuit to
federal court, arguing that the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA)
conferred jurisdiction to the federal courts and that there is
complete diversity in the case as it is defined in 28 U.S.C. Sec
1332.

After the case was moved to the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of New York, the plaintiffs added Oyster Bay as
a defendant in the case, alleging that it should be a party
because it owns and operates the park at the site, and filed a
motion to remand the case to state court, arguing that the case
should fall under the CAFA's exception for local controversies.

But U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley of the Eastern District of
New York said it appears that adding Oyster Bay as a defendant
was done for the sole purpose of triggering the local
controversies exception and gives rise to a "strong suggestion of
forum shopping."

Northrop Grumman is represented by Hollingsworth partners Frank
Leone and Donald Fowler and Morrison & Foerster partners Grant
Esposito -- gesposito@mofo.com -- and Jessica Kaufman --
jkaufman@mofo.com Members of the defense team did not immediately
respond to requests for comment.

In an interview, Paul Napoli of Napoli Shkolnik said that while
the plaintiffs felt that a state court in Nassau County was the
appropriate venue for the case, he said they were "certainly
fine" with presenting their case before a federal judge.

"Having been a longtime Long Island resident, it's the secret
that everyone knows about, that Bethpage and the site are a
contaminated mess that is causing cancer and causing everyone
suffering and loss of loved ones," he said.

In addition to Mr. Napoli, the plaintiffs are represented by
Napoli Shkolnik partner Hunter Shkolnik. [GN]


OPTUM360 LLC: Objection to Other Fax Messages Request Sustained
---------------------------------------------------------------
In the case, STEVEN A. CONNER DPM, P.C. v. OPTUM360, LLC., Civil
Action No. 17-1642 (E.D. Pa.), Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl of the
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
sustained the Defendant's objection to the Plaintiff's request to
identify other fax messages transmitted during the relevant time
period four years that identified any property, goods, or
services available for purchase from Optum360, including
optumcoding.com or optum360coding.com.

The Plaintiff brought the action, individually and on behalf of
an unknown class of persons, claiming that on Oct. 9, 2015.  The
Defendant sent to the Plaintiff an unsolicited fax promoting a
"2015 Optum360 Essentials Conference" and its "coding, billing
and compliance excellence" that did not contain the proper opt-
out notice in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
("TCPA").

The Plaintiff alleges that on information and belief, the
Defendant sent advertisements by facsimile to it and more than 39
other persons in violation of the TCPA.  It defines the purported
class as each person or entity that was sent one or more
telephone facsimile messages (faxes) about goods, products or
services available for purchase from optumcoding.com or
optum360coding.com.

The Plaintiff alleges that it intends to discover, include, and
resolve the merits of claims about all advertisements the
Defendant sent to it by fax, as well as all advertisements the
sent to the other class members.  For example, one of the
interrogatories the Plaintiff has served on the Defendant
requests to identify other fax messages transmitted during the
relevant time period four years that identified any property,
goods, or services available for purchase from Optum360,
including optumcoding.com or optum360coding.com.  It claims it
needs this information in order to identify other class members.
The Defendant has objected to the request on the basis that it is
not relevant and unduly burdensome.

To support their positions, the parties rely on case law from the
United States District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois.  In Brodsky v. HumanaDental Ins. Co., the Court denied
the plaintiff's requests for any fax defendant sent to anyone
that promoted or advertised defendant's business.  Like here, the
Plaintiff had sought the information in order to identify class
members.  Even given the broad scope of discovery under the
Federal Rules, Judge Schmehl holds that the Plaintiff cannot use
discovery as a way of potentially putting together a separate and
unrelated class action lawsuit for other TCPA violations.

Also, in Fauley v. C. Specialties, Inc., the Court found
unpersuasive the plaintiff's argument that because it received
one fax communication in violation of the TCPA, it should be
allowed to rummage around the defendant's records of all fax
communications it sent within the last four years, no matter who
the recipients were or what the subject matter.  In West Loop
Chiropractic & Sports Injury Ctr., Ltd. v. N. Am. Bancard, LLC,
the Court overruled the defendant's relevance objection and
permitted the plaintiff to discover faxes similar to those that
were sent to the Plaintiff for purposes of maintaining a class
action.

However, in doing so, the Judge specifically distinguished Fauley
by noting that the defendant in West Loop admitted to having sent
out faxes within the relevant time period that did not contain
proper opt-out notices.  He also noted that the plaintiff in West
Loop had identified at least one other recipient of a fax from
the defendant that did not contain an opt-out notice and was
different than the one received by the named plaintiff.  As a
result, the Court found that plaintiff's discovery requests
passed the "threshold relevance test" since the requests were
grounded in something more than mere speculation and suspicion.

Judge Schmehl holds that neither of these events occurred in the
case and therefore the Plaintiff's discovery requests do not meet
the "threshold relevance test" as they are grounded in solely
speculation and suspicion.  The Plaintiff has not alleged any
facts to show that the Defendant sent any noncompliant faxes
other than the one the Plaintiff attached to it Complaint as
Exhibit A.  Therefore, the Judge will follow the Brodsky and
Fauley decisions, and sustained the Defendant's objection on the
basis of relevance.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Memorandum Opinion
is available at https://is.gd/WPFDPu from Leagle.com.

STEVEN A. CONNER DPM, P.C., Plaintiff, represented by DANIEL J.
COHEN, BOCK, HATCH, LEWIS & OPPENHEIM, LLC.

STEVEN A. CONNER DPM, P.C., Plaintiff, represented by DAVID M.
OPPENHEIM -- david@classlawyers.com -- Bock, Hatch, Lewis &
Oppenheim, LLC, JAMES M. SMITH -- jim@classlawyers.com -- BOCK,
HATCH, LEWIS & OPPENHEIM, LLC, PHILLIP A. BOCK --
phil@classlawyers.com -- BOCK HATCH LEWIS & OPPENHEIM LLC &
RICHARD E. SHENKAN, SHENKAN INJURY LAWYERS LLC.

OPTUM360, LLC, Defendant, represented by ADAM K. LEVIN --
adam.levin@hoganlovells.com -- HOGAN & LOVELLS US LLP, KATHRYN
MARSHALL ALI -- kathryn.ali@hoganlovells.com -- HOGEN LOVELLS US
LLP & STEPHEN A. LONEY, JR. -- stephen.loney@hoganlovells.com --
HOGAN LOVELLS US LLP.


OSI SYSTEMS: Vincent Wong Notifies Investors of Class Action
------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Vincent Wong announce that a class action
lawsuit has been commenced in the United States District Court
for the Central District of California on behalf of investors who
purchased OSI Systems, Inc. ("OSI Systems") (NASDAQ:OSIS)
securities between August 21, 2013 and December 6, 2017.

Click here to learn about the case: http://www.wongesq.com/pslra-
sb/osi-systems-inc. There is no cost or obligation to you.

According to the complaint, throughout the Class Period, the
Company issued materially false and misleading statements and/or
failed to disclose that: (1) OSI Systems acquired the Albania
concession through bribery or other illicit means; (2) OSI
Systems transferred 49% of its project company associated with
the Albania concession, S2 Albania SHPK, an entity allegedly
worth millions, for consideration of less than $5.00; (3) OSI
Systems engaged in other illegal acts, including improper sales
and cash payments to government officials; (4) these practices
caused OSI Systems to be vulnerable to potential civil and
criminal liability; and (5) as a result, defendants' statements
about OSI Systems' business, operations, and prospects, were
materially false and/or misleading and/or lacked a reasonable
basis.

If you suffered a loss in OSI Systems you have until February 5,
2018 to request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff.
Your ability to share in any recovery doesn't require that you
serve as a lead plaintiff. To obtain additional information,
contact Vincent Wong, Esq. either via email vw@wongesq.com, by
telephone at 212.425.1140, or visit http://www.wongesq.com/pslra-
sb/osi-systems-inc.

Vincent Wong, Esq. is an experienced attorney that has
represented investors in securities litigations involving
financial fraud and violations of shareholder rights.

         CONTACT:
         Vincent Wong, Esq.
         39 East Broadway
         Suite 304
         New York, NY 10002
         Tel. 212.425.1140
         Fax. 866.699.3880
         E-Mail: vw@wongesq.com [GN]


PARC RESTAURANT: Faces Class Action Over Unpaid Wages
-----------------------------------------------------
Nicholas Malfitano, writing for Pennsylvania Record, reports that
a former food runner at Parc Restaurant in Philadelphia's
Rittenhouse Square neighborhood has initiated a class action
lawsuit against his former employer.

Moussa Dembele of Philadelphia (on behalf of himself and others
similarly situated) filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court
of Common Pleas on Dec. 4 versus Starr Restaurant Organization,
L.P., also of Philadelphia.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff worked for Parc as a food
runner until October 2017 and during his employment, the
defendant required plaintiff and other food runner to spend a
substantial portion of their working hours performing non-tipped
work, such as: "Traying food orders in the kitchen area;
preparing and packaging food orders for take-out customers
(including take-out customers ordering through Grubhub.com and
similar Internet platforms) in the kitchen area; cleaning in the
kitchen area; restocking plates; polishing silverware; preparing
frites cones and preparing condiment ramekins."

Dembele's complaint states that he brings the suit as a class
action on behalf of himself and all individuals who, during any
time since Dec. 4, 2014, worked at Parc as food runners, saying
they were entitled to the protections of the Pennsylvania Minimum
Wage Act -- protections which the defendant allegedly violated by
failing to pay the plaintiff and other servers $7.25 per hour for
the time they spent performed non-tipped work under 40 hours and
$10.875 per hour for any non-tipped work qualifying for overtime
premium pay (which the Act mandates).

For violation of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, the plaintiff
is seeking all unpaid minimum and overtime wages; reasonable
attorney's fees, expenses and court costs; pre-judgment and post-
judgment interest; such other relief as the Court deems just and
proper, along with a trial by jury.

The plaintiff is represented by Peter Winebrake --
pwinebrake@winebrakelaw.com -- R. Andrew Santillo --
asantillo@winebrakelaw.com -- and Mark J. Gottesfeld --
mgottesfeld@winebrakelaw.com -- of Winebrake & Santillo, in
Dresher.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 171200223 [GN]


PATRIOT NATIONAL: Laid-Off Employees Sue Over Severance Pay
-----------------------------------------------------------
Ron Hurtibise, writing for Sun Sentinel, reports that two of the
250 Patriot National employees laid off without severance pay on
the day before Thanksgiving are suing their former employer in
federal court.

Meanwhile, Patriot National's ex-CEO is suing the company's
former attorneys and blaming them for its impending bankruptcy.

The laid-off employees' suit, filed in U.S. District Court for
the Southern District of Florida, seeks 60 days' worth of unpaid
wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, accrued holiday pay, accrued
vacation pay, pension, 401k contributions, and health insurance
benefits.  The suit alleges those wages and benefits are owed
because the insurance services provider violated the federal
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act by not
giving 60 days of advance notice of the employees' impending
terminations.

The suit seeks class-action certification and for plaintiffs
Michelle L. Cole and Andrea Scarlett to be designated as class
representatives.  If class-action status is granted, other laid-
off workers can be joined to the suit as co-plaintiffs.

"We have been contacted by more than two dozen former employees
who have asked us to represent them as well," said attorney
Charles Ercole of the Philadelphia-based law firm Klehr Harrison
Harvey Branzburg LLP, which is litigating the case with Fort
Lauderdale-based Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman P.L.

Mr. Ercole specializes in claims based on the WARN Act, which
requires employers with more than 100 employees to give 60 days'
notice of any plant closing or mass layoff involving more than 50
employees at a location.  Failure to give the 60 days' notice
entitles the employees to wages and benefits they would have
earned during the notice period, according to Ercole's website,
warnactlawyer.com.

Gex "Jay" Richardson, Patriot's general counsel and executive
vice president of administration, did not respond to an email
seeking comment about the class-action suit.  When asked in
November whether the laid-off employees would be given severance
pay, Richardson said: "They'll have to wait for the [bankruptcy]
proceedings."

According to the suit, all Patriot National employees "similarly
situated" to Cole and Scarlett "worked at or reported to" the
company's headquarters at 401 E. Las Olas Blvd., Suite 1650, in
downtown Fort Lauderdale. Cole was an audit billing specialist,
and Scarlett was an assistant controller, the suit states.

Patriot National announced the layoffs on Nov. 22, the day before
Thanksgiving, and said they would officially take effect on Black
Friday.

Emails from the company to its laid-off workers said they would
not receive any severance due to "financial difficulties." Six
days after announcing the layoffs, the company said it was being
acquired by "certain funds and accounts" managed by its creditors
in conjunction with a restructuring plan and petitions for relief
under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Patriot National said it intended to continue its normal day-to-
day operations under the reorganization plan, which it expected
to be completed in the second quarter of 2018.

As of Dec. 19, Patriot National had not yet filed for bankruptcy,
according to a search of the federal court system's searchable
records database.

Mr. Ercole said if Patriot National files for bankruptcy, the
suit will be transferred to bankruptcy court "by filing an
adversary complaint and/or a class proof of claim."

Patriot National said the layoffs and reorganization plan became
necessary after its largest customer, workers compensation
provider Guarantee Insurance, was placed under state-supervised
receivership in late November.

Guarantee accounted for 60 percent to 70 percent of Patriot
National's business, according to filings by Patriot National
with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The 250 laid-off
workers represented about a third of Patriot National's work
force, Richardson said when the layoffs were announced.

Questions remain about millions of dollars transferred between
the two companies and to Steve Mariano, who until recently
controlled Guarantee and Patriot National as both CEO and
majority shareholder.

In March, Patriot National paid Guarantee $30 million in exchange
for a 10-year services contract, which triggered a 25 percent
decline in Patriot National's stock price.

In a November letter to Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy
Patronis seeking a state takeover of Guarantee, state Insurance
Commissioner David Altmaier said an audit determined that a $42.2
million surplus that Guarantee reported having on June 30 didn't
actually exist, and the company was instead $236,775 in debt.

Mr. Altmaier said Guarantee violated state law by transferring
$15.7 million to Mr. Mariano in 2016 and 2017 "with no
discernible business purpose and no discernible benefit" to the
company. Mariano "benefited individually," Mr. Altmaier said.

On Nov. 30, Mr. Mariano sued his former attorneys, Simpson
Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.  The suit
accused Simpson Thacher of pairing Patriot National with
"predatory hedge fund investors" who torpedoed the company's
stock price and threw the company and Mariano into "major
litigation" with the hedge funds and other "opportunistic
claimants."

Mr. Mariano's suit also accused Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP of
"negligently preparing" Mariano for litigation by the hedge
funds.  Mr. Mariano said the firm, which was recommended by
Simpson Thacher, ignored readily available facts in defending
against the litigation because it didn't want to criticize
Simpson Thacher.

Patriot National began trading its stock publicly with an Initial
Public Offering on Jan. 16, 2015.  The company's stock price
reached a high of $18.60 in June 2015, then gradually fell.  On
its final day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange before
Patriot National was delisted, the stock price had fallen to
0.36. [GN]


PERRY ELLIS: Dismissal Notice Orders Affirmed
---------------------------------------------
In the cases, GEOFFREY DESROSIERS, & C., Respondents, v. PERRY
ELLIS MENSWEAR, LLC, ET AL., Appellants. CHRISTOPHER VASQUEZ, &
C., Respondent, v. NATIONAL SECURITIES CORPORATION, Appellant,
MARK GOLDWASSER, Defendant, Case Nos. 121, 122 (N.Y.), Judge
Eugene M. Fahey of the Court of Appeals of New York affirmed the
orders of the Appellate Division in both Desrosiers and Vasquez,
with costs, and the certified questions answered in the
affirmative.

Desrosiers worked as an unpaid intern for Perry Ellis in 2012.
In February 2015, he commenced a class action against Defendants
Perry Ellis Menswear and an affiliated entity, alleging that
Perry Ellis improperly classified employees as interns.  He
sought wages on behalf of himself and similarly-situated
individuals.

