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Fox Trial Team Prevails in Complex Employment Case for Party City

June 7, 2017 – Press Releases

A Fox Rothschild trial team led by David Faustman and Tyreen Torner successfully defended Party City against wage and hour claims brought by a group of former employees.

Following a two-week trial in May, a San Francisco jury largely rebuffed the claims of eight former general managers who sought overtime pay on the basis that they had been misclassified as management.

The plaintiffs alleged they were entitled to overtime pay, despite being salaried, because they had spent much of their time on non-managerial tasks such as stocking shelves. The Fox team argued the plaintiffs spent or should have spent most of their time managing their stores and were not entitled to overtime.

The case was initially filed as a putative class action by nine plaintiffs on behalf of more than 60 general managers employed between April 2010 and May 2014.

Fox attorneys challenged the validity of the putative class. In March, the plaintiffs agreed to drop the class action and proceed as nine named plaintiffs, seeking overtime pay and penalties under various sections of California labor law, including the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act.

At trial, one plaintiff was dropped and the jury rejected all claims of seven of the eight remaining plaintiffs, determining that Party City had properly classified them as management. While the jury awarded the eighth plaintiff about half the amount he originally sought, it awarded no penalties after finding Party City’s actions were not intentional or willful.