DCB Welcomes Patrick Riley

Davis, Cowell & Bowe is pleased to announce that Patrick Riley has joined the firm, as Of Counsel. Prior to assuming this position, Patrick was House Counsel for the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association—now named the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail & Transportation Workers (SMART)—for 21 years.

California Court of Appeal Ruling Protects Oakland Retirees

In City of Oakland v. Oakland Police and Fire Retirement System (link: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/A136769.PDF), the California Court of Appeal held that retired Oakland police officers and widows of deceased officers must continue to receive holiday premium pay as part of their pensions, as they have since 1971.  The Court of Appeal reversed a trial court decision that would have reduced the pensions of more than 600 retired officers and widows by over 10% per year, and required them each to repay tens of thousands of dollars in pension payments retroactively.  DCB represented the Retired Oakland Police Officers’ Association, which intervened in the case and successfully prosecuted the appeal after the Oakland Police and Fire Retirement Board abandoned the case.

District Court Grants Preliminary Approval of Proposed Settlement in Costco Gender Discrimination Class Action

On February 12, 2014, the district court granted preliminary approal of the parties’ proposed class action settlement in Ellis v. Costco Wholesale Corporation. Pursuant to the court’s order, notice of the settlement will be mailed to all class members within 14 days. If you are a member of the class and have questions, you can call 1-866-501-2300. More information is also available at the case website: http://genderclassactionagainstcostco.com/case-status/.

Hotel Workers Collect Service Fees

DCB brought class-action lawsuits against five hotels for violating Los Angeles ordinance requiring hotels in the Los Angeles International Airport area to pay their workers all service charges collected from hotel customers. The ordinance addressed the growing practice of hotels charging guests—particularly banquet and room service customers—a mandatory charge of up to 22% on top of the traditional hotel bill for food and services, but not passing it on to the workers.

The hotels refused to comply with the ordinance and challenged it on the ground that the City of Los Angeles lacked the authority to regulate this issue.  The Court of Appeal disagreed and upheld the validity and enforceability of the ordinance.  After further litigation, DCB and co-counsel settled the class actions and hundreds of employees at five LAX area hotels are collecting several million dollars in compensation for the service charges.

DCB welcomes new associate David Barber

Dave recently graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School. He was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where he represented tenants in eviction and post-foreclosure actions, as well as handling unemployment and disability benefits cases. As a law student, Dave interned at the U.S. Department of Labor and at the Prisoners’ Rights Project of the Legal Aid Society of New York.

DCB welcomes new associate David Barber

Dave recently graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School. He was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where he represented tenants in eviction and post-foreclosure actions, as well as handling unemployment and disability benefits cases. As a law student, Dave interned at the U.S. Department of Labor and at the Prisoners’ Rights Project of the Legal Aid Society of New York.

DCB attorneys help get new Arizona anti-labor laws overturned

DCB attorney Andrew Kahn, representing UFCW Local 99, was part of the legal team representing various unions in federal lawsuits striking down two bills recently enacted by the Arizona Legislature. SB 1365 would have forced unions to collect new signatures from every member every year before the union could spend any money on lobbying or politics. The Court agreed with UFCW that as to private sector unions this statute was preempted by the NLRA, and as to all unions this statute violated the First Amendment. In SB 1363, the Legislature sought to create new restrictions on union activities (such as barring enforcement of long-term dues deduction agreements if the employee wishes to revoke the agreement in mid-term) and give employers additional onerous remedies for enforcing existing laws. The Court found most of this statute to be NLRA-preempted and to violate the First Amendment. United Food & Commercial Workers Local 99 v. Bennett, __ F. Supp. 2d ___, 2013 WL 1289781 (D.Ariz., Mar. 29, 2013). The decision is not being appealed by the State.

California Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Laws Protecting Right to Picket on Private Property in Labor Disputes

In a 6-1 decision, the California Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of two California laws—one protecting the right of labor demonstrators to picket on privately-owned property and the other creating stringent requirements for employers seeking injunctions during labor disputes—in Ralphs Grocery Company v. United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 8, Case No. S185544, – Cal.4th – (Dec. 27, 2012). Paul More argued the case for the Union.  The Union had picketed a non-union grocery store, publicizing the store’s failure to pay family health benefits and urging customers to shop elsewhere. After the Court of Appeal held that the two statutes protecting the rights of the picketers were unconstitutional, the Supreme Court reversed.  It rejected the store’s argument that the statutes violated the First Amendment because they protect only labor-related speech, and upheld unions’ right to peacefully picket on private property open to the public.

The decision is available here.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S185544.PDF

News articles about the decision:

California Supreme Court upholds picketing at store entrance, Sacramento Bee, Dec. 28, 2012

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/28/5079329/california-supreme-court-upholds.html

Union pickets gain special protections from state justices, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 27, 2012

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-court-picket-20121228,0,1261255.story

Unions can picket, state high court rules, San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 27, 2012

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Unions-can-picket-state-high-court-rules-4150187.php

Plaintiffs Fight Off Wal-Mart’s Latest Attempt to Get Class Action Tossed

The District Court rejected Wal-Mart’s motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ amended complaint challenging gender discrimination in Wal-Mart’s retail store pay and management promotion policies and practices in Wal-Mart’s regions located in whole or in part in California.  Plaintiffs will next file to have the class certified.  Judge Breyer’s decision can be found here.  To learn more about the Wal-Mart class action, go to www.walmartclass.com.

District Court Certifies Costco Class Again

District Court Judge Edward Chen ruled that the case against Costco for sex discrimination would go forward as a class action.  The case was first certified in 2007, but Costco appealed that certification to the Ninth Circuit, which then sent the case back to the District Court to consider changes in the law after the Wal-Mart Supreme Court decision.  Judge Chen certified two classes: 1) an injunctive relieve class of all women who are currently employed or who will be employed at any Costco warehouse in the U.S. since January 3, 2002 who have been subject to Costco’s system for promotion to Assistant General Manager and/or General Manager positions; and 2) a monetary relief class of all women who have been employed at any Costco warehouse in the U.S. since January 3, 2002 who have been subject to Costco’s system for promotion to Assistant General Manager and/or General Manager positions.  The decision can be found here.  For more information, visit www.genderdiscriminationagainstCostco.com