Appellate Court Determines No Statutory Basis For Fees, That Waiting Time Penalty Loss Did Not Give Rise To Fees Under Section 218.5.
In Ramos v. Garcia, Case No. D068500 (4th Dist., Div. 1 June 28, 2016) (published), plaintiff employee obtained some monetary relief against two defendants, but did not prevail against another defendant who was determined not to be an owner/employer. The lower court then awarded winning defendant $29,295 under Labor Code section 218.5, a two-way fee shifting statute under some circumstances.
That determination was reversed by the Fourth District, Division 1, in an opinion which is must reading for all employment/labor practitioners.
It determined that no fee recovery was due on the wage/hour loss based on section 1194. Likewise, the meal/rest break claims were not compensable because they did not involve nonpayment of wages, but legal obligations of the employer. Although a fee recovery can be grounded upon a determination that the employee pursued the action in bad faith, no such finding was made here. Finally, the appellate court determined that the waiting time penalty claim was not within the scope of two-way fee recovery of section 218.5.