Toyota Defective Fuel Pump Can Cause Shutdowns New Jersey Class Action

The complaint for this New Jersey class action introduces its allegations in stark terms: “This action concerns a dangerous defect in the low-pressure fuel pump … which can fail and cause Toyota’s most popular models … to unexpectedly stall and cause engine shut down even when the vehicle is at high speeds, presenting an immediate and unreasonable risk of physical injury or death.”

The class for this action is all persons or entities in New Jersey who owned or leased a Toyota or Lexus vehicle with the defective Denso low-pressure fuel pump.

The defendants in the case are a group of Toyota companies, including Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor North America, Inc. According to the complaint, the defective fuel pumps “cause unpredictable acceleration and engine stalls and render the [vehicles in question] unsafe to operate.”

Toyota has now issued three rounds of recalls, to include 1.8 million vehicles. As of the date of filing of this complaint, the vehicles included are all Toyota and Lexus models that use the Denso low-pressure fuel pumps and fuel pump assemblies, including pumps that begin with part number prefix 23220- and 23221-.

  • 2013-2015 Lexus LS 460 sedans
  • 2013-2015 Lexus GS 350 sedans
  • 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUVs and Lexus IS-F sedans
  • 2014-2015 Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Land Cruiser, Lexus GX 460, and Lexus LX 570 SUVs
  • 2014-2015 Lexus IS350 sedans
  • 2015 Lexus NX 200t SUVs and RC 350 coupes
  • 2017 Lexus IS 200t sedans and RC 200t coupes
  • 2017 and 2019 Toyota Sienna minivans and Lexus RX 350 SUVs
  • 2018-2019 Lexus GS 300 sedans
  • 2018-2019 Toyota Avalon, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Lexus ES 350, Lexus GS 350, Lexus IS 300, Lexus LS 500, Lexus LS500h, and Lexus IS 350 sedans
  • 2018-2019 Toyota Highlander and Sequoia SUVs and Tacoma and Tundra trucks
  • 2018-2019 Lexus LC 500, LC 500h, RC 300, and RC350 coupes and RX 350L SUVs
  • 2020 Toyota Highlander

However, the complaint claims that other vehicles may be involved as well.

The low-pressure fuel pump, in the tank, pushes fuel into the fuel injection system; the impeller is a plastic disc that rotates, draws in fuel, and pushes it on to a second pump. The complaint alleges, “The Toyota Recalls described the defect as the impeller deforming which resulted in blockage of the flow of fuel to the engine.”

By the third recall, the description was more detailed, speaking of impellers “manufactured with lower density. If these impellers are also (1) of a type with lower surface strength or (2) of a different type [that] were exposed to production solvent drying for longer periods of time, higher levels of surface cracking may occur.” This may cause the impeller to absorb more fuel, leading to deformation. “In some cases, the impeller may deform to a point that creates sufficient interference with the fuel pump” that the fuel pump stops working.

The counts include breach of contract, breaches of warranties, and fraudulent concealment, among other things.

Facebook Collects Instagram Facial Geometry Scans BIPA Class Action

Facebook, Inc. owns the Instagram social media platform. The complaint for this class action alleges, “Earlier this year Facebook agreed to pay $650 million to settle a class action that accuses the company of illegally harvesting the protected biometrics of users of its Facebook platform. As set forth below, Facebook also illegally harvests the protected biometrics of users of its Instagram application.” The suit is brought under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

The class for this action is all Illinois residents who had their biometric identifiers, including facial geometry scans, collected, captured, received, or otherwise obtained by Facebook through photos uploaded on the Instagram app.

Instagram lets users share photos and videos, direct messages, and short-term photos and videos called “stories” which are removed after twenty-four hours.

According to the complaint, Facebook has “readily admitted” that it collects biometrics from Instagram photos and videos. “Its facial recognition software works by scanning faces of unnamed people in photos or videos to analyze details of individuals’ faces and creating a corresponding ‘face template’ for each face, and then storing that fact template for later use and/or matching it to those already in a database of identified people.”

