Tag Archives: Unpaid Wages

Arbitrator Rules That Massachusetts Trial Court System Must Pay Workers $30 Million In Retroactive Pay Increases, Boston Herald Reports

The Boston Herald is reporting that an Arbitrator has ruled that Massachusetts’ Trial Court system must pay its clerical workers $30 million in unpaid pay increases.

“In what is being called the costliest settlement of its type in state history, the financially strapped Trial Court system must shell out $30 million in back wages to thousands of unionized clerical workers, the Herald has learned.

In a decision reached May 7, an arbitrator ruled that the Trial Court broke its contract with Office and Professional Employees International Union, Local 6, by refusing to pay the negotiated 3 percent pay raises since 2007…

In addition to the $30 million in back pay, the Trial Court must find $17 million in unfunded raises for the union employees for the next budget year, starting in July, said Superior Court Justice Peter W. Agnes Jr., president of the Massachusetts Judges Conference.”

To read the entire article click here.

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Miami-Dade County Passes New Wage Theft Ordinance, Miami Herald Reports

The Miami Herald reports that Miami-Dade “[c]ounty overwhelmingly passed a new ordinance to combat wage theft, making it easier for workers to bring legal action against employers who fail to pay them.

Thursday’s vote comes after more than a year of work by a non-governmental task force of labor and immigrant advocates in Miami. San Francisco has a similar ordinance. Los Angeles and New Orleans are considering them.”

In addition to recovering the unpaid wages that have been wrongly denied them, workers can recover 2 times that amount in additional damages.  The ordinance will result in a a low-cost administrative process that seeks to speed along claims for workers who have not been properly paid their wages.

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D.Or.: FLSA Supports Award Of Attorney Fees For Post-Judgment Collection Efforts

Van Dyke v. BTS Container Service, Inc.

After plaintiff prevailed in this FLSA case, Judgment was entered for $4,724.29 and a Supplemental Judgment for $35,248.10 in attorney fees and costs.  Due to financial difficulties, Defendants failed to satisfy the judgment, necessitating Plaintiff to garnish certain monies from Defendants to satisfy the judgment.  Before the court was Plaintiff’s Supplemental Motion for Attorney Fees for Post-Judgment Collection.  The Court granted the Motion.

The Court explained, “[u]nder Oregon law, attorney fees to enforce a judgment are “legal services related to the prosecution or defense of an action” which the court may consider when it awards attorney fees. Johnson v. Jeppe, 77 Or.App. 685, 688, 713 P.2d 1090 (1986) (quoting ORCP 68).

The Ninth Circuit has not determined if the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) supports the court awarding attorney fees for post-judgment collection efforts. But cf. Jones v. Giles, 741 F .2d 245, 250 (9th Cir.1984) (finding no abuse of discretion in the size of the trial court’s $2,500 award for post-judgment attorney fees in an FLSA case without addressing whether such fees were available under the statute). Federal courts have awarded attorney fees for post-judgment collection efforts in other contexts. See Shaw v. AAA Eng’g & Drafting, Inc., 213 F.3d 538, 544-45 (False Claims Act case); Free v. Briody, 793 F.2d 807, 808-09 (7th Cir.1986) (ERISA case). I conclude that the FLSA also allows me to award post-judgment collection fees. Without such an award, a judgment is a hollow victory for a plaintiff who was improperly paid.”

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Few Labor Violators Fined, Des Moines Register Reports

Today’s Des Moines Register reports that very few employers who are found guilty of violating the special Federal Minimum Wage laws, applicable to disabled workers, are actually fined as a result of their violations.

The report disclosed that, “[t]he U.S. government fined only three of the 797 employers that violated federal labor laws while paying subminimum wages to disabled workers over a five-year period.

The newly disclosed statistics come from the U.S. Department of Labor and are in response to questions posed nine months ago by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Ia.

Harkin has been studying the enforcement of a 71-year-old federal law that enables companies to pay disabled workers less than the minimum wage if they first obtain federal approval.

Harkin chaired a Senate committee hearing that examined why Henry’s Turkey Service was allowed to pay its mentally retarded workers 41 cents an hour to work in a turkey processing plant in West Liberty.

Critics say the new statistics confirm what they have long alleged: Companies typically have nothing to lose by violating wage-and-hour laws intended to protect disabled workers.

