Stoll Berne, led by attorneys Keith Dubanevich, Tim DeJong, Keil Mueller, and Lydia Anderson-Dana has been appointed co-lead counsel along with Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP (BLB&G) on behalf lead plaintiff the State of Oregon by and through the Oregon State Treasurer and the Oregon Public Employee Retirement Board, on behalf of the Oregon Public Employee Retirement Fund (Oregon) in a securities class action against CenturyLink, Inc. and certain of its senior executives. The case involves claims pursuant to Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 arising out of false and misleading statements concerning the Company’s fraudulent billing practices from March 1, 2013 through July 12, 2017 (the Class Period).

During the Class Period, CenturyLink made a series of false and misleading statements, including that: its employees were subject to a strict code of ethics; that its sales and customer services personnel “promote[d] sales of services that [met] the needs of [CenturyLink’s] customers”; and that its “customers value[d] the convenience and price discounts associated with receiving multiple services through a single company.” The Company also reported strong revenue growth and sales, and represented that its financial condition was strong and growing.

In truth, CenturyLink incentivized unethical and unlawful behavior, including by allowing CenturyLink employees to add services, lines, and accounts for customers without their permission, resulting in millions of dollars in unauthorized charges to CenturyLink customers. Further, contrary to CenturyLink’s representations, the Company’s revenues and earnings growth were simply unsustainable because they were dependent upon improper and illegal conduct that subjected the Company to heightened regulatory scrutiny, governmental action, and significant fines and sanctions that could severely curtail its business.

Investors learned the true facts about the Company’s business practices and financial condition through a series of corrective disclosures. First, on June 16, 2017, Bloomberg reported that a former CenturyLink employee filed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that she was wrongfully terminated after notifying CenturyLink’s CEO about the Company’s improper sales practices, including secretly billing millions of dollars of unauthorized charges to CenturyLink customers. On June 19, 2017, Bloomberg reported that a consumer class action lawsuit against the Company had been filed on behalf of CenturyLink customers seeking up to billions of dollars in damages in connection with CenturyLink’s unlawful billing practices. Then, on July 12, 2017, the Minnesota Attorney General announced that it had filed a lawsuit against CenturyLink alleging violations of state consumer protection laws after a year-long investigation which provided extensive detail concerning CenturyLink’s billing misconduct. These revelations resulted in sharp declines in the prices of CenturyLink’s securities, causing investors to incur substantial losses.

In the wake of these disclosures, on June 21, 2017, the first of several securities class actions was filed against the Company. On October 20, 2017, Magistrate Judge H. L. Perez-Montes of the Western District of Louisiana consolidated the related securities class actions and appointed Oregon as Lead Plaintiff, and Stoll Berne and BLB&G as Co-Lead Counsel.

In February 2018, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred the consolidated actions to the District of Minnesota before the Honorable Michael J. Davis. On April 20, 2018, Judge Davis consolidated a subsequently-filed securities class action against CenturyLink under Oregon’s leadership. On June 25, 2018, Oregon filed a consolidated securities class action complaint. In July 2019, Judge Davis denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss. On September 14, 2020, Judge Davis certified the proposed class, appointed Oregon class representative, and appointed Stoll Berne class counsel along with Bernstein Litowitz.

RECENT NEWS
September 15, 2020, Bloomberg Law: CenturyLink Investors Get Class Status in Overbilling Litigation
Setpember 15, 2020, Retuers: CenturyLink Shareholders in ‘Cramming’ Lawsuit Can Proceed as Class

Stoll Berne is investigating claims on behalf of investors who lost money with financial advisor and broker Christopher (Chris) Sweistris. Mr. Sweistris, based in Redmond, Oregon, is affiliated with and registered through Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. Investors may have suffered losses because Mr. Sweistris and Berthel Fisher overconcentrated investor portfolios and made unsuitable investments in Business Development Companies (BDCs) that may not have been in the best interest of clients.

If you are a current or former customer of Christopher Sweistris or Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. and you lost money due to investment in BDCs, we are interested in speaking with you. Contact us for a free evaluation of your potential case using the form below or by emailing attorney Cody Berne directly.

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Cody Berne represented an individual investor whose investment advisor disregarded the client’s investment objectives and put the client’s retirement savings in a high fee, poor performing portfolio of stocks.

Cody Berne represented an elderly, retired investor in a FINRA proceeding to recover money lost in an unsuitable alternative investment.

Stoll Berne and Nick Kahl are investigating claims on behalf of customers who bought smart home hubs, products, and devices made by Wink, aka Wink Labs, Inc. This includes Wink Hub, Wink Hub 2, Wink Motion Sensor, Wink Door/Window Sensor, Wink Siren and Chime, and other products. Wink represented and promised customers that there was no subscription fee to use its products. In July 2020, Wink announced that it would start charging a monthly subscription fee. Customers who refused to pay are alleged to have had their access and use of Wink devices limited or cutoff.

