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Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC

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Latest developments from a devoted Cleveland law firm focused on your needs

Our attorneys at Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC, work hard to stay on top of the latest legal developments in Ohio and across the country. That’s one of the reasons why we’re consistently able to obtain sizable verdicts and settlements in individual cases and class action lawsuits.

We’re proud of our case results and the work we do every day for personal injury victims and other people whose rights have been violated. That’s why we’re honored to share this information with you about our accomplishments.

Find out how our experienced Cleveland attorneys can help you. Contact our law firm and schedule a no cost consultation. We can explain all the legal options available to you and work with you to develop the best strategy for your unique situation. Call 866-823-3332.

Latest news for Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC

Cleveland Attorney Paul Grieco to Lead Ohio Association for Justice

The Ohio Association for Justice (OAJ), the state’s largest professional association of trial attorneys, recently installed Cleveland attorney Paul Grieco as its 2016-2017 president during the organization’s annual convention held on May 3rd-5th. The ceremonial gavel was presented to Grieco by Immediate Past President and fellow Cleveland attorney, Frank Gallucci.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to lead an organization that fights on behalf of the injured and wronged in both the courtroom and the capitol,” said Grieco. “I plan to spend the next year working intently to ensure that our civil justice rights are preserved and that the courthouse doors remain open to all Ohioans.”

A founding partner in the law firm of Landskroner, Grieco, Merriman, Grieco has devoted his life to fighting for the most vulnerable members of our society, including children and the grievously injured. A frequent advocate for civil justice before the Ohio Legislature, Grieco’s stated that his highest priority as president will be to fight any effort to remove Constitutional powers from juries and rights from individuals.

“Juries should decide the quality of justice for Ohioans, not special interest groups that place profits over people,” said Grieco. “I want to make sure that injured Ohioans are able to exercise their Constitutional right to a trial by a jury of their peers. Also, I will fight to guarantee that their attorneys always have a level playing field.”

Grieco is widely recognized as one of Ohio’s leading trial attorneys, and in 2014 he received the Garretson Courage Award for representing 11 children who were abused and forced to sleep in cages in foster homes. He is also a previous recipient of OAJ’s Distinguished Service award in 2011.

“Paul is a tireless advocate, not just for his clients but for all Ohioans seeking justice,” said outgoing President Frank Gallucci. “His track record of successfully taking on powerful interests to protect individuals speaks for itself, and I am confident that he will lead our organization with the same zeal and confidence that he exhibits in the courtroom.”

A native Ohioan, Paul lives in Cleveland with his wife, Sigrid Bergfeld. The couple has two daughters, Olivia and Sara Grieco.

The Ohio Association of Justice is a statewide association of plaintiffs’ attorneys dedicated to protecting the Constitutional rights and access to justice for all Ohioans through legislative advocacy and member education since 1954. On the web at oajjustice.org.

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Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC, Settles Overbilling Class Action Lawsuit On Of Behalf 1.6 Million LADWP Customers

Los Angeles, August 17, 2015 – – Calling it a “historic settlement,” consumer rights attorney Jack Landskroner, of Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC, filed a stipulation of settlement with the Los Angeles Superior Court to formally settle a landmark class action lawsuit (Antwon D. Jones vs. City of Los Angeles) brought on behalf of all Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (“LADWP”) customers. The settlement will assure the return of over $44,000,000 to customers who were overbilled for water, electricity, and other services. Additionally, the comprehensive settlement:

  • Mandates an independent audit of all 1.6 Million LADWP customer accounts to assure a 100% recovery to every Los Angeles resident and business which has been overbilled.
  • Requires the LADWP to invest $20,000,000 in a comprehensive overhaul of its billing system.
  • Establishes new rules as to how the nation’s largest public utility bills its customers.
  • Appoints an independent monitor to ensure compliance with the terms of the agreement.

