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LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Class Actions Legal News
Headline Class Actions Legal News from LexisNexis®
Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument In American Pipe Tolling Challenge
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 17 heard oral arguments in an appeal of a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling affirming that shareholders that filed a securities class action lawsuit after opting out of settlement class against the same defendants were barred from doing so as their claims were outside the statute of repose (California Public Employees' Retirement System v. Moody Investors Service Inc., et al., No. 16-373, U.S. Sup.).
Inmate Collect-Call Service Provider Will Settle TCPA Class Suit For $8.8 Million
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on April 7 granted preliminary approval of an $8.8 million settlement to be paid by a collect-call service provider accused of placing automated calls to cell phones in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) (Alice Lee, et al. v. Global Tel*Link Corporation, No. 15-2495, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53899).
Washington Settles Class Suit Over Denial Of Hepatitis C Medication
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on April 10 issued an order granting final approval of a settlement under which the Washington State Health Care Authority (WHCA) has agreed to provide coverage for direct-acting antiviral medications for the treatment of hepatitis C (HCV) for Medicaid enrollees who claimed that they were previously denied the drugs due to the cost (B.E., et al. v. Dorothy F. Teeter, No. 16-227, W.D. Wash.).
$700,000 Similasan Homeopathic Products Settlement Granted Preliminary Approval
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on April 12 granted preliminary approval of a $700,000 settlement to be paid by Similasan Corp. to end a class complaint alleging false or deceptive labeling of the company's homeopathic products (Kim Allen, et al. v. Similasan Corporation, No. 12-376, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56333).
Judge Grants Preliminary Approval Of $10.5M Settlement In Stock Drop Suit
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on April 10 granted preliminary approval of a $10.5 million settlement between investors and one of the country's largest industrial, engineering and construction companies in a securities class action lawsuit alleging that the company and certain of its current and former senior officers misrepresented the company's business and financial condition in violation of federal securities laws (In re KBR Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 14-1287, S.D. Texas).
8th Circuit Reverses, Sends Ex-Workers' Age Bias Claims To Arbitration
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Thirty-three laid-off General Mills Inc. workers must have their age discrimination claims decided in arbitration individually, and not as a class, and they are not entitled to declaratory judgment regarding their rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) because the judgment would not resolve their claims, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 14 (Elizabeth McLeod, et al. v. General Mills, Inc., et al., No. 15-3540, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6422).
Arbitration Denied In Class Suit Over Uber's Cancellation Fees
SAN FRANCISCO - An Uber Technologies Inc. customer's class complaint alleging that the ride-sharing app's cancellation fees are arbitrary may proceed, a California federal judge ruled April 17, denying the company's motion to compel arbitration (Julian Metter v. Uber Technologies, Inc., No. 16-6652, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58481).
California Federal Judge Keeps CVS Pharmacist's Wage Class Suit In Federal Court
LOS ANGELES - A wage class complaint filed by a California pharmacist against his employer belongs in federal court, not state court, a California federal judge ruled April 11, holding that even though removal occurred more than 30 days after the complaint was filed, it was still timely (Sevag Chalian v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., et al., No. 16-8979, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55485).
California IVC Plaintiffs Were Not Proposing Joint Trial; CAFA Remand Affirmed
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 14 agreed with a federal district court that nine plaintiffs bringing claims against Cordis Corp. for injuries allegedly caused by the defendant's inferior vena cava (IVC) device are not seeking trials that would trigger federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) (Jerry Dunson, et al. v. Cordis Corporation, No. 17-15257, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6446).
Florida Federal Judge Sends Class Suit Over GEICO's Coverage Back To State Court
TAMPA, Fla. - An insurance company that is defending itself against a class suit over its failure to provide coverage required under Florida law failed to show that the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million, a Florida federal judge ruled April 6, sending the case back to state court (Amber Rae McLawhorn, et al. v. GEICO Indemnity Company, No. 17-156, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52905).
Federal Judge Remands Earthquake Case Against Fracking Companies
PAWNEE, Okla. - A federal judge in Oklahoma on April 12 remanded to state court a lawsuit alleging that hydraulic fracturing operations caused earthquakes, concluding that no federal issues were at stake in the litigation because the complaint "expressly excluded any lands subject to federal Indian law" (James Adams v. Eagle Road Oil LLC, et al., No. 16-757, N.D. Okla.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55804).
Florida Federal Judge Rules For Class In Same-Sex Marriage Death Certificate Suit
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on March 23 issued an order certifying a class of survivors of same-sex spouses who died in Florida before the state recognized same-sex marriages and an order granting summary judgment to that class and directing the state to amend Florida death certificates to reflect the decedent's marital status and spouse's identity as long as certain conditions are met (Hal B. Birchfield, et al. v. John H. Armstrong, et al., No. 15-615, N.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56276).
Suit Over Legitimacy Of Online University Program Is Dismissed With Prejudice
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on April 18 issued an opinion finding that a class complaint over the legitimacy of a university's online-only program belongs in federal, not state, court and then dismissed the complaint with prejudice, finding that it was time-barred (Brice Bradford, et al. v. The George Washington University, No. 16-858, D. D. C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58590).
