LAPD Officer Properly Prevailed In FLSA Anti-Retaliation Claim
Avila v. Los Angeles Police Dep’t, 2014 WL 3361123 (9th Cir. 2014)
Leonard Avila, a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, periodically worked through his lunch breaks and did not claim overtime. After Avila testified in a lawsuit brought by another officer who sought overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Avila was ordered to appear before the LAPD Board of Rights (“BOR”), a disciplinary review body. The BOR found Avila guilty of insubordination and recommended that he be fired, which the Chief of Police subsequently ordered as a result of his insubordination for failing to claim overtime. Avila then filed this lawsuit under the anti-retaliation provision of the FLSA, and a jury found in his favor. In this appeal, the City argued that the BOR recommendation that Avila’s employment be terminated precluded his FLSA retaliation claim. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected this argument on the ground that the BOR never addressed the issue of retaliation by the LAPD so there was no issue preclusion. The Court of Appeals also found no instructional error by the trial court. Finally, the Court affirmed an award of $547,400 in attorney’s fees to Avila. See also Kaufman v. Diskeeper Corp., 2014 WL 4102376 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014) (party seeking attorney’s fees pursuant to Civil Code § 1717 need not, in addition to filing a noticed motion, file a memorandum of costs).