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March 2013 Archives

GameStop Faces A Wage and Hour Class Action Lawsuit

Gamestop, the self-proclaimed, " world's largest video game retailer with over 6600 stores in 15 countries worldwide and online, "  is facing a wage and hour class action lawsuit following allegations that systematically neglected to pay their employees for all hours worked.  (Case No. 37-2012-00098353-CU-OE-CTL)

A text message marketing company investigated by the FTC for allegedly sending millions of illegal spam text messages

A text message marketing company investigated by the FTC for allegedly sending millions of illegal spam text messages to consumers is banned from sending any unsolicited text messages, under a settlement agreement entered by a federal court.

Game Theory LLC investigated for sending unsolicited spam text messages to consumers

Game Theory LLC, a mobile-content corporation based in San Jose, California was investigated  for sending unsolicited spam text messages to consumers and then tricking them into signing up for costly texting services. Game Theory has agreed to correct its business practices and pay $500,000 in penalties for deceptive and fraudulent advertising of its premium text message service.

$7 Million Dollar Settlement Reached After Woman Is Injured By An Automatic Door At Target

Target Corporation, as well as a mechanical door manufacturer, have agreed to pay $7 million to an elderly woman injured when an automatic door at the Target store malfunctioned and knocked her down causing a brain injury.

A jury awarded a woman $23.4 million against Ford Motor Co.

Cynthia Castillo, 38, was driving her Ford Explorer on Interstate 15 in Riverside County, California when the tread separated on the left rear tire. The rear end of the Explorer fishtailed, causing it to veer right and off the interstate.  The Ford then rolled over several times and struck a tree. Castillo sustained serious injuries in the accident resulting in her becoming a quadriplegic and requiring a motorized wheelchair.

Outback Steakhouse will pay $65,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit

Outback Steakhouse must pay $65,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of an employee with who had suffered a traumatic brain injury. Disability discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Security Guards Awarded $90 million in overtime class action lawsuit

American Commercial Security Services was ordered to pay 15,000 security guards $90 million in an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit.  According to the lawsuit security guards were required to be "on duty" during rest breaks, in direct violation of California Labor Code sec. 226.7 which states the following:

$105 million awarded to Starbuck's baristas in tip-sharing class action lawsuit

Jou Chau  a former LaJolla, California Starbucks barista alleged that Starbucks supervisors were illegally forcing baristas to share tips with them since October 2000.  In court, California Superior Court Judge Patricia Y. Cowett ruled that Starbucks must provide restitution, with interest, of over $100 million to approximately 100,000 former and current Starbucks baristas who worked in California stores dating back to October 2000. She also granted an injunction prohibiting Starbucks from giving supervisors a share of the tips.

Two lesbian LAPD officers awarded $1.25 million following allegations of sexual harassment

Openly gay Los Angeles Police Department officers Linda Gotham and Lynn Whitey, who were both assigned to the Van Nuys division of the L.A.P.D.  claimed that on several occasions, their supervisor Sergeant Randy Hoffmaster made vulgar sexual comments and propositions.  These allegations were followed by a lawsuit and investigation resulting in $1.25 million payout to avoid a trial. In addition, Sergeant Randy Hoffmaster has reportedly resigned.

Employment Laws That Protect Whistleblowers

If you have witnessed illegal or unsafe conduct in your place of employment, but were afraid to report it to the authorities because you were worried you might lose your job, you should know that there are state and federal laws designed to protect you from retaliation by your employer.  For example, the federal law known as "Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002" prohibits retaliation against employees of publicly-traded companies who report to the government or their supervisor reasonable suspicions of federal law violations or assist an SEC investigation. 18 U.S.C. § 1513(e).

Bicyclist awarded $5.36 Million After Being Hit By A Bus

David Wheeler, 47 was riding his bike across San Francisco's Lower Great Highway when bus driver, Roy Timmons made a left turn without signaling or stopping at the stop sign.   Wheeler was struck and thrown off his bicycle, causing him to hit his head on the asphalt where he sustained a traumatic brain injury that left him with the mental capacity of a child. (Wheeler v. City and County of San Francisco)

Woman broadsided by a tractor-trailer truck awarded $20 million

Marina Rivas was struck by an 18,000 pound tractor-trailer truck driven by J.B. Hunt's truck driver Jeffrey Gaines, as he ran a red light. The collision caused her vehicle to careen off the road and crash into a pole, destroying the driver's compartment of the car. As a result of the accident, Rivas suffered a cervical bulge, requiring surgery, and a traumatic brain injury, resulting in memory loss and concentration problems. (Case # BC436965)

Southern California Hospitals Fined For Bouncing Payroll Checks

Pacific Health Corporation, the parent company of Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center, Tustin Hospital, Newport Specialty Hospital, Bellflower Medical Center and Anaheim General Hospital were fined $7 million following an investigation into allegations that they had failed to pay employee wages and bounced payroll checks.

Age Discrimination Lawsuit Brought On By Prosecutor In His 60s.

Harvey Levin a former Illinois assistant attorney general was fired,  even though his annual reviews indicated consistently acceptable performance.   Coincidentally, according the lawsuit, there were two other attorneys over the age of 40 who were let go at the same time and replaced by younger attorneys.  If this is found to be true, this may be in violation of the law.  Federal law prohibits discrimination against employees 40 years or older.

Factory whistleblower launches a wrongful termination lawsuit

Plaintiff Tim Pignato a former maintenance supervisor at  Givaudan Flavors has filed a law suit claiming that after complaining to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about paint chips falling into the equipment he was fired.  Givaudan Flavors manufactures flavors for the beverages, dairy, savoury, sweet goods, health & wellness and food service industries to make their products more appealing to consumers.

