BLUE BELL, PA (May 3, 2011) — In an Order and Findings of Fact released yesterday after a January 2011 non-jury trial before Judge Gary Glazer, the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County found that the owners and operators of the Split Rock Resort had misclassified 259 class members salespersons as “independent contractors” and those class members were entitled to over $2.2 Million in wages, benefits and penalties plus interest under Pennsylvania’s Wage Payment and Collection Law.
The Court also awarded attorneys fees and costs for Class Counsel, Mark A. Kearney and Timothy T. Myers of Elliott Greenleaf. The Court’s detailed Findings of Fact confirm the employers had failed to pay wages and benefits owing to “employees” under Pennsylvania Law, including failing to pay the employers’ share of the employees’ taxes, employee “holdbacks” and “chargebacks” on commissions owed for timeshare sales, and the premiums not paid during the Class Period for unemployment and workman’s compensation insurance.
This post-trial judgment marks one of the first cases nationwide where salespersons have, at trial, successfully challenged the compensation structures for persons who sell interests in vacation and timeshare resorts such as Split Rock. After the August 2008 Complaint and following extensive discovery, Judge Idee Fox certified the Class as “all persons who were classified by the defendants as ‘independent contractors’ and who did not receive full compensation in the form of wages and benefits from June 1, 2005 until December 31, 2008.”
After the denial of substantial summary judgment motions and several motions in limine, the parties elected to proceed to a non-jury trial in late January 2011. Philadelphia lead Plaintiffs Albert Whitehead and Austin Miller Orteneau testified at length, and also obtained judgment in their favor.
Firm shareholders Timothy T. Myers and Mark A. Kearney, along with Aimee L. Kumer, successfully represented the Class in this significant victory at trial.
Elliott Greenleaf is a full-service law firm with over fifty-five attorneys with offices in Blue Bell, Philadelphia, Scranton, Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and in Wilmington, Delaware. Elliott Greenleaf provides creative and economic business solutions to legal challenges confronting a wide variety of clients, including Fortune 500 companies, governmental entities and agencies, entrepreneurs, privately held businesses, individuals, trade associations, labor unions ,financial institutions and non-profit organizations.
SOURCE: Elliott Greenleaf
EDITOR’S NOTE: An expanded article on this ruling and its potential impact on the timeshare industry as a whole will be published on Friday, May 6, 2011.