Ehlert Hicks Represents “The Last Unicorn” Author, Peter S. Beagle, in Defending Judgment Against His Former Business Manager
Ehlert Hicks represents world-renowned fantasy writer Peter S. Beagle, in an appeal brought by Connor Cochran, his former business manager and friend. At trial, Beagle won a $332,500 verdict against Cochran on his claims for financial elder abuse, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and defamation, after Cochran persuaded Beagle to transfer his intellectual property into a corporation that Cochran controlled.
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.
Ehlert Hicks and Co-Counsel Obtain Ohio Supreme Court Review of Case Concerning Immunity of Family Services Caseworkers
Ehlert Hicks and its co-counsel, Bloomekatz Law, persuaded the Ohio Supreme Court to accept review in a case in which a two-year-old girl was violently abused, and ultimately murdered, by her father. Following her death, the toddler’s grandmother brought suit against three caseworkers employed by the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services, arguing that they were at least reckless in failing to take any steps to remove the little girl from her parents’ custody. The question before the Ohio Supreme Court is whether allegations that county caseworkers have lost their immunity to suit are subject to a heightened pleading standard or the ordinary notice pleading standard that governs virtually all other civil claims in Ohio. Oral argument is scheduled for April 28, 2021.
Ehlert Hicks Files Amicus Brief in the California Supreme Court on Behalf of the California Employment Lawyers Association
Pending before the California Supreme Court is the case of Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc., No. S258966, which poses the question as to whether employees may recover statutory penalties for: (1) an employer’s failure to pay all outstanding meal- and rest-break premium wages upon the employee’s separation from employment (“waiting-time penalties”), as well as (2) the employer’s failure to itemize meal- and rest-break premium pay on employees’ wage statements (“wage-statement penalties”). Ehlert Hicks authored an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff-employee on behalf of the California Employment Lawyers Association (“CELA”). Given the numerous federal courts that have addressed these questions (and the few number of State courts that have), the amicus brief focuses on the reasoning of the federal courts—the vast majority of which have sided with workers in holding that they may indeed recover waiting-time and wage-statement penalties in connection with meal- and rest-break premium payments.
Ehlert Hicks Wins California Anti-SLAPP Appeal Against Facebook
Led by Scotia Hicks, Ehlert Hicks won a complete victory for app developer Six4Three, Inc. on cross-appeals in California’s First District Court of Appeal. The trial court had denied Facebook’s anti-SLAPP motion, but granted the anti-SLAPP motion brought by individual Facebook executives who are also named defendants in the case. Ehlert Hicks succeeded in convincing the Court of Appeal to affirm the denial of Facebook’s motion, but reverse the grant of the individual defendants’ motion. The case will now return to the trial court where Six4Three will be able to litigate its claims on the merits.