What Happens to Unclaimed Class Action Money?

Class action lawsuits are a type of civil suit that is brought to court by one or more people who act on the behalf of a larger group of people. These are cases where many people have a case but separate lawsuits would become a time consuming endeavor. Often class action lawsuits will occur when many people have been injured or wronged by a particular product or company.

Since most class actions are filed in federal court, settlement payments to victims will not show up in a State Unclaimed Property Division or the Department of Revenue search and, unlike most other unclaimed money, there is usually a time limit by which the settlement must be claimed before it expires. If you’ve moved, hold stock in street name and switch brokers, or physically hold stock certificates, you may not be notified of any class action suits so check those companies you maintain shares in regularly.

An ever growing source of unclaimed funds is created by class action law suits within a wide range of industries, products and services. Several hundred companies are involved in class action law suits are coming before court of law each year. These fall into several categories including: security fraud, consumer protection, public health, antitrust, human rights, environment, and product liability. Recent settlements have exceeded $11 billion; however, fifty percent of those who could collect payments fail to make a claim. Even if the product is no longer on the market or the stock has been sold to another business, class action suit members may be eligible to receive cash, credits, shares or distributions in companies.

What happens if a person doesn’t claim the money from a class action settlement? If you used a faulty or defective product years ago you may still be able to receive cash, credit, or shares as a class member, from hundreds of major companies. You may need to hire a company specializing in tracking unclaimed assets you may be eligible for, for a fee. The Consumer Advocacy Center has been working with charities to make sure that even though money isn’t collected for a class action suit that the “wrong doers” don’t keep the money. These charitable donations are called Cy Press awards.

What Happens to Unclaimed Money in Class Action Suits

Unclaimed Money in Class Action Lawsuits

Did you know that millions and millions of dollars of settlements from class action suits have been unclaimed by the plaintiffs, consumers, small businesses, investors and the general public? Hundreds of millions of dollars get reverted back to the same companies that were found to be in the wrong or who agreed to settle the cases out of court.

The reason why so much settlement money goes unclaimed is the majority of people who are entitled to the settlement money simply don’t know it, or they never receive official notification in the mail, never opened the mail, or they died, or because they really didn’t want to fill out the very long, complex legal documents required in order to claim the funds. For these reasons, a significant amount of people do not take advantage of their personal legal rights. Basically, they are being denied justice.

Unclaimed settlement money is a complete irritant to the courts, because unclaimed money is an issue for the claim administrators and disbursing agents who are in charge of the distributing class action settlement money to harmed individuals. As each year passes, the aggregated total of unclaimed cash, which was earmarked for distribution from class action settlement funds, escrow accounts increases.

In the early 80’s, many lawyers began to appeal to the courts to not give the unclaimed money back to the wrongful defendants, but use the Cy Pres doctrine, which translates to ‘as nearly as possible’. Meaning, the lawyers said the unclaimed money should be dispersed to projects that are as close to the original intention as possible. Mostly, all unclaimed settlement money now goes to help the community as a whole, for instance to help lower income families, to charities and to other organizations that help improve the quality of life for all concerned. Currently, many class action law firms are now requesting, before a settlement is agreed upon, that the defendant in the case agrees to allow unclaimed settlement money to be given to charities.

Lawsuits – Mortgage Modification

A mortgage loan consists of an amount of money which is borrowed to purchase property and then repaid over a period of time (typically 15 or 30 years). The full amount or principal is repaid along with interest according to the payment structure of the loan.

Mortgage modification alters the original terms of a mortgage that were laid out in the initial loan contract between the lending institution and the homeowner. It is typically used when the borrower is having trouble making payments per the agreed terms. The modification can change the amount of the monthly payment and interest rate as well as other items outlined in the contract such as principle, loan term, late fees etc.

The lending institution is usually motivated to offer a mortgage modification when the borrower is experiencing financial issues. They would rather offer improved terms and a lower payment as this offers greater profits than if the property went into foreclosure.

