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Chad Rhoades and Luis Urbina v. Progressive Casualty Insurance

February 2, 2011

CHAD RHOADES AND LUIS URBINA, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
PROGRESSIVE CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., AN OHIO CORPORATION, AND DOES 1 THROUGH 100, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS IN PART AND DENYING IN PART AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE*fn1

Defendant Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, Inc. moves for dismissal of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint ("FAC") under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(b)(6), based on the argument that the FAC fails to allege facts sufficient to state viable claims. Defendant also moves under Rule 12(f) for an order striking from the FAC class allegations and a class definition. Plaintiffs Chad Rhoades and Luis Urbina oppose the motion. For the reasons stated below, Defendant's motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part. Defendant's motion to strike is denied.

I. LEGAL STANDARD

To avoid a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, a plaintiff must allege "enough facts" to show that "a claim to relief . . . is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ---U.S. ----, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Moss v. United States Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1951).

In analyzing whether a claim has facial plausibility, "[w]e accept as true all well-pleaded allegations of material fact, and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party." Daniels-Hall v. Nat'l Educ. Ass'n, --- F.3d ----, 2010 WL 5141247, at *3 (9th Cir. 2010). However, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. "A pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557).

"In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory 'factual content,' and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief." Moss, 572 F.3d at 969 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

II. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS IN FACT

Plaintiffs filed this case as a "class action complaint" in Sacramento County Superior Court. The case was removed, following which Plaintiffs filed their FAC. Plaintiffs allege in their FAC that they and the members of a putative class were "employed in . . . positions . . . known as, 'Claims Adjuster,' 'Claims Generalist Associate,' or similar titles" during the past four years. (FAC ¶¶ 2, 6.) Plaintiffs and members of the putative class were allegedly "not paid overtime wages for all hours worked" and were not "provided accurate itemized wage statements." Id. ¶ 1.

Plaintiffs allege five claims: (1) failure to pay overtime wages in violation of California Labor Code sections 1194 and 1198, IWC Order 4-2001; (2) failure to timely pay wages due at termination ("waiting time penalties") in violation of California Labor Code sections 201-203; (3) illegal record keeping in violation of California Labor Code section 226; (4) unfair business practices in violation of California Business and Professions Code sections 17200, et seq.; and (5) statutory penalties in violation of California Labor Code sections 2698, et seq.. Id. ¶¶ 22-55.

III. DISCUSSION

A. MOTION TO DISMISS

Defendant argues Plaintiffs' claims should be dismissed since they fail to meet the minimum pleading standards under Rule 8. (Mot. to Dismiss ("Mot.") 15:4-5.) Plaintiffs counter their claims are adequately pled and seek leave to amend should Defendant's motion be granted. (Opp'n to Mot. to Dismiss ("Opp'n") 12:28-13:9.) ///

1. Unpaid Overtime

Defendant argues Plaintiffs' overtime claim fails to "allege employer knowledge, which is [a] . . . required element[] of [Plaintiffs'] claim." (Reply to Pls.' Opp'n ("Reply") 4:1-2.) However, the cases on which Defendant relies in support of this argument are inapplicable since they address different statutes than those involved with Plaintiffs' overtime claim. Id. 4:3-12. Plaintiffs allege Defendant failed to ...


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