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Labor & Employment Law
[03/11] International Union v. Ray Haluch Gravel Inc.
Following judgment in favor of plaintiff- employee benefit plan in an action to recover unpaid employee-related remittances allegedly due under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the district court's award of attorneys' fees to plaintiff pursuant to the CBA and ERISA's fee-shifting provision is affirmed, where: 1) the use of proportionality as a factor, but not the exclusive factor, in setting the amount of the fee award was within the court's discretion; and 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in setting the fee award or the amount of expenses.
[03/11] Barton v. House of Raeford Farms, Incorporated
In an action brought by former and current employees for the payment of unpaid wages and alleging retaliation by defendant for instituting workers' compensation proceedings, judgment in favor of 16 plaintiff-employees on the South Carolina Wages Act claims, and judgment in favor of 8 plaintiff-employees on the retaliation claims are: 1) reversed in part on the S.C. Wages Act claims, where those claims were preempted by section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act and should have been dismissed; 2) reversed in part on the retaliation claims as to 6 employees because they failed to present evidence satisfying the governing legal standards for recovery under state law; and 3) affirmed in part on the retaliation claims as to the remaining two employees.
[03/05] Castagna v. Luceno
In a discrimination action against defendant-employer, dismissal of plaintiff's state-law tort claims is affirmed, where: 1) as a matter of federal law, the filing of a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) does not toll the limitations period for state-law tort claims, even for those claims arising out of the same factual circumstances as the discrimination alleged in the EEOC charge; and thus, 2) the district court did not err in finding that plaintiff's state-law tort claims were time-barred.
[03/05] Esparza v. County of Los Angeles
Dismissal of plaintiffs' suit alleging that they were improperly terminated or demoted when defendant's Board of Supervisors voted to dissolve the Office of Public Safety (OPS) (where plaintiffs worked), merge its functions with the Sheriff's Department, and plaintiffs failed to qualify for deputy sheriff positions but were offered lower paying positions, is affirmed, where: 1) defendant-county's decision to dissolve OPS is immunized from liability under Government Code section 818.2; and 2) collateral estoppel applies to bar plaintiffs' claims against the Sheriff's Department under the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBRA).
[03/04] Lawson v. FMR LLC
The whistleblower protection provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 contained in 18 U. S. C. section 1514A include employees of a public company's private contractors and subcontractors when they report covered forms of fraud.
[03/04] Sanchez v. Carmax Auto Superstores
In a wrongful termination action, the trial court's denial of defendant-employer's motion to compel arbitration is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the adhesive nature of the agreement is evidence of some degree of procedural unconscionability; but 2) none of the provisions addressed by the trial court's decision is substantively unconscionable.
[02/28] Meyers v. Board of Administration for the Federated City Employees
Judgment in favor of defendant-Board in plaintiff's action challenging defendant's denial of his application for disability benefits is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the trial court's work restrictions finding is supported by substantial evidence; but 2) the trial court's accommodation finding is not supported by substantial evidence.
[02/25] Robert v. Stanford University
The trial court's order requiring plaintiff to pay $100,000 in attorney's fees to defendant after defendant prevailed in plaintiff's action under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is affirmed, where: 1) the trial court made express oral findings when it ruled on defendant's motion at the hearing, which demonstrate that the court applied the correct standards, and the failure to put these findings in writing was not prejudicial and does not itself justify reversal; 2) the trial court properly considered plaintiff's financial condition; and 3) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that his action was "unreasonable, frivolous, meritless, or vexatious."
[02/25] Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc.
Judgment in favor of defendant in an action brought by plaintiff under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is affirmed, where: 1) the district court did not err in denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment because an employee can affirmatively decline to use FMLA leave, even if the underlying reason for seeking leave would have invoked FMLA protection; 2) there was substantial evidence that the plaintiff elected not to take FMLA leave; 3) the district court did not err in admitting evidence about plaintiff's prior FMLA leave; and 4) the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to tax costs.
[02/25] Matusick v. Erie County Water Authority
Judgment for plaintiff in an action alleging employment discrimination and harassment is: 1) affirmed in part, where plaintiff presented sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find, as this jury did, that the defendants were liable on his state-law discrimination claims, and the award of backpay is undisturbed; 2) reversed in part, where although the plaintiff sufficiently alleged a constitutional violation, the relevant constitutional rights during the time in question were not clearly established and therefore the individual defendants are entitled to qualified immunity so the award of punitive damages against the individual defendants is vacated; 3) affirmed in part, where there was sufficient evidence presented to the jury for a reasonable fact-finder to determine that the municipal defendant was liable on plaintiff's claim under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, so the award of punitive damages on this claim was proper; and 4) affirmed in part, where the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorney's fees to the plaintiff in an amount substantially less than the amount claimed. (Amended opinion)
[02/24] People v. Superior Court (Solus Industrial Innovations)
The trial court properly sustained defendants' demurrer to two civil causes of action based on alleged violations of Labor Code sections 6428 and 6429, brought against defendants by the district attorney following a referral from the Division of Occupational Safety and Health pursuant to Labor Code section 6315(g), where the statutory scheme for enforcement of workplace safety standards reflects that the Division is the governmental agency responsible for civil enforcement of the Labor Code provisions, and that mandatory referral of serious cases to prosecutors is primarily intended to facilitate criminal prosecution where appropriate.
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