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Whatever Happened in Banda v. Richard Bagdasarian?

We wondered what happened in Banda v. Richard Bagdasarian, Inc. 2008 WL 888524, one of the penalty/wage cases that was a companion case to Murphy v Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. (2007) 40 C4th 1094, and checked to see if it was still pending. It is not. In April 2008, in an unpublished opinion, the Fourth District, Division Two, ordered the Superior Court to approve a settlement agreement in the matter. In Banda, a class of farmworkers challenged the defendant’s failure to provide meal periods and rest breaks, and its practice of requiring them to taste unwashed and pesticide-laden grapes for sweetness. The claims were brought under the Unfair Competition Law. The first unpublished Fourth District opinion, 2006 WL 1554441, had been transferred by the Supreme Court back to the Fourth District on May 23, 2007, for reconsideration in light of Murphy.

The main provisions of the settlement agreement create a settlement fund to be distributed by a settlement administrator (1) to pay specified fees, costs, and expenses and (2) to make specified payments in compensation for omitted breaks ( Lab.Code, § 226.7) to plaintiffs and other persons employed by defendant during the 2001 and 2002 harvests who show their entitlement under the settlement agreement by timely submitting a settlement claim form. No provision is made for payment of wait time penalties. ( Lab.Code, § 203.) Claimants must execute a release of any and all claims “resulting from or occurring in connection with [the claimant's] employment by [defendant].” The settlement agreement includes a procedure to notify potentially eligible claimants.

...

Pursuant to the Supreme Court's transfer order, the opinion previously filed June 8, 2006, is vacated. Pursuant to the stipulation of the parties, the judgment is reversed. This reversal of the judgment does not indicate a ruling on the merits of the judgment, but serves only to vacate the judgment and restore jurisdiction to the trial court so that it may carry out the following directions implementing and enforcing the parties' settlement agreement.

The clerk of this court is directed to send, with the copy of this opinion sent to the superior court, a copy of the recitals re: stipulation to reverse, with the attached settlement agreement, filed in this court April 2, 2008. The trial court is directed: (1) to approve the settlement agreement, and to approve the form and content of the settlement notice and claim form attached to the settlement agreement; (2) to enter a judgment ordering the agreed permanent injunction, which shall terminate at the conclusion of the 2012 grape harvest, and ordering the parties to abide by the terms of the settlement agreement; and (3) to retain jurisdiction until the permanent injunction is terminated to take any actions necessary to implement and enforce the injunction, the judgment, and the settlement agreement.

The opinion did not mention the dollar amount of the settlement, but two news stories reported that the cash value of the settlement was $585,000.

Comments

Mark Talamantes

Banda v. Bagdasarian was settled on April 29, 2008, after mediation through the Court of Appeal. It was a great settlement for the workers. The case was remanded to the Superior Court, which approved a workforce-wide settlement under B&P 17200. There was no class settlement. The settlement helped 400 farmworkers recover from unpaid rest and meal breaks for only 82 work days during the 2001-2002 harvest season. That's right, 82 days. The Court also issued an injunction against the farmer. Here are the details: $468,000 for the workers; $17,000 for the named plaintiffs; $35,000 for claim administration; and $65,000 for fees. It was our honor to co-counsel with Cal. Rural Legal Assistance on the case. Mark Talamantes, Talamantes/Villegas/Carrera, LLP, San Francisco

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