SACRAMENTO – The California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA) has released the names of the top law firms that are using the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) the most, informing the public of the potential abuse of the law.
The most active firms include Younessi Law, Kingsley & Kingsley, Gaines & Gaines and Crosner Legal, its website states.
“This week, CABIA sent a message to California residents letting them know our state’s small businesses are under attack,” CABIA stated in an article posted on its website. “From what exactly? The Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), a harmful law that enriches trial lawyers at the expense of our state’s businesses. The mailers list the California law firms known for using this law to target businesses, nonprofits and labor unions.”
PAGA authorizes aggrieved employees to file lawsuits to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the state of California for labor code violations. Simply put, the annual American Tort Reform Association's Judicial Hellholes report recently referred to it as the “Sue Your Boss Law.”
The growth in PAGA petitions has been astronomical, according to CABIA.
“In 2016, more than 5,000 PAGA complaints were filed – an astonishing 1,440 percent increase from the law’s first year in effect,” the CABIA's website states.
Its website seeks to represent the first attempt to make PAGA case data easy for the public to browse and review – something that has previously been difficult to access.
The president and founder of CABIA says the group is taking legal action against PAGA in hopes of the possibility of a reform to the bill as 2020 nears.
“Our equal protection claim will be ruled upon in the superior court in 2020,” said Tom Manzo, founder and president of CABIA. “This claim targets the PAGA carve-out negotiated by unionized construction industry companies. At minimum, a favorable ruling on this claim would overturn the PAGA carve-out. In a best case scenario, we'll be able to make the case that the same logic justifying this carve-out for construction also justifies it for every other industry.
“A victory in 2020 will lead to another battle in the Supreme Court and this is when our separation of powers claim will brought back up on appeal.”