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Consumer Fraud

San Diego Consumers Have New Tool to Fight Car Title Fraud

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on February 4, 2009 - Comments off

The US Department of Justice launched an online database available to all government agencies and to consumers to help detect automobile title fraud, theft, and other crimes involving cars.
The new database, called The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS, editor: Great acronym, guys!), launched on January 30, 2009 and is available to consumers through several fee-for-service websites. Consumers can use the system to verify and exchange title and brand data as well as look up vehicle histories, including odometer data.
The launch of NMVTIS occurred only after three public interest groups–Public Citizen, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS, editor: Much better acronym.), and Consumer Action, sued the federal government seeking an order from the Court to force the government to implement NMVTIS as Congress had instructed 16 years ago.
While the database is not complete right now–less than two thirds of all cars are listed–it is a step in the right direction to help prevent consumer fraud.
If you experience fraud in the purchase of a car, or if you buy a new vehicle that does not work properly, call the lawyers at The Jurewitz Law Group to learn about your rights.

Posted in: Consumer Fraud

 

California Medical Board Allows Doctor to Keep License After Aiding Illegal Abortions

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on February 4, 2009 - Comments off

The California Medical Board permitted a doctor to keep his license after committing medical malpractice by aiding an unlicensed doctor perform illegal abortions. Dr. Mohammad Bararsani, who runs a cash-only abortion business at his Women’s Care Center on Crenshaw Boulevard in Torrance, California, was also charged with seven other cases of negligence and incompetence. Associates of Dr. Barasani have committed medical malpractice by performing abortions in San Diego without a medical license.
The charges against Dr. Bararsani arise from his actions to help Edgar Ruiz perform illegal abortions.
This is not the first time Dr. Barasani has worked with people performing illegal abortions. Bararsani, a 1964 graduate of Tehran University School of Medicine, has worked with Edgar Ruiz, a doctor licensed in Nicaragua. He has also worked with Bertha Bugarinwho is awaiting sentencing for posing as a doctor and performing illegal abortions in both Los Angeles and San Diego counties.
For whatever reason, the California Medical Board decided to allow Dr. Barasani to keep his medical license after performing some minor probation tasks. For his probation, he must complete an education course, a medical records class, and is prohibited from supervising physician’s assistants.
Although the topic of abortions is usually a lightening rod topic, it is important to remember that it is a medical procedure. It is also a medical procedure that presents risks of infertility, infection, and even death. Quite honestly, it is amazing that the California Medical Board did not do more to protect Californians—and San Diegans—from his practice of using unlicensed doctors to perform abortions on low-income women.

 

Class Action Lawsuit Filed to Protect San Diegans

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on May 14, 2008 - Comments off

Earlier today, a class action lawsuit was filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, alleging that State Farm Insurance had unjustly enriched itself by receiving and retaining payments that belonged to its’ insureds. According to the complaint, State Farm obtained these payments by violating California law by the “Make Whole Doctrine.”
Typically, insurance policies contain provisions which require an insured to reimburse their insurance company for benefits paid by the insurance company if the insured receives money from another source, such as when the insured receives money from a wrongdoer after an accident.
However, the “Make Whole Doctrine” prevents the insurance company from receiving reimbursement from its’ insured unless the insured has already been made whole by the other source. In other words, if the other source fails to pay 100% of the insured’s damages, the insurance company cannot claim a right to reimbursement.
The claims for reimbursement are very common. The named class representative in this lawsuit had $63.49 wrongfully withheld by State Farm. State Farm processes more than 12 million claims per year. Even if State Farm wrongfully exercised a right of reimbursement in 10% of those case, that would be 1.2 million cases. Multiply that by $63.49 per case and the unjust enrichment obtained by State Farm would be close to $75 million.
And that’s the amount that State Farm would have wrongfully profited by in one year alone.

Posted in: Consumer Fraud

 

San Diegans, Beware! Progressive Insurance’s Newest Dirty Trick!

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on March 13, 2008 - Comments off

Progressive Insurance’s slippery and underhanded tactics have been profiled before. See here. Here too.
Now comes Progressive’s latest dirty trick: offering personal injury settlements in auto accident cases before victims even get a chance to see a doctor.
Here’s how the new strategy works:

» Read More

 

San Diego Consumers Ripped Off by Baskin Robbins; $491K in Fines Paid

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on May 21, 2007 - Comments off

Last week, the San Diego District Attorney and California Attorney General settled a consumer protection lawsuit against Baskin Robbins from the company’s selling of hand-packed, pint sized containers of ice cream.
Baskin Robbins agreed to pay over $491,000 in fines and costs.
Inspections of 188 locations in 29 different counties found that 83% of all hand packed pint sized ice cream packages were underweight by approximately 4 ounces, or 25%.
ice_cream_small.jpeg
I’m not sure what Baskin Robbins pint sized sales are in California, but the company was definitely reaping a significant profit by underselling ice cream to its customers. If a pint of ice cream sells for $3 per pint, Baskin Robbins was collecting $3 for a “pint” that was only worth $2.25.
If you assume that Baskin Robbins sells 10,000 pints per week in California (I don’t know whether this is accurate, but sounds reasonable for a state of 38 million people and a market leading company with approximately 200 locations statewide), Baskin Robbins was reaping an undue profit of $7,500 per week or $30,000 a month.
$30,000 a month. That’s a huge effect from a missing 4 ounces.

Posted in: Consumer Fraud

 

San Diego Union Tribune Takes on Progressive’s Property Damage Division

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on May 20, 2007 - Comments off

In an article printed in today’s newspaper, the San Diego Union Tribune takes on Progressive Insurance’s property damage program.
According to the article, critics argue that Progressive’s program violates California’s anti-steering laws by allowing its adjusters to write their own property damage estimates and direct their insureds to pre-approved body shops for the work. In addition–and wait until you hear about this–critics claim that Progressive’s program seeks to reduce repair costs by cutting corners! Shocker!
Sarcasm aside, this seems to be the usual modus operandi for insurance companies. Why replace when cosmetic patching will do? Why use new parts when refurbished products can be found? And don’t get me started on the repeated failure of insurance adjusters to ignore alignment and other structural issues in favor of concentrating on cosmetic damages. Too many of our office’s auto accident clients have complained that their car just doesn’t drive the same afterwards for it to be a coincidence.
The public shouldn’t be so gullible to believe the commercials–the insurance companies are not out there to act in your best interests. They make money by collecting premiums and paying out less than the premiums they collect. If they have to actually use quality labor and parts, it just makes it that much harder.

 

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