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The "Farmers Insurance News-Alert" website is dedicated to providing the consumer and general public with detailed information concerning the Farmers Insurance Group. This includes fraud reports, consumer complaints, lawsuit's and other legal actions taken against this company. All information contained herein is for educational purposes only. Original sources, when known are sited.

 

STEVEN G. ZIEFF, ESQ. (State Bar #84222)
MARCIE E. BREMAN, ESQ. (State Bar #111034)
RUDY, EXELROD, ZIEFF & TRUE
351 California St., Suite 700
San Francisco, CA 94104
415/434-9800
Attorneys for Plaintiffs

IN THE SUPERIOR COURT FOR THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF ALAMEDA

ROSE M. BELL, LOREN D. MITCHELL,                                     Case No.: 774013-0
RACHEL POESCHEL, WYNN
ANDERSON, JOSEPH C. KOKAISL,                                          NOTICE OF PENDENCY OF
individually and on behalf of others similarly                         CLASS ACTION
situated,

Plaintiffs,

V.

FARMERS INSURANCE COMPANY,INC.,
FARMERS INSURANCE EXCHANGE, A CALIFORNIA
RECIPROCAL OR INTER-INSURANCE EXCHANGE,
and Does 2 through 100, inclusive,

Defendants.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

TO: ALL PERSONS WHO ARE CURRENT AND FORMER AUTO PHYSICAL
DAMAGE, PROPERTY AND/OR LIABILITY CLAIMS REPRESENTATIVES
WORKING FOR THE FARMERS INSURANCE EXCHANGE DURING THE
PERIOD FROM OCTOBER 1, 1993 TO THE PRESENT.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT:
1 The individual Plaintiffs named above have brought a lawsuit in this Court against
Defendant Farmers Insurance Exchange. The named Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit not only on
behalf of themselves, but also on behalf of all current and former personal lines claims
representatives handling property, liability and auto physical property claims of the Farmers  Insurance Exchange in its Personal Lines Divisions during the period from October 1. 199", to the present ("tile Class Period").

2. The Plaintiffs seek to recover claimed unpaid overtime compensation, waiting
time" penalties for the claimed failure to pay overtime compensation due and owing at the time of termination, reasonable attorneys' fees and costs pursuant to the applicable provisions of the  California Labor Code, including Labor Code 1194 and other applicable provisions of California law, injunctive relief, together with such other relief as the Court may grant.

CERTIFICATION/COURT'S VIEW

3. On March 31, 1999, the Court ordered that this class be certified as a class action,
defined the class members as set forth above, and ordered that this notice be mailed to all known possible members of the class. This order is not an expression of the Court's opinion on tile merits of the case

CLAIMS ON BEHALF OF THE CLASS PLAINTIFFS

4. Plaintiffs allege that they and the other class members were not properly paid overtime for overtime worked for the Farmers Insurance Exchange during the period from October 1, 1993 to the date of trial ("the Class Period") More specifically, Plaintiffs allege that they and other members of the class who worked for the Farmers Insurance Exchange ("Farmers") as property and auto physical damage ("APD") claims representatives in Farmers personal lines division during tile Class Period are entitled to unpaid overtime because they do not fall within tile  definition of the administrative exemption under California law. Plaintiffs allege that class
members are entitled to be paid overtime pay for overtime hours worked during the Class Period.
With respect to these class members, Plaintiffs seek their unpaid overtime, interest oil those amounts, waiting-time penalties pursuant to Labor Code 203 for class members whose
employment terminated during the Class Period, attorneys' fees pursuant to Labor Code 1194 and other applicable provisions of California law, and the costs of this litigation. In addition to back pay for past overtime worked during the Class Period, Plaintiffs also seek injunctive relief
requiring Farmers, in the future, to pay overtime to property and APD claims representatives.

