California employers may be familiar with Wang v. Chinese Daily News, a wage-and-hour class action that has been in litigation for almost a decade. The latest decision in this case, a published opinion from the Ninth Circuit on March 4, 2013, offers a boost to defense counsel who face a class actions in this circuit.


Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Reconsiders Class Certification Under Dukes

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, there has been a significant amount of educated speculation about the effect of that decision on class action litigation in general and more particularly on class actions involving claims of employment discrimination.  Dukes is seen as creating an impassable barrier for class actions claiming discrimination in multiple locations based on excess subjectivity arising from decentralized decision-making.  Dukes instead focuses the inquiry on the existence and discriminatory effect of enterprise-wide policies such as an employment test or standardized performance criterion.  The question remains: what constitutes an enterprise-wide policy or practice?  This is a question that has challenged practitioners since General Tel. Co. of the Southwest v. Falcon, 457 U.S. 147, 159 n. 15 (1982), and before.

Continue Reading The Issue Class Action: Another Tool For Employment Discrimination Litigation

On October 3, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Wang v. Chinese Daily News, Inc., 623 F.3d 743 (9th Cir. 2010), and remanded it “for further consideration in light of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. ___ (2011).” The Supreme Court did not provide any further analysis of the Wang decision in its granting of the petition for a writ of certiorari.


Continue Reading The U.S. Supreme Court Signals That Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. V. Dukes Applies To Wage And Hour Class Actions

On July 8th, partially relying on the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 20th decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (for an analysis of the Dukes decision, see our previous blog entry), the United States District Court for the Northern District of California decertified a class of current and former store managers who alleged that Dollar Tree Stores Inc. had misclassified them as exempt employees and denied them overtime pay.  The case, Cruz v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., proves that although Dukes involved discrimination as opposed to wage and hour claims, the rationale in Dukes can also be used to defeat wage and hour class actions.

Continue Reading California Federal District Court Partially Relies On Dukes To Decertify A Class Of Store Managers Alleging Misclassification

This week, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in what has been called the “most important class action case in more than a decade.”  In Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, et al., No. 10-277, 564 U.S. ___ (June 20, 2010), the plaintiffs, current and former employees of the Nation’s largest private employer, Wal-Mart, sought judgment against the company for injunctive and declaratory relief, punitive damages, and backpay, on behalf of themselves and a nationwide class of some 1.5 million female employees, alleging sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Wal-Mart In The Largest Employment Class Action In History

Hunton & Williams partners Laura Franze and Roland Juarez recently participated in a panel of California employment law experts to discuss various cutting edge issues in labor and employment law, including the impact of social media, new trends in non-compete agreements and trade secret protections, the ripple effect of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in Dukes