Goodman Amana Leaking Air Conditioner Evaporator Coil Class Action

This lawsuit alleges that Goodman Amana violated state consumer protection laws and express and implied warranties with certain of its air conditioners, because the air conditioners’ evaporator coils were prone to leaking. The action covers people and entities in Florida who bought these Goodman Amana products from July 1, 2006 through February 2, 2012, and who suffered damages because of the leaking refrigerant.

The plaintiff alleges that evaporator coils used in the products were defective and that they developed leaks prematurely under normal use. Buyers of these air conditioners have therefore had to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to diagnose and repair the problems and to replace the leaked refrigerant.

The life expectancy of central air conditioning units is thought to be about fifteen years. Consumers can thus expect them to work for about ten years, or even longer, without needing major repairs.

An air conditioner’s evaporator coil is made up of piping filled with a refrigerant. As air passes over the coil, the coil takes heat from the air, and the cooler air is sent back out. An air conditioner should never use up or run out of refrigerant because the refrigerant is simply a medium used to transfer heat from the inside to the outside of a building. The only way refrigerant is lost is through a leak in the system.

The plaintiffs allege that the evaporator coils in Goodman products leaked because the copper tubing was too thin and prematurely corroded and had holes or cracks. They point out that chemicals common in indoor air, such as formaldehyde from cleaning products, can convert to formic acid in the copper coil and cause pinholes that allow the refrigerant to leak.

Also, the Clean Air Act of 1990 required that the refrigerant Freon be phased out in air conditioning systems, and that more environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient substances be used. However, these newer refrigerants operate a much higher pressures than Freon. According to the complaint, this worsened the leakage problem with Goodman air conditioners.

The complaint quotes numerous online postings from buyers (and even HVAC technicians) who have had leakage problems with the Goodman products; some mention having to make the same repair more than once. The complaint alleges that one Goodman dealer said that 80% of the Goodman products handled by his company had had leakage problems. It also alleges that, for a time, Goodman offered some of its distributors an allowance of $300 per unit because it knew how widespread the leakage problems were.

Despite the vulnerability of the copper coils, Goodman’s warranty only offered to replace defective parts. It did not cover the expenses of having HVAC repair people diagnose the problem and install the new parts, or the cost of replacement refrigerant.

MASTIC Home Exteriors Oasis Composite Decking Class Action Lawsuit

In January 2014, Massachusetts resident Anthony Pagliaroni sued Mastic Home Exteriors and Deceuninck North America, LLC  alleging that the companies failed to properly design, develop, test, manufacture, distribute, market and sell composite decking products (Oasis Composite Decking), in violation of state consumer protection laws. Pagliaroni claimed multiple defects in the products made them prone to severe cracking, warping, and discoloration requiring premature replacement.  

In August 2006, Pagliaroni’s contractor purchased Oasis decking to build a raised deck on his home. The products are made from yellow pine wood flour mixed with high density polyethylene and designed to look and work like natural wood but without ongoing maintenance requirements. The products were advertised as “engineered to outlast and out perform ordinary wood and composite decks for years of enjoyment.” Oasis Decking included a multiple year warranties from Mastic and Deceuninck covering rot, decay, splitting, splintering and termite damage.

Pagliaroni noticed the decking was discoloring beginning to crack after one year. Severe warping, expansion and separation of the decking developed and continued over the next 3-4 years.  Pagiaroni and other purchasers alleged that the product warranties did not provide the coverage represented by the manufacturer and other involved companies.

Mastic and Deceuninck are alleged to have made representations regarding the decking with the intent and purpose of inducing suppliers, builders, and consumers to purchase and install the decking residential and commercial  structures. The suit alleges that because of the defective design and manufacture, the decking is inherently defective and certain to fall within the express warranty provided and that Mastic and Deceuninck failed in their duty to disclose that their Oasis Decking was defective, unreliable and inherently flawed in its design or manufacture.

The suit seeks class action certification for purchasers of Oasis decking alleging Mastic and Deceuninck failed to design, develop, test, manufacture, distribute, market and sell the product resulting in serious safety issues for the consumers as well as economic damages.

