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This is where I post updates and news relating to developments in the law (with a strong focus on wage and hour and class issues) as well as the occasional update regarding one of my cases.

Kevin Allen Now Offers Mediation Services

Kevin Allen Now Offers Mediation Services

Kevin R. Allen announced that effective January 2017 he will started offering mediation services throughout the Bay Area. Mr. Allen has over ten years of experience advising clients regarding employment law issues. He is a successful trial attorney and has a significant amount of experience with complex wage and hour class actions, trade secret disputes, and breach of contract claims. Reduced rates available for small disputes. Please contact Mr. Allen directly with inquiries.

Kevin R. Allen Name "Rising Star" By Super Lawyers (Again)

Kevin R. Allen named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers for third straight year!

In July 2016 Kevin Allen was named a Rising Star for 2015. This is the third straight year he has received this award. The selection process for the Rising Stars list is the same as the Super Lawyers selection process, with one exception: to be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. All attorneys first go through the Super Lawyers selection process. Those who are not selected to the Super Lawyers list, but who meet either one of the Rising Stars eligibility requirements, then go through the Rising Stars selection process. While up to five percent of the lawyers in the state are named to Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars list.

Jury Awards $169,844 In Unpaid Wages

Obtained a $169,844 jury verdict

Kevin R. Allen represented an employee against a San Jose law firm (Pagano & Kass, PC) for unpaid bonus compensation. The complaint was filed in 2015 and was defended vigorously by the law firm’s principals. Mr. Allen successfully opposed a demurrer, motion to strike, motion to reclassify the case as limited, motion for directed verdict, and prevailed on most of the pretrial motions in limine. A jury was empaneled on August 22, 2016. Mr. Allen acted as lead trial counsel with attorney VJ Chetty as second chair. Following a four day trial the jury returned a special verdict for the full $169,844 in unpaid wages Mr. Allen sought on behalf of his client. Following verdict Defendant filed a series of post trial motions including a motion for new trial and a motion for judgement notwithstanding the verdict. The case involved complex wage and hour issues including the interplay between a contractual referral fee provision, California rules of ethics. At a hearing on December 2, 2016 the Court indicated it would deny the Defendant’s post trial motions and grant Plaintiff’s application for prevailing party fees and costs and interest, totaling in excess of $200,000.

Sandifer v. US Steel Corp: SCOTUS rules that parties agreement in CBA that time spent "changing clothes" at start/end of day is not compensible (29 USC Section 203) can extend to non-clothes items
Excerpt from syllabus:

29 U. S. C. §203(o) allows parties to collectively bargain over whether “time spent in changing clothes . . . at the be- ginning or end of each workday” must be compensated.

The donning and doffing in this case qualifies as “changing clothes” under §203(o). Of the 12 items at issue, only 3—safety glasses, earplugs, and a respirator—do not fit within the elaborated interpretation of “clothes.” Apparently concerned that federal judges would have to separate the minutes spent clothes-changing and washing from the minutes de- voted to other activities during the relevant period, some Courts of Appeals have invoked the doctrine de minimis non curat lex (the law does not take account of trifles). But that doctrine does not fit comfortably within this statute, which is all about trifles. A more appropriate way to proceed is for courts to ask whether the period at issue can, on the whole, be fairly characterized as “time spent in changing clothes or washing.” If an employee devotes the vast majority of that time to putting on and off equipment or other non-clothes items, the entire period would not qualify as “time spent in changing clothes” under §203(o), even if some clothes items were also donned and doffed. But if the vast majority of the time is spent in donning and doffing “clothes” as defined here, the entire period qualifies, and the time spent putting on and off other items need not be subtracted.

9th Cir. Affirms Certification of Meal Break Subclass Premised on On-Duty Meal Period Agreement and "Nature of the Work" Prong of Defense [ABDULLAH V. US SECURITY ASSOCIATES, INC (9th Cir. 11-55653)]

ABDULLAH V. US SECURITY ASSOCIATES, INC (9th Cir. 11-55653 Sept 27, 2013)

The panel affirmed the district court’s order under Fed. R. Civ. P.23 certifying a class of former and current employees of U.S. Security Associates, Inc., who allege that the company committed numerous violations of California labor law. The panel held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by certifying a meal break sub-class, defined as all past and present employees who worked more than six hours and were not provided a meal break and who were not compensated for the meal break. The panel held that under California law the plaintiffs’ claims will yield a common answer that is “apt to drive the resolution of the litigation,” as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a)(2).The panel also held that common issues of law or fact would predominate, and plaintiffs’ claims “will prevail or fail in unison,” as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3)

Sonic-Calabasas v. Moreno, 2013 DJDAR 13893

FindLaw Summary: In light of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) 563 U.S. __: 1) contrary to Sonic I, the Federal Arbitration Agreement (FAA) preempts our state-law rule categorically prohibiting waiver of a Berman hearing (a dispute resolution forum established by the Legislature to assist employees in recovering wages owed) in a predispute arbitration agreement imposed on an employee as a condition of employment; 2) at the same time, state courts may continue to enforce unconscionability rules that do not interfere with fundamental attributes of arbitration; and 3) because evidence relevant to the unconscionability claim was not developed below, the matter is remanded to the trial court to determine whether the present arbitration agreement is unconscionable under the principles set forth in this opinion.