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Latest news for Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC
- Judge Rules Visionworks Can’t Duck Fla. Class Suit Over Free Offer Deal
- Landskroner Grieco Merriman Filing Lawsuit In University Hospitals Frozen Egg & Embryo Case
- Attorney Paul Grieco Quoted In Ohio Trial Magazine
- Class action lawsuit against Cleveland Public Power moves forward
- Landskroner Grieco Merriman Involved In Macy’s Textile Litigation
- Statement On Behalf of the Family of Joshua Brown
- Judge Rules Tristar Can’t Scrap Class In Exploding Pressure Cooker Suit
- NTSB Report on Joshua Brown Fatal Accident
- Landskroner Grieco Merriman Involved In Jeep Wrangler Class Action
- Overbilled LADWP Customers Can Start Making Claims For Compensation
- Unpaid overtime action Against AVI Foodsystems, Inc.
- Visionworks Settles Advertising Class Actions for $4M
- DWP customers can expect refunds topping $67M
- Statement of Joshua Brown’s Family – Akron Man Killed in Truck
- Cleveland Attorney Paul Grieco to Lead Ohio Association for Justice
- Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC, Settles Overbilling Class Action Lawsuit On Of Behalf 1.6 Million LADWP Customers
- Small Businesses Can Take Steps to Help Ensure Credit Report Accuracy
- Lawsuit : Wews hidden camera videotaped 10 year old boy in restroom
- Fifth Third Bank Employee Class Action
- Longhorn Steakhouse Employee Class Action
- Starved Vermilion boy’s estate, siblings file suit
- TeamLGM files case against Maxim Healthcare for letting Disabled Children Starve
- Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) cases filed across the country move forward in Washington State
- Scripps Sued for Hidden Camera in Men’s Restroom
Law360 (May 3, 2018, 9:24 PM EDT) — Visionworks of America Inc. can’t escape a proposed class action alleging its “Buy One, Get One Free” offer violated Federal Trade Commission rules, as a Florida federal judge ruled Wednesday that a consumer adequately pled that a second pair of glasses wasn’t really free if the retailer increased the price on the first.
U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara held that consumer Jennifer Mora’s “extremely detailed factual allegations” were strong enough to survive the eyeglass retailer’s motion to dismiss, saying that any concerns she may not be able to sustain those claims must be saved for after discovery, according to the decision.
Visionworks had sought to fend off Mora’s February proposed class action by arguing that the two claims in her suit were duplicative, and that she hadn’t sufficiently alleged any facts to support her contention that the company was improperly raising the price for a single pair of eyeglasses while offering the buy-one-get-one deals, court records show.
But Judge Lazzara said in Wednesday’s ruling that Mora had done more than enough to support her case before evidence is exchanged.
“The court is more than satisfied that those factual allegations are more than sufficient to allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged in both counts of the amended complaint,” he wrote.
Mora said in her suit that the retailer violated Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practice Act and had unjustly enriched itself with its offer, arguing that the company bumped up the cost of the first pair of glasses by about 40 percent while purportedly giving the second away for free.
And the company had used the word “free” in its advertising for more than six months during a 12-month period, which is prohibited by the FTC, she said.
Mora is seeking to represent all Floridians who bought glasses from Visionworks under the buy-one-get-one deal over the previous four years, according to her complaint.
Visionworks had argued in its April 17 dismissal bid that Mora had failed to claim any actual damages from her purchases, and that she also failed to establish with particularity any facts to support her claims that the company had fraudulently inflated the costs of its eyewear. For example, the company pointed out that Mora paid $610 for two pair of glasses she said were worth a total of $666, still a savings on her own calculated value of the products.
The company also argued that Mora was precluded from bringing an unjust enrichment claim because she had an adequate remedy in the form of her state consumer law claim and that a contract exists between the two parties, according to its motion.
But Judge Lazzara wrote in Wednesday’s ruling that under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a party can state as many claims or defenses it has, regardless of consistency.
“Any concerns about plaintiff’s ability to sustain her claims successfully against defendant are more appropriately raised within the context of a motion for summary judgment after the completion of full discovery,” he wrote.
The retailer settled a similar class action for $4.2 million regarding its buy-one-get-one offer in January 2017 in Ohio federal court. That settlement concluded 2½ years of litigation, including proceedings in front of a state court and two federal courts as well as an interlocutory appeal to the Sixth Circuit.
Representatives for the parties did not immediately respond to requests for comments on Thursday.
Mora is represented by Brian W. Warwick and Janet R. Varnell of Varnell & Warwick PA, Drew Legando, Jack Landskroner and Tom Merriman of Landskroner Grieco Merriman LLC, and Mark Schlachet of the Law Offices of Mark Schlachet.
Visionworks is represented by Christopher M. Murphy and Daniel R. Campbell of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, and Benjamin H. Hill III and Dennis P. Waggoner of Hill Ward Henderson.
The case is Mora v. Visionworks of America Inc., case number 8:18-cv-00335, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
Following news that over 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos stored at University Hospitals of Cleveland may no longer be viable, Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC is filing legal actions on behalf of affected patients.
“This is absolutely devastating news,” attorney Tom Merriman said. “These patients may have lost their only shot at having families of their own after enduring invasive and expensive fertility treatments. And they have to live with the uncertainty for months or years because the only way to determine viability is to thaw the frozen eggs and embryos completely – but once they’re thawed, they can’t be re-frozen.”
A malfunction in a storage refrigerator at the UH fertility clinic caused a temperature fluctuation that put all of the stored eggs and embryos at risk. According to Merriman, the responsible parties may include the hospital, an outside vendor or the manufacturer of the refrigeration system.
“Our goal is to hold the hospital accountable, protect these patients’ rights and make sure this never happens again,” Merriman said.
