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Class Action Roundup – March 10, 2017

Judge Certifies Class in Aurora, CO Immigration Center Detainees’ Forced Work Lawsuit

A judge has certified a large class of individuals in a class action that claims the plaintiffs and others were held at a 1,500-bed Aurora, Colorado immigration detention center and forced to work for as little as $1 per day or for no pay at all. The lawsuit, filed by nine plaintiffs in 2014 against private prison operating company GEO Group, which contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), alleges the Florida-based defendant violated federal anti-slavery laws and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. According to the case, not only were detainees forced to work, but those who refused were threatened with solitary confinement. Further, the lawsuit cites alleged violations by the defendant of Colorado’s minimum wage laws.

United States District Judge John Kane’s decision means that upward of 60,000 current and former Denver Contract Detention Facility detainees will be covered by the litigation, with attorneys for the plaintiffs expecting that “a significant portion of the class will fit that bill.”

The Denver Post writes that the judge’s certification could have “far-reaching implications,” especially considering President Trump’s stance on immigration, his administration’s attempts to abolish class action litigation and consumers’ rights, and the apparently surging stock prices of private prison companies during the Trump era.

To learn more, check out Kristine Phillips’ report for the Washington Post and Kirk Mitchell’s write up for the Denver Post.

Former Trump University Student’s Opt-Out Puts $25M Fraud Class Action Settlement in Jeopardy

From the New York Times comes a report that a $25 million settlement stemming from a class action lawsuit attacking President Trump’s allegedly fraudulent, for-profit Trump University may be up in the air. The Times writes that a former student is asking to opt out of the settlement, with the individual’s attorneys this week asking a federal judge to dump the settlement “unless former students are given an opportunity to be excluded from the deal so they can sue Mr. Trump individually.”

When it was reached back in November 2016, the settlement seemingly put to bed years’ worth of allegations that Trump University students were scammed out of tuition money via “high-pressure sales tactics and misleading claims about what they would learn.”

It is unclear how many Trump University constituents may opt out of the settlement, the Times said.

Author Steve Eder has more on these developments over at NYTimes.com.

Class Action Lawsuit: Charities Get Shorted with PayPal’s Donation Tools

A proposed class action lawsuit filed this week against PayPal claims that in instances where charitable accounts are not properly set up, the company unlawfully “continues to accept donations on their behalf.” A report by CNBC says that instead of alerting donors and the charities themselves to the problem, PayPal, after six months, will take the money and reroute it “to another charity ‘without regard to the intention, beliefs, or desires of the donor’.”

One plaintiff claims she donated $3,250 to 13 different charities in December 2016, yet only $100 was distributed properly, with the rest being held by PayPal.

Anita Balakrishnan has more on the lawsuit over at CNBC.com.

$1.2M Microsoft Payout Will End Class Action Over Receipts that Revealed Customer Payment Info

AppleInsider reports that Microsoft will pay $1.2 million to settle a 2015 class action lawsuit that claimed the company violated the Fair and Accurate Credit Reporting Act (FACTA) when it went overboard in printing customer payment information on receipts. Under the FACTA, companies are allowed to display the last five digits or expiration date of consumers’ credit or debit cards on transaction receipts. The lawsuit’s plaintiff alleged he was given a receipt that displayed 10 digits from credit card, specifically the first six and last four numbers.

Learn what Microsoft Store customers may be entitled to with the settlement with Malcom Owen’s piece on AppleInsider.com.

Ford Focus, Fusion Power Steering Class Action Tossed by Judge

A federal judge has ruled that a proposed class action against Ford over alleged power steering defects found in certain Fusion and Focus model vehicles will not proceed, although the door has been left open for plaintiffs to amend their complaint in the future. According to the lawsuit, 2010-2012 model Fusion and 2012-2014 model Focus vehicles suffered from alleged defects, including “misaligned ribbon cable pins, defects in the contact plating, defects in the sensors and defects in the hear assemblies,” that would cause the cars’ electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) to fail. After its filing, the lawsuit was amended by the plaintiffs to argue that the ESPA was defective due to “unreliable electro-mechanical relays.”

Writer David A. Wood has more on the lawsuit over at CarComplaints.com.

Settlement Reached in Kia Engine Failure Class Action Lawsuit

A tentative settlement has been reached in a proposed class action that alleged 2003 through 2006 model Kia Sorrento SUVs suffered from an alleged defect that could cause catastrophic engine failure. Consumer Affairs reports that owners of affected Kia Sorrento models could be eligible for up to $4,900 each in damages.

The lawsuit claimed the crankshaft bolt in certain Kia Sorrento engines could break, an alleged costly defect the manufacturer was said to have concealed from consumers.

Check out Consumer Affairs founder James R. Hoods roundup of the settlement at ConsumerAffairs.com.

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