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Soto v. Diakon Logistics, Inc.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

November 5, 2013

JOSUE SOTO, GHAZI RASHID, MOHAMED ABDELFATTAH, on behald of All Aggrieved Individuals, All Others Similarly Situated, and the General Public, Plaintiffs,
v.
DIAKON LOGISTICS (DELAWARE), INC., a foreign corporation; and DOES 1 through 50, inclusive, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [Doc. 220]

M. JAMES LORENZ, District Judge.

On August 21, 2013, the Court granted in part and denied in part Plaintiffs Josue Soto, Ghazi Rashid, and Mohamed Abdelfattah's motion for class certification. (Doc. 220.) Defendant now moves for reconsideration of the aforementioned order. Plaintiffs oppose.

This Court found this motion suitable for determination on the papers submitted and without oral argument. See Civ. L.R. 7.1(d.1). (Doc. 221.) For the following reasons, the Court DENIES Defendant's motion for reconsideration.

I. BACKGROUND

On December 5, 2007, Plaintiffs filed a punitive class-action complaint in state court seeking recovery from Defendant for failure to reimburse for reasonable business expenses, issue itemized wage statements, and for other alleged violations of the California Labor Code provisions. (Removal Notice ¶ 1.) Defendant removed this action to this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) based on diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1) and (d)(2). ( Id. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff then amended his complaint to add Mr. Rashid and Mr. Abdelfattah as plaintiffs to this class action. (Doc. 28.)

Plaintiffs' first and second motions for class certification were denied without prejudice. (Doc. 117, 156.) After sufficiently narrowing the class definition, Plaintiffs third motion for class certification was granted in part by this Court on August 21, 2013. (Doc. 219.) Pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(i)(2), Defendant now asks the Court to reconsider its order granting in part and denying in part Plaintiffs' motion for class certification. (Def.'s Mot. ¶ 1-3.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD

"Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) states that a district court can modify an interlocutory order at any time' before entry of a final judgment, and [the Ninth Circuit has] long recognized the well-established rule that a district judge always has power to modify or to overturn an interlocutory order or decision while it remains interlocutory." Credit Suisse First Boston Corp. v. Grunwald, 400 F.3d 1119, 1124 (quoting Tanner Motor Livery, Ltd. v. Avis, Inc., 316 F.2d 804, 809 (9th Cir. 1963)). Although a district court may reconsider its decision for any reason it deems sufficient, generally a motion for reconsideration "is appropriate if the district court: (1) is presented with newly discovered evidence; (2) committed clear error or the initial decision was manifestly unjust; or (3) if there is an intervening change in controlling law." Sch. Dist. No. 1J, Multnomah Cnty. v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir.1993); see also Hydranautics v. FilmTec Corp., 306 F.Supp.2d 958, 968 (S.D. Cal. 2003) (Whelan, J.).

Clear error occurs when "the reviewing court on the entire record is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." Smith v. Clark County School Dist., 727 F.3d 950, 955 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting United States v. U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948)). However, a motion for reconsideration may not be used to raise arguments or present evidence for the first time when they could reasonably have been raised earlier in the litigation. Kona Enters., Inc. v. Estate of Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890 (9th Cir. 2000). It does not give parties a "second bite at the apple." See id. Moreover, "after thoughts" or "shifting of ground" do not constitute an appropriate basis for reconsideration. Ausmus v. Lexington Ins. Co., No. 08-CV-2342-L, 2009 WL 2058549, at *2 (S.D. Cal. July 15, 2009). Whether to grant a motion for reconsideration is in the sound discretion of the district court. Navajo Nation v. Norris, 331 F.3d 1041, 1046 (9th Cir.2003) (citing Kona Enters., Inc. v. Estate of Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 883 (9th Cir.2000)).

III. DISCUSSION

Defendant argues that reconsideration is appropriate under the clear error standard for the following three reasons: (1) the Court's previous order did not specify that recipients have a duty to "self-qualify" as class members; (2) the class definition improperly refers to work being "assigned" by Defendant Diakon, rather than work done "on behalf of Diakon;" and (3) the Court's previous order erroneously states that the Court appointed class counsel. (Def.'s Mot. 2:22-26, 3:1-8.)

A. Defendant's Argument Regarding "Self-Qualification" is Unpersuasive

Defendants argue that the approved class notice "misleadingly suggests that a recipient is already a member of the class, and need not do anything in order to remain a member, despite the Court's requirement that potential class members self-qualify' by representing that they did not employ or use other drivers.'" (Def.'s Mot. 2:23-26.) Defendants argument rests on a misunderstanding of the Court's previous order.

Contrary to Defendants' suggestion, a member of the class does not need to do anything in order to remain a member of this class. In its previous order the Court reasoned that the class definition was sufficient to notify the class - namely, that the phrase "did not employ or use other drivers" enables recipients to "self-qualify" as drivers that either did or did not hire other drivers to carry out the Defendant's work on their behalf. (Order 17:9-11.) In so holding, the Court did not create a "self-qualification" requirement. Instead, the Court was simply explaining that at this stage of the litigation, the class ...


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