This week’s newsletter has a bit of a traveling focus. We’ve got news on exploding sunroofs in certain Kia models, vibration problems in America’s most popular SUV, and the latest settlement details in the Toyota acceleration litigation. On top of that, flight attendants helping navigate the skies for Skywest may not be getting paid properly – or at all – for some of their work hours. Read on for the latest settlements and breaking news – and have a good week!
A class action lawsuit has been filed after more than 200 Kia owners reported problems with their vehicles’ sunroofs, including cases where the sunroofs exploded without warning and showered drivers with glass. The problem is allegedly caused by the manufacturer’s choice of material mixed with its installation method – but whatever the cause, the problem is worrying. Drivers have reported sounds like gunshots, loud bangs, and “bomb-like” noises, all followed by shattering sunroofs and – understandably – several near-misses with other vehicles. The alleged defect affects several Kia vehicles, including 2011 – 2015 models of the Sorento, Optima, Sportage, Cadenza and Soul, though this list is not exhaustive. If you have one of these vehicles, find out more about the lawsuit and how you can get help here.
Most people accept that if you work in a store, you have to wear a uniform. Uniforms help customers identify staff and keep the business looking professional. Workers across the country, however, have filed several lawsuits saying their employers forced them to pay for their own uniforms – in some cases, taking the cost right out of their paychecks. The problem? Making employees pay for their uniforms is illegal in several states and, on a federal level, can get businesses in trouble when a worker’s hourly pay falls beneath the minimum wage because of this deduction. Stores that are already under investigation include Chipotle and Jimmy John’s. You can read more about the problem here.
Anyone who’s flown before knows that flight attendants do a lot more than care for passengers once the plane has left the tarmac. Providing safety instructions, assisting with check-in, and even helping passengers board the plane all regularly fall within a flight attendant’s job duties – but SkyWest is facing a lawsuit over claims it only pays its employees for “block time,” or the time between the opening and closing of the main cabin door. If true, attendants are working without proper compensation in violation of state and federal wage laws. If you work or have worked for SkyWest as a flight attendant, you may be able to recover money for your unpaid hours by taking part in a class action lawsuit. Want to know more? Check out our dedicated SkyWest page.
Our settlements page is always being updated. Have you checked to see if you're covered by any open settlements? You can also check out the latest settlements as they happen by following us on Twitter.
Beverages and More / BevCo
Arm & Hammer Deodorant
Flushmate Flushing System
Target Data Breach (July 31)
Kettle Brand Natural Chips (Aug. 1)
Verizon Wireless Family SharePlan (Aug. 29)
To view a complete list of settlements and to find out how you can file a claim, click here.
In May 2015, the FDA released a warning that Invokana, as well as similar diabetes drugs Farxiga, Invokamet, and Glyxambi, could cause ketoacidosis – a condition that causes too much acid build-up in the blood. The FDA has already received more than 20 reports of diabetic ketoacidosis and related conditions in patients taking Invokana and similar drugs – and lawsuits could help patients hold the manufacturers accountable. Read More
Know what’s amazing? Pizza. Know what’s not amazing? Failing to pay workers the minimum wage – a federally protected wage level that nearly all employers must meet, even for workers who rely on tips. Attorneys are investigating allegations that some Pizza Hut franchises are failing to make up the difference in cases where their workers’ tips and hourly pay don’t meet minimum wage requirements, with franchises in Los Angeles and New York already facing lawsuits over the issue. If you’re a current or former Pizza Hut employee who worked for less than the minimum wage, you may be able to get your money back as part of a class action lawsuit. Learn more.
Gerber Products Co. is facing a lawsuit over claims that the advertising on its infant formula is misleading. The company reportedly sold its Good Start Gentle formula as the only formula that helps prevent infant allergies – despite warnings from the FDA that the phrasing was misleading. To make matters worse, Gerber originally approached the FDA to ask permission to make certain claims on its formula – so there’s no pretending the company didn’t know what it was doing. A lawsuit’s now been filed by two consumers who say they were misled by the formula’s packaging. Read more.
Honda is facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that its 2015 CR-Vs contain a design defect that makes them shake and rattle violently. The suit was filed by frustrated customers who say the problem is exclusive to 2015 models and caused by Honda’s introduction of the continuously variable transmission (CVT) in its “Earth Dreams” engine. Honda has acknowledged the problem, releasing a video in April 2015 in which they promised to investigate a fix for the problem. Read more.
If one thing has changed in the U.S. business world within the last two years, it’s that companies now know that unpaid internships have to offer interns legitimate opportunities to learn. Unpaid positions masquerading as internships have had their day, and recent settlements are proving just that. At the beginning of June, Warner Music agreed to pay $4.2 million to end a collective action brought by former interns. At the end of May, Viacom agreed to pay $7.2 million to end a suit brought by 12,500 former interns who claimed they were denied the minimum wage. And in June, NBCUniversal signed off on a $6.4 million deal to end lawsuits brought by MSNBC and “Saturday Night Live” interns. The writing’s on the wall: genuine internships are fine, but unpaid positions that exploit employees will stand no longer. Read more.
Toyota Unwanted Acceleration Settlements Continue
The settlement process continues for lawsuits involving unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles, with attorneys announcing this week that 338 cases have now been resolved. More than 171 cases were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation last year, while almost 90 cases were consolidated in state courts. Plaintiffs in the litigation claim that injuries, property damage and even death were all caused by a manufacturing defect that caused the vehicles to speed up without warning.
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