The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear the class action ERISA case, Hughes v. Northwestern University, Docket No. 19-1401, to determine whether a retirement plan that pays or charges its participants fees that are significantly higher than those of other available investments is breaching its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). In short, the Supreme Court’s review could determine what qualifies as a plausible claim for relief in a “defined contribution” retirement plan. In Hughes, five Plaintiffs filed the action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, asserting six [...]
Supreme Court to Determine whether the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act displaces the States Secret Privilege
On November 8, 2021, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the class action case, Federal Bureau of Investigation v. Fazaga, Docket No. 20-828. In Fazaga, members of a Muslim community in Southern California filed suit against the FBI and various FBI agents, alleging that the government’s secret surveillance of them was not lawful because it was based on their religious beliefs and practices. More specifically, three Muslim men allege that the FBI targeted them because of their religion by using a confidential informant to gather information about Muslims as part of a counterterrorism investigation. [...]
On April 1, 2021, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Facebook, Inc. v. Noah Duguid, No. 19-511, 2021 U.S. LEXIS 1742 (U.S. Apr. 1, 2021), siding with Facebook in narrowing the federal ban on unsolicited robocalls and robotexts. The Court held that Facebook did not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”) by sending security related text messages to the Plaintiff, Noah Duguid. Duguid sued Facebook after receiving several text messages from Facebook alerting him that someone tried to access his Facebook account from an unknown browser, when he never had a [...]
On Friday, February 26, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge, Judge Donato approved a $650 million settlement of the privacy lawsuit against Facebook for allegedly using photo face-tagging and other biometric data without the consent of its users. This is one of the largest settlements for a privacy violation to date in the United States. We previously discussed this case last year in the blog post titled, "Class Actions and Privacy Laws – Could Facial Recognition Technology Be Changing the Face of the “injury-in-fact” Requirement for Class Actions?" As previously discussed, in the earlier post of February 2020, [...]
On January 28, 2021, Brendon Nelson filed a four-count class action lawsuit in (the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York) against Robinhood Financial, LLC, Robinhood Securities, LLC and Robinhood Markets, Inc., for Breach of Contract, Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Negligence, and Breach of Fiduciary Duty. This class action comes after a market frenzy fueled by traders who utilize Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum to discuss stocks, sent shares of GameStop soaring which caused losses (in the billion-dollar range) to hedge funds that were shorting the stocks. More [...]
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, individuals and businesses have gotten creative about how to gather and meet for everything from company meetings to happy hours to high school reunions and weddings. While applications like Skype and FaceTime have been popular for years, Zoom is the program that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue—mainly because it allows numerous people to meet and talk to each other via video link all at the same time. Originally developed as a video-conferencing program for businesses, Zoom, for the first time, is now serving individual users for activities having nothing to [...]
In a significant decision regarding the applicability of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”), the D.C. Court of Appeals recently held that the TCPA does not impose strict liability on a person or entity whose goods or services are advertised in an unsolicited fax. Instead, the Court ruled that the Act may impose vicarious liability on a person or entity on whose behalf unsolicited fax ads were sent, regardless as to who actually sent the faxes. In FDS Rest., Inc. v. All Plumbing, Inc., No. 16-CV-1009, 2020 D.C. App. LEXIS 111 (Mar. 26, 2020), FDS [...]
Class Actions and Privacy Laws – Could Facial Recognition Technology Be Changing the Face of the “injury-in-fact” Requirement for Class Actions?
Facial recognition software has grown exponentially over the past several years. It is used almost everywhere, from airports, shopping centers, law enforcement and even Facebook. Many states have also issued privacy laws protecting consumers from these types of invasions of privacy. For example, Illinois enacted The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which has been in the news lately. 740 Ill. Comp. Stat. 14/1 et seq. (2008). This statute requires companies to obtain written releases from individuals before collecting their “face geometry” and other biometric data. A recent case demonstrates the strict application of this statute. In 2015, [...]
Junk Faxes – The Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Battle of the “Unsolicited Advertisement”
On June 20, 2019, the Supreme Court issued its decision in PDR Network, LLC, et al. v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc., Docket No. 17-1705. This case involves the receipt of an unsolicited fax and whether such a fax violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The Court declined to squarely answer the question, but instead, sent it back to theCourt of Appeals for additional review. Generally, under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) anyone can sue if they receive an unsolicited ad by fax. This is exactly what happened in PDR Network. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic [...]
The District of Columbia Circuit in the Spotlight: Does Bristol-Myers Apply to Class Action Lawsuits?
The appeal at issue originated from a class action lawsuit filed by Whole Foods Market’s employees in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Molock v. Whole Foods Mkt., Inc., 297 F.Supp. 3d 114 (D.D.C. 2018). Specifically, on June 22, 2017, Whole Foods Market’s employees filed a class action lawsuit for unpaid wages. The class consisted of current and former Whole Foods Market employees from the District of Columbia and several states. The employees claimed that they were not paid their entitled bonuses as a result of managers manipulating certain labor cost and [...]
On April 24, 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court held that an ambiguous arbitration clause is not sufficient under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) to force class arbitration on a non-consenting party. Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela, No. 17-1988. The Court concluded that lower courts may not draw an inference from an ambiguous agreement that the parties consented to class arbitration and that neither silence nor ambiguity can establish a party’s consent to class arbitration under the FAA. This is because, according to the Court, parties’ consent to arbitrate is the foundational principle of arbitration agreements. Lamps Plus [...]
On September 27, 2018, the Supreme Court agreed to review whether, under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), a third-party defendant can remove a class action from state to federal court. Home Depot USA, Inc., U.S. No. 17-1471. CAFA allows “any defendant” to remove actions from state to federal court if certain jurisdictional requirements are met. This case arose when Citibank N.A. brought a debt collection action against George Jackson in state court alleging he failed to pay for a water treatment system he bought using a Citibank credit card. Jackson filed a counterclaim against Citibank and third-party class [...]