Bryan J. Schwartz awarded the 2018 Attorney-Adovcate of the Year Award from the Wage Justice Center
September 5, 2018, Los Angeles – Today, Bryan J. Schwartz, principal at the law firm Bryan Schwartz Law, will accept the 2018 Attorney- Advocate of the Year Award from the Wage Justice Center at an evening fundraiser in Los Angeles, California.
The Wage Justice Center fights for economic justice on behalf of low-wage workers in California. The non-profit organization specializes in piercing corporate shell games to hold employers accountable when they commit wage theft.
Bryan Schwartz Law regularly represents low-wage workers in wage and hour class actions. The firm seeks swift relief for its clients, and pursues justice for as long as it takes.
One of the firm’s signature cases involves wage violations at restaurants in Los Angeles and Orange County, in which the wealthy owner of a defunct business attempted to shield himself from personal liability for the business’s wage violations. After workers filed the class action suit, the employer immediately fired the named plaintiff, later closed his restaurants, and filed for personal and corporate bankruptcy. During nearly eight years of litigation, Bryan and his firm won over $1.5 million in back wages, damages, penalties, fees and costs from the individual employer on behalf of the terminated employee (whose wage loss was determined to be $3,000) after victories in bankruptcy court, a bench trial, a jury trial, several trips to the Court of Appeal, and collections proceedings. See Quiles, et. al. v. Koji’s Japan, Inc. et al. (Orange Cnty. Sup. Ct.) Case No. 30-2010-00425532.
The firm continues its fight for the class of restaurant employees who suffered wage violations, after securing a major victory at the court of appeals. In Turman, et al., v. Superior Court (2017) 17 Cal.App.5th 969, California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three (in Orange County), held that an individual owner and president of a closely-held corporation may be personally liable in a lawsuit to recover overtime, meal and rest period premiums, tip compensation, and minimum wages under California law. Turman provides the first published state appellate interpretation of Martinez v. Combs (2010) 49 Cal.4th 35, the California Supreme Court’s marquee decision on the definition of an “employer,” as it applies to personal rather than corporate liability. On remand, the Superior Court recently ruled that the individual owner of the restaurants was may be liable as a joint employer with respect to the class claims under the Labor Code, Wage Orders, Business & Professions Code, and Private Attorneys’ General Act.
“I am honored that the Wage Justice Center has recognized my firm’s dogged representation of restaurant workers in the Quiles/Turmanlitigation with the 2018 Attorney Advocate Award,” says Bryan Schwartz. “I have the greatest admiration for my clients – who for eight years have continued this fight to seek justice on behalf of their co-workers.”
For more information about Bryan Schwartz Law, please contact Bryan Schwartz at Bryan@BryanSchwartzLaw.com.