Oct 06

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Anthem for Data Breach

Huge Healthcare Data Breach Leads to Class Action Lawsuit for Anthem

Mass Tort AttorneyAfter a massive data breach at Anthem Inc leaked healthcare and personal identity information at the beginning of February, a group of victims filed a class action lawsuit in San Diego against the health insurance company.

The class action lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, February 10th, and alleges negligence, invasion of privacy, and breach of contract. Anthem faces other lawsuits related to the data breach as well, but this is the first potentially large and national suit, which could cover the approximately 80 million Americans affected by the hack.

“The lawsuit is to send a message to companies that this is a very serious issue and they need to take every step possible to protect this highly critical information,” a plaintiff’s attorney said.

Scripps National Correspondent Tom Hargrove said, “If you’ve gone to a doctor, your records are now electronic and therefore available to cyber thieves.

“They [the FBI] said because the medical industry’s security measures lag far behind that of the financial and retail sectors, that the possibility of cyber intrusions are likely,” he added.

The FBI will continue to investigate the data breach at Anthem, which is the country’s second largest insurance company. Anthem said in a statement earlier that credit card information and medical information were mostly safe, but personal information like names, birth dates, e-mail addresses, employment details, Social Security numbers, incomes, and street addresses, were compromised.

‘‘If someone steals your credit card and home address, they might be able to buy something, but you can usually get that locked down quickly,’’ said Tony Anscombe, a security expert at AVG Technologies. ‘‘With medical records and a Social Security number, it’s not so simple.’’

“The lawsuit alleges that Anthem failed to safeguard the personal information of current and former clients allowing computer hackers access to information such as birthdates, social security numbers, physical addresses, email addresses, employee information, and income information,” the class action complaint said.

What Type of Case Is Appropriate for a Class Action Lawsuit?

A class action is a procedural device to collect individuals’ claims that are suffering harm.  When a case is awarded class action status, it means that an individual or small group of plaintiffs will act as representatives for others who have suffered injuries similar to theirs because of actions by the same defendant.

Class Action cases we have handled include:

  • a case against the managed care industry on behalf of physicians for systematically undercutting physician claims for payment for seeing patients;
  • race-based life insurance cases against life insurance companies for charging African Americans higher rates for industrial life insurance;
  • consumer cases included suing finance companies for adding credit life insurance on to consumer loans;
  • numerous personal injuries due to one defective product;
  • a predatory lending case against the title loan industry;
  • a predatory lending case against the mortgage industry for systematically steering clients into subprime lending

The Strom Law Firm Can Help Evaluate Your Class Action Litigation

The Class Action attorneys at Strom Law Firm, LLC understand the complexities surrounding class action lawsuits. Class actions and consumer protection cases can stem from an almost unlimited variety of misconduct or defective products. Contact our law firm today for a free review of the facts of your case.

Oct 06

Muscle Milk: Class Action Lawsuit

Muscle Milk, Other Popular Beverages, Face Class Action for Overstating Nutritional Benefits

Mass Tort AttorneyA class action lawsuit filed in California at the end of January states that the manufacturers of Muscle Milk made false statements regarding the nutritional content of their drink, and lied to consumers when they stated in advertising that the drink is lean and can help dieters and athletes lose weight.

Cytosport Inc manufactures Muscle Milk, and is the lead defendant in a class action brought forward by unhappy consumers who say that the amount of protein and calories in Muscle Milk cannot be backed up with scientific testing.

The complaint alleges that “[p]ersons requiring a certain amount of protein supplementation, whether as part of fitness regimen or for particular health needs, are left to ingest less protein than defendant states will be provided.”

The complaint continues that Cytosport “products contain significantly less protein that what is claimed and displayed.” Moreover, the company “fortifies its Lean Muscle Milk Products with sunflower and canola oils, considerable sources of fat” and “has no basis to label is Lean Muscle Milk Products as ‘lean’.”

The company has also been accused of labeling their product as “lean,” when in fact Muscle Milk does not contain any less fat than its protein drink competitors – this is in violation of federal nutritional labeling laws, as well as nutrition laws in California, Florida, and Michigan. Consumers could have potentially harmed their health and wellness routine due to these false claims, which led to the class action lawsuit.

