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Hundreds of former employees at a shuttered South Florida foreclosure law firm have been permitted by a judge to pursue a class action lawsuit involving labor law violations.

A Miami federal judge this week approved class action status for the case against attorney David J. Stern. Stern's firm was one of the biggest handling foreclosures in Florida, but it collapsed amid investigations into so-called "robo-signing" of documents and other alleged irregularities.

Hundreds of Stern's employees were laid off. The lawsuit contends the firm did not follow federal labor laws when it began mass firings.

The case involves at least 700 of Stern's former workers. They are seeking back pay, benefit reimbursements and other damages.

Stern's lawyers say the layoffs were done properly because of unforeseen circumstances.

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