Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

MEDRANO v. D'ARRIGO BROTHERS COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA

March 25, 2004.

RAUL MEDRANO, TERESA J. LARA, FAUSTINO GARCIA, ALEJANDRO GARCIA, OLGA LEYVA VELARDE, and EFREN RAMOS FRAIDE, on behalf of themselves and all other persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
D'ARRIGO BROTHERS COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JEREMY FOGEL, District Judge

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
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 Page 2 motion will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

  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, § Page 3 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). Page 4 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).

  III. ANALYSIS

 A. D'Arrigo's Method of Compensation Failed to Comply with AWPA.

  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 compensate for Page 5 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.