Leigh Law Group, with co-counsel, files class action for refinery workers

Violations Alleged on Behalf of Thousands of Employees

San Francisco, California, September 10, 2014: A class action lawsuit filed on Wednesday accuses Timec Company, Inc. dba Transfield Services (“Timec”) of failing to pay basic minimum wages to workers who work as general laborers on refinery maintenance crews. The case was filed in the Northern District Court in San Francisco. The plaintiffs are Joseph Vierra and Kevin Woodruff, and the case is Joseph Vierra and Kevin Woodruff v. Timec Company, Inc. dba Transfield Services, Case Number: 4:14-cv-04105-KAW.

The lawsuit alleges that Timec’s non-skilled “Field Employees” are sub-contracted out to various oil and gas refineries throughout the state of California, where they work alongside skilled maintenance workers as Safety Attendants, Laborers or General Helpers. The lawsuit further alleges that the Plaintiffs are required to “badge in” at their assigned refinery up to one hour before their shift “sign in” time in order to take internal transportation to the refinery location where they would be working, change into their safety gear, and, in some cases, participate in “safety talks” — all of which activities took place before their shift “sign in” time and all of which were uncompensated.

The proposed class includes thousands of current or former Timec Field Employees working in oil and gas refineries throughout the state of California.

“Timec’s Field Employees work long hours in often uncomfortable and dangerous conditions. They deserve to be properly compensated for all their hours of work,” said John T. Mullan, a partner at Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, LLP, who is representing the Timec Field Employees with Jay Jambeck, of the Leigh Law Group. “The Field Employees often work twelve-hour shifts supporting the skilled refinery maintenance workers,” according to Jambeck. “It’s outrageous that Timec expects them to provide it with free labor on top of that.

Vierra, 41, commented, “We all felt Timec’s practice of making us work off the clock was wrong. We hope that by finally standing up and fighting back, Timec will pay us what we think they owe us and we can put a stop to this once and for all.”

The Plaintiffs are seeking unpaid minimum and overtime wages and other compensation on behalf of current and former Timec Field Employees throughout the state.

Press Contacts        

Jay T. Jambeck

LEIGH LAW GROUP (http://www.leighlawgroup.com)

870 Market Street, Suite 1157

San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone:       415.399.9155

John T. Mullan

RUDY, EXELROD, ZIEFF & LOWE, L.L.P.

351 California Street, Suite 700

San Francisco, CA 94104

Telephone: 415.394.5597

  

The Leigh Law Group is a San Francisco, California-based law firm with a commitment to helping employees protect their rights in the workplace. The Leigh Law Group has successfully litigated complaints nationwide and has extensive experience handling complex cases in state and federal court litigation.

Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, LLP is a leading law firm in the field of wage and hour class actions and won the largest overtime verdict in United States history in Bell v. Farmers Insurance Exchange. The firm specializes in representing employees in individual and class action litigation.

To obtain the Complaint, call Leah Wahlberg at (415) 434-9800.

Timec/Transfield employees or former employees who would like to learn more about the case should visit www.rezlaw.com and click on “Class Actions” or contact John Mullan at (415) 394-5597, jtm@rezlaw.com, or Jay Jambeck at (415) 399-9155, jjambeck@leighlawgroup.com.

Leigh Law Group partner Mandy Leigh argues case before 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Leigh Law Group founder and partner Mandy Leigh recently argued before the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a longstanding special education case raising issues of first impression in the Ninth Circuit.

Any appearance before a Ninth Circuit panel is of course a privilege but more so in this case due to the participation of the United States Department of Justice who argued in favor of an interpretation of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) urged by Ms. Leigh.

The issue of first impression revolved around the interpretation of whether an auditory processing disorder constituted an “other health impairment” for purposes of IDEA eligibility.  Leigh Law Group consistently argued that point in district court proceeding in the case stretching over 8 years.  The history of the case is well articulated by a previous Ninth Circuit opinion in the case here.

The United States Department of Education, the agency charged with interpretation of the IDEA regulations regarding categories of eligibility, concurred and its interpretation of the regulations is entitled to “Chevron” deference, a standard derived from the United States Supreme Court case of Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 ( 1984).  Chevron deference means that the agency’s interpretation will be deferred to so long as it is a permissible one.  Here, the interpretation that an auditory processing disorder may constitute an other health impairment appears to be a permissible interpretation of the IDEA.

Ms. Leigh then zealously advocated for her client’s eligibility at the time in question, due to his chronic auditory processing disorder which adversely impacted his education, in response to questioning from the panel of judges.  Regardless of the ultimate result, this case will help define the contours of the IDEA for educators, parents, the judiciary and administrative bodies and legal representatives in the States of California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana,  Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii and Alaska.

Leigh Law Group considers it an honor to participate in the shaping of law and the process of resolving disputes.  Only from fidelity to legal precepts and principles can an orderly society maintain. Leigh Law Group is a California law firm located in San Francisco and Marin counties practicing in the areas of special education law, education law, higher education law, employment law, business litigation and civil rights litigation.

Budget Cuts and Impact on Litigation

As a litigator in civil rights and special education, it is impossible to ignore the impact of the state’s budget woes on litigation.

Often, we’re asked “Should I sue”?

When choosing the litigation route i.e. bringing your case to a Judge and/or Jury to decide, there are so many factors beyond even the facts of your case to consider.  This is because judges and juries are people too. They represent the people who may have been foreclosed upon, or the person who just doesn’t like your tie. These folks are potentially your neighbors or people just like you and your family. They have preconceived notions and ideas.

Yes, it is true that not all cases can avoid going through the court processes, but often times (and the caselaw and rules of court suggest this) the preference is to keep your case out of court – yes I’m an attorney who makes a living out of going to court – but I’m telling you the cost benefit with budget crisis in all aspects of our lives makes litigation a true last resort option

Here are just a few things to consider before you ask “Should I sue”?:

1. Have I tried all informal means of resolving my case by problem solving, considering alternative solutions to resolve my matter or involving a neutral person with experience in your matters such as an attorney or in special education cases, a mediation only option (no attorneys allowed).

2. Is there some other process available to me such as an internal complaint process, a state or federal complaint process or an internally offered mediation process?

3.   Will my potential for “damages” I can obtain through a lawsuit be worth the the benefit? This includes your time (taking off of work to spend 5-10 or more days in court, paying experts etc.), cost (experts, discovery, copies) and attorney’s fees.

4.  What are the risks of losing and your willingness to appeal your case.  In civil rights cases we are seeing a huge sympathy for “broke” states and state entities and civil rights are being harder and harder to win making an appeal a much likelier chance.

5.  If your suing simply to vindicate a right, make sure that you have the financial and emotional staying power to fight your case as long as necessary.

This is not an exhaustive list but it would be doing any person or groups of persons who intend to sue for civil rights litigation – of any kind – not to advise them of these facts.

How the ADA impacts schools

Federal laws which impact schools include, but are not limited to, the ADA, Section 504 and the IDEA. The ADA and Section 504 also cover employment (so teachers and staff). Recently, the ADA was amended. A great article on the web about the changes to the ADA and how this impacts schools can be found at:
http://www.casecec.org/pdf/ADA%20Amendment%20Explanation%2012-14-08–Sue%20Gamm.pdf