California Wage and Hour Gold Rush?

As previously reported here, a recent report issued by the Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts, Office of Court Research, shows that employment cases were the most frequently filed class actions, representing 29.3% of the class actions filed and that over half of the employment cases filed alleged violations of Labor Code provisions governing payment of wages, rest and meal periods, and related claims. Click here to download and view that report.

As one might expect, most of the employment cases are brought by plaintiffs' attorneys. However, with increasing frequency, we are seeing employment cases being filed by law firms that have in the past represented defendants almost exclusively. In other words, some defense firms that might in past have been loath to represent a plaintiff are now doing exactly that.

It is too early to tell why some defense firms are beginning to represent plaintiffs in employment cases. It could be because some defense firms are beginning to view representing plaintiffs in employment cases to be too lucrative to pass up because even a relatively modest win can result in a relatively large award of attorney's fees to the plaintiff or plaintiffs. It could be because some defense firms are losing market share in their historical practice areas and are trying to fill in the gaps.

Regardless of the reason(s), one thing is almost certain. More and more attorneys are actively looking for opportunities to file wage and hour and other employment cases against employers. This likely means that employment cases will continue to be some of the most frequently filed cases.

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