Armstrong v. Wackenhut Corp.
Finding that the lead plaintiff in a wage-and-hour suit against G4S Wackenhut Corp. did not unreasonably refuse to dismiss state law claims, a federal judge has refused to grant Wackenhut attorneys’ fees for expenses it incurred filing a motion to dismiss those claims. In an order handed down last week, the District Court Judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas rejected Wackenhut’s bid for attorneys’ fees under Section 1927 and under Rule 11.
Longcrier v. HL-A Co., Inc.
Knowing that this lawsuit was pending and that it was styled as a 216(b) opt-in proceeding, Defendant called each of its hourly workers into a one-on-one meeting during work hours with its attorney(s), creating an inherently coercive and intimidating environment for interviews and execution of paperwork concerning pay practices, under the guise of conducting a “survey.” Defendant’s attorneys asked general questions about pay practices and placed a largely form document in front of each employee to be signed. “While that inherently coercive setting is not itself grounds for relief, Defendant’s misleading statements to these potential plaintiffs about the reasons for the interview and declaration process, and their suppression of the truth, were obviously designed to lull prospective plaintiffs into a false sense of security and to effectuate their complete cooperation with minimal resistance.” Such manipulation of unrepresented parties to secure Declarations that HL-A now uses for the purpose of preventing the very people it misled from being able to litigate their FLSA rights herein is improper.
Therefore, the Court determined that the appropriate remedy was to strike the 245 declarations improperly obtained by Defendant, which would have made it difficult for the potential class members to pursue claims in the instant case.