Category Archives: Class Actions

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U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Class Action Waiver Divide

On January 13, 2017, the United States Supreme Court consolidated and granted review of the three following cases involving the legality of arbitration agreements which contain class action waivers:  National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., from the 5th Circuit, Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, from the 7th Circuit, and Ernst & Young … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Invalidates Arbitration Agreement

On August 22, 2016, the Ninth Circuit joined the Seventh Circuit in the split amongst U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal on the issue of enforceability of employment arbitration agreements precluding class actions. The Ninth Circuit, similar to the Seventh Circuit in Lewis v. Epic Sys. Corp., held in 2-1 decision that an employer violates the … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Holds Class Action Waivers are Unlawful and Unenforceable Creating a Circuit Split

On May 26, 2016, in the matter of Lewis v. Epic Systems Corporation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that an arbitration agreement, which required employees to submit to individual arbitration for any wage and hour claims against the company, violates the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and is unenforceable under … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court’s Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo Opinion Reaffirms The Importance Of Challenging Plaintiff’s Experts In Class Actions

On March 22, 2016, the United States Supreme Court decided Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, et al., No. 14-1146, a class action under Rule 23 of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule 23”) and a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The issue on appeal involved the extent to which statistical … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds that Rejected Rule 68 Offer of Judgment Does Not Moot Class Action

On January 20, 2016, the United States Supreme Court rejected a strategy recently used by some defendants to defeat class actions in their infancy. In Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, No. 14-857 (2016), a majority of the Court held that an unaccepted Rule 68[1] offer of judgment to a representative class action plaintiff does not moot … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Blesses Iskanian

On September 28, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 2-1 decision in the long-awaited case of Sakkab v. Luxottica Retail North America, Inc. (No. 13-55184, D.C. No. 3:12-cv-00436-GPC-KSC) (“Sakkab”). The Court held that an arbitration agreement that requires arbitration of PAGA claims arising out of employment is unenforceable under California law.… Continue Reading

Arbitration Agreement With PAGA Waiver And Opt Out Provision Deemed Unenforceable

Last month, a California Court of Appeal invalidated an arbitration agreement for including a representative action waiver combined with a non-severability clause. Background In Securitas Security Services USA, Inc. v. Superior Court (Edwards), 2015 Cal.App.LEXIS 190 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. Feb. 27, 2015), the employee, Edwards, signed an arbitration agreement from her employer, Securitas Security Services USA, … Continue Reading

Uber, Lyft Decisions Highlight Difficulty of Classifying Workers in the Modern Economy

“The test the California courts have developed over the 20th Century for classifying workers isn’t very helpful in addressing . . . 21st Century problem[s].”  So concluded the court in Cotter v. Lyft, Inc., one of two opinions handed down by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on March 11, 2015, … Continue Reading

Employers Are Not Required to Relieve Employees of All Duty During Rest Breaks

UPDATE: California Supreme Court grants review in Augustus v. ABM Security On April 29, 2015, the California Supreme Court granted review of Augustus.  Accordingly, the published decision is no longer citable and the Supreme Court will decide whether an employer must relieve employees of all duty during paid rest breaks.  We will keep you posted … Continue Reading

UPDATE: SCOTUS Denies Petition For Cert In Iskanian

On June 24, 2014, the California Supreme Court issued a controversial decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC.  While the Court in Iskanian confirmed that an express class action waiver in an employment arbitration agreement is enforceable under California law, it also held that an arbitration agreement provision barring arbitration of a workers’ … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Security Screening Time is Non-Compensable Under Federal Law and The Portal-to-Portal Act

In a decision issued on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, the United States Supreme Court ruled that employees are not entitled to compensation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for the time they spend waiting to undergo, and actually do undergo, security screenings.  The Court’s unanimous decision in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rules That Twombly Standard of Specificity Applies to FLSA Pleadings

