Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe are among the companies named in a new class actions lawsuit filed on Wednesday in the state of California. The suit, filed by former Lucasfilm software engineer Siddharth Hariharan, alleges that Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar violated antitrust laws by conspiring to fix employee pay.” Hariharan claims that these companies have colluded to limit career opportunities and impose artificial salary caps for employees by entering into agreements that prevented the companies named in the suit from hiring employees away from each other. “My colleagues at Lucasfilm and I applied our skills, knowledge, and creativity to make the company an industry leader,” Hariharan said in a statement. “It’s disappointing that, while we were working hard to make terrific products that resulted in enormous profits for Lucasfilm, senior executives of the company cut deals with other premiere high tech companies to eliminate competition and cap pay for skilled employees.” Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Last week, the public was up in arms after O’Reilly revealed that Apple was recording and storing the location of its iPad and iPhone users. Not long after that, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google was also tracking and storing the locations of Android users. Even though Google has said all location sharing is opt-in and that all location data is anonymized, Bloomberg is reporting that two Oakland County Michigan residents have filed a lawsuit against Google with the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Detroit. The class-action suit asks Google to stop saving smartphone location data, and it also seeks $50 million in damages. The plaintiffs argue that the level at which Google tracks their AT&T HTC Inspire 4G phones would ordinarily require a court-ordered warrant. The case is “Julie Brown v. Google 11-11867, U.S. District, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit),” but we’re not so sure this will end in the favor of the plaintiffs — after all, they did give Google permission. More →
On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced it has reached a settlement with Google over its controversial Google Buzz social network. The FTC charged Google with using “deceptive tactics and [violating] its own privacy promises to consumers” when it launched Google Buzz — its Twitter-like social network — in 2010. The FTC’s proposed settlement will bar Google from “future privacy misrepresentations,” and requires that Google implement a comprehensive privacy program. The FTC has also called for regular, independent privacy audits during the next 20 years. “When companies make privacy pledges, they need to honor them,” said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FCC. “This is a tough settlement that ensures that Google will honor its commitments to consumers and build strong privacy protections into all of its operations.” The FTC argued that some Google users who declined to participate in Google Buzz were still enrolled in some features of the service. Similarly, it said that those who did decide to join Google Buzz were often confused on how to control the privacy settings. This is not the only lawsuit that was brought against Google in relation to its Buzz service. In November 2010 Google was required to create an $8.5 million fund dedicated to “promoting privacy education on the web” as the result of a class action lawsuit. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
WiMAX network operator Clearwire is the target of a new lawsuit that has been filed out of a Seattle district court. Lawyers representing the plaintiffs allege that Clearwire “throttles down the speed of its Internet service to speeds similar to dial-up telephone modem speeds,” and likens the company’s business practices to “a bandwidth Ponzi scheme.” Customers who are not satisfied with the speeds provided by Clearwire’s self-proclaimed high-speed internet are forced to pay early termination fees. “Clearwire made materially false, misleading, and/or deceptive representations and omissions about the speed and capacity of its Internet service,” reads the court filing. “Rather than limiting its subscribers to a number that its broadband infrastructure can accommodate — such that Clearwire can make good on its representations regarding high-speed service and capacity — Clearwire signed up many more subscribers than it could handle so as to maximize revenue and profit.” The embattled network operator now faces false advertising claims from fifteen plaintiffs seeking class action status. Clearwire has been in news headlines over the past several months as it tries to negotiate a usage agreement with WiMAX network partner Sprint.
Following a very, very rocky start for Google’s latest social networking effort, Google Buzz, the Internet giant has settled a class action lawsuit related to the service. When Buzz launched earlier this year, Google found itself at the center of a media frenzy. The company decided it would forgo an opt-in process and share users’ locations with each Google account holder in their address books by default. The decision turned out to be a PR nightmare — and now it carries a financial burden with it as well. As a result of a class action settlement, Google has agreed to put in place an $8.5 million fund dedicated to “promoting privacy education on the web,” and it is now in the process of informing its users. Hit the break for the email Google is currently sending to all account holders. More →
The AP reports that a California federal judge has given the go-ahead to a monopoly class action lawsuit, against both Apple and AT&T, over several aspects of the iPhone. The suit claims that Apple, in making AT&T its exclusive partner, drove up prices and stifled competition in the smartphone market. The suit seeks to, “keep Apple from selling locked iPhones in the U.S. and from determining what iPhone programs people can install.” Naturally, the suit also seeks “damages to cover legal fees and other costs.” Apple has yet to release in an official statement in regards to the suit, but did say that it had not hurt competition. Unlocked iPhones and the ability to install applications from third party sources (Cydia!) sound pretty good to us. More →
“Facebook has demonstrated and taken a cavalier and arbitrary approach with respect to its legal obligations to the plaintiff and class members and the methods by which Facebook misrepresented to its profit, its privacy policies and how Facebook would share, use and disseminate the personal information of the plaintiff and class action members.”
