Santander Consumer Reaches $550M Settlement with State AGs

Santander Consumer USA will pay $65 million to states and forgive hundreds of millions more in consumer debt as part of a settlement with a group of attorneys general over practices in its subprime auto lending business. 

The attorneys general, representing 33 states and the District of Columbia, said the Dallas-based lender had exposed borrowers to unnecessarily risky loans with a high chance of default. In addition to paying $65 million in restitution, Santander Consumer has also agreed to forgive nearly $500 million in car loan debt to borrower nationwide.

“Santander defrauded desperate consumers by placing them into auto loans the company knew these customers could never afford to pay, resulting in defaults and negative ratings on consumers’ credit reports,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a press release Tuesday.

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Lawsuit Accuses Juul of Targeting Children With Marketing

Anne Arundel and Howard counties sued e-cigarette maker Juul Labs and affiliated companies, joining a growing onslaught against the billion-dollar company over claims that it marketed its products to children.

They joined Garrett County in filing separate but identical federal lawsuits against the California-based company in early April, following the lead of Montgomery County, which retained a national law firm late last year. The lawsuits allege, among other things, violations of Maryland’s public nuisance laws and violations of the federal racketeering statutes known as RICO.

“This lawsuit is critical in highlighting the public health repercussions of e-cigarettes, and we will continue to advance these complaints to ensure all our residents can be healthy and thriving,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said in a statement.

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Johnson & Johnsons Settles $3.9M Pelvic Mesh Lawsuit

West Virginia has reached a $3.9 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson in a lawsuit over the company’s marketing of a surgical mesh used to treat pelvic conditions in women, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Monday.

Morrisey filed a consumer protection case against the company in September, saying it misrepresented the risks and effectiveness of the medical implant.

The federal Food and Drug Administration stopped sales of the synthetic mesh in April 2019 after years of injury reports as well as tens of thousands of lawsuits from women who said they had bleeding, severe pain and infection from the products, also called transvaginal mesh. Several major manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson, had previously stopped making the implants.

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$130.4M Settlement To Help Combat Smoking In Indiana

Indiana has secured $130.4 million from tobacco product manufacturers this year under the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, Attorney General Curtis Hill announced today.

“Our office works diligently to enforce the terms of this settlement,” Attorney General Hill said. “Our efforts in this regard are directly responsible for our ability to maintain the maximum levels of funding available to our state. This revenue supports Indiana’s continued battle to help people stop smoking and to prevent our youth from ever starting down that dangerous path in the first place.”

Since the inception of this settlement agreement in 1998, Indiana has now received a total of $2.78 billion. Under the agreement, the state will continue to receive payments in perpetuity, as long as the tobacco manufacturers continue selling cigarettes in Indiana.

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UCLA Professor Sues Seyfarth Claiming $24M Malpractice

A UCLA linguistics professor is suing Big Law’s Seyfarth Shaw and one of its former partners over their investigation of her discrimination and harassment complaints against her former employer, California State University at Fullerton.

The professor, Natalie Operstein, seeks $24 million in compensatory damages, plus a punitive award, attorneys fees and costs.

Seyfarth was supposed to be “an impartial tribunal,” according to her April 17 complaint. Instead, she alleges, the firm had an “ulterior intent to make findings in favor of the employer and its officials for the purpose of being retained again by the state and its officials and by other large employers state- and nationwide,” achieving an unfair economic advantage and increase in market share, making profits well in excess of those from fees paid by Cal State.

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$1M Settlement in Wrongful Death Lawsuit For UConn Student Run Over by Fire Vehicle

The parents of a UConn student who was run over and killed by a campus fire department truck in 2016 have settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the state and other defendants for about $1 million, according to a probate court official.

Jeffny Pally, a 19-year-old sophomore from West Hartford, fell asleep in front of a fire department garage door after drinking alcohol at an off-campus party, authorities said. A department SUV accidentally ran over her while responding to what turned out to be a false alarm.

