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Smurfit Newsprint Class Action

Steve Larson represented former employees of Smurfit Newsprint who filed a class action against their former employer to recover statutory penalties for the alleged late payment of wages after the plant was sold. After a trial court ruling that was in favor of some employees on some claims, and in favor of the employer on other claims, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled in favor of all the employees on all claims. The Court of Appeals held that an employer “willfully” fails to pay wages owed at termination if it acts with full knowledge that circumstances triggering the obligation have occurred. This was a ground-breaking ruling, and it is still the standard followed by the Oregon courts today. The Court of Appeals opinion can be found at Wilson v. Smurfit, 197 Or App 648, 107 P.3d 61 (2005). After the ruling, the case settled for an amount in excess of $1.8 million.