Current Section 218.5, Requiring Bad Faith By Employee, Not Retroactive Before January 1, 2014.
In Quiles v. Koji’s Japan Inc., Case No. G049238 (4th Dist., Div. 3 April 3, 2015) (unpublished), employee in an employment case, involving multiple claims including meal breaks, added LLC defendant on an alter ego theory. Eventually, LLC defendant demurred and obtained a dismissal with prejudice from the case. Defendant was then awarded $1,000 (out of a requested $10,176) in attorney’s fees and $3,257.10 in routine costs as against employee, triggering an appeal.
Nothing changed on appeal, in a 3-0 panel decision authored by Justice Fybel.
On the attorney’s fees issue, the principal issue was whether an amendment to former Labor Code section 218.5, with the amendment being effective January 1, 2014, changed the result of allowing recovery to employer for prevailing under the former statutory provision. The appellate court concluded “no,” based on an analysis of the legislative amendment, which going forward required bad faith but did not require this for the case in question. With respect to routine costs, plaintiff failed to rebut the presumptive prima facie validity of the costs memorandum submitted by the defense and did not provide an adequate record to establish an abuse of discretion.