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Class Certification Granted in Class Action against Payday America

On Wednesday, April 26, Hennepin County District Court Judge Daniel H. Mabley issued an order granting Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel represents a class of Minnesota consumers who took out payday loans from Payday America, Inc. between October 2, 2013 and December 31, 2016. The named plaintiff and class representative, Randy Holte, filed this lawsuit in 2015 challenging several of Payday America’s practices: (1) charging fees on payday loans in excess of the maximum rates allowed for closed-end loans, (2) failing to properly disclose the annual percentage rate, and (3) engaging in prohibited debt collection practices.

The Court’s order granting class certification is available here.

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel attorneys, Vildan Teske and Marisa Katz, have been appointed Class Counsel in this litigation. Marisa Katz, who briefed and argued the motion, noted, “Today’s certification order is a critical next step in our ongoing effort to stop the predatory business practice in which this defendant lends money to Minnesota’s most cash-strapped and vulnerable consumers.”

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel looks forward to its continued role in advocating for consumer lender compliance under the law and marketplace fairness.

If you have questions about the Holte v. Payday America, Inc. litigation, or believe that your consumer rights have been violated, contact us today for a confidential consultation.

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel Brings Class Action Employment Lawsuit against City of Minneapolis

On January 6, 2017, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel initiated Stewart, et al. v. The City of Minneapolis, a class action employment lawsuit. The suit is brought in Minnesota District Court, Fourth District–Hennepin County.

Laurence Stewart, the named plaintiff, is a former employee of Minneapolis in its Public Works Department. Stewart seeks classwide relief for himself and all other similar employees. The Complaint alleges that the City’s return to work policy violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) because it fails to provide reasonable accommodation for disabled workers.

Mr. Stewart is represented by Brian Rochel, Marisa Katz and Douglas Micko, of Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel, PLLP. Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel is a class action and employment law firm with decades of experience around the country.

For more information, or if you have been terminated by the City of Minneapolis and have questions about this lawsuit, contact Brian Rochel here or via email at rochel@tkkrlaw.com.

A full press release and copy of the Complaint that has been served are available here:

Press Release

Stewart v. Minneapolis Complaint

Vildan Teske Named to Minnesota Federal Judicial Selection Committee

Congratulations to Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel partner, Vildan Teske, who was named by Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken to serve on their judicial selection committee. The Hon. Ann Montgomery and Hon. Donovan Frank, both judges on the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, recently took senior status, leaving two vacancies that will need to be filled.

In announcing the committee, Senator Klobuchar said “[t]his group of distinguished Minnesota leaders will help us identify jurists who will continue Minnesota’s long tradition of federal judges with broad experience and an unwavering commitment to the fair and just application of the law.”

Senator Franken said “I’m looking forward to reviewing the Committee’s work and recommending nominees to the President who will serve the people of our state with honor and distinction.”

Teske remarked, “I’m honored to serve on this prestigious committee. My years advocating on behalf of consumers, working with the Federal Bar Association, and serving on the Board of the Infinity Project have confirmed how important it is to have a good and strong judiciary.”

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Brian Rochel and Phillip Kitzer Present to Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust on ADA, Workers’ Compensation Retaliation, and FMLA Laws

On June 15, 2016, Brian Rochel and Phillip Kitzer presented at the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust’s (MCIT) seminar, Advanced Employment Issues for Public Entities.  The presentation, titled The Intersection of Disability, FMLA and Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Laws, addressed the complications for employers when employees request accommodations related to a disability or work-related injury, or when employees request time off related to a disability, workers’ compensation injury, or FMLA leave.

The MCIT is an entity composed of Minnesota counties and public entities that provides risk management and loss services to its members.  The Advanced Employment Issues for Public Entities seminar was a full day of training for human resources professionals that examined emerging workplace concerns.  Mr. Rochel and Mr. Kitzer primarily represent employees in workplace disputes, but presented to human resources employees multiple examples of mistakes they commonly see made by employers that lead to wrongful termination lawsuits.

Vildan Teske Presents in Program with Senator Franken in Washington D.C. on the Problems of Forced Arbitration for Servicemembers, Employees, and Consumers

On June 7, 2016, Vildan Teske presented on a panel discussing the growing and problematic use of forced arbitration clauses in consumer and employment agreements. The event, “Reforming the Ripoff Clause: Why Access to Justice Matters for Accountability and the Economy,” was hosted by the Center for American Progress (CAP). It included remarks by Senator Al Franken and Congressman Don Beyer on the issue of forced arbitration, followed by a panel discussion by a group of nationally-recognized consumer advocates.  The panel included Deepak Gupta of Gupta Wessler who argued on behalf of consumers before the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark AT&T v. Concepcion case; Julie Murray, an attorney at Public Citizen; David Halperin, attorney and public policy advocate; and Vildan Teske. The event was streamed live and is available in its entirety here.

Over the past decade, and especially in recent years, the scope and impact of these consumer and worker “ripoff clauses” have grown immensely, undermining the private attorney general system that has long protected consumers and workers from poor-quality, fraudulent, or even dangerous products, services, and work conditions. Ms. Teske spoke on a variety of access to justice issues related to forced arbitration in consumer and employment agreements, including, in particular, debunking the myth that “opt out” clauses provide a legitimate opportunity for aggrieved consumers or workers to seek justice through the public court system.  

