Category: Legal News

Tara Burd

Tara Burd San Diego Civil Litigation Attorney | San Francisco Lyft Drivers Class Action Settlement

See My Who IsTara Burd San Diego Civil litigation attorney says  “Lyft and Uber, two popular start-up ride-hailing services, have recently faced proposed class-action lawsuits from their drivers in San Francisco. Both cases are spurred by drivers’ demands for reclassification as employees, rather than their current state as independent contractors.”

As contractors, drivers have to pay for gas and vehicle maintenance costs themselves. As employees, San Francisco drivers would be entitled to reimbursement for these expenses from their respective companies. There are many other start-ups relying on large networks of individuals to provide services such as clean houses or rides. These lawsuits could threaten the valuations of these related companies with similar contractor business models, explaining why the cases have been widely and publicly followed.

In the case of Lyft, a settlement was filed on Tuesday evening, and is currently waiting on approval by U.S. District Judge Vince Chabria. The hearing will be in San Francisco on February 18. The Lyft settlement involves giving drivers more workplace protection and benefits, without reclassifying them as employees. It proposes for Lyft to pay $12.25 million, and to only be able to deactivate drivers for specific reasons – such as low passenger ratings – and to give those drivers the opportunity to address those issues before deactivation. Lyft will also agree to pay the arbitration expenses of drivers who wish to challenge their deactivation, or to dispute their compensation rates.

Reuters notes that while the Lyft drivers did not earn the reclassification as employees that they desired, the benefits are still significant, and less complicated and costly to Lyft than reclassification would have been. Meanwhile, Uber, which has been the target of far more legal complaints from drivers, did not get away with a settlement. Instead, it is now the subject of a December 2015-certified class-action lawsuit, scheduled for a June 2016 trial in San Francisco. It will then be decided whether Uber drivers are independent contractors or employees. In addition to lack of gas and vehicle maintenance expense reimbursements, the Uber class-action suit contests Uber’s practice of telling passengers that gratuity is included and not to tip the drivers, while drivers never receive any gratuity. A December 2015 decision extended the class to encompass all California Uber drivers who have directly contracted with Uber since 2009, whereas a previous class certification order excluded drivers who joined Uber in June 2014 or afterwards. The December 2015 decision ruled this previous class certification illegal, and therefore unenforceable.

For more information visit Tara Burd’s Who Is Page here in the Journal

San Diego Civil Litigation Attorney Tara Burd
You may contact her at her office
T.Burd Law Group
945 Fourth Ave., #307
San Diego, CA 92101
Or by telephone 858-215-2873

San Diego Professional Journal
2830 Keats St., Suite F San DiegoCA92106 USA 
 • 619-870-0097
Tara Burd

Tara Burd San Diego Civil Litigation Attorney | A Basic Understanding of Step 1 to Filing a Lawsuit

See My Who IsTara Burd San Diego Civil Litigation Attorney said, “When a person is harmed, often the only sensible means by which he or she can be made whole is to initiate legal proceedings against the wrongdoer.”

Under most circumstances, legal proceedings begin once official documents are filed with the Court.  San Diego Litigation Attorney Tara Burd clarifies, “It’s not always obvious in which court to bring an action. Some claims are better suited for small claims court. For other claims, a plaintiff may need to decide whether to file in Federal Court or if Federal Court even has jurisdiction over their claims below.

The first document that must be filed is known as the complaint. The complaint sets out the plaintiff’s assertions, names liable parties as defendants, and lays out the factual and legal bases for the plaintiff’s claim. Drafting the complaint must be done carefully, as it sets the tone for the legal proceedings to come and is often the sole means by which the court determines whether there is any merit to the plaintiff’s case. In California courts, we have what is known as “fact pleading.” Fact pleading, in contrast to notice pleading in federal courts, requires that you allege specific facts for each element of every cause of action in your complaint. That means that in a complaint alleging negligence, you cannot merely state “Person X was driving the car that hit my car and caused me to incur medical bills.” You must clearly allege facts concerning the other driver’s duty, the breach of that duty, how that breach was the cause in fact and the proximate cause of your injuries, and the manner in which those injuries caused you to sustain damages.

The complaint must comply with the rules of the court in which it is being filed, and the drafter must ensure that the proper format is used and the proper information is supplied. A link to the applicable rules can usually be found on the county court’s website. Many of these rules are simple, and your common sense will lead you in the right direction. However, some rules may elude your common sense inclinations. For instance, just over a year ago, complaints were required to be filed on certifiably recycled paper. That rule has since been repealed, but my point is that similar rules still exist on the books, and failing to heed them may lead your complaint to the “rejected” box.

