CONSUMER FRAUD & DEFECTIVE PRODUCTS
In re 24 Hour Fitness Prepaid Memberships. Litig.
Full-relief settlement providing over $8 million in refunds and an estimated minimum of $16 million in future rate reductions for class of consumers who purchased prepaid gym memberships.
In re Apple iPhone/iPod Warranty Litig.
Apple agreed to a $53 million non-reversionary, cash settlement to resolve claims that it had improperly denied warranty coverage for malfunctioning iPhones due to alleged liquid damage. Class members were automatically mailed settlement checks for more than 117% of the average replacement costs of their iPhones, net of attorneys’ fees, which represented an average payment of about $241.
California Tax Refund Actions
Class action alleging that the city of Los Angeles unlawfully charged city residents and business owners a telephone user tax. Ardon v. City of Los Angeles, Case No. BC361469 (Superior Court, County of Los Angeles) ($92.5 million recovery; two companion cases, McWilliams v. City of Long Beach, Case No. BC361469 and Granados v. County of Los Angeles, Case No. BC361470 (Superior Court, County of Los Angeles) had settlements approved totaling more than $32 million).
In re Certainteed Corp. Roofing Shingle Products Liability Litig.
Consumer class action alleging that CertainTeed sold defective shingles. The parties reached a settlement which was approved and valued by the Court at between $687 to $815 million.
Chambers v. Whirlpool Corp., et al.
Consumer class action involving alleged design defects in Whirlpool, Kenmore, and Kitchenaid dishwashers that could cause the control board to overheat or catch fire. The settlement relief included, among other things, up to 100% of repair costs, or up to $300 towards the purchase of a new dishwasher.
In re Checking Account Overdraft Litig.
MDL proceedings involved allegations that dozens of banks reordered and manipulated the posting order of debit transactions. Settlements collectively in excess of $1 billion were reached with several banks. The Firm was a Team Leader in the actions against U.S. Bank ($55 million settlement) and Comerica Bank ($14.5 million settlement).
Davitt, et al. v. Honda North America, Inc.
Hundreds of thousands of purchasers and lessees of certain Honda vehicles with alleged defective door lock actuators obtained a settlement consisting of two awards: free replacement defective door lock actuators or reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses incurred to replace the actuators.
Henderson et al. v. Volvo Cars of North America LLC et al.
The settlement on behalf of 90,000 purchasers and lessees of Volvo vehicles with defective automatic transmissions, called for Volvo to modify the warranties on the vehicles and pay between 25% and 50% of the transmission repair costs incurred by customers to fix the defective transmissions.
Lockabey et al. v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Settlement valued by the court at $170 million for a class of 460,000 purchasers and lessees of Honda Civic Hybrids to resolve claims that the vehicle was advertised with fuel economy representations it could not achieve under real-world driving conditions, and that a software update to the IMA system further decreased fuel economy and performance.
In re Long-Distance Telephone Service Federal Excise Tax Refund Litig.
This case was brought by a class of taxpayers who improperly paid a telephone excise tax to their telephone providers, which was remitted to the Internal Revenue Service. The Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s decision to the extent that it dismissed taxpayers’ claims under the Administrative Procedure Act.
In re Nexus 6P Product Liability Litig.
A consumer class action against Google alleging that the Nexus 6P smartphone was knowingly sold with battery drain and bootloop defects. After overcoming a motion to dismiss, the case resulted in a $9.75 million settlement, which District Judge Beth Labson Freeman described as “substantial” and an “excellent resolution of the case.”
Rodman v. Safeway Inc.
The Firm obtained a $42 million judgment, which included 100% of damages plus pre- and post-judgment interest, on behalf of a class of consumers who were overcharged for grocery delivery from Safeway.
In re Sears, Roebuck & Co. Front-Loading Washer Prods. Liab. Litig.
Case related to defective central control units in front load washers manufactured by Whirlpool and sold by Sears. After extensive litigation, including two trips to the Seventh Circuit and a trip to the United States Supreme Court challenging the certification of the plaintiff class, a settlement was negotiated that provided a “full-value, dollar-for-dollar recovery” that was “as good, if not a better, [a] recovery for Class Members than could have been achieved at trial.” 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25290 at *35 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 29, 2016).
Udeen et, al. v. Subaru
A consumer class action against Subaru alleging defects in the infotainment systems equipped in certain 2017 and 2018 Subaru vehicles. Reached a settlement valued at over $6.25 million that provided for a warranty extension as well as several categories of monetary relief. The Court granted preliminary approval of the settlement on October 4, 2019.