If the government (federal or state) gets involved they may offer the lending institution incentives to participate. The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was introduced by the federal government during 2009 to help homeowners who were struggling with their mortgages. At the time there was approaching eight million homeowners in trouble. The program was designed to help homeowners by standardizing mortgage modification with the goal of lower monthly mortgage payments. Up to 110 lending institutions joined this program.

Mortgage Modification Lawsuits

The result of this was that many homeowners applied for a mortgage adjustment via HAMP after it was introduced by the Obama administration. Homeowners were put on a three month trial by their mortgage service providers at the new lowered payments. Many homeowners took part in the trial only to be refused permanent modification on completion – many were given no reason as to why.

Because of this many people are showing up behind in their mortgage payments and have reduced credit scores after all the effort. The result is that some of the lending institutions are threatening these borrowers with foreclosure.

Many of these homeowners have joined together in a class action lawsuit against some of the countries top lending institutions including Bank of America mortgage modification, Chase, Wells Fargo and CitiMortgage. This shows that borrowers are non too happy with the way they have been treated since enrolling in HAMP. It is estimated that only a third of those who entered the trial were given permanent status.

Many of the lawsuits state that the lending institutions broke the trial contracts by not giving permanent status to those that successfully completed the trial. The lenders state that the trials were never contracts and they used their discretion in choosing permanent partners.

It is also stated that the lenders contracts with HAMP and the Treasury were in breach for not offering permanent modification to those completing the trial. The judges involved have stated that homeowners should not be part of this because it is between the lenders and the government. The legal advisers to the homeowners do not agree with this – and the lenders broke the contracts with the homeowners.

These lawsuits could affect 620,000 involved in trial modifications. They state that the lenders benefited not providing permanent modification by defaulting the loans so they could make increased profits via late fees and financial charges. It is charged that the lenders ignored letters and requests and hindered inquiries when homeowners tried to contact them. All this after receiving billions from the government. Many borrowers were left in a worse state than prior to the modification. Many could not seek additional solutions to the problem and were faced with foreclosure.

Image via Creative Commons

Merck Coppertone Class Action Settlement

There has been a settlement in the Coppertone class action lawsuit issued on September 25, 2012. Merck & Co is going to pay in the region of $3 million to $10 million in settlement for false claims they made about their sunscreen products. This lawsuit has been ongoing for around ten years.

The original lawsuits was against Schering, but Merck bought Coppertone in 2009. Consumers had complained that the Coppertone products had exaggerated advertising related to them. The settlement comes about as a result of Merck wanting to put the case to rest. They also agree not to use terms such as sweatproof and all-day protection when promoting their sunscreens. Those involved in the lawsuit will be able to claim up to $1.50 per sunscreen purchased.

Merck stated that they are dedicated to follow U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards relating to their products and will carry information related to this to be included with each sunscreen product.

Nikon Class Action Lawsuit

Nikon USA has decided to stop supplying camera spare parts to independent repair centers that are not in their authorized service network. This decision was made to give the best possible service to their customers and avoid problems such as voiding the warranty via the use of unauthorized repair shops. The company states that modern cameras are complex and require specialized testing equipment, repair tools and technician training. Nikon states that by using only authorized dealers the camera owners will receive better service and face reduced waiting times for repairs.

Nikon Class Action Lawsuit

Authorized Nikon service centers will be equipped with full factory training as well as having access to recommended tools and parts.

Nikon have observed unauthorized dealers attempting to make repairs and having to send to authorized dealers to complete the process. This has increased the repair cost for consumers as well as lengthen the repair time. These types of repairs could also void the Nikon warranty.

There are currently around twenty authorized Nikon repair service centers. Independent shops can apply to become authorized but this requires capital of over $150,000 for investment in equipment.

Independent repair shops often undertake repairs after the warranty has expired and so this may not be a problem. If repairs are under warranty they should of course be covered by Nikon. Often independent shops hire repair technicians trained by the major manufacturers such as Nikon.

