Category Archives: Class Actions

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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

Second Circuit Overturns Class Certification Order in Assistant Branch Manager Overtime Case

On May 29, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its opinion in Cuevas v. Citizens Financial Group, Inc. and RBS Citizens, N.A., Case No. 12-2832, reversing the Eastern District of New York’s grant of Rule 23 class certification to a putative class of Assistant Branch Managers (“ABMs”) alleging that … Continue Reading

New Appellate Decision Applies Brinker to Require Certification of Certain Meal and Rest Claims

By Thomas Kaufman On Friday afternoon, the Fourth Appellate District, Division 3 (Orange County) decided Faulkinbury v. Boyd & Associates (Faulkinbury II). This was a meal period, rest period, and overtime class certification decision in which the trial court had previously denied certification and the Court of Appeal had previously affirmed the denial (in Faulkinbury I).   … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds that Federal Securities Laws Preempt California Labor Code’s Ban on Forced Patronage at Brokerage Firms

By Jennifer Redmond, John Stigi, and Bram Hanono   In McDaniel v. Wells Fargo Investments, LLC, Nos. 11-17017, 11-55859, 11-55943, 11-55958, 2013 WL 1405949 (9th Cir. Apr. 9, 2013), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of four class action lawsuits filed by employees against brokerage firms Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley. In … Continue Reading

Plaintiffs’ Bar is Whistling Past the Graveyard on Comcast

By Thomas Kaufman As many readers of this blog know by now, last week the Supreme Court issued yet another anti-class certification decision in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend (“Comcast”). While the full scope and meaning of the Court’s holding is subject to interpretation by the lower courts, a central holding is that a district court errs if it certifies a … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Upholds Enforceability of Arbitration Agreements that Bar Title VII Class Actions, Finding that there is no Substantive Statutory Right to Pursue a Pattern-or-Practice Claim

On March 21, 2013, the Second Circuit issued its opinion in Parisi v. Goldman Sachs & Co., Case No. 11-5229, reversing a decision from the Southern District of New York, and holding that arbitration agreements which preclude Title VII class actions are enforceable. In reaching this decision, the Second Circuit affirmed the “liberal federal policy … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Ruling Reverses Bad 9th Circuit Precedent on CAFA

By Thomas Kaufman On March 19, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Standard Fire Insurance v. Knowles, a short, narrow, and unanimous opinion addressing removal of class actions to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”).  The central holding of the case is that a district court should “ignore” representations by the … Continue Reading

Eastern and Southern District Courts Compel Plaintiffs to Arbitrate their FLSA Collective Action Claims on an Individualized Basis

In February, two New York Federal District Court decisions joined other recent federal cases in enforcing arbitration agreements that preclude employees from bringing their Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) claims on a collective basis and required the employees to individually pursue their claims in arbitration. See Torres v. United Healthcare Servs., Inc., No. 12 Civ. … Continue Reading

9th Circuit Applies Dukes v. Wal-Mart to a Wage/Hour Class Action

By Thomas Kaufman On March 4, 2013 the Ninth Circuit issued a second opinion in the action, Wang v. Chinese Daily News (Wang II), in which it reversed the class certification it had previously affirmed and remanded the matter for further consideration of Rule 23(a) commonality and Rule 23(b)(3) predominance.  The Wang II decision follows … Continue Reading
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