In March 2015, Perry Ellis sent an offer of compromise to
Desrosiers, which he accepted.  On May 18, 2015, Perry Ellis
moved to dismiss the complaint.  By that date, the time within
which Desrosiers was required to move for class certification
pursuant to CPLR 902 had expired.  Desrosiers did not oppose
dismissal of the complaint, but he filed a cross motion seeking
leave to provide notice of the proposed dismissal to putative
class members pursuant to CPLR 908.

Perry Ellis opposed the cross motion, arguing that notice to
putative class members was inappropriate because Desrosiers had
not moved for class certification within the required time.  The
Supreme Court dismissed the complaint but denied the cross motion
to provide notice to putative class members.  On appeal, the
Appellate Division reversed the order insofar as appealed from by
Desrosiers.

Vasquez was employed by Defendant NSC as a financial products
salesperson in 2007 and 2008.  In June 2014, he filed a class
action against NSC on behalf of himself and all similarly-
situated individuals who worked for NSC after June 2008.  Vasquez
alleged that the compensation paid by NSC fell below the required
minimum wage, and he sought wage and overtime compensation for
himself and similarly-situated individuals.

The parties agreed to postpone a motion for class certification
in order to complete pre-certification discovery.  In February
2015, before Vasquez had moved for class certification, NSC made
a settlement offer, which Vasquez accepted the following month.
NSC thereafter moved to dismiss the complaint.  Vasquez cross-
moved to provide notice of the proposed dismissal to the putative
class members pursuant to CPLR 908.  NSC opposed the cross
motion, asserting that CPLR 908 applies only to certified class
actions.

The Supreme Court granted the cross motion to provide notice to
putative class members and granted NSC's motion to dismiss the
complaint, but directed that the action would not be marked
disposed until after notice had been issued.  On appeal, the
Appellate Division affirmed.  Adhering to its 1982 decision in
Avena v Ford Motor Co., the First Department reasoned that the
legislature, presumably aware of the law as stated in Avena, has
not amended CPLR 908.

In each case, the Appellate Division granted the Defendant leave
to appeal to the Court, certifying the question whether its order
was properly made.  The text of CPLR 908 is ambiguous with
respect to this issue.  The Defendants argue that the statute's
reference to a "class action" means a "certified class action,"
but the legislature did not use those words, or a phrase such as
"maintained as a class action," which appears in CPLR 905 and
909.  The Plaintiffs assert that an action is a "class action"
within the meaning of the statute from the moment the complaint
containing class allegations is filed, but the statutory text
does not make that clear.

Judge Fahey explains that in New York, the only appellate-level
decision to address this issue as it pertains to CPLR 908 (other
than the two decisions on appeal) is Avena.  In that case, the
named plaintiffs settled with the defendant before class
certification, and the settlement was without prejudice to
putative class members.  The trial court refused to approve the
settlement without first providing notice to the putative class
members.  The Appellate Division affirmed that determination,
concluding that CPLR 908 applied to settlements reached before
certification.  The First Department reasoned that the "potential
for abuse by private settlement at this stage is obvious and
recognized, and that the named plaintiffs had a fiduciary
obligation to disclose relevant facts to putative class members.

The Court has never overruled Avena or addressed this particular
issue, and no other department of the Appellate Division has
expressed a contrary view.  Consequently, for 35 years Avena has
been New York's sole appellate judicial interpretation of whether
notice to putative class members before certification is required
by CPLR 908.

The persuasive significance of legislative inaction in this
context carries more weight where the legislature has amended the
statute after the judicial interpretation but its amendments do
not alter the judicial interpretation, or when the judicial
interpretation stems from a decision of the Court or unanimous
judgment of the intermediate appellate courts.  Nevertheless, he
says, the fact that the legislature has not amended CPLR 908 in
the decades since Avena has been decided is particularly
persuasive evidence that the court correctly interpreted the
legislature's intent as it existed when CPLR 908 was enacted in
light of developments occurring in the years after Avena was
decided.

Accordingly, in both Desrosiers and Vasquez, Judge Fahey affirmed
the orders of the Appellate Division, with costs, and the
certified questions answered in the affirmative.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Opinion is
available at https://is.gd/iqPHSH from Leagle.com.

Case No. 121:

Frank H. Henry, for appellants.

LaDonna M. Lusher -- llusher@vandallp.com -- for respondents.

Case No. 122:

Daniel J. Buzzetta -- dbuzzetta@bakerlaw.com -- for appellant.

LaDonna M. Lusher, for respondent.


PERRY ELLIS: Notice Must Be Sent to Purported Class, Court Rules
----------------------------------------------------------------
Vincent Avery, Esq., of Akerman LLP, in an article for JDSupra,
wrote that in a decision bound to have significant consequences
for employers in the State of New York, the state's highest
court, the Court of Appeals, has just ruled that in any case in
which the plaintiff pleads his/her claims as a purported "class
action" in state court and the parties settle on an individual
basis, notice of that settlement must be sent to all of the
purported class members -- even where no class has been certified
by the court, no motion for class certification has been filed,
and the plaintiff has waived the right to seek class
certification in the future.

The decision was prompted by appeals in two separate wage and
hour cases: Desrosiers v. Perry Ellis Menswear, and Vasquez v.
National Sec. Corp., each of which involved wage and hour claims
asserted by an individual plaintiff on behalf of a purported
class of all similarly situated individuals.  In both cases, the
plaintiff accepted an individual settlement offer prior to moving
for class certification, after which the defendants moved to
dismiss the complaint.  Notably, in both cases, the plaintiff did
not oppose the motion to dismiss or otherwise make any effort to
obtain class certification.  In fact, in Desrosier the deadline
by which plaintiff was required to make a motion for class
certification expired, so he could not even have made such a
motion in the future had he not accepted an individualized
settlement offer.  Nevertheless, in both cases, the plaintiffs
responded to the defendant's motion to dismiss by cross moving
for leave to provide notice of their respective individual
settlements to all "putative class members" pursuant to CPLR 908.
Ultimately, after the lower courts in these two cases gave
conflicting rulings (with one denying the plaintiff's motion to
send the notices and the other granting it), the Appellate
Division ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but granted the
defendants leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals.

In a contentious 4-3 decision, the Court of Appeals ultimately
held that, notwithstanding the fact that no class had been
certified, and the settlements therefore had no impact on the
individuals who would fall within the scope of the purported
"class" identified in the complaint, a plaintiff who pleads a
class action has a "fiduciary obligation" to notify the members
of the purported class when he/she reaches an individual
settlement with the defendant and seeks to terminate the case.
The majority ultimately based its ruling on the language of CPLR
908, which provides that court approval is required in order to
dismiss or discontinue a "class action," and that "[n]otice of
the proposed dismissal, discontinuance, or compromise shall be
given to all members of the class in such manner as the court
directs."  The defendants argued that the statute's reference to
a "class action" obviously meant certified class action, while
plaintiffs argued that a case falls within the meaning of the
phrase "class action" the moment a complaint containing class-
based allegations is filed.

Siding with the plaintiffs, the majority first noted that CPLR
908 was based upon the federal analog, Rule 23, and while the
federal rule was amended in 2003 to make clear that its notice
requirements only apply to cases that have been certified as a
class action, the State Legislature took no such action.
Additionally, the majority pointed to a relatively obscure 1982
decision by an intermediate appellate court, which held CPLR
908's notice requirements apply to pre- class certification
settlements, as evidence of the fact that the Legislature was
aware of how the language of CPLR 908 would be interpreted, and
therefore, its failure to act amounted to a passive endorsement
of that decision's interpretation.

In a blistering dissent, three judges noted that the majority's
interpretation of CPLR 908 not only required courts to treat
cases as class actions even though no class has been certified or
requested and the parameters of the class have not been
established, but also that "[t]here is nothing talismanic about
styling a complaint as a class action. Indeed, any plaintiff may
merely allege that a claim is being brought 'on behalf of all
others similarly situated.' However, under article 9 of the CPLR,
the court, not a would-be class representative, has the power to
determine whether an action 'brought as a class action' may be
maintained as such?" In addition, the dissent noted that the
majority's decision essentially creates a perverse rule that
permits plaintiffs' attorneys to send targeted solicitations to
all of the former and current employees of the defendant,
advising them of the fact that their co-worker just received a
settlement based on certain allegations and provide them with
their contact information. Specifically, the dissent observed
that, under the majority's rule, "the notice would essentially
inform putative class members that an individual claim -- of
which they received no prior notice -- was being resolved by an
agreement that was not binding on them.  [T]he ultimate purpose
of the notice appears, at most, to be to allow plaintiffs'
counsel to identify more clients at the expense of the court and
defendants."

The consequences of this decision cannot be understated, as it
will dramatically alter the calculus for employers sued with wage
and hour or other employment claims in state court, in which the
plaintiff merely asserts that the claims asserted in the
complaint are pled on behalf of a class of similarly situated
individuals -- an unfortunate event that is now bound to occur
far more often in light of the new incentives for plaintiff's
counsel to simply tack on boilerplate class-based allegations to
any type of employment-centered complaint.  Indeed, in light of
the majority's decision, it is now clear that, in such cases,
employers who would otherwise elect to settle with the plaintiff
on an individual basis to avoid costly litigation will now run
the risk that doing so will result in giving plaintiff's counsel
the right to notify its entire workforce that one of their co-
workers just received a settlement, along with his/her contact
information.

Unfortunately, absent legislative action, this is the situation
in which New York employers may now find themselves in light of
the decision by the Court of Appeals. [GN]


PETSMART: Prescription Cat Food Price Class Action Dismissed
------------------------------------------------------------
Jireh Gibson, writing for Cook County Record, reports that a
Chicago federal judge has canned a class action consumer fraud
lawsuit against PetSmart and  Hill's Pet Nutrition, claiming the
retailer and pet food maker unfairly marked up prescription cat
food.

On Nov. 29, U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan granted the
companies' motion to dismiss the case brought by plaintiffs Holly
Blaine Vanzant and Dana Land, who alleged HPN and PetSmart used
fraud and deception to increase the profitability of selling
prescription cat food.

Mr. Vanzant and Ms. Land owned cats that had severe health
issues. After several appointments with veterinarians, the
plaintiffs purchased prescription cat food, per the
veterinarian's recommendations. The food was made by HPN and
purchased at a PetSmart location.

The complaint alleges a violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud
and Deceptive Business Practices Act (ICFA).  In the complaint,
Vanzant and Land contend that since the prescriptions allegedly
were not required by law, HPN and PetSmart profited by selling
the prescription cat food above market prices.

The plaintiffs also argued that the use of the word prescription
suggested the food had been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), allegedly deceiving consumers. In fact, the
plaintiffs said they compared the ingredients of the prescribed
cat food to others on the market, yet they chose to continue
purchasing the cat food based on the veterinarian's
recommendation.

Judge Der-Yeghiayan said, for the case to advance, plaintiffs
must demonstrate the allegations in the complaint "plausibly
suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that
possibility above 'speculative level.'" To survive a motion to
dismiss, the complaint must contain factual matter and be
accepted as valid, allowing the judge to draw the reasonable
inference that a defendant is liable.

The defendants argued the ICFA claim is barred by the ICFA safe
harbor exception, which states that "nothing in the ICFA shall
apply to actions or transactions specifically authorized by laws
administered by any regulatory body or officer acting under
statutory authority of this state or the United States."

Judge Der-Yeghiayan agreed with the defendants, holding that the
plaintiffs "could have chosen to forego the therapeutic food for
their cats."

"To the extent that [the] plaintiffs seek to pursue unfair
practices claims under ICFA, there are no allegations that would
suggest that [the] defendants engaged in conduct that would
violate public policy," he said in the decision.  "The
allegations presented by [the] plaintiffs suggest that defendants
acted in accordance with the guidance provided by the FDA, which
is the relevant regulatory body."

The plaintiffs were represented in the action by attorneys with
the Forde Law Offices LLP, of Chicago.

PetSmart was defended by the firm of Foley & Lardner, of Chicago
and San Francisco.  HPN was represented by the firms of O'Melveny
& Myers LLP, of New York and Los Angeles, and Saul Ewing Arnstein
& Lehr LLP, of Chicago. [GN]


PHILADELPHIA, PA: Court Upholds Class Action Attorneys' Fee Award
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Matt Fair, writing for Law360, reports that a Pennsylvania
appeals court on Dec. 18 shot down efforts to challenge an
arbitrator's finding that two law firms and an attorney hired by
Prince Law Offices PC to work on a class action against the city
of Philadelphia were owed some $200,000 in fees for their
efforts. [GN]


PHILIP MORRIS: Rosen Law Files Securities Class Action Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, announces it
has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of the
securities of Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM) from
July 26, 2016 through December 20, 2017, both dates inclusive
("Class Period"). The lawsuit seeks to recover damages for Philip
Morris investors under the federal securities laws.

To join the Philip Morris class action, go to
http://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-1259.htmlor call Phillip Kim,
Esq. or Kevin Chan, Esq. toll-free at 866-767-3653 or email
pkim@rosenlegal.com or kchan@rosenlegal.com for information on
the class action.

NO CLASS HAS YET BEEN CERTIFIED IN THE ABOVE ACTION. UNTIL A
CLASS IS CERTIFIED, YOU ARE NOT REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL UNLESS YOU
RETAIN ONE. YOU MAY ALSO REMAIN AN ABSENT CLASS MEMBER AND DO
NOTHING AT THIS POINT. YOU MAY RETAIN COUNSEL OF YOUR CHOICE.

According to the lawsuit, defendants throughout the Class Period
made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose
that: (1) there were irregularities in the clinical experiments
that underpin Philip Morris' application to the FDA for approval
of its iQOS smoking device; and (2) as a result, defendants'
statements about Philip Morris' business, operations and
prospects were materially false and misleading and/or lacked a
reasonable basis at all relevant times. When the true details
entered the market, the lawsuit claims that investors suffered
damages.

A class action lawsuit has already been filed. If you wish to
serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than
February 20, 2018. A lead plaintiff is a representative party
acting on behalf of other class members in directing the
litigation. If you wish to join the litigation, go to
http://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-1259.htmlor to discuss your
rights or interests regarding this class action, please contact
Phillip Kim or Kevin Chan of Rosen Law Firm toll free at 866-767-
3653 or via email at pkim@rosenlegal.com or kchan@rosenlegal.com.

Follow us for updates on LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-rosen-law-firm or on
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosen_firm.

Rosen Law Firm represents investors throughout the globe,
concentrating its practice in securities class actions and
shareholder derivative litigation. Since 2014, Rosen Law Firm has
been ranked #2 in the nation by Institutional Shareholder
Services for the number of securities class action settlements
annually obtained for investors.

         Laurence Rosen, Esq.
         Phillip Kim, Esq.
         Kevin Chan, Esq.
         The Rosen Law Firm, P.A.
         275 Madison Avenue, 34th Floor
         New York, NY 10016
         Tel: (212) 686-1060
         Toll Free: (866) 767-3653
         Fax: (212) 202-3827
         Email: lrosen@rosenlegal.com
                pkim@rosenlegal.com
                kchan@rosenlegal.com [GN]


PHILIP MORRIS: Fla. Dist. App. Reverses Judgment in "Marchese"
--------------------------------------------------------------
In the case, PHILIP MORRIS USA INC. and R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO
COMPANY, Appellants/Cross-Appellees, v. GERTRUDE MARCHESE, as
Personal Representative for the Estate of SALVATORE MARCHESE,
Appellee/Cross-Appellant, Case No. 4D16-2003 (Fla. Dist. App.),
Judge Mark W. Klingensmith of the District Court of Appeal of
Florida for the Fourth District reversed the comparative fault
reduction applied to the jury's verdict, and remanded to the
trial court for entry of a judgment in favor of the Appellee for
$1.5 million and a determination of the Appellee's entitlement to
attorneys' fees under section 768.79, Florida Statutes (2015).

