Class Action Cases

While many law firms handle class action cases, few have taken a class case to trial.  That’s not what you’ll find at WRRSV.

 

State and Federal Government Litigation

 

United States Savings Bond Litigation


Seeking the return of billions of dollars in unclaimed and abandoned US savings bond proceeds to various states and their citizens by way of title based escheat. In these first of their kind cases, Brett has led a legal team to multiple state court judgments naming the States the owner of proceeds of long-matured abandoned, lost and/or stolen U.S. savings and bonds. The value of these judgments are over three billion dollars. Claims are now being made with the US Treasury for the collection of the bond proceeds.

 

State Cases:

In re Matured, Unredeemed, and Unclaimed United States Savings Bonds with Purchasers or Owners with Last Known Addresses in the State of Kansas, District Court for Shawnee County, Kansas, Case No. 13-C-05. Kansas Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act – representing the plaintiff, State of Kansas.

 

In re Matured, Unredeemed, and Unclaimed United States Savings Bonds with Purchasers or Owners with Last Known Addresses in the State of South Dakota, Circuit Court of Hughes County, South Dakota, Case No. 15-27. South Dakota Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act – representing the plaintiff, State of South Dakota.

 

In re Matured, Unredeemed, and Unclaimed United States Savings Bonds with Purchasers or Owners with Last Known Addresses in the State of Louisiana, 19th Judicial District Court, Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Docket No. 638348 Sec. 24. Louisiana Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act – representing the plaintiff, State of Louisiana.

 

In re Matured, Unredeemed, and Unclaimed United States Savings Bonds with Purchasers or Owners with Last Known Addresses in the State of Kentucky, Commonwealth of Kentucky, Franklin Circuit Court, Case No. 15-CI-890. Kentucky Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act – representing the plaintiff, State of Kentucky.

 

In re Matured, Unredeemed, and Unclaimed United States Savings Bonds with Purchasers or Owners with Last Known Addresses in the State of Mississippi, Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi, Cause No. 15-597. Mississippi Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act – representing the plaintiff, Attorney General, State of Mississippi.

 

In re Matured, Unredeemed, and Unclaimed United States Savings Bonds with Purchasers or Owners with Last Known Addresses in the State of South Carolina, Court of Common Pleas, Fifth Judicial Circuit, County of Richland, South Carolina, Case No. 2015-CP-40-7526. South Carolina Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act – representing the plaintiff, State of South Carolina.

 

In re Matured, Unredeemed, and Unclaimed United States Savings Bonds with Purchasers or Owners with Last Known Addresses in the State of Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, Franklin County, Ohio, Case No. 15CVH-11486. Ohio Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act – representing the plaintiff, State of Ohio.

 

In re Matured, Unredeemed, and Unclaimed United States Savings Bonds with Purchasers or Owners with Last Known Addresses in the State of Indiana, Superior Court of Marion County, Indiana, Cause No. 49D13-1512-PL-41911. Indiana Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act – representing plaintiff, Attorney General, State of Indiana.

 

In re Matured, Unredeemed, and Unclaimed United States Savings Bonds with Purchasers or Owners with Last Known Addresses in the State of Florida, Circuit Court for the Second Judicial Circuit for Leon County, Florida, Case No. 2015 CA 003008. Florida Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act – representing the plaintiff, State of Florida.

 

Federal Cases:

Estes v. United States of America, United States Court of Federal Claims; Case No. 1:13-CV-01011-EDK – representing Treasurer and State.

 

Sattgast v. United States of America, United States Court of Federal Claims; Case No. 1:15-cv-01364-EDK – representing Treasurer and State; United States Court of Federal Claims; Case No. 1:15-cv-01365 EDK – representing Treasurer and State.

 

Ball v. United States of America, United States Court of Federal Claims; Case No. 1:16-cv-00221 EDK – representing Treasurer and State.

 

Fitch v. United States of America, United States Court of Federal Claims; Case No. 1:16-cv-00231-EDK – representing Treasurer and State.

 

Loftis v. United States of America,  United States Court of Federal Claims; Case No. 1:16-cv-00451-EDK – representing Treasurer and State.

 

Zoeller v. United States of America, United States Court of Federal Claims; Case No. 1:16-cv-00699-EDK – representing Attorney General and State.

