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October 28, 2011 - The County of Washington, Pennsylvania has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, seeking to recover unpaid fees from U.S. Bank National Association. 

The Complaint alleges that U.S. Bank created mortgage-backed securities trusts, and earned millions of dollars, by telling the public that it held mortgages secured by real property in Pennsylvania as allowed by Pennsylvania law.  However, the Complaint alleges that the mortgages were recorded in the name of the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS") and assignments to U.S. Bank had not been recorded.  Washington County's Complaint demands that U.S. Bank either pay for the privilege of representing to investors that the loans in its trust had priority over subsequent liens or lose that right.  

According to Gary E. Mason, an attorney representing Washington County,  Pennsylvania counties are owed more than $100 million in recording fees that were not paid by U.S. Bank National Association and other financial institutions that relied on their membership in MERS to avoid paying these fees.  

Washington County is represented by Gary E. Mason, Mason LLP, Jonathon W. Cuneo, Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, and Aaron Rihn, Robert Pierce & Associates, P.C.

A copy of the Complaint is available here .

October 6, 2011 - Mason LLP today filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida against Volkswagen Group of America Inc. accusing the company of knowingly selling several models of vehicles with fuse boxes that could burn or melt. According to the plaintiffs, who own a 2004 New Beetle, the alternator-cable assemblies in several Volkswagen cars - the Cabriolet, the Golf, the Jetta and the New Beetle - have a tendency to overheat, melting or burning the fuse box. The plaintiffs claim the fuse box problem is a latent defect inherent in the vehicles.

The complaint claims that Volkswagen knows about the problem, noting reports from customers on Internet forums and mechanics who say it's a common issue in the vehicles. But the company has not done anything to remedy the problem, according to the complaint. "Volkswagen actively concealed and/or failed to notify the public of the existence and nature of said defects or of the possible safety issues presented by the defects. Volkswagen has not recalled the vehicles to repair the defects; it has not offered to repair the defects to its customers free of charge; and it has not offered to reimburse owners, present or past, who incurred costs relating to system repairs," the complaint says. The alleged defect is dangerous because an overheated fuse box could potentially shut down power to the car while it's in operation or even burst into flame, the complaint alleges. The complaint does not cite any instances of these events. The proposed class, which could number in the thousands, includes any Florida resident who has purchased or leased a 2003-2005 New Beetle Cabriolet, 1999-2005 Golf IV, 1999-2005 Jetta IV or 1998-2005 New Beetle.

A copy of the complaint is available here.

September 28, 2011 - Gary E. Mason will speak at HarrisMartin's Chinese Drywall Litigation Conference, October 20-21, 2011 at the Fountainebleau in Miami Beach, Florida.  He will be discussing issues related to representing and litigating condominiums and multi-family projects.

September 1, 2011 -   United States District Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. today entered the Final Order and Judgment in Davis et al. v Beazer Homes, U.S.A. Inc., et al., No. 1L08CV247 (M.D. N.C.).  The Settlement resolves a lawsuit claiming that Beazer Homes failed to disclose to homebuyers that Beazer Homes funded down payment assistance to homebuyers by raising the price of the homes. Beazer denies these claims and charges.    The Court noted that there were no objections to the settlement and only five requests for exclusion.  The Settlement provided Class Members with direct notice of a Restitution Fund from which Class Members can receive a cash payment equal to the down payment assistance that was paid to the Class Member as part of the transaction in which the Class Member purchased a home from Beazer.   The due date for filing of the Requested Relief Form is July 1, 2014.  The Requested Relief Form is available at www.daviscasesettlement.com.

July 18, 2011 - The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina has issued an Order granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification in Hart v. Louisiana-Pacific Corp., No. 2:08-CV-47-BO (E.D.N.C.).  U.S. District Court Judge Terrence W. Boyle found that the plaintiffs met the requirements of Federal Rule 23(b)(3) for class certification on their breach of express warranty claim.  Judge Boyle noted that the plaintiffs had alleged detailed facts that, if proven, could show Louisiana-Pacific knew of, but failed to disclose, defects in its exterior trim product known as Trimboard and that the installation instructions were defective in such a way that contractors would not install the product in the manner called for, thereby voiding the warranty.  Common issues supporting class certification included, he continued, whether Trimboard was defective in design and manufacture, whether Louisiana-Pacific knew of the defects and concealed them from the public, and whether the express 10-year limited warranty was unconscionable and failed of its essential purpose.  The Court found that it may be empowered to alter or void the warranty and award damages under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 25-2-302.  The case was brought only under the theory of breach of express warranty because it appeared that other claims might be barred by North Carolina's then-existing 6-year statute of repose. A copy of the order is here.

