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Whistleblower: Wells Fargo Defrauded Mortgage Borrowers

Wells Fargo fraud

A former Wells Fargo banker has filed a lawsuit against the banking giant, accusing it of firing him in retaliation for standing up against an alleged practice of defrauding borrowers by blaming them for delays in processing mortgage applications that were the bank’s fault, then hitting them with the resulting fees. According to the Los Angeles Times, Mauricio Alaniz, a former banker at a Wells Fargo Beverly Hills unit, alleges in his federal lawsuit that the bank’s mortgage-processing and underwriting division was understaffed, resulting in chronic delays that weren’t the borrowers’ fault. Borrowers applying for mortgages are typically locked into ... Read More

Stuntman Killed On Set of The Walking Dead

Walking Dead - trailer screenshot, Flickr

A stuntman filming for AMC’s hit television show The Walking Dead died last week from injuries he suffered from a fall on the show’s set in Georgia. John Bernecker, 33, was flown to Atlanta Medical Center Wednesday, July 12, after falling more than 20 feet from a balcony on The Walking Dead set to a concrete floor below. He died at 6:30 p.m. the same day from blunt force trauma, including a head injury, Coweta County Coroner Richard Hawk said. The Walking Dead has been filmed in and around the town of Senoia, Georgia, just southwest of Atlanta, since it ... Read More

U.S. Joins Whistleblower Disabled-Housing Suit


The United States government announced it is joining a False Claims Act lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles filed by a whistleblower who accuses the city of failing to develop housing for the disabled despite accepting millions of dollars in federal funds earmarked for that purpose. The lawsuit, filed by wheelchair user Mei Ling, alleges Los Angeles and the CRA/LA (previously known as the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles) falsely certified they complied with federal accessibility laws while accepting housing grants from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To receive the federal ... Read More

Experts in CA trial can testify that talc causes cancer

talc justice

Decisions are still being made prior to plaintiff Eva Echeverria’s trial beginning in California, the first talc case against Johnson and Johnson to be tried in the state. The suit was scheduled to go to trial on July 10, but this week Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson has still been holding hearings that will impact the future of the trial. According to Law360, on Monday, Judge Nelson reversed a tentative ruling she had written the week before saying that she would partially deny co-defendant Imerys Talc America’s motion for summary judgment. Instead she dismissed Echeverria’s claims against the ... Read More

First California talc trial scheduled to start today

talc justice

Today the first California talc trial is scheduled to begin in Los Angeles Superior Court. Plaintiff Eva Echeverria’s suit was chosen as the first of hundreds filed in the state and consolidated into a complex litigation to go to trial because Echeverria, who has ovarian cancer, has been diagnosed with only six months to live. She alleges that her cancer was caused by years of using Johnson and Johnson’s talc products, such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower according to instructions for feminine hygiene. Besides Johnson and Johnson, also named as a defendant in the lawsuit is Imerys ... Read More

California talc ovarian cancer trial scheduled for July 10

talc justice

According to Law360, the first California talc trial is scheduled for July 10. Plaintiff Eva Echeverria is one of hundreds of women who have filed complaints in Los Angeles Superior Court against Johnson and Johnson and Imerys Talc America. Similar suits filed all across the country allege that talc, when used for feminine hygiene, can travel through the female reproductive system and cause ovarian cancer. The suits also allege that J&J and Imerys have been aware of studies linking talc to ovarian cancer for decades but, rather than warn consumers, they tried to deny and suppress the risk. Echeverria alleges ... Read More

Toxicology expert testifies talc is ‘toxic’

talc ovarian cancer

Before the first California talc trial, which is scheduled to begin on July 10, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maren E. Nelson is conducting a Sargon hearing, originating from the California Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling in Sargon Enterprises Inc. v. University of Southern California, “which held that trial courts must evaluate whether proposed expert testimony has sufficient scientific backing,” according to Law360. Similar to the Daubert standard in federal court, the judge is responsible to be the “gatekeeper” determining the admissibility of scientific expert testimony. The Sargon hearing began on Monday June 26 and Law360 reports that on Tuesday Judge Nelson ... Read More

Nissan brakes blamed in collision deaths

Nissan Infiniti QX56 - Wikimedia Commons

A Nissan’s alleged brake failure is being blamed for the death of a woman and her two young children after their vehicle was struck by an SUV. At a Hollywood intersection in 2012 in Los Angeles, California, a 74-year-old man named Solomon Mathenge crashed into the side of a minivan, killing the female driver and her two daughters, ages 4 and 6. One surviving daughter had been dropped off at school earlier that morning, CVN online reports. At first, Mathenge, who was also critically injured in the crash, was charged with manslaughter for the deaths of Hilario Cruz’s wife and children. Now, ... Read More

Watchdogs: Playa del Rey oil field poses benzene risk

oil spill shutterstock_522590350

Food & Water Watch says that greed keeps Playa del Rey open. The oil field is the site of one of three gas storage facilities in Los Angeles County, California. The Santa Monica Observer reports that concerns over leakage from the storage field has been a thorn in the side of Food & Water Watch, Ballona Institute, and some of the members of the Los Angeles City Council, namely Mike Bonin of CD11 and Paul Koretz of CD5. Every one of them are calling for a shut-down for two reasons: health and safety, and lessening climate impact. Although the Playa del Rey facility is the smallest of the ... Read More

Talc jury hears J&J marketed to minorities

talc justice

In the sixth Missouri talc trial, Johnson and Johnson is being accused of intentionally marketing its talc products to minority women in order to boost flagging sales when it was allegedly aware that these products were associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. In particular, studies have found that African-American women have an even greater risk of developing ovarian cancer with genital talc use. R. Allen Smith of the Mississippi-based Smith Law Firm, is an attorney for the three plaintiffs representing women who died of ovarian cancer.  He said of Johnson and Johnson in opening arguments, according to Courtroom View Network, ... Read More