Mediation and Arbitration


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Our Office handles mediations and arbitrations, which are popular forms of “alternative dispute resolution”. Michael L. Carver has extensive experience in mediation and arbitration. Mr. Carver has served as a Hearing Officer for the City of Chico, California. He has been a member of the Butte County Superior Court Mediation Panel, and is a current member of the California State Bar, California Employment Lawyers Association, Butte County Bar Association, Sacramento County Bar Association and the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Mr. Carver serves as a mediator or arbitrator. Mr. Carver also represents parties in mediations and arbitrations. His litigation experience in mediations and arbitrations includes general civil litigation, business disputes, government liability, construction, personal injury matters, discrimination, employment law and complex class actions. His experience as an attorney for businesses and individuals enables his understanding of the issues facing parties in a dispute. As a complex case and class action litigator, Mr. Carver has handled well over a hundred class action cases. Having represented both sides as an attorney in multi-million dollar cases, allows Mr. Carver to bring innovation to the negotiation process.

Mediation

Mediation is the process of bringing the parties together in an informal setting, with a neutral third party in an attempt to resolve issues between the parties. Mediation is an effective tool in resolving disputes without resort to costly and time-consuming litigation in court. The parties typically hire a mediator for a half or full day. The mediation session is typically held at the mediator’s office or at the attorney’s office for one of the parties. On the day and location of the mediation, each party will generally meet in private with the mediator, explaining their positions, and making settlement offers.

Mediation can be a less expensive and quicker way to resolve a dispute without either side spending a great deal of money litigating in court. The parties may engage in mediation prior to the filing of a lawsuit, as a means of resolving the issues without court intervention. In other situations the parties may find it necessary to litigate in court, obtain evidence to support each party’s position, analyze potential liabilities and damages of the parties, then the engage in mediation.

The Mediation Process

Arbitration

An agreement to arbitrate is usually negotiated between the parties to the dispute. In many cases an arbitration agreement is signed by the parties at the beginning of their relationship, such as when an employer hires an employee or a consumer buys a product. If the parties have signed an arbitration agreement, when a dispute arises the dispute is resolved through the arbitration process.

This means that rather than filing a lawsuit the parties will have an arbitrator decide their issue. This may be result in a binding or nonbinding ruling by the arbitrator, depending upon the agreement of the parties. The arbitrator will hear the dispute, make findings of fact and law, and issue a written ruling. The ruling is then typically enforceable in court. The arbitration process is not as formal as a court hearing, and in most cases significantly less expensive than full blown litigation

The Arbitration Process

Do You Have a Favoritism Situation, a Nepotism Case, or Discrimination?

nepOur office just received a call from an employee asking if it was legal for their boss to treat family members better than the other employees who work for them. This is a question that comes up regularly, and it is a valid question, because it involves an issue of basic fairness. Often, the caller describes a person who is related to the boss that does less work, gets more pay or gets a better schedule than the employees who are not related in these calls. The legal term here is nepotism. It means a family member is getting better treatment than the rest of the employees simply because they’re related to the boss or owner of the business. The truth is that unless you’re working for the government, and are covered under a Government Code Section, there are no specific laws preventing an employer from treating an employee better than the rest because they are related.
However, an employer could be breaking their own anti-nepotism policy. Such policies can often be found in an employee handbook. At times, union contracts forbid such treatment and require that things like preferred schedules or jobs be based upon seniority, or another neutral criteria. Sometimes, a breach of contract or breach of implied contract case can be the result of such a situation.
But, just because you don’t work for the government, have a contract or an anti-nepotism policy — that doesn’t mean you don’t have a case. Situations that look like nepotism can actually turn out to be a possible discrimination case. If you are being treated differently because of your gender, age, race, nationality or sexual orientation, you may have a violation of the law taking place. Such cases are generally fact specific and will require an interview with an experienced law office to determine what is happening.

