Wednesday, November 14 , 2018, 12:12 pm | Fair 72º


Santa Barbara Landlord Dario Pini May Pay $750,000 to Settle Class-Action Lawsuit

Santa Barbara landlord Dario Pini may pay as much as $750,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by employees of his hotels and motels in three counties, who allege he skirted labor laws involving pay and working conditions.

Dario Pini

The lawsuit, filed in December 2011, represents 467 employees of Pini’s from Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern counties.

Two of Pini’s former employees, Daniella Todorova and Polina Erokhina, are listed as plaintiffs in the suit, and state that he did not observe wage-and-hour laws protecting his employees, “including the failure to compensate employees for overtime at the appropriate rate, and failure to compensate employees for missed meal and rest breaks.”

Todorova worked as the front-desk receptionist at the Villa Rosa Inn and Alamar Hotel from 2006 to 2011, and Erokhina worked at the same locations from 2009 to 2011.

Pini himself is listed on the suit, as well as his companies — DLP Management Co. Inc., DP Investments, Alamar II LLC, Shores Inn and Suites, and Villa Rosa Inn.

Pini is being represented by the law firm Landegger, Baron, Lavenant and Ingber, which did not respond to a request for comment.

Included in the suit are current and former non-exempt employees who worked at Pini’s hotels and motels in Santa Barbara, Ventura or Kern counties from Sept. 27, 2007, to Sept. 27, 2012.

The hundreds of employees represented by the suit include front desk and back of house workers from Pini’s Santa Barbara and Ventura County hotels and motels, as well as employees who worked in any position at his Bakersfield Rosedale Hotels.

Forty percent of the settlement will go to the front desk workers in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, who will get $1,411 per year worked.

Thirty-six percent of the settlement would go to the Rosedale workers, who would get $526 per year worked, and the remainder would go to back of house workers in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, who would end up with $545 per year worked.

The front of house employees would receive more because they were more likely to work uncompensated hours, according to a recent ruling from Superior Court Judge Donna Geck.

“The court finds that the settlement is fair and reasonable,” she stated.

Because Pini’s companies had experienced “financial hardships in recent years,” according to the case file, his lawyers agreed to reveal their financials to the plaintiffs, and were willing to “open the books” to facilitate a resolution.

The plaintiffs agreed to settle the case for a total of $750,000, and the hearing on the final approval of the settlement is scheduled for July 26 in Geck’s courtroom.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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