Hollywood Production Company Loses Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Ascent Media Group, a production company in Hollywood, California was sued by  former employee, Andrew MacDonald who claims he was fired in retaliation for reporting another employee doing drugs in the bathroom.    According to MacDonald when he informed his boss the issue was downplayed and he felt that he was not believed.  MacDonald then sarcastically suggested that he should video-tape the other employee snorting cocain in the bathroom so his boss would believe him.   The next day he was fired for threatening to video-tape a co-worker in the bathroom.

MTA Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Forty-year-old Donald Barrett, was walking in a cross-walk on Pacific Avenue in Venice, California when a MTA bus made a right turn into the cross-walk, striking him. Unfortunately, the bus driver did non realize that he had hit someone and dragged Barrett for 2 blocks until a witness was able to pull their car in front of the bus and stop it. Consequently, Donald Barrett was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.  MTA reached a $1.4 million settlement with Donald Barrett's father after he had filed a wrongful death lawsuit

City of Sacramento found 51% responsible for pedestrian's brain injury

Cathy Lui, a young doctor who had just started her first year of residency at U.C. Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, suffered a disabling brain injury when she was struck by a car while in a cross-walk located in a "S" curve on Freeport Boulevard in Sacramento, California.

Fake Charity Telemarketers Caught Red Handed

Attorney General Greg Abbott sued the THPA, (deceitfully named "Texas Highway Patrol Association) for taking donations under false claims they would pay money to families of slain state troopers.  By using a name that illegally included "Texas Highway Patrol" ,  the organization tricked people into thinking they were associated with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Welk Resort Sues Telemarketers For Scamming Its Timeshare Owners Out Of Money

The Welk Resort Group. located in San Diego has sued VO Financial, its CEO Adam Lacerda, and co-founder Ashley Lacerda in Federal Court, claiming that VO Financial made "repeated and harassing phone calls" to Welk's timeshare owners to "fleece" them and the resort.
According to the complaint: "VO Financial falsely represents itself as a 'timeshare research and resolution firm that offers mortgage reduction programs and timeshare rental services.  However, in reality, VO Financial uses a variety of false pretenses to convince timeshare owners to pay them money instead of  making their loan or maintenance fee payments to Welk Resort. VO Financial then pockets the money they take from the timeshare owners, causing the timeshare owners to default on their contractual obligations to Welk."

FTC Investigates Instant Response Systems For Falsely Trying To Collect Money From Elderly Consumers

The FTC is alleging that Instant Response Systems of Brooklyn New York used  deception, threats, and intimidation to  bully elderly consumers to pay for  medical alert systems they neither ordered.

Blinding Personal Injury Lawsuit

Franck's Compounding Lab located in Florida allegedly sold contaminated surgical dye to eye surgeons that blinded patients or damaged their eyes, according to five federal complaints.   These injuries have sparked 2 Los Angeles lawsuits against the pharmacy.

Wells Fargo Sued For Spam Text Messages

While Wells Fargo does offer a free service to its customers known as “text banking” in which customers are able to receive account information via text message.  In order for this service to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, (TCPA),  customers must enroll in the program in order to receive the messages.   Additionally, under the FCC’s rules, consumer consent for commercial texts promoting a product or service must be in writing.   Furthermore, the TCPA and the FCC both ban most text messages sent to a mobile phone using an autodialer.

Spotting a Telemarketing Scam

Usually, telemarketing scam artists won't give you time to think about their pitch, out of fear that if they give you time you will figure out that they are not legitimate.  Consequently, they pressure you into saying "yes" immediately.

Vishing and Smishing - the new phone scams...

Vishers (Scammers) will pose as a local bank or other legitimate business that consumers find trustworthy in order to con them into providing their personal information. These scam artists will use "spoofing" to make the number that appears on your caller ID match the number of a trusted establishments If you have received a vishing call claiming to be an employee of your bank, hang-up! Smishing is the text message version of this scam. Generally, smishing text messages will come from a "50000" number and not a regular phone number. The "50000" indicates that the text message was sent from an email and not from another phone. Unfortunately, many of these scams are originated from overseas and there is not a lot that can be done about international scams. However, if you are being harassed by a telemarketing company located in the United States there are laws that will protect you. In some cases, victims of harassment can be entitled to compensation. If you are a California resident being harassed by telemarketers or debt collectors please give my office, The Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman a call at (877) 449-8898 for a free consultation.

Disney Sued For Wrongful Termination

Robert Klein, a former Disney manager has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court claiming that Disney wrongfuly terminated him in retaliation for  reporting the sexual harassment of a male employee.  According to Klein, in 2011 he reporting that a female employee had sent "lewd" and "pornographic" messages to another Disney employee. (Robert Klein v. Walt Disney Company case:2:13-cv-01358)

EEOC Sues RadioShack For Age Discrimination

According to the lawsuit, 25-year RadioShack employee, David Nelson, age 55 was assigned a new 43-year-old regional manager to supervise him. Within 4 months of the new supervisor's arrival, Nelson, who had a spotless performance record, was placed on 2 "performance improvement plans." Nelson believed that he was being discriminated against by his new supervisor because of his age and he complained to the human resources department about the discrimination. To Nelson's dismay, within 5 days of the complaint, RadioShack fired Nelson, allegedly in retaliation for his discrimination complaint. (EEOC v. RadioShack, Civil Action #10-cv-02365).

Dairy Queen Franchisee Sued For Sexual Harassment and Wrongful Termination

Dairy Queen Franchise operator, YS&J Enterprises, Inc.,  will pay $17,500 and furnish significant remedial relief to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (EEOC v. YS&J Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Dairy Queen, Civil Action No. 1:11 CV 01103),

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