Last Friday, March 22nd, a federal court jury in San Diego awarded over $4,646,252 to Denise Steffens. Ms. Steffens (represented at trial by Cindy Panuco and Dan Stormer of HSRR and Susan Guinn) was employed as a building manager by the office rental company Regus Group PLC, but was fired in July of 2007 after reporting wage-and-hour violations. The verdict is especially monumental since it comes out of the usually conservative San Diego area. "This is a great victory," said Cindy Panuco. "It shows that jurors will not accept hollow excuses for abusing workers." In October 2006, Steffens complained that Regus' staffing plan didn't allow her to give her staff legally required lunch and rest breaks. Immediately after this, the regional vice president of the company gave the order to "Get rid of her," according to testimony from her former supervisor. Her 11 years of prior employment records were unblemished, but in April 2007 she was put on a performance improvement plan intended to result in her termination, including impossible sales goals and supposed weaknesses in performance which her supervisor testified had been copied almost directly from an improvement plan previously given to another Regus employee. In July of 2007, Steffens was terminated. Regus, however, argued that Steffens was fired because of her declining attitude toward her work. After four days of trial, the jury found Regus liable for wrongful termination in violation of public policy - a tort claim which prohibits retaliation for whistleblowing. The jury returned a verdict for $4,646,252, including $3.5 million in punitive damages after finding that Regus acted with fraud, oppression, or malice when it terminated Ms. Steffens.
Barbara Hadsell, Dan Stormer, Anne Richardson, and Randy Renick, the name partners of Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick, LLP, have each been recognized by Super Lawyers® Magazine in its Annual Top Attorneys List in 2013. Dan Stormer has been named to the list of Top 100 attorneys in Southern California each year since the recognition's inception, and Anne Richardson has been named to the list of Top 50 Women Lawyers in 2013.
HSRR's Randy Renick and Cornelia Dai are featured speakers at Bridgeport's Annual Wage & Hour Conference taking place December 13-14, 2012. This two day program brings together leading practitioners to explore and explain in-depth the critical aspects of Wage & Hour litigation. This year's program will focus on the ever increasing use of PAGA in wage and hour litigation; key developments in the case law interpeting the white collar exemptions, the enforcement of arbitration agreements and the rules for settling class claims; and increased and coordinated efforts by government agencies to enforce the wage and hour laws. The program will also explore the unique challenges associated with trying wage and hour claims on a class and individual basis with practitioners who have actually tried such cases in court. This well-balanced program offers the perspective of California's leading experienced litigators, as well as government regulators and in-house counsel. More information and registration information can be found at http://bridgeportce.com/bridgeport/index.php/upcoming-programs/8-up-coming-programs/9-wage-hour-los-angeles.
The Hilton Los Angeles Airport has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a class of current and former employees who claimed they were not paid properly for the time spent performing required activities prior to beginning work, improperly denied meal breaks, and prevented from taking lawful rest periods.
Hadsell Stormer Richardson and Renick LLP recently helped Hotel workers achieve justice at an HEI Hotels & Resorts operated hotel - Embassy Suites Irvine. In eight hearings over the Summer of 2011 before the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (also known as the "Labor Commissioner"), the operators of the Embassy Suites Irvine were found to owe eight current and former HEI employees between between $4907 and $6764 for violations of the California Labor Code.