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Cases

Girard Gibbs represents a wide range of individual and business clients in cases involving consumer protection, personal injury, securities, antitrust, and employment laws. The firm has litigated cases against some of the world’s largest companies, and has earned a reputation for its skillful advocacy and impressive recoveries obtained on behalf of the firm’s clients.

Below is a listing of the cases we have successfully resolved, as well as the cases we are currently litigating. For more information about a particular case, or to discuss a potential new case with our attorneys, please complete the form to your right or call us toll-free at (866) 981-4800.

Summary

Girard Gibbs is currently investigating the impact on San Francisco renters of home sharing businesses such as AirBNB, VRBO and Roomorama that offer vacation housing to short-term renters. 

Girard Gibbs is investigating whether services like AirBNB have violated state and local laws and contributed to rent increases, housing shortages, and evictions.  

Home Sharing Decreases Housing Availability and Increases Rental Rates

News reports have indicated that online home sharing businesses violate San Francisco tenant, zoning, tax and other ordinances that prohibit short-term rentals. These reports suggest that such business operations have decreased the availability of affordable long-term rental units, and have also increased the prices of existing long-term rental housing throughout San Francisco.

Has your San Francisco rent been increased or Have you been forced to move?

If you live in the City of San Francisco and you’ve been forced to pay increased rent or move out due to substantial rent increases, or if you were evicted so that your apartment could be converted into a vacation rental, please contact one of our consumer attorneys today. Call us toll-free at (866) 981-4800, or fill out the form to the right for a free and confidential consultation.

Summary

Girard Gibbs is currently investigating a potential class action lawsuit against General Electric (GE) involving defects in GE’s Monogram refrigerators. Consumers have reported that their circuit boards (also called inverters) in their GE Monogram refrigerators have failed. Some consumers have had to replace their circuit boards multiple times. The part that consumers have reported as failing is WR55X10490/ WR49X10283, also called Embraco part number VCC3 1156 01 F 04.

GE Circuit boards fail: Refrigerators stop cooling

When a circuit board fails, the refrigerator will stop cooling. It can be expensive to replace a circuit board. Even if parts are covered under warranty, labor to have a technician replace the circuit board may not be covered. Consumers have also reported that they have had food spoil in their refrigerators, which can cost hundreds of dollars to replace.

Have you experienced a failure in your GE Monogram refrigerator? 

If your GE Monogram refrigerator has failed, or if you want to learn more about this investigation, contact our consumer lawyers for a free consultation by filling out the form to the right. 

Summary

Girard Gibbs is investigating consumer complaints that the dashboards on certain Toyota, Mazda, Nissan and Lexus vehicles melt, become sticky, and cast a glare on the windshield that makes it difficult for drivers to see. 

Sticky Dashboards Pose Safety Issues

In complaints posted on the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration website and other online forums, consumers describe the dashboard as becoming sticky and gooey, and coming off in chunks if touched. Consumers also complain that the melting dashboard creates a reflection or glare on the windshield that impedes their ability to see the road and their surroundings. 

Clarence Ditlow, the executive Director for the Center for Automotive Safety, has declared that the hundreds of consumer complaints about this problem indicate that the melting dashboards are a result of a “widespread defect” resulting from poor engineering. 

Even though the alleged melting makes it difficult for drivers to see, according to consumer complaints, vehicle manufacturers are not offering to repair the defect for free outside of warranty. The cost to repair the alleged defect can be hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Affected Vehicles

Consumers have complained about melting dashboards in several different models of vehicles, including:

  • Nissan Altima
  • Toyota Camry
  • Mazda 3
  • Lexus IS 250 and Lexus 350

The models that have received the most complaints on the NHTSA website are the 2007 Toyota Camry and 2008 Nissan Altima.

Melted, sticky dashboard in your Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, or Mazda?

If the dashboard in your vehicle is melting and sticky, or if you have already sought to repair your dashboard, speak to one of our auto defect lawyers today by filling out the form on the right. 

Summary

Girard Gibbs LLP represents various institutional shareholders of Safeway, Inc. in a class action lawsuit related to Cerberus Capital Management’s proposed acquisition of Safeway Inc.  The lawsuit has been filed in Delaware Court of Chancery against Safeway, its officers and directors, Cerberus and various Cerberus affiliates. 

Girard Gibbs filed a lawsuit on behalf of four U.S. and European institutional investors. All of the actions have been consolidated before Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster, who appointed Girard Gibbs to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee.

If you have questions concerning the lawsuit please call 866 981 4800 or fill out the Form to the Right.

Breach of Fiduciary Duties to Shareholders, alleged

On March 6, 2014, Safeway and Cerberus issued a joint press release announcing that Cerberus would acquire Safeway for an implied value of $40 per share.   Yet Safeway stockholders will only receive $32.50 per share in cash.  The balance of the purported value is actually a combination of a $3.95 per share distribution from the spinoff of Safeway’s partial ownership of Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc. that was planned prior to the merger announcement and will be distributed before the proposed merger is consummated, and an entirely speculative $3.65 per share distribution from potential future sales of certain non-core assets. 

In contrast, Safeway’s board and executives will benefit from immediate vesting of stock options, restricted share awards, performance share awards, or other monetary and non-monetary benefits not shared by stockholders.  The lawsuit alleges that Safeway’s board breached its fiduciary duties to stockholders by failing to obtain the highest possible value for the company.  

Flawed Acquisition Process, alleged

The lawsuit also alleges that the inadequately priced deal involves a flawed process that includes a number of onerous and preclusive deal protections that serve to deter competing bidders from offering a higher price.  In particular, the merger agreement includes an unusually short 21-day “go-shop” period that expired on March 27, 2014, during which time the Board could solicit superior proposals from third parties.  However, the definition of “Superior Proposal” in the merger agreement eviscerates any chance of a superior offer because a potential acquirer must top the illusory $40 valuation of the Proposed Merger consideration. Further, the merger agreement provides Cerberus with unlimited matching rights, so that a competing bidder can never force Cerberus to put a “best and final” offer on the table.

Improper Servance Plan Alleged

The Board also adopted an Executive Severance Plan on the eve of announcing the Cerberus deal, which would trigger potentially tens of millions of dollars in severance payments to Safeway’s senior management upon their qualifying termination.  The Executive Severance Plan has no impact on Cerberus, which has already announced that Safeway’s senior management will be employed in similar positions in the newly combined entity.  However, the Plan would have a substantial impact on strategic buyers who would want to replace executives and be forced to pay tens of millions of dollars in severance payments, thus serving as another improper deal protection favoring Cerberus.

Questions About the Safeway Adquisition Lawsuit? 

If you have any questions about the case, please call (866) 981-4800 or fill out the form to the right to receive email updates about the progress of the case.

Alleged Legal Violation(s)
Summary

Girard Gibbs LLP is representing clients who used the Fitbit Force™ Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband (known as the Force Wristband) and suffered injuries such as skin lesions, painful blisters, itchy and burning rashes, and permanent scarring.

Thousands of Force users in the United States have already reported experiencing such side effects after using the Force Wristband after a few weeks.

Fitbit, a California fitness technology company, released the Force Wristband in the United States in October 2013.  The Force Wristband is Fitbit’s latest fitness activity tracking device. The device is a plastic wristband that is worn around the user’s wrist 24/7 to track the user’s sleeping patterns, fitness activities, and the amount of calories burned in a day.

Fitbit Force Users Experience Lesions and Rashes

Around December 2013, many Force Wristband users, who had purchased the product hoping to improve their health, began reporting burning skin rashes where they had worn the wristband.  Users also complained that their rashes grew and blistered, are slow to heal, and have been told that they will have permanent scarring as a result.   

For instance, one user shared that her “rash developed after wearing it about a week.  I tried every OTC remedy . . . nothing would work.  Finally the rash looked really ugly and I went for medical care.”  The same user is also “not allergic to any metals, and have never experienced this before.”  

Another user reported:  “The itching and redness turned to blistering.  After the blisters broke the skin turned dry and scaly.  I believe this was a chemical burn caused by the battery leaking.  The recharging must have caused it to leak.  Since Fitbit support does not want to address this issue I guess I will have to report this to the Consumer Protection Agency.”

A different user described the injury as “a poison ivy burn/blister on my right wrist.  It was really swollen and nasty looking. . . it itches and looks like a bad burn on the right arm.”

Fitbit Claims Skin Problems are Allergic Reactions to Nickel

In January, Fitbit claimed that tests from an “independent lab have eliminated the possibility of a problem with the mechanical or electrical functioning of the device” and that Fitbit “consulted with medical professionals whose assessments are that these irritations are most likely common allergic reactions to nickel, a component of the surgical-grade steel used in the Fitbit Force.”  However, many Force Wristband users made clear that they have no known nickel allergies or any allergies at all.  Additionally, some people who had switched over to the Force Wristband after using the Fitbit Flex™ Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband, which like the Force has a “surgical-grade stainless steel clasp” that contains nickel, did not experience the same problems with the Flex.

The severity of some injured Force Wristband users has also grabbed the attention of media news outlets.  In a Huffington Post interview in January, Mike Townsend of River Falls, Wisconsin, said he developed a skin irritation after wearing the Force Wristband on his left wrist for about two to three weeks.  He thought the irritation was caused by bacteria, which Fitbit has said could accumulate in the Force Wristband.  However, after cleaning his Force Wristband, Townsend’s rash got worse, became painful and would “break and ooze or bleed” when scratched.

Fitbit Force Gets Recalled

On February 20, 2014, Fitbit finally recalled the Force Wristbands while maintaining that the side effects “were likely the result of allergic contact dermatitis.”   In March 2014, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) followed with an official recall of the Force Wristbands, making it illegal to sell or resell the device in the United States.  By this time, the CSPC had received over 10,000 complaints of negative skin reactions to the Force Wristband.

According to ABC News, the number of complaints may be much more than what the CPSC has received.  Fitbit has not given another explanation for these negative side effects, which have left some users worried about whether the skin reactions are a “carcinogenic reaction,” and whether the chemicals in the device can cause “breast cancer, birth defects, or long term debilitation.”

Potential Effects of the Force Wristbands Experienced by Users

·     Red blotches
·     Skin lesions
·     Rashes
·     Blisters
·     Scars
·     Burns
·     Skin redness
·     Pain
·     Peeling skin
·     Swelling

Did You Experience a Skin Sore, Rash, Blisters or Burns After Wearing the Force Wristband? Speak with a lawyer.

If you wore the Force Wristband and experienced a skin sore, rash, blisters or burns on the area of your skin that came into contact with the Force Wristband, or if you want to learn more about the lawsuit, please contact our consumer lawyers toll free at (866) 981-4800 or by filling out the form to the right.  All inquiries are free and confidential.

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