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Case Summaries

Civil Rights

[12/04] Cherkaoui v. City of Quincy
Affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment to the City of Quincy, sued by a former employee alleging discrimination, retaliation, and constructive discharge, because the record reflected that the employer's actions related to repeated tardiness and absenteeism rather than discrimination.

[11/21] Maldonado Catala v. Municipality of Naranjito
Affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment to the defendants in the case of a suit alleging violations of anti-discrimination laws and retaliation for complaints about sexual harassment because the claims were not viable and unsupported by evidence.

[11/01] Zion v. County of Orange
In a civil rights action, alleging that a police officer used excessive force when he shot the deceased Connor Zion nine times at close range while he was lying on the ground then stomped on his head three times, the district court's grant of qualified immunity to defendants is reversed where a reasonable jury could conclude that the shots and head stomping were excessive force and acts serving no legitimate law enforcement purpose.

[10/27] Saunders v. Town of Hull
In a civil rights action brought by plaintiff police officer, alleging retaliation in failing to promote him after he reported $130,000 of missing police union funds and, as the union president, organized a union-wide vote of no confidence against the police chief, the district court's summary judgment for defendants is affirmed as to the federal 42 U.S.C. section 1983 claims and most state claims.

[10/16] Morales v. Fry
In an unlawful arrest and excessive force action, arising from a May Day protest in Seattle, the district court's judgment is affirmed in part and reversed in part. The court held that the district court erred in referring the 'clearly established' prong of the qualified immunity analysis to the jury as it is a question of law to ultimately be decided by a judge.

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Class Actions

[12/07] Brown v. Cinemark USA, Inc.
Denying a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction a class action complaint alleging wage and hour violations because, as in Microsoft Corp. v. Baker the plaintiffs had voluntarily settled some of their claims, but the mutual considerations in the instant case did not raise the same concerns as in Baker because the plaintiffs here continued to litigate their remaining claims.

[12/04] Nieves Noel v. Thrifty Payless, Inc.
Affirming the denial of class certification in the case of a man who complained that the inflatable pool he bought was much smaller than the one pictured on the box because the plaintiff filed a motion for class certification before conducting sufficient discovery to meet its burden of demonstrating that they could identify members of the putative class.

[11/29] Turman v. the Superior Court of Orange County
Granting a petition for writ of mandate in the case of former employees suing their former employer, its president and sole shareholder, and a corporation held by the same man in the same manner claiming labor violations and unfair competition, holding that the trial court erred by granting a motion to certify a class action that limited its members because they used the wrong criteria, that the court erred by sanctioning plaintiff's counsel and denying a revised motion to compel responses, vacating findings that the companies are not alter egos, and finding other errors in the interpretation of caselaw and the definition of the term 'employer.'

[11/29] Burd v. Barkley Court Reporters, Inc.
Reversing the trial court's judgment on the pleadings in a putative class action suit involving claims that a private court reporting service was overcharging because the court found that the statutory transcription rates apply to any court reporter producing a transcript in a civil court proceeding, regardless of whether they are employed by the court or privately retained by a party.

[11/21] Ouadani v. TF FInal Mile LLC
Affirming the district court's denial of a motion to compel arbitration in the case of a man whose work arrangement was constructed to avoid characterizing him as either an independent contractor or an employee of two companies because the worker was not a party to an agreement between the two companies involved and the doctrine of equitable estoppel applied.

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Labor & Employment Law

[12/08] Wang v. The Hearst Corporation
Affirming the dismissal through summary judgment of claims filed by five participants in the Hearst Corporation's internship programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), claiming minimum wage violations, because unpaid interns are not employees of Hearst for the purpose of the FLSA.

[12/08] US v. Scott
Affirming the district court's dismissal of a case against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation by a former employee following their termination of his employment for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff was presenting a mixed claim for which the court lacked jurisdiction and a denial of transfer was proper in itself and on account of his waiver.

[12/07] Brown v. Cinemark USA, Inc.
Denying a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction a class action complaint alleging wage and hour violations because, as in Microsoft Corp. v. Baker the plaintiffs had voluntarily settled some of their claims, but the mutual considerations in the instant case did not raise the same concerns as in Baker because the plaintiffs here continued to litigate their remaining claims.

[12/06] Skillin v. Rady Children's Hospital San Diego
Affirming the grant of summary judgment to the defendant hospital in a suit brought by a former employee who complained of unauthorized retirement account contributions in a Private Attorneys General Act lawsuit for alleged violations of the California Labor Code because the claims were preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

[12/04] Fettgather v. Board of Psychology
Affirming the trial court's order denying a petition for writ of mandamus in the case of a man whose license to practice psychology was revoked by the California Board of Psychology after he failed to comply with an order for an examination under the Business and Professions Code because the Board is not required to show good cause for such an order, nor is the licensee entitled to challenge the basis for the order before submitting to such an examination.

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