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Miranda v. Coach, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

February 13, 2015

EVE MIRANDA, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
COACH, INC., et al., Defendants.

ORDER RE DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS AND STRIKE Re: Dkt. No. 22

JAMES DONATO, District Judge.

Named plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and a putative class of former employees of defendants Coach, Inc. and Coach Services, Inc. ("Coach"), allege that Coach violated California wage and overtime laws and committed unfair business practices. The gist of the complaint is that Coach required plaintiffs to submit to a bag check when leaving the store that deprived them of time for breaks and meals, and kept them late without pay at the end of their shifts. Coach moves to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and to strike the class allegations under Rule 12(f). The Court grants the motion to dismiss for the overtime claims and injunctive relief, and denies it in all other respects. The motion to strike is also denied.

BACKGROUND

This case arises out of alleged labor code violations that plaintiffs attribute to Coach's bag check policy. As alleged in the complaint, Coach searches employees' bags whenever they leave the store for meals, breaks or at the end of their shifts. Consolidated Class Action Complaint ("CCAC") ¶¶ 20-30. The employees were prohibited from leaving the store until their bags, purses, jackets and other personal items were inspected by a supervisor. Id. Plaintiffs allege that they often had to wait between 5 and 30 minutes for a supervisor to conduct the inspection. Id. This wait time cut into meal and rest breaks. Id. ¶¶ 29, 30. Plaintiffs also had to clock out for meal periods and at the end of shifts, and then wait for supervisors to conduct the inspection. Id. ¶¶ 20, 24, 30, 46. This resulted in unpaid wages and overtime for time spent "off-the-clock" waiting for supervisors. Id.

On behalf of themselves and a putative class of sales associate who are or have been employed by Coach in California, named plaintiffs allege seven California state law causes of action: (1) failure to pay wages and overtime under California Labor Code §§ 510, 1194, 1199; (2) failure to provide proper meal periods under § 226.7; (3) failure to allow proper rest periods under § 226.7; (4) failure to provide proper itemized wage statements under § 226(a); (5) waiting time penalties under § 203; (6) unfair competition pursuant to California Business & Professions Code § 17200; and (7) penalties pursuant to California Labor Code § 2699. The CCAC does not allege any federal wage and hour or employment claims.

DISCUSSION

I. MOTION TO DISMISS

A. Legal Standard

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a district court must dismiss a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly at 556). "[F]or a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory factual content, ' and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief." Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677). In deciding whether the plaintiff has stated a claim, the Court must assume that the plaintiff's allegations are true and must draw all reasonable inferences in his or her favor. Usher v. City of Los Angeles, 828 F.2d 556, 561 (9th Cir. 1987). The Court is not required, however, to accept as true "allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences." In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008). If the Court dismisses a complaint, it "should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts." Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

B. Regular Wages and Overtime Claims

Coach contends that plaintiffs have pleaded purely conclusory allegations about wage and overtime violations. Plaintiffs allege that defendants failed to pay wages at the regular rate and for overtime in violation of California Labor Code §§ 510, 1194 and 1199. The CCAC states in pertinent part that "Plaintiffs and others were forced to work on a regular and consistent basis without receiving compensation for all hours worked at their regular rate or if more than eight (8) hours a day and/or forty (40) hours per week, at the applicable overtime rate. Defendants had a consistent policy of failing to pay Plaintiffs and members of the Proposed Class regular rate and/or premium pay for these hours worked." CCAC at ¶ 45.

The problem with these allegations is that they merely parrot the statute without stating facts sufficient to make out a plausible claim. Nowhere does the CCAC specify which, if any, named plaintiff actually failed to receive full regular wages. And the overtime allegation uses the conditional "if" rather than stating concrete facts showing that named plaintiffs actually worked overtime hours without proper pay.

These paper-thin allegations are insufficient to state a claim. See Villegas v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., No. C 09-00261 SBA, 2009 WL 605833, at *4-5 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 9, 2009) (dismissing complaint in part because the plaintiff failed to allege concrete wage and hour facts). They ...


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