Cybergenics LLC, makers of Iso-Test named in class action for misrepresentations and false advertisement

Plaintiff purchased Iso-Test and upon such information and belief alleges, that Defendant Cybergenics LLC is a Georgia limited liability company that manufactures, distributes, and/or sells Iso-Test, a once daily male supplement (hereafter “Iso-Test” or “Product”). Defendant sells its Product to consumers in California and throughout the nation.

Defendant makes the following claims on its packaging: “Testosterone Booster” and “Helps boos testosterone by 47%”. These claims made by Defendant, which were seen by all consumers who purchased the Product because these claims are on the Product label, are both false and misleading.

Plaintiff was curious about these claims, and in reliance thereon, decided to purchase the Product. Plaintiff did so after reviewing the challenged marketing claims. Plaintiff used the Product as directed, but was damaged in purchasing Defendant’s Product because he did not experience any of Defendant’s promised benefits. Plaintiff would not have purchased the Product but for the misleading claims described herein that were made by Defendant. In reality, Defendant’s Product does not work as advertised and the claims about the Product’s unique or special testosterone abilities are false 2 and misleading.

Plaintiff brings the lawsuit to enjoin Defendant from such behavior, and to recover the money taken by Defendant’s practices.

Complaint: Cybergenics

Gerber Products Company & Nestlé USA named in class action over alleged unsupported nutritional claims in Gerber Probiotic Products

Plaintiff  filed a class action against defendants Gerber Products Company d/b/a/ Nestlé Infant Nutrition, and Nestlé USA, Inc. (“Defendants”) to end Defendants false, deceptive and misleading advertising message about the Gerber Probiotic Products’ purported contribution to infant immunity and digestive health, and to correct the false and misleading perception Defendants have created among consumers who have purchased the products.

Defendants manufacture, market, distribute and sell infant formula and cereal for consumption by individuals between 0 and 24 months old, which are advertised as promoting various benefits—such as immunity protection and digestive health- because of the presence of probiotic and prebiotic cultures in the foods (the “Gerber Probiotic Products”). These claims, however, are unsupported by scientific evidence. Plaintiff and members of the putative class were injured when they purchased the Gerber Probiotic Products in reliance on these false and misleading claims.

Class: All persons who purchased in the United States one or more of the Gerber Probiotic Products from January 1, 2007 to the present (the “Class Period”) for personal or household use, and not for resale or distribution purposes.

Complaint: Gerber

Ford named in class action over alleged safety defect in 2011-2012 Ford F150s

The class action against the Ford Motor Company alleges that the company’s Ford F150 trucks contain a dangerous safety defect that causes the vehicles to shake violently, shudder and stall when attempting to accelerate.

As alleged, the vehicles suffered from a defect, which is caused by a flaw in Ford’s Charge Air Cooler (CAC) system. The complaint alleges that the system, which is designed to cool air before it reaches the engine, causes condensation to build up inside the air intake tube, especially in more humid climates.

According to the complaint when drivers accelerate moisture moves into the engine, causing the vehicle to shudder. In severe cases, the F150’s computer system senses the danger and forces the vehicle into “limp mode” to prevent damage.

The suit claims that Ford is completely aware of the issue, and has gone as far as to warn dealers in a secret memo, noting that vehicles may, “stumble and/or misfire on hard acceleration after an extended drive at highway speeds during high humid or damp conditions.”

The lawsuit against Ford seeks to provide compensation to all current or former owners and/or lessees of Model Year 2011-2012 Ford F-150 vehicles.

Nissan North America named in class action lawsuit alleging failure to disclose defect in Timing Chain Systems which results in premature failure

This is a consumer class action concerning a breach of warranty and an intentional failure to disclose material facts and a safety concern to consumers. Secondary timing chains, secondary timing chain tensioners and secondary timing chain tensioner shoes (“Timing Chain Systems”) installed in 2004 -2008 Nissan Maxima vehicles, 2004 – 2009 Nissan Quest vehicles, 2004 – 2006 Nissan Altima vehicles (with the VQ35 engine), 2005 – 2007 Nissan Pathfinder vehicles, 2005 – 2007 Nissan Xterra vehicles, and 2005 – 2007 Nissan Frontier vehicles (with the VQ40 engine) (collectively, “Subject Nissan Vehicles”), which were designed, manufactured, imported, distributed, marketed, and maintained, upon information and belief, by Nissan North America, Inc. and Nissan Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha d/b/a Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (collectively, “Nissan” or “Defendants”), were prone to premature failure and could not be reasonably repaired. Nissan’s breach of warranty and failure to disclose material facts presents a safety concern to consumers, and has caused consumers to suffer significant monetary damages.

