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South Lake Tahoe Personal Injury Accident Lawyer - Wagner, Jones, Kopfman
South Lake Tahoe Personal Injury Accident Lawyer - Wagner, Jones, Kopfman's posts

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The city of Fresno has agreed to pay $675,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit over a case in which a Fresno police officer ran over and killed a bicyclist who was fleeing from a traffic stop in August 2013.

The settlement in U.S. District Court in Fresno means the city admits no wrongdoing or liability in the death of Angel Toscano, 39, of Fresno. In court papers, the city contends Toscano’s death was an accident; that Toscano fell in front of a patrol car and Officer James Lyon was unable to avoid hitting him.

But a lawyer for Toscano’s family said Friday that if the case had gone to trial, the evidence would have shown that Lyon intentionally bumped the rear wheel of Toscano’s bicycle, causing him to fall. Lyon then ran over Toscano, killing him.

“The family wanted vindication for an egregious act,” Fresno attorney Andrew B. Jones, who represents four of Toscano’s six children, said Friday. Toscano’s two other children are represented by Visalia attorney John Rozier.

The settlement will be divided by the six children and their attorneys upon approval from the court, which is scheduled to happen later this month, Jones said.

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Fresno law firm Wagner, Jones, Kopfman and Artenian recently received its biggest verdict to date — $54 million — in a class-action suit against Wal-Mart on behalf of 840 truck drivers.

The case is the second of its kind the firm has won in the last 13 months — a rarity, according to attorney Larry Artenian, who served as lead counsel during the Wal-Mart case.

While the firm is known for assisting plaintiffs in wrongful termination, sexual harassment, and other employment-related cases, including class-action suits, Artenian said it's uncommon for a class-action suit to be certified, let alone make it to trial, as parties typically reach a settlement agreement.

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Judge orders Trump sit for 7-hour deposition in early January

(CNN)Before President-elect Donald Trump heads to the White House on January 20, he will find himself back in the witness chair for questioning in his ongoing contractual dispute with celebrity chef, Jose Andres.

DC Superior Court Judge Jennifer A. Di Toro ruled Wednesday that Trump must sit for a deposition in New York City the first week of January, and it may last up to seven hours.

Trump sued Andres for breach of contract after Andres backed out of a plan for a restaurant in Trump's new luxury hotel in Washington. Andres claimed he canceled plans for the project after Trump made disparaging remarks about Mexicans during the presidential campaign.

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Wal-Mart Faces More Damages In Wage Case

A federal jury in San Francisco last month awarded truck drivers for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. more than $54 million in damages because the retailer didn’t properly pay them for time worked.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston could add $80 million to the award as punishment because Wal-Mart’s actions were considered intentional, which could make it the highest judgment in California this year, said one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Nicholas “Butch” Wagner of Wagner Jones Kopfman & Artenian LLP of Fresno, California.

Illston is expected to decide the damage amount by the end of the year, Wagner said. Wagner said he also will ask for attorney’s fees and costs for the case, which was filed in 2008.

The lawsuit involved Wal-Mart’s truck drivers in California, who weren’t paid for tasks involving pre- and post-trip inspections of the trucks, which each take about 15 minutes, Wagner said. The claim period is between 2005 and 2015 and covers 839 truck drivers.

Wal-Mart used a “piece rate” to pay its drivers, which meant they were paid per mile instead of per hour and were paid for certain activities such as dropping off a trailer, he said. Wagner said that as a result the drivers also weren’t paid for their 10-minute break that is required after four hours of work.

In addition, the drivers weren’t properly paid for layovers that they were required to take. For every 11 hours a truck driver drives in a day or 14 hours worked during a day, drivers are forced to take a 10-hour break.

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The search for answers continued Tuesday in Oakland as city, state and federal agencies sifted through wreckage in one of the city's deadliest building fires on record.

Bucket by bucket, investigators painstakingly removed debris from inside the warehouse-turned-art-space, narrowing the fire's origin to the rear of the building, Oakland Fire Deputy Director Darin White said. By Monday afternoon, about 70% of the building had been cleared.

In another area of the property, the sheriff''s coroner began autopsies on the 36 bodies so far discovered, Alameda County Sheriff Gregory J. Ahern said.

A criminal investigation team from the Alameda County District Attorney's Office is on site, working alongside law enforcement, the Oakland Fire Department and federal investigators to ascertain criminal liability, and, if so, who could be responsible, District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said.

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Trump University and class action settlements

When parties to a class action case reach a settlement agreement, such as the recent class action case against Trump University and Donald Trump, the case is not necessarily concluded. The Judge overseeing the case must approve the settlement. If the judge approves the class action settlement, then a Notice of the settlement is sent to all the class members.

The Notice will ask class members if they want to participate in the settlement, or if they want to OPT OUT of the settlement. If a class member participates in the settlement, they will be bound by all the terms of the settlement. If a class member decides to 'OPT OUT' of the settlement, they will not be bound by any terms of the settlement and may proceed in prosecuting their case against the Defendants.