Appellee Marchese filed a wrongful death action against
Appellants PMUSA and Reynolds.  She sought compensatory and
punitive damages under the theories of strict liability,
negligence, fraud by concealment, and conspiracy to commit fraud
by concealment.  After she obtained a compensatory and punitive
damages award, the trial court reduced the jury's compensatory
damages award by the amount of comparative fault attributed to
the decedent.

At the conclusion of the Phase I trial, the trial court
instructed the jury consistent with the Appellants' arguments,
that in determining the total amount of damages, the court should
not make any reduction because of the responsibility of the
decedent and that there will be no such reduction if it finds for
the Plaintiff on her claims for concealment or conspiracy to
conceal.  The jury ultimately allocated 22.5% fault to Reynolds
and PMUSA, respectively, and 55% to the decedent.  They also
found in favor of the Appellee on her intentional tort claims.
At the conclusion of Phase II, the jury awarded the Appellee
punitive damages totaling $500,000, with $250,000 assessed
against each company.

After trial, the Appellants moved to apply Florida's comparative
fault statute to the compensatory damages award by requesting a
reduction in the award consistent with the jury's allocation of
fault.  Before ruling on the motion, the trial court entered a
final judgment for the entire compensatory amount.  However,
during the hearing on the Appellant's motion for the reduction,
the trial court considered the decedent's comparative fault of
55%, and entered an Amended Final Judgment that reduced the
compensatory damages award from $1,000,000 to $450,000.  The
appeal followed.

Based on the facts, Judge Klingensmith finds it clear that the
Appellants always intended to seek a reduction based on
comparative fault.  But as the Court has previously stated, they
cannot have it both ways.  He says the Appellants' repeated
suggestions to the jury that there would be no reduction of the
compensatory damages award were made in hopes of minimizing the
amount of punitive damages awarded.  At no point did the
Appellants' counsel inform the jury of their intent to seek a
reduction of the compensatory damages award based on comparative
fault, nor did they remain silent on the issue.  Instead, they
affirmatively represented that the Appellee would be fully
compensated as a "shield" against the potential imposition of a
large punitive damages award, all the while intending to use the
comparative fault statute as a "sword" to reduce the amount
awarded.

In addition, the Judge finds that nowhere is this more evident
than during Phase II closing arguments when counsel for PMUSA
stated, if the jury believe that punitive damages are appropriate
in the case, what the counsel suggests them do is award an
additional $225,000 based on the allocation of 22.5% fault to
PMUSA.  It appears that this strategy was successful in
influencing the jury's decision since they awarded the Appellee
$250,000 per appellant in punitive damages, closely approximating
the amount suggested by the appellants.

However, the Judge says the Appellants elected to waive their
right to a reduction of the verdict when they repeatedly and
expressly told the jury that comparative fault would not apply.
Therefore, the trial court erred when it ruled that no waiver
occurred.

Therefore, Judge Klingensmith reversed the comparative fault
reduction applied to the jury's verdict, and remanded to the
trial court for entry of a judgment in favor of the Appellee for
$1.5 million and a determination of the Appellee's entitlement to
attorneys' fees under section 768.79, Florida Statutes (2015).
He affirmed without comment as to all other issues raised on the
appeal and the cross-appeal.

A full-text copy of the Court's Nov. 22, 2017 Order is available
at https://is.gd/tU1m8m from Leagle.com.

Joseph H. Lang, Jr. -- jlang@carltonfields.com -- of Carlton
Fields Jorden Burt, P.A., Tampa, and Scott A. Chesin --
sachesin@mayerbrown.com -- of Mayer Brown LLP, New York, NY, for
appellant/cross-appellee Philip Morris USA Inc.

Gregory G. Katsas of Jones Day, Washington, DC; and Charles R.A.
Morse -- cramorse@jonesday.com -- of Jones Day, New York, NY, for
appellant/cross-appellee R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

Lance V. Oliver -- loliver@motleyrice.com -- and Lisa M.
Saltzburg -- lsaltzburg@motleyrice.com -- of Motley Rice LLC, Mt.
Pleasant, SC; Howard M. Acosta of Law Offices of Howard M.
Acosta, St. Petersburg; Kent G. Whittemore, Hutch Pinder and Erin
W. Lohmiller of The Whittemore Law Group, P.A., St. Petersburg;
and Bruce H. Denson -- bruce@thedensonfirm.com -- of Bruce H.
Denson, P.A., St. Petersburg, for appellee/cross-appellant.


POSEIDON CONCEPTS: Plaintiffs Reach Partial Settlement
------------------------------------------------------
Siskinds LLP on Dec. 21 disclosed that the Plaintiffs in the
securities class actions involving Poseidon Concepts Corp
("Poseidon") have reached a settlement agreement with Poseidon's
former directors and officers and certain of its related
entities.  The settlement is subject to approval of the Court of
Queen's Bench of the Province of Alberta ("Alberta Court") and
recognition by the class action courts in Ontario and QuÇbec and
bankruptcy and class action courts in the United States.

The class actions arise from the alleged misrepresentations in
Poseidon's disclosure documents issued in 2011 and 2012,
including with respect to the recognition of allegedly improper
revenues and accounts receivable.  Poseidon, which formerly
traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under ticker symbol ("PSN"),
commenced insolvency proceedings in April 2013.

The class actions were brought against Poseidon, certain of its
former directors and officers, certain of its related entities,
its auditors, KPMG LLP, and the financial institutions that
underwrote a primary market offering of Poseidon's common shares
in January 2012.  Concurrently, legal actions have been brought
by various stakeholders of Poseidon, including its secured
lenders, against Poseidon and other persons and entities involved
with Poseidon's disclosures.

Subject to obtaining the necessary Court approvals, the
settlement agreement will resolve the class action, as well as
certain other legal claims, against Poseidon's directors and
officers and certain of its related entities.  The claims against
Poseidon itself, its auditors and its underwriters are not
released by the settlement.  The settlement agreement does not
constitute an admission of liability on the part of the settling
defendants, who dispute the claims.

The settlement agreement is being presented as part of a plan of
compromise and arrangement filed with the Alberta Court under the
Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.  A hearing will be held on
February 12 and 13, 2018, during which the Alberta Court will
consider whether the proposed plan of compromise and arrangement
is fair and should be approved.  If you are an investor in
Poseidon securities and wish to object to the settlement, you
must register your objection by no later than January 26, 2018.

The Plaintiffs have been appointed representatives for Poseidon's
investors by Order of the Alberta Court, and are represented by
the law firms of Siskinds LLP, Jensen Shawa Solomon Duguid Hawkes
LLP, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP and Siskinds
Desmeules, Avocats.

For further information regarding these proceedings visit
http://www.siskinds.com/poseidon-concepts-corp/

Inquiries:

          Sajjad Nematollahi
          SISKINDS LLP
          416-594-4390
          sajjad.nematollahi@siskinds.com

          Gavin Price
          Jensen Shawa Solomon Duguid Hawkes LLP
          403-571-0747
          priceg@jssbarristers.ca [GN]


PROFESSIONAL CLAIMS: Status Conference in "Covino" Set for Mar. 6
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The Hon. Joan M. Azrack has scheduled a telephone status
conference for March 6, 2018, at 11:00 a.m., in the lawsuit
styled Covino v. Professional Claims Bureau, Inc., Case No. 16-
cv-05779-JMA-GRB (E.D.N.Y.).

According to the record of the Telephone Premotion Conference,
counsel for the Plaintiff shall initiate the call and contact
Chambers at 631-712-5600 when both parties are on the line.

The motion to appoint class counsel is granted, and the motions
for summary judgment and class certification are held in abeyance
pending global resolution.

A copy of the Record is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=RLZzaf3C

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          David Barshay, Esq.
          BARSHAY SANDERS, PLLC
          100 Garden City Plaza, Suite 500
          Garden City, NY 11530
          Telephone: (516) 203-7600
          Facsimile: (516) 706-5055
          E-mail: ConsumerRights@BarshaySanders.com

The Defendant is represented by:

          Arthur Sanders, Esq.
          BARRON & NEWBURGER, P.C.
          30 S. Main St.
          New City, NY 10956
          Telephone: (845) 499-2990
          E-mail: asanders@bn-lawyers.com


PUMA BIOTECHNOLOGY: Shareholders Class Certified in "Hsu" Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Hon. Andrew J. Guilford grants the motion for class
certification and appointment of class counsel in the lawsuit
titled HSINGCHING HSU, ET AL. v. PUMA BIOTECHNOLOGY, INC. ET AL.,
Case No. 8:15-cv-00865-AG-JCG (C.D. Cal.).

The class is defined as:

     All persons and entities who purchased or otherwise acquired
     the securities of Puma Biotechnology, Inc. ("Puma" or the
     "Company") during the period from July 22, 2014 (after 6:00
     p.m. EDT) through May 29, 2015, inclusive (the "Class
     Period"), and were damaged thereby.  Excluded from the Class
     are Defendants, present or former executive officers of Puma
     and their immediate family members (as defined in 17 C.F. R.
     Section 229.404, Instructions (1)(a)(iii) and (1)(b)(ii)).

Lead Plaintiff Norfolk County Council filed a motion to certify a
class of plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Defendants Puma
Biotechnology, Alan H. Auerbach, and Charles R. Eyler for alleged
violations of federal securities law.  The Council also asks that
it be appointed class representative and that its counsel,
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, be appointed class counsel.
The Defendants filed a notice of nonopposition stating that,
while they deny the allegations in the complaint, they do not
oppose the Council's current requests.

The Norfolk Pension Fund allegedly purchased almost 18,000 Puma
shares at inflated prices during the relevant period.  Lead
plaintiff Norfolk County Council administers the Fund.

A copy of the Civil Minutes is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=Xi6H6fQX


PURDUE PHARMA: County Employees' Fund Hits Opioid Drug Benefits
---------------------------------------------------------------
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
District Council 37 Health & Security Plan, individually and on
behalf of all those similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. Purdue
Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., The Purdue Frederick Company,
Inc., Cephalon, Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., Teva
Pharmaceuticals Usa, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Janssen
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ortho-Mcneiljanssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc.
n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Noramco, Inc., Endo Health
Solutions Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., Mallinckrodt PLC,
Mallinckrodt LLC, Allergan PLC f/k/a Actavis PLC, Watson
Pharmaceuticals, Inc. n/k/a Actavis, Inc., Watson Laboratories,
Inc., Actavis, LLC, Actavis Pharma, Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharma,
Inc., Insys Therapeutics Inc., Amerisourcebergen Drug
Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc. and McKesson Corporation,
Defendants, Case No. 17-cv-2585, (N.D. Ohio, December 12, 2017),
seeks compensatory and treble damages, prejudgment and post-
judgment interest, costs of suit, including reasonable attorneys'
fees, and such further and additional relief pursuant to the
Racketeer Influenced And Corrupt Organizations Act.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
District Council 37 Health & Security Plan is a non-profit
health, self-funded, and welfare benefit plan covering public
sector employees, retirees and their families.

Defendants are into developing, marketing, advertising promoting
and selling prescription pharmaceuticals that contain opioids
which have narcotic effects and may cause addiction.

Plaintiff is represented by:

      Philip S. Kushner, Esq.
      Michael R. Hamed, Esq.
      Christian J. Grostic, Esq.
KUSHNER, HAMED & GROSTIC CO., LPA
      1375 East Ninth Street, Suite 1930
      Cleveland, OH 44114
      Telephone: (216) 696-6700
      Facsimile: (216) 696-6772
      Email: pkushner@kushnerhamed.com
             mhamed@kushnerhamed.com
             cgrostic@kushnerhamed.com

             - and -

      Elizabeth J. Cabraser, Esq.
      Lexi J. Hazam, Esq.
      Bruce W. Leppla, Esq.
      LIEFF CABRASER HEIMANN & BERNSTEIN, LLP
      275 Battery Street, 29th Floor
      San Francisco, CA 94111-3339
      Telephone: (415) 956-1000
      Facsimile: (415) 956-1008
      Email: ecabraser@lchb.com
             lhazam@lchb.com
             bleppla@lchb.com

             - and -

      Jason L. Lichtman, Esq.
      Steven E. Fineman, Esq.
      Jonathan D. Selbin, Esq.
      Paulina do Amaral, Esq.
      LIEFF CABRASER HEIMANN & BERNSTEIN, LLP
      250 Hudson Street, 8th Floor
      New York, NY 10013
      Telephone: (212) 355-9500
      Facsimile: (212) 355-9592
      Email: sfineman@lchb.com
             jselbin@lchb.com
             pdoamaral@lchb.com
             jlichtman@lchb.com

             - and -

      Mark P. Chalos, Esq.
      LIEFF CABRASER HEIMANN & BERNSTEIN, LLP
      One Nashville Place
      150 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 1650
      Nashville, TN 37219-2423
      Telephone: (615) 313-9000
      Facsimile: (615) 313-9965
      Email: mchalos@lchb.com


PURDUE PHARMA: Judge Has Yet to Sign $20MM Oxycontin Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
Connell Smith, writing for CBC News, reports that after seven
years of addiction, the loss of family and friends, her home and
-- very nearly -- her life, Jacqueline Dupere-Hanlon says the
craziness finally stopped when she entered a methadone clinic.

"I walked in and I said, 'I've tried everything, I've lost
everybody and everything, I need help,'" Ms. said Dupere-Hanlon.

Twenty-eight months later the Rothesay mother of three is coming
to terms with the enormity of what her addiction to the
prescribed synthetic opiate OxyContin has taken from her.

Ms. Dupere-Hanlon is one of thousands of addicts and former
addicts registered in a $20 million national class action suit
with Purdue Pharma that is now on hold after a Saskatchewan judge
declined to sign off.

OxyContin is a synthetic opiate prescribed to relieve moderate to
severe pain.

Becoming addicted

Ms. Dupere-Hanlon said she was first given the drug in hospital
after falling from a ladder while working as a painter.

The X-ray showed a broken tail bone and four slipped disks.
Fifteen minutes later, she said, her pain was gone.

"I felt like I was in utopia.  No pain physically, no pain
anywhere, which was the problem," she said.  "It was just, life
was a bowl of cherries."

She spent the next three months lying in bed with home-care
workers handling the chores.

By that point, she was addicted.

Her work plan covered the prescription and she was finding ways
to up to the dose.

"I would lie to my doctor, say I dropped it down the toilet,"
said Ms. Dupere-Hanlon.  "If you're addicted you're going to go
back and get it if they'll give it to you.  And my doctor, I'm
sure didn't want to see me in pain."

The long road back

Ms. Dupere-Hanlon says she tried to wean herself from the drug,
did multiple stints in rehab and finally attempted to take her
own life.

She was rushed to hospital after her roommate discovered her
lying in bed, an empty pill bottle nearby on the floor.

Ms. Dupere-Hanlon is now rebuilding her life from scratch.

She said she's looking forward to a payout from Purdue Pharma but
bristles at the thought of the release she'll be required to
sign.

She called the $20 million the company will pay, a "slap on the
wrist."

"I don't like the fact that I have to sign a waiver for Purdue
and not place any blame. In order to get any money, you have to
do that," she said.

Judge declines

The class action settlement required approval by courts in four
Canadian provinces.

Judges in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario have already signed
off.

But in September, Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench Justice
Dennis Ball said further information is required to approve the
settlement.

Justice Ball has since retired, and a new Justice will take over
the case Jan. 5 in Regina.

The suit is over how the company marketed and sold its pain
medications, OxyContin and OxyNEO.

While agreeing to the settlement, the company makes no admission
of guilt. [GN]


QUDIAN INC: Levi & Korsinsky Reminds of Lead Plaintiff Deadline
---------------------------------------------------------------
The following statement is being issued by Levi & Korsinsky, LLP:

To: All persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired
American Depository Shares of Qudian Inc. ("Qudian") (NYSE: QD)
(1) pursuant and/or traceable to the Company's Initial Public
Offering on or about October 17, 2017; and/or (2) between October
18, 2017 and November 20, 2017. You are hereby notified that Levi
& Korsinsky has commenced the class action Zolotukhin v. Qudian
Inc., et al. (Case No. 1:17-cv-09894) in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York. To get more
information go to:

http://www.zlk.com/pslra-sbm/qudian-inc?wire=3

or contact Joseph E. Levi, Esq. either via email at
jlevi@levikorsinsky.com or by telephone at (212) 363-7500, toll-
free: (877) 363-5972. There is no cost or obligation to you.

