People: C.J. Eaton, Counsel

Photo of C.J. Eaton, Counsel

C.J. Eaton

Counsel

Boston
Direct: (617) 946-4903
Fax: (617) 946-4801
0

C.J. Eaton is Counsel in the Wage & Hour Litigation Practice Group in Seyfarth Shaw’s Boston office. Ms. Eaton’s practice focuses on wage and hour matters, including federal and state wage and hour audits, investigations by federal and state agencies, and the defense of collective, class and hybrid actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state laws in federal and state courts.  She is the principal author and editor-in-chief of Seyfarth’s publication Massachusetts Peculiarities: An Employer’s Guide to Wage & Hour Law in the Bay State.

Ms. Eaton has defended wage payment and tipping class actions under state law.  She has also handled a variety of federal class and collective actions involving exempt status, salary basis test, and the tip credit.  In these actions, she has had success both in limiting class size and in defeating class certification.  Ms. Eaton also provides advice to clients concerning wage and hour law compliance and assists clients in litigation avoidance by conducting audits and assisting in the implementation of new practices focused on compliance with state and federal wage and hour requirements.  She also represents clients for purposes of wage and hour investigations conducted by the federal Department of Labor and wage complaints filed with the Massachusetts’ Office of the Attorney General.  Ms. Eaton has wage and hour litigation and counseling experience in a number of different industries, including technology and biosciences, professional staffing, financial services, retail, hospitality, transportation and travel, professional services,  health care, manufacturing, education, and the public sector.

Ms. Eaton also has experience representing management in a wide variety of other labor and employment law matters.  Her litigation experience includes the defense of discrimination claims and employment-related breach of contract and tort claims.  In addition, Ms. Eaton counsels clients on employment-related matters.

C.J. Eaton is Counsel in the Wage & Hour Litigation Practice Group in Seyfarth Shaw’s Boston office. Ms. Eaton’s practice focuses on wage and hour matters, including federal and state wage and hour audits, investigations by federal and state agencies, and the defense of collective, class and hybrid actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state laws in federal and state courts.  She is the principal author and editor-in-chief of Seyfarth’s publication Massachusetts Peculiarities: An Employer’s Guide to Wage & Hour Law in the Bay State.

Ms. Eaton has defended wage payment and tipping class actions under state law.  She has also handled a variety of federal class and collective actions involving exempt status, salary basis test, and the tip credit.  In these actions, she has had success both in limiting class size and in defeating class certification.  Ms. Eaton also provides advice to clients concerning wage and hour law compliance and assists clients in litigation avoidance by conducting audits and assisting in the implementation of new practices focused on compliance with state and federal wage and hour requirements.  She also represents clients for purposes of wage and hour investigations conducted by the federal Department of Labor and wage complaints filed with the Massachusetts’ Office of the Attorney General.  Ms. Eaton has wage and hour litigation and counseling experience in a number of different industries, including technology and biosciences, professional staffing, financial services, retail, hospitality, transportation and travel, professional services,  health care, manufacturing, education, and the public sector.

Ms. Eaton also has experience representing management in a wide variety of other labor and employment law matters.  Her litigation experience includes the defense of discrimination claims and employment-related breach of contract and tort claims.  In addition, Ms. Eaton counsels clients on employment-related matters.

Education

  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center (2004)
  • A.B., Brown University (1998)

Admissions

  • Massachusetts

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Affiliations

  • American Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section)
  • Boston Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section)
  • Massachusetts Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section)
  • Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts

