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Class Action Roundup – Post-Holiday Break Edition

Hershey’s Will Seek Dismissal of Kisses Class Action

A report published by Forbes says Hershey’s intends to seek dismissal of a proposed class action that claims the company shorts consumers on the number of Kisses contained in purported 12-ounce bags. The plaintiff says some bags of almond-filled Kisses contain less than 12 ounces of candy even though they’re sold at the same price as regular Kisses. Hersey’s has claimed on-record that the suit, filed in September in New York, has no merit.

Forbes Report Asks What’s the Deal with All These Food and Drink Class Actions?

Also from Forbes comes a Legal Newsline piece that delves into the possible reasons behind the drastic spike in class action lawsuits against food and beverage companies. Citing data put together by a law firm that represents defendants in these types of cases, the article puts a number on just how sharp the increase in food-related cases has been: 19 food and beverage class actions were filed in 2008, with that number skyrocketing to nearly 160 only seven years later. As of October 2016, the report continues, 114 food and drink lawsuits were on the books. So, what gives?

Though the rise in food and drink class action litigation could be related to heightened consumer interest and more pro-plaintiff protection laws, one attorney points to an April 2011 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing companies to include provisions in consumer contracts that bar class action litigation as a legal option. “All of those class actions—filed over hidden charges—are gone because those companies now have arbitration provisions,” the attorney said. “So the plaintiffs’ bar shifted over to the food area.”

Dig deeper into Jessica Karmasek’s investigation over at Forbes.

Judge to Approve Hyundai Sonata Engine Failure Settlement

A U.S. district judge will reportedly grant final approval to a proposed settlement that will end a class action filed in 2015 by a Hyundai Sonata owner who had to replace the engine in her 2011 model vehicle—at her own expense—after a Hyundai dealer allegedly refused to make repairs under her warranty. The plaintiff argued in her case that Hyundai knew (and failed to disclose to consumers) that when the connecting rod bearings in its Theta II 2.4L engines started to fail, metal debris would be dispersed throughout the engine. This alleged defect, the plaintiff continued, would usually manifest during and shortly after the vehicles’ limited warranty had expired, leaving car owners with the tab for repairs.

Reports indicate that Hyundai, as per the terms of the settlement, will cover the costs of repairs or replacements of consumers’ affected engines, as well as repay owners for rental car and towing charges. Additionally, Hyundai will be expanding the warranties on certain models so that some consumers can be covered up to 10 years, 120,000 miles.

WWE Wants Wrestlers’ Brain Injury Class Action Dismissed

Citing allegedly erroneous brain injury claims put forth by a November amended complaint, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has filed a motion to dismiss a class action claiming the company is to blame for “dozens” of wrestlers’ injuries, which were reportedly caused by repeated head trauma. Filed on December 23, the WWE in its motion claimed multiple plaintiffs currently work for the company and, therefore, should have their claims of traumatic brain injuries and long-term health risks thrown out. According to a report on pop culture site 411Mania, WWE argues that the company is not legally responsible for injuries sustained by former performers of WCW and ECW, which were both acquired by WWE in the early 1990s.

Ford Power Steering Litigation Will Not Proceed as a Class Action

A proposed 2014 class action claiming Ford knew about a problem with the electronic power assisted steering in certain Focus and Fusion vehicle models will not be certified by a judge, who ruled plaintiffs “can’t prove all owners experienced harm from the alleged defect.” According to the case, 2010-2014 Ford Fusion and 2012-2014 Focus model vehicles allegedly suffered from defects that caused the cars to suddenly lose power steering while in operation. The judge overseeing the litigation noted that some claims made by proposed class members were without merit because Ford had issued a recall to fix the powering steering issues.

Pennsylvania Woman Appeals Nationwide Shop Vac Settlement

A woman from Collegeville, Pennsylvania, is one of three people who have appealed a recently approved settlement that sought to end class action lawsuits against Shop Vac Corp over their allegedly underpowered wet-dry vacuums. According to the woman, who is one of 1,164,149 consumers who received notice of the in-principle settlement, the deal fails to adequately protect consumers, among other sticking points. Further, the woman noted in an August objection that the company merely extending consumers’ warranties just isn’t enough considering the scope of the reported issues with the vacuums.

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