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Palana v. Mission Bay Inc.

United States District Court, Northern District of California

November 11, 2014

HORACIO DE VEYRA PALANA, individually, and on behalf of all other persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
MISSION BAY INC. and PRINT IT HERE AND COPY, INC., Defendants.

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

SUSAN ILLSTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Defendants’ motion for summary judgment came on for hearing on October 17, 2014. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES the motion.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Horacio de Veyra Palana is a former employee of defendants, Mission Bay Inc. and Print it Here and Copy, Inc.[1] Docket No. 1. In 2008, plaintiff was hired by defendants to work as a driver and direct care assistant to defendants’ clients. Palana Decl. ¶ 2; Docket No. 29-3, Coker Decl. ¶ 6. As an employee of defendants, plaintiff usually worked from around 7:00 am until 7:00 pm about five days a week. Docket No. 2902, Palana Interrogatory at 4. In the morning, plaintiff picked up clients from their group or personal homes and drove them to the defendants’ facility, where the clients participated in social and recreational activities; these activities included exercises, group meals, crafts and outings. Palana Decl. ¶¶ 4, 7-9; Docket No. 29-3, Coker Decl. ¶¶ 9, 10; Docket No. 29-2, Palana Interrogatory at 3. Plaintiff assisted clients with their activities and exercises, helped feed clients, and helped clean up clients. Palana Interrogatory at 3. After the clients completed their activities, plaintiff would drive them back to their homes. Docket No. 29-2, Palana Interrogatory at 4. Plaintiff would then pick up afternoon clients. Id. Plaintiff would assist the afternoon clients in the same activities as the morning clients, including an afternoon snack. Id. When the afternoon clients finished their activities, plaintiff would drive them back to their homes. Id. Plaintiff stated in his declaration that he did not go inside clients’ homes and he was instructed that he was not allowed to enter the homes. Palana Decl. ¶¶ 4-5. The parties dispute whether plaintiff worked inside the clients’ homes. Opp. at 5.

According to plaintiff, defendants failed to compensate their employees at the overtime rate for overtime hours and failed to provide employees meal and rest breaks, all in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California’s Labor Code and California’s Business & Professions Code section 17200, et seq. Id. ¶¶ 10-12. Plaintiff also alleges defendants violated California Labor Code sections 203 and 226, by failing to pay employees the amount due to them and failing to provide accurate wage stubs. Complaint at 7-8.

Plaintiff filed this putative class action on November 12, 2013. Docket No. 1. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, which motion the Court denied on March 14, 2014. Docket Nos. 11, 18, 24. Defendants now move for summary judgment.

LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is proper if the “pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Rosenbaum v. Washoe Cnty., 663 F.3d 1071, 1075 (9th Cir. 2011); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The moving party, however, has no burden to disprove matters on which the non-moving party will have the burden of proof at trial. The moving party need only demonstrate to the Court that there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party’s case. Id. at 325.

Once the moving party has met its burden, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to “set out ‘specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial.’” Id. at 324 (quoting then-Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)). To carry this burden, the non-moving party must “do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence . . . will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-moving party].” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986).

In deciding a summary judgment motion, the court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all justifiable inferences in its favor. Id. at 255. “Credibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge . . . ruling on a motion for summary judgment.” Id. However, conclusory, speculative testimony in affidavits and moving papers is insufficient to raise genuine issues of fact and defeat summary judgment. Thornhill Publ’g Co., Inc. v. GTE Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 738 (9th Cir. 1979). The evidence the parties present must be admissible. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2).

DISCUSSION

Defendants move for summary judgment, arguing that defendants had no obligation to pay plaintiff for either overtime or meal and rest breaks because plaintiff: (1) was an exempt employee under federal law under the “companionship services” exemption; and (2) was exempt under California law as a “personal attendant.”[2]

I. Fair Labor Standards Act


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