Archive for lawsuit settlement payment

Dairy Lawsuit Settled with $50 Million Payout

Farmer-paymerntAccording to the Burlington Free Press, on August 5th, Dairy Farmers of America agreed to pay a sum of $50 million to about 9,000 Northeastern dairy farmers. The farmers filed a lawsuit against Dairy Marketing Services, accusing the marketing cooperative of working with Dean Foods to drive down the price of milk and monopolize the raw milk market. Each farmer would receive a payment of about $4,000. Some Northeastern dairy farmers are opposed to the deal. A judge, who had rejected a previous settlement proposed in March, still needs to approve the settlement.

In 2011, Dean Foods, a Dallas-based dairy processor, agreed to a $30 million lawsuit settlement payment. The money was paid to farmers in numerous states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

The previous settlement was rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss on the grounds that some farmers opposed the deal. Based on the reasoning for the rejection of the previous deal, it is deemed likely by many that this settlement will be rejected as well.

The farmers opposing the deal argue that the $4,000 per farmer was insufficient financial compensation for the damages suffered. They also deemed the money not worth the possible retaliation they may face from both Dean Foods and Dairy Farmers of America. The farmers argued that the proposal’s injunctive relief left room to allow the two companies to continue trying to create a raw milk monopoly. For the farmers to agree to the deal, there would need to be a significant change in the way the defendants do business.

DFA-denies-wrongdoingIn the first lawsuit settlement proposal, the farmers’ attorneys requested $16.6 million plus expenses. The settlement payment amount remained $16.6 million plus expenses after negotiation. However, both sides agreed to address some of the concerns of the farmers by amending the settlement.

Kit Pierson, an attorney for the plaintiffs, stated that he believed the new settlement was in the best interest of the farmers. However, many farmers, including dairy farmer Jonathan Haar, continue to oppose the deal on the grounds that the primary beneficiaries were counsel.

When requested to comment, Dairy Farmers of America did not respond immediately. In a later statement, DFA denied any wrongdoing under the previous settlement’s terms. They argued that the cost to defend against the lawsuit had become too great, which is why they agreed to the second settlement.


Student’s Rape Lawsuit Settled by University of Oregon

In March 2014, a female student attending the University of Oregon accused three players on the university’s basketball team of rape. Due to the university’s transfer policies, the female student filed a lawsuit against the University of Oregon. On August 6th, 2015, the University of Oregon settled the lawsuit.

During a police investigation following the accusations of rape at an off-campus party, Dominic Artis, Brandon Austin, and Damyean Dotson were suspended. Two months later, the students were removed from the basketball team and suspended from the University of Oregon. However, according to the female student’s attorney, the three students were not criminally charged due to a lack of evidence. Coach Dana Altman was named as a co-defendant on the suit, but his name was later removed from the lawsuit.

The suit against the University of Oregon stated that Coach Altman and other staff recruited Brandon Austin, despite their knowledge that he had been suspended from Rhode Island’s Providence College due to accusations of sexual misconduct.

According to The Register Guard, a spokeswoman for the attorney of the plaintiff stated that the female student settled for lawsuit settlement payment of $800,000, paid tuition for all four years at the university, and a pledge from the University of Oregon to change the way in which the school evaluates transfer students. Attorneys representing “Jane Doe,” the female student, declined to comment further on the settled lawsuit.

When asked to make a statement on the settlement reached on August 6th, University of Oregon President Michael Schill noted that the rape allegations led to the prevalence of mistrust on the campus as well as a division of community. He expressed his hopes that the approval of the settlement would ease the tensions on campus, help students feel more secure against the possibility of experiencing sexual violence, and begin the healing process for all those involved in the case. Schill’s hopes appear to be somewhat realized, as the female student commented that she was pleased to have the case behind her so that she can focus on her education.

Officials representing the University of Oregon stated that the settlement in no way indicates that the university admits to wrongdoing. However, the university is currently hiring new staff and creating new policies and programs to prevent on-campus sexual assault and harassment, according to Schill.