As alleged, the Timing Chain Systems installed in the Subject Nissan Vehicles are prone to premature failure, before the end of the useful life of the vehicles, and well before consumers reasonably expect any such failure to occur. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and based thereon, alleges that a vehicle’s Timing Chain System is intended and reasonably expected to last for at least ten years, if not more, without the need for repair or replacement.

Nissan has been aware that the Timing Chain Systems installed in the Subject Nissan Vehicles are prone to premature failure, and Nissan continued to install defective Timing Chain Systems in the Subject Nissan Vehicles knowing that they were prone to premature failure. Nissan not only refused to disclose the problem, but also actively concealed knowledge of it.

Nissan undertook affirmative efforts to conceal the failures through, among other things, Technical Service Bulletins issued to repair facilities. Although Nissan was aware enough of the problem to issue multiple Technical Service Bulletins to repair facilities, informing them of the need for Timing Chain Systems to be replaced, Nissan selectively chose not to inform consumers of this fact. Nissan concealed this so that the warranty period on the Subject Nissan Vehicles would expire before owners become aware of the problem. Through this practice, Nissan unlawfully transfers the cost of  replacement from itself to the owners of the Subject Nissan

As a result of Nissan’s failure to disclose the fact that the Timing Chain Systems were prone to unavoidable premature failure, consumers are required to spend thousands of dollars to replace the Timing Chain Systems, or sell their vehicles without  repair at a substantial loss. The fact that the Timing Chain Systems are prone to premature failure is material because no reasonable consumer expects to spend thousands of dollars to replace essential components of the Subject Nissan Vehicles’ engines in the early years of vehicle ownership.

The fact that the Timing Chain Systems were prone to sudden premature failure is material to consumers because it presents a serious safety issue and places the driver and passengers at a risk of harm. The Timing Chain Systems form an integral component of the Subject Nissan Vehicles’ engines. When they fail, they can cause a variety of problems, including the inability of the vehicles to accelerate and maintain speed, as well as catastrophic engine failure, among other issues. When any of these occur while the vehicles are in motion, occupants of the vehicles are exposed to rear end collisions and other accidents caused by the driver’s inability to maintain an appropriate speed on the road. The fact that the Timing Chain Systems are prone to premature failure is also material to consumers because there is no safe alternative way for owners of the Subject Nissan Vehicles to avoid the risk of potential harm. As a result of its failure to disclose the material fact that the Timing Chain Systems installed in the Subject Nissan Vehicles are prone to premature failure, Nissan has recklessly placed the safety of owners and occupants of the vehicles at risk.

Complaint: Nissan FAC

Fifth Third Bank named in class action for charging usurious interest rates in violation of federal law through its Early Access

Fifth Third offers a program exclusively to its checking account customers known as the Fifth Third Early Access Program (“Early Access Program”). The Early Access Program allows customers to open an account with a line of credit to obtain short-term advances based on a customer’s regular direct deposits. The Early Access account is directly linked to the customer’s checking account, and a customer can make as many online transfers as they would like so long as their advance does not exceed their credit limit less any unpaid balances and fees from prior advances.

Fifth Third claims it charges interest with an Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”) of 120% for every advance.  In the Early Access Program’s Terms & Conditions (“Terms & Conditions”) and in customers’ Early Access Account Statements, Fifth Third discloses the 120% APR. The 120% APR is calculated based on a customer repaying the entire balance of the advance plus the “fee” 30 days after taking the advance. The 120% APR disclosed by Fifth Third to its customers is false and misleading.