While Facebook says that users have control of the process because they can turn the facial recognition function off, the complaint claims that this is misleading. Users can turn the function off for their own accounts, the complaint says, but their faces may still be scanned in photos posted by other users.

The law at issue in this class action is the Illinois Biometric Privacy Information Act (BIPA). It requires that private entities that wish to collect biometric information do a number of things:

  • They must inform the subject that the biometric identifier is being collected or stored.
  • They must inform the subject of the specific purpose and length of term for which the biometrics will be collected, stored, and used.
  • They must get a written release from the subject.

BIPA also requires that they must develop a written policy that they make available to the public with a retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying any biometrics collected once the initial purpose has been satisfied or within three years of the last interaction with the subject, whichever comes first.

The complaint alleges, “Facebook surreptitiously captures its Instagram users’ protected biometrics without their informed consent, and worse yet, without actually informing them of its practice. Upon information and belief, once Facebook captures its Instagram users’ protected biometrics, it uses them to bolster its facial recognition abilities across all of its products … and shares this information among various entities.”

The complaint alleges that some of Facebook’s patent filings show that Facebook has “commercial purposes in developing its facial recognition technologies.”

While Facebook posts a supplemental California Privacy Notice that informs users that it collects biometrics, the complaint alleges that it’s an after-the-fact notice that does not offer any opt-out provision up front and cannot meet the requirements of BIPA.

Capital One Repeated Credit Offers to Deceased Spouse FCRA Class Action

When a person’s spouse dies, does that person have the right to be left undisturbed by mail solicitations for credit cards for the deceased spouse? The complaint for this class action claims that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Wisconsin statutory Right of Privacy, and common law all say yes. It brings suit against Capital One Bank (USA), NA for obtaining credit information under false pretenses and for sending repeated pre-screened credit offers even after it was requested to stop.

Plaintiff Alfred Knox lost his wife Gloria Knox around January 1, 2009.

While he was still grieving, Knox began to receive mailing from Capital One addressed to his deceased wife, offering her a credit card. offers. The complaint claims that Knox was “distressed and distraught to receive these offers of credit in mail addressed to Ms. Knox.”

The mailings included a number for the National Consumer Opt-Out Hotline. The hotline’s purpose, the complaint says, is to let consumers “elect to have the consumer’s name and address excluded from any list provided by a consumer reporting agency in connection with a credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by the consumer and stop receiving firm offers of credit or insurance that are not initiated by the consumer.” The hotline is jointly maintained by the three main credit reporting agencies (CRAs), Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Knox called this national hotline in 2017 and asked that solicitations for his wife be discontinued because she was deceased.

The complaint says, “Upon information and belief, the credit reports that The Three CRAs provided to Capital One stated that Gloria Knox was deceased.”

Around March 2018, the complaint claims, “after receiving what he estimated to be hundreds of these solicitations purporting to offer credit to his deceased spouse, [Knox] contacted Capital One by telephone to advise Capital One that Ms. Knox had passed away…” The representative apologized and said that the offers would stop. However, they continued to arrive.

Also, in the summer of 2018, Capital One made two telephone calls to Knox. Each time, Knox told them his wife was deceased and asked them to stop their solicitations. Still, he continued to receive the solicitations addressed to his wife, sometimes as often as four times a week.

The complaint alleges, “Capital One acted with blatant, intentional, and willful disregard in obtaining Ms. Knox’s credit information from consumer reporting agencies…”

The class for this action is

  • All natural persons in the USA
  • Who contacted the national Opt Out hotline,
  • To request that Capital One cease mailing prescreened offers of credit and insurance to them or to third parties on whose behalf they are authorized to act, including those for whom they are the legal parent, guardian, executor, administrator, and
  • To whom Capital One continued to send prescreened offers of credit and insurance to the person’s address
  • Which were mailed between September 9, 2018 and September 9, 2020.

