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Pyara v. Sysco Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 19, 2016

CHRIS PYARA on behalf of himself, all others similarly situated, and on behalf of the general public, Plaintiffs,
v.
SYSCO CORPORATION; SYSCO SACRAMENTO, INC., A California Corporation; and DOES 1-100, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

          JOHN A. MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This is a wage and hour case brought by plaintiff Chris Pyara (“Pyara”) on behalf of similarly situated employees of defendants Sysco Corporation and Sysco Sacramento, Inc. (collectively “Defendants”). Pyara alleges ten causes of action for violations of various provisions of the California Labor Code (“CLC”), associated regulations, and common law. Defendants now move for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 12(c) for each of the ten causes of action raised by Pyara (Doc. #9). For the reasons stated below, the Court denies in part and grants in part the motion.[1]

         I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Pyara was employed by Defendants as a non-exempt industrial truck driver from October 31, 2011 to November 27, 2013. Compl. ¶ 18; Tzintun Decl. (Doc. #1-5) ¶¶ 2-3. During this period, there was a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) in place between Sysco Sacramento and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 137, which represented Sysco Sacramento employees. Tzintun Decl. ¶ 8; Defendants’ First Request for Judicial Notice (“D RJN 1”) (Doc. #10), Exh. A.

         On April 13, 2015, Pyara, on behalf of himself and “all non-exempt employees, including . . . hourly industrial truck workers, truck drivers, drivers, or similar job designations and titles who are presently or formerly employed” by Defendants, filed a complaint against Defendants in Sacramento Superior Court alleging that Defendants violated the common law and various provisions of the CLC and associated regulations. Pyara’s first cause of action for “wage theft / time shaving” is based on Defendants’ alleged practice of clocking out Pyara for meal and rest periods even when he remained working. Pyara’s second cause of action for failure to pay overtime is based on Defendants’ alleged failure to provide meal and rest periods and therefore not correctly classifying certain hours as overtime work. Pyara’s third cause of action for failure to provide meal periods is based on Defendants’ alleged policy of requiring Pyara to work through meal periods and to work at least five hours without a meal period and failing to provide a second meal period when Pyara worked shifts of ten hours or more. Pyara’s fourth cause of action for failure to permit rest periods is similarly based on Defendants’ alleged policy of requiring Pyara to work through rest periods and work four hours without a rest period. Based on these alleged practices (wage theft, failure to pay overtime, and failure to provide meal and rest breaks), Pyara alleges that Defendants failed to provide accurate itemized wage statements (fifth cause of action); failed to pay all wages due upon termination (sixth cause of action); were unjustly enriched (seventh cause of action); converted Pyara’s wages (eighth cause of action); defrauded Pyara (ninth cause of action); and violated the California Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) (tenth cause of action). Defendants removed the case to this Court based on federal question jurisdiction and pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) (Doc. #1). Pyara did not oppose removal. Jurisdiction is indeed proper based on CAFA because the parties are minimally diverse, there are over 100 potential class members, and the aggregate amount in controversy is greater than $5 million. Removal at 6-13.

         Defendants moved for judgment on the pleadings of all ten of the causes of action (Doc. #9). Defendants allege that the first four causes of action are either statutorily barred or preempted by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 185(a). Pyara opposed the motion (Doc. #14).

         II. OPINION

         A. Legal Standard

         Defendants bring their motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c), which states that “[a]fter the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” For the purposes of Rule 12(c), the pleadings are closed once an answer has been filed. Doe v. United States, 419 F.3d 1058, 1061 (9th Cir. 2005). Since Defendants filed their answer (Doc. #1-2) and the motion will not delay trial, a Rule 12(c) motion is appropriate at this time.

         Rule 12(c) motions are “functionally identical” to Rule 12(b) motions. Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine Inc., 867 F.2d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 1989). “Judgment on the pleadings is proper when the moving party clearly establishes on the face of the pleadings that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d 1542, 1550 (9th Cir. 1989). Just as in Rule 12(b) motions to dismiss, courts must accept as true the allegations of the non-moving party. Id.

         B. Judicial Notice

         In support of its motion, Defendants ask this court to take judicial notice of the CBA between Sysco Sacramento and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 137 (Doc. #10). D RJN 1, Exh. A. Pyara asks this Court to take judicial notice of (1) the California Legislative Counsel’s Digest for Assembly Bill 569 dated February 25, 2009; (2) the California Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment file for Assembly Bill 569; and (3) the California Assembly Committee on Appropriations file for Assembly Bill 569 (Doc. #14-1). Plaintiff’s RJN, Exhs. 1-3. In support of its reply, Defendants request that this Court take judicial notice of the order denying the motion to remand in the case Gerardo Ayala v. Destination Shuttle Services LLC, et al., CV 1306141 GAF (PJWx) (C.D. Cal. Nov. 1, 2013) and the Bill Analysis of Senate Bill 1255 by the California Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment from the hearing held on June 20, 2012 (Doc. #16). Defendants’ Second RJN, Exhs. A, B. Neither party objects to the opposing party’s requests for judicial notice.

         A court may take judicial notice of a fact that is not reasonably disputed if it “can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.” Fed.R.Evid. 201(b)(2). CBAs are properly considered materials that are not subject to reasonable dispute and are therefore proper for judicial notice. Densmore v. Mission Linen Supply, 2016 WL 696503, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 22, 2016). The Court grants Defendants’ first RJN (Doc. #10).

         Courts may also judicially notice legislative facts such as “facts of which courts take particular notice when interpreting a statute.” Korematsu v. United States, 584 F.Supp. 1406, 1414 (N.D. Cal. 1984). Moreover, if the legislature’s intent is not clear from its language, a court may take judicial notice of legislative history, including committee reports. Ass’n des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec v. Harris, 729 F.3d 937, 945 n.2 (9th Cir. 2013). Plaintiff’s exhibits 1, 2, and 3, and Defendants’ Exhibit B from Defendants’ second RJN are all legislative history and are therefore proper for judicial notice.

         Finally, courts are allowed to consider “matters of public record.” Northstar Fin. Advisors Inc. v. Schwab Investments, 779 F.3d 1036, 1042 (9th Cir. 2015). Defendants’ Exhibit A from Defendants’ second RJN is a matter of public record and proper for judicial notice. For these reasons, the Court will take judicial notice of Plaintiff’s Exhibits 1, 2, and 3, and Defendants’ Exhibit A from Defendants’ first RJN and Exhibits A and B from Defendants’ second RJN.

         C. Analysis

         Defendants’ motion argues that the first four causes of action are preempted by the LMRA and that the second and third causes of action are statutorily exempted. If either the second or third cause of action is statutorily exempted, the preemption analysis for that claim is moot. For that reason, the Court will first address the issue of ...


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