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Arrendondo v. Delano Farms Co.

June 2, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge


(Document 26)


(Document 27)

On April 28 and 30, 2010, the parties filed the instant discovery motions. The motions were heard on May 28, 2010, before the Honorable Dennis L. Beck, United States Magistrate Judge. Gregory Ramirez appeared on behalf of Plaintiffs Sabas Arrendondo, Jose Cuevas, Hilario Gomez, Irma Landeros and Rosalba Landeros, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated ("Named Plaintiffs"). Michael Johnson appeared on behalf of Defendants Delano Farms Co., Cal-Pacific Farm Management, L.P., and T&R Bangi's Agricultural Services, Inc.


On July 17, 2009, five Named Plaintiffs filed this action against Defendants, alleging causes of action under both federal and state law based on allegations that they were not compensated for all time worked. The Named Plaintiffs are seasonal, agricultural workers who worked in agricultural fields and packing sheds owned by Defendant Delano Farms. Defendants Cal-Pacific Management and T&R Bangi are farm labor contractors working with Delano Farm to provide its labor force. The agreement between the entities has always been an oral agreement.

The deadline to file a motion for class certification is August 10, 2010, and discovery is currently limited to class certification issues.*fn1 The Named Plaintiffs define the class as:

All persons who are employed or have been employed, and who have worked one or more shifts as non-exempt hourly and/or piece rate workers for DELANO FARMS COMPANY, CAL-PACIFIC FARM MANAGEMENT, L.P. AND/OR T&R BANGI AG SERVICES, INC., in the State of California from four (4) years prior to the filing of this action.

The Named Plaintiffs filed the instant motion to compel on April 28, 2010. At issue are Requests for Production of Documents, Set One, served on each Defendant in conjunction with the January 19, 2010, Notices to Take the Deposition of Defendants' Persons Most Knowledgeable ("PMK"). The parties filed their joint statement on May 21, 2010.

Defendants filed the related motion to quash on April 30, 2010. Defendants seek to quash the Subpoena Duces Tecum served on Monterey Insurance Company in connection with the Notice of Deposition of Custodian of Records for Monterey Insurance. Defendants also seek to quash the Subpoena to Testify served on Monterey Insurance in connection with the Notice of Deposition of Monterey Insurance's Person Most Knowledgeable. Plaintiffs filed their opposition on May 14, 2010. Defendants did not file a reply.


A. Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) provides that a party "may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter."

B. Motion to Compel Production of Documents

1. Definition of Covered Employees as it Relates to Delano Farms- Numbers 1-5, 8, 11-14, 16, 21-24

Defendants object to producing records for all covered employees, i.e., employees who may fit the class definition, prior to the certification of a class.*fn2 Despite Defendants' objection, such information is relevant to subclass issues during the class certification process. In fact, Defendants confirmed that they will be opposing certification in part on the basis that the assessment of each member is an intensely individual calculation. Information relating to all potential class members will assist Plaintiffs in contesting this argument. Thus, to the extent the Court does not specifically limit a response, Defendants shall produce responsive documents for all potential class members.

Defendants also argue that Delano Farms does not have to produce any documents because it does not actually employ any of the Named Plaintiffs or any covered employee. Whether or not Delano Farms is an employer, the fact remains that it either has the requested documents or it does not. Delano Farms is therefore required to respond to all ...

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