The complaint alleges that the Registration Statement issued in
connection with the IPO failed to disclose that: (1) Qudian
engaged in unethical business and accounting practices; (2)
Qudian failed to maintain adequate control to ensure the
protection and safety of its users' personal information; and (3)
as a result, Qudian was exposing detailed user data to leakages
and online resale.

On November 21, 2017, media outlets reported that data from more
than a million student clients of Qudian was leaked and possibly
sold online.

If you suffered a loss in Qudian you have until February 12, 2018
to request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff. Your
ability to share in any recovery doesn't require that you serve
as a lead plaintiff.

Levi & Korsinsky is a national firm with offices in New York,
California, Connecticut, and Washington D.C. The firm's attorneys
have extensive expertise and experience representing investors in
securities litigation, and have recovered hundreds of millions of
dollars for aggrieved shareholders. Attorney advertising. Prior
results do not guarantee similar outcomes. [GN]


RADIO CORP: More Former Workers Join Class Action in Taiwan
-----------------------------------------------------------
Wang Yang-yu and Flor Wang, writing for CNA, reports that the
Taipei District Court on Dec. 21 opened the hearing of a class
action lawsuit brought by 1,000-plus former employees of
electronics and home appliance manufacturer Radio Corp of America
(RCA), who are seeking compensation for work-related illnesses.

Following a ruling by the Taiwan High Court in favor of 486
former RCA employees and their relatives, an additional of 1,142
people who worked at the production plant in Taoyuan from 1970-
1992 have joined the legal battle to obtain compensation for
exposure to a carcinogenic chemical compound.

The 1,142 former employees and relatives are seeking NT$7.3
billion (US$243.52 million), saying that many of them have
developed cancer as a result of exposure to trichloroethylene, a
compound used by RCA in the manufacture of its home appliances.

At a news conference at the Taipei District Court, RCA Self-Help
Association President Liu Ho-yun said the first-class action suit
went in favor of the first group of 486 former employees and
relatives, who were awarded NT$718 million, but the high court
turned down an appeal for an additional 1,142 people to be
covered by the ruling.

As a result, the 1,142 former workers and relatives have filed a
new class action against RCA, which has been sold to Thomson
Consumer Electronics.

On Dec. 21, representatives of the RCA Self-Help Association
urged the district court to consider the verdict reached by the
high court in October and to expedite the hearing so that justice
could be served before other former workers give up or die.

In the first-class action suit, the court found that 200 people
had died as a direct result of pollution caused by the RCA
factory.

Meanwhile, several of the former RCA workers who declined to be
named told CNA that they have had a very hard life since falling
ill with cancer and they hope that justice would be served
through the legal action. [GN]


RELAYRIDES INC: Court Denies w/o Prejudice Bid to Remand "Zhao"
---------------------------------------------------------------
Magistrate Judge Joseph P. Spero of the U.S. District Court for
the Northern District of California denied without prejudice
Zhao's Motion to Remand the case, JIAN-MING "SCOTT" ZHAO,
Plaintiff, v. RELAYRIDES, INC., et al., Defendants, Case No. 17-
cv-04099-JCS (N.D. Cal.).

Zhao alleged that Defendant RelayRides rents vehicles through an
"online marketplace" that allows owners of vehicles to list their
vehicles on its website.  He alleged that he rented his 350
Nissan Z through RelayRides and that the customer who rented it
drove the car off the road in a single car accident that
"resulted in the total loss" of the car.  He sought coverage for
the loss through Sphere Risk Partners, which allegedly handled
claim processing for RelayRides, but coverage was denied.

Zhao filed the initial complaint in the action in California
Superior Court, San Mateo County, on Nov. 14, 2016.  He named as
Defendants RelayRides, Sphere Risk Partners, and Turo Inc.  In
the initial complaint, he asserted the following claims in his
Complaint: (i) fraud based on allegations that the Defendants
deceptively misrepresented to the Plaintiff, and similarly
situated persons, that 2017your car is covered by the $1,000,000
liability policy during every rental; (ii) unfair business
practices in violation of California Business and Professions
Code section 17200; (iii) bad faith -- breach of covenant of good
faith and fair dealing; and (iv) promissory estoppel.  In
connection with his fraud claim, Zhao sought exemplary and
punitive damages under California Civil Code section 3294 on the
basis that the Defendants acted "despicably" and "fraudulently."

Zhao's Complaint did not state that it was a class action in the
caption of the complaint.  Nor did it reference California's
class action statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 382.  The
Complaint was served on Sphere Risk Partners on Dec. 27, 2016 and
on RelayRides and Turo on Jan. 23, 2017.

Zhao filed a motion for leave to file his First Amended Complaint
on June 21, 2017.  In the First Amended Complaint, Zhao invoked
California Code of Civil Procedure section 382 and included a new
section entitled "Class Action Allegations."  The First Amended
Complaint alleges that Zhao's car was damaged during the rental
period when a renter drove off the road causing a single car
accident in San Mateo County, which resulted in the total loss of
the Plaintiff's vehicle.  Also like the initial complaint, the
Prayer in First Amended Complaint does not set forth any dollar
amounts in connection with these remedies.  Nor does Zhao specify
the multiplier he is seeking in connection with his request for
punitive damages.  The First Amended Complaint asserts the same
four claims Zhao asserted in his original Complaint.

The Defendants filed a notice of removal in the Court on July 20,
2017 after Zhao filed an amended complaint in state court that
was deemed served on July 13, 2017.  The Defendants removed the
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1332, as amended by the
Class Action Fairness Act ("CAFA").

Zhao now brings a Motion to Remand ("Motion") in which he asserts
that the removal was untimely and that CAFA's $5 million amount-
in-controversy requirement is not met.  A hearing on the Motion
was held on Dec. 8, 2017.

Magistrate Judge Spero concludes that although the Defendants'
removal of the action to federal court was timely, they have not
demonstrated that the amount-in-controversy requirement is
satisfied.  The Ninth Circuit has held that under these
circumstances, the parties should be permitted to submit evidence
outside the complaint, including affidavits or declarations, or
other 2017summary-judgment-type evidence relevant to the amount
in controversy at the time of removal.  Accordingly, he denied
without prejudice Zhao's Motion to Remand.

The Magistrate Judge permitted the parties to conduct limited
discovery, for a period of 60 days from the Dec. 8, 2017 motion
hearing date, aimed at determining the amount in controversy
based on the claims asserted in the First Amended Complaint.
Zhao may file a renewed motion to remand on or before than Feb.
9, 2018.  He says the briefing and hearing dates will be
determined under the Civil Local Rules or pursuant to the
parties' stipulation so long as the proposed hearing date is at
least 35 days after Feb. 9, 2018 and the final brief is submitted
at least two weeks before the proposed hearing date.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Order is available
at https://is.gd/JycWYV from Leagle.com.

Jian-Ming "Scott" Zhao, Plaintiff, represented by Joseph W.
Carcione, Jr., Law Offices of Joseph W. Carcione, Jr., APC.

Jian-Ming "Scott" Zhao, Plaintiff, represented by Joshua James
Kim Henderson, Law Offices of Joseph W. Carcione, Jr., APC.

RelayRides, Inc., Defendant, represented by Stephen Andrew Chiari
-- schiari@srclaw.com -- Sacks, Ricketts & Case LLP, Elaisha
Nandrajog -- enandrajog@srclaw.com -- Sacks, Ricketts & Case LLP
& Michele D. Floyd -- mfloyd@srclaw.com -- Sacks, Ricketts & Case
LLP.

Sphere Risk Partners, Defendant, represented by Stephen Andrew
Chiari, Sacks, Ricketts & Case LLP, Elaisha Nandrajog, Sacks,
Ricketts & Case LLP & Michele D. Floyd, Sacks, Ricketts & Case
LLP.

Turo Inc., Defendant, represented by Stephen Andrew Chiari,
Sacks, Ricketts & Case LLP, Elaisha Nandrajog, Sacks, Ricketts &
Case LLP & Michele D. Floyd, Sacks, Ricketts & Case LLP.


RENT-A-CENTER INC: 9th Cir. Affirms Arbitration in "Carter"
-----------------------------------------------------------
In the case captioned CHAD CARTER, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. RENT-
A-CENTER, INC., Defendant-Appellee, Case No. 16-15835 (9th Cir.),
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the
district court's decisions compelling arbitration on an
individual basis and denying Carter's motion for reconsideration
of an order dismissing Carter's complaint, including his class
claims.

Carter does not challenge the district court's decision to compel
arbitration, but only the decision to compel arbitration on an
individual basis.  That decision is based on the district court's
ruling that the class action waiver provision in the "Lease-
Purchase Agreement" is enforceable.  Carter argues the class
action waiver provision is unconscionable under Nevada law.

Carter's argument is foreclosed by AT&T Mobility LLC v.
Concepcion.  The Court has interpreted Concepcion as foreclosing
any argument that a class action waiver, by itself, is
unconscionable under state law or that an arbitration agreement
is unconscionable solely because it contains a class action
waiver.  Nevada courts are in accord.

The Court finds that Carter's rationale for applying Nevada's
unconscionability doctrine to invalidate the class action waiver
is indistinguishable from the California Supreme Court's
rationale in Discover Bank v. Superior Court, a case expressly
overruled by Concepcion.  Even if Carter's unconscionability
argument were not barred by Concepcion, his argument of
procedural unconscionability is unavailing.  The Lease-Purchase
Agreement, together with the arbitration agreement, is not a
classic "take-it-or-leave-it" contract.  The arbitration
agreement sets forth a procedure for opting out of the
arbitration agreement and states this option in prominent bold
lettering near the top of the first page of the agreement.
Carter was thus free to do business with the Defendant, without
being bound by the arbitration agreement.

The Judge also reviewed the denial of a motion for
reconsideration for abuse of discretion.  Carter, concerned that
the district court might have dismissed his class claims with
prejudice, argues the district court abused its discretion by not
clarifying whether the dismissal was with or without prejudice.
The Judge finds that the order dismissing the complaint clearly
states the dismissal was without prejudice, which Rent-A-Center
concedes.  Carter has not shown an abuse of discretion.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Memorandum is
available at https://is.gd/ieTJqO from Leagle.com.


RETAIL FOOD: Faces Potential Class Action Over Profit Warning
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Australian Associated Press reports that Gloria Jean's and
Donut King owner Retail Food Group has been queried by the share
market operator and faces a potential class action over the
timing of its recent profit warning.

The ASX has asked RFG when it first became aware of the
information that led to its December 19 forecast of a fall in
half-year profit.

At the same time, law firm Bannister Law says it is investigating
whether RFG shareholders have grounds to launch a class action
over the timing of the forecast.

RFG's shares dived 25 per cent on Dec. 19 after it said it
expects to make a net profit of $22 million in the six months to
December, down 34 per cent on the same period a year earlier.

In its written query to RFG, ASX noted that the company had
reaffirmed its forecast of growth in annual underlying profit of
about six per cent on December 7.

"When did RFG first become aware of the revised half-year
guidance?," the ASX asked.

In its written response, RFG said its guidance was not "revised"
because it had never provided a half-year profit forecast, only a
full-year forecast.

It said the company's executives received November accounts on
December 16 and worked to the early hours of December 19 before
issuing the warning just before the share market opened.

"RFG has acted promptly and without delay in this matter," the
company said in its reply to the ASX.

RFG has partly blamed a decline in sales on media reports, which
were first published by Fairfax Media on December 9, accusing the
company of charging franchisees exorbitant fees that were driving
them to the wall.

RFG also blamed a tough retail environment, particularly for its
franchisees in shopping centres, and costs linked to its
business-wide review for the downgrade.

Bannister Law, which is involved in a class action against
Volkswagen, said it is investigating RFG's recent public
statements to see if there are grounds to launch a class action
on behalf of shareholders hit by the plunging value of their
investments.

The firm said it will investigate whether RFG had reasonable
grounds to issue forecasts of underlying annual profit growth
between August 29 and December 7, and whether it should have
corrected its guidance earlier than December 19.

"If those investigations show that RFG contravened provisions of
the Corporations Act, Bannister Law may launch a class action on
behalf of shareholders of RFG," the law firm said.

RFG shares gained 52.5 cents, or 32.3 per cent, to $2.15 on
Dec. 21, however the stock remains 51 per cent down on its level
before the December 9 media reports. [GN]


RMH FRANCHISE: Wins Bid to Dismiss Without Prejudice "Ivery" Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The Hon. John J. Tharp, Jr., granted the Defendants' motion to
dismiss the lawsuit titled CHAMORA IVERY, individually and on
behalf of others similarly situated v. RMH FRANCHISE CORP., RMH
ILLINOIS, LLC, and RMH FRANCHISE HOLDINGS, INC., Case No. 1:17-
cv-01619 (N.D. Ill.).

RMH Franchise is dismissed without prejudice, while Ivery's IWPCA
claim is dismissed with prejudice, according to the Court's
memorandum opinion and order.  Ivery had until January 8, 2018,
to file an amended complaint that addresses the deficiencies
outlined in the opinion regarding RMH Franchise.  Moreover,
Ivery's motion for conditional certification is granted in part
and denied in part.

The Court conditionally certifies a collective of AMs who worked
at Applebee's restaurants operated by RMH Holdings, or its
subsidiaries RMH Illinois and RMH Franchise, between March 1,
2014 and the present.

The Court also approves Ivery's proposed notice and reminder with
the modifications set forth in the Order.  Finally, the Court
orders that RMH Holdings and RMH Illinois produce to Ivery, in
digital form, the employee contact information outlined above,
excluding social security numbers.

The lawsuit is an action for unpaid overtime wages.  Plaintiff
Chamora Ivery contends that Defendant RMH Franchise Holdings,
Inc. and its subsidiaries, RMH Franchise Corp. and RMH Illinois,
LLC -- owners of franchised Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar
restaurants -- improperly classified her and other assistant
managers as exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards
Act and Illinois wage laws.

A copy of the Memorandum Opinion and Order is available at no
charge at http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=3oGY8DaB


RUSHMORE LOAN: Renewed "Sellers" Class Certification Bid Denied
---------------------------------------------------------------
In the case, RANDOLPH SELLERS, individually and on behalf of a
class of persons similarly situated and TABETHA SELLERS,
individually and on behalf of a class of persons similarly
situated, Plaintiffs, v. RUSHMORE LOAN MANAGEMENT SERVICES, LLC,
Defendant, Case No. 3:15-cv-1106-J-32PDB (M.D. Fla.), Judge
Timothy J. Corrigan of the U.S. District Court for the Middle
District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, denied both the
Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration of Ruling on Summary
Judgment and the Plaintiffs' Renewed Motion for Class
Certification.

The Plaintiffs filed the consumer credit putative class action on
Sept. 11, 2015, raising claims under the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act ("FDCPA"), the Florida Consumer Collection
Practices Act ("FCCPA"), and the Declaratory Judgment Act, based
on their receipt of numerous communications from Rushmore.

On March 30, 2017, the Court held a hearing on Rushmore's motion
for summary judgment.  It granted Rushmore's motion as to Count
III, which involved the Plaintiffs' receipt of one Request for
Taxpayer Identification Number, but otherwise denied the motion.
Therefore, the Plaintiffs' claims that Rushmore violated the
FDCPA and the FCCPA by sending them several mortgage statements
in an attempt to collect a debt previously discharged in
bankruptcy remain.

On May 16, 2017, Rushmore filed a motion for reconsideration,
asking that the Court review its denial of summary judgment as to
Counts I, II, and IV in light of recent Eleventh Circuit
authority.  The Plaintiffs filed a response in opposition.