Moore Christian Church Settles Sexual Misconduct Case

Lawsuit settlement cases are no longer news in these litigious times of crowded court dockets and rising legal fees. As such, news about the latest lawsuit settlement payment rarely raises an eyebrow among a desensitized public used to such reporting, but a recent $260,000 settlement in Norman, Oklahoma’s Cleveland County District Court provides the victim of a local sexual abuse case closure in the aftermath of an egregious sexual misconduct case.

The allegations and resultant criminal probe witnessed the closing of Moore Christian School in light of the accusations first leveled in February 2012 against school science teacher, Gregory Alan Saul Sr.

moore-quotePattern of Misconduct

According to court records, the complaints of the unidentified victim triggered the arrest of the former Moore Church teacher after she went to her guardian to report the abuse that reportedly continued from August 2011 to January 2012. The girl’s guardian sued Eastern Avenue Missionary Baptist Church, which operated Moore Christian School, along with all of the governing members of the church and the school’s superintendent in 2012.

A subsequent 2014 decision tossed the guardian’s legal case, but a later Appellate Court ruling overturned that legal opinion on appeal this past January.

The suit alleges that the school and church leaders were negligent in their hiring, retention, and supervision of Saul, 64, who purportedly groomed the then 13-year old girl for sex over a lengthy period of time during school hours, and after class on at least five occasions when he met the girl off campus. Charging documents note that Saul had given the young teenager a promise ring before asking her to marry him and move to Mexico.

Terms of Settlements

In an effort to avoid further litigation, Eastern Avenue Missionary Baptist Church’s insurer, Church Mutual Insurance Company, opted to settle out of court for $260,000 on condition that the payment not to be construed as an admission of guilt in the matter. The judge approved the monetary agreement on June 9, 2015.

The $260,000 award is to be split as follows:

  • $113,048—structured arrangement to benefit the victim
  • $29,461.82—to cover the expenses of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority
  • $117,489—legal fees and litigation costs

In a related development, Saul fled Oklahoma jurisdiction following a no-show to a status conference in January 2014. He was captured by Texan officials and had been fighting extradition back to the Sooner State. That fight ended July 1, 2015 when the San Antonio, Texas Court of Appeals who ruled on that day that Saul should be sent back to face justice in Oklahoma.


Settlement Agreed Upon in Lawsuit Against Lakewood Police Department

Brian Wurts, a former Lakewood officer and police union president has settled in a federal lawsuit following allegations that he was fired because of his involvement in the union, for being outspoken against officials, and for his sexual orientation.

The department never gave an official public reason for his termination, stating instead that it was “a personnel department-fired-himmatter”. The department’s attorney claims that he lost his job for failure to act. The department that fired him unofficially claimed that they did so because of the case against former officer Skeeter Manos, who was arrested for stealing memorial funds set aside for families of officers slain in 2009.

They claim that Wurts knew of Manos’ actions and did not take action against him. Manos makes no such claims.  Wurts claims he knew nothing of Manos’ actions and that the department was looking for a reason to dismiss him.

He was officially fired in December 2012, after an administrative leave during which he was investigated by his own department. The FBI investigated him and cleared him of this crime when they did their initial investigations against Manos, who pleaded guilty and received just under three years in prison.

Wrongful termination suits for sexual orientation are on the rise, and whether or not this was the Lakewood Police Department’s motivation, the case will set a precedent for future employers considering terminating an employee because of their sexual orientation or any other aspect of their personality that does not affect the job.

Brian Wurts has made waves in his department in several ways. While under investigation it was discovered that he had sex, while on duty, with a fellow officer. The department does not list this a the reason for dismissal. He has also sexual-orientationspoken up for Manos during his investigation in his role as union president. Whether it was his sexual orientation, behavior on the job, or outspoken role as union president, he made some enemies high up in the department. When the information all came to light in the lawsuit, it seemed better for some to settle.

The lawsuit settlement payment that Brian Wurts received was $150,000, he has not been available for comment after the settlement of his wrongful termination lawsuit. The city counter sued in this case, but their claims were dismissed as a part of the settlement.

