A federal appellate court this week upheld an attorney-fee award of nearly $700,000 to a California employee who won less than $28,000 in damages in a lawsuit alleging wrongful demotion. According to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Muniz v. United Parcel Service, Inc., Case No. 11-17282, the trial court was not required to reduce the large disparity between the damages and the fees.
By: Lizbeth V. West, Esq.
Governor Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 462 which places restrictions on an employer’s ability to recoup attorney’s fees when it prevails in an unpaid wage or benefit claim.
Labor Code section 218.5 previously provided that except in certain circumstances, in an action brought for the nonpayment of wages, fringe benefits, or health and welfare or pension fund contributions, a court was to award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party if any party to the action requests attorney’s fees and costs upon the initiation of the action. SB 462 amends section 218.5 to provide that where the prevailing party is the employer, attorney’s fees and costs can only be awarded if the court finds the employee brought the wage and hour action in bad faith.
Join us at this year’s “ADA: Defense Strategies and Attorney Fee Awards in Light of Recent Legislation and Jankey v. Lee” seminar where Weintraub attorney Lizbeth West will be speaking as one of the panelist in regards to:
- An overview of the Jankey v. Lee decision
- Recent Federal and State Legislation
- Establishing available affirmative defenses
On December 17, 2012, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Jankey v. Lee. The Court ruled that prevailing defendants in disability access cases brought under both the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and California Civil Code section 55 are entitled to their attorney’s fees just like prevailing plaintiffs are. The issue was vehemently disputed between that segment of the plaintiff’s bar that specializes in “shake-down” disability access lawsuits, and the California business community.