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Amazon PS5 Consoles Shut Down During Play Class Action

Amazon.com, Inc. sells all kinds of goods in its online marketplace, including PlayStation 5 (PS5) consoles. But the complaint for this class action alleges that some of the PS5 consoles are defective, so that they crash and power down while users are in the middle of a game. The complaint claims that Amazon does not warn consumers of this defect when they are buying the consoles.

A class and a subclass have been defined for this action:

  • The Class is all persons in the US who, within the applicable statute of limitations, bought a PS5 from Amazon in the US.
  • The Illinois Subclass is all persons in the US who, within the applicable statute of limitations, bought a PS5 from Amazon in Illinois.

The PS5 console was released into the market in November 2020. The version that has a disk drive sells for $499.99, while the digital version sells for $399.00. The primary purpose of the PS5 is to allow users to play video games, the complaint claims, meaning that the PS5 defect interferes with the console’s primary function.

According to the complaint, Amazon was aware of the defect in the PS5 consoles through customer complaints on its website and also from “the overall recognition of the defect in the gaming community.” But the complaint says that Amazon has does not warn consumers before they buy the consoles and also has not taken real action to remedy the problem.

Amazon’s website, the complaint claims, represents that the PS5 is a next-generation gaming console which offers “lightning fast loading [and] deeper immersion” with the compatibility to play the new generation of PlayStation video games.

It is the only console that will play PS5 games. However, the complaint suggests, “[o]n information and belief,” that the defect “is more prominent” when users are playing PS5 games. This is a problem, since the complaint claims that one of the reasons consumers buy the PS5 is its ability to play these games.

Unfortunately, when the defect strikes, users don’t just lose progress in the game. The complaint claims that when users are finally able to turn the console back on, they “are warned that the manner in which their PS5 has powered down is dangerous and can, or has, caused data loss, corruption, or damage to the overall system.” Because of this, the complaint claims, users sometimes have to downgrade by getting the PS4 version of games “to avoid this issue and not risk further damaging their PS5 and losing game progress.”

According to the complaint, this makes the PS5 consoles unfit for their ordinary purpose.

The complaint quotes reviews from Amazon’s website, including one calling the PS5 console a “buggy broken mess.”

Facebook Pixel Gathers Patient Info from Health Providers Class Action

Meta Platforms, Inc. owns the Facebook Pixel tracking tool, which gathers information on consumers and transmits it to Facebook for eventual use by advertisers. The complaint for this class action alleges that Pixel is being “improperly used” on hospital websites and that the resulting collection of patient data violates the patients’ medical privacy.

The class for this action is all Facebook users who are current or former patients of medical providers in the US with web properties through which Facebook acquired patient communications relating to medical provider patient portals, appointments, phone calls, and communications associated with patient portal users, for which neither the medical provider nor Facebook obtained a HIPAA consent or any other valid consent.

The Facebook Pixel is a bit of code that can be installed on websites to allow Facebook to track activity on the website. Facebook describes it this way: “When someone visits your website and takes an action (for example, buying something), the Facebook pixel is triggered and reports this action”—that is, it reports the action to Facebook, to later be used for advertising purposes. Facebook hangs on to this information, so that advertisers will “be able to reach this customer again by using a custom audience.”

However, the US has privacy laws concerning healthcare information, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Among other things, the complaint says, the HIPAA privacy rule “requires appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of protected health information and sets limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures that may be made of such information without an individual’s authorization.”

The complaint alleges, “The Facebook Data Policy expressly provides that Facebook ‘requires’ businesses that use the Facebook Pixel ‘to have lawful rights to collect, use, and share your data before providing any data to [Facebook].’”

However, the complaint alleges that Facebook does not truly “require” that medical providers have lawful rights to share information from patient portals and appointment software before it is sent to Facebook. The complaint asserts, “In reality, Facebook does not actually verify publishers have obtained adequate consent per the contract.”

“By design,” the complaint alleges, “Facebook receives the content of a patient’s patient portal sign-in communication immediately after the patient clicks the log-in button and before the medical provider receives it. The complaint reviews the information Facebook obtains from this process, and its availability to others, including the identification of patients who have Facebook accounts.

The complaint claims that the information Facebook logs includes “[t]he specific communications a patient exchanges at the provider’s property, including those related to specific providers, conditions, and treatments…”

While Facebook announced in November 2021 that it was removing the ability to target people based on “sensitive” information relating to health, the complaint alleges the company “did not change the most insidious types of targeting based on health:[,]” that is, targeting “based on their communications with their medical providers.”

