Posts Tagged: lawsuit

Google faces lawsuit over controversial Play Store change

Google’s new Play Store billing policies aren’t very popular with developers, and some are taking their disagreement to the courts.
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The lawsuit against Fitbit claims that most of its wearables represent a burn risk

Back in March, we covered Fitbit’s recall of its overheating Ionic smartwatch for which the wearable brand was offering full $ 299 refunds and discounts if buying a replacement. Today brings the news of a new lawsuit that alleges that more than one Fitbit tracker or smartwatch is heating up and causing injuries, with fingers being […]

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Lawsuit accuses Google of fostering systemic bias against Black employees

A new lawsuit against Google accuses the company of fostering a "racially biased corporate culture" that offers Black employees lower pay and fewer opportunities to advance than their white counterparts, reports Reuters. Filed on Friday with a federal court in San Jose, California, the complaint alleges the company subjected former diversity recruiter April Curley and other current and former Black employees to a hostile work environment.

In 2014, Google hired Curley to design a program to connect the company with Black colleges. Shortly afterward, she claims she was subjected to denigrating comments from her managers, who allegedly stereotyped her as an "angry" black woman while passing her over for promotions.

"While Google claims that they were looking to increase diversity, they were actually undervaluing, underpaying and mistreating their Black employees," Curley's lawyer told Reuters. The complaint notes Black people make up only 4.4 percent of employees at Google and approximately 3 percent of its leadership.

We've reached out to Google for comment.

Curley is not the first person to accuse Google of fostering a work environment hostile to Black employees and other people of color. In the aftermath of Timnit Gebru's controversial exit from the company, Alex Hanna, a former employee with the tech giant's Ethical AI research group, said she decided to leave Google after becoming tired of its structural deficiencies. "In a word, tech has a whiteness problem," Hanna wrote on Medium at the time. "Google is not just a tech organization. Google is a white tech organization."

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PayPal faces lawsuit for freezing customer accounts and funds

Three PayPal users who've allegedly had their accounts frozen and funds taken by the company without explanation have filed a federal lawsuit against the online payment service. The plaintiffs — two users from California and one from Chicago — are accusing the company of unlawfully seizing their personal property and violating racketeering laws. They're now proposing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all other users who've had their accounts frozen before and are seeking restitution, as well as punitive and exemplary damages.

Lena Evans, one of the plaintiffs who'd been a PayPal user for 22 years, said the website seized $ 26,984 from her account six months after it got frozen without ever telling her why. Evans had been using PayPal to buy and sell clothing on eBay, to exchange money for a poker league she owns and for a non-profit that helps women with various needs. 

Fellow plaintiff Roni Shemtov said PayPal seized over $ 42,000 of her money and never got an acceptable reason for why her account was terminated. She received several different explanations when she contacted the company: One customer rep said it was because she used the same IP and computer as other Paypal users, while another said it was because she sold yoga clothing at 20 to 30 percent lower than retail. Yet another representative allegedly said it was because she used multiple accounts, which she denies. 

Shbadan Akylbekov, the third plaintiff, said PayPal seized over $ 172,000 of his money without giving him any explanation why the account got limited in the first place. Akylbekov used the account of a company his wife owns to sell Hyaluron pens, which are needle-less pens that inject hyaluronic acid into the skin. After the money disappeared from the account following a six-month freeze, PayPal allegedly sent his wife a letter that says she "violated PayPal's User Agreement and Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) by accepting payments for the sale of injectable fillers not approved by the FDA." It also said that the money was taken from her account "for its liquidated damages arising from those AUP violations pursuant to the User Agreement."

PayPal has long angered many a user for limiting accounts and freezing their funds for six months or more. One high-profile case was American poker player Chris Moneymaker's who had $ 12,000 taken from his account after six months of being limited. Moneymaker was already in the process of asking people to join him in a class action lawsuit before his funds were "mysteriously returned." 

Part of the complaint reads:

"Plaintiffs bring this class action against Defendant PAYPAL, INC. ("PayPal") to recover damages and other relief available at law and in equity on behalf of themselves, as well as on behalf of the members of the class defined herein… This action stems from Defendant’s widespread business practice of unilaterally seizing funds from its clients’ financial accounts, without cause and without any fair or due process.

PayPal places a "hold" on Plaintiffs' own funds in their own PayPal accounts. PayPal has failed to inform Plaintiffs and members of the class of the reason(s) for the actions PayPal has taken, even telling Plaintiffs and members of the class that they will "have to get a subpoena" to learn the simple information as to why PayPal was holding, and denying Plaintiffs, access to their own money."

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

Riot Games settles class-action gender discrimination lawsuit for $100 million

Riot Games has agreed to pay $ 100 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed in November 2018 by former employees alleging gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation. The League of Legends publisher was only going to pay $ 10 million per the preliminary settlement in 2019, but the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing went to court to block the agreement. $ 10 million was much too small, the agency argued, and the women suing the company could be entitled to as much as $ 400 million.

