Entries in Class-Action Suit (4)


Groupon Customers Stand by on Settlement Refund

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A class-action lawsuit might result in a refund for Groupon customers who purchased deals from the company between Nov. 1, 2008, and Dec. 1, 2011.

Chicago-based Groupon notified customers Friday of a proposed $8.5 million settlement after more than a dozen lawsuits in several courts claimed, for instance, that Groupon vouchers had illegal and undisclosed expiration dates and restrictions.

Among the claims is that some of the wording under question in Groupon’s fine print was alleged to have violated a federal gift-card law that prohibits selling gift cards that expire in less than five years.

The class-action settlement website,, states that plaintiffs accused Groupon vouchers of containing “expiration dates and other restrictions in violation of federal and state law and challenged statements on [vouchers] and in terms of use and terms of sale on Groupon’s website used in connection with the offering or sale of [vouchers].”

Website customers who would like to participate must submit a claim form to receive a settlement voucher. The amount to be refunded has yet to be determined.

A judge must approve the proposed settlement during a final approval hearing July 20. Groupon, which established the $8.5 million settlement fund to issue refunds, less plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and costs,  has not admitted fault  by agreeing to the proposed settlement.

Customers who object to the settlement, including the requested attorney’s fees, and decide to opt out of the settlement must file with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California by July 6. That would permit them to pursue their own legal action against Groupon.

Julie Mossler, a spokeswoman for Groupon, said the company does not comment on litigation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


After Suit, Nutella Drops Health Claims

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It’s hard to imagine that there are people who might confuse Nutella–a gooey, chocolaty spread laden with sugar, palm oil and hazelnuts — with a health food. But apparently that’s exactly what Athena Hohenberg, a San Diego mother of a 4-year-old daughter, did.

Last  February,  Hohenberg sued Ferrero USA, Inc., the makers of Nutella, for false advertising. In her suit, she claimed that she “was shocked to learn” that Nutella “was the next best thing to a candy bar.”

She argued that TV ads falsely promoted Nutella as a healthy breakfast option, while omitting the fact that a few tablespoons contains 200 calories, 11 grams of fat (3.5 grams saturated), and 21 grams of sugar. She sought an order preventing Ferrero from marketing Nutella as “healthy,” “balanced nutrition,” and said her goal was to pursue a class-action suit.

Hohenberg got all sorts of flack for her apparent nutritional naiveté, but she won.

The suit has been settled for $3.05 million, $2.5 million of which will be divided among consumers.  Anyone who bought Nutella between Jan. 1, 2008 and Feb. 3, 2012, (or Aug. 1, 2009 and Jan. 23, 2012 in California) can file a claim.

Not that they’ll get rich:  Consumers can receive up to $4 per jar of Nutella that they purchased during the specified time period, with a maximum allowance of $20 per household. But Ferrero also agreed to modify the Nutella label and certain marketing statements about the product, create new television ads and change their website.

So now consumers can take their winnings, buy more Nutella, and know for sure they’re not eating tofu.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Anthem Blue Cross Settles Class-Action Suit 

Comstock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- California's largest for-profit health insurer has agreed to settle a lawsuit involving 120,000 policyholders.  Anthem Blue Cross agreed to terms requiring the company to cap rate increases for its customers.

Policyholders impacted by the suit will also now be able to change plans without review of their medical history, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Consumer watchdog groups alleged that Anthem Blue Cross forced existing customers to accept dramatic rate increases without alternative options, which is required according to California law.  They also accused the company of closing out certain plans to new customers.

Anthem Blue Cross Monday announced plans to reduce the July 1 rate increases by half to just three percent for almost 18,000 policyholders at small businesses, reports the Times.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court to Hear Whether Millions of Female Employees Can Sue Walmart

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When Christine Kwapnoski of Concord, Calif., told her boss at a division of Walmart that she wanted a job promotion, she said, he told her to "blow the cobwebs off your makeup" and to "doll up" in order to advance.

Instead, she joined five other female employees and filed a sexual discrimination suit against the company 10 years ago alleging that women had been paid less than men in comparable positions in violation of Title VII, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination.

As word of the suit spread, dozens and dozens of women joined in and a lower court ruled that the case could go forward on behalf of all current and former female employees since 1998.

Kwapnoski will be at the Supreme Court Tuesday when the justices hear arguments on whether the lower court was correct in allowing the women to band together to file their lawsuit, or whether they must file as individuals.

If the court rules in favor of the women and grants them "class certification," it will most likely become the largest employment class-action suit in history, involving potentially millions of women and billions of dollars.

A decision is likely to come in early summer.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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