Ninth Circuit Rejects Damages Claims Against Union for Collecting Fair-Share Fees in Reliance on Supreme Court Precedent

On December 26, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in Danielson v. Inslee, 945 F.3d 1096 (9th Cir. 2019).  Affirming the decision below, Danielson held that public employee unions that received fair-share fees from nonmembers before the Supreme Court held such fees unconstitutional in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, 138 S. Ct. 2448 (2018), have a good faith defense to claims for fee refunds or other monetary relief under 42 U.S.C. §1983.  Altshuler Berzon LLP represented the union defendant, Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28, in the district court and the Ninth Circuit.  Altshuler Berzon LLP also represents public employee unions in several dozen other lawsuits filed throughout the country that arise from the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus.

You can read the Ninth Circuit’s decision here.

Altshuler Berzon LLP recognized as premier boutique firm working for social and economic justice

The Daily Journal recognized Altshuler Berzon LLP as one of the top boutique firms in California.  The Journal highlighted the firm’s work on ground-breaking cases such as the California Supreme Court’s Dynamex decision protecting workers misclassified as independent contractors, litigation in Florida to protect voting rights, and cases seeking to hold fossil fuel companies responsible for climate change-related harms to public infrastructure.

You can find a PDF of the Daily Journal article here.

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.

Altshuler Berzon LLP Welcomes New Attorneys

Altshuler Berzon LLP is pleased to welcome two attorneys who joined the firm in September 2019: Hunter Thomson, who joined the firm as an associate; and Elizabeth Vissers, who joined the firm as the Altshuler Berzon-NRDC Joint Fellow. Hunter is a graduate of Columbia Law School and clerked for Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Elizabeth is a graduate of Stanford Law School and clerked for Judge Wallace Tashima of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Judge David Carter of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Zoe Palitz appointed as advisor to the California Lawyers Association Executive Committee on Labor & Employment

Altshuler Berzon LLP attorney Zoe Palitz has been appointed to serve as an advisor to the Executive Committee of the Labor & Employment Law Section of the California Lawyers Association (formerly the State Bar Association).

Advisors to the executive committee plan and lead the section’s programs, including writing for the California Labor and Employment Law Review, presenting a radio program broadcast on KALW called “Your Legal Rights,” and organizing annual conferences and webinars on topics including public sector employment, wage and hour litigation, and traditional labor law.

Zoe looks forward to planning panels at this year’s annual conference, assisting with the section’s efforts to increase diversity in the labor and employment bar, and enhancing its programming aimed at junior attorneys.

Zoe says “it’s a great opportunity to collaborate with labor and management-side attorneys across the state and to develop quality programming in the areas of labor and employment law.”

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.