Archive for class action lawsuit

Class Action Status Granted for Lawsuit Against Major Real Estate Groups

On March 29, 2023, a federal judge granted class-action status to a group of past home sellers accusing the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and several brokerages of conspiracy to inflate their commission rates.

Brokerages Keller Williams, Anywhere, and RE/MAX, as well as the NAR, are accused of running a system that pressures sellers to offer high commissions to buyers’ brokers.

The plaintiffs seek more than $13 billion in damages, a number that may grow as separate classes of current and future home sellers are added to additional class action suits.

Sellers who paid a commission between March 2015 and December 2020 in a handful of states across the nation are eligible for participation in the lawsuit. Participating states include North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Utah, and others.

In her ruling, the judge indicated that each class could reach thousands of participants. As of the date of the ruling, it was unclear when the trial stage might begin. The judge’s order does not indicate approval of the allegations from the plaintiffs, which lawyers will contest at a later date.

A class-action lawsuit can enable plaintiffs to reach their day in court in a more cost-effective manner than filing dozens or even thousands of individual cases. An individual may not have the resources to conduct a personal lawsuit but may join a class-action lawsuit more easily.

NAR released a statement after the ruling indicating they had complete confidence in their current practices and noted that their methods save time and money during the sales process.

A spokesperson for NAR suggested their processes help increase the number of buyers available when a seller makes their house available on a multiple listing service (MLS). More buyers mean greater competition and higher sales prices. When pressed for comment by a reporter for Reuters, other participants in the lawsuit declined to comment.

This class-action lawsuit isn’t the only legal challenge currently faced by NAR and the brokerages. In late 2022, a judge denied multiple motions from the brokerages and NAR for a summary judgment on a separate yet related case.

Plaintiffs in that lawsuit claim that sharing commissions between listing brokers and buyer brokers is a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. A trial for that case was initially slated for March, but one of the defendants, brokerage Anywhere, requested a postponement, which pushed the trial to October.

“Liver King” Fitness Influencer Faces Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit

Influencers have a very large following in the current environment, and not all of them are exactly what they seem. That includes Brian Johnson, one of the biggest fitness influencers in the world, who typically goes by the name “Liver King.” Now, he is facing a significant class action lawsuit alleging that he used deceptive marketing to sell his products.

The complaint, which was filed in New York, names Brian Johnson and his companies as defendants. The lawsuit accuses him of deceiving his customers. The lawsuit claims that, in his social media marketing strategy, he claimed that he got buff by consuming raw offal. The lawsuit claims that, in actuality, he got buff because of his rampant steroid habit. Johnson himself recently disclosed that he used steroids to build his physique.

Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that the habits Johnson was pushing are incredibly unsafe. In numerous videos, the lawsuit claims that he consumed a variety of raw testicles and organ meats in an effort to build his physique. Many people who followed his alleged habit developed a variety of food-borne illnesses. Consuming uncooked meat can be dangerous because it could expose you to toxins hiding in the food that are otherwise destroyed when you cook them.

Previously, the fitness influencer had denied consuming steroids but recently admitted that he was spending approximately $11,000 per month on steroids, which allowed him to keep the physique that he shows off in a lot of his videos. Even though the lawsuit is still in its very early stages, the prosecuting attorneys have indicated that they have gotten a significant amount of interest from other people who may have been harmed by watching his videos.

This lawsuit shines a light on just how dangerous social media can be. It is important for everyone to view influencers with a healthy amount of skepticism, as they are not always what they seem. Regardless, it is likely that the lawsuit will grow and widen and scope as more people learn of the dangerous habits that were being pushed by this fitness influencer. It will also be interesting to see if he faces any criminal charges in addition to the civil lawsuit he is already facing.

Denmark Drinking Water Woes Not Over – Chemicals in Water Draw Second Lawsuit

It isn’t enough that Denmark, South Carolina residents are forced to drink substandard water due to unapproved chemicals in their drinking water. They are also billed at excessive rates with some citizens paying more for their water bills than their mortgages. To add insult to injury, the town will only accept cash payments for the water.

Herrell Law Firm is handling the suit filed on behalf of Denmark two citizens concerned about the quality of their drinking water. The suit alleges that the town of Denmark has injected HaloSan, a chemical rarely used in drinking water, for more than ten years without the knowledge of most area residents.

Since HaloSan has never been approved by the EPA there are important questions that remain to be answered concerning the health of local residents. So much so, that Clemson University regulators ordered Denmark to discontinue its use of the chemical in the summer of 2018.

The suit also alleges that the community’s water supply is contaminated with copper and lead and that Denmark is “unlawfully collecting excessive amounts for poisonous water that is often never used.”

