Hariri Law Group

California Civil Litigation Firm

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Livermore National Lab Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit

 

Last week, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California settled a massive age discrimination lawsuit brought by former employees who alleged age discrimination. The plaintiffs in the suit will receive a total of $37.25 million in back pay.stop

129 former workers had sued the lab over layoffs that had occurred in 2007. The plaintiffs alleged that they were all laid off because they were over the age of 50. At that time, the lab was transitioning from work focused on nuclear weapons to other types of research, and a number of layoffs occurred because of the transition. As a result of the layoffs, a number of workers were unable to find other jobs due to their age.

If you have been in a similar situation and would like more information on potentially filing a claim, please contact Hariri Law Group at 619-363-2889 for a free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you regarding your case. *Disclaimer: Every case is fact specific. In order to properly assess your case please contact one of our experienced attorneys.

Negligent Dealer Repairs Lead to a $2.17 Million Verdict Against Toyota

Posted – October 9, 2015

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Last month, a Los Angeles jury awarded Kenneth Fry $2.1 million for injuries he alleged were due to improper repairs to his SUV.

Defendant Larry Miller Toyota replaced the driveshaft on Fry’s 1990 4Runner, which eventually fell out of the vehicle 11 months later. Fry was driving on the freeway at the time, and lost control of the car and was injured. He suffered neck and shoulder injuries, and had a number of surgeries in the years following the accident.

Larry Miller Toyota argued that their work on the vehicle did not fall below the accepted standard of care, and instead placed the blame on Mr. Fry and another Toyota dealer who regularly serviced the vehicle. Mr. Fry settled with the other dealer prior to the case going to trial.

If you have been in a similar situation and would like more information on potentially filing a claim, please contact Hariri Law Group at 619-363-2889 for a free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you regarding your case. *Disclaimer: Every case is fact specific. In order to properly assess your case please contact one of our experienced attorneys.

California Parents Sue Over Zofran

Posted – October 8, 2015

Two Northern California parents have filed a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline over birth defects suffered by their daughter. Katherine and Matthew Murray allege that their daughter suffered birth defects as a result of Mrs. Murray taking the drug ondansetron, which is sold under the brand name Zofran. pills

Mrs. Murray was prescribed the drug during her pregnancy to deal with nausea, despite the fact that the drug was originally designed and approved by the FDA to treat severe nausea, such as that suffered by someone undergoing chemotherapy. At the time she was prescribed it, GlaxoSmithKline marketed the offbrand version of Zofran as safe to take for nausea resulting from pregnancy. In 2012, the company pled guilty to criminal charges for marketing their drugs for uses not explicitly approved by the FDA.

The Murrays’ daughter was born with congenital heart defects, and eventually had to have surgery at age four. The lawsuit alleges GlaxoSmithKline failed to warn of the dangers of the drug to pregnant women, and failed to conduct any studies on the long-term risks.

If you have been injured as a result of prescription drugs and would like more information on potentially filing a claim, please contact Hariri Law Group at 619-363-2889 for a free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you regarding your case. *Disclaimer: Every case is fact specific. In order to properly assess your case please contact one of our experienced attorneys.

Jury Awards Ex-Employee Of Roscoe’s Chicken N’ Waffles $1.6M In Race Discrimination Suit

Posted – September 14, 2015

A Los Angeles jury has awarded $1.6 million to a former cook who had alleged that he was discriminated against and wrongfully terminated from his position. Daniel Beasley, who is African-American, alleges that while he was employed at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, he was discriminated against in favor of Hispanic employees. He said that he complained to management, but no action was taken, and that he was later fired because of his complaints.

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In California, anyone who is wrongfully terminated because of their race can bring a claim against their former employer. Depending on the size of the employer, a citizen could bring a claim under federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act), California law (the Fair Housing and Employment Act), or both. Prior to filing any lawsuit, however, a complaint must be filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or, in some cases, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

If you have been in a similar situation with an employer, and would like more information on potentially filing a claim, please contact Hariri Law Group at 619-363-2889 for a free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you regarding your case. *Disclaimer: Every case is fact specific. In order to properly assess your case please contact one of our experienced attorneys.

