Spencer C. Skeen

Shareholder San Diego

Mr. Skeen is a shareholder in the San Diego office. He founded the office and served as its initial Managing Shareholder. He devotes his practice exclusively to the representation of companies and management in a wide range of labor and employment disputes. Mr. Skeen has represented private and publicly traded employers in hundreds of class and representative actions, including claims brought under California's Private Attorneys General Act. He has also defended clients in individual lawsuits alleging discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, disability access, noncompete, and trade secret claims. Mr. Skeen's clients include businesses in the retail, toy, petroleum, food and beverage, healthcare, transportation, energy, golf, and financial services industries, as well as casinos, non-profit trade associations and governmental entities.

Mr. Skeen lectures frequently on California employment law topics. He has been recognized as one of California's leading employment lawyers multiple times as a Super Lawyer by the publishers of San Diego Super Lawyers magazine, a recognition based on peer reviews and professional achievement limited to five percent of all California lawyers. Mr. Skeen has also received numerous peer review awards including his repeated selection as a "Top Attorney" in the labor and employment category in the San Diego Daily Transcript's Top Attorneys publication.


Experience

Mr. Skeen has served as lead defense counsel in significant California and nationwide class actions. Recent results include:

  • Plaintiff v. National Hotel Management Company – Private Attorneys General Action alleging businesses need to include the monetary value of accrued vacation or paid time off in wage statements. Obtained dismissal of lawsuit at the pleading stage. The decision was confirmed on appeal resulting in a published decision on a new point of law. The California Court of Appeal held businesses need not include the monetary value of accrued vacation or paid time off in wage statements until a payment is due at the end of a worker’s employment. The case helped the entire California business community. The case was reported in Law360.
  • Plaintiff v National Restaurant Chain – Private Attorneys General Action alleging restaurant managers were misclassified as exempt during their 90 day training period. Obtained summary judgment in favor of the employer by arguing the plaintiff’s individual settlement precluded standing. This was a novel theory. The case was reported in Law360.
  • Plaintiff v. International Staffing Agency – Wage and hour class action alleging the employer failed to pay staffing agency employees for job interviews with clients of the staffing agency. The case also alleged other theories of unpaid “off the clock” time, as well as violation of wage statement laws. Obtained summary judgment for the client by arguing there was no direct or joint employment relationship for the staffing agency. This resulted in dismissal of all claims for 55,000 putative class members.
  • Plaintiff v. International Staffing Agency – Wage and hour class action seeking to set aside a prior settlement of wage statement liability. Obtained dismissal the class action at the pleading stage.
  • Plaintiff v. International Staffing Agency – Wage and hour class action seeking compensation for off the clock time, including interview time with the staffing agency’s clientele. Obtained dismissal of all class claims.
  • Plaintiff v. National Security Company – Private Attorneys General Act claim alleging meal and rest period violations, as well as wage violations for off the clock work allegedly performed. Obtained dismissal with prejudice of the claim due to statute of limitations and failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
  • Plaintiff v. Restaurant Group -  Manager misclassification/exemption class action alleging meal & rest period, overtime, wage statement and off the clock violations. Obtained a ruling dismissing class claims and staying PAGA allegations which reduced exposure by seven figures.
  • Plaintiff v. Restaurant Group –  Wage and hour class action brought by non-exempt, hourly workers alleging meal & rest period, overtime, wage statement and off the clock violations. Obtained ruling dismissing class claims which reduced exposure by seven figures.
  • Plaintiff v. Supermarket Chain – Wage and hour class action alleging meal & rest period, overtime, wage statement and off the clock violations. Obtained dismissal of class allegations which reduced exposure by seven figures.
  • Plaintiff v. Distribution Company– Wage and hour class action alleging failure to pay minimum wage and proper overtime rate due to piece rate compensation system. Obtained dismissal of class claims which reduced exposure by seven figures. Case settled on individual basis for nominal sum.
  • Plaintiff v. Towing Company -  Wage and hour class action alleging meal and rest period violations, failure to pay overtime and failure to pay minimum wage due to piece rate compensation system. Obtained summary judgment on all overtime claims. Class claims were dismissed and individual plaintiff settled for nominal sum.
  • Plaintiff v. Staffing Company – Wage and hour class action with seven figure exposure. Obtained dismissal of class claims and settled individual case for nominal sum.
  • Plaintiff v. Hotel Group – Class action alleging unauthorized recording of telephone phone calls. Obtained dismissal of all individual and class claims after filing motion to dismiss.
  • Plaintiff v. Restaurant Group – Gift card/cash redemption class action with significant exposure.  All class claims were settled in exchange for injunctive relief settlement and payment of $10 to the named plaintiff.
  • Plaintiff v. Wireless Communications Company – Wage and hour class action with seven figure exposure. Settled on a class-wide basis for $150,000.

Mr. Skeen has also served as lead defense counsel in significant representative and/or PAGA actions. Recent results include:

  • Eight California class actions against a restaurant chain alleging wage and hour, off-the-clock, PAGA, expense reimbursement, and meal and rest period violations. Obtained dismissal of 7 class actions and settled the 8th on extremely favorable terms.
  • Two California wage and hour class and PAGA actions against a restaurant chain alleging misclassification of exempt restaurant managers. Obtained dismissal of class allegations.
  • Class action and PAGA action against a petroleum company alleging seating, off-the-clock, overtime, and meal/rest period violations. Obtained dismissal of class and PAGA claims.
  • Three separate California class and PAGA actions against towing companies alleging wage and hour, meal and rest period violations. Obtained dismissal of class and PAGA claims in each case.
  • California class and PAGA action against the world's largest plush toy manufacturer alleging expense reimbursement, meal and rest period violations. Obtained dismissal of class and PAGA claims.

Mr. Skeen was also the lead trial attorney in the following matters:

  • Successful defense of a month long jury trial involving allegations of misclassification of exempt workers.
  • Successful bench trial involving allegations of unpaid commissions by outside sales representative.
  • Multiple successful arbitrations and administrative hearings before administrative bodies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, the Department of Health Services, the United States Department of Agriculture, and FINRA.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • San Diego County Bar Association (Former Co-Chair Employment Section)
  • Board Member, San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce
  • American Bar Association (Labor & Employment Section)
  • American Bar Association (Class Actions and Derivative Suits Committee)
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers 
  • State Bar of California (Employment Law Section)

Speeches:

  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law Seminar - ''Do I Have to Pay for This? What Constitutes Compensable Hours Worked in California'' - Napa - March 03, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies - ''FLSA Flubs and Fumbles: A Study Group on Wage and Hour Missteps (and How to Avoid Them in Your Workplace)'' - Chicago - May 2016
  • Association of Corporate Counsel - ''You Have Exempt Employees But Can You Prove They Are Exempt in Court?'' - San Diego - August 18, 2014

Published Works

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Our Insights

Media

Media Quotes

February 16, 2017 - Law360 - "Calif. Restaurant Chain Dodges WARN Act Suit Over Layoffs"
October 20, 2016 - Law360 - "Calif. Appeals Court Rejects Wage Statement Challenge"
August 19, 2016 - Law360 - "Individual Settlement Kills PAGA Claims, Calif. Judge Says"

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