Not Paid for Prime Time? What would the week be without an employment class action? This week, among several employment class actions filed, is one against Prime Healthcare Centinela LLC alleging California labor law violations, specifically underpayment of overtime and failure to provide meal and rest breaks to 400 employees at its 12 California hospitals.
In the Prime Healthcare class action, lead plaintiff Evalyn Beauchamp, a social worker for Prime Healthcare’s subsidiary since March 2011, alleges “In violation of state law, defendants have knowingly and willfully refused to perform their obligations to compensate plaintiffs for all wages earned and all hours worked.” And “As a direct result, plaintiffs have suffered, and continue to suffer, substantial losses related to the use and enjoyment of such wages.”
The lawsuit, Evalyn Beauchamp et al. v. Prime Healthcare Centinela LLC et al., case number BC542351, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, claims that Prime Healthcare established policies under which hourly employees would be “taken off the clock” for a variety of reasons, including the indicating the end of a worker’s official shift or falsely accounting that a meal break was taken when the employee was actually forced to continue working.
According to the allegations, while Prime Healthcare frequently required its employees to work in excess of eight hours per day and over 40 hours per week, it failed to pay them one and a half times the regular hourly rate as required under California law.
Further, the lawsuit claims Prime Healthcare failed to provide its employees with accurate wage statements and failed to pay separated employees the amounts they were owed in a timely manner.
Beauchamp filed the lawsuit on behalf of all hourly, nonunionized social workers and others in similar positions, claiming the company established policies for employees to clock out when they were still working and did not compensate them for overtime hours worked.
The class action seeks to represent all hourly nonexempt social workers, discharge planners, case managers and others who worked for Prime Healthcare since April 2010, a class she estimates to include 400 people at 12 hospitals.
De-Fault of the Bank? Maybe…If the allegations in this new consumer banking and lending violations class action lawsuit prove true, then yes. Wells Fargo Bank NA is facing a potential lawsuit alleging it violated California consumer laws by billing late fees to, or foreclosing on, state homeowners who had loan modification applications pending with the bank. Something referred to as Dual Tracking. Read on.
The Wells Fargo lawsuit, Garcia et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank NA et al., case number 8:14-cv-00558, in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges Wells Fargo practices “dual tracking”, which is when a bank pursues a foreclosure while simultaneously processing loan modifications. On January 1, 2013, the California Homeowner Bill of Rights was enacted, forbidding this behavior.
“Because the dual-tracking system prevents homeowners from being evaluated for appropriate loan modifications before foreclosure, it has resulted in many unnecessary foreclosures,” the lawsuit states.
Lead plaintiffs, Orange County residents Henry and Renee Garcia, allege they applied for a loan modification with Wells Fargo but that the bank charged them $840 in late fees and prepared to foreclose on the property before the application process was complete. The bank later rejected the application, verbally denied their appeal, and scheduled the home for trustee sale.
According to the lawsuit, the Garcias defaulted on the mortgage for their San Juan Capistrano, CA, home on March 6, 2013. The following month they submitted a loan modification application to Wells Fargo and over the next several months they stayed in frequent communication with bank officials.
However, simultaneous to the processing of the Garcias’ application Wells Fargo recorded a notice of trustee sale on their home, moving forward with the foreclosure process in violation of the state’s consumer protection law, according to the lawsuit. It wasn’t until the following January that the Garcias loan application was denied, according to the complaint. Garcias appealed, but the bank denied the appeal in February and scheduled a trustee sale of the property for March 5, 2014.
In their lawsuit, the Garcias seek to establish two classes: one for alleged victims of dual tracking and another for homeowners who were illegally charged late fees.
The complaint alleges violations of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights’ restrictions on dual tracking and late fees and the California Unfair Competition Law. The plaintiffs are seeking class certification, unspecified damages and restitution, and injunctive relief forbidding the bank from engaging in the alleged activity.
Next Time Ask for Directions? With a name like Compass, you’d think they’d already know how not to go astray… At any rate, here’s proof that employment class actions are worth the effort—a proposed $1.1 million settlement has been reached in a class action accusing Compass Health Inc. of California labor law violations, specifically of underpayment of overtime. Heard that one before?