Harkin said Monday that there is ‘no question’ the law currently fails to provide the disabled with ‘fair employment opportunities that are sufficiently policed to prevent exploitation.’

He said he is preparing ‘substantial legislative changes’ that he expects to make public in the next few months.”

To read the entire article click here.

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As Wage Theft Rises, States And Cities Crack Down, AP Reports

The AP reports that, “[a]cross the nation, the long-simmering problem of employers who don’t pay their workers appears to be getting worse, especially for immigrant laborers.

In the absence of aggressive federal action, some states and local governments have begun to tackle the issue on their own. They say employers who don’t pay overtime or minimum wage are unlikely to pay into state workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance funds — bilking taxpayers even as they’re cheating workers.

Workers rights centers say wage theft has become the No. 1 complaint they’ve heard in recent months.”

To read the entire story go to the AP’s website.

To speak with Wage and Hour Attorney Andrew Frisch call 1-888-OVERTIME or click here today.

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N.D.Ill.: Idle Hours Are Compensable “Hours Worked” For Purposes Of Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), Because Compensable Under FLSA

Laborers’ Pension Fund v. Eagle America Corp.

Plaintiffs Laborers’ Pension Fund and Laborers’ Welfare Fund of the Health and Welfare Department of the Construction and General Laborers’ District Council of Chicago and Vicinity, and James S. Jorgensen, Administrator (collectively “the Funds”), brought suit against Defendant Eagle America Corporation under ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(e), and the LMRA, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a).  The Funds claimed that Eagle America violated ERISA and the LMRA by failing to make proper employee benefit contributions, failing to pay proper union dues, and failing to maintain a surety bond to guarantee the payment of wages and contributions for all “hours worked.”  The case was before the Court on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment.  Finding, in part, that Plaintiffs’ members were entitled to be paid for idle time, as “hours worked” under the FLSA, the Court granted Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment.

Of interest here, the Court analyzed Plaintiffs’ claims for unpaid idle hours under the framework of the FLSA, determining such hours to be compensable as “hours worked” under the FLSA, thereby finding Defendant liable for unpaid wages and benefits to Plaintiffs.

“Before determining whether there is a genuine dispute as to the accuracy of the audit reports, the Court must analyze the controversy over whether Eagle America is responsible for contributions to the Funds for every hour that a covered employee showed up to work. The controversy essentially boils down to a dispute over whether the requirement that Eagle America make contributions for “each hour worked” covers hours when employees are at the job site waiting for appliances to be delivered or loading docks and elevators to become available.

Eagle America argues that these were not “hours worked” because its employees were idle during these hours due to causes that were “unavoidable” from the Company’s perspective. The Company points to the CBA provision requiring the Company to give four hours payment for time lost to employees reporting for work who are not put to work. The Company notes that the provision contains an exception for occasions when the Company cannot put employees to work for “unavoidable causes.” The parties agree that the Company often has no control over whether appliances, elevators, and docks are available. Thus, the Company argues, because the CBA does not require the Company to pay the employees for these “idle hours,” it need not make contributions for these hours.

The Funds argue that the provision regarding “unavoidable causes” is irrelevant. Instead, they look to federal rules interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for guidance on the issue of what constitutes an “hour worked.” According to those rules, which clarify the concepts of compensable time and time worked under the FLSA, “[a]n employee who is required to remain on call on the employer’s premises or so close thereto that he cannot use the time effectively for his own purposes is working while ‘on call.’ ” 29 C.F.R. 785.17 (emphasis added). Eagle America argues that even if the Court looks to the FLSA as a guide, the question of whether waiting time is to be considered working time is a “question of fact to be resolved by appropriate findings of the trial court,” Skidmore v. Swift, 323 U.S. 134, 136-37, 65 S.Ct. 161, 163, 89 L.Ed. 124 (1944), and urges the Court to deny summary judgment on that basis.

This lawsuit does not arise under the FLSA. However, in construing the terms of a contract, the Court will take the legal framework in place into account.   Florida E. Coast Ry. Co. v. CSX Transp., Inc., 42 F.3d 1125, 1129 (7th Cir.1994). The Court may assume that the parties understood the law in effect at the time of the CBA’s execution and interpret the term accordingly. Id. at 1129-32 (construing settlement agreement not to apply in situations where it would be illegal). Thus, the Court will assume that the parties intended the CBA to require Eagle America to compensate its employees for all hours that are compensable under the FLSA.

