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Matsumara v. Rideout Memorial Hospital

June 10, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge


Through this action Plaintiff Sandra Matsumara ("Plaintiff"), individually and on behalf of a class of persons similarly situated, alleges several violations of state and federal labor laws arising out of employment at Defendant Rideout-Memorial Hopsital ("Defendant").

Presently before the Court Defendant*fn1 moves to strike Plaintiff's proposed class, referenced as "Class A-226", pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) on the grounds that it fails to meet the class requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. Alternatively, Defendant seeks to dismiss the class claims alleged by Plaintiff pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).*fn2 For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motions are granted in part and denied in part.


Plaintiff was employed as a pharmacist by Defendant from 2003-2008. Plaintiff alleges that during her employment she and other pharmacists were forced to work through statutorily required rest periods and meal breaks. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant was required to compensate her overtime pay for hours worked during said rest periods, and that such compensation should have occurred either at the time of her employment or as backpay upon her termination. Defendant, however, at no time paid the compensation to which Plaintiff believes she is entitled.

Plaintiff further alleges that the wage statements Defendant provided lacked statutorily required information including the legal name of the provider, total number of hours worked, and the rate at which the employee was compensated for hours worked. Plaintiff states that Defendant's failure to provide the required information has made it difficult for her and others to apply for unemployment insurance and worker's compensation, to prepare their tax returns, and to verify whether they were paid correctly.

Plaintiff subsequently filed suit under the California Labor Code, California Business and Professions Code, and Fair Labor Standards Act alleging individual and class claims for overtime, continuing wages, disgorgement of profits and injunction, meal period and rest break violations, improper wage statements, timely payment of earned wages, and for civil penalties under the California Private Attorney General Act of 2004.

Defendant moves to strike Plaintiff's proposed wage-statement class on the grounds that it is an unascertainable and improper "fail safe" class. Defendant's original 12(b)(6) Motion sought to dismiss Plaintiff's first, second, and fourth through eighth claims on the grounds that Plaintiff's class allegations fail to state a claim upon which class relief can be granted. However, parties subsequently entered into a stipulation (Docket No. 19) effectively striking the class claims of Plaintiff's First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh Causes of Action.

Consequently, in addressing Defendant's present Motion to Strike and Motion to Dismiss, the Court need only discuss Plaintiff's Sixth Cause of Action for Improper Wage Statement, and Eighth Cause of Action for Civil Penalties pursuant to the California Private Attorney General Act.


1. Motion to Dismiss

On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), all allegations of material fact must be accepted as true and construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Cahill v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir. 1996). Rule 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" in order to "give the defendant fair notice of what the...claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the "grounds" of his "entitlement to relief" requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Id. at 1964-65 (internal citations and quotations omitted). Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.

Id. at 1965 (citing 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235-36 (3d ed. 2004) ("The pleading must contain something more...than...a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action")).

"Rule 8(a)(2)...requires a 'showing,' rather than a blanket assertion of entitlement to relief. A court is not required to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Without some factual allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant could satisfy the requirements of providing not only 'fair notice' of the nature of the claim, but also 'grounds' on which the claim rests." Twombly, 550 U.S. 556 n.3. A pleading must contain "only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its ...

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