Saturday, August 29, 2015

Class Action News 29th August 2015

Amid what is likely the most incendiary hacking incident in corporate history, the head of the world’s best-known adultery business has been shown the door.

In a terse press release on Friday, Avid Life Media – owners of the website Ashley Madison – announced that Noel Biderman will be stepping down as chief executive officer. His departure comes after hackers stole and posted the personal information of some 37 million Ashley Madison customers – setting off a firestorm of public humiliation, shattered marriages and several suspected suicides.

Besides a massive collection of private user information, the leaked data have also shed unprecedented light on the inner workings of the world’s foremost cheating website – a place in which men vastly outnumbered women, users had to pay to delete their accounts and some personal information remained on the servers even after accounts were deleted.
The result is a damning indictment of a site whose most important feature – the ability to keep a secret – came spectacularly undone.

“The company relies on confidentiality,” said Antoine Aylwin, a partner at the law firm Fasken Martineau’s privacy and information protection group in Montreal. “You see the picture on their website, it’s someone putting their finger on their mouth. I think this is the end of Ashley Madison.”

Dr. Randy Wieck, a Kentucky high school history classroom teacher with a degree from the London School of Economics has already been lauded in this column, as well as Bloomberg and the San Francisco Chronicle, for single-handedly taking on the titans of private equity.

Now Wieck has filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court of the Western District of Kentucky claiming that mismanagement of the investments of the Kentucky Teachers Retirement Systems (KTRS) has resulted in the worst-funded state teacher plan in the U.S—forcing teachers to  contribute more of their salaries (up from 9% to 13%).

Wieck has no lawyer—he’s representing himself—in a Herculean effort to save his own and other Kentucky teachers’ retirement.

You might expect that powerful, well-funded national and local public unions would rally behind Wieck to hold Wall Street accountable for undermining teachers’ retirement security. To date, in Kentucky and nationally, public sector labor organizations have been mighty reluctant—even when pressed—to recognize that how the money in a pension is managed is at least as important as how much goes into it and is paid out in benefits.

Bank of America Corporation put a class action lawsuit filed against its subsidiary Landsafe Appraisal Services, Inc. by 365 current and former employees working as residential real estate appraisers to rest, by agreeing to shell out $36 million in settlement. The bank will successfully dodge a scheduled Aug 31 trial, if it gets court approval for the settlement. 

A court case filed in April 2013 alleged that Bank of America and its subsidiary erroneously used the "administrative" and "professional" exemptions to residential staff appraisers. This particular work entails no special academic degree, only a state license. 

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