Overview Of The Case
This case involves claims that PennyMac systematically, and unlawfully, underpays its hourly employees despite their extensive overtime. The Plaintiff, Richard Smigelski, was one of those employees. He worked in one of PennyMac’s call centers, selling mortgage loans.
The name of the case is Smigelski v. PennyMac Financial Services, Inc., et al., Case No. 34-2015-00186855.
The case began with a notification to California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency, in which Smigelski explained that PennyMac was underpaying its hourly employees and otherwise violating the law.
Then, on November 17, 2015, Smigelski filed a complaint against PennyMac in Sacramento Superior Court on behalf of the state and other aggrieved PennyMac employees.
Pennymac's Invalid Releases
After Smigelski filed his lawsuit, PennyMac attempted to obtain releases from a number of employees under false pretenses by claiming that the employees would receive nothing if Smigelski won the case. This was not true. Accordingly, the Sacramento Superior Court invalidated the releases , explaining: "the California Supreme Court has made clear that the penalties go not only to the citizen bringing the suit but to all employees affected by the Labor Code violation." The Court also required PennyMac "to submit for the Court’s approval any future proposed settlement of the PAGA claims identified in Plaintiff’s complaint."
If you signed an invalid settlement agreement or release based on PennyMac’s misrepresentations, you can contact us, Baker Curtis & Schwartz, P.C., at 415.433.1064. You can also complete the on-line form on this webpage.
Pennymac's Unenforceable Arbitration Agreement
The Court also invalidated the arbitration agreement that PennyMac required Smigelski to sign in order to work for PennyMac. In doing so, the Court explained that "neither the Arbitration Agreement nor the MAP can be saved through severance of any provision . . . . As a result, the entire Arbitration Agreement and MAP are unenforceable."
If you signed or are asked to sign an arbitration agreement in order to work or continue to work at PennyMac, you can contact us, Baker Curtis & Schwartz, P.C., at 415.433.1064. You can also complete the on-line form on this webpage.
Pennymac Employees Beware
Despite the Court’s rulings in this case, it is possible that PennyMac may continue in its effort to prevent employees from acting collectively to challenge PennyMac’s wage and hour practices. It is also possible that PennyMac may continue in its efforts to convince or require employees to release their claims for less than what they are worth. Again, if you are a current or former employee of Pennymac, and you have any questions about this case or Pennymac’s compliance with state or federal labor laws, please contact Plaintiff’s counsel, Baker Curtis & Schwartz, P.C., at 415.433.1064, or complete the on-line form on this webpage.
Documents Related To The Case
In addition, a number of the documents relevant to this case are set forth below. We will also update this page from time to time, so check back when you can.
|Original Complaint||November 17, 2015|
|PennyMac Form Letter and Illegal Release Struck Down By Court||January 25, 2016|
|Operative First Amended Complaint||March 10, 2016|
|Court Order Invalidating Releases||March 11, 2016|
|Court Order Invalidating Arbitration Agreement||March 11, 2016|
Court Order Denying PennyMac's Request that the Court Reconsider Its Order to Invalidate Releases
|April 22, 2016|
Court Order Denying PennyMac's Request that the Court to Reconsider Its Order Invalidating Arbitration Agreement
|April 22, 2016|
Court Order Again Invalidating Arbitration Agreement (in response to the First Amended Complaint)
|April 22, 2016|
Finally, more information about this case can be found on the website of the Sacramento Superior Court at https://services.saccourt.ca.gov/PublicCaseAccess/Civil/SearchByCaseNumber.
The case number for Smigelski v. PennyMac is 34-2015-00186855.