- Marie Claire
- The Plain Dealer
- NBC Nightly News
- News 5 Cleveland (3/9/2018)
- News 5 Cleveland (3/13/2018)
- ABC 57
- Fox 8 – More lawsuits filed
- WKYC – Tom Merriman breaks down U.H. Fertility Center case
- WKYC – More lawsuits filed over fertility clinic disaster
- Washington Post
- CNN – Families in two cities grieve
- CNN – Families speak after loss
- Fox 8 – University Hospitals files motion to drop
- WKYC – Reaction to University Hospitals motion to dismiss
Team LGM partner Paul Grieco was interviewed by Ohio Trial Magazine for a piece on self-driving cars entitled “Robot Cars – Innovation, Safety, And Consumer Protection.”
In the interview, Grieco expressed skepticism about the ability of self-driving vehicles to prevent auto accidents and discussed some of the complex liability issues that could be involved in self-driving vehicle accidents, including potential liability for vehicle manufacturers, software companies, camera and radar companies, or even entities responsible for maintaining street signs that need to be legible for vehicles.
“There will always be companies that make an economic decision to keep a dangerous product on the market,” said Grieco. “We’ll continue to have those problems, and we will need trial lawyers and local juries to hold them responsible.”
Read the full article here.
In late January 2018, notices of pending litigation went out to Cleveland Public Power customers as the case moves toward a court ruling.
The class action lawsuit, filed by attorney Jack Landskroner on behalf of over 80,000 CPP customers, alleges that the public utility company charged millions in unsubstantiated charges between 2007 and 2017.
“We have a utility saying ‘we can charge what we want, when we want,’” said Landskroner. “Cleveland Public Power improperly and illegally charged consumers in violation of city ordinance, and they need to be held accountable.”
Two consumers, Sara Hawes and Amy Hill, have filed suit against Macy’s Inc., along with AQ Textiles LLC, Creative Textile Mills PVT LTD, and John Doe Corporations (1-100), alleging that the thread count of bedding they purchased at Macy’s was less than advertised.
“This is false advertising, plain and simple,” said attorney Jack Landskroner, who represents the plaintiffs. “As we have set forth in our complaint, these companies knowingly violated industry standards and inflated the advertised quality of their products. Our goal is to hold them accountable and send a strong message that consumers have rights.”
The plaintiffs are represented by Landskroner and Drew Legando of Landskroner Grieco Merriman LLC, along with Bruce Steckler, Stuart Cochran and Kirstine Rogers of Steckler Gresham Cochran. The case is U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio case number 1:17-cv-00754-TSB.
Cleveland, Ohio: Landskroner Grieco Merriman, Attorneys for the family of Joshua Brown, who was killed in a motor vehicle crash when his Tesla collided with a tractor trailer in Williston, Florida on May 7, 2016, release the following statement from the Brown family, in advance of the National Transportation Safety Board hearing scheduled for September 12, 2017, on the probable cause of the fatal May 7, 2016, crash:
On May 7, 2016, Joshua Brown (40) of Canton, Ohio, was killed in a motor vehicle crash in Williston, Florida when his Tesla collided with a semi-tractor trailer that failed to yield when crossing a divided highway.
Josh was a veteran, an exceptional citizen, and a successful entrepreneur. Most importantly, he was a loving son, brother and uncle. Josh served 11 years in the United States Navy. He was a master Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technician and achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer. He proudly served as a member of EOD Mobile Unit 3 out of San Diego, CA, and then the Navy’s elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG) out of Dam Neck, VA. Josh was deployed to multiple war zones as part of the special operations groups. He also served at the White House and overseas supporting Secret Service operations.
Joshua loved technology and was a successful entrepreneur. He developed several database applications widely used by the Navy. In 2010, he started his own technology company, Nexu Innovations. The company primarily focused on developing and installing WIFI and surveillance systems, but also developed other technology driven applications.
This fatal and tragic collision was the first documented crash involving the use of driver assist autopilot technology.
It generated worldwide media attention. Unfortunately, while some of the reporting was accurate, many media outlets published or broadcast speculation about the crash which was later proven to be false. Many of those accusations were damaging to our son’s reputation and a twist of the knife in the open wound of our family. Since May 7th, 2016, our family has endured reading, listening, and watching as international attention played out on this tragedy. We have intentionally remained silent because we fully believed it was critical to have all the facts before making any public judgements.
Multiple official investigations, evaluations, and reports are now complete. This includes those conducted by the Florida Highway Patrol, Medical Examiners, Tesla, and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (“NHTSA”). The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) has not yet released its final report, but has made all of their investigations and findings public.
We now feel it is time to try to set the record straight based on the facts. We urge all news organizations to give as much coverage to the truth which has now been confirmed through these investigations as they did to the unverified speculation in the early sensationalized reporting. We hope the truth gains as wide an audience as did those false statements.
Some media falsely claimed that Josh was traveling well over 100 mph. Within a few days of the crash, it was verified Josh was on cruise control (Tesla Autopilot). It was set at 74 mph. Although above the speed limit, it is significantly different than the original extreme speeds which were rumored and repeated by some media outlets.
It was “reported” that Josh was watching a Harry Potter movie at the time of the accident. This movie was purported to be playing either on the large screen in the Tesla console or a portable DVD player. Both claims have been proven untrue. There was no Harry Potter video found in the car and no video device in the vehicle that was capable of playing a movie. Moreover, the eye witness accounts taken from those people who were first on the scene after the crash confirmed there was no movie playing.
It was reported after the NTSB findings were released that Joshua was given 7 reminders to put his hands on the steering wheel prior to the accident. The false implication in the news stories was that Josh continued to ignore these repeated reminders (and keep his hands off the wheel) until he finally struck the truck. In reality, Teslas are designed so that every few minutes if the car does not sense hands on the steering wheel, it provides the driver with a visual reminder. If that is ignored, it then gives an audible reminder. If that is ignored, the car will slow down and stop. Understanding how this technology works, we now know Joshua responded by putting his hands on the steering wheel. Aware of both the vehicle’s abilities and limitations, Joshua followed the prompts of the Tesla with each series of indications received. Otherwise, the Tesla would have automatically slowed and stopped.
Joshua loved his Tesla Model S. He studied and tested that car as a passion. When attending gatherings at the Tesla store, he would become the primary speaker answering questions about the technology and the car’s capabilities/limitations. In the videos Josh posted to YouTube about Tesla, he repeatedly emphasized safety, that the car was NOT autonomous, and that the driver had to pay attention.