However, town and state officials have test results showing the city’s water to be compliant with safe lead and copper limits for drinking water. The city goes on to state that while the EPA did not approve HaloSan for drinking water, it has been deemed safe by a national certifying agency.

In a community meeting, drawing approximately 75 attendees, taking place on Voorhees College campus, attorneys from the Harrell firm, handling the second lawsuit against Denmark and the Sellers-Wilson Group (the firm who filed a lawsuit against Denmark one week prior) laid out their cases against the city and encouraged concerned citizens to join in with legal actions of their own.

In fact, the two firms are seeking class action status which would allow them to seek reimbursements of the fees area residents paid for water that was not suitable.

Sellers, who filed the initial claim, went on to say that the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control should be liable in this instance because they told the city it was acceptable to use HaloSan in the water.

His words to the audience in attendance were simple, informing the audience that he believes they are entitled to have the funds they’ve paid the city of Denmark for water over the past ten years returned to them.


Mark Zuckerberg’s In A Lawsuit Over Facial Recognition Tags

Facebook faces a lawsuit in regard to their facial recognition “suggested tags” feature with the state of Illinois. When a Facebook user uploads a group photo, Facebook tries to guess the names of the people in the photo and will provide a name suggestion as you hover your cursor over faces. The lawsuit alleges that Facebook violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act for this facial recognition feature. The Biometric Information Privacy Act protects personal information like fingerprints, retinal scans, and facial recognition data.

Facebook is able to recognize faces by referring to a user’s archive, so it tends to identify friends who you’ve been in several pictures with before. (People you tagged so many times that Facebook can guess from a few standard features which friend it is.) If you have a photo with new friends who you’ve never previously tagged, Facebook cannot make a suggestion or they’ll make incorrect suggestions. The Illinois users who sued Facebook claim Facebook needs to obtain written consent from users before creating templates of their faces from photos. Facebook maintains that there’s no violation of privacy and that users have to be “aggrieved” or suffering a serious injury or harm as a result.

Why Illinois users only? Isn’t this a feature across the nation? Because it’s Illinois user, Nimesh Patel, who pursued the lawsuit and focused on Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. Patel thinks that Facebook collects intricate details of facial features that could be used against us if they got into the wrong hands. Knowing facial details could be recreated for crimes or framing or all sorts of wrongdoing. The problem in Patel’s case is that he’s posing what-if consequences and despite their merit, may not be enough to show potential harm.

The lawsuit notifications go to Facebook users who lived in Illinois for at least 60 consecutive days from June 2011 to April 2018. Illinois users who receive lawsuit information can press charges or not. But if this Illinois case ends up nabbing Facebook, then other states and ultimately other countries could also take Facebook to court, resulting in Facebook losing billions of dollars. The class action case goes to court in July and Facebook continues fighting it vigorously.

Sea World Shareholders See Justice AS Judge Grants Class-Action Status

The shareholders of Sea World have something to smile about after a District Judge in the United States Issued a class action status against the company for misleading them about the “Blackfish Documentary” impact. Issuing the order in Southern District of California, Judge Michael Anello raised hopes for investors who had filed the lawsuit in 2014.

The Lawsuit
In 2014, the investors moved to court suing the executive directors of Sea World for ignoring, misleading and denying the backlash the documentary has caused. The film featured killer whales held in captivity and a trainer’s death.

The Evidence Presented
In court, internal emails showed that sea world executives knew about the damage the film was having on the business. They not only chose to ignore it but also failed to inform the investors about it thus misleading them into believing everything was cakes and ale. In reality, the business was hurting between late 2013 and early 2014. Several months later, the company admitted their knowledge in the devastating effect the “Blackfish” film was causing.

In the aftermath of the lawsuit, the company acknowledged that it was under investigations following the comments made by its executives. The United States Department of justice together with the commission of security and exchange made swift moves on the company.

The Verdict 
In the verdict, judge Anello ruled that only those who owned shares at Sea World Company between August 29, 2013, and August 12, 2014, were to be enjoined in the case. The verdict also ordered that the owners must not have sold their shared before 13th August 2014. The order excluded former Sea World executive directors, current directors and their close family members.

Sea World’s Response
In response to the order issued, the company stayed away from the case saying that it was focusing on its mission of protecting wildlife. The company maintained that it would not comment on the pending litigation but continues to inspire people to conserve ocean life.

True to their mission, the company ended breeding of whales used in theatre at its parks to promote the natural behavior of the sea creature last year. Currently, the company is acquiring new rides and embracing new ways of attracting people to their several parks. The company’s president remained optimistic that it will be a new term full of financial growth and development.

