John has extensive litigation and counseling experience with all manner of employment-related issues, including wrongful termination, wage and hour, harassment and discrimination claims, as well as OSHA matters and reductions in force. He also frequently handles corporate internal investigations, matters involving covenants not to compete, employee solicitation and the protection of trade secrets/confidential information.
John regularly defends companies in class action suits, including those claiming violations of California’s unique wage and hour laws, as well as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. He also defends class actions under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and its state analogs, along with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. John and his team regularly employ aggressive, innovative strategies to bring class actions to an early resolution. His wage and hour litigation experience includes successfully trying to judgment a major suit with statewide implications against the California State Labor Commissioner.
Over his years of litigation, John has been involved in a number of published decisions, including:
- Two United States Supreme Court opinions:
- Meghrig v. KFC Western, Inc., 516 U.S. 479 (1996) (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act)
- Cory v. Western Oil & Gas Assn., 471 U.S. 81 (1985) (Commerce Clause)
- The California District Court of Appeal’s 2009 wage and hour class action precedent, Hernandez v. Vitamin Shoppe Industries, 174 Cal. App. 4th 1441 (2009
- Three federal court wage and hour class action precedents:
- Harris v. Vector Marketing Corp., 753 F. Supp.2d 996 (N.D. Cal. 2010) (FLSA collective action certification)
- Harris, supra, 716 F.Supp.2d 835 (N.D. Cal. 2010) (Conditional FLSA collective action certification)
- Harris, supra, 656 F.Supp.2d 1128 (N.D. Cal. 2009) (Summary judgment in class action/collective action)
- The landmark 2007 consumer credit reporting act decision, Trujillo v. First American Registry, 157 Cal. App. 4th 628 (2007)
- The 2003 employment discrimination precedent on the “stray remarks” doctrine, Gibbs v. Consolidated Disposal Service, Inc., 111 Cal. App. 4th 794 (2003)
- The CERCLA summary judgment opinion in Carson Harbor Village, Ltd., v. Unocal Corporation, 287 F.Supp.2d 1118 (C.D. Cal. 2003)
Lead trial and litigation counsel in the following additional published decisions:
- Harris v. Vector Marketing Corp., 2012 WL 381202, NO. C-08-5198 EMC, (N.D.Cal., February 06, 2012)
- Harris v. Vector Marketing Corp., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148034, NO. C-08-5198 EMC (N.D.Cal., December 23, 2011)
- Harris v. Vector Marketing Corp., 2011 WL 4831157, NO. C-08-5198 EMC (N.D.Cal., October 12, 2011)
- Harris v. Vector Marketing Corp., 2011 WL 1627973, NO. C-08-5198 EMC (N.D.Cal., April 29, 2011)
- Harris v. Vector Marketing Corp., 2010 WL 3743532, NO. C-08-5198 EMC (N.D.Cal., September 17, 2010)
- Harris v. Vector Marketing Corp., 2010 WL 2077015, NO. C-08-5198 EMC (N.D.Cal., May 20, 2010)
- Harris v. Vector Marketing Corp., 2010 WL 56179, NO. C-08-5198 EMC (N.D.Cal., January 05, 2010)
- Harris v. Vector Marketing Corp., 2009 WL 4050966, NO. C-08-5198 EMC (N.D.Cal., November 20, 2009)
- Harris v. Vector Marketing Corp., 2009 WL 3710696, NO. C-08-5198 EMC (N.D.Cal., November 04, 2009)
Among the clients he represents are manufacturing concerns, credit and related reporting agencies, financial institutions, retailers, airlines, life sciences companies, consulting firms, hospitality industry and food service clients and sales organizations.
John has earned an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, meeting the highest criteria for legal ability and professional ethical standards. He has also been selected by his peers as one of Southern California’s “Super Lawyers” multiple times from 2005-2019.