July 6, 2011 - The United States Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit  in an opinion filed today affirmed the district court's order granting class certification in In re Zurn Pex Plumbing Liability Litigation, No. 10-2267 (8 th Cir.) Writing for the majority, Circuit Judges Wollman and Murphy held that district court did not err by "conducting a focused Daubert analysis which scrutinized the reliability of the expert testimony in light of the criteria for class certification..."  The Court further held that the warranty class had standing to bring its claims since the class claim was that all of the plaintiffs' brass fittings exhibited a defect (stress corrosion cracking), the claims of even those persons who had yet to suffer a leak were cognizable, and they could seek damages if they prove a universal inherent defect.  Finally, the Court found that the lower court did not abuse its discretion in finding that class issues predominated over individual issues, "the evidence of a universal defect raises a critical question common to all members of the classes certified by the district court."

May 24, 2011 - United States District Judge Terrence F. McVerry today granted Final Approval of the Settlement entered in Delandro et al. v. County of Allegheny, Case No. 2:06-cv-00927-TFM (W .D. Pa.) , a class against Allegheny County which alleged that the Allegheny County Jail maintained an unconstitutional strip search policy. The Court found that the Settlement was fair, reasonable and adequate. Mason LLP represents the settlement class members. A copy of the Final Approval Order is available here

May 23, 2011
- Chief Judge James Ware today granted final approval of the settlement entered in In re Google Buzz Privacy Litigation, No. C 10-00672JW (N.D. Cal.).   As a result of the Settlement, more than $6 million will be distributed to 14 organizations focused on Internet privacy education and advocacy.  These organization include the 1) American Civil Liberties Union, 2) Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, 3) Berkeley Law School, 4) Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, 5) Brookings Institution, 6) Carnegie Mellon, Cylab Usability, Privacy & Security Lab, 7) Center for Democracy & Technology, 8) Electronic Frontier Foundation, 9) Indiana University, Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, 10) Stanford Center for Internet & Society, 11) YMC A of Greater Long Beach, 12) The Electronic Privacy Information Center, 13) The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University and 14) Youth Radio.   Gary E. Mason served as court-appointed Lead Counsel in the litigation. 

April 20, 2011 - Mason LLP today filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Charles "Dylan" Holcomb v. MRP Realty, Civil Action No. ____, on behalf all persons and entities who have lost or will lose income as a result of the April 18, 2011 flooding of Washington Harbour.  As alleged in the Complaint, flood warnings were issued with sufficient time in which the flood walls at Washington Harbour could have been raised. However, MRP Realty, the owner and manager of the complex, did not do so.  On or about Monday, April 18, 2011, the Washington Harbour complex was flooded by the surging Potomac River. The flood walls had not been raised or had only partially been raised.  Flood waters poured into Washington Harbour swamping shops, restaurants and a parking garage and forcing evacuation of businesses and condominiums.  Water 10 to 12 feet deep spilled into ground-level businesses and basements and submerged cars in the parking lot. The restaurants and other retail establishments located at Washington Harbour have closed due to the flooding. The lawsuit seeks recovery of lost income and lost profit for businesses and their employees caused by the negligent failure of MRP Realty to raise the flood walls. For a copy of the complaint click here

April 14, 2011 -Mason LLP proudly announces that Nicholas A. Migliaccio is now a Partner at the firm and Jason Rathod has joined the firm as an Associate.  

April 7, 2011 - On Tuesday, April 7, 2011, Judge Fallon held a status conference where he announced the first significant settlement in the case.  The settlement was with Interior/Exterior, a major distributor of CDW in Louisiana and Alabama. Interior/Exterior settled for its insurance policy limits of $8 million and assigned to the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee its right to make a claim for $72 million against its excess insurance carrier.  As this is a class action settlement, the Court still must hold a fairness hearing and approve the proposed settlement. Homeowners who bought from or had their product delivered by Interior/Exterior will be eligible to receive payments from this settlement.  Judge Fallon said that the settlement was "a significant bite" towards resolving the entire Chinese drywall litigation and that there is now "momentum" building towards an ultimate resolution of this litigation.

