Past Success

Wyndham Hotels Resort Fees Settlement Granted Final Approval

Date: February 24, 2020

  • On February 24, 2020, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark R. Hornak of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania granted final approval to a class settlement with Wyndham Hotel Group, LLC and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, LLC (“Wyndham Hotels”). The settlement, worth at least $7.6 million, resolves claims against Wyndham Hotels related to its practice of adding “resort fees” for certain hotel rooms booked using Wyndham Hotels’ websites.
  • As part of the settlement, Wyndham Hotels has agreed to provide cash payments or Wyndham Rewards points to eligible guests who reside in the United States and (1) booked a room at a Wyndham-affiliated Hotel in the United States using the Wyndham Hotel Websites; (2) completed their stay between June 6, 2010 and October 18, 2019; and (3) paid a Resort Fee. To learn more about the settlement, whether you are a class member, and how to submit a claim, please visit http://www.2019resortfeesettlement.com/ or contact Carlson Lynch. The deadline to submit a claim for a cash payment is March 16, 2020.
  • The lawsuit, entitled Luca v. Wyndham Hotel Group, LLC, et al., 2:16-cv-746 (W.D. Pa.), began in 2016, after named plaintiff Thomas Luca, Jr. was charged two $25 nightly “resort fees” for a stay at a Wyndham location in Miami Beach, Florida. Luca alleged that the resort fees were not adequately disclosed at the time he booked the rooms on Wyndham’s website, leading him to believe the prominently-advertised “room rates” were the full price of the room, when that was not the case. Wyndham Hotels denied the allegations, moved to dismiss the claims, and opposed class certification. The parties agreed to settle the case in 2019.
  • Carlson Lynch served as co-lead counsel for Plaintiff Luca and a settlement class of over 260,000 Wyndham Hotels customers. Carlson Lynch attorneys Gary F. Lynch, Jamisen A. Etzel, R. Bruce Carlson, and Kelly Iverson worked on the case. For more information about Carlson Lynch’s cases involving consumer rights, false advertising, or deceptive pricing, please contact the firm.

Carlson Lynch Obtains $7 Million Settlement for Oasis Power “Ringless Voicemail” Call Recipients

Date: February 11, 2020

  • Carlson Lynch achieved a substantial settlement on behalf of individuals who received unsolicited “ringless voicemails” to their cell phones, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The calls were made by various companies, including Oasis Energy, Censtar, Electricity Maine, Electricity N.H., Major Energy, Perigee, Provider Power Mass, Respond Power, Spark, and Verde The litigation began in 2018, and was titled Albrecht v. Oasis Power, LLC d/b/a Oasis Energy, No. 1:18-cv-1061 (N.D. Ill.).
  • Under the agreement, the defendants agreed to create a settlement fund of $7 million to resolve claims of individuals who received the unwanted calls between February 12, 2014 and September 25, 2019. Class members could submit claims for cash payments up until the deadline of February 20, 2020.
  • The Court granted preliminary approval on September 24, 2019 and final approval on February 11, 2020.
  • Katrina Carroll served as co-lead counsel in Oasis Power and was assisted by Pittsburgh-based partner Gary F. Lynch.
  • If you have received unwanted spam calls, ringless voicemails, or texts without your permission, please contact the firm.

GNC False Discount Advertising Results In $6 Million Settlement

Date: December 19, 2019

  • In Carter et al. v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc., 16-cv-633 (W.D. Pa.), Carlson Lynch achieved a substantial settlement on behalf of purchasers of products from GNC’s websites. Carlson Lynch alleged that GNC falsely advertised products at “discount” prices when it never sold the products at the supposedly “original” comparison price. Several other similar actions were filed against GNC around the country, and those cases were ultimately consolidated in the Western District of Pennsylvania for settlement purposes. Gary Lynch served as co-class counsel with a team of plaintiff-side firms.
  • GNC ultimately agreed to resolve the consolidated actions and the claims of more than 3.3 million class members. Under the agreement, GNC agreed to create a settlement fund of $6 million, used to pay $5 cash distributions or $15 vouchers to claiming class members, depending on their election, along with attorneys’ fees and expenses, and costs of notice and administration. In addition, GNC offered all class members a $30 coupon for purchases of $100 or more. The settlement also included GNC’s commitment to change its price advertising in the future.
  • The district court gave preliminary approval to the proposed agreement on September 9, 2019, after which the parties implemented the court-approved notice program. The Court held a final fairness hearing on December 19, 2019, and granted final approval that same day.
  • Gary Lynch served as co-lead counsel in GNC and was assisted by Carlson Lynch attorneys Jamisen Etzel and Elizabeth Pollock Avery.

