US Bank, Ocwen, Wells Fargo Mortgage Satisfaction New York Class Action

When a homeowner has paid off a mortgage or home loan, the event must be officially recorded. The New York state laws specify that this proof of satisfaction must be presented to the appropriate New York county clerk within thirty days. The complaint for this class action alleges that US Bank, NA, Ocwen Financial Corporation, and Wells Fargo Bank, NA do not do this on time and do not pay the penalties for doing it late.

The class for this action is all persons who were mortgagors in a mortgage or home equity loan secured by real property in New York State for which US Bank, Ocwen, or Wells Fargo did not present a valid satisfaction of mortgage or certificate of discharge to the recording officer in the county where the mortgage was recorded within thirty days after the loans were paid off or satisfied.

New York laws require that the proof of satisfaction be presented to the clerk within thirty days. If the bank or other mortgagee fails to do this within the thirty-day period, it must pay the mortgagor $500. If it fails to do it within 60 days, it must pay the mortgagor $1,000. If it fails to do it withint 90 days or more, it must pay the mortgagor $1,500.

Plaintiff Keith Ballard bought a home in Rockland County in 1999. The mortgage was later assigned to US Bank, the Trustee for the Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates Series 1999-10. The complaint alleges that no satisfaction of mortgage was presented to the county clerk, by US Bank or servicer Ocwen, until January 2020, about eight years after he’d paid off the mortgage.

Plaintiff Ronald Rochester bought a home in Nassau County in 2006. The mortgage was subsequently assigned to US Bank as Trustee for the Citigroup Mortgage Loan Trust, Inc., 2006-NC1, Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificates Series 2006-NC1. He fully paid off his mortgage principal and interest by February 21, 2019. Yet neither US Bank nor additional mortgage and loan servicer Wells Fargo presented a satisfaction of mortgage to the county clerk until around April 8, 2019.

Plaintiffs Daniel and Nicole Culver had a home and property that were the subjects of three mortgages originated by US Bank. They repaid a September 2011 mortgage on December 20, 2018; an April 2014 loan on May 16, 2018; and a May 2018 loan in December 2018. However, the mortgage satisfactions were not presented to the county clerk until more than thirty days, more than sixty days, and more than ninety days after the respective payoffs.

When mortgage payoffs are not reported, the files show that the mortgage lender still holds a lien on the property. If a homeowner wants to sell the property, this can become a problem, because the title to the property is not clear.

The complaint claims that US Bank is “a repeat violator” of the two New York laws, even after settling two class actions on the same subject.

Originating Banks Refusal to Pay PPP Agents Class Action

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was intended to provide forgivable loans so that small businesses could keep paying their employees. Included in its terms were provisions for payments to agents who helped small businesses prepare their applications. The complaint for this class action alleges that Bank of America, NA, North Shore Bank, and TD Bank, NA have all refused to pay agents as required by the program.

The PPP is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, designed to get money to small businesses quickly, so that they would not have to lay off workers or go out of business.

The PPP is administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Banks and other lenders could earn a fixed percentage of the loan amount as compensation—for example, for loans up to $350,000, a fee of 5% of the amount of the loan.

The lenders were taking no risks, since the loans were guaranteed and they were not required to verify the accuracy of the small businesses’ application information. The complaint says, “Instead, small businesses seeking PPP funding were required to make specific attestations and certifications under penalty of serious civil and criminal penalties, including imprisonment and hefty fines.”

To prepare such applications, small businesses were likely to need the help of agents, such as accountants, bookkeepers, attorneys, or financial advisors. The PPP provided for compensation for such agents—for example, for loans up to $350,000, a fee of 1% of the amount of the loan. According to the complaint, “The PPP Regulations express require that Agent Fees be paid by the lending institution out of the origination fees the lender would receive from the SBA, and prohibit Agents from collecting fees from applicants or taking fees from the PPP loans.”

Unfortunately, the complaint claims that Bank of America, North Shore Bank, and TD Bank, who have all earned origination fees on such loans, are now refusing to pay these agent fees.

The complaint estimates that Bank of America made “at least $250 million in origination fees from the SBA—and probably received more than that.” Similarly, it claims that “assuming the most conservative estimate, TD Bank received or is eligible to receive at least $84 million in origination fees from the first round of PPP alone.”

Three classes and three subclasses have been defined.

The Bank of America Class is all persons and entities in the US who (1) served as an agent for a person or entity who applied for and received a PPP loan through Bank of America and (2) were not paid an agent fee by Bank of America.