Class members that OPT OUT are then free to pursue their case against the Defendants. These OPT OUTS often later settle their case for much more than they would have received had they not opted out.

Donald Trump reportedly has settled his Trump University case for much less than what potentially would be awarded to the class. Trump is also reportedly trying to settle the case to avoid having to answer to the allegations that he defrauded thousands of people who paid his tuition fees.

Those class members that OPT OUT of the settlement will be able to compel Mr. Trump to attend a deposition where they will be able to question Mr. Trump concerning the allegations that he defrauded students who attended Trump University. The OPT OUTS will be able to prosecute all their claims against Mr. Trump and Trump University.

The firm of Wagner, Jones, Kopfman & Artenian represents people in class action cases and people that OPT OUT of class action cases. If you would like to discuss any of these matters with an attorney from our firm, please call us at 559-449-1800.

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Wagner, Jones, Kopfman & Artenian win major class action lawsuit agains Wal-Mart

A Fresno law firm scored a major win Wednesday against Wal-Mart with a multimillion-dollar verdict against the retail giant in a federal class-action lawsuit that affects hundreds of truckers in California.

A jury ruled in U.S. District Court in San Francisco that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. violated California’s minimum wage law when it failed to pay its drivers for all the tasks they do. Right before noon, the jury awarded the drivers $54 million in damages.

Those unpaid tasks include waiting in line to load or unload their cargo, time spent to fill out federally mandated trip slips, and washing and fueling their trucks.

In 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston ruled Wal-Mart violated California’s minimum wage law, leaving only damages as the major issue to be decided.

Under California law, the drivers must be paid for all the time that they were subject to Wal-Mart’s control, said Fresno attorney Nicholas “Butch” Wagner, whose firm of Wagner Jones Kopfman & Artenian represented nearly 840 past and present Wal-Mart drivers, including about 200 from the Valley.

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Wagner, Jones, Kopfman & Artenian scores big verdict for truckers against Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart intentionally failed to pay hundreds of truck drivers in California the minimum wage, a federal jury decided Wednesday, awarding the drivers $54 million in damages and opening up the retail giant to penalties.

The seven jurors returned the verdict in a lawsuit accusing the company of not properly paying drivers in accordance with California law for activities that included inspecting and washing their trucks and for layovers. Civil penalties will be determined by a judge.

The company argued that the drivers are paid for activities that include those tasks and that they are not working during layovers. An lawyer for Wal-Mart didn't immediately return calls seeking comment on the verdict.

Attorneys for the more than 800 drivers who worked for Wal-Mart between October 2005 and October 2015 were seeking $72 million in damages, the bulk of it for layovers. They said during trial that additional damages and penalties could push the total amount Wal-Mart owed to more than $150 million. 

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Donald Trump Agrees to Pay $25 Million in Trump University Settlement

Donald J. Trump has reversed course and agreed on Friday to pay $25 million to settle a series of lawsuits stemming from his defunct for-profit education venture, Trump University, finally putting to rest fraud allegations by former students, which have dogged him for years and hampered his presidential campaign.

The settlement was announced by the New York attorney general just 10 days before one of the cases, a federal class-action lawsuit in San Diego, was set to be heard by a jury. The deal averts a potentially embarrassing and highly unusual predicament: a president-elect on trial, and possibly even taking the stand in his own defense, while scrambling to build his incoming administration.

It was a remarkable concession from a real estate mogul who derides legal settlements and has mocked fellow businessmen who agree to them.

But the allegations in the case were highly unpleasant for Mr. Trump: Students paid up to $35,000 in tuition for a programs that, according to the testimony of former Trump University employees, used high-pressure sales tactics and employed unqualified instructors.

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Wal-Mart Hauled Before Jury In Truckers' Wage Class Action

Counsel for a certified class of Wal- Mart truckers told a California federal jury during opening statements Monday that the retail giant violated state minimum wage laws by failing to pay drivers for time spent staying with their trucks during inspections and government-mandated 10-hour layovers.

The nine named plaintiffs, who represent a class totaling 830, allege Wal-Mart’s “piecemeal” payment policy violated state wage laws because it did not compensate drivers for pre- and post-trip inspections, washing their trucks, fueling, weighing their load, waiting at vendor and store locations, performing adjustments, complying with Department of Transportation inspections, meeting with driver coordinators, and taking the rest breaks required by California law.

They also said during federally mandated 10-hour layover breaks, drivers were required to stay with their trucks and “babysit freight,” and were paid $42 for the time, not the $67 to $90 they would have earned had they been paid minimum wage during the class period.

Class attorney Nicholas John Paul Wagner of the Law Offices of Wagner & Jones also said at Monday’s opening arguments that the jury’s job would be relatively easy. The court had already ruled that the driver policy set forth in Wal-Mart’s own employee manual would violate California labor laws, and the factual dispute was over whether the company complied with its own instructions. If the jury found it did, they could follow the recommendations of a team of expert mathematicians.
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