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Firms Hiring Thelen Partners May Be Liable in WARN Suit, Lawyer Says

Posted Nov 26, 2008 8:32 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A lawyer who filed one of two lawsuits against Thelen says law firms that hired its partners could be on the hook for damages.

The two suits claim the dissolving law firm failed to comply with requirements for notice and salary payments, the Recorder reports. The most recent suit (PDF posted by the Recorder) contends Thelen violated the federal WARN act by failing to give notice of layoffs 60 days in advance, failing to pay wages for the period, and failing to pay for accrued vacation.

The potential class action was filed by three associates and a staffer at Thelen in federal court for the Northern District of California, the story says. A previous suit against the law firm was filed in San Francisco superior court on Nov. 12.

Craig Collins, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the federal suit, told the Recorder he intends to pursue the claim even if Thelen cannot pay.

"To the extent that the company is dissolved, the individual partners of Thelen may be responsible, and any law firm that's taken on a large group of Thelen partners could potentially be considered a successor company, which is liable under labor laws to make good on Thelen's obligations to its employees.”

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