Representative Cases

The Emge Firm, LLP has substantial experience in employee related class actions and consumer fraud class actions in federal and state courts throughout California. A sampling of such matters we have handled is listed below. All cases differ in facts and issues and The Emge Firm, LLP does not guarantee similar outcomes on all cases:

Case Name:

Description of the Case:

Employment Law

Sunstone Hotel Properties, Inc.

Employed for years as a server at a hotel managed by Sunstone Hotel Properties, Plaintiff was required to perform her duties without state mandated, 30-minute meal breaks or 10-minute rest periods. As is common in the food and beverage industry, her employer did not staff enough employees to cover others for even the briefest breaks. Plaintiff brought suit in November 2007 on behalf of all hourly, non-exempt employees of Sunstone Hotel Properties in seeking the payment of past-due wages.

Washington Inventory Service (WIS)Plaintiffs allege that they were not paid for all hours worked. WIS does not lawfully compensate employees for out of town travel time, split shifts or reporting time. Plaintiffs also allege that their time was illegally cut or otherwise adjusted by management, leaving them with unpaid wages. Mediation is scheduled for September 2013.
Fry's Electronics, Inc.Plaintiffs were employed by Fry's as sales representatives. They were paid with a combination of hourly wages and commissions. Plaintiffs allege, however, that their commissions were illegally charged back to cover pay periods in which their sales did not result in commissions. Fry's has sought to dismiss all class and PAGA allegations via an arbitration agreement and the parties are waiting for a ruling by the Court.

California Pizza Kitchen

Plaintiff was a non-exempt, hourly employee working as a server at CPK. He was regularly denied full 30-minute meal periods during work shifts of five or more hours. Plaintiff brought suit on behalf of approximately 15,000 class members. A settlement of $3,200,000 was reached and was approved by the Court on August 15, 2008.

Dion International Trucks, Inc.

Dion International faced this class action as a result of its unfair labor practices. Plaintiff alleged that he and all other hourly employees were forced to work overtime without compensation, were denied meal breaks and rest periods, and were denied complete wages due at the time of separation from employment. A settlement on behalf of employees of the San Marcos location was reached and has received court approval.

American Golf Corporation

Plaintiff was an hourly employee working at one of American Golf Corporation's golf courses in Southern California. After being subjected to numerous Labor Code violations, including being denied 10 minute rest periods for every 4 hours worked and meal breaks in the first 5 hours of his shift, he brought a class action suit on behalf of more than 3,500 hourly employees in California. AGC agreed to settle the case for $2,600,000 and final court approval of the settlement was obtained on December 14, 2007.

Vintage Design

Plaintiff filed this action after his separation from employment seeking an injunction against Vintage Design's policy of denying 30-minute meal breaks within the first 5 hours of each shift and denying employees' rights to rest periods. Plaintiff's complaint also sought damages on behalf of all hourly employees in the amount of one hour of pay for every missed break as set by the California Labor Code. A settlement encompassing 32,331 work weeks was reached in September 2007 and final approval of the settlement was ordered by the Court in April 2008.

Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc.

Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc. dba Antelope Valley Press employs a number of non-exempt, hourly employees who keep track of work time using automated time slips. Plaintiffs contend that they wee not paid for all hours worked through a combination of illegal rounding down of work time and AVP's failure to consider commission payments when calculating overtime rates of pay. Plaintiffs brought this action in an effort to enforce California's labor laws and seek restitution of unpaid wages. The case has been certified as a class action and is in discovery.

San Diego Padres

Plaintiff filed a class action on behalf of all persons employed in the sales division of the San Diego Padres, including Sales Representatives and Account Executives between February 4, 2000 and January 25, 2006. Plaintiff alleged misclassification of employee status and the right to overtime compensation. Individual settlements were reached for all class members and the Padres reclassified the sales position so that those employees now receive overtime compensation.

Premier Food Services, Inc.

Premier Food Services, Inc. provides labor for food and beverage operations at the Del Mar Racetrack and catered events. Hundreds of employees are hired on both a seasonal and year-round basis. Plaintiff was employed as an infield bartender. Like his fellow workers, Plaintiff was denied meal breaks and rest periods as required by California law. This class action lawsuit was brought on behalf of all hourly employees of Premier Food Services, Inc. for Labor Code violations. Mediation resulted in a settlement that was approved by the Court in April, 2013.

San Diego Padres

Plaintiff was employed by the San Diego Padres in media relations and brought suit for unpaid overtime and penalties under the California Bounty Hunter Law. Her claim was settled for a confidential figure.

Diakon Logistics (Delaware), Inc.

As former driver for Diakon, Plaintiff delivered and installed furniture from Jerome's throughout San Diego County. He alleges that he and all other Diakon drivers were misclassified as independent contractors and forced to work uncompensated overtime and personally cover business expenses including gasoline, truck rental charges, insurance and repair costs. The case was filed in July 2007 and is in the discovery phase.

Cafe Sevilla

Two former employees of Cafe Sevilla catering brought suit for unpaid overtime and multiple Labor Code violations including charging employees the cost of required uniforms, failing to pay reimbursements of expenses, meal breaks and rest periods. Settlement was reached in early 2007.

Sunrise Senior Living

A former employee of Sunrise Senior Living brought suit in federal court alleging wrongful termination, misclassification of employee status and unpaid overtime. Through a series of mediations with a federal magistrate, the case settled for a confidential figure.

