Thirty six years ago today, MTV was launched. The song by the The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star” was the first video played. Non-video, radio artists, like Christopher Cross (remember “Sailing?”), suffered, by not being ready for TV. Yet, how many people today actually think about a singer’s video and not their song? Heck, when was the last time you saw a video on MTV?

Just like MTV didn’t really kill all the radio stars, Amazon, demographic changes, and consumer tastes are not killing all the shopping centers and malls. Rather, these developments are changing the way we use and see the shopping center and mall experience.

True, there are a number of so-called “dead” centers. At one time, these were popular (just like Christopher Cross), anchored by Sears, JCPenney, or some other big box store that drew traffic. The structure, zoning, and high traffic areas with good visibility to the community still exist. There is just no draw… no “MTV” … to bring people in. This presents opportunities for developers to resurrect “dead” centers.

Continue Reading Amazon Isn’t Killing All the Shopping Centers, Just Like Video Didn’t Kill All the Radio Stars

Apple, Inc. retail employees who allege they should have been compensated for off-the-clock time spent undergoing the store’s mandatory screening processes have renewed their bid for class certification in federal court in California. In the complaint filed in Frlekin v. Apple, Inc., Docket No. 3:13-CV-03451 (N.D. Cal.), the plaintiff employees alleged that the global technology giant engaged in illegal and improper wage practices in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §201, et seq., and California labor laws, by requiring store employees to wait in line and undergo off-the-clock security bag searches and clearance checks when they left for meal breaks or at the end of their shifts. This practice, the employees alleged, deprived them of wages they should earn during what they contend is compensable time at “work.”

In opposing class certification, Apple has maintained class certification should be denied because (i) different stores implement the screening policy differently, (ii) employees who do not bring bags or their own Apple devices to work are not subjected to the bag and technology screenings, and (iii) there is not sufficient commonality in the class, particularly with respect to the plaintiffs’ individual wage and overtime claims.

On May 13, 2014, the court denied Apple’s bid for dismissal, expressing that the fact issues concerning the implementation of the screening policy at various stores and under various circumstances precluded the entry of summary judgment. Then, in that same order, the court stayed the Apple litigation pending the outcome of Busk v. Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 513 (2014), another employee screening case for which the United States Supreme Court had granted certiorari.

Continue Reading Apple, Amazon and the Wage Payment Issues Arising from Employee Security Screenings