“Families and small businesses have enough financial stress,” said Landskroner. We set out to make sure every customer would be made whole. Under this settlement agreement, every single customer who was overcharged will have their money returned. Thankfully, the LADWP took the overbilling problem seriously and understood both the legal and moral obligation to right this injustice and resolve this matter in the best interests of the ratepayers.”

In 2010, LADWP hired the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to modernize the utility’s nearly 40-year-old billing system. In 2013, LADWP implemented the PwC’s $181,000,000 computer billing system. The conversion failed miserably, producing tens of thousands of inaccurate bills and hourlong phone hold times as ratepayers tried to get their bills corrected. The faulty billing system overcharged thousands of customers by estimating meter readings and by failing to charge some commercial customers at all.

Jack Landskroner, whose law firm is based in Cleveland, Ohio, began investigating utility billing problems after the 2009 launch by PwC of a new water billing system for the Cleveland Water Department, which also turned disastrous. His knowledge of the Cleveland billing fiasco enabled Landskroner to understand the necessary comprehensive reforms approved in the groundbreaking LADWP settlement. Most significantly, the deal provides for an independent third party to monitor LADWP’s compliance and their timely progress in enacting these reforms over the next eighteen months, to assure the terms of the settlement are met and that all customers are made whole.

“We applaud the LADWP for not only standing by their customers while they address the problems created by the faulty PwC billing system, but accepting third party oversight and agreeing to fix the faulty system,” said Landskroner. “That was critical to guaranteeing both transparency and meaningful reform, which LADWP is embracing in this result.”

Under terms of the settlement, LADWP addresses the errors created by the PwC billing system, its impact on its customers and agrees to:

  • Review and audit the accounts of every single customer. Approximately 1.6 million accounts will be reviewed/audited.
  • Customers who were overcharged will either receive a full credit (100 cents on the dollar) to their account if they were overcharged or they will receive refunds if their account is closed.
  • It will not be necessary for the majority of ratepayers who were overbilled to file a claim. Credits or refunds will be generated automatically and noted on customer’s bills.
  • Customers that incurred incidental expenses related to these billing errors are able to submit a claim for reimbursement of costs, with supporting documentation.
  • If an audit shows that residential customers owed money for services but had not received a timely bill, the LADWP will only be allowed to bill for the prior to 9 months (270 days) of services. The LADWP legally can currently charge up to four years.
  • Commercial accounts would be responsible for paying for services for up to four years.
  • Customers that owe for back services that had not been timely billed will have up to 4 years to pay back any verified balance – interest and penalty free with qualifying small businesses permitted to apply for an extension beyond 4 years if under a hardship.
  • Retain Paul Bender Consulting, an independent third-party expert in utility billing systems, which will monitor the settlement terms for the court to ensure that the settlement terms are implemented and the LADWP data is accurate. (Mr. Bender was the consultant who successfully implemented sweeping improvements to the Cleveland Water Department that was plagued by similar catastrophic billing problems, staffing inefficiencies and complaints of poor customer service.)
  • Within 540 days from the final settlement approval, the LADWP will be responsible for 90-95 % completion of remediation of all system errors and to improving call times and customer service.
  • A third-party will be hired to administer the settlement.

“The failed computer system hurt families and small businesses throughout Los Angeles,” said Landskroner. “This agreement recovers the overbilled amount, puts systems in place to monitor and test the billing system while at the same time holding the LADWP responsible for successfully implementing the settlement.”

For a copy of the stipulation of settlement, go to www.teamlgm.com.

In March, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit against PwC alleging that the company misled LADWP by claiming it had the expertise to run the utility’s new billing system. No one at PwC or LADWP could initially figure out the billing problem. The LADWP hired Oracle who reportedly discovered that PwC defectively coded part of the program. If successful, all of the costs incurred by LADWP in settling this case could be recovered from PwC.

