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09/29/2014

Private Attorneys General Act Lawsuit Viability to Be Considered by U.S. Supreme Court

PAGA Lawsuits and Arbitration Clauses

Within California, an extensive list of employment-related legal violations may be pursued by individuals acting as "proxies" for the California Attorney General in ensuring safe and fair working conditions.  Under this Private Attorneys General Act, or PAGA, the state has set up specific procedures for pursuing these violations, as well as specific penalties to remedy and discouraging these violations. For many years now in California, however, employers have included arbitration agreements as conditions for employment which have been held to effectively... Read More
09/29/2014

Hotel Add-On Fees Prompt Class Action Lawsuits

Hotel Add On Fees

In an effort to buttress profits similar to hidden charges imposed by airlines for several years, hotels and resorts are increasingly imposing add-on and use fees to customary rates.  These charges may be for "resort fees," charges for mini-bar or in-room snacks, and the like. to the extent that such charges are not clearly transparent to the consumer, the establishment may run afoul of the law and become subject to class action lawsuits by aggrieved consumers. For example, when offering a... Read More
09/24/2014

Whistleblower Award Nets $30 Million for Informant

Whistleblower Award

Audet & Partners, LLP has learned that the Securities and Exchange Commission is poised to pay out around $30 million to an individual who called ongoing fraud to the government's attention.  The fraud in question apparently involved illegal investment-related activity that defrauded investors of millions of dollars.  In a formal Order, the SEC stated that the whistleblower award would have been  more sizable had the informant reported the illegal activity sooner and that the delay in relating information to the government... Read More
09/24/2014

Transvaginal Mesh Trial Ends in $3.27 Million Verdict for Woman

Transvaginal Mesh Verdict Against Ethicon

Audet & Partners, LLP reports that a West Virginia has returned a multi-million dollar verdict on behalf of Ms. Jo Huskey, a woman who had brought a transvaginal mesh lawsuit alleging serious personal injuries after implantation of the TVT-O sling manufactured by Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.  In awarding $3.27 million to Ms. Huskey, the jury found that the pelvic sling manufactured by Ethicon was defectively designed and that the company had failed to adequately warn of the... Read More
09/16/2014

Navistar Lawsuit Investigation Involving Maxxforce EGR Diesel Engines

Navistar Lawsuit re Maxxforce Engines

Audet & Partners, LLP is investigating class action claims raised in a Navistar lawsuit that the company’s Maxxforce EGR diesel engine may have been sold to consumers in a defective and unreasonably dangerous condition in model years 2008-2013. Recent claims coming to the attention of Audet & Partners, LLP suggest that Navistar trucks sold in these model years were equipped with the Maxxforce EGR diesel engine that may have contributed to a dangerous tendency for these models to break down, leading... Read More
09/15/2014

Whistleblower Lawsuit Against Boston Scientific Proceeds in Federal Court

Whistleblower Lawsuit Against Boston Scientific

A whistleblower lawsuit brought by former employees of Boston Scientific Neuromodulation Corp. accuses the company of presenting fraudulent claims and engaging in an kickback scheme with doctors involving its Precision Plus spinal cord stimulation system. Two former Boston Scientific employees filed the case alleging that, in addition to presenting fraudulent Medicare claims, the company pushed a non-approved use of the device through the use of illegal financial incentives to doctors. The Precision Plus device had been approved by the U.S. Food... Read More
09/15/2014

Cheerleader Class Action Lawsuit Averted by Oakland Raiders

Cheerleader Class Action Lawsuit

The Oakland Raiders franchise of the National Football League has averted a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of approximately 90 cheerleaders who worked for the team between 2010 and 2013. The class action lawsuit, which originally had been brought by lead plaintiff and Raiderette “Lacy T,” alleged that during the class period, each of the Raiderettes were paid $1,250 for an entire season which allegedly amounted to $5.00 an hour for job-related responsibilities that included rehearsals, performances, and event... Read More
09/10/2014

Rocket Fuel Lawsuit Investigation Re: Ad Fraud

Rocket Fuel Lawsuit Investigation re: Ad Fraud

Audet & Partners, LLP reports that Rocket Fuel, Inc. may have sold advertising inventory to customers possibly viewed more often by automated computer programs, or "bots," rather than by human beings.  In an expose published earlier this year, the Financial Times reported on a Rocket Fuel advertising inventory sold to Mercedes Benz that proved to consist largely of views by automated technology.  The Financial Times cited a report by Telemetry, a UK company specializing in detecting ad fraud, suggesting that 57% of the... Read More
09/03/2014

Dentastix Class Action Lawsuit Investigation

Dentastix Class Action Lawsuit

Audet & Partners, LLP is investigating claims that may form the basis of a class action lawsuit against Mars Petcare, parent company of Pedigree, the manufacturer of Dentastix dog treats.  For some time, Pedigree has been marketing Dentastix as facilitating "up to 80% tartar reduction" in dogs who chew Dentastix.  The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, however, has issued a public statement disputing the claimed efficacy of Dentastix.  The NAD has stated that in... Read More
09/02/2014

Employment Class Actions for Wage Violations On The Rise

Employment Class Actions on the Rise

In what is coming to be referred to as "wage theft," the New York Times is reporting on an escalating number of class action lawsuits brought on behalf of employees of major U.S. companies to recover wages lost as a result of state and federal employment law violations.  Employment laws and regulations in California and other states, as well as federal law, set forth specific guidelines that must be followed by employers with regard to employee wages and working conditions.  These... Read More
08/28/2014

