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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, Buy.com, Apple's iTunes, MSN.com, Napster, RealNetworks' Rhapsody, Wal-Mart.com, 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.



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 info@sbtklaw.com.

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 www.sbtklaw.com

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.

CONTACT:
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



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