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Small Businesses Can Take Steps to Help Ensure Credit Report Accuracy

Access to credit is the lifeblood of most small enterprises. Accordingly, it is crucial that the information reported on a company’s commercial credit report is accurate. Any false or misleading report that is published can have a dire effect on the business’s reputation as well as its ratings and credit scores. Generally, when credit scores drop, the cost of credit rises and access diminishes.

In the realm of consumer credit, each company that reports a credit transaction is listed on a consumer’s credit report, but the world of commercial credit operates under the cloak of secrecy. No commercial credit reporting agency publishes the identity of the business that makes a negative report about a company’s credit record. Moreover, unless the company that provides a trade experience agrees to be identified, it takes a lawsuit to force the release of this information from the credit reporting agency due to intercompany confidentiality agreements.

Small business owners are adversely affected when credit reporting agencies publish what might be a false and defamatory statement about their business’s credit reputation. To help solve this dilemma, business credit reporting agencies have developed products that allow small businesses to monitor their own credit profile.However, the marketing of such products may be seen as an attempt on the part of credit reporting agencies to benefit from their own refusal to disclose information.

In 2010, Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), the most powerful and prominent small business credit reporting agency, sold its own credit monitoring product line (“SelfAwareness Solution”) to a new start-up company called the Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation (DBCC). Since then, small businesses have been solicited by a marketing company that has licensed and uses the D&B name and logo to leverage the sale of DBCC’s “Credit builder” credit-monitoring product line.

The collective practices of D&B and DBCC have come under scrutiny in a class action lawsuit filed in February 2014 in the Northern District of Ohio and has since been transferred to a federal court in Washington State, where it will be litigated with four other similar cases that have been filed across the country.

To protect your business from questionable credit reporting or marketing agency practices, ask these questions before buying a credit monitoring product:

1) Who is making the solicitation?

If not the actual credit reporting agency, the soliciting company likely cannot directly affect your business’s credit profile

2) What information should I disclose about my business?

Telemarketing companies may use information gathered from a business to put more detail about a company into the credit reporting agency’s databases. Remember that these reporting agencies are for-profit companies and have no governmental authority. You are under no obligation to provide a credit reporting agency with any information about your business.

3) What happens if I don’t provide information about my company?
Credit reporting agencies may have a credit profile on your company created from public filings, but they may not have the information necessary to rate your business. Most companies need a minimum number of trade experiences in their database to maintain a credit score on a business. When solicited by a credit reporting or marketing agency, limit the disclosures you make about your business, its needs and/or its finances unless you need or want a credit score.

4) Do “self-monitoring” products work?

Most products cannot directly improve your credit score or fix negative trade reports on your credit profile. For example, DBCC has no direct access to change, correct or impact your D&B business’s credit report. You can, however, visit www.iupdate.dnb.com and independently challenge inaccurate credit reports at no charge. Be forewarned that using this site will likely result in a marketing solicitation from DBCC within 72 hours, as D&B will immediately provide DBCC your business contact information.

5) What if I cannot resolve a dispute about the accuracy of my business’s credit report?

Challenge any inaccurate statement as soon as you become aware of it. Most trade partners of credit reporting agencies will automatically remove disputes, but be vigilant to make sure that the same incorrect information does not reappear on your report. If, despite your dispute, inaccurate information remains on your report and has damaged your business’s reputation, you may need to consider taking legal action to protect your business.

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Lawsuit : Wews hidden camera videotaped 10 year old boy in restroom

CLEVELAND, OH. The father of a ten year old boy who repeatedly used a restroom at WEWS-TV which was rigged with a hidden camera has filed a lawsuit against The E.W. Scripps Company, Inc. and its former Director of Engineering Berry Pinney. The child, who is only identified in court documents by his initials “R.G.” because he is a minor, regularly accompanied his mother to the station while she worked as a personal makeup artist for several WEWS news anchors and reporters during evening newscasts last summer.

