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May 2009

Supreme Court Opinion Offers No Analysis on Ledbetter Act

Some pundits thought we might be getting an early insight into the Supreme Court's view of the Lily Ledbetter Act. However, after permitting supplemental briefing on the act, the U.S. Supreme Court offered no analysis of it in the Court's pregnancy discrimination decision in AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen (2009) __ U.S. __. The case held that an employer does not necessarily violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act when it pays pension benefits calculated in part under an accrual rule, applied only pre-PDA, that gave less retirement credit for pregnancy than for medical leave generally. Because AT&T’s pension payments accord with a bona fide seniority system’s terms, they are insulated from challenge under Title VII § 703(h). The majority found that the Ledbetter Act did not apply.

We have accepted supplemental briefing after the ar-gument on the possible effect on this case of the recentamendment to §706(e) of Title VII, adopted in response to Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U. S. 618 (2007), and dealing specifically with discrimination in compensation:

“For purposes of this section, an unlawful employment practice occurs, with respect to discrimination in com-pensation in violation of this title, when a discrimina-tory compensation decision or other practice is adopted, when an individual becomes subject to a dis-criminatory compensation decision or other practice,or when an individual is affected by application of a discriminatory compensation decision or other prac-tice, including each time wages, benefits, or othercompensation is paid, resulting in whole or in partfrom such a decision or other practice.” Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Pub. L. 111–2, §3(A), 123 Stat.5–6.

Hulteen argues that payment of the pension benefits atissue in this case marks the moment at which she “is affected by application of a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice,” and she reads the statute as providing that such a “decision or other practice” may not be applied to her disadvantage.

But the answer to this claim is essentially the same as the answer to Hulteen’s argument that §706(e)(2) helpsher, supra, at 11–12. For the reasons already discussed, AT&T’s pre-PDA decision not to award Hulteen service credit for pregnancy leave was not discriminatory, with the consequence that Hulteen has not been “affected by application of a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice.” §3(A), 123 Stat. 6.

The dissent by Justice Ginburg made no mention of the Ledbetter Act.

On Sonia Sotomayor and Her Record in Employment-Related Matters

President Obama on Tuesday nominated federal appellate Judge Sonia Sotomayor, 54, to the U.S. Supreme Court. She would be the first Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court justice. Sotomayor was appointed to the bench George Bush, and nominated to the Circuit Court of Appeals by Bill Clinton. Some business interests are cheering the nomination. However, she is endorsed by quite a few labor organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the Coalition of Labor Union Women and NELA, which said this about her in its May 27, 2009 press release:

As a District and Circuit Judge, Judge Sotomayor has enforced the rights of all individuals to be free from discrimination in the workplace, to be paid wages that they have earned, to receive benefits to which they are entitled, and to be free from retaliation for standing up for their rights. Her record in employment cases is an example of the impartiality and open mind that she will bring to the Supreme Court.

Her most famous case is probably a 1995 District Court decision in which Sotomayor issued an injunction, favoring Major League Baseball players over owners, that led to the end of the 1994-95 MLB strike that had caused the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. Silverman v. Major League Baseball Player Relations Committee (S.D.N.Y. 1995) 880 F.Supp. 246. At the moment, the case that seems to be gathering the most attention is an unpublished 2008 per curiam opinion in Ricci v. DeStefano(SCOTUS Case Nos. 07-1428 & 08-328), in which she joined the majority in supporting the city of New Haven, Connecticut's decision to leave firefighter positions unfilled after testing that would have resulted in 17 white candidates and 1 Hispanic candidate being hired, to the exclusion of several black applicants. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari and heard arguments in the case last month. She also ruled against the plaintiffs in Clarett v. National Football League(2nd Cir. 2004) 369 F.3d 124, the case that left Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett and USC wide receiver Mike Williams ineligible to join the NFL after their sophomore seasons. Some other notable decisions:

  • Singh v. City of New York (2nd Cir. 2001) 524 F.3d 361, upholding the denial of commuting time claims in an FLSA case;
  • In re Visa Check (2nd Cir. 2001) 280 F.3d 124, upholding class certification in a consumer case against VISA and Mastercard;
  • Raniola v. Bratton (2nd Cir. 2001) 243 F.3d 610, reversing the dismissal of a female police officer’s complaint for discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment;
  • Moore v. Consolidated Edison Co. (2nd Cir. 2001) 409 F.3d 506, upholding the denial of injunctive relief for an employee claiming wrongful termination;
  • Washington v. County of Rockland (2nd Cir. 2001) 373 F.3d 310, upholding summary judgment in a race discrimination case;
  • Williams v. R.H. Donnelley Corp. (2nd Cir. 2004) 368 F.3d 123, upholding summary judgment in an employment discrimination case;
  • Parker v. Columbia Pictures Industries (2nd Cir. 2000) 204 F.3d 326, reversing an employer's summary judgment in an ADA case;
  • Cruz v. Coach Stores (2nd Cir. 2000) 202 F.3d 560, reversing summary judgment for an employer on a harassment claim, but affirming it on discrimination and retaliation claims;
  • White v. White Rose Food (2nd Cir. 2001) 237 F.3d 174, reversing a bench decision in favor of the employee in a § 301 case;
  • Leventhal v. Knapek (2nd Cir. 2001) 266 F.3d 64, upholding summary judgment against an employee in a privacy case;
  • Higgins v. Metro-North R.R. Co. (2nd Cir. 2003) 318 F.3d 422, concurring to uphold summary judgment for an employer in a FELA case;
  • Norville v. Staten Island University Hospital (2nd Cir. 1999) 196 F.3d 89, affirming summary judgment for an employer on race and age discrimination claims, and reversing a jury verdict in favor of employer on an ADA claim.

For more information, check out this Jottings by an Employer's Lawyer blog post by Michael Fox, who has assembled a more inclusive list, including dissents and some of her District Court rulings from her six years on the bench in the Southern District of New York. The only one dealing with wage and hour issues was Realite v. Ark Restaurants (S.D. N.Y. 1998) 7 F.Supp.2d 303, 4 WH Cases 2d 1207 in which she granted conditional class certification and the sending of a class notice in an FLSA collective action.

Supreme Court Upholds Prop 8

This is off-topic, but it's such big news in general and among employment litigators, we thought we'd post it - especially for those who are having trouble getting to the opinions page. In Strauss v. Horton, and related cases, the California Supreme Court has upheld Proposition 8, but has ruled that gay marriages that were entered into on or before election day shall remain valid. Here's the heart of the holding, which can be found on pages 12 and 13 of the majority opinion:

Accordingly, we conclude that each of the state constitutional challenges to Proposition 8 advanced by petitioners and the Attorney General lacks merit. Having been approved by a majority of the voters at the November 4, 2008 election, the initiative measure lawfully amends the California Constitution to include the new provision as article I, section 7.5.


Finally, we consider whether Proposition 8 affects the validity of the marriages of same-sex couples that were performed prior to the adoption of Proposition 8. Applying well-established legal principles pertinent to the question whether a constitutional provision should be interpreted to apply prospectively or retroactively, we conclude that the new section cannot properly be interpreted to apply retroactively. Accordingly, the marriages of same-sex couples performed prior to the effective date of Proposition 8 remain valid and must continue to be recognized in this state.

The majority opinion, 5-2 with Justices Kennard and George joining the three dissenters (Baxter, Chin and Corrigan) from In re Marriage Cases, is 136 pages long. Justice Kennard wrote a concurring opinion that added some analysis that was not included in the majority opinion. Justice Werdegar (who did not sign the majority opinion) wrote a concurring opinion in which she agreed that Prop 8 was valid, and that existing marriages are not to be retroactively voided, but disagreed with the most of the majority's analysis. Justice Moreno wrote a concurring and dissenting opinion in which he agreed with the part of the decision that validated the existing marriages, but disagreed that Prop 8 was a valid revision to the constitution. So the vote was 5-2 on the majority opinion, but on the issues, it was 7-0 on keeping existing gay marriages in place, and 6-1 in favor of upholding Prop 8 as a valid amendment to the Constitution.

The majority went to great lengths to say how they were forced to come to this conclusion even though they may disagree with the people's decision.