$1.2 Million Lawsuit Settlement Payment in Seattle Archdiocese Case

A 63-year old woman received a $1.2 million settlement payment from the Archdiocese of Seattle as compensation for her suffering from years prior. The woman suffered sexual abuse, according to the case, at the hands of Father Michael Cody. She was a child at the time, in the late 1960’s, when she came into contact with the priest while he served at St. Charles Parish. The lawsuit settlement payment was, according to her attorney, a fair and reasonable amount of money due to the type and amount of abuse the accuser, Jeri Hubbard, suffered through.

Factors Leading to the Sexual Abuse Lawsuit and Settlement

according-to-lawsuitAccording to the lawsuit, the accuser, who agreed to be named, suffered abuse at the hands of Cody after a psychiatrist identified him as a pedophile. The lawsuit alleged that the church knew that he had already molested eight other children, all of which who were under the age of 18. The archbishop at the time sent Cody to receive treatment, but he was allowed to come back to the church, even though the parish knew he was still a danger to children. For Hubbard, the abuse began in 1967 and continued for the next five years.

Initially, the Archdiocese denied that the allegations were true, but on the day prior to the announcement of the lawsuit settlement payment, admitted liability for the abuse, which was acknowledged by the Superior Court Judge overseeing the case.

While the case for Hubbard may be over, there are still other victims who have come forward. Three additional sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed against the Seattle Archdiocese, all alleging molestation against Cody. Each of seattle-archidiocesthe previously resolved cases have been settled out of court. Interestingly, Hubbard could have settled her case earlier, but refused to do so until the Archdiocese admitted to moving a sexual predator into the community.

The Seattle Archdiocese has agreed to pay more than $12 million in another case in which 30 men were sexually abused as students. In total, since 2003, the Catholic Church has paid more than $3 billion to victims around the United States who were sexually abused by clergy members, reports

Misconduct Lawsuits Lead to Change in San Diego Police Department

A woman who was alleged to have been groped by an on-duty police officer has settled her lawsuit for $250,000 in an agreement reached with the San Diego City Council on Tuesday, April 28th, 2015.

The Officer, Donald Moncreif, allegedly groped her after she was arrested on suspicion of driving a stolen truck. She claimed that the officer made unwelcome sexual comments. He then allegedly exposed himself to her and touched her breasts. The incident occurred in February of 2013.

moncrief-left-police-departmentMoncrief left the Police Department after the incident. No statement has been released to determine whether he was fired or he resigned from duty. He is now 40 years old. The woman was not charged with anything and there was an investigation after the incident. Moncrief was unable to be contacted after the conclusion to the lawsuit.

A lawsuit was filed by her attorney Daniel Gilleon against the city as well as the officer on her behalf. The payment of $250,000 to the victim settles the lawsuit. A total of $1.3 million was also paid to two other women who claimed assault by another previous officer, Christopher Hays.

The lawsuit claimed that the department was not very good at policing their force. There was an alleged unofficial policy that allowed misconduct. This was possible by not informing other officers in the unit. Given the outcomes of these lawsuits, it appears as though the council is trying to get the police department under stricter control. There have been three allegations against 3 separate police officers that have been fought by San Diego criminal attorneys.

two-officers-present-when-female-arrestedSince these allegations and lawsuits, many changes have been made on the force. There is now an official policy to report all incidents of misconduct by other officers. It is now also required that two officers are present when a woman is arrested and taken to jail. Police officers must now wear body cameras as well.

A lot of these changes have come from the new Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. She was appointed in 2014. She has taken these incidents to heart and has publicly stated that she will not stand for officer misconduct. She also vowed to fire police officers who abuse civilians.

Councilman David Alvarez also spoke about the incidents: “We need to face this problem head-on and hold management accountable.”