Class Suit Alleging Defective Nissan Transmissions Is Tossed By Federal Judge
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on April 11 dismissed with leave to amend a class complaint accusing Nissan North America Inc. of knowingly selling vehicles with faulty manual transmissions and failing to properly fix them (Huu Nguyen v. Nissan North America, Inc., No. 16-5591, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55501).
2nd Amended Ford Exhaust Leak Class Suit Is Dismissed For Not Curing Deficiencies
CHICAGO - A second amended class complaint accusing Ford Motor Co. of selling vehicles with a defect that allows harmful exhaust gases to enter the interior of the vehicles was dismissed with prejudice by an Illinois federal judge on April 6 after the lead plaintiff failed to correct deficiencies previously identified by the court (David Schiesser, et al. v. Ford Motor Company, No. 16-730, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53180).
Judge Allows Some Claims In Suit Alleging Stem Cell Treatments Are Scam
SAN DIEGO - Customers of a stem cell therapy business sufficiently plead that the business advertised false and misleading information on its website about consumer satisfaction rates in a way that was deceptive to potential customers, though they must amend their class claims that the business misrepresented the efficacy of its treatments if those claims are to proceed, a California federal judge held April 6 (Selena Moorer, et al. v. StemGenex Medical Group, Inc., et al., No. 3:16-cv-02816, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53294).
Missouri Federal Judge Follows Dudenhoeffer In Tossing Peabody Breach Claims
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on March 30 granted a motion to dismiss a putative class action brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act alleging that the fiduciaries of three employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) breached their fiduciary duties by keeping a company stock fund as an investment option after the company began having financial difficulties, saying the claims did not meet the high standard for stating a claim set by the U.S. Supreme Court in Fifth Third Bancorp. v. Dudenhoeffer (Lori J. Lynn, et al. v. Peabody Energy Corp., et al., No. 4:15-cv-00916, E.D. Mo., Eastern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48468).
6th Circuit Affirms Ruling Dismissing ERISA Suit Against Cliffs Natural Resources
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 7 affirmed an Ohio federal judge's decision to dismiss a class action filed by members of the Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) alleging breach of fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, saying that the decision is in line with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Fifth Third Bancorp. v. Dudenhoeffer that allowed fiduciaries for ESOPs to rely solely on the market price of a security as a risk barometer (Paul Saumer, et al. v. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., et al., No. 16-3449, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6015).
Panel Upholds Dismissal Of Securities Claims For Failure To Plead Scienter
BOSTON - Lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company and its CEO failed to plead allegations giving rise to a strong inference of scienter in making their federal securities law claims, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 7 in affirming a lower court's dismissal ruling (Terry Brennan, et al. v. Zafgen Inc., et al., No. 16-2057, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6052).
Judge Dismisses Coal Ash Case To Allow Plaintiffs To File It In State Court
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A federal judge in Kentucky on April 12 dismissed a lawsuit brought by a class of residents who contended that they were exposed to hazardous chemicals from a coal-fired power plant so that the plaintiffs could file the claims in Kentucky state court. The judge declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims (Kathy Little, et al. v. Louisville Gas & Electric Company, No. 13-1214, W.D. Ky.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56467).
Class Counsel To Receive At Least $15.26M In Fees For Suit Over 'Free Cruise' Calls
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on April 6 approved a class counsel fee amount of at least $15.26 million, over defendants' objections, in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) settlement worth up to $76 million (Gerardo Aranda, et al. v. Caribbean Cruise Line, Inc., et al., No. 12-4069, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54080).
Lawyer Gets Interest Award In Indian Case Alleging Mismanagement Of Lands
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal magistrate judge in the District of Columbia added more than $700,000 in interest April 10 to an attorney's $2.8 million fee award for work he did for hundreds of thousands of Native American plaintiffs in a class action alleging mismanagement by the government of Indian lands that resulted in a $3.4 billion settlement for the plaintiffs (Elouise Pepion Cobell, et al. v. Sally Jewell, et al., No. 1:96-cv-01285, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54281).
California Federal Judge Says Massage Parlor Franchise Members' Claims Not Barred
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on April 5 denied a massage parlor franchisor's motion for judgment on the pleadings or to strike class action allegations in a case in which franchise members claim that they were charged fees above those in the membership agreements they signed, saying the plaintiffs' claims are not barred by previous court actions and settlement agreements (Baerbel McKinney-Drobnis, et al. v. Massage Envy Franchising LLC, No. 4:116-cv-06450, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52165).
New York Federal Judge Unseals Order Certifying J.P. Morgan ERISA Class
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on April 17 unsealed a two-week-old order certifying a class of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) employees who invested in any of its stable value funds during 2009 and 2010, saying he found evidence of a possible causal link between alleged breaches of fiduciary duties and the underperformance of the funds (In re J.P. Morgan Stable Value Fund ERISA Litigation, No. 1:12-cv-2548, S.D. N.Y.).
