WHEELING – A Wheeling law firm has filed a pair of class action lawsuits against a company that owns a DiCarlo’s pizza shop and a Subway restaurant.

Sandra K. Law of Schrader Byrd & Companion filed the lawsuits earlier this year in Ohio County Circuit Court against KJZ Associates. The lawsuits stipulate they will not seek more than $5 million in damages – a threshold that would allow the cases to be removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act.

The first case was filed by Richard Kinkes and Melissa Roeder and alleges the company withheld eight hours of pay from their first paycheck, made unauthorized reductions to their pay and did not pay them all wages and benefits in a timely manner.

The class members are entitled to damages as set forth in the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act, the complaint says.

The class members consist of persons employed at KJZ’s facilities between 2008 and 2013 who can make the same allegations.

The plaintiffs worked at a DiCarlo’s pizza shop in Wheeling.

“The class is so numerous that joinder of individual members is impracticable,” the complaint says.

“However, the exact number of class members can be readily determined from Defendant’s records.”

The lawsuit was filed in February. A month later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled class action attorneys can’t evade federal jurisdiction by stipulating the class will not seek to recover more than $5 million.

The decision was made in an Arkansas case against Standard Fire Insurance Co., which removed the case to federal court despite the stipulation.

The stipulation in Kinkes’ and Roeder’s lawsuits say they, on behalf of the class, will not seek aggregate damages for all purposes exceeding $5 million.

Kindes and Roeder are also the plaintiffs in the second lawsuit, filed in May. It says that as employees and customers of the DiCarlo’s and Subway owned by KJZ, they have surreptitiously monitored.

“The monitoring included, but is not limited to, the intentional, non-consensual interception and/or recording of oral communications by employees and customers within the defendants’ store locations.”

KJZ president John Angius, named as a defendant, listened to these intercepted conversations, the complaint says.

The plaintiff and class members are entitled to damages as set forth in the West Virginia Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, the complaint says.

On April 23, KJZ filed an answer denying the allegations and also filed a counter-claim against Kinkes.

Kinkes, the counter-claim says, stole an unknown amount of cash from DiCarlo’s on Nov. 23 while working. On other occasions, he used discarded pizza boxes to make un-accounted sales and converted the proceeds to his personal use, it adds.

KJZ is represented by Luke T. Schmitt of Flaherty Sensabaugh Bonasso in Wheeling. The same allegations were made in a counter-claim in July in the second lawsuit.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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