Woman’s Estate awarded $3.5 Million in “Take-Home” Asbestos Case

The estate of a woman who died of mesothelioma was awarded $3.5 million by a King County jury on Tuesday, April 21st, 2015. The woman, Barbara Brandes, died of “take-home” asbestos contamination on April 19, 2015, two days before the verdict.  Her husband, Raymond exposed-to-asbestosBrandes, who died in January, worked at the ARCO Cherry Point refinery and was exposed to the asbestos at the Whatcom County refinery.

Raymond Brandes died of several illnesses including asbestosis. Their daughter, Ramona Brandes remembers how her mother would shake chunks of the dusty debris from the refinery from her father’s clothing each day after work.  Raymond Brandes ultimately passed away from a non malignant asbestos-caused condition.

Barbara Brandes died on April 19th after being diagnosed with mesothelioma just last summer. She passed away the day before her lawsuit against Brand Insulations reached closing arguments. The lawsuit settlement payment was awarded after the company was found to be liable of negligence.

Seattle attorney, Matthew Bergman, represented Barbara Brandes. The trial lasted two weeks and still has some time before it is wrapped up.  A review of the verdict and other issues surrounding the case, by the presiding King County Superior Court Judge, is scheduled for June 5th  .

The award is the largest of all lawsuits in Washington state history that deal with “take-home” asbestos contamination. Raymond Brandes is said to have been unaware of the exposure to his wife and eight largest-reward-in-washington-statechildren. He had no idea that the contamination and toxins on his clothing could lead to asbestos related diseases.
According to his daughter, when he took the job at the refinery, they put in four showers for more than 200 workers. Employees would have to wait over 2 hours after their shift to take a shower and the company did not provide a laundry service. Raymond was unaware of this and, as a result, skipped his shower to come straight home many times.

Barbara Brandes began feeling ill in February of 2014. She was diagnosed with the disease four months later and was estimated to have one year left to live. The lawsuit was filed by both Barbara and Raymond Brandes in August. The defendants included ARCO, Brand Insulations, and five other companies. The couple cited negligence, willful or wanton misconduct, product liability, and conspiracy in their claim. the only company who refused to settle was Brand Insulations.


School District Comes to Settlement with Teacher in Free Speech Case

A lawsuit filed brought by a fired Wayne County, Ohio teacher has been settled in his favor, thereby avoiding a potentially long, embarrassing, and more expensive trial.  The teacher, Keith Allison was fired after expressing his support for vegan substitutes for milk on his personal Facebook page.  The school’s superintendent and principal met with Allison and warned him that Wayne County had a large agrarian presence, including dairy farmers, so he needed to be careful about his posts.

pictures-included-in-post-no-permissionPictures he included in his post were of the livestock of a local farmer, used without permission. When posting about a vegan lifestyle and providing a sort of indictment about cruelty to animals continued to happen, Allison was eventually fired.

The school district indicated that the lawsuit settlement payment was agreed to in order to avoid a lengthy and more expensive court battle.  Ken Calderone, the district attorney said that a court case could have been much larger than the agreed upon $17,500 settlement.  This amount was agreed upon as the amount of lost income Allison missed out on, and the contribution to his retirement plan.  As part of the agreement, Allison was required to apologize to the farmer whose cattle he took pictures of and posted on Facebook.

Allison was supported in his lawsuit by the ACLU of Ohio and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who provided him with financial and legal assistance in bringing charges and ultimately pursuing the case for wrongful termination.  Calderone, speaking for the school district also said that the district had a policy regarding free speech outside of school, which this qualifies for since the post was made from home in the Summer. Allison will
use some of the settlement funds to give money to the ACLU and PETA, as agreed upon when they joined him in support.

school-district-policyAlthough not common, lawsuit settlement cases similar to this do occur from time-to-time regarding free speech rights and employers attempting to control that speech outside of the workplace.  In this case, the school district actually had a policy that indicated staff had free speech rights, as long as the speech was constitutional and didn’t cause an undue interruption at school.