Weeks et. al. v. Google LLC
A consumer class action against Google relating to the first-generation Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, alleging that Google knowingly sold these phones with a defective microphone. After successfully arguing against a motion to dismiss, a $7.25 million settlement was reached, which Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins described as being an “excellent result.”
West et al. v. ExamSoft Worldwide, Inc.
Resulted in a $2.1 million settlement on behalf of July 2014 bar exam applicants in several states who paid to use software for the written portion of the exam which allegedly failed to function properly.
Wolens v. American Airlines, Inc.
This case involved American Airlines’ retroactive increase in the number of frequent flyer miles needed to claim travel awards. In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court held that plaintiffs’ claims were not preempted by the Federal Aviation Act. After eleven years of litigation, American Airlines agreed to provide class members with mileage certificates that approximated the full extent of their alleged damages, which the Court, with the assistance of a court-appointed expert and after a contested proceeding, valued at between $95.6 million and $141.6 million.
Wong v. T-Mobile
This case involved allegations that T-Mobile overcharged its subscribers by billing them for services for which they had already paid a flat monthly rate to receive unlimited access. The parties reached a settlement worth approximately $6.7 million, which provided class members with a 100% net recovery.
AIMCO Partnerships Litigation (Shelter Properties II Limited Partnership, National Property Investors III, et. al.)
A settlement in this class action consisting of a substantial increase – on average, an increase in excess of 100% – of the consideration paid to the investors in five partnerships who alleged Apartment Investment Management Company (AIMCO) and its affiliates breached fiduciary duties for proposing and implementing an unfair merger.
In re Bank of America Corporation Stockholder Derivative Litig.
A derivative action by Bank of America Corporation stockholders relating to the January 2009 acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co. that concluded in a settlement which included a $62.5 million payment to Bank of America.
Consolidated Capital Institutional Properties, L.P.
The Arbitrator approved a $4.58 million case settlement which provided an additional payment of approximately $74 per Unit for the unaffiliated investors of Consolidated Capital Institutional Properties, L.P. against Apartment Investment and Management Company and its affiliates, who were alleged to have breached fiduciary duties in proposing and implementing the merger.
Gamburg, et al., v. Hines Real Estate Investment Trust, Inc., et al.
The Settlement of this shareholder action, asserting claims of wrongful self-dealing by the managers and directors of Hines REIT, secured a cash payment of $3.25 million, representing a recovery of over 20% of the fees paid in the challenged transaction.
Johnson v. W2007 Grace Acquisition I, Inc.
A $72 million settlement was secured in this class action on behalf of W2007 Grace preferred shareholders alleging that W2007 Grace and certain affiliates had breached the Company’s Charter and fiduciary duties by engaging in related-party transactions, withholding dividends, failing to disclose financial information, and engaging in insider trading.
Louisiana Municipal Police Employees Retirement System v. Bergstein, et al.
Derivative suits against Simon Property Group Inc.’s board for granting an improper retention award to the Company’s CEO and illegal amendments to the Company’s stock incentive plan. The action concluded with the extraordinary result of the stockholders obtaining all of the relief requested.
In re Mutual Funds Investment Litig.
In these derivative actions involving the largest scandals ever to rock the mutual fund industry (the market timing and late trading scandal of 2003), over $250 million in cash settlement funds were secured.
In re Phoenix Leasing Incorporated Limited Partnership Litig.
Action filed against five public partnerships sponsored by Phoenix Leasing Incorporated and its affiliates alleging fraud, misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary which resulted in entry of a judgment in favor of the class in the amount of $21 million.
In re Cigna-American Specialty Health Administrative Fee Litigation.
This national class action alleged that defendant Cigna and its subcontractor, ASH, violated the written terms of ERISA medical benefit by treating ASH’s administrative fees as medical expenses to artificially inflate the amount of “benefits” owed by plans and the cost-sharing obligations of plan participants and beneficiaries. The Court approved the $8.25 million settlement in which class members were automatically mailed checks representing a full or near-full recovery of the actual amount they paid for the administrative fees.
Ferrer et al., v. CareFirst, Inc., et al.
A class action settlement was reached resolving claims that CareFirst denied coverage for comprehensive breastfeeding and lactation support and counseling services (“CLS”) required under the Affordable Care Act and plan documents. The settlement provided for both retrospective cash payments for CLS claims and prospective benefits, including adding trained providers of CLS to CareFirst’s network.