5. With respect to the class members who worked for Farmers Insurance Exchange in its personal lines division as liability claims representatives in California during- the Class Period.
Plaintiffs claim that those persons were not engaged in bona fide administrative work of
substantial importance directly related to the management policies and general business of the
Farmers Insurance Exchange, within the meaning of the applicable overtime law, but were rather
engaged in production-type work and thus not exempt from California's overtime pay requirement. If Plaintiffs obtain a favorable ruling with respect to liability class members on this issue, and the Court holds as a result that the liability claims representatives are not bona fide administrators performing in an "administrative capacity" within the meaning of California overtime pay law, then liability claims representatives will also be entitled to, and Plaintiffs will seek for them, damages for unpaid overtime, interest on those amounts, waiting-time penalties under Labor Code 203 for those class members terminated during the Class Period, and attorneys' fees and costs   pursuant to Labor Code 1194 and other applicable provisions of California law, and costs. In addition to back pay for past overtime worked during the Class Period. Plaintiffs also seek  injunctive relief requiring Farmers, in the future, to pay overtime to liability claims representatives.

DEFENDANTS' DENIAL OF LIABILITY

6. Defendants deny all Plaintiffs' allegations as set forth in Paragraphs 4 and 5
hereinabove.

YOUR RIGHTS
7. Notice is given to you in the belief that you may be a member of the above class whose rights may be affected by this class action lawsuit. This notice is intended to advise you of the pendency of this class action and your rights with respect thereto. If you are a current former claims representative working in Farmer Insurance Exchange's personal lines division
during the period from October 1, 1993, you have three options:
(a) Do nothing;
(b) Hire your own attorney and join the litigation; or
(c) Elect to get out of the class by electing to do what is called "opting-out" as
explained below.


8. If you do nothing you will be automatically included in the class. You will not be
entitled to bring a separate action and you will be bound by the Court's judgment whether
favorable or not. If there is a recovery you will be entitled to share aII the proceeds, less Plaintiffs' costs, expenses and such attorneys' fees as the Court may allow. You may be required (but will not necessarily be required) as a condition to participating in any recovery through settlement or litigation to file a claim and have it approved by the Court. You will not be responsible for any court costs to Defendant Farmers.


9. The Court has designated Plaintiffs as class representatives. Attorneys for the class who will represent you (unless you retain your own attorney) if you are a class member are:
Steven G. Zieff, Esq.
Marcie E. Berman, Esq.
Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & True
351 California St., Suite 700 San Francisco,
CA 9410 (415) 434-9800 or (800) 869-0165


These attorneys are available to answer any questions you may have about this Notice or about
anything else regarding this lawsuit. You are, of course, free to seek counsel from your own attorney.


10. Your second choice is to hire your own attorney and join the lawsuit at your own
expense. Otherwise, you will be represented by Plaintiffs' counsel, unless you choose to opt out.


11. Your third Choice is to withdraw from the class; that is to "opt out" and to be
excluded from the class. If you decide to opt out, you must return a written Request for Exclusion
duly completed and signed and postmarked on or before Sept. 1998 to the Court, setting
forth your name, address, and a statement that you wish to be excluded from the class. If the Court rules in Plaintiffs' favor that claims representatives are non-exempt from (i.e., eligible for)
overtime, or if there is a settlement of this case, class members who opt out will not be entitled to
back pay damages for any overtime worked in the past. However, a court ruling Plaintiffs' favor
will, in all other respects, be equally applicable to class members who opt out. In other words,
opting out will not preserve a claims representative's exempt status in the event Plaintiffs prevail.
"Opting out" by some individual class members will not in any way prevent the case from going
forward on behalf of the remainder of the class members who do not opt out. If you do not request exclusion or your Request for Exclusion is not postmarked by 1998, you will be
included in the class.


12. California law prohibits retaliation by an employer against any person who participates in or assists in the litigation of an overtime lawsuit. The Court will not tolerate retaliation if you take part in this lawsuit. On the other hand, you are not required to participate in this lawsuit, and the Court will not tolerate retaliation by anyone against class members who elect to "opt out" of this lawsuit.


AVAILABILITY OF FILED PAPERS
13. The pleadings and other papers filed with the Court are available for inspection at the Office of the Court Clerk at 24405 Amador St., Rm. 108, Hayward, California.

Dated: MAY 2 5 1998 MARK L. EATON
The Honorable Mark Eaton Judge of the Superior Court

 

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