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Scottrade Data Security Breach Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that Scottrade breached its fiduciary duties to account holders by failing to exercise reasonable security precautions and comply with industry standards for storing confidential and private personal information, in violation of California consumer and business statutes.

Missouri based online discount brokerage firm Scottrade, Inc. does business in all 50 states, with approximately 503 branch offices.  To sign up for a Scottrade account, including brokerage, retirement, children’s college savings, and personal bank accounts, customers must provide certain personal and confidential information to Scottrade during the application process.

Personal and confidential brokerage customer account information is often used by identity thieves to commit various types of government fraud, such as obtaining a driver’s license or official identification card in the victim’s name but with the thief’s picture, using the victim’s name and SSN to obtain government benefits and/or filing a fraudulent tax return using the victim’s information

According to the complaint filed by California resident Stephen Hine, federal authorities recently notified Scottrade that from late 2013 through early 2014, confidential contact information, including social security numbers, tax identification numbers, employer contact information, personal email addresses, and other sensitive data of about 4.6 million Scottrade customer was accessed in a massive data breach that was the result of an external criminal act.

On October 2, 2015, media outlets began reporting on the potential data breach affecting Scottrade’s millions of customers.  Scottrade confirmed the breach on the same date and is reported to have stated it was beginning to notify investors who were potentially affected by the breach, some of whom were sent emails.

Hine’s October 2, 2015 suit (U.S. District Court for the District of California) seeks class action certification on behalf of himself, nationwide customers and a California subclass, and alleges that Scottrade failed to adequately safeguard its customers’ private and personal information in compliance with applicable statutes and industry standard business practices. The complaint seeks injunctive relief, including ordering Scottrade to obtain appropriate security as to comply with data protection regulations, damages, restitution, and other remedies, and to provide sufficient notice sufficient to reach all customers affected by the breach.  The complaint further alleges  that when Scottrade notified the affected customers of the breach by email, such notice was inadequate and vague, given the existing threat of the potential use of private customer information in stock scams, other financial frauds, and the sale the personal data on the black market.

 

 

 

 

Kohl’s False Discounts Class Action Lawsuit

This class action alleges that Kohl’s advertized and sold merchandise at prices that it claimed were discounted from “regular” or “original” prices,  but that the supposed “regular” or “original” prices were false or inflated.

The complaint alleges that Kohl’s did not sell the merchandise at the “regular” or “original” prices in meaningful amounts or for meaningful periods of time.

The nationwide class for this class action includes all individuals residing in the United States and its territories who purchased one or more items from Kohl’s advertised at a discount from an original “item price” any time between July 29, 2011 and the present (the “Class Period”). There is also a California subclass.

The complaint alleges that Kohl’s actively touts its “incredible savings” in its public statements; and, it says, to reinforce this impression, at checkout Kohl’s give consumers a sales receipt showing the purported “Item Price” and the actual sales price, along with a “YouSave” notation showing the difference in purported savings between the Item Price and the sales price. The complaint further says that the receipt shows a “Total Saved”; however, it alleges, the “savings” are illusory, and based on false or inflated prices. The complaint claims that the item price” advertised by Kohl’s does not reflect a price at which the products are routinely, if ever, sold to retail customers by Kohl’s, and that the “savings” are therefore fictitious.

In fact, the complaint alleges, Kohl’s website contains these words:

“Sale” prices and percentage savings offered by Kohl’s are discounts from Kohl’s “Regular” or “Original” prices. The “Regular” or “Original” price of an item is the former or future offered price for the item or a comparable item by Kohl’s or another retailer. Actual sales may not have been made at the “Regular” or “Original” prices, and intermediate markdowns may have been taken.

However, the Federal Trade Commission calls such practices deceptive:

One of the most commonly used forms of bargain advertising is to offer a reduction from the advertiser’s own former price for an article. … Where the former price is genuine, the bargain being advertised is a true one. If, on the other hand, the former price being advertised is not bona fide but fictitious—for example, where an artificial, inflated price was established for the purpose of enabling the subsequent offer of a large reduction—the “bargain” being advertised is a false one; the purchaser is not receiving the unusual value he expects.

Both federal and state consumer protection laws prohibit such schemes.

 

 

Experian Facing Class Action over Data Breach

This class action alleges that Experian failed to adequately safeguard the personal information of roughly 15 million persons, which was stolen by hackers from Experian. The information includes names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, and so on. 

