Mediation Process

Med_Mediation is an informal process where the parties meet in a confidential settling with a neutral third party, the “mediator”, and try to resolve the dispute. Unlike a court proceeding, mediations are generally held behind closed doors. The mediator listens to the issues presented by the parties, and then proposes ideas that may resolve the conflict.


Selecting a Mediators

Mediators are generally selected by the parties based upon their experience. While mediators are “neutral”, their experience with many different types of cases increases their credibility to the parties. In many cases, the opinions of an experienced mediator may assist the parties in evaluating their positions.

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Preparation for Mediation

Once the mediation session has been scheduled, the parties will prepare for the mediation session. If the mediation involves a pending court action, the parties will generally engage sufficient discovery (collecting evidence and documents) to make knowledgeable decisions at the mediation. Each party will then prepare a Mediation Brief which is provided to the mediator in advance of the mediation. This allows the mediator to get an overview of the claims, the legal issues raised, the parties evaluation of damages and other settlement issues.

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Mediation Day

The mediation session usually begins with a short joint session where the parties discuss the parameters of the negotiations. The mediation is confidential and the fact that something was said by a party in mediation can be held against the parties if the case does not settle. The parties and their attorneys will execute a confidentiality agreement. The parties are placed in separate rooms. The mediator typically moves between the parties rooms and meets privately discussing the case. The parties will discuss their evidence and arguments with the mediator, as the mediator methodically negotiates the settlement value of the case or other resolution. If an agreement is reached, one of the parties or the mediator will typically draft a brief Memorandum of Understanding which will then serve as the outline for more formal settlement documents.

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Advantages of Mediation

By participating in mediation, the parties are in position for an early resolution of the case. By settling the case, parties have control over the outcome. Without a pretrial settlement, the parties are faced with having a judge or jury decide the fate of their case. In other words, one side loses and one side wins. By proceeding to trial, both sides may lose in terms of lost time, attorney’s fees and litigations costs. From the plaintiff’s perspective, the longer a case drags on, the more anxious the plaintiff may become. Without resolution, a plaintiff will go through necessary depositions and an extended period of stress over the eventual outcome. For many defendants, particularly if they are companies, litigation is seen as a drain on the financial resources of the company. By resolving the case early, each party can put the matter to rest.


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If you have questions regarding the Mediation process
please call the Law Offices of Michael L. Carver at 855-700-5678

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Mediation and Arbitration


maa_
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

Arbitration Process

What is Arbitration?

arb_mIn contractual arbitration, the parties agree to have their dispute decided by a neutral third party, known as an “arbitrator”. The arbitrator will act as a judge and jury. After giving the parties the opportunity to present their case, present witnesses and any relevant documents or other evidence, the arbitrator will decide who wins and losses.




The Arbitration Agreement

The arbitration process starts with the parties signing an agreement to arbitrate. This agreement may occur well before any disputes develop, such as at the initiation of the relationship between the parties. Good examples are employment arbitration agreements used by employers upon hiring an employee. In other instances, the parties to an ongoing dispute may decide to have their matter resolved by an arbitrator rather than continuing on with a lawsuit. In some cases, courts will order the parties to go to judicial arbitration.
The Arbitration Agreement will usually describe the initiation process, arbitrator selection process, the arbitration rules and other details.

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The Arbitration Process

Generally a party initiates the arbitration process by making a “demand for arbitration”. The timing of the demand is usually a term in the arbitration agreement. Upon demand, the parties usually have a limited amount of time to select an arbitrator. The arbitration agreement may specify a particular arbitration service such as American arbitration Association (AAA) and the rules to be followed. Depending upon the arbitration provider, the arbitration fees can run several hundred dollars or more per hour. In California, an employment arbitration agreement cannot require an employee to pay the costs of arbitration, beyond with the employee would normally pay to file a lawsuit.

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Choosing the Arbitrator

The parties are generally free to select from a list of available arbitrators. Frequently, the parties will pick out a list of arbitrators who are acceptable, then alternately strike names from the list until one person remains. That person will become the arbitrator. Once an arbitrator has been selected and an agreement signed for payment of fees to the arbitrator or arbitration provider, the arbitrator will generally hold a conference with all parties and discuss the manner in which the arbitration will proceed.

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Discovery

California arbitration agreements typically provide for discovery. Discovery is the process by which the parties obtain evidence to prove their case or prove their defenses. Discovery can take the form of written questions, requests for documents, requests for admissions, deposition testimony and other evidence. In some cases the arbitrator may limit the amount of discovery. Part of the purpose of arbitration is to reduce the cost of litigation. Generally, the discovery plan will be approved or modified by the arbitrator.