We heard numerous times that the car killed our son. That is simply not the case. There was a small window of time when neither Joshua nor the Tesla features noticed the truck making the left-hand turn in front of the car. People die every day in car accidents. Many of those are caused by lack of attention or inability to see the danger. Joshua believed, and our family continues to believe, that the new technology going into cars and the move to autonomous driving has already saved many lives. Change always comes with risks, and zero tolerance for deaths would totally stop innovation and improvements.
Nobody wants tragedy to touch their family, but expecting to identify all limitations of an emerging technology and expecting perfection is not feasible either. When rail systems, metro systems, and personal vehicles (etc.) were constructed, fatalities occurred and we learned from them. Who determines it has been vetted enough? Life is a balancing act. Barring blatant recklessness, finding common ground will always be a debate.
Part of Joshua’s legacy is that his accident drove additional improvements making the new technology even safer. Tesla has done extensive research into the accident and how it might have been prevented. They have made significant investments toward improvements and the Version 8 software release included numerous safety improvements that were a direct result of that research. Tesla continues to release additional features based on lessons learned from Josh’s accident. Our family takes solace and pride in the fact that our son is making such a positive impact on future highway safety.
Law360, New York (June 20, 2017, 7:06 PM EDT) – Tristar Products Inc. can’t decertify a class of consumers that claims its pressure cookers are explosively defective and worthless, an Ohio federal judge said Tuesday, finding that the cookers’ fluctuating price and the currently unknown number of cookers sold wasn’t enough to dissolve the class.
U.S. District Judge James S. Gwin denied Tristar’s decertification bid, but also decided to bifurcate the upcoming trial, given potentially different damages for class members and an uncertain class size. As a result, the jury will first decide whether the cookers have a defect that allows them to be opened while still pressurized and whether that defect makes them worthless. If so, the parties will move on to figure out appropriate damages.
The three named plaintiffs, who hail from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Colorado, say the cookers appeared to be safe to open, and could be opened, but still contained a dangerous amount of pressure. Opening the cookers caused scalding food to explode out onto their bodies, they said.
They claim that the defect makes the cookers worthless and are seeking a full refund. A jury could determine the amount of damages by multiplying the number of cookers purchased by the purchase price, they explained.
In late April, the court certified a class comprised of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Colorado residents who bought Tristar pressure cookers. The company moved to decertify the classes, saying the fluctuating price of the cookers and the unknown number of cookers sold by third-party retailers in the three states were fatal to the class.
Judge Gwin disagreed, finding neither issue was enough to get rid of the class.
“That class members bought cookers at different prices than other members does not necessitate decertification,” he said, noting that the cookers are currently sold by Kohl’s at prices ranging from $110 to $160.
“After all, ‘it would drive a stake through the heart of the class action device, in cases in which damages were sought … to require that every member of the class have identical damages,’” he continued, citing the Seventh Circuit’s 2013 decision in Butler v. Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Although Tristar has argued that the consumers can’t measure its damages without a more solid idea of how many cookers are involved in the lawsuit, Judge Gwin said that the plaintiffs can collect Tristar’s online sales data and information from retailers to get the numbers they need to sufficiently figure out damages.
Neither party could be reached for comment Tuesday.
Tristar is represented by Madeline B. Dennis, John Q. Lewis and Jonathan F. Feczko of Tucker Ellis LLP.
The plaintiffs are represented by Gregory F. Coleman, Adam E. Edwards and Mark E. Silvey of Greg Coleman Law PC, Shanon J. Carson and Arthur Stock of Berger & Montague PC, Drew Legando of Landskroner Grieco Merriman LLC, and Edward A. Wallace and Tyler J. Story of Wexler Wallace LLP.
The case is Chapman, et al., v. Tristar Products Inc., case number 1:16cv01114, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
Team LGM Attorney Responds To Government Findings
A report released by the National Transportation Safety Board offers new details on the crash that killed Joshua Brown, a Canton resident who died in a vehicle using Tesla’s Autopilot system.
The accident attracted nationwide attention as likely the first deadly crash in which an American driver was relying on self-driving technology. Attorney Jack Landskroner, who represents Joshua’s family, said the report put to rest rumors about the cause of the crash.
Landskroner said the NTSB report confirms that “baseless rumors reported in the media that Joshua was watching a Harry Potter video at the time of this horrible crash are unequivocally false.”
“There was no video playing and no evidence that any electronics were in use at the time of this accident, other than his car’s operational technology,” Landskroner continued. “We look forward to receiving the Board’s finding and recommendations related to the crash which we anticipate will be published at a later date.”
The NTSB report also indicated that the self-driving system was in use for the vast majority of Brown’s trip – 37.5 of 41 minutes. Moreover, the report quoted a witness as saying that the driver of the tractor-trailer that collided with Brown’s vehicle had sufficient time to avoid the crash.
The family has yet to take legal action against Tesla and continues to review the NTSB report.
Attorney say vehicles have serious manufacturing defect
A new class action lawsuit pits plaintiffs against auto manufacturer Chrysler, alleging that the company’s manufacturing practices led to a serious defect in certain Jeep Wrangler vehicles.
According to the lawsuit, Donna Mooradian, et al. v. FCA US LLC, the issue is caused by the sand-casting method that Chrysler uses to manufacture certain engine component parts. Specifically, the sand-casting method is used to make the cylinder head located on top of the engines used in model year 2012 through 2017 Jeep Wrangler vehicles.
The plaintiffs allege that Chrysler does not adequately purge the casting sand from the cylinder head. Over time, the sand seeps out of the cylinder head into the radiators and oil coolers, which “fill with a sludge-like residue that damages and ultimately destroys these and other components,” causing heating and cooling systems to fail.
And that’s much more than a comfort and convenience issue, according to attorney Jack Landskroner of Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC (“Team LGM”), one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs.
