No Showing Of Bad Faith In Labor Commissioner’s Position on Employment Issue.
In Happy Nails & Spa of Fashion Valley v. California Labor Commissioner, Case No. D067391 (4th Dist., Div. 1 Apr. 25, 2016) (unpublished), a plaintiff ultimately prevailing on an employee/independent contractor classification issue sought to recover attorney’s fees from the Labor Commissioner, seeking recoupment under the federal civil rights statute for due process violations. Both the trial and appellate courts rebuffed this request. Although plaintiff ultimately prevailed in showing that independent contractor status was the “binding” end result, nothing showed the Commissioner pursued the classification action in bad faith—especially given that the ruling was based on the collateral estoppel impact of an administrative ruling, with collateral estoppel being a rather elastic doctrine depending on the circumstances of record.