Court of Appeals Affirms Rest and Meal Break Judgment for Class of Brink’s Armored Car Employees

The Washington Court of Appeals has affirmed a $1.3 million judgment in favor of a class of armored car drivers and messengers who were denied their rest and meal periods by their employer, Brink’s Incorporated.  That judgment was reached after a four week trial in late 2009 in front of King County Superior Court Judge Michael J. Trickey.  The court ruled that Brink’s Incorporated has to pay back wages, plus interest, to 182 drivers and messengers for the period between 2004 and 2007 because it did not allow them an opportunity to take rest breaks and meal periods. The employees worked as messengers and drivers on armored trucks out of branch offices located in Seattle and Tacoma and picked up and delivered cash and other valuables throughout Western Washington.

Under Washington state law, all employees are entitled to 10 minutes of rest break time for each 4 hours of work, and a 30 minute meal period after 5 working hours. The Court of Appeals affirmed that because of their continuous work responsibilities guarding the high value property on the trucks, the Brink’s employees had no personal time during the day when they could rest and eat.

“We are very pleased with the decision. These employees worked very hard under difficult conditions and faced considerable dangers every day. They deserved to be treated in compliance with the law,” stated one of the attorneys for the class, Adam J. Berger, of the Seattle firm of Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender. Although the original judgment was for $1.3 million, with additional post judgment interest, the total amount of back pay and interest is estimated to exceed $1.5 million.

More information about the class action case may be found on the website of class counsel, Schroeter Goldmark & Bender, at

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Schroeter Goldmark & Bender is one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest plaintiffs’ law firms, and has been assisting injured families and workers for more than 35 years.

SGB Attorneys Win Fight to Protect Increase in Washington State Minimum Wage Rate

SGB attorneys Martin Garfinkel, Adam Berger, Bill Rutzick, and Lindsay Halm representing the Washington Department of Labor and Industries and its Director Judy Schurke, were successful in defeating an effort by the Washington Farm Bureau, the Washington Restaurant Association, and the Washington Retail Association seeking to overturn L&I’s decision to increase the state minimum wage rate from $8.55 per hour to $8.67 per hour based on the provisions of RCW 49.46.020. SGB had been hired by the state to defend L&I because Attorney General Rob McKenna had advised against the increase. On behalf of L&I, SGB argued that the law mandated the $.12 per hour increase due to inflation over the past year. The business groups contended that no increase should be ordered until the national consumer price index exceeds its August 2008 level. Kittitas Superior Court Judge Scott Sparks upheld L&I’s decision, and as a result, the increase in the minimum wage will go into effect as planned on January 1, 2011.