There are rumblings of a class action lawsuit against Nikon on behalf of the independent repair centers.

How to File a Class Action Lawsuit

In times as interesting as ours, where there are always new developments and ideas about how things work, a great deal of attention is placed on simple efficiency. It’s not always necessary to make things work so that our lives are easier, but also so that our lives can serve some kind of benefit for the greater good. In this light, then, it’s sensible to understand that procedures and protocols can be extremely useful in turning a better eye toward the world at large. This is not simply to move efficiency along so that it can function for itself, but so that the cumulative effect of the minor and major things that we do can resolve in some kind of organizing principle. This will become an essential part of how we construct the world today.

This is perhaps one of the reasons why we live in such a litigious society. There have been multiple theories to suggest various answers to this question. Perhaps there is a vindictiveness that comes at the expense of our own ability to make solid and worthy decisions. Perhaps it’s something even deeper, reflecting a certain value placed upon the thought of who we are at any particular moment, in relation to the time and place where we are living. This can result in the construction of many diverse and transitory notions of self and other. In a very real sense, then, our ability to make the world as it is depends upon our ability to enter it as full human beings.

It’s necessary of course to have a sense of community, especially when living in a world inhabited by other people and other networks. This can lead quite easily into the central idea of a class action lawsuit. Where there is a need for outside assistance in addressing a certain wrong, only those who are qualified can address the situation using the proper language. It is almost like deciphering a code, and in this case, once the code is broken, it immediately forms itself again. The more elusive aspects, then, would need solid and trustworthy legal counsel.

Delphi Class Action Lawsuit

Delphi Financial Group is a financial company with its main focus is on many types of business insurance.  The company features on the US stock exchange (NYSE:DFG).

Delphi was involved in a class action lawsuit along after it merged with Tokio Marine.  A settlement was announced during April of 2012.  The lawsuit stated that the defendants were in violation of federal security law and that they had put forth misleading or false statements which resulted in inflation of the market price of their securities.

Shareholders buying these securities between January 2001 and March 2005 were wronged and instigated the lawsuit.  The wrong doing was found by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who undertook an investigation finding that the profits laid out by Delphi had been inflated.

On May 16 of 2012 it was announced that a $49 million settlement was in order.  On July 31 of 2012 there will be a settlement hearing in the Court of Chancery Courthouse of  Georgetown.  They will determine the Settlement Class and decide whether the proposed Settlement is adequate.    They will also determine whether Release Claims should be dismissed, and whether the Allocation Plans are adequate and if the fees and reimbursement amounts for attorneys are reasonable.

Class Action Settlements

In legal language the lawsuit settlement occurs when a resolution is reached between the parties that are in dispute. The settlement takes the form of a contract between the parties. This can occur pre-trial or once it is in progress.

Upon settlement the party instigating the suit will drop the lawsuit in exchange for compensation of some sort. Both parties are legally bound by this contract. If one of the parties breach this contract then the court case could resume.

Within a class action lawsuit notices should be sent to class members as part of due process. These notices can include information relating to opting out of the class action and go it alone. The court should be informed of this by the class member if this is the case. If there is a class action settlement a settlement notice is sent out to class members to inform them of the result including full details of the settlement.

The benefits of reaching a settlement include reduced fees and associated costs along with a quicker resolution to the lawsuit. In certain circumstances the details of a settlement are deemed private and confidential and the sued party is not admitting that it was in the wrong.

What are Class Action Lawsuits?

What are class action lawsuits? Such suits are filed for a group of people who have been injured in one way or another by a company’s actions. Commonly, these lawsuits may be filed by company members if practices regarding hiring or salary are illegal; another type of class action lawsuit is filed when a company causes injury or death or some type of physical damage to a group of people, such as in the case of a drug company that made claims about their product that’s illegal, harming those who ended up taking those drugs.

Usually, when an individual joins a class action suit, he or she must sign papers that forfeits the right to sue the company individually. If the lawsuit is successful, then damages are awarded to the plaintiffs with regard to those who suffered the most damage. Not all members of the suit share in the compensation equally.

