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Paul Zimmerman
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Showing 13 posts in Class Action.

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Pokémon Oh No! Augmented reality raises specter of personal injury claims

Article was originally published on GeekWire on August 6, 2016

There’s no denying it—Pokémon have taken over the country and, as of the popular app’s launch in more than 30 countries over the past few weeks, the world.  As the media is eager to point out, the game’s launch has not been without certain glitches (i.e. server errors), publicity mishaps (Poké Stops on graves and in Holocaust museums), and security concerns (apparently Niantic Inc., developer and publisher of Pokémon Go, had full access to users’ Google accounts). But perhaps the most frequently discussed incidents are the minor, and sometimes major, physical injuries occurring as players hunt high and low in the hope of catching ‘em all. (Read More)

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Class Action: Supreme Court Rules That Federal Plaintiffs Must Show a “Concrete” Injury

Some may view it as a blow to consumer class actions, while others might characterize it as an example of a high court “punting” on a key issue, but regardless of one’s characterization, the United States Supreme Court’s 6-2 decision in Spokeo Inc. v. Robins is reverberating throughout the legal community. In a long awaited opinion, the Supreme Court vacated a Ninth Circuit ruling that had deemed so-called technical violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) sufficient to establish an injury-in-fact for purposes of satisfying the standing requirements to bring a lawsuit under federal jurisdiction. According to the Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit’s standing analysis was not complete because it failed to consider whether the alleged injury was “concrete.” The Supreme Court has remanded the case to the Ninth Circuit to re-consider the standing issues in light of the Court’s guidance. While the Court may have refused to decide the underlying issue of standing, it did make a significant, and potentially momentous, finding that could curtail the spread of consumer class action lawsuits in which lead plaintiffs identify no actual harm from the violation of a statute. (Read More)

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Consumer Agency Proposal Would Expose Banks to More Class Action Lawsuits

Under new rules proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), consumers would be handed greater ability to bring class action lawsuits against financial institutions and consumer financial services providers. The proposed rules would essentially prohibit the use of mandatory arbitration clauses that contain class action waiver provisions in contracts for consumer financial products and services. The CFPB’s publicized objective is to prohibit consumer financial services providers from using arbitration provisions to prevent consumer class action lawsuits. Covering a range of products, from bank accounts and credit cards to auto and student loans, the rules are ostensibly intended to enable customers to utilize the court system to challenge potentially deceitful practices or other improper conduct. There will now be a 90-day public comment period, which will surely be contentious; the consumer finance industry immediately voiced strong concerns with the CFPB’s proposal. (Read More)

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Federal Court Paves Way for TCPA Defendants to Attack Class Actions on Constitutional Grounds

A recent, seemingly innocuous decision out of the Western District of New York sheds new light on a compelling constitutional argument against high-dollar class action lawsuits brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In Hannabury v. Hilton Grand Vacation Co., LLC, No. 14-cv-6126, 2016 WL 1181789 (W.D.N.Y. Mar. 25, 2016), the Court held that a named plaintiff’s TCPA claims did not survive his death.  While the decision appears, on its face, limited to a narrow issue, it may in fact have far-reaching significance. In its reasoning, the Court held that the TCPA’s damages provision is “disproportional" to actual damages suffered. This would suggest that (as detailed below), when the disproportionate remedy is aggregated exponentially in the context of a class action lawsuit, the TCPA’s statutory damages provision violates the U.S. Constitution – a finding that should have significant ramifications for ongoing and future TCPA litigation. (Read More)

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Legal Storm Enveloping Trump “University” Highlights Potential Advertising Pitfalls

Among his many business ventures before seeking the republican nomination for President, Donald Trump created “Trump University,” a for-profit “school” that claimed its students would be empowered with the secrets of real estate success and “insider information.”  Among his many claims, Trump represented that he, or one of his “hand-picked professors,” would share this invaluable information with students that paid a fee for the course(s). Trump and his school have become the target of at least three lawsuits, including one filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, alleging that the school was nothing more than a get-rich-quick scheme for Trump and that the advertising used to attract students was false and misleading. (Read More)

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What Music Rights Holders Need to Know About the Impending NMPA / Spotify Settlement

Not much is known yet about the impending settlement between the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) and Spotify. Songwriters and other music rights holders will surely have questions regarding the potential impact of this settlement, including how it may affect the ongoing $150 class action suit against Spotify. The below FAQ sheet addresses these questions, and others, in an effort to clarify the potential ramifications of the purported NMPA / Spotify settlement. (Read More)

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Trader Joe’s Targeted in Class Action Suit

On Tuesday, December 2, a California federal court struck down a consumer group’s 2013 claim that Trader Joe’s had misled shoppers into thinking “soy milk” was “cow’s milk.”  Judge Vince Chhabria held that Trader Joe’s had not violated the FDA’s food advertising/misbranding rules, because no reasonable person would confuse soy milk with cow’s milk. Judge Chhabria, however, allowed the group to proceed with potential class allegations that the grocery store deceptively used the term “evaporated cane juice” in place of sugar on the ingredient list of its store branded yogurt, and failed to disclose use of certain additives in its products. (Read more)

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SoCalGas Sued in Class Action over Porter Ranch Gas Leak

The lawsuits relating to a leaking injection well at the Alison Canyon natural gas storage reservoir near the community of Porter Ranch have begun.  On December 2, 2015, the R. Rex Parris Law Firm filed a purported class action complaint in the California Superior Court, County of Los Angeles, against Southern California Gas Company, its parent company Sempra Energy, and the State Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources alleging, among other things, causes of action for negligence, trespass, private nuisance, public nuisance and inverse condemnation. (Read more)

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Another DraftKings Class Action: A Primer on California False Advertising Claims

This month, one of the leading daily fantasy sports websites, DraftKings got hit with another lawsuit, this time a class action filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Coleman v. DraftKings, Case No. BC600787. Given DraftKing’s (and its main competitor FanDuel’s) highly publicized meteoric success, seemingly near constant commercials during sporting events, not to mention the New York State Attorney General’s recent “cease and desist” actions, it’s not surprising that the plaintiff’s bar has both companies squarely in their cross-hairs. (Read more)

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Rash of ADA Website Accessibility Class Actions Put Businesses on Notice

As a business owner or manager, it is likely that you’ve never considered whether or not your website was compliant for the blind or visually impaired. However, earlier this year a number of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) class action lawsuits were filed by Carlson Lynch, a plaintiffs’ firm that also filed hundreds of ATM class actions in 2013. In the past two years, lawsuits and demand letters regarding businesses denying access to the visually impaired public have been on the rise. It is likely that we’ll continue to see suits filed against retailers, banks, libraries, colleges and any other organization that provide places of public accommodation for their websites. (Read more)