Fullbar Deceptive Advertising Class Action Lawsuit

This class action alleges that Fullbar claims that its protein bars are “100% Natural” and “All Natural” yet the protein bars contain Maltodextrin (a synthetic chemical) and also contain GMO derived ingredients.

Plaintiff Elizabeth Livingston asserts that despite Fullbar, LLC's proclamations that its appetite control products are fully naturally, they actually contain soy products in addition to synthetic maltodextrin. Both ingredients are derived from GMOs and are so highly processed as to render them no longer truly natural.

According to the allegations of the class action lawsuit, Fullbar is in violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and has breached express warranties, engaged in negligent misrepresentation and received unjust enrichment as a result of its conduct.

Fullbar, LLC is the maker of a range of diet bars in flavors that include chocolate, peanut butter, cranberry almond and the like. These products are advertised and packaged in such a way as to highlight their “all natural” characteristics, which are likely very important to the company's target demographic.

However, the Fullbar product at issue are not made entirely of “all natural” ingredients and in fact contain a series of synthetic additives that includes soy lecithin, soy protein concentrate and isolate, potato maltodextrin and more. Once a food product is manufactured with such ingredients, it no longer falls into the “all natural” category.

This class action lawsuit asserts that consumers who purchased Fulbar products were misled into doing so by the company's misleading quality and nutritional claims. Foods labeled “all natural” tend to command a higher price than those not characterized in that way, and consumers were therefore convinced that the higher price paid for Fullbar products was justified by their higher quality.

During the period between January and August of 2014, Elizabeth Livingston bought roughly 15 Fullbar products with the belief that the “all natural” labeling and claims made on the bars were legitimate and that the food items included no unnatural additives. Had she been aware of the synthetic substances that were actually contained in the bars, she would never have made those purchases.

Ultimately, the “100% natural” and “all natural” claims made on Fullbar products were misleading and demonstrably untrue. Purchasers therefore did not get their money's worth and sustained economic and other harm as a result of choosing to buy these diet bars in reliance on the company's false statements.

 

Candy Crush Deleted Lives Class Action Lawsuit

Candy Crush is wildly popular mobile game app, by some measures more popular than Twitter. It was created by King, a conglomerate of leading interactive entertainment companies for the mobile world. In December 2013, Candy Crush had an average of 93 million daily active users. In the fourth quarter of that years, Candy Crush gamers played over one billion games per day.

In 2013, Candy Crush grossed an estimated $1.9 billion for King. This massive revenue came from “In-App Purchases”—transactions where a player pays money for virtual items that can be used in the Candy Crush game.

For example, players start with five lives and are awarded a free life every thirty minutes, up to a limit of five. Players who have used up their five lives must wait thirty minutes until they can play again. However, because the game is addictive, players often don’t want to wait. In that case, they can but five “extra lives” for $.99. They can also link the game to their Facebook account and ask their friends for “donated lives”.

The purchased or donated lives are then saved in a virtual account for the player’s future use. Each player’s account thus holds items with a cash value. For example, if a player has five lives in her account, the account holds assets worth $.99.

The complaint alleges that in or around 2013, King began unilaterally removing lives from players’ accounts. This removal was done without the players’ prior knowledge or consent.

As a consequence, the complaint says, players bought replacement lives through In-App Purchases as substitutes for the lives improperly removed by King, thus enriching King. 

Angie’s List Manipulated Reviews and Ratings Class Action

Angie’s List offers consumers a listing of local service providers (plumbers, carpenters, masseuses, dentists, mechanics, etc.) along with reviews, rankings, and ratings. The beauty of Angie’s List is that it allows consumers who have already had experience with particular service providers to post reviews about them. Consumers pay a monthly fee to become members and get access to these supposedly unbiased reviews before hiring a service provider.

The class action alleges that, instead of providing unbiased and unfiltered information, Angie’s List secretly manipulates the information it posts for the company’s own economic gain.

According to Angie’s List, a service provider’s position in a member’s search results “is determined by their recent grades and number of reviews. Companies with the best ratings from members will appear first.” It also assures consumers that “service providers cannot influence their ratings on Angie’s List,” and that businesses and companies can’t pay to be on the list. Angie’s List claims it places the interests of the consumer first, and that it “simply acts a passive conduit” for reviews and ratings based upon actual first-hand experiences other users have had.

