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Class-action lawsuit filed in pet food recall
Class Action News | 2007/05/16 11:38

The pet-food recall that included more than 100 types and resulted in the death of more than a dozen cats or dogs has spawned the first class-action lawsuit against manufacturers, including Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co. P&G, which makes Iams and Eukanuba pet foods, was among those named as defendants in a lawsuit announced by a Miami law firm late Tuesday. Wet pet foods made by Iams and Eukanuba were among those recalled earlier this year after tainted pet food was linked to a third-party manufacturer, Menu Foods.

Investigators have said the problem comes from tainted wheat gluten imported from China.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on behalf of three cat and dog owners in Michigan and Florida, names 15 food companies and retailers as defendants, including Menu Foods, P&G and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

In a press release, the law firm said the companies have spent $300 million a year in marketing campaigns that misrepresent the contents of their pet foods.

An Iams spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

WellPoint unit settles class-action suit in California
Class Action News | 2007/05/15 09:22

Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc.’s subsidiary in California—facing a state fine for retroactively canceling health insurance policies—agreed Friday to a class-action settlement with 6,000 policyholders, according to USA Today.

Blue Cross of California pledged not to retroactively cancel coverage unless policyholders "intentionally misrepresented" information on their applications—a sharp change in its practices.

In March, the California Department of Managed Health Care announced a $1 million fine against Blue Cross. The company is contesting the fine.

For decades, insurers have canceled a small percentage of policies when they found mistakes or omissions on application forms completed by policyholders. Insurers defend the practice, called “rescission,” as a check against fraud.

Critics say insurers invoke when a policyholder files a large medical bill. The practice affects people who buy their own insurance, not those covered by employer-sponsored plans.

Class Action vs. Cutera, Inc. Handled by Schiffrin
Class Action News | 2007/05/08 19:15

Notice is hereby given that a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of all common stock purchasers of Cutera, Inc. (NASDAQ: CUTR) ("Cutera" or the "Company") from January 31, 2007 to May 7, 2007, inclusive (the "Class Period").

If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests with respect to these matters, please contact Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, LLP (Darren J. Check, Esq. or Richard A. Maniskas, Esq.) toll free at 1-888-299-7706 or 1-610-667-7706, or via e-mail at

The Complaint charges Cutera and certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Cutera is a global medical device company specializing in the design, development, manufacture, marketing and servicing of laser and other light-based aesthetics systems for practitioners worldwide. More specifically, the Complaint alleges that the Company failed to disclose and misrepresented the following material adverse facts which were known to defendants or recklessly disregarded by them: (1) that the Company's sales force expansion, specifically with regard to the development of the junior sales program, was unsuccessful; (2) that the Company was experiencing unusually high employee turnover in its sales force; (3) that, as a result of the foregoing, the Company's sales force in North America was under-trained and ill-equipped to sell the Company's products in the marketplace; (4) as such, and contrary to earlier representations, the Company was not going to experience a 25 percent revenue growth and was going to experience a dreadful quarter of revenue generation; (5) that the Company lacked adequate internal and financial controls; and (6) that, as a result of the foregoing, the Company's financial and operational projections were lacking in a reasonable basis when made.

Throughout the Class Period, the Company continued to issue press releases that highlighted positive news, although the Company failed to disclose any problems that it was experiencing. Therefore, investors were shocked on April 5, 2007, when the Company issued a press release stating that the Company expected revenue of only $23 million for the first quarter of 2007, significantly below the Company's earlier guidance of $26 million, provided months earlier. On the release of this news, shares of the Company's stock immediately declined $11.72 per share, or over 30.5 percent, to close on April 5, 2007 at $26.67 per share, on unusually heavy trading volume. The value of the Company's shares continued to decline over the following two trading days, eventually closing on April 10, 2007 at $24.85 per share. The cumulative effect of the Company's shocking news over this three day trading period was a total decline of $13.54 per share, or a loss of over 35 percent of their value.

Then on May 7, 2007, the Company finally disclosed that its dismal operating and financial results for the quarter was primarily due to the unsuccessful implementation of a junior sales program and extremely high employee turnover in the Company's sales force. Upon the release of this news, shares of the Company's stock declined 19.97 percent to close on May 8, 2007 at $23.40 per share.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of class members and is represented by the law firm of Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler which prosecutes class actions in both state and federal courts throughout the country. Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler is a driving force behind corporate governance reform, and has recovered billions of dollars on behalf of institutional and individual investors from the United States and around the world.

For more information about Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler or to sign up to participate in this action online, please visit

If you are a member of the class described above, you may, not later than June 18, 2007, move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff of the class, if you so choose. A lead plaintiff is a representative party that acts on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. In order to be appointed lead plaintiff, the Court must determine that the class member's claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the class. Under certain circumstances, one or more class members may together serve as "lead plaintiff." Your ability to share in any recovery is not, however, affected by the decision whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff. You may retain Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler or other counsel of your choice, to serve as your counsel in this action.

Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, LLP
Darren J. Check, Esq.
Richard A. Maniskas, Esq.
280 King of Prussia Road
Radnor, PA 19087
1-888-299-7706 (toll free) or 1-610-667-7706
Or by e-mail at Email Contact

Class Action hits Google and YouTube
Class Action News | 2007/05/07 17:07

England's Football Association Premier League Ltd. and independent music publisher Bourne Co., are hitting Google and YouTube with a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging massive copyright infringement and encouraging other content owners whose videos have appeared on YouTube to join the suit.

