Fresno County lawsuit targets an escrow company

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A $50 million Fresno County lawsuit targets an escrow company operating throughout California.

As the real estate market soared to new heights in the middle of the last decade, for sale signs popped up and disappeared quickly.

The deals got done, and every cog in the system played its part. Escrow officers had the responsibility of ensuring both buyers and sellers met their ends of the deals. And at North American Title Company, escrow officers say they worked long and hard. And they weren't always getting paid for their time.

Attorney Butch Wagner said, "A lot of these class members were pressured not to record their overtime and not report their overtime and a lot of the escrow officers were told they weren't going to get paid overtime anyway."

Butch Wagner filed a class action lawsuit against North American, accusing the company of shortchanging more than 700 escrow officers.

ABC30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi says the major issue at trial will be whether Wagner can prove his clients really worked the hours to earn the extra $50 million he says they deserved.

Capozzi said, "The fact that the real estate market was really booming between '03 through '07 would lead one to believe they were probably working overtime. But again, just because it was boom time, you have to prove on each and every employee, each and every case that they worked overtime."

I reached out to the attorneys for North American, but they told me they couldn't comment on pending litigation. They'll have their say in court.

The case starts on Monday, but there will be no jury. Both sides agreed to do the case in front of just the judge to save a couple months. The case is already scheduled to last a month.

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