Update – Complaint Amended, Case Transferred; Additional Suit Filed in Cal.
Nearly a week after an amended complaint was filed for the suit detailed on this page, the case,Taaffe v. Robinhood Markets, Inc. et al., has been transferred from Florida to California federal court.
The updated suit, foundhere, has been amended to include counts alleging negligent misrepresentation and gross negligence. The complaint has also been updated to mention the communications sent from Robinhood to users offering a $75 goodwill credit.
Robinhood, the amended case alleges, “created a series of circumstances which, together, constituted an imminent or clear and present danger” with regard to its platform, which the defendants knew was “not properly equipped to support an increase in customer engagement if the stock market were to exhibit a high volume trading day."
United States District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell’s order transferring the lawsuit can be found here.
On the same day the plaintiffs filed their amended complaint, a proposed class action filed March 6 in San Mateo County, California Superior Court was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. That case,Steinberg v. Robinhood Markets, Inc. et al., can be foundhere.
Update – April 1, 2020 – Judge Declines to Block Robinhood from Contacting Users
United States District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell hasdenied the plaintiff’s request for an emergency temporary restraining order that would have blocked Robinhood from communicating with potential class members.
Judge Edwards found that the plaintiff fell short in showing that Robinhood’s communications threatened “the proper functioning of the litigation.” Further, the judge ruled the plaintiff failed to establish “aclear recordof abusive communications” from Robinhood in that, for one, his motion leaned heavily on only his own declaration that the company’s communications were misleading and sent in an attempt to stamp out class claims.
Robinhood, in response to the plaintiff’s motion, assured that the company was “prepared to enter into a stipulation” stating they will enforce releases only in the context of individual lawsuits and arbitrations, i.e. “those outside the class action context.” Judge Edwards noted that given Robinhood’s response, it’s clear that a dispute exists regarding the purpose of the company’s communications with users.
The judge noted that in order to request the relief sought by the plaintiff, the individual must make an evidentiary showing. The plaintiff, however, did not request an evidentiary hearing, and instead “asks this Court to rush to an evidentiary determination and issue injunctive relief immediately based on an undeveloped record.”
Update – March 31, 2020 – Court Told Robinhood Trying to Escape Class Action Claims with $75 Credit
The plaintiff behind the lawsuit detailed on this page has filed anemergency motion for a temporary restraining orderand preliminary injunction over what he claims are “misleading communications” concerning a “goodwill credit” sent by Robinhood to users affected by early March’s platform outages.
In the motion, the plaintiff informed the court that he and his counsel have discovered Robinhood has undertaken efforts to “obtain a waiver of the claims brought in this case” by offering affected users a $75 “goodwill credit” in exchange for their signature on a “DocuSign” document. Unfortunately for potential class members, the motion says, the document provided by Robinhood includes “a complete waiver of rights” that is neither identified nor referred to in any way by the company. Similarly, Robinhood has made no mention to users of the claims outlined in the lawsuit described here, according to court documents.
“Defendants are attempting to mislead the putative class members into unknowingly waiving their rights to participate in the class action—whether they know it exists or not—in exchange for as little as a $75 credit,” the motion says. “Defendants’ conduct must not be allowed to continue.Neither the letter nor the release mentions this class action lawsuit.”
The motion goes on to argue that the $75 credit being offered by Robinhood is “grossly inadequate” given the extent of the monetary damages sustained by as many as 10 million users as a result of the outages. According to the plaintiff, the $75 olive branch “appears to be a very intentional determination of renumeration” in that it’s the same amount that Robinhood charges users to withdraw funds from the platform.
According to Law360, Robinhood representatives called the plaintiff’s motion “unnecessary” and claimed the $75 credits are a quick way to compensate users “without the burdens of the litigation process.”
The plaintiff has asked the court to order Robinhood to cease sending “any further miscommunications” to prospective class members, to make each individual aware of the lawsuit detailed on this page, and to provide the plaintiff’s counsel’s contact information to each user. Importantly, the plaintiff has also asked the court to void any class releases entered into by a Robinhood user and the company since the filing of the lawsuit.
