Current Investigations & Cases
Current Investigations & Cases
If you have any information to assist in our investigation of any of the cases below, and are not a current manager with these companies, please contact us.
Boothe v. Dauphins, LLC
Named Plaintiffs Tara Booth and Jutta Mayland filed a lawsuit against Dauphin’s on behalf of themselves and other current and former servers alleging that Dauphins’ restaurant failed to pay its servers minimum wage and overtime compensation as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).
In the lawsuit, Plaintiffs allege that they and other servers working for Dauphin’s were paid a tip credit wage of $2.13 per hour, but should have been paid the full minimum wage required under the FLSA of $7.25 because: (1) they were required to share tips with other employees of Dauphin’s, including Dining Room Attendants (“DRAs”); (2) they were not provided notice of the tip credit requirements of Section 203(m) of the FLSA prior to being paid a tip credit wage below full minimum wage; (3) that they and other servers were paid a tip credit wage for non-tip earning work, including being required to arrive approximately one hour before the restaurant opened to perform pre-shift work and often worked 30 minutes to one hour after the restaurant closed performing post-shift work; and (4) that they worked more than 40 hours a week during some workweeks, but were not paid overtime compensation for all their hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
In addition to unpaid back wages and overtime, Plaintiffs are seeking liquidated (double) damages equal to their unpaid back wages and overtime, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs from Dauphin’s.
Defendants, Dauphin’s, LLC and Robert G. Baumhower, deny Plaintiffs’ allegations and contend that the Plaintiffs have been, and continue to be, properly paid under the FLSA.
The Court has not decided who is right but has authorized a Notice to inform potential collective action members (i.e., others than may be able to participate in this case) of their rights to join the lawsuit. The Notice can be read here.
To participate in the case and potentially receive monetary compensation potential collective action members must submit a Consent to Join Form by mailing it to Burr & Smith, 9800 4th St. N., Suite 200, St. Petersburg, FL 33702, emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or faxing it to (727) 823-2126 so that it is received by January 24, 2020. The Consent to Join Form can be downloaded here.
Boyd et al. v. SFS Communications, LLC
Plaintiffs filed a class and collective action alleging that SFS Communications, LLC and related entities failed to pay them adequate wages, including minimum and overtime wages for all hours worked, and made improper deductions from their wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Maryland Wage and Hour Law, and the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law. In January 2017, the court conditionally certified the class of all current and former Technicians/Installers who performed installation and repair work in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. for SFS Communications, LLC at any time from December 4, 2012 to the present. The lawsuit seeks unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages, treble damages, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. The case is currently pending in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Boyd et al. v. SFS Communications, et al., Case No.: 8:15-cv-03068-PJM.
Bucceri v. Cumberland Farms, Inc.
Plaintiffs have filed a collective action on behalf of current and former Cumberland Farms Store Managers for unpaid overtime compensation. Plaintiffs allege that they and other Store Managers were improperly classified as exempt employees and denied overtime compensation in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Plaintiffs have obtained conditional certification and 109 current and former Store Managers have join the case as opt-in plaintiffs. This case is Bucceri et al. v. CumberlandFarms, Inc., 1:15-cv-13955-IT (D. Mass).
Crump v. The School Board of Palm Beach County Florida
In this case, the Named Plaintiff Mylene Crump and Agnes Howell filed a lawsuit alleging that they and other similarly situated bus attendants were not paid proper overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by the School District of Palm Beach County, Florida (“School Board”). Plaintiffs alleged that the District failed to pay all overtime compensation that was due during the two years preceding the filing of the complaint. The School Board has denied the allegations entirely. The Court has not decided in favor of Plaintiffs or the School Board, and there has not been a trial. Instead, the parties have reached a proposed agreement to settle these claims on a collective basis for all bus attendants who earned a Merit Payment during any period in which overtime hours were worked between March 1, 2017 and October 10, 2019 (“Relevant Liability Period”).
The Court has authorized a Notice and Consent to Join Form be sent to current and former employees of the School Board who worked as bus attendants, earned at least one Merit Payment during the Relevant Liability Period, and worked over forty (40) hours during any workweek in the month preceding payment of the Merit Payment.
To participate in the case and the settlement, individuals must submit a Consent to Join Form by mail, email, or fax by February 3, 2020.
The Named Plaintiffs and Defendant have consented to have the case decided in full by U.S. Magistrate Judge Dave Lee Brannon. There will be a final approval hearing on April 8, 2020, at which time the Court will decide whether or not to approve the settlement as a final matter.
Jock et al. v. Sterling Jewelers Inc.
In 2015 and 2016, the Arbitrator issued rulings certifying a class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and conditionally certifying a class under the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”). Although the case was set for a trial in early 2018, it has since been stayed while Sterling appealed the Arbitrator’s certification of the Title VII class.