Chula Vista Police Department Hit with Lawsuit

Posted – September 11, 2015

A former San Diego police officer has filed a lawsuit against the Chula Vista Police Department, alleging discrimination and retaliation. After he retired from the San Diego Police Department after 24 years, David Mitchell, who is African American, was invited to apply for a position with the Chula Vista Police DiscriminationDepartment. Once in training there, he says he was subjected to racial harassment and discrimination. After he filed a complaint alleging harassment, the city found no wrongdoing, and the day after their investigation was finished, Mitchell was told he did not pass probation.

As was the case here, an employee in California in a similar situation can only file a lawsuit after filing a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Depending on the conclusions reached by either agency, a citizen can then choose to file a lawsuit in either California state court, or in federal court.

In California, under Government Code § 12940(h), part of the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, in order to prove a case of retaliation, you must prove.

  1. You engaged in some type of protected activity, such as lodging a complaint about harassment in your workplace;
  1. That your employer either fired you or took some adverse action
  1. That the protected behavior you engaged in was a motivating reason for your employer’s actions against you;
  1. That you were harmed as a result of those actions.

Under California law, in order to prove you were wrongfully discharged, you must prove the following:

  1. You were employed by the defendant;
  1. The defendant either fired or demoted you;
  1. Some violation of public policy, e.g. discrimination based on race or gender, was a motivating reason for you being fired or demoted; and
  1. That you were harmed as a result of those actions. 

California case law states that the following are the most common examples of a violation of public policy: (1) refusing to violate a statute; (2) performing a statutory obligation (3) exercising a statutory right or privilege; and (4) reporting an alleged violation of a statute of public importance.” Gantt v. Sentry Insurance (1992) 1 Cal.4th 1083, 1090-1091. As you can see, you cannot be wrongfully discharged from your job for refusing to break the law, exercising your rights under the law (such as joining a union, filing a complaint with the state for workplace issues). In addition, basic violations of California law or federal law, such as firing someone based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc., are all violations of public policy.

If you believe you have a case against your employer for unlawful practices, please contact Hariri Law Group at 619-363-2889 for a free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you regarding your case. *Disclaimer: Every case is fact specific. In order to properly assess your case please contact one of our experienced attorneys.

Three Police Officers File Sex Harassment Lawsuit Against Ex-Deputy Chief, Ex-Chief, Salt Lake City

Posted – September 10, 2015  Stop Harassment

Recently, three former and current female officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department filed a federal lawsuit alleging sexual harassment by a former deputy police chief. The three officers allege that former Salt Lake Deputy Police Chief Rick Findlay sexually harassed them while at work, and that no one they complained to took any action in response. The lawsuit also names the former chief of police, the Salt Lake City Police Department, and the city itself.

The women allege that Findlay stole pictures of them from a phone and sent it to himself, that he made unwanted romantic advances towards them, and that he spread false information about them around the department. They also allege Findlay denied them promotions, or disciplined them for dubious behavior after his advances were rebuffed.

 An internal affairs investigation was launched, and Findlay was put on leave, but prior to any action being taken against him, he retired. The suit alleges that the department failed to act even though the internal affairs report was finished for months.

In workplaces of 15 or more employees, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sex, i.e. sexual harassment. In California, this law is codified under the Fair Housing and Employment Act, Government Code, § 12940(j). Any employer with five or more employees is covered by this law.

 In California, the following is required in order to bring a claim for sexual harassment against an employer:

  1. You were an employee of the defendant, or you had applied for a position there;
  1. You were subjected to unwanted harassing conduct because of your gender; 
  1. That the harassing conduct was so severe, widespread, or persistent that a reasonable man/woman in your circumstances would have considered the work environment to be hostile or abusive;
  1. You considered the work environment to be hostile or abusive;
  1. That either a supervisor engaged in the conduct themselves, or, supervisors should have known and failed to take immediate action;
  1. You suffered harm because of the conduct.

In order to bring a suit against an individual employee in the work place, the requirements are essentially the same. 

It is often the case that the harassment is quid pro quo, or, when an individual promises or conditions some type of benefit (e.g. a promotion) on accepting their sexual advances. Or, in the alternative, it occurs when employment decisions are made based on the rejection of the harasser’s advances. 

If you believe you have a case against your employer for sexual harrasment, please contact Hariri Law Group at 619-363-2889 for a free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you regarding your case. *Disclaimer: Every case is fact specific. In order to properly assess your case please contact one of our experienced attorneys.

