Jane Doe v. USC, Case No. BC705677 (LASC March 25, 2021) a group of 702 women accused a campus gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, of sexually preying on them during exams while they were in college. On March 25, 2021, USC announced it would pay more than $852 million to the former patients. DLF is proud to be part of the litigation team that helped bring about this record-setting settlement.

Gamez et al. v. Tom’s of Maine Inc., 14-cv-60604 (U.S.D.C. Florida, September 9, 2015). Six individuals filed a class action for alleged false advertisements related to certain Tom’s of Maine products advertised as “natural” when they contained chemicals and other ingredients that did not qualify as natural. Tom’s agreed to settle for $4.5 million and change its advertising going forward.

Correa v. Sensa Products, LLC., Case. No. BC 476808 (LASC, Nov. 7, 2012). Plaintiffs alleged that Sensa’s marketing and advertisements were false and misleading because there was no competent evidence to substantiate the claim that Sensa was a “new, clinically proven method of losing weight” with “no food restrictions and no change in lifestyle.” The case resulted in a class settlement for up to $6 million based upon a claims-made process.

Toothman v. Pre-Paid Cellular, District Court, City and County of Denver, Colorado, Case No. 01-CA-1142. This was a nationwide securities fraud class action on behalf of approximately 5,000 investors who were separated from $53 million as a result of a sophisticated con game (read: Ponzi scheme) involving a major, silk-stocking Chicago firm with the promise of lofty returns on a “pre-paid” cellular phone business built on rejected accounts from the major phone providers. The case was resolved and finally approved in Colorado District Court after the Denver Court of Appeals reversed a ruling denying class certification. Toothman v. Freeborn & Peters, 80 P.3d 804 (Colo. Ct. App. November 21, 2002) (under the Howrey test, partnership units were considered “investment contracts”).

Cook v. Coca-Cola Co. (In re Vitaminwater Mktg. & Sales Practice Litig.), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98570 (E.D.N.Y. July 10, 2013) (alleging deceptive labeling and marketing of defendant’s product “Vitaminwater” – resolving for nationwide injunctive relief to eliminate health-related claims on certain bottles and $1,200,000 in fees after years of litigation, including disputes over the FDA’s “jellybean rule”).

Dzierlatka v. Bristol-Myers Squibb, LASC, Case No. BC276039 (2002). This was a nationwide antitrust action charging Bristol-Myers Squibb with illegal efforts to block generic rivals to its cancer treatment drug Taxol. This case resulted in a nationwide settlement of approximately $115 million for third-party payors. DLF served as coordinating counsel for the California class members. The case was given final approval several years ago.

Velasquez, et al. v. USPlabs LLC and GNC Corp., Case No. 4:13-cv-00627-RH-CAS (N.D. Florida, Dec. 2013). USPLabs LLC and GNC Corp. agreed to settle a class action lawsuit alleging they made false and misleading statements about the lawfulness, safety, and effectiveness of dietary supplements containing dimethylamylamine (DMAA) or aegeline. The parties reached a $2 million settlement. The supplement mislabeling class action lawsuit was initially filed on November 13, 2013, by plaintiffs who alleged they relied on the statements on the products’ labels and advertisements regarding the lawfulness, safety, and effectiveness of the USPLabs products.

Lopez v. Nissan North America, Inc., — Cal.Rptr.3d –, 2011 WL 6016184 (2011) (class claimed that Nissan’s odometers ran up to 4% too fast on certain models and trims, thereby reducing the warranty coverage; clarifying the standard for odometers tolerance standards even though class ultimately denied the right to proceed).

In re Mustang Mach-E Litigation, Case No. 2:22-cv-11668 (USDC E.D. Mich. 2022) (claiming Mach-E was designed with a defective high voltage main battery contactor that can suddenly and unexpectedly cause the vehicle to lose power, disabling the engine and key safety features).

United States, et al., ex rel. M.G. v. Pathway Genomics Corporation, Case No. 14-CV-1919-LAB (S.D. Cal.). On August 26, 2014, the federal government, joined by several states, including California, filed a complaint against a San Diego-based medical diagnostics laboratory, Pathway Genomics Corp., for allegedly paying kickbacks to doctors. Pathway employee M.G. initiated the whistleblower action. The plaintiff accused the defendants of paying doctors kickbacks for referring patients to the facility for genetic testing, violating the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute, and various state laws. Pathway agreed to settle the matter for $4 million. Whistleblower M.G. received $686,225 of the settlement amount.