The plaintiff alleges that, in fact, service providers can and do pay to influence their reviews, rankings, and ratings, in at least three ways.

First, the plaintiff alleges that service providers can pay to appear higher up in members’ search results. For example, a plumber with an A rating and all positive reviews who did not pay “advertising” fees may rank lower than a plumber who did pay such fees but has worse reviews or ratings. One investigation report alleges that the best-reviewed heating and air company in its area was ranked below eleven others that had inferior ratings or few reviews. This best-reviewed service provider claimed that Angie’s List had asked it to pay $12,000-$15,000 for ranking at the top of the list.

Second, the plaintiff alleges that service providers can pay to suppress negative reviews, so that these reviews do not appear in members’ search results. Members are therefore not getting the objective assessment that Angie’s List promises to give them.

Third, the plaintiff alleges that Angie’s List threatens to suppress positive reviewers of service providers unless they pay “advertising” fees. This also prevents members from making an accurate assessment of the service providers.  

Angie’s List promises unfiltered reviews, ratings, and rankings, driven entirely by consumer opinion. The class action alleges that it does not provide this, so that it defrauds its members. It alleges that Angie’s List does not help members find the best service providers, but rather those who have paid the most to Angie’s List.

 

Angie’s List Manipulated Reviews and Ratings Class Action

Angie’s List offers consumers a listing of local service providers (plumbers, carpenters, masseuses, dentists, mechanics, etc.) along with reviews, rankings, and ratings. The beauty of Angie’s List is that it allows consumers who have already had experience with particular service providers to post reviews about them. Consumers pay a monthly fee to become members and get access to these supposedly unbiased reviews before hiring a service provider.

The class action alleges that, instead of providing unbiased and unfiltered information, Angie’s List secretly manipulates the information it posts for the company’s own economic gain.

According to Angie’s List, a service provider’s position in a member’s search results “is determined by their recent grades and number of reviews. Companies with the best ratings from members will appear first.” It also assures consumers that “service providers cannot influence their ratings on Angie’s List,” and that businesses and companies can’t pay to be on the list. Angie’s List claims it places the interests of the consumer first, and that it “simply acts a passive conduit” for reviews and ratings based upon actual first-hand experiences other users have had.

The plaintiff alleges that, in fact, service providers can and do pay to influence their reviews, rankings, and ratings, in at least three ways.

First, the plaintiff alleges that service providers can pay to appear higher up in members’ search results. For example, a plumber with an A rating and all positive reviews who did not pay “advertising” fees may rank lower than a plumber who did pay such fees but has worse reviews or ratings. One investigation report alleges that the best-reviewed heating and air company in its area was ranked below eleven others that had inferior ratings or few reviews. This best-reviewed service provider claimed that Angie’s List had asked it to pay $12,000-$15,000 for ranking at the top of the list.

Second, the plaintiff alleges that service providers can pay to suppress negative reviews, so that these reviews do not appear in members’ search results. Members are therefore not getting the objective assessment that Angie’s List promises to give them.

Third, the plaintiff alleges that Angie’s List threatens to suppress positive reviewers of service providers unless they pay “advertising” fees. This also prevents members from making an accurate assessment of the service providers.  

Angie’s List promises unfiltered reviews, ratings, and rankings, driven entirely by consumer opinion. The class action alleges that it does not provide this, so that it defrauds its members. It alleges that Angie’s List does not help members find the best service providers, but rather those who have paid the most to Angie’s List.

 

Safeway Brand Frozen Waffles 100% Natural Class Action Lawsuit

In September 2013, Ryan Richards filed a class action suit against Safeway, Inc., a California corporation, claiming the grocery store unlawfully and deceptively marketed its Open Nature brand frozen waffles as “100% Natural”, when the product contained the chemical preservative Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (SAPP), in violation of California business code and consumer protection laws.

