Martorana v. Marlin & Saltzman, 2009 WL 1875681 (Cal. Ct. App. 2009)

Ron Martorana was a class member in a wage and hour class action that had been filed against his former employer, Allstate Insurance Company. The Los Angeles Superior Court approved a settlement of the class action, but Martorana did not recover any portion of the settlement because he had failed to timely submit a claim form. Although Martorana received notice of the settlement and the accompanying claim form, he failed to submit the form because he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was experiencing the physical effects of his diagnosis and treatment. Martorana subsequently filed this action against Allstate and the various law firms that had prosecuted the class action, alleging that defendants were negligent in failing to take reasonable steps to contact him about his failure to file a claim and to make sure his claim form was timely submitted. The trial court dismissed that action against Allstate and granted Allstate’s request for sanctions against Martorana and his attorney. Martorana filed an amended complaint asserting malpractice against class counsel, but the trial court sustained class counsel’s demurrer to Martorana’s amended complaint as well, finding that “it would defeat the purpose of mass notification to a large number of class members if, after written notice, Class Counsel were required to follow up…with every class member who neglected to file a timely claim.” The Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal of Martorana’s claims but reversed the award of sanctions to Allstate because of its failure to comply with the safe harbor provisions of Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 128.7. Cf. In re Consumer Privacy Cases, 2009 WL 1863730 (Cal. Ct. App. 2009) (trial court did not abuse its discretion in approving attorney’s fees award to class counsel and in using lodestar method); Hernandez v. Vitamin Shoppe Indus. Inc., 2009 WL 1679937 (Cal. Ct. App. 2009) (class counsel’s communications with conditionally certified and separately represented class members urging them to opt-out of settlement were properly enjoined by trial court).

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Photo of Tony Oncidi Tony Oncidi

Anthony J. Oncidi is the co-chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department and heads the West Coast Labor & Employment group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including…

Anthony J. Oncidi is the co-chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department and heads the West Coast Labor & Employment group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection. A substantial portion of Tony’s practice involves the defense of employers in large class actions, employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination litigation in state and federal court as well as arbitration proceedings, including FINRA matters.

Tony is recognized as a leading lawyer by such highly respected publications and organizations as the Los Angeles Daily JournalThe Hollywood Reporter, and Chambers USA, which gives him the highest possible rating (“Band 1”) for Labor & Employment.  According to Chambers USA, clients say Tony is “brilliant at what he does… He is even keeled, has a high emotional IQ, is a great legal writer and orator, and never gives up.” Other clients report:  “Tony has an outstanding reputation” and he is “smart, cost effective and appropriately aggressive.” Tony is hailed as “outstanding,” particularly for his “ability to merge top-shelf lawyerly advice with pragmatic business acumen.” He is highly respected in the industry, with other commentators lauding him as a “phenomenal strategist” and “one of the top employment litigators in the country.”

“Tony is the author of the treatise titled Employment Discrimination Depositions (Juris Pub’g 2020; www.jurispub.com), co-author of Proskauer on Privacy (PLI 2020), and, since 1990, has been a regular columnist for the official publication of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California and the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Tony has been a featured guest on Fox 11 News and CBS News in Los Angeles. He has been interviewed and quoted by leading national media outlets such as The National Law JournalBloomberg News, The New York Times, and Newsweek and Time magazines. Tony is a frequent speaker on employment law topics for large and small groups of employers and their counsel, including the Society for Human Resource Management (“SHRM”), PIHRA, the National CLE Conference, National Business Institute, the Employment Round Table of Southern California (Board Member), the Council on Education in Management, the Institute for Corporate Counsel, the State Bar of California, the California Continuing Education of the Bar Program and the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills Bar Associations. He has testified as an expert witness regarding wage and hour issues as well as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and has served as a faculty member of the National Employment Law Institute. He has served as an arbitrator in an employment discrimination matter.

Tony is an appointed Hearing Examiner for the Los Angeles Police Commission Board of Rights and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law and a guest lecturer at USC Law School and a guest lecturer at UCLA Law School.