It is the seventh invasion of privacy case which has been filed since a hidden camera was discovered in a fire sprinkler in the first floor men’s restroom on July 13, but the first lawsuit brought on behalf of a child. The lawsuit alleges the boy was secretly videotaped while using the urinals and a toilet in an enclosed stall. All of the lawsuits filed to date contend that the victims’ genitals were recorded by the camera. The Complaint can be viewed online at www.teamlgm.com.

“Secretly videotaping a ten year old boy using a toilet is beyond outrageous,” said attorney Tom Merriman of the Cleveland law firm Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC. “Everyone there knows children are frequent visitors to the station and often use that restroom.”

The covert camera was positioned in a ceiling tile above an enclosed toilet stall and three privacy-screened urinals. It was rigged to enable both live and recorded viewing of people using the restroom.

Berry Pinney authorized Facilities Manager Terry Joyce to install the camera because they hoped to catch an employee who was allegedly wiping snot on a urinal. The camera was discovered by a group of WEWS news employees working a weekend shift after they noticed video images from the first floor men’s restroom appear on a video screen at a security desk. It is not known whether the man they dubbed “Booger man” was ever caught. After the fire sprinkler camera was discovered, then Scripps vice president and WEWS general manager Sam Rosenwasser ordered Pinney to delete all of the video. Scripps then fired Pinney. Last month, Rosenwasser resigned.

“For a news organization to delete video evidence is downright hypocritical,” said Merriman. “If this were a law enforcement agency which destroyed video of people’s rights being violated, it would be the lead story on Channel 5’s newscasts for a week.”

The Complaint seeks punitive damages for both the invasion of the child’s privacy and for the spoliation of evidence. Judge Daniel Gaul has been assigned to the case.

For more information, contact attorney Tom Merriman at (o) 216-522-9000 or (c) 216-544-3411 or email: tom@lgmlegal.com. You can read the complaint here.

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Fifth Third Bank Employee Class Action

On December 31, Team LGM filed a case against Fifth Third Bank on behalf of current and former Customer Service Managers (“CSMs”) across the country. The case seeks recovery of unpaid overtime for hours worked by CSMs over 40 per workweek.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime at a rate of time-and-a-half. Since overtime is expensive, some employers seek to avoid paying it by classifying certain employees as exempt from the overtime laws and instead paying them a salary.

In order to be properly exempt from overtime, the employee’s primary job duties must be hiring, firing, promoting, or disciplining other employees, implementing management policies, committing the company to matters with significant financial impact, and setting wages. The Fifth Third lawsuit alleges, however, that the CSMs’ primary job duties were not managing, but were instead doing the type of work that hourly employees do: sales of loans, lines or credit, insurance and annuity products, working the teller line, routine audits of teller drawers, the ATM, and the vault, generating and printing routine reports, and performing other customer service tasks.

In addition to the claims under federal law for Fifth Third CSMs across the country, the lawsuit also brings specific additional claims for CSMs in Ohio, where state laws provide additional wage and hour protections.

If you are or were a manager at a Fifth Third Bank, Team LGM would be interested in hearing about your experience. Please contact Jack Landskroner or Drew Legando at 216-522-9000 or by email at jack@lgmlegal.com ordrew@lgmlegal.com or visit our website at www.teamlgm.com. Team LGM’s co-counsel in the case are Seth Lesser and Fran Rudich of the New York law firm Klafter, Olsen & Lesser, as well as Gregg Shavitz, Susan Stern, and Paolo Meireles of the Shavitz Law Group in Florida.

The lawsuit is called Kampfer v. Fifth Third Bank, N.D. Ohio 3:14-cv-02849. You can read the complaint here.

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Longhorn Steakhouse Employee Class Action

On December 30, Team LGM filed a case against Darden Restaurants and GRMI, Inc., on behalf of current and former Restaurant Managers (“RMs”) of Longhorn Steakhouses across the country. The case seeks recovery of unpaid overtime for hours worked by RMs over 40 per workweek.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime at a rate of time-and-a-half. Since overtime is expensive, some employers seek to avoid paying it by classifying certain employees as exempt from the overtime laws and instead paying them a salary.