“Functional climate control is essential to the safe operation of a vehicle. For instance, without working heat, the vehicle can’t be defrosted in cold weather,” said Landskroner. “Consumers who bought or leased these vehicles were not made aware of the manufacturing defect, and that puts them and their families at risk.”
According to the plaintiffs, Chrysler did not take appropriate steps to promptly address the issue and continued selling the affected vehicles for years.
“Chrysler should have known about this defect by the end of pre-sale testing in 2011, and certainly by June 2012, by which time they had received hundreds of consumer complaints,” Landskroner continued. “Yet they not only continued to sell the affected Wranglers and failed to disclose the defect to consumers, but also refused to cover the costs of labor and repair for the manufacturing defect, even while the vehicles were still under warranty. This is exactly why we have laws protecting consumers.”
The plaintiffs, Donna and William Mooradian, are represented by Landskroner and fellow Team LGM attorney Drew Legando, as well as Daniel K. Bryson and John Hunter Bryson of Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP and Gregory F. Coleman of Greg Coleman Law PC.
In March 2017, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) customers began receiving information packets explaining their rights to recover compensation from a landmark overbilling class action settlement.
“Many customers don’t have to do anything to receive a credit or refund,” said consumer rights attorney Jack Landskroner of Landskroner Grieco Merriman. “But the settlement also creates a claims process and gives customers the right to recover additional damages which resulted from overbilling.”
In December, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle gave preliminary approval to the complex settlement which requires LADWP to repay each customer 100% of what they were overcharged or damaged. Court-appointed independent monitor Paul Bender has already verified $67,500,000 in overcharges to be refunded to residential and commercial customers.
Bender has also confirmed that nearly 800,000 current and former customers are entitled to credits or refunds. Those overcharges range from less than a dollar to tens of thousands of dollars. While many customers were not overbilled, all customers will get notice of the settlement in the mail and those affected will get details of what their recovery will be in an accompanying letter.
“It doesn’t matter if you were overbilled 15 cents or $15,000,” added Landskroner. “The settlement requires that every penny be returned to consumers.”
In addition to the pre-identified refunds, the settlement outlines multiple categories of claims for which class members may be entitled to compensation. Some will require customers to file a claim form and provide supporting documentation. For example:
- Customers who hired an electrician or plumber to figure out why their utility bill suddenly spiked only to learn they were being overbilled.
- Customers who were charged overdraft bank fees because they had automatic bill payment and LADWP overcharged them.
- Customers who had a premise condition (such as a leaking pipe or faulty meter) which went undiscovered because LADWP relied on estimated billing for multiple billing periods, resulting in excess consumption of water or power.
Information packets include a legal notice describing the settlement, a letter indicating the amount of any pre-identified automatic refund, and a claim form to make additional claims for compensation.
Judge Berle has appointed Kurtzman Carlson Consultants (“KCC”) as the Independent Claims Administrator. KCC will maintain a call center to answer class members’ questions from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm (PST) Monday through Friday. The toll-free number is 1-844-899-6219. There is also a settlement website located at http://www.ladwpbillingsettlement.com/ where additional information about the settlement can be found.
“Even if you are not one of the nearly 800,000 customers who have been pre-identified for a refund, if you believe you have been otherwise overcharged you have a right to file a claim form to seek compensation,” said Landskroner. “You can even fill out a claim form online.”
Team LGM is currently involved in an unpaid overtime action against AVI Foodsystems, Inc., on behalf of Route and CSA Supervisors. For more information about the case, including how to join it, please visit www.aviwages.com.
by Kat Sieniuc
Ohio and Illinois eyeglass purchasers suing Visionworks of America in federal court over the company’s allegedly fraudulent buy-one-get-one-free advertising scheme asked the court for preliminary approval on Tuesday of a $4.2 million settlement.
In an unopposed motion, plaintiffs Karen Poteat and Cheryl Lenart explained that after many months of arm’s-length negotiations between experienced counsel, plus an independent mediator, the parties have agreed to “fully, finally, and forever resolve, discharge, and settle all released rights and claims.”
Poteat and Lenart also asked the court to certify a settlement class, made up of Illinois and Ohio Visionworks customers who say they lost money from Visionworks’ allegedly fraudulent sale offer.
The terms of the agreement includes maximum payment to Ohio claimants of $1,155,280, with Illinois claimants getting the bulk of the settlement payout with $3,054,000, meaning each class member is to receive up to $100 cash to compensate for any eyeglasses they feel they overpaid for.
Poteat, on behalf of an Ohio class, and Lenart, representing an Illinois class, brought consumer-protection claims against Visionworks related to the company’s widely marketed buy-one-get-one-free eyeglasses sale at its retail locations.
The claimed Visionworks continuously and repeatedly made the offers “such that, over time, the cost of the first pair of eyeglasses inflated above its regular price and covered part of the cost of the second pair of eyeglasses, which was supposed to have been free.”
The suit added that the eyeglasses company sometimes offered an unadvertised alternative to the buy-one-get-one-free offer in the form of a 40 percent discount from the regular price for a single pair of eyeglasses. The sales clerks were all trained to offer this deal if the customer was hesitant about the high buy-one-get-one-free price.
“Based on this evidence, Plaintiffs’ theory of damages was that the single-pair price was the true regular price that BOGO purchasers should have paid. Thus, according to Plaintiffs and their expert economist, class members’ damages are equal to 40 percent of the price they paid,” the class alleged in the documents.
Visionworks has rigorously denied the allegations, and has at all times been steadfast in its insistence the company isn’t liable for any alleged damages suffered by plaintiffs.
After two and a half years of extensive litigation — including proceedings in front of a state court and two federal courts, as well as an interlocutory appeal to the Sixth Circuit — both sides came to the $4,209,280 agreement in mediation.
The plaintiffs asked the court to conditionally certifying a class of Ohio consumers who completed a buy-one-get-one-free transaction at a Visionworks store in the state from June 25, 2012, through September 15, 2016, as well as an Illinois settlement class of consumers who bought glasses under the same offer between June 8, 2013 and September 15, 2016.