Insurance Companies Refusal to Cover Covid-19 Business Losses Class Action

The defendants in this class action are a long list of insurance companies, including Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Company, HDI Global Insurance Company, and others. These companies insured businesses for Business Income, Extra Expense, and Civil Authority coverage which the complaint alleges should cover losses to a group called the Hospitality Risk Management Association (HRMA) which were caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the insurance companies are refusing to pay.

The Nationwide Class for this action is all named insureds to the policy, including Hospitality Risk Management Association and all owned, controlled, subsidiary, affiliated, and associated companies or corporations.

The plaintiff in this case, Icona Opportunity Partners 1, LLC, owns or operates three hotel properties in New Jersey, including the Icona Diamond Beach Hotel, the Icona Avalon Hotel, and the Icona Cape May Hotel. Icona is a member of HRMA, which purchased commercial property insurance issued collectively by the defendants in this case, with payouts to be made by them proportionately.

The policy, the complaint says, provides “coverage for all risks of loss except those specifically and unambiguously excluded.”

Icona’s policy included several additional coverage besides for losses of Business Income: Extra Expense, Civil Authority, Ingress/Egress (for losses when entrance or exit is impaired), Contagious Disease (for losses associated with the actual or suspected presence of a contagious disease), and Attraction Properties (for loss of third-party properties in the vicinity that attract customers to the insured business).

In March 2020, the complaint alleges, Covid-19 was reported at being present in every state in the US, spread via “community spread” and via droplets that could be deposited on surfaces or objects. To combat the disease, the complaint alleges, government authorities issued emergency orders requiring businesses to limit or discontinue their operations for a period of time.

Under an order from the governor of New Jersey, Icona was forced to suspend operations at all of its New Jersey properties. At the same time, New Jersey residents were required to stay at home “except for necessary travel … until further notice.” The order was later extended.

In June 2020, businesses were required to limit capacity to 25% of the capacity of the room in which business was taking place. As a result of these and similar orders from civil authorities, Icona was forced to curtail its business and suffered business losses.

However, the complaint alleges that the defendants in this case have reneged on their obligations to pay Icona’s business losses under the policy’s various coverages.

The counts ask for declaratory judgment for various coverages and claim breach of contract.

BOA No Refund of Fraudulent Zelle Transfers Class Action

When a consumer suffers fraud through the most common forms of money transfers—via debit card, credit card, or check—banks have ways to recover money for the consumer. This class action concerns the Zelle system, and the fact that there is no way to recover money transferred that way in cases of fraud. The complaint bring suit against Bank of America, NA (BOA) for not warning consumers when they sign up for Zelle.

The class for this action is all persons with a BOA account who signed up for Zelle and incurred unreimbursed losses due to fraud. A California subclass has also been defined, for persons in the above class in California.

The plaintiff in this case, Natalie Tristan, fell victim to a fraud when she was looking for an apartment online. She believed she was applying for an apartment when she was told to transfer an application fee to a man; later she was told her application was approved and to transfer a security deposit and the first month’s rent and that the man would meet her with the keys.

All in all, she transferred $2,150 to him via Zelle, but he never appeared with the keys. Tristan eventually realized she had been defrauded, but BOA would not help her recover any of the money.

BOA advertises Zelle as a “fast, safe and easy way to send and receive money” and as “simple and secure…” But the complaint claims that this is not the case, and that BOA does not tell customers of the risks they may run when they sign up for the service.

The complaint reproduces a good deal of the bank’s Deposit Agreement & Disclosures that apply to fraud on their accounts, for example, “Tell us AT ONCE if you believe your card or your personal identification number (PIN) or other code has been lost or stolen. Also, tell us AT ONCE if you believe that an electronic fund transfer has been made without your permission using information from your check.” But these provisions do not apply to Zelle.

The complaint alleges that the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) requires that banks reimburse customers for losses due to certain kinds of fraud. Also, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) also claims consumers have fraud protection under Regulation E.

But the complaint alleges that, “as a matter of secret bank policy, fraud-induced Zelle transfers will almost never be reimbursed to accountholders.” This is true even when a fraudster removes the money from the account via Zelle, for example, through a stolen phone. Yet BOA, it says, never warns consumers signing up for the service that they have no recourse in cases of fraud.

Meyer Corporation Data Breach Class Action

Meyer Corporation, US makes cookware and bakeware. In October 2021, the complaint for this class action alleges, unauthorized parties used ransomware to access the personally identifiable information (PII) of 2,717 of its employees. Then, the complaint alleges, it “failed to notify its employees about the breach for nearly four months while cybercriminals publicly claimed responsibility for the Data Breach and published certain stolen data to prove what they had done.”