Experian, the world’s largest credit checking company and contract-holder with T-Mobile, was hacked, and the attack released the personal details of millions to the culprit(s). T-Mobile customers and applicants who required a credit check for service or device financing were affected. The time period of the data breach is September 1, 2013 through September 15, 2015, when the hacker(s) gained personal details such as the name, address, date of birth, social security number, and identification numbers from drivers’ licenses and passports, of T-Mobile consumers.

Experian holds the data on millions of businesses and consumers. The company conducts billions of credit checks per year. Consequently, Experian is a much-desired target for hackers who know that identity theft has become more profitable than even stealing credit card information. T-Mobile, the fastest growing mobile network in America, is livid that the attack was possible, and is considering cancelling the contract they have with Experian. John Legere is the chief executive of T-Mobile in the United States, and he stated that his company, “is working as fast as possible to provide alternate protection options” to its customers.

Lawsuits related to data breaches are becoming more common as hackers are more adept at accessing consumer information that is supposed to be secure. Other notable data breaches in the U.S. that have led to lawsuits include personal information stolen from mega-corporations such as Target, Staples, Sony, and Home Depot. One of the issues in the Experian and T-Mobile breach is that Experian, after becoming aware of the hack, took two weeks to acknowledge what happened and alert those potentially affected. The company may have quickly taken steps to secure the server, initiate an investigation, and warn law enforcement. Yet, the two-week lag time in alerting the public may have made them more susceptible to further fraud and identity theft.

Experian has stated it is currently in the process of notifying the many millions who have been affected. Both T-Mobile and Experian have posted warnings of the data breach on their respective websites. The compromise of personal information is a serious legal issue, and lawsuits are filed as the result of deceptive or unfair actions in the course of any trade or purchase. In addition to personal notifications of the data breach, Experian is offering those affected two free years of credit monitoring and identity resolution services. 

Experian Facing Class Action over Data Breach

This class action alleges that Experian failed to adequately safeguard the personal information of roughly 15 million persons, which was stolen by hackers from Experian. The information includes names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, and so on. 

Experian, the world’s largest credit checking company and contract-holder with T-Mobile, was hacked, and the attack released the personal details of millions to the culprit(s). T-Mobile customers and applicants who required a credit check for service or device financing were affected. The time period of the data breach is September 1, 2013 through September 15, 2015, when the hacker(s) gained personal details such as the name, address, date of birth, social security number, and identification numbers from drivers’ licenses and passports, of T-Mobile consumers.

Experian holds the data on millions of businesses and consumers. The company conducts billions of credit checks per year. Consequently, Experian is a much-desired target for hackers who know that identity theft has become more profitable than even stealing credit card information. T-Mobile, the fastest growing mobile network in America, is livid that the attack was possible, and is considering cancelling the contract they have with Experian. John Legere is the chief executive of T-Mobile in the United States, and he stated that his company, “is working as fast as possible to provide alternate protection options” to its customers.

Lawsuits related to data breaches are becoming more common as hackers are more adept at accessing consumer information that is supposed to be secure. Other notable data breaches in the U.S. that have led to lawsuits include personal information stolen from mega-corporations such as Target, Staples, Sony, and Home Depot. One of the issues in the Experian and T-Mobile breach is that Experian, after becoming aware of the hack, took two weeks to acknowledge what happened and alert those potentially affected. The company may have quickly taken steps to secure the server, initiate an investigation, and warn law enforcement. Yet, the two-week lag time in alerting the public may have made them more susceptible to further fraud and identity theft.

Experian has stated it is currently in the process of notifying the many millions who have been affected. Both T-Mobile and Experian have posted warnings of the data breach on their respective websites. The compromise of personal information is a serious legal issue, and lawsuits are filed as the result of deceptive or unfair actions in the course of any trade or purchase. In addition to personal notifications of the data breach, Experian is offering those affected two free years of credit monitoring and identity resolution services. 

Elations Joint Supplement Deceptive Health Benefits Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that The Elations Company LLC  (Elations) falsely and deceptively advertised a supplement beverage as having beneficial effects on joint health, in violation of California consumer protection laws.

Elations, an Ohio based corporation, manufactures, markets, sells, and distributes markets a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement beverage it advertises as “Elations Daily Joint Supplement Drink”. The  purported active ingredients in the drink are glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate and boron. In its marketing and advertising for Elations, including the product packaging and Elations website, the company describes the drink as containing a “clinically proven combination” and “clinically proven formula” that has certain joint health benefits. 

