Chinese Progressive Association v. Wong

In Chinese Progressive Association v. Wong, et al. (Case No. A115568, First Appellate District, Division 1, Court of Appeal of State of California, Unpublished Decision, April 16, 2008), the firm along with co-counsel of the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic of Golden Gate University School of Law, as pro bono counsel, successfully reversed a trial court award of attorneys’ fees for the defendants on behalf of our non-profit client, the Chinese Progressive Association (“CPA”).  CPA is a 30-year old non-profit community organization located in San Francisco’s Chinatown that advocates on behalf of the low-income Chinese American community.  It had brought a lawsuit along with two former employees and the California Labor Commissioner against several garment manufacturing companies and their two owners based on allegations of worker rights’ abuses, including unpaid overtime wages, industry.  After the plaintiffs lost at trial, the trial judge awarded fees to the defendant pursuant to California Labor Code Section 218.5.  On appeal, the firm persuaded the Court of Appeals that the award should be reversed because Section 218.5 was a unilateral fee-shifting statute only available to prevailing plaintiffs.  The Court of Appeal vacated the trial court’s $25,000 fee award against CPA.