Archive for the ‘Employment Related’ Category

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

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.

Walmart’s Class Action Lawsuit Latest

WalMart is in the middle of a class action dispute over alleged gender bias in pay and promotions.

 

Title: Dukes vs. Wal-Mart Stores

WalMart is getting sued by a female employee for sexual discrimination via Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964.  She claims she was denied a promotion after years of excellent employment and evaluations.  The suit now represents all female employees working from 1998 on.

This case which was filed in 2000 is still pending and the amount is estimated to be $11 billion.


What Percentage of Class Action Cases Ever Go to Trial

Employment-related class action suits get a lot of attention and fanfare by the news media, but their numbers have plummeted in the past two decades, from 1,174 in 1976 to just 68 in 1996 (the latest year for which figures are available). The reason is that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is short-staffed and is an underfunded agency, which needs to focus primary attention on high-profile cases, resulting in what once might have been considered a solid case that might have been resolved by the EEOC, but now being rejected, leaves the workers no choice but to file individual lawsuits or abandon their cases altogether.

In California, civil court between 1987 and 1994, a economist at Rand, found that 17% of the cases were dropped after an initial complaint, an additional 40% of class action lawsuits were settled before going to trial. A Philadelphia employment litigation lawyer, said most class action lawsuits are resolved or settled before they are filed in court.

There were 19 securities class action trials since 1996, but the numbers reported during the period during 2007 was at least 65 going to trial from 260 to 272 federal securities class action suits filed. This represents an increase of historical levels. The Securities Class Action Service (SCAS) report, list the the amount of settlements before going to trial from 2003 to 2006. The top ten firms in terms of number of settlements accounted for more than 60% of the securities class action settlements during this period.

Numerically, class actions make up a small portion of the average court’s docket. Of the approximately 280,000 civil lawsuits filed in all the federal district courts in the United States during 1997, only 1,500 or one-half of one percent were class actions.

UnumProvident

A class action lawsuit was filed against UnumProvident, Unum, Paul Revere, First Unum, Provident, and other UnumProvident subsidiaries. The lawsuit aims to stop and correct their illegal disability claims practices and help for the thousands of people who obtained their disability coverage through their employers and have had claims denied or terminated.

 

A new class action has been filed against Chattanooga-based UnumProvident – this one in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

It is brought on behalf of purchasers of UnumProvident Corporate-Backed Trust Securities (”CorTS”) Certificates (NYSE: KVN) pursuant to an initial public offering on or about April 18, 2001 and/or in the aftermarket for CorTS through and including March 24, 2003 (the “Class Period”).

The complaint charges CorTS Trust II for Provident Financial Trust I, UnumProvident, Salomon Smith Barney and certain UnumProvident officers with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and with violations of the Securities Act of 1933.

According to the CorTS IPO prospectus, UnumProvident Corporation guaranteed the payment of distributions on the Underlying Capital Securities but only to the extent that the Underlying Issuer had funds legally and immediately available therefor, the suit says. On April 18, 2001, the first day of the class period, the CorTS were issued pursuant to the Prospectus and Registration Statement and began to publicly trade. The trust consisted of a single class of certificates, which represented interests in the trust and the certificates would only be paid through the trust. Therefore, the CorTS would only be paid if UnumProvident paid the original trust, it was claimed.

The class action lawsuit charges that during the Class Period, UnumProvident falsely reported financial results because it did not properly account for the long-term impairment of its investments. The suit says “the financial information was inflated due to UnumProvident’s overzealous denial of legitimate claims of its insureds through, what one federal judge deemed ‘a comprehensive system for targeting and terminating expensive claims.’ The financial statements and related press releases by UnumProvident identified above contained statements that were materially false and misleading when made.”

On March 24, 2003, UnumProvident issued a press release in which they stated their intentions to restate financial statements from previous years. This put the payments of the CorTS in jeopardy and caused the CorTS to lose almost 50% of their value, it was stated.

Several other class action lawsuits have been filed in recent months against UnumProvident, which ousted its CEO and has taken steps to shore up its financial position.

 

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