California resident Robert McCrary, who experiences arthritic joint pain, purchased a 30-day supply of Elations at CVS in 2011. McCray purchased the product after reviewing the packaging of a beverage 6-pack that claimed that Elations contained a “clinically-proven formula” and “clinically-proven combination” of chondroitin and glucosamine McCrary followed all directions for product use but received none of the advertised benefits.

McCrary filed suit against Elations in 2013 (U.S. District Court for the Central District of California) seeking class action certification, on behalf of himself and others who purchased Elations from May 2009 through December 2012.  The complaint alleges that the claimed benefits and uses of Elations constitute false and misleading advertising because Elations is not “clinically proven” and the product does not (because it cannot) work as represented.  Elations advertising is claimed to deceptively link product active ingredients to the characteristic signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis (i.e. breakdown of cartilage leading to joint pain and stiffness). The complaint claims Elations was aware from its own studies dating back to 2002 confirming the product did not work, but that the company  continued to aggressively advertise false product benefits and obtained unjust enrichment from consumer purchases made in reliance on the false and deceptive claims.

The class action suit charges Elations with false and misleading advertising, unlawful and fraudulent conduct, in violation of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, False Advertising Law and Unfair Competition Law.   Elations, and seeks an injunction, restitution, actual and punitive damages, and attorney fees.

 

 

TAMKO Defective Roof Shingles Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that Tamko Building Products, Inc. (Tamko) manufactured and sold defective roof shingles that failed to perform according to advertised product warranties, in violation of California consumer protection laws.

Tamko, a “vertically integrated” Missouri based company that owns and operates its raw materials plants, produces and sells a wide variety of building products for both residential and commercial use.  TAMKO roof shingles are sold by the company with warranties ranging from 30 to 50 years.  Many homeowners have filed complaints regarding the Tamko shingles claiming premature deterioration of the shingles within 10 years of installation.  Consumers allege that TAMKO has failed to honor product warranties and that expensive repairs were required due to product defects.  

Homeowners have filed class action lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions alleging that TAMKO shingles are defectively designed and that TAMKO has failed to honor prodcut warranties.  Consumer product complaints allege design and manufacturing defects that have resulted in the cracking, curling, blistering, degranulation,  and general deterioration of their shingles which also caused related property damage.

The Tamko roofing products at issue in the suits are Tamko Architectural Roof Shingles, which product line includes various "Heritage" fiberglass roofing shingles:

  • Heritage Vintage Shingles
  • Heritage Woodgate
  • Heritage IR
  • Heritage Premium
  • Heritage

Homeowners filing complaints regarding their Tamko shingles report:

  • the shingles would fly off the roof during windy periods;
  • the shingles blister and crack;
  • that mold builds up on the shingles;
  • the shingles fall off the roof and clog roof gutters;
  • damaged shingles caused structural damage to the roof  resulting in the labor and materials repair expenses to the roof;
  • Tamko refused to honor product warranties when notified within the warranty period; and
  • when Tamko did respond to a warranty claim, replacement labor costs for replacing the shingle were not provided.

In June 2014, several purchasers of Tamko shingles filed a class action suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois alleging defective product design and that the shingles are prone to early failure.  The complaint alleges the Tamko shingles do not perform as advertised and are not in fact compliant wiht advertised industry standards, despite being marketed as being durable, reliable, and compliant with ASTM D3462 standards appropriate for use in homes and other structures. The suit charges Tamko with negligence/negligent design and unfair and deceptive trade practices, in violation of the California’s Unfair Competition Act, False Advertising Law, and Consumer Legal Remedies Act.  Consumers seek compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive relief, costs, attorneys’ fees, and other relief as a result of Tamko’s alleged willful, wanton, reckless, and/or grossly negligent conduct in causing consumers’ structures to be in a dangerous, defective and unsafe condition.

 

 

 

Starbucks Class Action Alleges ADA Counter Height Violations

This lawsuit alleges that Starbucks Coffee standard store designs included counter heights that were too high for individuals sitting in wheelchairs, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and state civil rights act protections.

The Starbucks Corp. (SBUX), the world's biggest coffee-shop chain, owns, operates, and licenses stores in California and around the world.

California residents Timothy Vondersaar, Orlandis Hardy Jr., Jaarome Wilson and Bernard Taruc are disabled and use wheelchairs for mobility.   They filed suit against Starbucks in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in June of 2012, on behalf of themselves and other individuals who use a wheelchair or electric scooter, claiming an unspecified number of Starbucks California locations feature pick-up counters that are too high for them to reach, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12181 et seq. (ADA) and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 51 et seq. (Unruh Act).