On June 1, 2017, the Plaintiffs renewed their motion for class
certification, requesting that the Court certify the class of all
Florida consumers who (i) have or had a residential mortgage loan
serviced by Rushmore, which Rushmore obtained when the loan was
in default; (ii) received a Chapter 7 discharge of their personal
liability on the mortgage debt; and (iii) were sent a mortgage
statement dated Sept. 11, 2013 or later, in substantially the
same form as Mortgage Statement I and/or Mortgage Statement II,
and was mailed to the debtor's home address in connection with
the discharged mortgage debt.

Rushmore opposes the Plaintiffs' motion for class certification
on all possible grounds, including that the proposed class is not
ascertainable; the Plaintiffs fail to meet any of the
requirements of Rule 23(a), Fed. R. Civ. P.; and they fail to
satisfy the predominance and superiority requirements of Rule
23(b), Fed. R. Civ. P. (Doc. 61).

Judge Corrigan has reviewed Helman v. Bank of America and finds
that the disclaimer language in this case is distinguishable from
Helman, such that a jury should determine whether Mortgage
Statements I and II violate the FDCPA and FCCPA.  Moreover, the
Plaintiffs received 10 of their mortgage statements after
foreclosure on their home -- a fact apparently not at issue in
Helman -- further distinguishing the two cases.  Therefore, he
concludes that Rushmore's motion for reconsideration is due to be
denied.

The Judge also finds that throughout the litigation, the
Plaintiffs have proposed numerous different class definitions.
With the first three iterations, they narrowed the class
definition as the pertinent issues crystallized.  However, in the
proposed class definition currently before the Court (their
fourth), the Plaintiffs revert to a definition (similar to the
second), which does not take into account the Sellers' unique
circumstances.

According to the Judge, the Plaintiffs' current proposed class
definition ignores that, in analyzing the viability of their
claims on summary judgment, he had to examine whether the
property was their residence at the time they received the
challenged communications and whether making periodic payments in
lieu of foreclosure was an option available to them.  Because
Plaintiffs vacated the property long before Rushmore sent the
Mortgage Statements and were never offered options that would
allow them to make periodic payments to avoid foreclosure and
remain in the home, he found that the exception to the discharge
injunction did not apply, rendering analysis of whether the
Bankruptcy Code preempted or precluded the FCCPA or the FDCPA
unnecessary.

However, if he certified the Plaintiffs' proposed class, such
individualized inquiries would be required for every class member
to determine whether the Section 524(j) exception applied, and if
so, whether the Bankruptcy Code precluded and/or preempted the
FDCPA and FCCPA.5 Such a course of action -- which the
Plaintiffs' proposed class definition mandates -- is the type of
extensive individualized factual inquiry that is too burdensome
to allow class certification.

Accordingly, Judge Corrigan denied Rushmore's Motion for
Reconsideration.  He also denied the Plaintiffs' Renewed Motion
for Class Certification and dismisses with prejudice the putative
class claims.  He ordered that by Jan. 12, 2018, the parties will
file a joint case management report, and the Court will enter a
case management scheduling order for the remainder of the case.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Order is available
at https://is.gd/Aipkwl from Leagle.com.

Randolph Sellers, individually and on behalf of a class of
persons similarly situated, Plaintiff, represented by Brian W.
Warwick -- bwarwick@varnellandwarwick.com -- Varnell & Warwick,
PA.

Randolph Sellers, individually and on behalf of a class of
persons similarly situated, Plaintiff, represented by Janet R.
Varnell -- jvarnell@varnellandwarwick.com -- Varnell & Warwick,
PA & Max H. Story -- max@maxstorylaw.com -- Max Story, Esq..

Tabetha Sellers, individually and on behalf of a class of persons
similarly situated, Plaintiff, represented by Brian W. Warwick,
Varnell & Warwick, PA, Janet R. Varnell, Varnell & Warwick, PA &
Max H. Story, Max Story, Esq..

Rushmore Loan Management Services, LLC, Defendant, represented by
Amy Lea Drushal -- adrushal@trenam.com -- Trenam, Kemker, Scharf,
Barkin, Frye, O'Neill & Mullis, John C. Lynch --
john.lynch@troutmansanders.com -- Troutman Sanders, LLP, pro hac
vice, Jonathan Stuart Hubbard -- jon.hubbard@troutman.com --
Troutman Sanders, LLP, pro hac vice & Justin T. Wong --
justin.wong@troutmansanders.com -- Troutman Sanders, LLP.


SEPHORA USA: Court Grants FLSA Certification in "Hernandez" Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Hon. William H. Orrick granted in part the Plaintiffs' motion
for conditional FLSA certification in the lawsuit titled LACEY
HERNANDEZ, et al. v. SEPHORA USA, INC., Case No. 3:16-cv-05392-
WHO (N.D. Cal.).

Plaintiffs Lacey Hernandez and Brenda Morales bring a putative
class action and a Fair Labor Standards Act collective action on
behalf of themselves and all similarly situated non-exempt
employees and former employees of Sephora USA, Inc.  They allege
that Sephora required application of a minimum amount of makeup
and the maintenance of that makeup throughout the day without
compensation for the time spent doing so.  The Plaintiffs claim
that because of this makeup requirement, Sephora did not provide
employees with the wages to which they were entitled.

"I GRANT plaintiffs' motion for conditional collective action
certification for females employed by Sephora as "Cashiers,"
"Cash Wrap Coordinators," "Personal Beauty Advisors," and/or
"Product Consultants," who worked 40 or more hours, including any
time spent applying makeup "off the clock," in a given week, from
June 20, 2014 to present," Judge Orrick ruled.

Judge Orrick denied the Plaintiffs' request for equitable tolling
to account for procedural delays.  Judge Orrick directed the
parties to meet and confer concerning the form of and timing for
the opt-in notice and attempt to agree on those matters within 14
days of the date of this Order.  "If the parties cannot agree,
they shall submit their proposals to me within fourteen (14) days
of the date of this Order, and I will determine the matters
promptly," Judge Orrick added.

A copy of the Order is available at no charge at
http://d.classactionreporternewsletter.com/u?f=hc9SNFpG


STARBUCKS CORP: Seeks Dismissal of Underfilled Latte Class Action
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Cara Bayles, writing for Law360, reports that Starbucks Corp.
asked a California federal judge at a hearing on Dec. 19 to toss
a proposed class action claiming the coffee giant underfills its
lattes to save money on milk, saying the allegations had been
disproved during discovery. [GN]


STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL: Law Firms Mull Shareholder Class Actions
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Franz Wild, writing for Bloomberg, reports that while
shareholders prepare to sue Steinhoff International Holdings
after its steep share decline in December, a former business
partner has beaten them to the punch, filing lawsuits in three
countries over the retail giant's accounting.

Andreas Seifert opened civil suits against Steinhoff in Germany,
the Netherlands and his homeland of Austria through his OM
Handels, according to a statement from his group.  Steinhoff
committed false accounting by not acknowledging Seifert's
shareholdings in POCO Einrichtungsmaerkte, a German furniture
retailer, and Conforama France, a French homeware store, the
statement said.

The challenges come as Steinhoff prepares to meet its bankers on
Dec. 19 in an attempt to control a deepening accounting scandal.
The crisis has already led to an 80% drop in the retail giant's
share price and forced CEO Markus Jooste and chairperson Christo
Wiese out of their jobs.  Now, law firms are trying to get
shareholders to join class-action lawsuits over the losses.

Steinhoff said it would be inappropriate for it to comment on
pending litigation.

In April, a regional court in Dortmund, Germany is due to start
hearings on whether OM has a right to a 50% stake in POCO,
according to a court spokesperson.  The second case, in
Amsterdam's Enterprise Chamber, is similar.  The Dutch court has
indicated that it will determine whether Steinhoff's accounting
was inaccurate because of the way it included revenue from POCO,
OM said.

Seifert made the third claim in Austria in 2011, laying claim to
a 50% stake in Conforama, which OM said he acquired through the
conversion of a loan, according to the statement, which said it's
unclear when this case will conclude. [GN]


STEINHOFF INT'L: Innsworth Litigation Funding Mulls Suit
--------------------------------------------------------
Litigation Finance Journal reports that a pending class action
against Steinhoff, which owns Mattress Firm in the US, has
frightened away prospective stock purchasers.

Innsworth Litigation Funding, a London-based unit of Paul
Singer's Elliott Management Corp, has begun to build a case
against Steinhoff, likely to be the first among several
shareholder class actions, alleging the company misled investors
as to accounting irregularities, which caused a precipitous stock
decline of 90% in 2 weeks. [GN]


STEINHOFF INT'L: German Investors File Suit to Recover Funds
------------------------------------------------------------
Richard Weiss and John Bowker, writing for Bloomberg News, report
that Steinhoff International Holdings NV edged closer to the
brink as its shares plunged to new lows following an inconclusive
meeting with bankers and German investors sued the global
retailer.

The case against the owner of Mattress Firm in the U.S. and
Conforama in France was filed in Frankfurt district court, TILP
law firm said in a statement on Dec. 20.  Investors are seeking
to recover funds after the South African company reported
accounting irregularities, causing the stock to slump about 90
percent over two weeks.

The shares traded 33 percent lower at 0.31 euros as of 10:07 a.m.
in Frankfurt, where the company moved its primary listing from
Johannesburg in 2015 as part of a breakneck expansion.  More than
40 million shares traded, almost double the three-month daily
average.

The class-action-style lawsuit, filed on Dec. 19, is likely to be
the first of many cases filed by investors angry over their
losses.  The news is a fresh blow for Steinhoff, which attempted
to appease lenders with a presentation in London on Dec. 19,
during which it said creditors were withdrawing support and that
the magnitude of the accounting errors were still unknown.

TILP is asking shareholders that bought stock between Dec. 7,
2015, and Dec. 5, 2017, to join the lawsuit, saying investors
suffered losses because the company didn't sufficiently inform
capital markets about its issues.

Steinhoff has hired PwC to investigate the accounts and has
started to sell non-core assets to boost liquidity.  Chief
Executive Officer Markus Jooste and billionaire Chairman Christo
Wiese have both quit in the aftermath of the scandal. [GN]


SYMPHONY POST: Faces Class Action Over BIPA Violation
-----------------------------------------------------
Noddy A. Fernandez, writing for Madison - St. Clair Record,
reports that a former nursing home employee has filed a class
action alleging her employer stored her biometric information
without consent.

Saroya Roberson, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, filed a complaint on Dec. 8 in the St. Clair
County Circuit Court against Symphony Post Acute Care Network,
Symphony Sycamore LLC, Symphony Healthcare LLC, et al., for
allegedly violating the Illinois Biometric Information Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that she was
not informed in writing that her biometric information was being
collected or stored and used.  She also claims she did not permit
her employer to utilize her biometric data.

The plaintiff alleges the defendants failed to properly inform
employees in writing of the specific purpose and length of terms
for which their biometric data was to be stored and used and
failed to publicly provide a retention schedule or guidelines for
permanently destroying the biometric data of the employees.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment for
injunctive and equitable relief, statutory damages of $5,000 for
the international and reckless violation or statutory damages of
$1,000 per violation, attorneys' fees, costs, litigation expense,
and for any other relief deemed appropriate.

She is represented by John J. Driscoll, Christopher J. Quinn,
Gregory J. Pals of The Driscoll Firm, PC in St. Louis.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 17-L-733 [GN]


T-MOBILE: Faces Class Action Over Age Discrimination
----------------------------------------------------
Jessica Guynn, writing for USA TODAY, reports that Amazon, T-
Mobile and other companies and employment agencies are being sued
for age discrimination for placing recruiting ads on Facebook
that target younger workers.

The lawsuit filed on Dec. 20 in San Francisco federal court is
seeking class-action status to represent Facebook users 40 or
older who may have been denied the chance to learn about open job
positions.  It was filed by the Communications Workers of America
labor union and three workers, Linda Bradley, Maurice Anscombe,
and Lura Callahan, who range in age from 45 to 67.

For example, lawyers for the plaintiffs say T-Mobile used
Facebook ads to recruit applicants for retail stores and other
positions, stating in its ads it wanted to reach people ages 18
to 38. T-Mobile declined comment.

Amazon also placed employment ads for warehouse and other jobs
that restricted who could see them, such as people "ages 18-54,"
"ages 18 to 50," "ages 28 to 55," and "ages 22 to 40," according
to the lawsuit.  In an emailed statement, Amazon said it does not
comment on pending litigation, but said after a recent audit of
recruiting ads on Facebook, it discovered "some had targeting
that was inconsistent with our approach of searching for any
candidate over the age of 18. We have corrected those ads," the
company said.

The lawsuit also alleges Facebook itself placed ads to recruit
job applicants to work at Facebook, using the same age filters to
exclude older workers.  Facebook declined to comment on the suit.

Ageism is a longstanding issue in corporate America but has
worsened as recruiting ads have moved online, according to the
lawsuit.

"Due to this lawsuit, older workers may finally understand why
their job searches -- that have migrated online in recent years-
are more difficult than they ought to be," the plaintiffs wrote.

The lawsuit landed the same day The New York Times and ProPublica
published a joint investigation raising fairness concerns over
job ads aimed at younger age groups on Facebook, Google and
LinkedIn.

Facebook defended the practice.  "Simply showing certain job ads
to different age groups on services like Facebook or Google may
not in itself be discriminatory -- just as it can be OK to run
employment ads in magazines and on TV shows targeted at younger
or older people.  What matters is that marketing is broadly based
and inclusive, not simply focused on a particular age group,"
Rob Goldman, Facebook vice president of ads, said in a statement
posted to its website.

ProPublica says it discovered the practice while reviewing data
it compiled from readers for a project on political ads on
Facebook.  Many of the ads explained why that user was seeing the
ad, including their age.

Facebook has become an increasingly popular place to recruit job
applicants.  A 2016 study by the Society for Human Resource
Management found that 66% of employers who recruit on social
media use Facebook.

The vast amounts of data Facebook has collected on its users
allows advertisers to precisely target them.  That targeting was
used by Russia to influence the 2016 election.  It also got
Facebook in hot water when ProPublica discovered it could be used
to target ads in offensive ways, such as to "jew haters."

Some advertisers told ProPublica that targeting specific age
groups on Facebook is similar to advertising in Teen Vogue or
AARP the Magazine. However, ProPublica pointed out, anyone can
flip through the pages of those publications, but people who are
in excluded age groups will never see these ads on Facebook.

ProPublica also bought job ads on Google and LinkedIn that
excluded audiences older than 40. Google told the news
organization it does not prevent advertisers from displaying ads
based on a user's age.  LinkedIn told USA TODAY that it now
requires advertisers to pledge they will not discriminate based
on age when placing employment ads.  "Only once they've checked
this box, the option to target by age will become available," the
company said in a statement.

Among the companies that placed the recruitment ads are Amazon,
Goldman Sachs, AT&T and Verizon.

Goldman Sachs spokesman Andrew Williams said: "We welcome and
actively recruit applicants of all ages.  For some of our social
media ads, we look to get the content to the people most likely
to be interested, but do not exclude anyone from our recruiting
activity."

AT&T says it buys ads on different platforms to appeal to "every
segment of the population." Verizon did not respond to repeated
requests for comment, according to ProPublica. [GN]


TRINET GROUP: Calif. Court Dismisses Securities Class Action
------------------------------------------------------------
TriNet Group, a provider of HR services, on Dec. 19 disclosed
that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
California has dismissed the putative securities class action
against TriNet and all other defendants.  The Court granted the
defendants' motion to dismiss the amended complaint, originally
filed by the plaintiff on August 7, 2015, without leave to amend.
The plaintiff will have until January 17, 2018 to file a notice
of appeal to the decision.

Burton M. Goldfield, President and CEO of TriNet, said "We are
gratified that the Court recognized that the allegations in the
lawsuit failed in every respect and deserved to be dismissed.
This lawsuit was wholly without merit and should never have been
filed, and the Court got it right by entering judgment in
TriNet's favor." [GN]


UNITED STATES: Faces Class Action Over Botched Somali Deportation
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Associated Press reports that ninety-two Somalis sat bound and
shackled on an airplane for nearly two days, some urinating on
themselves, during a botched U.S. deportation attempt, a class-
action lawsuit filed in the United States says.

