New Federal Class Action Filed Against Mt. Gox Founder and Partner Bank (Mizuho)

A California citizen and former customer of the Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, filed a federal class action on Wednesday in relation to the approximate $400 million in customer currency that was lost by Mt. Gox.  Named defendants include Mark Karpeles, who is the former CEO of Mt. Gox KK, and sole owner of its parent company, Tibanne KK.  Also named as a defendant is Muzuho Bank.

By way of background, Mt. Gox was founded in 2009 and touted itself as a secure location to store and exchange Bitcoin.  In order to fund their accounts customers were permitted to wire money to Mizuho Bank, which operated as the banking partner of Mt. Gox.  After charging a transaction fee, Mizuho would then transfer funds to Mt. Gox, where an account would be funded in the name of the customer.  Customers could buy and sell Bitcoin and use Mt. Gox’s online wallet to store their cryptocurrency.  On February 24, 2014, the Mt. Gox website abruptly went offline.  The company claimed that it had been a victim of a malicious attack and theft, and that roughly $400m of customer funds had disappeared. 

The suit alleges that Karpeles controlled all aspects of Mt. Gox’s business, and that he knew as early as 2011 the security bugs existed and could be exploited.  The allegations against Mizuho are nuanced, but basically suggest that the bank knew of risks and regulatory scrutiny relating to Karpeles and Mt. Gox, but hid these concerns from customers in order to continue generating fees.  The suit indicates that Karpeles was arrested in Tokyo in September of 2015, charged with fraud and embezzlement, and that those charges remain pending.

The class action suit, Joseph Lack, v. Mizuho Bank, Ltd., 2:18-cv-00617-RGK-GJS, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.  It includes counts involving negligence, fraud and unjust enrichment.  Lack is represented by Rafey S. Balabanian and J. Aaron Lawson of Edelson PC in San Franciso.

The Smith Law Firm, LLC, is not representing any party in this case.  If you have any questions relating to your rights involving a class action or other matter, please don’t hesitate to call us at (314) 725-4400 or send us a message.

Smith Law Firm pursues large TCPA text message class action against 3 Day Blinds, LLC

The Smith Law Firm, LLC, continues to pursue damages and class certification in a federal class action against California-based 3 Day Blinds, LLC.  We filed the class action on October 27, 2017, on behalf of all individuals throughout the United States who received unwanted and unauthorized text messages from the company.  The messages advertised in-home design consultations, customized window treatments, and touted the 40-year business experience of 3 Day Blinds. 

Our complaint alleges that these advertisements violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. 227 et seq., which makes it unlawful to use an automatic telephone dialing system to deliver commercial text messages to individual cell phone numbers without prior express written consent.  Violations of the TCPA are not only annoying, but can lead to unwanted cellular usage charges and limit the ability of individuals to freely use their own cell phones.  In addition, illegal marketing of this nature can allow a company to gain an unfair competitive advantage over companies that elect to follow the law.

The complaint, pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in Case No. 4:17-cv-02836, seeks class certification and statutory damages of up to $1,500 per message. 

If you received an unwanted text message from 3 Day Blinds, LLC, or any other company, please send us a message or call us at (314) 725-4400.

Smith Law Firm Obtains Directed Verdict in Favor of Defendant Homeowner

On October 23, 2017, we obtained a directed verdict in favor of a grandmother in a suit filed by her grandson in the St. Louis County Circuit Court, Associate Division.  The grandson claimed that he entered into a verbal agreement with his grandmother to pay taxes on her residential property, perform renovations, and pay others to perform renovations.  He claimed that he paid these amounts and was therefore entitled to a lien.  After plaintiff's evidence we moved for a directed verdict, which was granted by the court.  The plaintiff's/grandson's claims were denied and our client was able to keep ownership of her house, free of any liens.  For more information please see Goodwin v. Spangler, Case No. 17SL-AC16624.

Why you should not use the Equifax website to determine whether your data was stolen

On September 7, 2017, individuals in Oregon filed a massive (impacting 143 million people) data breach class action against Equifax Inc.  The plaintiffs contend that Equifax did not protect consumer data, did not notify consumers in a timely manner when learning of a data breach, and that its executives executed personal sales of company stock prior to publicly disclosing the breach.  

Because Equifax is one of the three credit reporting agencies it probably already has a trove of your personal information.  This includes your social security number, credit card numbers, residential addresses, etc.  And this is true even if you didn’t directly or knowingly provide this information to Equifax. 

One of the things that Equifax did in response to the lawsuit was establish a website where consumers can presumably check to see whether their data was stolen.  Here is a screenshot of the company’s tweet with a link:

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 11.36.19 AM.png

This blog post should not be considered actual legal advice and you should always consult with an attorney prior to taking any action affecting your rights, but…

YOU SHOULD NOT CONDUCT THIS SEARCH.

Again, just to be clear: YOU SHOULD NOT CONDUCT THIS SEARCH.  Conducting the search by following that link requires that you agree to certain terms and conditions.  This includes a condition that you agree to waive your right to sue Equifax.  This is an absolutely terrible thing to do.  Equifax already has a duty to notify you of the breach regardless of whether you waive your right to sue.  There is no logical reason to agree to the arbitration clause in which you waive this right.  It is intended to impede your ability to participate in the class action.

Should you have any questions on this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to call our office at (314) 725-4400 or email us at neil@smithlawfirm.com.

What is the value of one healthy testicle? Pennsylvania jury answers that question.

A Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania jury awarded $870,000 to a man whose urologist removed the wrong testicle.  The man, fifty-four year old Steven Haines, had complained about testicular pain in one of the testicles for fifteen years and decided to proceed with removal surgery to alleviate the pain.  

His urologist, Dr. V. Spencer Long, performed the surgery, but removed the perfectly healthy testicle and failed to removed the problematic one.

Haines medical malpractice recovery includes $250,000 in punitive damages plus $630,000 in pain and suffering.  Haines' attorney suggested that even though his client deals with continued constant pain his client has not proceeded with removal of the remaining testicle because he faces a debilitating fear of the surgery.  Additionally, according to his attorney, if Haines loses the remaining testicle he faces a lifetime of testosterone treatment.