Articles Posted in Class-Action

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Chicago Restore and Rust-Oleum Product Defect Attorneys and Lawyers near Wheaton and NapervilleCompanies often invest a lot of money in the products they sell, especially new products that have recently been released. They spend money on advertising and they sometimes train employees in retail stores to conduct demonstrations of their new product.

One company that recently launched a new product and talked it up in Home Depot stores is Rust-Oleum Corp. and their product was Restore. Restore was sold as a liquid armor coating that could be applied to wooden decks or room-swept concrete surfaces. According to a recent class action lawsuit though, Restore did not act as the protective coating it was advertised to be. Instead, the product allegedly peeled off surfaces, leaving them exposed.

The lawsuit was filed by Ulbardo Fernandez, who purchased the product at Home Depot. He alleges that Restore was advertised as being a “smart alternative” to replacing decks and concrete. Fernandez allegedly decided to purchase Restore as a result of the advertisement he saw for it in Home Depot. Continue reading

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Chicago's best attorneys -- lawyers who concentrate on consumer fraud class actionsUnder the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), defendants in a class action lawsuit are able to have the case moved to federal court. This law was enacted to prevent plaintiffs from “forum shopping”, or filing their lawsuit in the court that they knew would be most favorable to their side. There are limits to the law though. If the claims of a class action lawsuit amount to less than $5 million, or if at least two thirds of the class members are residents of one state, then the lawsuit can proceed in a district court of that state.

According to a recent ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the plaintiff bears the burden of providing evidence that allows the court to determine the citizenship of the putative class members as of the date that the case was removed to federal court. The ruling came out of a class action lawsuit that was filed against an Illinois insurance company for allegedly violating relevant state laws when it pulled out of the market in 2002 and cancelled all of its policies. The defendants had the case removed to federal court, but the plaintiffs argued that it belonged in Illinois state courts under the home-state exemption.

The plaintiffs argue that the lawsuit belongs in Illinois state court based on the fact that the defendants’ policy was offered only to people who represented that they lived in Illinois or, for group policies, to employers who represented that most of their beneficiaries lived in Illinois. The plaintiffs assert that, assuming that former policyholders left Illinois at the normal rate of 2% per year since 2002, about 87% of the putative class members were Illinois residents when the case was removed to federal court. Continue reading

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Chicago wage theft attorneys and lawyersThe courts of the United States have seen an exponential rise in the number of wage and hour lawsuits that get filed every year, but the cause of this rise is unclear. Worker advocates allege that “wage theft” has become far too prevalent in our nation’s current economy. Many blame the recent recession, which pressured employers to cut corners in order to save costs. At the same time, employees were afraid of losing their jobs and being unable to find new employment. The result was that employers took advantage of the situation to get more work out of their employees while paying them less. It is only since the job market started to stabilize that employees have felt confident enough to file lawsuits against their employers.

Business advocates tell a different story. They assert that government officials are creating large numbers of wage and hour lawsuits, mostly so they can score points with the unions. They point to the fact that the recent wage and hour lawsuit against Schneider Logistics coincided with unions pressuring Walmart to raise wages. Although Schneider does store merchandise for Walmart, it is not owned by Walmart, and Walmart is not responsible for Schneider’s employment practices. Despite this fact, the lawyers and labor groups involved in the lawsuit against Schneider have sought to make Walmart jointly liable in the labor violations.

Business groups also claim that the onslaught of wage and hour lawsuits against McDonald’s has been coordinated with the recent movement by fast-food workers demanding a $15 minimum wage. Continue reading

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Top class action attorneys and lawyers near Chicago and NapervilleWhen a consumer feels she has been cheated by someone she bought a product or service from, the amount of her claim is often too small to warrant suing the seller. In that case, the consumer’s best bet is to collect a group of other consumers who have similarly been allegedly cheated and file a class action lawsuit. In order to successfully pursue a class action lawsuit though, a judge must grant the plaintiffs class action status, and in order for the judge to do that, the class of plaintiffs must fulfill certain requirements. These requirements include a class that is sufficiently large to warrant a class action, plaintiffs who can adequately represent the class, and complaints from class members that are sufficiently similar to warrant combining them into one action.

Another requirement that has caused much controversy in the courts lately is ascertainability, meaning there must be a way to identify all of the members of the class. This can be an issue in class actions filed against food producers or retailers, especially those who produce cheap food, for which consumers rarely keep their receipts. In Carrera v. Bayer, the plaintiff, Gabriel Carrera, sued Bayer on behalf of all consumers who had purchased Bayer’s One-A-Day WeightSmart diet supplement. According to the complaint, Bayer falsely advertised its diet supplement as having metabolism-boosting effects, based on the fact that it contained green tea extract. Continue reading

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Chicago class action lawyers near Schaumburg and ElginThe cost of everything goes up with inflation and insurance is no different. As the value of our things increases with time, it makes sense that people would want sufficient coverage for all of their belongings. This can become an issue though, when insurance companies insist on raising the limits on a plan (and thus raising the premiums) to levels that are much higher than the property can possibly be worth. Such is allegedly the case in a recent class action lawsuit against State Auto.

According to the complaint, the named plaintiffs, Mark and Andrea Schumacher, bought their home in 2001 for $234,000. They claim that they have made no improvements to the home since then, other than normal maintenance, and that its market value remains about the same. As evidence to support this assertion, the plaintiffs pointed out that the builder from whom they bought their home continues to construct homes in their neighborhood that are similar to the ones that they own, and sell them at a comparable price.