The North Shore Bank and TD Bank classes are similar. Each of the three classes also has a Massachusetts Subclass, for persons and entities in Massachusetts.

CVS Pharmacy Unwanted Telemarketing Messages TCPA Class Action

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was designed to give consumers choice about who was allowed to contact them with telemarketing messages. The complaint claims that CVS Pharmacy, Inc. violates this law by sending telemarketing messages to consumer cell phones without first getting the cell phone owners’ prior express written consent.

Congress passed the TCPA in 1991. It found that “[b]anning such automated or prerecorded telephone calls to the home, except when the receiving party consents to receiving the call or when such calls are a necessity in an emergency situation affecting the health and safety of the consumer, is the only effective means of protecting telephone consumers from this nuisance and privacy invasion.”

Telemarketers are prohibited from placing calls to consumer cell phones for non-emergency purposes, using an ATDS or an artificial or prerecorded voice, unless they have the consumers’ prior express written consent.

The law also provided for a National Do Not Call Registry where consumers could register their telephone numbers to request not to be called by telemarketers.

Plaintiff Kevin Truong’s cell phone has been on the National Do Not Call Registry since April 2014. However, six years later, in April 2020, he received what the complaint calls an automated text message, from CVS Pharmacy.

Truong had not given his telephone number to CVS and had not given them a phone number they could use. He sent a “STOP” message in reply to the CVS message. The immediate result was another unwanted message: “MinuteClinic Visit Alert: You will no longer receive msgs from MinuteClinic…” at CVS.

He also received several other text messages from the company after that. Despite sending numerous other “STOP” messages, he continued to receive messages from CVS. The complaint claims that he has now sent more than fifty “STOP” messages, between April 30 and June 4, 2020. CVS has continued to send him messages.

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

The ATDS Class is all persons in the US who received a text messages from CVS Pharmacy, on their cell phones, that were not sent for emergency purposes and were sent through the use of an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice, between July 2, 2016 and July 2, 2020.

The DNC Subclass is all persons in the US who, between July 2, 2016 and July 2, 2020, received more than one telephone call or text message from CVS Pharmacy, on their cell phones, within any twelve-month period, by or on behalf of the same entity, without their prior express consent, while their number was listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Point & Pay Misstatement of Processing Fees Florida Class Action

Point & Pay is a “funds transmission service and bill payment processing company” which has more than 1,500 clients, including governments, utilities, and courts. However, the complaint for this class action allege that the company and its clients “misrepresent, conceal, and misstate processing fees” to consumers, so that they end up paying more than they expect for paying their bills there.

Point & Pay allows companies to provide an online payment option for consumers to pay everything from water bills to insurance premiums. One such client is the City of St. Cloud, Florida. Point & Pay builds custom payment websites for these clients, “configured to collect all necessary customer information and designed to match clients’ existing websites.”

Point & Pay processes check, credit card, and debit card payments, for a fee. The bill payments are then transmitted to the clients, and Point & Pay keeps the processing fees.

The complaint alleges that Point & Pay provides its clients with information about its services and processing fees with the knowledge and intent that said information will be publicly advertised to individual consumers” who will use the site to pay bills.

Unfortunately, the complaint alleges that “Point & Pay, individually and by and through its clients, misrepresent, conceal, and misstate processing fees to individual consumers because [Point & Pay] charges consumers like [plaintiff David Cross] more than the advertised fees…”

The complaint alleges that both the company and its clients are responsible for the false information and/or overcharges to consumers. The complaint claims, “The actions of [Point & Pay’s] clients in advertising [Point & Pay’s] services and charges are within the actual or apparent authority of the clients and are binding on the agent’s principal—[Point & Pay]—regardless of whether the principal had knowledge of the agent’s actions.” Also, the complaint calls Point & Pay “vicariously liable for the acts of its clients…”

Plaintiff David Cross made online payments for St. Cloud utility services, on May 31, 2016 and November 11, 2016. These payments were processed by Point & Pay. At the time, the processing fee was advertised to consumers like Cross as being “$1.50 per $50.00.”

For example, his amount for payment in May 2016 was $189.77. The complaint says, “Rather than charging $5.69 (if prorated) or $4.50 (if increments), [Point & Pay] charged a processing fee of $6.00.”

The complaint alleges breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The class for this action is all Florida residents who paid money to Point & Pay via debit or credit card where Point & Pay provided bill payment services in exchange for “$___ (paid to Point & Pay) per $___ (paid to client)” during the applicable statute of limitations period before the filing of the complaint to the date of certification of the class.

