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Brawner v. Bank of America, N.A.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Francisco Division

December 4, 2014

ZELMA BRAWNER, Plaintiff,
v.
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., Defendant.

ORDER REGARDING THE PARTIES' JOINT DISCOVERY DISPUTE LETTER BRIEF DATED NOVEMBER 4, 2014 [RE: ECF NO. 24]

LAUREL BEELER, Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION

In this putative class action, Plaintiff Zelma Brawner sued her former employer, Defendant Bank of America, N.A., on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, for wage and hour claims under various California employment laws. With briefing on Ms. Brawner's class-certification motion coming up, the parties filed a joint letter regarding a dispute over Bank of America's responses to Ms. Brawner's interrogatories. The district court referred the dispute to the undersigned for resolution. Upon consideration of the parties' letter and relevant authorities, the court ORDERS Bank of America to produce the requested identities and contact information of putative class members subject to the protective order below.

STATEMENT

Ms. Brawner worked for Bank of America from 1985 to July 2013. Exhibit A, Complaint, Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1-1 at 3; Exhibit B, Bush Decl., Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1-2 at 2. Starting in 2000, while employed by Bank of America in Concord, California, Ms. Brawner worked as a "Dedicated Service Director" and later as a "Treasury Services Consultant" when Bank of America renamed her position. Exhibit A, Complaint, Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1-1 at 3; 11/4/2014 Letter, ECF No. 24 at 1. Bank of America also states that Ms. Brawner worked as a "Treasury Services Senior Advisor." Bush Decl. ¶ 7. Ms. Brawner alleges that Bank of America classified her and others employed as "Dedicated Service Directors" and "Treasury Service Consultants" as exempt from California employment laws. See 11/4/2014 Letter, ECF No. 24 at 1; Joint Case Management Statement, ECF No. 14 at 2-3. Ms. Brawner asserts that Bank of America then violated California employment and unfair-competitions laws by failing to (1) pay premium overtime wages, (2) provide accurate wage statements, (3) timely pay wages upon employees' separation, and (4) comply with California's unfair-competition laws. See Exhibit A, Complaint, Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1-1 at 4-6; 11/4/2014 Letter, ECF No. 24 at 1.

Ms. Brawner seeks to represent a proposed class defined as:

[A]ll individuals employed by defendants at any time on or after May 8, 2010 as Dedicated Service Directors in Concord, California.

Exhibit A, Complaint, Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1-1 at 3.

Ms. Brawner also alleges that she meets the requirements for class certification under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. She alleges the number of class members, at minimum the approximately 50-100 employees who worked as "Dedicated Service Directors" or "Treasury Services Consultants, " are "too great to make joinder of all practicable." Id. ¶ 8; see also Exhibit B, Bush Decl., Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1-2 at 2 (stating Bank of America employed at least 66 "Treasury Services Consultants" and "Treasury Service Senior Advisors" from April 1, 2013 to April 6, 2014). She alleges that her claims are typical of the putative class members' claims. Exhibit A, Complaint, Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1-1 at 3. She alleges that she is an adequate class representative. Id. ¶ 10. She alleges that common questions of law and fact exist and predominate over any questions affecting individual members, including the common question of whether individuals employed as "Dedicated Service Directors" were employed "in an administrative capacity as defined in Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order 4, Section 1(A)(2)." Id. ¶ 11.

Bank of America answered Ms. Brawner's Complaint, Answer, ECF No. 7, and the district court set a schedule for the briefing on Ms. Brawner's upcoming class-certification motion. Ms. Brawner must file her motion by February 24, 2015; Bank of America must oppose it by March 31, 2015; she must reply by April 21, 2015; and the court scheduled a hearing for May 5, 2015. Corrected 9/8/2014 Minute Order, ECF No. 21.[1] The parties also have private mediation with Mark Rudy scheduled for January 16, 2015. Joint Statement of Mediator Selection, ECF No. 22 at 2.

On November 4, 2014, the parties filed a joint letter describing a dispute regarding Bank of America's responses to Ms. Brawner's interrogatories. 11/4/2014 Letter, ECF No. 24. On November 10, 2014, the district court referred the dispute to the undersigned for resolution. Order of Reference, ECF No. 25 at 1. According to the parties' summary of the discovery sought, Ms. Brawner seeks the identity of each putative class member, described as each "Dedicated Service Director" or "Treasury Service Consultant" who worked in Concord, California from May 9, 2010 to the present, as well as the putative class members' addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses. See 11/4/2014 Letter, ECF No. 24 at 1.[2]

In the parties' letter, Bank of America objects to producing any of the requested information on the grounds that producing the discovery would violate the putative class members' privacy and that the discovery is not necessary for Ms. Brawner's motion for class certification. Id. at 2-3. Bank of America argues in the alternative that if the undersigned compels production, the undersigned should require notice and an opt-out procedure for the putative class members subject to the compelled disclosure. Id. at 4, n. 3.

The court held a hearing on the matter on December 4, 2014. 11/20/2014 Minute Order, ECF No. 29. At the hearing, the parties agreed that "Dedicated Service Director" and "Treasury Services Consultant" are functionally equivalent descriptions. The differences (or any change in job title or description) are not indicative of any ...


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