Despite that, State Auto, which has been insuring the Schumachers for years, allegedly increased their policy limit over the years until it stood at more than $500,000 as of 2013. According to the Schumachers, that is much more than what it would cost them to rebuild or replace their home, though it is important to note that there are two different ways of looking at that cost: 1) rebuilding from the ground up; and  2) buying a similar, older home. The cost of these two options can vary dramatically, depending on the market, and some people have a strong preference to buy insurance for one over the other. Continue reading

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City allegedly has an incentive not to notify customers regarding class action settlement monies owed to them.  City allegedly failed to send out notice of class action settlement to class members with forwarding addresses.  Plaintiffs have filed a motion to force City to send out what they say is proper notice so all settlement monies can be recovered.

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Best Class Action Attorneys in America near Chicago and WheatonThe landmark decision not to certify a class of plaintiffs in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes has made it increasingly difficult for classes of plaintiffs to achieve certification. This is largely a result of the fact that the court in Wal-Mart determined that the class failed to meet the commonality requirement necessary for class certification. Courts all across the nation have been refusing certification to classes of plaintiffs that don’t have identical claims. According to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, though, the reasoning behind refusal of class certification in Wal-Mart was much narrower than courts have been interpreting it.

IKO Roofing Shingle Products is currently facing a class action lawsuit from Debra Zanetti, which alleges that IKO’s organic asphalt roofing shingles were defective. According to the lawsuit, which Zanetti filed on behalf of all proposed class members, IKO’s shingles allegedly do not meet an industry standard known as ASTM D225. Compliance with this standard is commonly determined using a testing protocol known as ASTM D228. The lawsuit, which was initially filed in district court in Illinois, is seeking certification of a class of plaintiffs consisting of all consumers who purchased organic asphalt roofing tiles from IKO since 1979. The district court denied the class certification and the plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The district court refused to certify the class on the basis of commonality. The district court determined that, per the prior decision made in Wal-Mart, it could not certify a class of plaintiffs without identical claims. The appellate court disagreed, though, pointing out that Wal-Mart failed to meet the commonality requirement for class certification based on the fact that the treatment of employees under different managers was too dissimilar. Since that is not the case here, the court concluded that the district court had erred in refusing class certification on the basis of commonality. Continue reading

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The Best Lawyers in America -- Class Action Lawyers Near Chicago and HinsdaleIn the United States, we have multiple venues for addressing conflicts. Lawsuits that are filed can be handled by either the state or the federal courts or if there is an arbitration agreement preventing use of the courts through a private trial. In general, federal courts only handle large cases that cover multiple states and involve federal statutes or claims of $75,000 of over between citizens of different states or a country. The state courts tend to handle smaller cases in which the dispute is limited to one state. In some instances, a lawsuit may fit the jurisdiction for either state or federal court. In the past, plaintiffs in class action lawsuits could only file non-federal statutory claims only in state court.

In order to federalize most class actions, the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) was passed in 2005. This law allows defendants to move a class action lawsuit out of state court and into a federal court if the case meets three requirements: 1) The class must have at least 2 members who are citizens of different states; 2) the amount under dispute must reach at least $5 million; and 3) the class must consist of at least 100 members. If the lawsuit meets all of these criteria, the defendants can file a motion asking for the case to be moved to federal court. Since most federal courts tend to be fairly sympathetic towards defendants in class action lawsuits, this is a common practice for defendants involved in large legal disputes. Continue reading

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The Best junk text and TCPA lawyers near Chicago and River ForestFor decades, calling customers, or potential customers, about a promotion was standard practice for most companies. Of course, many consumers found this to be annoying, but it was never overtly harmful. That changed with the advent of cell phones and prepaid plans. When landlines were the norm, the caller paid for the call. Now, cell phone users pay for the calls and text messages that they receive. As a result, legislators came up with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to prevent companies from taking advantage of consumers by making them pay for promotional calls and texts. Under the act, companies are forbidden from making calls or texts to consumer phone numbers without the consumers’ express consent, except in the case of an emergency.

The Los Angeles basketball team, the Clippers, have recently settled a class action lawsuit for allegedly violating the TCPA. According to the lawsuit, fans of the California-based basketball team allegedly received promotional texts via autodialers from the Clippers without the required authorization. Rather than facing a long, drawn-out battle in court, which could be very costly and time-consuming, the Clippers and the class of plaintiffs have agreed to settle the case. Continue reading

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TCPA lawyers and attorneys near Chicago and WaukeganWith American legislature changing on a daily basis, it is not surprising to find that many of the laws out there contradict each other and courts are often called upon to determine which statute takes precedence. Such was the case in a recent lawsuit involving auto-calls made on behalf of State Farm.

In May 2007, Clara Betancourt applied for a car insurance policy with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. While she was applying for the car insurance policy, a State Farm agent asked her if she would like to pay using a State Farm credit card. Betancourt agreed and the agent used the information provided by Betancourt for the car insurance application to apply for the credit card on Betancourt’s behalf. Betancourt provided the agent with her home phone number, her cell phone number, and her work phone number.

Betancourt testified that she provided these phone numbers to State Farm as emergency contact information to be used only “for an emergency or something serious.”

The three phone numbers that Betancourt provided all belonged to Fredy Osorio, with whom she has lived for many years and with whom she has a son.

When Betancourt failed to make a timely payment of the minimum balance on her credit card in November 2010, State Farm authorized FMS Inc., a collection agency, to attempt to collect the debt. State Farm provided FMS with Betancourt’s phone numbers and FMS proceeded to make 327 auto-dialed calls to these phone numbers in a six-month period. State Farm alleges that at no time did anyone answering the phone say that the number did not belong to Betancourt. By contrast, Osorio testified that he told State Farm agents to “Please stop calling” on two occasions. Continue reading