Attorneys will work on such cases on contingency, receiving a part of the award, but with the knowledge that if they don’t succeed, they won’t charge their group of clients any fees. In this instance, the attorneys may receive as much as thirty or fifty percent of the entire award.

If you’ve joined a class action lawsuit, you’ll find that the awards may be split into two different types: compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages addresses the defendants (the companies being sued) and the direct damage they’ve caused. The monies here are intended to help compensate for illness or loss of life, attempting as much as possible to make whole the individuals who have suffered. Punitive damages, as the name implies, intends to punish the companies, a cost which may be extremely high, in order to discourage the company or other companies from having the same reckless disregard for either the plaintiff’s safety, health, or well-being.

Nutella Class Action

Nutella is facing a class action lawsuit because of marketing promotions stating that is offered a tasty, balanced breakfast!!  Nutella continue to promote their product in this way by slightly changing the information on their packaging to read  ‘turn a balanced breakfast into a tasty one.’

People were concerned that Nutella is not a health choice for breakfast.  View ad:

Nutella have agreed to pay out $2.5 million to consumers of the product.

File a claim here

Chase Mortage Modification Lawsuits

Chase Home Finance LLC and JPMorgan Chase, N.A. face a class action lawsuit because of suggested irregularities in their mortgage modification programs.  This was brought about by the U.S. District Court, in Southern District of California.

Mortgage holders who were having trouble making their monthly mortgage payments were able to have a trial run on Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) for three months and on successfully completing the trial make this permanent.

The lawsuit claims that mortgage holders were not offered permanent status after successfully completing the trial.  The borrowers were deprived by Chase of the opportunity to modify their mortgages.  Chase breached the contracts with their clients for their own monitory gain and was against the intentions of HAMP.

CitiMortgage Modification Lawsuit

CitiMortgage have a lawsuits brought about against them by homeowners stating that they did not reduce loan payments per promises made.  Many homeowners were left in a very bad financial situation as a result.

The class action came about because of the treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) which was introduced to help owners facing financial problems.  Home owners were given a trial period of three months to make reduced payments.  If they managed to do this for the trial period then it would become official.

So many homeowners with CitiMortgage loans completed the trail following all instructions of the HAMP program.  But – they were not allowed access to the permanent program.  The result was that many of the homeowners were left in a financially bad way – and many were in a worse way than when they started.

The lawsuit against CitiMortgage states that they did not fulfill the HAMP agreements with their mortgage-holders and that it misrepresented the information of the program.  Its open to all homeowners who fulfilled the trial period of three months per agreement subsequent to April 13, 2009 and who were not allowed permanent entry into the program.

Mortgage Modification Lawsuit Against CitiMortgage

CitiMortgage are faced with a class action lawsuit filed by homeowners that alleges that the company did not fulfill their promise to provide mortgage borrowers reduced loan payments.  If fact the suit states that it also financially devastated the borrowers.

The lawsuit states that homeowners with a mortgage loan from CitiMortgage could us a trial mortgage modification program to help them reduce payments.  This program was built around the U.S. Treasury Department’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).  The program would become official if the homeowners lasted the three month trial period making the reduced payment amounts

Many homeowners completed the trial and followed all stipulations of the program – however they were denied access to the permanent program.  This made things very difficult for the homeowners and many were in a worse situation after they completed the trial.

The lawsuit claims that CitiMortgage did not honor its agreements with homeowners and that it misrepresented the information of the program.

The lawsuit is open to all persons in the US who are serviced by CitiMortgage and who complied with the conditions of the trial program and who did not receive permanent mortgage modification per the loan modification agreement.

More on Mortgage Modification Lawsuits

Class Action Suits Against Law Schools

There are currently fifteen law schools facing class action suits brought about because of alleged deceptive employment data – including post-graduate employment statistics. The suits have been brought about by recent graduates from the law schools.