In addressing the issues now presented in the third chapter of this narrative, it is important at the outset to emphasize a number of significant points. First, as explained in the Marriage Cases, supra, 43 Cal.4th at page 780, our task in the present proceeding is not to determine whether the provision at issue is wise or sound as a matter of policy or whether we, as individuals, believe it should be a part of the California Constitution. Regardless of our views as individuals on this question of policy, we recognize as judges and as a court our responsibility to confine our consideration to a determination of the constitutional validity and legal effect of the measure in question. It bears emphasis in this regard that our role is limited to interpreting and applying the principles and rules embodied in the California Constitution, setting aside our own personal beliefs and values.

Second, it also is necessary to understand that the legal issues before us in this case are entirely distinct from those that were presented in either Lockyer or the Marriage Cases. Unlike the issues that were before us in those cases, the issues facing us here do not concern a public official’s authority (or lack of authority) to refuse to comply with his or her ministerial duty to enforce a statute on the basis of the official’s personal view that the statute is unconstitutional, or the validity (or invalidity) of a statutory provision limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman under state constitutional provisions that do not expressly permit or prescribe such a limitation. Instead, the principal issue before us concerns the scope of the right of the people, under the provisions of the California Constitution, to change or alter the state Constitution itself through the initiative process so as to incorporate such a limitation as an explicit section of the state Constitution.

In considering this question, it is essential to keep in mind that the provisions of the California Constitution governing the procedures by which that Constitution may be amended are very different from the more familiar provisions of the United States Constitution relating to the means by which the federal Constitution may be amended. ... 

To get to the opinions page, go here:

To download the opinion in MS-Word, right click here:

To download the opinion in PDF, right click here:

The Court's press release on the opinion can be read here:

Brewer v. Premier Golf Properties is Final

The Supreme Court denied petitions for review and depublication in Brewer v. Premier Golf Properties (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 1243. We discussed the opinion in an earlier post that can be found at this link. The case was notable both for declaring punitive damages unavailable in claims made for Labor Code wage-and-hour violations, and for upholding the trial court's award for meal period and rest period violations. A remittitur was issued on March 23, 2009.

Picking Off The Class One at a Time - Chindarah v. Pick Up Stix

Probably the most important wage-and-hour case to be published so far in 2009 has been Chindarah v. Pick Up Stix Inc. (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 796, which holds that Labor Code § 206.5 does not apply to any wage release that is given in connection with payment that settles a good faith dispute.

Pick Up Stix was the defendant in a wage-and-hour class action involving, among other things, a claim for overtime brought by two plaintiffs, on behalf of a group of employees who were alleged to have been misclassified. After an unsuccessful mediation, Pick Up Stix went to the individual employee class members, many of whom weren't even aware that there was a case pending, and offered to pay them their share of what was offered at the mediation (the opinion does not explain how the amount was calculated) in exchange for a full release."By signing the agreement, the employee acknowledged that he or she had spent more than 50% of the time performing managerial duties, released Stix from all claims for unpaid overtime and any other Labor Code violations during the relevant time period, and agreed “not to participate in any class action that may include ... any of the released Claims ....”  The plaintiffs and several other employees, including eight current and former employees who had signed the releases, alleged that the releases were not valid under Labor Code §§ 206.5 and 1194(a).

Labor Code § 206.5 provides: 

 “An employer shall not require the execution of a release of a claim or right on account of wages due, or to become due, or made as an advance on wages to be earned, unless payment of those wages has been made.  A release required or executed in violation of the provisions of this section shall be null and void as between the employer and the employee.  Violation of the provisions of this section by the employer is be a misdemeanor.” 

Labor Code § 1194(a) provides:

“Notwithstanding any agreement to work for a lesser wage, any employee receiving less than the legal minimum wage or the legal overtime compensation applicable to the employee is entitled to recover in a civil action the unpaid balance of the full amount of this minimum wage or overtime compensation, including interest thereon, reasonable attorney’s fees, and costs of suit.”

After some of those employees joined the putative class action, Pick Up Stix filed a cross-complaint against them, alleging breach of contract, and it defended the underlying wage claims asserting the release as an affirmative defense.  Both sides brought summary judgment motions. The trial court found the Labor Code did not prohibit the release of a claim for unpaid wages where there is a bona fide dispute over whether any wages were owed, and that Pick Up Stix “produced evidence showing a good faith dispute with regard to classification of the employees,” and thus had a bona fide dispute as to "whether or not [plaintiffs] were owed any additional wages.”  Finding the releases valid as a matter of law, the trial court then granted Pick Up Stix’s motion for summary judgment and denied the motion brought by the plaintiffs.