Ms. Teske is a nationally-recognized expert on the topic of forced arbitration, and testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the topic. If you have questions about forced arbitration or other clauses that take away consumer and employee access to the public court system, contact Teske Micko today.  

Payday Lending Class Action, Filed by Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel, Gets Green Light to Proceed in Favorable Court Order

On Monday, May 16, Hennepin County District Court Judge Thomas M. Sipkins, issued an order denying defendant payday lender, PayDay America, Inc.’s motion to dismiss a class action filed by Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel on behalf of a class of consumers who allege that PayDay America sold them high-cost loans in violation of Minnesota law governing consumer credit and regulated lending. The Court’s order is available here

In particular, the Plaintiffs’ Class Complaint alleges that Payday America, Inc. charged certain fees for payday loans in excess of the maximum rates allowed for closed-end loans under state law, failed to meet certain disclosure requirements with respect to the calculated annual percentage rate, and engaged in prohibited debt collection practices in connection with the subject loans. 

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel attorney Marisa Katz briefed and argued the case in opposition to Payday America Inc.’s motion to dismiss. Ms. Katz noted, “This victory is significant for consumers across the state of Minnesota, who are all-too-often trapped in cycles of debt, often as a result of predatory payday lending practices.” 

The firm looks forward to prosecuting this case forward and its continued representation of Minnesota consumers. If you have questions about the Payday America case, or believe that your consumer rights have been violated contact us today for a confidential consultation. 

Judge Rules in Favor of Employees in Background Check Class Action

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel, along with co-counsel Nichols Kaster, represents a group of employees and prospective employees who were provided illegal background check disclosures by iQor. The case, Shoots, et al. v. iQor, is filed in the District of Minnesota and alleges that iQor’s authorization and disclosure forms violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). In a ruling today by Judge Susan Richard Nelson, the Court denied iQor’s motion to dismiss the suit and allowed the class plaintiffs’ claims to move forward. The complete decision is available here

Brian Rochel, partner at Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel, argued the case on behalf of the plaintiffs. Doug Micko, one of the lead attorneys in the suit, remarked, “Judge Nelson’s order is a win to employees and consumers nationwide. Her ruling reaffirms what the majority of courts have held, that including extra information in disclosure forms violates the FCRA and infringes on the rights of employees and prospective employees to know what they are giving up.” 

Background checks—also referred to as credit reports or consumer reports–have grown exponentially in recent years, especially in the employment context. Nearly half of all employers now require employees and job applicants to authorize background checks, and hundreds of new companies that provide background checks are popping up around the country. Meanwhile, many of these companies and employers do not follow the strict state and federal guidelines that govern background checks and consumer credit reports, including the FCRA. This has led to significant issues for millions of people across the US

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel is a fierce advocate for employees and consumers whose rights are violated during the background check process. The ruling in Shoots v. iQor is one more step in the process to even the playing field for employees in this growing area. 

If you believe your rights have been violated, or have questions about background checks, credit reports or consumer reports, contact us today.

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel Partners Present at 8th Circuit Employment Law Conference

 On April 14, 2016, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel partners Brian Rochel, Phillip Kitzer, and Douglas Micko presented continuing legal education programming at the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) – Eighth Circuit Affiliate conference. Mr. Micko is a member of the Board of NELA’s Eighth Circuit Chapter, and assisted in the planning and preparation of the conference.

NELA’s Eighth Circuit conference is held every two years, and draws employment lawyers from throughout the Upper Midwest. This years’ conference was held in Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. Rochel was invited to speak on a panel that addressed employment law issues unique to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender communities. Mr. Kitzer spoke on the issue of dealing with abusive and harassing litigation tactics. Mr. Micko presented an update to Supreme Court and Eighth Circuit employment law cases.

Phillip Kitzer, Brian Rochel, and Doug Micko Present on Intersection of Disability, FMLA, and Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Laws

On October 26, 2015, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel partners Phillip Kitzer and Brian Rochel presented a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar on the intersection between disability discrimination laws under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) and the American’s With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and Workers’ Compensation retaliation (“WCA”).  The presentation was moderated by Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel partner Doug Micko, and addressed the complicated legal considerations faced by both employers and employees when an employee has a workplace injury or disability.  The  presentation was made as part of Minnesota CLE’s Employment Law Webcast Series.

To learn more about the disability discrimination, your rights under the FMLA, or your rights under workers’ compensation retaliation, please contact Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel today.

District Court Grants Class Certification, Denies Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss in Wage Theft Case

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel, co-counseling with Nichols Kaster, defeated a motion to dismiss and won a motion to conditionally certify a class of current and former iQor employees. The case, Shoots, et al. v. iQor, is a class action lawsuit on behalf of iQor workers nationwide.

Judge Susan Richard Nelson of the U.S. District of Minnesota held that the plaintiff class had pled several claims that they were denied wages they were due under federal and Minnesota laws. The class includes all current and former iQor contact center agents who used TimeQey for timekeeping purposes between October 19, 2012 and December 31, 2014.

Click here to see the court’s order in its entirety. If you have questions about this lawsuit or wage and employment law generally, or if you believe your rights may have been violated, please contact Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel today.