Court Rejects Woodfin Demand

April 4, 2010

By Marc Albert

A California appeals court rejected a demand by the Woodfin Suites Hotel that Emeryville taxpayers pay the hotel’s growing legal fees.

The hotel company, owned and operated by Sam Hardage, a Republican Party activist from San Diego, has fought the city’s living wage ordinance for hotel workers since before it was codified.

The ordinance, Measure C, was approved by Emeryville voters in November 2005. While other hotel operators, including Sheraton 4 Points, Courtyard by Marriott and Holiday Inn (now Hilton) have complied fully with the law, Mr. Hardage, Woodfin’s owner has stubbornly refused. Hotel workers have faced a string of retaliatory actions, including summary firings. Woodfin has instead launched a string of lawsuits to avoid paying back wages to the workers and seeking to have the measure overturned.

One of the hotel’s lawsuits sought to force city taxpayers to reimburse the company for its recalcitrant legal strategy. That suit was rejected. An appeal of that decision was rejected in an 11 page decision by the Court of Appeal of the State of California, First Appellate District on March 15.

You can read the entire document by following this link to a pdf file

2 Responses to Court Rejects Woodfin Demand

  1. Anonymous on April 4, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Thanks for the information and the link–what would we do without you. I doubt if this will be front page news in the Em-Connection.

  2. Anonymous on April 6, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    So let's picket!

    While workers don't yet have backwages checks in hand, the Woodfin is being handed defeat after defeat.

    In Fall 2009, a judge ordered the Woodfin to pay workers some $200,000 in backwages. Last month, the court of appeals rejected Woodfin's preposterous appeal demanding that the City of Emeryville pay the hotel legal fees. Also, the Superior Court awarded legal fees to the workers' lawyer and awarded several thousand dollars in costs to the City.

    There's lots to celebrate on the road to backwages.

    Join us for a breakfast picket at the Woodfin on:
    Saturday, April 10th, 2010
    from 9:00 – 10:30 AM
    Woodfin Suite Hotel
    5800 Shellmound, Emeryville

    We'll provide coffee, pastries, and inspiration. Bring your voices and a friend.

    To RSVP, contact Brooke Anderson at 510-846-0766 or brooke(at)

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