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Pena v. Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 28, 2014

MARIA DEL CARMEN PENA, , Plaintiffs,
v.
TAYLOR FARMS PACIFIC, INC., d/b/a TAYLOR FARMS, , Defendants.

ORDER

KIMBERLY J. MUELLER, District Judge.

Defendant Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. ("defendant") moves for partial summary judgment on plaintiff Leticia Suarez's ("plaintiff") first, second and seventh claims. Def.'s Mot. for Partial Summ. J. ("MSJ"), ECF No. 52. The court heard argument on October 25, 2013. ECF No. 88. Stuart Chandler appeared for plaintiff, and Sarah Zenewicz appeared for defendant.

For the reasons below, the court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART defendant's motion.

I. PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff and coplaintiffs, former employees of defendant and codefendants, bring several employment claims on behalf of a putative class. See generally Seventh Am. Compl., ECF No. 101. Because briefing on the pending motion was completed before plaintiffs filed the Seventh Amended Complaint, the Sixth Amended Complaint ("6AC"), ECF No. 33, is operative here.

Plaintiffs filed the original complaint in state court on February 17, 2012. See Notice of Removal Ex. F, ECF No. 2-10. Thereafter, the parties began exchanging discovery, with plaintiffs filing three motions to compel before defendant removed on June 26, 2013. See id.; see also Notice of Removal, ECF No. 2. At argument on the instant motion, plaintiffs' counsel conceded "significant" discovery has been completed. Mot. to Dismiss Hr'g Tr. at 5:3-9, ECF No. 110. Such discovery includes on plaintiffs' part: 156 requests for production, with 14, 452 pages produced in response; 50 special interrogatories; 41 requests for admission; 14 depositions; 2 sets of form interrogatories; and 17 third-party subpoenas. See Zenewicz Decl. ΒΆΒΆ 3-5, ECF No. 23. This court, however, has not yet set a discovery deadline.

Defendant filed the instant motion on September 27, 2013, seeking partial summary judgment of plaintiff's claims for failure to compensate for all hours worked, failure to pay regular overtime wages and violation of California's unfair competition law ("UCL"). Plaintiff opposed on October 11, 2013 and requested the opportunity to conduct further discovery under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e). Defendant replied on October 18, 2013.

Defendant's motion is premised on the following undisputed facts. Plaintiff Suarez was an employee in defendant's prepared salads room from October 26, 2009 to July 20, 2012. Def.'s Undisputed Material Fact ("UMF") 1, ECF No. 52-1. In deposition, she testified as follows:

Q. Okay. So the first thing you would do when you arrived at the facility in the morning would [sic] go to put your lunch in the trailer, right?
A. Correct.
Q. And then you would walk through the cafeteria door, right?
A. Correct.
Q. And what is the very next thing that you would do?
A. Punch in.
Q. Okay. And where were the punch clocks located?
A. Right after the plant door.

Id. at 2.

Q. And then what is the very next thing that you will do [sic] after punching in?
A. In my case, in documentation, I had to go and look for my things. The things that I had in the locker? [sic]
* * *
Q. And you would go, once you go [sic] the papers, thermometers or other equipment, as a documentation tech, what would be the very next thing you would do after that?
A. Go to the sanitation room.
Q. Okay. And as a documentation tech in the sanitation room, what gear would you wear?
A. A white frock, gloves, apron, a hair net, but the hair net, you had to put ...

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