$50 Million Wendy’s Data Breach Settlement Granted Final Approval

Date: November 6, 2019

  • A $50 million class action settlement with The Wendy’s Company was given final approval by Magistrate Judge Maureen P. Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on November 6, 2019.
  • This class action arose out of a data breach alleged to have begun in October, 2015, when computer hackers installed malware on the point-of-sale systems of Wendy’s franchised restaurants for the purpose of capturing and ex-filtrating customer payment card data. Approximately 18 million payment cards were exposed in the Data Breach.
  • Carlson Lynch was retained by First Choice Federal Credit Union, and several other financial institutions and professional associations, to commence litigation on behalf of a nationwide class of payment card issuers for damages suffered as a result of the Data Breach. Carlson Lynch partner Gary F. Lynch was appointed Co-Lead Counsel.
  • Carlson Lynch successfully led the pretrial phase of the case, overcoming a motion to dismiss, engaging in extensive document discovery, and obtaining an order from the Court applying Ohio law to plaintiff’s negligence and negligence per se claims. The Court’s decision on choice of law came at an early time in the case as a result of Carlson Lynch’s creative suggestion to prioritize resolution of that issue, which proved to be instrumental in clarifying risk for the parties and facilitating the mediation process.
  • Under the settlement, Wendy’s agreed to pay $50 million into a non-reversionary fund and to adopt and/or maintain certain reasonable safeguards to manage its data security risks.
  • The financial institution plaintiffs and settlement class were represented by Carlson Lynch attorneys Gary F. Lynch, Jamisen A. Etzel, Kelly Iverson, and Kevin Tucker, along with a co-counsel team of several of the nation’s premier plaintiff-side law firms.

Court Approves Eddie Bauer Data Breach Settlement Worth Up to $9.8 Million

Date: October 15, 2019

  • In Veridian v. Eddie Bauer, LLC, 2:17-cv-356 (W.D. Wash.), Carlson Lynch continued delivering results for clients through trailblazing and innovative litigation in the data security realm. Carlson Lynch represented credit unions and other financial institutions in this action against national retailer Eddie Bauer, whose point-of-sale payment card systems were accessed by unauthorized hackers beginning in January 2016. As many as 1.4 million payment cards may have been exposed in the attack.
  • Serving as co-lead counsel for plaintiff Veridian Credit Union and the proposed class, Gary Lynch of Carlson Lynch brought suit against Eddie Bauer in March 2017, bringing claims of negligence and violations of Washington state law. Plaintiffs overcame a motion to dismiss in late 2017, and the case entered a contentious discovery phase involving more than ten depositions, over 100 document requests, and the exchange of thousands of documents between the parties and third parties.
  • In early 2019, the parties engaged in mediation and eventually reached a comprehensive settlement agreement. Under the agreement, Eddie Bauer agreed to pay up to $2.8 million in direct cash relief to the roughly 4,300 financial institutions that issued payment cards potentially exposed by the cyber attack. On top of the cash relief, Eddie Bauer committed another $2 million to costs of settlement administration and attorneys’ fees and expenses, and agreed to implement injunctive relief in the form of new security features that were valued at more than $5 million over two years. The total value of Eddie Bauer’s commitments under the agreement was as much as $9.8 million.
  • The Court granted final approval to the settlement on October 15, 2019. Along with the settlement in First Choice FCU v. Wendy’s, the Eddie Bauer settlement was Carlson Lynch’s second major resolution of data security claims on behalf of financial institutions in 2019 alone, following in a line of groundbreaking settlements Carlson Lynch has led or contributed to in this field over the past few years, including settlements with Target and Home Depot after those highly-publicized payment card data breaches.
  • Gary Lynch served as co-lead counsel in Eddie Bauer and was assisted by Carlson Lynch attorneys Kevin Tucker and Jamisen Etzel.

