Lumber Liquidators settles fraud charges

Lumber Liquidators settles fraud charges

March 13th, 2019 by Staff and wire reports in Business Around the Region

Lumber Liquidators will pay $33 million to settle fraud charges by federal authorities who accused the company of falsely saying its Chinese-made laminate flooring met formaldehyde emissions standards.

The company, based in Toano, Virginia, is one of the biggest retailers of flooring products in the U.S. Its settlements of criminal and civil fraud charges, related to statements it made in 2015, were announced Tuesday by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Under an agreement, the Justice Department will defer prosecution of Lumber Liquidators and dismiss the charges after three years on condition the company takes remedial actions.

CEO Dennis Knowles said in a prepared statement the company has made sweeping changes "and will continue to take steps with the new executive team to better Lumber Liquidators."


Blue Cross plans share leadership

Two Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers on both U.S. coasts will invest jointly in high-cost management technology and share insights into improving health care in a long-term agreement that will leave the companies as separate entities.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and Portland, Oregon-based Cambia Health Solutions said Tuesday that they will share top executives but will keep separate their assets and insurance policies. Cambia's new board will be mixed.

Blue Cross NC CEO Patrick Conway will also become Cambia's CEO. He says in an interview the companies will pool investments in information technology and data analytics.

The two not-for-profit companies insure more than 6 million people in North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Idaho and Washington. The companies' policies and pricing will remain regulated in their separate operating states.

The Chattanooga-based BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is a separate plan and is not affected by the joint investments by the other Blues' plans.


Nissan lays off 381 at Mississippi plant

CANTON, Miss. — Nissan Motor Co. says fewer contract workers than previously announced were laid off from its Mississippi plant.

The company tells Mississippi officials that it cut 381 contractors on Friday, after reducing production of vans and trucks at the Canton plant. No direct Nissan employees were laid off.

While Nissan projected as many as 700 layoffs, spokeswoman Lloryn Love-Carter says fewer were necessary. Some workers quit on their own and others took buyouts.

About 6,000 employees and contractors now work at Nissan, down from 6,400 in January.

Nissan cut production of NV passenger and cargo vans from two shifts to one on Jan. 25 and cut production of Titan and Frontier pickups from three shifts to two on Feb. 22.

The Japanese automaker is reducing North American production, citing low profits.


Eatery says Grubhub 'stole' on sham charges

A Philadelphia-area restaurant chain claims that Grubhub, the online food delivery and takeout platform, has "stolen" millions of dollars from small businesses by charging them for "sham telephone orders," according to a proposed class-action lawsuit.

The suit, filed in federal court by a pair of Tiffin Indian food restaurants, alleges that Grubhub has charged commissions for phone calls that did not generate food orders. The Tiffin chain, founded by Wharton MBA and ex-investment banker Munish Narula, argues that Grubhub's actions ate into their revenues for more than seven years.

Tiffin claims it's bringing the case on behalf of the roughly 80,000 restaurants that Grubhub works with across the country. The case is seeking unspecified damages and restitution. The lawsuit also wants a judge to bar Grubhub from charging businesses for customer calls that don't result in food orders.

Grubhub, which declined comment on Monday, filed a motion last week to send the case to arbitration. In court filings, the Chicago-based company has said it did not act deceptively nor breach its contracts with the two Tiffin eateries named as plaintiffs.