Major Universities Face Class Action Suits Over Lack of Tuition Refunds

As the coronavirus pandemic swept across the United States, many universities closed their campuses to students.  These actions were an appropriate response to the necessity of social distancing and limiting large gatherings.  The result of these actions was that students found themselves in the lurch for the remainder of the spring semester.  Most schools transitioned their student bodies to online instruction, hoping to offer a facsimile of the on-campus experience.  However, many students have found these offerings lacking when compared to the on-campus experience.

Students, many of whom paid tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and other associated fees, found themselves hoping for a reasonable refund since the schools were no longer providing the services they paid for.  Unfortunately, many universities have provided inadequate relief, arguing that the (often hastily assembled) online learning experience has been comparable.  Many students find this difficult to accept, particularly those whose fields of study rely heavily on in-person instructions in labs and studios.  The same education is simply not possible when done online.

As a result of this failure to provide refunds for tuition and fees, a number of universities (including Loyola University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Miami, and Drexel University) have found themselves as named Defendants in class action lawsuits seeking fair and reasonable refunds for the affected students.

If you or someone you know was enrolled in a college or university for on-campus instruction in the Spring 2020 semester and were forced to settle for online education and would like to explore your legal options for getting a refund of tuition and other associated fees, we want to hear from you!  Please contact us at investigation@andersonwanca.com or by phone at 855-827-2329 for a free, no obligation consultation.  Anderson + Wanca is a leading consumer protection law firm and we are here to help ensure that your rights are protected during this challenging time.

Business Interruption Insurance and the Coronavirus

Do you own a bar, restaurant, or other business that was closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic AND you filed a claim with your insurance company for resultant losses AND you had that claim denied?  If so, we want to hear from you!

Anderson + Wanca is a law firm fighting to protect the rights of victims of insurer misconduct. We are at the forefront of efforts to recover for those who have been wrongfully undercompensated by insurers. And we are now launching an investigation into whether insurance companies are denying valid claims for losses suffered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  We can help YOU recover financial compensation that was improperly denied.

As the world has seen heroic responses from first responders in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, one set of “last responders” has perhaps run afoul of the law.  Insurance companies often stylize themselves as “financial first responders” and there is no doubt they can play an important role in helping businesses recover from catastrophe.  However, some insurance companies may be trying to take unfair advantage of people in these difficult times by underpaying or failing to pay entirely claims for losses suffered during the national emergency.

Several restaurants have filed suit in state courts, alleging that their insurers improperly denied their claims for compensation under the terms of their “business interruption insurance” coverage.  Business interruption insurance is a type of insurance that covers the loss of income and expenses that a business suffers after a disastrous event. The covered loss may be due to a closing of the business or due to a rebuilding process after a disaster. With stay at home orders becoming more and more common and numerous state and local governments imposing restrictions that lead to the closure of restaurants and with other businesses deemed to be non-essential, many people are turning to their insurance companies seeking the business interruption coverage that they believe they’ve paid for.  It appears that some insurance companies are denying these claims, exacerbating an already difficult situation for the people they agreed to protect.

If you have had a claim denied under your business interruption coverage, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more about how we can help, please contact us at insurance@andersonwanca.com for a FREE consultation—no pressure, no hassle, no obligation—just a friendly conversation.  We will need to see a copy of your insurance policy and a copy of the denial letter from your insurer.  We will review your documents and confer with you to help you determine if you have a claim and address your legal options.  Remember, there is never any financial obligation to us on your part.  We are paid by the defendant for successfully prosecuted cases and we are on your side!

Can Your Trust Your Children’s Toys?

FTC headquarters in Washington, D.C.

With advances in voice recognition and machine learning, we see an increasing number of products that implement some form of vocal interaction. Popular ones include Google Home and Amazon Echo, as well as smaller digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. Recently, companies such as Mattel have developed toys with voice interaction features for children, such as the Hello Barbie doll. However, with increases in artificial intelligence come increases in data collection, and with increases in data collection come increases in privacy concerns.

Parents and privacy advocates alike expressed concern over Hello Barbie’s potential to store records of intimate conversations. Concerns intensified when it was reported that the toy was susceptible to remote hacking through wireless networks. The latest companies under fire are Chinese-based toy manufacturer Genesis Toys and US software tech company Nuance Communications. In December 2016, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), along with the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the Consumers Union have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about legal concerns relating to privacy in two toys, My Friend Cayla and i-Que Intelligent Robot, designed by Genesis with software written by Nuance. The complaint alleges that the companies violate a 1998 law, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), due to deceptive data collection without proper notice or parental consent.

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Facebook, Biometric Data, and Class Action

Most Facebook users have encountered a key feature of the social media service when uploading photos: suggested tags based on facial recognition (“Tag Suggestions”). This feature has remained unchallenged until recently, when a class-action lawsuit was filed against the tech giant, claiming that key elements of this feature violate Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), a law enacted in 2008. The law, which was originally drafted by Illinois’ ACLU chapter, states that private entities collecting biometric information (defined as “a retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or scan of hand or face geometry”) must provide public information about their data retention policy as well as guidelines for data destruction. BIPA also prevents companies from selling or trading such information, and requires that they protect such data as they would other confidential or sensitive information.

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No Value in McDonald’s Extra Value Meal

McDonald's in Chicago

Des Plaines resident James Gertie has filed a class-action suit against McDonald’s and the local Karis Management company, which owns and operates multiple Chicago-area McDonald’s restaurants. The suit alleges consumer fraud and deceptive practices, claiming that the franchise’s menu contains false advertising.

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