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Halliwell v. A-T Solutions

United States District Court, S.D. California

November 7, 2013

LOGAN HALLIWELL and, Plaintiff,
v.
A-T SOLUTIONS, Defendant

For Logan Halliwell, Aaron Sleichter, Plaintiffs: Paul David Jackson, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Offices of Paul D Jackson, San Diego, CA.

For A-T Solutions, Defendant: Brent Caslin, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jenner & Block LLP, Los Angeles, CA.

OPINION

Page 1180

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S CLAIM SEEKING PENALTIES UNDER THE CALIFORNIA PRIVATE ATTORNEY GENERAL ACT, Cal. Lab. Code § § 2698 et seq. WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Marilyn L. Huff, District Judge.

On August 29, 2013, Plaintiffs Logan Halliwell and Aaron Sleichter (" Plaintiffs" ) filed a complaint against Defendant A-T Solutions (" Defendant" ) alleging violations of state and federal labor laws during the term of Plaintiffs' employment as Combat Ready Instructors. (Doc. No. 1 " Compl." .) On September 24, 2013, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss or strike Plaintiffs' claim seeking penalties under the California Private Attorneys General Act, Cal. Lab. Code § § 2698 et seq. (Doc. No. 5.) On October

Page 1181

29, 2013, Plaintiffs filed their opposition to Defendant's motion. (Doc. No. 7.) On November 5, 2013, Defendant filed its reply. (Doc. No. 8.) On November 5, 2013, the Court, pursuant to its discretion under Local Rule 7.1(d)(1), submitted the motion on the papers. (Doc. No. 9.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claim seeking penalties under the California Private Attorney General Act, Cal. Lab. Code § § 2698 et seq.

Background

Plaintiff Logan Halliwell alleges that he became an employee of Defendant A-T Solutions in or about August 2011 and was employed there until January 9, 2013. (Compl. ¶ 7.) Plaintiff Aaron Sleichter alleges that he became an employee of A-T Solutions in or about October 2009 and was employed there until the fall of 2012. (Id. ¶ 8.) Defendant A-T Solutions is a contractor for the United States Military. (Id. ¶ 10.) Defendant employed Plaintiffs as combat ready instructors and assigned them to give instructions to military personnel at various sites in Southern California. (Id. ¶ 10.)

Plaintiffs allege that while employed by Defendant, Defendant treated them as exempt employees under state and federal labor laws. (Id. ¶ 14.) But Plaintiffs allege that they should have been treated as non-exempt employees and received overtime wages. (Id. ¶ ¶ 14-16.)

On April 24, 2013, Plaintiffs sent a letter to the California Labor Workforce Development Agency (" LWDA" ) setting forth their allegations regarding Defendants alleged labor code violations. (Id. ¶ 17.) On June 20, 2013, the LWDA notified Plaintiffs that it did not intend to investigate the allegations of the April 24, 2013 letter. (Id. ¶ 17.)

On May 28, 2013, Plaintiffs and Defendant entered into a tolling agreement that stated the time between May 28, 2013 and July 29, 2013 would not be counted when calculating any limitations periods for the Plaintiffs' claims. (Compl. ¶ 18; Doc. No. 1 Ex. A at 12-14.) On July 24, 2013, the parties extended the tolling agreement through August 28, 2013. (Compl. ¶ 18, Doc. No. 1 Ex. A at 15-16.)

On August 29, 2013, Plaintiffs filed their complaint, asserting individual claims under state and federal law in causes of action 1-6. (Compl. ¶ ¶ 19-38.) Plaintiffs also asserted a claim seeking penalties under the California Private Attorney General Act (" PAGA" ), Cal. Lab. Code § § 2698 et seq., on behalf of themselves, the state of California, and other employees. (Id. ¶ ¶ 39-42.) In its motion to dismiss, Defendant asserts that a PAGA claim brought in federal court must comply with the ...


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