Class Action Settles for $2 Million for Consumers

FTCLumosity customers could be in for a $2 million windfall due to a settlement of a case against the San Francisco based company. A federal consumer protection agency accused the company of lacking the proof to back up claims about improving mental sharpness through the use of their project.

The developer of “brain training” games has settled federal allegations of misleading customers by agreeing to pay $2 million. Lumosity games, accessed through online applications and programs for which customers generally paid a subscription fee, were advertising as providing a list of cognitive benefits. But the company’s advertisements suggested that playing them a few times a week could boost productivity at work and school, and possibly delay dementia, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s allegations.

The federal agency regulates advertising to consumers, and has recently taken on products including dietary supplements which claim to make people more mentally sharp. The FTC representative said that the advertising Lumosity used preyed on people’s fears of getting older and not being able to think as well, and that the company lacked the science to back up their claims. People’s fear of memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease led them to buy the product, but there was no proof any of these problems could be helped by the products in question.

Consumers of the company’s product purchased either a monthly subscription or access for a lifetime. As a part of the class action settlement, Lumos Labs must offer customers an easy way to cancel subscriptions. A judgment in the amount of $50 million was originally obtained by the agency, but the company reportedly was unable to pay that amount.

Trade publications indicate the company is one of many in the “brain training” business – worth an estimated $1 billion in sales per year. However, the Lumosity company was one of the most highly visible in the exploding field, no doubt an area of growth due at least in part to the aging population in America and other similarly developed countries around the world.

Federal law states that the only products that can claim to treat or prevent a serious disease must be reviewed and approved by the food and drug administration for their effectiveness. However, the agency has yet to approve a single “brain training” program.

Consumer class action involve claims such as these – where a customer acts on behalf of a group of people who feel they have been wronged or defrauded by a product or service. Sometimes, this is the only way that some issues can be addressed, due to the simple fact that the claims involved can be far too small to justify the high cost of bringing an individual lawsuit. The consumers, if handled individually, could not hope to sensibly pursue the matter. In some cases, the customers involved spent an amount too small to be worth filing a small claims case. Class action cases are an efficient way to address such issues.

Class Actions

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Our Attorneys have handled well over a hundred class and representative actions representing consumers and employees. A Class Action is a lawsuit that allows the rights of a large number of people to be decided in one court action. See what requirements must be satisfied to bring a class action suit. A class action can be a means of making change. For example, if one person sues alone to allege they’ve been overcharged on bank fees, for example, then the bank can pay that person off and go right back to doing business as usual. However, if filed as a class action, the rights of a group of people are being defended, and it can sometimes be enough to make a company change their policies or method of doing business. In short, it can make a big company take notice and make meaningful change, in the way an individual suit cannot.

What is a Class Action?
A class action is a lawsuit that allows a large number of individual claims and the rights of a large number of people to be decided in one court action. Oftentimes, by combining many claims into a single class action suit, class members with relatively small claims can have their rights protected economically.
A class action plaintiff represents the interests of persons not before the court. As a result, not all potential class members must become parties to the lawsuit to have their rights decided. Typically, only a few representatives of the class actually appear in court.
In order to be certified as a class action, these general requirements should be satisfied:

  1. Numerous class members. There must be enough people to justify bringing the suit as a class, rather than having each person participate as a named plaintiff. Class actions have been brought with as few as 20 or 30 people and as many as millions.
  2. Common facts among the class members. There must be questions of law or facts common to the potential class members, meaning similar unlawful or unfair conduct by the defendants, such as violations of labor laws, failure to pay overtime compensation, etc.
  3. Similar claims or defenses. Each person in the class must be making allegations typical to the other class members. The plaintiffs must show that common questions predominate over individual questions. If there are a lot of individualized issues among the potential class members, a class action may not be the best way to proceed. The named class representatives will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class members.
  4. The named Plaintiff must have similar claims as the potential class members. The attorneys representing the case must also be adequate, and must be no conflicts of interest in representing the potential class members.