 

Estes, et al. v. United States Department of the Treasury, et al., United States District Court for the District of Columbia; Case No. 1:16-cv-00450-CRC

 

Class Actions – Second Mortgage

 

Steven and Ruth Mitchell, et al. v. Residential Funding Corporation, et al.
WRRSV represented Missouri borrowers who were charged illegal fees and interest on their second mortgage loans by various lenders in violation of the Missouri Second Mortgage Loan Act.  After a month long jury trial, the jury rendered a verdict of $104,124,494 for the Plaintiffs.  The case was appealed.  The liability aspects of the verdict and the actual damages awards were affirmed on appeal.  The awards of punitive damages were reversed and the case settled before the retrial of the punitive damages claims, with the defendant-lenders agreeing to pay in excess of $22 million of additional funds pursuant to the settlements.

 

The Mitchell case represented a powerful indictment of the excesses of the mortgage lending industry that exemplified profit over people and brought our national economy to the brink of disaster.  This decision helped to reform the behavior of the mortgage lending industry’s insatiable appetite for profit at the expense of the consumer-borrower.

 

Thomas v. U.S. Bank National Association, Case No. 1216-CV20561 (Jackson County)
$92 million settlement for consumer-borrowers 

WRRSV successfully negotiated a collective settlement on behalf of more than 2,400 class members who had obtained approximately 1,500 second mortgage loans.  Class Members received substantial payments ranging from $250.00 to $142,257  per loan ($33,499 on average).

 

Beaver v. U.S. Bank National Association, Case No. 1216-CV21345 (Jackson County)
$68,300,000 settlement for consumer-borrowers

WRRSV successfully negotiated a collective settlement on behalf of more than 3,000 class members who had obtained approximately 1,800 second mortgage loans. Class Members received substantial payments ranging from $250.00 to $85,784 ($20,303 on average).

 

Gilmor, et al. v. Preferred Credit Corporation, et al., Case No. 4:10-cv-00189-ODS (W.D.Mo.)

WRRSV obtained more than $10 million in a series of settlements for second mortgage consumer-borrowers.

 

Thompson, et al. v. Sovereign Bank, N.A, Case No. 1216-CV09804 (Jackson County)
$3.3 million settlement

WRRSV successfully negotiated a collective settlement class action on behalf of 63 class members who had obtained approximately 37 second mortgage loans.  Class Members received substantial payments ranging from $500.00 to $144,487  ($46,994  on average).

 

In re Residential Capital, LLC, et al., Case No. 12-12020 (MG), U.S. Bankruptcy Case for the Southern District of New York
$300 million allowed claim

WRRSV negotiated an allowed claim of $300 million against RFC and in favor of a class of more than 70,000 borrowers across the United States.  The allowed claim will be partially satisfied from the assets of the bankruptcy estate.

 

In re Advanta Corp., et al., U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware; Case No. 09-13931

Advanta Corp. agreed to pay $398,032 to settle the claims of 776 class members who obtained 437 loans.  The settlement payments ranged from $9  to $4,096  in this bankruptcy action.

 

Couch, et al. v. SMC Lending, et al., Case No. CV100-4332 CC (Clay County)
$4,255,437 settlement for consumer-borrowers

WRRSV negotiated a $4,255,437  settlement on behalf of 147 class members who obtained 88 second mortgage loans.  Class Members received substantial payments ranging from $4,530 to $109,527 per loan ($28,479 on average).

 

Schwartz, et al. v. Wachovia Equity Servicing, LLC, et al., Case No. 00 CV226639 (Jackson County)
$4 million settlement for consumer-borrowers

WRRSV secured a class action settlement on behalf of 81 class members who obtained 52 second mortgage loans secured by Missouri residential real estate.  Class Members received substantial settlement payments ranging from $6,737 to $82,069 per loan ($32,458 on average).

 

Shokere vs. Residential Funding Company., et al., Case No. 1116-CV30478 (Jackson County)
$2,460,845.90 settlement for consumer-borrowers

WRRSV obtained  a class action settlement on behalf of 166 class members who obtained 110 second mortgage loans.  Class Members received substantial settlement payments ranging from $5,613 to $89,522 per loan, or $32,834 per loan on average.