2nd Circuit Affirms Ruling Refusing To Certify FLSA And NYLL Class Actions
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 14 rejected an appeal of a court decision that refused to certify multiple class actions asserting violations of labor law, finding that the court's ruling was well reasoned and that it did not err when it found that the proposed classes failed to meet the sufficient requirements for class certification (Donna Ruiz, et al. v. Citibank, N.A., No. 15-3941 and Frederic Winfield, et al. v. Citibank, N.A., No. 15-3946, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6399).
Lack Of Commonality Dooms Proposed Class Of Pulte Homeowners, Judge Rules
ORLANDO, Fla. - A proposed class of homeowners claiming that Pulte Home Corp. improperly installed stucco on their homes in violation of the Florida Building Code was denied certification by a federal judge in Florida on April 11, after the judge found that the class failed to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23's commonality and ascertainability requirements (Shaun Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55031).
New York Federal Judge Denies Certification Of Papa John's Drivers Class
NEW YORK - In an oral ruling, a New York federal judge on March 29 denied a motion for conditional certification of a nationwide class of Papa John's delivery drivers that would have included drivers at corporate-owned stores and stores operated by franchisees for lack of commonality, according to the court docket (William Durling, et al. v. Papa John's International, Inc., No. 16-3592, S.D. N.Y.).
Expert Opinions Allowed In Putative Products Liability Class Action Against Volvo
TRENTON, N.J. - In a putative class action against Volvo Cars of North America LLC for defects in sunroofs, a New Jersey federal judge on April 3 refused to dismiss three experts' opinions with regard to issues of damages and the cause of the damages (Joanne Neale, et al. v. Volvo Cars of North America LLC, et al., No. 10-4407, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50259).
Debt Collector Ordered To Turn Over Call Records To Plaintiff In TCPA Class Suit
CLEVELAND - Despite a previous finding by the court that a discovery request was unduly burdensome, a debt collector accused of placing auto calls to nonconsenting recipients must now turn over call records to the plaintiff after its own employee stated that it was possible to create a program to identify "wrong number" calls, an Ohio federal judge ruled April 13 (Deborah Meredith v. United Collection Bureau, Inc., No. 16-1102, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56783).
Federal Judge Grants Eddie Bauer Employee's Request For Class Discovery
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on April 11 granted a request by a former retail employee who asserts violations of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and labor code for the contact information of all employees of Eddie Bauer LLC that fall within the scope of her proposed class action, finding that the information was necessary to the class (Stephanie Heredia v. Eddie Bauer, LLC, No. 16-cv-06236, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54709).
EEOC Sues Miami Beach Hotel For Firing Black Haitian Kitchen Workers
MIAMI - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit on April 18 against the owners, operators and managers of SLS Hotel South Beach in Florida federal court on behalf of a class of black Haitian kitchen workers claiming that the defendants fired them because of their national origin, race and/or color (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. SBEEG Holdings, LLC, et al., No. 17-21446, S.D. Fla.).
Waffle House Job Applicants Sue Over Background Reports
ORLANDO, Fla. - Waffle House Inc. and WH Capital LLC (together, Waffle House) and other companies violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681, by obtaining and using information from background reports for job applicants without providing proper disclosures to the applicants before taking adverse actions against them by not hiring them, more than a dozen applicants allege in an April 17 class complaint filed in Florida federal court (Alex Holt, et al. v. Waffle House, Inc., et al., No. 17-693, M.D. Fla.).
Drug Company Hit With Shareholder Suit Over Proposed Merger Deal
BOSTON - A pharmaceutical company and its board of directors issued a proxy statement in connection with a proposed merger deal that contained several misrepresentations and omitted important facts surrounding the proposed transaction in violation of federal securities laws, an investor argues in an April 11 securities class action complaint filed in Massachusetts federal court (Stephen Bushansky v. Tokai Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 17-10621, D. Mass.).
Wage-And-Hour, RICO, Other Complaints Hit Courts
Recent class action lawsuits filed in federal and state courts across the country include complaints alleging compensation violations, faulty housing leases, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act violations, heating contract violations and defective washing machines.
CAFA 2.0? Major Class and Mass Action Reform Bill Advances In Congress
By Tripp Haston and Fritz Spainhour More than 10 years ago, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). Among other things, CAFA made it easier for defendants in putative state-court class actions to remove their cases to federal court for adjudication. As a result, fewer class actions are litigated in state courts today. A much broader civil justice reform bill is now working its way through Congress with the potential to significantly alter class action and mass action practice in the United States. Known as the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017 (FICALA), the bill would make major changes to procedure in both federal class actions and multidistrict litigation (MDL).1 FICALA easily passed the House of Representatives on March 9, 2017, and as of the writing of this article, is in the hands of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
U.S. High Court Won't Hear Appeal After $7.25B Antitrust Settlement Is Scuttled
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 27 denied a petition for certiorari filed by class members in a credit card fee lawsuit in which a $7.25 billion class action settlement was reached in December 2013 and then set aside by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 30, 2016, after it determined that the merchant class had divided interests and needed separate counsel (Photos Etc. Corp., et al. v. Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc., et al., No. 16-710, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. LEXIS 2042).
High Court Hears Arguments On Jurisdiction Of Dismissed Defective Xbox Class Action
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 21 heard arguments from Microsoft Corp. and a class of owners of allegedly defective Xbox gaming systems as to whether an appeals court has jurisdiction to consider a class certification appeal after the plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed their claims with prejudice (Microsoft Corp. v. Seth Baker, et al., No. 15-457, U.S. Sup.).