A probate court official told The Associated Press on Monday that the case was settled for just over $1 million. Details of the settlement were filed with the probate court late last month and the lawsuit was withdrawn on April 9.


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$4M Verdict Over Doctor’s Failed Attempts to Insert Catheter

West Palm Beach attorneys William D. Zoeller and Michael V. Baxter of Schuler Halvorson Weisser Zoeller Overbeck obtained a $4 million jury verdict for the family of a 72-year-old man who died after his doctor tried to insert a catheter 14 times—for a procedure the plaintiffs alleged could have waited.

But not all the facts were on their side. Gerald Sanford had a history of mitral valve regurgitation, a heart problem that can cause a back flow of blood. He also had an 80% to 90% blockage in one of his arteries, which the defense said warranted surgery to unclog.

Zoeller and Baxter argued that wasn’t as bad as it sounds because Sanford wasn’t experiencing symptoms, such as chest pain or shortness of breath. They claimed the risks of opening that artery outweighed the benefits.

“He was not in need of the surgery right then,” Zoeller said. “He was not going to die.” They argued Sanford should have been put on medication and referred to a cardiac surgeon.

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Canadian Couple Receives $9M Jury Verdict Over Bike Wreck

A jury has awarded greater than $9 million in damages to a person and girl from Vancouver, British Columbia, who had been struck by an 18-wheeler truck whereas using their bikes alongside Interstate 84 in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.

The eight-member jury discovered Exel Inc. — extra generally referred to as the delivery firm DHL — responsible for the Aug. 3, 2016, collision late Friday after a five-day trial in US District Court docket in Portland.

It awarded $1.Three million in financial damages, $four million in non-economic damages and $four million in punitive damages to Eric Moutal, whose decrease left leg was practically amputated, and $400,000 in non-economic damages to his now spouse, Andrea Newman, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Moutal, who was 31 on the time, and Newman, then 25, had been vacationing in Oregon, tenting and biking in the Columbia River Gorge earlier than a deliberate go to to Portland.

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Rochester Settles Sex Harassment Case for $9.4M

The University of Rochester settled a long-running legal case over alleged sexual harassment within its brain and cognitive sciences program for $9.4 million, parties announced Friday. In a joint statement, Rochester thanked the nine former students and professors who sued it in 2017, alleging misconduct by T. Florian Jaeger, professor of brain and cognitive sciences. The plaintiffs also alleged retaliation by other faculty members and administrators for blowing the whistle on their colleague and instructor.

Plaintiff Richard Aslin, a former dean of arts and sciences at Rochester who is now a clinical professor of psychology at Yale University, said, “We hope this settlement encourages people affected by discrimination and retaliation to seek justice and never give up.”

Presumably referring to the 2018 resignation of former president Joel Seligman over how he handled the Jaeger case, Aslin said he hoped Rochester’s changes to its “leadership and policies will send a signal to other institutions that there is a more productive way to handle complaints about harassment.”

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Supreme Court Declines to Hear $100M Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Parris Island Recruit’s Death

The Supreme Court declined to hear a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit brought on by the parents of a Parris Island, South Carolina, recruit after a lower court dismissed the lawsuit in 2019, according to a court document.

Siddiqui’s parents, Ghazala and Masood, brought on the lawsuit claiming their son and Marine recruit Raheel Siddiqui endured torture and abuse because he was Muslim.

The parents claim there was negligence on the part of Siddiqui’s recruiter to properly inform him of harsh treatment and discrimination he would face at boot camp for being a Muslim.

Originally filed in 2017, the lawsuit was dismissed in 2019 by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals based on the Feres Doctrine, which courts repeatedly have used to block lawsuits against the government for wrongful death or medical malpractice, the Detroit Free News reported.

Siddiqui’s parents filed the petition to have the Supreme Court review the lower courts dismissal of the lawsuit, which was docketed on Jan. 22. The Detroit Free Press first reported that the Supreme Court had declined to hear the case.

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