The plaintiffs are represented by Drew Legando, Jack Landskroner, Tom Merriman and Edward S. Jerse of Landskroner Grieco Merriman LLC, Douglas M. Werman and Maureen Salas of Werman Salas PC, and Mark Schlachet.
Visionworks is represented by Jennifer Helene Berman, James R. Carroll, Davis S. Clancy and Matthew Robert Kipp of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
The case is Lenart v. Visionworks of America Inc., case number 1:16-cv-02505 in United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
-Editing by Joe Phalon.
At least $67.5 million could be refunded to Department of Water and Power customers inaccurately billed following a glitch-filled upgrade of the utility’s billing system.
That’s a result of a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge granting preliminary approval Friday of a class action settlement.
If given final approval, the settlement will resolve a lawsuit in which customers demanded refunds on overcharges that occurred when PricewaterhouseCoopers carried out an overhaul of the utility’s customer information system in 2013.
Jack Landskroner, an attorney for the customers, said Friday’s action by Judge Elihu Berle means “we’re one step closer to getting consumers a 100 percent recovery of what they were overbilled.”
Landskroner said they are set to return to court Dec. 15 because Berle still wants to review the language of the notice and claim forms that will be sent out to customers.
It may be a few more months before the settlement goes back for final consideration by the judge. The date for that hearing has not been set, Landskroner said.
Attorneys announced this week a court-appointed independent monitor verified $67.5 million in refunds and credits that can be automatically issued to customers.
Notices informing customers that their refunds were verified will go out as soon as the Berle approves them, according to Landskroner.
The total amount of the refunds and credits is expected to increase, because customers will be able to make additional claims for refunds not included among the verified amounts, attorneys said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement celebrating the ruling that the refunds should begin going out next year through a process that “will be carried out with rigorous oversight from both the court and our independent monitor.”
He called the judge’s ruling an “important step forward in making our customers whole.”
DWP General Manager David Wright said earlier this week that the refunds should occur in summer 2017 and “will follow a specific calendar established by the court.”
Attorneys said this week DWP officials have been cooperative, with Tom Merriman, another attorney who represents the customers, saying the independent monitor was given “unrestricted access” to the utility’s computer servers.
— City News Service
On May 7, 2016, Joshua Brown (40) of Canton, Ohio, was killed in a motor vehicle crash in Williston, Florida, caused by a semi tractor-trailer which crossed a divided highway and caused the fatal collision with Josh’s Tesla. Josh was a master Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) technician in the US Navy, an exceptional citizen, and a successful entrepreneur. He was a proud member of the Navy’s elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG). Most importantly, he was a loving son and brother.
There has been considerable media speculation since Tesla provided the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NTSHA) with data indicating that the Tesla autopilot system was activated at the time of the crash. While the public’s fascination with this new technology is understandable, the grief which Josh’s family continues to endure is personal and private. Accordingly, the Brown family requests that all communications on this matter be directed to their attorneys Jack Landskroner and Paul Grieco of Landskroner Grieco Merriman.
The investigation into the cause of this crash is ongoing. In honor of Josh’s life and passion for technological advancement, the Brown family is committed to cooperating in these efforts and hopes that information learned from this tragedy will trigger further innovation which enhances the safety of everyone on the roadways.
The Ohio Association for Justice (OAJ), the state’s largest professional association of trial attorneys, recently installed Cleveland attorney Paul Grieco as its 2016-2017 president during the organization’s annual convention held on May 3rd-5th. The ceremonial gavel was presented to Grieco by Immediate Past President and fellow Cleveland attorney, Frank Gallucci.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to lead an organization that fights on behalf of the injured and wronged in both the courtroom and the capitol,” said Grieco. “I plan to spend the next year working intently to ensure that our civil justice rights are preserved and that the courthouse doors remain open to all Ohioans.”
A founding partner in the law firm of Landskroner, Grieco, Merriman, Grieco has devoted his life to fighting for the most vulnerable members of our society, including children and the grievously injured. A frequent advocate for civil justice before the Ohio Legislature, Grieco’s stated that his highest priority as president will be to fight any effort to remove Constitutional powers from juries and rights from individuals.
“Juries should decide the quality of justice for Ohioans, not special interest groups that place profits over people,” said Grieco. “I want to make sure that injured Ohioans are able to exercise their Constitutional right to a trial by a jury of their peers. Also, I will fight to guarantee that their attorneys always have a level playing field.”
Grieco is widely recognized as one of Ohio’s leading trial attorneys, and in 2014 he received the Garretson Courage Award for representing 11 children who were abused and forced to sleep in cages in foster homes. He is also a previous recipient of OAJ’s Distinguished Service award in 2011.
“Paul is a tireless advocate, not just for his clients but for all Ohioans seeking justice,” said outgoing President Frank Gallucci. “His track record of successfully taking on powerful interests to protect individuals speaks for itself, and I am confident that he will lead our organization with the same zeal and confidence that he exhibits in the courtroom.”
A native Ohioan, Paul lives in Cleveland with his wife, Sigrid Bergfeld. The couple has two daughters, Olivia and Sara Grieco.
The Ohio Association of Justice is a statewide association of plaintiffs’ attorneys dedicated to protecting the Constitutional rights and access to justice for all Ohioans through legislative advocacy and member education since 1954. On the web at oajjustice.org.
Los Angeles, August 17, 2015 – – Calling it a “historic settlement,” consumer rights attorney Jack Landskroner, of Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC, filed a stipulation of settlement with the Los Angeles Superior Court to formally settle a landmark class action lawsuit (Antwon D. Jones vs. City of Los Angeles) brought on behalf of all Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (“LADWP”) customers. The settlement will assure the return of over $44,000,000 to customers who were overbilled for water, electricity, and other services. Additionally, the comprehensive settlement:
- Mandates an independent audit of all 1.6 Million LADWP customer accounts to assure a 100% recovery to every Los Angeles resident and business which has been overbilled.
- Requires the LADWP to invest $20,000,000 in a comprehensive overhaul of its billing system.
- Establishes new rules as to how the nation’s largest public utility bills its customers.
- Appoints an independent monitor to ensure compliance with the terms of the agreement.
