Recruiter To Pay $828K
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has ordered fallen corporate recruiter David Nosal to pay $827,983 in restitution to Korn/Ferry International, including $595,758 to cover his former employer’s fees to O’Melveny & Myers.
Federal prosecutors had advocated a $1.35 million restitution award for Korn/Ferry. But U.S. District Judge Edward Chen reduced the amount in the request, particularly the proposed $948,703 for attorney fees. He still found that Nosal’s case, which made new law under a ­controversial computer hacking statute, called for restitution, noting that Korn/Ferry had devoted eight years to the criminal investigation and prosecution.
A San Francisco jury convicted Nosal last year for conspiring with former colleagues to infiltrate Korn/Ferry’s files after he left to form his own recruiting firm. Chen sentenced Nosal in February to one year and one day in prison.
US Foods Settles Cases
Plaintiffs in a rare class action under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act have reached a $297 million settlement with U.S. Foods Inc. and its former parent, the Dutch retail conglomerate Royal Ahold.
The deal resolves allegations that US Foods executives orchestrated a plan to overbill about 75,000 institutional customers nationwide between 1998 and 2005. The plaintiffs claimed that US Foods used dummy companies and fake invoices to inflate food costs that it used to set prices under customer contracts.
In December, Sysco Corp. agreed to buy US Foods for $3.5 billion from a private-equity group that acquired the company from Ahold in 2007. Sysco and US Foods are the country’s first- and second-largest food distributors, respectively.
‘Occupy’ Case Proceeds
PHILADELPHIA — Claims made by 26 members of the Occupy Philadelphia movement against the city police officers who arrested them have survived, almost completely intact, in federal court.
U.S. District Senior Judge Berle Schiller dismissed their claims of excessive force and unreasonable search, but let stand their 12 other claims.
Arguing that the suit as a whole should be tossed, the officers said the complaint failed to adequately describe the role played by each of them, as well as the specific situation of each plaintiff. The clash arose after city officials sought to remove protesters from outside City Hall after they had been there for about seven weeks.
Joint-Pain Case Closes
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and nutritional supplement maker Perrigo Co. have reached a conditional settlement with consumers who filed a class action alleging the companies misled them on the joint healing power of glucosamine and chondroitin.
Terms of the proposed settlement include $15 rebates for each bottle purchased for those with receipts, $3 a bottle for those without receipts, and up to $2 million for four plaintiffs law firms.
Perrigo also agreed to stop, for at least 24 months, labeling the supplements as good for “rebuilding,” “renewing,” “regrowing,” “growing,” “adding,” or “regenerating” cartilage, as they had been described in marketing and advertising for the products. The defendants deny any wrongdoing.
Deal for Free Warranties
An estimated 1.7 million consumers will be eligible for a year’s free warranty coverage for their Gateway computers under a settlement of a 2009 putative class action alleging the company left them in the lurch.
Documents filed on May 12 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California show Gateway Inc. and National Electronics Warranty LLC agreed to spring for the extra warranty months, which the companies valued at about $60 for each covered computer.
No damages or restitution will be granted the class plaintiffs. Plaintiffs’ counsel can apply to the court for as much as $1 million in fees and expenses. The defendants deny any wrongdoing.
NEW YORK — Conservative commentator and Obama critic Dinesh D’Souza pleaded guilty on May 20 to violating a campaign finance law limitation on personal donations.
On the brink of jury selection for his trial for using straw-man donors to contribute $20,000 to the failed 2012 U.S. Senate campaign of New York Republican Wendy Long, D’Souza entered a plea of guilty to a single campaign finance count before Judge Richard Berman.
D’Souza faces a stipulated U.S. senten­cing guidelines range of 10 to 16 months when he is sentenced on Sept. 23.
Law Firm is Sanctioned
NEW YORK — Defendants in a medical malpractice case over a botched eye surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital, along with their counsel, Martin Clearwater & Bell, have been ordered to pay $10,000 in sanctions for obstructing discovery.
Martin Clearwater was also ordered to pay an additional $5,000 to the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection. Laura Jacobson, a New York trial judge, said in her order in that the defendants and the law firm had engaged in “willful and contumacious conduct” by withholding information about the hospital employees who booked the surgery.
Plaintiff Andre Wright had a major stroke during retina surgery at the hospital in September 2007, leaving him unable to walk or fully communicate.
Airbnb Will Comply
NEW YORK — State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Airbnb Inc. announced an agreement on May 21. The Internet-based company will comply with the state’s subpoena for information about New York apartment rentals.
The agreement calls for Airbnb to “anonymize” renters’ data to hide personal identifying information. However, Airbnb agreed to turn over detailed information about the “hosts” if the screening of the data suggests possible violations of law.
The deal stipulates that Airbnb will produce the data over the next year if it is demanded in writing as part of an investigation by the attorney general’s office or the New York City Office of Special Enforcement.
Schneiderman has contended that some of the Airbnb rentals may be subject to state and city sales taxes that apply to hotels.
Heart Valves Settlement
SAN FRANCISCO — Medtronic Inc. and Edwards Lifesciences Corp. have reached a global settlement of their patent litigation, wiping out two large jury awards that had raised the threat of an injunction against potentially lifesaving heart valve technology.
Medtronic, which had been hit with infringement verdicts of $74 million in 2010 and $394 million in January, agreed to pay Edwards $750 million up front and royalties of at least $40 million a year for the next eight years.
The deal eliminates the threat of injunctions against Medtronic’s CoreValve artificial heart valves, which the company had argued — and a judge had found — are a safer, and sometimes the only, option for certain patients.
LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
Firm Staffers Settle Suit
Four paralegals and their former employer, The Voss Law Firm in The Woodlands, Texas, have settled a Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit that the women filed against the firm, alleging that it hadn’t paid them overtime.
The firm and the four women filed a joint motion to dismiss all claims on May 19.
In an amended complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that the firm required plaintiffs to work in excess of 40 hours per week, but refused to compensate them for overtime hours at the rate required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Dating Site Class OK’d
NEW YORK — A New York dating service used a fraudulent come-on to entice customers to shell out $1,000 each for a year’s membership, alleges a federal suit certified as a class action.
The complaint against It’s Just Lunch, a nationwide chain of franchises, said the company required its staff to follow a script to tell all potential customers when they called that the salesperson immediately thought of at least two matches “right off the top of my head” — whether or not that was true.
U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein on May 14 granted class status in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
He wrote that the success or failure of the complaint would hinge on whether the script was misleading. Stein’s order and the complaint described the training the sales staff received at “First Date University,” the company’s name for its orientation sessions, where the staff was ordered not to deviate from a prepared script.