March 24, 2011 -  A United States District Judge has denied in part defendant's motion to dismiss, or alternatively, for judgment on the pleadings in DeBlaker, et al., v. MI Windows and Doors, Inc., pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.  Plaintiffs allege that defendant's windows are defective and allow water to leak into homes causing mold and other property damage.  The Court found that the economic loss rule did not bar Plaintiff DeBlaker's negligence and Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act claims because he was a subsequent purchaser of the home.  Moreover, the Court found that Plaintiff DeBlaker stated a plausible claim for unfair and deceptive trade practices.  The Court allowed the Thorne Plaintiffs, who alleged a breach of express warranty, to amend the complaint to attach the proper warranty and allege how that warranty was breached.  A copy of the Order is available here, and if you would like more information about this case, please contact us.        

March 23, 2011 - A United States District Judge has denied defendants' motion for summary judgment in Tahir, et al., v. Avis Budget Group, et al., pending in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.  The Court found that defendants failed to carry their burden of showing that the Plaintiff fit into either the executive or administrative exemption under the FLSA. Plaintiff has claimed that he and other current and former Avis Airport Manager B's were misclassified under the FLSA, and were not paid overtime for all hours worked over 40 per week.  The lawsuit seeks to recover overtime pay on their behalf.  A copy of the Opinion is available here, and if you would like more information about this case, please contact us.        

January 12, 2011 - Chief United States District Judge Fred Biery today granted Final Approval of the Settlement entered in Jackson et al. v. County of Bexar , Case No. SA-07-CA-928-FB ( W .D. Tex .) , a class against Bexar County which alleged that the County maintained an unconstitutional strip search policy.   As a result of the settlement, approximately 30 ,000 class members will be eligible for compensation ranging from $100 to $1000.   The Court found that the Settlement was fair, reasonable and adequate. Mason LLP represents the settlement class members.   A copy of the Final Approval Order is available here More information about the settlement, including the claim form, is available at www.bexarcountystripsearch.com .

November 10, 2010 -   The National Law Journal  interviewed  Gary E. Mason and discussed the Firm's class action against GMAC in an article by Sheri Qualters titled "Suits Over Foreclosure "Robo-Signing" Are Piling Up."  In the article, Mason predicts that there will be a multidistrict litigation. "I'm quite certain that there will be enough lawsuits," Mason said. He further said that "courts are realizing that [fraudulent affidavits have] infected the integrity of the judicial system and are more sympathetic to homeowners who are challenging the foreclosure proceedings"

November 5, 2010 -   Mason, LLP., of Washington, D.C., and Tampa law firms Lash & Wilcox, PL, and Kynes, Markman & Felman, P.A., have filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Huber, et al. v. GMAC , Civil Action No. 8:10-cv- 02458-SCB-EAJ , on behalf of tens of thousands of Florida homeowners who have been harmed by GMAC's use of fraudulent affidavits and other documents in foreclosure proceedings.  GMAC employees have admitted in sworn testimony to signing whatever is put in front of them in foreclosure cases, regardless of the accuracy of those documents, without personal knowledge of the truth of what they are signing, without reviewing the underlying documentsto determine whether the documents are accurate, and often not even in the presence of a notary.  Each of the lead plaintiffs is a homeowner facing foreclosure in whose cases GMAC has submitted affidavits signed by one of these "robo-signers."  GMAC's conduct in foreclosure cases has resulted in severe financial and personal strain on homeowners, declining home values, and increased deficiency judgments for foreclosed-on homeowners.  The defects in virtually every foreclosure case filed in the last several years are not mere "technicalities," nor is this a case of "sloppy paperwork."  Indeed, one of the lead plaintiffs in this case was not actually in default at the time GMAC initiated foreclosure proceedings. The lawsuit seeks damages based on claims GMAC's actions violated the homeowners' constitutional right to due process, was an abuse of process, and was an unfair and deceptive practice.  The suit also seeks a declaration that GMAC's fraudulent conduct may be asserted as a defense to foreclosure and to preclude GMAC from obtaining a deficiency judgment, and a declaration that the fraudulent affidavits are legally void.  For a copy of the complaint, click here.