The Skidmore Court refused to “lay down a legal formula” as to which “waiting hours” are compensable, holding that courts must address the issue as a case-specific question of fact. 323 U.S. at 136-37, 65 S.Ct. at 162-63. While the interpretive rule cited above is more specific, it does not bind the Court. Brigham v. Eugene Water & Elec. Bd., 357 F.3d 931, 940 (9th Cir.2004) (citing U.S. v. Mead Corp., 533 U.S. 218, 232, 121 S.Ct. 2164, 150 L.Ed.2d 292 (2001)). Nonetheless, courts have frequently looked to the rules for guidance in disputes under the FLSA, id. (compiling cases), and, as the rule suggests, the question of whether an employee must remain on or near the premises while waiting is often a factor in the courts’ determinations. See, e.g., Armour & Co. v. Wantock, 323 U.S. 126, 133-34, 65 S.Ct. 165, 168-69, 89 L.Ed. 118 (1944) (affirming judgment in favor of firefighters who could spend time on call playing cards and engaging in other “amusements,” but who were required to remain on premises); see also Owens v. Local No. 169, Ass’n of W. Pulp & Paper Workers, 971 F.2d 347, 351-54 (9th Cir.1992) (compiling factors, distinguishing cases in which employees had to remain on, near, or were frequently called back to premises). In cases where on-premises hours were not considered “working hours,” the workers were allowed to use their time on premises for long resting periods, eating, and engaging in recreational activities. See, e.g., Allen v. Atl. Richfield Co., 724 F.2d 1131, 1137 (5th Cir.1984) (reversing summary judgment to plaintiffs because they were “free to sleep, eat at no expense, watch movies, play pool or cards, exercise, read, or listen to music during their off-duty time”); Rousseau v. Teledyne Movible Offshore, Inc., 805 F.2d 1245, 1248 (5th Cir.1986) (affirming dismissal of claim by plaintiffs who were “free to sleep, eat, watch television, watch VCR movies, play pingpong or cards, read, listen to music, etc….[and] seldom or never did any physical work after their shift ended”).

In this case, Eagle America has provided no facts to call into dispute whether the “idle hours” spent on the jobsite by its employees were in fact “hours worked.” Instead, the Company points to the contract language regarding “unavoidable cause” and stresses that this is a question of fact. However, Eagle America cannot survive the summary judgment phase of these proceedings merely because there is a question of fact involved. The Court will deny summary judgment if there is a “genuine issue as to [a] material fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Eagle America is correct that in instances of uncertainty regarding whether “hours waiting” are “hours working” the Court “must take account of the arrangement plaintiffs themselves chose.” Binges v. Sacred Heart St. Mary’s Hospitals, Inc., 164 F.3d 1056, 1059 (7th Cir.1999). In other words, the Court will look to the CBA in cases of uncertainty. However, given Eagle America’s failure to put forward any facts regarding the freedom its workers have while waiting for deliveries, loading docks, and elevators, the Court does not find uncertainty in this case.

Assuming for the moment that there is some level of uncertainty, however, and that the CBA is relevant, the Court does not stray from its decision. The Company reads the referenced CBA provision to apply to situations when employees are waiting for elevators and the like. However, the Court reads the provision differently. The provision, which appears under the heading “Reporting for Work,” applies to employees “reporting for work” but “not put to work.” The CBA generally requires Eagle America to pay these employees four hours’ worth of pay for “lost time.” Under the Company’s reading, employees would receive this four hours’ pay regardless of whether they were sent home immediately or were sent home after waiting on the jobsite for eight hours. Or, in the case at issue here, when the Company does not put an employee to work for an “unavoidable cause” such as a late delivery, the employee might be paid nothing for waiting eight hours. The provision makes much more sense if it applies only in situations when an employee is sent home and unable to work the hours that he or she expected to work and not in situations when the employee is required to remain on premises waiting for hours at a time or waiting for minutes between tasks for an entire day.

