Class & Collective Actions

As detailed in prior posts, in January, the Illinois Supreme Court held that a plaintiff need not plead an actual injury beyond a per se statutory violation to state a claim for statutory liquidated damages or injunctive relief under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). While recent decisions applying BIPA have been largely Illinois-based, the Ninth Circuit recently applied BIPA in Patel v. Facebook to affirm a lower court’s ruling that plaintiffs in the ongoing Facebook BIPA class action alleged a concrete injury-in-fact to confer Article III standing and that the class was properly certified.

The Ninth Circuit is the first federal circuit court to conclude that a plaintiff alleging a BIPA violation has standing for purposes of Article III of the US Constitution. The ruling makes it easier for plaintiffs to certify BIPA class actions, within and outside of Illinois. 
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Congratulations and special thanks to Lisa Brogan (Chair), Editor, and Contributors James Baker, Jordan Faykus, and Jenna Neumann for their contributions to the 2019 Edition of The ABA Business Law Section, Recent Developments In Business and Corporate Litigation; Chapter 20: ERISA.

Covered topics include:

  • US Supreme Court on church plan exemptions;
  • The standard of review

On July 10, 2019, the California Senate Labor Committee voted in favor of Assembly Bill (AB 5). As we previously reported (see HERE), AB 5 would make it harder for companies to rely on independent contractors because it presumes a worker is an employee unless a hiring entity passes a difficult three-part test. Supporters

Baker McKenzie’s Mike Leggieri and Robin Samuel were recently interviewed on how best to avoid class arbitration in light of the US Supreme Court April 2019 Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela decision.

In Lamps Plus, the Supreme Court held that when an arbitration agreement is ambiguous on the availability of class arbitration, courts

As we previously reported, in January, in Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp., the Illinois Supreme Court held that a plaintiff need not plead an actual injury beyond a per se statutory violation to state a claim for statutory liquidated damages or injunctive relief under the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA).

(By way of reminder, the Illinois BIPA prohibits gathering biometric data such as fingerprints without notice and consent. It also requires data collectors adopt a written policy and a destruction policy for data which is no longer required.)

In the wake of Rosenbach, dozens more class actions have been filed in Illinois state courts. Following Rosenbach,plaintiffs can seek injunctive relief and statutory penalties under the BIPA on a class-wide basis. Despite the flurry of activity by the plaintiff’s bar over the past several years, Illinois courts have only recently started addressing such claims. The rulings since Rosenbach demonstrate a strong commitment not to deviate from the Illinois Supreme Court’s holding.
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In last Thursday’s Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising, the Ninth Circuit made several impactful findings related to the infamous Dynamex decision:

  1. Aligning with several state court decisions supporting retroactivity, the Ninth Circuit ruled that Dynamex’s ABC test applies retroactively.
  2. It also applied Dynamex to a multi-level franchise structure, expanding the test beyond the independent contractor context.
  3. Last, the Court issued guidance to the district court on remand reaffirming the difficulty of “passing” the ABC test.


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Last Wednesday, the US Supreme Court issued yet another pro-employer arbitration decision.

In a 5-4 split, the Supreme Court held in Lamps Plus Inc. v. Varela that a party cannot be compelled to submit to a class arbitration (as opposed to the arbitration of individual claims) unless the arbitration agreement explicitly authorizes class proceedings in arbitration.

In doing so, the Supreme Court reiterated two key aspects of its Federal Arbitration Act jurisprudence:

  1. Arbitration is a matter of consent, not coercion; and
  2. Class arbitration is fundamentally different than the traditional individualized arbitration envisioned by the FAA.

Because, according to the majority opinion, class arbitration so fundamentally changes the nature of arbitration, a party can only be forced to litigate class claims in arbitration under the FAA if there is a contractual basis for concluding that the party agreed.


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Last month, we reported that a federal court in Washington D.C. lifted the government’s stay of the revised EEO-1 form that requires companies to submit summary wage data by race/ethnicity and gender. Following the court’s order, uncertainty loomed concerning whether employers would need to include the additional data by the current EEO-1 Report deadline

On March 28, 2019, the US Department of Labor announced a proposed rule to clarify that certain types of compensation and benefits can be excluded from an employee’s “regular rate” of pay, which is used to calculate overtime under the FLSA. This announcement follows the DOL’s recent proposal to increase the minimum salary requirements for the FLSA’s white-collar overtime exemptions, continuing the DOL’s efforts to update and modernize FLSA regulations.

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For 15 years, the minimum salary threshold required for US workers to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white-collar” exemptions has been $23,660 per year.

On March 7, 2019, the Department of Labor issued a new overtime proposal increasing that minimum salary threshold to $35,308 per year. The DOL estimates the new rule will take effect in January 2020.


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