$2,150,000 Settlement for Michigan Subscribers to Bonnier Publications Approved

Date: September 26, 2019

  • In Friske v. Bonnier, 16-cv-12799 (E.D. Mich.), Carlson Lynch achieved a substantial settlement on behalf of subscribers to Bonnier publications whose personal information was shared with third party marketers without the subscribers’ consent, in violation of the Michigan Video Privacy Act.
  • Serving as co-lead counsel for plaintiff Rebecca Friske and the proposed class of more than 160,000 subscribers, Carlson Lynch brought suit against Bonnier in July 2016. After discovery and motions practice, the parties participated in mediation in January 2019 with Hon. Gerald E. Rosen, formerly the Chief U.S. District Judge of the Eastern District of Michigan.
  • Under the agreement, Bonnier agreed to create a settlement fund of $2,150,000, used to pay pro rata cash distributions to claiming class members, along with attorneys’ fees and expenses, and costs of notice and administration. In addition, Bonnier agreed to provide all non-claiming class members with a free 1-year subscription to the publication of their choice.
  • The district court gave preliminary approval to the proposed agreement on June 25, 2019, after which the parties implemented the court-approved notice program. The Court held a final fairness hearing on September 23, 2019, and granted final approval on September 26, 2019.
  • The Bonnier settlement was the second class settlement for MVPRA claims obtained by Carlson Lynch in as many years (the other was Sullivan v. Wenner Media, LLC, 16-cv-960 (W.D. Mich)), demonstrating Carlson Lynch’s continued prowess at defending the privacy rights of consumers and obtaining meaningful relief when corporations share customer information without permission.
  • Gary Lynch served as co-lead counsel in Bonnier and was assisted by Carlson Lynch attorney Jamisen Etzel.

$4.5 Million Class Action Jury Award Affirmed On Appeal

Date: August 30, 2019

  • Carlson Lynch represented dancers at a Philadelphia nightclub who alleged they were misclassified by the club owners as independent contractors, denied minimum wages, and subjected to illegal deductions from their tips. Bringing claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, and Pennsylvania common law, the certified class represented by Carlson Lynch won a $4.5 million jury verdict award at trial in March 2018. Gary Lynch served as co-lead trial counsel, assisted by Carlson Lynch attorney Jamisen Etzel.
  • The defendant club filed a post-judgment appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The Third Circuit held oral argument on April 17, 2019, and Carlson Lynch attorney Jamisen Etzel presented oral argument for the workers.
  • The panel issued its decision on August 30, 2019. The opinion was a complete victory for Carlson Lynch, as the panel’s order affirmed “across the board” and sustained the jury’s verdict. Verma v. 3001 Castor, Inc., 937 F.3d 221, 224 (3d Cir. 2019). The opinion confirmed that under the “economic realities” test developed by courts to determine whether a worker is an employee for purposes of the FLSA and PMWA, nightclub dancers at the defendant’s club were employees, entitled to the protections of the FLSA and PMWA, including minimum wage.
  • The decision affirmed the results of a relatively rare class action jury trial, and solidified a multimillion dollar verdict for undercompensated workers. The opinion also appears to be only the third time a federal court of appeals has directly addressed the employment classification of nightclub dancers, despite the wide proliferation of wage and hour litigation regarding these workers over the past decade.
  • Carlson Lynch attorneys Gary Lynch and Jamisen Etzel were involved in all facets of the Verma litigation, including the trial and appeal. Gerald D. Wells III of Connolly Wells & Gray, LLP served as co-lead counsel.

