Category Archives: Affirmative Defenses

Unclean Hands Bars Suit Between Construction Contractors Where Subcontractor Failed to Pay Labor Code Prevailing Wages

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Plaintiff construction subcontractor appealed from a trial court ruling that its suit against the construction contractor was barred by the doctrine of unclean hands.  B & K Custom Cabinets, Inc. v. B.K. Ball, Inc., No. C060766, 2010 WL 3508321 (Cal. Ct. App. 3d Dist. Sept. 9, 2010).  The subcontractor B & K sued contractor Ball seeking to enforce a stop notice and asserting causes of action for breach of contract and violation of the prompt payment laws, all designed to recover $155,534 allegedly due under the subcontract. Id. *6.  Ball claimed it owed no more than $87,987, but because it had knowledge of B & K’s prevailing wage violation, Ball could not pay even that amount without exposing itself to liability under Labor Code section 1775 unless B & K provided “an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury” attesting that B & K employees had been paid the prevailing wages.” Id. (citing Lab. Code § 1775(b)). Continue reading

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Central District Remands Class Action Based on Local Controversy Exception to CAFA

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In Coleman v. Estes Express Lines, Inc., No. CV 10-2242 ABC (AJWx), — F. Supp. 2d —-, 2010 WL 3156850 (C.D. Cal. July 19, 2010) a wage and hour plaintiff brought a motion to remand, after the case was removed pursuant to CAFA.  The Court granted Plaintiff’s remand motion.

While Defendants have demonstrated that more than $5,000,000 is in controversy under CAFA, Plaintiff has demonstrated that CAFA’s Local Controversy exception applies in this case. Therefore, the Court must decline to exercise jurisdiction. See Serrano, 478 F .3d at 1022. Plaintiff’s motion is GRANTED and this case is REMANDED to Los Angeles Superior Court.

Plaintiffs were represented by Mark P. Estrella, Miriam L. Schimmel, Robert E. Byrnes, Sue Jin Kim of Initiative Legal Group APC and Payam Shahian of Strategic Legal Practices APC.

Defendants were represented by David L. Terry, David L. Woodard of Poyner Spruill LLP and Sarah N. Drechsler and Timothy M. Freudenberger of Carlton Disante & Freudenberger LLP.

The judge is Hon. Audrey B. Collins.

By CHARLES H. JUNG

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