Drivers Deemed Employees of FedEx, Not Independent Contractors

FedEx Drivers Ruled Employees

In an opinion issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Federal Express delivery drivers have been legally classified as employees of FedEx, rather than independent contractors as was argued by the company.  Audet & Partners, LLP has handled many wage and hour employment class actions on behalf of thousands of employees and believes that this FedEx ruling will have wide-ranging implications in many industries, including truckers and other types of delivery professionals. In granting summary judgment in favor of the... Read More
08/27/2014

Phoenix VA Hospital Under Fire After New OIG Report

VA Hospital Delays Documented in OIG Report

Audet & Partners, LLP reports that a new report issued by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has shed new light on the degree of substandard care rendered to U.S. veterans within the Phoenix VA hospital system. The extensive OIG Report (click here to access the complete Report) scrutinized medical records and additional information related to the care of 3,409 veterans awaiting treatment from the Phoenix VA system between April 2013 and April 2014.  Based... Read More
08/25/2014

Class Action Against Whole Foods Challenges Homeopathic Claims

Class Action Homeopathic Whole Foods

Audet & Partners, LLP reports that a new class action lawsuit recently brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida challenges claims made by Whole Foods Market, Inc. regarding products including Cough Ease for Kids, Cough Ease, Flu Ease and Arnica Montana 30C.  Each of these claims are based on the assertion that the company extracted a premium for these products from potentially hundreds of thousands of consumers by claiming that the products effectively treat the... Read More
08/14/2014

Pay-for-Delay Lawsuit Alleges Scheme Against Generic Opana Painkiller

Pay-for-Delay Lawsuit re Opana

Audet & Partners, LLP reports that a lawsuit has been brought in an Illinois federal court on behalf of an employee trust fund alleging an illegal scheme to deprive the market of generic Opana ER, an extended-release painkiller.  The Pennsylnavia Employees Benefit Trust Fund has accused Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., and its subsidiary Penwest Pharmaceuticals Co., of orchestrating and implementing a strategy through which Endo essentially paid Impax Laboratories to delay for more than two years its introduction of generic Opana into... Read More
08/12/2014

Luvena Lawsuit by FDA Seeks to Curtail Sales

FDA Luvena Lawsuit

Audet & Partners, LLP reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against Laclede, the manufacturer of Luvena vaginal moisturizer, to enjoin future sales of the Luvena product. In taking this extraordinary action, the FDA has alleged that Luvena falls within the FDA designation as a "New Drug."  Because Laclede failed to seek and obtain necessary FDA approval for a "new drug," the FDA... Read More
08/04/2014

Hysterectomy Device Recalled Amid Cancer Fears

Johnson & Johnson Hysterectomy Device Recalled

Audet & Partners, LLP reports that Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc., a unit of Johnson & Johnson, is voluntarily asking doctors to return a device used in performing hysterectomies in thousands of women.  Ethicon's Morcelex device, used in certain laparoscopic surgeries, has come under FDA scrutiny because of the potential of such devices to spread cancerous fibroids. The class of devices known as morcellation devices, which includes Ethicon's Morcelex device, is used in many hysterectomy procedures to break non-cancerous fibroids into smaller fragments... Read More
08/04/2014

Quaker Class Action Settlement Prompts Removal of Trans Fats

Quaker Class Action Lawsuit Addresses Trans Fat

Audet & Partners, LLP reports that Quaker Oats Co. has settled a class action brought in 2010 alleging false advertising related to statements concerning the use of trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in various Quaker products. The plaintiffs in the Quaker Oats class action had alleged standing as repeat purchasers of Quaker Oatmeal to Go, and Instant Quaker Oatmeal products.  Plaintiffs alleged that in purchasing the Quaker products they had relied on various statements made on the packaging of... Read More
07/22/2014

Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits Targeting C.R. Bard May Soon Settle

Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits

Audet & Partners, LLP has learned that Covidien, a medical device manufacturer that supplied material to C.R. Bard that was incorporated into transvaginal mesh products, recently announced that they will set aside $180 million to cover losses expected in connection with transvaginal mesh lawsuits. Thousands of vaginal mesh lawsuits are currently pending against C.R. Bard in federal multidistrict litigation centered in West Virginia.  There is speculation that C.R. Bard may soon settle many of these claims, and the company would then be... Read More
07/22/2014

Risperdal Lawsuits Will Not Include Claims for Punitive Damages

Risperdal Lawsuit Bars Claims for Punitive Damages

Audet & Partners, LLP reports that a judge in Pennsylvania overseeing hundreds of Risperdal lawsuits has ruled that the plaintiffs in these lawsuits will be barred under New Jersey law from asserting claims for punitive damages.  This ruling, that upheld an earlier ruling in May 2014, in no way affects claims for compensatory damages to cover medical expenses, reconstructive surgery, and the costs of other physical problems caused by Risperdal. As we have previously reported, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson &... Read More
07/16/2014

Overprescription of Antipsychotic Drugs to Seniors Class Action Lawsuit Settled

Overmedication of Seniors Class Action Lawsuit

Audet & Partners, LLP reports that, in what may be the first class action lawsuit of its kind, a California nursing home has settled claims brought on behalf of 305 current and former residents that the hospital overprescribed antipsychotic medication to residents.  The lawsuit brought against the Ventura Convalescent Hospital in 2010 alleged that the facility engaged in the practice of  administering a variety of "extremely dangerous" antipsychotic drugs as an illegal means of chemically restraining seniors.  The facility agreed to pay... Read More