While we are getting accustomed to hearing the "Billion" word associated with "dollars" these days, a $4.1 billion award for a guy who suffered a firing in these times is still pretty remarkable. We are even willing to go out on a limb here and say "unprecedented."
Hence, it is not surprising that the news of California's $4.1 Billion wrongful termination arbitration award, first reported here on June 8, 2009
, has raised some eyebrows and made its way around the blogosphere. Vickie Pynchon, author of the wildly popular Settle It Now negotiation blog, first picked up on the story on June 3
. The Associated Press picked it up a few days later. (See, e.g., here
, in the Minnesota Star Tribune.)
The news has struck a chord with the national legal community as well. The National Law Journal published an interview with our own Michael D. Young here
as he broke down the award to explain how a single individual's firing let to the stratospheric damages.
New York's Ben Hallman's June 12, 2009, article in the AmLaw Litigation Daily is here.
(Our only question here on the west coast is...what's Crunch & Munch?)
We’ve had it backwards all these years!
For decades, employers have been trying to insert arbitration clauses in their employment contracts. Why? Because they are afraid of the unpredictability of juries. Especially those whacky California ones.
And during this same time period, employees (actually their attorneys) have been trying to avoid those arbitration clauses. Why? Because they like the unpredictability of juries. Especially those whacky California ones.
Arbitration is supposed to be more stable, more predictable, more conservative.
Tell that to iFreedom Communications International Holdings Limited
and it's founder Timothy Ringgenberg. But don’t be within swinging distance when you do.
iFreedom and Ringgenberg just got tagged for over $4.1 Billion
(yes, with a B) in a single plaintiff wrongful termination employment arbitration
You may not be able to do it with claims brought under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), but you can do it with claims brought under the California Labor Code.
Addressing the issue head-on for the first time, the California appellate court in Chindarah v. Pick Up Stix
allowed an employer, when faced with a California wage and hour class action, to pick off the putative class members one employee at a time through a settlement agreement and release. Before a class certification motion could even be brought there was nary a class member left!