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Scott-George v. PVH Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 21, 2016

JODI SCOTT-GEORGE, individually and on behalf of other members of the general public similarly situated, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
PVH CORPORATION, a Delaware corporation, and DOES 1 through 50, inclusive, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Troy L. Nunley United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court pursuant to Defendant PVH Corporation’s (“Defendant and PVH”) motion for partial summary judgment. (ECF No. 114.) Named Plaintiffs Jodi Scott-George and Melissa Wiggs’s (collectively referred to as “Plaintiffs”) oppose Defendant’s motion. (ECF No. 116.) Defendant has filed a reply. (ECF No. 118.) The Court has carefully considered the arguments raised in the parties’ briefing. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant’s motion is hereby GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         I. Factual Background

         PVH is a publicly traded company, incorporated in the state of Delaware, which operates various clothing brands and sells clothes as a wholesaler and a retailer. (Pls’ Response to Def’s Separate Statement of Undisputed Material Facts (“SMF”), ECF No. 116-6, SMFs 5, 8.) PVH directly operates stores under the brands Van Heusen and IZOD in California. (ECF No. 116-6, SMF 6.) PVH Retail Stores, LLC (“Retail Stores”) is a subsidiary corporation of PVH. (ECF No. 116-6, SMF 9.)

         Plaintiffs are former retail store employees of PVH. (ECF No. 116-6, SMFs 1, 3.) Ms. Scott-George worked at a G.H. Bass & Co. store, which was previously owned by PVH, and Ms. Wiggs worked at a Van Heusen store, a brand still operated by PVH. (ECF No. 116-6, SMF 3- 4.) Plaintiffs have alleged seven causes of action against PVH based on violations of California Labor Code §§ 226.7, 510, 512(a), 1194, and 1198.

         In this Court’s previous order, the Court granted class certification and certified the following subclasses:

(1) Overtime I Subclass (non-payment of regular overtime): All nonexempt employees who worked in excess of 8 hours (but less than 12 hours) in a workday or in excess 40 hours in a workweek without receiving the appropriate overtime wage that is one and a half times the regular rate pay, while working for Defendant in California from March 20, 2009 to the present.
(2) Overtime II Subclass (non-payment of double overtime): All nonexempt employees who worked in excess of 12 hours in a workday without receiving the appropriate overtime wage that is twice the regular rate pay, while working for Defendant in California from March 20, 2009 to the present.
(3) Security Bag Check Subclass: All nonexempt employees who were subjected to a security bag check while working for Defendant in California from March 20, 2009 to the present.
(4) Paycard Subclass: All nonexempt employees who received their earned wages via the Money Network paycard system while working for Defendant in California from March 20, 2009 to the present.
(5) Meal Period Subclass: All nonexempt employees who did not receive a compliant meal period, while working for Defendant in California from March 20, 2009 to the present.
(6) Rest Period Subclass: All nonexempt employees who did not receive a compliant rest period, while working for Defendant in California from March 20, 2009 to the present.
(7) Late Pay Subclass: All nonexempt employees who worked for Defendant in California whose employment ended between March 20, 2010 and the date of certification, who did not receive all wages due at the time they were terminated or otherwise stopped working for Defendant.
(8) Wage Statement Subclass: All nonexempt employees who received non-compliant wage statements while working for Defendant in California from March 20, 2009 to the present.

         (Order, ECF No. 112.) Plaintiff Jodi Scott-George is the Class Representative for subclass (1), (2), (5), (6) and (7). Plaintiff Melissa Wiggs is the Class Representative for the subclass (3), (4), (6), (7) and (8).

         In its order, the Court considered the wage and hour policies of both PVH and Retail Stores and found that because the policies were identical, nonexempt employees of both companies would be similarly situated under Rule 23. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 23. Thus, the Court certified a class of all nonexempt employees of both PVH and Retail Stores. In doing so, the Court made a determination as to whether the class action could be maintained. However, the Court did not decide whether piercing the corporate veil would be appropriate.[1] Federal Rule of Civil procedure Rule 23(c)(1) specifically provides that a district court’s determination on the maintainability of a class action “may be conditional, and may be altered or amended before the decision on the merits.” Officers for Justice v. Civil Serv. Comm’n of City & Cty. of San Francisco, 688 F.2d 615, 633 (9th Cir. 1982). At the time of class certification, the Court made a determination that should Plaintiffs be able to prove their allegations―that PHV and Retail Stores are integrated―the nonexempt employees of both companies would be similarly situated for typicality purposes. See Id . (“[B]efore entry of a final judgment on the merits, a district court’s order respecting class status is not final or irrevocable, but rather, it is inherently tentative.”).

         Following the Court’s order granting class certification, Defendant moved for summary judgment. (ECF No. 114.)

         II. Legal Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party demonstrates no genuine issue as to any material fact exists, and therefore, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970). Under summary judgment practice, the moving party always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis of its motion, and identifying those portions of “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file together with affidavits, if any, ” which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). “[W]here the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial on a dispositive issue, a summary judgment motion may properly be made in reliance solely on the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file.” Id. at 324 (internal quotations omitted). Indeed, summary judgment should be entered against a party who does not make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party’s case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.

         If the moving party meets its initial responsibility, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue as to any material fact actually does exist. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585–87 (1986); First Nat’l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288–89 (1968). In attempting to establish the existence of this factual dispute, the opposing party may not rely upon the denials of its pleadings, but is required to tender evidence of specific facts in the form of affidavits, and/or admissible discovery material, in support of its contention that the dispute exists. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The opposing party must demonstrate that the fact in contention is material, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986), and that the dispute is genuine, i.e., the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id. at 251–52.

         In the endeavor to establish the existence of a factual dispute, the opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that “the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties’ differing versions of the truth at trial.” First Nat’l Bank, 391 U.S. at 288–89. Thus, the “purpose of summary judgment is to ‘pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.’” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (quoting Rule 56(e) advisory committee’s note on 1963 amendments).

         In resolving the summary judgment motion, the court examines the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with any applicable affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); SEC v. Seaboard Corp., 677 F.2d 1301, 1305–06 (9th Cir. 1982). The evidence of the opposing party is to be believed, and all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the facts pleaded before the court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. Nevertheless, inferences are not drawn out of the air, and it is the opposing party’s obligation to produce a factual predicate from which the inference may be drawn. Richards v. Nielsen Freight Lines, 602 F.Supp. 1224, 1244–45 (E.D. Cal. 1985), aff’d, 810 F.2d 898 (9th Cir. 1987). Finally, to demonstrate a genuine issue that necessitates a jury trial, the opposing party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. “Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no ‘genuine issue for trial.’” Id. at 587.

         III. Analysis

         Defendant moves for partial summary judgment and asserts: (1) Plaintiffs cannot impose liability on Retail Stores because they have sued PVH not its subsidiary, Retail Stores, and have failed to justify disregarding the corporate form; (2) Plaintiff cannot succeed on their claim concerning bag checks because carrying a bag is optional and the time associated with such bag checks is de minimis; and (3) Plaintiffs seek damages under an outdated section of California Labor Code ...


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