Tech Workers Receive $415 Million in Class Action Suit

Posted – September 7, 2015

On Wednesday, a U.S. District Court Judge approved a $415 million settlement in a lawsuit that alleged that Silicon Valley companies had conspired to keep wages down. The suit, which was filed in California in 2011, alleged that companies such as Apple, Google, and Intel had an agreement to not poach employees from each other, in order to artificially limit competition and thus, keep wages down.

The lawsuit covered over 64,000 former employees of tech giants, and covered those employed dating back to 2005. The lawsuit originated after a May 2011 anti-trust investigation by the Justice Department, which revealed that the senior executives of tech companies, including Steve Jobs, had agreements with each other not to hire their rivals’ employees.

If you believe you have a case against your employer for unlawful practices, please contact Hariri Law Group at 619-363-2889 for a free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you regarding your case. *Disclaimer: Every case is fact specific. In order to properly assess your case please contact one of our experienced attorneys.

Uber Drivers’ Lawsuit Granted Class Action Status

Posted – September 4, 2015

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In federal court on Tuesday, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that a lawsuit against Uber can proceed as a class action. In doing so, Judge Edward Chen paved the way for a lawsuit that could include claims from 160,000 individuals who have driven for Uber.

The Plaintiffs in this case seek to have their lawsuit include any individual who has driven for Uber since 2009. They seek to be classified as employees, rather than as independent contractors, in order to obtain benefits and protections afforded by California law. Uber, along with Lyft and other ridesharing companies, classifies its drivers as independent contractors, and therefore, none are employees of Uber. The company argues that the freedom they offer, in terms of scheduling, shows that their drivers are independent contractors, not employees.

The judge’s rule certifies the case for class action, as he found that Uber exercised a sufficient right to control their employees. However, Judge Chen did reject the Plaintiffs class certification as it pertained to reimbursement for expenses. That issue had recently come up in June, when the California Labor Commission ruled that an individual Uber driver was considered an employee and could receive compensation for mileage and other expenses.

San Jose Residents Sue Slumlord

Posted – August 28, 2015happy tenants

Four San Jose, California families have filed a lawsuit against their landlord alleging inhumane living condition. The lawsuit, filed against the owner of an apartment complex, alleges gas leaks, mold, and insect infestations. The families allege that their landlord has not responded to any complaints they made about the conditions, and that he has retaliated against tenants who file complaints.

California law states that all rental units must meet a number of minimum standards to make them livable (guidelines for what makes an apartment “livable” can be found in California Civil Code 1941.1, Green v. Superior Court and other related cases). In all rental leases in California, there is an “implied warranty of habitability.” This requires landlords to maintain their rental units in a condition fit for human beings to live in. The unit must substantially comply with building and housing code standards that materially affect tenants’ health and safety. In addition to being free from infestations, mold, and other issues that can affect a tenant’s health or well-being, certain minimum amenities, such as heating, must be required.

In addition, it is unlawful for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant by attempting to evict them solely for exercising a legal right. If, for instance, a tenant complained to his landlord or to a public agency about poor living conditions in their unit, and the landlord responded by evicting the tenant, it would be an improper retaliatory eviction (if it was done within a six-month period).

There are a number of steps tenants can take if their rental unit is uninhabitable, or if they are having a dispute with their landlord over the state of their unit. For more information, feel free to contact the Hariri Law Group at 619-363-2889 for a free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you regarding your case. *Disclaimer: Every case is fact specific. In order to properly assess your case please contact one of our experienced attorneys.

Costco Sued In Connection With Alleged Slavery

Posted – August 21, 2015

Costco faces a number of lawsuits after allegations that their shrimp supplier was involved in human trafficking for forced labor. Three lawsuits were filed in San Francisco yesterday alleging that Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods, a shrimp farmer based in Thailand, used slave labor to catch their shrimp. A 2014 investigation by The Guardian uncovered that CP Foods was purchasing their shrimp from suppliers who owned slaves.

The practice of using slave labor in Thailand’s fishing industry is widespread, and, as the biggest shrimp supplier in the world, CP Foods allegedly played a part in it. Other U.S. retailers such as Walmart purchased shrimp from CP Foods.

Costco published a statement that they have known about the allegations for some time, and have been working with the Thai government and others to address the issue. CP Foods has denied any wrongdoing.