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Lori Prapas

Lori PrapasLori Prapas is an attorney and writer. Admitted to practice in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and before the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Lori has been published in the Rutgers Law Journal and The Legal Intelligencier. Lori has studied at Tulane University, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and Rutgers Law School, and is an active freelance writer and ghostwriter. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two children and gardening.


H&M Plaintiffs Rely on Starbucks Workers’ Win To Bolster Case

August 19, 2018.
San Francisco, CA When an employee brings a lawsuit alleging that they were not paid for all the time that they were lawfully owed under federal law, employers will frequently raise something called the de minimis doctrine in defense. This doctrine holds that working time that is trivially small, for instance a few seconds or minutes beyond working hours, may be disregarded (and unpaid). Recently, in Troester v. Starbucks, Starbucks attempted to raise this defense to claims brought under California state law, and the California Supreme Court rejected it—finding that a Starbucks shift supervisor should have been paid for work performed before and after clocking out for the day. Now, Plaintiffs in another California unpaid wages lawsuit, Ser Lao v. H & M, have filed a notice of “new authority” to support their claim, citing the Troester decision. The Troester decision could open doors for many similar lawsuits.
Read [ H&M Plaintiffs Rely on Starbucks Workers’ Win To Bolster Case ]

Monsanto Glyphosate Lawsuit: Expert Testimony Deemed Credible Enough for Trial

August 8, 2018.
San Francisco, CA Roundup Weed Killer has been used by homeowners, schools, gardeners, and farmers since its development in the 1970s. Its usage has increased exponentially since the 1990s when genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were developed that can survive heavy applications of Roundup, enabling farmers to kill all types of weeds but not the desired crops. In 2015, an arm of the World Health Organization (France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer “IARC”), designated glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a probable human carcinogen. Thousands of Monsanto glyphosate lawsuits over alleged Roundup cancer followed. Now Plaintiffs have cleared a crucial hurdle. A judge has ruled that the preliminary opinions of three experts linking glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were not “junk science,” and should be permitted for a jury’s consideration.
Read [ Monsanto Glyphosate Lawsuit: Expert Testimony Deemed Credible Enough for Trial ]

SoCal Drywall Company Fined $1.9M for Wage Theft Violations

August 7, 2018.
Fullerton, CA According to California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, it is a known problem: construction companies often pay workers a flat rate rather than for all hours worked, in order to evade having to pay workers the rate required under state laws. This is wage theft, and it is a violation of California state labor laws. The state Labor Commissioner’s Office began an investigation into Fullerton Pacific Interiors Inc. (“Fullerton’s”) practices after employees reported the company to a nonprofit labor management organization, Carpenters Contractors Cooperation Committee. The outcome of that investigation was a $1.9 million dollar penalty, to be distributed primarily to the workers who were shorted pay.
Read [ SoCal Drywall Company Fined $1.9M for Wage Theft Violations ]

Flight Attendants Anticipate $60 Million Award for California Labor Law Violations

July 25, 2018.
San Francisco, CA Several years after a Federal District Court certified a class of 1,400 Virgin America flight attendants who alleged that their employer violated numerous California state labor laws, U.S. District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar has granted them summary judgment. The flight attendants claimed that they were paid based on a “block time” schedule, which would begin when they arrived at the gate, and end when they left the gate. This meant that they were not paid for time spent writing up incident reports before and after flights, undergoing mandatory training, taking required drug tests, and waiting for passengers to board and deplane. They also allege that they were not provided with accurate wage statements. The flight attendants have now prevailed in their motion for summary judgment, and the case will proceed for the limited purpose of establishing exactly how much they are owed.
Read [ Flight Attendants Anticipate $60 Million Award for California Labor Law Violations ]

Truckers Hauling to Trial Against J.B. Hunt for Alleged Wage and Hour Violations

July 20, 2018.
Los Angeles, CA A group of 11,000 truck drivers filed a California unpaid wages lawsuit back in 2009, alleging that one of the largest trucking and logistics companies in the United States violated California wage law. The parties fought about whether California state law was pre-empted by the more industry friendly federal law. In a victory for the truckers, the U.S. Supreme Court denied J.B. Hunt’s appeal, leaving in place the District Court’s ruling that California law is controlling. As the parties prepare for a fall trial, J.B. Hunt has moved for summary judgment and to decertify the class. Plaintiff truckers have just filed an opposition to that motion, saying that the claims of all 11,000 truckers are similar enough to justify class action status.
Read [ Truckers Hauling to Trial Against J.B. Hunt for Alleged Wage and Hour Violations ]