Albany Law School
Brooklyn Law School
California Western School of Law
Chicago-Kent College of Law
Cooley Law
DePaul University College of Law
Florida Coastal School of Law
Golden Gate University School of Law
Hofstra Law School
John Marshall School of Law (Chicago)
New York Law School
Pace University School of Law
Southwestern Law School
St. John’s University School of Law
University of Baltimore School of Law
University of San Francisco School of Law
Widener University School of Law

The suits state that the schools enlarge graduate employment numbers – using tactics such as counting their own graduates employed in temporary work at the law schools, as well as graduates employed in non legal work. This includes temporary and part time employment.

The lawsuits also state that average salary figures are based on a small amount of graduates earning large salaries.

Many students signed up for the colleges based on the false data and are now faced with high debt and small chance of employment in the legal field.

Image via Creative Commons

AT&T – Class Action Lawsuit – Excessive iPhone Data Charges

A class action lawsuit has been filed against AT&T by a customer claiming that AT&T has been overcharging its customers subscribing to their iPhone and iPad data plan by up to 300 percent. An independent consultant was hired to test data transmitted and received by an iPhone device. This consultant determined that AT&T customers are charged for data even when the iPhones and iPads were unable to transmit or receive data.

During 2010 AT&T had another class action lawsuit settled when they taxed their smartphone customers improperly for Internet usage. They changed their unlimited data plan service during 2010 offering new customers the option of 200 MB or 2 GB monthly data plans.
AT&T Class Action Lawsuit

Asbestos-Related Disease – Mesothelioma

People who had contact with asbestos in the work place have developed Mesothelioma as well as lung cancer or asbestosis. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the mesothelium part of the lungs. Asbestos was a popular building material as it is extremely fire resistant and repelled chemicals and electricity. It was used in many products in the building industry including insulation and drywall. It was also found in pipe covers and certain types of clothing. By the 1920s medical experts began noticing that breathing the product caused lung ailments. Most companies ignored medical warnings and its use was continued. In the 1970s there was a shift and regulations were put on the product. By the early 1980s asbestos was being regulated by the government and banned in certain cases.

Breathing asbestos fibers is the only known cause of malignant mesothelioma lung cancer. This can happen long after exposure to the substance – even a small amount. It can take decades for the cancer to develop.

If you are a loved one was exposed to asbestos you are advised to consult a medical professional and seek legal help.

See article – When will the Class Action on Mesothelioma be Resolved?

Accutane Lawsuit

Accutane (Isotretinoin) is an acne drug used to treat sever acne and it has been linked with side effects including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis caused as a result of using the medication. The lawsuit claims that the drug manufacturer failed to warn doctors and patients about these serious side effects of the drug. Patients suffering from these side effects may be due a monitory settlement.

Ulcerative colitis affects the colon/rectum and causes inflammation of the digestive tract. This results in diarrhea and abdominal pain. Other symptoms include bloody diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal cramping and pain, and night sweats. Fulminant colitis is a rare version of ulcerative colitis – and can cause serious complications such as toxic megacolon and colon rupture.

Crohn’s disease typically affects the intestines and symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding and constipation.

If you are a loved one has taken Accutane and developed Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease or ulcerative colitis you may be able to participate in an Accutane lawsuit.

Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian QuickTrim Class Action Lawsuit

The Kardashian sisters – Kim, Khloe and Kourtney stars of the reality TV show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” are faced with a $5 million class action lawsuit for their involvement with QuickTrim – an alleged weight loss product.

The defendants are alleged to have marketed QuickTrim stating that it increases metabolism, curbs appetite, and promotes weight loss.

The Manhattan federal court states that QuickTrim’s main ingredient is caffeine, which the FDA has determined is not a safe or effective treatment for weight control.  This has reportedly upset QuickTrim consumers some of whom state the use of false advertising.  Photos of the Kardashian sisters in revealing outfits is also alleged to be misleading.  Kim and Khloe have both tweeted that they have experienced 15 pound weight loss attributable to QuickTrim.  Legal experts argue this is false advertising.