McDonald’s Overtime and Breaks Labor Violations California Class Action

This California class action brings suit against McDonald’s Restaurants of California, Inc. and McDonald’s USA, LLC for employment violations. Among the allegations are unpaid overtime and failure to allow for proper rest and meal breaks. As is usual in such cases, these violations have led to “downstream” problems, such as inaccurate wage statements and waiting time penalties, under California’s Labor Code, its Business and Professions Code, and its Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders.

Plaintiff John Rocha worked for McDonald’s in California as a non-exempt employee from approximately May 2018 to August 2019. As a Crew Member and Lead Crew Member, he was responsible, at various times, for “preparing food, helping customers, operating the cash register, manning the drive-thru, cooking menu items, [and] cleaning the restaurant…”

The complaint claims that he was required to perform off-the-clock work before his scheduled shift “to assist other crew members and shift managers.”

In the area of breaks, the complaint alleges, Rocha was not given a required thirty-minute meal period or the second required meal period for shifts longer than ten hours. These meal periods were not properly scheduled in during his workday, and when he was able to take a meal break, the complaint says, it was not uninterrupted. In fact, the complaint alleges, Rocha “was rarely provided an opportunity to take a meal or rest period.” On the days when he was not given a proper rest period, the company did not give him the required premium of an additional hour’s pay.

The complaint also alleges that the restaurant’s timekeeping system kept inaccurate records, “whether by rounding, time-shaving, or making them work during their breaks or off-the-clock.” When Rocha did work more than eight hours in a day, the complaint claims, he was not paid overtime. The complaint says, “Due to [the restaurant’s] timekeeping practices…, [Rocha] and other non-exempt employees were not compensated for all required minimum and overtime wages.”

The complaint says, “As a result of [the company’s] failure to pay all minimum wages, overtime wages, and meal and rest period premium wages, [the company] also maintained inaccurate payroll records and issued inaccurate wage statements to [Rocha] and failed to pay all final wages owed to [Rocha] and other non-exempt employees upon separation of employment.”

Seven classes have been proposed for this action.

The Overtime Class is all current and former non-exempt employees of the defendants in this case who worked more than eight hours per day or forty hours per workweek and who were subject to the defendants’ timekeeping practice, between July 2, 2016 and the present.

The other classes include a Minimum Wage Class, a Meal Period Class, a Rest Period Class, an Expense Reimbursement Class, a Wage Statement Class, and a Waiting Time Class. For further details on these classes, see pages 17-18 of the Notice of Removal and Complaint document linked below.

Kraft “Natural” Cheese Contains Milk with Hormones Class Action

Consumers more and more often desire to buy foods that are “natural,” including products from animals that have not been given certain substances in their feed. The complaint for this class action alleges the Kraft Heinz Company has been claiming that some of its dairy products were “natural,” when in fact they were made from milk from cows that had been given an artificial growth hormone.

Consumers nowadays “are concerned that the use of artificial growth hormones in animals raised for food is inhumane and contributes to health problems both for the animals and for the humans who consume the food,” the complaint says. “One such artificial hormone is recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST), which is also known as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH).” This hormone artificially unnaturally increases milk production.

Consumers may also be concerned about ingesting hormones, the complaint says, because some studies have suggested that the use of rbST may increase the risks of certain kinds of cancers. The complaint also alleges, “Compared to milk produced without rbST, milk from cows treated with rbST can have increased fat content and decreased level of proteins, as wel as higher counts of somatic cells (i.e., pus) which makes the milk turn sour more quickly.”

Kraft announced in January 2019 that its natural cheese would henceforth be made from milk that did not contain the artificial hormone rbST. Before this time, the complaint says, “Kraft labeled and marketed its products as ‘natural,’ even though they were made with milk from cows administered rbST.”

The complaint alleges that the designation in former times of the cheeses as “natural” “was false, deceptive, and misleading…”

Even worse, the complaint alleges, “[w]hile many of the Products are now made from milk produced without the artificial hormone rbST (collectively, the ‘Type A Products’), certain Kraft Natural Cheese products (e.g., varietites containing parmesan, asiago, and Romano cheese) continue to be made with milk from cows who were administered rbST (collectively, the ‘Type B Products’).

In other words, according to the complaint, Kraft used to deceive consumers with its “natural” representations on the Type A products and still continues to deceive them with its “natural” representations on the Type B products.

The class for this action is all consumers who bought the products in the US within the applicable statutes of limitations, while the Products contained rbST, until the date of certification of the class in this action.

Three subclasses have also been defined, including a Nationwide Type B Subclass, a California Subclass, and a California Type B Subclass.

