Munger Tolles Prevails in SEII Class Action Arbitration

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP lawyers won a class action arbitration spanning nearly seven years of litigation on behalf of Service Employees International, Inc. (“SEII”) and other affiliated government contractors. The arbitration was originally filed in 2007 and certified as a class action in 2011. The class of approximately 7,000 truck drivers alleged that they were subjected to a de facto policy requiring them to under-record time worked in support of the military effort in Iraq. They sought recovery of overtime pay for a seven-year period.

The arbitration hearing took place over nearly three months in the fall of 2013, with closing arguments held in February 2014. Through the cross-examination of three dozen witnesses and the presentation of statistical evidence mined from voluminous records, Munger Tolles attorneys  disproved the class allegations at the core of the case.

On June 16, 2014, Arbitrator Michael Loeb, Esq. issued a ruling acknowledging that SEII and the other contractors routinely and properly enforced its written timekeeping policy whereby employees “record all time worked, and work all time recorded.” At the center of his ruling, Arbitrator Loeb found that MTO lawyers had undermined the credibility of numerous key class witnesses through effective cross-examination and the use of contemporaneous documents. In addition, Arbitrator Loeb credited the statistical evidence amassed by the MTO team. In a detailed 55-page decision, Arbitrator Loeb ruled entirely for SEII and the other contractors represented by MTO.

Malcolm A. Heinicke led the Munger Tolles team of Martin D. Bern, Marja-Liisa Overbeck and Bryan H. Heckenlively, each of whom handled numerous cross-examinations and arguments during the arbitration. Carolyn Hoecker Luedtke also assisted earlier in the matter.