Labor & Employment Law Case Summaries

[12/08] Wang v. The Hearst Corporation
Affirming the dismissal through summary judgment of claims filed by five participants in the Hearst Corporation's internship programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), claiming minimum wage violations, because unpaid interns are not employees of Hearst for the purpose of the FLSA.

[12/08] US v. Scott
Affirming the district court's dismissal of a case against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation by a former employee following their termination of his employment for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff was presenting a mixed claim for which the court lacked jurisdiction and a denial of transfer was proper in itself and on account of his waiver.

[12/07] Brown v. Cinemark USA, Inc.
Denying a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction a class action complaint alleging wage and hour violations because, as in Microsoft Corp. v. Baker the plaintiffs had voluntarily settled some of their claims, but the mutual considerations in the instant case did not raise the same concerns as in Baker because the plaintiffs here continued to litigate their remaining claims.

[12/06] Skillin v. Rady Children's Hospital San Diego
Affirming the grant of summary judgment to the defendant hospital in a suit brought by a former employee who complained of unauthorized retirement account contributions in a Private Attorneys General Act lawsuit for alleged violations of the California Labor Code because the claims were preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

[12/04] Fettgather v. Board of Psychology
Affirming the trial court's order denying a petition for writ of mandamus in the case of a man whose license to practice psychology was revoked by the California Board of Psychology after he failed to comply with an order for an examination under the Business and Professions Code because the Board is not required to show good cause for such an order, nor is the licensee entitled to challenge the basis for the order before submitting to such an examination.

[12/04] Thomas G. Gallagher, Inc. v. OSHA
Denying the petition for review in the case of a fine levied against a Massachusetts employer imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for workplace health and safety violations, holding that the court properly established the employer's constructive knowledge of the dangerous conditions and ruling that the company failed to exercise reasonable diligence.

[12/04] Joyce v. Maersk Line, LTD.
Affirming the decision enforcing a rate of unearned wages set forth in a collective bargaining agreement between a former employee and member of the Seafarers International Union against their prior ship, reversing the circuit's own precedent to hold that a union contract freely entered into by a seafarer will not be reviewed piecemeal by courts unless there is evidence of unfairness in the collective bargaining process.

[12/04] Cherkaoui v. City of Quincy
Affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment to the City of Quincy, sued by a former employee alleging discrimination, retaliation, and constructive discharge, because the record reflected that the employer's actions related to repeated tardiness and absenteeism rather than discrimination.

[11/30] Yang v. Dongwan Industries
Affirming the district court's order denying a motion to compel arbitration in a maritime action arising from the death of a seaman in the sinking of a fishing vessel because the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards does not allow non-signatories or non-parties to compel arbitration or under the Federal Arbitration Act, which expressly exempts contracts of employment of seamen.

[11/30] The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers v. Nassco Holdings, Inc.
Affirming the superior court's decision that an employer failed to comply with the California WARN Act, requiring 60 days notice to affected employees prior to a mass layoff, holding that this obligation arises even if the layoffs were not permanent and were for less than six months.

[11/29] Turman v. the Superior Court of Orange County
Granting a petition for writ of mandate in the case of former employees suing their former employer, its president and sole shareholder, and a corporation held by the same man in the same manner claiming labor violations and unfair competition, holding that the trial court erred by granting a motion to certify a class action that limited its members because they used the wrong criteria, that the court erred by sanctioning plaintiff's counsel and denying a revised motion to compel responses, vacating findings that the companies are not alter egos, and finding other errors in the interpretation of caselaw and the definition of the term 'employer.'

[11/29] Morrison v. Department of the Navy
Dismissing a man's petition for review of the decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board relating to his retirement from a civilian position within the Department of the Navy because the Board's ruling was not a final order or final decision and, as such, the petition lacked jurisdiction.

[11/29] Lopez v. Routt
Affirming the trial court's denial of attorney fees in the case of a lawsuit in which a former employer sued both the City of Beverly Hills and her supervisor personally because attorney fees are only available in a case involving a frivolous claim, even when a supervising employee has been sued in their individual capacity.

[11/27] Tri-Fanucchi Farms v. Agricultural Labor Relations Board
Affirming the court of appeals rejection of an employer's argument that the labor union their workers had elected had abandoned them, holding that the Agricultural Labor Relations Act did not permit an employer to unilaterally declare it will not negotiate with a union because it feels that the union abandoned its workers, but reversing the award of make-whole relief used when employers unreasonably delay because no appellate court had previously ruled on the abandonment issue presented.

[11/27] Julian v. Glenair, Inc.
Affirming the denial of a motion to compel arbitration of respondents' Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act claims because an agreement to arbitrate executed during their employment but before the employee was statutorily authorized to bring such a claim was an unenforceable pre-dispute waiver.

[11/27] Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agricultural Labor Relations Board
Reversing the court of appeals decisions holding that the Agricultural Labor Relations Act's mandatory mediation and conciliation provisions were unconstitutional, violated equal protection, and improperly delegated legislative authority, and applying the settled rule that employers may not raise an abandonment defense against union demands following their certification until the union is decertified by employees in a subsequent election.

[11/24] Sikora v. UPMC
Affirming the district court's holding that a man who sought to recover benefit plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act could not obtain relief because he sought benefits under a 'top-hat plan,' a kind of deferred compensation that is unfunded and maintained by an employer for key management or highly compensated employees, because such funds need not comply with many of the substantive provisions of ERISA and the defendant need not prove that plan participants had bargaining power in order to establish that the benefits were part of a top-hat plan.

[11/21] Maldonado Catala v. Municipality of Naranjito
Affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment to the defendants in the case of a suit alleging violations of anti-discrimination laws and retaliation for complaints about sexual harassment because the claims were not viable and unsupported by evidence.

[11/21] Ouadani v. TF FInal Mile LLC
Affirming the district court's denial of a motion to compel arbitration in the case of a man whose work arrangement was constructed to avoid characterizing him as either an independent contractor or an employee of two companies because the worker was not a party to an agreement between the two companies involved and the doctrine of equitable estoppel applied.

[11/16] Schilling v. Schmidt Baking Company, Inc.
Reversing the district court dismissal of Fair Labor Standards Act claims by former employees of a baking company because of the law's exception for professional motor carriers whose employees work, in whole or in part, affects the safety of vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less, but affirming the dismissal of other claims brought under Maryland law.

[11/15] Whitehall v. County of San Bernadino
Affirming the trial court's denial of a special motion to strike the complaint made by a County being sued by an ex-employee who was terminated for releasing information that she had been submitting false information to the juvenile court at the behest of her superiors because the plaintiff met her burden in showing her likelihood of success.

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