Practice/Industry Group Overview
Regardless of its merits, a class action can threaten the reputation, good will, and economic standing of your company. At Hill Farrer & Burrill LLP, we focus on protecting and defending employers from employment class actions, especially wage and hour class actions.
Class actions allowed to get out of hand become tools for litigation blackmail. Accordingly, we believe effective defense requires early identification of the best exit strategy. Whether by outright win or a sensible settlement, we are particularly proud of our track record resolving class actions at modest expense to our clients. In several instances we have even persuaded plaintiffs' counsel to drop cases altogether after achieving decisive victories early in the case. We have resolved others on very favorable terms by mediation before any formal discovery or certification hearings have begun. Hill Farrer's clients have found that when it comes to class actions an aggressive offense is often the best defense.
More than half our Labor & Employment Law partners regularly represent clients in class actions. We have extensive knowledge of the procedure and litigation dynamics unique to class actions as well as expertise in the underlying substantive areas of the law.
Our wage and hour class action defense lawyers have litigated numerous discrimination class actions, FLSA collective actions, and state labor code class actions on behalf of major multi-outlet employers, and prevailed against some of the plaintiffs' bar's most prominent firms. Employers throughout California look to Hill Farrer to assess their class action risk and to identify and remedy vulnerable workplace policies and procedures before they become problems.
Hill Farrer's wage and hour class action defense lawyers take an aggressive yet analytical approach to every engagement. As part of their practice, Hill Farrer's class action defense attorneys:
- assist in audits of employer's wage payment practices by U.S. Department of Labor and state compliance agencies:
- represent employers in arbitration, and state and federal court wage claim litigation by putative class representation, individual employees, the D.O.L. and state compliance agencies;
- advise employers on their obligations to employees to help prevent overtime class action, wage and hour class action, misclassification class action, PAGA claims and collective actions.
- Forced individual settlement of putative class action after trial court granted anti-SLAPP motion on behalf of employer, striking class representative's attempt to collaterally attack individual settlement agreements obtained by employer from 90% of individual putative class members.
- Defeated class certification motion in putative class action lawsuit alleging company wide misclassification of retail employees as exempt management employees.
- Recently obtained Court of Appeal decision enforcing class action waiver provision within employer’s arbitration policy, compelling putative class action plaintiff to arbitrate on an individual basis, thereby effectively defeating attempted class action lawsuit alleging wage and hour violations and PAGA claims under California Labor Code. Maiorano v. Professional Community Management, Inc., No. B220127, 2010 WL 3786721 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Sept. 30, 2010).