Yelp Facing Class Action Suit Over Recording Customer Calls without Notification

Yelp, a website that matches customers to local businesses, faces a class action suit in Los Angeles. This case, number BC652472 filed in the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles, has wide implications for customer service practices in nearly all industries that have representatives answering phone calls that are recorded. These phone calls are usually tethered to disclaimers that calls are recorded “for Quality Assurance purposes.” Yelp, apparently, left that part out of its interactions with one caller.

Plaintiff David Schram of Los Angeles, filed a punitive class action suit on March 2, 2017. The suit alleges that Yelp Inc. did not follow California Penal Code 632. Schram, an attorney, stated that Yelp recorded his calls with their financial department without permission, thereby breaking the law. Schram went through an automated system that failed to advise him he was being recorded and neither customer service representative he spoke with told Schram the current conversation was being recorded. Only after these calls took place did a customer service agent inform Schram that all sales and customer service calls were recorded.

California Penal Code 632 states that entities that “intentionally and without the consent of all parties to a confidential communication, by means of any electronic amplifying or recording device, eavesdrops upon or records the confidential communication…shall be punished” by a fine up to $2,500 and up to one year in prison.

In the suit, lead plaintiff Schram states that Yelp had a pattern of recording calls without informing the callers beforehand. The number of class members will depend on other Yelp callers stepping forward to join the allegations in the lawsuit. Schram thought it could be many thousands. The suit calls for punitive and statutory damages. This could be as much as $5,000 for every violation and a fine of $2,500 for every violation. If Yelp is convicted of any of the charges, the fine per violation could go as high as $10,000, according to the Penal Code 632.

Total damages in the case, if successful, would depend on how many prior Yelp callers learn of the lawsuit and become class members.

The Flint Water Crisis – Parents Fight for their Children’s Education with Class-Action Lawsuit

The water in Flint, Michigan, has been extremely unsafe to consume since the city switched its water supply in 2014 from their Detroit source to the Flint River. Months after the switch, local residents were complaining about the color and quality of the water, fearing it was unsafe to drink.

It was determined through testing that the water supply in Flint was contaminated with dangerous levels of lead. Professionals claimed that the reason for the lead contamination was due to the lack of corrosion controls of the city’s water supply.

In January 2016, President Barack Obama issued a federal state of emergency in Flint due to the water crisis. However, despite the efforts of the city’s government to fix the water contamination issue, the community feels that the situation is being handled extremely poorly in schools.

On October 18th, 2016, fifteen families filed a class-action lawsuit against the Flint School District and the state of Michigan to seek help for their children at school. In the Flint School District alone, over 30,000 children have been exposed to lead and over 4% of children have dangerous levels of lead in their blood.

flint-parents-stories-lead-exposureLead exposure in children can lead to irreversible brain damage, including learning disabilities and behavioral problems. The parents behind the law suit claim that the school is lacking resources to deal with children with special needs, and fear that the dangerous exposure to lead over the past few years has increased the number of children in need of special education.

Local parents share frightening stories about their children being suspended up to 50 times from school due to their behavior, which they believe is due to developmental issues. When parents requested screening for their children to determine if special education was needed, nothing was done. In fact, some parents claimed that their children were physical restrained by staff and punished rather than evaluated for help.

The lawsuit seeks that the Flint School District implement regular and frequent testing for learning disabilities in children, and increase their programs and resources for special needs education. The parents of Flint, Michigan, want their children to have a fair chance at a quality education and feel it’s the state’s responsibility to take care of this issue, that more than likely was caused by extreme negligence to the ill water supply that the city has suffered from for years.


$100 Million in Fines Sought From Exxon by Conservation Group Lawsuit

With so much recent attention on global warming, pollution in the water supply, and other environmental threats in the United States, conservationists and environmental groups are taking a bigger stand against major energy giants. One of the more recent actions taken is by the Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), which is pressing for $100 million or more in civil penalties against ExxonMobil by using the guidelines set forth by the federal Clean Water Act. On September 29th, the group filed a massive lawsuit in district court, claiming Exxon is responsible for decades of contaminating pollution of Mystic River. The lawsuit filed also claims ExxonMobil blatantly disregarded the predicted threats of climate change, even though some of their own scientists researched enough to connect the dots between carbon dioxide emissions, fossil fuels, and climate change.

The lawsuit points out one of Exxon’s own terminals in an area prone to sea-level rise.