Actos Lawsuits

The drug Actos (Pioglitazone) is prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes.  Its used to control blood sugar levels in conjunction with exercise and diet.  It increases how insulin is used by the body.  The drug is normally taken once daily.  It does not cure the type 2 diabetes.

It has been discovered that there are indications that the drug has serious side effects.  These include heart related issues such as congestive heart disease and bladder cancer.

The list of side effects includes bladder cancer, bone damage, liver damage, kidney damage, heart failure, heart attacks and other heart disease.

If you have been taking Actos and have developed symptoms of these diseases such as unexpected weight gain, shortness of breath, a slow heart rate or bladder problems then contact your doctor immediately.  You may also wish to seek legal help

Transvaginal Surgical Mesh (TVM)

Transvaginal surgical mesh (TMV) is used during surgery for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP).   The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has put forth a safely warning to doctors and patients that use of TMV  through the vagina for  pelvic organ prolapsed (POP) may be exposing patients to additional risks.

This is a common surgical procedure amongst women and a third of these make use of mesh and three quarters are done through the vagina.  The lawsuit claims that woman as a result of the mesh surgery have experienced complications including:  erosion of the mesh into the vagina, infection, urinary problems, migration, vaginal pain, pelvic pain, urinary problems, skin split or mesh protrudes, pain during sex, vaginal scarring, narrowing of vaginal wall, mesh shrinkage as well as recurrence of the original problem, or the need for corrective surgery.

Manufacturers of TMV include Johnson & Johnson,  Boston Scientific,  C.R. Bard,  and American Medical Systems.

If you have suffered because of these types of surgery you should contact your doctor to be evaluated.  You should also contact a personal injury lawyer for their opinion.

Zoloft Heart Birth Defect Lawsuits

Zoloft  the antidepressant has been hit by lawsuits alleging that the drug has affected women who took the medicine while pregnant and has resulted in babies being born with heart birth defects.   The lawsuits state that the manufacturer of Zoloft knew that there were risks associated with taking the drug during pregnancy and that adequate warning was not issued to patients and doctors.

Zoloft Antidepressant Medication

The latest lawsuit states that the drug caused a baby to be born with a congenital birth defect and that Pfizer did not warn patients using the drug of the risks and that they concealed and suppressed information about Zoloft use while pregnant.

Zoloft is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and that these types of antidepressants had been introduced while they were linked to an increased risk of certain congenital defects including Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension and other heart defects.

Originally the  US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had issued a warning that SSRIs stating that the drug could possibly cause an increased risk of pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. This was retracted during December of 2011 stating that links between use while pregnant and pulmonary hypertension was premature.

Parents with babies born with these types of heart problems after use of Zoloft have blames the drug and it’s manufacturer Pfizer and they have filed lawsuits against Pfizer alleging its drug caused birth defects and accusing Pfizer of negligence and fraud.

The FDA currently does not have a definitive stance regarding SSRI medications and so women are left to determine the risks of using the drugs or having untreated depression while pregnant.

Chase Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) Lawsuit

Individuals who obtained an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) from Chase ( either JP Morgan Chase Bank or Chase Home Finance) before April 2006 are seeking compensation as part of a class action lawsuit.  This is happening only in California at the moment – though borrowers in other states can instigate legal action if Chase set their interest rate wrong.

The loan documents stated that the initial interest rate  would be the sum of a specified Index plus a set Margin or, a rate less than that sum.  The documents also stated  “Your interest rate will be based on the weekly average yield on United States Treasury securities adjusted to a constant maturity of 1 year (the ‘Index’) plus an amount called a ‘Margin.’”

Later in the document, the disclosures stated that “Your initial interest rate may be discounted and will not be tied to the Index.”   Thus the bank allegedly charged the borrowers an initial interest rate higher than the sum of the Index and Margin.

Domino’s Background Check Lawsuit

There is a class action lawsuit against Domino’s Pizza claiming that they violated federal law by conducting background checks on job applicants.  This case has been upheld by Maryland’s federal court after the pizza company tried to get it dismissed.