On November 12, 2014, in Greg Landers v. Quality Communications Inc., the Ninth Circuit clarified a previously unsettled point of law by confirming that Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) pleadings must meet the specificity requirements established in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) and Ashcroft v. … Continue Reading

Brinker for Dummies

On November 13, 2014, the Second District Court of Appeal, Division One, issued a decision in Walgreen Co. Overtime Cases.  The opinion explains the meaning of Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court as it applies to the duty to “provide” a meal period in a style that is so simple that a child could understand … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Finds that Entry-Level Audit Associates at Accounting Firm are Exempt from Federal Overtime Requirements

In Pippins v. KPMG LLP, No. 13-889 (2d Cir. July 22, 2014), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously held that entry-level audit associates (“Plaintiffs”) at KPMG LLP qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (“FLSA”) “learned professionals” overtime exemption.  The Second Circuit explained that, while the closely-supervised employees were “the most junior members” of … Continue Reading

Cal. Supreme Court Clarifies Standards for Class Certification of Independent Contract Class Actions

On Monday, the California Supreme Court issued yet another decision on class certification; this time in an action challenging the independent contractor (“IC”) classification of a proposed class of Antelope Valley News newspaper deliverers, Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc.  Although much of the case addresses the proper standards for evaluation of whether a person … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Issues Iskanian Decision, Ruling that Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements Are Enforceable, But Still Allows PAGA Claims to Proceed on Representative Basis

On June 23, 2014, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, confirming that an express class action waiver in an employment arbitration agreement is enforceable under California law.  In its decision, the Court held that its earlier decision in Gentry is no longer good law under the … Continue Reading

Hall v. Rite Aid and the Return of the Underpants Gnomes

The Fourth District Court of Appeal’s decision earlier this month in Hall v. Rite Aid Corp. represents an unfortunate step backwards in the development of a coherent jurisprudence on class certification.  In a misunderstanding of a general class action principle discussed in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004 (2012), the appellate … Continue Reading

New Decision Clarifies Summary Judgment Standards for Off-the-Clock Claims

On May 20, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal in Jong v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, issued a decision affirming the summary judgment granted as to one of the individual class representatives in a putative class action for overtime pay resulting from off-the-clock work.  As explained below, the decision is helpful to employers in providing … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Upholds The Validity Of Class-Action Waivers In Arbitration Agreements

Earlier this week, on December 3, 2013, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that arbitration agreements lawfully can contain class-action waivers.  In its ruling in D.R. Horton, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, the Fifth Circuit overturned a National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) administrative decision, finding that D.R. Horton, Inc. did not violate … Continue Reading

Sonic Calabasas Is A Tactical Retreat From Supreme Court FAA Precedent

On October 17, 2013, in Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno, the California Supreme Court issued a 73-page decision (excluding concurrence and dissent) that attempted to construe the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) decisions (Concepcion and American Express) as narrowly as possible so as to preserve the right of state courts to strike down arbitration agreements … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Falls In Line With Supreme Court Ruling on Class Action Removals

In Rodriguez v. AT&T Mobility, LLC, the Ninth Circuit continues a string of recent decisions cracking down on district courts’ tendency to remand class actions on the purported basis that the defendant failed to meet the burden of proof that subject matter jurisdiction exists. District courts have incentives to do this because remand orders are normally … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Holds That The Fair Labor Standards Act Does Not Bar The Enforcement of Class Action Waivers

Over the past week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (“Second Circuit”) has issued two decisions in which it affirmatively held that: (i) a plaintiff cannot use the “effective vindication doctrine” to invalidate a class action waiver of claims brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”); and (ii) the FLSA … Continue Reading

New York State Court of Appeals Backs Starbucks Policy on Tip-Pooling

Starbucks shift supervisors can legally participate in tip-sharing with other store employees, but the coffee chain’s assistant managers have enough managerial responsibility to disqualify them from sharing in customer tips, according to the New York State Court of Appeals. Starbucks’ policy provides for weekly distribution of gratuities to the company’s two lower ranking categories of … Continue Reading
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