Total Customer Services Illegal Debt Collection Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that Total Customer Services violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by leaving voice messages on consumers’ answering machines that failed to properly identify that Total Customer Services was a debt collector attempting to collect on a debt.

The FDCPA is designed to prohibit unfair debt collection practices.  The FDCPA has “per se” violations, which means that such a violation is automatically a violation of the FDCPA.  To prohibit harassment and abuses by debt collectors, the FDCPA, at 15 U.S.C. § 1692d, provides that a debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt and names a non-exhaustive list of certain per se violations of harassing and abusive collection conduct. 15 U.S.C. § 1692d(l)-(6). Among the per se violations prohibited by that section are the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller's identity. 15 U.S.C. § 1692d(6).

This lawsuit alleges that Total Customer Services violated the FDCPA by among other acts:

  • Leaving messages for consumers, which fail to provide meaningful disclosure of Defendant's identity;
  • Leaving messages for consumers, which fail to disclose that the call is from a debt collector; and
  • Leaving messages for consumers, which fail to disclose the purpose or nature of the communication (i.e. an attempt to collect a debt).

Sunoco Rewards Card Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that Sunoco does not always pay the 5 cent per gallon discount it advertises to Sunoco Rewards Credit Card cardholders.

It is common practice for gas companies to offer reward programs to consumers who use the gas company’s credit card to purchase gas.  Sunoco offers a 5 cent per gallon discount to all consumers that first open a Sunoco Rewards Credit Card and then use that card to purchase gas at a Sunoco gas station.

The complaint goes to some length to chronicle Sunoco’s efforts to market the 5 cent per gallon discount, reciting the advertising and claims on Sunoco’s web site as well as photographs of Sunoco’s brochures.

The plaintiff in this case used the Sunoco Credit Card in January, 2015 and then again in April, 2015.  He noticed that he did not receive the 5 cent discount.  The lawsuit alleges that he contacted Sunoco and was even told he should get the discount, but Sunoco at no time ever gave him the discount.

Consequently, he brought this suit and seeks to represent a class of cardholders that did not get the promised 5 cent per gallon discount when using their Sunoco Rewards Credit Card at Sunoco gas stations.

Nutritional Brands Junk Fax Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that Nutritional Brands sent unsolicited faxes to various persons and business in violation of federal law.

The Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005, 47 USC § 227 prohibits a business from sending faxes to other businesses or persons without express consent from the receiving party.  The law places a $500 per fax fine on the sender.

It is about that clear.

In this case the plaintiff Scoma Chiropractic received a unsolicited fax from Nutritional Brands in May, 2015.  The complaint alleges that it was part of a broad marketing campaign and thousands of others also received unsolicited faxes.

Not much else to say.  Its that simple.

Baby Orajel Naturals Class Action Lawsuit

This class action alleges that Church & Dwight violates consumer protection laws in the marketing and design of Baby Orajel Naturals teething tablets, Baby Orajel Naturals teething gel and Baby Orajel Naturals nighttime teething gel.

Church & Dwight sell a brand of baby teething products under the label Baby Orajel Naturals.  These products include:
Baby Orajel Naturals teething tablets,
Baby Orajel Naturals teething gel, and 
Baby Orajel Naturals nighttime teething gel.

The complaint alleges that those supposedly “natural” products however contain many synthetic chemicals, including:

  • Calcarea Phosphorica is a white, amorphous, tasteless, odorless powder. It is extracted from bones by dissolving them in hydrochloric acid and precipitating with ammonium hydroxide.  
  • Sodium benzoate is produced by the neutralization of benzoic acid with sodium hydroxide, or by adding benzoic acid to a hot concentrated solution of sodium carbonate until effervescence ceases. The solution is then evaporated, cooled and allowed to crystalize or evaporate to dryness, and then granulated. It does not occur naturally.  Sodium benzoate has been shown to cause DNA damage and chromosomal aberrations.  When sodium benzoate combines with ascorbic acid (an ingredient common in many food products) the two substances can react to produce benzene, which is a highly toxic carcinogen. 
  • Potassium Sorbate is created by using potassium hydroxide (KOH) to neutralize sorbic acid Studies have shown Potassium Sorbate to have genotoxic effects on humans and other mammals.  It causes chromosomal aberrations in cells, which can trigger the development of cancer.
  • Magnesium Stearate is a white powder synthesized by the reaction of sodium stearate and magnesium sulfate. Magnesium stearate is used as a lubricant for pharmaceutical preparations and as an anti-sticking agent in medical devices. 
  • Glycerin is a factory-produced texturizer that is created by complex processing.  It is commonly used as a filler and thickening agent. It requires multiple processing steps in an industrial environment to create Glycerin. 
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose is a modified cellulose polymer. It is used as a gelling and thickening agent.
  • Sorbic Acid is a chemical preservative. It is produced commercially by condensing crotonaldehyde and ketene in the presence of boron trifluoride.