In January 2018, the district court reversed the Arbitrator’s certification of the Title VII class for class members who had not affirmatively joined the arbitration; however, in November 2019, the Court of Appeals granted the Claimants’ appeal of this decision and reinstated the Arbitrator’s ruling certifying the full class of claims. The Court explained that “[a]lthough the absent class members have not affirmatively opted in to this arbitration proceeding, by signing the RESOLVE [Arbitration] Agreement, they consented to the arbitrator’s authority to decide the threshold question of whether the agreement permits class arbitration.” Therefore, the Appeals Court concluded, the Arbitrator had the authority to certify a class that included all women within the class definition who signed RESOLVE agreements. The decision can be read here.
Sterling petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari in an effort to overturn the Court of Appeals’ decision holding that a class of approximately 70,000 women could collectively pursue claims in arbitration. On October 5, 2020, the Supreme Court declined to hear the petition for certiorari, leaving the Second Circuit’s ruling intact.
Claimants will seek to schedule a trial of all claims as quickly as possible and will update this website when that occurs.
On March 24, 2008, on behalf of themselves and other current and former female sales employees of Sterling, Claimants Laryssa Jock, Christy Meierdiercks, Maria House, Denise Maddox, Lisa McConnell, Gloria Huff (Pagan), Judy Reed, Linda Rhodes, Nina Shahmirzadi, Leighla Murphy (Smith), Dawn Souto-Coons, and Marie Wolf, who are current and former female employees of Sterling, filed a lawsuit in arbitration alleging they were paid less than similarly-situated male employees and were denied promotional opportunities because of their gender. The case was filed in arbitration before the American Arbitration Association, a private agency that manages arbitrations, rather than in court, because Sterling’s internal RESOLVE Program requires that employees bring these claims in arbitration, and not in court.
Claimants, on behalf of themselves and other current and former female sales employees of Sterling, sued Sterling in arbitration under federal civil rights laws alleging that Sterling paid them less than male employees performing the same work and denied them opportunities for promotion because of their gender. Specifically, Claimants brought this arbitration under Title VII and the EPA.
Sterling denies that it has discriminated against Claimants or any other current or former female sales employees and alleges that all the pay and promotion decisions that it has made regarding its female employees have been for non-discriminatory reasons.
Female Employees of Sterling Jewelers Win Class Certification of Title VII Claims and Conditional Certification for Equal Pay Act Claims
EQUAL PAY ACT CLAIMS
On February 29, 2016, the Arbitrator in the action Jock et al. v. Sterling Jewelers Inc. issued two important rulings. First, the Arbitrator ruled that current and former female sales employees of Sterling together may pursue their claims under the Equal Pay Act, in which they claim that Sterling paid them less than males performing the same work in the same establishment. Second, the Arbitrator granted Claimants’ request for equitable tolling (meaning that a statute of limitations on bringing a claim is extended) that allows these female employees to reach back thirteen years to bring their claims if they worked as sales associates, department managers, assistant managers, or store managers for Sterling anytime between October 16, 2003 and the present day. The ruling conditionally certifying the Equal Pay Act claims can be read here. The Equal Pay Act requires potential members of the collective action to indicate that they wish to join the collective action by submitting a Consent to Join form.
Class counsel mailed out Consent-to-Join forms, as stipulated in the February 29, 2016 Order, to Claimants who qualified for the Equal Pay Act claims. The deadline to return these consent forms passed in September 2016.
TITLE VII CLAIMS
The above rulings are in addition to the Arbitrator’s ruling on February 2, 2015 that allowed current and former female sales employees of Sterling to pursue together in a class action their claims under Title VII. Specifically, on February 2, 2015, after a lengthy hearing and extensive briefing, Arbitrator Kathleen Roberts issued a ruling certifying a class, which includes approximately 70,000 current and former women employees at Sterling Jewelers Inc.’s retail stores nationwide dating back to 2004 and going forward to the present and up to the first day of trial. Three aspects of the ruling are important for Claimants to know. First, the ruling permits the class to try, on a class-wide basis, claims alleging that Sterling’s pay and promotion practices have had an adverse effect on women sales employees. If the class succeeds in proving that the challenged pay and promotion practices were discriminatory, then, the Arbitrator also ruled, the class may seek class-wide changes to the challenged pay and promotion practices. Second, the ruling also provides that if the class proves the challenged practices were discriminatory, the Arbitrator will establish procedures to allow class members to recover damages for the wages and promotional opportunities lost because of the discrimination. Third, the Arbitrator also ruled that the claim alleging intentional discrimination did not satisfy the new high standard for class certification that the Supreme Court recently announced. However, the Named Claimants and current and former employees may still pursue individual claims of intentional discrimination. The ruling (Class Determination Award) can be read here.
Sterling subsequently challenged the Arbitrator’s decision to bind a larger group to the class action arbitration. Sterling contends that the Arbitrator has exceeded her authority by allowing a larger group to bind to this class action arbitration, as they never submitted to her authority or presented to her the question of whether the RESOLVE agreement permits class action arbitration. On January 16, 2018, the district court of the Southern District of New York (Rakoff, J.) granted Sterling’s motion in part, vacating class certification of the Title VII claims to the extent that members of the class did not affirmatively consent to join this action. Claimants appealed the district court’s decision and argument on that appeal took place in early May of 2019. The trial on liability of the EPA and Title VII class and collective action claims, originally scheduled for March 26, 2018, has been stayed pending the Second Circuit’s decision.