As alleged, the true APR is almost always much higher than the 120% APR Fifth Third claims to charge customers for each advance. APR is a financial concept that describes the “time value of money.” The interest charged for a loan translates into a much higher APR if the customer pays back the loan and interest in less than 30 days because Fifth Third calculates the APR based on 30 day repayment. In reality, customers usually pay back their advances immediately after receiving them. Fifth Third receives full payment for each advance plus its interest automatically when the customer’s next direct deposit posts to their account. This usually occurs within a few days of the customer’s Early Access advance. The quoted 120% APR is accurate only if the customer does not repay the loan and the interest until 30 days after taking the advance.

More often than not, a customer’s next direct deposit occurs within days of the customer taking the advance, resulting in an interest rate well over the 120% APR disclosed by Fifth Third and well in excess of the permissible interest rate allowed by federal law.

According to the complaint the Early Access Program is the same as pay-day loan programs usually offered by store front cash advance businesses. These store-front operations earned a reputation for preying on the financially desperate by offering loans at interest rates that shock the conscience. Banks historically refrained from offering these types of loans due to laws preventing banks from charging usury interest rates for loans to customers.

For the most part, the Early Access Program mirrors pay-day loan programs with one important exception—Fifth Third has direct access to its customers’ checking accounts and the ability to pay itself back immediately with customers’ next direct deposit. Fifth Third preys on its customers, who find themselves in desperate need of financial support to bridge a gap between bills due and the next paycheck. The unfortunate self reinforcing spiral that necessarily follows, and on which Fifth Third’s profits necessarily depend, requires the customer to continually take out new advances to fund the customer’s payments for Fifth Third’s advances and usurious interest rates on past advances.

In its disclosures to customers, Fifth Third accurately states that the Early Access Program is an “expensive form of credit that should be used only in emergency situations.” However, Fifth Third intentionally misleads its customers as to just how expensive the Early Access Program is and fails to disclose that the interest rate Fifth Third may charge will be in excess of what federal law allows a state-chartered, federally insured bank to receive. In many instances, Fifth Third receives an APR well over 1000% to the detriment of its customers—a fact Fifth Third never discloses as a possibility to its customers.

Progressive Insurance named in class action lawsuit over its Snapshot® usage-based insurance program

Progressive’s Snapshot® usage-based insurance program is a discount program where Progressive’s customers can purportedly save money on their car insurance by sharing their driving habits with Progressive.1 According to Progressive, seven out of ten drivers who try Progressive’s Snapshot program have qualified for a discount, which can be as high as 30 percent. According to Progressive, it is “simply asking all drivers, ‘why wouldn’t you try it?’

Participating customers are given a device that can fit into the palm of one’s hand, plugs into the vehicle’s on-board diagnostic port, and is powered through the vehicle’s battery. The device records and sends driving data directly to Progressive, and Progressive uses that information to calculate a participating customer’s insurance rate. After installation of the Snapshot device, driving data is analyzed for 30 days, after which customers find out if they are eligible for a discount based on their driving habits.

Progressive claims that Snapshot customers can make changes to their driving habits that will lead to “bigger discounts” and “huge savings.” Through Progressive’s marketing and advertising campaign, Progressive implies that Snapshot is safe for use in vehicles. Progressive conveyed and continues to convey this deceptive message through a fully-integrated advertising campaign, which utilizes a variety of media, including television, newspapers, magazines, direct mail and the Internet. Progressive’s representations, however, are false, misleading and reasonably likely to deceive the public since Snapshot always drains a vehicle’s battery, making the battery worth less than it would be without the Snapshot device. Many times a vehicle’s battery is drained to the point that the battery is non-functional.

Plaintiff brings this action on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated who have participated in the Snapshot program in the United States. This action seeks to halt Progressive’s dissemination of the false advertising message that Snapshot is safe for use in vehicles, correct the false and misleading perception it has created in the minds of consumers, and to obtain redress for those who have experienced damage to their vehicles by their participation in Snapshot.

Honda named in class action over defect in the Vehicle Stability Assist System

This action arises out of a defect in the Vehicle Stability Assist (“VSA”) system 6 of the Class Vehicles that causes the Class Vehicles’ brakes to suddenly engage without warning (“Autonomous Braking Defect”). The VSA is a computerized system of sensors that turns over control of the vehicle’s brakes to a software program under certain conditions. The intended purpose of the VSA is accident prevention. However, due to a combination of sensor malfunctions and software problems, the systems in the Class Vehicles are prone to unexpectedly “slamming” the brakes under normal driving conditions autonomously and without the driver’s intent. The Autonomous Braking Defect is widespread, presents an obvious and serious safety hazard, and, on information and belief, was known or should have been known to defendants prior to sale or lease of the Class Vehicles in 2005.

