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Coleman v. Jenny Craig, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

February 27, 2014

NASHONNA COLEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
JENNY CRAIG, INC., Defendant.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [Doc. No. 69]

MICHAEL M. ANELLO, District Judge.

Plaintiff Nashonna Coleman brings this action against Defendant Jenny Craig, Inc. for violations of California's wage and hour laws. Doc. No. 1. On November 27, 2013, the Court denied Plaintiff's motion for class certification. Doc. No. 51. Plaintiff now moves the Court to reconsider its ruling pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). Doc. No. 69. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a former hourly, non-exempt employee of Defendant, Jenny Craig, Inc., a nationwide weight loss company. Plaintiff alleges violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. ยง 201, and California wage and hour laws. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant: (1) failed to pay regular and overtime compensation in violation of the FLSA; (2) failed to pay wages owed in violation of California Labor Code sections 201, 203, 216, 218.5 and 227.3; (3) failed to pay overtime compensation in violation of California Labor Code sections 510, 1194, and 1198; (4) failed to timely pay wages upon termination in violation of California Labor Code sections 201, 202, and 203; (5) failed to provide meal and rest breaks in violation of California Labor Code sections 226.7 and 512; (6) engaged in unfair competition in violation of California Business and Business and Professions Code sections 17200, et seq.; and (7) is subject to penalties pursuant to California Labor Code section 2699.

Plaintiff asserts that her claims are suitable for class certification because they raise questions common to the proposed class, specifically: (1) whether Defendant's policies and/or practices violate California's wage and hour laws, and (2) whether the class members have been denied wages, overtime compensation, meal and rest breaks, and split shift premiums, as a result of these unlawful policies and/or practices. Plaintiff moved to certify a California class of 1, 055 former and current employees of Jenny Craig. Within this class of employees, she identified several proposed subclasses. The Court denied the motion as to all proposed subclasses. Doc. No. 63.

One subclass that Plaintiff moved to certify was "All current and former employees of Defendant who held the hourly, non-exempt positions...at Defendant's California centres between March 18, 2010 and June 30, 2011 (the Class Period') and who:...were not provided with meal and rest periods." Doc. No. 51. The Court ruled, inter alia, that Plaintiff failed to satisfy the commonality requirement for class certification with respect to her Meal and Rest Break Class when she produced evidence that Defendant's uniform compensation system was not programmed to automatically pay employees the premiums for short or late meal breaks. Id. The Court determined that this feature of Defendant's payroll system did not amount to a policy or practice of non-payment of premiums for short or late lunches, because the employees themselves were able to submit time edit requests for premiums whenever their meal breaks were short or late. Id.

Plaintiff now moves for reconsideration of the Court's order denying her motion for class certification. Doc. No. 69. Plaintiff argues that there has been an intervening change in the controlling law that requires the Court to alter its previous ruling. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that Benton v. Telecom Network Specialists, Inc., 220 Cal.App.4th 701, 705 (Cal.Ct.App. 2013), is new, relevant, and controlling case law. Plaintiff contends that the Court's denial of class certification as to her Meal Break subclass was "clearly erroneous in light of California's new authority that requires employers to promulgate a policy informing employees of their rights." Doc. No. 69 at 3. Plaintiff argues that Jenny Craig employees were not informed of their entitlement to premium payments for short or late meal periods, and pursuant to Benton, "Defendant must have a uniform policy advising employees of their rights to such premiums, " and Defendant's failure to adopt such policy warrants certification of a meal break subclass. Id. at 2 (emphasis in original).

LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), district courts have the power to reconsider a judgment by motion. Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). A motion to reconsider a judgment under Rule 59(e) seeks "a substantive change of mind by the court." Tripati v. Henman, 845 F.2d 205, 205 (9th Cir. 1988). Rule 59(e) is an extraordinary remedy and, in the interest of finality and conservation of judicial resources, should not be granted absent highly unusual circumstances. Carroll v. Nakatani, 342 F.3d 934, 945 (9th Cir. 2003); McDowell v. Calderon, 197 F.3d 1253, 1255 (9th Cir. 1999). Rule 59 may not be used to relitigate old matters, raise new arguments, or present evidence that could have been raised prior to entry of the judgment. Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, 544 U.S. 471, 486-87 (2008).

Under Rule 59(e), it is appropriate to alter or amend a judgment if "(1) the district court is presented with newly discovered evidence, (2) the district court committed clear error or made an initial decision that was manifestly unjust, or (3) there is an intervening change in controlling law." United Nat. Ins. Co. v. Spectrum Worldwide, Inc., 555 F.3d 772, 780 (9th Cir. 2009). To carry the burden of proof, a moving party seeking reconsideration must show more than a disagreement with the Court's decision or a recapitulation of the cases and arguments previously considered by the court. See United States v. Westlands Water Dist., 134 F.Supp.2d 1111, 1131 (E.D. Cal. 2001).

DISCUSSION

A. Change in Controlling Law

Under Rule 59(e), an intervening change in the controlling law is an appropriate ground to grant reconsideration. Kona Enterprises, Inc. v. Estate of Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890 (9th Cir. 2000). Plaintiff argues that the California Court of Appeal's opinion in Benton v. Telecom Network Specialists , issued on October 16, 2013, was an intervening change in controlling law. Doc. No. 69. However, as Benton neither changes nor extends the rule enunciated in Brinker v. Superior Court , as applied in Bradley v. Networks ...


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