In order to be properly exempt from overtime, the employee’s primary job duties must be managing the restaurant, which means hiring, firing, disciplining others, scheduling, supervising, and exercising independent decision-making power. The Longhorn lawsuit alleges, however, that the RMs’ primary job duties were not managing, but were instead doing the type of work that hourly employees do: bussing tables, cleaning the restaurant, checking to make sure supplies are shelved, checking inventory, cooking, helping customers, and the like.

In addition to the claims under federal law for Longhorn RMs across the country, the lawsuit also brings specific additional claims for RMs in Ohio and in Maryland, where state laws provide additional wage and hour protections.

If you are or were a manager at a Longhorn Steakhouse, Team LGM would be interested in hearing about your experience. Please contact Jack Landskroner or Drew Legando at 216-522-9000 or by email at jack@lgmlegal.com or drew@lgmlegal.com or visit our website at www.teamlgm.com. Team LGM’s co-counsel in the case are Seth Lesser, Fran Rudich, and Michael Reed of the New York law firm Klafter, Olsen & Lesser.

The lawsuit is called Priest v. Darden Restaurants, Inc., S.D. Ohio 2:14-cv-02761. You can read the complaint here.

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Starved Vermilion boy’s estate, siblings file suit

malnourished-boys-death-lawsuitCLEVELAND — Attorneys for the estate of a disabled toddler who died of malnutrition and dehydration and his six siblings are suing county agencies and health-care providers in northern Ohio, claiming they ignored warning signs of neglect.

Isaac Brothers-Bartholomew was 18 months old when his 11-year-old brother found him dead in his crib on Nov. 6, 2012, at the family’s home in Vermilion, which is west of Cleveland. A genetic disorder left Isaac and four of his siblings physically and mentally disabled.

The lawsuit claims that despite having a paid nurse — the children’s grandmother — in the home five days a week, care of the disabled children often was left to the oldest sibling, the 11-year-old boy, who is not disabled.

The grandmother, Debra Nelson, 63, and the children’s parents, James Brothers, 35, and Adrienne Bartholomew, 36, pleaded guilty last year to child-endangering charges and are in prison. The surviving children are in foster care and are thriving, said Jack Landskroner, an attorney who filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in Erie County. The four disabled children have doubled their weight since being placed in foster care, Landskroner said.

Defendants in the lawsuit include the parents and grandmother, two Erie County agencies, a health-care company that employed the grandmother and Dr. Teresa Ramsey, a pediatrician who Landskroner claims failed her legal duty to report that the children were neglected. He said all of the surviving disabled children were severely underweight.

“There was almost no recognition that these kids were in dire straits,” Landskroner said.

Yesterday, Ramsey defended her care of the children. She said she referred the children to specialists, but their parents did not take them to appointments.

“I did what I was supposed to do as far as being their pediatrician,” Ramsey said.

The lawsuit also names the Erie County Department of Job and Family Services, the Board of Developmental Disabilities and county employees.

Landskroner acknowledged that county workers often were prevented from seeing the children during home visits. But county workers nonetheless missed signs of neglect, he said.

When emergency crews arrived at the home after Isaac died, they found children covered in feces and vomit, gaunt and lethargic, the lawsuit said. During their investigation, authorities learned that the 11-year-old acted as the primary caregiver for his younger disabled siblings. Landskroner said the boy used bottles to feed the children, but because they had problems swallowing, they received inadequate nutrition.