“Families and small businesses have enough financial stress,” said Landskroner. We set out to make sure every customer would be made whole. Under this settlement agreement, every single customer who was overcharged will have their money returned. Thankfully, the LADWP took the overbilling problem seriously and understood both the legal and moral obligation to right this injustice and resolve this matter in the best interests of the ratepayers.”
In 2010, LADWP hired the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to modernize the utility’s nearly 40-year-old billing system. In 2013, LADWP implemented the PwC’s $181,000,000 computer billing system. The conversion failed miserably, producing tens of thousands of inaccurate bills and hourlong phone hold times as ratepayers tried to get their bills corrected. The faulty billing system overcharged thousands of customers by estimating meter readings and by failing to charge some commercial customers at all.
Jack Landskroner, whose law firm is based in Cleveland, Ohio, began investigating utility billing problems after the 2009 launch by PwC of a new water billing system for the Cleveland Water Department, which also turned disastrous. His knowledge of the Cleveland billing fiasco enabled Landskroner to understand the necessary comprehensive reforms approved in the groundbreaking LADWP settlement. Most significantly, the deal provides for an independent third party to monitor LADWP’s compliance and their timely progress in enacting these reforms over the next eighteen months, to assure the terms of the settlement are met and that all customers are made whole.
“We applaud the LADWP for not only standing by their customers while they address the problems created by the faulty PwC billing system, but accepting third party oversight and agreeing to fix the faulty system,” said Landskroner. “That was critical to guaranteeing both transparency and meaningful reform, which LADWP is embracing in this result.”
Under terms of the settlement, LADWP addresses the errors created by the PwC billing system, its impact on its customers and agrees to:
- Review and audit the accounts of every single customer. Approximately 1.6 million accounts will be reviewed/audited.
- Customers who were overcharged will either receive a full credit (100 cents on the dollar) to their account if they were overcharged or they will receive refunds if their account is closed.
- It will not be necessary for the majority of ratepayers who were overbilled to file a claim. Credits or refunds will be generated automatically and noted on customer’s bills.
- Customers that incurred incidental expenses related to these billing errors are able to submit a claim for reimbursement of costs, with supporting documentation.
- If an audit shows that residential customers owed money for services but had not received a timely bill, the LADWP will only be allowed to bill for the prior to 9 months (270 days) of services. The LADWP legally can currently charge up to four years.
- Commercial accounts would be responsible for paying for services for up to four years.
- Customers that owe for back services that had not been timely billed will have up to 4 years to pay back any verified balance – interest and penalty free with qualifying small businesses permitted to apply for an extension beyond 4 years if under a hardship.
- Retain Paul Bender Consulting, an independent third-party expert in utility billing systems, which will monitor the settlement terms for the court to ensure that the settlement terms are implemented and the LADWP data is accurate. (Mr. Bender was the consultant who successfully implemented sweeping improvements to the Cleveland Water Department that was plagued by similar catastrophic billing problems, staffing inefficiencies and complaints of poor customer service.)
- Within 540 days from the final settlement approval, the LADWP will be responsible for 90-95 % completion of remediation of all system errors and to improving call times and customer service.
- A third-party will be hired to administer the settlement.
“The failed computer system hurt families and small businesses throughout Los Angeles,” said Landskroner. “This agreement recovers the overbilled amount, puts systems in place to monitor and test the billing system while at the same time holding the LADWP responsible for successfully implementing the settlement.”
For a copy of the stipulation of settlement, go to www.teamlgm.com.
In March, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit against PwC alleging that the company misled LADWP by claiming it had the expertise to run the utility’s new billing system. No one at PwC or LADWP could initially figure out the billing problem. The LADWP hired Oracle who reportedly discovered that PwC defectively coded part of the program. If successful, all of the costs incurred by LADWP in settling this case could be recovered from PwC.
Access to credit is the lifeblood of most small enterprises. Accordingly, it is crucial that the information reported on a company’s commercial credit report is accurate. Any false or misleading report that is published can have a dire effect on the business’s reputation as well as its ratings and credit scores. Generally, when credit scores drop, the cost of credit rises and access diminishes.
In the realm of consumer credit, each company that reports a credit transaction is listed on a consumer’s credit report, but the world of commercial credit operates under the cloak of secrecy. No commercial credit reporting agency publishes the identity of the business that makes a negative report about a company’s credit record. Moreover, unless the company that provides a trade experience agrees to be identified, it takes a lawsuit to force the release of this information from the credit reporting agency due to intercompany confidentiality agreements.
Small business owners are adversely affected when credit reporting agencies publish what might be a false and defamatory statement about their business’s credit reputation. To help solve this dilemma, business credit reporting agencies have developed products that allow small businesses to monitor their own credit profile.However, the marketing of such products may be seen as an attempt on the part of credit reporting agencies to benefit from their own refusal to disclose information.
In 2010, Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), the most powerful and prominent small business credit reporting agency, sold its own credit monitoring product line (“SelfAwareness Solution”) to a new start-up company called the Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation (DBCC). Since then, small businesses have been solicited by a marketing company that has licensed and uses the D&B name and logo to leverage the sale of DBCC’s “Credit builder” credit-monitoring product line.
The collective practices of D&B and DBCC have come under scrutiny in a class action lawsuit filed in February 2014 in the Northern District of Ohio and has since been transferred to a federal court in Washington State, where it will be litigated with four other similar cases that have been filed across the country.
To protect your business from questionable credit reporting or marketing agency practices, ask these questions before buying a credit monitoring product:
1) Who is making the solicitation?
If not the actual credit reporting agency, the soliciting company likely cannot directly affect your business’s credit profile
2) What information should I disclose about my business?
Telemarketing companies may use information gathered from a business to put more detail about a company into the credit reporting agency’s databases. Remember that these reporting agencies are for-profit companies and have no governmental authority. You are under no obligation to provide a credit reporting agency with any information about your business.
3) What happens if I don’t provide information about my company?
