Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
SAN FRANCISCO-When O’Melveny & Myers partners Robert Welsh and F. Curt Kirschner won more than $17 million for a chain of hospitals last month, it marked their first jury verdict in what they say is a growing area of their labor practice: suing unions over their tactics in “corporate campaigns.” Kirschner uses the term “corporate campaign” to describe a union’s attempts during an organizing effort to put pressure on a company by, for instance, striking at its public image. Lawyers who represent unions who may call them “comprehensive campaigns,” describe the strategy as one that involves a broad investigation into an employer’s conduct. “The development of corporate campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon from labor unions,” said Kirschner, a San Francisco-based partner who has long advised Sutter Health. “So responses to those campaigns-including the use of affirmative litigation against them-is even newer.” “These cases are exceedingly difficult to win because of the constitutional protections given to workers and the unions representing them in a labor dispute,” said Michael Rubin of San Francisco plaintiffs’ firm Altshuler, Berzon, Nussbaum, Rubin & Demain. And, he said, “even if the employer can overcome that hurdle, they then face the very difficult burden of quantifying damages.” Libelous postcards? In Sutter Health v. UNITE HERE, the hospital network accused the union of mailing libelous postcards to potential patients of Sutter’s maternity wards. The union’s alleged goal was to force Sutter to exert pressure on Angelica Textile Services, a commercial launderer that had been locked in a labor dispute with UNITE HERE. The postcards warned that “reports have surfaced that Angelica, the laundry service utilized by Sutter, does not ensure that ‘clean’ linens are free of blood, feces and harmful pathogens.” According to lawyers on both sides, the jury delivered a verdict for more than $17 million in compensatory damages, but decided not to award any punitive damages. Jeffrey Berman, a Los Angeles partner in the labor and employment group at Sidley Austin, called this month’s verdict “earthshaking” in light of its size. “I think that [these cases] are not common,” he said. But he said, “I would expect to see them become more common, as corporate campaigns become more common and widespread.” He predicted any appeal will attract intense interest. UNITE HERE, a hotel and garment workers’ union, is considering an appeal, according to Davis, Cowell & Bowe partner Elizabeth Lawrence, its lead attorney at the trial that ended this month.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.