United States District Court, N.D. California
October 14, 2014
DOUGLAS O'CONNOR, et al., Plaintiffs,
UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., et al., Defendants.
ORDER RE SUMMARY JUDGMENT BRIEFING AND SCHEDULE Docket No. 166
EDWARD M. CHEN, District Judge.
On October 8, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a request for clarification of this Court's order amending the briefing schedule on Defendant's motion for summary judgment. Docket No. 166. Plaintiffs indicate that they intend to file a motion for summary judgment as well, and request clarification as to whether both sides' motions should be filed on November 21, 2014, or whether Plaintiffs should plan to file a cross-motion with their opposition to Uber's motion." Id. at 3. The Court provides the following guidance.
Plaintiffs will not be permitted to file a motion for summary judgment prior to class certification in this case. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c)(1) provides that "[a]t an early practicable time after a person sues or is sued as a class representative, the court must determine by order whether to certify the action as a class action." Despite this language, the Ninth Circuit has held that "[u]nder the proper circumstances - where it is more practicable to do so and where the parties will not suffer significant prejudice - the district court has discretion to rule on a motion for summary judgment before it decides the certification issue." Wright v. Schock, 742 F.2d 541, 543-judgment is likely to protect both the parties and the court from needless and costly litigation, it is reasonable to consider such a motion before class certification." Khasin v. Hershey Company, No. 5:12-CV-01862-EJD, 2014 WL 1779805, at *2 (N.D. Cal. May 5, 2014).
Defendant's anticipated motion for summary judgment - if granted - would serve that purpose. If the Court were to determine that Plaintiffs were not employees of Defendant, much (if not all) of the case would be disposed of and the scope and course of class certification will be substantially affected. The same cannot be said about Plaintiff's proposed motion for summary judgment seeking a judgment that Uber's drivers are employees. Were the Court to grant such a motion, while it may inform some aspect of class certification, it would not be as potentially impactful as a grant of Defendant's motion; it would still be necessary to go through the class certification process as well as proceed to trial on any remaining factual issues regarding the nature, scope, and effect of Uber's representations regarding gratuities. Thus, there would be little or no efficiency to be gained from ruling on such a motion before class certification.
Accordingly, for the foregoing reasons, the Court clarifies that Defendant 's motion for summary judgment shall be filed by November 21, 2014, Plaintiff's opposition to that motion shall be filed by December 15, 2014, and Defendant's reply in support of its motion shall be filed on December 22, 2014. Defendant's motion for summary judgment shall be heard on January 15, 2015, at 1:30 p.m. Docket No. 154, at 1. Cross motions for summary judgment will not be permitted. Plaintiffs may, of course, move for summary judgment following resolution of the class certification question.
This order disposes of Docket No. 166.
IT IS SO ORDERED.