The firm prosecutes and defends employee complaints in state and federal courts and before government agencies touching on virtually every aspect of the employer/employee relationship, including race, age, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, and religious discrimination. We also handle cases involving wrongful discharge for such issues as retaliation, whistleblower, and claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave act.
Wage & Hour
The firm litigates wage and hour claims on an individual and class-wide scale. We have argued for the rights of employees of various types of businesses; most recently including restaurants and car dealerships.
The firm has achieved multiple seven figure verdicts and settlements on behalf of executives and other employees. We handle litigation on either side of unfair competition and trade secret disputes, and have a proven track record defending national employers.
Leaving Employee/Trade Secrets
Vinyl Interactive LLC v. Guarino, U.S. District Court, N. D. Cal. The firm successfully obtained a preliminary injunction in federal court for client Vinyl Interactive LLC, an online lead generation company, preventing a former employee and his new employer from using Vinyl's trade secrets. Vinyl, a San Francisco company, operates a website called Free College Scholarships, which connects potential students with schools and offers users a chance to win a college scholarship. In its Complaint, Vinyl alleged that a former employee misappropriated Vinyl's trade secrets, and went to work for a competitor, which shortly thereafter launched a similar website. On May 1, 2009, US District Court Judge Claudia Wilken granted Vinyl's motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that Vinyl had shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its trade secrets misappropriation claims. The matter settled soon thereafter.
Potrero Media Corporation v. Mathew Jones, San Francisco Superior Court. The firm successfully obtained a Temporary Restraining Order for its client, Potrero Media Corporation ("PMC"), a top online lead-generation company, which enjoined a former employee and his alleged conspirators from using PMC’s trade secrets and from doing business with PMC’s clients. The TRO was obtained only days after PMC realized what its former employee was doing and referred the matter to the firm. After Superior Court Judge Charlotte Woolard made a finding that PMC was likely to succeed on the merits and issued a Preliminary Injunction extending the injunction throughout the duration of the case, the litigation entered the discovery phase and the subject action was settled and dismissed.
Age and National Origin Discrimination and Retaliation
Bolsega v. Marriott International, San Francisco Superior Court. The firm defended Marriott International and two of its managers in a lawsuit brought by a former front desk agent employed at the Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco, alleging claims for age and national origin discrimination and retaliation. The case settled at mediation following a favorable tentative ruling on the firm’s motion for summary judgment.
Hardeman v. Amtrak, U.S. District Court, N. D. Cal. The firm defended Amtrak in a race discrimination action brought by a former Amtrak train engineer alleging disparate discipline in connection with his suspension and subsequent termination. The court granted the firm’s motion for summary judgment directed to the termination claim, rejecting plaintiff’s assertion that he had been disciplined differently than similarly-situated engineers of other races. The remnant suspension claim settled shortly thereafter.
Walker v. Amtrak, U.S. District Court, N. D. Cal. The firm defended Amtrak and an Amtrak employee in a race discrimination action brought by a former train conductor, obtaining terminating discovery sanctions and dismissal of the case.
Wage and Hour
Sayre et al. v. SFS-39, Inc. & Williams et al. v. SFS-39, Inc. In employment class action arbitration proceedings brought against three prominent San Francisco restaurants, PE&G lawyers represented a class of approximately 700 minimum wage restaurant workers in claims involving the systematic and unlawful denial of the workers' meal and rest breaks. In late 2013, the parties reached a preliminary settlement for $1.9 million in which class members are expected to receive one hour of pay for each shift worked during the period covered by the lawsuit (an average of $1,500 each). Under the settlement, defendants would also be required to pay PE&G's attorneys fees and costs as well as $45,000 in penalties to the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency.
Draper v. American Diagnostic Medicine, U.S. District Court, N. D. Cal. Federal wage and hour case on behalf of nuclear medicine technologists and paramedics - settled for a confidential amount.
Underwood v. Hughson Ambulance Service, Stanislaus County Superior Court. Wage and hour case on behalf of paramedic against Ambulance company -- obtained a $300,000 judgment.
Elizondo v. Digirad, U.S. District Court, N.D. Cal. The firm represented several nuclear technologists and paramedics in a lawsuit against a mobile cardiac testing company, alleging numerous violations of California wage and hour laws, including failure to pay overtime and provide meal and rest breaks. The firm prevailed on defendant’s motion to dismiss and the case settled shortly thereafter.
Lawsuit against Krueger International, U.S. District Court, N. D. Cal. The firm represented a former District Manager of a major national furniture manufacturer alleging that the CEO had subjected the client and other female employees to a several-year campaign of sexual harassment. The firm successfully argued that it should be permitted to conduct depositions directed to the CEO’s alleged romantic relationships with and harassment of other female employees, and defeated defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The case settled shortly thereafter.
Granda v. Law School Admissions Service, U.S. District Court, E.D. Cal. The firm filed an emergency lawsuit on behalf of a quadriplegic college student against Law School Admissions Service (“LSAC”), which administers the LSAT, seeking a temporary restraining order compelling LSAC to provide certain testing accommodations which had been denied to the client. The District Court granted in part the firm’s application for a temporary restraining order, and the case settled shortly thereafter.
Race and Gender Discrimination
Holmes v. Amtrak, U.S. District Court, N. D. Cal. The firm defended Amtrak in a race and gender discrimination action brought by a former male train conductor who had been terminated for violating operating rules. The former conductor alleged that a female conductor of a different race had also violated the rules but had received lesser discipline. The court granted the firm’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the case, ruling that the termination was justified and not race based.
Arbitration of Employment Claim
Williams v. Beehive, U.S. District Court, N. D. Cal. The firm represented Beehive Ventures, a venture capital concern, in an action brought by the CEO of an invested company alleging breach of his employment contract. The court concurred with the firm that the arbitration clause in the employment contract was enforceable and obtained dismissal of the case on the ground that plaintiff had forfeited his right to arbitrate.
Stock Options, Fraud
Wright v. Gemplus, Arbitration. The firm represented an accomplished inventor in a lawsuit against Gemplus, the world's largest smart card company (NASDAQ listed), seeking seven-figure damages for breach of a verbal agreement to grant client stock options and associated fraud. The firm prevailed in arbitration on client’s contract claim, followed by a confidential settlement.
Rivera v. Amtrak, U.S. District Court, N. D. Cal. The firm defended Amtrak and several individual Amtrak employees in a defamation action brought by a former Amtrak employee. The plaintiff accused his Amtrak co-workers of having made false statements to the authorities, which resulted in his arrest. The court granted the firm’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the action, holding that as a matter of law the alleged statements were privileged.
Wrongful Termination, Misrepresentation and Interference
Thomas v. Signatures Networks, Inc., CMGI, San Francisco Superior Court. The firm defended Signatures Networks Inc. (now Live Nation Merchandise), the nation's leading manufacturer of music industry merchandise, CMGI (Signatures' then majority owner and NASDAQ listed), CMGI's chairman and two Signatures officers in a lawsuit filed by a Signatures' former Executive Vice President for wrongful termination, misrepresentation and interference. The firm successfully obtained summary judgment to defeat all claims against CMGI and its chairman and obtained dismissal of most other claims. The remaining claims settled at mediation.