In 2001, a class action lawsuit was filed in Minnesota by 56,000 current and former Wal-Mart hourly employees claiming that the company had violated Minnesota’s Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay them for rest and meal breaks and forcing them to work off the clock.
Maslon Employment Litigation Attorney Jon Parritz, and former partner, Justin Perl, served as lead counsel for the class. After six years of hard-fought discovery and motion practice, which included more than 100 depositions across the country and approximately 200 contested motions, the case culminated in an approximately three-month trial in Dakota County, Minnesota in the fall of 2007. The Court ultimately found in favor of the class, concluding that Wal-Mart’s repeated and willful conduct resulted in over two million separate violations of Minnesota’s Fair Labor Standards Act. Accordingly, the Court issued an injunction and awarded $6.5 million in compensatory and liquidated damages. Shortly before a subsequent trial was scheduled to begin on the issues of punitive damages and civil penalties, the matter was settled for $54.25 million.
"This case took over six years to get to trial . . . ,” shared Justin Perl. "We are thrilled that our efforts on behalf of these employees were successful. Not only does this award help our individual clients, but it sends a message to Wal-Mart that it must pay for its mistakes and that there are consequences for willfully depriving its hourly workers of their contractual benefits and statutory rights."
Justin Perl and Jon Parritz were named “Attorneys of the Year” by Minnesota Lawyer for their work in obtaining the precedent-setting class action verdict and subsequent settlement on behalf of Wal-Mart’s hourly employees.