Proskauer on Class and Collective Actions

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Lawful Shmawful: Ninth Circuit Ignores Lawful Written Policy and Uses Statistical Sampling to Certify Class Based on Alleged “Unofficial Policy”

On September 3, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld certification of a class of approximately 800 nonexempt insurance claims adjusters who claimed they worked overtime without compensation despite the employer’s lawful written policy to pay nonexempt employees for all hours worked.… Continue Reading

Employers Should Now Run – Not Walk – Toward Adopting Arbitration Agreements in California

Today, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, Case No. S204032, upholding class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements.  This means that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2011 opinion in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion is to be given full force and effect in the employment setting … Continue Reading

American Conference International (ACI)

American Conference International (ACI) 21st National Forum on Wage and Hour Claims and Class Actions May 29-30, 2014 New York Marriott East Side Hotel * New York, NY Laura Reathaford has been invited to speak on a panel titled “Donning and Doffing & Walking Time Allegations, and the Latest Claims Arising from Meal and Rest … Continue Reading

California Appellate Court Affirms Denial Of Class Certification

As we recently reported here, there have been a number of appellate decisions ordering class certification based on the existence of an employer’s companywide policy – all while overlooking numerous individualized questions that would undoubtedly create manageability problems during trial.  On December 30, 2013, the California Court of Appeal in Johnson v. California Pizza Kitchen, … Continue Reading

CA Supreme Court Holds That Employees Are Bound By Arbitration Agreements Waiving Right To A Labor Comm’r Hearing

Frank Moreno agreed, as a condition of his employment with Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc., to arbitrate all of this employment disputes with his employer.  After terminating his employment with Sonic, Moreno filed an administrative wage claim with the Labor Commissioner for unpaid vacation pay.  Filing such a claim is the first step toward obtaining a “Berman” … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Invalidates Attempt To Plead Around CAFA’s Jurisdictional Amount In Controversy

In 2005, Congress passed the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), which creates federal jurisdiction over class actions involving more than 100 class members and $5 million in controversy.  Plaintiffs have long attempted to avoid CAFA’s invocation of federal jurisdiction by stipulating to no more than $5 million in classwide damages.  In Standard Fire Ins. Co. … Continue Reading

Plaintiffs Once Again Denied Class Certification in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

In the latest chapter in what is now a twelve-year legal battle, plaintiffs seeking to bring gender-based disparate treatment and disparate impact claims against Wal-Mart with regard to the retail giant’s pay and promotion decisions were again denied class certification in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. CV 01-022520-CRB (N.D. Cal. Aug. 2, 2013).  Following … Continue Reading

Oxford Health Plans v. Sutter

Arbitration clauses meant to prohibit class action arbitrations, whether in employment agreements or other documents, need to be reviewed after a recent Supreme Court decision.  In Oxford Health Plans v. Sutter, ___ U.S. ____, No. 12-135 (June 10, 2013),  the Court unanimously upheld an arbitrator’s ruling that a pediatrician could proceed with a class action … Continue Reading

Supreme Court: Certification Requires Class-wide Proof of Damages

The dissent in today’s Supreme Court decision on class certification, Comcast Corp. v. Behrends (PDF copy here), argues that “the decision should not be read to require, as a prerequisite to certification, that damages attributable to a classwide injury be measurable on a class-wide basis.”  The dissenters may be the only ones who think so, though. … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Applies Dukes To A Wage And Hour Matter

Since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011), plaintiffs in wage and hour cases have urged courts to ignore the decision, arguing that it only applies to discrimination cases, not to wage and hour matters.  Surprisingly, considering that the Court was interpreting Rule 23, which applies … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument On Whether Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives Are Exempt From Overtime

Yesterday, in a packed courtroom, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., No. 11-204 (on appeal from the Ninth Circuit) to determine whether the pharmaceutical industry has been properly classifying its sales representatives as “exempt” from overtime for the past 75 years under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s … Continue Reading

FLSA Decertification: District Courts Write Largely On A Blank Slate

Without any U.S. Supreme Court guidance, and little to none from the Circuit Courts, the trial courts facing FLSA decertification motions are making up their rulings mostly from scratch, and the results are all over the map.  Although courts facing decertification motions generally apply the same three factors to determine if plaintiff pass the FLSA … Continue Reading

Nibbling Away at Concepcion

In AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, 563 U.S. __, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011), the Supreme Court upheld a waiver of class arbitration in a consumer contract.  Four recent moves have begun the process of responding to and exploring the boundaries of the Court’s decision.… Continue Reading

Losing the Battle But Winning the War

The Tenth Circuit ruled on Wednesday in Maestas v. Day & Zimmerman LLC (pdf) that an employee’s “primary duty” — which is the relevant inquiry in determining whether an employee is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act — is a question of fact, not a question of law.  Although the ruling was a setback … Continue Reading

California Court Holds that Representative PAGA Claims Are Not Subject to Mandatory Arbitration

In a 2-1 decision, the California Court of Appeal held that representative actions under California’s Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) may not be waived in mandatory, pre-dispute employment arbitration agreements. (Brown v. Ralphs Grocery Co., Cal. Ct. App., No. B222689. This decision comes as something of a surprise in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Tightens Class Action Rules, Rejecting Class Composed of 1.5 Million Wal-Mart Employees

In Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, No. 10-277 (U.S. June 20, 2011), the Supreme Court vacated class certification as to 1.5 million current and former Wal-Mart employees who failed to identify a company-wide policy or practice of gender discrimination.  Additionally, the Court held that backpay claims could not be certified as a class action, and rejected … Continue Reading

Increase in Rat Population Predicted

These days, a union protest or picket that doesn’t include a 16-foot inflatable rat, well, just isn’t really a protest.  Expect to see more of them after the Board’s decision yesterday in Brandon Regional Medical Center (pdf).  (For an enormous compilation of rat photos, see this link).  The Board held that the ubiquitous rat may … Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Favors Arbitration — Again

In recent years the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently favored arbitration against efforts to limit it, so long as the parties’ intent to arbitrate is clear.  In 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett, in which Proskauer represented the Petitioner, the Court held that parties to a collective bargaining agreement can require bargaining unit members to arbitrate discrimination claims … Continue Reading
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