Constangy partner Steve Katz recently secured a win on behalf of client, Better Produce Inc. On June 1, a three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's 2022 decision finding Better Produce Inc. and Red Blossom Sales Inc. weren't liable for workers' pay.
In 2018, the workers filed a lawsuit alleging unpaid wages according to the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act and California law. Following a bench trial, the district court determined that Better Produce and Red Blossom were not considered joint employers under federal law since they did not oversee the work conducted by the plaintiffs on the farms.
Katz was quoted in a June 2 Law360 article regarding the decision. "Businesses may be responsible for working conditions when they hire contractors to perform core business functions on their premises, but are not responsible for working conditions at offsite businesses from whom they purchase goods or services," Katz said in the article.
Katz has been a state bar-certified appellate specialist for two decades, handling nearly 100 appeal and writ proceedings for parties and amici before all levels of appellate courts across the country, including the U.S. and California Supreme Courts and half the federal circuits. He has also defended employers at the trial level in more than 100 class, representative, and collective actions, as well as numerous other employment and commercial cases. Katz concentrates his practice in wage and hour litigation, and has defended employers in retail sales, pharmaceuticals, information technology, food service, manufacturing, automotive, hospitality, education, defense, insurance and professional sports.