This reading of the provision finds support in the text of the provision itself. While the Company focuses on the fact that it need not provide any pay in instances of “other unavoidable cause,” the CBA also exempts the Company from paying employees when they are not put to work because of “weather conditions, fire, [or] accident.” In cases of inclement weather, however, the CBA requires the Company to pay employees for hours spent waiting for the weather to clear up. Moreover, in the provision regarding inclement weather, the CBA alternatively refers to “reporting pay” as “show up” pay. These provisions lend a great deal of support to the notion that the parties to the CBA intended for the “Reporting for Work” provisions to require four hours’ pay for employees who “show up” for work but are sent home. They also support the notion that the parties intended workers to get paid for hours spent waiting. Finally, the Court finds further support in the fact that the CBA provides specific exceptions for “weather conditions, fire, [or] accident,” but not for the circumstances at issue in this case. If all parties understood that employees would regularly be required to wait for elevators, loading docks, and deliveries, and they intended for those circumstances to be covered by this provision, it seems unlikely that they would not have included an explicit reference to those circumstances.

The FLSA overrides contracts, so agreements such as the CBA are only relevant in close cases. Dinges, 164 F.3d at 1059. Eagle America has not placed material facts in this case in dispute, and it is therefore not a close case. Furthermore, the Court’s interpretation of the CBA favors the Funds. Thus, even making all inferences in favor of the Company, the Court can resolve this question of fact on summary judgment.”

Thus, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of the Funds on the issue of liability.

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Wal-Mart To Pay $40 Million To Massachusetts Workers For Off-the-Clock Work Claims, Boston Globe Reports

The Boston Globe is reporting that the United States’ largest retailer, Wal-Mart has agreed to settle a collective action in Massachusetts for approximately $40 Million.

“Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, has agreed to pay $40 million to as many as 87,500 current and former employees in Massachusetts, the largest wage-and-hour class-action settlement in the state’s history.

The class-action lawsuit, filed in 2001, accused the retailer of denying workers rest and meal breaks, refusing to pay overtime, and manipulating time cards to lower employees’ pay. Under terms of the agreement, which was filed in Middlesex Superior Court yesterday by the employees’ attorneys, any person who worked for Wal-Mart between August 1995 and the settlement date will receive a payment of between $400 and $2,500, depending on the number of years worked, with the average worker receiving a check for $734…

The Massachusetts case is similar to many others that have been brought against the retail behemoth by employees across the country, most alleging that the Bentonville, Ark.-based company violated laws by requiring employees to work through breaks, to work beyond their regular shifts, and similar practices. Wal-Mart has denied the allegations, but in December, the merchant agreed to pay up to $640 million to settle 63 federal and state class-action wage-and-hour lawsuits.”

To read the full story go to the Boston Globe website.

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Lowe’s To Pay $29.5 Million To Settle Overtime Lawsuit, Central Valley Business Times Reports

The Central Valley Business Times is reporting that Lowe’s has settled an overtime class action accusing the home improvement retailer of forcing thousands of employees to work “off the clock.”

“Home improvement retailer Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) has agreed to pay $29.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit that argued it had required “thousands” of hourly workers to toil “off the clock.”

Two former Lowe’s employees alleged that they and thousands of other hourly Lowe’s workers were required to work before and after their normal shifts but were not paid for the extra work…

Earlier, Lowe’s denied all of the claims raised in the lawsuit. The company, contacted Wednesday for comment, said it could not comment directly on the settlement but a spokeswoman said the company believes it is in compliance with all laws and regulations.

The settlement was approved Tuesday by the Los Angeles Superior Court, shortly before the case was to finally go to trial.”

To read the entire story go the the Central Valley Business Times’ website.

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M.D.Tenn.: Opt-in Plaintiffs Not Judicially Estopped From Asserting FLSA Claims Despite Their Failure To Disclose Existence Of FLSA Claims On Respective Bankruptcy Petitions

Crouch v. Guardian Angel Nursing, Inc.

Before the Court was Defendant’s Motion to Disqualify multiple Plaintiffs in this case, brought pursuant to the FLSA, based on their failure to disclose their FLSA claims on their respective bankruptcy petitions filed within the applicable FLSA statute of limitations. Defendant’s Motion to Disqualify and/or For Partial Summary Judgment As To Certain Individual Opt-Ins was denied.

The Court stated:

“As a general statement, the doctrine of judicial estoppel bars a party from (1) asserting a position that is contrary to one that the party has asserted under oath in a prior proceeding, where (2) the prior court adopted the contrary position “either as a preliminary matter or as part of a final disposition.” Browning v. Levy, 283 F.3d 761, 775 (6th Cir.2002) (quoting Teledyne Indus., Inc. v.. NLRB, 911 F.2d 1214, 1218 (6th Cir.1990)). The doctrine is used to preserve “the integrity of the courts by preventing a party from abusing the judicial process through cynical gamesmanship.” Browning, 283 F.3d at 776 (quoting Teledyne Indus. Inc., 911 F.2d at 1218). The purpose of the doctrine is to protect the integrity of the judicial process by “prevent[ing] parties from playing fast and loose with the courts to suit the exigencies of self interest.” In re Coastal Plains, Inc., 179 F.3d 197, 205 (5th Cir.1999).

