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Carroll v. Wells Fargo & Co.
United States District Court, N.D. California
March 13, 2017
KELLY CARROLL, et al., Plaintiffs,
WELLS FARGO & COMPANY, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO STRIKE Docket
M. CHEN United States District Judge
above-referenced case is a putative class action for
wage-and-hour violations. Currently pending before the Court
is Plaintiffs' motion to strike Wells's amended
answer (located at Docket No. 162) or, in the alternative, to
strike a specific affirmative defense in that amended answer
- i.e., the defense that certain members of the
putative class are barred from becoming a member of the class
because of their agreements to arbitrate employment disputes
considered the parties' briefs and accompanying
submissions, as well as the oral argument of counsel, the
Court hereby DENIES the motion to strike.
FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
parties are aware, this case has a somewhat complicated
history. The highlights are identified below:
• Ms. Carroll initiated this wage-and-hour class action
in state court in April 2015. Wells removed in May 2015.
See Docket No. 1 (notice of removal). At this time,
Wells did not move to compel arbitration, apparently because
it had no arbitration agreement with Ms. Carroll.
• In July 2015, Wells filed its first motion to dismiss.
See Docket No. 19 (motion). Wells withdrew the
motion after Ms. Carroll filed an amended complaint.
See Docket No. 35 (notice).
• In August 2015, Wells moved to dismiss the amended
complaint. See Docket No. 44 (motion). In October
2015, the Court granted in part and denied in part the motion
and gave Ms. Carroll leave to amend. See Docket No.
• Ms. Carroll filed a second amended complaint
(“SAC”) in November 2015. See Docket No.
55 (SAC). Approximately two weeks later, Wells moved to
partially dismiss that pleading. See Docket No. 56
(motion). In January 2016, the Court granted in part and
denied in part the motion. In the same order, the Court gave
Ms. Carroll leave to file a third amended complaint
(“TAC”). See Docket No. 64 (order).
• Ms. Carroll filed her TAC in February 2016.
See Docket No. 69 (TAC). On February 19, 2016, Wells
answered. At that time, Wells made no reference to a right to
compel arbitration with respect to any putative class member.
See Docket No. 70 (answer to TAC). At that point,
the pleadings appeared to be settled.
• In June 2016, a motion to intervene was filed by,
inter alia, Ms. Layog. See Docket No. 73
(motion). In July 2016, the Court denied the motion to
intervene but did relate Ms. Layog's case to Ms.
Carroll's. Because of the overlap between Ms. Carroll and
Ms. Layog's cases, the Court ordered the parties to meet
and confer to discuss the possibility of consolidation. The
Court also deferred setting a hearing on the motion to
dismiss in Ms. Layog's case and vacated the deadlines
(temporarily) on Ms. Caroll's class certification motion.
See Docket No. 99 (order).
• In August 2016, Ms. Carroll moved to dismiss or stay
Ms. Layog's case and further moved to file a fourth
amended complaint (“4AC”), more specifically, to
add an additional named plaintiff. See Docket Nos.
105, 107 (motions). The Court vacated the briefing and
hearing schedules for the two motions and instructed the
parties to meet and confer to discuss how the cases should
proceed. See Docket No. 112 (minutes).
• In October 2016, the Court severed the FLS A portion
of the Layog case and transferred that portion to
the District of New Jersey. The remaining part of
Layog was consolidated with the Carroll case.
See Docket No. 128 (order). Subsequently, the Court
appointed Ms. Carroll's attorney lead counsel and
instructed the parties to meet and confer regarding the
filing of a consolidated amended complaint and a response
thereto. See Docket No. 135 (order).
• In November 2016, Plaintiffs filed a consolidated
complaint. See Docket No. 142 (complaint). This is
the current operative complaint.
• On January 6, 2017, Wells answered the consolidated
complaint. Its answer made no reference to a right to compel
arbitration with respect to any putative class member.
See Docket No. 160 (answer).
• Less than a week later, on January 12, 2017, Wells
filed an amended answer. See Docket No 162 (amended
answer) In the amended answer, Wells added a new defense
related to arbitration: “To the extent that Plaintiffs
purport to assert a collective and/or class action, certain
members of the putative collective and/or class are barred,
in whole or in part, from becoming a member of any purported
class or collective because of their agreement with Wells
Fargo to resolve through individual ...
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