ClassAction.org will keep you updated on the Robinhood outage litigation as the cases roll on. Sign up for ClassAction.org’s newsletterhere.
Update – March 13, 2020 – Robinhood Hit with Class Action in California Over Platform Outage
Robinhood has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit in California over the outage that prevented users from accessing the securities brokerage platform starting on March 2, 2020.
The lawsuit looks to represent U.S. residents who, on March 2, 2020, held a covered short position or an options contract expiring on that date in a Robinhood trading account.
Read ClassAction.org’s write-up on the lawsuit here.
After a few days of threats and Twitter outrage, Robinhood Markets, Inc. has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit in Florida over the outages many users of the securities trading app experienced during the first week of March 2020.
The nine-page complaint, which also names as defendants Robinhood Financial LLC and Robinhood Securities, LLC, notes that on the same day the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq saw some of the largest gains in recent memory, Robinhood app users found the trading platform “completely inaccessible and unavailable.” Users could not access cash, securities or other property kept on the Robinhood platform, the case says, let alone use the defendants’ services to buy, sell or trade securities.
Since the outages on March 2 and 3, many Robinhood users have claimed they lost out on thousands of dollars, while calling on regulators to look into precisely what went wrong with the commission-free app.
“Defendants breached their contractual duties to Plaintiff and class members by failing to provide a functioning platform for Plaintiff and class members to access their personal funds, securities and/or other property,” the suit alleges.
What Is Robinhood?
The complaint explains that Robinhood provides users with commission-free trades in stocks, funds and options via a cloud-based platform that exists as an alternative to traditional in-person or by-phone financial services. Since its launch in April 2013, the Robinhood app has come to be a favorite among millennials, swelling in worth to $7.6 billion as of July 2019.
Outages and outrage
On Monday, March 2, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 1,294 points, the case says. On the same day, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose 136 points and 384 points, respectively, marking “what was the biggest point gain in a single day for all three stock market indices,” the lawsuit states.
For Robinhood users, however, Monday was rough. In an email, Robinhood informed users that starting at 9:33 AM eastern time, the company experienced downtime that affected its platform’s core functionality—the trading and acquiring of stocks.
According to the complaint, it was not until the early morning hours of March 3 that Robinhood announced on Twitter that its platform was back up and running. The company added, however, that it would be running tests throughout the night and that users “may observe some downtime as we prepare for tomorrow.”
Throughout the two days, the plaintiff says, Robinhood users were unable to access the platform to engage in trading activity, access funds kept within the app, transfer funds into the system or transfer funds off the system “for all but 3 minutes of New York Stock Exchange trading hours.” Robinhood, in a blog post, accepted responsibility for the platform’s “complete failure,” stating that the outage was due to the inability of the app’s infrastructure to handle an “unprecedented load” that triggered a DNS system failure.
The plaintiff charges in the suit that Robinhood fell short in its duty to provide users with a system and platform “robust enough to handle all possible reasonable volumes of trading” and to have a “redundant/backup system to handle outages.”
“Plaintiff and class members have all been damaged in a similar manner due to [Robinhood’s] negligence,” the case alleges.
How do I join the class action over the Robinhood outages?
As is the case for most proposed class action lawsuits, you do not have to do anything in order to “join” or be a part of this lawsuit just yet. Typically, you only need to act when and if a case settles.
Keep in mind, though, that after a case is filed, it has a long way to go before those affected by a company’s alleged conduct need to mobilize and file a claim for compensation. Alternatively, you can always reach out to an attorney in your area if you’re interested in possibly starting a class action of your own.
What can I do in the meantime?
Stay informed, and check back with ClassAction.org. We’ll keep you posted on the situation as it progresses.
To have class action news sent straight to your inbox, sign up for ClassAction.org’s newsletter here.
Who’s covered by this lawsuit?
The case looks to cover a class of all Robinhood users in the United States who lost the ability to access their brokerage accounts to conduct any transactions on March 2, 2020.