At Highest Level Nationwide

Our WARN and Bankruptcy Practice Group, has prosecuted and resolved more than 150 WARN class action claims. With over 40 years of collective experience - from bankruptcy court to the United States Supreme Court - our team is responsible for developing much of the WARN law and strengthening it for employees.

In 2017, Outten & Golden's WARN Act Practice Group was named Bankruptcy Group of the Year by Law360 noting "Outten & Golden LLP's employment attorneys made an outsized impact on the bankruptcy world this year." In recognizing the quality of Outten & Golden's work, Law360 wrote: "With a focus on representing employees cut loose by companies heading into bankruptcy, Outten's WARN Act group finds itself involved in insolvency cases frequently. The Workers' Adjustment and Retraining Notice Act requires employers of a certain size to provide adequate notice of their intent to lay off large numbers of workers, and Outten's team represents the interests of those jilted employees when they don't receive that notice. Their expertise in the employment arena, especially as it relates to bankruptcy, led to their representation of more than 2,000 truckers who were unexpectedly laid off by Jevic's 2008 Chapter 11."

Outten & Golden's Bankruptcy Group of the Year award was in recognition of the firm's prosecution of a landmark case in the United States Supreme Court, the highest level of litigation in the country. In a decision that has been hailed as one of the top ten most important decisions in bankruptcy law, the Supreme Court rejected a settlement that purposely excluded a group of terminated truck drivers who were represented by Outten & Golden. Outten & Golden obtained a judgment valued at approximately $8 million for the ex-employees against their employer, Jevic Transportation, who filed for bankruptcy shortly after terminating more than 1,800 of its employees. Despite finding its employer liable for WARN damages, other parties in the bankruptcy negotiated a settlement without the drivers' consent which completely excluded the drivers from receiving any money from the Jevic estate, despite their priority status. On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court struck down the Bankruptcy Court's order approving that settlement because it skipped over the employees. In a 6-2 decision, the Court held that bankruptcy courts do not have the power to approve Chapter 11 structured settlements that violate the Bankruptcy Code's priority scheme absent the consent of affected creditors (such as ex-employees). Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp., 137 S. Ct. 973, 977, 197 L. Ed. 2d 398 (2017).

In 2019, Outten & Golden won another major victory for employees who are terminated as part of their employer’s bankruptcy filing and find themselves limited as to how much they can recover in WARN damages. In Wojciechowski v. ClearEdge Power, Inc., Adv. Pro. No. 14-CV-01951 (Bankr. N.D. Cal.), the class recovered a portion of their WARN damages from the debtor, ClearEdge, and then sued the private equity parent, Kohlberg Ventures, for the difference. Kohlberg Ventures sought to dismiss the suit against it arguing that the settlement with ClearEdge extended to Kohlberg, as the parent. Outten & Golden appealed the dismissal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals who ruled in the employees’ favor. Wojciechowski v. Kohlberg Ventures, LLC, No. 17-15966, __F.3d__,2019 WL 2017365 (9th Cir. May 8, 2019).

Other Courts around the country have recognized Outten & Golden's stellar representation, often deciding that it is the law firm "best able" to represent laid off employees in cases where more than one law firm seeks to represent a class of employees. For example, in a WARN Act case against MF Global Holdings, Ltd., the Court had four established firms from which to choose to lead the litigation and represent all the former employees. The Court found all four firms to be "capable" but appointed Outten & Golden interim class counsel over all the others. In making this decision, the Court stated that "although each of the firms has extensive experience handling complex litigation, including class actions, Outten [& Golden]'s experience in representing WARN Act plaintiffs specifically tips the balance in favor of Outten." Thielmann v. MF Global Holdings, Ltd., 464 B.R. 619 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2012).

Similarly, in another case against an ambulance services company that went out of business, the Court chose Outten & Golden over other law firms competing to represent the former employees, stating that "Outten & Golden has extensive experience in litigating WARN Act class actions, a fact even [competing interim class counsel] conceded. It has filed over 100 WARN Act class actions in federal courts since 2007, and ha[s] served as plaintiff's counsel in over 80 actions. Moreover, this experience includes WARN Act class action litigation in bankruptcy court." Ien v. Transcare Corp., et al, 552 B.R. 69 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2016).

Outten & Golden’s objective in WARN cases is to serve our clients’ and class members’ interests by maximizing their recovery while adding value and avoiding wasteful expense whenever possible. Call us, at 866-544-9945, to see if we can do the same for you.

Deciding Which Firm to Represent You and Your Co-Workers

You've just learned that you've been laid off or terminated without cause. You are frustrated, hurt, and maybe angry. It seems unfair, but is it illegal? Under the law, some employers must give 60 or even 90 days' written notice to their employees before ordering a mass layoff or company closure. If an employer does not give the required written notice, it may owe the terminated employees up to two months' wages and benefits.

You Didn't Have a Say in Your Layoff, but You Do Have a Say in Who Represents You to Recover What You are Owed.

When you are deciding whether to hire a law firm to pursue your rights, it's important to choose a firm with a proven record of success3 in similar cases. You shouldn't retain the first firm who contacts you, but the firm who has the experience, resources and proven track record to seek the recovery you're entitled to under the law.

What should you consider when deciding who will represent you and your former colleagues? Here are some questions you should ask:

1. Does The Firm I'm Considering Have WARN Act Experience?

Outten & Golden's WARN Practice Group, which specifically focuses on WARN Act cases, has prosecuted and resolved more than 100 WARN class action claims in bankruptcy and district courts. Together, its WARN lawyers have over 40 years of collective experience at all levels - from bankruptcy court to the U.S. Supreme Court.

You should feel free to ask the lawyer you're speaking with: "How many WARN Act class actions have you litigated?"

If your employer has or may file for bankruptcy, you should feel free to ask: "What experience do you have litigating WARN Act cases in bankruptcy court?"

2. What Results Has The Firm Achieved On Behalf Of Its Clients?

Outten & Golden's WARN Practice Group has successfully represented tens of thousands of laid off employees in a variety of industries, including health care, trucking, retail, technology, manufacturing, medical services, mining, mortgage brokering, higher education, sales, and solar energy. Together we have been able to obtain monetary recoveries through judgments and settlements for our clients.4

Outten & Golden's legal skill and experience has not only led to monetary compensation to laid off employees, but also to significant changes in the law that benefit employees. For example, in 2016, we successfully argued a case before the United States Supreme Court on behalf of a class of more than 1,800 truck drivers who lost their jobs when their company suddenly filed for bankruptcy. Other parties in the bankruptcy case arranged a settlement that cut out the drivers leaving nothing for them despite their priority position. We appealed the decision all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which decided that the settlement violated bankruptcy law. The Supreme Court's decision is considered one of the ten most important bankruptcy decisions ever decided and has resulted in greater protection for terminated employees who are seeking to recover what they are owed in bankruptcy courts across the country.

3. Does The Law Firm I'm Considering Have The Resources To Litigate A Class Action?

With over 60 lawyers in offices across the country (New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles) and licensed in every federal circuit, we have the resources to represent laid off employees in any state. Our WARN lawyers have practiced in state, federal, appellate, and circuit courts all over the country. Additionally, our decades of collective experience in WARN law means that we have a wide network of local law firms that we work with to achieve the best representation possible - Outten & Golden's lawyers are nationally recognized as leaders in WARN Act litigation, and we retain experienced local counsel who know the particular rules and practices of the courts where the cases are filed.

3 Past success does not guarantee future results.

4 Past success does not guarantee future results.