CALIFORNIA CLASS ACTION LAW

Category: Certification

Ninth Circuit Affirms in All Respects Trial Court’s Entry of Judgment and Award of Attorneys Fees After Jury and Bench Trial of California Labor Code Class Action and FLSA Collective Action Claims

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On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed in “all respects” the trial court’s grant of partial summary judgment to plaintiffs, a judgment after jury and bench trials, and an award of attorney’s fees to plaintiffs.  Wang v. Chinese Daily News, Inc., Nos. 08-55483, 08-56740, — F.3d —-, 2010 WL 3733568 (9th Cir. Sept. 27, 2010).  Among other things, the Ninth Circuit held that plaintiff newspaper reporters were non-exempt. (Thank you to Randy Renick for bringing this case to my attention.)

Background

Employees of Chinese Daily News, Inc. (“CDN”), a Chinese-language newspaper, filed suit against CDN on behalf of current, former, and future CDN employees based in CDN’s San Francisco and Monterey Park (Los Angeles), California locations.  Id. *1.  Plaintiffs claimed violations of the FLSA, California’s Labor Code, and California’s Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, alleging that employees were made to work in excess of eight hours per day and forty hours per week. Id. They further alleged that they were wrongfully denied overtime compensation, meal and rest breaks, accurate and itemized wage statements, and penalties for wages due but not promptly paid at termination. Id. The district court certified the FLSA claim as a collective action, and it certified the state-law claims as a class action under Rule 23(b)(2) and, alternatively, under Rule 23(b)(3). Id. Read the rest of this entry »

Southern District Grants Class Certification Granted in Labor Code Class Action

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The Southern District of California granted class certification in a vacation, uniform, paycheck, wage and contract class action.  Lopez v. G.A.T. Airline Ground Support, Inc., No. 09cv2268-IEG(BGS), 2010 WL 3633177 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 13, 2010) (slip op.).

Background

Former employees of Defendant G.A.T. Airline Ground Support, Inc. (“GAT”) sued for systematic wage and hour violations in violation of federal and state law. Id. *1.  GAT provides services to airlines, including ground transportation, aircraft maintenance, and cargo operations management.  Id. The four named Plaintiffs are former ramp agents employed by GAT in California.  Id.

Rule 23(a) Commonality

The court found questions of law or fact common to the class with respect to plaintiffs’ vacation, uniform, paycheck, wage, and contract claims:

Here, as explained in detail below, Plaintiffs present both factual evidence of GAT’s company-wide policies and practices as well as anecdotal evidence in the form of class member declarations regarding the application of those challenged policies and practices. Read the rest of this entry »

Second District Affirms Denial of Certification of Class of Junk Fax Recipients for Lack of Ascertainability

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The Second District affirmed denial of certification of a class of recipients of unsolicited faxes. Law Offices of Hermez Moreno v. Travelcomm Industries, Inc., B214807, 2010 WL 3610131 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Sept. 17, 2010).  Plaintiff and appellant Law Offices of Hermez Moreno brought a putative class action under 47 United States Code section 227, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), and Business and Professions Code 17538.43 alleging that defendants and respondents Travelcomm Industries, Inc. and others had sent unsolicited faxes.  Id. *1.  The trial court denied class certification based on findings that plaintiff had failed to present substantial evidence that a community of interest existed such that common questions of law and fact would predominate. As a separate basis, the court found that appellant had failed to present substantial evidence that the class was ascertainable. Id. Plaintiff appealed.  Id. *1. Read the rest of this entry »

Ninth Circuit Reverses Certification Decision for Failure to Properly Conduct Predominance Inquiry

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Kelley v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 09-35699, 2010 WL 3556196 (9th Cir. Sept. 14, 2010) (slip op.) reversed in part a class certification decision for failure to properly conduct the predominance inquiry under Rule 23(b)(3).  Id. *1.  The case involves alleged misrepresentations and omissions in Microsoft Corporation’s (“Microsoft”) pre-release marketing of its Windows Vista operating system.  Id. Plaintiffs-Appellants appealed the denial of their motion for narrowed class certification of two classes proposed after the district court decertified their original class.  Id. Read the rest of this entry »

Eastern District Holds That Plaintiffs May Rely on a “Few Representative Inquiries” and Extrapolate to the Class

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The court in Adoma v. University of Phoenix, Inc., No. CIV. S-10-0059 LKK/GGH, 2010 WL 3431804 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 31, 2010 (slip op.) held that even where plaintiff’s proposed method of “reconstructing records of hours worked . . . will be imperfect”, plaintiffs may rely on “a few representative inquiries whose results will be extrapolated to the class.” Read the rest of this entry »

Southern District Denies Class Certification on Adequacy of Counsel Grounds

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The Southern District of California in Soto v. Diakon Logistics (Delaware), Inc., Civil No. 08cv33-L(AJB), 2010 WL 3420779 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 30, 2010) denied class certification for, inter alia, failure to include in plaintiffs’ counsel’s declaration a statement that counsel are free from conflicts of interest and failure to address all the issues the court must consider for appointment of class counsel. Read the rest of this entry »

Second District Affirms Denial of Nexium Marketing Class Action

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In Weiss v. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals et al., No. B215901,2010 WL 3387220 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Aug. 30, 2010), the Second District affirmed denial of class certification and summary judgment in favor of defendants relating to the alleged deceptive marketing of the prescription drug Nexium.

By CHARLES H. JUNG

Essay Arguing for Reversal of Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

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Professor Benjamin Spencer’s Federal Civil Practice Bulletin links to an essay by Professor Richard Nagareda entitled Common Answers for Class Certification.  The essay focuses on Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Prof. Nagareda argues that the Supreme Court should review and reverse the Dukes opinion because of a “crucial conceptual error in Dukes: the majority’s confusion between motions for class certification and the motion that really does regulate the relationship between the court and the fact finder (summary judgment).” Read the rest of this entry »

Second District Reverses Denial of Nationwide UCL and FAL Class

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The Second District Court of Appeal, in an unpublished opinion, reversed a trial court’s denial of plaintiff’s motion to certify a nationwide class in Schlesinger v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County (Ticketmaster), B224880, 2010 WL 3398844 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Aug. 31, 2010).   Read the rest of this entry »

Ninth Circuit Issues 3-0 Opinion Reversing Denial of Class Certification in Tire Wear Case

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In a 3-0 opinion, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday reversed a denial of class certification in Wolin v. Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC, Nos. 09-55104, 09-55105, — F.3d —-, 2010 WL 3222091 (9th Cir. Aug. 17, 2010).  Tire defect cases are normally difficult to certify.  Plaintiffs took the correct approach and positioned their class not as one for tire defect, but for vehicle alignment defect.

Kenneth Gable and Brian Wolin each brought a class action lawsuit against Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC (“Land Rover”) alleging that Land Rover’s LR3 vehicles suffer from an alignment geometry defect that causes tires to wear prematurely.  Id. *1.  The trial court denied their respective motions for class certification, holding that Gable and Wolin were unable to prove that a majority of potential class members suffered from the consequences of the alleged alignment defect. Read the rest of this entry »