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January 12th, 2011

At Least Some California Judges Get It

Judicial Hellholes® reporters stand by the decision to include California at #2 in their recent rankings of the least fair civil court jurisdictions in the nation.  But they admit to missing a laudable appeals court decision there last fall when researching the latest Judicial Hellholes report and now wish to give credit where credit is due.

A three-judge panel of California’s Second District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s earlier denial of class-action status in Hernandez v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.  Of course, the case was never anything  more than yet another economy-sapping get-rich-quick scheme perpetrated by yet another tediously self-serving personal injury lawyer, the likes of whom infamously flock these days to courts in the formerly Golden State.

In shutting down this particular class-action scam that sought to exploit California labor law as it relates to paid breaks for hourly employees, Justice Elizabeth Grimes wrote for her colleagues:  “We conclude that employers must provide employees with breaks, but need not ensure employees take breaks.”  Otherwise, the opinion added, we would “create perverse incentives, encouraging employees to violate company meal break policy in order to receive extra compensation under California wage and hour laws.” 

Three cheers, belatedly, for this Point of Light!  (We thank our friends at the Civil Justice Association of California for bringing this tasty case to our attention.)

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