November 1, 2010 - On October 7, 2010, federal district court Judge James Ware preliminarily approved a class action settlement related to the launch of Google Buzz last February. The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed by Gmail users who alleged that Buzz's launch violated their privacy. "We are satisfied with the agreement and are glad to move forward," said a Google spokesperson. "We have always been committed to offering users transparency and choice in Buzz and all our products, and will continue to work together with users to provide the best experience possible." Immediately following the Buzz launch in February of this year, Google moved quickly to make significant product improvements including increase visibility, an updated start up process featuring auto-suggestions, and adding Buzz to the Google Dashboard.  In April, Google rolled out a "second chance" enouraging Buzz users to check and verify their privacy settings. The settlement agreement acknowledges the important changes Google has made to Buzz. As part of the settlement agreement, Google will create an $8.5 million fund, the majority of which will go to organizations focused on Internet privacy education and policy, and will make additional efforts to educate users about the privacy aspects of Buzz. Gary E. Mason, counsel for the plaintiffs in the litigation, said, "We feel this settlement has many benefits to class members, including providing a significant amount of money to non-profit groups committed to educating users about Internet privacy and ensuring that Buzz users can join this on-line community without compromising their privacy."
The Court will consider final approval of the proposed settlement on January 31, 2011. Full details on the settlement are available at www.BuzzClassAction.com.

October 22, 2010 - Gary E. Mason has accepted the invitation to serve as Co-Coordinator of the "Gulf Coast Claim Fund - Jurisdiction and Court Oversight Work Group", one of several Work Groups established by the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon (MDL - 2179).

October 14, 2010 - Mason LLP announces that a partial settlement has been reached with Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co., Ltd. ("KPT") in the national Chinese drywall litigation pending in New Orleans. In an effort to eventually resolve all of the lawsuits arising from drywall manufactured and exported to the United States by KPT, KPT has agreed to remediate up to 300 homes.  This remediation "pilot program" is expected to serve as a model for a possible future global remediation program. Homes eligible for remediation must contain all or substantially all KPT drywall and must be located in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, or Mississippi.  Homes with drywall manufactured by other Chinese companies will not be eligible to participate in the program. The homes will be fixed according to a protocol developed by U.S. District Court Judge Eldon E. Fallon, who is presiding over the litigation in New Orleans. The protocol requires, among other things, the removal of all drywall, along with wiring, the air-conditioning system and other components -- effectively gutting the interior of the house. The program is set to start immediately with the remediation of approximately 30 homes. The additional homes, up to 300, will be identified in the next several months and remediation of those homes is expected to begin early next year. In addition to the cost of remediation, KPT will make a payment to the homeowner of $8.50 per square foot of the home as reimbursement for all alternative living expenses, personal property damage, and maintenance of the house while it is being remediated, including payment of all utility bills, insurance, property taxes, and moving and storage expenses.  If the work is not completed within three months, KPT will pay the homeowner an additional $1.50 per month for each month the work continues. A copy of the partial settlement can be found here.

October 14, 2010 - United States District Judge Thelton E. Henderson today granted Final Approval of the Settlement entered in Walsh et al. v. Globalstar, Inc., Case No. 3:07-cv-01941 (N.D. Cal.).  As a result of the settlement, approximately 32,000 current and former subscribers of Globalstar satellite telephone service will be eligible to receive benefits of the Settlement by selecting from an assortment of benefit options offered in the settlement, including, but not limited to, monetary account credits, free minutes, or cash back for returned equipment.  The Court found that the Settlement was fair, reasonable and adequate. Mason LLP represents the settlement class members.  A copy of the Final Approval Order is available here

October 4, 2010 -  Judge David L.   Bunning has certified a class of Kentucky insurance policyholders who claim that several insurance companies, including Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. and State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., billed them for local taxes they did not actually owe.  Jud g e Bunning ' s order certifies classes in now-severed suits against State Farm Fire and Casualty, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., The Ohio Casualty Insur a n c e Co., West American Insurance C o ., Standard Fire Insur a nce Co., Travelers Property Insurance Co.,   Indiana Insurance Co., The Cincinnati Insurance C o . and Kentucky Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co.   The case concerns taxes that local government s are permitted to charge insurance companies in Kentuc k y.  Most of those taxes are passed on directly to policyholders. The plaintiffs claim that the insurance compa nies improperly de termine the location of the insured risk and subsequently charge policyholders more taxes than they owed.    The case is Kendrick et al. v. Standard Fire Insurance Co., et al. , No,. 06-cv-141, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.  Mason LLP represents the plaintiffs.   For a copy of the Judge Bunning ' s opinion granting class certification, click here.

