No Star Treatment for Celebrity’s Employees

Abendbrot restaurant salad, by pixabay user RestaurantAnticaRoma, licensed by Creative Commons.

Here’s a tip: keep your employees happy

Actress Jessica Biel has played many roles on the big screen, but she is now playing a very different part – that of defendant.

Recently, nine employees accused the Hollywood star and her business partners, including Estee Stanley, Joey Gonzalez, Kimberly Muller, and Jonathan Rollo, of withholding gratuity that they were legally entitled to collect.  The employees, who were mostly former employees, are suing Biel and Au Fudge for fraud, stealing employee gratuities, and other damages. Plaintiffs contend that the owners pocketed gratuity collected at private events, which reached over $430,000. Additionally, plaintiffs claim to be victims of other illegal payroll practices, including not receiving compensation for overtime work and other wage withholdings. The disgruntled employees also accuse the restaurant owners of denying them meal and rest breaks that they were legally entitled to. Read more

Superstar’s Sexual Assault Lawsuit Goes Viral

Concert Crowd, by flickr user barnImages.com, licensed by Creative Commons.

Fans give three cheers for Swift

Celebrity Taylor Swift has millions of fans, but it’s safe to say David Mueller is not one of them.

This past week, Swift has been defending allegations in a Denver courtroom that the former DJ touched her inappropriately at a meet-and-greet event in 2013. After the photo shoot that evening, Swift reportedly complained to security personnel and family that Mueller, who posed for the picture with Swift and his girlfriend Shannon Melcher, intentionally reached under her skirt and grabbed her rear end. At the time of the incident Swift was 23 and Mueller was 51. Taylor Swift’s team told Mueller’s employer, KYGO, about the misconduct, which resulted in his termination two days later. Read more

Starion Energy’s Electric Rates Shock Customers

Electricity power electric power, by pixabay user anestiev, licensed by Creative Commons.

Power to the consumer

Starion Energy, a Connecticut-based energy provider, is being accused of astronomically inflating consumers’ variable rate electric prices. Plaintiff Lydia Gruber filed a lawsuit against defendants Starion Energy Inc., Starion Energy NY Inc., and Starion Energy PA Inc. in January 2017 alleging that the companies falsely claimed that their electricity rates would reflect current market prices of electricity derived from all market sources. The defendants deny the allegations, but have agreed to settle the lawsuit out of court. Customers of Starion’s variable rate plan may be eligible for a cash payment. Read more

Five Guys Burgers Grilled in Lawsuit

Burgers fast food menu, by pixabay user director90, licensed by Creative Commons.

Want fries with that?

A former Five Guys employee recently filed a lawsuit accusing the popular California chain of violating multiple labor laws. Jeremy R. Lusk, the plaintiff, accused Five Guys Burgers of failing to give him the requisite meal and rest breaks, forcing him to use a personal car without reimbursement for work-related activities, and unlawfully performing credit and background checks on current employees and potential hires, among other grievances. Read more

Missoula’s Water Fight

Montana glacier national park water, by pixabay user dbmcnicol, licensed by Creative Commons.

Ending Missoula’s drinking problem

In the Intermountain West, water law follows the Doctrine of Prior Application, which means “First in Time, First in Right.” This doctrine has led to stiff competition for water usage, and water ownership is highly coveted. For years, water flowing through the town of Missoula, MT has been owned by Liberty Utilities. But now, after years of fighting for ownership of its water supply, Missoula is finally winning. A settlement agreement was recently approved by town council members, setting the stage for a transfer of ownership on June 22. With a successful transfer, Missoula will become the last town in Montana to own its own water system. Read more