Please look at our office Case History for some of the cases our Attorneys have handled.

Common Misconceptions about Class Actions

  1. A large group of plaintiffs is not required to put their names on the lawsuit before the suit is even filed. If you know that, for example, the baby formula that you received was contaminated, you don’t need to know a lot of other people in the situation by name and telephone number. It’s your lawyer’s job, during the discovery practice, to get that information. In short, if you were a victim of a common practice or event that happened to others, you may be all that is needed to represent a class.
  1. You don’t need to have suffered a large amount of damages to bring a class action lawsuit. Often, lawyers can’t take cases with a small amount of damages to court because the filing fees and other costs are worth more than what the victim has a chance to recover. Not so with class actions. Just because your damages are small doesn’t mean a recovery isn’t possible through a lawsuit when that suit is filed as a class action. One of the chief benefits of these suits is that they allow people who normally could not get a lawyer to take their case (especially without paying lawyers fees upfront) to get experienced representation.
  1. You don’t have to pay the lawyer’s fees for your case upfront if you want to bring a class action. There are typically two types of fee arraignments for lawyers, generally speaking:  contingency and those who charge upfront hourly fees and/or require retainers. Those with upfront fees can require a big check for thousands of dollars from their clients, out of which the lawyer takes his/her fees and costs as the case progresses, whether or not the client get results. Our office is a contingency fee office. That means we collect a share of what is recovered as part of the lawsuit. That means there are no upfront costs or fees for people who need legal help.

How do I know if I have a good case?
A lot of people who call our office just want to know if they have a good case or not. They don’t want to waste their precious time if there is no point. Because we are a contingency fee office, that means we’re investing in your case from the very beginning. We advance costs and filing fees, often amounting to thousands of dollars, on the belief that your case has merit. Because of our investment of time and money in your case, we are selective in filing a cases that we believe has a substantial chance of success. We only get paid if there is a positive result in the case. We only take select cases in the first place.

For a free consultation call 1-855-700-5678

Civil Rights


Civil Rights

The term “Civil Rights” generally refers to those rights established under state and federal constitutions or statutes protecting certain “unalienable rights”, such as voting or being free from unlawful searches or seizures and discrimination based upon gender, race, disability, age or other characteristics. This office handles a wide variety of civil rights cases under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, and actions commonly referred to as “Section 1983” actions.

Your Civil Rights:

Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 US Code Section 2000e-2 is a federal law which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is a federal law which protects certain employees against age discrimination in employment.

California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), California Government Code Section 12940, et seq., is similar to Title VII and protects individuals under California law. The protections are similar to those of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but is much broader
in its protection of employees with medical conditions. The FEHA also protects employees against discrimination based upon gender, race, religion, medical condition and other characteristics.

Unruh Civil Rights Act, California Civil Code Section 51, et seq., prohibits discrimination by California “business establishments” on the basis of protected characteristics such as race, gender and disability.

Title 42 US Code Section 1983 is a federal law which provides protection of individuals denied rights under “color of state law.” These actions are typically based upon denial of due process or equal protection, such as police brutality, or termination of government employees’ jobs.

If you believe you have had your civil rights violated, contact our office for a consultation.

For a free consultation call 1-855-700-5678

Unfair Business Practices


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This office handles actions brought under the California Law (section 17200) Unfair Practices Act. Section 17200 is also sometimes referred to as the California “Unfair Competition law.”
Section 17200 includes five definitions of unfair competition: an unlawful business act or practice, an unfair business act or practice, a fraudulent business act or practice, unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising, or any act prohibited by Sections 17500. A “unfair” business practice defines practices that have the tendency to deceive the public. An “unlawful” practice is anything that violates any statute, regulation, or rule. Actual fraud requires a misrepresentation of fact, actual and reasonable reliance, and resulting damages. Under Section 17200, the only requirement is to demonstrate that the public is likely to be deceived.
This law was enacted to safeguard the public against the creation or perpetuation of business monopolies and to foster and encourage competition, by prohibiting unfair, dishonest, deceptive, destructive, fraudulent, and discriminatory practices by which fair and honest competition is destroyed or prevented.

