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Alexis Plaisted v. the Dress Barn

January 25, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Otis D. Wright, II United States District Judge



California law provides a panoply of protections for employees, including mandatory rest and meal breaks, overtime, vacation time, timely wage payments, and reasonable seating. Plaintiff Alexis Plaisted, a former store manager for Defendant The Dress Barn, Inc., has alleged violations of many of these provisions in her Complaint but produced scant evidence to establish any genuine issues of material fact. After considering each of Plaisted's 10 remaining causes of action, the Court finds that Dress Barn is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on all claims and GRANTS its Motion for Summary Judgment.*fn1


Plaintiff Alexis Plaisted began her employment with Dress Barn on June 4, 2009, as an Assistant Manager at the company's Alpine, California store. (SUF 12.) Dress Barn specializes in women's clothing that it sells in its retail stores throughout the United States. (SUF 1.) Each retail store employs 1 store manager, between 2 and 4 assistant managers, and several non-managerial associates. (Id.) Around August 2009, Plaisted transferred to Dress Barn's Mira Mesa, California store to continue work as an Assistant Manager. (SUF 18.) On December 14 of that year, she was promoted to the Store Manager position. (SUF 19.) Dress Barn then terminated Plaisted's employment on December 13, 2011. (SUF 46.)

Not wanting to take her termination sitting down, Plaisted filed a Complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court against Dress Barn on January 24, 2012, alleging 11 claims: (1) failure to provide meal periods, Cal. Labor Code §§ 226.7, 512; (2) failure to provide rest periods, id. § 226.7; (3) failure to pay overtime compensation, id. §§ 510, 1194, 1198; (4) failure to pay compensation at the time of termination, id. §§ 201, 202, 203, 208; (5) failure to provide accurate wage statements, id. § 226 et seq.; (6) failure to pay wages at least twice per month, id. § 204; (7) failure to provide suitable and reasonable seating, Cal. Code Regs. tit. 8, § 11070; (8) failure to pay vacation compensation at the time of termination, Cal. Labor Code § 227.3;

(9) conversion, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 3336 and 3294; (10) civil penalties pursuant to the California Private Attorney General Act, Cal. Labor Code § 2698 et seq.; and

(11) unlawful business practices, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq. (ECF No. 1, Ex. A.) Dress Barn removed the case to this Court, and the Court subsequently dismissed Plaisted's ninth claim for conversion for failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 15.) On December 28, 2012, Dress Barn moved for summary judgment. (ECF No. 49.)


Summary judgment should be granted if there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The moving party bears the initial burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323--24 (1986). Once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and identify specific facts through admissible evidence that show a genuine issue for trial. Id.; Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Conclusory or speculative testimony in affidavits and moving papers is insufficient to raise genuine issues of fact and defeat summary judgment. Thornhill's Publ'g Co. v. GTE Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 738 (9th Cir. 1979).

A genuine issue of material fact must be more than a scintilla of evidence, or evidence that is merely colorable or not significantly probative. Addisu v. Fred Meyer, 198 F.3d 1130, 1134 (9th Cir. 2000). A disputed fact is "material" where the resolution of that fact might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1968). An issue is "genuine" if the evidence is sufficient for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id. Where the moving and nonmoving parties' versions of events differ, courts are required to view the facts and draw reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007).


Dress Barn contends that its formal policies provide for, and mandate that, all California hourly employees take adequate rest and meal breaks. Store managers such as Plaisted have the ultimate responsibility of enforcing these breaks and can make timecard corrections as needed. Plaisted responds that Dress Barn gave her too much work to complete, which effectively forced her to work off the clock. Plaisted now claims she is owed wages ...

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