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3 posts from December 2010

December 15, 2010

Brown Announces $13 Million Settlement With DIRECTV, Restitution to Customers

Ag brown Directv logo

Brown vs. Directv


Consumer Victory!!!

The Press Release says it all:

SAN DIEGO - Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced a $13 million settlement with DIRECTV plus restitution for customers who were subjected to the satellite TV company's misleading sales and marketing practices.

"DIRECTV won customers by offering special deals with hidden costs, and also extended customers' contracts without telling them," Brown said. "With this settlement, DIRECTV will reimburse customers and change its sales and advertising practices to comply with the law."

The settlement by Brown and 48 other state attorneys general was filed today in San Diego Superior Court. It requires DIRECTV to make full restitution to all victims. In addition, the company is required to pay $13.25 million to the 49 states and the District of Columbia in civil penalties and costs, and obey state laws.

DIRECTV, based in El Segundo, has more than 18 million subscribers nationwide with more than one million in California.

The multi-state investigation found the company engaged in practices that misled customers about how much they would be required to pay and what kind of programming they could expect. The investigation established that DIRECTV:

- Extended contracts without customers' knowledge. When the company serviced faulty DIRECTV equipment, its representative asked customers to sign what appeared to be service documents. Customers later learned that their signatures had extended their contacts for another two years.

- Failed to deliver promised channels. In its promotions, the company promised potential subscribers access to sports channels and local stations, but subscribers discovered that some of the promised programming was not available.

- Change the terms of promotions. The company offered cash-back deals and free trials but did not disclose key details, and some customers ended up paying more than expected. For example, DIRECTV offered a two-year deal at $29.99 a month (compared to a typical charge of $53.99 or $63.99) but did not disclose that the second year was at the regular price.

As part of today's settlement, DIRECTV agreed to clearly state all costs, services offered, length of contracts and terms of cancellations and refunds.

Brown's office is reviewing the 1,136 complaints it has received about DIRECTV to determine which customers are entitled to restitution. Complaints about conduct that occurred after January 1, 2007 are eligible for restitution. Californians who believe they were misled by DIRECTV have until June 9 to file a complaint with the Attorney General's office at http://ag.ca.gov/consumers/general.php.

December 06, 2010

Drinking and Driving - It's Never Been Said This Well

Someone sent me this video.  It speaks for itself.

 

On December 10th 1989 the first TAC commercial went to air. In that year the road toll was 776; by last year 2008 it had fallen to 303.
A five minute retrospective of the road safety campaigns produced by the TAC over the last 20 years has been compiled. The montage features iconic scenes and images from commercials that have helped change they way we drive, all edited to the moving song Everybody Hurts by REM.

This campaign is a chance to revisit some of the images that have been engraved on our memories, remember the many thousands of people who have been affected by road trauma and remind us all that for everyones sake; please, drive safely.
Transport Accident Commission Victoria.
http://www.tac.vic.gov.au

December 03, 2010

Workers' Compensation? Personal Injury? or Both? Maximize Your Compensation

  

    Through California's Worker's Compensation Laws injured employees are able to recover from the limited benefits of their employer's insurance.  But what happens in cases where an employee has sustained an on-the-job injury caused by someone other than the employer? Simply put, in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, the injured employee may sue this third party (i.e., other person or entity) in tort law. Third party cases may fall into categories such as traffic accidents, slip & fall incidents, defective products, defective equipment or the exposure to toxic substances and any number of other situations.

    If a worker suffers a significant injury, it is highly probable that they will not receive sufficient funds from a workers' compensation claim because workers’ compensation claims are not based upon fault whereas tort claims are based on fault and include monetary compensation for pain and suffering.  Therefore, pursuing claims against a negligent third party is critical to ensure maximum compensation for injuries or death.

           Every on-the-job injury should be evaluated by an experienced attorney to determine if a third party claim exists.

    The personal injury component of a workers’ compensation claim is oftentimes overlooked.  Here are just a few examples of such cases that my office has successfully handled (all clients were on-the-job but we also sued a third party on their behalf):

  •        Male bus driver rear-ended by automobile.  He suffered a knee injury which required arthroscopic surgery. Significant confidential settlement.
  •        Female building maintenance person who slipped due to wet carpets when exiting the elevator of her office building.  At the time of the incident, a carpet cleaning company (third party) was cleaning the carpet and failed to post signs warning of the dangerous condition.  Serious knee injuries. Large 6-figure settlement against the carpet cleaning company.
  •        U.S. Postal Worker who was in Los Angeles on business suffered severe burns to his left foot due to the hotel’s providing scalding hot water to the shower.  The client almost lost his leg due to complications.  Significant settlement against the hotel.
  •        Male law firm investigator was rear-ended while in the field. He suffered injuries sufficient to require him to undergo neck and back surgeries. Policy limit settlement against the driver of the offending vehicle.
  •        Female Cal-Trans worker was in a lift changing a street light when an the top of an 18-wheeler grazed the bottom of her bucket, throwing her several feet out of the bucket. She hung in the air by her safety belts.  The worker suffered severe physical and emotional injuries as a result. Significant 6-figure settlement against the trucking company.

    The attorney handling the third party portion of the claim must work closely with the workers’ compensation attorney as well as with the workers’ compensation insurance carrier because of the unique legal issues presented in these situations.

    If you have suffered a work related injury and have reason to believe that a third-party may bear some liability, please call or e-mail me to discuss your legal rights.

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