BCH’s $14.5M Settlement For Unpaid Dog Handlers Profiled by Law360

A case recently handled by our legal team has been profiled in a feature article on Law360.

As the article notes, BCH – which served as co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs – helped secure a $14.5M recovery for hundreds of security dog handlers who alleged they were not paid for time they spent training their K-9s.

While you can access the full article here, the details of the case (Case No. 1:17-cv-05468, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York) concerned 17 named plaintiffs who brought a series of lawsuits against security company Michael Stapleton Associates Ltd., a business which trained dogs for security purposes and operated as MSA Security.

Lawsuits brought by the plaintiffs claimed MSA Security violated state and federal wage laws by failing to pay workers overtime pay for the hours they spent training program dogs at their homes. Two workers additionally claimed they were victims of retaliation for joining the litigation.

The cases were combined in April of 2018, and a settlement deal was negotiated and drafted in March 2019. The presiding judge approved the deal on Friday, August 9, 2019, a day after he stated the settlement provided a reasonable resolution to “difficult and unsettled issues involving wage-and-hour-laws” at a fairness hearing.

The Judge’s approval allows for the $14.5M million total payouts for plaintiffs to be dispersed as follows:

During the final hearing, the Judge agreed that the settlement was reasonable and that attorneys representing the plaintiffs – which includes Robert Cowan and our team at BCH – "vigorously prosecuted this case and conducted an extensive investigation."

We congratulate Rob and our firm’s legal team on their latest victory. BCH has an active practice representing workers across Texas and the U.S. in matters involving employment law and violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including overtime claimswage and hour disputessexual harassment, and more. Call or contact us to speak with an attorney.

Women Continue to Come Forward to Speak About the Damage Essure Caused

New reports of women injured by Essure Permanent Birth Control System continue to flood the news across the globe. Recently, two women who are involved with the class action lawsuit against Bayer, the company that manufactures and distributes this product – at least until it leaves shelves at the end of the year – spoke about their experiences following the procedure to implant it.

“You get this birth control thinking, ‘Ok, I’ve done the best thing for me and my family,’ and it turns out to be the worst decision of your life,” says Latisha Montgomery of Rockford, IL. “It’s constant, it’s constant pain.”

“I went through hell for five years, absolutely hell,” says Ela Woolger of South Beloit, IL. “There were days I didn’t want to take care of my kid because I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed.”

Latisha and Ela’s tragic stories are shared by tens of thousands of women in the United States alone. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received an estimated 27,000 reports of adverse side effects caused by Essure. In response, the FDA forced Bayer to implement both a patient checklist and a black box warning on its product to ensure that people were fully informed when using its product. Despite these precautions, women continued to come forward to file complaints with the FDA, leading the administration to restrict sales of Essure in April of 2018 before Bayer announced that it was discontinuing sales of its product.

“The device has been associated with serious risks including persistent pain, perforation of the uterus and fallopian tubes, and migration of the coils into the pelvis or abdomen,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. wrote in a statement posted on the agency’s website. “As the FDA learned more from patients about the serious adverse events associated with this device, we took a series of important actions to better understand the benefits and risks, and to address patient safety concerns.”

Our Houston drug injury attorneys at Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC continue to hear stories about how this permanent birth control device affects the lives of women across the country and around the world. If you suffered serious injuries caused by Essure Permanent Birth Control System, give us a call at to discuss your legal options with a member of our firm today. You can also send us your information through our online form to set up a case consultation and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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JPMorgan Chase & Co. Agreed to $16.7 Million Settlement in Overtime Dispute

JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to a $16.7 million settlement with a group of assistant branch managers who filed a lawsuit stating that the banking giant had misclassified them as overtime-exempt employees.

The putative classes claiming violations of Connecticut, Illinois, and New York laws, and one class bringing claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will receive more than $3,000 per member on average to cover unpaid overtime from as far back as 2012.

The lawsuit was first filed in March of 2014 before being certified in September of 2016.

“Given all the risks plaintiffs faced (obtaining class certification, maintaining collective action certification, defeating the class and collective action arbitration waivers, winning liability, proving damages, winning the appeal, etc.) and recognizing that plaintiffs did not work overtime in multiple weeks per year when they took time off or when there were bank holidays, an average gross settlement of about $3,086 is reasonable in this highly-contested matter,” the proposed settlement agreement said.

At Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC, our Houston overtime attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights of workers, no matter the size of the company they’re facing down. Since we first opened our doors, we have successfully fought for and secured the legal outcome our clients need. Call us to learn more about what we can do for you, or fill out our online form to start out with a free case consultation.

