April 2013 Archives

HSRR Partner Randy Renick Quoted Extensively in Today's Daily Journal

HSRR partner and highly regarded class action litigator Randy Renick was covered in two articles in today's Los Angeles Daily Journal, the leading law journal in the U.S.
In the first article, Laura Hautala examined the wider impact of recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and United States Supreme Court decisions on class certification, quoting Renick at length:
 
"Plaintiffs have to do a lot more work on the front end," Renick said. "It isn't enough anymore to show that folks were just misclassified; you need to show that there was uniform control and that class members were working the same types of jobs under the same policies."
 
Renick experienced the change firsthand over the past eight years, as a case his clients won in trial court went through a lengthy appeals process. In 2005, he won class certification for a group of employees allegedly misclassified at Chinese Daily News Inc., a Chinese-language newspaper based in Monterey Park. He then won both a jury trial and a bench trial.
 
But the case was appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which had recently raised the bar for class certification in employment discrimination and wage-and-hour cases by siding with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in the landmark Dukes v. Wal-Mart case in 2011. The high court ordered the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to apply Dukes to the Chinese Daily News case.
 
Renick said he is confident that the record he established the first time around will withstand heightened scrutiny for class certification. However, because of Dukes and two other precedents set in appellate courts since the plaintiffs' original victory, the 9th Circuit ruled in March that plaintiffs must argue for class certification anew.
 
The second article covered yesterday's filing for class certification in the long-running gender discrimination suit against Wal-Mart,Dukes. V. Wal-Mart Stores. Randy Renick is co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.  The Supreme Court's decision 2011 in the case sent it back to the trial court to decide if it could be pursued as a regional class-action on behalf of women who worked in Wal-Mart and Sam's Club Stores in California. 
The article summarized yesterday's request to proceed as a class action: Plaintiffs' lawyers, including HSRR, the Impact Fund, Cohen & Milstein, and Davis Cowell & Bowe proposed a smaller class, reducing the scale of the lawsuit in response to a landmark 2011 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case. While the case previously sought to include 1.5 million women employees, the proposed class now includes 150,000 class members from three regions in California.  HSRR's co-counsel, Jocelyn Larkin of the nonprofit Impact Fund, stated in the article: 
"What the statistics show is a clear pattern of discrimination against women both in terms of pay and in terms of promotion," Larkin said. "And that, of course, is highly important in terms of showing that these policies had a common impact on employees."  
The motion is set to be heard by United States District Court Judge Charles Breyer on July 9, 2013.  
Employees try new tack with misclassification class actions. Laura Hautala,   Daily Journal. April 16, 2013
New, smaller class in Wal-Mart gender discrimination case. Laura Hautala,   Daily Journal. April 16, 2013

Wrongful termination suit focuses on pregnancy

The California Supreme Court recently ruled that a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against filmmaking giant Lucasfilm Ltd. will be handed back down to Superior Court. The decision is the latest move in a long running case that centers on a claim of wrongful termination. A new trial date is expected, which will give the terminated employee another chance to make her case in front of a new jury.

California yoga master sued for sexual harassment

Women have made astounding advancements in the workplace in recent decades, and have opportunities that were simply not an option for their grandmothers and great-grandmothers. However, despite the prevalence of women is virtually every level of employment across a wide range of fields, many report instances of sexual harassment within the workplace. California law does not tolerate such behavior, and there are additional avenues of legal recourse available to anyone who is subjected to sexual harassment at work, regardless of their gender.

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