CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 1, 2012 |
Like any concerned mother, Athena Hohenberg wanted to be sure her 4-year-old was getting a good breakfast. So she served up Nutella, a hazelnut and cocoa spread marketed as part of a balanced breakfast. "Start your day with Nutella spread," urge the TV ads. But Hohenberg was shocked to learn, she said in a lawsuit filed in February, that the sandwich spread is chock full of fat and sugar — "the next best thing to a candy bar," she alleged. Nutella manufacturer Ferrero USA Inc. has agreed to settle the suit brought by the San Diego mother on behalf of hundreds of thousands of consumers who may have been similarly deceived, even though the ads specified that fruit, milk and whole wheat bread were also part of that balanced meal.
November 2, 2011 |
For decades, gallery owners in California have wished that the state's Resale Royalty Act of 1976, which provides artists with 5% of the sales price of artworks when they are resold under certain conditions, would just go away. While some dealers follow the law and pay the royalty to artists, others do not. But it's hard to track what artists may be owed in either case, given the difficulty of getting the galleries to disclose information on their sales. Now, working to force some disclosures as well as recover money, the foundation of the late abstract painter Sam Francis is the lead plaintiff in class-action lawsuits filed Tuesday against nine galleries in Northern and Southern California.
October 28, 2011 |
Lawyers for women who originally sued Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for sex discrimination on behalf of 1 million co-workers nationwide have amended the lawsuit, limiting it to gender-bias claims by California workers. The filing comes four months after the U.S. Supreme Court in June barred the case as a class action covering all U.S. stores, saying the women failed to prove that the world's largest retailer had a nationwide policy that led to gender discrimination. The Supreme Court sent the suit back to federal court in San Francisco, where it was first filed in 2001.
October 19, 2011 |
New York painter Chuck Close, L.A. artist Laddie John Dill and the estate of L.A. sculptor Robert Graham are plaintiffs in a pair of class-action lawsuits filed on Tuesday against the New York operations of Sotheby's and Christie's, alleging that the auction houses violated the California Resale Royalty Act. The 1977 California statute, a rare attempt in the U.S. to provide visual artists with a financial cut of appreciating artworks they made...
August 12, 2011 |
A Chicago group has filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court against the Department of Homeland Security, charging that its practice of asking local police to detain immigrants when there's no evidence of illegal activity is unconstitutional. At issue is the use of an immigration detainer, a key component of Homeland Security's Secure Communities program. It is a request from the department's Immigration and Customs Enforcement to another law enforcement agency to hold people so that ICE can investigate their immigration status and potentially take over custody.
August 5, 2011 |
In the latest legal fallout from the mortgage implosion, Wells Fargo & Co. has agreed to pay $590 million and accounting firm KPMG has agreed to pay $37 million to settle class-action lawsuits centering on controversial "pick-a-pay" loans issued by Oakland's World Savings and later by Wachovia Corp. Wells Fargo disclosed the proposed settlement Friday in a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If approved by a judge, the deal would settle claims of misrepresentation that investors brought against Wachovia, which acquired World Savings' parent company in 2006 and was taken over in turn by Wells Fargo during the financial crisis.
July 17, 2011 |
Picture this nightmare financial scenario: You've taken out a $150,000 home-equity credit line to remodel your house, you've already pulled out thousands of dollars to pay contractors and owe thousands more, when suddenly you get a curt letter from the bank. Effective yesterday, it says, we've shut down access to your credit line. Although we haven't physically appraised your property, an automated valuation indicates it is worth significantly less than when we approved your application.
June 28, 2011 |
Critics are apoplectic about the Supreme Court's decision last week to reject a class-action suit brought against Wal-Mart. They claim the ruling, made in a case brought by an employee named Betty Dukes and two others alleging gender discrimination, will make it more difficult to enforce civil rights protections. What's gotten lost in the debate is that all nine justices -- including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a pioneer for women's rights -- agreed that this class action went too far and jeopardized the due-process rights of millions of employees, who would have been powerless to determine their own fate if the court hadn't stepped in to protect their rights.
June 25, 2011 |
The Supreme Court, which winds up its term Monday, has once again shown itself to be highly skeptical of large lawsuits against big business, regardless of whether the suits are intended to protect workers, consumers or the environment. This year, a 5-4 conservative majority gave companies a stronger shield against class-action claims from consumers who said they were cheated and from employees who said they were victims of discrimination. The same five justices also blocked lawsuits against the makers of generic drugs for failing to warn patients of new dangers.
June 25, 2011 |
• Wal-Mart vs. Dukes: Threw out a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 1.5 million women who accused the retailer of sex discrimination. • American Electric Power vs. Connecticut: Threw out an environmental lawsuit that sought to require five major power producers to limit discharges of carbon pollution. • AT&T Mobility vs. Concepcion: Held that a company's arbitration clause prevents its customers from suing in a class action for fraud. • PLIVA vs. Mensing: Ruled that makers of generic drugs cannot be sued for failing to warn patients of new dangers or side effects.