Dr. Nathan Woods Provides Expert Testimony in California PAGA Case
In 2018, Edgeworth Partner Dr. Nathan Woods was retained by the defense in a matter brought against Starbucks Corporation in the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego. The case was filed by a Plaintiff asserting a representative cause of action under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).
In the lawsuit, a former Starbucks employee claimed that the company violated California labor law by implementing a meal period policy under which employees who worked slightly more than five hours were not provided meal breaks within the first five hours of work and were not paid meal period premiums in those instances.
Dr. Woods analyzed the relevant time clock data and testified at trial regarding his conclusions that the alleged time keeping exceptions were idiosyncratic and rare, and that variation among the proposed class of employees was inconsistent with the allegations of a systematic policy or practice of denying meal break payments. The court awarded a fraction of the requested penalties to plaintiffs after concluding that any violations were minimal, and that Starbucks made good faith attempts to comply with the law.