F.H. Paschen/S.N. Nielsen, Inc.

Plaintiff was employed by F.H. Paschen as a construction superintendent and worked many hours of overtime. He was improperly classified as "exempt" from overtime and denied compensation for those hours. Plaintiff sued on behalf of all construction superintendents employed by F.H. Paschen in California for a number of Labor Code violations, including unpaid overtime. The court certified the case for class treatment in February 2005 and a settlement of $1,080,000 was reached on behalf of 84 Class Members.

The Press Enterprise

Plaintiff was employed by the Press Enterprise and was required to work in excess of 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week, but was denied overtime compensation. He brought these issues to the attention of his employer, but no changes in corporate policy were made. Plaintiff filed a class action on behalf of all employees at the Press Enterprise for unpaid overtime compensation. Settlements were reached for all class members.

Pacific Aggregates

This was a putative class action brought on behalf of all hourly employees of Pacific Aggregates and Pacific Clay Products for overtime and other Labor Code violations. Plaintiff was a hourly employee who used a daily time card to "punch in" and "punch out." Her clocked time was manually adjusted to avoid overtime by her employer. Additionally, she was denied meal breaks and rest periods. The case was filed August 2005. A mediated settlement was reached in November 2006. 58 class members shared in the $280,000 settlement fund.

Consumer Fraud

Kohl's Department Stores

Plaintiff purchased merchandise at a Kohl's store in California, motivated by the representation that the merchandise was on "sale." Kohl's advertises an "original" price and a "sale" price. Plaintiff alleges, however, that the "original" price is fictitious and created solely to give the false impression of a discount. Plaintiff's case was initially dismissed by the District Court, but was reinstated by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in May, 2013.

Bank of America

This class action was brought by Plaintiff to bring an end to BofA's practice of overcharging recording fees on reconveyances of residential mortgage loans. The court approved a settlement wherein more than 80,000 consumers were paid back 100% of the overcharges.

Intergulf Development Group

The Intergulf Development Group constructed and sold 330 condominium units at Treo @ Kettner in Downtown San Diego. All units were sold before completion of construction and buyers were promised access to a unique 3,000 sq. ft. rooftop terrace with 360 degree views of San Diego. Purchasers relied upon these representations in buying their units and found out after closing escrow that Intergulf had decided not to construct the rooftop terrace two years earlier. Plaintiff brought a class action alleging false advertising on behalf of all original purchasers of Treo condominiums. Class certification was granted on November 20, 2006. A settlement approved by the Court on May 8, 2008 gave 253 class members restitution of $5,000 each.

Wells Fargo

Plaintiff brought this class action challenging unfair overlimit fees arising out of Wells Fargos' overdraft protection program. A settlement of $1,000,000 was reached approximately 44,000 customers.

J.C. PenneyIn this lawsuit, J.C. Penney is alleged to advertise its exclusive and private branded products with false comparison prices. "Regular" prices listed to show a difference with "sale" prices are allegedly made up to create the illusion of a sale. Plaintiff has sued under California's false advertising, unfair business practices statutes and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act on behalf of all California consumers.

L90

Plaintiff created and ran an Internet lottery website that was ultimately sold to L90 in exchange for $20,000,000 of stock in the acquiring company. However, the financial condition and SEC filings of L90 were grossly misrepresented, thus depriving Plaintiff of the correct valuation of his shares of stock. After three L90 executives pled guilty to securities fraud, Plaintiff entered into a confidential settlement with L90.

CitiFinancial

Plaintiff brought this class action on the grounds that CitiFinancial charged excessive fees on the payoff/refinance of residential mortgage loans. A settlement was reached benefiting approximately 19,000 borrowers.

Coldwell Banker

This UCL class action arose out of Coldwell Bankers practice of charging Transaction Coordinator Fees to its clients in real estate purchases without disclosing that such fees were not required and were nothing more than additional compensation to the broker. The Court of Appeal ordered class certification (petition to the Supreme Court denied). A settlement valued at $35,000,000 was reached before trial on behalf of 174,000 Class Members.

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group

Plaintiff alleged a class-wide scheme of fraud and deceit against DTG. Plaintiff contracted to rent an economy class vehicle from DTG and requested to pay for a Loss Damage Waiver. When Plaintiff went to select a vehicle on the lot, he was given a "free" upgrade to a full sized vehicle. Without revision to his rental agreement, he was charged an additional amount for the Loss Damage Waiver. A settlement was reached that gave value to consumers between $3,000,000 and $16,000,000.

Big 5 Sporting Goods

Plaintiff was induced to purchase a tennis racket advertised as regularly priced at $229, but on "sale" for $50. Plaintiff alleged false price advertising as the racket never sold for the "regular" price. A $4,000,000 settlement was reached on behalf of all consumers who purchased rackets from Big 5.

BCBG

This privacy case was brought for violations of California's Song-Beverly Credit Card Act of 1971, which seeks to protect consumers from identity theft and unwanted marketing campaigns. While shopping at BCBG, Plaintiff was exposed to the illegal practice of requesting a consumers personal identification information, including address, telephone number and zip codes, during a transaction involving a credit card. In the settlement, BCBG agreed to cease from illegally collecting this information and provided 121,010 aggrieved customers with remuneration valued at $4,840,400.