Several computerized safety features, including anti-lock braking, traction control, brake assist, and electronic stability control, are incorporated into the VSA system in the Class Vehicles. The VSA functions through sensors that detect, among other things, the steering wheel angle, the “yaw” (rotation) of the vehicle, wheel speed, and brake pressure. This information is relayed to the VSA module. If the software detects a problem, the VSA activates the anti-lock braking system (“ABS”) to alter the speed, direction, and rotation of the vehicle. In addition, the VSA’ s “Brake Assist” feature steps in to apply extra braking pressure under emergency situations to reduce stopping distance.

In the 2005 Pilot, Honda turned over unbridled control of the brakes to a defective computer system. Defects in the sensors, as well as the way the VSA Module interprets data, are causing the VSA system to spontaneously and violently slam on the brakes, resulting in the wheels to locking up while driving. As a result, Plaintiff and Class Members are undergoing the harrowing and extremely dangerous experience of having their brakes suddenly engage, oftentimes at highway speeds.

Plaintiff is informed and believes and based thereon alleges that Defendants knew or should have known that the Class Vehicles are defective and not fit for their intended purpose of providing consumers with safe and reliable transportation. Nevertheless, Defendants have actively concealed and failed to disclose the Autonomous Braking Defect from Plaintiff and Class Members at the time of purchase or lease and thereafter.

Plaintiff was unaware, and could not have known, that her vehicle suffered from a manufacturing and/or design defect (the Autonomous Braking Defect), and of Defendant’s knowledge thereof, until NHTSA opened an investigation into involuntary brake application in the 2005 Honda Pilot on October 11, 2012 in response to increasing reports of the defect.

On or about December 8, 2004, in response to these reports and investigations, Honda began to apply the first of several design changes to the Honda Pilot VSA system for model year vehicles subsequent to 2005. Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that these design changes were implemented in an effort to remedy the Autonomous Braking Defect.

Despite all of the foregoing, including Honda’s numerous investigations and corrective actions in response to the Autonomous Braking Defect, Honda failed to disclose to its customers and actively concealed the inherent defect present in the Class Vehicles.

Defendants knew of and concealed from Plaintiff and Class Members the Autonomous Braking Defect in every Class Vehicle and either knew or should have known  about the attendant safety hazards and associated repair costs, at the time of sale, lease, and repair and thereafter. Furthermore, Plaintiff and Class Members would not have purchased the Class Vehicles or would have paid less for them if they had known about the Autonomous Braking Defect at the time of sale or lease.

As a result of their reliance on Defendants’ omissions and/or misrepresentations, Plaintiff and Class Members have suffered ascertainable loss of money, property, and/or value of their Class Vehicles.

Visa & Master Card Conspiracy Class Action Settlement

Merchants in the U.S. will be notified that the Court has preliminarily approved an agreement that merchants, Visa, MasterCard, and other defendants have reached in a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit claims that merchants paid excessive fees for accepting Visa and MasterCard because of an alleged conspiracy among the Defendants.

The monetary portion of the Class Settlement consists of two funds. The first is a cash fund in the amount of $6.05 billion. Any person, business or other entity that accepted Visa or MasterCard credit or debit cards in the U.S. at any time between January 1, 2004 and November 28, 2012 may be eligible to receive a payment from the $6.05 billion fund. The second is a fund equivalent to a portion of interchange fees attributable to certain merchants that accept Visa or MasterCard credit cards for an eight month period to start by July 29, 2013. That fund is estimated to be approximately $1.2 billion. Additionally, the Settlement will require Visa and MasterCard to modify some of their rules for merchants that accept their cards.

If the Court grants final approval of the Class Settlement, eligible members of the Cash Settlement Class may file claims for payment to share in the distribution of the settlement funds (Claim Forms). Claim Forms will be sent to all known Class members. Claim Forms will also be available at the website or by calling the Class Administrator.

