Misclassified Uber Drivers
Brian Kabateck is co-lead counsel in an employment class action lawsuit involving the ride sharing giant, Uber. The case involves Uber drivers who contend they’ve been misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees and are suing the company for failing to pay overtime wages, minimum wages, reimbursement of expenses and engaging in additional labor code violations. Mr. Kabateck also represents the named plaintiff in another class action against Uber, Douglas O’Connor, who hired KBK to replace Boston attorney, Shannon Liss-Riordan, who negotiated an unfair settlement. That proposed settlement failed to adequately compensate Uber drivers for additional claims, and prevented all Uber drivers them from pursuing claims in the future. KBK vehemently objected to Shannon Liss-Riordan’s settlement on behalf of Douglas O’Connor and the class in the Del Rio case.
On August 18, 2016, Judge Chen rejected the settlement that was reached between Uber and Shannon Liss-Riordan, who was trying to settle the matter on behalf of ALL drivers. Judge Chen found that the proposed settlement was unfair because it allowed all PAGA claims against Uber to be settle for a measly $1 million, which is just 0.1% of Liss-Riordan’s $1 billion in PAGA penalties. Another reason for the rejection of the settlement was that Liss-Riordan was trying to settle claims that she did not make (or evaluate) in her lawsuit, but which were made by other drivers represented by other lawyers, like the ones made by the Plaintiffs in the Del Rio case.
Zim Rogers vs. Justmugshots.com
KBK filed a class action lawsuit against the website JustMugshots.com for privacy violation because of the website’s Internet extortion scheme. The website posted peoples’ mug shots then charged them to have their photos removed from the site to make money. Many of these victims have lost jobs, had trouble renting apartments and face ridicule for having their photos associated with a crime they never committed. California just passed a law in January making this online shakedown illegal. The litigation prompted state lawmakers to draft a Senate Bill that passed and became law in 2014.
Misclassified Truck Drivers
California truckers have recently filed hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the misclassification of employees as “independent contractors”, which deprives these truckers of minimum wage, paid overtime, benefits, meals and rest breaks provided to employee drivers and crewmembers.
9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that independent contractors deserve the same pay and protections as employees, under California law, because they signed independent contractor agreements and are doing the same work and are under the same control of the company as employees. KBK represents hundreds of truck drivers who are suing various trucking companies who engage in driver misclassification.
Jared Pastor vs. Yahoo! Inc.
Our firm has joined other leading attorneys to initiate a class action lawsuit in Orange County against Yahoo Inc. on behalf of consumers impacted by one of the largest data breaches in history. Yahoo announced in September 2016 that two years earlier, in late 2014, a “state sponsored actor” infiltrated the company’s database and stole the personal information of millions of its users. The stolen information includes full names, passwords, phone numbers and even hints to passwords. Forged cookies were used to hack into Yahoo’s propriety code, allowing thieves to put the data up for sale. Yahoo failed to identify, implement, maintain and appropriately monitor its data security measures. The lawsuit claims the plaintiffs’ personal information was improperly handled and stored, and Yahoo did not have sufficient encryption, which allowed data thieves to easily steal private identifiable information.
Marrufo vs. Interinsurance Exchange of Automobile Club (AAA)
This class action arises out of AAA’s unlawful conduct of imposing a five-thousand-dollar sublimit for claims involving “any smoke, soot, ash, char, odor, dust, particulate or other material that is produced, discharged, emitted or released by, or otherwise caused by or resulting from a wildfire.” The lawsuit claims that the defendant’s “Wildfire Smoke Sublimit” is unenforceable because it intends to reduce the coverage limits available to its insurance customers and fails to meet minimum requirements for fire damage and violates the Insurance Code. The class includes all California consumers who are insured by AAA under an exchange policy that includes the Wildfire Smoke Endorsement.
Rich vs. Roadrunner Intermodal Services
This is a class action lawsuit for wage and labor violations involving a port trucking company that allegedly misclassified its truck drivers as contractors, thereby cheating them on wages. The lawsuit accuses Roadrunner of failing to pay its trucker drivers minimum wage, not paying for sick days, vacation, holidays, providing meals or rest breaks and refusing to reimburse business expenses. Nicholas E. Rich represented the class, which consists of dozens of truckers who work as independent contractors for Roadrunner. This lawsuit is one of several other trucker misclassification cases the firm is litigating that exposes the unfair labor practices that run rampant in the trucking industry.
Rachel Smith et al. v. Luxottica Retail North America, LensCrafters, Eyexam of California
Our firm filed a class action in Los Angeles Federal Court accusing the largest eyeglass frame maker in the world of a bait-and-switch scheme that defrauds consumers and breaks California law. The lawsuit accuses the defendants Luxottica Retail North America (LRNA), LensCrafters, and Eyexam of California of breaking long-standing laws regulating optometry and the eyeglass industry. For example, LRNA and Eyexam of California engage in fraudulent and unlawful conduct by baiting customers into their retail locations by advertising the availability of eye exams by “independent doctors of optometry.” California law prohibits corporations from being able to exert direct or indirect influence over optometrists. LRNA openly violates these regulations by offering in-store eye examinations at their retail locations from on-site optometrists who are subject to their indirect control and influence through the optometrists’ employment with LRNA’s wholly-owned subsidiary Eyexam of California. As a result of this arrangement, optometrists: have little control over the services they can provide; have no control over the way they write prescriptions; have no control over staffing, work hours, fees they charge, advertisements in their office space; and have limited control over patients’ records. In addition, LRNA employees often sit in on optometrists’ exams in order to ensure that the information being communicated to patients by the optometrists is consistent with LRNA’s business strategy.
BP/California – Hogan/Melamed v. BP West Coast Products LLP
In a potential class action, Kabateck Brown Kellner is representing a large group of ARCO/AMPM franchise owners against ARCO/BP. In this case, the franchises allege that ARCO/BP encouraged them to test a new inventory tracking system manufactured by a publicly-traded company called Retalix. Unfortunately, the software experienced serious and costly problems, including full system shutdowns, ghost transactions, non-compliant releases, and security vulnerabilities. After detecting and noting these problems, ARCO/BP shut down the pilot program in California, but reopened it on the East Coast. The problems persisted there. ARCO/BP was eventually sued by East Coast franchisees, and settled that case. Despite a mandatory “upgrade” to the program in California in 2009, the problems persist. The class action seeks injunctive relief against the company and compensation for further losses.