Employment Litigation – Discrimination, Retaliation, Wage and Hour
Obtained favorable class action settlement for truck drivers wrongfully deprived of wages. The defendant, a short-haul trucking company, unlawfully deducted wages from drivers’ paychecks to pay for incidental damage to company equipment. The defendant agreed to repay each driver double the amount wrongfully withheld and more than half of the individual class members collected over one thousand dollars, with the largest single recovery exceeding $13,000. As part of the settlement, the defendant was also required to discontinue the illegal wage rebating scheme.
Prevailed before the Washington Supreme Court, securing a ruling rejecting a government contractor’s effort to force wage violation claims into private arbitration. A unanimous Court held that the arbitration clause in the employer’s form contract was unconscionable and unenforceable in its entirety, allowing a class action of over 300 misclassified Washington workers to proceed. The parties reached a confidential settlement. Brown v. MHN Gov’t Servs., Inc., 178 Wn.2d 258, 306 P.3d 948 (2013).
Prevailed before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit against two military recruiters who allegedly forged reenlistment documents. The court held that the Feres doctrine, which generally immunizes military personnel from civil suit, did not apply. Jackson v. Tate, 648 F.3d 729 (9th Cir. 2011).
Prevailed in a jury trial on behalf of a poker dealer who was wrongfully discharged after refusing to gamble as a condition of employment. Subsequently prevailed before Washington Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court to hold that the casino’s owner and manager could be held individually liable for forcing workers to gamble. Jumamil v. Lakeside Casino, LLC, 179 Wn. App. 665, 319 P.3d 868 (2014).
Prevailed before the Washington Court of Appeals, which reversed the dismissal of discrimination claims brought by a disabled combat veteran of Mexican-American heritage. The court held that there was sufficient evidence supporting disparate treatment and hostile work environment claims. Alonso v. Qwest Commc’ns Co., LLC, 178 Wn. App. 734, 315 P.3d 610 (2013).
Prevailed in a jury trial on behalf of a disabled veteran who was fired after requesting medical leave. Established through computer forensic evidence that the employer had created backdated documentation purporting to legitimize the termination. Perryman v. Fitts Industries, Inc., No. 12-2-08111-1 (Pierce County. Sup. Ct. 2013).
Obtained confidential settlement for a worker who was fired in retaliation for opposing wage and hour violations by his employer. The lawsuit alleged that the defendant corporation, a cellular communications equipment installer, required its employees to fix “punch list” items while off the clock. The suit sought damages for wrongful discharge and wage and hour violations.
Obtained $1,800,000 settlement as litigation counsel hired by a court-appointed receiver to represent an LLC against former managers accused of mismanaging a significant rental complex. The lawsuit alleged embezzlement, self-dealing, violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act, negligence, and breaches of various contractual and fiduciary duties. The case settled through mediation one month before trial with affirmative dispositive motions pending. Johnson Invs. Co./Forest Park Estates, LLC v. Johnson, Case No. 17-2-08620-2 (Pierce Cnty. Sup. Ct. 2017).
Part of litigation team that secured a $1,750,000 class action settlement and other relief on behalf of a residential neighborhood that was harmed by a nearby sewage treatment facility. The lawsuit sought damages for nuisance and lost property values stemming from ongoing odor issues at the defendant’s facility. The matter settled shortly before trial. Final court approval of the negotiated settlement is pending.
Prevailed at trial in a multimillion-dollar federal court lawsuit involving complex business, real estate, and environmental issues. A former business partner falsely alleged that misrepresentations were made regarding an industrial property at the center of a buyout deal, resulting in substantial environmental cleanup liability. Following a seven-day trial, the U.S. District Court entered a verdict and judgment rejecting the claims in their entirety.
Prevailed before the Washington Court of Appeals on behalf of a newspaper that had been wrongly denied access to public records. The unanimous appellate panel dissolved a trial court injunction, finding that several large broadcasters could not shield their contracts with a municipal cable system from the public. Belo Mgmt. Servs., Inc. v. Click! Network, 184 Wn. App. 649, 343 P.3d 370 (2014).
Obtained a favorable confidential settlement in Consumer Protection Act case against construction materials manufacturer and contractors. The suit alleged that certain defendants had engaged in unfair and deceptive practices in selling and installing a defective building system to the client.
Prevailed at trial, successfully defending timber company in a lawsuit by a homeowners’ association. The client had removed dead, dying, and otherwise hazardous trees from areas along a roadway easement over the client’s property. The HOA sought substantial damages, asserting breach of neighborhood covenants, waste, and timber trespass. The court granted a motion to dismiss the remaining claims after the HOA rested at trial, agreeing that the HOA had not complied with its own rules in bringing the lawsuit. The HOA was subsequently ordered to pay the client’s legal expenses.
Prevailed in Public Records Act litigation on behalf of a large information technology services company whose competitor had sought proprietary materials through a public records request. Obtained a court order permanently enjoining the state agency from releasing the client’s confidential business information.
Civil Rights Litigation
Prevailed in trial, successfully defending an action under The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The federal court denied a petition to send two minor children to live in Mexico with client’s estranged and abusive husband. Etienne v. Zuniga, No. C10-5061-BHS (W.D. Wash. 2010).