 

Baker, et al. v. Century Financial Group, Inc., et al., Case No. CV100-4294 CC (Clay County) 
$1,075,700.42 settlement for consumer-borrowers

WRRSV recovered $1,075,700 on behalf of 46 class members who obtained 28 second mortgage loans. Class Members received substantial settlement payments ranging from $500.00 to $63,611 per loan, or $22,208 per loan on average.

 

McLean, et al. v. First Horizon Home Loan Corporation (f/k/a McGuire Mortgage Company), Case No. 00 CV 228530 (Jackson County)
$36 million settlement for consumer-borrowers

The WRRSV trial team procured a $36 million class action settlement on behalf of more than 4,000 class members who obtained second mortgage loans. Class Members received substantial settlement payments, averaging more than $10,000 per loan for loans made before January 1, 1999, and averaging more than $700 per loan for loans made on or after January 1, 1999.

 

Class / Mass Actions – Life Insurance

 

Cozad v. American Mutual Life Insurance Company, Travis County, Texas

In one of the early cases successfully defending and settling allegedly vanishing premium policies, WRRSV obtained relief for a nationwide class of individuals who had purchased such policies.

 

In re American Investors Life Insurance Company Annuity Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation

WRRSV successfully co-defended a multidistrict national class action (along with the related regulatory matters) involving annuity sales practices. Competing insurers remained in this type litigation for years after resolution of these matters for WRRSV’s clients.

 

In re Indianapolis Life Ins. Co. IRS 412(i) Plans Life Insurance Marketing Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1983

WRRSV successfully co-defended a multidistrict national putative class action securing a dismissal at the pleading stage in connection with claims surrounding the formation and sale of Section 412(i) plans.

 

Aviva Life and Annuity Company v. Republic Bank and Trust, as trustee for the Millennium Multiple Employer Welfare Benefit Plan, et al,U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Case No. 09-1235

In a nationwide action involving multiple claims related to funding a multiple employer welfare benefit plan, WRRSV obtained a federal injunction and related orders that materially assisted in in the ultimate settlement and resolution of numerous nationwide claims against the life insurer.

 

Class Actions – General

 

In re Syngenta AG MIR162 Corn Litigation

WRRSV represents corn farmers in lawsuits filed against Syngenta for losses incurred when Syngenta prematurely introduced a genetically modified trait of corn seed into the U.S. corn supply. This action by Syngenta led to China’s rejection of U.S. corn shipments, in turn causing a drastic drop in corn prices nationwide.

 

Thousands of individual cases were filed in state and federal courts, many of which were eventually consolidated in the District of Kansas under Case No. 2:14-MD-02591-JWL-JPO, In re Syngenta AG MIR162 Corn Litigation.

 

Second Amended Complaint

 

Update: Syngenta Corn verdict of $217.7 Million in favor of Kansas Class of Corn Farmers

 

Suit was brought by farmers across the nation against Syngenta for selling a genetically modified corn trait that had not been approved by the Chinese for import.  The suit alleged that Syngenta was unreasonable in rushing the corn to market before such approval was obtained, knowing that the entire U.S. corn crop would be adversely affected by commingling unapproved traits with approved traits before shipment.  When the corn was in fact rejected by China, corn prices fell in the United States, and all corn farmers experienced losses from the drop in corn prices.

 

The first case to be tried against Syngenta was on behalf of Kansas Corn Farmers.  On June 23, after a three-week trial, a Kansas jury rendered a unanimous verdict in favor of the Kansas Class of corn farmers, awarding $217,700,000 to the Class.  In addition, the verdict will help shape behavior of seed producers to make sure that the introduction of new seed technologies is done in a manner that won’t hurt the corn farmer.

 

There are remaining class cases to be tried over the ensuing months.  In addition, the MDL court in Kansas has requested briefing on the order of trial of the remaining 7 certified classes of farmers represented by the class counsel, those being Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota.  The next MDL trial of one or more of those classes of farmers is expected to occur this winter, with other cases to follow shortly thereafter.  In addition, class certification will be sought for corn producers in many other states.