Supreme Court Denies Cert In ERISA Class Action Against Verizon Communications
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a two-sentence order, the U.S. Supreme on March 27 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a defined-benefit pension plan participant and the Pension Rights Center in which they asked the court to consider whether the participant has standing to file a breach of fiduciary duty suit challenging the transfer of plan assets to a group annuity contract, regardless of loss to the participant's benefits (Edward Pundt, et al. v. Verizon Communications, Incorporated, et al., No. 16-762, U.S. Sup.).
Cert Denied For 7th Circuit's Rejection Of Immunity Waiver In Credit Act Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that an Indian tribe's sovereign immunity bars a man's class action claims that the tribe violated the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) by printing identifying information on his credit card receipts will stand after the U.S. Supreme Court on March 20 declined to hear the man's challenge to the decision (Jeremy Meyers v. Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, No. 16-745, U.S. Sup.).
U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Appeal In Securities Class Action Lawsuit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 27 agreed to hear a defense technology company's appeal of a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling to determine if there is a split among the circuits regarding whether a duty to disclose is created by Item 303 of Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation S-K that is actionable under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Leidos Inc., v. Indiana Public Retirement System, et al., No. 16-581, U.S. Sup.).
11th Circuit: Dual Citizenship Can't Be Used To Establish Diversity Under CAFA
ATLANTA - There is no federal jurisdiction over a class complaint accusing two insurance companies of breach of contract, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 29, finding that dual citizenship can't be used to establish diversity under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) where all parties are citizens of the same state (Life of the South Insurance Company, et al. v. Marquetta Carzell, et al., No. 16-90006, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5494).
Some Flint Water Defendants: Local Controversy Exception Applies To Class Action
DETROIT - Some of the defendants sued by residents of Flint, Mich., in connection with the lead-contaminated drinking water in that city filed a brief in Michigan federal court on March 21, arguing that the lawsuit meets the local controversy exception to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) and, therefore, the court should deny a motion filed by another group of defendants asking it to alter its judgment with regard to exercising its jurisdiction over state law claims (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Governor Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).
California Federal Judge: Supplement Labeling Class Suit Belongs In State Court
SAN DIEGO - A class lawsuit over nutritional supplement labeling belongs in state court because the combined amount in controversy is less than $5 million, even when a 25 percent attorney fee award is included, a California federal judge ruled March 24, rejecting arguments by both sides that the case should remain in federal court (Paige Petkevicius, et al. v. NBTY, Inc., et al., No. 14-2616, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43636).
3rd Circuit Reverses Remand Of Birth Control Pill Mix-Up Case On CAFA Grounds
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 28 vacated remand of a birth control pill mix-up case, finding that under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), the plaintiffs did not use language in their complaint to sufficiently disavow that they were seeking a joint trial (Melissa Ramirez, et al. v. Vintage Pharmaceuticals, LLC, et al., Nos. 17-1221 and 17-1226, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5397).
$25 Million Trump University Settlement Approved By California Federal Judge
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 31 granted final approval of a $25 million to be paid by Trump University LLC, the now-defunct school that was owned by President Donald J. Trump, to end claims that the school was a sham and defrauded its students out of millions of dollars (Sonny Low, et al. v. Trump University, LLC, et al., No. 10-940, Art Cohen, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, No. 13-2519, S.D. Calif.).
Wells Fargo Agrees To Pay $110M To Settle Unauthorized Accounts Class Claims
SAN FRANCISCO - Wells Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. have agreed to pay $110 million to end claims by a class of individuals who allege that the banking company opened accounts, enrolled them in products and services and submitted applications for products and services without consent, according to a joint notice of settlement filed March 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Shahriar Jabbari, et al. v. Wells Fargo & Company, et al., No. 15-2159, N.D. Calif.).
Final Approval Of $27M Lyft California Driver Settlement Granted
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on March 16 granted final approval of a $27 million settlement between Lyft Inc. and its drivers who provide ride-sharing services after removing from the proposed order language enjoining settlement class members from filing any action in the future based on claims that are released in the agreement (Patrick Cotter, et al. v. Lyft, Inc., No. 13-4065, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38256).
Pharmaceutical Company Will Pay $200,000 To Settle Fax Blast Class Suit
MOBILE, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on March 17 granted final approval of a $200,000 settlement to be paid by a pharmaceutical company accused of "fax blasting" thousands of unsolicited advertisements in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) (Family Medicine Pharmacy, LLC v. Trxade Group, Inc., et al., No. 15-590, S.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38637).
Judge Denies Approval Of Google Email-Scanning Class Settlement
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a March 15 order, a California federal judge denied preliminary approval of a proposed settlement of a class action over Google Inc.'s practice of scanning emails of non-Gmail users, faulting the lack of clear notice and disclosures in the settlement and finding it unclear that the settlement is "fundamentally fair, adequate, and reasonable" (Daniel Matera, et al. v. Google Inc., No. 5:15-cv-04062, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37370).
