LoJack may have to ratchet up damages

Legal News Line Jan. 23, 2008, 2:56pm

LOS ANGELES -- A California auto supply business is fighting a class action suit that could cost it more than $8 million. LoJack Corp., which employs technicians in California to install stolen vehicle recovery systems, is accused in federal court of ripping off employees. In November of 2007, Plaintiffs Mike Rutti and Gerson Anaya filed the original complaint in state court alleging LoJack violated various California labor, business and professional codes, and demanded that the issue be heard before a jury. The complaint alleges that employees were routinely required to work through both meal and rest breaks, improperly charged for damages done to company vehicles and mandated to purchase tools without reimbursement. On Jan. 2, defense attorneys McDermott, Will and Emery of Los Angeles, removed the action to federal court arguing that the claim arises under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). CAFA is invoked when the putative class consists of more than 100, and any member of the class is from a different state than defendant, and the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million. The 228 class members seek damages totaling $8,010,912, according to the complaint. The total was reached after adding $1,686,024 for failure to provide rest breaks, $1,947,284 for missed meal periods, $3,894,568 for minimum wage violations, $438,060 for failure to pay wages in full upon separation of company, $819,000 for failure to provide accurate and timely wage statements, and finally, $912,000 for failure to indemnify employees for expenses. The proposed class representatives are represented by the Reghetti Law Firm of San Francisco.

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