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The Hearing

The arbitrator will decide, in consultation with the parties, the date and time of the arbitration hearing. At the hearing, the parties, through their attorneys if they have them, will typically provide a written brief to the arbitrator setting forth a summary of the facts and legal arguments. The parties, through their attorneys, will then make opening statements after which the plaintiff or claimant (the person bringing the action) will proceed by putting on their evidence. Depending upon the arbitrator, testimony may typically be in live form or may be by declaration.

After the plaintiff presents their case, the defendant will present their case. Thereafter, some arbitrators will allow the plaintiff to present a brief response to the defense evidence, sometimes followed by the defendant presenting their response to Plaintiff’s evidence. The parties usually have the opportunity to cross exam witnesses. The Arbitrator usually has the power to issue subpoenas to compel witnesses appearances.

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The Ruling

The arbitrator will consider the evidence and make a written ruling. Arbitration rulings are generally binding unless the parties have agreed to a nonbinding arbitration. The arbitration award in a binding arbitration is generally not appealable.

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Civil Enforcement of the Ruling

Following the issuing of a ruling by the arbitrator, either party may petition the court to confirm the award.


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If you have questions regarding the arbitration process
please call the Law Offices of Michael L. Carver at 855-700-5678

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Concerned Over Employer Arbitration Agreement?

ArbitrationMany employers want their employees to sign “arbitration agreements” requiring disputes that arise in the workplace be resolved through arbitration rather than in the courts. Arbitration is decided by a neutral third person, often a retired judge, who makes the decision as to the dispute. This means a jury will never hear your case.

This kind of agreement in the workplace have become commonplace. Employers use these agreements, because they believe the agreement will prevent disputes from going to the courts and result in more favorable treatment of employers. It is widely believed that arbitration is less expensive than courtroom litigation; however, that question is up in the air.

In the course of normal litigation, a lawsuit is filed by an employee. The employer typically pays out thousands of dollars to their attorneys to defend the court action brought by the employee. At some point the case may go to arbitration hearing unless it is settled along the way. In a California employment arbitration setting, the employer must pay most of the case costs and in many cases, the costs are more than the employer would pay in the courts.

The risk to employers is potentially greater in arbitration than in the courts. Particularly in cases involving nonpayment of overtime, the prevailing employee can recover attorneys’ fees, but the prevailing employer does not usually recover their attorneys’ fees. Worse for the employer, if they get an unfavorable decision against them by the arbitrator, the decision is usually non appealable.
There may be many reasons why employers want employees to sign arbitration agreements. The advantage for an employer in the this setting is that there is no jury, which is good because juries are unpredictable. While some studies indicate that employees win larger awards in a court trial, there is little evidence that the employers would have done better in arbitration.

There are some advantages to the employee in arbitration. Arbitrations are less formal than the court process and usually take less time than it would take to get to trial. If you’re required to sign such an agreement to obtain or keep your employment, you may want to have an attorney review the agreement and give you advice as to whether or not you should agree to the provision.

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.

Has a School or Training Program Promised You a Job and Failed to Deliver?

kloaThe advertisements sound so great. They show smiling, successful workers with great jobs and happy families. They can seem like the answer to all your problems, especially if you’re at home watching television because you are out of work, really unhappy with your current job, or just not sure what to do next with your life. They say if you go to this school, and complete the program, you’ll get a job that pays well and offers great benefits. You’ll be able to work in the medical profession, or other acclaimed and in-demand field. They show people who have attended the school extolling the benefits of the program –talking about their enviable promotion or new position and how it changed their lives. They are so glad they went to this program.

What they don’t always say is that these results are not typical. They also might leave out the fact that the school is a for-profit institution, and that their students are borrowing thousands upon thousands of dollars, and investing months of precious time for a degree or certificate that won’t guarantee them anything.

Such schools can be sued for false advertising, misrepresentation of job placement rates, or even fraud. In some cases, schools have been targeted by the attorney general’s office for preying on veterans, many of whom served in hopes of getting money for schooling they could not otherwise afford. Even when the victims involved are not veterans, they often involve the most sympathetic of victims, in that the students just want to pursue the American dream of doing better by improving themselves through hard work.

Buyers should definitely be aware of the fine print when choosing a vocational school or college. They should keep copies of anything they sign, and ask for written material regarding placement rates, average wages achieved in placement, and exactly what services are available to help those graduates get jobs. Bringing a private fraud case, or even a class action, is a possibility if sufficient evidence exists that promises were made but not kept. It is not uncommon for some schools too simply close their doors, leaving students without what they paid for.

