CVS Accused of Violating HIV-Positive Customers Right to Privacy

CVS is facing a class action lawsuit alleging the drug store chain’s insurance program intentionally violates HIV-positive consumers right to privacy.

Four anonymous plaintiffs filed the CVS HIV privacy class action lawsuit last week in California federal court, claiming that CVS gives them no other option but to purchase their HIV/AIDS medications at a CVS store or have the medications mailed to their homes, putting their privacy at risk. This is a result, according to the lawsuit, because CVS imposed certain coverage restrictions on prescription costs from out-of-network pharmacies.

One plaintiff details how he was left with no choice but to go along with CVS’ new insurance program, otherwise he would have had to pay over $2,000 for his HIV/AIDS medications had he purchased them elsewhere. The plaintiff claims that CVS’ business practices have forced him to choose his right to privacy over the cost of his necessary medications.

“The Program denies HIV/AIDS patients full and equal access to utilize the in-network pharmacies and method of delivery of their choice specifically because of the medications attributable to their illness, while at the same time permitting other enrollees to enjoy full access to the pharmacies of their choice,” the CVS HIV privacy class action lawsuit states.

Additionally, the plaintiffs contend that they were never given any notice to this change in coverage. One plaintiff noted that when he was forced to have his HIV/AIDS medications mailed to him, the package was left outside in the heat (medications can deteriorate in high temperatures) and where his neighbors could see. After this incident, the plaintiff opted to pick up his prescription at a CVS retail location, but claims the pharmacist had no detailed information of his medications.

“CVS Caremark does not have a full and accurate record of all of the medications JOHN DOE ONE is taking and cannot anticipate or warn against potential adverse drug interactions, which are common with HIV/AIDS Medications,” the CVS HIV privacy class action lawsuit alleges.

What’s worse is that many CVS pharmacy locations are not properly set up to protect customer’s privacy. Stand in a line at any CVS pharmacy and the majority of the time, you can eavesdrop on a discussion regarding medication instructions between the pharmacist and the customer.

“At my retail specialty pharmacy, they have a little alcove for privacy,” John Doe Two claims. “I can take my medications out and match it with a list I have of all my drugs. I can meet with my pharmacist and explain any changes I have felt and ask any questions I have. At CVS, I am within hearing distance of everyone waiting in line, including many people who do not have HIV/AIDS. I can hear other patients’ questions and the pharmacists’ answer. I am concerned with other people finding out about my HIV positive status.”

At the heart of this case is that by forcing customers who are HIV positive to purchase their medications through their pharmacies, CVS “effectively reduces the quality of prescription drug care provided to Class Members, and thus a reduction or elimination of benefits, by forcing enrollees to only obtain such medications through their sister co-conspirator and wholly-owned subsidiary.

The plaintiffs are represented by Alan Mansfield and Edith Kallas of Whatley Kallas LLP and Jerry Flanagan and Benjamin Powell of Consumer Watchdog.

The CVS HIV privacy class action lawsuit is John Doe One, et al. v. CVS Health Corp., et al., Case No. 3:18-cv-01031, filed  in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Over a Dozen Intel CPU Defect Class Action Lawsuits Filed Over Spectre, Meltdown

Intel is facing a slew of class action lawsuits claiming the tech giant has failed to remedy their Meltdown and Spectre CPU security flaws, significantly slowing down consumers’ technology devices and leaving their personal information vulnerable to hacking.

One of these Intel CPU defect class action lawsuits, filed by two California plaintiffs Steven Garcia and Anthony Stachowiak, alleges Intel’s core processors or CPUs are defective. Specifically, these CPUs suffer from security defect, which causes the CPUs to be exposed to troubling security vulnerabilities by allowing potential access to user’s sensitive information. These alleged security vulnerabilities have been dubbed the “Meltdown” and the “Spectre”.

The Intel CPU defect class action lawsuit says this defect exists in all Intel x86-64x CPUs manufactured since at least 2008 and effects the majority of all MAC and PC desktops, laptops, computers, and servers in the U.S. What makes this even more alarming is that cell phones, tablets, and data stored in a cloud based servers such as those from Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are also affected.

According to the Intel CPU defect class action lawsuit, on January 2, 2018, it was revealed that the “patch” to this security vulnerability would lead to substantial CPU performance degradation. The fix would require root level changes to the Operating System which could slow down the CPU’s performance as much as 50 percent.

One day later, Intel issued a press release in response to the media reports concerning the Meltdown and Spectre defects, stating that they are aware of the issue, but also claim their competitors’ products also have the same problem. Essentially, according the consumer complaints, Intel downplays the CPU defects and has failed to provide an adequate remedy and instead continues to reap sizable profits from selling the defective CPUs.

“To date, [Intel] has been unable or unwilling to repair the Defect or offer Plaintiffs and class members a non-defective Intel CPU or reimbursement for the cost of such CPU and the consequential damages arising from the purchase and use of such CPUs,” Garcia and Stachowiak’s complaint states.

These claims are echoed in at least a dozen other Intel CPU defect class action lawsuits filed in California, Indiana, New York, and Oregon since January 1st which seek to hold Intel accountable for breach of implied warranty, unjust enrichment, negligence, and violations of state-specific consumer protection laws.