Under the terms of the settlement, Compass would pay a net settlement amount of up to $700,500 to all members of the settlement class, which is approximately 2,500 current and former hourly nonexempt employees in California who worked for Compass Health between March 29, 2009 and January 6 2014.
According to the lawsuit, the workers alleged Compass miscalculated the regular rate of pay because it didn’t properly include the value of annual safety bonuses. They also claimed meal and rest period violations on the part of the defendant, as well as derivative penalty claims.
Court documents indicated that based on the number of valid claims filed, the average settlement payment would be about $425, with the highest payment being roughly $1,050, which is “an excellent result for the settlement class, particularly when compared to other, similar wage and hour class action settlements involving similar-wage workers.”
Ok—Let’s celebrate that news—Happy Easter—and we’ll see you at the bar!
A roundup of recent asbestos-related news and information that you should be aware of. An ongoing list of reported asbestos hot spots in the US from the Asbestos News Roundup archive appears on our asbestos map.
US Navy Veterans are at a particularly high risk for asbestos-related disease, due to their asbestos exposure while working on navy ships undergoing refits. But because asbestos-related disease can take up to 30 years or more to manifest, it is often detected long after men have left the Navy.
The states with the most US Navy Veterans include California, Florida, New York, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, Massachusetts, Washington, Maine, Oregon, Arizona, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Montana, Kansas, North Dakota, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Mississippi.
US Navy Veterans are not the only group of workers at high risk for asbestos exposure. Men and women who worked in power plants, manufacturing factories, chemical plants, oil refineries, mines, smelters, aerospace manufacturing facilities, demolition construction work sites, railroads, automotive manufacturing facilities, or auto brake shops may also have been exposed to high levels of asbestos.
St. Clair County, IL: Jeanne Belman, special administrator of deceased Marcella Goedeke estate, has filed an asbestos lawsuit against CSX Transportation, alleging the company is responsible for the developing asbestos mesothelioma and Goedeke’s subsequent death.
Filed a lawsuit March 14, the lawsuit claims the railway allowed its employees to be exposed to asbestos despite being aware of the associated adverse health risks.
Specifically, Belman alleges that Goedeke suffered second hand asbestos exposure to asbestos fibers that clung to her husband’s work clothing. Goedeke’s husband worked at The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. When Goedeke’s husband came home, she inhaled and ingested the asbestos fibers that were on his clothes, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit claims that the asbestos mesothelioma caused Goedeke great pain and disability, and that she endured serious mental anguish and extreme nervousness and incurred significant medical costs, the suit states. She passed away on March 18, 2012, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit claims Goedeke’s asbestos disease could have been avoided had The Baltimore and Railroad Company heeded the advice of experts in 1935 who warned the railroad to educate all its employees about asbestos fibers. According to the complaint, the experts also advised the company to get rid of asbestos dust, to sprinkle the working area with water, to have employees wear inhalers and to have frequent analyses made of the dust content of air at different times during work hours.
Instead, Belman alleges the railroad negligently exposed Goedeke’s husband to asbestos, allowed him to carry the asbestos with him into his home, failed to warn him that it could cause disease, failed to prevent him from being exposed to the asbestos, failed to provide him with protective clothing and allowed unsafe work practices to become routine.
Eventually, The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company was taken over by CSX, which Belman named as a defendant in her complaint that seeks damages under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Belman is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs. (madisonrecord.com)
St. Clair County, IL: Nicole Lockett has filed an asbestos lawsuit naming 21 defendant corporations which, she alleges, caused the Randle R. Lockett Sr. to develop mesothelioma after his exposure to asbestos-containing products throughout his father’s career. He subsequently died of his asbestos disease.
According to the lawsuit, Randle R. Lockett Sr.’s father worked in the military and at ICBM and Minuteman and MX missile site maintaining and repairing silos. The defendants should have known of the harmful effects of asbestos, but failed to exercise reasonable care and caution for Mr. Lockett`s father`s safety, the suit states. As a result of his asbestos-related disease, Randle R. Lockett Sr. became disabled and disfigured, incurred medical costs and suffered great physical pain and mental anguish, the complaint says. Additionally, he was prevented from pursuing his normal course of employment and, as a result, lost large sums of money that would have accrued, the lawsuit states.