September 13, 2010 -  Mason LLP has entered a settlement with Allegheny County to settle a class action lawsuit that successfully challenged the constitutionality of strip-searching people jailed for minor offenses. U.S. District Judge Terrance McVerry issued a preliminary injunction March 18, 2008, banning the practice.  If he approves the settlement, the ban will become permanent.  Individual payments to class members are capped at $3,000.  If the judge approves the settlement, the county will send notices to people it believes are eligi ble for money and set up a website with the settlement ' s details.  Any money remaining will be donated to Neighborhood Legal Services, a nonprofit group that provides legal services to the poor.

September 3,  2010
-  Mason LLP has filed a Motion for Preliminary Approval of a settlement with Google in In Re Google Buzz User Privacy Litigation, 10-cv-00672, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco.  The federal lawsuit accused Google of privacy violations in connection with its Buzz social networking service. The agreement is three-fold. First, it acknowledges that Google has made the appropriate changes to Buzz, and privacy threats no longer exist. Second, it requires Google to be more active in its Buzz-related public education efforts. The plaintiffs will be able to submit recommendations to Google about what it feels should be done, but Google will craft its own response and submit the formal plan to the court within 90 days.  Finally, Google will create an $8.5 million settlement fund, which - after fees and expenses - will go to existing organizations focused on Internet privacy policy or privacy education.

September 1, 2010   -  Gary E. Mason has been invited to join the faculty of "Oil in the Gulf: Litigation & Insurance Coverage," a n HB legal conference scheduled for November 4-5. 2010 in Miami, Florida.   He will be discussing lessons learned from the In re The Exxon Valdez litigation.

August 10, 2010 -
Gary Mason was quoted in "BP's Spill Clean-Up Now Shifts to the Lawyers," Reuters (Aug. 10, 2010). Read the full article here.

July 6, 2010 -
Mason LLP, along with co-counsel, have filed a class action Complaint against Apple on behalf of Christopher Dydyk and all persons who purchased the iPhone 4 before Apple publicly acknowledged the phone's defect on June 24, 2010.  Plaintiff alleges that the iPhone 4 drops calls and has other connection problems due to its defective antenna design.  The Plaintiff demands that Apple provide a case at no charge to iPhone 4 buyers. The suit also seeks monetary damages resulting from the diminished value of the phone.  The Complaint was filed in the Northern District of California and is available here.

June 30, 2010 - Judge James Ware of the United States District Court today entered an order appointing Gary E. Mason interim Lead Class Counsel in In re Google Buzz Privacy Litigation, CV 10-00672.  Michael Ram of Ram & Olson was appointed Liaison Counsel.

June 29, 2010 - A United States District Judge has denied defendant Pizza Hut's motion to dismiss in Lew v. Pizza Hut of Maryland, Inc.  Plaintiff alleges that he and other current and former assistant managers and manager trainees who worked at Pizza Hut restaurants were misclassified under the FLSA and Maryland Wage and Hour Law, and were not paid overtime for all hours worked over 40 per week.  The lawsuit seeks to recover overtime pay on their behalf.  A copy of the Order is available here , and if you would like more information about this case, please contact us .        

June 23, 2010 -  Judge William W. Walls today granted Final Approval of the Settlement entered in Sheri et al. v. Nissan North America, Inc., No. 07-2516 (D. N.J.).  As a result of the Settlement, approximately 2,500 persons in New Jersey who either own or lease a 2005 model year Infiniti G35X will be able to file a claim for reimbursement for replacement of rotors.  The Court found that the Settlement was fair and reasonable and that if all class members filed a claim, the maximum benefit under the Settlement would be approximately $856,000.  Mason LLP represents the class.

June 11, 2010 - A federal court judge has certified a class action against Erie County, New York, and several Erie County officials, for claims relating to the strip search policies and practices in its jails.  Plaintiffs alleged that Erie County maintained an unconstitutional blanket strip search policy in its jails for all individuals who were strip searched following their arrest for misdemeanor crimes or minor offenses.  The class period commences on July 22, 2001 and extends until May 1, 2004.  Class certification allows all members of the class to bring their claims in a single class action lawsuit.  A copy of the order certifying the class action is available  here.     

May 19, 2010
- Gary E. Mason has been invited to join the faculty of "Oil in the Gulf: Litigation & Insurance Coverage", a legal conference scheduled for June 24-25, 2010, in Atlanta.  He will address the process for filing claims for business interruption, property damage and economic losses caused by the oil spill. 

