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Vester v. Werner Enterprises, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 24, 2017

Brian Vester, et al.
v.
Werner Enterprises, Inc., et al.

          Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Grace E. Parasmo Yitzchak H. Lieberman

          Attorneys Present for Defendants: John Kevin Lilly

          Present: The Honorable GEORGE H. WU, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         PROCEEDINGS: DEFENDANTS WERNER ENTERPRISES, INC. AND DRIVERS MANAGEMENT, LLC'S MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE [14]; PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO REMAND [23]; SCHEDULING CONFERENCE

         Court hears oral argument. The Tentative circulated and attached hereto, is adopted as the Court's Final Ruling. The Court GRANTS the motion to transfer venue to the Nebraska federal district court [14] under the first-to-file rule. In light of this decision, Plaintiffs' motion to remand [23] filed to this Court is MOOT.

         Brian Vester et al. v. Werner Enterprises, Inc. et al., Case No. 5:17-cv-00096-GW-DTB Tentative Rulings on: (1) Defendants' Motion to Transfer (Docket No. 14), and (2) Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand (Docket No. 23)

         I. Background

         Plaintiffs Brian Vester (“Vester”) and Joel Morales (“Morales”) assert various wage-and-hour claims against Defendants Werner Enterprises, Inc. and Drivers Management, LLC on behalf of a proposed class of truck drivers employed by Defendants in California. See generally Notice of Removal, Ex. A (“Complaint”), Docket No. 1.

         Plaintiffs seek to represent the following class (“Class”): “[A]ll current and former employees of Defendants who work or worked for Defendants as truck drivers exclusively in the State of California throughout the period of December 15, 2012 through the date that the Court certifies the Class (the ‘Class Period').” Id. ¶ 12.

         Plaintiffs allege the following relevant facts:

         Vester is a California resident who was employed as a truck driver by Defendants during approximately June or July 2007 through August 2013. Id. ¶ 10. Morales is also a California resident who began his employment with Defendants in April 2007 and is currently employed as a truck driver by Defendants. Id. ¶ 11.

         Defendants own and operate a trucking company that transports freight throughout the United States. Id. ¶ 23. Their area of operation (including routes, pick-up, and drop-off locations) for some of their dedicated accounts is confined to California. Id. ¶ 24. Naked Juice is one such account, to which Plaintiffs were assigned. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiffs, like the other truck drivers assigned to this account, transported juice between various locations in California. Id.

         Throughout the Class Period, Defendants uniformly compensated Plaintiffs on a “cents per-mile, ” piece-rate basis. Id. ¶ 28. Defendants also provided limited supplemental pay, also earned on piece-rate basis, for example, based on miles driven or the number of stops made on a trip. Id. ¶ 29.

         As a result of their uniform and class wide piece-rate compensation system, Defendants had a policy and practice of systematically failing to provide separate hourly pay for time spent by Plaintiffs on rest and recovery periods and performing other non-driving activities including: waiting time, cleaning or maintaining their trucks, detention time, fueling, safety inspections, moving trailers, mandatory computer-based learning, ...


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