Unfair Business Practices

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An unfair business practice is one that has the tendency to deceive the public or its employees. Unfair Business Practice encompasses wrongfully withheld wages, fraud, unfair competition, misrepresentation, price discrimination and false advertising.
Unfair Business actions may be brought by any aggrieved person acting for the interest of the persons. For example, in the court case of Cortez v. Purolator Air Filtration Products Company, an employee sued their employer under the California Labor Code and the Unfair Practices Act and obtain wrongfully withheld wages due all employees. One of the major advantages for the consumer in such an action, is that the Statute of Limitations may allow suits for events which occurred up to four years prior to the suit.

Contact our office to find out how the law may apply to you.

For a free consultation call 1-855-700-5678

FOR A FREE CASE EVALUATION CALL1-855-700-5678

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MichaelCarver

The Law Offices of Michael L. Carver is a California law firm handling a wide variety of legal issues, including class actions, unfair competition, unfair business practices, victims’ rights, discrimination and civil rights infringements. We represent clients in the California Courts, United States District Courts of California and the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We have multiple office sites in California.

What Our Office Does

We fight for those who have had their constitutional and legal rights violated by corporate entities. We are a plaintiff’s law firm that prosecutes civil cases under the ADEA (age), the ADA (disability), Unruh Civil Rights Act, Business and Professions Code (fraud and unfair competition) and other civil rights statutes to vindicate you and your rights in state and federal court.

When your rights have been violated, you need strong representation. Our attorneys fight to protect your legal and constitutional rights violated by corporations engaging in unlawful practices.

Why Should you Call us?

We provide quality, professional representation for our clients at reasonable fees. With many years of hands-on experience handling business enterprises, we combine aggressive representation with a problem-solving approach to resolve legal issues. We believe in honestly informing our clients if we believe that litigation is not in their best interests. We work closely with our clients, so they are an integral part of their case.

This site provides general information about our law practice regarding civil rights, unfair business practices, victims’ rights and class action suits. Visit Practice Areas for general information about the areas of law in which we handle cases. Our site has been prepared using California and Federal law, and may generally answer many common questions regarding legal rights and remedies. However, in most cases, our website will not provide complete answers to your legal questions, because each person’s situation is different and there are numerous exceptions to every rule of law. The law is changed frequently by the legislature and is interpreted by the courts.

Experienced Attorney

To discuss your legal needs and how the law may apply to you, please contact our office for a free case evaluation: 1-855-700-5678

PRACTICE AREAS

California Reports

We represent clients in cases in the California Courts, the United States District Courts of California and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. Mr. Carver is a member of the Butte County Bar Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Sacramento County Bar Association, and the California Employment Lawyers Association. We represent the victims of abuse and prosecute cases under state and federal civil rights laws, anti-discrimination laws, victims’ rights acts and unfair competition laws.

Our office handles cases in the following areas:

For a free consultation call 1-855-700-5678

ABOUT US

Michael Carver

Carver Law was founded by Senior Attorney Michael L. Carver.

Mr. Carver has handled well over a thousand matters as an Attorney, including over 120 cases filed as class actions. Our office handles matters including civil rights violations, class actions, construction law, personal injury, unfair business practices and victims rights. We represent clients in cases in the California Courts, the United States District Courts of California and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.
Mr. Carver is a member of several Attorney organizations: the Butte County Bar Association, Sacramento County Bar Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association and the California Employment Lawyers Association. We understand that injury-related problems can be stressful. We carefully examine each client’s situation and determine the most appropriate course of action.

For a free consultation call 1-855-700-5678

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