In addition to filing the complaint, California courts require the Plaintiff to file a Summons and Civil Claim Coversheet. Both forms can typically be found on your county Court’s website. These additional forms are incredibly important, because without all three forms being filed, the party you are opposing is not required to file a response (or, in other words, “Answer”).

The Civil Claim Coversheet is a form that the courts use to classify your complaint and as a source of statistical data. It is a “check the box” form, and can be completed quickly and often without the need of assistance.

The Summons acts as an official notice to the parties you have named as defendants that they are being sued. Again, it is imperative that you know the court rules concerning providing notice to parties you are suing. While the Summons acts as an official notice, some types of suits require providing the parties you are suing additional time prior to filing the complaint. For example, in suits against “health care providers,” the California Code of Civil Procedure may require you serve notice to the parties you are opposing a full 90 days before filing the complaint. Be sure you understand these rules before filing because there are consequences (known as “sanctions”) that you may face for failing to provide proper notice, among other things.

Some plaintiffs may even be able to avoid the foregoing obstacles by bringing their claims through specially designated procedures.  By way of example, Tara Burd states that “[i]t is very easy for an unpaid employee to file a claim with the Labor Commissioner and avoid the costs and requirements of an action in Superior Court.”  However, while bringing a claim with the Labor Commissioner may be easier in some actions, an aggrieved employee may also fail to identify all relevant causes of action.

The bottom line is that it’s not always easy to get one’s case before the court. Before starting a battle without an attorney, seek consultations and do due diligence to be sure you’re in the proper court and following the proper procedures.

For more information visit Tara Burd’s Who Is Page here in the Journal

San Diego Civil Litigation Attorney Tara Burd
You may contact her at her office
T.Burd Law Group
945 Fourth Ave., #307
San Diego, CA 92101
Or by telephone 858-215-2873

Tara Burd

Tara Burd San Diego Civil Law Attorney | Getting Fired is a Good Thing

Tara Burd San Diego Civil Law Attorney says “Employees often think it’s better to quit a job than to be fired.”

They often worry that future employers will judge them harshly if they were “fired.” Most of the time, they are angry with their employers and their ego dictates that “taking control” by quitting is better. It’s not. Here are two primary reasons why an employee should wait to be fired.

First, when an employee quits they are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits. There is an exception to this rule known as constructive termination. Constructive termination occurs when an employer takes every step to terminate an employee except for actually saying the words, “you’re fired.”

Tara Burd, discusses this issue in more detail in an article in CNN iReport where she states “When a person loses – or is forced to quit – their job in California, unemployment insurance benefits are often their one reprieve. The job loss becomes even more painful when they find out their employer has denied them benefits.”

Sometimes an employer will go so far as to say: “We aren’t terminating you, we just don’t think you should work here anymore.” Or, “We aren’t terminating you, but maybe you should consider looking for work elsewhere.” Whether an employee has been constructively terminated requires a fact-specific analysis. However, when an employer says these types of phrases, the fact that an employee happens to pull the trigger on ending the relationship does not disqualify him or her from obtain unemployment insurance. Nevertheless, the default rule is that quitters are not entitled to unemployment benefits. So, if an employer believes he or she will be fired soon, preemptive quitting is not recommended.

Second, when an employee quits, they are rarely offered a severance package. While severance packages are not required in California, they are often offered to the benefit of both parties. Employers like the mutual release of claims that is usually tied to the severance package. An employee who quits first, will usually lose their opportunity to be offered and obtain a severance agreement.

For those employees worried that being “fired” will look negative on their employment record: First, consider that an employment record isn’t usually public knowledge. As such, there are ways to protect an employee’s reputation. One way is to obtain a severance agreement and be sure it includes a non-disparagement clause. This clause commits the employer to only provide the dates and positions of employment to a future employer. In fact, many companies only provide this information as a policy. Instead of relying on a human resources manager or company owner for a reference, and employee should provide his/her prospective employer with the name of a specific individual.

The bottom line is that when an employee quits, they lose their opportunity for negotiation and future compensation.

To see the article mentioned above, go to http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1221627

For more information visit Tara Burd’s Who Is Page here in the Journal
See the article in Small Business Trendsetters http://smallbusinesstrendsetters.com/tara-burd-san-diego-civil-law-attorney-uber-drivers-caught-in-a-rat-race/

Or other articles in CNN iReport http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1234171   or   http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1234170

Tara Burd San Diego Civil Law Attorney
You may contact her at her office
T.Burd Law Group
945 Fourth Ave., #307
San Diego, CA 92101
Or by telephone 858-215-2873