The complaint alleges that, prior to 2003, Starbucks used standard design plans that included impermissibly high pick-up counters at every store in California and that as of June 2012; approximately 200 California stores continue to utilize unlawfully high counters. The complaint also claims that every store Starbucks opened in the United States between 1993 and October 2003 contained an impermissibly high counter. The counters in the store standard design were higher than 36 inches, or the ADA-required height for accessibility by persons using wheelchairs, according to the complaint.  They allege that thousands of stores across the country still have high counters, and specifically identify fifty such stores in California, some of which the named parties have personally visited.

The suit seeks certification of a nationwide class comprised of all disabled wheelchair and scooter users who have been adversely affected by high handoff counters in Starbucks stores constructed between January 26, 1993 and 2005, as well as a similar California class under the Unruh Act. The ADA claim forms the basis for the state Unruh Act alleged violations that also provide statutory penalties and injunctive relief.  The complaint requests the court to certify the class, to order Starbucks to pay at least $4,000 for each inaccessible, non-compliant counter, and to reduce the height of high handoff counters in Starbucks stores.

Fifth Street Allegedly Inflated Assets and Income Securities Class Action

This securities class action alleges that FSC, an asset portfolio company, and FSAM, its asset manager and investment advisor, fraudulently and artificially inflated FSC's assets and investment income in order to increase FSAM's revenue and, later, sell FSC's shares in a subsequent initial public offering at a higher price to investors.

FSC is a publicly traded asset portfolio company within the Fifth Street family of companies.  FSC lends to and invests in small and mid-sized companies in connection with investments by private equity sponsors with the stated goal of generating investment income, which are then paid out as dividends to FSC shareholders. 

FSAM is the asset manager and investment advisor for FSC, from which it receives tens of millions of dollars annually for the provision of investment advisory services.  As of June 30, 2014, FSC provided about 90% of FSAM’s assets under managements, and thus the asset manager’s primary revenue source. 

The amount of fees paid by FSC to FSAM is largely determined by FSC’s gross portfolio assets.  Thus, FSAM may increase the amount of fees it receives from FSC by borrowing money to make additional investments that increase the size of FSC’s asset portfolio.  FSC primarily invests in illiquid assets and uses a form of fair value accounting that prevents investors and the market from being able to independently ascertain the credit quality and actual performance of FSC’s investments, while allowing FSC to record investment income, thereby increasing fees paid to FSAM, even if that income is never collected.

FSC’s fee structure allowed FSAM to be paid more annually despite net share declines and dividend declines to shareholders.  Since 2013, FSC’s dividend dropped 37%, while FSAM’s management fees went up 56%.

Who Is Affected?

This securities fraud class action is brought on behalf of a class consisting of all persons or entities that purchased Fifth Street Finance Corp.’s (“FSC”) common stock between July 7, 2014 and February 6, 2015, inclusive, seeking to pursue remedies under the Exchange Act of 1934.  Fifth Street is a publicly traded asset portfolio company within the Fifth Street family companies.  Fifth Street Asset Management, Inc. (“FSAM”) is the asset manager and investment adviser for FSC.  FSC’s and FSAM’s stocks trade on NASDAQ under ticker symbols “FSC” and “FSAM,” respectively.

Procedural History

This class action lawsuit was filed on October 1, 2015 and is captioned Howard Randall, Trustee, et al. v. Fifth Street Finance Corp., et al.  It was filed in the New York Southern District Court and its civil docket number is 1:15-cv-07759.  The class period runs from July 7, 2014 through February 6, 2015, inclusive. 

The class action complaint alleges violations by FSC and FSAM of the federal securities laws in all of the following:

  1. FSC artificially inflated the fair value of its investments by failing to disclose that tens of millions of dollars of its investments were at risk of default or had already failed to meet their obligations under their loan terms;
  2. FSC failed to disclose loans performing below expectations and in non-accrual;
  3. FSC overstated its net investment income and failed to cover its dividend payments;
  4. Contrary to its publicized investment strategy, FSC did not structure conservative debt investments subject to rigorous due diligence and strong creditor projections, but was in the process of rapidly expanding its investment portfolio through loans to speculative, high-risk investments and delaying writing down impaired investments;
  5. FSAM did not invest in FSC’s best interests, but in order to enrich its principals at FSC’s expense

By December 31, 2014, FSC had placed $105 million of its investments on non-accrual status, written down millions o dollars’ worth of poor performing assets, and suffered $.20 loss per share.  Its net investment income decreased from prior quarter despite its total assets ballooning to nearly $3 billion.

