- Tassinari v. The Salvation Army et al. (2020)
Justice Catalyst Law and the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center filed a federal class action lawsuit challenging The Salvation Army’s discriminatory and outdated policy and practice of denying services in its Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARCs) to individuals who receive evidence based medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid-use disorder (OUD). The Salvation Army’s ARCs are a nationwide network of over 100 programs and services geared at individuals with substance use disorders, including OUD. The program receives thousands of participants in the “no-fee” program from court referrals, diversionary programs, prison, and probation, making it one of the largest rehabilitation providers in the country. The Boston Globe and Filter Magazine wrote about our work here and here.
- Brooks et al. v. Thomson Reuters Corp (2020)
Justice Catalyst Law, along with Gibbs Law Group LLP, Gupta Wessler PLLC, and Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, represent plaintiffs in a proposed class action alleging that Thomson Reuters’ CLEAR database unfairly profits off the sale of plaintiffs’ identities without their consent, in violation of California law. See coverage of our case on The Washington Post and Surveillance Today.
- Fraser v. Team Health Holdings, et al. (2020)
Justice Catalyst Law filed a class action against the largest healthcare staffing company in the country, TeamHealth, alleging that it systemically inflates medical bills sent to patients around the country. Millions of people are saddled with medical debt every year and medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. This lawsuit alleges that TeamHealth contributes to the medical debt crisis by billing more than it can legally collect in court, a form of mail and wire fraud that is prohibited by the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). JCL is co-counsel in this case with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, a top class-action litigation firm.
- Fusion Elite All Stars v. Varsity Brands et al. (2020)
Justice Catalyst Law alongside Berger Montague, Labaton Sucharow LLP, and Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, represent Fusion Elite All Stars and a proposed class of All-Star cheerleading gyms in an antitrust class action lawsuit against Varsity Brands and the U.S. All Star Federation (USASF). The suit alleges that Varsity has violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by gobbling up its rivals in the All-Star cheer business to gain market dominance, and then using that market dominance in producing events and selling specialized apparel to erect a moat that protects its lucrative businesses from free and fair competition. The American Economic Liberties Project wrote about us here.
- Albert, et al. v. GTL, et al. (2020)
On behalf of families of prisoners, Justice Catalyst Law and co-counsel filed a class action lawsuit against Global Tel*Link Corp. (“GTL”), Securus Technologies, LLC (“Securus”), and 3Cinteractive Corp. (“3CI”) alleging they have charged unlawfully inflated prices for collect calls made by incarcerated individuals in jails and prisons throughout the United States. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that those defendants secretly fixed inflated prices for calls between prisoners and their family members, friends, attorneys, and others, while also repeatedly lying to local governments and their own customers about the costs of those calls in order to charge the inflated prices.
- Bodor v. Maximus Federal Services, Inc. (2020)
The National Consumer Law Center, Justice Catalyst Law, and Flitter Milz, P.C. filed a class action lawsuit against Maximus Federal Services, Inc. (Maximus), alleging that the company is engaging in illegal collection activity against thousands of federal student loan borrowers who submitted Borrower Defense to repayment claims to the U.S. Department of Education. Maximus unlawfully continued to process wage garnishments, tax refund offsets, and Social Security offsets against Plaintiff Jaimaria Bodor and other members of the prospective class, when Maximus was supposed to cease all collection activity during the pendency of the plaintiffs’ Borrower Defense applications.
- Orage v. Amway Corp. (2020)
Justice Catalyst Law, Towards Justice, and Leonard Carder LLP filed suit against Amway for failing to provide its so-called “independent business owners” minimum wage and other workers’ rights. The case was filed under California’s Private Attorney General Act, claiming that Amway misclassified IBOs as independent contractors instead of employees under California law. See coverage of our case on Bloomberg.com.
- In re California Bail Bond Antitrust Litigation (2019)
In a first-of-its-kind class action lawsuit filed in federal court, Justice Catalyst Law, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, Public Counsel, the National Consumer Law Center, and Towards Justice allege that an antitrust conspiracy has fixed the prices of the premiums paid for commercial bail bonds since at least 2004. The LA Times wrote about the case here.
- Moerhl v National Association Realtors (2019)
Justice Catalyst Law, alongside Cohen Milstein, Hagens Berman, Handley Farah & Anderson, Wright Marsh & Levy, and Teske Katz, filed a putative class action against the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and four national real estate brokerages for conspiring to require home sellers to pay for buyers’ brokers at an inflated commission well above a competitive level in violation of federal antitrust law. The suit alleges that the defendants’ conspiracy has centered around NAR’s adoption and implementation of a mandatory rule that requires all brokers to make a blanket, non-negotiable offer of buyer broker compensation when listing a property on a MLS. Read the news coverage here: Forbes, Fox Business [watch].
- Robinson v. National Student Clearinghouse (2019)
Justice Catalyst Law, in partnership with Francis & Mailman, P.C., and the National Consumer Law Center, filed a class action lawsuit against the National Student Clearinghouse (“NSC”) in the United States Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The suit alleges that NSC maintains vast databases housing detailed information about college students and their college enrollment history from which it sells reports to potential creditors, insurers and employers among others. As such, the complaint asserts that NSC is a credit reporting agency under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Massachusetts Credit Reporting Act and that it has violated those statutes by requiring unlawful and excessive charges for consumers to access their files.