University Students Seek Approval Of Settlement Of Records Theft Suit
ROME, Ga. - The lead plaintiffs in a putative class action over records stolen from their former university on March 29 asked a Georgia federal court to preliminarily approve their settlement of their negligence claims with the university in exchange for payments of costs, fees, incentive awards and reimbursements, potentially exceeding $200,000 (Erin Bishop, et al. v. Shorter University Inc., No. 4:15-cv-00033, N.D. Ga.).
Texas Roadhouse Agrees To Pay $12 Million To Settle EEOC Age Bias Suit
BOSTON - A Kentucky-based steakhouse chain will pay $12 million to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of class of applicants who allegedly have been denied positions due to their ages, the EEOC announced March 31 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Texas Roadhouse, Inc., et al., No. 11-11732, D. Mass.).
Banks Agree To Pay $165M To Settle Mortgage-Backed Securities Claims
NEW YORK - Underwriters Royal Bank of Scotland Securities Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Wells Fargo Advisors LLC on March 15 agreed to pay a combined $165 million to settle claims that they took part in a fraudulent scheme to misrepresent the underwriting standards they used in the offering documents for a series of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) (New Jersey Health Fund v. Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, et al., No. 08-5310, S.D. N.Y.).
Preliminary Approval Of $100M Settlement In Halliburton Securities Suit Granted
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on March 31 granted preliminary approval of a $100 million securities class action settlement between investors and Halliburton Co. and its CEO who were alleged to have issued certain misrepresentations regarding the company's asbestos litigation liability, its financial condition and the benefits of a merger deal in violation of federal securities laws (The Erica P. John Fund Inc. v. Halliburton Co., et al., No. 02-1152, N.D. Texas).
Proposed Attorney Fees Reduced By Almost A Third Following TCPA Settlement
PHILADELPHIA - While a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class settlement agreement reached in a lawsuit against a water ice company allowed for class counsel to seek attorney fees and expenses up to $1 million, the class counsel are entitled to only $651,000 in fees and $40,073.97 in expenses, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 16 (Sherry Brown, et al. v. Rita's Water Ice Franchise Company LLC, No. 15-3509, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37676).
South Dakota High Court Affirms Defendant Class Certification In Water Use Suit
PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Supreme Court on March 15 upheld the certification of a defendant class represented by the secretary of the State of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department and comprising individuals who have used or will use the water of two South Dakota lakes in a lawsuit filed by landowners whose property around the lakes was partially submerged in 1993 and who have claimed that the public has no right to access the water and ice over top of their property (Thad Duerre, et al. v. Kelly R. Hepler, et al., No. 27885, S.D. Sup., 2017 S.D. LEXIS 29).
Federal Judge Keeps Fraud Case Under CAFA After Denying Class Certification
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on March 17 denied class certification of a business fraud suit but held that the federal court maintains jurisdiction over the plaintiff's individual claims because the denial does not eliminate jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) (Tropical Sails Corp. v. Yext, Inc., No. 14-7582, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38913).
Judge Nixes Class In Insureds' Suit Claiming Pharmacy Gouged On Generic Drugs
SAN FRANCISCO - The variety of contracts at issue and evidence that at least some of the contracted pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) understood that a pharmacy's usual and customary rate did not include the rate offered for generic drugs in its membership program defeat a motion for class certification of insured purchasers of generic drugs, a federal judge in California held March 21 (Christopher Corcoran, et al. v. CVS Health, et al., No. 15-3504, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40783).
California Federal Judge Denies Decertification, Finds Vendors Are Employees
SAN FRANCISCO - A network of "vendors" who perform maintenance and repair services at properties owned by Field Asset Services Inc. (FAS) are employees, not independent contractors, and are owed overtime and business expenses, a California federal judge ruled March 17 in an order granting the vendors' motion for partial summary judgment and denying FAS's motion to decertify the class of vendors (Fred Bowerman, et al. v. Field Asset Services Inc., et al., No. 13-57, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39000).
Class Certification Granted In Gingko Biloba Supplement False Labeling Lawsuit
SAN DIEGO - Common questions predominate in a lawsuit alleging that product claims on the labeling for nutritional supplements are false, a California federal judge ruled March 16, granting a motion for class certification (Tatiana Korolshteyn, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, et al., No. 15-709, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38192).
Seismic Workers Granted Class Certification In Wage Dispute
HOUSTON - A Texas federal magistrate judge on March 27 certified a class of workers paid on a day-rate basis who allege that they worked more than their allotted 12 hours per day but were not paid overtime (Darnell Senegal, et al. v. Fairfield Industries, Inc., d/b/a Fairfield Nodal, No. 16-2113, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43830).
Fluidmaster MDL Judge Denies Class Certification, Limits Experts' Testimony
CHICAGO - The federal judge in Illinois presiding over litigation over allegedly defective connector nuts in plumbing hoses manufactured by Fluidmaster Inc. on March 31 denied certification of a nationwide class and a number of subclasses, finding that they failed to satisfy the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, and limited the testimony proffered by experts on both sides (In re: Fluidmaster, Inc., Water Connector Components Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2575, No. 14-cv-5696, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48792).