Representative Engagements

  •  National Hotel & Lodging Association, amicus curiae in support of Applebee's International Inc.’s petition for certiorari, Fast, et al. v. Applebee's International, Inc., U.S. Supreme Court Docket No. 11-425 (November 2011) (class action challenging restaurant’s use of tip credit to pay less that minimum wage)
  • Boston Medical Center, et al. adv. Manning, et al., 09-11724 and 09-11463 (U.S. District Court, Massachusetts) (defense of hospital against off-the-clock work, RICO, and ERISA claims asserted on behalf of more than 40 categories of non-exempt employees)
  • Fidelity Employer Services Corp. adv. Trezvant, et al., 434 F. Supp. 2d 40 (D. Mass. 2006) (minimizing the size of the putative class in a misclassification case brought under the FLSA and state law against a national financial services firm, which resulted in a very small number of opt-in plaintiffs, the decertification of the class, and the dismissal of a pendant state law claim)
  • Hyatt Hotel Corporation and Kawailoa Development LLP d/b/a Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa adv. Smith, et al., Civil Action No. 11-00350 (U.S. District Court, Hawaii) (Rule 23 class action alleging violation of the Hawaii Tip Statute and Unfair Competition Statute)
  • Hyatt Hotel Corporation, et al. adv. Miyasato, et al., Civil Action No. 11-00716 (U.S. District Court, Hawaii) (Rule 23 class action alleging violation of the Hawaii Tip Statute and Unfair Competition Statute)
  • Marriott International, Inc., et al. adv. DePina, et al., No. 03-5434 (Suffolk Superior Court, Massachusetts) (Rule 23 class action concerning eligibility of banquet captains to participate in service charge distribution under Massachusetts Tip Statute)
  • Marriott International, Inc. adv. Masiello, No. 06-05109 (Suffolk Superior Court, Massachusetts)  (Rule 23 class action concerning eligibility of banquet captains to participate in service charge distribution under Massachusetts Tip Statute)
  • Marriott International, Inc. adv. Masiello, No. 08-4036 (Suffolk Superior Court, MA) (Rule 23 class action concerning distribution of service charges to room service employees)
  • Marriott International, Inc. adv. Spencer, 11-11068 (U.S. District Court, Massachusetts)  (defense of case concerning eligibility of banquet captains to participate in service charge distribution under Massachusetts Tip Statute)
  • Massachusetts Port Authority, et al., adv. Bernson, et al., No. 06-11180 (U.S. District Court, Massachusetts) (defense of FLSA collective action by police canine officers asserting claims for unpaid wages for time spent caring for canines)
  • McCormick & Schmick Restaurant Corp., et al. adv. Ramsey, et al., Case No. 09-1846 (Suffolk Superior Court, MA) (defense of Rule 23 class action challenging restaurant's in tip pooling practices and use of tip credit to pay less than minimum wage)
  • Robert Half Int’l adv. O’Donnell, et al., 250 F.R.D. 77 (D. Mass. 2008) (“O’Donnell IV”) (defeating certification of a Rule 23 class in a case alleging violations of the salary basis test for exempt status where, because of the individualized inquiries required for each plaintiff in determining whether a violation occurred, plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that common questions of fact or law predominated or that a class action was the most efficient way to adjudicate claims)
  • Robert Half Int’l adv. O’Donnell, et al., 534 F. Supp. 2d 173 (D. Mass. 2008) (“O’Donnell III”) (defeating class certification for the third time at initial stage of a federal lawsuit alleging that a professional staffing agency had violated the salary basis test for its exempt employees)
  • Robert Half Int’l adv. O’Donnell, et al., 429 F. Supp. 2d 246 (D. Mass. 2006) (“O’Donnell I”) (defeating class certification at the initial stage of a federal lawsuit alleging that a professional staffing agency had misclassified certain employees as exempt)
  • Smith & Wollensky Restaurant, et al. adv. Danby-Rusiecki, et al., Case No. 08-0174 (Suffolk Superior Court, Massachusetts) (Rule 23 class action challenging restaurant’s inclusion of certain employees in tip pool and use of tip credit to pay less that minimum wage)
  • Smith & Wollensky Restaurant, et al. adv. Passow, et al., AAA Case No. 11 160 00357 08 (American Arbitration Association) (class action arbitration challenging restaurant’s inclusion of certain employees in tip pool and use of tip credit to pay less that minimum wage)
  • Smith & Wollensky Restaurant adv. DeBose, et al., AAA Case No. 70 160 00722 11 (American Arbitration Association) (class action arbitration challenging restaurant’s inclusion of certain employees in tip pool and use of tip credit to pay less that minimum wage)
  • Quinn, et als. v. Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 10-11230-NG (U.S. District Court, Massachusetts) (allegations that pharmaceutical sales representatives are not exempt as administrative or outside sales employees)
  • United Air Lines, Inc. adv. Brown, et al., 656 F. Supp. 2d 244 (2009) (U.S. District Court, Massachusetts) (defense of national class action brought on by skycaps challenging airline’s curbside baggage check-in fee)
  • United Air Lines, Inc. adv. Butcher, et al., Case No. 09-11681 (U.S. District Court, Massachusetts) (defense of national FLSA collective action brought on by skycaps alleging failure to pay minimum wage)
  • Walgreen Eastern Co. adv. Younes, Case No. 11-11479 (U.S. District Court, Massachusetts) (defense of claims brought by pharmacist under the Massachusetts payment of wages statute).
  • ZC Management LLC (Canyon Ranch) adv. Wood, et al. (U.S. District Court, Massachusetts) (Rule 23 class action removed to federal court alleging violations of the Massachusetts “Tip Statute” and Payment of Wages Law)
  • Defense of national network of nursing centers and hospitals against off-the-clock work claims asserted on behalf of nationwide class of non-exempt employees
  • Defense of national financial services firm in a misclassification case brought under the FLSA and state law; minimized the size of the putative class, which resulted in a very small number of opt-in plaintiffs, the decertification of the class, and the dismissal of a pendant state law claim
  • Defense of a retail store chain in its defense of a class action in Massachusetts state court alleging violations of the wage and hour laws, including the “Blue Laws,” and common law claims; favorable settlement attained after service of motion to dismiss

Representative Single Plaintiff Cases

  • Citizens Bank adv. Allard, 608 F. Supp. 2d 160 (2009) (winning summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims for sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation and on counterclaim for money had and received)
  • Pilgrim Parking adv. Woldemariam, 2008 WL 650412 (Middlesex Superior Court, Feb. 8, 2008) (winning summary judgment in disability discrimination case)
     

Presentations

  • “Massachusetts Peculiarities: An Employer’s Guide to Wage and Hour Law in the Bay State,” Seyfarth Shaw Breakfast Briefing, Boston, Massachusetts (January 26, 2011)
  • “Hourly Workers: Employee Rights, Employer Obligations,” Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Program (June 2010)
  • “Employment & Labor Law Basics,” Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Program (October 2008)
  • “New Massachusetts Wage & Hour Treble Damages Law: Litigation Avoidance is the First Line of Defense,” Seyfarth Shaw Breakfast Briefing, Boston, Massachusetts (May 14, 2008)
  • “The Peculiarities of Massachusetts Wage and Hour Law: Are You in Compliance?,” Seyfarth Shaw Breakfast Briefing, Boston, Massachusetts (February 27, 2007)
     

Publications

 

Legislative and Regulatory Testimony

  • Massachusetts Legislature, Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, Oral and Written Testimony in support of House Bill 1397, “An Act related to Personnel Records” (September 13, 2011)

Community Involvement

  • Victim Rights Law Center, pro bono attorney and member of Shining Star Event Committee, 2010-2011
  • Transition House, pro bono attorney
  • Boston Chamber of Commerce Boston’s Future Leaders program, Class of 2010
  • Brown Alumni Schools Committees (BASC) program, volunteer interviewer of high school students applying to Brown University