Accurso v. In-N-Out Burgers, 2023 WL 5543525 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023)

Plaintiffs Tom Piplack and Brianna Marie Taylor filed PAGA actions in Orange and Los Angeles Counties, respectively, against respondent In-N-Out Burgers (In-N-Out).  When they learned about settlement negotiations in a later, overlapping PAGA action brought by Ryan Accurso against In-N-Out in Sonoma County, Piplack and Taylor filed a proposed complaint to intervene in the Sonoma County action and moved to intervene under Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 387 and for a stay.  They requested a stay of proceedings in Accurso’s case based on the doctrine of exclusive concurrent jurisdiction, arguing that Accurso should be stayed as a later-filed action.

The trial court concluded that Piplack and Taylor lacked standing to intervene and on that basis denied the motions to intervene and to stay the case.  “The Court finds that neither [Piplack nor Taylor] has a personal interest in the PAGA claims being prosecuted by Accurso, but rather the interest lies with the State, as the real party in interest, and thus [Piplack and Taylor] do not have standing to intervene.” “[L]ikewise,” the court ruled, they “do not have standing to request a stay.”  In this opinion, the appellate court vacated the order and remanded for reconsideration.  It agreed that Piplack and Taylor did not have the ability to “intervene as of right,” but concluded it was possible that they could permissively intervene.  The trial court rejected Piplack and Taylor’s ability to intervene out-of-hand, but the appellate court held that the trial court must weigh arguments the plaintiffs make in favor of staying the case (fully or partially) against any arguments Accurso and In-N-Out wish to offer as to why the motion should not be heard or should be denied.

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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.