May 12, 2010 - 
A federal court judge has certified a class action against Zurn Pex, Inc., ("Zurn") for claims related to "pex" plumbing systems that fail and leak prematurely.  The class certification allows all owners of Zurn pex plumbing systems in Minnesota to bring their claims in a single class action lawsuit.  It is estimated that as many as 50,000 properties in Minnesota have Zurn pex systems. This was the first class certification sought in the coordinated litigation of lawsuits brought against Zurn in Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina and Virginia.  More lawsuits in other states are expected and class certification will be sought for property owners in states other than Minnesota.    More information about the lawsuits may be obtained at  www.zurnclassaction.com.  A copy of the order certifying the class action is available  here.

May 17, 2010 - Judge Thelton E. Henderson, United States District Court Judge, today grated preliminary approval of the proposed settlement in Walsh, et al v. Globalstar, Inc., No. C07-1941 (N.D. Cal.)  Judge Henderson also rejected objections to the Settlement lodged by the Texas Attorney General, finding that the objections were unfounded and that the proposed settlement is fair and not the product of collusion.   A copy of the Order Granting Preliminary Approval of  the Class Action Settlement, Approval of Form of Notice, and Preliminary Certification of Settlement Class is available  here.  A copy of the Order Re: Texas Attorney General's Objections to Class Settlement is available here.  The Final Approval hearing is set for October 4, 2010. 

May 2010 -- Mason LLP has co-founded the  BP Oil Spill Legal Network, a national coalition of attorneys with extensive experience litigating environmental and mass tort cases, to represent individuals and businesses who have suffered harm resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.   The BP Oil Spill Legal Network has filed class actions in Louisiana and Alabama on behalf of commercial fisherman and operators of charter boat operators who have suffered economic losses caused by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill against BP, Haliburton Energy Services, Inc., and Cameron International Corporation.  The BP Oil Spill Legal Network is also pursuing individual claims under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) for economic losses suffered by other individuals, including those employed in the tourism industry, and owners of private property. 

May 3, 2010
-   Mason LLP filed a class complaint today on behalf of Captain Eugene Dugas, Rather Be Fishing LLC,  and all persons who have incurred economic loss as a result of the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon oil rig fire, explosion and consequent Oil Spill.  Captain Dugas earns income by operating a fishing guide business on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  Rather be Fishing is a charter fishing company operating in the Gulf of Mexico.    The complaint was filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana and is available here.

April 28, 2010 - Judge Fallon of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana entered his ruling today in Hernandez v Knauf, one of the cases in the Chinese Manufactured Drywall Multidistrict Litigation. The Court awarded $164,000 to one Louisiana homeowner, setting the per-square foot repair cost at $81.  The homeowner will also receive money for damaged property and be reimbursed for living expenses and attorney and court fees.  A copy of the Court's ruling is available here.

April 27, 2010 - In an article, "Vets Use Settlement Millions From Massive Identity Theft Suit Against VA to Help Other Vets," the New York Daily News reports that the veterans in the  In re Stolen VA Laptop Litigation are donating about $13 million to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the Fisher House Foundation, two New York-based charities that help families of fallen and wounded troops. "When I first heard about it, it just really knocked me down. It's indicative of the kind of men and women they are," said Fisher House CEO Ken Fisher.   The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund raises money for families of soldiers killed in combat. It also helped build the renowned Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and the soon-to-be opened National Intrepid Center for Excellence, a traumatic brain injury hospital in Bethesda, MD. There are 45 Fisher Houses across the country, located next to VA hospitals to give families of wounded soldiers a place to stay while they're being treated. "It's just an incredible gift," said Chairman Arnold Fisher, whose uncle, Zachary, founded the organization in 1991. "Veterans have been forgotten about by many people of this country. They're the ones who deserve the credit."  Read more

April 13, 2010 - Judge David L. Bunning entered an order granting preliminary approval of the settlement entered by the parties in Hassan el al v. Progressive Casualty Co., No. 2:07-cv-00139-DLB (E.D. Ky.).  The plaintiffs alleged that Progressive, among other insurance carriers doing business in Kentucky, miscalculated the taxes it collected on payments of insurance premiums.  The settlement will refund  100% of the overcharges to class members.  The final approval hearing is set for September 2, 2010 in Covington, Kentucky.  A copy of the Settlement Agreement is available here.

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