ZEP Inc named in employment class action for failure to pay proper wages and commissions to outside sales representatives

 

This is a class, collective, and representative action brought by Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated. Plaintiffs and those similarly situated are or were employed by Defendants as Employees and Outside Salespersons and were denied proper compensation as required by state and federal law.

The Class consists of every person who has worked for Defendants in California and the United States as an Outside Sales Representative within four years of the filing of this action (the “Class Period”).

During the Class Period, Defendants failed to pay wages/commissions to Plaintiffs and each member of the putative classes as required by federal and state law. Further, the Defendants have engaged in an unlawful policy and practice of taking accounts and commissions obtained by salespersons in violation of both the written contract that all salespersons signed and applicable law.

As alleged, ZEP has a history of engaging in unlawful conduct with regard to its outside salespersons. At the time these accounts were obtained, each representative was never informed that the accounts or the commissions generated from these accounts could be taken from them unilaterally by Defendants. In fact, Plaintiffs and the current and former employees they seek to represent were informed in writing that such commissions would be earned when payment was made by the customer.

The representatives were also promised in writing that any changes to any commission program could only be applied “prospectively”. In other words, any new accounts obtained after a modification to the agreement could be made, but any new commission plan would not be effective retroactively, i.e., to accounts that had been obtained prior to any modification of the plan.

According to the complaint, in direct contradiction with those written promises, beginning in approximately 2017, ZEP began unilaterally and surreptitiously taking accounts/commissions obtained by their outside salespersons. Effective April 1, 2018, ZEP placed a policy in writing in which it acknowledged that it would began taking accounts/commissions from these sales persons.

COMPLAINT

Volvo named in class action lawsuit over failure of electric motor to perform as promised in XC90 T8 sport utility vehicles

 

Volvo manufacturers and sells premium automobiles, including sports utility vehicles. Volvo markets its environmental and safety features to differentiate Volvo cars from those of other car manufacturers, and offers those features as reasons for consumers to purchase Volvo cars.

Among its product offerings, Volvo sells the XC90 T8 (“T8”), which is a seven passenger sport utility vehicle that contains a twin engine combining a gasoline engine with an electric motor, and has the ability to operate solely on the electric motor. In various press releases, brochures and product placements with trade publications, as set forth in more detail below, Volvo repeatedly represented in 2014 and 2015 that the T8 would have the capability to be driven solely on a battery charge for approximately 25 miles, which Volvo claimed would cover the average commute and daily errands for most people.

As alleged, the T8 does not come close to achieving 25 miles on a full electric charge. Rather, the T8 provides approximately 8 to 10 miles on a full electric charge—a far cry from the 25 miles promised by Volvo. And while Volvo now apparently claims that the range on the T8 is 17 miles, the only apparent method to even come close to the 17-mile range is to drive the T8 at 40 miles an hour on the highway—with all the safety features disabled.

Plaintiff and others paid a hefty premium for the T8’s electric motor. The seven-passenger Volvo XC90 T6, which does not contain the electric motor, starts at $49,800. By contrast, the seven-passenger T8, with the electric motor, starts at $68,100. All the other base features on the T6 and T8 are identical. Thus, Volvo is receiving, and Plaintiff paid, an $18,300 price premium for the electric motor—an electric motor that does not perform as promised.

Plaintiff brings this case on behalf of the following class: All individuals who purchased or leased a Volvo XC90 T8. Plaintiff asserts claims for violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and similar consumer fraud statutes of other states, fraud, breach of express warranty, and unjust enrichment. Plaintiff seeks to recover the damages he has suffered as the result of Volvo’s conduct.

COMPLAINT

Hyundai named in class action lawsuit over defective engines

 

This consumer class action arises from defective Theta II engines found in hundreds of thousands of Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the United States.

As alleged, the Theta II engine’s fuel injection system causes contaminants to enter the engine’s oil supply. Initial symptoms of the Defect include a knocking noise from the engine, a reduction in engine power, and engine stalling events (the “Defect”). When the level of contaminants in the oil supply sufficiently thicken the Theta II engine’s oil supply, the engine fails, leading to an immediate loss of engine power and power steering. The Defect thus creates a safety hazard for not only the vehicle’s occupants but the occupants of nearby vehicles. Countless consumer complaints to Hyundai, Kia and traffic safety authorities detail the safety risks and economic burdens of vehicles prone to total and unexpected engine failure.