The November 2019 decision of the Second Circuit, which reversed the decision of the Southern District of New York, held that Sterling employees, by entering into the RESOLVE agreement, consented to “the [A]rbitrator’s authority to decide the threshold question of whether the agreement permits class arbitration.”
The Arbitrator has tolled the statute of the limitations of the claims of the women who were members of the Title VII class.
Other Important Decisions
On February 3, 2015, following the issuance of the Class Determination Award, Sterling sent an email to all its employees, including members of the certified class arbitration, describing the Arbitrator’s Award in a way that the Arbitrator characterized as “improper” and erroneous. Class Counsel challenged Sterling’s memo to its employees on grounds that it was misleading.
On March 16, 2015, the Arbitrator ruled that Sterling’s February 3, 2015 email communication to its employees “presents a seriously incomplete and misleading description of the [Class Determination] Award that diminishes the significance of the Award and could potentially discourage interest and participation in the class arbitrations.” She found Sterling’s email “fail[ed] to convey the central determination of the Award: the certification of a class of tens of thousands of current and former female employees with respect to claims of discrimination based upon disparate impact.”
In this decision, the Arbitrator reiterated that that class members to the Arbitration are represented by Class Counsel (contact information provided below) and that Sterling’s attorneys are prohibited from contacting class members with respect to the subject matter of the Arbitration unless approved by Class Counsel or by order of the Arbitrator. The Arbitrator’s Order can be read here.
Questions and Contact Information
If you have any questions about your rights or role in regards to this case, please contact us, Class Counsel. It is very important that anyone, female or male, who has information about these discrimination allegations or more generally about how Sterling has treated its women employees please call us, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC at 202-408-4600 (ask for Gustavo Berrizbeitia). You may also contact our co-counsel Burr & Smith, LLP at 813-253-2010 (ask for Trish Smith); or Thomas A. Warren Law Offices, P.L., (ask for Misty McKinnon) toll-free at 866-854-5152. We are interested in speaking with former or current employees, both male and female. (Please note that we are not ethically permitted to discuss the case with current managers unless they believe they have experienced or are experiencing gender discrimination at Sterling).
Roberts v. The TJX Companies, Inc., et al.
(Marshalls and HomeGoods Stores)
Plaintiffs in Roberts et al. v. The TJX Companies et al., 1:13-CV-13142 (D. Mass.), on behalf of themselves and other Merchandise Assistant Store Managers have filed a class and collective action against TJX entities d/b/a HomeGoods and Marshalls in the United States District Court for Massachusetts alleging Merchandise Assistant Managers were misclassified as exempt and were denied overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of forty hours in a work week in the performance of this work. Plaintiffs have brought their claims under federal law for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and under state law for violations of New York Labor Laws and seek unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. On March 31, 2017, the court granted conditional certification of the FLSA claims on behalf of all Merchandise Assistant Managers who worked at Home Goods and Marshalls at any time from November 1, 2012 to March 31, 2017.
Woznicki vs. Raydon Corporation et al.
On December 5, 2018, Plaintiff Stephanie Woznicki filed a putative class action in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando against Raydon Corporation, as well as Donald K. Ariel, David P. Donovan, the ESOP Committee of the Raydon Corporation Employee Stock Ownership Plan and Lubbock National Bank under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) on behalf of herself and a class of participants in, and beneficiaries of, the Raydon Corporation Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“the ESOP” or “the Plan”) to restore losses to the Plan.
These claims arise out of a transaction on September 30, 2015 in which Defendants Donald K. Ariel and David P. Donovan sold 100% of the stock of Raydon Corporation (“the September 2015 ESOP Transaction”) to the ESOP for $60,500,000, and alleged subsequent breaches by the fiduciaries of the ESOP. The ESOP’s stock was valued by Lubbock National Bank at only $4,550,000 as of December 31, 2017.
Plaintiff alleges that the Transaction was not designed to be in the best interests of the ESOP participants; the selling shareholders failed to disclose material information to the Trustee, Defendant Lubbock National Bank, about the loss of a key contract; and Defendant Lubbock National Bank failed to perform adequate due diligence and caused the ESOP to pay in excess of fair market value. As a result of alleged violations of ERISA’s fiduciary rules by the fiduciaries entrusted with their Plan, Plaintiff and other ESOP participants and beneficiaries allege they have not received all of the hard-earned retirement benefits or the loyal and prudent management of the ESOP to which they are entitled.
The Putative Class Action Complaint can be downloaded here.
If you have any information or questions about the case please contact us.
Plaintiff is represented by Sam Smith and Loren Donnell, BURR & SMITH, LLP and our co-counsel, Daniel Feinberg, FEINBERG, JACKSON, WORTHMAN & WASOW LLP, Berkeley, CA, who can be reached at (510) 269-7998 and R. Joseph Barton, BLOCK & LEVITON LLP, Washington, DC, who can be reached at (202) 734-7046.
The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. We will also provide you on request with additional information on any other statements contained in this website.
© Copyright 2020, Burr & Smith, LLP, All Rights Reserved