Tennessee Appeals Court Upholds Class Certification In Suit Over Improper Burials
JACKSON, Tenn. - A Tennessee appeals panel on March 29 upheld certification of a class of next of kin and individuals accusing funeral homes of abandoning human remains to an unlicensed cemetery where the remains were then disposed of improperly (Akilah Louise Wofford, et al. v. M.J. Edwards & Sons Funeral Home Inc., et al., No. W2015-02377-COA-R3-CV, Tenn. App., 2017 Tenn. App. LEXIS 214).
Campbell Soup Trans Fat Labeling Class Suit Dismissed; Motions For Sanctions Denied
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 21 granted a motion to dismiss a class complaint accusing Campbell Soup Co. of deceiving customers by labeling soup as healthy even though it contained trans fat but denied motions by both parties seeking sanctions (Harold Brower, et al. v. Campbell Soup Company, No. 16-1005, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40792).
4th Circuit Finds Gambling In Virtual Casino Was Not A Monetary Loss
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 17 affirmed dismissal of a complaint filed by a player of a video game, finding that her claims for recovery of money spent in a virtual casino did not constitute money lost under Maryland's loss-recovery statute (Mia Mason v. Machine Zone Inc., No. 15-2469, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4766).
Illinois Appellate Panel Won't Reinstate Class Suit Over Civil Case Filing Fee
CHICAGO - A fee charged to all plaintiffs filing a civil lawsuit to fund children's waiting rooms in the courts does not violate the Illinois Constitution, an Illinois appellate panel ruled March 16, affirming the dismissal of a plaintiff's class complaint (Randall Gatz v. Dorothy Brown, et al., No. 1-16-0579, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 4th Div., 2017 Ill. App. LEXIS 138).
Majority Of Proposed Class's Claims Against Window Maker Dismissed By Federal Judge
MINNEAPOLIS - A federal judge in Minnesota on March 29 dismissed a majority of claims asserted by a putative class of consumers of two-pane inert glass unit (IGU) windows against the manufacturer, finding that the plaintiffs only sufficiently stated claims for breach of implied warranty of merchantability and breach of implied warranty based on course of dealing/usage of trade (Cheryl Luckey, et al. v. Alside, Inc., et al., No. 15-2512, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47750).
6th Circuit Panel Rules University ERISA Case Belongs In Federal Court
CINCINNATI - Calling it a matter of first impression, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 14 joined with six other circuits in holding that participants or beneficiaries need not exhaust administrative remedies before proceeding to federal court when they assert statutory violations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Eloise Hitchcock, et al. v. Cumberland University 403(b) DC Plan, et al., No. 16-5942, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4410).
Plaintiffs' Counsel Sanctioned For Behavior During Wage-And-Hour Deposition
SAN FRANCISCO - An attorney representing the named plaintiffs in a wage-and-hour class complaint must pay $7,706.32 in sanctions after acting in an "unprofessional" and "disrespectful" manner during deposition, a California federal magistrate judge ruled March 21, adding that the attorney "might benefit from mental health treatment and sensitivity training" (Shaon Robinson, et al. v. The Chefs' Warehouse, No. 15-5421, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40824).
Federal Judge Rules On Dueling Summary Judgment Motions In Hailstorm Dispute
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge on March 16 granted in part and denied in part motions for summary judgment by insureds and a homeowners insurer in a class action alleging that the insurer committed breach of contract when it unlawfully applied a policy's $1,000 deductible to an actual cash value (ACV) payment in a hailstorm coverage dispute (Eric Lafollette v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-04147, W.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37755).
9th Circuit: Cab Drivers Working The Phoenix Airport Are Not Employees
SAN FRANCISCO - Taxi drivers who lease cabs to pick up passengers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona are in business for themselves and not economically dependent on AAA Cab Service Inc. and are not employees under federal or state law, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 27 in the drivers' consolidated class action, affirming a trial court's grant of summary judgment in AAA Cab (Ivan Pentchev Iontchev, et al. v. AAA Cab Service, Inc., et al., No. 15-15789, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5326).
Judge Finds Coke Had No Contractual Duty To Safeguard Employee Information
PHILADELPHIA - Finding that The Coca-Cola Co. (Coke) had neither an express nor implied contractual duty to protect its employees' personally identifiable information (PII), a Pennsylvania federal judge on March 31 granted summary judgment to the beverage company on a putative breach of contract class action related to the theft of laptops containing employee information (Shane K. Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Co., et al., No. 2:14-cv-06476, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49920).
Partial Summary Judgment Granted In Apple IPhone Antitrust Class Action
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 22 granted in part a motion for summary judgment by Apple Inc., finding that the plaintiffs in a putative antitrust class action failed to establish the primary alleged aftermarket for iPhone voice and data services related to claimed service exclusivity through AT&T Mobility, but the judge deemed a narrower aftermarket related to iPhones not unlocked for service provider exclusivity sufficiently alleged (Zack Ward, et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 4:12-cv-05404, N.D. Calif.).
Judge Approves Website For Class Of Autism Treatment Plaintiffs
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - A class of plaintiffs alleging that an insurer improperly restricted coverage for applied behavioral analysis may use a supplemental website as a method of communicating with the class, a federal judge in Kentucky held March 21 (Margaret Wilson, et al. v. Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky Inc., No. 14-743, W.D. Ky.).