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Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc. Pays $1.5 Million Settlement in Overtime Wage Dispute

Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc. asked a Wisconsin federal judge to approve a $1.5 million settlement with their employer over wage disputes.

In their lawsuit, the employees claimed that the time-share developer required its employees to work off the clock without receiving overtime pay. According to sales representative Thomas Bitner, Wyndham allegedly forced employees to clock out while closing sales with potential customers in order to prevent their hours from exceeding 40 hours per week.

“The class members’ response to the settlement has been positive, with no class members submitting an exclusion or objection,” the motion said. “Given that this case has proceeded through four years of hotly contested litigation and was being prepared for trial, this result is of great benefit to the class considering the risks of nonrecovery had the case gone to trial.”

Wyndham, the largest time-share developer in the world with more than 185 resorts in countries across the globe, previously attempted to argue that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was not created to provide salespeople in white collar jobs with additional compensation. When that argument failed to gain traction, they attempted to get the class decertified, which was denied by a judge.

At Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC, our Houston overtime lawyers are committed to providing our clients with the knowledgeable legal representation they deserve. Send us your information today to request a free consultation, or call us to discuss your case over the phone.

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BCH Attorney Aaron Heckaman to Speak at AAJ Asbestos Litigation Group Monthly Update

The American Association for Justice (AAJ) is set to have their monthly update on Friday, November 3.

This monthly call will update members of the AAJ’s Asbestos Litigation Group (ALG) about the latest news, and will discuss new and emerging topics that members of the group are facing in their asbestos cases.

Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC attorney Aaron Heckaman is one of the guest speakers invited to address the attendees. He is joined by Julia Duncan, Andrew Rodgers, and Robert Paul.

ALG members still have time to sign up for this online seminar through the organization’s secure website. Those who are unable to attend will be able to view the program through the on-demand catalog 24 hours after the update is finished.

Our Houston asbestos attorneys at Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC are dedicated to using the knowledge we’ve gained over the years to help our clients fight for and secure the legal outcome they deserve. If you or someone you love suffers from mesothelioma, give us a call to discuss your situation over the phone, or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation today.

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AT&T, Training Managers Agree to $2.75 Million Settlement

A California federal judge recently approved a $2.75 million settlement between AT&T and a class of corporate training managers who alleged that the multi-billion dollar company misclassified them as independent contractors and failed to pay them overtime.

The proposed settlement included a hybrid fund that combines a claims-made fund for people who live outside of California and have not yet asserted a claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and a common fund for class members in California and FLSA opt-ins.

“Settlement now saves class members significant risk of no recovery, the cost of individual litigation, and the delay inherent in further litigation and possible appeals. The litigation is highly complex, both procedurally and substantively,” the complaint said. “Further litigation could easily last several more years and investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars more in costs, and a million dollars or more of attorney time.”

The suit was initially filed in 2015 when training managers tasked with teaching employees at AT&T about its policies and vendors discovered that they were misclassified as independent contractors and therefore exempt from overtime pay.

Our Houston overtime attorneys at Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC have dedicated their careers to providing people whose companies failed to pay them the money they are owed with the legal assistance they deserve. Call us today to learn more about what we can do for you, or schedule a free consultation today by filling out our online form.

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Rental Car Companies Agree to Pay Nearly $2 Million Owed in Back Pay

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries announced that rental car companies Thrifty and Hertz have agreed to pay nearly $2 million in back pay owed to their workers in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport under the city’s increased minimum wage law.

State officials reported that 157 workers filed claims with the state labor department for the wages they were owed from January of 2014 through September of 2015.

"People have a right to get paid what they've worked hard for," labor department director Joel Sacks said in a statement. "Now that this agreement is in place, we're moving ahead to get this money into the hands of the people who worked hard for it.”

Seattle’s $15 minimum wage took effect at the beginning of 2014, and the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the increased wage also applied to companies located at the airport. The two sides were able to come to an agreement without going to court. According to Matthew Erlich, a spokesperson for the labor department, the deal was made after the complaints were filed with the department.

Workers will receive anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $30,000, including interest. The back wages owed totaled approximately $1.51 million, while the interest ended up being about $458,000 according to the state.

If you are looking to hire an experienced attorney to help you handle your case against your employer, our Houston overtime attorneys at Bailey Peavy Bailey Cowan Heckaman are ready to help you fight for the legal outcome you deserve. With decades of experience facing off against both individuals and massive corporations in court and at the negotiation table, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands when you hire us to represent you. Call us to discuss your situation over the phone, or schedule a free consultation through our online form today.