Class Action Lawsuits Protect Consumers from Harm

Class actions and consumer protection cases can stem from an almost unlimited variety of misconduct or defective products.

A class action is a procedural device to collect individuals’ claims that are suffering harm.  When a case is awarded class action status, it means that an individual or small group of plaintiffs will act as representatives for others who have suffered injuries similar to theirs because of actions by the same defendant.

The main reason for making something a class action is efficiency.  If a large group of people have the same injury, it is easier to decide whether they are entitled to compensation in one area, rather than a case by case basis.

Class Action cases we have handled include:

  • a case against the managed care industry on behalf of physicians for systematically undercutting physician claims for payment for seeing patients;
  • race-based life insurance cases against life insurance companies for charging African Americans higher rates for industrial life insurance;
  • consumer cases included suing finance companies for adding credit life insurance on to consumer loans;
  • consumer cases involving harm or false statements regarding a product’s safety and efficacy;
  • a predatory lending case against the title loan industry;
  • a predatory lending case against the mortgage industry for systematically steering clients into subprime lending

The Strom Law Firm Defends Plaintiffs Who File Class Action Lawsuits

The Class Action attorneys at Strom Law Firm, LLC understand the complexities surrounding class action lawsuits. Class actions and consumer protection cases can stem from an almost unlimited variety of misconduct or defective products. Contact our law firm today for a free review of the facts of your case

Oct 06

Am-Ex and Antitrust Law Violation

Judge Rules that American Express Violated Antitrust Laws

Mass Tort AttorneyA federal judge ruled in a court in Brooklyn, NY that American Express violated US antitrust laws by banning merchants use of other cards and charging higher merchant fees than Visa or Discover.

Seven states brought lawsuits against American Express to a federal court in October 2010, claiming that the credit card company’s use of “non-discrimination provisions,” or NPDs, prevents at least 3.4 million merchants nationwide from steering customers away from using their American Express cards, due to the expense on the merchant.

“As a general matter, steering is both pro-competitive and ubiquitous,” U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis wrote in the decision. American Express tried to argue that the merchant restraints actually promoted competition, which would not violate antitrust laws. However, Judge Garaufis argued instead that many merchants have historically steered consumers toward deals that were better for the merchant, for example by placing products at eye level rather than on the bottom shelf. However, American Express’s policies prevented merchants from doing the equivalent with credit cards they accepted in stores. The policies “create an environment in which there is nothing to offset credit card networks’ incentives – including American Express’s incentive – to charge merchants inflated prices for their services,” Garaufis wrote.

“This, in turn, results in higher costs to all consumers who purchase goods and services from these merchants,” the judge added.

Visa and Mastercard had similar NDPs until 2010, when a settlement with the Justice Department ended the practice.

“Today’s decision is a triumph for fair competition and for American consumers,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “By recognizing that American Express’s rules harm competition, the court vindicates the promise of robust marketplaces that is enshrined in our antitrust laws.”

“We believe that freedom of choice and fair competition are worth defending,” American Express said, after announcing that the company would appeal the court’s antitrust decision.

“Eliminating these protections,” American Express claimed “would inhibit consumers’ choice to pay with their preferred payment method and allow merchants who have agreed to honor our cards to then discriminate against them when our card members choose to pay with American Express.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Antitrust Lawsuit

The Strom Law Firm LLC’s business litigation practice is focused on representing individuals, officers, directors, public companies, and private corporations involved in complex civil disputes. We concentrate our resources and efforts on business and commercial litigation involving:

  • Breach of contract claims
  • Business fraud
  • Interference with business activities or unfair competition
  • Antitrust lawsuits / price fixing allegations
  • Bank and lender liability
  • Insurance fraud and Securities Fraud
  • False Claims Act / “qui tam” whistleblower cases
  • Breach of warranty claims

A South Carolina federal defense attorney at the Strom Law Firm, LLC will fight tirelessly to defend you against South Carolina antitrust violations. Founded in 1996 by a former US Attorney, we know what it takes to defend crimes not only on a state level, but also on a federal level as well. We are here to help you. Contact an experienced South Carolina federal antitrust defense attorney at the Strom Law Firm today for a free consultation.

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