The Bankruptcy Code imposes upon bankruptcy debtors an express, affirmative duty to disclose all assets, including contingent and unliquidated claims. Coastal Plains, 179 F.3d at 207-08;
11 U.S .C. § 521(1).

The rationale for … decisions [invoking judicial estoppel to prevent a party who failed to disclose claims in bankruptcy proceedings from asserting that claim after emerging from bankruptcy] is that the integrity of the bankruptcy system depends on full and honest disclosure by debtors of their assets. The courts will not permit a debtor to obtain relief from the bankruptcy court by representing that no claims exist and then subsequently to assert those claims for his own benefit in a separate proceeding. The interests of both the creditors, who plan their actions in the bankruptcy proceeding on the basis of information supplied in the disclosure statements, and the bankruptcy court, which must decide whether to approve the plan of reorganization on the same basis, are impaired when the disclosure provided by the debtor is incomplete. Rosenshein v. Kleban, 918 F.Supp. 98, 104 (S.D.N.Y.1996).

Although courts have observed that “[t]he circumstances under which judicial estoppel may appropriately be invoked are probably not reducible to any general formulation of principle,” there are several factors that typically influence the decision whether to apply the doctrine in a particular case. New Hampshire v. Maine, 532 U.S. 742, 750 (2001) (quoting Allen v. Zurich Ins. Co ., 667 F.2d 1162, 1166 (4th Cir.1982)). First, a party’s later position must be clearly inconsistent with its earlier position. Id. “Second, courts regularly inquire whether the party has succeeded in persuading a court to accept that party’s earlier position, so that judicial acceptance of an inconsistent position in a later proceeding would create ‘the perception that either the first or the second court was misled.’ ” Id. (quoting Edwards v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 690 F.2d 595, 599 (6th Cir.1982)). If the party’s position was not accepted in the prior proceeding, the party’s later inconsistent position does not create a risk of inconsistent court determinations, and, therefore, poses little threat to judicial integrity.   Id. at 750-51. A third fact often considered is whether the party seeking to assert an inconsistent position would gain an unfair advantage if not estopped. Id. In addition, the Sixth Circuit has held that evidence of an inadvertent omission of a claim in a previous bankruptcy is a reasonable and appropriate factor to consider when determining whether judicial estoppel should be applied. See Eubanks v. CBSK Financial Group, Inc., 385 F.3d 894, 899 (6th Cir.2004).

Considering the foregoing equitable factors, the Court will examine the circumstances of each of the six opt-in plaintiffs who are the subjects of defendants’ motion.

1. Christy Bain. Ms. Bain and her husband filed a voluntary Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition on April 2, 2008, and failed to list her claim in this case as an asset (Docket Entry No. 261-1). The Bains’ Chapter 13 plan was confirmed on August 6, 2008, and remains pending (Docket Entry No. 268-11). On February 18, 2009, Ms. Bain filed a notice of amendment to the schedules to her bankruptcy petition to include her claim in this case (Docket Entry No. 268-12), and the Trustee, Henry Hildebrand, expects to pursue her claim in this case for the sole benefit of her creditors (Docket Entry No. 268, p. 4).

2. Tracy Garrett. Ms. Garrett filed a voluntary Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition on April 8, 2008, and failed to list her claim in this case as an asset. Her Chapter 13 plan was confirmed on June 17, 2008 (Docket Entry No. 268-1). Ms. Garrett has notified Henry Hildebrand, the Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee, of her claim, and she has amended her bankruptcy schedules accordingly (Docket Entry No. 268-15). Mr. Hildebrand has stated his intent to pursue her claim solely for the benefit of her creditors (Docket Entry No. 268-14).

3. John Sawyer. Mr. Sawyer and his wife filed their voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on April 26, 2007, and failed to list his claim in this case as an asset. He was discharged on August 7, 2007 (Docket Entry No. 261-4). Over a year later, he filed a consent to become a party plaintiff in this action on September 10, 2008. He has since filed amendments to his bankruptcy schedules (Docket Entry No. 268-8), and trustee John McLemore has filed a motion to reopen his case and to set aside the no-asset report (Docket Entry No. 268-9).

