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The California Second District Court of Appeal Issues A Ruling On Who Shares In Awarded PAGA Penalti

The California Second District Court of Appeal recently held that an action to recover civil penalties under PAGA is fundamentally a law enforcement action designed to protect the public and not benefit private parties. Therefore, a penalty under the Labor Code Private Attorney General Act ("PAGA") is to be shared with the state and other affected employees. (See, Moorer v. Noble LA Events Inc. - filed Feb. 11, 2019, publication ordered Feb. 27, 2019, Second District, Div. Seven - 2019 S.O.S. 979.) In Moorer, the plaintiff argued that the LWDA was entitled to 75% of the awarded PAGA penalties and that the representative plaintiff employee was entitled to the entirety of the remaining 25% of the PAGA penalties for himself. However, the Court of Appeal ruled that Moorer’s position was contrary to the California Supreme Court’s rulings interpreting PAGA; and as a result, the Court of Appeal held that PAGA Civil Penalties must be distributed to all aggrieved employees.

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