The Court of Appeal affirmed.

This public policy is not violated by a settlement of a bona fide dispute over wages already earned.  The releases here settled a dispute over whether Stix had violated wage and hour laws in the past; they did not purport to exonerate it from future violations.  Neither did the releases condition the payment of wages concededly due on their executions.  The trial court correctly found the releases barred the Chindarah plaintiffs from proceeding with the lawsuit against Stix.

Unfortunately, the short (10-page) opinion offers no guidance as to what must be shown to render a dispute sufficiently bona fide to get around Section 206.5's language that invalidates releases given in exchange for less than all wages actually owed. It appears that any "good faith" belief by the employer will suffice, whether or not it would have actually passed scrutiny:

 “[W]ages are not ‘due’ if there is a good faith dispute as to whether they are owed.  Because [the employer’s] defense that [the plaintiff] was an exempt employee under California law would, if successful, preclude any recovery for [the plaintiff], a bona fide dispute exists and the overtime pay cannot be considered ‘concededly due.’” 

Rare is the case in which an employer cannot argue that its misclassification of employees was done, subjectively, in good faith. Thus, almost any misclassification case would be subject to this sort of tactic. Moreover, since the quantification of hours in almost any off-the-clock case is usually subject to bona fide disputes, this tactic would also seem easily available in any off-the-clock cases.

The opinion does not offer any guidance as to what - or even whether - employees need to know about the existence of the bona fide dispute. It would appear that the employee need not even know that there is a good faith dispute, or any dispute, about the wages due. In the case of Pick Up Stix, there is no indication that most, if any, of the unnamed class members even knew that a dispute existed until they were offered money in exchange for a release.

The opinion does not set any standard as to the amount that must be paid, as long as the wages that are "concedely due" are paid. Theoretically, as long as the employer knows of the dispute, and it holds a good faith belief in the dispute, any sum, no matter how small, that exceeds the "concedely owed" wages, would be sufficient consideration for a release that would withstand any contrary requirements specified in Labor Code § 206.5.

The opinion offers no standards to follow for the communications used by the employer when soliciting such releases. Thus, for example, there seems to be no obligation for an employer to disclose to employees that there is a matter pending. If it does, the employer is under no apparent obligation to engage in neutral, honest communication. An offer could be accompanied by a notice, for example, explaining that the company is aware that some employees have asserted the right to this additional money, and that the company is offering this additional payment simply to keep its workers happy and to prevent greedy lawyers from charging them outrageous attorney's fees. Such a communication would be improper as part of a court-supervised communication with class members (See, e.g., Gainey v. Occidental Land Research (1986) 186 Cal.App.3d 1051, 1058 [“One of the purposes of the court's supervisory role is to assure that the notice be "neutral and objective in tone, neither promoting nor discouraging the assertion of claims."]) but would not run afoul of anything in the Pick Up Stix opinion.

Perhaps most troubling for plaintiffs is the fact that, although the case was pending as a putative class action, the court did not impose any requirements for judicial oversight of the payments or releases. The Court of Appeal considered, but rejected the concept that court oversight or approval should be required:

The Legislature is capable of expressly providing oversight for employee releases or compromises of claims.  It did so when enacting Labor Code section 5001, which bars any compromise or release of such a claim unless approved by the workers’ compensation appeals board.  The Legislature did not enact a similar provision for wage claims.

As an employee's counsel, my first reaction to that language is to observe that judicial oversight of a compromise would be superfluous where the Legislature has already dictated that such releases are only valid upon payment of all wages that are actually due. In other words, the reason the Legislature didn't impose such a requirement is because the Labor Code's plain language doesn't permit any release to be valid until after all wages that were due have been paid. My second reaction would be to note that allowing this settlement mechanism not only defeats the purpose of Section 206.5 - which is to prohibit employers from persuading employees to accept less than their full wages due - but that it creates an ethical dilemma for judges and class counsel who are faced with settlement offers in class action cases where the offers are clearly unreasonable, but might be accepted by unsophisticated or intimidated employees. Essentially, Pick Up Stix did an end-run around the class action, and although the court (and in particular, this trial judge) is always concerned about the fairness of a class action settlement, there was no analysis, much less concern, over whether Pick Up Stix's offers to settle out from under the class action were fair or adequate.