The case states that Domino’s did not comply with the legal requirements of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by (1) running background checks on employees without proper authorization, and (2) “systematically” failing to provide employees with copies of their background checks prior to taking adverse employment action against them.

Claims have been made that checks were performed on individuals before they started working, and they were subsequently dismissed based on undisclosed information discovered during their background checks.  This information was never shared with them by Domino’s.  Also they were not provided a copy of the report or advised of any rights before the termination. Additionally  they were required to sign a consent form that contained extraneous information and was not separate from the application packet.

The law states that employers must provide certain information to consumers before taking any adverse action against them – including not hiring them or terminating them – if the background check is completed after hiring. A a copy of the background check report as well as a statement of their rights prepared by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which enforces the FCRA should be given at that time. Consumers are thus protected against inaccurate or incomplete background checks and are given the opportunity to set the record straight.

Up to $1,000 damages per person can be awarded in this case.

Class Action Lawsuit Against Sony – PlayStation 3

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Sony re their Terms of Service for the PlayStation 3.  They were updated during September 2011 and the change meant that people were forbidden from joining a class action lawsuit against them – unless they opted out by letter within thirty days.

The lawsuit states that Sony engaged in unfair business practices and forced consumers to give up their rights – or give up their online gaming access.

The revised terms were hidden in the twenty one page Terms of Service contract.  They also did not post an online version of the most recent Terms of Service, which they’ve done in the past.

Sony are still to make a comment on the class action lawsuit.

Wells Fargo – Class Action Lawsuit – Mortgage Modification

Wells Fargo has a class action lawsuit filed against it that claims that the bank illegally refused to grant permanent loan modifications that it had promised  homeowners who successfully completed a trial mortgage modification under the Homeowner Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

It states Wells Fargo committed breaches of contract and violated California consumer protection laws by misrepresenting the terms of the HAMP trial periods plans (TPP), designed to be a path toward a permanent mortgage modification.

Homeowners were give lower mortgage payments  for 3 months to prove they could make payments.  They stated in a letter received by these homeowners that  if they “make those payments successfully and fulfill all the trial period conditions, we will permanently modify your mortgage loan.”

This did not occur and the lawsuit states that it was a scheme to get homeowners to send in their payments – and that they never intended to make them permanent.  Wells Fargo got millions of dollars from this during the period.

Update 3/16/2012

Its interesting to note the following:

The CEO of Wells Fargo John Stumpf received $17.9 million in compensation in 2011.  Wells Fargo’s net income was $15.87 billion in 2011, up from $12.36 billion in 2010.

More information on Mortgage Modification Lawsuits

Class Action Lawsuit – Sirius XM

Sirius XM is involved in a class action lawsuit dating from 2009.  This is still an open case.

The case was brought about after the satellite radio company purchased its competitor XM Satellite Radio during 2008 and then raised its prices.  So in effect it removed its competition and put up its prices.  During this time it also raised the fee on music royalties.  This brought about the allegations of antitrust violations.

sirius xm class action lawsuit

Approval for mergers of these type must come from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department.  Sirius XM made certain promises to get this approval.  They broke certain promises and this is also contained in the class action lawsuit.

In their defense Sirius XM stated that they were faced with higher costs after the merger.

A settlement was reached in the lawsuit and preliminary approval was given during May 2011.  Approval must be satisfactory to both sides if the settlement is to be successful.

Class Action Lawsuit – Emdeon Inc.

There is a national class action lawsuit on behalf of all shareholders of Emdeon Inc. The complaint alleges, among other things, that Emdeon’s Board of Directors failed to act in the best interest of shareholders and breached its fiduciary duties by approving Blackstone Capital Partners VI L.P.’s attempt to acquire a controlling interest in Emdeon for $19.00 per Emdeon share, which will result in Emdeon becoming a private company. The transaction is expected to close in second half of 2011, subject to customary closing conditions, including shareholder and regulatory approvals.

