Case Summaries

Labor & Employment Law

[07/22] Pippins v. KPMG
Summary judgment in favor of defendant-employer in a class action alleging claims for unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), is affirmed, where: 1) the record reveals that plaintiffs, as entry‐level accountants, were employed in a field of science and learning, that they relied on knowledge customarily acquired by prolonged specialized instruction, and that their work involved consistent exercise of professional judgment; 2) plaintiffs were therefore learned professionals; and 3) the district court did not err in finding plaintiffs exempt from the FLSA's overtime provisions for learned professionals.

[07/21] Rhea v. General Atomics
In a challenge to defendant-employer's employment practice of requiring exempt employees to use their annual leave hours when they are absent from work for portions of a day, judgment in favor of defendant-employer is affirmed, where:1) the trial court properly concluded that California law did not prohibit defendant-employer's policy of requiring exempt employees to use Annual Leave for partial-day absences of any length; and 2) plaintiff's arguments are without merit.

[07/21] Carter v. Incorporated Village of Ocean Beach
In an action in which plaintiffs alleged multiple wrongful termination and defamation claims, the district court's order granting attorney's fee and costs to defendants pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) and 13 42 U.S.C. section 1988(b), is affirmed, where: 1) the district court did not err in finding plaintiff's claims frivolous; 2) the victory for the county defendants was total; and 3) the district court's award was within its discretion.

[07/21] Galen v. Redfin Corporation
The trial court's order denying defendant's motion to compel arbitration of plaintiff's class action misclassification and wage and hour claims is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the trial court erred in concluding plaintiff's causes of action do not fall within the scope of the arbitration provision; and 2) without deciding whether California or Washington law applies, even under California law, the arbitration agreement is not unconscionable and the trial court erred in concluding the provision is unenforceable.

[07/18] Erickson v. USPS
Petitioner's application for attorney fees in connection with his two appeals to this court regarding his claims under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) is denied, where: 1) the Merit Systems Protection Board is not authorized to award fees incurred during judicial review under USERRA; 2) USSERA does not authorize this court to grant attorney fees; 3) petitioner is not entitled to attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA); and 4) the attorney fee provision of the Back Pay Act is not applicable to preference eligible postal employees.

[07/18] Benavides v. WCAB
The decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board rescinding petitioner's disability rating is annulled, where there was good cause for the Workers' Compensation Judge (WCJ) to reopen the case and therefore the appeals board is directed to reinstate the WCJ's award of a 72 percent disability rating. (Opinion after rehearing)

[07/17] Rodriguez v. City of Santa Cruz
The trial court erred in denying plaintiff's petition for a writ of mandate challenging defendant-city's denial of his application for industrial disability retirement, where: 1) the trial court applied the incorrect standard of review; and 2) the trial court is directed to reconsider plaintiff's petition for writ of mandate under the independent judgment standard of review.

[07/15] Vazquez-Rivera v. Figueroa
Dismissal of plaintiff's complaint alleging that his employer, the U.S. Army, discriminated against him on account of his disability, created a hostile work environment, and retaliated against him, all in violation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is affirmed, where the district court did not err in finding that: 1) plaintiff was required to exhaust his administrative remedies before he could initiate a civil suit; 2) plaintiff had not timely filed his administrative claim; and 3) plaintiff was not entitled to equitable tolling.

[07/14] Abrams v. Dept. of Public Safety
Judgment for defendants in a Civil Rights Act and 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action in which plaintiff alleged Title VII race discrimination for his failure to be transferred into defendant's Major Crimes Van, as well as retaliation and a violation of the Equal Protection Clause, is: 1) affirmed in part, with regard to the district court's grant of summary judgment as to the Title VII retaliation claim pertaining to defendant's Casino Unit transfer and the jury’s verdict in favor of defendant-department as to the Title VII retaliation claim; but 2) vacated in part and remanded, with regard to the district court's grant of summary judgment of the Title VII race discrimination claim, as well as the corresponding race discrimination claim brought under the Equal Protection Clause pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1983.

[07/14] Peabody v. Time Warner Cable
In an action alleging wage and hour violations by defendant-employer, the answer to the certified question for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal is: an employer may not attribute commission wages paid in one pay period to other pay periods in order to satisfy California's compensation requirements.

[07/11] Anderson v. US
Dismissal of an action brought by a putative class of over 300 former sailors, challenging the Navy's implementation of an Enlisted Retention Board (ERB) that resulted in their honorable discharges is affirmed, where: 1) plaintiffs' merit-based challenges are nonjusticiable; and 2) the Court of Federal Claims properly determined that the Navy's implementation of the ERB did not exceed its statutory authority, ignore the required procedural regulations, violate minimum concepts of basic fairness, or run afoul of the Equal Protection Clause.

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