 

SAPP is an odorless white powder with various uses in the food service industry, including as a leavening agent in baking powders.  The substance is also used for stain removal in treating leather and to facilitate hair and feather removal in animal slaughter.  Excessive use can lead to imbalanced mineral levels in the body and bone loss. 

 

In his lawsuit, Mr. Richards alleges that he purchased Safeway Open Nature 100% Natural Multi-Grain waffles for himself and his daughter at Safeway grocery stores in California multiple times over several years in reliance on the accuracy of the label representation that the products were “100% Natural.”  He alleges that he paid a higher price for the waffles than he would have to pay for similar products that were not labeled “100% Natural” (i.e. , waffles that were acknowledged to contain synthetic ingredients).   Richards claims he would not have purchased the products if he had known that a synthetic ingredient was contained in the products.

 

Safeway developed the Open Nature product line for consumers looking for products with all natural ingredients and marketed the line as “made with the best quality ingredients that nature offers.”   The company website asked consumers to “trust” Safeway that ingredients would be listed on the front of the package, warned of “hidden ingredients, like artificial flavors, colors, and preservative,” and noted the lack of federal oversight of natural products.

 

According to FDA policy, a product is not accurately described as “natural” if it contains color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances.  In September 2014, the FDA warned a Massachusetts bakery that the use of the term "ALL NATURAL” on a bakery product was considered to be misbranding, in violation of section 403 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act [21 USC § 343(a)(1)], because the product contained SAPP, a synthetic ingredient.  Click here to read the FDA letter.  The Safeway Open Nature packaging allegedly included the representation “100% Natural” and appeared nine times and on all six sides of the product packaging.

 

 

 

 

 

Toyota Excess Oil Consumption Class Action Lawsuit

This class action alleges that Toyota’s 2AZ-FE engine is defectively designed and/or manufactured and these defects lead to excessive oil consumption.  

Toyota’s 2AZ-FE engine is a 2.4 liter engine that was manufactured by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Inc. at its manufacturing plant in Kentucky. The 2AZ-FE engine is a straight-four piston engine with an aluminum engine block, cast iron cylinder liners and aluminum cylinder heads with dual overhead camshafts.
The following models and model years have the 2Az-FE engine

  • 2007-2011 Toyota Camry HV, 
  • 2007-2009 Toyota Camry, 
  • 2009 Toyota Corolla,
  • 2009 Toyota Matrix,
  • 2006-2008 Toyota RAV4,
  • 2007-2008 Toyota Solara, 
  • 2007-2009 Scion tC, and
  • 2008-2009 Scion xB 

The lawsuit alleges that certain parts of the piston are defectively designed such that excess oil leaks into the combustion engine.

The lawsuit first alleges that the pistons and piston ring assemblies are defectively designed or manufactured and have insufficient tension which can cause engine oil to seep into the combustion chamber.

The lawsuit further alleges that the oil control ring groove and patin drain holes are defectively designed or manufactured  which can cause debris build up that in turn prevents the oil from returning to the oil pan.

The lawsuit alleges that these two design and/or manufacture defects can cause excess oil consumption.

iCard Gift Card Spam Text Messages Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that iCard Gift Card sent unsolicited text messages promoting pre-paid gift cards to consumers’ cell phones without express consent from those consumers.

iCard Gift Cards offers merchants the ability to offer consumers gift cards.  The class action lawsuit alleges that beginning in 2015, and continuing for weeks if not months, iCard Gift Cards and its agents caused the mass transmissions of wireless spam text messages to the cell phones of individuals it hoped were potential purchasers of its gift cards.

The plaintiff received such a text message in July, 2015, The “from” field of the transmission was identified cryptically as “313131,” which is an abbreviated telephone number known as an SMS short code operated by iCard Gift Cards and/or its agents. 

The body of such text message read: 

Do you have an iPhone? Download the new iCard Gift Card app in the App Store and save 10% on your gift card purchase. Enter promo code: APP10

At no time did Plaintiff provide consent, including any written consent, to receive the above referenced message or any other such wireless spam from Defendant, its agents, or
partner entities.

In 2015 it is simply a violation of federal law for businesses to send marketing-related text messages to consumers without express consent from the consumer.

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).