2021 case review: Vasquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc.
Published on Sun, 02/06/2022 - 11:17pm
In 2018, in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, 4 Cal.5th 903 (2018),the Supreme Court held that in determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor for purposes of California’s wage laws, the “ABC test” applies. The ABC test holds that a worker is an independent contractor only if the hirer can establish “…A) that the worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of such work and in fact; (B) that the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and (C) that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.”
Plaintiffs brought a class action on behalf of employees of the defendant, claiming a violation of wage and hour laws and, specifically, failure to provide proper meal breaks. The trial court granted, and the Appellate Court upheld, a motion for summary judgment brought by the defendant.
2021 case review: Pollock v. Tri-Modal Distribution Services, Inc.
Published on Sun, 02/06/2022 - 11:14pm
The Supreme Court made a decision that objectively benefits Plaintiffs who bring actions under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Cal. Gov. Code 12940, subd. (j), 12960, when alleging, as in this case, harassment.
The Court in this case clarified the law regarding when a judge must recuse themselves in light of a conflict. Plaintiff Chaganti had brought a lawsuit and gone to trial against Cricket and New Cingular, which are wholly owned subsidiaries of AT&T. The lawsuit was brought regarding a commercial lease in which the named lessee was “AT&T Wireless PCS” and where rent was paid by “AT&T.”
This case involves an anti-SLAPP motion. The Anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation, Code Civ. Proc., 425.16) statute provides that a defendant can bring a motion to strike causes of action alleged by a plaintiff in any case “arising from any act of [the defendant] in furtherance of the [defendant’s] right of petition or free speech under the United States Constitution or the California Constitution in connection with a public issue…” Code Civ. Proc.§ 425.16, subd. (b).
2021 case review: Park v. Law Offices of Tracey Buck-Walsh
Published on Sun, 02/06/2022 - 11:09pm
Plaintiff Park filed a lawsuit alleging that his former attorneys, who had represented him from 2003 to 2012 in connection with his casino businesses were intentionally interfering with the expansion of that business. The law firm allegedly used confidential information gained as a result of their prior representation to assist his competitors and to prejudice regulators against Park’s purchase of two additional casinos. This allegedly amounted to breach of fiduciary duty and intentional interference with financial gain. The motivation of the law firm was ostensibly the fee dispute that had resulted in the severance of the attorney-client relationship.
While a property owner is as a general rule liable for injuries that occur on its premises, that is not always the case. In this matter, the Supreme Court found a sizeable exception to that general rule. Plaintiff was hired by a contractor to perform work on the defendant’s property. The contractor removed a protective cover from what turned out to be a live circuit. Plaintiff was working in the area, and triggered an arc flash that caused burns to a large portion of his body.
Plaintiffs had trained to compete in Taekwondo in the Olympics and filed suit against their former coach for sexual abuse. Plaintiffs named the US Olympic Committee and the USA Taekwondo organization for negligence for having not prevented the abuse.
The Court held that a plaintiff is entitled to fees for attorney time spent after the plaintiff rejects a 998 offer, so long as the plaintiff ultimately recovers more than the 998 offered. The Court explained that the trial court retains broad discretion to evaluate post-offer attorney fees and costs and to reduce the fee recovery if appropriate, but it may not deny all fees from the date of the offer when the plaintiff’s decision to continue to litigate results in a more favorable judgment or award. In this case since Plaintiff ultimately settled for 10% more, plaintiff was entitled to fees for the time after the 998 offer was rejected.