The lawsuit was originally filed by Melanie McCracken and Jess Negrón after a Kotaku report exposed the developers' "men-first" and "bro" company culture. In the report, Kotaku detailed employees' experiences within the company, such as instances of "genital grabbing" and senior leaders passing around lists of employees they would sleep with. One former employee who left the company due to sexism said working for Riot was like "working at a giant fraternity."

Under the terms of the settlement, $ 80 million will go towards members of the class-action lawsuit, while $ 20 million will go towards the plaintiffs' legal fees. All employees and contractors in California who identify as women and who worked at Riot between November 2014 until present day qualify for a payout. Those who've been with the company longer will get a bigger cut than newer workers. And there are quite a lot of newer ones — while only around 1,000 workers were qualified for a payout in 2019, there are now around 2,300 eligible personnel. In a statement, the developer told The Washington Post:

"Three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what became a reckoning in our industry. We had to face the fact that despite our best intentions, we hadn’t always lived up to our values. As a company we stood at a crossroads; we could deny the shortcomings of our culture, or we could apologize, correct course, and build a better Riot. We chose the latter… While we'e proud of how far we’ve come since 2018, we must also take responsibility for the past. We hope that this settlement properly acknowledges those who had negative experiences at Riot."

In addition to paying $ 100 million, Riot Games is also required to get a third-party expert to conduct "sex/gender equity analysis of total compensation, assignment and promotion outcomes for California employees." Riot must also allow pay transparency and will have to be monitored by a third party, who'll keep an eye on things like HR complaints and pay equity, for three years. The monitor will be able to recommend changes to the company that Riot can implement. 

Genie Harrison, the women's rights attorney who represented the plaintiffs, said in a statement:

"This is a great day for the women of Riot Games – and for women at all video game and tech companies – who deserve a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination. We appreciate Riot’s introspection and work since 2018 toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive company, its willingness to take responsibility for its past, and its commitment to fairness and equality in the future. Along with the DFEH and DLSE, the brave women of Riot who carried the torch of justice have achieved a precedent-setting result that stands as a beacon for other women and as a warning that employers had better pay and treat women fairly, or else be held accountable."

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

Tesla must pay $137 million in discrimination lawsuit

Tesla has been ordered to pay $ 137 million in damages to a former Black worker who accused the company of turning a blind eye to discrimination and racial abuse at the company's EV plant in Fremont California, the Washington Post has reported. A San Francisco federal court jury awarded the judgement — reportedly one of the largest in an individual race discrimination employment case — to Owen Diaz, an elevator operator who worked as a contract employee in 2015 and 2016.

In the lawsuit, Diaz alleged that he faced discrimination "straight from the Jim Crow era," in which he was subjected to racial slurs. He alleged that Tesla employees left drawings of swastikas, racist graffiti and offensive cartoons around the plant, while supervisors neglected to halt the abuse. "Tesla's progressive image was a façade papering over its regressive, demeaning treatment of African-American employees," according to the lawsuit. 

The jury awarded Diaz $ 6.9 million for emotional distress, but the majority, $ 130 million, was punitive damages against Tesla. "It's a great thing when one of the richest corporations in America has to have a reckoning of the abhorrent conditions at its factory for Black people," said the lawyer for Diaz, Lawrence Organ. 

"It took four long years to get to this point,” Diaz told the New York Times. “It’s like a big weight has been pulled off my shoulders.”

In response to the verdict, Tesla downplayed the allegations in a blog post written by human resources VP Valerie Capers Workman. "In addition to Mr. Diaz, three other witnesses (all non-Tesla contract employees) testified at trial that they regularly heard racial slurs (including the N-word) on the Fremont factory floor,” she wrote. “While they all agreed that the use of the N-word was not appropriate in the workplace, they also agreed that most of the time they thought the language was used in a ‘friendly’ manner and usually by African-American colleagues.”

Tesla added that it was responsive to Mr. Diaz's complaints, firing two contractors and suspending another. She said that while the facts didn't justify the verdict, the company was "not perfect" in 2015 and 2016, "but we have come a long way." The company has yet to say whether it plans to appeal.

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

After Fortnite is removed from Apple and Google’s app stores, an Epic lawsuit is launched

It was a relatively slow week in the tech world until Epic Games came along with its Mega Drop 20% discount that passed along the saving on V-Bucks and real-money offers to players that chose to pay via Epic Direct payments. Those who chose to pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay were left to […]

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Judge dismisses Genius lawsuit against Google over ‘stolen’ lyrics

Last year, Genius made headlines when it used a "watermark" made up of alternating styles of apostrophes that spelled out "red handed" in Morse code to highlight what it said was Google scraping its annotated lyrics. While the move was clever, it has…
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Lawsuit accuses Google of tracking users in Incognito mode

