Using its ingenuity, EBG successfully disposed of a massive 400,000-person class action for a temporary staffing agency that has been pending since 2016. In the case, the plaintiff alleged that our client did not pay its California temporary employees for part (or all) of their time in new-hire orientation meetings. The class claims were eventually dismissed after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Epic Systems, and our client then faced a 200,000-person Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) action. (The “class size” was effectively reduced from 400,000 to 200,000 once the class claims were dismissed because of the shorter PAGA limitations period.)
EBG did not engage in settlement discussions and instead planned to argue that the PAGA claims should be stricken as unmanageable as they would require 200,000 individual inquiries. But before making the manageability argument, EBG developed a creative argument based on the wording of a sentence in the plaintiff’s pre-suit PAGA notice to the Labor & Workforce Development Agency. EBG argued that the plaintiff had only exhausted his administrative remedies as to the 4-5 employees who attended the same orientation meeting as he did—not all 200,000 employees statewide who attended different orientation meetings during the PAGA limitations period. The court agreed and granted EBG’s motion to limit the PAGA class to those 4-5 people. The case ultimately settled for an exceedingly small sum for the named plaintiff alone. Needless to say, our client was extremely pleased with the outcome.