Feb 14

P&F Prevails on Summary Judgment in a Race Discrimination / Retaliation Case

Payne & Fears LLP was recently retained as trial counsel in a hotly contested race discrimination and retaliation case. At mediation, Plaintiff was demanding $6 million to settle and prior counsel had been unable to resolve the case. The trial team of Dan Fears, Jeff Brown, Ray Boggess and Sean O'Brien quickly transitioned into the case and assisted prior counsel in preparing a motion for summary judgment.  

Following oral argument by Dan Fears, the Court issued a 15-page decision granting total summary judgment as to all 10 claims and all defendants.  Payne...

Practice areas: Labor and Employment Litigation

Attorneys: Daniel F. Fears , Jeffrey K. Brown , Ray E. Boggess, Sean A. O’Brien

2017

Unlicensed Contractor Agrees to Drop Million Dollar Suit Against SpaceX

SpaceX hired Payne & Fears to defend a case brought by a former contractor seeking to collect on what it claimed were over $1 million in unpaid invoices. Payne & Fears asserted the contractor could not recover because it was unlicensed. The contractor tried avoid California’s strict licensing law, but the trial court rejected the plaintiff’s arguments.

In a published decision, the Court of Appeal affirmed that the contractor could not evade the licensing requirements. The appellate court did, however, permit the contractor to try to recover for items that did not require a...

Practice areas: Business Litigation, Appellate Law (Business)

Attorneys: Benjamin A. Nix, Erik M. Andersen, Robert Tadashi Matsuishi, Scott O. Luskin

2017

Payne & Fears LLP Granted Final Approval of $11.75 Million Class Settlement in TCPA Litigation

Payne & Fears LLP secured a victory on behalf of client Craftwood Lumber Company in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) litigation in Illinois state court. The Lake County Circuit Court granted final approval of the $11.75 million class settlement that the Firm secured for recipients of faxes announcing price changes for Hardware Resources products. The court noted that none of the 26,000 class members had objected to the settlement, and only nine class members had opted out.

Practice areas: Business Litigation

Attorneys: C. Darryl Cordero, Leilani L. Jones, Matthew K. Brown, Philip K. Lem, Scott O. Luskin

2017

Final Approval of $25M TCPA Lawsuit Granted

Payne & Fears LLP received a major victory in the RehabCare Group Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") litigation in the Eastern District of California.

Judge Dale A. Drozd released his decision granting final approval of the $25 million class settlement the Firm had obtained for recipients of "Polaris Group" junk faxes. In its 24-page decision, the court concluded that the settlement easily qualified as "fair, reasonable, and adequate."

Over the course of several years, long-term care facilities across the country had been blanketed with faxes promoting Polaris...

Practice areas: Business Litigation

Attorneys: C. Darryl Cordero, Leilani L. Jones, Matthew K. Brown, Philip K. Lem, Scott O. Luskin

2017

Statewide PAGA Claim Eliminated

Payne & Fears obtained an order striking the representative PAGA claims from a statewide wage-and-hour action, thus reducing size of the case from over 250,000 members to a mere handful of individual claims.

Five former employees sued Payne & Fears’ client, a large multistate retailer, for meal and rest period violations and related causes of action.  Plaintiffs sought to certify a class of over 250,000 current and former employees, and also sought to maintain claims for PAGA penalties on behalf of the same population.  The...

Practice areas: Labor and Employment Litigation, Wage and Hour Litigation, Class Action Defense

Attorneys: James L. Payne, Jeffrey K. Brown , Ray E. Boggess

2017

Court Denies De Novo Review in Favor of Request for Abuse of Discretion Standard

In a case brought in federal court under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) against our client, a national retailer, and its group health insurance plan for denial of an expensive surgery as not medically necessary, the court ordered briefing on the appropriate standard of court review. In ERISA cases, the standard of review is very important to determine whether the court will defer to the plan’s determination. Plaintiff filed a motion arguing for de novo review based on a California Insurance Code section he claimed negated the plan’s language requiring abuse of...

Practice areas: Labor and Employment Litigation, ERISA Litigation

Attorneys: Andrew K. Haeffele, Eric C. Sohlgren

2017

Individual Releases Secured Low Settlement

We were retained as lead counsel in addition to insurance panel counsel to defend two related wage and hour class actions brought against an Orange County car wash owner.  We mounted an aggressive strategy to reduce potential damages, including an audit of payroll and timekeeping records, individual interviews with over 60 putative class members to obtain declarations and releases in exchange for individual settlement payments, and training for all managers and supervisors.  After sharing some information with plaintiff’s counsel, we were able to settle the case at mediation with...

Practice areas: Labor and Employment Litigation, Class Action Defense, Employment Practices Counseling

Attorneys: Eric C. Sohlgren

2017

Payne & Fears LLP Obtains Victory for Client SpaceX

Ben Nix, Scott Luskin, and Robert Matsuishi of Payne & Fears LLP recently obtained a victory in favor of their client, SpaceX, before the California Court of Appeal which upheld the dismissal of certain claims against SpaceX by an unlicensed contractor. 

In Phoenix Mechanical Pipeline, Inc. v. Space Exploration Technologies Corp., No. B269186 (2017 WL 2544856) (Cal. Ct. App. June 13, 2017), a published opinion, the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District ruled that plaintiff’s claims for contracting services were barred by...

Practice areas: Business Litigation, Appellate Law (Business)

Attorneys: Benjamin A. Nix, Robert Tadashi Matsuishi, Scott O. Luskin

2017

$3 Million "Fax Blast" Settlement Reached for Client Craftwood Lumber Co.

Payne & Fears client Craftwood Lumber Co. struck a $3 million settlement with Senco Brands Inc. over alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Junk Fax Protection Act.

In 2014, Craftwood, a regional hardware and lumber chain, sued power tool manufacturer, Senco, in the Northern District of Illinois claiming that between 2010 and 2014 it had been targeted in a “fax blasting” campaign advertising Senco’s air compressors, nail guns and other tools. The cover page of the fax contained the message “Attention Senco Dealers!! NEW!!!!!!!! AIR COMPRESSOR AND 3...

Practice areas: Business Litigation

Attorneys: C. Darryl Cordero, Leilani L. Jones, Philip K. Lem, Scott O. Luskin

2017

"Regular Rate" Class Action Settlement

After being threatened with a class action, we assisted an Orange County company in performing a confidential internal audit of its overtime regular rate calculations.  We determined that the company had not properly considered bonuses in the regular rate for overtime pay.  This resulted in substantial liability for unpaid wages and penalties.  After receiving a pre-litigation demand, we negotiated a tolling agreement and agreed to mediation.  The amount due to employees was relatively simple to calculate and undisputed.  The employer chose to pay...

Practice areas: Labor and Employment Litigation

Attorneys: Amy R. Patton