California is one of the most expensive states for businesses to operate in–in large part due to lawsuit abuses that unfairly target businesses–earning the state the unflattering distinction of being the worst “judicial hellhole” in the nation. Making this even worse is the fact that the targets of these frivolous lawsuits are often the 3 million California small businesses that make up the backbone of our economy.
The breeding ground for these lawsuit abuses is created via the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA). Under PAGA, employers are being sued minor for frivolous items such as typos on a paycheck or not having a beginning and ending date on a pay check stub. Hard working employees ultimately bear the cost of these lawsuits.
Pot shops are sprouting across California after voters last year legalized marijuana for recreational use. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sowed fears on the left that the feds will try to nip California’s pot industry in the bud. The bigger threat may be parasitic lawyers.
Plaintiff firms have filed some 800 complaints against marijuana businesses alleging violations of the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65). The 1986 law requires businesses to post warnings if their products contain one of the more than 900 chemicals that state regulators have deemed hazardous or carcinogenic.
. . . Plaintiff attorneys eye a business opportunity in pot legalization, which is expected to grow California’s cannabis market by $5 billion. They are now raiding mom-and-pop pot shops, vaping cartridge manufacturers, edible producers and co-ops. One plaintiff has filed more than 600 Prop. 65 violation notices.
Sacramento County led a cascade of area governments suing the state in an effort to block the Delta tunnels, saying the $17 billion project would harm local farmers, endangered fish and low-income communities at the south end of the county.
Indeed, hundreds of other Los Angeles County businesses have been hit with similar class-action wage-and-hour lawsuits bolstered by PAGA penalties over the past year. The total includes nearly 300 against businesses in the city of Los Angeles alone, according to figures from Garin Casaleggio, deputy secretary of communications for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, the department that oversees PAGA filings. The Private Attorneys General Act essentially deputizes plaintiff employees, allowing them and their attorneys to investigate employer records to scour for more wage-and-hour or meal- and rest-break violations. That can quickly run up the potential tab for alleged violations. The Santa Fe Importers/Marisa Foods case grew to include alleged wage-and-hour violations extending back four years for current and former employees.
The state Supreme Court has decided not to take up an appeal of a lower court ruling that Malibu can’t limit chain stores or force major development projects to be put to a vote of the people. The determination filed late Wednesday appeared to mark the end of the road for the beach city’s Measure R ballot measure limiting development, handing a major victory to developers and for a project that would bring a Whole Foods store to the city.