At The Highest Level and Nationwide
Our WARN and Bankruptcy practice has prosecuted and resolved more than 150 WARN class actions. With over 40 years of collective experience – from bankruptcy court to the United States Supreme Court – our team is responsible for expanding and strengthening WARN law protections for employees.
In 2017, Raisner Roupinian attorneys were named Bankruptcy Group of the Year by Law360 which recognized that although they are “employment attorneys,” they made an “outsized impact on the bankruptcy world.” Law360 wrote: “With a focus on representing employees cut loose by companies heading into bankruptcy, [the] WARN Act group finds itself involved in insolvency cases frequently … [the] 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.”
The Bankruptcy Group of the Year award references our landmark case in the United States Supreme Court. 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 Raisner Roupinian attorneys. The Raisner Roupinian attorneys 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 although they had priority status.
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, the Raisner Roupinian attorneys 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. The class had already recovered a portion of their WARN damages from the debtor/employer, ClearEdge, and then sued the private equity parent, Kohlberg Ventures, for the difference as a parent/single employer. Kohlberg Ventures sought to dismiss the suit against it arguing that the settlement with ClearEdge extended to Kohlberg. Raisner Roupinian attorneys appealed the dismissal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which 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 Raisner Roupinian attorneys’ 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 Raisner Roupinian attorneys interim class counsel over all the others. 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 Raisner Roupinian attorneys over other law firms competing to represent the former employees. Ien v. Transcare Corp., et al, 552 B.R. 69 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2016).
Raisner Roupinian attorneys’ 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 success 3 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?
Raisner Roupinian LLP’s WARN practice, 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 United States 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?
Raisner Roupinian LLP’s WARN practice 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. We have been able to obtain monetary recoveries of more than $100 million through judgments and settlements for our clients. 4
Raisner Roupinian LLP’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?
We have the resources to represent laid off employees in any state. We 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 we work with to achieve the best representation possible – Raisner Roupinian LLP’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.