U.S. immigration agents "kicked, struck, choked and dragged
detainees" during the journey that began Dec. 7, the lawsuit
filed in U.S. District Court in Miami says. Some of the Somalis
were put in straitjackets.

The flight to Somalia from Louisiana reached Dakar, Senegal
before sitting on the runway for 23 hours and returning to the
U.S. because the relief crew was not rested enough, the lawsuit
says.

Lawyers are alarmed that the U.S. is returning a growing number
of people to a country that has long been a war zone. "It is not
safe for these men and women to return, especially in light of
the escalation of terrorist violence in Somalia in the last
weeks," said Rebecca Sharpless, director of the immigration
clinic at the University of Miami School of Law, which filed the
lawsuit.

The Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group was blamed for the
massive truck bombing in the capital, Mogadishu, that killed 512
in October.  Only a few attacks since 9/11 have killed more
people.  Al-Shabab, the deadliest Islamic extremist group in
Africa and the target of more than 30 U.S. airstrikes under the
Trump administration, holds large parts of rural southern and
central Somalia.

A year-end report by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
says 521 Somalis were deported in 2017, up sharply from 198 in
2016.  Somalia by far saw the largest number of citizens deported
home among African nations.

"It was not until the very end of 2016 and into 2017 that ICE
sought for the first time to detain and then remove Somalis in
larger numbers using charter flights," the lawsuit says.

ICE does not comment on pending lawsuits and has denied
mistreating the Somalis on the failed deportation flight in
December.  It also has said more than 60 of the Somalis had
criminal convictions.

The lawsuit says U.S. immigration law forbids sending people home
to countries where they could face persecution or torture, and
that al-Shabab is known to target those being returned to Somalia
from the U.S.

On Dec. 19, a U.S. District judge ruled that ICE cannot remove
the Somalis and set a hearing for Jan. 2, Ms. Sharpless said.

"If the judge had not issued the order they would have been
deported this morning," she said in an email to The Associated
Press.  "We are relieved and thankful that the judge acted in
time."

The Somalis, with family ties in Minnesota and elsewhere around
the U.S., are being held in two detention centers in South
Florida.

There was no immediate comment from Somalia's government. [GN]


UNITED STATES: Court Won't Rehear Fort Derick Contamination Case
----------------------------------------------------------------
Cameron Dodd, writing for FrederickNewsPost.com, reports that an
appellate court has declined to rehear a lawsuit against the
federal government alleging that Fort Detrick's chemical waste
disposal practices led to harmful contamination and deaths.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit issued an order on
Dec. 18 denying the motion to rehear the case Pieper et al. v.
the United States of America.

The class-action suit seeks $750,000,000 in damages.  The
plaintiffs include Angela Pieper, the estate of Kristen Renee and
others who allege their family members were harmed by hazardous
waste dumped by Fort Detrick personnel at an off-site property
neighboring residential areas.

U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake dismissed the case in
August 2016 for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  That
opinion was affirmed by a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision
in October 2017. [GN]


UNITED STATES: 22 Immigrant Teens Freed After Wrongful Arrests
--------------------------------------------------------------
ACLU Northern California on Dec. 20 disclosed that twenty-two
teenagers who were wrongfully arrested by Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) are free and home for the holidays after
spending several months locked up in federal detention
facilities, the American Civil Liberties Union can announce.

ACLU attorneys and co-counsel at Cooley LLP filed a class action
suit, Saravia v. Sessions, in August after the teens were
targeted by the Trump administration, which used unsubstantiated
charges of "gang affiliation" to justify their wrongful arrests
and subsequent detention.  In November, a federal judge ruled
that it was unconstitutional for the government to continue to
detain the teens without providing them prompt hearings.

"When these teenagers were given a chance to dispute the charges
against them, it became crystal clear that the government's
accusations weren't backed up by evidence," said Martin Schenker
-- mschenker@cooley.com -- a partner at Cooley LLP.  "These kids
have been jailed for months with no opportunity to challenge
their wrongful arrests, and their families have been heartsick.
We're so glad to see them back home with their loved ones."

Many Saravia class members live and go to school in Long Island,
New York, but were jailed far from home in detention facilities
in California, Texas, Washington state, and Virginia.  They are
known to the government as "unaccompanied immigrant minors,"
having come to the United States alone as children after
immigrating from Latin America.  Many fled violence in their home
countries and are now living with family in New York while their
applications for visas and asylum are pending and the immigration
process moves forward in the courts.

"It's no accident that many of these arrests occurred in the town
where President Trump famously endorsed police brutality," said
William Freeman, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Northern
California.  "This virulently anti-immigrant administration --
led by a president who has repeatedly made racist statements
denigrating Latinos -- is collaborating with a local police
department that is known for a longstanding pattern of racial
profiling against Latinos.  In this context, and any context, the
lack of real evidence underlying their cases is truly
disturbing."

Out of thirty-four teenagers originally identified as class
members, twenty-two have been ordered released to date.  Many of
the remaining hearings are still in process.

"I'm looking forward to celebrating every minute of freedom with
my family," said class member Mateo*, when asked what he was most
looking forward to about being home for the holidays.  "I also
wish to study in a school that helps me achieve my goals.  I want
people to know that we are not gang members.  The government made
a mistake. All I want is to become a professional, and I'm
working hard towards that goal."

"I was taken from my home and my community for months because the
government incorrectly believed I was in a gang," said Stanley*.
"I'm really looking forward to spending Christmas with my family
and all of the people that supported me while I was in
detention."  To other teens like him, Stanley said, "It does not
matter what the government thinks about you, if you know that
these stories are false, remain hopeful that justice will be on
your side."

"I'm looking forward to celebrating Christmas with my family, and
I hope that all the other kids in this case get the same
opportunity," said Cesar*.  "Before the government removes
someone from their home they should have all of the evidence and
verify that their allegations are true."

The suit is ongoing, and was brought by the ACLU of Northern
California, ACLU National, Cooley LLP, and Holly S. Cooper of the
UC Davis School of Law Immigration Law Clinic.

* Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the class
members, who are under 18 [GN]


UNITED STATES: Judge to Issue Opinion on Iraqi Detainees Case
-------------------------------------------------------------
Oralandar Brand-Williams, writing for The Detroit News, reports
that after more than four hours of testimony from both sides of
the issue, a federal judge in Detroit said on Dec. 20 he will
issue a written opinion on a case involving hundreds of Iraqi
detainees being held across the county.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith did not reveal exactly when he
would issue his ruling on the fate of about 1,400 Iraqi nationals
swept up in immigration raids last summer and sent to detention
centers in Youngstown, Ohio, and in other locations including
Colorado and Arizona.

Arguments were held on Dec. 20 on three key points which included
whether the case should be certified as a class-action lawsuit,
having the detainees released while they await bond hearings and
the federal government's motion to have the case dismissed
altogether.

Margo Schlanger, who is among the attorneys representing the
detainees, told Judge Goldsmith the detainees are being denied
due process because they are being subjected to prolonged
detention and that these cases are "going to last for months or
years" which is affecting the detainees' liberty, health and
their families.  Ms. Schlanger asked Goldsmith to have the
federal government determine the prolonged detention is only
necessary while the detainees await bond hearings or deportation
only if they are danger to the community or if there is a flight
risk.

"The (prolonged) detention of these individuals not justified,"
Ms. Schlanger said on Dec. 20.  "If there is no danger to the
community or flight risk, then it is not justified."

ACLU attorney Mariam Aukerman said the class-action lawsuit would
be made up of three classes of detainees with different issues
who are seeking due process on complaints of prolonged detention
while they await bond hearings and, in some cases, definite
deportations.

"These individuals have strong meritorious claims," said
Ms. Aukerman.

Department of Justice attorney Joseph Darrow said the process for
removing some of the detainees slated for deportation had been
moving along in a timely manner and that "(detainees) were about
to be put on a plane before they filed" for the injunction that
stayed their deportation from the United States.

Remarking on the planned deportations, Judge Goldsmith said
"sometimes the government does things for not good reasons" and
that perhaps someone thought it would "look good" to put the
claimants under detention.

Sarah Wilson, also an attorney for the Department of Justice,
argued that detainees' lawsuits against the government should go
forward as a class-action lawsuit because there is no
"commonality" among many of the detainees cases.

In late July, Judge Goldsmith temporarily halted deportation of
hundreds of Iraqi nationals. The preliminary injunction covering
1,400, including about 200 detained in June, was intended to give
them more time to seek legal protection from being deported to
Iraq, the homeland many left when they were youngsters.

Family members and supporters have demonstrated against the
detentions, demanding that loved ones swept up by U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement be released.  Relatives say
detainees would face religious persecution and even death as
Christians, a religious minority, by returning to Iraq.

A rally was held on Dec. 20 outside the federal courthouse in
downtown Detroit prior to the hearing. [GN]


UNITED STATES: ACLU Fights Abortion Ban for Undocumented Teens
--------------------------------------------------------------
Mark Joseph Stern, writing for Slate, reports that the Trump
administration's latest attempt to block undocumented teenagers'
access to abortion fizzled after the Justice Department abandoned
efforts to compel two young women to carry unwanted pregnancies
to term.  Nevertheless, the government will continue to seek out
ways to assert its authority to prevent undocumented minors from
obtaining abortions, as it believes doing so is in their "best
interests."  The administration's hard-line stance all but
ensures that the constitutionality of its policies will
eventually require Supreme Court resolution.

Every year, thousands of undocumented minors enter the United
States illegally and unaccompanied by their parents.  Many are
fleeing violence and abuse, especially sexual assault.  The U.S.
government places these minors in federally funded shelters,
unless and until it can locate sponsors-typically family members-
who can house them.  In March, the Office of Refugee Resettlement
announced that these shelters could not take "any action that
facilitates" abortion without the "direction and approval" of ORR
Director Scott Lloyd.  An anti-abortion activist, Lloyd has
consistently refused to let minors get abortions, sometimes
personally urging them to maintain their pregnancies, in possible
violation of the law.

In October, the American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of
one such minor, referred to in court papers as Jane Doe.  The
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
ultimately ruled that Doe had a constitutional right to obtain an
abortion, which she promptly did. Furious, the Justice Department
asked the Supreme Court to vacate the D.C. Circuit's decision.
It also asked the justices to sanction Doe's lawyers, falsely
claiming that they made misrepresentations to the government.
The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the appeal.  While the
appeal is pending, ACLU attorneys have continued to seek judicial
certification of a class action on behalf of all undocumented
minors faced with Doe's predicament to enjoin ORR from blocking
their access to abortions.

On Dec. 15, the conflict boiled over once again when the ACLU
filed a lawsuit on behalf of two undocumented teenagers who said
ORR was preventing them from obtaining abortions.  One woman,
Jane Roe, was 10 weeks pregnant, and ORR alleged it was on the
verge of placing her with a sponsor, thereby washing its hands of
her abortion decision.  The other woman, Jane Poe, was 22 weeks
pregnant and could not legally obtain an abortion if her
pregnancy continued much longer.  On Dec. 18, a federal judge
ruled that the administration must let both women terminate their
pregnancies.  The Justice Department appealed the ruling to both
the D.C. Circuit and the Supreme Court-but only with regard to
Roe. Thus, Poe was presumably able to get an abortion. (The DOJ
presumably thinks it would have less luck delaying Poe's abortion
since she was so far along in the pregnancy.)

But before the Supreme Court could weigh in, it came to light
that Roe is 19 years old. (Roe had thought she was 17, but her
birth certificate proved she was two years older.) Because she is
a legal adult, the government transferred Roe into the custody of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  ICE guidelines allow
detainees to terminate their pregnancies, so this revelation
effectively resolved the conflict.

Legally speaking, then, the Jane Roe/Jane Poe saga merely
maintained the status quo.  The Trump administration believes it
can block undocumented minors in federal custody from terminating
their pregnancies, the D.C. Circuit does not, and the Supreme
Court remains silent on the issue.  But the brief court battle
did reveal two interesting and interrelated facets of the
government's position.

First, as Georgetown Law professor Marty Lederman points out, the
administration has expanded its justification for ORR's abortion
ban.  In the Jane Doe case, the DOJ alleged that the government
did not want to "facilitate" abortions by allowing minors in
federal custody to obtain them.  It did not assert an absolute
right to prevent Doe from obtaining an abortion. Now, however,
the DOJ has claimed the authority to permanently block
undocumented minors from terminating their pregnancies.  It cites
a federal statute that makes the ORR director "responsible" for
"ensuring that the interests of the child are considered" with
regard to her medical care.  According to the DOJ, this
"responsibility" allows the ORR director to determine that
obtaining an abortion is not in the child's "best interests,"
even if she requests one.

Second, and relatedly, the Justice Department refuses to explain
how Lloyd, the ORR director, determined it was in Roe's and Poe's
"best interests" to carry unwanted pregnancies to term by
government mandate.  The district court requested an explanation,
but the DOJ would not immediately provide one, insisting its
reasoning might be privileged.  In its filings so far, the DOJ
has relied upon the government's putative ability to "make
decisions favoring life over abortion" to justify its actions.
It therefore appears that Lloyd, who opposes both abortion and
contraception, is imposing his personal views on these women
under the pretext of protecting their "best interests."

The Justice Department's rapid appeal to the Supreme Court on
Dec. 18 suggests the Trump administration is itching for a
showdown before the justices.  It will likely get one soon.  More
undocumented minors will likely seek abortions in the coming
months, and the DOJ clearly plans to reject each request. The
ACLU's class action, as well as the pending petition to vacate
the D.C. Circuit's decision in the Jane Doe case, may also force
the issue.  DOJ attorneys seem to think they have five votes to
let the government decide that banning abortions for undocumented
minors is in these teenagers' "best interests."  If they succeed,
the Trump administration will have fatally subverted the
constitutional right to abortion access. [GN]


UNITED STATES: Suit Over Wrongful NICS Denials Gaining Momentum
---------------------------------------------------------------
Alan Korwin, writing for Ammoland, reports that rumors have begun
that a class-action suit against the FBI, BATFE, NICS-system
operators and DOJ itself may be in the works, from people whose
civil rights were wrongfully denied by bad firearms background
checks.

Multiple reports have surfaced that at least 25% of retail-sales
denials are completely erroneous.

Professor John Lott has estimated that up to 99% of NICS denials
are false positives, and based on the number of actual criminals
apprehended or convictions obtained, NICS basically just denies
rights without much crime-fighting component evidenced, at
enormous cost and delay.

The class of people whose fundamental constitutional civil rights
have been withheld or outright denied by NICS is likely in the
millions. [GN]


UNITED STATES: ABA Appeals Suit Dismissal to Federal Circuit
------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs American Bankers Association and Washington Federal,
N.A., filed an appeal from the final judgment entered on October
27, 2017, and the accompanying and subsequent memoranda including
the Court's October 27, 2017, and October 30, 2017 Memorandum
Opinion and Final Order Granting the Government's Motion to
Dismiss in the lawsuit styled AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION; and
WASHINGTON FEDERAL, N.A., Individually and on Behalf of All
Others Similarly Situated v. THE UNITED STATES, Case No. 1:17-cv-
00194-SGB, in the United States Court of Federal Claims.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter, the Court of
Federal Claims issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order granting the
U.S. Government's motion to dismiss the case.

The Plaintiffs filed a complaint in the United States Court of
Federal Claims.  Count I alleged that the Government breached a
contractual obligation to pay a six percent dividend to
Washington Federal and all other member banks with assets in
excess of $10 billion.  Count II alleged that the Government
violated the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, by
reducing the dividend rate paid to Federal Reserve Bank member
stockholders, contrary to the reasonable expectations of
Washington Federal and other similarly situated member banks.
Count III alleged that the Government violated the Taking Clause
of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution by
causing the Federal Reserve Banks to pay a dividend that is less
than six percent, thereby depriving Washington Federal and other
member bank stockholders of the value of their investments in
Federal Reserve Bank stock.

