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Cruz v. Sky Chefs, Inc.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

May 6, 2013

CESAR CRUZ, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated Plaintiffs,
v.
SKY CHEFS, INC. ET. AL., Defendants.

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT SKY CHEFS, INC.'S MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

DONNA M. RYU, Magistrate Judge.

Defendant Sky Chefs, Inc. ("Sky Chefs") filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint Pursuant to F.R.C.P. 12(b)(6) and (12)(b)(1) or Alternatively, Motion to Strike Class Allegations ("Motion"). [Docket No. 38.] This matter is appropriate for determination without oral argument. Civil L.R. 7-1(b). For the reasons stated below, the Motion is denied.

I. Background

Sky Chefs, a business which provides in-flight food and beverage catering services to numerous airline carriers within the United States, hired Plaintiff Cesar Cruz ("Plaintiff") in July 1996 as an assembler. Declaration of Franklin Bruce Murray ("Murray Decl.") [Docket No. 38-1] at §§ 2, 6. During his employment, Plaintiff was a member of the Unite Here International Union (SFO/Union Local 2), and his relationship with Sky Chefs was governed by a collective bargaining agreement ("the CBA"). Id. at §§ 3-4, Ex. A.

Plaintiff filed this putative class action on March 16, 2012 in Alameda County Superior Court. [ See Docket No. 1 at 2.] On May 23, 2012, Plaintiff amended his complaint to state nine California state law causes of action against Sky Chefs and LSG Lufthansa Service Holding AG, dba LSG Sky Chefs.[1] On May 25, 2012, Sky Chefs removed the case to federal court, basing federal jurisdiction on the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). [Docket No. 1.]

On October 5, 2012, Sky Chefs filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint on the grounds that his claims are preempted by the Railway Labor Act ("RLA"). [Docket No. 20.] The court held a hearing on the motion on December 20, 2012. During the hearing, Plaintiff represented to the court that he would limit all claims to encompass only class members who had never received a shift differential or lead pay during the class period. He also stipulated to dismiss the third cause of action for overtime wages. He further conceded that he does not dispute the rate at which Sky Chefs calculated overtime pay as shown on the paystubs, except for Sky Chefs' alleged failure to include earned bonuses (as indicated on the paystubs) in its calculation of the regular rate of pay. Order Denying Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint [Docket No. 30] at 2-3. In light of these representations, Sky Chefs conceded that resolution of Plaintiff's claim for failure to pay overtime wages at the proper rate under California Labor Code §§ 510 and 1194 and the wage order (the "overtime wages rates claim") would not require the court to interpret the CBA and, therefore, would not be preempted by the RLA. Id. at 2-3. The parties' concessions resulted in one remaining issue in Sky Chefs' motion to dismiss. The court denied the motion and held that the RLA, which applies to Sky Chefs and its employees, did not preempt Plaintiff's California minimum wage claim because "resolution of this dispute turns merely on the number of hours worked by Plaintiff and putative class members, and whether they received the minimum wage for that time.... The court will not have to interpret the CBA to resolve the claim." Id. at 5-6. The court also dismissed Plaintiff's third cause of action pursuant to the parties' stipulation.

On January 16, 2013, Plaintiff filed the SAC, alleging eight causes of action against Sky Chefs: (1) failure to pay wages for compensable work at minimum wage pursuant to California Labor Code §§ 1194 and 1197 ("minimum wage claim"), (2) failure to pay earned wages for compensable time in violation of California Labor Code § 204 ("earned wages claim"), (3) failure to pay overtime wages at the proper rate under California Labor Code §§ 510 and 1194 and the wage order ("overtime wages rate claim"), (4) failure to provide required meal periods pursuant to California Labor Code §§ 226.7 and 512 ("meal period claim"), (5) failure to provide complete and accurate wage statements in violation of California Labor Code § 226 ("wage statements claim"), (6) failure to pay all wages timely upon separation of employment in accordance with California Labor Code §§ 201 and 202 ("timely payment of wages claim"), (7) unfair competition pursuant to California Business and Professions Code § 17200 ("unfair competition claim"), and (8) a request for civil penalties under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 ("PAGA"), California Labor Code § 2698 et seq. ("PAGA claim"). SAC at §§ 33-90.

In the SAC, Plaintiff offered the following class definitions:

A. Minimum Wage Class: All current and former non-exempt employees, excluding non-exempt employees that received shift differential or lead pay, employed by DEFENDANTS in California at any time between March 16, 2008, through the date notice is mailed to a certified class, who were under control of DEFENDANTS during time they were engaged, suffered, or permitted to work and DEFENDANTS did not pay wages for that time at least at the legal minimum wage rate.
B. Earned Wages Class: All current and former non-exempt employees, excluding non-exempt employees that received shift differential or lead pay, employed by DEFENDANTS in California at any time between March 16, 2008, through the date notice is mailed to a certified class who were under control of DEFENDANTS during time they were engaged, suffered or permitted to work and DEFENDANTS did not pay those earned wages at the employees' regular rate of pay.
C. Bonus Class: All current and former non-exempt employees, excluding nonexempt employees that received shift differential or lead pay, employed by DEFENDANTS in California at any time between March 16, 2008, through the date notice is mailed to a certified class, who were under control of DEFENDANTS during time they were engaged, suffered or permitted to work and who received non-discretionary bonuses yet DEFENDANTS failed to include the bonuses and/or other forms of remuneration when calculating the rates of employees' overtime wages.
D. Meal Period Class: All current and former non-exempt employees, excluding non-exempt employees that received shift differential or lead pay, employed by DEFENDANTS in California at any time between March 16, 2008, through the date notice is mailed to a certified class who worked without all the uninterrupted, duty-free meal periods to which they were entitled due to DEFENDANTS' policies, practices and procedures.
E. Wage Statement Class: All current and former non-exempt employees, excluding non-exempt employees that received shift differential or lead pay, employed by DEFENDANTS in California at any time between March 16, 2008, through the date notice is mailed to a certified class who received inaccurate or incomplete wage statements.
F. Waiting Time Class: All current and former non-exempt employees, excluding non-exempt employees that received shift differential or lead pay, employed by DEFENDANTS in California at any time between March 16, 2008, through the date notice is mailed to a certified class who did ...

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