The only remedy for the Defect is replacing the engine with another defective Theta II engine. Though the Defect is covered by Defendants’ written 10-year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranties, Defendants routinely deny warranty coverage to engines consumed by the Defect by blaming the engine-killing oil sludge on inadequate maintenance or the use of aftermarket oil filters.

Between 2015 and 2017, Defendants recalled 1.5 million vehicles with Theta II engines in North America. Each recall addressed knocking noises, engine stalls, and sudden engine failures. Though the recalls cover Theta II engines manufactured over a five-year period in at least two continents, in each instance, Defendants attributed the recall to the same underlying cause: leftover metal debris in the engine from the manufacturing process.

Reports suggest that in 2016, a Hyundai engineer informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) that Defendants have long been aware that the Theta II engines possess a design flaw affecting all Theta II engines. These reports are consistent with the experience of Plaintiff and countless other owners and lessees of vehicles with defective Theta II engines that have not been recalled (the “Class Vehicles”). Non-recalled Theta II engines are failing because of the Defect in numbers that in some cases exceed the failure rates of recalled vehicles.

This case seeks protection and relief for owners of the Class Vehicles for the harm they have suffered, and the safety risks they face, from Defendants’ unfair, unlawful, and deceptive trade practices.

COMPLAINT

General Mills and Small Planet Foods named in class action for false advertising

This case concerns Defendants’ false and deceptive marketing and sale of Cascadian Farm brand frozen fruits and vegetables. Defendants’ identical misrepresentations mislead consumers into believing that all of their frozen fruit and vegetable products are grown on an organic farm in Skagit Valley, a small region in the state of Washington along the Skagit River in the Cascade mountains. In truth, Defendants’ frozen fruit and vegetables are not grown on a farm in the Cascades mountain range and/or in the Skagit Valley region. Rather, because Defendants are multinational agro-businesses, the fruit and vegetables used in their frozen products are sourced from all over the United States and the world.

COMPLAINT

That’s It Nutrition, LLC named in class action lawsuit alleging false advertising

 

That’s It Nutrition, LLC manufactures and sells snack food products under the brand “That’s it.” The Products consist of (1) fruit bars, (2) fruit bars with added spicy ingredients, (3) chocolate-covered fruit pieces (4) vegetable bars. The products labeling claim: “No Purees or Juices,” “No Sulfur or Sulfites,” “No Sugar Added,” “No Preservatives,” the “2 ingredient snack,” “Just Fruit” and “Fruit is all we use.” According to the complaint, the labeling conveys that the defendant was responsible for taking the whole intact fruit, washing it, dicing or chopping it, then mashing it together to form the final bar, so that the product can credibly attest that it contains ingredients identified by a collective name.

 

As alleged, by listing ingredients with a collective name, a reasonable consumer gets the impression that the raw material existed in its whole, intact form, which means the products are necessarily fresher because its component ingredients were not made years ago and sat on a warehouse shelf until the time they were used in the products. It is misleading, however, to list ingredients with a collective name because consumers are unable to distinguish the value, quality and nature of the actual ingredients prior to purchase.

 

The complaint claims the labeling is misleading because That’s It does not convert whole, intact fruits or vegetables into the final product. Rather, the Products contain ingredients which have already been subjected to various levels of processing and transformation such that designating them by their collective name is misleading.  The Complaint contends that rather than containing fruit, the bars are made from a highly processed fruit powder.

Starkist Co named in class action lawsuit over misleading consuming public over healthfulness of tuna

 

StarKist is one of the largest producers of seafood products in the United States. As alleged, StarKist’s products contain a mislabeling representations that causes consumers to falsely believe that StarKist products are healthier than products made by other food manufacturers. Specifically, StarKist prominently displays the American Heart Association

“Heart-Check Mark” on products. The complaint contends that reasonable consumers see the Heart-Check Mark and would mistakenly believe that a product with a Heart-Check Mark is healthier than a product without a Heart-Check Mark. In truth, however, the Heart-Check Mark is nothing more than a paid endorsement which Starkist fails to inform the consuming public.

COMPLAINT

CVS named in class action lawsuit over deceptive advertising of CVS 100% Pure 300mgOmega-3 Krill Oil

 

 

 

The complaint is based upon research funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, and published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, which found a number of Krill Oil manufacturers included less krill oil than the amount represented on the label.  With respect to CVS Krill Oil, the study found it only contained 60% of the 300mg of Omega-3 Krill Oil represented

The objective of the underlying study was to assess EPA and DHA label declarations of fish, krill, and algal oil dietary supplements in the USA. The researchers concluded that the quality of fish oil supplements is not being adequately monitored by manufacturers or government agencies.