The lawsuit alleges that calling its products natural while knowingly adding the above chemicals violates state consumer protection laws.

Volvo Defective Satellite Receiver Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that Volvo has a software flaw in its satellite radio receiver such that the device continues to search for a satellite signal even when the car is not running.  This drains the car’s battery when the car is not running, which in turn prevents the car owner from starting their car.

All cars are equipped to receive a satellite signal.  This is used obviously for satellite radio and such services as OnStar.  

Volvo installs hardware in all its vehicles to receive a satellite signal.  This hardware is termed “rdar”.  The complaint alleges that there is a bug in the rdar’s software such that rdar continues to search for a signal even when the ignition is off – thereby draining the battery.  The lawsuit further alleges that Volvo knows all about this defect, which is easily fixed with a “software upgrade” to the rdar. Volvo has not disclosed this defect to its customers, however. 

Finally, the complaint also alleges that Volvo is effectively holding its customers hostage by refusing to install the “software upgrade” without a charge of hundreds of dollars to repair a defective device that is unnecessary for the car's safe operation and is, in many cases, simply unwanted.

This lawsuit alleges that Volvo’s conduct violates state consumer protection laws.

ESL Teachers Off Clock Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that  Zoni Language Centers required english as a second language teachers work off the clock preparing for classes and grading tests and homework assignments in violation of federal and state employment laws.  The complaint also alleges that the company failed to provide the most basic notice requirements and time keeping requirements under state law.

Each of the named plaintiffs are teachers at  Zoni Language Centers.  Each teach english as a second language.  Each assert that she had to work many hours each week off the clock preparing for classes or grading tests and homework assignments.  Each allege that she was not paid for this extra time.  Each allege that this work was critical to job performance.

This case may turn on the control asserted by  Zoni Language Centers over the work each plaintiff performed.  The complaint alleges as follows:

  • Plaintiffs are forced to follow strict teaching models; specifically, defendants require plaintiffs to follow defendants teaching methodologies by including speaking, listening, writing, and reading into every lesson plan;
  • Plaintiffs have to teach information from the books defendants require the students to purchase from the school;
  • Plaintiffs have to enforce the defendants’ own conduct rules such as no cell phones, no early departure from class and enforce the requirement that the books the students use have to be purchased from defendants;
  • Plaintiffs have to request time off a month in advance, and such requests may be approved or denied by a supervisor;
  • Defendants dock Plaintiffs pay for late arrival or early departures;
  • Plaintiffs have no power to remove students with behavior problems from their classes; they have to write reports of repeated offenses of rudeness, disruption, and rule breaking in order for a supervisor to decide whether a student will be removed from the class

Best Buy GroupMe Unpaid Overtime Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that Best Buy required that its retail employees attend regular “GroupMe” meetings off the clock but did not pay for their attendance during non shift hours.

Most Best Buy employees work a 40 hour work week.  All hours above that time are paid at time and a half.  

This lawsuit alleges that Best Buy required employees attend “GroupMe” work related discussions during non-shift hours within Best Buy’s “groups” on the “GroupMe” smart phone application.  Participation in these GroupMe discussions during non-shift hours was mandatory and often required other work to be performed such as follow-up phone calls, e-mails, and text messages, as well as responding within the GroupMe application itself. 

Current and former employees of Best Buy required to perform this uncompensated off-the clock work include, but are not limited to, people in the following positions: 

  • Operations Supervisor, 
  • Merchandising Manager, 
  • Geek Squad Manager, 
  • Geek Squad Supervisor, 
  • Mobile Manager, 
  • Mobile Lead, 
  • Front End Lead, 
  • Home Theater Supervisor, 
  • Home Theater Lead, 
  • Inventory Supervisor, 
  • Asset Protection Specialist, 
  • Lifestyles Supervisor, and 
  • Lifestyles Lead. 

Medical Informatics Data Breach Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that Medical Informatics Engineering violated the law by having inadequate security protocols in place such that patients’ sensitive medical and financial records in its custody were stolen.