"Defendants are pursuing a deliberate strategy of engaging in, permitting, encouraging and facilitating massive copyright infringement on the YouTube Web site," the lawsuit states.

The complaint, filed Friday in New York federal court, alleges that YouTube has purposely refused to remove copyrighted works from its site or employ "readily available technology" to prevent the infringement. Google, which bought the site in November for $1.65 billion, encourages YouTube to continue allowing copyrighted works to be posted by users, the lawsuit claims.

A spokesman for Google could not be immediately reached for comment.

The plaintiffs allege that YouTube and Google are able to identify copyrighted material and remove it as well as employ a filter system to prevent posting of infringing material but have failed to do so.
"From what I understand, YouTube will provide filtering to parties who are willing to license their content to YouTube on terms that are acceptable to YouTube," said the plaintiffs' lead attorney, William Hart of Proskauer Rose in New York. "YouTube is not offering filtering to content across the board. Although they say it's coming to larger copyright owners, they already acknowledge they have this technology for a preferred group, but they're not doing that, and should, for other copyright owners."

The Premier League is the most popular division of English soccer and is viewed in 204 countries. According to the complaint, several infringing clips have been posted almost immediately after games, including April matches between Manchester United and Everton and Middlesbrough and Tottenham.

Bourne claims its musical works are frequently posted on the site, including Jimmy Durante singing "Inka Dinka Doo" and Diana Krall singing "Let's Fall in Love." Many of Bourne's compositions allegedly were still posted at the time of the lawsuit's filing.

Hart said YouTube has taken more than seven days to take down infringing material even though the Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires an expeditious removal.

"If they're told this particular work is infringing, they take it down," he said. "Then, if someone reposts it, we're starting all over again. Once someone tries to post it again, it should be filtered out rather than going over the whole exercise again."

In the case of the Premier League, Hart said it has become a full-time job for someone at the organization to send notices to YouTube on a daily basis.

The proposed class action, he said, includes "any copyright owner who has not given any authorization for their content to appear" on YouTube. A Web site has been established,, to recruit potential members of the suit.

Hart believes that the case most likely will be consolidated with the recent lawsuit filed against YouTube and Google by Viacom. A separate infringement case against YouTube brought by photojournalist Robert Tur is pending in California.

In the Viacom case, filed in March in New York federal court, the media conglomerate is seeking more than $1 billion in damages and has identified more than 100,000 copyrighted clips posted without permission.

In an answer filed Monday, Google cites the safe harbor provisions in the DMCA as a defense.

"By seeking to make carriers and hosting providers liable for Internet communications, Viacom's complaint threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment and political and artistic expression," the defendants said in the response. "Google and YouTube respect the importance of intellectual property rights and not only comply with their safe harbor obligations under the DMCA but go well above and beyond what the law requires."

Google is making a similar argument in the Tur case.

In a statement released after Google's answer was filed, Viacom said: "This response ignores the most important fact of the suit, which is that YouTube does not qualify for safe harbor protection under the DMCA. It is obvious that YouTube has knowledge of infringing material on their site, and they are profiting from it."

Morgan's wealth group settles bias suit
Class Action News | 2007/04/26 15:58

Morgan Stanley's Global Wealth Management Group has announced it will pay at least $46 million to settle a class action filed by eight current and former female financial advisers and registered trainees. Under terms of the settlement announced yesterday, which is subject to the approval of the U.S. District Court in Washington, the New York-based firm will adopt new programs in such areas as account redistribution, training and management development designed to enhance the success of women financial advisers.

Also under the terms of the settlement, the firm will establish a process through which women financial advisers who believe they were historically disadvantaged because of their gender may submit monetary claims to a Special Master jointly appointed by the parties.

A $46 million pool has been established to pay such claims and related costs.

"We are firmly committed to the initiatives we will be undertaking to attract and retain women financial advisors and help them be as successful as possible, and pleased to resolve a legal matter stemming from the past. Our goal – across the organization – is to be the employer-of-choice for talented women," said Caroline Gundeck, head of the GWMG Office of Diversity.

Banks hit TJ Maxx owner with class-action lawsuit
Class Action News | 2007/04/26 12:55

The Massachusetts Bankers Association said Tuesday it is filing a class action lawsuit against TJX Companies Inc. after thieves stole data from at least 45.7 million credit and debit cards used at the retailer's stores over 17 months.

The association said it will seek to recover damages in the tens of million of dollars.

The Connecticut Bankers Association, the Maine Association of Community Banks and individual banks will be co-plaintiffs, the association said.

The Massachusetts Bankers Association said it is filing the lawsuit to "protect customer privacy and data security for customer accounts."

The TJX data breach was discovered Dec. 18 and investigators have since been looking for evidence of who hacked into the store's electronic network. TJX uncovered the breach after seeing "suspicious software" on its computer systems. The theft is believed to be the biggest breach of customer records in the United States.

The association said there have been "dramatic costs" to financial institutions to protect consumers as a result. Banks had to re-issue debit cards to customers, which can cost up to $25 per card, the association said. Banks also typically cover any fraudulent charges by replacing money in customers' accounts.

"Protecting consumers is our number one priority," said Lindsey Pinkham, senior vice president of the Connecticut Bankers Association. "However, retail data breaches are getting larger and more frequent and we cannot continue to absorb the costs."

The association said the lawsuit also will seek to prove that TJX was responsible for "negligent misrepresentation," since it said it was safeguarding and disposing of cardholder data.

TJX said it could not comment on pending litigation.

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