Articles Posted in Consumer Fraud/Consumer Protection

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Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner made quick work of a recent class action suit brought by glaucoma patients who alleged that Allergan, Inc., and other drugmakers manufactured prescription eyedrops that were too large in order to increase their profits (Eike, et al., v. Allergan, Inc., et al., No. 16-3334, 7th Cir. (2017)). The case was on appeal from a district court ruling certifying eight classes of plaintiffs consisting of Illinois and Missouri residents who alleged that Allergan and six other pharmaceutical companies made eye drops that were unnecessarily large, in violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.

Each eyedrop exceeded 16 microliters, beyond the optimal size the plaintiffs contended was necessary for treatment of glaucoma and therefore wasteful because the additional microliters added no therapeutic value, instead serving only to pad the companies’ profits. The plaintiffs sought damages amounting to the difference between the price per drop of the eye drops at their present size and the presumably lower price of smaller drops, multiplied by the number of drops purchased by the class members.  Continue reading

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Under a federal law that requires employers to inform job applicants that they may obtain their credit reports as part of the application process, an employer cannot make applicants sign a release from liability before procuring the report. (Sarmad Syed v. M-I, LLC, No. 14-17186 (9th Cir. 2017).  In a case of first impression in the federal circuit, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a prospective employer violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when it procures a job applicant’s consumer report after including a liability waiver in the same document as the disclosure to the applicant.

In amending FCRA in 1996 to require employer disclosure, “Congress was specifically concerned that … employers were obtaining and using consumer reports in a manner that violated job applicants’ privacy rights,” the panel wrote, especially in light of inaccurate information often contained in reports.  The law requires an employer to disclose that it may obtain an applicant’s credit report and enables the applicant to withhold authorization, or to warn the employer that the report might contain errors. Continue reading

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Americans love our convenience, but it often comes with a cost, even when we’re not aware of it. One example of the ways in which food manufacturers have catered to this desire for convenience is by selling pre-grated parmesan cheese so that it’s ready to go straight from the grocery store into a recipe or on top of pasta. It makes shopping for and using parmesan cheese much easier, but there’s a catch. There’s no way of knowing if what you’re eating is really cheese.

In 2012 the FDA found evidence that Castle Cheese Inc. was including non-dairy substances in its Parmesan cheese products. The FDA issued stern warnings, including accusations that Castle’s products marketed as Parmesan and romano were actually a mixture of various cheeses and other ingredients.

Castle, which insists that their consumers were never harmed and that it was merely a mislabeling issue, eventually went bankrupt. but the allegations against Castle have spread to other manufacturers of grated parmesan cheese.

One of the most common additives to grated parmesan is cellulose, an anti-clumping agent made from wood chips. Acceptable levels of cellulose range from 2-4%, but the FDA’s investigations have found much higher concentrations in various food products. Continue reading

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Everyone loves a good deal and retailers know that. It is extremely popular to see online retailers include a price for an item that is higher than the price they’re selling it for. Names for the higher price range from “suggested retail price” to “list price” to the more vague “estimated value”. By listing a higher price next to their own price, the retailers give the impression that they’re giving their customers a deal, but how do customers really know they’re getting a deal?

Many customers simply take the retailer’s word for it while others take the age-old advice for customers to do their research, shop around, and compare prices. Recent comparisons of “discounted” items on sites like Amazon and failed to find any retailer that sold the item for the list price. Comparisons also found that the “list price” varied from site to site, even when the actual price it was sold for was the same at each retailer.

Because giving customers the impression they’re getting a deal can make them more likely to click that “Buy” button, many customers feel deceived when they find out they paid the same price as everyone else at other retailers. This sense of betrayal has resulted in several consumer class action lawsuits with allegations of false advertising. Continue reading

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Vincent L. DiTommaso, Peter S. Lubin, Patrick D. Austermuehle, and Andrew C. Murphy recognized by Illinois Super Lawyers 

Vincent L. DiTommaso and Peter S. Lubin have been selected as 2016 Illinois Super Lawyers in the areas of Business Litigation and Class Action Law. No more than 5% of attorneys in Illinois receive this honor each year. This marks the sixth straight year both co-founders of DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle have been selected for this honor.

Two additional DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle attorneys, Patrick D. Austermuehle and Andrew C. Murphy, have been selected as Illinois Rising Stars for the second straight year in the areas of Business Litigation and Class Action Law. Rising Stars are selected from attorneys under the age of 40 who have been practicing for less than 10 years. No more than 2.5% of Illinois attorneys are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receivet his honor each year.

