$90 million to security guards in class action over break time. Los Angeles County.


Security company required guards to be "on duty" during rest breaks, violating Labor Code.  Award made by judge in summary judgment.

The Case

  • Case Name: Jennifer Augustus v. American Commercial Security Services
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior / BC 336416
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, July 06, 2012
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, July 12, 2005
  • Type of Case: Class Action, Employment
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. John Shepard Wiley, Jr.
  • Plaintiffs:
    Jennifer Augustus (lead plaintiff, class of 15,000)
  • Defendants:
    ABM Security Services, Inc. d/b/a American Commercial Security Services
  • Type of Result: Bench Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $89,742,126 + attorneys' fees and costs to be awarded
  • Net Verdict or Award: $89,742,126 + attorneys' fees and costs to be awarded
  • Economic Damages:

    $55,887,565 + $31,204,465 interest

  • Punitive Damages:

    Labor Code sec. 203 penalties of $2,650,096

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    Roxborough Pomerance & Nye LLP by Drew E. Pomerance, Michael B. Adreani, and Marina N. Vitek, Woodland Hills
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Littler Mendelson, PC by Keith A. Jacoby, Dominic J. Messiha, Heather M. Davis, and Carlos Jimenez, Los Angeles

The Experts

  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
    Bruce Deal of Analysis Group, Inc., economic analysis, Menlo Park
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    Michael P. Ward, Ph.D., economics, Los Angeles

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Defendant employer had a company-wide policy and practice which required its security guard employees to remain on call at all times, including during rest breaks. Plaintiff Class of security guards claim they were not provided off-duty rest breaks as required by Labor Code sec. 226.7 because they were required to remain on call and therefore not relieved of all duties. Plaintff security guards were required to carry radios, cell phones, pagers or otherwise be available at all times and were subject to being called back at any time.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That "on call" is not "relieved of all duties" as required by California law. That Defendant employer was required to ensure  its employeees were relieved of all duty and failed to do so. Alternatively, Defendant employer was required to obtain an exemption from the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement as it had done in the past but failed to renew or reapply. That based thereon, plaintiffs are entitled to one additional hour of pay for every shift for which they did not receive an "off duty" rest break.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That, so long as the rest breaks were not interrupted, there was no violation.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Statutory damages pursuant to California Labor Code sec. 226.7 of one hour of additional pay at employee's regular rate of pay for each day which employee was not provided a rest break in compliance with the labor code.