Young California Startup Logging its 3rd Class Action Lawsuit

Young California Startup Logging its 3rd Class Action Lawsuit.jpg

A San Francisco, California startup in its early years is logging its third lawsuit. The shopping service, particularly popular with busy, urban professionals, has been repeatedly vilified by some of its own service workers. The company is planning to finalize a $4.6 million settlement in January 2018 to resolve the issues. The California class action overtime lawsuit was filed by employees and independent contractors of Maplebear Inc. (dba Instacart). 

The proposed settlement will resolve issues for which plaintiffs seek resolution including angst over numerous allegations. 

Allegations Made by Plaintiffs Against Maplebear, Inc. (dba Instacart):

  • Service Fee Assumed by Consumers to be a Built-In Tip for Drivers
  • Workers Collecting Earnings Translating to as Low as $1 Per Hour

Many users of the Instacart service assumed the service fee automatically added to their orders was a built-in tip for drivers, but it wasn’t. Some Instacart workers collected earnings that, after all was said and done, translated to a measly $1/hour. An amount that falls far short of legal minimum wage requirements per laws recognized by the State of California, as well as potential violations of federal overtime laws. 

Instacart was started by Apoorva Mehta, a Canadian and alma mater of the University of Waterloo who spent years working for tech companies such as Blackberry, Qualcomm and before deciding to move on and try his luck at start ups. Instacart was his 21st startup idea. It was aimed at busy, tech-savvy professionals that would benefit from an on-demand grocery shopping platform. The idea quickly gained traction. Orders were placed through the app in a similar fashion to order a car on Uber or Lyft. Instacart had both employees and independent contractors working as “shoppers” who filled orders and delivered them to customers. 

In 2015, Instacart was hit by a class action lawsuit due to misclassification of workers. Eventually, Instacart converted its workforce making most of their shoppers part-time employees with a small number qualifying for benefits. As of today, the startup has 300 full-time employees and tens of thousands of part-time shoppers. 

The company was hit by another class action in 2016, Husting et al. v. Maplebear, Inc. d/b/a Instacart. 

In February of 2017, the company faced another class action lawsuit due to alleged wage and hour violations. 

If you have questions about how to file a class action lawsuit or if you aren’t sure if you qualify for class certification, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.

California Class Action Lawsuit Claims California Wineries are Lacing Products with Arsenic

April 8, 2015 -Many California wine lovers may be eyeing their favorite local wines with a more suspicious eye after recent accusations that 28 different California wineries are generating arsenic-laced products for the public. The class action lawsuit against the low-cost winemakers was filed earlier this month alleging that they were selling wines containing high levels of a known carcinogen: inorganic arsenic.

This alleged action would be in violation of California state law in which it prohibits knowingly producing, marketing and selling wine contaminated with arsenic. The 28 wineries are also accused of failing to provide consumers with a warning of the potential danger of their products. This is also a violation of California state law.

If you’re wondering if you harbor any of the potential offenders in your own wine collection you may want to be aware of the following brands of wineries included in the lawsuit: Glen Ellen, Beringer, Charles Shaw, and Sutter Home. In the lawsuit, it states that there was an independent testing completed by BeverageGrades out of Denver, Colorado. The lab completed tests for 1,306 different wines with 83 of them with “elevated” arsenic levels. The tests were initially completed in order to determine what the wines were “made of,” but after results were received they could only be described as very disturbing.

The Wine Institute, as a representative of over 1,000 wineries, responded to accusations saying that the allegations were “false and misleading.” They continued their statement to define arsenic as a natural element in the environment all around us: in our air, water, food and soil. Wines, as an agricultural product, will naturally contain trace amounts of arsenic (as do juices, vegetables, grains, etc.) They also stressed that there is no valid research that shows that the trace amounts of arsenic found in agricultural products such as wine pose a health risk for consumers. 

The lawsuit does not request specific financial recompense. Instead it seeks civil penalties and damages. For additional information on southern California class action lawsuits contact Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik