SAN FRANCISCO, February 13, 2014: The Daily Journal announced yesterday that two cases litigated by Morgan Lewis attorneys were selected for its “Top Verdicts of 2013” list. Wuxi Luoshe Printing & Dyeing Co. v. Standard Fiber Inc. was recognized in the “Top 10 Plaintiffs’ Verdicts by Impact” category, and Andrade et. al v. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro in the “Top 20 Defense Results” category. The annual list “recognizes the largest and most significant verdicts and appellate reversals handed down in California,” according to The Daily Journal.
For firm client Wuxi Luoshe Printing & Dyeing Co., Ltd. and its president Zhize Huang, a Morgan Lewis team led by Litigation Practice partners Howard Holderness and Mortimer Hartwell secured an approximately $26 million damages award and the potential for $13 million in prejudgment interest in this breach of contract case involving a dispute between two business partners. In 1999, Mr. Huang had invested in bedding and textile distributor Standard Fiber Inc. Anshan Li, Standard Fiber’s majority owner in 2006 allegedly sold the entire company and failed to notify Mr. Huang of the transaction or pay him proceeds from the sale. Mr. Huang filed a complaint alleging breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, among other claims. The San Mateo County Superior Court found that the defendants had breached fiduciary duties, had converted Mr. Huang’s property and had breached a written contract with Mr. Huang.
In the Andrade case, Morgan Lewis Labor and Employment Practice partner Rebecca Eisen and senior attorney Lauren Kim represented P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc. in a wage and hour class action suit and successfully convinced a judge from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California that the restaurant chain’s employee arbitration agreements were enforceable. The plaintiffs in Andrade brought their claims as a class action under the California Labor Code and as a representative action under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), alleging that P.F. Chang’s failed to provide complete, detailed wage statements. The enforceability of arbitration agreements has been a hotly contested issue in California and across the country. This decision is significant for California employment law because it affirms the enforceability of PAGA waivers in employment arbitration agreements and validates the company’s entire arbitration agreement.