Credit reporting agencies may have a credit profile on your company created from public filings, but they may not have the information necessary to rate your business. Most companies need a minimum number of trade experiences in their database to maintain a credit score on a business. When solicited by a credit reporting or marketing agency, limit the disclosures you make about your business, its needs and/or its finances unless you need or want a credit score.
4) Do “self-monitoring” products work?
Most products cannot directly improve your credit score or fix negative trade reports on your credit profile. For example, DBCC has no direct access to change, correct or impact your D&B business’s credit report. You can, however, visit www.iupdate.dnb.com and independently challenge inaccurate credit reports at no charge. Be forewarned that using this site will likely result in a marketing solicitation from DBCC within 72 hours, as D&B will immediately provide DBCC your business contact information.
5) What if I cannot resolve a dispute about the accuracy of my business’s credit report?
Challenge any inaccurate statement as soon as you become aware of it. Most trade partners of credit reporting agencies will automatically remove disputes, but be vigilant to make sure that the same incorrect information does not reappear on your report. If, despite your dispute, inaccurate information remains on your report and has damaged your business’s reputation, you may need to consider taking legal action to protect your business.
CLEVELAND, OH. The father of a ten year old boy who repeatedly used a restroom at WEWS-TV which was rigged with a hidden camera has filed a lawsuit against The E.W. Scripps Company, Inc. and its former Director of Engineering Berry Pinney. The child, who is only identified in court documents by his initials “R.G.” because he is a minor, regularly accompanied his mother to the station while she worked as a personal makeup artist for several WEWS news anchors and reporters during evening newscasts last summer.
It is the seventh invasion of privacy case which has been filed since a hidden camera was discovered in a fire sprinkler in the first floor men’s restroom on July 13, but the first lawsuit brought on behalf of a child. The lawsuit alleges the boy was secretly videotaped while using the urinals and a toilet in an enclosed stall. All of the lawsuits filed to date contend that the victims’ genitals were recorded by the camera. The Complaint can be viewed online at www.teamlgm.com.
“Secretly videotaping a ten year old boy using a toilet is beyond outrageous,” said attorney Tom Merriman of the Cleveland law firm Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC. “Everyone there knows children are frequent visitors to the station and often use that restroom.”
The covert camera was positioned in a ceiling tile above an enclosed toilet stall and three privacy-screened urinals. It was rigged to enable both live and recorded viewing of people using the restroom.
Berry Pinney authorized Facilities Manager Terry Joyce to install the camera because they hoped to catch an employee who was allegedly wiping snot on a urinal. The camera was discovered by a group of WEWS news employees working a weekend shift after they noticed video images from the first floor men’s restroom appear on a video screen at a security desk. It is not known whether the man they dubbed “Booger man” was ever caught. After the fire sprinkler camera was discovered, then Scripps vice president and WEWS general manager Sam Rosenwasser ordered Pinney to delete all of the video. Scripps then fired Pinney. Last month, Rosenwasser resigned.
“For a news organization to delete video evidence is downright hypocritical,” said Merriman. “If this were a law enforcement agency which destroyed video of people’s rights being violated, it would be the lead story on Channel 5’s newscasts for a week.”
The Complaint seeks punitive damages for both the invasion of the child’s privacy and for the spoliation of evidence. Judge Daniel Gaul has been assigned to the case.
On December 31, Team LGM filed a case against Fifth Third Bank on behalf of current and former Customer Service Managers (“CSMs”) across the country. The case seeks recovery of unpaid overtime for hours worked by CSMs over 40 per workweek.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime at a rate of time-and-a-half. Since overtime is expensive, some employers seek to avoid paying it by classifying certain employees as exempt from the overtime laws and instead paying them a salary.
In order to be properly exempt from overtime, the employee’s primary job duties must be hiring, firing, promoting, or disciplining other employees, implementing management policies, committing the company to matters with significant financial impact, and setting wages. The Fifth Third lawsuit alleges, however, that the CSMs’ primary job duties were not managing, but were instead doing the type of work that hourly employees do: sales of loans, lines or credit, insurance and annuity products, working the teller line, routine audits of teller drawers, the ATM, and the vault, generating and printing routine reports, and performing other customer service tasks.
In addition to the claims under federal law for Fifth Third CSMs across the country, the lawsuit also brings specific additional claims for CSMs in Ohio, where state laws provide additional wage and hour protections.
If you are or were a manager at a Fifth Third Bank, Team LGM would be interested in hearing about your experience. Please contact Jack Landskroner or Drew Legando at 216-522-9000 or by email at email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.teamlgm.com. Team LGM’s co-counsel in the case are Seth Lesser and Fran Rudich of the New York law firm Klafter, Olsen & Lesser, as well as Gregg Shavitz, Susan Stern, and Paolo Meireles of the Shavitz Law Group in Florida.
The lawsuit is called Kampfer v. Fifth Third Bank, N.D. Ohio 3:14-cv-02849. You can read the complaint here.
On December 30, Team LGM filed a case against Darden Restaurants and GRMI, Inc., on behalf of current and former Restaurant Managers (“RMs”) of Longhorn Steakhouses across the country. The case seeks recovery of unpaid overtime for hours worked by RMs over 40 per workweek.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime at a rate of time-and-a-half. Since overtime is expensive, some employers seek to avoid paying it by classifying certain employees as exempt from the overtime laws and instead paying them a salary.
In order to be properly exempt from overtime, the employee’s primary job duties must be managing the restaurant, which means hiring, firing, disciplining others, scheduling, supervising, and exercising independent decision-making power. The Longhorn lawsuit alleges, however, that the RMs’ primary job duties were not managing, but were instead doing the type of work that hourly employees do: bussing tables, cleaning the restaurant, checking to make sure supplies are shelved, checking inventory, cooking, helping customers, and the like.
In addition to the claims under federal law for Longhorn RMs across the country, the lawsuit also brings specific additional claims for RMs in Ohio and in Maryland, where state laws provide additional wage and hour protections.
If you are or were a manager at a Longhorn Steakhouse, Team LGM would be interested in hearing about your experience. Please contact Jack Landskroner or Drew Legando at 216-522-9000 or by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.teamlgm.com. Team LGM’s co-counsel in the case are Seth Lesser, Fran Rudich, and Michael Reed of the New York law firm Klafter, Olsen & Lesser.
