Has a School or Training Program Promised You a Job and Failed to Deliver?

kloaThe advertisements sound so great. They show smiling, successful workers with great jobs and happy families. They can seem like the answer to all your problems, especially if you’re at home watching television because you are out of work, really unhappy with your current job, or just not sure what to do next with your life. They say if you go to this school, and complete the program, you’ll get a job that pays well and offers great benefits. You’ll be able to work in the medical profession, or other acclaimed and in-demand field. They show people who have attended the school extolling the benefits of the program –talking about their enviable promotion or new position and how it changed their lives. They are so glad they went to this program.

What they don’t always say is that these results are not typical. They also might leave out the fact that the school is a for-profit institution, and that their students are borrowing thousands upon thousands of dollars, and investing months of precious time for a degree or certificate that won’t guarantee them anything.

Such schools can be sued for false advertising, misrepresentation of job placement rates, or even fraud. In some cases, schools have been targeted by the attorney general’s office for preying on veterans, many of whom served in hopes of getting money for schooling they could not otherwise afford. Even when the victims involved are not veterans, they often involve the most sympathetic of victims, in that the students just want to pursue the American dream of doing better by improving themselves through hard work.

Buyers should definitely be aware of the fine print when choosing a vocational school or college. They should keep copies of anything they sign, and ask for written material regarding placement rates, average wages achieved in placement, and exactly what services are available to help those graduates get jobs. Bringing a private fraud case, or even a class action, is a possibility if sufficient evidence exists that promises were made but not kept. It is not uncommon for some schools too simply close their doors, leaving students without what they paid for.

Painkiller Maker Pays Massive Class Action Settlement in False Claims Case

321516A drug that may be a distant memory for users made headlines recently when a case against the manufacturer settled for more than $800 million recently. Although it hasn’t been on the market since 2004, the painkiller Vioxx is still making headlines and costing its maker millions of dollars.

The company pulled the pills from the market when it was determined it could increase stroke and heart attack risks in patients. The drug company agreed to resolve a class action lawsuit by paying $830 million to shareholders recently. The shareholders argued the drug maker made misleading statements about its safety while it was still being prescribed.

The drug was introduced in 1999. The lawsuits began in 2003. They were consolidated in a case under a New Jersey federal judge and the group was certified as a class – meaning it can proceed as one action on behalf of many different parties – in 2013.

Shareholders alleged the drug company knew of the safety risks before the drug reached the market, then tried to minimize risks as problems began to publicly emerge while the drug was still being prescribed. The drug company denied allegations in court documents. Part of the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was unanimously ruled that investors hadn’t waited too long to bring their cases.

The company also faced a list of product liability class action lawsuits alleging that patients suffered heart attacks or strokes due to the drugs, and that the company failed to warn them properly of the risks. Merck admitted no liability as part of the settlement.
The company also agreed to pay $950 million to resolve accusations by the U.S. Department of Justice and state governments alleging the company lied to governments about the drug safety, and marketed it for uses not covered by the approval of the Food and Drug Administration. Merck pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for violating federal drug laws by promoting Vioxx for use in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis before the FDA approved it to do so.

Class Action Settles for $2 Million for Consumers

FTCLumosity customers could be in for a $2 million windfall due to a settlement of a case against the San Francisco based company. A federal consumer protection agency accused the company of lacking the proof to back up claims about improving mental sharpness through the use of their project.

The developer of “brain training” games has settled federal allegations of misleading customers by agreeing to pay $2 million. Lumosity games, accessed through online applications and programs for which customers generally paid a subscription fee, were advertising as providing a list of cognitive benefits. But the company’s advertisements suggested that playing them a few times a week could boost productivity at work and school, and possibly delay dementia, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s allegations.

The federal agency regulates advertising to consumers, and has recently taken on products including dietary supplements which claim to make people more mentally sharp. The FTC representative said that the advertising Lumosity used preyed on people’s fears of getting older and not being able to think as well, and that the company lacked the science to back up their claims. People’s fear of memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease led them to buy the product, but there was no proof any of these problems could be helped by the products in question.

Consumers of the company’s product purchased either a monthly subscription or access for a lifetime. As a part of the class action settlement, Lumos Labs must offer customers an easy way to cancel subscriptions. A judgment in the amount of $50 million was originally obtained by the agency, but the company reportedly was unable to pay that amount.

Trade publications indicate the company is one of many in the “brain training” business – worth an estimated $1 billion in sales per year. However, the Lumosity company was one of the most highly visible in the exploding field, no doubt an area of growth due at least in part to the aging population in America and other similarly developed countries around the world.

Federal law states that the only products that can claim to treat or prevent a serious disease must be reviewed and approved by the food and drug administration for their effectiveness. However, the agency has yet to approve a single “brain training” program.

Consumer class action involve claims such as these – where a customer acts on behalf of a group of people who feel they have been wronged or defrauded by a product or service. Sometimes, this is the only way that some issues can be addressed, due to the simple fact that the claims involved can be far too small to justify the high cost of bringing an individual lawsuit. The consumers, if handled individually, could not hope to sensibly pursue the matter. In some cases, the customers involved spent an amount too small to be worth filing a small claims case. Class action cases are an efficient way to address such issues.