To prevent fraud, collusion or unfairness to the class, settlement or dismissal of a class action, or a cause of action in a class action, or a party requires court approval. Dunk v. Ford Motor Co.(1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1794, 1800-1801. Any settlement of a class action must be shown to be fair, adequate and reasonable. California Rules of Court Rule 3.769(a), 3.770(a); In re Microsoft I-V Cases(2006) 135 Cal.App.4th 706, 723. The trial court has broad discretion in determining whether the settlement is fair, but normally must consider certain factors, including the strength of plaintiff's case; the risk, expense, complexity and likely duration of further litigation; the risk of maintaining class action status through trial; the amount offered in settlement; the extent of discovery completed and stage of the proceedings; the experience and views of counsel; the presence of a governmental participant; and the reaction of the class members to the proposed settlement. The court is free to balance and weigh the factors depending on the circumstances of the case, but must take them all into consideration. Wershba v. Apple Computer, Inc.(2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 224, 244-245.

If the plaintiff's case appears very strong, there is relatively little risk and expense being faced taking the case to trial, there is little discovery completed, and an experienced attorney representing the putative class believes the damages to be significant, a lowball offer at mediation must be rejected. If that lowball offer is accepted, the court must scrutinize the settlement, whether or not any objectors challenge the settlement. If the settlement is not fair, adequate and reasonable, the court must reject the settlement. In fact, even if the settlement is actually fair and adequate, if the court is not given sufficient evidence to support the fairness, adequacy and reasonableness of the settlement, it must reject the settlement. Kullar v. Foot Locker Retail, Inc.(2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 116. This is true even though putative class members always have the right to opt out of a settlement that they do not wish to accept.

However, if (to borrow a phrase coined by one of my defense counsel colleagues) a defendant decides to "pull a Pick Up Stix" on the case, the very same offer, already rejected by class counsel and/or rejected by the trial court, can be repackaged and stuffed, along with a coercive memo, into a payroll envelope during the holidays, and any employees who accept it are bound by the release. Those who reject the offer, like those who opt out of a class action settlement, get nothing, not even the "concededly due" wages. Failure to pay those employees their "concededly due" wages does not appear to have any bearing upon the validity of the other employees' releases, and the releases can be as broad and heavy-handed as the employer wishes. In a class action settlement, of course, there are limits as to how overbearing the employer can be in the release. See, e.g., Kakani v. Oracle Corp.(N.D. Cal 2007) 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47515; 12 Wage & Hour Cas. 2d (BNA) 1308; 154 Lab.L.Rep. (CCH) 35,310. Why the greater scrutiny should apply when the employees are being represented by putative class counsel, who have fiduciary duties to the employees, and no scrutiny should apply with the employees are left flapping in the wind, facing an inherently coercive request from their employer, makes no sense to us.

The plaintiffs in Chindarah have filed a petition for review. There have been If review is denied, we can expect to see a lot of lowball settlement offers, followed by individual lowball offers, at least to existing employees. It will be interesting to see how courts handle objections to low, unfair settlements when the only response that can be offered in reply to an objection is "but if we don't take the deal, they will just cram it down the employees' throats anyhow."

You can download the full text of Chindarah v. Pick Up Stix here in PDF or Word format.

Supreme Court Ruling Favors of Class Action Plaintiffs in UCL Cases

In a close 4-3 vote, the Supreme Court has rendered its decision in the landmark case In re Tobacco II Cases (2009) __ Cal.App.4th __, and it's a huge victory for class action plaintiffs in California. Because the opinion has such broad implications for future unfair competition claims, it is of interest to wage and hour lawyers, even though the case has nothing to do with wages or employment disputes. 