The lawsuit is called Priest v. Darden Restaurants, Inc., S.D. Ohio 2:14-cv-02761. You can read the complaint here.
CLEVELAND — Attorneys for the estate of a disabled toddler who died of malnutrition and dehydration and his six siblings are suing county agencies and health-care providers in northern Ohio, claiming they ignored warning signs of neglect.
Isaac Brothers-Bartholomew was 18 months old when his 11-year-old brother found him dead in his crib on Nov. 6, 2012, at the family’s home in Vermilion, which is west of Cleveland. A genetic disorder left Isaac and four of his siblings physically and mentally disabled.
The lawsuit claims that despite having a paid nurse — the children’s grandmother — in the home five days a week, care of the disabled children often was left to the oldest sibling, the 11-year-old boy, who is not disabled.
The grandmother, Debra Nelson, 63, and the children’s parents, James Brothers, 35, and Adrienne Bartholomew, 36, pleaded guilty last year to child-endangering charges and are in prison. The surviving children are in foster care and are thriving, said Jack Landskroner, an attorney who filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in Erie County. The four disabled children have doubled their weight since being placed in foster care, Landskroner said.
Defendants in the lawsuit include the parents and grandmother, two Erie County agencies, a health-care company that employed the grandmother and Dr. Teresa Ramsey, a pediatrician who Landskroner claims failed her legal duty to report that the children were neglected. He said all of the surviving disabled children were severely underweight.
“There was almost no recognition that these kids were in dire straits,” Landskroner said.
Yesterday, Ramsey defended her care of the children. She said she referred the children to specialists, but their parents did not take them to appointments.
“I did what I was supposed to do as far as being their pediatrician,” Ramsey said.
The lawsuit also names the Erie County Department of Job and Family Services, the Board of Developmental Disabilities and county employees.
Landskroner acknowledged that county workers often were prevented from seeing the children during home visits. But county workers nonetheless missed signs of neglect, he said.
When emergency crews arrived at the home after Isaac died, they found children covered in feces and vomit, gaunt and lethargic, the lawsuit said. During their investigation, authorities learned that the 11-year-old acted as the primary caregiver for his younger disabled siblings. Landskroner said the boy used bottles to feed the children, but because they had problems swallowing, they received inadequate nutrition.
A spokeswoman for Columbia, Md.-based Maxim Health Systems, the agency that employed the grandmother, issued a statement yesterday saying: “We are deeply troubled by these allegations and will respond to the plaintiff’s complaint through the appropriate channels. Due to privacy regulations and pending litigation, we are not able to provide further information at this time.”
source : *dispatch.com
This week Attorney Jack Landskroner of TeamLGM filed a law suit in Erie County, Ohio involving the tragic death of a child, who was subjected to neglect and starved to death, despite receiving nursing serves from Maxim Healthcare, pediatric care from a local doctor and oversight from Erie County Children’s Services. Four of the other children in the home were removed at the time the child’s death was reported, who were also severely malnourished. The law suit contends these care providers turned a blind eye to the neglect of these children and attacks the systematic failures plaguing our child protection systems. A copy of the law suit can be found on the law firm’s website.
The series of cases filed by LGM against Dun & Bradstreet and Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation, in WA, OH, NJ, NC and CA have now all been transferred to the Federal District Court in the Western District of Washington in Seattle where they will be coordinated to proceed collectively before the Honorable Thomas Zilly. The cases all relate to the accuracy of the information published by D&B about business’ credit reputation and the sales practices of a product called “Creditbuilder” which is an expensive internet-based credit-on-self product sold as the solution to these credit problems.
To see the complaints follow the links below:
WEWS-TV GM Destroyed Evidence
A former WEWS Newschannel 5 promotions producer has filed a lawsuit against The E.W. Scripps Company, Inc. and its director of Engineering Barry Pinney for installing a hidden camera in the men’s restroom at the Cleveland television station. Disguised as a fire sprinkler, the covert camera was discovered on July 13 in a ceiling tile above an enclosed toilet stall and three privacy-screened urinals. Attorneys for Brad Brown filed the case today in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.
“They spied on their own employees while we were using the toilet,” said Brown. “It is hard to imagine anything more outrageous.” Brown, who worked at WEWS for six years, recently accepted a position at WJW Fox 8.
The camera was rigged to enable live viewing of people using the restroom. It was discovered by a group of WEWS news employees working a weekend shift after they noticed video images from the first floor men’s restroom appear on a video screen at a security desk. The video was also recorded. After employees complained, WEWS General Manager Sam Rosenwasser removed the camera and deleted the secretly recorded videos.
“As a news organization, they knew it was illegal to film in a restroom and they should have known it was wrong to destroy evidence,” said Brown’s attorney Tom Merriman. “If this were a women’s restroom, there would be an angry mob assembling at the corner of 30th and Euclid.”
Immediately after the camera was discovered, Rosenwasser announced Pinney was no longer employed by Scripps. In subsequent meetings with WEWS staff, Scripps officials claimed the camera had been in place for approximately two weeks in an attempt to catch someone defacing the restroom.
The complaint seeks punitive damages for both the invasion of Brown’s privacy and for the spoliation of evidence. It may be the first of several lawsuits brought by employees and visitors who used the restroom. The law firm of Landskroner Grieco Merriman LLC has been retained by a group of current WEWS staffers to pursue legal action.
“That restroom is not only the main facility used by people in the newsroom,” said Merriman, “It is also used by guests of the station, including children.”
During the week before the hidden camera was discovered, the blockbuster Lebron James and Republican National Convention stories dominated the local news and brought several high profile on air guests to the WEWS studios. It is unknown whether any of the guests were videotaped or subjected to live viewing while using the restroom.
Judge Nancy Margaret Russo has been assigned to the case.
For more information, contact attorney Tom Merriman at (o) 216-522-9000 or (c) 216-544-3411 or email: email@example.com.