Chrysler and Dodge Vehicles Separating Trim Class Action

Three vehicles made by FCA US, LLC have interior trim that begins to separate from the backing, primarily on the front doors, says the complaint to this class action, and in other places as well. The complaint alleges breaches of warranty, among other things, on certain Chrysler 300s, Dodge Chargers, and Dodge Daytonas.

The class for this action is all US persons or entities that currently own or lease, or formerly owned or leased, a 2014-2021 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, or Dodge Daytona, and either (1) paid out of pocket to repair the defect or (2) sold or surrendered the vehicle. California and Texas Subclasses have also been defined.

FCA is the third-largest auto manufacturer in the US. The complaint alleges that FCA sold the subject vehicles “with a particular defect—defective interior trim panels which peel away from the adjacent surface of the vehicle frame….” Some customers have termed this “delamination of the panels.” The complaint describes it this way: “Essentially the interior door panels begin to separate and rise up next to the window, generally expanding to cross nearly the entire bottom of the window.”

The defect is most obvious on the front driver and passenger doors, the complaint says, but “also happens to a lesser extent on the rear door panels” and “smaller panels that pull away from the center console area between the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat. Lastly, the dashboard also pulls away from the front windshield.”

This leaves the inner cavities of doors and other spaces exposed.

The complaint says this separation “raises serious safety concerns about the proper operation of side air bags, door locks, anti-theft mechanisms, and heating/cooling systems.” In addition, it says, complaints on this defect “have become so widespread … that the value of the vehicles at issue has been substantially reduced.”

The complaint claims that “[o]n information and belief, [FCA] learned of the Defect at least as early as 2015” through sources such as report from dealer service departments, consumer complaints, and replacement parts sales data. However, the complaint alleges that FCA has not corrected the defect during its manufacturing process and continues to sell the vehicles without warning customers.

According to the complaint, “If the Defect manifests itself during the warranty period, [FCA] generally offers to replace the interior panels at issue. The replacement panels, however, have the same Defect and will eventually separate from the frame and become warped and deformed like the replaced panels.” There is therefore no permanent, in-warranty fix, the complaint claims.

In addition, the complaint says, FCA “has not taken appropriate steps to order the replacement parts it knows will be needed” so customers must wait “on average several months for the repair to be completed.” However, the complaint claims that the defect usually doesn’t manifest until after the warranty expires.

Kellogg Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts Contain Other Fruit New York Class Action

Frosted Pop-Tarts toaster pastries are made by the Kellogg Sales Company. At issue in this case are the Frosted Strawberry variety, which the complaint for this class action claims are misleadingly labeled, “because the label gives consumers the impression the fruit filling only contains strawberries as its fruit ingredient.”

The class for this action is all those who live in New York and bought the product during the applicable statute of limitations.

On the second page of the complaint is an image of a “family pack” of the product. Directly under the name “Pop-Tarts” are the words “Frosted Strawberry,” on a red banner with an image of a half of a strawberry. Below that is an image of one or two of the items (depending on the size of the package), broken open with their red filling showing.

A few lines below the image is a reproduction of the product’s ingredient panel. All the fruit ingredients come after the words “Contains 2% or less of…” The fruit ingredients are, in order, dried strawberries, dried pears, and dried apples. Near the bottom of the panel is another ingredient identified as “red 40.”

The complaint claims, “Consumers do not expect a food labeled with the unqualified term ‘Strawberry’ to contain fruit filling ingredients other than strawberry, and certainly do not expect pears and apples, as indicated on the back of the box ingredient list.”

This, the complaint alleges, makes the name “Frosted Strawberry” “misleading[.]” How? The complaint quotes food regulations, adding inserts pertinent to the product in brackets: because it “includes or suggests the name of one [strawberries] or more but not all [pears and apples] such ingredients, even though the names of all such ingredients are stated elsewhere in the labeling.”