Garcia and Stachowiak are seeking to represent a nationwide Class of consumers who purchased one or more Intel CPUs and whose personal information was or could be compromised as a result of the Meltdown or Spectre vulnerabilities. Their lawsuit is seeking equitable, injunctive, declaratory, and monetary relief.

It will be interesting to see how these individual cases will proceed through the court system or if they will be consolidated into multidistrict litigation or settled before a potential trial. Class Action Wallet will be sure to keep you updated with the latest developments in the Intel CPU defect saga.

Garcia and Stachowiak are represented by William J. Doyle II and Chris W. Cantrell of Doyle APC; and J. Gerard Stranch IV and Benjamin A. Gastel of Branstetter Stranch & Jennings PLLC.

The Intel CPU Defect Class Action Lawsuit is Garcia, et al. v. Intel Corporation, Case No. 5:18-cv-00046, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division.

The other Intel CPU Defect cases are:

California:

  • Bahcevan v. Intel Corp.; Case No. 5:18-cv-00187
  • Mechri v. Intel Corp.; Case No. 5:18-cv-00379
  • Rinn v. Intel Corp.; Case No. 5:18-cv-00111
  • West v. Intel Corp.; Case No. 5:18-cv-00146
  • Zog, Inc. v. Intel Corp.; Case No. 5:18-cv-00298-EJD

Indiana:

  • Jones v. Intel Corp.; Case No. 1:18-cv-00029-TWP-MPB

New York:

  • Bernstein v. Intel Corp.; Case No. 1:18-cv-00526
  • Rosenberg v. Intel Corp.; Case No. 1:18-cv-00147
  • United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 1500 v. Intel Corp.; Case No. 2:18-cv-00574

Oregon:

  • Gilman v. Intel Corp.; Case No. 3:18-cv-00193-BR
  • Kintz v. Intel Corp.; Case No. 3:18-cv-00211-BR
  • Mann v. Intel Corp.; Case No. 6:18-cv-00028-MC

Annie’s Naturals Class Action Lawsuit Says Salad Dressings Contain Synthetic Ingredients

An Alabama consumer has filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Annie’s Homegrown and General Mills, alleging the companies falsely label Annie’s Naturals salad dressings as natural when they reportedly contain at least one highly synthetic ingredient.

Plaintiff Janell Johnson Campbell says she purchased Annie’s Natural salad dressing products, because as a health-conscious consumer, she was drawn to the representation that the dressing was a “natural” product. In her mind, she understood that there was no synthetic ingredient in Annie’s Natural salad dressing. Specifically, she contends that despite the salad dressing front bottom label stating the product has ““No artificial flavors, synthetic colors, or synthetic colors or synthetic preservatives”, the dressing actually contains a synthetic ingredient known as Xanthan Gum.

Xanthan Gum is a synthetic thickener that is commercially manufactured by fermenting bacteria with glucose, sucrose, or lactose, which is then sterilized with isopropyl alcohol before being dried and milled for use commercially as a powder – therefore it cannot be categorized as natural ingredient, according to the complaint.

Campbell Johnson assets that by labeling Annie’s Naturals salad dressings as containing no synthetic ingredients, the defendants took advantage of consumers who are interested in purchasing healthy food products that don’t contain harmful artificial synthetic ingredients.

“Because the Products are not in fact wholly natural, the Products are actually worth less than they are represented, and Plaintiff and class members have paid extra for them,” says the proposed class action lawsuit. Additionally, the Annie’s Naturals Salad Dressing class action lawsuit claims the defendants are wrongly profiting by charging a premium for a product that is in actuality not “wholly natural”.

“…neither Plaintiff nor any reasonable consumer when reviewing the label of the Products would know nor should know that Xanthan Gum is not natural, even though the Defendants include it on the reverse ingredients list of the Products,” the complaint states.

The proposed nationwide class action seeks to represent anyone who purchased Annie’s Naturals products “for personal, household, or family purposes” since 2011.

Campbell Johnson is requesting, among other things, an award for general, special, and punitive damages, and court costs. She is also asking the court to grant an order mandating within thirty days from filing of this complaint, Annie’s and General Mills rectify these alleged deceptive advertising practices, otherwise she will amend the proposed class action lawsuit to include damages for deceptive practices under California Civil Code.

This is not the first complaint filed against Annie’s Naturals. In May 2017, the company was hit with a similar false labeling class action lawsuit. This case, also filed in California federal court, alleges that Annie’s Naturals misrepresents that their dressings are “natural” despite knowing their products contain at least one (and sometimes more than one) ingredient that is highly chemically processed. The plaintiffs in this case assert that Annie’s Naturals purposely mislabels this line of salad dressings to capitalize on consumers who are willing to pay a premium for products labeled and advertised as natural.

Campbell Johnson is represented by John W. Davis of The Law Office of John W. Davis and Charles M. Thompson of Charles M. Thompson PC.

The Annie’s Naturals Salad Dressing False Advertising Class Action Lawsuit is Janell Johnson Campbell et al. v. Annie’s Homegrown, Inc. and General Mills, Inc., Case No. 3:17-cv-07288 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.