As expected, Facebook dismissed the lawsuit as having no merit and will fight it in court. Since the lawsuit does have class action status, it presumably extends to all Canadian Facebookers. Anyone north of the border going to try and put the screws to Facebook by jumping on board this suit? More →
A California appeals court has ruled that Verizon Wireless is to pay some 175,000 customers current and former customers $21 million as a settlement in a class action lawsuit over early termination fees. The class action suit was filed in California on the behalf of customers who were upset that Verizon asked they pay a flat ETF of $175 regardless of how many months were left on their contract. Each customer is expected to receive $87.50 as a result of the ruling. Too bad history is bound to repeat itself now that Verizon’s ETF for “advanced devices” (i.e. smartphones) is set at $350. More →
Giz got their hands We got our hands on an official court document that details the first (of we’re sure many) class action lawsuits that Apple and AT&T will be dealing with in regards to the iPhone 4. Some of the claims made in the Maryland based suit include:
- General Negligence (APPLE and AT&T)
- Defect in Design, Manufacture, and Assembly (APPLE)
- Breach of Express Warranty (APPLE)
- Breach of Implied Warranty for Merchantability (APPLE and AT&T)
- Breach of Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose (APPLE and AT&T)
- Deceptive Trade Practices (APPLE and AT&T)
- Intentional Misrepresentation (APPLE and AT&T)
- Negligent Misrepresentation (APPLE and AT&T), Fraud by Concealment (APPLE and AT&T)
Incase you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, Apple’s iPhone 4 has been accused of: antenna issues, screen issues, Exchange issues, proximity sensor issues, and several others. We’re sure Apple (and possibly AT&T) can expect to see another complaint filed in California soon.
UPDATE: So, apparently this kid needs to check his email after drinking coffee in the morning. The lawyer representing the two plaintiffs was nice enough to send us a full copy of the lawsuit — as your friends at BGR were cited several times in the document. Hit the jump to view/download the entire document. More →
Recently, California law firm Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, LLP placed an ad on their website looking for users who “recently purchased the new iPhone and have experienced poor reception quality, dropped calls and weak signals.” The firm, who as Gawker points out, “sued Facebook and Zynga over scammy gaming ads” looks to be sizing up the Cupertino company for a class action suit. We’re sure there will be more on this one as it develops.
So much for that MetroPCS tagline “Unlimit Yourself.” It turns out that the carrier’s unlimited international add-on, which sounded like a great deal for just $5 a month, excludes many countries and regions like Israel and the UK. Now MetroPCS has been hit with a class-action lawsuit over the issue. The lawsuit accuses MetroPCS of false advertising and deceptive business practices because details aren’t disclosed and people are wrongly baited to sign up. Apparently, many people signed up for MetroPCS’ “Ultimate Unlimited” plan to qualify for the $5 add-on and found that their ability to place certain international calls were very limited. Before you sign up for this calling plan and add-on, make sure to check the fine print and be sure that countries you plan on calling are included.
While we sincerely hope this most recent change to AT&T’s ToC wouldn’t hold up in any court of law, AT&T’s latest addition to its terms and conditions is yet another example of the terrible joke that US carriers are becoming. Last week we covered the new paper billing fee T-Mobile has confirmed it will be implementing soon and now we have this — a newly discovered clause that prevents AT&T Mobility customer from entering into a class action lawsuit against the company. Beyond that, the section this snippet was pulled from is intended to limit dispute escalation to binding arbitration or small claims court as opposed to “courts of general jurisdiction”. Seriously.
Any arbitration under this Agreement will take place on an individual basis; class arbitrations and class actions are not permitted.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go chat with our lawyers to discuss the possibility of filing a class action suit against AT&T for trying to stop us from being able to file class action suits. Not really, but we should.
Ahhhh class action lawsuits; where would we be without them? Joking aside, it seems like every carrier in the US has to deal with a few subscriber-initiated lawsuits every so often and next in line for the ever-popular Early Termination Fee (ETF) class action treatment is T-Mobile. You know the drill: the carrier was charging a flat ETF, the carrier gets sued, the carrier settles and has to refund a bunch of money to a bunch of people after making the lawyers involved a whole lot richer. The proposed refund for those affected by T-Mobile’s flat ETF is $125 or T-Mobile HotSpot access if they choose, on a case by case basis of course, to forgo a cash benefit. The settlement is currently pending final approval but if you bailed on T-Mobile on or before February 19th of this year and handed over an ETF on your way out the door, hit the read link to try to get in on the action. You have until August 23rd 2009 to do so.