Category Archives: Class Actions

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California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules for Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Remain Preempted by Federal Law . . . For Now

Signaling another positive development for interstate motor carriers operating in California, the United States District Court for the Central District of California (the “Central District”) recently dismissed a truck driver’s claims that motor carrier U.S. Xpress failed to provide a class of drivers with legally required meal and rest periods compliant with California law. See, … Continue Reading

The Future of Independent Contractors: Ninth Circuit Applies Dynamex Retroactively and the DLSE Issues Opinion Letter Expanding Its Scope

Last year, the California Supreme Court decided Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, a landmark decision that dramatically increased the risk of misclassifying individuals as independent contractors. As previously reported, although Dynamex replaced the longstanding Borello standard with the “ABC” test, it also left two critical questions unaddressed. First, Dynamex did … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Individualized Arbitration Where Agreement Is Ambiguous on Issue of Class Arbitration

In a 2010 decision, Stolt-Nielsen S. A. v. Animalfeeds International Corp., the United States Supreme Court held that parties may not be compelled to submit to class arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) unless there is a contractual basis for concluding that they agreed to do so. The Court held that such an agreement … Continue Reading

The Potential For Stemming BIPA Suits Waits Another Day

In the aftermath of the Illinois Supreme Court’s Rosenbach decision, Illinois employers have faced a wave of class action litigation filed under the Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). Employers hoping for relief from the statute’s private right of action must wait for another day (or another session) as Senate Bill 2134 (“SB 2134”) did not … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Announces a Win for Payroll Outsourcing Industry

Last week, the California State Supreme Court struck a decisive victory in favor of payroll companies, issuing a unanimous opinion that an employee is not a third-party beneficiary of the contract between her employer and its payroll service provider. The court held that an employee-plaintiff has no standing to sue her employer’s payroll company for … Continue Reading

Complicating Simplicity: Ninth Circuit Requires Separate Stand-Alone Documents for Employment Background Checks

Albert Einstein believed “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” The Ninth Circuit seems to agree. In Gilberg v. Cal. Check Cashing Stores, LLC, No. 17-16263, 2019 WL 347027 (Ninth Cir. Jan. 29, 2019), the Ninth Circuit held a single form combining nearly identical federal and state disclosures violates both federal … Continue Reading

Actual Injury Unnecessary to Sue Under Illinois Biometric Law

The Illinois Supreme Court recently handed down its much-anticipated decision in Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corporation et al., clarifying what makes someone “aggrieved” and able to bring a claim under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). We have addressed this issue in prior blogs, including here and here. The Supreme Court has now … Continue Reading

California Legislature Amends Section 1542: Are Employer Settlement Agreements Now More Vulnerable to Attack?

On January 1, 2019, California’s Senate Bill No. 1431 went into effect, making a slight, but potentially significant amendment to Civil Code Section 1542. The prior version of the statute read: “A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Confirms Validity Of Meal Period Waivers For Healthcare Employees

On December 10, 2018, the California Supreme Court handed down its unanimous decision in Gerard, et al. v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, affirming the Court of Appeal ruling that voluntary meal period waivers are permissible for healthcare employees who work long shifts, even if they work more than 12 hours. By allowing healthcare employees … Continue Reading

The Fight Over Standing Under the Biometric Information Privacy Act Continues in Illinois High Court

On November 20, 2018, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp. and Great America LLC to decide whether a technical violation of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), 740 ILCS 14 et seq., without some additional injury, is enough to give an individual standing to sue under the … Continue Reading

California Court Reaffirms And Extends Rounding Rules

In AHMC Healthcare, Inc. v. Superior Court, the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Four, extended a prior line of California cases holding that California law follows federal law with respect to evaluating the lawfulness of time clock rounding systems. You can read our prior article about See’s Candy Shops I here. Specifically, … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Enforceability of Mandatory Employment Class Action Waivers

On May 21, 2018, the United States Supreme Court upheld the legality of arbitration agreements containing class action waivers. In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Gorsuch, the Court held that arbitration agreements providing for individualized proceedings were valid, and neither the Federal Arbitration Act’s (“FAA”) savings clause, nor the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) suggest otherwise.… Continue Reading

Court Rejects Plaintiffs’ Attempt to Double-Dip in Settlement Pool

It is a rare occasion that the phrase “joint employer” has positive implications for any business. However, a panel sitting on the California Court of Appeals recently gave one party in a joint employer arrangement cause to celebrate when it held in Castillo v. Glenair, Inc., 22 Cal. App. 5th 348 (2018) [1], that the settlement … Continue Reading

The Dynamex Decision: The California Supreme Court Restricts Use of Independent Contractors

On Monday, April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in the matter of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles. In a voluminous, 82-page decision, the California Supreme Court reinterpreted and ultimately rejected the Borello test for determining whether workers should be classified as either employees or independent … Continue Reading

Uber Drivers’ Class Action Lawsuit Hits Permanent Red Light

Last week, the ridesharing giant, Uber, secured a resounding legal win when a federal judge dismissed a putative class action lawsuit alleging the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay drivers overtime. The ruling is enormously important, not simply for Uber, but for the growing rideshare technology industry as a whole. … Continue Reading

Jury Returns Verdict in Favor of Dollar Tree in Electronic Wage Statement Class Action

On November 7, 2017, after a four-day trial, a federal jury in Los Angeles, California returned a verdict in favor of Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. in a class action filed against the company by former employee Francisca Guillen. The case was pending in the Central District of California before Hon. Michael W. Fitzgerald.… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Reaffirms Broad Right to Discovery in PAGA Actions

The California Supreme Court issued its long awaited ruling in Williams v. Superior Court, in which it clarified the scope of discovery in actions brought under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, Labor Code § 2698 et seq., also known as PAGA. (Williams v. Superior Court, __ Cal.5th __ (July 13, 2017, S227228) (“Williams”).) … Continue Reading

Sheppard Mullin Secures Major Victory for Chipotle in Nationwide Misclassification Action By Demonstrating Variations Among Proposed Class Members

The Court’s opinion in Scott v. Chipotle Mexican Grill demonstrates how employers can successfully combat class action claims that employees were misclassified as exempt. The successful defense of the class certification motion relied chiefly on deposition and declaration testimony to highlight inconsistencies, variations, and individualized inquiries that prevented resolution of the claims at issue on … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Affirms Validity of Hospital Meal Period Waivers

The ability of hospitals to use meal period waivers was called into question by a 2015 Court of Appeal decision in Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center (Gerard I), which held that the provision in Wage Order 5 allowing waivers even when employees work over 12 hours was invalid.  Following two more years of … Continue Reading

Proposed Legislation May Significantly Limit Class Action Litigation in Federal Court

Twelve years after he introduced the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has introduced the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017 (“the Act”), which would significantly change the federal class action landscape by creating several procedural mechanisms designed to head off lawyer-driven class action litigation.  The stated purpose of … Continue Reading

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
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