Nelson v. Nationwide
After securing judgment as to liability in the trial court, and defeating Nationwide’s Appeal before the Pennsylvania Superior Court, a settlement was negotiated whereby Nationwide agreed to pay class members approximately 130% of their bills.
In re Pennsylvania Baycol: Third-Party Payor Litig.
Various Health and Welfare Funds brought this action in connection with the withdrawal by Bayer of its anti-cholesterol drug Baycol. The settlement provided class members with a net recovery that approximated the maximum damages, which represented three times the net recovery of Bayer’s voluntary claims process.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
In re Barnes & Noble Stockholder Derivative Litigation
On the eve of trial, this derivative litigation arising from Barnes & Noble, Inc.’s acquisition of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, Inc. (“Booksellers”) settled achieving a reduction in the purchase price of Booksellers by $29 million. In approving the settlement, the Court stated that the plaintiffs have to be given credit for their effort in what it characterized as “a tough fought battle.”
In re Chiron Shareholder Deal Litig., Consol.
In these actions, stockholders challenged the proposed acquisition of Chiron Corporation by its 42% stockholder, Novartis AG. A settlement was negotiated which included, among other things, a further increase in the merger price to $48 per share, or an additional $330 million for the public stockholders of Chiron.
City of Roseville Employees’ Retirement System, et al. v. Ellison, et al.
Derivative action challenging the acquisition by Oracle Corporation of Pillar Data Systems, Inc., a company majority-owned and controlled by Larry Ellison, the CEO and largest shareholder of Oracle, which led to a settlement valued at $440 million, one of the larger derivative settlements in the history of the Court of Chancery.
In re Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc.
Derivative action arising out of Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc.’s acquisition agreement. The settlement created a benefit for Freeport and its shareholders valued at nearly $154 million, one of the largest stockholder derivative settlements and also believed to be the first to ensure the benefits of such a settlement flow to stockholders in the form of a cash dividend.
In re Genentech, Inc. Shareholder Litig.
Shareholder class action challenging Roche Holding’s buyout of Genentech, Inc., which resulted in a settlement providing for, among other things, an additional $4 billion in consideration paid to the minority shareholders of Genentech, Inc.
In re Kinder Morgan, Inc. Shareholders Litig.
Action challenging the management led buyout of Kinder Morgan Inc., which resulted in the creation of a $200 million settlement fund, the largest common fund in a merger and acquisition settlement.
Shelter Properties II Limited Partnership, National Property Investors III, et. al.
A settlement in this class action consisting of a substantial increase – on average, an increase in excess of 100% – of the merger consideration paid to the investors in five partnerships who alleged Apartment Investment, Management Company, and its affiliates breached fiduciary duties for proposing and implementing an unfair merger.
In re: Starz Shareholder Litigation
Stockholder class action lawsuit against Starz, its controlling stockholder, and others, challenged the amount of consideration a company insider would receive upon the acquisition of Starz by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. A settlement was reached that secured a $92.5 million payment to former shareholders of Starz.
NON-LISTED REITS & OTHER REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS
In re Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. Investor Litig.
A settlement consisting of $55 million cash settlement fund and over $100 million in tax benefits secured for investors who owned the Empire State Building, as well as several other Manhattan properties, whose interests and assets were proposed to be consolidated pursuant to an allegedly unfair transaction in violation of fiduciary duties.
In re Prudential Securities Incorporated Limited Partnerships Litig.
Limited partners in public limited partnerships that were marketed by Prudential alleged wide-ranging violations of the federal anti-racketeering law. The class recovered from Prudential and other defendants $130 million in settlements.
Roth v The Phoenix Companies, Inc., Bondholders Litigation
After filing an injunction action on behalf of bondholders in connection with a 2015 going-private merger, a settlement was reached that secured material benefits for Phoenix Bondholders, including, most significantly, ongoing access to material financial and corporate information which increased the value of the Bonds by $17.5 million and secured ongoing liquidity for the Bonds. In approving the settlement, the Court stated that “I think the plaintiffs were successful in getting everything they could have gotten …. I think it’s a great settlement.”
OTHER COMPLEX LITIGATION
In re Anadarko Basin Oil and Gas Lease Antitrust Litigation.
Antitrust action under federal antitrust laws brought on behalf of a class of landowners who leased land to defendants for drilling for natural gas and received less in lease bonuses and royalties than they should have due to defendants’ anticompetitive lease bid‐rigging scheme. The parties reached a settlement in this case valued at $6.95 million that was approved by the court.
In re Flonase Antitrust Litig.
