Articles Posted in Class Action

There is no question that the struggling economy has put more Americans into debt and more businesses are trying to recover payments that are rightfully owed to them. But we have laws that require these businesses to try to collect these debts in a fair and just manner. Consumers need not stand by and submit themselves to harassing treatment from debt collectors. They can stand up and fight back to stop this demeaning conduct.
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In the past five years, many employees’ 401(k) plans have taken a hit along with the economy. So it would be expected that, especially during such times, employers would make sure that they choose 401(k) plans for their employees with options that maximize the returns on their investments, right? However, rather than ensuring the selection of a plan in which the fees and expenses charged to employees are minimized, some employers are instead simply choosing 401(k) plan advisors based on pre-existing relationships, incentives, and often just sheer indifference and then give the advisor carte blanche to select the employees’ investment options. The problem is that plan/investment advisors are only selecting investment options because they are receiving kickbacks through revenue sharing from the mutual fund companies that have overly expensive funds that no reasonable – or honest – advisor would otherwise select for employees. The end result is that the plan advisors, and in some cases the employers as well, are receiving the benefits of the investments while the employees are stuck with the diminished returns of an investment portfolio with excessive fees and expenses.
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In a recent ruling against Crozer Chester Medical Center, U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno found that physician’s assistants (PAs) are entitled to receiving overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA. The Judge disagreed with the defendant’s argument that PAs are exempt from the FLSA overtime regulations under the professional employee exemption.
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The future of consumer class action litigation may be at stake in a case scheduled for oral argument next week before the Supreme Court. In AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion, the Court will decide whether corporations can ban class actions in the fine print of their contracts with consumers, and thus eliminate the ability of consumers to band together in order to fight unfair and fraudulent corporate practices. The elimination of this type of suit would leave consumers helpless in situations where they were defrauded by companies for relatively small amounts.
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Pogust Braslow & Millrood recently filed a Complaint against Banco Santander, S.A. and Soveriegn Bank involving unfair and excessive overdraft fees. The plaintiff in this case, Chris Shalaby, was charged hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees due to the banks’ reordering of certain transactions. These overdraft fees and those charged to thousands of other customers have become major sources of profit for Banco Santander, S.A. and Soveriegn Bank over the years.
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In what has become a more commonplace practice, from water delivery companies to propane gas suppliers, consumers continue to continue to be hit with hidden fuel surcharges. A class action lawsuit was recently filed against Suburban Propane in Federal Court in New Jersey on behalf of current and former residential propane customers of Suburban Propane. The lawsuit alleges that Suburban Propane unlawfully charged its customers certain fees, including tank pick up fees, pump out fees, restocking fees, delivery fees, regulatory fees, transportation fuel surcharges, and other fees that were not adequately disclosed.
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Over the course of the last year, there have been numerous reports regarding the rise of hospital-acquired infections and the relative ease in preventing these infections. I have written numerous times about the risks and causes of hospital-acquired infections (see most recently “Veteran’s Affairs Hospital Infection Scandal”and “Hospital-Acquired Infections Still a Huge Threat to Patients” on this blog. There can be no dispute that hospitals are on notice regarding this epidemic and should have already implemented basic policies and standards to prevent these preventable infections. That is why a recent hospital employee survey, reported in the Washington Post yesterday, is so disturbing. The survey, taken by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology addressed the high number of hospital-acquired infections every year, and pointed the finger at the failure of hospital administrators to set standards and focus their attention on catheter-related bloodstream infections or CRBSIs.
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Last week, on July 8, 2010, a city-owned barge ran over and capsized a tour boat on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, spilling 37 people into the river. On board were a number of Hungarian student tourists, who had traveled here on a tour hosted by Marshallton United Methodist Church of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Two of the tourists – 16-year old Dora Schewendtner and 20-year old Szabolcs Prem – remained missing at the time of our first blog. Tragically, reports have now confirmed that both died in the waters of the Delaware, as their bodies were recovered late last week.
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