For more information about this case:  www.PaymentCardSettlement.com

Kia named in class action over First generation (2002–2009) equipped with a Hyundai-manufactured 3.5L 24-valve DOHC V6 engine

This class action lawsuit on behalf of a class of all current and former owners and leasees of certain Kia Sorento, model year First generation (2002–2009) equipped with a Hyundai-manufactured 3.5L 24-valve DOHC V6 engine. It is alleged here that these engines were designed with a defective engine crank sprocket and balancer, in that the design of the balancer sticks out too far and weighs too much, breaking off the spring guide Pin and causing the front pulley bolt to break, which then causes catastrophic engine failure, loss of power steering, loss of the charging system, loss of the cooling system and loss of control of the vehicle, and is a hazard to owners and other individuals who may be in harms way.

As alleged, through a common and uniform course of conduct, the Defendants’ knowing failure, despite their longstanding knowledge of the problem, to disclose to Plaintiffs and other consumers that Kia Sorento (2002-2009), vehicles (collectively, the “Class vehicles”) are predisposed to snap the front pulley bolt resulting in the ejection of the front pulley, which then sets off a chain reaction of shredding all the belts attached to it including the power steering, battery charging system, and cooling system, all resulting in severe heat buildup, loss of steering control while being driven, loss of power while being driven, hazardous accident potential and engine failure, and metal debris, resulting in serious and expensive damage to, and/or catastrophic failure of the engine within the Class vehicles (collectively, the “front pulley balancer bolt problem”). Not only did Kia actively conceal the material fact that this particular component is defectively designed (and requires costly repairs to fix), but it also did not reveal that the existence of this defect would diminish the intrinsic resale value of the vehicle. Furthermore, through a common and uniform course of conduct, Defendants have failed to honor both federally mandated and voluntarily offered warranties that would have required them to repair or correct, at no cost to the consuming public, the nonconforming and/or defective vehicle(s).

The complaint alleges that Defendants have been aware for years of the true nature and cause of the front pulley balancer bolt problem in class vehicles. Meanwhile, Defendants made numerous affirmative statements touting the high-quality and reliability of the Class vehicles.

As a result of the front pulley balancer bolt problem and defective vehicle design, Defendants have benefited from collecting funds from Kia customers for vehicle service procedures such as unnecessary front pulley balancer bolt replacements, computer reprogramming and software updates, and troubleshooting and diagnosing front pulley balancer bolt complaints, when in fact, Defendants knew the true cause of such front pulley balancer bolt problems within the Class vehicles were the defective vehicle design.

Many owners and leasees of the Class vehicles have had to repair or replace their, front pulley balancer bolts multiple times, thereby incorporating costly front pulley balancer bolt repairs and/or replacements as needed to return their vehicles to expected operating condition.

CitiMortgage named in class action for violations of Service members Civil Relief Act

This action is brought on behalf of all persons in the United States Armed Forces and other service members who, while being entitled to the protections of the Service members Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C.A. §§ 501 et seq. (hereinafter “SCRA,”), suffered violations of the SCRA in connection with the servicing of loans secured by real property at the hands of Defendant CitiMortgage, Inc. (hereinafter, “CitiMortgage”).

The United States enacted the Service members Civil Relief Act in 1940 with the intent “to provide for, strengthen, and expedite the national defense through protection extended by this Act . . . to service members of the United States to enable such persons to devote their entire energy to the defense needs of the Nation[.]”  The SCRA extends to members of the uniformed services while on active duty.

Specific to home mortgages, the SCRA mandates that: an obligation or liability bearing interest at a rate in excess of 6 percent per year that is incurred by a service member, or the service member and the service member’s spouse jointly, before the service member enters military service shall not bear interest at a rate in excess of 6 percent … during the period of military service and one year thereafter, in the case of an obligation or liability consisting of a mortgage, trust deed, or other security in the nature of a mortgage.

This class action complaint alleges that CitiMortgage systematically and uniformly violated the “six percent” provision of Section 527 as to all CitiMortgage loans possessed by men and women in the United States military entitled to SCRA protection.

 

See the complaint here: CitiMortgage Complaint