How Long Does It Take for a Wage and Hour Case to Resolve?
Interviewer: How long do these cases take to resolve?
Federal Cases May Take 18 Months or Longer to Resolve
Michael: In federal court, I would probably have to guess somewhere between a year to a year and a half, and the cases where they’re actually class action cases, those take longer because there’s a longer process in trying to track down all of the former employees or the current employees, so those cases will take longer, but in a one or two plaintiff case, those typically can be resolved within a year to a year and a half.
It Behooves Employers to Resolve Cases Expeditiously to Keep Down Attorneys’ Fees
Some cases we’re able to resolve very early on. Once we file lawsuit, some defendants will try to resolve the matter early on so that they don’t have to incur attorney fees, and they have a benefit to having the case end as early as possible. This is because if we’re successful a year down the road, they’re going to get hit not only with their attorney fees but with our attorney fees due to the fee shifting provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Interviewer: Do you do what your client wants or do you guys always push for maximum compensation, every dime?
Michael: As attorneys, we work for the client, so if a client is adamant and says that they want to settle early on, that’s something we’ll do. If we feel that there’s a much bigger collective action case or a class action case that could ultimately transpire as a result of their case, we’ll sit down and we’ll explain that to them that they have a benefit to not taking a quick settlement and to waiting until we get more people in because that’s going to enhance our case.
If it’s a class action case, there’s even some additional compensation that could be awarded to a lead plaintiff. We’ll sit down and we’ll try to explain to them that it’s not always best to take a quick buck. Sometimes a slow dollar is better.
Interviewer: Okay, [interesting 00:44:33]. Yes, we’re almost done. Can you give me a couple of examples of some interesting cases, have you strip out the names and identifiers, but any interesting ones you’ve worked on that would be instructive [inaudible 00:44:47]?
Michael: Yes, I recently handled a case on behalf of a domestic servant, somebody that worked as a butler. He had worked there for a number of years and was paid the flat salary regardless of how many hours he worked despite the fact that he was entitled to additional compensation for his overtime hours. He had worked there for a number of years, and it was protracted litigation. Ultimately, it settled for a nice six figure settlement. I don’t want to get too more into the details because …
Interviewer: No, no, that’s fine.
Michael: Of confidentially provisions.
Interviewer: That’s true. Any other run of the mill runs like the most common type you get?
Michael: Yes, our most common type would be a waiter working at a restaurant, not getting paid, well below the minimal wage, and whatever tips he’s supposed to get, some of it is siphoned off by an employer. We typically sue for a number of similarly situated waiters for the same employer, and we’ll bring an action against them. That’s a fairly typical case. In terms of some other interesting cases, if we can leave a little space, I can definitely come up with some more interesting cases for you.