Wrongfully Convicted – Why a Settlement Doesn’t Feel Like Enough

After going through a wrongful conviction lawsuit, Obie Anthony and his co-defendant, Reggie Cole, don’t think that the huge $8.3 million lawsuit settlement payment makes up for all the years they spent behind bars. A judge recently threw out Anthony’s murder conviction, but after spending 17 years in prison, Anthony doesn’t feel like the money makes up for the suffering he’s endured.

This lawsuit settlement payment settled a civil lawsuit that showed a murder investigation with many problems, such physical-evidence-connecting-to-murderas perjured testimony, withholding evidence, and ignoring leads pointing to other suspects.

The case goes back to 1994 when Felip Gonazales Angeles shot outside of a brothel in South Los Angeles. Both Anthony and Cole ended up convicted for this murder, even though no physical evidence connecting them to the murder was ever found. John Jones, the pimp running the brothel was the key eyewitness in the case. After being convicted of murder, both men were sent to prison without parole.

In 2000, Cole was charged with murder after stabbing another inmate to death. It was Cole’s claim that he acted in self-defense that brought light to his plight. Eventually, the California Innocence Project started looking into the case and found that Jones fabricated his testimony. Cole’s conviction was overturned in 2009, and two years later Anthony was released and was found innocent of the crime as well.

After both men were found innocent, they sued the city of Los Angeles and the detectives on the case for wrongful imprisonment. The suit alleged that detectives wrote reports mischaracterizing eyewitness accounts, suppressed evidence, and protected Jones, ignoring his illegal activities and failing to pursue alternative theories in the case.

While not all lawsuits result in a settlement payment, in this case, Los Angeles paid out $8.3 million to Obie Anthony. Both Marilyn Bednarski and David McLane represented Anthony in this case, and McLane commented that Anthony was paid such a huge settlement because of police wrongdoing and Anthony’s innocence. However, he-has-plans-for-the-moneywhile Anthony was awarded a settlement, the city has never admitted to any wrongdoing and argues that detectives properly conducted the investigation.

Although Anthony doesn’t feel like the money takes care of his suffering, he does have plans to move on. He plans to use his money to open a transition center for exonerated prisoners, giving them a place to go and people to rely on once they’re released from prison.


Amazon Files Lawsuit Over Fake Reviews

Amazon has recently filed a lawsuit against several different online companies that participate in the sale of forged reviews. Businesses who have poor reviews on their products can seek out services where anonymous writers will lawsuit-against-different-online-companies-forged-reviewsdeliver fake five-star reviews as a means of deceiving buyers into purchasing poorly rated products.

Amazon alleges that these sites are infringing on trademarks, as well as engaging in deception, and they are seeking a lawsuit settlement payment as compensation for the resulting damages. Many of the sites specifically offer Amazon reviews, with names such as and, which Amazon argues is in violation of their trademark.

The entire purpose of reviews is for consumers to gain honest feedback from other consumers about the safety, reliability, viability, and durability of a product. When companies engage in the posting of fake reviews, it not only encourages deceptive marketing but can also proliferate the usage and consumption of faulty or dangerous products.

One of Amazon’s key services is to provide an immense product selection and accurate reviews, and it provides a valuable resource for conscientious consumers. It is currently the largest and most used product search engine on the web. As such, the existence of fake reviews not only damages the customer experience, but it damages the
reputation of Amazon as well.

amazon-warehouse-largestLawsuits such as this are imperative to maintaining the reputability and trustworthiness of businesses, so consumers can continue to have confidence and assurance over the products they purchase. Amazon took a noble step in filing a lawsuit, which will hopefully serve as a warning to others hoping to profit off of the callous deception of consumers. Though, as James Tenser from VSN strategies stated, “Paid ads should be identified as such. Amazon’s legal action is welcome now, but Amazon has already profited greatly over the years from turning a blind eye to this odious practice.”

While Amazon may have ignored this problem for far too long, hopefully this lawsuit is indicative of a needed change in business practices, where honesty and integrity prevail over profits and deception. Unfortunately, forging reviews is a pervasive problem, and it will take a lot of work on behalf of Amazon and members of the reviewing community to hold all businesses accountable for these detrimental practices.