Jessica Perry Describes the Latest Developments in Wage-and-Hour Litigation

Daily Journal | December.24.2014

Orrick employment law partner Jessica Perry recently spoke to the Daily Journal about the latest trend in wage-and-hour litigation. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have been focusing on a reduced number of class actions, resulting in an increase in situations where several suits with similar claims are filed against the same defendant. As Ms. Perry described these follow-on suits, "Somebody else comes in and files on top of it.”

According to Ms. Perry, plaintiffs' lawyers are suing the same defendants because there are fewer options available, as increased enforceability of arbitration agreements and stricter class action requirements have made it more difficult to file suits​ against some companies. She also pointed out that employers have become more knowledgeable of the law and therefore may violate it less frequently.
 
Ms. Perry noted that there is “a fair amount of procedural strategy at the outset to try to figure out how best to deal” with multiple filings, which “increases the cost of defense for the employer.” This may include deciding which case the defendant would prefer to litigate if there's a possibility that one or more complaints can be dismissed. “It really depends on the case and the facts and the circumstances," Ms. Perry said. She noted that while defendants often prefer federal court to state court, they may end up choosing to litigate whichever case has broader claims, "in order to have a broader resolution, whatever it may be."