Carlson Lynch Achieves $1.5 Million Settlement for Misclassified Dancers

Date: June 11, 2019

  • Carlson Lynch represented dancers at a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina nightclub who alleged they were misclassified by the club owners as independent contractors, denied minimum wages, and subjected to illegal deductions from their tips. Bringing claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the South Carolina Payment of Wages Act, Carlson Lynch attorneys Gary Lynch and Jamisen Etzel successfully litigated the claims for more than five years before achieving class certification and negotiating a comprehensive, $1.5 million settlement for the class.
  • The case, titled Gardner v. Country Club, Inc., 2:13-cv-3399 (D.S.C.), began in late 2013, when Carlson Lynch brought suit against the owners of the Masters Gentlemen’s Club in Myrtle Beach, SC. The plaintiff dancers alleged that the club misclassified them as independent contractors, denied them minimum and overtime wages, and illegally deducted from their tip income. Carlson Lynch achieved significant legal rulings from the district court, including a ruling that entertainers were employees of the club as a matter of law under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and that a class of over 700 workers was certifiable under Rule 23. Carlson Lynch also won a legal ruling from the court on a matter of first impression – whether the South Carolina Payment of Wages Act protects workers from deductions made against their tip income.
  • Under the settlement agreement, the defendant established a gross settlement fund of $1.5 million to settle all claims. The settlement received preliminary approval from the district court in early 2019, and the parties completed the court-approved notice program. No objections were filed, and the court granted final approval to the settlement on June 11, 2019. The settlement continued Carlson Lynch’s impressive streak of obtaining real monetary relief for misclassified and underpaid workers, and was achieved after breaking new legal ground on questions of first impression, resulting in precedents that favor workers and will support future claims to rectify wage and tip theft.
  • Carlson Lynch attorneys Gary Lynch and Jamisen Etzel were involved in all facets of the Gardner litigation.

Court Approves $4.5 Million

Date: April 23, 2019

  • In Pease v. Jackson National Life Insurance Co., 17-cv-284 (W.D. Mich.), Carlson Lynch helped achieve a substantial and efficiently litigated settlement on behalf of participant employees in the Jackson National Life Insurance Company Defined Contribution Retirement Plan. With co-counsel, Carlson Lynch filed suit in 2017 against Jackson National for inserting a large number of affiliated investment alternatives which were alleged to be not neutrally selected to benefit plan members, but provide revenue for Jackson National and higher fees for Plan participants. The case was filed in the Western District of Michigan.
  • Jackson National agreed to settle the case for a $4.5 million dollar payment. As an ERISA action, Carlson Lynch and its co-counsel expended extensive time making sure the payment was made pursuant to the statute’s extensive regulatory regime and in the most cost-effective manner possible. This negotiation process itself took several months.
  • The district court gave preliminary approval to the proposed settlement on December 10, 2018, after which the parties implemented the court-approved notice program. After dealing with a small number of issues raised by Plan participants with the aid of Carlson Lynch and co-counsel, the Court held a final fairness hearing on April 23, 2019, and granted final approval that same day.
  • Edward Ciolko served as co-lead counsel from Carlson Lynch in Jackson and was assisted by Carlson Lynch partner Todd Carpenter and attorney Bryan Fox.

Carlson Lynch Wins $24 Million Award on Behalf of Certified Class of Mortgage Borrowers Following 13-Day Federal Court Arbitration

  • On March 24, 2017, a three judge panel awarded $24 million dollars to a certified class of mortgage borrowers represented by Carlson Lynch. The award followed a 13 day arbitration trial conducted in the federal courthouse in Pittsburgh. The panel of arbitrators included a former judge from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and two former litigation department heads at AmLaw 100 law firms.
  • Bruce Carlson was co-lead counsel for the class and Carlson along with his partner Gary Lynch led the Carlson Lynch trial team that tried the case. This arbitration award represented the culmination of more than ten years of litigation, including three trips to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the certification of a RICO class which was affirmed by the Third Circuit. Judge Arthur Schwab was the presiding judge in the District Court.

In re Wireless Phone Equipment Replacement Insurance Litigation

  • Carlson Lynch served as lead counsel in this national class action litigation alleging consumer fraud in connection with wireless phone equipment replacement insurance. Following the fairness hearing in November, 2004, the Court entered Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law which commented on the adequacy of Carlson Lynch as lead counsel as follows:
  • “Class counsel have abundant experience as lead counsel in consumer class action litigation. Indeed, class counsel have frequently appeared before this Court. Other courts have routinely recognized class counsels’ adequacy … This Court readily agrees with these other courts, and finds that Bruce Carlson and Gary Lynch are more than adequate counsel, and indeed are capable and diligent class action attorneys.”
  • The settlement was approved and the settlement proceeds were distributed to the class.