A proposed class action lawsuit filed against Google is accusing the company of violating federal wiretap laws by tracking users’ online activities even when they’re in Incognito mode. The complaint says the tech giant uses tools like Google Analytic…
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Asus drops Zenfone branding in India following lawsuit

Following the Delhi court banning their ‘Zenfone’ brand two days ago, Asus has relaunched their newest value flagship in India without it, adding a ‘z’ for some reason. Only two days ago we reported on the Delhi High Court’s banning of the company’s ‘Zen’ and ‘Zenfone’ brands in India, but already Asus has managed to […]

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Peloton slapped with a $150 million lawsuit for playing unlicensed music

Music publishers are suing Peloton, the maker of the connected exercise bike, for failing to license songs it plays in its streaming spinning classes. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday by the National Music Publishers Association in the U.S. District…
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Sprint brings a lawsuit to stop AT&T’s fake 5GE branding

AT&T has managed to be the sleaziest company in early 2019 by rolling out “updates” to a couple of their phones that change the network indicators to show that they’re using the carrier’s brand new 5G network. The only problem is that those phones that received updates aren’t 5G compatible, and the network they’re connecting […]

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LG is the latest to join the South Korean FTC lawsuit against Qualcomm

LG has announced that they’ll be throwing their hat in the ring against Qualcomm with South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission, who is currently in the midst of a lawsuit against the chip maker for unfair practices. The lawsuit has been going on for some time now over Qualcomm’s alleged patent abuse. The lawsuit was brought […]

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Facebook and ZeniMax settle VR copyright lawsuit

John Carmack isn't the only one ending a legal fight with ZeniMax. Facebook and ZeniMax have agreed to settle a lawsuit that had accused Facebook and Oculus of violating copyright for the alleged "unlawful misappropriation" of ZeniMax VR code. The…
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Judge OKs Dish lawsuit over Univision’s soccer livestreams

Dish and Univision haven't been on the friendliest of terms for quite a while now, and we doubt this development will help bridge the widening gap between the two companies. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Univision has failed to convince a judg…
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More states join lawsuit to keep 3D-printed gun plans off the internet

On August 1st, Defense Distributed was set to upload designs of 3D-printed guns for the public to buy and download. But the day before, a Seattle judge temporarily blocked their release after seven states and Washington, DC sued the company and State…
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France faces lawsuit for seizing France.com

When a country or company seizes a web domain, it's frequently to kick out squatters who do little besides place ads and hope they'll get a giant payout. However, France is taking on someone who was actively using a site — and it may have crossed a…
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Disney’s lawsuit against Redbox may have backfired

Disney's attempt to prevent Redbox from buying its discs for rental and resale may have blown up in the House of Mouse's face. The Hollywood Reporter describes how District Court Judge Dean Pregerson sided with Redbox to shoot down a Disney-mandated…
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Google facing a lawsuit over original Pixel microphone issues

The original Google Pixel was a pretty fantastic phone, and one Google should be proud of. However, it wasn’t without its flaws, including a few isolated problems for some users. One of those problems, however, happened enough that now Google is facing a class-action lawsuit over the defect. Yikes. That class action complaint was filed […]

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Redbox says Disney lawsuit is a baseless attempt to stamp out rivals

Last month, Disney filed a lawsuit against Redbox claiming that the rental company was violating Disney's copyrights. Redbox buys the Disney discs it rents at retail and when those discs come with download codes for digital copies, Redbox sells them…
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Vizio is filing a huge $100 million lawsuit against a flailing LeEco

LeEco is going out with a bang, not a whimper. After trying and failing to acquire Vizio, the company started tumbling downhill in the financial department pretty quickly. We’ve seen desperate financing attempts, layoffs, and all kinds of other moves that paint a pretty clear picture that LeEco is in deep trouble. To make matters […]

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Waymo, Uber lawsuit narrows after most patent claims dropped by Alphabet

In an ongoing legal dispute between Uber and Waymo, Alphabet has dropped three of four patent claims and they have been instructed by the judge in the case to significantly reduce the scope of the trade secret claims that form the heart of the lawsuit. The legal dispute commenced when Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle division, […]

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Intel and Samsung back FTC lawsuit against Qualcomm

The Federal Trade Commission kicked off 2017 by targeting Qualcomm over allegedly anti-competitive behavior, and unsurprisingly, companies the chipmaker competes with agree. Intel and Samsung filed briefs supporting the FTC lawsuit, claiming that Qua…
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In response to Nokia lawsuit, Apple pulls all Withings products

Just a few days after Nokia announced a series of lawsuits against the iEmpire, Apple seems to have tacitly agreed to engage in battle by pulling all Withings products from its digital shelves.

The post In response to Nokia lawsuit, Apple pulls all Withings products appeared first on Digital Trends.

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Uber gets slapped with lawsuit over missing food delivery tips

A courier in New York who used to deliver food for Uber has filed a lawsuit against the company over unpaid tips, according to Buzzfeed News. In the lawsuit, he said that tips from customers never made it to him and other delivery personnel for UberR…
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