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ERIC G. GUTIERREZ,individually and on v. MEMORANDUM AND ORDER AARON'S INC. dba AARON'S SALES AND LEASE

November 30, 2010

ERIC G. GUTIERREZ,INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER AARON'S INC. DBA AARON'S SALES AND LEASE OWNERSHIP AND DOES 1-100, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



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

Presently before the Court is a Motion by Defendant Aaron's Inc. ("Defendant") to dismiss the claims in the Complaint of Plaintiff Eric G. Gutierrez ("Plaintiff") for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)*fn1 or, in the alternative, to strike class allegations pursuant to Rule 12(f). For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion is granted.

BACKGROUND*fn2

Defendant is in the business of selling and leasing furniture and home appliances. Plaintiff was employed by Defendant on an hourly basis for an undisclosed length of time. As an employee at Defendant's Red Bluff and Chico locations, Plaintiff claims that he was entitled to receive wages for regular and overtime hours worked, meal and rest periods, reimbursement for business related expenses, and accurate wage statements. Plaintiff alleges that he did not receive these benefits, nor did others similarly situated whom Plaintiff seeks to join as class members.

Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant had a policy and practice of withholding wages from its employees. Under this scheme, Defendant would automatically deduct thirty minutes of time worked from each day an employee worked more than six hours. The thirty minutes, allegedly subtracted to create the appearance of compliance with California law, was deducted regardless of whether the employee took a meal period. As a result of this policy, Plaintiff was not provided the benefits he was entitled to receive. /// /// /// ///

STANDARD

A. Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(6)

A party may seek dismissal of a claim if the pleadings are insufficient because they fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), "[a]ll 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, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotations omitted).

Although "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. (internal citations and quotations omitted). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. (citing 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216 (3d ed. 2004) ("[T]he pleading must contain something more...than...a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action."). If the "plaintiffs...have not nudged their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible, their complaint must be dismissed." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

Once the court grants a motion to dismiss, it must then decide whether to grant a plaintiff leave to amend. Rule 15(a) authorizes the court to freely grant leave to amend when there is no "undue delay, bad faith, or dilatory motive on the part of the movant." Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). In fact, leave to amend is generally only denied when it is clear that the deficiencies of the complaint cannot possibly be cured by an amended version. See DeSoto v. Yellow Freight Sys., Inc., 957 F.2d 655, 658 (9th Cir. 1992); Balistieri v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990) ("A complaint should not be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.") (internal citations omitted).

B. Motion to Strike Under Rule 12(f)

The Court may strike "from any pleading any insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(f). "[T]he function of a 12(f) motion to strike is to avoid the expenditure of time and money that must arise from litigating spurious issues by dispensing with those issues prior to trial...." Sidney-Vinstein v. A.H. Robins Co., 697 F.2d 880, 885 (9th Cir. 1983). "Immaterial matter is that which has no essential or important relationship to the claim for relief or the defenses being pleaded. Impertinent matter consists of statements that do not pertain, and are not necessary, to the issues in question." Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty, 984 F.2d 1524, 1527 (9th Cir. 1993) (rev'd on other grounds, Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc., 510 U.S. 517 (1994))(internal citations and quotations omitted).

ANALYSIS

Plaintiff's first four causes of action seek redress for past wages due, compensation for meal and rest periods, reimbursement for expenditures, and failure to itemize wage statements. The remaining claims, which are derivative of the first four causes of action, are for violating California Business and Professions Code Sections 17200 et seq., declaratory ...


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