The class for this action is all individuals living in California whose PII was compromised in the data breach revealed by Meyer in February 2022.

The cyberattack took place sometime on or around October 25, 2021, the complaint alleges. It claims, “It is unknown for how long the breach went undetected before Meyer detected it, meaning Meyer had no effective means to prevent, detect, or stop the Data Breach from happening before cybercriminals stole and misused employees’ PII.”

The data compromised includes names, addresses, dates of birth, gender and race, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and medical information—including such things as medical conditions, drug tests, and Covid-19 vaccination cards and statuses—plus immigration statuses and their dependents’ PII.

Although Meyer discovered the data breach around December 1, 2021, the complaint claims that it hid the news from the individual victims until February 15, 2022, four months after the breach occurred and three months after some of the information had been published. On that date, the complaint claims, it finally informed its current and former employees and offered them twenty-four months of free credit monitoring, which the complaint claims is not enough to protect them from the “lifelong threat” represented by the data breach.

The notice of the data breach also “revealed little about the breach and obfuscated its nature[,]” the complaint claims. The complaint claims that Meyer did not explain how the cybercriminals gained access to its systems, why it took time for Meyer to discover it, and so on.

According to the complaint, “Meyer has not implemented reasonable cybersecurity safeguards or policies to protect current and former employee PII, or trained its employees to prevent, detect, and stop data breaches of Meyer’s systems.” It claims that Meyer therefore has vulnerabilities in its systems that can be exploited to gain access to stored PII.

In fact, the complaint alleges that Meyer has had other data breaches before this one: “Meyer has therefore displayed a pattern of institutional failure to safeguard highly sensitive employee information.”

Norton Bonded Abrasive Wheels No Clear Expiration Date Class Action

Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Inc. makes, among other things, different types of bonded abrasive wheels under the brand name Norton. But the complaint for this class action alleges that the wheels have a problem: they do not clearly identify their shelf life or expiration date. This is important, the complaint alleges, because after that date, “the product [cannot] be safely used due to the risk that the product may give way, crack, split, explode, and fail” during use.

A class and a subclass have been defined for this action:

  • The Nationwide Class is based on claims of unjust enrichment, negligence, and/or breach of implied warranty and is all customers who bought any of the defective products in the US, within the applicable statute of limitations.
  • The Missouri Subclass is based on claims brought under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and for unjust enrichment, strict liability—design defect, strict liability—failure to warn, negligence, and/or breach of implied warranty and is all persons who bought any of the defective products in Missouri for personal, family, or household purposes, within the applicable statute of limitations period.

Saint-Gobain makes some twenty different types of bonded abrasive wheels, made for cutting metal and concrete, and used while attached to tools that spin at speeds between 4,400 and 15,000 RPM. The complaint therefore calls the products “unreasonably dangerous.”

The complaint alleges that industry standards require that such wheels must bear a clear expiration date.

For example, the complaint quotes a Health and Safety Executive Committee handbook as saying, “All organic bonded wheels for hand-held applications will bear a use-by date of three years from the date of manufacture.” The complaint further claims that the Federation of European Producers of Abrasives also sets an expiration date of three years for these items.

In fact, according to the complaint, Saint-Gobain itself sets an even shorter expiration date for them. It quotes the company as saying, “It has always been Saint-Gobain’s recommendation that Resinoid Bonded grinding wheels be used up within 2 years from the date of manufacture.” Still, it does not make this plain to consumers by using a label with an expiration date.

Even worse, the complaint alleges, “On information and belief, [Saint-Gobain is] currently selling abrasive wheels that have already expired.” or nearly expired.

Do the products show no expiration date at all? The complaint speaks of “the combination of ambiguous numbers on the face of the” products. It asks for an injunction preventing Saint-Gobain “from selling abrasive wheel products without an easily read and understood expiration date located on the face of the product.”

T-Mobile and Sprint Merger Antitrust Class Action

The complaint for this antitrust class action alleges, “This lawsuit challenges one of the most anti-competitive acquisitions in history”— the merger of T-Mobile US, Inc. and Sprint Corporation. According to the complaint, T-Mobile has arbitration clauses that shield it from lawsuits from its own customers. This class action is brought by two AT&T customers who allege they have had to pay more for wireless services than they had to before the merger.

The class for this action is all persons or entities in the US who, on or after April 1, 2020, paid for a national retail mobile wireless plan offered by Verizon or AT&T, on a prepaid or postpaid basis.

