What to Avoid If You Bring a Wage and Hour Case against an Employer
Interviewer: What mistakes do you see people make either before they choose to file or once they have filed that unintentionally hurt their ability to get a settlement?
Do Not Miss Any Scheduled Depositions or Court Appearances
Michael: When we work with our clients, we work as hard as we can to make sure that they don’t commit any mistakes. We always make sure that they appear in court early so that they don’t miss any important court deadlines. If they’ve got depositions, we make sure that they’re well prepared and that they appear at all their depositions in a timely manner, dressed appropriately. We really go through the entire litigation with them, holding their hand and making sure that no mistakes are made.
This is an area of law that we’ve been very successful in winning our cases and establishing that the employers have failed to properly pay them. We walk through the entire process with each of our clients. Mistakes do happen from time to time, but for the most part, we work very hard to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.
It Is Very Important to Avoid Any Misrepresentation
One issue that could come up is where a plaintiff would hurt his or her case if they make any type of misrepresentation. If an employer finds out that somebody lied and gave us misinformation and as a result we filed a summons and complaint using misinformation, that’s going to come back to haunt them.
This is because employers have good lawyers on their side, and those lawyers know what to look for. If they find out that we’ve been given bad information or if they find out that a plaintiff has lied during a deposition, those are things that the employers’ lawyer will take advantage of and make as big a deal of it as possible. Once somebody lies, a jury is going to have a hard time believing anything that they say.
We instruct our clients that the worst thing that they can do, or one of the worst things they can do is give us misinformation or lie during a court proceeding or a deposition, and that’s something that we just don’t tolerate.
The Majority of Wage and Hour Cases Settle before the Trial Date
Interviewer: Do most of these cases settle or do they all go to trial?
Michael: Very few of these cases go to trial just because of the nature of these types of claims are generally that the employee was paid properly or he wasn’t paid properly. If he wasn’t paid properly, there are a lot of resources we have available.
Attorney Samuel’s Firm Is Very Successful at Proving Their Plaintiffs’ Cases Prior to Trial
There are a many methods we utilize to explain to the court, for example, by way of a summary judgment, where we’ll tell the court, look, here are the pay stubs. The plaintiff worked 60 hours. He wasn’t paid properly.
At that point in time during the motion stage, the defendant’s going to have to come in and show that the plaintiff was paid properly, but in a lot of cases, the employer will acknowledge that they didn’t pay their workers properly. We’ve been successful at some motions where a court, even before trial, will say that we win because there are just no valid defenses.
These cases are very good because we know generally at the beginning of the case how likely we think it is that we’re going to win because there’s not a lot of moving parts in these types of cases.
We try to find out everything as early on in the case as we can because we don’t want to waste our time. We don’t want to waste the client’s time, so we spend a lot of time at the beginning of the case vetting the case to make sure that the case is solid.