Employment Case Examples
Employment Class Action Defense
Example No. 1: De Castro & Morrow was asked to take over the representation of a large construction company who was being sued in a potential class action case for wage and hour violations. The client came to us because of our extensive experience and skill in defending class actions. The Plaintiffs claimed that they had not been paid overtime and had not been given meal and rest breaks. The initial demand was over three million dollars – an amount that would bankrupt the company.
Two different class action claims had been filed by two different law firms. De Castro & Morrow realized that a key strategy would be to divide the two cases, which would cause friction between the two firms, and create confusion among the potential class members. De Castro & Morrow transferred one of the cases to Federal Court, where no Plaintiff ever wants to be. With one case in Federal Court, and the other in State Court, the two firms soon realized that the size of each class – and each case – was much smaller than they originally thought. With no good options left, the Plaintiffs quickly agreed to a paltry settlement, which allowed the construction company to continue its business.
Example No. 2: De Castro & Morrow defended another large construction company who was being sued based on the theory that the employees were not getting paid for time that they worked before clocking in and after clocking out. This claim is often called “off the clock”. This case also had the potential of being catastrophic to the company because the class size was approximately 900 employees.
De Castro & Morrow conducted an extensive investigation into the company’s practices and interviewed multiple managers and employees. The investigation revealed that the company’s employees were not working “off the clock” and that the case had been filed by a few disgruntled former employees. De Castro & Morrow drafted a statement that nearly every employee signed that indicated that they had been properly paid for all hours. Armed with this evidence, De Castro & Morrow defeated the motion for class certification. Once that motion was denied, Plaintiff’s case was all but eviscerated.
Other Employment Claims
Example No. 1: When a Plaintiff claims that she was sexually assaulted by her manager, we know that the case is going to be difficult. Knowing that litigation can be expensive, De Castro & Morrow always tries to extricate a client from a case as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Towards that end, De Castro & Morrow recommended early mediation. The mediator placed a high value on the case and recommended settlement. But De Castro & Morrow knew that spending some time conducting discovery and digging into the facts could possibly lower the value of the case.
After approximately six months of investigation, De Castro & Morrow uncovered an enormous amount of evidence that contradicted the Plaintiff’s story and seriously harmed her case. This evidence was used at a second mediation to settle the case for about half of what had been previously recommended. This is a perfect example of attorneys’ fees being well spent.
Example No. 2: A high level executive retained De Castro & Morrow after he was terminated from a large company. The issue was whether he should receive a six figure bonus. The company claimed that the employee was not entitled to the bonus because they had moved him to a different department. De Castro & Morrow uncovered e-mail evidence in which the CFO of the Company delivered details of the employee’s bonus program to the employee after he had been moved to the new department. David De Castro took the deposition of the CEO. During the videotaped deposition, the CEO still held firm that the employee was not entitled to a bonus, but had no explanation for the CFO’s action. At a mediation, De Castro & Morrow used a PowerPoint presentation to show the trail of documents and the chronology of events. The mediation lasted until midnight, and De Castro & Morrow was able to recover the client’s entire bonus – plus attorneys’ fees.
Example No. 3: De Castro & Morrow represented a high tech company in a trade secret dispute. An employee left the company and immediately began calling on the company’s clients, trying to solicit business. The client had taken extraordinary steps to protect its customer information, including requiring employees to sign confidentiality agreements, giving employees cell phones and laptops that would have be returned when they left, and giving employees the client information only if absolutely necessary. Because the client was a high profile celebrity, the company knew that the former employee had stolen the client information just before she left. De Castro & Morrow immediately sent a cease and desist letter and filed suit for misappropriation of trade secrets. Based on De Castro & Morrow’s swift action, the former employee’s behavior stopped and the client – and revenue – returned to De Castro & Morrow’s client.