New Expert Report In Spying Software Suit Struck, Deemed To Be Too Late
ERIE, Pa. - A second expert report filed by the lead plaintiffs in a proposed class action over spying software when they filed their reply brief in support of their renewed motion for class certification was filed too late, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled March 22, striking the new report (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron's, Inc., et al., No. 11-101, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41030).
Judge Rules On Motions To Exclude Testimony In Putative Class Action
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on March 17 decided several motions to exclude testimony in a putative class action against the manufacturer and retailers of a washer that was not energy efficient despite a label on the product (Charlene Dzielak, et al. v. Whirlpool Corp., et al., No. 12-0089, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39232).
Split D.C. Circuit Rejects FCC's Opt-Out Notice Requirement On Solicited Faxes
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A split District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 31 ruled that the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) 2006 Solicited Fax Rule is unlawful to the extent that it requires opt-out notices on solicited faxes, vacating an FCC order filed in response to a request for a declaratory ruling filed by a generic drug company that was the defendant in a $150 million class complaint (Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley, et al. v. Federal Communications Commission, et al., No. 14-1234 (consolidated with Nos. 14-1235, 14-1239, 14-1243, 14-1270, 14-1279, 14-1292, 14-1293, 14-1294, 14-1295, 14-1297, 14-1299 and 14-1302), D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5589).
Mylan Hit With Class Complaint Over EpiPen Pricing
SEATTLE - The components of EpiPens cost between $20 and $30 to make, but Mylan Specialty L.P. has increased the list price of the epinephrine auto-injector 574 percent since 2007 - from $90.28 to $608.62 -to participate in a kickback scheme, three consumers allege in a class complaint filed against Mylan on April 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (Amber Rainey, et al. v. Mylan Specialty, L.P., No. 17-5244, W.D. Wash.).
Consumers File Class Complaint Over Pistachios Tainted With Salmonella
CHICAGO - Consumers who became ill after consuming raw pistachios they purchased at Sam's Clubs in Illinois filed a class complaint on March 29 in Illinois state court accusing Sam's West Inc., doing business as Sam's Club, the farms that grew the pistachios and the company that processed the pistachios of causing them pain and suffering (Alejandro Reyes, et al. v. Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds LLC, et al., No. 2017CH04552, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
Drug Makers, Benefit Managers Hit With Class Suit Alleging Insulin Pricing Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. - Three drug makers and the three largest pharmacy benefit managers have engaged in a pricing scheme to drive up the cost of diabetes insulin - by more than 150 percent in the last five years - in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, the Sherman Act and numerous state laws, four consumers and Type 1 Diabetes Defense Foundation allege in a March 17 class complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (Julia Boss, et al. v. CVS Health Corporation, et al., No. 17-1823, D. N.J.).
Samsung Hit With Class Complaint Over Smart TV Eavesdropping
NEWARK, N.J. - An owner of smart TVs made by Samsung Electronics America Inc. filed a putative class complaint against the manufacturer in New Jersey federal court March 10, alleging that consumers' private conversations were secretly recorded and intercepted, in violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (CFA) and federal privacy laws (Joshua Siegel v. Samsung Electronics America Inc., No. 2:17-cv-01687, D. N.J.).
Class Member Objects To Proposed $25M Trump University Settlement
SAN DIEGO - A former Trump University LLC student on March 6 filed an objection to the $25 million settlement to be paid by the now-defunct school, owned by President Donald J. Trump, to end claims that the school was a sham and defrauded its students out of millions of dollars, arguing that the settlement agreement fails to provide class members with the option to be excluded from the settlement (Sonny Low, et al. v. Trump University, LLC, et al., No. 10-940, Art Cohen, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, No. 13-2519, S.D. Calif.).
Banks Seek Approval Of $27.2 Million Settlement In Home Depot Data Breach Suit
ATLANTA - A putative class of banks and financial institutions (FIs) on March 8 filed an unopposed proposed settlement of their claims against The Home Depot Inc. arising from a 2014 data breach, asking a Georgia federal court to approve the $27.2 million settlement that they state was the result of good-faith arm's-length negotiations with the retailer (In re: The Home Depot Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 1:14-md-02583, N.D. Ga.).
Judge Preliminarily OKs $22.5 Million Settlement Of Google AdWords Class Action
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Preliminary approval of a $22.5 million settlement of a class action over Google Inc.'s AdWords program under California's unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising law (FAL) was granted March 9, with a California federal judge approving a proposed settlement class and settlement fund and setting dates for class notification and a fairness hearing (In Re Google AdWords Litigation, No. 5:08-cv-03369, N.D. Calif.).
Sex Toy Maker Seeks To Settle Privacy Suit For $3.75 Million
CHICAGO - A sex toy maker accused of wrongfully collecting highly sensitive personal information about its consumers' usage of its products seeks to settle a class complaint for approximately $3.75 million, the plaintiffs state in a motion for preliminary approval of the class action settlement filed March 9 in an Illinois federal court (N.P., et al. v. Standard Innovation [US], Corp., d/b/a We-Vibe, No. 16-8655, N.D. Ill.).