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Consumer Reports video discusses used cars with known problems to avoid purchasing.  Used Car Dealers also engage in various scams to cheat buyers.  When that happens we are there to protect your rights.


Our Chicago car fraud and Lemon law attorneys near Wheaton, Roselle and Carol Stream bring individual and class actions suits for defective cars with common design defects and auto dealer fraud and other car dealer scams such as selling rebuilt wrecks as certified used cars or misrepresenting a car as being in good condition when it is rebuilt wreck, is a flood vechicle or had the odometer rolled back. We also see cases where new car dealers conceal that the car has been in accident while in their possession or used car dealers who put duck tape in back of the check engine light to conceal serious engine or emission problems.  Super Lawyers has selected our DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, Will and Cook County Illinois auto-fraud, car dealer fraud and lemon law lawyers as among the top 5% in Illinois. We only collect our fee if we win or settle your case. For a free consultation call our Chicago class action lawyers at our toll free number (877) 990-4990 or contact us on the web by clicking here.

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Arbitration agreements have been sneaking their way into all sorts of contracts, from employment contracts to loan agreements. Originally intended to allow businesses or parties to settle complex disputes between themselves more efficiently, many companies have perverted their use so that they can require arbitration whenever anyone at all has a dispute with them, even individual employees or consumers over relatively small amounts of money or in situations where courts are much better suited to resolve the disputes.  The Courts honor freedom of contract principles and allow for enforcement of arbitration agreements so businesses are using them frequently.

Arbitration agreements can have a number of drawbacks for plaintiffs. The first is that they don’t allow class actions, which means individuals with small claims against a company have no way of combining their claims with other people to create one lawsuit large enough to justify the expenses associated with filing a legal complaint.

Arbitration is also private. They are heard and ruled by for-profit companies, not objective judges or juries. Companies that pay for the arbitration, or bring a lot of business to a single arbitrator, are more likely to get a favorable ruling from that arbitrator. There are arbitrators known for their objectivity and fairness, but some corporations retain the right to choose the arbitrator, and when they have the opportunity to choose between one they have a relationship with and one whose ruling may be unpredictable, the company has little motivation to choose the unbiased arbitrator. Continue reading

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NPR reports:

But more than 50 labor, legal, medical and consumer organizations have told the government that’s not enough. They want these pre-dispute arbitration agreements banned entirely. Thirty-four U.S. senators and attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia also have called for banning the agreements.

“No one should be forced to accept denial of justice as a price for the care their loved ones deserve,” says Henry Waxman, a former congressman from California. Arbitration agreements keep the neglect and abuse of nursing home residents secret, Waxman says, because the cases aren’t tried in open court and resolutions sometimes have gag rules.

“None of the systemic health and safety problems that cause the harm will ever see the light of day,” he says.

The proposed federal regulation would require nursing homes to explain these arbitration agreements so that residents or their families understand what they’re signing. It would also make sure that agreeing to arbitration is not a requirement for nursing home admission.


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Gift cards can be a big money maker for some businesses. They rely on some the gift cards going unused until they expire, in which case the company gets to keep the money spent on the gift card without having to cough up the product or service it was meant to pay for. Sometimes these gift cards go unused as a result of customers receiving them for things they don’t want, they forget about them, or they are simply too busy to use them before the expiration date, but sometimes the company influences the outcome to significantly decrease the likelihood that gift cards will be used before they expire.

According to a recent class action lawsuit against SoulCycle, the fitness chain allegedly issued class passes that expired in an unreasonably short amount of time. The consumer class action lawsuit was filed in August 2015 by the lead plaintiff, Rachel C., who alleges she was unable to use her single-class pass before it expired. Continue reading

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Although the courts are intended to be accessible to all citizens with grievances, the sad fact is they come with an increasingly large entry fee. Citizens can choose to represent themselves when filing or defending a lawsuit, but most citizens don’t have the knowledge or training to effectively represent their own interests in a court of law. On the other hand, the costs of hiring an attorney are prohibitively high for a lot of people.

In order to help people overcome this hurdle, certain lending institutions have arisen that lend plaintiffs the money they need to file a lawsuit, but the plaintiff only needs to repay the loan if they win their case.

The state of Colorado recently filed a lawsuit against one such lawsuit lender, Oasis Legal Finance, for allegedly extending credit in the state without a license under the state’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code (UCCC). Oasis countered that it was not extending credit, it was purchasing an investment. Continue reading