The opinion of the court was delivered by: JEREMY FOGEL, District Judge
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY
Plaintiffs move for partial summary judgment as to the liability of
Defendant D'Arrigo Brothers Company of California ("D'Arrigo") in this
class action lawsuit.*fn1
The Court has read and considered the briefing
and evidence submitted by the parties and has considered the oral
arguments of counsel presented on February 27, 2004. For the reasons set
forth below, the
motion will be granted.
Plaintiffs, current and former employees of D'Arrigo, are agricultural
workers. D'Arrigo is engaged in the business of planting, harvesting,
grading, packaging, packing, and processing vegetables. Plaintiffs allege
that from 1996 to 2000, D'Arrigo did not accurately record or compensate
them for all hours worked in particular, hours that D'Arrigo
required Plaintiffs to spend waiting and traveling to and from fields
pursuant to D'Arrigo's mandatory work transportation policy. Under this
policy, D'Arrigo required Plaintiffs to report to a designated departure
point the Spreckels Parking Lot and to board buses
operated by D'Arrigo. The buses then transported the workers to various
work sites. Plaintiffs were not allowed to drive directly to a work site
even if it was closer to their home than the Spreckels Parking Lot. At
the end of the workday, Plaintiffs were not permitted to leave the work
site immediately, but instead had to wait for the foreman to finish his
or her administrative tasks before the bus could transport them back to
the Spreckels Parking Lot.
Plaintiffs claim that D'Arrigo should have compensated them for this
compulsory waiting and travel time, which includes the time spent riding
the bus to the fields, waiting for the bus at the end of the day, and
riding the bus back to the departure point. Plaintiffs contend that the
legal effect of D'Arrigo's failure to compensate them for these
activities is that they have not been paid wages due to them by law.
D'Arrigo disputes Plaintiffs' claims. It argues that it compensated
Plaintiffs for travel time via its "piece rate" payment scheme. D'Arrigo
asserts that it sometimes paid laborers on the basis of the quantity of
vegetables picked rather than the number of hours worked and that when it
did so such "piece rate" payments included payment for mandatory travel
and waiting time.
Plaintiffs now ask for summary judgment that D'Arrigo: (1) failed to
pay wages due for mandatory travel and waiting time as required by
California Industrial Welfare Commission ("IWC") wage order No. 14-80
("Wage Order No. 14-80") (found at Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, §
11140),*fn2 California Labor Code sections 201 and 202, and the
California Unfair Business Practices Act, California Business and
Professions Code section 17200 et seq.; (2) must pay statutory
waiting time penalties pursuant to California Labor Code section 203; and
(3) failed to record all hours worked and pay all wages when due pursuant
to sections 1831(c) and 1832(a) of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural
Worker Protection Act*fn3 ("AWPA").*fn4 See Brief, p. 23.
II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
A motion for summary judgment should be granted if there is no genuine
issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c)); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). The moving party bears the
initial burden of informing the Court of the basis for the motion and
identifying portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, admissions, or affidavits that demonstrate the absence
of a triable issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
If the moving party meets its initial burden, the burden shifts to the
nonmoving party to present specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue of material fact for trial. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e); Celotex
Corp., 477 U.S. at 324. The evidence and all reasonable inferences
therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party. T. W. Elec. Service, Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors
Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630-31 (9th Cir. 1987). Summary judgment is not
appropriate if the nonmoving party presents evidence from which a
reasonable jury could resolve the material issue in his or her favor.
Barlow v. Ground, 943 F.2d 1132, 1136 (9th Cir. 1991).
However, the more implausible the claim or defense asserted by the
nonmoving party, the more persuasive its evidence must be to avoid
summary judgment. Jackson v. Bank of Hawaii, 902 F.2d 1385, 1389
(9th Cir. 1990). The standard applied to a motion seeking partial summary
judgment is identical to the standard applied to a motion seeking summary
judgment of the entire case. Urantia Found. v. Maaherra,
895 F. Supp. 1335, 1335 (D. Ariz. 1995).
A. D'Arrigo's Method of Compensation Failed to Comply with
Plaintiffs seek unpaid wages and statutory penalties arising from
D'Arrigo's alleged failure to pay Plaintiffs for time that D'Arrigo
compelled them to spend waiting and traveling to and from work sites on
D'Arrigo's vehicles between August 4, 1996 and April 14, 2000. Plaintiffs
argue that summary judgment should be granted because there is no
disputed genuine issue of material fact that Plaintiffs were not paid for
such travel and waiting time.
AWPA requires an agricultural employer to keep accurate records of time
worked and to pay seasonal workers all wages when due. This Court has
held that AWPA's requirements are triggered if state law, in particular
California's Wage Order No. 14-80 and the California Labor Code,
specifies that wages are due. See Medrano v. D'Arrigo Bros. Co. of
Cal., 125 F. Supp.2d 1163, 1167 (N.D. Cal. 2000).
Section 4 of Wage Order No. 14-80 requires an agricultural employer to
pay agricultural workers a specified minimum wage for "all hours worked."
Section 4(b) provides: "Every employer shall pay to each employee, on the
established payday for the period involved, not less than the applicable
minimum wage for all hours worked in the payroll period, whether the
remuneration is measured by time, piece, commission, or otherwise." The
California Supreme Court held in Morillion that all time
agricultural workers spend under the employer's control, including
specifically compulsory travel and waiting time, must be considered
"hours worked" pursuant to Wage Order No. 14-80. Morillion v. Royal
Packing Co., 22 Cal.4th 575, 587 (Cal. 2000). Thus, according to
Wage Order No. 14-80, although D'Arrigo may use various schemes to
compensate Plaintiffs, it nonetheless must pay its workers enough to
compulsory waiting and travel time. Both the language of Wage Order
No. 14-80 and the California Supreme Court's reasoning in
Morillion suggest that an employer may use varied payment
schemes*fn5 as long as the agricultural worker is paid no less than the
sum the worker would have been paid during the pay period if the employer
paid according to the following formula: number of hours worked
(including compulsory waiting and travel time) during the pay period
multiplied by the minimum wage set forth in Wage Order No. 14-80.
Accordingly, D'Arrigo is liable if it paid the agricultural workers less
than what Wage Order No. 14-80 required during a pay period, regardless
of how it determined the wages that it paid its employees.
D'Arrigo essentially concedes that it did not compensate
Plaintiffs directly for compulsory waiting and travel time, in
that it did not record travel and waiting time and pay wages for those
hours worked. See, e.g., Opposition, p. 19:23-24; Plaintiffs'
Brief, Ex. 6 (Paz Depo. at 60). It nonetheless argues that it compensated
Plaintiffs for such time indirectly via its piece-rate payment
scheme. At the same time, it admits that it followed the "practice of
compensating employees for the `greater of the day,' meaning employees
received either the piece-rate or guaranteed hourly minimum, whichever
was greater for that day."*fn6 Opposition, p. 23:8-10. As already noted,
the guaranteed hourly minimum scheme did not take travel ...