- Peña v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2019)
Justice Catalyst is co-counsel on a landmark case alleging that Wells Fargo unlawfully discriminated against DACA recipients by refusing to give them auto loans, regardless of their creditworthiness or ability to otherwise satisfy the bank’s underwriting criteria. In addition, the complaint alleges that Wells Fargo pulled credit reports for the DACA recipients who applied for loans — even though it knew based on its discriminatory policy that it would never give them a loan — an alleged violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
- Philadelphia Affirmative Litigation Project (2018 – 2019)
Justice Catalyst Law’s Legal Fellow, Laura Dismore, collaborated with the Homeownership and Consumer Rights Unit at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia on an affirmative litigation project. Working on behalf of low-income homeowners, the team brings mortgage servicers and lenders to justice for their violations of state and federal law.
Guides & Letters
Mercola – Illegal and Deceptive COVID-19 Cures (2020-2021)
Justice Catalyst Law, in cooperation with Center for Science in the Public Interest and People’s Parity Project, wrote the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, urging them to bring enforcement proceedings against Joseph Mercola and his companies for marketing supplements using illegal and deceptive claims that the products could treat, cure or prevent COVID-19.
Joseph Mercola is an osteopath who is one of the leading voices of the anti-vaccine disinformation campaign in the United States. A recent report found that almost two-thirds of the anti-vaccine content circulating on leading social media sites is generated by just 12 individuals and organizations, one of whom is Mercola. Among other things, Mercola has claimed that vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium and other supplements and devices he sells can prevent, treat or cure COVID-19.
On February 18, 2021, the FDA issued a warning letter to Mercola finding that his websites and social media site marketed unapproved new drugs in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and ordered him to take corrective action within 48 hours. In May 2021, Mercola announced that he would take down the offensive materials.
Letter IRS: Non-Profit Hospitals Violationg their “Charity Care” Procedures (2020)
Justice Catalyst Law and the National Consumer Law Center submitted a letter complaint to the Internal Revenue Service, stating that non-profit hospitals were violating their obligations under the Internal Revenue Code by outsourcing their emergency rooms to for-profit entities who did not offer free and reduced care (sometimes called “charity care”) to qualified individuals.
Our letter identified three large hospitals in the United States who appeared to be violating their charity care obligations, which the IRS is required to act on and report to Congress. This practice is part of a larger trend in health care of hospitals outsourcing their care to entities that do not contract with insurers, and which result in patients receiving exorbitant surprise bills in addition to their hospital bill.
After we submitted our letter, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representatives Katie Porter and Lloyd Doggett submitted a letter in support of our petition, urging the IRS to take action on this issue.
Letter to the Colorado Motor Vehicle Dealer Board (2019)
Justice Catalyst Law and a coalition of nonprofit consumer-advocacy and public-interest organizations submitted a letter to the Colorado Motor Vehicle Dealer Board demanding that the board take action to cease an abusive tactic employed by the Colorado auto dealer industry. In particular, the letter addresses “yo-yo” clauses, which dealers use to sell a car conditioned on obtaining financing, and then when financing falls through, apply leverage to impose worse financing terms or extract fees for use of the car if consumers decide to return it.
OnLabor: “Protecting Worker Power with Antitrust” (2018-2019)
In December 2018, Justice Catalyst Law, Towards Justice and Professor Eric Posner submitted a comment to the Federal Trade Commission urging it to begin a rulemaking procedure to determine when noncompete agreements amount to unfair methods of competition. Among the issues we urged the FTC to address were no-poach and non-hire agreements, outsourcing practices that diminish worker power, merger reviews where market compensation can harm workers, and heightened scrutiny of unfair labor practices where employers have market power.
Justice Catalyst Law’s Litigation Director Brian Shearer and Towards Justice’s David Seligman also published an OnLabor blog post on protecting worker power with antitrust law. Shearer and Seligman argued that antitrust laws are a powerful, yet underused, tool for building labor market power.
Local Action, National Impact: A Practical Guide to Affirmative Litigation for Local Governments (2019)
Justice Catalyst released Local Action, National Impact: A Practical Guide to Affirmative Litigation for Local Governments, a guide created in partnership with Public Rights Project, the Office of San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, and the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project at Yale Law School. The guide presents a bold vision that local governments can — and should — proactively protect the legal rights of their communities.
Letter to the National Association of Forensic Economics (2019)
Justice Catalyst Law, in partnership with 15 other organizations, sent a letter to the National Association of Forensic Economics to demand that they take action to stop economists from using race and gender to discriminate against women and people of color when calculating damages.
Bloomberg ran an op-ed written by Lisa Cyclar Barrett at NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund and Dariely Rodriguez at Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights about the letter.
The Whistleblower Guides (2018)
The Government Accountability Project (GAP), in collaboration with Justice Catalyst, released three “Whistleblower Guides,” designed to help journalists and public interest organizations as they work with whistleblowers safely and effectively speak up in the face of serious abuses of scientific integrity and public trust.
Unrigging the Market: Convening to Restore Competitive Labor Markets (2018)
Justice Catalyst served as a co-host and partner for the convening, “Unrigging the Market,” at Harvard Law School. A diverse group of stakeholders including economists, law professors, private and public practitioners, advocates, and policymakers convened to explore how anticompetitive forces are harming American labor markets and workers. Participants discussed opportunities for coordinated research, enforcement, and policymaking to enhance labor market competition and protect workers. A written piece that came out of the conversations at the convening on how to advance labor market competition can be read here: Ten Steps Toward a More Competitive Labor Market.