The list of products is very long. It may be found in a large footnote on pages 2 and 3 of the class action, linked below.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Off-the-Clock Security Check California Class Action

Companies sometimes ask employees to perform some type of work before they’ve clocked in or after they’ve clocked out—for example, putting on protective gear or starting up computer systems. In this class action, a worker at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. complains that she is forced to wait in line, off the clock, for a security check to be performed, even though it’s the business that requires the security check.

The Rule 23 Class for this action is all current and formerly hourly, non-exempt workers employed at any Dick’s Sporting Goods store in California at any time between July 2, 2016 until the resolution of this action.

According to the complaint, this off-the-clock work means that Dick’s violates the law in a number of ways.

  • It deprives workers of at least minimum wage for all hours worked.
  • It deprives them of wages for all hours of work performed.
  • It saves Dick’s from having to pay workers overtime.
  • It means that when the company does not count this time, it does not provide workers with the accurate, itemized statements they’re entitled to.
  • It means that when workers separate from the company, they are not promptly paid all wages to which they’re entitled.
  • Since they haven’t been promptly paid all wages, it means that workers are entitled to “waiting time” penalties, which allow them to keep racking up pay for up to thirty days after separating from the company.

Plaintiff Gale Carroll worked for a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Fresno, California from roughly November 2017 to June 2019. She was a non-exempt, hourly cashier who earned $11 to $12 per hour. Class members are those employed in similar jobs, including supervisors, cashiers, attendants, custodians, security guards, stockers, and others.

During the summer months, Carroll was scheduled to work from four to eight hours per day, for a total of fifteen to twenty hours per week, and during the school year, she was scheduled to work for up to thirty hours per week.

According to the complaint, “Upon information and belief, class members worked more than 8 hours per day and more than 40 hours in at least one workweek during the four years before this Complaint was filed.”

Carroll and other workers in the class performed work under Dick’s supervision, using materials and technology supplied by Dick’s. They are therefore considered to be non-exempt, non-management workers.

The complaint alleges violations of California Labor Code as well as Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders.

Rite Aid Infants’ and Children’s Acetaminophen Prices Class Action

Acetaminophen can be dangerous, even fatal, if taken in large doses. Parents are particularly concerned about this when dosing infants. The complaint for this class action alleges that Rite Aid Corporation exploits this fear to charge more for its Infants’ acetaminophen product than for its identical children’s formula.

The Nationwide Class for this action is all persons who bought the Infants’ product, for personal use, in the US.

Rite Aid sells acetaminophen products under its Over the Counter (OTC) brand, including an Infants’ Fever Reducer & Pain Reliever and a Children’s Fever Reducer & Pain Reliever.

Plaintiff Gina Ostermeier-McLucas bought the Infants’ product because she believed that the Infants’ product was different from the Children’s product. The complaint claims that the marketing and labeling of the Infants’ product led her to believe it was “specifically formulated and designed for infants[.]”

According to the complaint, “despite the fact that the Products contain the same exact amount of acetaminophen in the same dosage amounts, [Rite Aid] markets and sells Infants’ Products to consumers, such as [Ostermeier-McLucas], at a substantially higher price than Children’s Products. In stores, the Infants’ Products cost approximately three times as much per ounce [as] Children’s Products for the same amount of medicine.”

How did this situation come to be? In former days, many manufacturers did in fact sell the Infants’ product in a different strength than the Children’s product. At that time, Infants’ products contained 80mg per 0.8 or 1.0 mL. The Children’s product contained 160 mg per 5mL. The Infants’ product was therefore considerably stronger than the Children’s one, because companies believed it was easier to use a dropper to place a limited amount of the medicine in a baby’s mouth than to get it to drink a 5mL cupful of the medicine.

Unfortunately, parents were sometimes confused about whether the amount their doctors had prescribed was the Infants’ product or the Children’s product. At times, this resulted in the parents giving the child too much of the stronger product, causing them to overdose.

The complaint says, “Between 2000 and 2009, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received reports of twenty (20) children dying from acetaminophen toxicity, and at least three (3) deaths were tied to mix-ups involving the two pediatric medicines.” In December 2011, in order to minimize such mix-ups in the future, the FDA decided that acetaminophen would only be sold in the weaker, Children’s strength.

At this time, the primary different between the Infants’ and Children’s products are that the Infants’ product comes with a syringe and the Children’s product comes with a small plastic measuring cup. The amount of medicine in each per mL is identical. However, certain makers—including Rite Aid—continue to charge considerably more for the Infants’ product.