Before the merger, four major wireless carriers existed in the US market: T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T. The merger, the complaint alleges, reduced this to three, “combin[ing] two fierce competitors into a single behemoth with no incentive to compete meaningfully against the equally-large” AT&T and Verizon. Now, the complaint claims, consumers and small businesses have had to pay “billons more for wireless services” than they would have if the merger had never happened.

Originally, the complaint claims, “T-Mobile and Sprint were two scrappy upstarts challenging Verizon and AT&T, the industry’s leviathans.” Sprint slashed its prices against its competitors, the complaint alleges, and T-Mobile introduced various innovations. Because of the fierce competition, the complaint alleges that wireless rates decreased.

T-Mobile’s parent company was Deutsche Telekom AG (DT), a German company and a defendant in this case along with T-Mobile US, Inc. and Softbank Corporation. DT was looking for a merger partner for T-Mobile.

T-Mobile and Sprint announced they were intending to merge in April 2018. The Department of Justice (DOJ) had to approve the merger, however, so T-Mobile got rid of some of its business to DISH Network. DISH was then supposed to become a competing wireless carrier, leasing access to T-Mobile’s network while it developed its own.

According to the complaint, fourteen states and Washington, DC sued to stop the merger, claiming it would cost consumers $9 billion more per year. Even so, the merger was approved on April 1, 2020. The complaint alleges that DT’s CEO then made a telling remark: “It’s harvest time.”

The merger changed the wireless market, the complaint alleges: “Verizon and AT&T are no longer competing against two smaller maverick firms incentivized to cut prices to increase their respective market shares. They are now competing against a single large competitor that is more than happy to observe a competitive détente in return for stable market shares and prices.”

Meanwhile, DISH has failed to become a real competitor, and T-Mobile has shut down its CDMA network, which it had agreed to lease to DISH to help it compete.

In the ten years before the merger, the complaint alleges, prices of wireless plans went down by around 6.3% per year; now, it says, “quality-adjusted prices have inflated and stabilized” and prices are now rising.

Nova Southeastern University 401(k) Breach of Fiduciary Duties Class Action

Did Nova Southeastern University, Inc. breach its fiduciary duties in its management of the University’s 401(k) plan for its faculty and staff? The complaint alleges that the university chose investments with poor performance and high-cost share classes, and paid excessive fees for recordkeeping and administration.

The class for this action is all persons who were participants in or beneficiaries of the plan at any time between June 15, 2016 and the present.

Fiduciaries for retirement plans have the duties of prudence and loyalty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The complaint quotes the law as saying that fiduciaries for retirement plans must act “solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries,” using the “care, skill, prudence, and diligence” that are expected in managing such plans.

The complaint faults the fiduciaries of the retirement plan in a number of ways:

Choosing more expensive share classes. Mutual funds offer different classes of shares that have different associated costs. Share classes with lower costs may require a larger minimum purchase of shares, but these kinds of requirements may be waived for retirement plans. The complaint displays a chart of the funds in the plan, their expense ratios, and lower cost share classes of the same funds with lower expense ratios.

Choosing investments that had higher costs and performed poorly. The complaint alleges, “Throughout the class period, the Plan’s investment options have been dominated by high-cost, actively-managed funds, despite the fact that these funds charged grossly excessive fees compared with alternative funds that used the same investment style, and despite ample evidence available to a reasonable fiduciary that such funds had become imprudent due to their high costs.”

The complaint also points out that the all of the funds were issued by the two recordkeepers, TIAA and VALIC, who are compensated from participants’ investments in their plans. It claims that TIAA and VALIC were permitted “to freight the Plan’s entire investment menu with investments that generate excessive fees for TIAA and VALIC at the direct expense of Plan participants.”

Failing to monitor the plan’s recordkeeping and administrative expenses. Recordkeepers offer a broad range of services to plans and are willing to compete on price, the complaint alleges. The complaint alleges that the plan’s fiduciaries paid the recordkeepers compensation that was excessive and unreasonably high when looked at on a per-participant basis.

The complaint makes two claims for relief: breaches of the fiduciary duty of prudence and failure to adequately monitor other fiduciaries and service providers.

Coinbase Promotion of TerraUSD as Stablecoin Class Action

Coinbase is a marketplace for cryptocurrency, but the complaint for this class action claims it is also “a significant venture capital investor in [early phase] cryptocurrency companies and one of the largest financial backers of Terraform Labs.” Terraform created TerraUSD (UST), which was promoted as a “stablecoin,” but this complaint brings suit against Coinbase Global, Inc. and Coinbase, Inc., claiming that TerraUSD was never truly a stablecoin.