It adds the following quotation from the regulations: “The common or usual name of a food shall include the percentage(s) of any characterizing ingredient(s) … when the proportion of such ingredient(s) … in the food has a material bearing on price or consumer acceptance or when the labeling or the appearance of the food may otherwise create an erroneous impression that such ingredient(s) … is present in an amount greater than is actually the case.”

According to the complaint, strawberries are the “characterizing ingredient” “because their proportion has a material bearing on price and consumer acceptance.” Also, “the labeling creates an erroneous impression that strawberries are present in an amount greater than is actually the case.” The red 40, which is a food coloring, “increases the redness of the filling, as seen on the front label.”

Thus, the complaint says, “[Kellogg’s] branding of the Product is designed to—and does—deceive, mislead, and defraud … consumers.”

Sara Lee Frozen Bakery “All Butter” Pound Cake New York Class Action

At issue in this case is a pound cake made by Sara Lee Frozen Bakery, LLC. The product is labeled as an “All Butter Pound Cake.” However, the complaint for this class action alleges that butter is not the only shortening used, as the ingredient list shows “soybean oil” as well.

The class for this action is all those who bought the product during the applicable statutes of limitations who live in New York.

The second page of the complaint shows an image of the top of the packaging with the labeling. It includes the words, “All Butter Pound Cake,” “No Artificial Flavors,” and “No Colors from Artificial Sources.”

The all-butter promise is important, the complaint claims, not just because it’s so prominently featured on the package, but because “[c]onsumers prefer butter to chemically produced ‘vegetable’ oils when baking for reasons including taste, health and avoidance of highly processed artificial substitutes for butter.” Butter is also a more expensive ingredient than substitutes like soybean or canola oil.

According to the complaint, “Where a food is labeled as ‘Butter _____’ or uses the word ‘butter’ in conjunction with the food name, reasonable consumers will expect all of the shortening ingredients to be butter.” The complaint therefore alleges that the representations on the label are misleading because this product also contains soybean oil. A reproduction of the ingredient panel is included on the third page of the complaint.

There’s another objection as well. Also on the ingredient list is “Annatto (Color).” Annatto is a food coloring that makes a product look yellower. The complaint says, “The use of annatto is permitted in butter, but used in the Product, [it] gives the consumer the impression that the Product contain more butter than it does and only contains butter as its shortening ingredient.”

The complaint concludes, “[Sara Lee’s] branding and packaging of the Product is designed to—and does—deceive, mislead, and defraud” those who buy it.

It also claims that Sara Lee “sold more of the Product and at higher prices than it would have in the absence of this misconduct, resulting in additional profits at the expense of consumers…” Because of the substitution of soybean oil for butter, the complaint alleges that the value of the pound cake “was materially less than its value as represented by” Sara Lee.

The counts include violations of New York’s General Business Law, negligent misrepresentation, breaches of warranties, fraud, and unjust enrichment.

LG Electronics Pay, Overtime, Breaks California Class Action

LG Electronics USA, Inc. makes home appliances, electronics, and mobile communications products— refrigerators, air conditioners, cell phones, televisions, washing machines, and so on. Unfortunately, the complaint for this California class action makes allegations that are all too common—that employees are not paid for all hours worked and not properly compensated for missed meal or rest breaks—plus a few others. It brings suit under the California Labor Code, Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders, and the California Business and Professions Code.

Plaintiff Taijin Park worked for LG as a non-exempt employee, from around May 2014 to around February 17, 2020.

Park claims that during his term of employment, he worked more than eight hours per day or forty hours per week, but was not given proper pay for the overtime hours. He says he had to review documents and attend internal company meetings outside of his scheduled shifts. According to the complaint, LG did not pay him at least California’s minimum wage for all hours worked, and it denied his requests for overtime pay.

Another claim the complaint makes is that Park was not given the required meal and rest breaks. He says he was, for example, required to work through his lunch break. While this is not in itself illegal, California law requires companies who do this to compensate employees with an extra hour’s pay for the day. The law also requires that meal and rest periods be given at specific intervals.

