In a recent employment law matter filed in Los Angeles, Tauler Smith LLP won a motion for terminating sanctions. Los Angeles litigation attorney Wendy Miele represented a media production company that was being sued by a former contractor who worked as a personal assistant for the company. When the plaintiff refused to respond to discovery requests and failed to comply with multiple court orders, our California civil litigators sought an order granting case-terminating sanctions against the plaintiff. Although courts are typically reluctant to approve motions that effectively end a case, the LA County Superior Court judge granted the motion for terminating sanctions and dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint. This was a major success for attorney Wendy Miele and the rest of the Tauler Smith litigation team.
For additional information about Tauler Smith LLP’s latest legal victory, keep reading.
Los Angeles Employment Lawyers Successfully Represent Company in Misclassification Case
Los Angeles litigator Wendy Miele represented an entertainment production company in an employment law matter. A former personal assistant for the company filed a civil suit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging that she had been misclassified as an independent contractor instead of as an employee. This is an important distinction because California employment law imposes different requirements on employers based on the classification of workers. The worker’s lawsuit alleged that the company violated the California Labor Code, which protects wage earners and regulates their wages, hours, and other conditions of employment. The lawsuit also argued that she was entitled to recovery of attorney’s fees because the alleged misclassification constituted a violation of the unlawful prong of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which explicitly prohibits any “unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice.”
Employment cases involving allegations of wage and hour violations are notoriously difficult to win on the defense side, especially at the pre-trial stage. That’s what makes this legal victory particularly noteworthy. In fact, the Tauler Smith LLP legal team has successfully defended three (3) of these cases so far this year. Our experienced California employment defense attorneys have also secured decisive victories for summary judgment in employment law disputes involving qui tam whistleblower claims, allegations of workplace retaliation, and allegations of wrongful termination.
Discovery Misconduct & Terminating Sanctions
The ex-worker in this case was required to produce certain documents in advance of trial, but the court had to intervene because she abused the discovery process by not turning over the requested evidence to opposing counsel. When the plaintiff committed discovery misconduct by continuing to use stall tactics and ultimately failing to provide the necessary discovery evidence in a timely manner as ordered by the court, the California employment attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP took aggressive action by filing a motion for terminating sanctions.
Other types of sanctions that the court could have imposed against the plaintiff for withholding information included issue sanctions, discovery sanctions, evidence sanctions, and contempt sanctions.
Los Angeles Civil Litigation Attorneys Win Motion for Terminating Sanctions
After hearing arguments from both sides, the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge granted the motion. The court found that the plaintiff willfully refused to comply with Los Angeles Superior Court Local Rule 3.25, which deals with the case management conference and the settlement conference. The rule stipulates that counsel must serve and file lists of exhibits to be presented at trial, and that this must be done at least five (5) days prior to a final status conference. Failure to comply with Local Rule 3.25 can prompt the court to impose terminating sanctions, which is what happened in this case.
In this recent California employment law matter, the plaintiff failed to produce documents and did not respond adequately to discovery requests. This chronic pattern of delay is why the judge ultimately granted attorney Wendy Miele’s motion for terminating sanctions against the plaintiff. The end result of the Tauler Smith legal team’s aggressive representation of their client is that the opposing party’s complaint has been dismissed with prejudice. This was another successful outcome for Tauler Smith LLP.
After the ruling, Wendy Miele commented on the “salacious” nature of the case. Miele said, “There was a lot of inflammatory mudslinging of a personal nature by the opposing party against Tauler Smith’s client. We seized on the tactical strategy of terminating sanctions, which a court rarely grants but which were appropriate in this case. It was a very satisfying win for our client.”
Contact Tauler Smith LLP Today for Legal Help with Your California Employment Claim
The litigation attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP represent both plaintiffs and defendants in California employment claims. Call 310-590-3927 or send an email to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced litigators.