The National Class for this action is all persons in the US who bought or acquired TerraUSD in the US or its territories and whose transactions of TerraUSD were conducted through Coinbase, during the fullest period allowed by law. A California Subclass has also been defined, for those in the above class in California, who bought or acquired TerraUSD in California.

A stablecoin is a type of cryptocurrency that is supposed to be less volatile than others, the complaint says, “because they are backed by an underlying tangible asset.”

TerraUSD claimed to be pegged to the US dollar, so that each TerraUSD was supposedly worth $1. The complaint claims, “Because it is purportedly ‘pegged’ to a government-issued currency, and specifically the world’s reserve currency, it is marketed as a type of investment that can ‘virtually eliminate volatility.’”

The complaint alleges that Coinbase called TerraUSD a “decentralized stablecoin” in marketing materials. But the complaint alleges that TerraUSD is not backed by real dollars. It says that Coinbase “omitted material facts about TerraUSD, including the fact that Terraform Labs did not hold any tangible assets—such as another fiat currency or commodity—in reserve. Accordingly, the digital currency was never truly pegged to the US dollar.”

According to the complaint, Coinbase nevertheless helped Terraform Labs to promote the claim that TerraUSD was pegged to the US dollar.

How was the coin’s stability to be maintained? By what the complaint calls “an arbitrage trading strategy” involving a sister cryptocurrency, Luna, in which the two were traded for each other in a complementary way to maintain their values.

The complaint claims that a break from the purported peg to the US dollar was inevitable.

In May 2022, TerraUSD began losing value, and the idea of balancing trades with Luna failed to maintain its stability. The complaint alleges, “Within weeks, TerraUSD and Luna became practically worthless.” TerraUSD’s value dropped below 8 cents per coin. Those who’d bought the coin lost millions of dollars.

The complaint faults Coinbase for backing TerraUSD, for withholding the true risks of the currency, and for misleading those who bought the coin, believing they were buying a stablecoin.

Progressive Premier “Projected Sold Adjustments” Georgia Class Action

When vehicles are totaled, insurers use their actual cash value (ACV) to determine the payout to the policyholders. This class action alleges that Progressive Premier Insurance Company of Illinois unfairly apply a “Projected Sold Adjustment” to the prices of comparable vehicles, reducing their ACVs and thus reducing the amount it must pay out.

The class for this action is all Georgia citizens insured by Progressive Premier who, from the earliest allowable time through the date the class is certified in this case, received compensation for the total loss of a covered vehicles, where the compensation was based on a valuation report prepared by Mitchell and where the ACV was decreased by a Projected Sold Adjustment to the prices of the comparable vehicles used to determine the ACV.

When an insured’s vehicle is totaled, the complaint alleges, Progressive Premier has the valuation report prepared by its vendor, Mitchell International, Inc. Mitchell finds comparable vehicles in the area and adjusts their prices based on things like mileage, options, and equipment. Then, the complaint alleges, the company, acting through Mitchell, “systematically applies a so-called ‘Projected Sold Adjustment’ that results in a significant downward adjustment to the base values of the comparable vehicles[.]”

The only explanation of this adjustment, the complaint claims, is a statement on the last page of the valuation report that says it is applied to “reflect consumer purchasing behavior (negotiating a different price than the listed price).”

But the complaint alleges that this Projected Sold Adjustment is arbitrary, contrary to appraisal standards, and “contrary to the used car industry’s market pricing and inventory management practices[.]”

The plaintiff in this case, Michelle Bost, damaged her vehicle in an accident on August 10, 2017 and made a claim to her insurer, Progressive Premier.

The company declared the vehicle a total loss and had Mitchell prepare a valuation report. Mitchell’s report lists three comparable vehicles and applied to them Projected Sold Adjustments of $884, $751, and $464, respectively.

The complaint alleges that Progressive Premier did not provide any specific data about the comparable vehicles or any other explanation of industry practices to support these price reductions.

According to the complaint, these adjustments “do not reflect market realities … and run contrary to customary automobile dealer practices and inventory management, where list prices are priced to market to reflect the intense competition in the context of internet pricing and comparison shopping.”

In fact, the complaint claims, a “negotiated discount off the cash price is highly atypical and is not proper to include in determining ACV.” Those who have lost their vehicles, the complaint claims, generally need to find a replacement immediately and do not have time to look for “the illusory opportunity to obtain the below-market deal [Progressive Premier] assumes always exists without any explanation or support.”