Class Action Complaint Against Ebix, Inc.

Harwood Feffer LLP announced today that a class action complaint has been filed against Ebix, Inc. and certain of the Company’s officers for violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The action, brought on behalf of those purchasing the common stock of Ebix between May 6, 2009 through June 30, 2011, is pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Class Action Lawsuit Against Bank of America Over Mortgage Modification Handling

Washington homeowners have sued Bank of America because the bank is refusing to part with government funds that were to be used to help homeowners who were facing foreclosure. The Bank of America class action lawsuit attorneys want to communicate with eligible home owners who believe were prevented from or wrongfully not allowed a permanent mortgage adjustment as stated in the Home Assistance Modification Program (HAMP).  The bank has over a million morgages that potentially can be helped but only offered help to 12,761 mortgage holders.

Bank of America Mortgage Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit which has been filed in U.S. District Court, makes the claim that Bank of America attempts to slow or prevent Washington homeowners from accessing the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds.  It is stated that they deliberately ignore the homeowner’s wish to make adjustments to their mortgage or in fact any other different solutions that would stop their homes from foreclosure.

Bank of America received over twenty five billion dollars in government bailout money.  This is money that had been financed by U.S. taxpayers and was specifically put aside to help homeowners who were facing difficulties so that they could try and avoid foreclosure.  The bank, by accepting the money, was obliged to try and help homeowners find ways around foreclosure by reducing monthly mortgage payments.  The lawsuits states that this did not happen.

The bank should be offering a revised 3 month payment plan and if this is successful then they must offer this as a permanent modification to the mortgage plan.  The lawsuit claims this is not happening and that the bank interfered with requests from homeowners and denied them funds to help prevent them from entering foreclosure.  The result was that Bank of America benefited from the funds and additionally acquired additional fees and interest rates from the homeowners.

Homeowners who did not receive an adequate response from the bank after April 13, 2009 can join the suit.

During July, 2011 Bank of America lost its bid to get the lawsuit dismissed.  The judge stated that homeowners who qualified for HAMP and did not receive any modification could continue with claims against the bank.

More information related to  Mortgage Modification Lawsuits

Dyer & Berens LLP Files Class Action Lawsuit

Dyer & Berens LLP ( www.DyerBerens.com) today announced that it has filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of investors who purchased NIVS IntelliMedia Technology Group, Inc. (“NIVS” or the “Company”) (AMEX: NIV) common stock between March 24, 2010 and March 25, 2011, inclusive (the “Class Period”).

What actions may I take at this time? If you purchased during the Class Period and wish to serve as a lead plaintiff, you must request appointment by the court no later than May 30, 2011. If you would like to discuss this action, the lead plaintiff process, or have any questions concerning this notice, please contact plaintiff’s counsel, Jeffrey A. Berens, Esq., at (888) 300-3362 x302 or via email at jeff@dyerberens.com. Any member of the putative class may request a lead plaintiff appointment through counsel of its choice or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.

What are the allegations in the complaint? NIVS is an integrated consumer electronics company that designs, manufactures, markets and sells intelligent audio and video products and mobile phones in China, Greater Asia, Europe and North America. According to the complaint, during the Class Period, defendants made false and/or misleading statements and failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects, including that the Company: (i) had inaccurately recorded certain transactions; (ii) had discrepancies in its accounts receivables; (iii) was engaged in illegal acts involving its accounting records and bank statements; (iv) failed to record its financial results in accordance with GAAP; and (v) lacked adequate internal controls.

On March 25, 2011, the Company filed a Form 8-K with the SEC that disclosed that the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors had approved the dismissal of NIVS’s independent auditor, MaloneBailey LLP. According to the Company, MaloneBailey “based its resignation on what it characterized [as] illegal acts involving the Company’s accounting records and bank statements and discrepancies in accounts receivable.

Based upon the foregoing, the complaint charges NIVS and certain of its officers and directors with violations of the federal securities laws.


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