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Abrams v. City of Los Angeles

United States District Court, C.D. California

November 17, 2014

ANDRE A. ABRAMS, et al., Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF LOS ANGELES and DOES 1-10, inclusive, Defendants

For Andre Abrams, James Agnole, Julio Alfonso, Edgar Arca, Andy Azodi, Todd Baldwin, Patricia Blake, Dino Campodonico, John Carey, Joseph Chavez, Duc Dao, Manuel Delgado, Daniel Drulias, Mary Fencl, Marc Ferris, Michael Flannery, Elizabeth Gudino, Hector Guzman, Walter Hanna, Brian Harris, Eric Hernandez, Raymond Hernandez, David Herskowitz, Alex Hoffmaster, Todd Holmberg, Cedric Ingram, James Jester, John Jizmejian, James Kukkok, Ron Lagrassa, Bonnie Lehigh, David Lin, Robert Longdon, Michelle Lopez, Joshua Lukaszewski, Defendants: Gregory G Petersen, Richard L Hutchinson, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Gregory G Petersen ALC, Newport Beach, CA.

For City of Los Angeles, Defendant: Brian P Walter, LEAD ATTORNEY, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore APC, Los Angeles, CA; Daniel P Aguilera, Wayne H Song, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, Los Angeles, CA; Geoffrey S Sheldon, LEAD ATTORNEY, Danny Young-In Yoo, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, Los Angeles, CA.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO STRIKE, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, TO DISMISS ALL INDIVIDUALLY NAMED PLAINTIFFS EXCEPT ANDRE ABRAMS [10]

OTIS D. WRIGHT, II, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the Court is Defendant City of Los Angeles's (" the City") Motion to Strike Portions of Complaint, or in the alternative, to Dismiss All Individually Named Plaintiffs Except Andre Abrams. (ECF No. 10.) Plaintiffs allege that the City violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq . The Court finds that Plaintiffs have not established that joinder is proper and for the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS the Motion and DISMISSES all Plaintiffs except for Andre Abrams from the action.[1]

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The FLSA provides that " no employer shall employ any of his employees . . . for a workweek longer than forty hours unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed." 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). " [A]ny one or more employees for and in behalf of himself or themselves and other employees similarly situated" may bring an action for unpaid overtime compensation against an employer who is alleged to have violated the FLSA. Id. § 216(b). Employees wishing to join the suit must " opt-in" by filing a written consent with the court. Id.

Plaintiffs were previously part of two opt-in FLSA collective action lawsuits in front of Judge Feess. See Alaniz v. City of Los Angeles, No. 04-cv-8592 GAF (AJWx) and Mata v. City of Los Angeles, No. 07-cv-6782 GAF (AJWx). In those cases approximately 2, 500 officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (" LAPD") alleged that the City violated the overtime policy and instead adhered to a purported unwritten rule that officers are not to claim overtime of less than one hour (" off-the-clock claims"). The officers contended that they performed pre-shift and post-shift work off-the clock, and that they were not provided a full meal break during their shifts.

On January 30, 2014, the City filed Motions to Decertify Collective Action in Alaniz and Mata on the grounds that the plaintiffs' off-the-clock claims were too individualized to proceed collectively under applicable law.

On May 21, 2014, Judge Feess granted both motions holding that " the record reflects that the litigants were not similarly situated with respect to the off-the-clock claims, particularly in view of the LAPD's clear and unambiguous policy to the contrary." Alaniz, No. 04-cv-8592, ECF No. 2961 at 2, Mata, No. 07-cv-6782, ECF. No. 363 (collectively referred to herein as " Decertification Order"). Judge Feess further held that the City's defenses to each plaintiff in Alaniz and Mata were " inherently individualized" because they required an inquiry into whether each plaintiff's supervisors acted in good faith, an examination of off-the-clock activities, and an inquiry as to whether any such work falls into a de minimus exception to the FLSA. Id. In his Decertification Order, Judge Feess expressly tolled the statute of limitations for 60 days so the former opt-in plaintiffs could have " an opportunity to pursue their individual claims." Id. at 13.

On July 21, 2014, the individual opt-in plaintiffs that were dismissed in Alaniz and Mata, refiled their claims in twenty-eight lawsuits based upon their work divisions and/or bureaus.[2] This case is one of those twenty-eight lawsuits where Plaintiffs are purporting to group themselves by virtue of their assignment to the West Valley Division.

As previously in the related refiled cases, the City brings this motion to dismiss all but the first ...


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