Towery v. State of California, 14 Cal.App.5th 226 (2017) (state prisoner who was African-American contracted coccidioidomycosis (“Valley Fever”) while incarcerated. DLF sued government entities alleging they committed a “hate crime” under the Bane Act to avoid a qualified immunity defense. After winning with the trial court and making headlines, DLF ultimately lost on appeal).

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Employment Wage and Hour

Adolph v. Uber Technologies Inc., Case No. S274671, Orange County Superior Court (2022). We are co-counsel for the drivers who claim that Uber misclassified them as independent contractors instead of employees. The case has been accepted for review by the California Supreme Court to determine PAGA representative standing requirements after Viking River.

Correa v. Zillow Group Inc., Case No. 8:19-cv-00921 (C.D. Cal., January 12, 2021). DLF represented a group of sales executives and business consultants who alleged Zillow violated the labor laws because it reduced the commissions earned by charging back a portion of revenues lost due to customers’ failures to pay, credit card charge denials, or cancellations or reductions in business. The result was a class settlement of $1.1 million.

Ellmore v. DiTech Funding, Case No. SACV-01-93 (C.D. Cal. 2001). This was one of the first class and collective actions in the Central District of California federal court on behalf of loan officers and processors who were denied overtime wages under the UCL and FLSA. We co-led counsel in this prosecution with Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho. After a year of litigation, the case split into two parts, and a global, combined settlement was reached for approximately $9.65 million. Judge David O Carter of the U.S. District Court of California issued final approval.

Parks v. Eastwood Insurance Services, Inc., Case No. SACV 02-0507 (C.D. Cal.). This was a collective class action under the FLSA for unpaid overtime wages on behalf of sales agents who were employed by Eastwood Insurance. After three and one-half years of vigorous litigation, this action was resolved for $1.2 million for the class members. The defendants, however, would not agree to our fee application, forcing comprehensive law and motion work on this issue. In July 2005, the Honorable Gary L. Taylor (Ret.) issued a ruling awarding approximately $2.1 million in attorneys’ fees in addition to the $1.2 million obtained on behalf of the class members. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this ruling. Parks v. Eastwood Insurance, Inc., 240 Fed. Appx. 172 (9th Cir. 2007).

Robinson v. MJM Investigations, Case No. SACV08-496 JVS (RNBx)(C.D. Cal.). This was a nationwide wage and hour suit for field investigators who were not paid for all their work hours; instead, they were only paid for their so-called “billed hours.” After three years of litigation, two separate lawsuits, nationwide discovery battles, and one trip to the Ninth Circuit, MJM agreed to a global resolution of $2.5 million. Judge James Selna approved the settlement in full.

Lindberg et al. v. Steve’s Towing, Riverside Superior Court of California, Case No. MCC1401549. This case was an employment class action for 89 tow truck drivers. The parties settled for $190,450. Final Approval was granted on May 5, 2017.

Madrigal v. 24 Hour Fitness, Case No. 30-2014-00735568-CU-OE-CXC, Orange County, Civil Complex, Superior Court of California. This was an employment class action on behalf of Kids’ Club Attendants. Plaintiff alleged PAGA claims predicated on, among other claims, Defendant’s failure to provide rest periods to its non-exempt “Kids Club Attendants” in the State of California. Approval of an $11 million-dollar global settlement award was granted on January 4, 2019.

Tagliarino v. Musicians Institute, Inc. This was an employment class arbitration on behalf of 331 music instructors (guitar, bass, vocal, keyboards, DJ, and production). After informally exchanging documents and reducing the arguments to their essential points, the parties reached a mediated settlement of $1.8 million between Plaintiff Barrett Tagliarino, individually and as a representative of the Settlement Class. Final approval was granted on December 28, 2020.

Delgado v. Ortho-McNeil, Inc., 2009 WL 2781525 (C.D. Cal. 2009) (granting nationwide FLSA “opt-in” class certification for pharmaceutical representatives but later granting defendants’ motion for summary judgment holding pharmaceutical “sales” representatives are outside salespersons under FLSA) (writ to U.S. Supreme Court granted in related action); Christopher v. SmithKline, 567 U.S. 142 (2012).

