Messing Adam & Jasmine LLP is pleased to report that San Francisco Superior Court Judge Andrew Cheng has tentatively granted preliminary approval of a $155 million settlement of wage and hour claims filed by a class of more than 10,000 current and retired correctional sergeants and lieutenants against the State of California and its Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation. The landmark settlement resolves claims for unpaid overtime wages for preliminary and postliminary work activities, such as security searches, tool pick up, and pre-shift supervisory responsibilities, extending back to 2005.
The class action lawsuit, which was coordinated under California Correctional Employees Wage and Hour Cases, was initially filed by MAJ attorneys in 2008, while they worked at Carroll, Burdick & McDonough LLP (“CBM”), on behalf of four named plaintiffs who were members of the California Correctional Peace Officers’ Association. Following trial in 2013, the claims were dismissed. After plaintiffs appealed, the First District Court of Appeal reinstated the claims in 2016. And after both sides petitioned the California Supreme Court for review, in its ruling in Stoetzl v. California Department of Human Resources (2019) 7 Cal.5th 718, the Supreme Court reaffirmed California public employees’ right to enforce their employer’s overtime policies through a breach of contract action – consistent with a line of authority CBM litigated first in Madera Police Officers Assn. v. City of Madera (1984) 36 Cal.3d 403 and again in White v. Davis (2003) 30 Cal.4th 528.
The settlement will be subject to a final approval process before Judge Cheng and legislative appropriation.
MAJ attorney Gregg Adam served as Lead Class Counsel for the entirety of the case, ably supported by Gary Messing and Wendi Berkowitz. Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP and Goyette Law West APC also represented the plaintiff class.
If you have any questions about this alert, please contact Gregg Adam in our San Francisco office.