On Friday, March 21, 2014, Ashwin Madia was invited to speak to students at St. Louis Park High School regarding the rule of law. Madia is a former Marine JAG who served in Iraq and helped establish the rule of law in the war-torn country. A full video of the speech is available below:
Last week, in a move that will lead to millions more employees being eligible for overtime wage rates for hours worked over 40, President Obama signed an executive order modifying regulations contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).
The FLSA requires that employees who are not classified as “exempt” must be paid overtime wage rates for all hours worked over 40 per week. There are various exemptions, however, including exemptions for some executive, administrative, and professional employees. The President’s order, according to his statement, is intended to simplify and narrow the definition of who can properly be classified as exempt. Specifically, the President discussed the minimum salary requirement level and the requirements surrounding job duties. The President spoke of modernizing and streamlining the regulations in light of the “changing nature of the workplace.” The President also called on Congress to update the minimum wage provisions of the FLSA.
At the direction of President Obama, the Department of Labor will begin the arduous process of promulgating the rule changes, publishing them, and reviewing public commentary. Unfortunately, until that process is complete, the current regulations remain in effect.
The full video of the President’s remarks, embedded, below:
On Monday, Madia Law filed suit in United States District Court on behalf of Plaintiff Tammy Liddle against Bloomington Police Officer Jeff Thibert. Ms. Liddle’s federal lawsuit (14-CV-431-JNE/JSM) alleges unreasonable search and seizure, unlawful arrest, and excessive force. Ms. Liddle is also in possession of squad cam video of the subject incident.
Bloomington City Hall
Below is a copy of the Complaint, with some names redacted: [click to continue…]
The ability to safely, calmly and professionally interact with the public without rage and violence is an intrinsic and basic part of law enforcement. According to a lawsuit filed by Madia Law on behalf of Walter Tournat, an 85-year-old disabled Navy veteran who had called police to his own home, on November 16, 2013, Baxter Police Officer Trent Westerlund showed a complete lack of these essential skills and a disregard for laws of the United States.
Mr. Tournat’s allegations indicate that Westerlund acted with an outrageous disregard for Tournat’s rights and dignity when, in an abhorrent fit of rage, Westerlund publicly assaulted Mr. Tournat, throwing him onto his back and onto pavement, where Mr. Tournat hit his head and suffered injury. The following are the background allegations from the Complaint. [click to continue…]
Madia Law settled an age discrimination case on behalf of “Joan” after defeating her former employer’s motion for summary judgment.
The terms are confidential pursuant to the parties’ settlement agreement.
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Historically, owners and managers of strip clubs have adhered to a business model that classifies exotic dancers (often called “strippers”) as independent contractors rather than employees. By classifying dancers as independent contractors, employers are able to reap the financial benefits of having dancers work for them (and, as a result, turning a profit) while simultaneously avoiding having to pay the dancers for their work, paying into social security, and potentially paying unemployment insurance and workers compensation. This business model, however, may be quickly eroding.
In November, 2012, a federal court approved a roughly $13 million settlement in a nationwide class-action lawsuit against 16 strip clubs which were classifying their dancers as independent contractors. Stephanie Hoops, Spearmint Rhino Exotic Dancers Settle Suit For Nearly $13 Million, The Huffington Post (November 11, 2012 1:32 PM) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/spearmint-rhino-exotic-dancers-settle-suit_n_2128458.html. Moreover, recent court decisions have nearly unanimously ruled that exotic dancers are employees, not independent contractors. See Hart v. Rick’s Cabaret International, Inc., 2013 WL 4822199 (2013); Clincy v. Galardi South Enterprises, Inc., 808 F.Supp.2d 1326 (2011); Thompson v. Linda And A, Inc. 779 F.Supp.2d 139 (2011). That notwithstanding, there are still many strip clubs which continue to classify their dancers as independent contractors. [click to continue…]
The Stolen Lives Project determined that during the entire decade of the 1990′s, over 2000 deaths occurred at the hands of police officers. Seven years ago, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Justice released a similar report that focused only on the years 2003 thru 2005. That report indicated that over 2000 people died while being arrested by police officers during those three years alone, and that during each of those three years, the rate of such deaths increased by 13%. There is also myriad evidence to indicate that police officer deaths at the hands of suspects is increasing at an alarming rate; for example, the FBI determined that from 2007 to 2008, the rate of officer deaths at the hands of suspects jumped 25%.
Although evidence indicates that lethal interactions between police and suspects are increasing, and although it is increasingly common for federal prosecutors to criminally target officers, it is still, overall, exceptionally rare for criminal charges to be filed against police. Significant spikes in civil liability and lawsuits (i.e., New York, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Minneapolis) suggest that a closer look at police officers by prosecutors might be warranted. [click to continue…]
On behalf of the United States and multiple State governments, Madia Law has filed a federal qui tam action in federal District Court. The filing alleges fraud against the government by multiple corporate Defendants. Pending potential intervention by the United States, the suit remains under seal for at least 60 days.
In a qui tam action, a private party known as a relator brings a whistleblower suit on behalf of the government; thus, the government, not the relator, is considered the plaintiff. If the action is successful in prosecuting the fraud, the relator receives an award, generally based on a portion of the amount recovered for the government. The False Claims Act, Title 31 U.S.C. § 3279 et seq., authorizes qui tam actions and requires that parties wishing to bring such actions retain counsel.