Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho (“GBDH”) specializes in complex and class action litigation on the plaintiff side, including wage and hour, employment discrimination, disability access, environmental, voting rights, and other public interest litigation. GBDH, founded in 1972, is one of the most successful private plaintiffs’ public interest firms in the country. The firm has a national practice and regularly litigates class action lawsuits in California, and has also litigated class actions in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, New York, Tennessee, and Texas.
GBDH is one of the leading plaintiffs’ firms litigating wage and hour class and collective actions in California and nationally. The firm has successfully litigated cases on behalf of workers improperly denied overtime and other compensation in numerous wage and hour class and collective actions, including Garcia v. Oracle ($35 million settlement), Rosenberg v. IBM ($65 million settlement), Butler v. Countrywide ($30 million settlement), Lin v. Siebel ($27.5 million settlement), Bullock v. Automobile Club ($19.5 million in settlement), Contreras v. Bank of America ($16.65 million settlement), and Mousai v. E-Loan ($13.6 million settlement). The firm has also played a part in strengthening the wage and hour laws for workers by submitting friends of the court briefs in several California Supreme Court cases and advocating for workers before the state administrative body that formulates the orders governing wages, hours and working conditions. The firm’s comments to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) opposing the proposed March 31, 2003 “white collar” overtime exemption regulations resulted in significant improvements in the final regulations as noted by the DOL in the Federal Reporter on April 23, 2004.
In the largest monetary recovery ever recovered in a gender discrimination case brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, GBDH obtained $250 million for a class of women who were denied or deterred from positions as State Farm insurance sales agents (Kraszewski v. State Farm General Ins., Co.). As part of the settlement agreement in Kraszewski, which followed a successful trial, State Farm was required to fill 50 percent of its California sales position vacancies with women and to hire three female recruiters to find qualified women applicants. GBDH also obtained the largest monetary recovery in a Title VII race discrimination case (Haynes v. Shoney’s, Inc.) in which $132.5 million and broad injunctive relief was obtained on behalf of a class of African American employees and applicants. GBDH also negotiated an $87.5 million settlement on behalf of women employees and applicants for sales positions at Home Depot stores in its Western Division (Butler, et al. v. Home Depot, Inc.). The settlement established new job selection procedures that created thousands of job opportunities in sales and management positions for women. GBDH also recovered $80 million in a sex discrimination class action against Lucky Stores, Inc. (Stender v. Lucky Stores, Inc.). The settlement followed a three-month trial and two appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Subsequently, the firm obtained similar relief in gender discrimination class action against Publix Super Markets, Florida’s largest private employer (Shores v. Publix Super Markets, Inc.). The Publix settlement included significantly increased job opportunities for women and $81.5 million in monetary relief.
GBDH also successfully resolved a race discrimination class action against Southern California Edison that challenged compensation and promotion inequities of African American employees (Rice v. Southern California Edison). The settlement resulted in extensive injunctive relief and a settlement fund of $18.25 million. GBDH also co-counseled and negotiated a class action settlement in a gender discrimination case against MetLife (Mitchell v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., dba MetLife). The settlement provides for a payment of $13.4 million and extensive nationwide injunctive relief affecting sales agents and sales managers. Most recently, the firm successfully tried a race discrimination class action against Lufkin Industries, Inc. (McClain v, Lufkin Industries, Inc.) in the Eastern District of Texas and successfully defended the trial court judgment against two appeals to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
GBDH also litigated the largest public accommodations case to date under Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Ridgeway v. Denny’s). This class action brought on behalf of African American customers of Denny’s Restaurants in California resulted in a $34.8 million settlement and established a monitoring system, training and other injunctive relief measures to assure that African American customers of Denny’s nationwide receive non-discriminatory service in the future.
GBDH also has successfully litigated Clean Water Act cases challenging excessive discharges of selenium into San Francisco Bay by Unocal, Tosco and Exxon Oil Companies, and a case brought against Dow Chemical Co., under California’s Proposition 65 (prohibiting the discharge of carcinogens and other toxics into drinking water sources) resulting in injunctive relief, civil penalties and attorneys’ fees in a combined total of more than $12 million.
GBDH also has an active docket of disability access cases. The firm has been instrumental in negotiating landmark agreements on behalf of persons with vision impairments resulting in the installation of “talking ATMs” at thousands of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Bank One, Wachovia, 7-11 and Citibank locations across the country and ensuring that persons with vision impairments receive banking materials in alternative formats, such as Braille and large print. The firm has also successfully litigated other cases involving access to public accommodations of behalf of persons with disabilities, including a class action against Macy’s Department stores brought on behalf of persons with mobility disabilities.
GBDH has long been recognized as one of the top plaintiffs’ firms in the country. In 2011 and 2012, the Recorder recognized the firm as one of the top ten “Leading Employment Practices” for plaintiffs in the Bay Area. The firms’ partners are regularly recognized as “Superlawyers.” As early as July 1992, The National Law Journal (“A National Who’s Who of the Top Lawyers in Employment Litigation”) stated that GBDH was, “In a league of their own on the plaintiffs’ side, handling the largest class actions nationwide.” A 1995 Business Week article called GBDH “the swat team of bias litigation,” noting that in the prior three years, the firm “ha[d] collected more than $600 million in damages and legal fees from companies its clients have sued for discrimination.” In March 2004, The Recorder, San Francisco’s daily legal newspaper, listed all of the firm’s partners as among the “top attorneys” in employment law in the San Francisco Bay Area.