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Bryan v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 26, 2013

DONALD BRYAN, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
WAL-MART STORES, INC., et al., Defendants.

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

SUSAN ILLSTON, District Judge.

Currently before the Court is defendant Wal-Mart's motion to dismiss plaintiffs' fourth amended complaint. Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), the Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without oral argument and therefore VACATES the hearing currently scheduled for June 28, 2013. Having carefully considered the papers submitted, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part defendant's motion to dismiss, for the reasons set forth below.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs are truck drivers ("Drivers") in California previously employed by defendant Wal-Mart for some period of time between 1993 and the present, who allege they were neither paid all earned wages nor were they paid timely. Fourth Am. Compl. ("4AC") 3-6. Plaintiffs allege Wal-Mart violated a number of California laws by failing to pay plaintiffs' timely wages or provide meal and rest breaks, requiring that employees work "off-the-clock, " and failing to provide accurate wage statements. Plaintiffs assert the following causes of action: (1) failure to provide meal breaks; (2) failure to provide rest breaks; (3) failure to timely pay wages due; (4) violation of California's Unfair Competition Law (Cal. Bus. & Profs. Code § 17200); (6) failure to provide an accurate wage statement; and (7) failure to pay minimum wage. Plaintiffs no longer assert their fifth cause of action.

In the Court's April 18, 2013 Order, plaintiffs' first and second causes of actions were dismissed for failure to state a valid claim for violations of California's meal and rest break provisions. See Docket No. 72 ("Order") at 7. The claims were insufficient because plaintiffs failed to describe any facts about how Wal-Mart "pressured, incentivized or discouraged'" the Drivers from taking breaks. Id. (quoting Third Am. Compl. ("TAC") ¶ 49). The third, fourth, and fifth causes of action were dismissed in part as derivative to the meal and rest break claims, and in part as insufficient. Id. at 8-12. The sixth cause of action was dismissed for insufficiency. Id. at 12. The seventh cause of action, for minimum wage violations, was the only claim that survived defendant's motion to dismiss the third amended complaint. Id. at 10. Subsequently, plaintiffs filed a fourth amended complaint, seeking to address the deficiencies identified by the Court. Wal-Mart moves to dismiss the new complaint.

LEGAL STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a district court must dismiss a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). This "facial plausibility" standard requires plaintiffs to allege facts that amount to "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While courts do not require "heightened fact pleading of specifics, " a plaintiff must provide "more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 544-55.

In deciding whether the plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must assume the plaintiffs' allegations are true and must draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs' favor. See Usher v. City of Los Angeles, 828 F.2d 556, 561 (9th Cir. 1987). However, the Court is not required to accept as true "allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences." St. Clare v. Gilead Scis., Inc. (In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig.), 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008). The Ninth Circuit has distilled the following principles from Iqbal and Twombly:

First, to be entitled to the presumption of truth, allegations in a complaint or counter-claim may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively. Second, the factual allegations that are taken as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such that it is not unfair to require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of discovery and continued litigation.

Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011).

If the Court dismisses a complaint, it must decide whether to grant leave to amend. The Ninth Circuit has "repeatedly held that a district court should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts." Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

DISCUSSION

I. Claims Relating to Meal and Rest Break Violations (1st and ...


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