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Supreme Court Rules Prejudice Inquiry has no Place in Waiver of Arbitration Contract Provision

On May 23, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled, in a decision that will potentially have wide ranging impact on the arbitration of potential class action disputes, that a party’s right to try to send a case to arbitration after first litigating does not depend on whether the delay prejudiced the other party.  As a result, workers seeking to keep their cases out of arbitration no longer need to show prejudice when fighting a delayed arbitration bid.  They only need to show that the employer waived its right to arbitration by engaging in conduct inconsistent with the […]

Dolphin’s Former Head Coach Sues NFL For Racial Hiring Practices

On Tuesday, February 1, 2022, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and multiple NFL teams, including the New York Giants, the Denver Broncos, and the Miami Dolphins, alleging racial discrimination in the hiring process of African American coaches and general managers.  Although not directly relevant to his race discrimination claims, Flores also alleged that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered to pay him $100,000.00 per loss for each loss during the 2019 season.  Flores’ lawsuit comes just weeks after the Dolphins controversially fired him, despite back-to-back winning seasons as […]

Supreme Court to Consider Waiver of Right to Arbitration in Employee Wage and Hour Case

On November 15, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear a case by a former Taco Bell employee, Robyn Morgan, regarding her former employer’s right to compel arbitration in her wage and hour case.  Morgan’s claims stem from her allegation that her former employer and Taco Bell franchisee, Sundance, Inc., failed to pay her time-and-a-half for overtime.  Specifically, Morgan alleges that Sundance recorded her worktime across multiple weeks to keep her time under forty hours per week.  Sundance answered Morgan’s Complaint and litigated the case for eight months.  It then moved to compel arbitration […]

The Supreme Court to Examine “Excessive” ERISA Fees

The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear the class action ERISA case, Hughes v. Northwestern University, Docket No. 19-1401, to determine whether a retirement plan that pays or charges its participants fees that are significantly higher than those of other available investments is breaching its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).  In short, the Supreme Court’s review could determine what qualifies as a plausible claim for relief in a “defined contribution” retirement plan.

In Hughes, five Plaintiffs filed the action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, asserting six […]

By |2021-09-15T12:21:59-04:00September 15th, 2021|Practice Areas: Class Action, Labor & Employment|Topics: , , , |

SCOTUS Restricts Rights of Defined Benefit Retirement Plan Participants Under ERISA

On June 1, 2020 and in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that participants in a defined-benefit retirement plan lacked Article III standing to bring a lawsuit against the plan’s fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). Thole v. U.S. Bank, N.A., No. 17-1712. Plaintiffs James Thole and Sherry Smith are retired participants of U.S. Bank’s defined-benefit retirement plan. Under the terms of the plan, plaintiffs are guaranteed a fixed payment each month regardless of the plan’s value or the fiduciaries’ investment decisions with respect to the plan. Plaintiffs have […]

By |2020-06-17T14:35:55-04:00June 17th, 2020|Practice Areas: Class Action, Labor & Employment|Topics: , |

Reopening The Workplace During COVID-19

Following up on COVID-cast’s first episode, “Navigating The Class Action Legal Landscape During COVID-19” where attorney’s Matthew D. Berkowitz and Brian O’Shea dove into existing lawsuits and potential lawsuits filed by employees against employers.

In this episode, they discuss important things for essential and non-essential business to keep in mind as they start to reopen like PPE, following CDC guidelines, monitoring how many employees are in the workplace, and if considering if work from home is a viable option in the months ahead.

By |2020-05-15T14:16:25-04:00May 15th, 2020|Practice Areas: Class Action, Labor & Employment, Podcast|Topics: |

Navigating The Class Action Legal Landscape During COVID-19

As we gear up to enter back into our new normal, industries of all types will be facing legal issues due to COVID-19 related claims. During this pandemic, grocers and essential businesses are facing class action lawsuits in spite of attempting to mitigate the risk.  Employees and shoppers are filing against retailers and grocers alleging that employers took inadequate steps to protect employees and shoppers from COVID-19.

Matt Berkowitz and Brian O’Shea discuss many types of scenarios and positions that the defense and plaintiff might take during a class action lawsuit due to COVID-19 exposure.

The Coronavirus and Employee Benefits: Another Opportunity For Class Action Litigation

With the Coronavirus outbreak not letting up, businesses of all sizes face new regulations as federal and state legislation has evolved to provide employees with additional benefits and protections.

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law. The legislation requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. And, the FFCRA requires companies with less than 500 employees to provide up to 80 hours of sick leave pay to certain eligible employees.

Additionally, states passed similar bills providing paid employee […]

By |2020-04-28T12:35:15-04:00April 28th, 2020|Practice Areas: Class Action, Labor & Employment|Topics: , |

COVID-19 Brings New Demands to Essential Retailers and Grocers to Avoid Potential Class Action Lawsuits

Recently, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser issued an executive order requiring all customers entering Washington DC grocery stores, foodbanks, and convenience stores to wear masks or protective face coverings when entering. The legislation, aimed at stopping the spread of Coronavirus also requires grocery store limit the amount of people within a store and provide additional self-checkout lanes.

Similarly, many Washington DC area grocery stores have taken additional measures to protect their employees during the coronavirus, including installing glass partitions at check-out counters, increasing the availability of self check-out lanes and permitting employees to wear personal protective […]

Ninth Circuit Certifies Minor League Baseball Wage and Hour Class Action

On August 16, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that minor league baseball players in Arizona and Florida could join minor leaguers in California in a multi-state employment class action against major league baseball ownership and its franchises. The players claim that baseball’s owners and teams failed to comply with the federal Fair LaborStandards Act and Arizona, California, and Florida labor laws by not paying them the required minimum wage. While the players were paid a minimum wage for a 40-hour work week, they claim they were required to work much […]

By |2019-11-26T13:20:27-05:00September 9th, 2019|Practice Areas: Labor & Employment|Topics: , |

NLRB Finds Employers Can Modify Arbitration Agreements After Suit to Prohibit Participation in Collective Actions

On August 14, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that employers can revise mandatory arbitration agreements to prohibit employees from joining class and collective actions even after a suit has been filed. The NLRB further held that employers may condition continued employment on the execution of the amended agreement and threaten to terminate those who refuse. Neither action was found to violate Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, which prohibits employers from interfering with employees’ union-related activities under Section 7 of the Act.

In the case at bar, a group of employees filed a […]

By |2019-11-26T13:19:50-05:00August 21st, 2019|Practice Areas: Labor & Employment|Topics: |

D.C. District Court Dismisses Proposed Class Action Against The George Washington University Alleging Mismanagement of Workers’ Retirement Savings

On Monday, July 15, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit against The George Washington University. The suit was filed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The Court held that Plaintiff Melissa Stanley lacked standing to sue because she explicitly gave up her right to sue as part of a 2016 settlement with the University.

Stanley filed the instant lawsuit against the University in April 2018, alleging that the University, its board of trustees, and its plan administration committee breached their fiduciary duty by burdening Stanley’s […]

By |2019-11-26T13:19:27-05:00July 16th, 2019|Practice Areas: General, Labor & Employment|Topics: , , |