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Judge Grants Preliminary Approval on $8.5 Million Deal to Resolve Wage, Overtime Dispute

Rock-Tenn Co. was granted preliminary approval on an $8.5 million deal to resolve a class action that claimed the paper and packaging company deprived over 800 of their factory workers overtime, wages, and proper breaks.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu M. Berle quickly signed off on the agreement during the hearing, finding it “fair, reasonable and adequate.”

The class action was first filed five years ago, and went through multiple rounds of mediation before finally coming to a suitable arrangement.

“The parties went into mediation willing to explore the potential for settlement but were prepared to litigate their position through trial and appeal if a settlement had not been reached,” the court filing states.

According to the class action against the company formerly known as Rock-Tenn, now called WestRock CP LLC, the company’s policies and practices caused workers to take shortened rest and meal breaks, or even miss them entirely without receiving state-mandated compensation pay. The lawsuit also claimed that employees were shorted on overtime pay by forcing them to work through breaks and off the clock, and by “illegally and inaccurately” tracking their hours worked.

WestRock is one of the biggest paper and packaging companies in the world, with an estimated 42,000 employees working in 30 different countries and $15 billion in annual revenue according to a press release sent out in 2015.

If you have a wage or overtime dispute with your employer, our Houston overtime lawyers may be able to help you fight for and secure the compensation you deserve. Give us a call to explain your situation to one of our lawyers over the phone, or send us your information through our online form to schedule a free consultation with a member of our firm today.

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Matagrano Inc. Agrees to $1.35 Million Settlement Over Wage Dispute

A judge in San Francisco granted final approval to a $1.35 million settlement between Matagrano Inc. and a class of hourly employees who claimed that they weren’t given paid overtime or state-mandated breaks on Tuesday, August 8.

The employees, a group of warehouse workers, ballpark vendors and delivery drivers who worked for the Bay Area beer distributor first filed their lawsuit in February of 2016. They alleged that the company violated California laws that govern unfair competition, record keeping, timely wage payments, overtime and meal and rest breaks. While some concerns were raised about how the settlement would be split, California Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow approved the settlement during the hearing.

“It’s a strong settlement, and a good deal for the class,” Judge Karnow said.

The employees claimed that off-site workers were on call at all times and not allowed to take breaks, yet still saw 30 minutes’ worth of pay taken out for meals. They also claimed that workers weren’t paid for work done off the clock, like when drivers traveled from home in company vehicles yet did not receive compensation for the time spent commuting.

Our Houston overtime lawyers at Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC have dedicated their careers to fighting for the rights of those in need, and remain committed to securing the legal outcome that will put our clients in the best position possible moving forwards. If you have a wage dispute with your employer, contact our firm today to discuss your legal options by giving us a call or by filling out our online form to start out with a free evaluation.

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Gas Station Owners in New Jersey Agree to Pay Almost $500,000 in Back Wages

Six gas station owners in New Jersey recently agreed to pay 27 of their employees almost $500,000 in damages and back pay to resolve claims that their employers violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The United States Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division states that the gas station owners paid their employees a flat salary every month between $2,200 and $2,400, which violated the FLSA’s record-keeping, minimum wage and overtime requirements.

During the Department of Labor’s investigation, they found that the employees worked 70 hours per week on average, and we not paid premium pay for their time spent working overtime. They also found that the employers failed to maintain payroll and time records.

"Not paying employees the wages they've earned seriously impacts low-wage employees, such as gas station attendants, causing them hardships as they try to support themselves and their families," Charlene Rachor, director of the Wage and Hour Division's Southern New Jersey District Office, said in a statement.

Gas stations in Oregon and New Jersey are required to employ full-service gas station attendants to provide customer-related services and operate the station’s gas pumps due to the fact that state laws prevent motorists from pumping gas themselves.

"The U.S. Department of Labor remains focused on New Jersey's gas stations to determine if FLSA violations exist. If violations are found, we will vigorously pursue corrective action to ensure accountability, deter future violations and prevent violators from gaining a competitive advantage," Rachor said.

If you are looking to hire an experienced and dedicated legal team to help you secure the compensation you deserve, contact our Houston FLSA attorneys at Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC today. We have significant experience handling these types of cases around the United States, and will work with you to put together a plan of action that best suits your needs. Call us to explain your situation over the phone, or schedule a free consultation by sending us the details of your case through our online form.

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