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Class Actions

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With the exception of one claim, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying class certification in this wage and hour case.  Plaintiffs claimed that the employer misclassified them as independent contractors.  While the proper classification of the workers was a common question, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in holding that the common issue did… Read More

An arbitration clause that stated both parties waived the right to bring a class action, act as a private attorney general or join claims of other persons in arbitration or in court did not offend McGill.  At least given the 9th Circuit's view that the FAA preempts Broughton and Cruz, the arbitrator could award public injunctive relief since McGill makes… Read More

Defendant waived its right to compel arbitration by participating in a putative class action for 24 months after service before moving to compel arbitration.  It could not excuse the delay on its belated discovery of the arbitration agreement bearing plaintiff's signature sisnce it alleged arbitration as an affirmative defense in its answer, knew that when plaintiff was hired its policy… Read More

In 2018, the California electorate adopted Prop. 11 which enact Lab. Code 880 et seq., providing that ambulance employees must remain reachable by a communications device during their work shifts, including rest breaks. Lab. Code 889 expressly made the new law applicable to any and all actions pending on, or commenced after October 25, 2017. This decision holds that the… Read More

Disagreeing with Batze v. Safeway, Inc. (2017) 10 Cal.App.5th 440, this decision holds that Amrican Pipe tolling applies to this later-brought individual suit on the same Labor Code violations alleged in two prior putative class actions, both alleging that Staples misclassified its store managers as exempt employees even though they spent more than 50% of their work time performing functions… Read More

The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying class certification in this overtime pay case, finding plaintiff had not shown that common issues predominated.  Though there was a common question about whether defendant violated California labor law in calculating the amount of overtime pay (because in computing base pay it divided the flat bonus for weekend worked by… Read More

The district court erred in enhancing an attorney fee award after settlement of a class action.  It should not have enhanced the fee simply because the plaintiff's attorney spent many hours on the case, particularly as much of that time was spent on discovery.  Since the defendant usually cannot retaliate, there is an incentive for class counsel to run up… Read More

This case holds that when a settling defendant in a class action agrees to pay a reasonable attorney's fee to the plaintiff's attorney separately from the amount paid in settlement of class members' claims, City of Burlington v. Dague (1992) 112 S.Ct. 2638 applies, and the court may not enhance the fee award to compensate for contingency risk. Read More

In an attempt to settle the many coordinated suits by local governmental entities against drug companies, doctors and others about over-prescribing opiod drugs, the district certified a "negotiation class" of all cities and counties for the sole purpose of attempting to negotiate a settlement to the litigation.  This decision holds that the certification was in error.  Rule 23 allows litigation… Read More

A class action waiver is conceptually distinct from an arbitration agreement, though the two are often found together.  FINRA Rule 13204 forbids class action FINRA arbitrations.  Subsection (a)(4) also forbids an employer from enforcing an arbitration agreement against an employee who is a member of a certified class in a court action, at least with respect to the claims asserted… Read More

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