Powerful companies or employers who mistreat or misclassify their workers shield their unlawful conduct behind arbitration agreements. These arbitration agreements put workers at a great disadvantage in litigation because such workers can no longer use class actions to hold their employers accountable for violations of the law. This course addresses countertactics to achieve justice for people who have been harmed when defendants assert an arbitration defense. This program, taught by plaintiff attorneys Jeremiah Frei-Pearson and Amanda Chan, attorneys at Finkelstein, Blankinship, Frei-Pearson & Garber, will discuss the state of the law surrounding arbitration clauses and ways to defeat forced arbitration in court and arbitrations.
Learning Objectives :
Examine the current state of forced arbitration and the laws which govern it
Discuss counterstrategies to arbitration defenses
Review strategies for arbitrations when courts uphold the arbitration clauses
Jeremiah Frei-Pearson is a founding partner of Finkelstein, Blankinship, Frei-Pearson & Garber. He is a passionate advocate and an experienced litigator who represents consumers and employees in complex class actions. As a result of the victories he has won for his clients, the National Trial Lawyers Association selected Mr. Frei-Pearson as a member of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers from 2014 to 2018. Mr. Frei-Pearson is a member of the Best Attorneys of America, a distinction that is limited to less than 1% of attorneys, and he is also designated as Super Lawyer, a distinction awarded to only 5% of the New York Metro Area. Mr. Frei-Pearson practices in federal and state courts throughout the country and his areas of expertise include class actions, privacy, consumer fraud, employment law, and civil rights.
Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Frei-Pearson was an associate with Kaye Scholer LLP, a multinational law firm, and a staff attorney with Children’s Rights, a national public interest law firm representing children in foster care in class action reform lawsuits. Mr. Frei-Pearson received his B.A. from Skidmore College, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 2000 and he earned his J.D. in 2003 from Stanford Law School. While in law school, Mr. Frei-Pearson was a Public Interest Fellow and served as Senior Symposium Editor of the Stanford Law & Policy Review.
A sampling of Mr. Frei-Pearson’s significant cases includes:
Appointed co-class counsel in Saint Joseph Health System Medical Information Cases, JCCP No. 4716 (Cal. Sup. Ct.). The Court denied Saint Joseph’s demurrer and the Court of Appeals upheld that ruling. After more than two years of litigation, the Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion to certify a class of approximately 31,802 data breach victims. On January 14, 2015, the Court denied Saint Joseph’s motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeals upheld the Court’s summary judgment and class certification decisions. The case was set for trial on August 24, 2015, but the parties reached a settlement valued at approximately $39 million, which the Court finally approved on February 3, 2016. This settlement provides the more money per capita to individual class members than any other known data breach settlement on record.
Appointed co-lead class counsel in Castillo v. Seagate Technology LLC, No. 16-02136 (N.D. Cal.). Class action on behalf of over 12,000 individuals victimized by a data breach. On September 19, 2016, the Court denied Seagate’s motion to dismiss in part. On October 19, 2017, the Court granted preliminary approval of the settlement agreement valued at up to $42 million.
Appointed class counsel in Sackin v. Transperfect Global, Inc., No. 17-1469 (S.D.N.Y. 2017). Class action on behalf of over 4,000 individuals victimized by a data breach. On June 15, 2017, the Court entirely denied Transperfect’s motion to dismiss. On March 13, 2018, the Court preliminarily approved a settlement valued at over $40 million.
Appointed co-class counsel in Reed v. Friendly’s Ice Cream, LLC, No. 15-cv-00298 (M.D. Pa.). The Court denied motions to dismiss and ruled for plaintiffs on several other motions in this wage and hour class action. On January 31, 2017, the Court certified the class, appointed an FBFG lawyer as co-lead class counsel and finally approved a settlement valued at over $4.6 million.
Appointed co-class counsel in Al Fata v. Pizza Hut of America, Inc., No. 14-cv-376 (M.D. Fla.). The Court denied defendant’s motion to compel arbitration. While Plaintiffs’ class certification motion was sub judice, the parties reached a class settlement on behalf of a Florida class of delivery drivers alleging minimum wage violations. The Court granted final approval of the settlement, which is valued at $3.1 million, on June 21, 2017.
Appointed class counsel in Hanna v. CFL Pizza, LLC, No. 05-2011-CA-52949 (Fl. Cir. Court). On September 3, 2013, the Court granted final approval of a settlement that created a substantial settlement fund for under-reimbursed Pizza Hut franchisee delivery drivers who alleged violations of Florida minimum wage law.
Appointed co-class counsel in Bellaspica v. PJPA, LLC, No. 13-3014 (E.D. Pa.). On June 22, 2016, the Court granted final approval of a FLSA collective action settlement, providing a settlement fund for under-reimbursed Papa John’s franchisee pizza delivery drivers.
Appointed class counsel in Yoeckel v. Marriott, No. 703387 (Queens Cty. Com. Div.). Class action alleging that Marriott violated New York wage and hour laws. On May 3, 2017, the Court certified a class and finally approved a settlement that provided class members with 100% of their maximum compensatory damages alleged.
Appointed co-class counsel in Miller v. Fresh, No. 14-0880 (Mass. Suffolk Cty.). State-wide class action alleging that Fresh unlawfully collected consumers’ personal identification information. On July 15, 2015 the Court certified a class and granted final approval to a settlement.
Appointed co-class counsel in Miller v. Patagonia, No. 14-0888 (Mass. Suffolk Cty.). State-wide class action alleging that Patagonia unlawfully collected consumers’ personal identification information. On February 9, 2015 the Court certified a class and granted final approval to a settlement.
Counsel to the Plaintiffs in D.G. ex rel. Stricklin v. Henry, No. 08-cv-074 (N.D. Okl.). In this class action to reform Oklahoma’s foster care system, the Court certified a statewide class of Oklahoma’s foster children (an opinion that was affirmed by the Tenth Circuit). As a result of this litigation, Oklahoma has committed to restructuring its state foster care agency to eliminate dangerous practices (such as an unsafe shelter where babies in state custody disproportionately suffered fractured skulls), and improve measurable outcomes for children in state custody.
As counsel in Charlie and Nadine H. v. Christie, No. 99-3678 (D.N.J.), worked with the state agencies, a federally appointed monitor, and the Court to help ensure implementation of a consent decree to reform New Jersey’s foster care system. Among many other significant achievements under the consent decree, New Jersey broke a record for adoptions achieved, significantly reformed supervision procedures that were inadequate, and substantially increased the percentage of foster children who subsequently attended college. Mr. Frei-Pearson continues to be involved in this litigation in a pro bono capacity.
Mr. Frei-Pearson has received numerous awards for his legal work, including the New York City Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award for his work on death penalty cases, a citation from the New York City Council for his child advocacy work, and the 2010 Palomountain Award from Skidmore College. Mr. Frei-Pearson is also active in his community; he is a district leader in White Plains, where he serves as Chair of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee For People With Disabilities and he sits on the Board of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley.
Amanda Chan is an associate attorney (pending admission) at FGFB. Ms. Chan received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, and she finished her undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh. During law school, Ms. Chan was a clerk at the Predatory Lending & Consumer Protection clinic and an online editor of the Black Letter Law Journal. She also was a law clerk for The Death Penalty Project in London, UK.