Nicole Lockett is seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, compensatory damages of more than $200,000, punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish the defendants for their misconduct and other relief the court deems just.(madionsrecord.com)
St. Clair County, IL: An asbestos lawsuit has been filed by Betty G. Crutchfield naming 41 defendant corporations, which, she claims, caused Donald Crutchfield Sr. to develop lung cancer after his exposure to asbestos-containing products throughout his career. Mr. Crutchfield died from his asbestos disease.
As a result of his asbestos-related illness Donald Crutchfield Sr. became disabled and disfigured, incurred medical costs and suffered great physical pain and mental anguish, Betty Crutchfield claims. In addition, he were prevented from pursuing his normal course of employment and, as a result, lost large sums of money that would have accrued to him, the lawsuit states.
Betty G. Crutchfield is seeking a judgment of more than $300,000, compensatory damages of more than $100,000, punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish the defendants for their misconduct and other relief the court deems just. (madisonrecord.com)
New York, NY: A $980,000 judgement has been upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit entered against defendant Cleaver Brooks. The court found that the plaintiff presented enough evidence at trial to support a causal link between the defendant’s asbestos-containing boilers and the deceased Kit L. McCormick illness.
Kelly McCormick filed the asbestos lawsuit on behalf of her husband, Kit L. McCormick, who was injured allegedly as a result of asbestos exposure. (harrismartin.com)
Did you ever receive one of these Chrysler Dodge Ram recalls for defective steering-system tie rods that may have been misaligned during assembly or steering-system service? Did you bring your truck in to have the part replaced? What’s your experience?
Where the hell is Jack Nicholson when you need him? The plaintiff in this case may benefit from some counseling—not the legal type—as he’s apparently got that—but the type that Nicholson doled out in the movie, “Anger Management” (see his Goosfraba therapy in action above.)
Seems Geary Trigleth, plaintiff in a contract law dispute, was quite the colorful character in his recent deposition. And it started when he walked in wearing a t-shirt that screamed, “f*ck you YOU f*cking f*ck”—that’s our man, shown below. Yes, many a plaintiff—and defendant—has thought of showing up at his deposition or in court and giving a few people the F-bomb—but few actually dare to do it. Trigleth is the man, though, and he did.
Things got more interesting from there on as the deposition proceeded at Scheef & Stone law firm in Frisco, TX.
In eloquent terms nonpareil, Trigleth went on to provide passionate commentary regarding defendant Robert Couch.
According to court documents, in referring to Couch, Trigleth stated he was “going to tie that thick necked mother f*cker to a pole and f*ck him up the *ss until he squeals like a pig.”
One can only question whether Trigleth has experience with such. Regardless, speaking of personal relationships, the questioning did at one point veer into Trigleth’s own pursuit of pleasure—or sorry, his possible pursuit of a significant other who just happens to come via mail order (we’re guessing Match.com and Zoosk were off-limits for Trigleth given his online social reach is nil—literally—he has a profile on LinkedIn, but zero connections and his FB friends number 27—so maybe he off-shored love, as one does in these situations).
According to court docs, Attorney J. Mitchell Little started to ask Trigleth a number of relevant questions concerning his status as an accredited investor. Here’s how that went:
Q: Mr. Trigleth, what was the·purpose of the wire transfer that was paid? (Note: Mr. Trigleth also refused to answer and became very agitated at a line of questioning about a prior dispute with Texas Capital Bank where he was alleged to have transferred money for the purpose of acquiring a mail order bride.)
A: Are you gay?
Q: Are you going to answer my question?
A: Are you going to answer my question?
Q: I am here to ask questions.
A: I am here to ask you a question. Are you gay?
Geez. I don’t know—after a while one begins to wonder if a yes or no question starts to sound like a proposition there—or at the very least a fixation of sorts—hey, Little’s an attractive guy and he does have over 500 connections on LinkedIn. But as a little sidenote lest you question the line of questioning in the deposition…here’s a testimonial from Trigleth found over at 1st International Marriage Network (btw, IMBRA stands for International Marriage Broker Regulation Act):
From: Geary Trigleth
Sent: Friday, March 05, 2010 10:32 AM
To: Vasiliy Savkin
Subject: Re: IMBRA report prepared at NatashaClub site
Thank you so much for your prompt response and assistance. I enjoy your services and site and compliment the efficiency and strategy of the functionality of the site and services supported! I truly feel your attempt to support the members and strategically protect all involved to meet your business needs and empower the site members to employ there powers of there needs is very efficient and effective! I truly appreciate the services rendered and hope to maintain a continual working relationship in the future. My appreciation!