Gualano v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. (Western District of Pennsylvania)

  • Carlson Lynch served as co-lead counsel in this wage and hour class action litigation alleging that defendant retail clothier was violating federal and state wage and hour laws by virtue of its requirement that sales associate employees purchase and wear defendant’s clothing while working. Following the fairness hearing in early 2005, where a multi-state settlement was presented to the Court for approval, the Court entered Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law addressing lead counsels’ adequacy as follows:
  • “The Court finds the plaintiffs’ counsel, Bruce Carlson and Gary Lynch, are experienced class counsel and that they have met all of the requirements of Rule 23(g)(1)(B) and (C). Consistent with the underlying purpose of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23, plaintiffs’ counsel have achieved, with utmost efficiency, a quality result for the entire class and are commended for the diligence and effective advocacy they have displayed on behalf of their clients.”

Pasci v. Express, LLC (Western District of Pennsylvania)

  • Carlson Lynch served as co-lead counsel in this wage and hour litigation alleging that defendant retail clothier was violating federal and state wage and hour laws by virtue of its requirement that its sales associate employees purchase and wear defendant’s clothing while working. A multi-state class settlement was achieved and presented to the Court for approval in November, 2004. Regarding the adequacy of Carlson Lynch as class counsel, the Court issued Findings and Conclusions stating:
  • “With respect to the adequacy of counsel, the Court finds that class counsel have capably and vigorously represented the class. Bruce Carlson and Gary Lynch have substantial experience in class-based litigation involving Consumer fraud and employment claims … Class counsel achieved an efficient and excellent result on behalf of the class.”

White v. United Steel Workers of America (Western District of Pennsylvania)

  • Carlson Lynch served as co-lead counsel in this age-discrimination class action against the U.S.W.A. After overcoming a motion to dismiss on a legal issue regarding which there was a substantial split of authority, the defendant requested mediation to explore the possibility of settlement. After extensive mediation over a one month period in June 2004, the case ultimately settled for an amount that defense counsel characterized as the highest ever paid by the U.S.W.A. in connection with civil litigation.

Bannon v. First One Lending, Inc. (Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas)

  • Carlson Lynch served as co-lead counsel in this class action filed on behalf of Pennsylvania second mortgage loan borrowers alleging that they were charged excessive settlement fees in violation of the Pennsylvania Secondary Mortgage Loan Act. After the court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss, the case ultimately settled and plaintiffs and the class were refunded 100% of the alleged overcharge.

Dwight v. American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas)

  • Carlson Lynch was lead counsel in this class action alleging that American Eagle violated various wage and hour laws in connection with its requirement that its sales associates purchase and wear defendant retailer’s clothing while at work. The parties negotiated a multi-state settlement, which was approved by the trial court.

Tarlecki v. Bebe Stores, Inc. (Northern District of California)

  • Carlson Lynch was co-lead counsel in this wage and hour litigation alleging that defendant retail clothier was violating federal and state wage and hour laws in connection with its requirement that its sales associates purchase and wear defendant retailer’s clothing while at work. The parties reached agreement on a class-wide national settlement, which was approved by the Court in late 2009.

Dykeman v. Charming Shoppes, Inc. (King County Superior Court)

  • Carlson Lynch served as co-lead counsel in this case alleging violations of the state of Washington’s wage and hour laws, in connection with defendant retail clothier’s requirement that its sales associates purchase and wear its clothing while at work. Class-wide settlement was achieved and approved by the Court, with the proceeds distributed to the class in 2007. Carlson Lynch also served as co-lead counsel in a related case in the state court of California. Class-wide settlement was achieved and approved by the Court in that litigation in 2008.

