Welcome back to the ClassAction.org newsletter! We have a handful of stories for you this week, including a new investigation that affects Colorado Amazon warehouse employees specifically. Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether the online retailer is illegally wielding its confidentiality agreements to silence workers about COVID-19-related safety issues. From there, we’ll highlight a couple of new cases that have already been filed and are making their way through the court system. Apple is facing allegations that the extreme fragility of its M1 MacBook displays constitutes a defect and that consumers shouldn’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars when their screens inevitably break. Kellogg is also back in the headlines with a new lawsuit claiming that its MorningStar Farms “veggie” products don’t contain as much vegetable-based ingredients as consumers have been led to believe. Finally, Toyota is facing allegations that a defect in its Prius vehicles is causing foul odors to develop in the passenger cabin – and that there’s no quick or permanent fix to alleviate the smell. Keep reading for these stories, as well as the latest in class action settlements.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org have reason to suspect that Amazon warehouse workers in Colorado have been pressured by their confidentiality agreements into keeping quiet about COVID-19-related safety issues. Now, the attorneys are investigating whether these agreements were wielded illegally – and whether lawsuits could be filed on behalf of affected employees. If filed and successful, a class action lawsuit could provide $10,000 to affected employees and force Amazon to change the way it approaches workplace discussions about public health emergencies, including COVID-19. If you work or have worked in a Colorado Amazon warehouse as a team lead or other lower-level supervisor and felt you were unable to speak up about COVID-19 safety, you can share your story and learn more about the investigation here.
When we spend between $1,000 and $1,300 on a laptop, we don’t expect it to be able to withstand outrageous punishment, but a recently filed lawsuit is claiming that the M1 MacBook displays are “extraordinarily fragile” and can break even with normal use. The screens are so sensitive that Apple has told users to remove any camera, palm rest or keyboard cover on their M1 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro laptops before closing the display as any of these obtrusions could damage the screen, the suit says. Still, users have reported cracking, blacking out, the appearance of colored lines or squares, and overall failure of the displays – and have been forced to spend up to $850 on repairs. The lawsuit is calling Apple’s design choice a defect, as it forces an incredibly tight configuration between the display and the top case. Want more? A breakdown of the suit can be found right here.
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Kellogg is under the gun yet again as a new lawsuit has been filed alleging that the company misrepresents a number of its MorningStar Farms “veggie” products. While the case doesn’t go so far as to say that the primary ingredients are meat-based, it does claim that grains and oils – rather than vegetables or vegetable-based ingredients – make up the bulk of the products. Indeed, vegetables are mentioned much further down on the ingredients list when compared to water, wheat gluten and corn syrup solids – and therefore shouldn’t be the prominent selling point for those looking for a healthier meat substitute, the lawsuit argues. According to the case, Kellogg’s labeling of its MorningStar Farms products as “veggie” violates both California and federal food labeling laws, including because the manufacturer fails to disclose the percentage of vegetables used in the products. You can find more on the allegations, including the products at issue, in our write-up of the case.
Toyota is facing a lawsuit claiming that the auto manufacturer has known for years that certain Prius models are plagued by a defect that causes the cars to emit foul and noxious odors into their passenger cabins. Drivers have described the smell as “an overpowering urine,” “rotten egg” or “sweaty sock” smell – and the lawsuit claims that its source is particularly concerning given it could pose a health risk to drivers and their passengers. According to the complaint, the Prius HVAC system’s defective design allows excess water to collect and fosters “an environment susceptible to the growth of mold,” exposure to which has historically been linked to coughing, wheezing and other respiratory tract symptoms. For a list of potentially affected models, as well as the rest of the allegations, check out our blog.
Some consumers have reported that their GE freezers can no longer regulate temperature properly and that the contents inside will defrost and eventually refreeze. In other instances, the freezer will stop freezing its contents altogether or simply shut off even though the fridge itself seems to be working fine. Now, attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether a defect is to blame and whether lawsuits can be filed to help GE customers recover money for the cost of repairing or replacing their appliances. If you’ve been having similar issues with your GE freezer, share your story with us here.
Purina has been hit with a proposed class action claiming some of its products contain significant amounts of wheat or soy despite being advertised as “grain free” or free of corn, wheat or soy. The lawsuit explains that because many dogs are allergic to foods containing soy or wheat, pet owners are willing to pay a premium for pet food that won’t worsen their pet’s allergy symptoms. Consumers would not have bought the food – or at least wouldn’t have paid as much as they did – had they known the truth about what was in the products, the suit claims. For more information, keep reading here.
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