Yessiree, sounds like someone’s been trying to off-shore some lovin’…
Who knows where it all nets out, but suffice to say it’s one of those court appearances we’d love to be an extra Montblanc ink cartridge lying on counsel’s table for…
Dog treats manufacturer to be treated to a little justice perhaps? IMS Trading Corp, aka IMS Pet Industries—maker of Cadet duck jerky treats, is facing a consumer fraud class action lawsuit alleging it sold products containing duck jerky imported from China that caused dogs to become sick or die. The dog treat lawsuit alleges the company, IMS Trading Corp, aka IMS Pet Industries, is in violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, and is guilty of unjust enrichment as they falsely assured consumers through the product packaging that the treats were healthy for dogs. Several unnamed companies involved in the manufacture and sale of the dog treats are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Lead plaintiff, Marie Dopico, who owns several small dogs, alleges her dogs nearly died after she fed them Cadet duck jerky dog treats she bought in October from a ShopRite grocery store in New Jersey. She claims she had to pay veterinary expenses and other related costs to save her dogs’ lives.
The proposed lawsuit claims that there could be thousands of plaintiffs, as other consumers in New Jersey and across the US have suffered similar damages as a result of defendants’ conduct. The putative class and subclass includes consumers who, up to six years prior to the January filing of the lawsuit, purchased IMS dog treats and whose dogs got sick or died as a result of consuming the allegedly unhealthy and dangerous treats.
According to the lawsuit, the packaging for IMS’ dog treats allegedly states the products do not contain artificial colors, additives, fillers or by-products. The packaging also states that the treats are “healthy and natural treats with only the finest ingredients.” The same claims are found on the company’s website, the plaintiffs allege.
The lawsuit states that in November 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration issued warnings stating that dogs can become ill after eating treats containing duck jerky made in China. The agency has said that more than 3,600 dogs in the US have become ill after eating Chinese jerky treats. This information was not fully disclosed on the company’s website, plaintiffs allege, and they accuse the defendants of hiding the warnings to increase or maintain sales.
“No reasonable person would feed dog treats to their dogs knowing that there was a substantial risk of death or illness from doing so,” the lawsuit states. “Dog owners consider their pets to be members of the family, and become very distressed when their dogs pass away or become seriously ill.”
Hey—no reasonable manufacturer would consider producing food that makes animals ill.
Hilton not honoring wage & hour laws? Maybe. They got hit with a putative wage and hour class action lawsuit this week, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the California labor law Act. In addition to Hilton Worldwide, named defendants include Doubletree LLC, and Crestline Hotels and Resorts LLC.
Filed by Nelson Chico, the Hilton wage & hour lawsuit, entitled Nelson Chico v. Hilton Worldwide Inc. et al., case number BC541043 in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, alleges failure to pay overtime wages and failure to provide meal or rest breaks. Chico, a former employee, claims the defendants also allowed or required employees to work off the clock.
Further, the lawsuit states the defendants failed to provide itemized statements for each pay period, failed to keep accurate records and failed to compensate employees for necessary expenditures.
Heads up people—the potential employment class action seeks to represent aggrieved employees who worked for the defendants within the past four years.
Actos maker ordered to pay up huge. Japanese drug maker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, got hit with a heart-attack inducing jury award this week—they were ordered to pay $6 billion in punitive damages in settlement of allegations the company concealed information regarding the risk for cancer associated with its diabetes drug Actos. Eli Lilly and Co, a co-defendant in the case, was ordered to pay $3 billion in punitive damages and $1.45 in compensatory damages by the jury in Louisiana on Monday.
According to Lilly, 75 percent of the liability was allocated to Takeda and 25 percent to Lilly. Takeda plans to dispute the awards, stating that judgments were entered in its favor in all three previous Actos trials. This was the first federal case to be tried in a consolidated multidistrict litigation comprising more than 2,900 lawsuits. Germany and France suspended use of the drug in 2011 due to concerns of a possible link to cancer.
More to come on this? Very possibly. Stay tuned.
Ok Folks, That’s all for this week. See you at the bar!