Michael Rubin named as one of California’s Top 100 Lawyers

The Daily Journal on September 18, 2019 named Altshuler Berzon LLP partner Michael Rubin one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the State of California, for the fourth year in a row.  Emphasizing Altshuler Berzon’s public policy and public interest work on behalf of consumers, the Daily Journal’s article discussed the firm’s recent victory in Blair v. Rent-a-Center, Inc., 928 F.3d 819 (9th Cir. 2019), which affirmed the right of plaintiffs in state-law consumer class action cases to litigate claims for public injunctions in court, rather than being compelled to litigate such claims in secret arbitration proceedings.  The article noted that the same rule established in Blair could also extend beyond consumer class actions to the employment context.

Court grants writ of mandate voiding appointment of San Bernardino County Supervisor in violation of the Brown Act

On September 18, 2019, the San Bernardino County Superior Court granted petitioners’ peremptory writ of mandate in Gomez Daly and Inland Empire United v. Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County, Case No. CIVDS 1833846, holding that the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors violated California’s open meetings law, the Ralph M. Brown Act, in filling a vacant seat on the Board, and requiring the Board to rescind the appointment.  Altshuler Berzon LLP represented petitioners Inland Empire United and Michael Gomez Daly in the case, along with co-counsel Rothner, Segall & Greenstone.

In granting the writ, the Court determined that the Board’s selection of 13 “finalists” for the Third District Supervisor position outside of a noticed and open meeting violated the Brown Act’s prohibition of seriatim meetings and secret ballots, and that the Board failed to cure or correct this violation through a rushed and superficial “rescission” after petitioners sent a letter demanding the Board address its violation.  The Court also rejected the Board’s argument that the Brown Act requires petitioners to show prejudice to obtain the nullification remedy.

You can read the Court’s Statement of Decision here.

Court grants preliminary injunction protecting rights of Southwest flight attendants to use sick leave to care for family

On May 17, 2019, the Alameda County Superior Court granted plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction in TWU Local 556, et al. v. Southwest Airlines Co., Case No. RG-18933251, requiring Southwest Airlines Co. to permit its California-based flight attendants to use their accrued sick leave to care for ill family members, in accordance with the “kin care” provisions of California Labor Code §233 and sick leave ordinances in Oakland and Los Angeles.  Altshuler Berzon LLP is representing the plaintiffs in the case and brought the preliminary injunction motion.

In granting the motion, the Court rejected Southwest’s affirmative defenses, which sought to preclude application of California and local labor protections laws to its flight attendants, who often travel outside the state in the course of a work day.  The Court found that Southwest’s California-based flight attendants who start and end all trips in California, and perform more work in California than in any other state, are likely entitled to the protections of California law.

As a result of the preliminary injunction, Southwest can no longer deny its flight attendants their “kin care” rights or discipline them for exercising those rights.  You can read the Court’s order here.

Two Altshuler Berzon LLP Lawyers Named Among Top 75 California Labor and Employment Lawyers of 2019

On July 10, 2019, the California Daily Journal announced its 75 top California labor and employment lawyers for 2019.  Two Altshuler Berzon LLP partners, Michael Rubin and Jim Finberg were included in that select group.  Michael’s work enforcing low-wage workers’ rights under the California Labor Code, and protecting their ability to do so through California’s Private Attorney General Act against employers’ attempts to undermine that law, were cited by the Daily Journal.  Jim’s work enforcing California’s Fair Pay Act to combat wage discrimination against women in the tech sector, including pending cases against Google, Inc., and Oracle America, Inc., were highlighted by the Daily Journal.

Bloomberg Technology Features Interview With Altshuler Berzon LLP Partner Jim Finberg Regarding Oracle Wage Parity Suit

On June 21, 2019, Bloomberg Technology featured an interview with Altshuler Berzon LLP Partner Jim Finberg regarding Jewett v. Oracle Corp., a class action under the California Equal Pay Act in which Altshuler Berzon LLP, along with co-counsel Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff, and Lowe, are representing Oracle employees alleging that women employed in technology and technology support positions were paid less than men with similar qualifications performing similar work.  You can view that interview here, starting at 17:16 and continuing through 22:27.