Park alleges that he was neither given breaks at the proper intervals nor provided with the additional hour of pay. On some days, when he worked a shift of more than ten hours, he was not provided with the required second meal break.

Because of the lack of proper payments while Park was working for LG, he had not received all wages due, within the required period, at the end of his employment. California law provides that in such situations, workers are “entitled to continuing wages” for up to another thirty days. The complaint adds, “[LG’s] conduct of forcing [Park] and other employees to execute a release of wage claims in order to receive their final pay is unconscionable and in violation of [the] California Labor Code…”

The complaint further claims that LG did not keep an accurate account of Park’s working hours and did not provide him with accurate and detailed wage statements.

Finally, the complaint claims the company never compensated him for unused vacation time.

The class for this action is all non-exempt LG employees who worked in California at any time between September 9, 2016 through the date of filing of a motion for certification of the class in this case.

A number of subclasses have also been proposed:

  • Minimum Wage Subclass
  • Overtime Subclass
  • Rest Period Subclass
  • Meal Period Subclass
  • Paid Time Off Subclass
  • Waiting Time Penalty Subclass

PaperlessPay Corp. Data Breach of Payroll Information Class Action

PaperlessPay Corporation does payroll for other companies. The complaint for this class action alleges that PaperlessPay is responsible for a data breach it suffered, exposing the personally identifying information (PII) of employees for Prisma Health-Midlands (PHM) and other companies.

The class for this action is all persons whose PII was compromised in the data breach and who were sent notice of the data breach. A PHM Subclass has been defined to include empolees of PHM.

The complaint claims, “On or about February 29, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (‘DHS’) notified Paperlessay that a dark web advertisement offered for safe ‘access’ to PaperlessPay’s SQL database server.”

“Over the following weeks,” the complaint alleges, PaperlessPay cooperated with the joint investigation conducted by [DHS] and the [F]ederal Bureau of Investigation (‘FBI’).”

In addition, PaperlessPay hired a cybersecurity company, Ankura, to investigate. Ankura found that “at a minimum, on February 18, 2020, an unauthorized individual entered the server which stored the employee data … and possibly staged an exfiltration from the server.”

On or around March 20, 2020, PaperlessPay informed the companies whose employee data was on the server of the data breach. Unfortunately, it was not able to confirm the extent of the access.

The PII exposed in the cyberattack included names, addresses, full bank account numbers, payroll and withholding information, and Social Security numbers. The information belonged not just to employees of PHM but also of Marshall Medical Center (MMC), Community Memorial Health System (CMHS), Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), MP Environmental Services, Inc. (MPE), Fareway Stores, Inc. (Fareway), and Lee Auto Malls.

Most of these companies offered affected employees a year or two of credit monitoring when they sent them notice of the breach. (OUC only sent notice, without any offer of credit monitoring.) However, the complaint notes that stolen identity information may be held for years before it is used.

The complaint alleges that PaperlessPay “failed to properly monitor the computer network and systems that housed the PII. Had PaperlessPay properly monitored its property, it would have discovered the intrusion sooner.”

Also, it says that PaperlessPay and PHM “maintained the PII in a reckless manner. In particular, the PII was maintained on Defendant PaperlessPay’s computer network in a condition vulnerable to cyberattacks. Upon information and belief, the mechanism of the cyberattack and potential for improper disclosure of … PII was a known risk” to PaperlessPay and PHM.

The counts in the complaint include negligence, breach of express contract, breach of implied contract, intrusion upon seclusion/invasion of privacy, and breach of confidence.

American Airlines Charges for “Free” Checked Bag Class Action

According to the complaint for this class action, in 2019, American Airlines, Inc. (AA) earned over $1.4 billion in baggage fees. AA now offers to allow certain customers to check bags for free now, but the complaint alleges that “AA systematically required these passengers to pay to check bags and thus breached its contract with affected passengers.”

Which passengers were to be exempt from paying baggage charges? The complaint points to
customers who flew frequently in AA’s loyalty program AAdvantage, customers who purchased first or business class tickets, and customers who held AA’s branded credit cards.”