Indirect purchaser plaintiffs alleged that the manufacturer of Flonase (a nasal allergy spray) filed “sham” citizen petitions with the FDA in order to delay the approval of less expensive generic versions of the drug. A $46 million settlement was reached on behalf of all indirect purchasers.
In re Travel Agency Com’n Antitrust Litig.
The American Society of Travel Agents, an Alexandria, Virginia-based association that represents more than 9,000 travel agencies nationwide and worldwide, filed a suit against seven airlines for Section 1 (Sherman Act) violations involving commission cuts. The case was settled for more than $80 million.
In re TriCor Indirect Purchasers Antitrust Litig.
Consumers and third-party payors who claimed that the manufacturers of a cholesterol drug engaged in anticompetitive conduct designed to keep generic versions off of the market obtained a $65.7 million settlement.
Allison, et al. v. The GEO Group and Kurian v. County of Lancaster
Settlements totaling $5.4 million in two civil rights class action lawsuits involving allegedly unconstitutional strip searches at prisons.
In re The Exxon Valdez
The Firm represented plaintiffs against Exxon Valdez for economic damages caused by the 1989 oil spill and played a significant role in the trial that resulted in a landmark $5 billion punitive damages jury verdict.
Physicians of Winter Haven LLC, d/b/a Day Surgery Center v. STERIS Corporation
Class action on behalf of hospitals and surgery centers that purchased a sterilization device that allegedly did not receive the required pre-sale authorization from the FDA. The case settled for approximately $20 million worth of benefits to class members.
Shared Medical Systems 1998 Incentive Compensation Plan Litig.
Case was brought on behalf of employees of Defendant Siemens who had their incentive compensation reduced by 30%, even though they had earned the full amount of their incentive compensation. Siemens agreed to pay class members a net recovery of the full amount by which their incentive compensation was reduced (approximately $10.1 million), and pay all counsel fees and expenses in addition to the class members’ recovery.
City of St. Clair Shores General Employees Retirement System v. Inland Western Retail Real Estate Trust, Inc., et al.
The Settlement of this Federal securities class action filed against Inland Western and certain of its current and former directors, officers and affiliates, resulted in the recovery of $90 million worth of the Company’s shares that had been given to affiliates as part of the challenged wrongful self-dealing transaction.
CNL Hotels & Resorts Inc. Securities Litig.
Securities class action on behalf of the shareholders of CNL Hotels settling federal securities claims for $35 million in cash as well as a significant reduction by nearly $225 million (from $300 million to $73 million) that the Company paid for internalizing its advisor/manager.
In re DVI, Inc. Securities Litig.
Securities class action alleging accounting fraud that resulted in a series of settlements totaling almost $24 million, which represented a recovery of more than one-third of class members’ provable damages.
In Re ML Coin Fund Litigation
A settlement was reached against defendant Merrill Lynch in excess of $35 million on behalf of limited partners, which represented a 100% net recovery of their initial investments (at the time of the settlement, the partnership assets were virtually worthless due to fraud committed by Merrill’s co-general partner Bruce McNall, who was convicted of bank fraud).
In re PaineWebber Limited Partnerships Litig.
Securities fraud class action brought on behalf of limited partners who had invested in limited partnerships that PaineWebber organized and/or marketed. The class recovered a total of $200 million.
In re Real Estate Associates Limited Partnerships Litig.
Class action asserting federal securities fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims on behalf of investors. The jury returned a $185 million verdict (including $92.5 million in punitive damages) in favor of the investors. The verdict was among the “Top 10” Verdicts of 2002. The case settled for $83 million.
Inland Western Retail Real Estate Trust, Inc. Securities Litigation
A $90 million settlement was reached in this federal securities action challenging the Company’s acquisition of affiliated entities .
D&O insurance actions which arose out of the bankruptcy of International Fibercom resulted in a securities fraud judgment granting nearly full recovery to clients.
Wells and Piedmont Securities Litigations
These federal securities/PSLRA class actions were filed on behalf of Wells REIT/Piedmont shareholders charging Wells REIT, certain of its directors and officers, and their affiliates with violations of the federal securities laws, securing a $7.5 million settlement on the verge of trial.
Westmoreland County v. Inventure Foods Securities Litigation
State securities shareholder class action filed against Inventure Foods, Inc. and certain of its officers and underwriters challenged false and misleading statements made as part of the company’s 2014 secondary stock offering. The settlement secured a multi-million dollar cash fund that recovered over 35% of investors’ provable damages suffered in the offering.