The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Hon. Christina Snyder U.S. District Judge
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION REQUIRING DEFENDANTS TO KEEP AND DISCLOSE MANDATORY PAYROLL RECORDS
On October 17, 2011, plaintiffs Everardo Carrillo, Fernando Chavez, Eric Flores, Jose Martinez Arceo, Baltazar Zavala, and Juan Chavez filed a class action complaint asserting claims for: (1) violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act's requirements to pay minimum wage, to pay overtime premiums, and to maintain accurate records of hours worked; (2) violation of California overtime provisions; (3) violation of California minimum wage provisions; (4) violation of California meal period requirements; (5) violation of California rest period requirements; (6) violation of California reporting time pay provisions; (7) violation of California record-keeping provisions; (8) violation of California itemized wage statement provisions;
(9) workplace retaliation; (10) waiting time penalties; (11) violation of California provisions against secret wages; (12) fraudulent misrepresentation; (13) unlawful deductions; (14) penalties under the California Private Attorney General Act; (15) violation of California Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, et seq.; and (16) declaratory judgment. Plaintiffs' claims arise out of their employment at three warehouses operated by defendants Schneider Logistics, Premier Warehousing Ventures, Rogers-Premier Unloading Services, and Impact Logistics. Schneider Logistics argues that it was improperly sued in this action because it does not employ any member of the proposed class and has no connection with or responsibility for the operation, oversight, or supervision of the Mira Loma warehouse facility that is the subject of this action. See Declaration of Amy Schilling, ¶¶ 3--19. Plaintiffs reply that Schneider Logistics is concealing the identity of the Schneider entity that operates the Mira Loma Facility. Reply at 10.
On October 24, 2011, plaintiffs filed an ex parte application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and an order to show cause re: preliminary injunction requiring defendants, as well as all those "in active concert or participation with" them under F.R.C.P. 65(d), to come into compliance with federal and state recordkeeping and disclosure requirements immediately. On October 26, 2011, defendant Impact Logistics filed an opposition to plaintiffs' ex parte application.*fn1
After carefully considering the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.
The standards for issuing a Temporary Restraining Order and a preliminary injunction are "substantially identical." Stuhlbarg Int'l Sales Co. v. John D. Brushy & Co., 240 F.3d 832, 839 n.7 (9th Cir. 2001). A preliminary injunction is an "extraordinary remedy." Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 129 S. Ct. 365, 375 (2008). The Ninth Circuit summarized the Supreme Court's recent clarification of the standard for granting preliminary injunctions in Winter as follows: "[a] plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest." Am. Trucking Ass'n, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles, 559 F.3d 1046, 1052 (9th Cir. 2009); see also Cal Pharms. Ass'n v. Maxwell-Jolly, 563 F.3d 847, 849 (9th Cir. 2009) ("Cal Pharm. I"). Alternatively, "'serious questions going to the merits' and a hardship balance that tips sharply toward the plaintiff can support issuance of an injunction, assuming the other two elements of the Winter test are also met." Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1132 (9th Cir. 2011). A "serious question" is one on which the movant "has a fair chance of success on the merits." Sierra On-Line, Inc. v. Phoenix Software, Inc., 739 F.2d 1415, 1421 (9th Cir. 1984).
The Court concludes that a TRO and order to show cause re: preliminary injunction should issue in this case. Plaintiffs have established that they are likely to succeed on the merits, that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in their favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest.
Impact Logistics argues that plaintiffs cannot establish a likelihood of success on its underlying claims without proceeding to a trial on the merits. Opp'n at 4. According to Impact Logistics, in order to recover damages under Labor Code § 226(e), an employee must suffer injury as a result of an employer's knowing and intentional failure to comply with the statute. Id. at 5 (citing Price v. Starbucks Corp., 192 Cal. App. 4th 1136, 1142--43 (Cal. Ct. App. 2011)). Impact Logistics maintains that plaintiffs have not established that the information missing from their pay statements has caused an injury within the meaning of the statute, but rather that this is a matter of proof that cannot be resolved at this stage. Id. at 6. Furthermore, Impact Logistics argues that plaintiffs have not offered proof, other than their declarations, suggesting that the underlying recordkeeping is actually deficient, that Impact Logistics has concealed information, or that plaintiffs have suffered an injury for which preliminary injunctive relief is appropriate. Id. at 6--7. Finally, Impact Logistics argues that it is willing to provide all necessary information required by California law, and that it has not knowingly violated any laws regarding pay statements. Id. at 7.
The Court finds that plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the legal claims underlying the three requested categories of relief.
First, plaintiffs request that the Court require defendants to begin providing itemized wage statements to their employees that set forth all legally-required information, including the number of hours actually worked and information about the piece rate formula's components and calculation. Employers are required to provide employees with such information under California Labor Code §226(a), and Labor Code §226(g) expressly provides that "[a]n employee may ...