Even one of ExxonMobil’s own terminals, Everett Terminal in Massachusetts, is located in an area where storm surge and rising sea level due to climate change is a major threat, according to some of the claims in the lawsuit documentation. This specific terminal is responsible for the storage and transportation of diesel, gasoline, and even oil. If the terminal is damaged by rising sea water, and even bigger pollution issue could come into play with the Mystic River and its conjoining tributaries. CLF has claimed flood maps show this terminal could be at risk with even moderate rainfall amounts. Yet, Exxon has refused to relocate or re-engineer the facility to protect against such an impending threat.

Exxon is rebutting the claims in the lawsuit through media statements.

exxon-argument-quoteExxon is claiming they will fight these claims in the lawsuit and the company spokesperson, Todd Spitler even goes as far as saying the suit is merely an attempt to draw attention to a political agenda. Their primary argument comes along with a rebuttal based on the premise that the lawsuit suggests Exxon had knowledge about climate science at an advanced level even when this research was only in its infant stages. Exxon is also suggesting discredibility of the lawsuit because of the fact that Exxon has a prior history of working with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Department of Energy in support of research into the matter.

iPhone 6 Touchscreen Problem Sparks Lawsuit

The iPhone has had different problems in every generation, but the iPhone 6 seems to have had more than its fair share of that criticism due to its battery, charging site and overall functionality. Now, owners are suing the company because they say that the design of the iPhone has a defect that causes them to become unusable.

Plaintiffs Claim Apple Was Aware

The class-action lawsuit was brought upon by people from across the US (California, Delaware and Pennsylvania), and alleges that Apple did know about the problem, but decided to do nothing about it. The progression of the issue is such that users will get a grey bar at the top of their screen, and then shortly after the screen will cease to respond to touch. The iPhone 5 had a type of shield on the screen that was meant to protect this from happening to people, but plaintiffs state Apple chose not to include this on their latest versions.

Consumer Protection Laws

Those who filed the lawsuit state the phones cannot do what they were designed to do, based on the fact that the touchscreen is the heart and soul of the operation. It also poses safety issues should a screen malfunction in the middle of an emergency. They did not state exactly what they wanted in damages, but they are claiming that Apple committed fraud and filing under the California consumer protection laws. So far Apple has not responded on record. iFixit, a company that sells repair parts for Apple iPhones and laptops, has already run an article on this problem. This company has analyzed Apple products from an objective light in the past, noting what they do well and how they can improve. They’ve nicknamed this problem with the iPhone 6 Touch Disease.

A Formidable Opponent

Apple is known for being extremely tight with the amount of money they give out, but it’s unclear if this lawsuit will be worth it to them to fight. The company has already made $108.5 billion dollars just this year alone. It seems unlikely that they will admit they made a mistake based on their continued sales of this iPhone, if only do discourage people from bringing about similar lawsuits.


Class Action Suit Filed Due to Numerous Refrigerator Fires

Numerous owners of the gas absorption refrigerators filed a class action suit on June 24, 2016. These individuals filed class-action claims against Dometic Corporation, the company responsible for manufacturing these refrigerators. In the class-action claims, the owners stated that the refrigerators leak flammable gas. Allegedly, this leaked flammable gas has been the cause of many fires.

refigerator-firesIn the class action suit, the owners allege that the Dometic Corporation knew about the defective gas absorption refrigerators. These refrigerators are usually found on RVs and boats and they have caused more than 3,000 fires in the past two decades. Since 1997, these defective gas absorption refrigerators have allegedly caused $100 million in personal injuries and property damage. Despite the lengthy history of these defective refrigerators, the Dometic Corporation failed to address the issue and warn consumers about the risks.

However, it is important to note that not all named plaintiffs for the class action suit have actually experienced a fire due to the defective refrigerators. Some of the named plaintiffs claim that they suffered economic damages due to the Dometic Corporation’s failure to address the issue or provide adequate warning. The plaintiffs claim they paid far more for the boats and RVs than they would have if they knew about the defective refrigerators.

Zimmerman Reed, a law firm, claims that the plaintiffs should not be required to wait until they have experienced a refrigerator fire to seek compensation for the issue. According to the law firm, forgoing preventative action could cost the plaintiffs heavily. This is especially true if the plaintiffs were to experience a refrigerator fire in the future.

This is not the first time the Dometic Corporation has had issues with their manufacturer products. In 2006, the Dometic Corporation recalled refrigerators to replace the cooling units. The Dometic Corporation did so once more in 2008. However, the plaintiffs argue that this is irrelevant because the two recalls did nothing to address the defects of their refrigerators. According to the class action suit, the refrigerators have defective cooling unit boiler tubes, which can corrode and leak flammable gas.

Zimmerman Reed learned about the defective refrigerators of the Dometic Corporation during a three-year class action suit against Norcold, a competitor of the Dometic Corporation. This class action suit settled for $36 million early this year.