- Tumampos v. Cathay Pacific Airways, Ltd.: Putative class action on behalf of airline flight attendants alleging violations of numerous California Labor Code provisions. We moved to dismiss the majority of plaintiffs' claims under the Extraterritoriality Doctrine, which denies application of California law to employees who primarily work outside California. The plaintiffs and putative class members fly directly from LAX or SFO to Hong Kong and back, and thus work primarily outside California. The court granted our motion, and
- Sultan v. Medtronic, Inc. and Mitchell v. Medtronic, Inc.: Class action alleging failure to pay overtime based on improper calculation of Regular Rate of Pay and also alleging violation of California’s meal period statute. We first succeeded in eliminating the overtime claim in Sultan through a motion to dismiss and later defeated a motion for class certification of the remaining meal period claims. The case also effectively utilized a strategy of settling with individual putative class members before class certification, as authorized by California case law. Class certification in Sultan was later denied and affirmed on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mitchell was also appealed to the Ninth Circuit and affirmed in favor of Medtronic.
- Steeger v. PetSmart, Inc.: FLSA nationwide collective action and Rule 23 class action alleging violations of wage and hour laws in five states. We employed an aggressive, innovate strategy to resolve 85% of the putative class claims early on, following which the case was settled for a low figure.
- Laticrete International v. Mapei, Inc., et. al.: This trade secret case involved two employees who left our client’s employ to work for a direct competitor, taking with them significant amounts of Laticrete’s trade secret information. We promptly obtained a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent the use of that trade secret information and to require its return to our client, and we later convinced the court to issue a Preliminary Injunction against all defendants.
- Harris v. Vector Marketing Corporation: Class action alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the California Labor Code premised on claimed misclassification of over 50,000 independent contractors. We defeated several attempts to expand the geographic and substantive scope of the case, and the case was pared down through a motion for summary adjudication and a motion for judgment on the pleadings. The case was then resolved via settlement.
- Perry, et al. v. The Vitamin Shoppe: Class action claiming misclassification of store managers and failure to provide meal and rest periods. This was one of three similar class actions filed by three separate attorneys in three separate California state courts. We were able to bring one of the cases, Perry, to early mediation, thereby foreclosing any recovery in the other two related cases. The attorneys in the two remaining cases embarked on a campaign to try to undo the settlement of the Perry case. After almost two years of fending off these attempts, final approval of the settlement was granted in December 2007. That judgment, as well as a related ruling by the lower court concerning misconduct by one of those counsel, was affirmed by the state court of appeal in a published opinion (Hernandez v. Vitamin Shoppe Industries, 174 Cal. App. 4th 1441 (2009)).
- Espinosa v. Bodycote Thermal Processing, Inc. and Perea v. Bodycote Thermal Processing, Inc.: We again employed an aggressive, innovative strategy to resolve roughly 90% of the potential claims early on through settlement. Plaintiffs and their counsel refused to acknowledge the validity of those settlements, but we convinced the Court to issue an order approving the settlements as valid. We also defeated a motion to have the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) claims tried to a jury and a motion by plaintiffs to recover “catalyst” attorneys’ fees. The plaintiffs agreed to settlement the remaining 10% of their potential claims on the eve of a motion for significant sanctions.
- Diaz v. First Advantage Corporation: This class action alleged violations of the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (a state law analogy FCRA) for failure to provide accurate background checks. We prevailed on a motion to dismiss the key class action allegations, which led to resolution of the remaining individual claims through settlement on terms very favorable for the client.
- Solar Turbines v. Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement: Declaratory relief suit against the California State Labor Commissioner over interpretation of the Alternative Workweek provisions of California’s wage and hour laws. Following a bench trial, we prevailed on all counts, validating our client’s interpretation in a case with statewide implications.
University of California, Los Angeles, BA, with honors
Northwestern University, MA
Georgetown University Law Center, JD
- US Supreme Court
- US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- US District Court for the Central District of California
- US District Court for the Eastern District of California
- US District Court for the Southern District of California
- US District Court for the Northern District of California
- US District Court for the Northern District of Texas
- US District Court for the Southern District of New York
- US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
- US District Court for the District of Maryland