Court Orders Unum Doctor to Reveal How Much He Was Paid for His Opinion

July 17, 2018.
New Orleans, LA Unum Group has come under scrutiny yet again for alleged deceptive practices. This time the insurance giant has lost a battle in the Wittmann v. Unum Life Insurance Co. litigation. Plaintiff attorney Anne Wittmann, who alleges that she was wrongfully denied disability benefits, subpoenaed financial records from James H. Bress, M.D., who Unum hired to review her claim. Unum Group fought back, by moving to quash the subpoena. On July 11, 2018, a Federal District Judge in Louisiana Ordered that the records be turned over so Plaintiffs can ascertain whether his opinion was swayed by a financial dependence on the insurance carrier.
Read [ Court Orders Unum Doctor to Reveal How Much He Was Paid for His Opinion ]

Intel to Shell Out $5M to Settle California Unpaid Wages Lawsuit

July 16, 2018.
Santa Clara, CA Plaintiff Medina Asalati was formerly employed by Intel Corp. as an administrative assistant. She lead a class of over 3,000 hourly Intel employees including admins, clerical workers, janitors, and logistical support specialists in a class action lawsuit that has been resolved for millions of dollars. Intel denies any wrongdoing in the settlement agreement, but the Plaintiffs allege that they were expected to work extremely long hours in a demanding environment without meal and rest breaks. The relatively large $5 million award could make big waves in California Unpaid Wages lawsuit news if and when it is officially approved by the court.
Read [ Intel to Shell Out $5M to Settle California Unpaid Wages Lawsuit ]

Cheesecake Factory Found Liable for $4.57 Million Wage Theft

July 3, 2018.
San Diego, CA The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has found that The Cheesecake Factory and its janitorial contractor, Americlean Janitorial Services Corp., engaged in wage theft, withholding millions of dollars that were lawfully earned under California prevailing wage law. Americlean subcontracted the night cleaning work to another company, Magic Touch. It is not uncommon for California employers to rely on multiple layers of contractors and fluid entities to perpetrate wage theft, particularly in all-cash enterprises like the janitorial industry. However, Cheesecake Factory and Americlean have been found equally liable for the workplace violations of subcontractor Magic Touch under California Assembly Bill 1897, which holds employers liable for the violations of their contractors.
Read [ Cheesecake Factory Found Liable for $4.57 Million Wage Theft ]

Big Law Employee Sues Unum Group for Denial of Benefits

June 22, 2018.
Greeneville, TN: On May 14, 2018, Janet Mitchell, a former employee of the mega law firm Jones Day, filed a lawsuit against both Unum and Jones Day in a Tennessee Federal Court. Mitchell states that she suffers from a constellation of health conditions that prevent her from being able to work, including coronary artery disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, hypertension, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She alleges that Unum denied her claim for long-term disability benefits even though several of her treating physicians provided Unum with medical reports supporting her claim. Yet Unum denied her claim without ever having one of its own physicians examine her. The lawsuit says the denial was issued in bad faith, in order for Unum Provident to meet its monthly target.
Read [ Big Law Employee Sues Unum Group for Denial of Benefits ]

Unlicensed Drivers Cause Two Recent California Car Accidents in One Week

June 22, 2018.
San Jose, CA: On May 20, 2018, an Acura TL driven by a 16-year-old unlicensed driver jumped a curb on Highway 101, and skidded down an embankment before it was struck by another vehicle, killing a teen passenger. One week later, on Memorial Day, a stolen car driven by a 13-year-old was fleeing San Jose police when it collided with another vehicle in a head on crash, critically injuring one passenger and harming four others. California is notorious for its high rate of uninsured drivers, resulting in a large number of California car accidents. Accidents with an uninsured driver can result in the uncertainty of whether one’s injuries and property damage will be compensated, and if so, how?
Read [ Unlicensed Drivers Cause Two Recent California Car Accidents in One Week ]

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