Payne & Fears LLP labor and employment litigators specialize in defending employers against wage and hour violation claims brought individually, collectively, or through class action lawsuits.  We have significant experience defending employers in administrative and judicial proceedings under federal and state laws governing independent contractor status, entitlement to overtime pay, calculation of overtime pay, payment of vacation, personal and sick pay, and recordkeeping obligations.  Our employment attorneys have expertise with the California Labor Code and Wage Orders, Fair Labor Standards Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, and the Service Contract Act.  We are committed to staying current on court decisions and legislative actions that affect the complex laws governing wage and hour requirements.  James L. Payne, formerly a Deputy Labor Commissioner with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, is one of the leading experts in this practice area.

Class Action Defense

Payne & Fears LLP labor and employment attorneys specialize in defending and defeating multiple plaintiff and class action litigation of wage and hour disputes.  Our seasoned attorneys have successfully guided clients through the most challenging class action litigation and helped them minimize the impact of these cases on their business reputations and operations.  We have a great track record in class action defense, obtaining early dismissals, denials of class certification, defense verdicts and favorable settlements in a wide variety of wage and hour class actions.  When necessary, Payne & Fears LLP has the experience and trial skills to successfully defend employers in administrative and judicial proceedings.

Occupational Safety and Health

Payne & Fears LLP regularly counsels and represents clients with respect to occupational safety and health proceedings.  

Recent Successes


Payne & Fears LLP Helps Defeat Statewide Class Action Alleging Unpaid Wages

Payne & Fears LLP helped lead counsel in Virginia obtain summary judgment in May, 2010 in favor of a major retail franchisor over a statewide class action lawsuit affecting thousands of employees. The named plaintiff, an employee of one of defendant's franchises, brought suit in the Imperial County Superior Court, alleging claims for breach of contract and unfair business practices. She alleged that she was a third party beneficiary to the franchise agreement and that she had been deprived of wages due to the payroll services defendant...

Attorneys: Eric C. Sohlgren


Victory in Wage & Hour Class Action

Payne & Fears LLP obtained summary judgment on behalf of its client, a major national manufacturer, in a wage-and-hour class action in which the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant had failed to provide its union-represented employees with meal periods required under state law.  Payne & Fears LLP removed the action (which had been filed in California Superior Court) to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California based on the argument that plaintiffs' claims were preempted by the Labor...

Attorneys: James L. Payne, James R. Moss, Jr., Jeffrey K. Brown