If you purchased a Wink device prior to July 27, 2020 or paid a subscription fee to Wink at any time, we are interested in speaking with you. Please contact attorneys Josh Ross or Cody Berne or simply fill out our form below.

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In a securities fraud lawsuit, Lydia Anderson-Dana and Tim DeJong represented clients alleging their financial advisor misrepresented his credentials and lied to them about their investments. The firm obtained a $2.3 million default judgment against the financial advisor and his company on claims including securities fraud, breach of contract, elder abuse, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Stoll Berne is investigating LPL Financial (“LPL”) in connection with selling Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”), Business Development Companies (“BDCs”) and other alternative investments to individual investors and retirees.

The products we are investigating include: Cole Credit Property Trust II, Inc., Cole Credit Property Trust III, Inc., Cole Credit Property 1031 Exchange, Dividend Capital Total Realty, Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc., Medley Capital Corporation, Medley Management Inc., Northstar Healthcare, Sierra Income, Wells Real Estate Investment Trust II, Inc., W.P. Carey Corporate Property Associates, and funds from Blackstone Group, Inc. and Starwood Capital.

Some investments are illiquid, less liquid, or nontraded and include closed-end and interval funds. Investors are sometimes unable to trade or sell illiquid and less liquid investments. It is alleged that some alternative investments sold by LPL are highly leveraged, leaving investors vulnerable to market volatility and other factors that may not have been explained to them by LPL or an investment advisor.

Investment industry rules require that investments recommended by LPL and its brokers, representatives, and advisors be suitable for a customer. Alternative investments, including REITs and BDCs, may not be suitable for many investors. These investments sometimes charge high upfront commissions and ongoing fees. For more about suitability requirements, visit FINRA’s website at:
https://www.finra.org/rules-guidance/rulebooks/finra-rules/2111.

If you are a current or former customer of LPL and you lost money in an alternative investment, we are interested in speaking with you. Contact us for a free evaluation of your potential case using the form below or by emailing attorney Cody Berne directly.

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Obtained reversal of a federal district judge’s decision to dismiss an individual and class action complaint against a national auto insurer (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit).

Obtained an arbitration award for a California-based technology company and its patent law firm in a dispute with the company’s former litigation funder.

Won a federal jury trial on behalf of a health care provider accused of battery by a patient.

Won a federal bench trial on behalf of former police officers in an attorney-fee dispute with their previous lawyer. Recovered additional funds from the lawyer in a malpractice lawsuit for one of the former officers.

Obtained dismissal of civil Racketeering Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) claims based on the client’s state-law-compliant marijuana activities.

Stoll Berne is investigating claims involving Galen Kopman, a former broker and investment advisor who worked for LPL and Centarus. If you are a former client of Mr. Kopman or have information about his work as a broker and investment advisor, we would like to speak with you.

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Stoll Berne is investigating the impact on investors of COVID-19 and the resulting volatility in financial markets. With the end of a long bull market, many investors are now seeing evidence of mismanagement, fraud, or other investment misconduct in their accounts. Contact us if you think that you are the victim of mismanagement, fraud, or other financial misconduct.

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Stoll Berne is currently investigating claims on behalf of individual investors who may have lost money with Spokane-based financial advisor, Ronald Hannes of Woodbury Financial. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) was alerted and began investigating claims that Hannes allegedly misappropriated funds from a customer’s life insurance policy. FINRA has subsequently revoked his license. Through its investigation, Stoll Berne believes other former customers of Hannes may have been targeted as well.

Hannes’ was a financial advisor with the Spokane-based Woodbury Financial Services from 1994 through 2019 and he also held his own practices under the names Hannes Financial Services and Ronald W. Hannes & Associates.

If you were a client of Ronald Hannes or Woodbury Financial and you believe that you lost money, we are interested in speaking with you. Contact us for a free evaluation of your potential case using the form below or email attorney Josh Ross directly.

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Josh Ross represented the intended beneficiary of a trust after the trustee threatened to sell valuable property held by the trust.

Josh Ross and Nadia Dahab represented the trustee of a family trust facing claims of breach of duty and mismanagement of trust assets.

 

Josh Ross represented the co-Trustees of a family trust which held several million dollars of real estate assets defend against claims of breach of duty and fraud brought by a family member. The case successfully resolved at mediation following motion practice in court.

Josh Ross, Lydia Anderson-Dana, and Ben Leedy represent two of the majority owners and directors of the Alpenrose Dairy business and related family-held businesses. In September 2019, our clients prevailed at a five day injunction hearing, allowing the sale of certain operating assets to go forward.

Josh Ross represented a non-profit, rural power cooperative defend claims for adverse possession brought by neighbors, and relating to a parcel of property on which the client’s equipment operated.