Pitts v. NovaStar Home Loans, Inc. et al. (Southern District of Georgia)

  • Carlson Lynch served as co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in this national RESPA class action, which was consolidated by the federal Judicial Panel for Multi-District Litigation and transferred to the District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. After significant litigation and protracted negotiations, the matter was settled on a national, class-wide basis, providing class members of up to $17,300,000.00. The Court approved the settlement in 2007.

Battaline v. Advest (Western District of Pennsylvania)

  • Carlson Lynch served as lead counsel for plaintiffs in this wage and hour class action alleging that defendant stock brokerage company violated state wage and hour laws with respect to its classification of stock broker employees as “exempt” from the laws’ overtime requirement. A national, class-wide settlement was achieved and approved in 2008.

Ellis v. Edward Jones (Northern District of Ohio)

  • Carlson Lynch chaired the Plaintiffs’ Leadership Committee in this wage and hour class action alleging that defendant stock brokerage company violated federal and state wage and hour laws with respect to its classification of stock broker employees as “exempt” from the laws’ overtime requirement. After significant discovery and protracted negotiations, the matter was settled on a class-wide, multi-state basis, with class members receiving in excess of $19,000,000.00. The Court approved the settlement in 2009.

Byers v. PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (Western District of Pennsylvania)

  • Carlson Lynch served as lead plaintiffs’ counsel in this wage and hour class action alleging that defendant stock brokerage company violated federal and state wage and hour laws with respect to its classification of stock broker employees as “exempt” from the laws’ overtime requirement. A multi-state, class-wide settlement was approved by the Court in 2008.

Steen v. A.G. Edwards, Inc. (Southern District of California)

  • Carlson Lynch served as co-class counsel for plaintiffs in this wage and hour litigation alleging that defendant stock brokerage company violated federal and state wage and hour laws with respect to its classification of stock broker employees as “exempt” from the laws’ overtime requirement. A mediated national class-based settlement was achieved and approved by the Court in 2009.

Meola v. AXA Financial, Inc. (Northern District of California)

  • Carlson Lynch served as co-class counsel for plaintiffs in this wage and hour litigation alleging that defendant financial services company violated federal and state wage and hour laws with respect to its classification of certain of its employees as “exempt” from the laws’ overtime requirement. A mediated national class-based settlement was achieved and approved by the Court in 2009.

In re St. Francis Health System (Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas)

  • Carlson Lynch served as class counsel in this wage and hour litigation on behalf of certain former employees of the St. Francis Health System in Pittsburgh. Plaintiffs asserted that they were deprived of severance benefits when St. Francis Health System was acquired by another hospital group in Western Pennsylvania. After extensive negotiation overseen by a private mediator, a class-wide settlement was achieved and approved by the Court.

Haag v. Janney Montgomery Scott (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)

  • Carlson Lynch was a member of the three-firm Executive Committee in this wage and hour class action alleging that defendant stock brokerage company violated federal and state wage and hour laws with respect to its classification of stock broker employees as “exempt” from the laws’ overtime requirement. After protracted litigation and two separate mediations, the parties reached a multi-state settlement, which was approved by the Court in 2009.

Steinberg v. Morgan Stanley & Co. (Southern District of California)

  • Carlson Lynch served as co-class counsel for plaintiff in this litigation alleging that defendant stock brokerage company violated federal and state wage and hour laws with respect to its classification of stock broker employees as “exempt” from the laws’ overtime requirement. A mediated national class-based settlement was achieved and approved by the Court.

Ramsey v. Ryan Beck, Inc. (Southern District of New York)

  • Carlson Lynch served as co-class counsel in this litigation alleging that defendant stock brokerage company violated federal and state wage and hour laws with respect to its classification of stock broker employees as “exempt” from the laws’ overtime requirement. After protracted litigation, the parties reached a multi-state settlement which was approved by the Court in 2010.

Kniess v. Heritage Valley Health Systems, Inc. (Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas)

  • Carlson Lynch served as lead counsel in this wage and hour class action alleging the defendant hospital system failed to pay overtime compensation to its nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, misclassifying such employees as “exempt” under the wage and hour laws. The parties reached a mediated class settlement, approved by the Court, whereby class members received the majority of the back pay alleged to be owed.

Leadbitter v. The Washington Hospital, Inc. (Western District of Pennsylvania)

  • Carlson Lynch served as lead counsel in this wage and hour class action alleging that defendant hospital system failed to pay overtime compensation to its nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, misclassifying such employees as “exempt” under the wage and hour laws. The parties reached a mediated class settlement, approved by the Court, whereby class members received the majority of the back pay alleged to be owed.

Kahrer v. Ameriquest Mortgage Co. (Western District of Pennsylvania/Multidistrict Litigation Northern District of Illinois)

  • Carlson Lynch served as counsel for plaintiff in connection with this consolidated group of class actions alleging the existence of a kick-back scheme in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”), along with numerous other unfair lending practices. The specific case being handled by Carlson Lynch broke important new ground under RESPA, as it was one of the first cases to challenge the then-negative trend in the law over whether RESPA’s damages clause provides a “statutory” damage based upon a trebling of the entire settlement service charge at issue – a question which impacts plaintiff’s standing to sue, as well as the calculation of damages. Every prior federal trial court to consider the issue had sided with defendants.
  • In opposing defendant’s motion to dismiss, Carlson Lynch illustrated how the earlier courts had fundamentally misinterpreted the legislative history of RESPA. In a seminal decision, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania departed from the holdings issued by these other federal courts, and accepted the interpretation of RESPA proffered by Carlson Lynch. Multiple federal courts of appeal have since adopted the Kahrer reasoning, including the Sixth and Third Circuits.

Cuttic v. Crozer Medical Center (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)

  • Carlson Lynch represented plaintiff in this wage and hour lawsuit challenging the defendant’s classification of its nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants as “exempt” under the FLSA. In a widely reported opinion issued on January 4, 2011, the Court, addressing an issue of first impression among the district courts within the Third Circuit, granted Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, holding that Defendant has misclassified its nurse practitioners/physicians’ assistants under the federal law.

Kelly v. Career Education Corporation (Western District of Pennsylvania)

  • Carlson Lynch served as class counsel in this wage and hour lawsuit filed on behalf of admissions representatives at a culinary school, challenging the pay practices of defendant with regard to overtime. After the Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion for “conditional certification” under the FLSA, the parties entered into protracted negotiations with the oversight of a private mediator. In 2011, a class-wide settlement was achieved and approved by the Court.

FACTA Litigation

  • Carlson Lynch has served as lead counsel in numerous class actions throughout the nation alleging violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (“FACTA”), a federal statute which became effective in 2006 for the express purpose of protecting consumers who use credit/debit cards from potential identity theft. Carlson Lynch has been one of the leading firms to represent consumers in enforcing their statutory rights under FACTA, and has obtained several favorable decisions regarding interpretation of this relatively new statute. Nearly all of the FACTA lawsuits commenced brought by Carlson Lynch on behalf of consumers have resulted in favorable class-wide or individual settlements.

Ehrheart v. Verizon Wireless (Western District of Pennsylvania)

  • In this FACTA lawsuit, Carlson Lynch served as class counsel for plaintiffs and successfully negotiated a settlement on behalf of the class, which was preliminarily approved by the district court. However, when, on June 4, 2008, Congress passed an amnesty bill that eliminated potential liability for every defendant that had a FACTA case pending against it as of that date (but did not change the law prospectively), defendant filed a motion to dismiss the case, attempting to avoid the negotiated settlement which had been preliminarily approved by the Court. The district court granted defendant’s motion. Carlson Lynch appealed the issue to the Third Circuit, obtained a reversal of the district court, and generated a reported decision by the Third Circuit which favorably interprets the role in which a district court must serve in analyzing a proposed class action settlement.

EFTA Litigation

  • Carlson Lynch has successfully represented classes of consumers in multiple federal venues under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. These cases alleged that various automated-teller machine (“ATM”) operators (primarily financial institutions) violated mandatory ATM fee disclosure requirements, and therefore were not permitted to impose transaction fees on ATM users at their machines. Carlson Lynch has successfully negotiated both individual and class-wide settlements in these cases. Additionally, Carlson Lynch has been instrumental in shaping the decisional law interpreting EFTA, at both the district court and appellate level.