The Court of Federal Claims has jurisdiction under the Tucker
Act, 28 U.S.C. Section 1491, to adjudicate any claim against the
United States founded either upon the Constitution, or any Act of
Congress or any regulation of an executive department, or upon
any express or implied contract with the United States, or for
liquidated or unliquidated damages in cases not sounding in tort.

The appellate case is captioned as AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION;
and WASHINGTON FEDERAL, N.A., Individually and on Behalf of All
Others Similarly Situated v. THE UNITED STATES, Case No. 18-1341,
in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The briefing schedule in the Appellate Case is set as follows:

   -- Entry of appearance is due within 14 days of the date of
      docketing;

   -- Certificate of interest is due within 14 days of the date
      of docketing;

   -- Docketing Statement is due within 30 days of the date of
      docketing.  (Only in cases where all parties are
      represented by counsel); and

   -- Counsel should advise the clerk in writing within 30 days
      once briefing is completed of potential scheduling
      conflicts or as soon as they are known and should not wait
      until an actual conflict arises.  Once scheduled, a case
      will not be postponed except on motion showing compelling
      reasons.[BN]

Plaintiffs-Appellants AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION and WASHINGTON
FEDERAL, N.A., Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly
Situated, are represented by:

          Stephen J. Obermeier, Esq.
          WILEY REIN, LLP
          1776 K Street, NW
          Washington, DC 20006
          Telephone: (202) 719-7465
          Facsimile: (202) 719-7049
          E-mail: sobermeier@wileyrein.com

               - and -

          Michael E. Toner, Esq.
          Jon W. Burd, Esq.
          Ari Meltzer, Esq.
          WILEY REIN, LLP
          1776 K Street N.W.
          Washington DC 20006
          Telephone: (202) 719-7000
          Facsimile: (202) 719-7049
          E-mail: mtoner@wileyrein.com
                  jburd@wileyrein.com
                  ameltzer@wileyrein.com

Defendant-Appellee USA is represented by:

          Eric Peter Bruskin, Esq.
          U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE - CIVIL DIVISION
          PO Box 480
          Ben Franklin Station
          Washington, DC 20044
          Telephone: (202) 307-5958
          Facsimile: (202) 514-8264
          E-mail: eric.bruskin@usdoj.gov


UNITED STATES: D.C. Circuit Appeal Filed in "Klayman" Class Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs Larry Elliott Klayman, Charles Strange and Mary Ann
Strange filed an appeal from a court ruling entered in their
lawsuit titled Larry Klayman, et al. v. Barack Obama, et al.,
Case No. 1:13-cv-00851-RJL, in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter, the lawsuit
was brought against the National Security Agency and other
Government entities for allegedly spying on American citizens.

The appellate case is captioned as Larry Klayman, et al. v.
Barack Obama, et al., Case No. 17-5281, in the United States
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[BN]

Plaintiffs-Appellants Larry Elliott Klayman, Charles Strange and
Mary Ann Strange, on behalf of themselves and all others
similarly situated, are represented by:

          Larry Elliott Klayman, Esq.
          KLAYMAN LAW FIRM
          2020 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 345
          Washington, DC 20006
          Telephone: (310) 595-0800
          E-mail: leklayman@yahoo.com

Defendants-Appellees Barack Hussein Obama, Eric H. Holder, Jr.,
Keith B. Alexander, Roger Vinson, National Security Agency and
United States Department of Justice are represented by:

          DOJ APPELLATE COUNSEL
          U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
          950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
          Washington, DC 20530-0001
          Telephone: (202) 514-2000

USAA GENERAL: WPRC Loses Bid to Appeal Denial of Class Cert
-----------------------------------------------------------
In the case, WILMINGTON PAIN & REHABILITATION CENTER, P.A., on
behalf of itself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff
Below, Appellant, v. USAA GENERAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE COMPANY and
GARRISON PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants
Below, Appellees, Case No. 472, 2017 (Del.), Justice James T.
Vaughn, Jr. of the Supreme Court of Delaware refused WPRC's
application for certification of an interlocutory appeal from the
Superior Court's opinion denying its motion for class
certification.

The Delaware law requires that owners of motor vehicles
registered in Delaware must maintain insurance coverage for
personal injury claims arising out of an automobile accident.
Personal injury protection ("PIP") coverage is defined as
compensation to injured persons for reasonable and necessary
expenses incurred within 2 years from the date of the accident,
including medical expenses.

In 2015, WPRC filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment
that USAA's use of a computerized bill review system to review
the reasonableness of PIP claims has led to the wrongful
underpaying of those claims.  WPRC filed the complaint as a
proposed class action on behalf of all Delaware health care
providers who, at any time since June 19, 2012, have billed
medical-expense-related PIP claims to USAA, where USAA has
subjected those claims to the computerized bill review system.

On Oct.17, 2017, the Superior Court issued an opinion denying
WPRC's motion for class certification, ruling that the proposed
class did not meet the requirements for certification under
Superior Court Civil Rule 23.

WPRC filed an application for certification of an interlocutory
appeal from the Superior Court's October 17 opinion.  By order
dated Nov. 15, 2017, the Superior Court denied the application
after determining that certification of an interlocutory appeal
from its October 17 opinion was not warranted under the
principles and criteria of Rule 42(b).

Justice Vaughn agrees with the Superior Court that Rule 42(b)'s
principles and criteria do not weigh in favor of interlocutory
review of the Superior Court's October 17, 2017 opinion denying
WPRC's motion to certify a class action.  Accordingly, he refused
the interlocutory appeal.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Order is available
at https://is.gd/epjBsv from Leagle.com.


VITAMIN SHOPPE: Court Grants Summary Judgment Bid in "Segovia"
--------------------------------------------------------------
Judge Nelson S. Roman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of New York granted in Defendant's motion to for summary
judgment on the remaining claims in the case, EDWIN SEGOVIA, on
behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v. VITAMIN SHOPPE, INC., Defendant, Case No. 14-CV-7061 (NSR)
(S.D. N.Y.).

Plaintiff Segovia, a New York resident, along with former
Plaintiff Junior Hermida, a Florida resident, brought the
putative class action on Sept. 2, 2014, challenging the labels on
three dietary supplements sold by the Defendant -- Whey Tech Pro
24, 100% Casein, and Primal Pro.  The Plaintiffs alleged that the
Defendant's labels misrepresented the function of the products'
Aminogen and lactase ingredients and their ability to aid in
protein absorption.

On Feb. 5, 2016, the Court issued an opinion dismissing all of
the Plaintiffs' Aminogen-based claims, finding that they failed
to provide any scientific support for their allegation that the
Aminogen dose in the Defendant's products was ineffective.  In an
opinion adopting Magistrate Judge Lisa Smith's July 1, 2016
report and recommendation, the Court also dismissed Plaintiff
Hermida and any remaining Florida law claims from the action.
Thus, the Plaintiffs' only remaining claims are for breach of
express warranty and violations of New York's General Business
Law ("GBL") Sections 349 and 350 relating to the lactase
statements on the label of Defendant's Whey Tech Pro 24 product.

The two specific lactase statements at issue are contained on the
label of the Defendant's Whey Tech Pro 24 protein supplement.
The first statement asserts what Whey Tech Pro 24 is enhanced
with lactase as well as Aminogen, a patented protein enzyme
blend.  This grouping of enzymes may help aid in the absorption
and digestion of protein.  The second statement, found on the
back of the product's packaging, states that each serving
provides 25 mg of a Propriety Enzyme Blend consisting of Aminogen
and lactase.  The Plaintiff purchased the Defendant's protein
supplement with added lactase on March 3, 2014.

The Defendant filed its motion to for summary judgment on the
remaining claims on Nov. 11, 2016.

Judge Roman granted the Defendant's motion for summary judgment
because the Plaintiff has failed to raise a triable issue of fact
regarding any injury he suffered as a result of the Defendant's
allegedly misleading statements.  While the Plaintiff is not
required to prove individual reliance on the Defendant's
misleading statements to sustain a claim under GBL Sections 349
and 350, the Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant's deceptive
act caused some actual injury.  Given the Plaintiff's failure to
provide evidentiary support for his alleged injury, there is no
factual basis on which a reasonable jury could return a verdict
for the Plaintiff.  Accordingly, the Defendant is entitled to
summary judgment on each of the Plaintiff's GBL claims.

In addition, the Judge finds that the Plaintiff has also failed
to establish the second prong of his prima facie showing -- his
reliance on the Defendant's lactase claims.  His testimony
indisputably evinces that he did not rely on the lactase claims
on the Defendant's label in his purchasing decision.  Without
demonstrating such reliance, the Plaintiff cannot establish that
the Defendant breached an express warranty.  The Judge,
therefore, granted summary judgment in the Defendant's favor on
the Plaintiff's breach of express warranty claim.

Judge Roman directed the Clerk of Court to terminate the motion
at ECF No. 73 and to enter judgment in favor of the Defendant and
close the case.  He notes that the Defendant makes a passing
request seeking leave to file a motion for sanctions against the
Plaintiff on the grounds that his opposition lacks any merit,
credibility, or a good faith basis.  The Judge cautioned the
Defendant, however, that consistent with Second Circuit
precedent, the Court exercises a policy of restraint when
awarding sanctions.  With that in mind, he directed the Defendant
to inform the Court, in writing, no later than Dec. 18, 2017 if
it nevertheless intends to seek leave to file a motion for
sanctions.

A full-text copy of the Court's Dec. 12, 2017 Opinion and Order
is available at https://is.gd/gwelNg from Leagle.com.

Edwin Segovia, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, represented by Jordan Lucas Chaikin, Parker
Waichman LLP, pro hac vice.

Edwin Segovia, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly
situated, Plaintiff, represented by Melanie Haberman Muhlstock,
Parker Waichman & Alonso, LLP, Nick Suciu, III --
nicksuciu@bmslawyers.com -- Barbat Mansour & Suciu PLLC & Sharon
S. Almonrode -- ssa@miller.law -- The Miller Law Firm, P.C..

Vitamin Shoppe, Inc, Defendant, represented by Jennifer Marino
Thibodaux , Gibbons P.C. & Michael R. McDonald --
mmcdonald@gibbonslaw.com -- Gibbons P.C..


WELLINGTON COURT: Chinese Strata Discrimination Case to Be Heard
----------------------------------------------------------------
Graeme Wood, writing for Richmond News, reports that a case of
alleged discrimination by Mandarin-speaking strata council
members against their English-speaking neighbours will be heard
at a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing.

Former Richmond resident Andreas Kargut -- who moved to the
Interior following what he describes as strenuous living
conditions for his family, after his Tribunal claim was filed
against the strata -- expressed relief in the decision to have
the case heard.

"I'm very happy about this," said Mr. Kargut.

He and eight other owners at Wellington Court, on Heather Street,
made national headlines after the Richmond News broke the story
in December 2016.  They claim racial discrimination from the
Mandarin speakers who refused to conduct strata council meetings,
including an Annual General Meeting (AGM), in English.

The case is unique in so much that ethnic Chinese people are a
visible minority in Canada but a majority in Richmond (52 per
cent).

"Where it occurs, discrimination by the minority against members
of the majority group is no more acceptable just because that
group has obtained a majority in a particular enclave," stated
Tribunal member Walter Rilkoff in a written statement.

The Mandarin-speaking strata claimed the need to speak Mandarin
only because its members were all Chinese and some didn't speak
English (11.2 per cent of Richmond residents cannot communicate
in English -- by far the highest rate in Canada).

Wrote Mr. Rilkoff: "Wellington Court is not, and cannot be, a
closed community open only to people of one ethnic group.  Any
owner is free to sell their unit to anyone and anyone is entitled
to purchase a unit. That buyer in turn is entitled to
meaningfully participate in the Strata's governance."

Because a small minority of owners cannot speak English at all,
Mr. Rilkoff suggested "the Strata may be under an obligation to
provide reasonable accommodation to the Mandarin speakers."

The Tribunal will explore such matters at a hearing date to be
determined.

MLA Reid calls case isolated
Mr. Kargut said he initially had the verbal support of his then
MLA, Linda Reid, to change the Strata Property Act to require
English in council meetings.

"When I first met with her she agreed changes need to be made.
The Strata Act was revamped in 2014 and language wasn't part of
that. Linda Reid told me it wasn't a matter of if a Caucasian
person would file a case against Mandarin speakers, it's a matter
of when. That's what she said.  In other words, this kind of
stuff is happening all over Richmond," said Mr. Kargut.

But when the News asked Mr. Reid in December about changing the
Act, she said it wouldn't be necessary and Wellington Court is an
isolated incident.

"It didn't require it and we have no other ongoing complaints at
the present time, so we'll work our way through that process,"
said Ms. Reid, nevertheless noting that "to be a non-Asian
speaker and have the meetings conducted in Chinese puts you at an
enormous disadvantage."

Prior to the May election Reid was Speaker of the House and said
she must remain neutral on matters.  During the campaign she
touted in ads she was "proud of our international city." Her then
NDP counterpart Coun. Chak Au suggested translation services (for
either party) be available under law.

When he filed his claim in 2016, Kargut contended: "This is
Canada and we have to preserve our official languages. We have to
be vigilant about this as Canadians.

"They are trying to build a monocultural community and hoping
that people who don't speak their language, and don't have their
cultural background, will move out."

Some complainants are Chinese themselves
In his written submission to allow the hearing to proceed,
Rilkoff addressed the matter of some of the complainants (the
Kargut group) being of Chinese ethnicity (who nevertheless cannot
speak Mandarin).

"The concepts of race, colour, ancestry and place of origin often
seem to be used interchangeably, and that certainly appears to be
the case here," he said.

But in submissions, the strata council members noted complainant
Mr. Tan is of Chinese ethnicity, thus putting into question the
claim of racial discrimination.

"The Respondent (strata) refers to the inclusion of Mr. Tan, who
is part of the complainant group, but who is Asian, and likely
shares more racial characteristics with the Mandarin speaking
group than with Mr. Kargut, for example. However, that is not a
complete answer. The fact that there may be exceptions in a group
to that group's protected characteristic does not, in and of
itself, avoid a finding of distinctions on the prohibited
ground."

In this respect Mr. Rilkoff agreed that the "complainant group is
likely predominantly one of race or place of origin or ancestry."

He said Mr. Kargut "may wish to consider amending the Complaint
to add additional protected grounds." [GN]


WINCO FOODS: Ninth Circuit Appeal Filed in "Mitchell" Class Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiff Gloria Mitchell filed an appeal from a court ruling in
the lawsuit styled Gloria Mitchell v. Winco Foods, LLC, Case No.
1:16-cv-00076-BLW, in the U.S. District Court for the District of
Idaho, Boise.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter, the lawsuit
seeks redress for, and to put an end to, the Defendant's alleged
violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, specifically its
failure to provide proper notices and disclosures to its job
applicants and employees.

WinCo is a privately-held supermarket chain based in Boise,
Idaho.  The Company was founded in 1967 and now has over 100
store locations in Idaho, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon,
Texas, Utah, and Washington.  WinCo also operates at least 5
distribution centers throughout the United States.

