In this edition of the Class Action Roundup we have our first sign of closure in the Monsanto weed killer litigation, a lawsuit filed over E-ZPass fees, and more just below.
Monsanto Found Liable in Weed Killer Suit as Jury Awards Groundskeeper $289 Million
In what’s being consider a landmark ruling, Monsanto has been found liable in the first of thousands of Roundup lawsuits to go to trial. The court awarded Dewayne Johnson – a former Benicia School District (California) groundskeeper who was required to spray the product in bulk 30 times per year – $289.2 million after the jury determined that his exposure to Roundup was a major factor in causing his terminal cancer.
Now, the rest of those thousands of cases, which claim that the weed killer can cause cancer after extended usage, won’t have their own individual trials. The rest of the cases have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation – but many believe the verdict in this case will be a large factor in determining how the MDL turns out. But it may not be that simple.
Monsanto responded to the verdict by saying that while the company is sympathetic to the plaintiff, it stands behind its product and will appeal the case, promising that it will not settle future cases in light of last week’s verdict. We’ll have to wait and see how the appeal pans out before we know which way the litigation will go.
ABC News has the rest of the coverage.
New Jersey Turnpike Authority Faces Class Action Over E-ZPass Fees
Seemingly outrageous E-ZPass administrative fees have led to a proposed class action being filed against the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
As the lawsuit tells it, when the E-ZPass sensor fails to work on the NJ Turnpike or Garden State Parkway (usually due to a malfunction with the device itself) the user gets charged a fee. In one instance recorded in the complaint, the driver went through a few toll booths that are supposed to automatically identify each unique E-ZPass and charge 50 cents per booth. The device allegedly malfunctioned, but missing those tolls racked up $200 worth of fines, the suit says. The Turnpike Authority asserts that its fees are legitimate – but drivers claim that the state is simply lining its pockets.
For more on the lawsuit, CBS New York has the story.
NFL Concussion Litigation Payout Could Reach $1.4 Billion
We covered the approval of the NFL concussion settlement in a previous roundup, but the payouts from that deal have only increased since then. The previous total ($1 billion) has ballooned by another $400 million to keep up with the thousands of former players filing claims – and it doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. As of July 16, 499 claims have already been filed and approved, according to a court filing.
The NFL’s request to appoint an investigator the look into what it calls “extensive fraudulent claims” was denied by a federal court judge. The league’s request was turned down because the judge overseeing the settlement found that the claims administrator has been doing an effective job of sorting through fraudulent claims – and that if the administrator announces a need for a special investigator, the matter will be revisited.
The Journal has an article detailing the settlement, which resolved thousands of suits claiming the NFL hid what it knew about the health risks involved with repeated head trauma.
McDonald’s Forced to Give Away $15 Million After Rigged Giveaway
Earlier this year, after it was found out that an ex-cop reportedly rigged McDonald’s Monopoly game and won a cut of every prize for 12 years, the fast food giant gave away $10 million to random customers to make up for it. But the $10 million wasn’t quite enough, as the restaurant chain, despite having no role in the grift, was required to give out another $15 million ($1 million per random customer) to settle a proposed class action over the scandal.
The whole story of the scandal is rather interesting, though at the time it came to light it was overshadowed by more pressing news. Business Insider has solid coverage on the recent developments and the ins and outs of the scheme itself.
Sinclair, Tribune Face Antitrust Case Over TV Ad Prices
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune Media, and four others are facing claims that they collaborated to fix TV advertising prices. The proposed class action, filed on behalf of advertisers across the U.S., accuses the firms of violating federal antitrust laws by agreeing to keep the rates they charge for advertising airtime artificially high.
Antitrust cases like this focus on the problems that creep in when certain companies within the same given market refuse to compete, leaving their customers with little choice but to pay their high prices. This type of conduct is prominent in industries like broadcasting because, as mentioned in the lawsuit, the number of competitors is decreasing – leaving the giants of the industry to virtually monopolize their services.
The Washington Post has more on the lawsuit, here.
Target Will No Longer Sell WeePOD Toilet Training Products
Target has recently stopped selling two toilet training devices after they reportedly injured multiple boys’ genitals while they were potty training. The products in question, which ClassAction.org detailed in a previous roundup, are the WeePOD Basix and the WeePOD Toilet Trainer Squish manufactured by Prince Lionheart Inc. Target’s discontinuation is part of its agreement to settle its involvement in a class action suit. Prince Lionheart has yet to announce plans to settle the lawsuit.
The law firm that filed the case has the full story.