Judge Approves $9.3M Settlement Over Rust-Oleum's Restore Products
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on March 6 entered final approval of a $9.3 million settlement that certified a class of consumers who purchased a concrete resurfacing paint made by Rust-Oleum Corp. that allegedly bubbled and flaked prematurely (In re: Rust-Oleum Restore Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2602, Case No. 15 C 1364, N.D. Ill.).
California Federal Judge OKs Settlement In Dispute Over Offset Of Veterans' Benefits
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal on March 1 approved a class action settlement between former U.S. veterans and Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston after determining that the terms of the settlement, which provides compensation to class members whose disability benefits were offset or reduced by Liberty Life, are reasonable (James L. Bush v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, et al., No. 14-1507, N.D. Calif.).
Class In Facebook Message-Scanning Suit Seeks Approval Of Settlement
OAKLAND, Calif. - In a March 1 motion in California federal court, the plaintiffs in a class action accusing Facebook Inc. of privacy violations in its scanning of users' private messages (PMs) seek preliminary approval of a settlement with the social network, noting changes that Facebook has made to its allegedly illegal practices (Matthew Campbell, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 4:13-cv-05996, N.D. Calif.).
California Federal Judge Denies Sephora's Request For Partial Stay In Wage Dispute
SAN FRANCISCO - A motion for a partial stay filed by an employer in a wage-and-hour dispute pursuant to the Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800 (1976), doctrine must be denied because it was an attempt to dismiss "the potentially meritorious" claims of a nationwide class, a California federal judge ruled March 13 (Lacey Hernandez, et al. v. Sephora USA, Inc., No. 16-5392, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35758).
Nationwide Seeks Stay Of Discovery In Remanded Data Breach Class Actions
COLUMBUS, Ohio - In a March 2 motion in Ohio federal court, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. requests reconsideration of an earlier ruling declining to stay discovery in a pair of class actions over a 2012 data breach, arguing that the claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) will likely be dismissed and calling the plaintiffs' discovery requests broad and burdensome (Mohammad S. Galaria, et al. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2:13-cv-00118, and Anthony Hancox, et al. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2:13-cv-00257, S.D. Ohio).
2nd Circuit: Depositing A Check With Court Clerk Doesn't Moot TCPA Class Suit
NEW YORK - The deposit of a check with the clerk of a district court in satisfaction of judgment made by the defendant in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class complaint doesn't moot the suit, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 9, vacating the judgment of the district court and remanding for further proceedings (Radha Geismann, M.D., P.C., et al. v. ZocDoc, Incorporated, No. 14-3708, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4150).
Class Suit Over Costco Employment Application's FCRA Disclosure Will Proceed
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on March 10 denied a motion to dismiss filed by Costco Wholesale Corp. in a class complaint accusing the retailer of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by failing to provide a full and correct disclosure when requesting authorization to conduct background checks of job applicants (Julius Terrell v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 16-1415, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34821).
No Court Remedy For Diabetes Products Tax Dispute
LOS ANGELES - A class of customers who purchase skin puncture lancets and test strips used by diabetics and filed a class complaint seeking an order to compel pharmacies to file a claim seeking a refund of the sales tax paid for those items failed to establish that the necessary "unique circumstances" exist that would require a court to create a new tax refund remedy, a California appellate panel ruled March 13 (Michael McClain, et al. v. Sav-On Drugs, et al., Nos. B265011 and B265029, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 217).
Court Dismisses Employment Claims Related To Shared Tip-Pooling Policy
SAN DIEGO - After finding that a restaurant chain's shared tip-pooling policy is not unlawful, a California federal judge on Feb. 28 dismissed a former server's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and for penalties under the California's Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) (Brendan Wilkes v. Benihana Inc., et al., No. 16cv2219, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29127).
Pregnancy Bias Class Suit Against UPS Dismissed For Lack Of Sufficient Proof
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on March 3 dismissed, with leave to amend, a proposed nationwide pregnancy discrimination class suit against United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) based on the lead plaintiff's failure to show that UPS accommodated other employees while denying accommodation to pregnant ones (Jamie Anfeldt, et al. v. United Parcel Service, Inc., No. 15-10401, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30150).
Vizio Smart TV Video Privacy Class Claim To Proceed; Wiretap Claim Dismissed
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Finding that Vizio Inc. qualifies as a "video tape service provider" under the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), a California federal judge on March 2 denied dismissal of a putative class claim under the statute for the purported disclosure of consumers' personally identifiable information (PII) via the firm's smart TVs (In Re: Vizio, Inc., Consumer Privacy Litigation, No. 8:16-ml-02693, C.D. Calif.).
Judge: Investors Failed To Plead Scienter In Chipotle Securities Suit
NEW YORK - Lead plaintiffs have failed to plead any material misrepresentations or scienter in making claims that Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and certain of its executive officers issued certain misrepresentations concealing issues surrounding a widespread series of E. coli outbreaks in violation of federal securities laws, a federal judge in New York ruled March 8 in granting the defendants' motion to dismiss (Susie Ong v. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., et al., No. 16-141, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33170).