Prior to the 2004 amendment of the unfair competition law by Proposition 64, “[a]ctions for relief [under the UCL could be] prosecuted ... by the Attorney General or any district attorney or by any county counsel ... [or] by a city prosecutor ... [or] by a city attorney ... or upon the complaint of any board, officer, person, corporation or association or by any person acting for the interests of itself, its members or the general public.”  Former Business & Professions Code § 17204; see also Californians for Disability Rights v. Mervyn’s, LLC (2006) 39 Cal.4th 223, 227. After Proposition 64, the section provides

“[a]ny person may pursue representative claims or relief on behalf of others only if the claimant meets the standing requirements of Section 17204 and complies with section 382 of the Code of Civil Procedure”

In other words, the plaintiff must be a “person who has suffered injury in fact and has lost money or property as a result of [such] unfair competition.” Business & Professions Code § 17204, as amended by Prop. 64, § 3.

The plaintiffs in In re Tobacco Cases II alleged that the tobacco industry defendants violated the UCL by conducting a decades-long campaign of deceptive advertising and misleading statements about the addictive nature of nicotine and the relationship between tobacco use and disease.  Prior to passage of Proposition 64, the trial court had certified the case as a class action.  The class was defined as “All people who at the time they were residents of California, smoked in California one or more cigarettes between June 10, 1993 to April 23, 2001, and who were exposed to Defendants’ marketing and advertising activities in California.”  After Proposition 64 was approved, the trial court granted defendants’ motion to decertify the class on the grounds that each class member was now required to show an injury in fact, consisting of lost money or property, as a result of the alleged unfair competition.  The Court of Appeal affirmed.

On review, the Supreme Court addressed two questions: 

1. Who in a UCL class action must comply with Proposition 64’s standing requirements, the class representatives or all unnamed class members, in order for the class action to proceed? 

We conclude that standing requirements are applicable only to the class representatives, and not all absent class members. 

2. What is the causation requirement for purposes of establishing standing under the UCL, and in particular what is the meaning of the phrase “as a result of” in section 17204? 

We conclude that a class representative proceeding on a claim of misrepresentation as the basis of his or her UCL action must demonstrate actual reliance on the allegedly deceptive or misleading statements, in accordance with well-settled principles regarding the element of reliance in ordinary fraud actions.  Those same principles, however, do not require the class representative to plead or prove an unrealistic degree of specificity that the plaintiff relied on particular advertisements or statements when the unfair practice is a fraudulent advertising campaign.  Accordingly, we reverse the order of decertification to the extent it was based upon the conclusion that all class members were required to demonstrate Proposition 64 standing, and remand for further proceedings regarding whether the class representatives in this case have, or can demonstrate, standing. 

This doesn't entirely save the case for the plaintiffs just yet, but their prospects, as a class, seem good. In granting the motion to decertify the class, and in concluding that the entire class was required to demonstrate standing, the trial court’s order also stated, “Further, it appears from the record that not even Plaintiffs’ named representatives satisfy Prop[osition] 64’s standing requirement.”  The trial court did not elaborate on the basis for its conclusion, so the appellate courts cannot ascertain whether or not the named plaintiffs are adequate post-Proposition 64 class representatives. However, assuming that they are no longer adequate representatives of the class because they lack standing,

the proper procedure would not be to decertify the class but grant leave to amend to redefine the class or add a new class representative. “This rule is usually applied in situations where the class representative originally had standing, but has since lost it by intervening law or facts.”  (First American Title Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 1564, 1574.)  We ourselves sanctioned this procedure in a post-Proposition 64 case.  (Branick v. Downey Savings & Loan Assn. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 235, 243 [“courts have permitted plaintiffs who have been determined to lack standing, or who have lost standing after the complaint was filed, to substitute as plaintiffs the true parties in interest”].)  Accordingly, we reverse the order granting the decertification motion and remand the case for further proceedings to determine whether these plaintiffs can establish standing as we have now defined it and, if not, whether amendment should be permitted.

Taking all this in, one must conclude that the case is now likely to proceed as a class action with new or additional plaintiffs who can meet the new standing requirements. You can download the full text of the opinion here in PDF or Word format. For more detailed analysis, we recommend visiting the UCL Practitioner blog, where yesterday's post on the opinion is sure to be followed up with more links and analysis in the days to come.

People who read this blog often ask "where do you find the time?" The answer, sometimes, is "we can't." But now that we've taken our leave of absence, bookended by the argument and opinion in the Tobacco II Cases, we are working on catching up with all the really important wage and hour cases and developments that we've been tracking since March. There's been a lot to talk about, and we'll have it here soon.