The appellate case is captioned as Gloria Mitchell v. Winco
Foods, LLC, Case No. 17-35998, 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 10, 2018;

   -- Transcript is due on February 9, 2018;

   -- Appellant Gloria Mitchell's opening brief is due on
      March 21, 2018;

   -- Appellee Winco Foods, LLC's answering brief is due on
      April 20, 2018; and

   -- Appellant's optional reply brief is due 21 days after
      service of the answering brief.[BN]

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

          Patrick H. Peluso, Esq.
          WOODROW & PELUSO, LLC
          3900 E. Mexico Ave.
          Denver, CO 80210
          Telephone: (720) 213-0676
          E-mail: ppeluso@woodrowpeluso.com

Defendant-Appellee WINCO FOODS, LLC, a Delaware limited liability
company, is represented by:

          Rick D. Roskelley, Esq.
          LITTLER MENDELSON PC
          3960 Howard Hughes Parkway
          Las Vegas, NV 89169
          Business: 702/862-8800
          Telephone: (702) 862-7704
          E-mail: rroskelley@littler.com


* Opioid Class Actions Seen as Next Big Tobacco Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------
Clay T. Lee, Esq. -- ctlee@ebglaw.com -- of Epstein Becker &
Green, P.C., in an article for The National Law Review, reports
that at this point, it's not really ground-breaking news that
America has a problem with opioid drugs.  By way of anecdote,
when I became a federal prosecutor in 2011, the last heroin case
that had been prosecuted in the Nashville U.S. Attorney's office
was in the early-1990s; although, to be fair, there were then
lots of what we called "pill" cases involving opioids.  When I
left the office in 2017, at least half of the office's major
investigations were directly related to opioids -- some pills,
but mostly outright heroin or fentanyl/carfentanyl.  In
Nashville, Tennessee, OxyContin (which is an opioid-based
painkiller) can be worth up to $1.25/milligram (mg).  That means
that just one 80mg OxyContin has a street value of $100.  Price,
is of course, a reflection of demand and demand, in this case, is
driven by addiction.

That addiction is costing Americans a lot of money.  The White
House estimates that in 2015, over 33,000 Americans died from
opioid related overdoses and that the economic cost of the opioid
crisis was $504.0 billion, or 2.8% of GDP. To put that in some
perspective, 2015 U.S. healthcare spending accounted for 17.7% of
GDP, which means that Americans spent ~1/6 as much on opioids as
they did on healthcare.  State governments, often stuck footing
the bill for indigent addicts because of increased law-
enforcement activity and drug/medical treatment, are looking at
the opioid manufacturers and distributors to help pay some of
this cost.

In September, 41 state attorneys general announced serving
subpoenas on 6 opioid manufacturers as part of a multi-state
investigation into whether the companies engaged in any unlawful
practices in the marketing and distribution of prescription
opioids.  The attorneys general are also looking into the
distribution practices of 3 pharmaceutical distributors that
account for the distribution of roughly 90% of the U.S. opioid
supply.  According the N.Y. State AG, opioid distributors alone
make nearly $500 billion a year in revenue, but those numbers
(perhaps as a result of the market response to the negative
publicity generated by all of this) might not be as robust as
they once were.  Stock prices (many of these companies are
privately held) for two of the manufacturers subject to the AG
subpoenas have seen stocks nose dive by ~90% and ~75%
respectively after both achieving all-time highs in 2015.  Of
course, the reason for those drops is likely non-singular, but
the timing does perhaps signal the market's appetite for risk.

So, obviously, if you are an AG looking to combat a public health
disaster, going after the manufacturers of opioids (who, at least
in 2015, had lots of money), much like the manufacturers of
tobacco is pretty appealing.  That said, there are some
considerations that are likely to be major impediments in the
effort to make this into a big tobacco settlement:

Prescription pills are prescribed by a medical doctor.  Unlike
the pack of cigarettes bought at the gas station from a clerk
whose only responsibility is to verify age, opioids are,
ostensibly, ordered by someone with years of advanced medical
training.  Pinning all the responsibility (or even just "most of
it") on manufacturers and distributors alone will be a challenge.

The success of the tobacco litigation was driven in no small part
by the efforts of Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, the exceptionally
well-connected Mississippi lawyer who spearheaded the class-
action effort and coalesced all the states into letting him be
the point-man for all negotiations.  Much of what made Scruggs
successful in that effort-1) the self-proclaimed advantage of
home cookin'; 2) the ability to wheel and deal in the Capital
thanks to his access to then Senate Majority Leader, and brother-
in-law, Trent Lott; 3) the close relationship with then
Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore (who, coincidentally, is
advocating for the opioid suit, this time as a plaintiff's
attorney)-is unlikely to fly in today's world given the guttural
uneasiness associated with any of the tactics utilized by
Scruggs, now a convicted felon for attempting to bribe a judge in
a post-Katrina litigation, and overall discomfort with anything
that smacks of nepotism.

The stated goal of many of the proponents of the tobacco
litigation was to put cigarette manufacturers out of business-
this, of course, is a sentiment still voiced by some.  But, no
one is realistically seeking to litigate these pharmaceutical
companies into the ground. While these companies manufacture
opioids, they also research and manufacture drugs that help treat
pediatric Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's
disease, among others.  Simply, even if there is a settlement in
all of this, the reality is that the settlement is likely to
contemplate the ability of these companies to continue to
research and manufacture the next wave of pharmaceutical
improvements. [GN]


* Prospects for Reform Seen in Australian Class Action Regime
-------------------------------------------------------------
Ben Rigby, writing for Commercial Dispute Resolution, reports
that for Australia's class actions lawyers, 2017 marks the 25th
anniversary of the introduction of Australia's vibrant collective
litigation regime.  CDR speaks to law firms and funders about the
state of that regime now -- and the prospects for the future.

Litigation matures over time.  Periodically, the passage of time
gives rise to a moment of pause, in which to reflect on how that
maturation process has shaped the underlying law.  2017, for
Australia's commercial litigation lawyers, is one such year.

As Mark Chapple, a senior litigation partner at Baker McKenzie in
Sydney, tells CDR, 2017 marks 40 years since the (federal)
Commonwealth Attorney General sought advice from the Australian
Law Reform Commission on whether to introduce a class action
mechanism into Australia, and 25 years since Part IVA of the
Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 came into force -- which let
that mechanism function.

He is in no doubt of the benefits: "One of the system's greatest
successes has been its ability to weather significant social,
political and legal change . . . to become, and remain, a
prevalent tool to realise accessible, timely justice for
claimants affected by a common wrong who might not otherwise be
able to afford to seek individual redress."

A FAIR GO

The concept of a 'fair go' is a uniquely Australian one, but as
Jenny Campbell, a partner at Allens, says: "One can accept at a
big picture level that the class action regime has delivered
increased access to justice for claimants and, in some respects,
facilitated the efficient use of judicial resources."

Peta Stevenson -- recognised, like Campbell and Chapple, in this
area, along with her King & Wood Mallesons colleague Moira
Saville, says judicial resources have been essential to its
development.

"Over the last 25 years we have seen growth in judge-made law in
the class actions space, with very few statutory amendments to
the federal class action regime."

Stevenson adds: "As a relatively young regime, it has been up to
the courts to deal with the issues that have arisen, and they
have done so in a flexible way, but one drawback of a judicially
led regime is the uncertainty as to how a particular court might
deal with such issues."

As Chapple notes, citing the leading appellate case of Fostif,
the system offers defendants protection from what has been
described as the "costly procedural morass" of multiple suits
concerning a common issue, and the risks and uncertainty that
would accompany inconsistent findings.

Hence one of two caveats, notes Campbell.  First, that "the class
action landscape as we know it today has really only developed in
the last 10 to 12 years".

"The landscape we see now bears little resemblance to the early
years of the regime," she explains; with John Pavlakis --
john.pavlakis@ashurst.com -- from Ashurst adding that with their
initial introduction, product liability and migration claims were
the main types of class actions commenced.  In the early years,
funded cases were beset with interlocutory challenges. Since
around 2006 - and the High Court's decision in Fostif, lawyers
say the atmosphere has changed.

Pavlakis says that over the last decade, shareholder and investor
class actions have been dominant and settlements of securities
class actions have exceeded AUS 1 billion, while Janette McLennan
of Clyde & Co adds that empirical studies suggest that there have
been more than 500 class actions pursued in Australia since 1992.

Indeed, Oliver Gayner -- ogayner@imf.com.au -- of litigation
funder IMF Betham says the courts have shown themselves to be
creative in their interpretation of the statute, particularly
given a wide power to grant orders, adding "the result is a
flexible and fast-moving area of law".

Many say developments like greater litigation funding and the
growth in a much broader group of lawyers bringing class actions,
have all arisen in the last decade, and, argues McLennan, a wider
range of firms defending them.  Saville's firm's research shows
there has been no tsunami of claims, but the steady stream of
actions has raised corporate awareness of the risks of class
actions in Australia, and of their economic consequences.

The regime has also become more pan-Australian.  Saville, for her
part, points out that the class action regime now extends to
state regimes in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales (NSW),
with Victoria being the state in which most state and federal
class actions are issued.

Damian Grave -- Damian.Grave@hsf.com -- partner at Herbert Smith
Freehills, says the federal and Victorian regimes, predominant in
the early stages, have become a model for the other
jurisdictions, although Saville prefers a different explanation
for Victoria's success.

She notes: "That may be because those claimant law firms - Slater
& Gordon and Maurice Blackburn - have their strongest roots
there; thereafter, NSW is the state with the next most claims."

Saville feels that the state Supreme Courts have "caught up" with
the federal jurisdiction, with claims ranging from environmental
damage, human rights to floods and bushfires, being heard before
them; another example of the evolution of that jurisdiction.

Grave summarises the benefits for ordinary Australians, as "a
mechanism for bringing and resolving claims which would be
economically unsustainable as individual claims, particularly
under Australia's 'loser-pays' costs regime, but which are viable
through collective redress".

DEVIL IN THE DETAIL

One statement with which all lawyers would agree, is the second
of Campbell's caveats -- and perhaps the most significant: "The
devil is, however, in the detail."

Campbell explains: "There are some troubling underlying trends
which give rise to questions as to whether the regime is doing as
well as it might on delivering access to justice -- or whether
that has just become a by-product of an increasingly
entrepreneurial culture for funders and claimant lawyers."

She details why: "Most class actions are ultimately a commercial
pursuit for the promoters and there are growing indications that
those commercial objectives are driving outcomes rather than the
interests of class members."

"This has caused us to question whether we are at risk of getting
to a point where the tail is wagging the dog."

Grave agrees, saying that, from a defendant's perspective, "some
claims are speculative, unmeritorious" and, he says,
"entrepreneurial, and expose substantial tensions between the
interests of claimant law firms and litigation funders on the one
hand, and the classes they claim to represent on the other".

Hence why, as Pavlakis notes, the benefit of access to justice
for class members must, however, be tempered with the relatively
unregulated third-party funding regime, the subject of a least
one large reform Law Commission inquiry in Victoria.

McLennan says the review was instigated by the Victorian
government following a number of class actions where the
litigation funders and lawyers claimed a large percentage of the
settlement proceeds.

There are more general objections to class actions, Grave
continues, including the substantial cost and time burden on
defendants and the distraction of litigation to corporates,
noting that such claims are not easy for the best-intentioned
defendant to assess carefully.

"Substantial cost and effort must also be incurred by defendants
before informed assessments can be made of the merits and value
of a claim. That burden falls disproportionately on defendants,
particularly in the pre-trial phases of a proceeding," he feels.

MEETING MULTIPLE ACTIONS

There are other drawbacks, says Saville, mentioning multiple
class actions, where competing claims can be issued in the
federal and state level, "making it difficult to resolve which
should proceed; it is a question to which the courts haven't
found a solution as yet".

Stevenson agrees, saying: "Central to the debate about competing
class actions is whether we should, like the US regime,
effectively pick winners, in deciding who is certified to lead
the class, which effectively involves the court making a choice
between firms, and funders, and which class should be preferred."

She adds: "There is debate about the merits of open and closed
class systems, and what mechanisms should be used for closure.
How the courts have reacted has varied from case to case, and the
jurisprudence has evolved over time. Defendants want certainty."

Campbell agrees, and is not afraid to say why: "The increase in
competing class actions is mostly about multiple claimant lawyers
and funders wanting a slice of the action."

"Not only are [such actions] generally not in the interest of
class members, they also cause significant complications for
defendants in ways that are not consistent with the broader
objectives of the regime (which include efficiency and
certainty)."

The courts, she says, are "grappling" with the way the changing
landscape is affecting the class actions before them - "none more
so than in the way they are grappling with how to deal with
competing class actions".

One solution, says Pavlakis, is an earlier registration process
for open class actions, saying that one of the difficulties for
defendants in such actions "is that they are unaware of the size
of the claim, or how many group members there are as registration
often occurs very late in the proceedings".

Gayner agrees, noting that Jason Betts of Herbert Smith Freehills
had suggested such a system, whereby the lead (open class)
claimant is determined by the court, taking into account various
criteria including the quantum of loss and the capacity and
experience of the funders and lawyers. It is "an intriguing
debate but such wholesale changes would ultimately require
legislative reform".

PROSPECTS FOR REFORM

Stevenson acknowledges that while there are consultations, "the
political intent for change is low; there are, however, real
issues, including the tensions between clients and funders".
Chapple agrees, saying "there is a place for considered reform",
and adds that "the governance of litigation funders remains a
real concern and an obvious area for improvement".

One suggestion arising out of the Victorian review is the
prospect of creating "specific professional practice rules
governing lawyers' responsibilities in class actions,
particularly in relation to conflicts of interest", notes
Chapple.

To him: "There is also a need for leadership from the legislature
to set a clear policy agenda that promotes consistency and
clarity throughout the system and across jurisdictions."

Grave agrees -- emphatically so. He notes that, as more
litigation funders enter the Australian market, "increased
regulation for funders may be timely".  At present, he says, "the
regime only requires litigation funders to have a conflict of
interest regime in place", with no requirement, for example,
foreign litigation funders maintain assets in Australia.

He explains why: "If security for costs is not offered or ordered
in a proceeding, the capacity of the funder to meet any costs
awarded in the event a defendant is successful may create
difficulties in recouping [those] costs."

Like Grave, Chapple is in favour of "targeted regulation", as is
Pavlakis, who says that "setting further criteria for the
regulation of returns to litigation funders on settlement or
judgment is an important area".

With this, Pavlakis says: "Comes the fiercely debated possibility
of lifting the ban on lawyers charging contingency fees," but he
notes that such a move has been met with resistance in Australia.
Pavlakis said their likelihood of adoption has increased since
the UK's introduction of damages-based agreements in commercial
litigation since 2013. As CDR reported previously, this was
suggested in an Australian Productivity Commission Report in
2014, as a way to improve access to justice.

McLennan takes the debate back full circle. "Should contingency
fees be permitted to provide broader access to justice, or will
they encourage more speculative claims?" Or, "do they simply
shift the conflict of interest between funders and group members
to lawyers and group members?"

For her: "There will need to be commensurate measures in place to
manage actual and perceived conflicts of interest," if such
changes arise. The debates will continue for 25 years yet.

Since this feature was written, the outgoing attorney general,
Senator George Brandis QC, announced to the federal Parliament on
17 December that he had asked the Australian Law Reform
Commission to conduct an urgent review of class actions and
third-party funding of proceedings, focusing in particular on
their "entrepreneurial" character.  The review is expected to
focus on a number of key areas, as well as supplementing the
ongoing Victorian Law Reform Commission work, at state level and
reviewing the previous recommendations of the Productivity
Commission.  It is expected to report before the end of 2018.
[GN]


* Repeal of CFPB's Arbitration Rule Defeat for Consumers
--------------------------------------------------------
Dillon Thompson, writing for wkyc3, reports that earlier in 2017,
the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a
regulation banning mandatory arbitration clauses, the often-
controversial sections of consumer contracts that effectively
prevent customers from filing class-action suits against a
company they are doing business with, such as a bank.

However, this law, which was set to come into effect in 2018, has
been overturned by Congress, meaning the rule will remain in
effect.

Martin Lynch, the compliance manager and director of education
for Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp. in Agawam, Mass., says the
repeal of the CFPB's rule is a major defeat for consumers because
forced arbitration is often used to scare customers out of taking
action against the corporate world.

"That's not fair, almost by definition," says Lynch, who is also
a member of the board of directors for the Financial Counseling
Association of America. "It's why the concept of consumer
protection exists in the first place."

MagnifyMoney is a price comparison and financial education
website, founded by former bankers who use their knowledge of how
the system works to help you save money. [GN]



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