United States District Court, S.D. California
NAOMI TAPIA, individually and on behalf of other members of the general public similarly situated, Plaintiff,
ZALE DELAWARE INC., Defendant.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTIONS TO DECERTIFY
CLASS AND STAY NOTICE AND SETTING HEARING ON CROSS MOTIONS
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [DOC. NOS. 85 & 86]
Cynthia Bashant United States District Judge.
April 6, 2016, the Court granted Plaintiff Naomi
Tapia’s motion to certify a class of employees in this
wage dispute with Defendant Zale Delaware Inc. [Doc. No. 76]
The Court agreed with Plaintiff that its overtime
compensation claim raised a common question that was suitable
for resolution “in one stroke.” See Jimenez
v. Allstate Ins. Co., 765 F.3d 1161, 1164-65 (9th Cir.
2014) (citations omitted).
2, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided
Corbin v. Time Warner Entertainment-Advance/Newhouse
Partnership, 821 F.3d 1069 (9th Cir. 2016). The
Corbin case affirmed the entry of summary judgment
in the employer’s favor because its rounding policy to
calculate wages was neutral on its face and as applied.
now moves to decertify the class and to stay dissemination of
class notice in light of the Corbin decision. The
Court finds that these motions can be resolved without oral
argument. See Civ. L. R. 7.1(d)(1).
on a thorough review of the briefs and governing law, the
Court denies the motion to decertify. Defendant argues the
merits of its liability, which is an argument more suited to
a motion for summary judgment or trial. Accordingly, the
Court also denies Defendant’s motion to stay
dissemination of the notice to class members.
motion challenges only a small part of the class
certification Order. Defendant argues that the Corbin
decision requires decertification of the overtime
relevant to that narrow issue, Plaintiff alleged that
Defendant failed to pay employees for all hours worked,
including minimum wage and overtime compensation.
E.g., First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 15-16, 24.
Plaintiff alleged that Defendant’s “uniform
compensation policy” “shaved” minutes from
time records. Id. ¶¶ 52-58.
Amended Answer, Defendant generally denied it “time
shaves” and denied that its employees “did not
receive all due compensation.” E.g., Am.
Answer ¶¶ 43-44, 53, 57. Defendant pled twenty-five
affirmative defenses. Id. at 22-27. In addition, it
set forth a “separate defense” that its
“timekeeping policy is fair and neutral on its face and
is used in such a manner that it will not result, over a
period of time, in failure to compensate the employees
properly for all time they have actually worked.”
Id. at 30. Defendant included a statement that the
Plaintiff bears the burden of proving that Defendant
“‘shaved’ time from Plaintiff’s
timecard.” Id. at 30-31.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, Plaintiff moved to
certify a class to determine whether Defendant fully
compensated its employees as required by State and Federal
law. Plaintiff contended that Defendant had a standard policy
and practice to “shave” minutes from time records
before it calculated wages. In its opposition to class
certification, Defendant raised the defense that its
“rounding” practice is legal on its face and
neutral as applied. See See’s Candy Shops, Inc. v.
Super. Ct., 210 Cal.App.4th 889 (2012).
Court considered the evidence the parties submitted,
including Defendant’s manuals, deposition testimony,
and competing expert reports evaluating a sample of employee
time records. The evidence showed that Defendant calculated
time and wages for all hourly employees with its “Point
of Sale” computer system. The Court held that
Defendant’s standard policy met the commonality
requirement of Rule 23. “[T]he class members’
claims ‘depend upon a common contention’ such
that ‘determination of its truth or falsity will
resolve an issue that is central to the validity of each
claim in one stroke.’” See Jimenez, 765
F.3d at 1164-65. In addition, the Court cited the Sixth
Circuit’s observation that a defendant who believes it
has a winning argument against classwide liability
“should welcome class certification” as that it
provides the opportunity to resolve claims of all class
members at once. In re Whirlpool Corp. Front-Loading
Washer Prods. Liab. Litig., 722 F.3d 838, 857 (6th Cir.
8, 2016, Defendant filed this motion to decertify based on a
new legal development. Defendant argues that Corbin
“unequivocally rejected” Plaintiff’s legal
theory of liability, demonstrates that its own rounding
policy is lawful, and leaves Plaintiff without any cognizable
legal theory; therefore, that part of the class should be
Defendant Pled ...