 

 

In re Disposable Contact Lens Antitrust Litigation

A lawsuit was filed against manufacturers of contact lenses, alleging national and state consumer and antitrust violations in setting retail floor pricing of contact lenses, thereby raising the prices for consumers.  These cases were consolidated and are now pending in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida under Case No. 3:15-md-02626, In re: Disposable Contact Lens Antitrust Litigation.

 

Corrected Consolidated Class Action Complaint

 

In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation

Hospital, doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists and other health care providers, along with individuals who purchased insurance, have brought suit against Blue Cross Blue Shield entities.  This lawsuit, which one of the Blue entities recently referred to as “possibly the largest class actions ever pursued, affecting up to 100 million Americans,” [Doc. 629] is In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 2:13-cv-20000, an MDL case pending before Judge David Proctor in the Northern District of Alabama.  Provider Plaintiffs allege that the Blues’ entities reached unlawful agreements to section the U.S. into discrete “Service Areas” in order to eliminate market competition and that prices have been affected as a result of this and other unfair practices.  If you would like more information about this case, please visit bluesantitrustlitigation.com.

 

Consolidated Third Amended Provider Complaint

 

Prime Care of Northeast Kansas, LLC v. Humana Ins. Co., et al.

WRRSV’s class action counsel represented area physicians in a class action case against health insurers for antitrust violations related to nefarious billing reimbursement practices.

 

Cox, et al.  v. Aventis Animal Nutrition

WRRSV co-counseled a nationwide vitamin antitrust case against the world’s leading manufacturers of vitamins. The state antitrust claims for Kansas involved vitamins for livestock located within the state. WRRSV was instrumental in developing strategy and establishing liability and damages on behalf of the largest hog producers throughout Kansas. Their direct court work and involvement with national counsel in related state claims resulted in a multimillion dollar settlement for their clients before trial.

 

In re: Motor Fuel temperature Sales Practices Litigation

WRRSV made headlines as lead liaison counsel in this ongoing multidistrict consumer fraud class action against gasoline retailers, which exposed the widespread practice of selling “hot fuel”—motor fuel which has expanded due to the liquid’s exposure to higher temperatures.  Several gasoline retailers have settled, and the publicity from the litigation combined with the settlements is changing the way fuel retailers sell gasoline.

 

In re: Bisphenol-A (BPA) Polycarbonate Plastic Products Liability Litigation

Today, most baby bottles come with the label “BPA Free.”  It wasn’t always that way.  WRRSV participated in a multidistrict consumer fraud class action to expose and correct manufacturers’ practices of using bisphenol-A (BPA)  polycarbonate in their plastic products, which has been linked with adverse health effects.  The litigation prompted manufacturers industry-wide to stop using the chemical in baby products.


Rottman v. Old Second Bancorp, Inc.

In this class action, WRRSV represented mortgage loan originators in an action against their employer for violations of the wage and hour provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  This matter subsequently reached a confidential settlement.

 

Heilman, et al. v. Perfection Corp., et al., U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Case No. 99-0679-CV-W-HFS 

In this product liability case involving defective water heaters, WRRSV successfully represented a class of more than 14 million plaintiffs, obtaining favorable settlement on the clients’ behalf.

 

Foster, et al. v. ABTCo., Inc., et al., Circuit Court of Choctaw County, Alabama, Case No. CV95-151-M

In this product liability case involving hardboard siding, WRRSV successfully represented classes of plaintiffs in Kansas and Missouri and obtained a favorable settlement.

 

Landrum v. Meadows Credit Union, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Case No. 08-441-CV-W-DW

In this predatory lending dispute, WRRSV acted as lead counsel for a class of plaintiffs with claims arising out of the Uniform Commercial Code and the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, and ultimately obtained a significant settlement for consumers.

 

Cecil Hopkins, et al. v. Kansas Teachers Community filed in 2008; Case No. 08-cv-5052- SW-GAF; Western District of Missouri and Minnie Poe Landrum, et al. v. Meadows Credit Union 

WRRSV achieved settlements totaling $3.6 million as lead counsel in two consumer class action cases filed against financial institutions for subprime motor vehicle lending violations.  The individual recovery for the class members was atypical of many class cases, with the individual net recovery per class member averaging more than $32,000.

 

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