Articles Posted in Product Liability

photo - Whole FoodsOne explanation why the supermarket chain nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” has such high prices is illegal practices. Whole Foods will pay about $800,000 in penalties and fees after an investigation found the grocery retailer was overcharging California customers in violation of state false advertising and unfair competition laws, according to USA Today.

Business owners would be wise to resist the temptation to break these laws to try to pad profit margins. California’s false advertising law prohibits any statement made in connection with the sale or dissemination of goods or services that the maker knew or should have known to be false or misleading.

State and local inspectors found that at Whole Food stores,

709119_tachometerThe Orange County District Attorney, Tony Rackauckas, announced that Toyota will pay $16 million dollars in settlement for concealing the facts during a recent recall in violation of California Consumer Protection Laws. In 2010, Rackauckas filed a lawsuit against Toyota for fraudulent business practices and sought $2,500 for each violation. Subsequently, Rackauckas retained the Orange County law firm Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson, to litigate the matter on a contingency basis.  Many speculate that this may be the first time a County District Attorney has filed a civil suit against an automaker.

In the 2010 lawsuit filed against Toyota, Rackauckas alleged that:

  • Toyota knowingly sold defective vehicles that accelerate suddenly;
  • These defective vehicles were sold to Californians over last several years before the recall;
  • Toyota knew about the issue of unintended sudden acceleration caused by the floor mat and the “sticky” gas paddle, but failed to disclose;
  • Toyota made a business decision to sell or lease defective vehicles in California instead of recalling them;
  • Toyota took affirmative steps to hide defects in the cars they sold; and
  • California consumers did not know about the defects, and they were harmed by Toyota’s action, as the value of their vehicles is significantly reduced because of the defect.

Now, three years after Rackauckas filed the lawsuit, it has been settled for a total of $16 million. Distribution of the settlement will be as follows: $8 million will be distributed to the Orange County Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership; $4 million will fund the Orange County DA’s effort to fight economic crimes; and the remaining $4 million will go toward paying the court costs and fees of the outside counsel retained by Rackauckas to handle this litigation.

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