Keller v. Tuesday Morning, Inc., 2005 Cal.App.Unpub.LEXIS 6280 (July 18, 2005). This was one of the first employment class actions against “big-box” retail stores for so-called managers in training (“MIT”) who performed duties that were non-exempt from overtime wage laws, such as unloading, receiving, and stocking merchandise. After many rounds of briefing, a related federal FLSA action, and expert witness testimony on the manager’s claim, TM eventually agreed to pay $480,000 plus $144,000 in attorney’s fees. The superior court approved the settlement as fair, adequate, and reasonable – and the court of appeals affirmed in full after a challenge from a competing class action law firm put the settlement in jeopardy.

02 (1)

Trucking Wage and Hour Cases

Cardenas v. McLane Foodservice, Inc., 796 F.Supp.2d 1246 (C.D. Cal. 2011) (granting truck driver’s motion for summary judgment of pre- and post-shift claims under California Labor Code where the employer paid with piece rate wages; and denying defendant’s motion for preemption under FAAAA; resulted in $5.5 million class settlement).

Rodriguez v. Penske Logistics, LLC, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9441 (E.D. Cal. January 17, 2019) (granting final approval of $850,000 to compensate members for missed meal and rest breaks as well as inadequate wage statements and failure to pay minimum wage; also awarding $265,000 in fees and $3,000 incentive payment to the class representative).

Cooley v. Indian River Transport Co., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11694 (E.D. Cal. January 24, 2019) (granting final approval of a $1,400,000 settlement for failing to inform drivers of breaking laws and failing to pay for all non-driving time and inaccurate wage statements, following a similar case by other drivers which went to a bench trial and Ninth Circuit. Shook v. IRT, 236 F.Supp.3d 1165 (E.D. Cal. 2017), aff’d, 716 F.App’x 589 (9th Cir. 2018). The court also awarded $466,666 in fees, noting class counsel “has extensive experience litigating class actions” and “assumed a significant risk that they would not be compensated for this work.”

Burnham et al. v. Ruan Transportation, SACV 12-0068 (C.D. Cal Feb. 4, 2016). This was an employment class action on behalf of 431 truck drivers. The plaintiffs asserted claims for violating Labor Code Section 2699, unfair competition under Business and Professions Code Section 17200, and waiting time penalties under Labor Code Sections 201-203. The parties reached a $3.5 million settlement, which included an award of $5,000 to each named plaintiff, $980,000 in attorney fees, and $18,411.25 in costs. Final approval of the settlement was granted on February 4, 2016.

Ambriz et al. v. Matheson Tri-Gas, LACV 14-04546 (N.D. Cal). This was an employment class action on behalf of 151 truck drivers. The parties reached a $1.3 million settlement, including an award of $7,700 to the named plaintiffs, $384,681.25 in attorney fees, and $6,169.92 in costs. Final approval of the settlement was granted on March 3, 2016.

Silva v. Domino’s Pizza, 18-cv-02145-JVS (C.D. Cal.). This is a pending employment class action filed on behalf of over 100 truck drivers. Plaintiffs asserted claims for violation of Labor Code Section 2699, unfair competition under Business and Professions Code Section 17200, and waiting time penalties under Labor Code Sections 201-203; Carmona v. Domino’s Pizza, 8:20-cv-01905-JVS, U.S., No. 21-1572, cert. granted 10/17/22 (affirming denial of motion to compel arbitration under FAA because drivers were a “class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce,” and therefore exempt from the requirements of FAA).

Aguirre et al. v. Genesis Logistics, et al., 12-CV-00687 (C.D. Cal., filed May 2, 2012). This was an employment class action on behalf of 665 truck drivers. A complicated case involving attempts by the defense to pre-empt California labor laws by sending the case to federal court, where a district judge reversed himself, and a victory at a bench trial on the PAGA claims before Judge James Selna resulted in a mediated settlement. In 2017, Defendant agreed to a global settlement of $7 million, including $2.3 million in attorney fees and $1 million in PAGA penalties, after 5 years of litigation, a bench trial, and a trip to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Williams v J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., 8:20-cv-01701-PSG (C.D. Cal., filed 2020). This is an employment dispute between J.B. Hunt’s delivery truck drivers and J.B. Hunt. DLF filed a claim alleging Hunt’s failure to comply with Labor Code 226.2 by creating an illusory hourly rate structure that amounts to a piece-rate compensation system without adequate pay for non-productive time – i.e. when the wheels aren’t rolling. The district court ruled against the drivers on the wage claim. Still, the drivers are going to trial on their reimbursement claim under Labor Code 2802 for Hunt’s failure to reimburse its employees for using their cell phones and paying for service fees and related items.

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