Painkiller Maker Pays Massive Class Action Settlement in False Claims Case

321516A drug that may be a distant memory for users made headlines recently when a case against the manufacturer settled for more than $800 million recently. Although it hasn’t been on the market since 2004, the painkiller Vioxx is still making headlines and costing its maker millions of dollars.

The company pulled the pills from the market when it was determined it could increase stroke and heart attack risks in patients. The drug company agreed to resolve a class action lawsuit by paying $830 million to shareholders recently. The shareholders argued the drug maker made misleading statements about its safety while it was still being prescribed.

The drug was introduced in 1999. The lawsuits began in 2003. They were consolidated in a case under a New Jersey federal judge and the group was certified as a class – meaning it can proceed as one action on behalf of many different parties – in 2013.

Shareholders alleged the drug company knew of the safety risks before the drug reached the market, then tried to minimize risks as problems began to publicly emerge while the drug was still being prescribed. The drug company denied allegations in court documents. Part of the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was unanimously ruled that investors hadn’t waited too long to bring their cases.

The company also faced a list of product liability class action lawsuits alleging that patients suffered heart attacks or strokes due to the drugs, and that the company failed to warn them properly of the risks. Merck admitted no liability as part of the settlement.
The company also agreed to pay $950 million to resolve accusations by the U.S. Department of Justice and state governments alleging the company lied to governments about the drug safety, and marketed it for uses not covered by the approval of the Food and Drug Administration. Merck pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for violating federal drug laws by promoting Vioxx for use in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis before the FDA approved it to do so.

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 And Representative Action Cases

Our Attorneys have handled the following cases filed as Class or Representative Actions:

ATKINS v. PC MALL, INC.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Case NO. BC346922.

BRITT v. UNIFIED PROTECTIVE SERVICES.
Stanislaus County Superior Court Case NO. 2018612.

BOTSKO v. HOME DEPOT U.S.A., INC.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Case NO. BC300136.

BOUKNIGHT v. OAO HEALTHCARE SOLUTIONS, INC.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 04AS00572.

BRUTON v. ROUND TABLE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY.
Tehama County Superior Court Case NO. 59106.

BUTLER-MITCHELL, ET AL v. LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE GROUP.
Coordinated In Los Angeles Superior Court, Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 01AS06879.

CHARPENTIER v. FRITO-LAY.
United States District Court, Central District Of California, Case NO. CV06-1215 DOC (ANX).

CHATFIELD v. HERTZ LOCAL EDITION.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 02AS0604.

CICERO v. MOUNTAIN CENTER, INC, IRONWOOD COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
San Bernadino County Superior Court Case NO. VCVVS 043274.

CLOK v. CONSOLIDATED ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTORS, INC.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 06AS00933.

COE v. ANNA’S LINENS.
Orange County Superior Court Case NO. 04CC00660.

CROSBY v. CHEVY’S.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 06AS02420.

CUNNINGHAM v. AT&T WIRELESS SERVICES.
Coordinated In Santa Clara County Superior Court, Orange County Superior Court Case NO. 03CC00174.

DELCOL v. SECURITAS SECURITY SERVICES USA, INC.
Coordinated In Santa Clara Co, Ventura County Superior Court Case NO. SC044343.

DENNO v. GMRI, INC. (RED LOBSTER).
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 04AS004294.

DOGLIETTO v. AT SYSTEMS WEST, INC.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 04AS02796.

DUNBAR v. FREDERICKS OF HOLLYWOOD.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 04AS02797.

DUVALL v. DEWEY SERVICES, INC.
Coordinated In Los Angeles Superior Cour, Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 03AS05484T.

EMOND v. SERVICE CORPORATION INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 04AS02627.

EVETS v. GUESS?, INC.
San Francisco County Superior Court Case NO. CGC 05-438332.

FERRIS v. INTER-CON SECURITY SYSTEMS, INC.
Coordinated In Los Angeles County, Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 06AS04001.

GALLAGHER v. SCARBROUGH MANAGEMENT CO.
Contra Costa County Superior Court Case NO. CO5 01028.

GARCIA v. DENNY’S.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Case NO. BC350157.

HARWAY v. HERTZ LOCAL EDITION CORPORATION.
Federal Court NO. E.D. CAL 2:07-CV-00760.

HAWTHORNE v. THE LANDING RESORT AND SPA.
El Dorado County Superior Court Case NO. PC 20150181.

HERNANDEZ v. MONUMENT SECURITY.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 34-2015-0179527.

HERRON-ELZIE v. SPRINT.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 02AS0605.

