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Court rules Wal-Mart class action can proceed
Class Action News | 2007/06/01 15:43

WAL-MART Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, must face a class-action lawsuit by New Jersey workers claiming the company forced them to work through breaks and cheated them of overtime pay, the state Supreme Court ruled. The decision yesterday reversed two lower-court rulings that denied the hourly workers the right to sue as a group. The trial court "abused its discretion in declining to certify" the class action, the court said.

The high court certified a class covering about 72,000 former and current Wal-Mart workers. One legal expert said the decision "isn't good news for Wal-Mart".

"My speculation is that a jury is likely to find for the plaintiffs, given New Jersey juries and the pretty strong evidence put on elsewhere," said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia. Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, faces more than 70 US wage-and-hour suits, including class actions by employees claiming the company failed to pay for all hours worked or didn't compensate them properly for overtime.

Since December 2005, juries in Pennsylvania and California have awarded Wal-Mart workers a total of $US251 million ($A303 million) in pay and damages over such claims.

"We're disappointed with the decision and we're studying the opinion," Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley said.

Workers' lawyer Judy Spanier said her clients were "very pleased" with the decision. "It essentially adopts every argument we made," she said.

The ruling sends the case back to state court in New Brunswick for pretrial evidence-gathering.

The trial court first refused to grant class-action status, saying the case would be unmanageable. A mid-level appeals court upheld the decision. The Supreme Court found both lower courts were in error.

The workers claim Wal-Mart forced them to work through meal breaks, locked them in retail stores after they clocked out and coerced them into working off the clock.

The New Jersey action class will cover current and former hourly Wal-Mart staff employed from May 30, 1996, to the present.

Class Action Suit Planned Against Casey's
Class Action News | 2007/05/30 10:34
Two former assistant managers at Casey's General Stores say the convenience store chain didn't pay them overtime wages. Kristina Jones and Kim Marrs say they plan to file a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Sioux City today. They claim the Ankeny-based chain didn't pay them for working off-the-clock. Jones worked in several Des Moines stores, while Marrs worked at two stores in Missouri. Their attorney, Scott Peters of Council Bluffs, says there could be hundreds of other people who may qualify for the class action suit. Casey's operates about 1,500 stores in nine states.

Apple, labels slapped with class action suit
Class Action News | 2007/05/24 09:28

A small record label has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple and other digital music stores as well as the major record labels that carry its catalog of tracks. Dawg Music, which is run by bluegrass musician David Grisman and his partner Craig Miller, claims that entities carrying Grisman's musical tracks are knowingly selling his works with poor or nonexistent compensation without his consent. Represented by Strange and Carpenter from the Law Offices of Jeffry L. Graubart, the suit makes a two-part complaint implicating both labels and their online digital retail partners. The complaint states that Universal and Warner have neglected Daw Music's copyrights and royalties when signing deals with online stores -- including Apple's iTunes service.

The two large record companies agreed to online distribution of Grisman's library without first acquiring permission from Dawg Music, according to AppleInsider, and by doing so both labels made unauthorized hard copies of the music while also usurping control of royalties due for each album. That lack of communication resulted in "gross underpayments," claims Dawg Music, and online retail efforts such as the iTunes Store are guilty by association because they agreed to host and sell the unsanctioned tracks.

The suit claims that AOL Music Now,, Apple's iTunes,, Napster, RealNetworks' Rhapsody,, and Yahoo Music are guilty of trading songs without genuine consent because they send money to the intermediate labels but not the copyright holders.

Dawg Music also states that this evasion of copyrights has caused "irreparable injury" to the music label, and that the agreements will continue to damage the company as long as the present contracts for online music remain. All defendants named in the suit would be forced to pay Dawg Music for damages if the small label manages to prove its case in a central California court hearing.

Additionally, the court could order each defendant to pay $150,000 for each work whose copyright was violated if the case finds the labels and online music retailers guilty, adding up to millions of dollars in payments to Dawg Music.

Strange and Carpenter on behalf of Dawg Music will need to prove that none of the existing clauses in Dawg Music's contracts with Universal and Warner already cover the online distribution of their content if they are to win the case and recieve damages.

Orthodontic Patient Files Class Action Complaint
Class Action News | 2007/05/23 17:29

Align Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALGN) , the inventor of Invisalign(R), a proprietary method of straightening teeth without wires or brackets, announced today that the Company has been notified of a purported class action complaint filed against Align Technology, OrthoClear Inc., and OrthoClear Holdings, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York on May 18, 2007. Align Technology became aware of the filing on May 22, 2007, but has not been served with a copy of the Complaint.

The Complaint, assigned case # CV-00535-NAM-GJD and captioned "Debra A. Weber, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, against Align Technology Inc., OrthoClear Inc., and OrthoClear Holdings, Inc., d/b/a OrthoClear, Inc.," alleges that orthodontic treatments of the plaintiff dental patients "were interrupted, unduly prolonged or terminated as a result of defendants' unlawful conduct" relating to the OrthoClear settlement.

The Complaint alleges two causes of action against the OrthoClear defendants and one cause of action against Align Technology for breach of contract. The cause of action against Align Technology references Align's agreement to make Invisalign treatment available to OrthoClear patients, alleging that Align failed "to provide the promised treatment to Plaintiff or any of the Class Members."

Align Technology has reviewed the allegations contained in the Complaint and believes they are without merit. Following the OrthoClear settlement, Align Technology launched the Patients First Program to provide new Invisalign treatment to former OrthoClear patients at no charge to patients or their doctors. As of May 21, 2007, Align had shipped approximately 23,400 of the 24,700 cases submitted under the Patients First Program, including all Invisalign aligners for the named Plaintiff. The remaining in-process cases are expected to ship in the second quarter of 2007, as previously reported by the Company.

Class action lawsuit filed against Apple
Class Action News | 2007/05/18 18:15

The law offices of Peter Polischuk and Robert Dreher have filed suit on behalf of a class of plaintiffs alleging that Apple made "false claims" about the superior display capabilities of the MacBook and MacBook Pro. Class participants purport that the following marketing claims were made by Apple: "a nuanced view simply unavailable on other portables; "TFT display with support for millions of colors;" Aperture as "the ultimate photographer's workstation" Those claims are, at least in part, constituent of deception and misrepresentation, according to the plaintiffs, who claim that instead of adhering to the aforementioned degree of refinement, MacBook and MacBook Pro displays have been prone to flaws like "grainy" or "sparkly" quality, banding in gradients, and distracting lines of distortion.

The lawsuit even directly references a MacNN forum thread in which users note a distinct "grainy" quality of the MacBook Pro display that is extant regardless of booted operating system (Windows XP or Mac OS X) and non-extant on externally connected displays. The platform independence of this issue, as noted in the thread, is directly referenced as a key proponent of the lawsuit's claim.

Posters to that thread also identified a small LCD test application that dramatically exhibits the "sparkle" effect when run on afflicted systems. Another poster to the thread took several pictures of the "grainy" effect.

To showcase the defects, the lawsuit claims that Apple's mechanisms for dealing with users experiencing these issues was less than cordial, with class litigants complaining of Apple employees denying requests for exchange or refund on the basis that machines were "within spec" or that users were "imagining" the problems. In addition, the lawsuit claims that Apple routinely corralled discussion of the problems on its own message boards, deleting grievances voiced by users.

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.

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