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Scott Nance and Frederick Freedman, On v. May Trucking Company

May 7, 2012

SCOTT NANCE AND FREDERICK FREEDMAN, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES, ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MAY TRUCKING COMPANY, AN IDAHO CORPORATION; DOES 1 THROUGH 100, INCLUSIVE,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David H. Bartick United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO LIFT STAY AND COMPEL PRE-CERTIFICATION DISCOVERY REGARDING PUTATIVE CALIFORNIA CLASSES [ECF Nos. 39 and 40]

On April 10, 2012, the parties filed a Joint Discovery Conference Statement. (ECF No. 39.) Additionally, the parties filed separate memoranda concerning their respective positions regarding the instant discovery dispute. (ECF Nos. 39-1, 40.) On April 20, 2012, the Court held a Discovery Conference during which the parties' discussed their dispute concerning the Court's prior finding that Plaintiffs' requested pre-certification discovery was premature in light of Defendant's pending Motion to Dismiss and the Court's stay of pre-certification discovery pending the District Judge's ruling on the Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiffs now seek to have the January 24, 2012 stay on pre-certification discovery lifted as to the proposed California classes.*fn1 Plaintiffs also seek the production of information and documents concerning the proposed California classes.

Based on a careful review of the parties' papers and arguments made before the Court, and for the reasons discussed below, Plaintiffs' motion to lift the stay of discovery as to the proposed California classes is GRANTED. Furthermore, Plaintiffs' motion to compel pre-certification discovery relating to the proposed California classes is hereby GRANTED consistent with this Order.

I. BACKGROUND

This is a putative class action in which Plaintiffs allege that Defendant violated federal, Oregon and California wage and hour laws. On behalf of several classes of persons who work for Defendant as truck drivers, Plaintiffs assert causes of action under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 206; the Oregon Minimum Wage Law, Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 653.025, 653.055, 652.610 and 652.150; and Cal. Labor Code §§ 203, 226.7, 1182.12, 1194, 2699, et seq. and 2802. Plaintiffs also assert a cause of action for unfair competition under Cal. Business & Professions Code § 17200, et seq.

Plaintiffs filed their First Amended Complaint ("FAC") on October 10, 2011. (ECF No. 17.) On October 27, 2011, Defendant filed a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss the causes of action brought under the FLSA and two of four causes of action brought under Oregon law. (ECF No. 19.) On October 27, 2011, Defendants also filed a motion seeking to transfer this action to the District of Oregon pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). (ECF No. 21.) Defendant's motions are presently pending before the Honorable Larry A. Burns.

On January 24, 2012, the Court denied Plaintiffs' prior motion to compel pre-certification discovery on grounds that such discovery was premature in light of the pending Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 34.) The Court also stayed pre-certification discovery until Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is decided. (Id.)

II. DISCOVERY DISPUTE

Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs' request that the Court lift the stay on pre-certification discovery only as to the proposed California classes. Should the Court grant this request, Plaintiffs also request that Defendant be ordered to produce the following information concerning the proposed California classes: (1) the name, address, telephone number, hire date, and termination date (if applicable) of a representative sample of putative class members; (b) any record of hours worked by a representative sample of putative class members; and (c) payroll records and driving logs of a representative sample of putative class members.

A. Plaintiffs' Position

Plaintiffs contend the information requested is relevant to their motion for class certification and the merits of their claims concerning the proposed California classes. Plaintiffs also contend that no party requested that a discovery stay be imposed, that a discovery stay should not automatically occur upon the filing of a motion to dismiss, and that Defendant has not met its burden under Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for seeking a protective order to limit discovery pending resolution of its Motion to Dismiss. Moreover, Plaintiffs contend that Defendant's Motion to Dismiss only challenges the claims Plaintiffs bring under the FLSA and Oregon wage and hour laws and that Plaintiffs should not be precluded from seeking discovery regarding claims that are not at issue on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, i.e., discovery regarding the proposed California classes. Lastly, Plaintiffs contend that the stay is highly prejudicial to Plaintiffs.

Regarding appropriate sample size, Plaintiffs argue that Defendant should produce information regarding all 153 drivers (100%) in the proposed California training subclass and 116 of 580 drivers (20%) in the proposed California class. Plaintiffs also maintain that the sampling should be "representative" and that the parties' evidence in support of or in opposition to class certification should be limited to those persons within the sample produced.

B. Defendant's Position

Defendant seeks to have the stay on discovery remain in effect. Defendant contends that pre-certification discovery should not occur until after the Court rules on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss because, if that motion is granted, a substantial number of putative class members will no longer be a part of this action. Defendant also argues that the discovery at issue is irrelevant and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence because Plaintiffs' requests relate to issues not plead in the operative FAC. Specifically, Defendant states that Plaintiffs intend to take the deposition of three of Defendant's employees but that these employees only have knowledge of claims not plead in the FAC. Furthermore, Defendant contends that even if the discovery is limited to the proposed ...


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