Ninth Circuit Rejects Challenge to California’s SB 954

On July 30, 2018, the Ninth Circuit issued a unanimous opinion in Interpipe Contracting, Inc. v. Becerra, Ninth Circuit Case No. 17-55248, rejecting several legal challenges to California Senate Bill 954, which amended California’s prevailing wage law to clarify that public works contractors may only take credit against the prevailing wage requirement for contributions made to industry advancement programs when those contributions are made pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, thereby ensuring that construction workers’ wages are not diverted without their consent.  The challengers, one of whom was represented on appeal by Pacific Legal Foundation, had argued that SB 954 was preempted by the National Labor Relations Act and also violated the First Amendment.  The Ninth Circuit, in a published opinion written by Judge Callahan, rejected both arguments, recognizing that SB 954 simply closed a loophole in prior law that some contractors were using to appropriate their employees’ wages without consent, and did not implicate any First Amendment concerns.  Altshuler Berzon attorneys represented the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California as amicus curiae in the case.

You can read the Ninth Circuit’s decision here.

Eleventh Circuit Revives Case Challenging Alabama’s Preemption of Birmingham’s Minimum Wage Law as Racially Discriminatory

On July 25, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit issued a unanimous published decision in Lewis v. Alabama, Eleventh Circuit Case No. 17-11009, reversing the district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit by fast food workers and other plaintiffs alleging that Alabama’s enactment of a law preempting all local minimum wage regulation, which was adopted in response to Birmingham’s decision to raise the minimum wage, was racially discriminatory.  The Eleventh Circuit held that plaintiffs had demonstrated the preemption law’s discriminatory impact, arising from the disproportionate number of Black workers in Birmingham who stood to benefit from the city’s minimum wage law.  The appellate court further held that the district court erred by applying the “clearest proof” standard, which it explained has no place in equal protection law.  Instead, the court applied the factors set forth in Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corp., 429 U.S. 252 (1977), and identified allegations in the complaint providing sufficient indicia of intentional discrimination to survive a motion to dismiss.  In doing so, the Eleventh Circuit emphasized that evidence of intentional discrimination may be circumstantial and that modern-day discrimination is seldom explicit.  Altshuler Berzon attorneys represented the plaintiffs on appeal.

You can read the Eleventh Circuit’s decision here.

Amicus Brief Filed in Support of Challenge to Unsecure Paperless Electronic Voting System in Georgia

On July 17, 2018, Altshuler Berzon LLP attorneys and co-counsel in Georgia filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Common Cause, the National Election Defense Coalition, and Protect Democracy in Curling v. Kemp (N.D. Ga.), No. 1:17-cv-02989-AT, supporting a challenge to Georgia’s use of unreliable and unverifiable touchscreen electronic voting machines that have no voter-verified, auditable paper trail.

The amicus curiae brief presents to the court overwhelming evidence in the public record that establishes that the threat to Georgia voters’ constitutional rights posed by the use of these unreliable and unverifiable voting machines in the upcoming November election is very real, and urges the court to deny the state defendants’ motion to dismiss and to promptly consider and grant the plaintiffs’ anticipated motion for preliminary injunctive relief to protect the plaintiffs’ rights and Georgia’s democracy.

The Amicus Curiae Brief can be found here.  The Motion to file the amicus brief can be found here.

A press release about the brief from the amici curiae groups can be found here.