Nice While It Lasted: Republicans Take First Step Toward Rolling Back Weeks-Old CFPB Arbitration Rule
A little more than two weeks after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a consumer-friendly rule banning banks and credit card companies from weaponizing arbitration agreements to avoid class action litigation, Congressional republicans have taken the first steps toward dismantling the decision. According to an Associated Press report published by ABC News, the House of Representatives on July 25 voted on a measure to nullify the rule by a party line-split 231-190 vote, well before the rule was supposed to go into effect in 2018. The rule will be dead and buried should a simple majority vote in the Senate go against the CFPB’s decision, which GOP lawmakers have described as dangerous for consumers and “a gift for trial attorneys.”
The storyline hovering around the House’s vote was a predictable one, with Democrats fighting to let the rule proceed while Republicans claimed the CFPB, a “rogue agency,” one rep. said, was trying to remove consumers’ right to decide if they would prefer to arbitrate disputes instead of going down the class action trail.
Associated Press writer Kevin Kreking and Legal Newsline editor John O’Brien have full coverage of the vote.
Organizers of Pokémon Go Fest Set to Battle Class Action Lawsuit
Those who attended July 22’s Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago’s Grant Park reportedly encountered connectivity problems and unending lines, and also found the game to be downright unplayable. Now, according to reports from the Chicago Sun-Times and Polygon, a few gamers have filed a proposed class action alleging Pokémon Go’s creator, Niantic, violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act by misleading attendees who did not receive the experience that was promised.
The lawsuit, which “20 or 30” players have already joined, one attorney said, alleges Niantic should have anticipated experiencing overloaded cell towers and problems with Internet connectivity at the festival. Niantic’s CEO, John Hanke, went so far as to apologize to festival-goers who showed up to the one-year anniversary celebration, saying the company was working in unison with AT&T, Sprint and Verizon to fix the log-in troubles.
The Chicago Sun-Times’ Matthew Hendrickson and Polygon’s Allegra Frank have the latest details.
Victoria’s Secret to Pay $12 Million Settlement in Suit Over On-Call Shift Work
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported recently that Victoria’s Secret will shell out $12 million to end a 2014 class action alleging the women’s clothing and lingerie retailer owes unpaid wages as a result of its on-call shift scheduling practice. According to SHRM, the deal covers roughly 36,000 California workers who, per Victoria’s Secret policy, were allowed to call in, rather than physically show up, to see if they were scheduled to work. The plaintiffs claimed this policy led to employees reserving work time from their lives even when they were not needed at stores when shifts were canceled.
“I’d lose my whole day waiting to see if I was working or not,” one employee put it. “It was a little stressful because I didn’t know that day if I was coming in.”
Class members claimed they should’ve been paid by the company because they fulfilled the “report for work” requirement under California labor law.
Learn more about the settlement with June Bell’s in-depth write-up over at SHRM.org.
Latest Class Action Against Uber Takes Issue with Lack of Wheelchair-Accessible Rides
Tech Crunch, citing a Reuters report published by the New York Times, writes the Brooklyn Center for Independence for the Disabled and other disability rights advocates have dropped another class action on top of Uber’s unending litigation pile. This latest case joins a few previous lawsuits filed nationwide alleging Uber has violated human rights laws by failing to provide enough wheelchair-accessible vehicles for New York City residents.
While Uber reportedly does offer some accessibility services, this latest lawsuit, which also includes Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York and the Taxis for All Campaign as plaintiffs, argues having only roughly 200 vehicles out of more than 58,000 available to wheelchair-bound riders in New York City simply isn’t enough.
“Riders either face very long wait times or can’t get rides at all. The human rights law reflects the City Council’s commitment to accessibility. Uber is flagrantly violating that law,” one Disability Rights Advocates attorney said, referencing New York City’s promise to make half of its yellow taxis wheelchair accessible by 2020.
Tech Crunch writer Megan Rose Dickey has the details of every wheelchair accessibility case against Uber over at the publication’s website.
Consumers’ Class Action Over Online Music Prices Will Not Proceed, Manhattan Judge Rules
A lawsuit filed back in 2006 against Sony Corp., Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and others over allegations that the companies colluded to inflate prices for music sold online and on CDs will not be allowed to go forward as a class action. U.S. News & World Report, citing Reuters, writes U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska issued an 89-page decision stating individual questions would “quickly overwhelm” ostensibly common issues for millions of proposed class members. Notably, Judge Preska backed her opinion by saying it’s likely true that a substantial number of proposed class members may have downloaded music illegally.
“As [the defendants] have stated succinctly during this litigation, ‘a plaintiff may not complain that one hand is being overcharged while the other hand is robbing the store,’” Judge Preska said.
Reuters legal reporter Jonathan Stempel has complete coverage of the ruling.
Suit Against General Mills Over Nature Valley “Natural” Ingredients Dismissed
A proposed class action case filed last summer against General Mills over its use of the word “natural” on packages of Nature Valley granola bars has been dismissed. According to the Star Tribune, U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis, out of Minnesota, ruled the plaintiffs’ allegations about General Mills’ use of the word “natural” to describe the oats in its granola bars were “simply not plausible,” and that their case held Nature Valley bars to stronger standards than the government places on organic products.
Learn more with writer Kristen Leigh Painter’s piece for the Star Tribune.
National Vision, Arlington Contact Lens Agree to Settle Antitrust Class Action
MediaPost reported late last week that National Vision and Arlington Contact Lens will settle a class action filed over claims the companies and other retailers violated antitrust laws by conspiring to restrict keywords the companies purchased for search engine ads. The companies reportedly engaged in anticompetitive behavior in response to threats posed by 1-800 Contacts, which has its own legal problems brought by consumers and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over similar allegations.
Aside from an unspecified monetary element and “specified cooperation,” the exact terms of the settlement have not been made public.
Catch up on this case with Wendy Davis’ piece on MediaPost.com.