A class notification is on its way to the printer in an employee class action against defunct Thelen after a federal judge ruled two employees who filed a separate suit in San Francisco Superior Court can’t intervene in the federal case.
The employees wanted to intervene because the federal case doesn’t include a claim under California’s Private Attorney General Act.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte agreed with counsel for Thelen and the class that there wasn’t much point. Any recovery under PAGA would send money to the state that might otherwise go to plaintiffs.
“Plaintiffs attorneys represent that they carefully considered whether or not to assert a PAGA claim, but chose not to assert such a claim because 75 percent of the recovery goes to the state in such an action, and Thelen has very limited funds to pay any claims of the class,” Laporte wrote.
Thelen had objected to the motion to intervene, saying that the employees’ counsel, Cary Kletter of Kletter & Peretz, was basically just trying to stay employed.
These days, who isn’t? More, after the jump.
“The only conceivable benefit of intervention would accrue to applicants’ counsel. Counsel’s self-interest — which he persists in elevating above the interest of his two clients — cannot justify discretionary intervention,” said Thelen’s objection, filed by Latham & Watkins’ Wayne Flick.
The state case was stayed earlier this year pending the outcome of the federal case. The two employees are members of the class in the federal case, but would have to opt out of that before continuing their state case.
Steven Blum, an attorney at Los Angeles litigation boutique Blum Collins who represents the class, declined to comment on the ruling but said it clears the way for them to proceed.
“We are preparing a class notice, which will need to be approved by the court and which will soon be sent out to all the class members,” Blum said.
— Amanda Royal
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