HUDDLE v. CENTRAL CONCRETE.
Alameda County Superior Court Case NO. RG08365263.

KEPLINGER v. CALIFORNIA PIZZA, LLC.
Fresno County Superior Court Case NO. 07 CE CG 01534.

KIMOTO v. MCDONALDS CORPORATION.
United States District Court, Central District Of California, Case NO. CV 06-3032 GPS (FMOX).

KINZ-SCHMITT v. SPENCER GIFTS LLC.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 07AS03539.

KRAFT v. J.A. SUTHERLAND, INC., DBA TACO BELL.
Tehama County Superior Court Case NO. 55038.

LACHAPELLE v. DAVITA INC., TOTAL RENAL CARE, INC.
Solano County Superior Court Case NO. FCS028959.

LEE v. FOSTER DAIRY FARMS.
Stanislaus County Superior Court Case NO. 2006542.

LIPSCOMB v. HOOTERS.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 34-2008-9515.

LUCCKETTA v. BMW MANAGEMENT, INC. DBA SIZZLER.
Yuba County Superior Court Case NO. CVCS04-1147.

MAKOWIECKI v. PG&E.
Butte County Superior Court Case NO. 165409.

MARTIN v. FEDEX GROUND PACKAGE SYSTEM, INC.
Federal Court, NO. N.D. CAL 06-CV06883.

MCCARTY v. C.J.K. ASSOCIATES, LLC. DBA APPLEBEES.
Solano County Superior Court Case NO. FCS 028379.

MCCLURE v. JOS A. BANK CLOTHIERS, INC.
Solano County Superior Court Case NO. FCS026631.

MERCADO v. RYDER INTEGRATED LOGISTICS.
San Joaquin County Superior Court Case NO. STK-CV-UOE-2016-0000139.

MICKELSON v. WORLD OF GOOD TASTES, INC.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 07AS02431.

MOLINAR. v. GOLDEN WEST RESTAURANTS, INC. DBA APPLEBEES.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Case NO. BC350154.

MONTELONGO v. WENDY’S OF THE PACIFIC.
Stanislaus County Superior Court Case NO. 2015769.

MUNIZ v. PILOT TRAVEL CENTERS, LLC.
Us District Court, Ed Calif, Case NO. 2:07-CV-89.

NASH v. GMRI, INC. DBA RED LOBSTER.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 04AS01949.

PAGE v. ARAMARK UNIFORM & CAREER APPAREL, INC.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Case NO. BC341118.

PANTALION v. ROSS STORES, INC.
Alameda County Superior Court Case NO. RG 06–286752.

PETERSON v. BIANCHI PLUMBING, INC.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 04AS02628.

PHELEN v. ATI SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 34-2014-00171707.

SAMPSON v. HEALTHNET.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 34-2015-00183785.

SANTOS v. NORTH STATE GROCERY, INC.
Shasta County Superior Court Case NO. 154505.

SHAWVER v. EXCALIBUR PIZZA, LLC.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 02AS06425.

SILVA v. CATALINA RESTAURANT GROUP, INC. DBA COCO’S AND CARROWS.
San Diego County Superior Court Case NO. GIC866861.

SORENSON v. PETSMART, INC.
Us District Court, Ed Calif Case NO. 2:06-CV-02674.

SPINKS-ANDERSON v. EJ’S PIZZA CO., DBA ROUND TABLE PIZZA.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 04AS04773.

STENROOS v. CORE-MARK INTERNATIONAL, INC.
San Mateo County Superior Court Case NO. CIV 451198.

TAYLOR v. FEDEX FREIGHT WEST.
Santa Clara Superior Court Case NO. CV088145.

TAYLOR v. FEDEX FREIGHT, INC.
United States District Court, Eastern District Of California Case NO. 1:13-CV-01137 LJO-BAM.

THOMPSON v. CULVER PERSONNEL AGENCY, INC.
San Diego County Superior Court Case NO. GIC 870940.

THU v. AFC SUSHI COMPANY.
Stanislaus County Superior Court Case NO. 2018129.

VITT v. ELECTRONIC DATA SYSTEMS (EDS).
Orange County Superior Court Case No 04Cc00661, Transferred To Butte County Superior Court Case NO. 134247.

WESCOM v. BRINKS.
Sacramento County Superior Court Case NO. 07AS03552.

WILLIAMS v. WHEELER LOGGING, INC.
Tehama County Superior Court Case NO.59035.

YANG v. JELLY BELLY CANDY COMPANY.
Solano County Superior Court Case NO. FCS 027019.

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

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