Blumenthal Nordrehaug & Bhowmik Lawyers Ask Judge To Reconsider Order Dismissing PAGA Claims In Light of Brown Decision – Los Angeles Employment Law Attorneys Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik

by Norman B. Blumenthal on July 11, 2013

Things don’t always go better for Coke.

Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik, a Los Angeles employment law firm, has asked a judge to reconsider his order dismissing its PAGA complaint in light of the Brown decision.  In 2012, Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik filed a class action against Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Los Angeles.  The complaint alleged that Coca-Cola misclassified a group of warehouse supervisors as exempt from overtime pay, and that this misclassification also violated California's Private Attorney General Act (PAGA).  Michael Hopkins, et al. vs. Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Los Angeles, Case No. SACV 13-0103 (AG(RNBx), U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Despite the allegations, the district court granted defendant Coca-Cola’s motion requesting the court to dismiss the class action complaint and compel the Plaintiff to settle the employment matters by arbitration in accordance with the agreement the Plaintiff signed prior to his employment with Coca-Cola.  The district court also dismissed the Plaintiff's PAGA claims.

“We have now requested the district court judge to reconsider this decision because of a decision in Brown v. Morgan Tire & Auto, LLC that was handed down a day earlier by a California Court of Appeal,” said Norman Blumenthal, founding partner of Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.   In that decision, the Court of Appeal held, "When applied to PAGA, a private agreement purporting to waive the right to take representative action is unenforceable because it wholly precludes the exercise of this unwaivable statutory right.”  AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) 131 S.Ct. 1740 does not require otherwise."  “It is clear that employees in the State of California have a statutory public right to bring a representative PAGA claim and this right cannot be waived by mandatory arbitration agreements,” finished Mr. Blumenthal.

The reconsideration is asking the district court amend its decision to dismiss the worker's PAGA claims and compel arbitration to be consistent with the recently decided Brown case.

Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik is a California employment law firm with offices located in San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The firm dedicates its practice to contingency fee employment law work for issues involving misclassification as a salaried worker exempt from overtime, failure to pay vacation wages, misclassification as an independent contractor, off-the-clock work, wrongful termination, discrimination and other California labor laws.  Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik can be contacted at (866) 771-7099.

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