United States District Court, E.D. California
SANDY BELL and MARTIN GAMA, individually, and on behalf of other members of the general public similarly situated, and as aggrieved employees pursuant to the Private Attorneys General Act “PAGA”, Plaintiffs,
HOME DEPOT U.S.A., INC., a Delaware corporation; JOHN BROOKS, an individual; and DOES 1 through 10, inclusive, Defendants. MICHAEL HENRY, on behalf of himself, all others similarly situated, and the general public, Plaintiffs,
HOME DEPOT U.S.A., INC., a Delaware corporation; and DOES 1-50, inclusive, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR
A. MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Sandy Bell and Martin Gama (“Plaintiffs”) move
this Court to reconsider its June 7, 2016 Order Granting in
Part and Denying in Part Home Depot's
(“Defendant”) Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs'
motion is denied.
PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND Plaintiffs filed this class action in
July 2012 in Sacramento Superior Court and Defendants removed
the case to federal court on October 4, 2012. ECF No. 2.
Three years later, Defendant moved for partial summary
judgment. ECF No. 72. The Court granted the motion as to
Plaintiffs' claims that (1) Home Depot violated
California law by requiring employees to remain on premises
during rest breaks; (2) Home Depot violated California law by
failing to include “Success Sharing” bonuses in
the calculation of meal period and rest break premiums; and
(3) Home Depot underpaid overtime by failing to include
“Success Sharing” bonuses in calculating the
“regular rate of pay.” ECF No. 113. Now
Plaintiffs ask the Court to reconsider its decision with
respect to the on-premises rest breaks and calculation of
meal and rest break premiums. Motion for Reconsideration
(“Mot.”) at 1. Plaintiffs argue that the
California Supreme Court's decision in Augustus v.
ABM Security Servs., Inc., 2 Cal.5th 257 (2016), is an
intervening change in controlling California law on these
of the case doctrine counsels against reopening questions
already resolved in ongoing litigation. Am. States Ins.
Co. v. Ins. Co. of Penn., No. 2:12-cv-01489-MCE-AC, 2017
WL 1174726 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 28, 2017). Despite this general
principle, a Court order that adjudicates fewer than all of
the claims between the parties is “subject to revision
at any time before the entry of judgment adjudicating all the
claims and the rights and liabilities of all the
parties.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b); see E.D. Cal.
L.R. 78-230(j). The Court has inherent jurisdiction to
modify, alter, or revoke such an order. Cachil Dehe Band
of Wintun Indians of Colusa Indian Cmty. v. Cal., 649
F.Supp.2d 1063, 1069 (E.D. Cal. 2009) (citing United
States v. Martin, 226 F.3d 1042, 1048-49 (9th Cir.
2000)). Reconsideration is warranted “where there has
been an intervening change in controlling law, new evidence
has become available, or it is necessary to correct clear
error or prevent manifest injustice.” Id.
(citing Sch. Dist. No. 1J Multomah Cnty, Or. v. ACandS,
Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993)); cf.
Painting Indus. of Haw. Mkt. Recovery Fund v. U.S. Dep't
of Air Force, 756 F.Supp. 452 (D. Haw. 1990) (“[A]
decision by a district court in the District of Columbia is
not controlling law for a district court in the Ninth
Circuit.”). “To succeed, a party must set forth
facts or law of a strongly convincing nature to induce the
court to reverse its prior decision.” Knight v.
Rios, No. 1:09-cv-00823-AWI-JLT HC, 2010 WL 5200906 at
*2 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 15, 2010). Denial of a motion for
reconsideration is reviewed for abuse of discretion. Kona
Enters., Inc. v. Estate of Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 883
(9th Cir. 2000).
On-premises Rest Periods
of last year, the Court granted summary judgment to
Defendant, concluding that a policy requiring employees to
remain on the premises during their rest breaks does not
violate the applicable California wage order and statute. ECF
No. 113 at 17. Plaintiffs argue that the California Supreme
Court's decision in Augustus-issued in December
2016-entitles Plaintiffs to reconsideration.
involved a putative class action filed on behalf of security
guards working for ABM Security Services, Inc. (ABM). 2
Cal.5th at 261. Jennifer Augustus alleged that ABM failed
“to consistently provide uninterrupted rest
periods” as required in California. Id. ABM
admitted that it did not relieve guards of all duties during
rest periods; it required guards to keep their radios and
pagers on, remain vigilant, and respond when needs arose.
Id. The California Supreme Court held that
California law requires employers to provide their employees
with rest periods that are free from duties or employer
control over how employees spend their break time.
Id. at 260. It concluded that on-duty and on-call
rest periods are prohibited. Id.
argue that the Augustus holding and the court's
parallel treatment of rest and meal periods compel
reconsideration of the on-premises break policy. Mot. at 8-10
(citing Augustus, 2 Cal. 5th at 264-68). Defendant
argues that the Augustus decision instead implies
that restricting employees to the premises, without
additional duties or constraints, does not violate the rule.
Opp. at 2-3 (citing Augustus, 2 Cal.5th at 270).
Court declines to alter its ruling in light of
Augustus. The facts in Augustus and the
present matter are distinct, as the present case does not
concern “on-call” rest periods or rest periods in
which employees are strapped with affirmative duties. The
Augustus court did not directly consider an
on-premises rest break policy which does not require
employees to remain on call such as the one at issue here.
While the Court finds Defendants' reading of
Augustus more persuasive and accurate than
Plaintiffs, it does not specifically adopt Defendant's
interpretation that Augustus affirmatively condones
on-premises rest breaks. Rather, the Court finds that the
holding in Augustus does not go as far as Plaintiffs
contend and therefore does not merit alteration of this
Meal and Rest Break Premiums The Court granted
summary judgment in favor of Defendant on Plaintiffs'
meal and rest break premiums claim, concluding that these
premiums are to be based on the base hourly rate. ECF No. 140
at 33-34. Plaintiffs argue that because the Augustus
court reversed the Court of Appeal and reinstated the trial
court's summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, the
California Supreme Court impliedly approved of the trial
court's damages calculation. Rep. at 5. The parties
dispute whether or not the trial court's calculation was
based on the straight hourly rate or regular rate of pay,
with Plaintiffs preferring the latter. See Opp. at
5; Rep. at 5.
Plaintiffs admit, the Augustus court did not
expressly address the damages calculation. There is no
discussion anywhere in the decision that considers the
appropriate measurement for meal and rest break premiums. For
this reason, the Court declines to reconsider its grant of
summary judgment on this issue.