Ostermeier-McLucas claims that she only bought the more expensive product because of Rite Aid’s “false, misleading, and deceptive representation that the Infants’ Products were formulated and designed” specifically for infants.

Aaron’s Overtime Pay and Breaks California Class Action

When a company calculates the overtime rate of pay for its employees, it must take into consideration more than just the employee’s base hourly pay. The complaint for this class action alleges that Aaron’s, Inc. does not figure in incentive pay when calculating employees’ overtime rates. It also alleges that the company does not give employees proper meal or rest breaks. These violations mean that the company is likely to violate other, “downstream” requirements under California’s labor laws.

The class for this action is all persons who are or have been employed, in California, as an hourly employee by Aaron’s, between July 2, 2016 and the present.

Plaintiff Luis H. Castro Cardenas worked for Aaron’s in California as an hourly employee. The complaint assumes that his employment is subject to California Industrial Welfare Commission Occupational Wage Orders as well as its Labor Law.

The complaint alleges a number of violations committed by Aaron’s against Cardenas:

First, the complaint claims that Aaron’s did not take Cardenas’s incentive pay into consideration when figuring his overtime rate of pay. This would mean that his rates of pay at time-and-a-half and double time were incorrectly calculated.

Second, the complaint claims that Cardenas did not get proper meal breaks at the required intervals in his workday. The complaint claims that employees were not informed that they were entitled to such meal breaks. While companies are allowed to ask workers to skip meal breaks, in such instances they must give them an addition hour’s pay.

Third, the complaint claims that Cardenas did not get proper rest breaks at the required intervals in the day, nor was he informed that he was entitled to them. Again, companies are allowed to ask workers to skip their rest breaks, but when they do, they must give them an additional hour’s pay.

These violations led to other, “downstream” violations.

Because of the improper calculation of overtime pay and the failure to allow for proper meal and rest breaks, the company did not provide workers with accurate itemized statements.

Because the company had not paid proper overtime wages or penalties for missed meal or rest breaks, it also had not paid workers all it owed them at termination or resignation.

Because not all wages were paid at termination, the complaint alleges that workers who were terminated or resigned are entitled to “waiting time” penalties. California’s waiting time penalties provide that in such instances, a worker is entitled to continuing pay for up to thirty days after termination or resignation.

YouTube Facilitation of Copyright Piracy Class Action

The first lines in the complaint for this class action are, “This case is about copyright piracy. YouTube, the largest video-sharing website in the world, is replete with videos infringing on the rights of copyright holders.” The complaint names YouTube, LLC, Google, LLC, and parent company Alphabet, Inc. as defendants.

The complaint alleges, “YouTube has facilitated and induced this hotbed of copyright infringement through its development and implementation of a copyright enforcement system that protects only the most powerful copyright owners such as major studios and record labels.”

These large content owners can use a tool called Content ID that “compares videos being uploaded on YouTube to a catalog of copyrighted material submitted by those entities permitted to utilize Content ID.” Unfortunately, this tool is not available to ordinary users.

Ordinary creators must use manual means to locate illegal postings of their works, only after they are posted, and then file individual takedown notices with YouTube. According to the complaint, YouTube also limits the number of takedown notices they will process for individual users.

The complaint alleges that this system is “deliberate and designed and designed to maximize YouTube’s … focused but reckless drive for user volume and advertising revenue.” The complaint claims that the companies now earn $15 billion in advertising revenues from advertising and additional money from the personal data it collects on users.

The complaint alleges that the site facilitates the piracy, allowing quick uploading of materials “with no prepublication diligence” as to whether the work belongs to the posters or not. According to the complaint, Google does not even use anti-piracy tools it previously used elsewhere to avoid infringement.

The complaint alleges that the companies are responsible for the copyright infringement that takes place on YouTube because they are not entitled to any of the safe harbors provided by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Two classes have been proposed for this action.

The first is all persons holding the exclusive right to publicly perform, reproduce, publicly display, or distribute film, audiovisual, or musical works over the internet for works first going into the public domain after December 31, 1977 whose copyrighted works have been uploaded to YouTube within the relevant statute of limitations, whether the upload is the works in their entirety or only a portion of them, where the person has had to submit a successful takedown notice and where the work has been infringed or uploaded again without permission, and where the person has not benefitted from the YouTube Content ID program.

The second is all persons holding the exclusive right to publicly perform, reproduce, publicly display, or distribute film, audiovisual, or musical works over the internet for works first published after 1976, whose works have been uploaded to YouTube without the associated copyright management information within the relevant statutes of limitations.