Orage v. Amway Corp. (2020) Justice Catalyst Law, Towards Justice, and Leonard Carder LLP filed suit against Amway for failing to provide its so-called “independent business owners” minimum wage and other workers’ rights. The case was filed under California’s Private Attorney General Act, claiming that Amway misclassified IBOs as independent contractors instead of employees under California law. See coverage of our case on Bloomberg.com.
- Crain et al v. Accredited Surety and Casualty Company (2019)
In a first-of-its-kind class action lawsuit filed in California Superior Court, Justice Catalyst Law, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, Public Counsel, the National Consumer Law Center, and Towards Justice allege that an antitrust conspiracy has fixed the prices of the premiums paid for commercial bail bonds since at least 2004. The LA Times wrote about the case here.
- Moerhl v National Association Realtors (2019)
Justice Catalyst Law, alongside Cohen Milstein, Hagens Berman, Handley Farah & Anderson, Wright Marsh & Levy, and Teske Katz, filed a putative class action against the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and four national real estate brokerages for conspiring to require home sellers to pay for buyers’ brokers at an inflated commission well above a competitive level in violation of federal antitrust law. The suit alleges that the defendants’ conspiracy has centered around NAR’s adoption and implementation of a mandatory rule that requires all brokers to make a blanket, non-negotiable offer of buyer broker compensation when listing a property on a MLS. Read the news coverage here: Forbes, Fox Business [watch].
- Robinson v. National Student Clearinghouse (2019)
Justice Catalyst Law, in partnership with Francis & Mailman, P.C., and the National Consumer Law Center, filed a class action lawsuit against the National Student Clearinghouse (“NSC”) in the United States Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The suit alleges that NSC maintains vast databases housing detailed information about college students and their college enrollment history from which it sells reports to potential creditors, insurers and employers among others. As such, the complaint asserts that NSC is a credit reporting agency under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Massachusetts Credit Reporting Act and that it has violated those statutes by requiring unlawful and excessive charges for consumers to access their files.
- Pena v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2019)
Justice Catalyst is co-counsel on a landmark case alleging that Wells Fargo unlawfully discriminated against DACA recipients by refusing to give them auto loans, regardless of their creditworthiness or ability to otherwise satisfy the bank’s underwriting criteria. In addition, the complaint alleges that Wells Fargo pulled credit reports for the DACA recipients who applied for loans– even though it knew based on its discriminatory policy that it would never give them a loan — an alleged violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
- Philadelphia Affirmative Litigation Project (2018 – 2019)
Justice Catalyst Law’s Legal Fellow, Laura Dismore, continues to collaborate with the Homeownership and Consumer Rights Unit at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia on an affirmative litigation project. Working on behalf of low-income homeowners, the team brings mortgage servicers and lenders to justice for their violations of state and federal law.
Guides & Letters
The Whistleblower Guides (2018)
The Government Accountability Project (GAP), in collaboration with Justice Catalyst, released three “Whistleblower Guides,” designed to help journalists and public interest organizations as they work with whistleblowers safely and effectively speak up in the face of serious abuses of scientific integrity and public trust.
Unrigging the Market: Convening to Restore Competitive Labor Markets (2018)
Justice Catalyst served as a co-host and partner for the convening, “Unrigging the Market,” at Harvard Law School. A diverse group of stakeholders including economists, law professors, private and public practitioners, advocates, and policymakers convened to explore how anticompetitive forces are harming American labor markets and workers. Participants discussed opportunities for coordinated research, enforcement, and policymaking to enhance labor market competition and protect workers. A written piece that came out of the conversations at the convening on how to advance labor market competition can be read here: Ten Steps Toward a More Competitive Labor Market.
Letter to the Colorado Motor Vehicle Dealer Board (2019)
Justice Catalyst Law and a coalition of nonprofit consumer-advocacy and public-interest organizations submitted a letter to the Colorado Motor Vehicle Dealer Board demanding that the board take action to cease an abusive tactic employed by the Colorado auto dealer industry. In particular, the letter addresses “yo-yo” clauses, which dealers use to sell a car conditioned on obtaining financing, and then when financing falls through, apply leverage to impose worse financing terms or extract fees for use of the car if consumers decide to return it.
OnLabor: “Protecting Worker Power with Antitrust” (2019)
Justice Catalyst Law’s Litigation Director Brian Shearer and Towards Justice’s David Seligman published an OnLabor blog post on protecting worker power with antitrust law. Shearer and Seligman argued that antitrust laws are a powerful, yet underused, tool for building labor market power.
Local Action, National Impact: A Practical Guide to Affirmative Litigation for Local Governments (2019)
Justice Catalyst released Local Action, National Impact: A Practical Guide to Affirmative Litigation for Local Governments, a guide created in partnership with Public Rights Project, the Office of San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, and the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project at Yale Law School. The guide presents a bold vision that local governments can — and should — proactively protect the legal rights of their communities.
Letter to the National Association of Forensic Economics (2019)
Justice Catalyst Law, in partnership with 15 other organizations, sent a letter to the National Association of Forensic Economics to demand that they take action to stop economists from using race and gender to discriminate against women and people of color when calculating damages.
Bloomberg ran an op-ed written by Lisa Cyclar Barrett at NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund and Dariely Rodriguez at Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights about the letter.