Less than four minutes.
That’s how long Starbucks estimates it takes for one of its employees to log out and lock up the store each day at closing.
But former Starbucks shift supervisor Douglas Troester is the lead plaintiff in a class action case now before the California State Supreme Court.
The lawsuit alleges the company should pay him for the time it takes to lock the doors after clocking out at closing.
“This case is, at bottom, about the de minimis doctrine. That’s what the California Supreme Court has taken on and is going to decide,” said attorney Blaine Evanson, an expert on wage-and-hour lawsuits. “If an employee works a couple seconds, or a couple minutes, after his scheduled work time, we’re not going to require the employee to pay the employee for that amount of time, if it’s just practically impossible to record that time, or to track it over time.”
If Troester’s suit is successful, Starbucks argues, it will overturn decades of precedent and open the floodgates of what it calls “absurd” lawsuits.
It will also likely earn Troester’s plaintiffs’ attorney team millions of dollars . . . and, of course, also be one more cost to your morning cup of joe.
To learn more, watch the video above or click here.
As a lifelong Texan, Cynthia Leal has lived through a lot of hailstorms, but she’ll not soon forget the storm of 2014.
The day after the storm, so-called “runners” for plaintiffs’ law firms were knocking on doors in Cynthia’s neighborhood. These “runners” are a type of door to door salesman for plaintiffs firms, recruiting homeowners to sue their insurance companies.
“She (the runner) took me outside she said, you see there you see on your roof, that storm caused this,” explained Cynthia. “They showed me pictures of checks, of thousands of dollars. This guy went and he bought a motorcycle, this guy went and he put a pool in his house.”
Leal initially declined to participate, but after weeks of persistence she finally agreed to the lawyers offer to help her file an insurance claim. It wasn’t long before she find out she had been taken for a ride.
The law firm negotiated an $11,000 settlement — far less than the $40,000 Leal had been told it would cost to repair her roof.
For her troubles, Leal would only be offered a few hundred dollars.
“I felt like I was pushed into a corner, I didn’t know where to go, what to do, how to get out of it,” she said. “I was terrified.”
Texas hail storm litigation has exploded in recent years, with some estimates of more than 36,000 cases filed since 2012. The Texas Department of Insurance estimates a 1,400 percent increase in these lawsuits between 2012 and 2015.
Hail is just one type of storm-related litigation. Similar cases are brought after tornadoes and other natural disasters. That’s why Texas has a new law to stem the tide of these storm chase lawsuits — to stop plaintiffs’ lawyers from using homeowners like Cynthia as settlement pawns.
“I don’t know if it’s the lawyers, the adjusters, who it is exactly, but something is wrong with the system,” said Cynthia. “I mean if you go from $40,000 to giving the homeowner $600, I mean, where is it going to?
15 Year Old Sues Mom for Confiscating his Phone
It’s not uncommon for a concerned mother to take certain steps to ensure her child buckles down on schoolwork. That may include taking away television privileges, grounding the kid from going out with friends on the weekend or, these days, confiscating a smartphone.
But that latter action landed one Spanish mom in court recently, as her 15 year old son sued her – accusing her of “mistreatment” after she confiscated his phone to make him study. FoxNews.com reports that a Spanish judge sided with the mom, ruling that she was “well within her rights” as a mother to confiscate the phone.
Woman Sues Restaurant After Falling off Popular Donkey Statue
The donkey statue at El Jalisco restaurant in Tallahassee, Florida is a popular feature for patrons at the Mexican restaurant.
It’s so popular, in fact, that patrons have organized a “For the Donkey” Facebook campaign to save the popular statute after one local woman sued the restaurant after she hopped up on the statue and reportedly fell and injured herself.
Massachusetts Man Files Class Action Lawsuit over ‘Fake Butter’
Is so-called “fake butter” on your bagel worthy of a lawsuit? A Massachusetts Dunkin’ Donuts customer seems to thinks so.
He ordered a bagel with what he thought was real butter, but discovered the butter wasn’t actually from a cow. So, he filed two lawsuits, even seeking class action status for any other customers who might have similar issues with their buttered bagels.
As a West Virginia state legislator, Kayla Kessinger is no stranger to the debate surrounding the state’s business and lawsuit climate.
“In order to bring jobs into this state, we have to make West Virginia more competitive,” Kessinger told Faces of Lawsuit Abuse. “And one of the biggest areas where we’re lacking is in tort reform.
But for Kessinger, it’s also personal.
That’s because her family owns Synergy Sand — a small business that supplies sand to the hydraulic fracturing industry.
“When the bottom fell out of coal and we lost the business that we had run for several years, we decided that we wanted to get involved in the natural gas industry, particularly with some of the fracking that’s up in the Northern Panhandle and in Wheeling, ” explained Kessinger. “When we started to pursue the liability insurance that was required for the company to operate, we were informed that, ‘if you were anywhere else in the country, you would be able to get insurance in no time.”
Because of the state’s lawsuit climate, however, the company spent months trying to get the insurance. That, said Kessinger, left her family struggling financially.
“Businesses are so afraid to come into West Virginia and invest in our state because of the fear of frivolous lawsuits,” she said.
The West Virginia legislature has passed a number of important legal reforms in recent years. One proposed reform that hasn’t yet passed the legislature, however, is a measure to create an Intermedia Court of Appeals to help with the state’s backlog of lower court decisions.
To learn more about the effort to create an Intermediate Court of Appeals and West Virginia’s lawsuit climate, please click here or watch the video above.