Select Cases

Meyer, et al. v. Clinton (Department of State): The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) certified a class action, and denied an appeal of the certification decision, and refused to reconsider its decision certifying a class on behalf of all disabled Foreign Service applicants against the U.S. State Department. The Class Agent in the matter, Doering Meyer, is a woman with multiple sclerosis (MS) who qualified for a Foreign Service Officer position after a rigorous screening process – only to be denied employment because her multiple sclerosis automatically disqualified her, under the State Department guidelines challenged in the complaint.

Boyd, et al. v. Bank of America, et al., in which hundreds of residential real estate appraisers won a judgment in a certified a class action challenge to their classification as exempt from overtime. The settlements on behalf of more than 700 staff appraisers and review appraisers paid $41.8 million – with both positions reclassified as non-exempt, entitling these workers to overtime going forward.

Quiles, Turman, et al. v. Koji's Japan, Inc., Arthur J. Parent, Jr., in which the California Court of Appeal held in a published opinion - after seven years of litigation - that the owner and president of a defunct restaurant company could be personally liable to a class of former employees for wage violations, as a joint employer and an alter ego under California law. The trial court thereafter certified class claims against the owner and his company. The original named plaintiff, a server who worked for minimum wage plus tips, was fired in retaliation for filing her class action, and won nearly a million dollar jury verdict in Orange County, for retaliation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, including hundreds of thousands for her and her full fees and costs. 

Bhat v. DC Water & Sewer Authority, in which the water quality manager for DC's water provider was vindicated, after being terminated for disclosing to the EPA excessive lead levels in the drinking water. The Department of Labor's 186-page decision awarded full relief, plus compensatory and punitive damages, after an eight-day public hearing regarding her termination. The case was publicized nationally and internationally on MSNBC, NPR, Voice of America, and the Hindustani Times (India's English daily), among others, and locally (in Washington, DC) on the front page and editorial pages of The Washington Post, on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and WAMU Radio (88.5 FM). The Washington Post editorial after her victory was entitled, "Justice for Seema Bhat."

Sposito-Bernath v. The Board of Trustees of California State University, et al., in which Plaintiff, an administrative assistant for SFSU for over a decade, was placed on administrative leave and required to attend a fitness-for-duty psychological exam by Human Resources after allegedly demonstrating signs of “chemo brain” when she returned to work after receiving aggressive treatment for cancer that resulted in a $575,000 settlement. The case was publicized in the San Francisco Examiner and The Mercury News.

Nigam v. US Dept. of Housing & Urban Development, in which a Bush Cabinet Secretary was found to have discriminated personally against a mid-level manager in a non-selection, based upon race and national origin, and in denying her a bonus after she complained of his discrimination against her, based on retaliation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission awarded the full damages sought, plus extensive injunctive relief, including posting of notices nationwide about the Secretary's unlawful actions. 

Cross v. Smithsonian, in which a whistleblower was fired after exposing extensive corruption at the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum, including top managers' use of the Agency's employees to do the managers' personal projects. The Washington Post described the Agency's wrongdoing, exposed by the employee, in a cover story. Ultimately, the Merit Systems Protection Board affirmed the Judge's decision awarding full relief, and the employee returned to his job with head held high, and with complete backpay, after more than four years of heated litigation. 

Stanfield, et al. v. First NLC, in which a class of approximately 3,000 mortgage industry employees nationwide received a $14 million settlement for alleged overtime and other wage/hour violations, along with reclassifications of thousands of workers as non-exempt.