February 1, 2021

Ehlert Hicks Litigates Question of First Impression in the Ninth Circuit Concerning California’s PAGA Statute

Ehlert Hicks represents Ryan Hyams, a former CVS pharmacy worker who brought a wage-and-hour class and representative action against the company. Hyams asserted, among other things, a claim under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) premised on CVS’s violation of multiple laws that govern the employment of pharmacy workers. PAGA deputizes private litigants to help enforce the State’s labor laws because, given the size and complexity of California’s economy, it lacks the resources to conduct enforcement activities entirely on its own. In 2020, Hyams moved to intervene in a competing wage-and-hour class action (Chalian v. CVS) in which the plaintiffs attempted to settle and release his PAGA claim, even though the State had never authorized them to act as its PAGA proxy. The district court denied intervention. Working with Hyams’s trial lawyers, Gunn Coble LLP, Ehlert Hicks has asked the Ninth Circuit to hold that plaintiffs who have been exclusively deputized to litigate a PAGA claim have a right to intervene in cases in which other plaintiffs attempt to settle it.