Two of the five plaintiffs in this case, William and Katherine Cleary, bought roundtrip tickets to travel between Los Angeles and Dallas. They purchased the tickets from AA’s website. According to the complaint, the purchase of the ticket established a contract between the Clearys and AA which stipulated that they could each check their first bag at no charge. This term was included both in the confirmation screens they saw as they were concluding their booking and in the confirmation e-mails AA then sent to them.

“However, when the Clearys arrived at the airport on March 21, 2017, each with a bag to check,” the complaint alleges, “AA required them to pay to check each bag, and similarly [required them to pay] upon their return three days later. They paid the fees.”

In March 2018, plaintiff Judy Crosson received an e-mail from AA telling her she had received “Gold Status” that was valid through May 25, 2018. On May 14, she bought a roundtrip ticket from Dallas to Myrtle Beach online from AA. Crosson received a confirmation e-mail from AA telling her that she would not be charged for her first bag. However, when Crosson appeared at the airport on August 26, 2018, the airline required her to pay to check her bag.

Similar things happened to plaintiffs Eric Earll and Filippo Ferrigni. Earll had a Citi/AAdvantage Premium Select credit card that allowed him to check his first bag for free, but the check-in agent told him the computer did not show a free bag.

Ferrigni had applied for an AA-partner credit card, but at the airport he was told that he could only have a free bag on domestic flights. He was charged on that flight and on the return, as well as on a third flight that was part of his itinerary but was completely domestic.

The complaint alleges breach of contract.

The class includes all persons who bought a ticket for air travel on AA subject to AA promises that their ticket would allow them to check a specified number of bags for free, when in fact AA require them to pay to check one or more bags, during the relevant statute of limitations period before the filing of this complaint.

AGA, Jefferson, or BCS Event or Travel Insurance Surcharge California Class Action

When a person buys an airline or event ticket online, a late step in the process may be an offer of insurance. The complaint for this class action alleges that AGA Service Co., which does business as Allianz Global Assistance (AGA), Jefferson Insurance Company, and BCS Insurance Company “secretly and unfairly charge unsuspecting consumers additional fees, on top the calculated premium, without disclosing that they are charging those fees.”

California requires that insurers get approval of their rates and to make those rates clear to customers. Other rules apply if an insurer wants to charge an extra fee for services. The complaint says that “producers must identify any fees they charge separately from the premium and in sufficient detail for consumers to understand the fees and for there to be a determination that the fees are in compliance with the insurance laws and regulations.”

How do AGA, Jefferson, and BCS justify the extra fees they charge? The complaint says they “represent[] that the fees are for a supposed assistance service. That service purports to allow insureds to spend time on the telephone with AGA’s customer service representatives to request information about various topics, such as directions, weather, restaurants, hotels, new travel arrangements, and possibly medical needs.”

However, the complaint says, the purchasers of insurance are not actually aware of this service and don’t want it. What they see online is an offer that “is plainly described as ‘Ticket Insurance’ and ‘Event Ticket Insurance for an additional $[amount] per ticket.’” In reality, the complaint claims, the quoted amount includes both insurance and the additional service.

For example, if a price of $9 is quoted, the price may include $7.53 for the insurance and $1.47 for the assistance service. According to the complaint, “[t]he ‘assistance’ service is essentially a toll-free service line to customer service representatives.” While there may be a hyperlink to a “Plan details and disclosures” page, the complaint says consumers are likely to go through the transaction without knowing they have paid extra for access to a toll-free service line.

Two classes have been defined for this action.

The Event Ticket Insurance Class is all natural persons who bought event ticket insurance policies from AGA, Jefferson, or BCS while living in California, between September 4, 2016 and the present, excluding those who used AGA’s assistance services.

The Trip Insurance Class is all natural persons who bought trip, travel, or flight insurance policies from AGA, Jefferson, or BCS while living in California, between September 4, 2016 and the present, excluding those who used AGA’s assistance services.