Articles Posted in Class Actions In The News

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The California Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Brinker Restaurant v. Superior Court (Hohnbaum, et al., real parties in interest) on November 8, 2011, according to the Court docket issued recently. The Court generally issues decisions within 90 days after completion of oral argument and submission of post-argument briefs, if any. A decision is expected by mid-February, 2012.

At issue in the case is whether California employers must ensure that their employees actually take their meal and rest periods or merely make them available. Guidance is also anticipated regarding the time in the workday in which meal and rest periods must be taken and whether or not legally-compliant meal and rest period policies can protect an employer against class actions even when these policies are unevenly enforced.

The decision is extremely important to California employers because meal and rest period claims have been the basis of hundreds of class action lawsuits in California. The Court’s decision could make it more difficult for plaintiffs to bring these claims as class actions, or, depending on the ruling, could establish rigid guidelines which may foster more class actions. Either way, California employers and Plaintiffs class action lawyers alike have eagerly awaited this decision since the Supreme Court took up the case in October, 2008 and look forward to receiving guidance from the high court.

Under California law, nonexempt employees are entitled to uninterrupted, off-duty meal periods of at least 30 minutes for every five hours worked. While there are certain limited exceptions to this rule (such as a revocable written waiver of the meal period in limited circumstances), employers are required to compensate employees for on-duty meal periods. In addition, California law assesses employers a penalty equal to one hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate for every day there is a meal period violation.

The lower court in the Brinker case held that California law requires employers only to “supply or make available” meal periods. This view is consistent with several Federal District Court decisions as well as the California Court of Appeals decision in Brinkley v. Public Storage. The California administrative entity charged with enforcing wage and hour laws, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, takes the position that employers have “an affirmative obligation to ensure the workers are actually relieved of all duty” during meal breaks. The California Supreme Court’s decision in Brinker should put this dispute to rest.

For more information about how California wage and hour laws or the Brinker case may affect you, please contact my partner, Scott Brink.

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To assist class action defense attorneys anticipate the types of cases against which they will have to defend in California, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from June 3 – 9, 2011, during which time 52 new class actions were filed in these courts. Labor law class actions retained the top spot, but still do not commonly reach the 50% mark of past years. During this reporting period, for example, only 23 of the new class actions filed involved employment-related claims (44% of the total number of new class actions filed) involved employment-related claims. The only other category to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleged violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 7 new filings (13% of the total number of new class actions filed).

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As a resource to California class action defense attorneys, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. In past years, the number of new class actions filed in these California state and federal courts generally fell within the range of 40-50, but throughout most of this year, that number has been significantly higher. This report covers the time period from May 27 – June 2, 2011, during which time 42 new class actions were filed in these courts. This represents the third straight week in which the number of new class actions filed in these California courts was much more in line with the total number of class actions filed in past years. Only 16 of these 42 class actions, however, involved employment-related claims, representing a relatively low 38% of the total number of new class actions filed. (As regular readers of this blog know, in past years labor law class actions routinely accounted for more than half of the number of new class actions filed each week.) The only other categories to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 9 new filings, representing 21% of the total number of new class actions filed this past week, and class actions alleging violations of federal securities laws, with 5 new filings, representing 12% of the total number of new class actions filed.

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In order to assist class action defense attorneys anticipate the types of lawsuits against which they will have to defend in California, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from May 20 – 26, 2011, during which time a relatively low number of new class actions (41) were filed in these courts; we note, however, that this number is more in line with the total number of class actions filed in past years, as opposed to the very large number filed each week this year. Of these 41 class actions, 21 involved employment-related claims (representing 51% of the total number of new class actions filed). The only other category to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging violations of California’s Song-Beverly statute (which prohibits requesting personal identifiable information at point of sale in debit or credit card transactions) with 5 new filings, representing 12% of the total number of new class actions filed this past week.

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As a resource to California class action defense attorneys, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from May 13 – 19, 2011, during which time 46 new class actions were filed in these courts — a number much more in line with the total number of class actions filed in past years, as opposed to the very large number filed each week during this year. Of these 46 class actions, 21 involved employment-related claims (representing 46% of the total number of new class actions filed). The only other category to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 15 new filings, representing 33% of the total number of new class actions filed this past week.

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As a resource for California class action defense attorneys, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from May 6 – 12, 2011, during which time 70 new class actions were filed in these courts. The unusually large number of class actions being filed each week has dramatically impacted the relative percentage of labor law class actions filed each week, as in previous years, class actions alleging employment-related claims often accounted for more than half of all class actions filed in these California courts. This reporting period, 27 new labor law class actions were filed (representing 39% of the total number of class actions filed during the week). The only other category to break the 10% threshold were class actions alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 20 new lawsuit (13 of which involved class actions arising out of the hacking of Sony’s Play Station network) representing 29% of the total number of new class actions filed this past week.

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To assist class action defense attorneys anticipate the types of cases against which they will have to defend in California, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from April 29 – May 5, 2011, during which time 66 new class actions were filed in these courts. In previous years, class actions alleging employment-related claims often accounted for more than half of all class actions filed in these California courts, but this year has been a different story. This reporting period, aided by several class actions arising out of the hacking of Sony’s Play Station network, class actions alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, seized the top spot, with 19 new filings (8 against Sony), representing 29% of the total number of new class actions filed this past week. The only other categories to break the 10% threshold involved labor law class actions, with 16 new filings (representing 24% of the total number of class actions filed), and class actions alleging violations of federal securities laws, with 9 new filings (14% of the total number of new class actions filed).

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To assist class action defense attorneys anticipate the types of cases against which they will have to defend in California, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from April 22 – 28, 2011, during which time the total number of class actions filed in these courts dropped to more “normal” levels. There were 69 new class actions were filed in these courts during this reporting period, and 26 of them (38% of the total number of new class actions filed) involved employment-related claims. The only other category to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleged violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 13 new filings (19% of the total number of new class actions filed).

Published on:

As a resource to California class action defense attorneys, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from April 15 – 21, 2011, during which time the total number of class actions filed in these courts dropped to more “normal” levels. There were 52 new class actions were filed in these courts during this reporting period, and 27 of them (52% of the total number of new class actions filed) involved employment-related claims. This is the first time this year that labor law class actions have passed the 50% mark — a level it frequently hit in past years. The only other categories to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 12 new filings (23% of the total number of new class actions filed), and class actions alleging violations of federal securities laws with 7 new filings (13% of the total number of new class actions filed).

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To aid defense attorneys in anticipating the types of class actions against which they will have to defend in California, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from April 8 – 14, 2011, during which time 79 new class actions were filed in these courts. It appears that labor law class actions may not return to the prior “norm” of accounting for more than half of the total number of new class actions filed in California state and federal courts each week. During this reporting period, only 24 new labor law class actions were filed, representing only 30% of the total number of new class actions filed. The only other categories to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 21 new filings (27% of the total number of new class actions filed), and class actions alleging violations of federal securities laws with 10 new filings (13% of the total number of new class actions filed).