4. Christin Johnson. Ms. Johnson filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on October 30, 2007, and failed to list her claim in this case as an asset. By way of declaration, Ms. Johnson has testified that she told the paralegal who helped her fill out her bankruptcy schedules about this case, and the paralegal told her that “if [she] got paid anything [she] would have to let [her] attorney know so that she could advise the bankruptcy court of such award and that the court would decide what amount of money [she] would receive.” (Docket Entry No. 269, para. 3). Ms. Johnson voluntarily moved for dismissal of her bankruptcy petition on December 4, 2007, and the petition was dismissed upon her motion on December 28, 2007 (Docket Entry No. 261-5).

5. Janice Trent. Ms. Trent filed her voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on October 31, 2007, and failed to list her claim in this case on her bankruptcy schedules. She received a discharge on March 13, 2008 (Docket Entry No. 261-6). She has since notified the trustee in her case, Michael Gigandet, of her claim, and he has filed a motion to retrieve and reopen her bankruptcy case, defer costs and set aside her no-asset report (Docket Entry No. 268-4). Mr. Gigandet also has filed his motion to intervene as a plaintiff in this case in order to pursue Ms. Trent’s claim for the benefit of her creditors (Docket Entry No. 264).

6. Alana McEwen. Ms. McEwen filed a voluntary Chapter 7 petition on October 14, 2005, and did not disclose her claim in this case in her bankruptcy filings. She was granted a discharge on December 4, 2006 (Docket Entry No. 261-7). From the record it appears that Ms. McEwen started work for defendant On-Call Staffing, Inc. on September 19, 2005, less than one month before filing her bankruptcy petition. It further appears that the amount of overtime pay she claims in this case would have amounted to approximately $185.00 on October 14, 2005, when she filed her bankruptcy petition (Docket Entry No. 268-2). Her bankruptcy trustee, Eva Marie Lemeh, has testified by declaration that the amount of $185.00 would probably have been within the exemptions allowed to Ms. McEwen and, therefore, that she would have been allowed to retain this amount, and, in any event, this amount of money is so small that the cost of reopening her bankruptcy would exceed the benefit to her creditors.

The undersigned Magistrate Judge finds that, in each of the foregoing six cases, for different reasons, the facts to not justify the application of the doctrine of judicial estoppel to these plaintiffs’ claims. Although each of these plaintiffs failed to disclose the claim in this lawsuit when filing a petition in bankruptcy, none has gained, or will ultimately gain, an unfair advantage that will undermine the integrity of the judicial process. In the cases of Ms. Bain, Ms. Garrett, Mr. Sawyer, and Ms. Trent, amended schedules have been filed in their bankruptcies and the respective trustees intend to pursue their claims for the benefit of their creditors. Ms. Johnson’s bankruptcy petition was dismissed voluntarily without relief or other benefit to her. Finally, the amount of money at issue in Ms. McEwen’s case was so small that she likely would have been allowed to keep it had it been scheduled. None of these plaintiffs has “gotten away with anything” so as to damage the integrity of the legal process. Moreover, if these plaintiffs are ultimately successful in prosecuting their claims, the application of judicial estoppel here would deliver a windfall to defendants and an injury to innocent creditors in plaintiffs’ bankruptcy proceedings.

For the foregoing reasons, the undersigned Magistrate Judge finds that defendants’ motion to disqualify and/or for partial summary judgment (Docket Entry No. 260) should be denied, and that Michael Gigandet’s motion to intervene (Docket Entry No. 264) should be granted.”

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NY Car Wash Chain Settles Unpaid Wages Claims For $3.4 Million

The New York Times is reporting that, “[a] New York carwash chain agreed to pay $3.4 million in back wages and liquidated damages to 1,187 current and former employees to resolve part of a lawsuit brought by the United States Department of Labor in August 2005.

The suit was filed against the chain, the Lage Management Corporation, based in Pelham Manor, N.Y., after an investigation found that its carwashes were not paying employees minimum wage, not paying them for overtime and not keeping adequate employment records. In three previous settlements in the case, more than 200 employees had already received more than $1.3 million in back wages and damages.”

To read the full article go to the New York Times website.

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