This is one of the growing number of data breach cases.  Medical Informatics Engineering, Inc. is an information and technology company, specializing in custom solutions to the maintenance of electronic health records and employee health management IT for health care providers.

In a July 23, 2015 press release, Medical Informatics Engineering stated that its systems had been hacked and that the following information about patients had been stolen:

  • The person’s name,
  • Telephone numbers,
  • Mailing addresses,
  • Usernames,
  • Hashed passwords,
  • Security questions and answers,
  • Spousal information (name and potentially date of birth),
  • Email address,
  • Date of birth,
  • Social Security number,
  • Lab results,
  • Health insurance policy information,
  • Diagnoses,
  • Disability codes,
  • Doctor’s names,
  • Medical conditions, and 
  • Children’s names and birth statistics

Medical Informatics Engineering further identified the following health care providers as those which were affected by the data breach, and the patients of these providers were those whose data was
taken:

  • Concentra
  • Allied Physicians, Inc. d/b/a Fort Wayne Neurological Center (including Neurology, Physical Medicine and Neurosurgery)
  • Franciscan St. Francis Health Indianapolis
  • Gynecology Center, Inc., Ft. Wayne
  • Rochester Medical Group
  • RediMed
  • Fort Wayne Radiology Association, LLC including d/b/a Nuvena Vein Center and Dexa Diagnostics
  • Open View MRI, LLC
  • Breast Diagnostic Center, LLC
  • P.E.T. Imaging Services, LLC
  • MRI Center – Fort Wayne Radiology, Inc. (d/b/a Advanced Imaging Systems, Inc.)

This lawsuit may rise or fall based on proof of actual damages.

FGX Merchandiser Unpaid Wages Class Action Lawsuit

FGX International employees Merchandisers.  These are employees that go to retail stores and collect information regarding product placement and to update each store's inventory.  FGX pays Merchandisers on a per store visit basis and not hourly.  This lawsuit alleges that this pay structure violates federal and state laws regarding minimum wage, overtime pay and unpaid off the clock work.

Plaintiff was previously employed by FGX as a Merchandiser. During the course of her employment, FGX employed hundreds of persons throughout South Carolina as Merchandisers. 

The lawsuit alleges that FGX sent its Merchandisers to retail stores to collect and record information about product placement and inventory. Merchandisers also installed, set up, maintained, and took down product displays. Merchandisers then relayed to FGX information collected on their visits including how much product to order for each store. FGX did not, however, pay the Merchandisers for all the time that it required them to work and did not reimburse them for their required and employment-related use of internet access and cell phone service. 

Further, the complaint alleges that instead of compensating Merchandisers for the reasonably approximate costs of the business use of their vehicles, FGX payed Merchandisers a flat rate per store that results in the payment of an unreasonably low reimbursement rate beneath any reasonable approximation of the expenses they incur. During some or all workweeks, unreimbursed expenses and off-the clock work by Merchandisers caused their wages to fall below the wage rate required by federal and state minimum wage laws and resulted in FGX's failure to properly pay Merchandisers for overtime hours worked. 

This lawsuit alleges that this pay structure violates federal and state law.

Bank of America Illegal Debit Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that Bank oF America, Encore Capital and Asset Acceptance Corp violated various federal laws when Bank of America relying on legacy information about the plaintiffs, began electronically debiting their PNC bank account to pay off a disputed consumer debt.  

The plaintiffs had incurred a consumer debt with Bank of America sometime before June, 2012.  To pay off that debt, the plaintiffs had authorized Bank of America to debt their bank account at PNC Bank on a reoccurring basis.

In June, 2012, the plaintiffs stopped making payments on the debt and revoked their authorization for Bank of America to automatically debit their PNC bank account.  Those electronic debits ceased.

Bank of America sold or somehow transferred the debt to Asset Acceptance who subsequently brought suit in Pennsylvania state court in August, 2013.  Plaintiffs defended that lawsuit which was subsequently dismissed without prejudice. 

Asset Acceptance transferred the debt to Encore Capital.

Beginning in August, 2013, Bank of America began electronically debiting the plaintiffs PNC bank account $100 to satisfy the disputed consumer debt.  Bank of America did so even though the plaintiffs had specifically revoked Bank of America’s authorization to debit the PNC bank account.

The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs spent a good deal of time working with Bank of America to reverse these unauthorized electronic debts, to no avail.

This suit followed.  It alleges violations of a variety of important federal statutes.