On February 9, 2015, FSC issued a press release where it revealed a $62 million depreciation on its debt and net realized losses exceeding $17.6 million.  Five of FSC’s investments had been placed on non-accrual status totaling $122.8 million at cost, or nearly 5% of FSC’s debt portfolio.  FSC’s investment income had decreased by 3% and it stated it would pay no dividend at all for February 2015 and slash future dividends by 30% in subsequent months.  This announcement caused FSC’s stock to fall 15% same day.

Globus Medical Low Sales Securities Class Action

This securities fraud class action alleges that Globus, a medical device company, failed to disclose (1) its relationship with a significant distributor was deteriorating; (2) the deterioration negatively impacted Globus’s financial performance; and (3) as a result, Globus’s prospects and statements were false and misleading.

Globus develops products to treat patients with musculoskeletal disorders and currently focuses on products to treat patient with spine disorders.

Who Is Affected?

This securities fraud class action is brought on behalf of a class consisting of purchasers of Globus Medical, Inc. securities between February 26, 2014 and August 5, 2014, inclusive, seeking to pursue remedies under the Exchange Act of 1934.  Globus is a medical device company that develops products to treat patients with musculoskeletal disorders.  Globus is incorporated in Delaware with its principal executive offices in Audubon, Pennsylvania.  Its common stock trades on the NYSE under ticker symbol “GMED.”

Procedural History

This class action lawsuit was filed on September 29, 2015 and is captioned Mark Silverstein, et al. v. Globus Medical, Inc., et al.  It was filed in the Pennsylvania Eastern District Court and its civil docket number is 2:15-cv-05386-WB.  The class period runs from February 26, 2014 through August 5, 2014, inclusive.

At the beginning of the class period, on February 26, 2014, Globus issued its full year and forth quarter 2013 results, wherein Globus’s Chairman and CEO, David Paul, stated 2013 had been an outstanding year for Globus and that he was confident in Globus’s ability to produce industry leading growth and outstanding profitability.  These statements had been subsequently reaffirmed in press issues released in March and April of 2014.

On August 5, 2014, Globus announced its financial results for the second quarter of 2014 substantially lowering its revenue guidance for 2014.  Globus disclosed that certain operating challenges had resulted in sales growth below its historical trends.  The news caused Globus’ stock to fall 18% the following day causing the plaintiff in this class action lawsuit to suffer economic damages.

Fit And Fun Fitness Transformation Academy TCPA Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that Fit and Fun Fitness Transformation Academy committed multiple willful violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending unsolicited, automated text messages to the plaintiff's cell phone advertising the company's health and fitness services.

Fit and Fun Fitness Transformation Academy ("Fit and Fun") is a California business operating in Los Angeles County and offers fitness services to area consumers. According to the complaint, plaintiff Karen Elaine is a resident of Venice, California who began receiving text messages on August 25, 2015 from Fit and Fun on her cellular telephone. Plaintiff alleges that the original unsolicited text messages originated from Internet-generated spoof numbers beginning with a variety of area code prefixes. 

Elaine argues that Fit and Fun's practice of sending such messages to her cell phone constitutes multiple knowing and/or willful violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Specifically, she alleges that contrary to law:

  • Defendant's unsolicited text messages constituted messages that were not for emergency purposes;
  • Defendant's unsolicited messages were placed to phone numbers assigned to a telephone service for which plaintiff incurs a charge for incoming text messages;
  • Defendant never received plaintiff's prior express consent to receive unsolicited text messages using an automated dialing system or an artificial prerecorded message on her cellular telephone. 

The plaintiff's complaint includes two distinct causes of action under federal law, first for actual violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and second, for knowing and/or willful violations of the same. Violations in and of themselves entitle successful plaintiffs to an award of $500.00 in statutory damages for each and every occurrence. Knowing and/or willful violations entitle plaintiffs to an award of $1,500.00 in damages for each and every occurrence.

In addition to seeking the aforementioned damages for each and every violation committed by Fit and Fun, plaintiff is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief enjoining defendants from engaging or continuing to engage in the unlawful calls described in the complaint. Attorney fees and costs are also being sought on behalf of plaintiff and prospective members of the class.

Winning congressional approval in 1991, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is designed to restrict and govern telephone solicitation methods and to proscribe the application of automated telephone systems in commercial contexts. It specifically limits the use of automatically generated text and voice messages, autodialing equipment and fax communications.

http://www.fitnesstransformationacademy.com/

https://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/policy/TCPA-Rules.pdf