|Jon Woods Trial: Defense Gives Opening Statement. Asserts Cover-Up By Carlos Arguello. |
By Lonce Lamonte - March 3, 2019
Defense attorney Richard Wynn, a fast-talking Oriental lawyer with dark hair and a spiked haircut, launched into his opening statement in defense of his client, Jon Woods, on Monday, February 25th. Woods is an applicants’ attorney who represents injured workers’ in Southern California. His law office is in the Long Beach area.
On Thursday, February 21st 2019, the prosecution delivered their opening statement. Noorul Hasan, the lead prosecutor, had explained to the jury how Jon Woods had paid for clients under the guise of a “joint advertising agreement” sold to him by businessman Carlos Arguello. She described her first witness who would be coming to the stand, James Fisher, an attorney for the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers’ Compensation. Fisher would educate the jury on how the workers’ compensation system legitimately is supposed to work. The kick-back system of Arguello was disguised by a veil of legitimacy. It secretly raped California employers who pay for workers’ compensation.
Richard Wynn told the jury that in recent years the workers’ compensation system has become complicated. So, scheduling companies came in to help.
Richard Wynn: It’s not an easy system to get used to…
Wynn talked about the problems with “do-it-yourself”. Speaking from the point-of-view of the claimants, he asked the rhetorical questions, “How do I do a deposition? How do I get a disability ruling? When do I need a workers’ comp lawyer”?
He stated that insurance company lawyers take advantage. Insurance companies don’t have to pay. The insurance companies win but the injured workers’ lose. With an accepted claim, there’s no rush to get a lawyer. On a denied claim, a claimant needs a lawyer to fight.
Jon Woods sits on the right side end of the long table from the audience perspective before the judge’s bench. He’s well dressed in a grey suit, with grey hair, and a balding spot on the back crown of his head like an aging lawyer. He wears thin-rimmed glasses.
His lawyer tells the jury about subpoenas of medical records, and how both applicants and insurance companies use records to resolve job injury disputes. Cases often get settled after the review of medical records, depositions, and injury ratings. But there are also trials at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) involving witnesses, exhibits, and testimonials. There are lien trials.
Richard Wynn: You notice the attorney fee… is not there. It’s a percentage. 9% to 20%. The judge has to approve.
So, Wynn goes on to mention the 37 counts against his client. The contract is alleged to be illegal with Carlos Arguello. It’s alleged to be illegal with the photocopy company. There’s a question of whether Woods had an agreement with USA Photocopy Service.
Wynn asserts that CLI (Carlos Arguello’s marketing company) is in compliance. Arguello had ethics counsels and no disciplinary action by the state. Arguello made no guarantee of a fixed or minimum number of cases to Jon Woods. CLI agreed to abide by the rules of professional conduct.
Richard Wynn: Mr. Woods agreed to try it out for $10,000. He signed it March 17, 2011.
Wynn asserts that Carlos Arguello lied. Arguello made cold calls, had his staff make cold calls, which are illegal for attorneys. He never told Jon Woods he was making cold calls. Arguello paid fees, commissions, to his sales reps in his Tijuana call center. This is capping, which is illegal in the workers’ compensation system. Arguello was engaged in cross-referral schemes with doctors, Fermin Iglesias, and Providence Scheduling.
So, the defense contends, Arguello had a secret scheme that Jon Woods did not know about.
Richard Wynn: Carlos Arguello was signed with a company getting telemarketers to cold call. Was Providence Scheduling required? No. Minimum guarantee due to a lawyer? No. No agreement to use HQ sign up. No agreement to use Accu sign up.
He talked about how Carlos Arguello got a free pass with the Orange County District Attorney. He took a plea deal.
Richard Wynn: He admitted no illegal scheme with Mr. Woods.
Noorul Hasan, prosecutor, sat patiently listening to defense counsel in her white cloth jacket with black and blue printed flowers . Her co-counsel, Maelesa Street, a slim, petite woman in a black suit, sat next to her.
As Richard Wynn rested his opening statement, the prosecution got ready for their first witness.
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