A spokeswoman for Columbia, Md.-based Maxim Health Systems, the agency that employed the grandmother, issued a statement yesterday saying: “We are deeply troubled by these allegations and will respond to the plaintiff’s complaint through the appropriate channels. Due to privacy regulations and pending litigation, we are not able to provide further information at this time.”

source : *dispatch.com

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TeamLGM files case against Maxim Healthcare for letting Disabled Children Starve

This week Attorney Jack Landskroner of TeamLGM filed a law suit in Erie County, Ohio involving the tragic death of a child, who was subjected to neglect and starved to death, despite receiving nursing serves from Maxim Healthcare, pediatric care from a local doctor and oversight from Erie County Children’s Services.  Four of the other children in the home were removed at the time the child’s death was reported, who were also severely malnourished.  The law suit contends these care providers turned a blind eye to the neglect of these children and attacks the systematic failures plaguing our child protection systems.   A copy of the law suit can be found on the law firm’s website.

TeamLGM files case against Maxim Healthcare for letting Disabled Children Starve – PDF

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Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) cases filed across the country move forward in Washington State

The series of cases filed by LGM against Dun & Bradstreet and Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation, in WA, OH, NJ, NC and CA have now all been transferred to the Federal District Court in the Western District of Washington in Seattle where they will be coordinated to proceed collectively before the Honorable Thomas Zilly. The cases all relate to the accuracy of the information published by D&B about business’ credit reputation and the sales practices of a product called “Creditbuilder” which is an expensive internet-based credit-on-self product sold as the solution to these credit problems.

To see the complaints follow the links below:

4/5/2013: First Amendment Complaint

3/4/2014: First Amendment Class Action Complaint

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Scripps Sued for Hidden Camera in Men’s Restroom

WEWS-TV GM Destroyed Evidence

A former WEWS Newschannel 5 promotions producer has filed a lawsuit against The E.W. Scripps Company, Inc. and its director of Engineering Barry Pinney for installing a hidden camera in the men’s restroom at the Cleveland television station. Disguised as a fire sprinkler, the covert camera was discovered on July 13 in a ceiling tile above an enclosed toilet stall and three privacy-screened urinals. Attorneys for Brad Brown filed the case today in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.

“They spied on their own employees while we were using the toilet,” said Brown. “It is hard to imagine anything more outrageous.” Brown, who worked at WEWS for six years, recently accepted a position at WJW Fox 8.

The camera was rigged to enable live viewing of people using the restroom. It was discovered by a group of WEWS news employees working a weekend shift after they noticed video images from the first floor men’s restroom appear on a video screen at a security desk. The video was also recorded. After employees complained, WEWS General Manager Sam Rosenwasser removed the camera and deleted the secretly recorded videos.

“As a news organization, they knew it was illegal to film in a restroom and they should have known it was wrong to destroy evidence,” said Brown’s attorney Tom Merriman. “If this were a women’s restroom, there would be an angry mob assembling at the corner of 30th and Euclid.”

Immediately after the camera was discovered, Rosenwasser announced Pinney was no longer employed by Scripps. In subsequent meetings with WEWS staff, Scripps officials claimed the camera had been in place for approximately two weeks in an attempt to catch someone defacing the restroom.

The complaint seeks punitive damages for both the invasion of Brown’s privacy and for the spoliation of evidence. It may be the first of several lawsuits brought by employees and visitors who used the restroom. The law firm of Landskroner Grieco Merriman LLC has been retained by a group of current WEWS staffers to pursue legal action.

“That restroom is not only the main facility used by people in the newsroom,” said Merriman, “It is also used by guests of the station, including children.”

During the week before the hidden camera was discovered, the blockbuster Lebron James and Republican National Convention stories dominated the local news and brought several high profile on air guests to the WEWS studios. It is unknown whether any of the guests were videotaped or subjected to live viewing while using the restroom.

Judge Nancy Margaret Russo has been assigned to the case.

For more information, contact attorney Tom Merriman at (o) 216-522-9000 or (c) 216-544-3411 or email: tom@lgmlegal.com.

Complaint-09-23-2014.pdf

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