Akin Gump Counsels Starbucks to Win in Closing Wages Suit

(Los Angeles) – An Akin Gump team led by labor partner Greg Knopp successfully represented Starbucks in a suit brought by baristas who alleged that the coffee giant had not paid employees for the minutes spent closing the stores after clocking out.

Judge Gary A. Feess for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted Starbucks’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed the putative class action, noting that “The brief moments that Plaintiff spent in and around the store after clocking out are an inevitable and incidental part of closing up any store at the end of business hours.”  The judge granted judgment based on Starbucks’ de minimis defense, stating that “the de minimis defense applies here and prevents Plaintiff from surviving Defendant’s motion for summary judgment with respect to his first claim for unpaid wages” and that his remaining claims, derivative of his first claim, also failed as a matter of law.

The Akin Gump team comprised Knopp, senior counsel Mark Curiel and associates Galit Knotz and Jonathan Slowik of the firm’s Century City, Los Angeles office.