Altshuler Berzon LLP Welcomes 2019 Summer Associates

Altshuler Berzon LLP is pleased to welcome its 2019 Summer Associates: Hannah Begley (Stanford Law School), Annie Hollister (Harvard Law School), William Hughes (New York University School of Law), Luke Taylor (Harvard Law School), and Zoe Tucker (Yale Law School).

Additionally, Altshuler Berzon LLP congratulates them on accepting the following post-graduation judicial clerkships:

Hannah Begley will be clerking for Justice Goodwin Liu of the California Supreme Court for the 2020-2021 term, and with Judge Marsha Berzon of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for the 2021-2022 term.

Annie Hollister will be clerking for Judge Marsha Berzon of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for the 2020-2021 term.

Luke Taylor will be clerking for Judge Robert N. Chatigny of the District of Connecticut for the 2020-2021 term.

The law firm typically hires four or five summer associates each year. Information about recruiting is available by clicking here.

Michael Rubin Honored by Center for Workers’ Rights

The Center for Workers’ Rights honored Altshuler Berzon LLP Partner Michael Rubin with its “Legal Advocate Award” on June 12, 2019.  At a ceremony at the Citizens Hotel in Sacramento, the CWR recognized Michael for his successful advocacy on behalf of low-wage workers throughout California, especially in such notable and well-known California Supreme Court cases as Armendariz, Gentry, Brinker, and Dynamex.

Court Issues Additional Preliminary Relief Protecting Voting Rights of Spanish-Speaking Puerto Ricans in Florida

On May 10, 2019, the federal court for the Northern District of Florida issued a preliminary injunction under Section 4(e) of the Voting Rights Act requiring Florida’s Secretary of State to direct the Supervisors of Elections in 32 Florida counties to provide Spanish-language election assistance—including Spanish-language or bilingual official ballots, a Spanish-language hotline, and Spanish translations of all official, election materials—for elections beginning with Florida’s March 2020 presidential primary.

This order expands on the preliminary relief the Court previously granted in this case.  In granting broader relief, the Court explained:  “This case is about the fundamental right to cast an effective ballot.  Voters educated in Puerto Rico bring this suit to enforce the plain provisions of the Voting Rights Act’s Section 4(e).  This straightforward law has been on the books for 54 years. In this action, this Court is ensuring compliance with Congress’s clear directives.”

The name of the case is Marta Rivera Madera, et al., v. Laurel M. Lee, et al., Case No. 1:18-cv-152-MW/GRJ (N.D. Fla.).  Altshuler Berzon LLP, along with co-counsel from Demos, LatinoJustice, and SEIU, are representing Plaintiffs Marta Rivera Madera, Faith in Florida, Hispanic Federation, Mi Familia Vota, UnidosUS, and Vamos4PR in the case.

You can read the Court’s order here.

You can read more about the case here.

Federal District Court Rejects Business Association’s Challenge to California Supreme Court’s Definition of Employee

On March 29, 2019, Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. of the Eastern District of California rejected a transportation industry association’s challenge to the California Supreme Court’s decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018), which clarified how courts should determine whether a worker is an “independent contractor” or an “employee” under California law for purposes of protections like a guaranteed minimum wage, meal and rest breaks, and reimbursement for certain out-of-pocket expenses.

The trucking association challenged Dynamex under several different legal theories.  The court rejected those challenges in full and dismissed the association’s complaint without leave to amend, holding that Dynamex is not preempted by federal law and does not violate the U.S. Constitution.  This decision thwarted the association’s attempt to exempt employers in the transportation industry from Dynamex and the rules that apply as a result of Dynamex.

Altshuler Berzon LLP represented the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which had intervened to defend Dynamex alongside the State of California.

You can read the decision here.