A number of other krill oil manufacturers were implicated in short changing consumers. Also included as a defendant was the manufacturer of the krill oil for CVS, LANG PHARMA NUTRITION.

COMPLAINT

General Motors named in class action lawsuit over defective air conditioner in vehicles

The complaint alleges that the air conditioning unit sold in certain GM vehicles is defective resulting in system failure during normal, everyday use. According to the complaint, two defects in the system cause refrigerant to leak out. The absence of refrigerant prevents the evaporator from becoming cold, causing the system to blow hot air into the car’s passenger compartment and, in some cases, causing other parts of the system to fail.

The first defective component is the line leading from the compressor to the condenser. This line consists primarily of an aluminum tube connected to a rubber hose. On information and belief, this line can fail in two ways. First, the aluminum tube can become disconnected from the rubber hose, creating an opening in the line that can allow refrigerant to escape. Second, the aluminum tube itself has a material defect that can allow the tube to rupture, also allowing refrigerant to escape.

The second defective component in the air conditioning system of the Class Vehicles is the condenser itself. On information and belief, the original condenser has a material defect that renders it unable to withstand the day-to-day normal operation of Class Vehicles. On information and belief this defect is most likely due to: (i) the use of an inadequate material to build the condenser, (ii) the use of an insufficient amount of material in the manufacture of the condenser and/or (iii) inadequate weld.

 

The Vehicles involved in this case include:

Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, model years 2015 to date;

Chevrolet Suburban, model years 2015 to date;

GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, model years 2015 to date;

Chevrolet Tahoe, model years 2015 to date;

GMC Sierra 1500, model years 2014 to date;

GMC Sierra Heavy Duty, model years 2015/2016;

Chevrolet Silverado 1500, model years 2014 to date; and

Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty, model years 2015/2016

COMPLAINT

Eat Real Foods USA, named in class action lawsuit for misleading consumers about the amounts of characterizing ingredients in their products

 

Eat Real Foods USA, LLC manufactures and sells snack products made from lentils, chickpeas and quinoa under the brand “EatReal” accompanied by slogans and advertising promoting the healthy and unique aspects of its Products. The complaint pertains to “Quinoa Puffs,” “Quinoa Chips,” “Lentil Chips,” and “Hummus Chips” (the “Products”), sold to consumers in bags of various sizes through third-parties via brick-and-mortar stores and online.

As alleged, though the Quinoa Puffs lists “Quinoa Puffs” as the first and most predominant ingredient, the listing of its sub-ingredients reveals “Corn Meal” present in an amount greater than quinoa. Similarly, the Quinoa Chips list “Quinoa Flour” as the first ingredient, the second ingredient is “Corn Flour” and the fourth ingredient is “Corn Starch,” making it probable that corn is present in the Quinoa Chips in an amount greater than quinoa. The Lentil and Hummus Chips’ lists lentil flour and chickpea flour as their first ingredients. However, because lentil flour (48%) and chickpea flour (45%) are each present in an amount less than half, it is probable that the substantive, non-flavoring ingredients are actually present in an amount which exceeds lentil and chickpea flour.

As alleged, the labeling of these products misleadingly suggest that the Products either consist entirely of quinoa, lentils and chickpeas or at a minimum that those ingredients are present in an amount which greatly exceeds any other non-substantive ingredients. This impression is reinforced by each Product being prominently identified with a large circle denoting the specific flavor – i.e., White Cheddar Flavor – such that they will conclude the flavor is “White Cheddar” when actually the Products are corn, rice and potato snacks that are flavored with quinoa, lentils and chickpeas.

COMPLAINT

Bank of America pays $5.5 million to settle class action lawsuit over failure to properly report debt discharged in bankruptcy

Bank of America has agreed to pay $5.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging it failed to update credit report information for credit card accounts sold to third parties where the account holder’s debts were discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy after they were sold.

According to the lawsuit BOA’s failure to update credit card information when the account holder’s debts were sold meant that the trade lines did not indicate that the debts were included in bankruptcy. The trade lines allegedly continued to reflect that the debts were sold, charged off and $0 balance.

If you had a Bank of America credit card and your debts were discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be entitled to payment.

The deadline to opt out of or object to the Bank of America class action settlement is Jan. 30, 2018.  More information can be found at the settlement website.

https://www.echevarriasettlement.com/