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Hernandez v. Sysco Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 28, 2017

HENRY HERNANDEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
SYSCO CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS RE: DKT. NOS. 33, 35

          JACQUELINE SCOTT CORLEY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Henry Hernandez brings state law wage and hour claims against his former employer Sysco Corporation and Sysco San Francisco (collectively “Defendants”) on behalf of himself and a putative class. Defendants now move for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) contending that Plaintiff's claims are preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”) and barred by state law. (Dkt. Nos. 33 & 35.) After carefully considering the arguments and briefing submitted and having had the benefit of oral argument on April 27, 2017, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Defendants' motion.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff worked for Defendants as a non-exempt employee until September 20, 2016. (Complaint ¶ 14.) The parties do not dispute that as a non-exempt employee his employment was governed by a Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) between Sysco San Francisco and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 853.

         A month after he left his employment with Defendants, Plaintiff filed this putative class action complaint in Alameda Superior Court. (Dkt. No. 1-1.[1]) He asserts seven claims for relief under state law: (1) failure to provide rest periods in violation of California Labor Code § 226.7 and Wage Order 7; (2) failure to provide meal periods in violation of California Labor Code §§ 226.7, 512, and Wage Order 7; (3) failure to pay overtime in violation of California Labor Code §§ 510, 1194, 1194.2, and Wage Order No. 7; (4) failure to pay minimum wage in violation of California Labor Code §§ 1197, 1194(a), 1194.2; (5) failure to pay wages at termination in violation of California Labor Code §§ 201, 202, 203; (6) failure to issue accurate and itemized wage statements in violation of California Labor Code §§ 226(b), 1174, 1175, and Wage Order No. 7); and (7) violation of unfair competition law in violation of California Business and Professions Code § 17200 et seq. (Id.)

         Defendants filed their answer in state court on November 21, 2016 and simultaneously removed the complaint to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”). (Dkt. Nos. 1; 1-2.) Plaintiff thereafter filed a motion for remand which the Court denied. (Dkt. No. 20.) Defendants then filed the now pending motion for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c).

         LEGAL STANDARD

         “After the pleadings are closed, but within such time as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). In deciding a Rule 12(c) motion, the court may consider “documents attached to the complaint, documents incorporated by reference in the complaint, or matters of judicial notice.” United States v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 2003). A court “must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Fleming v. Pickard, 581 F.3d 922, 925 (9th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). Accepting all allegations of the non-moving party as true, judgment “is proper when the moving party clearly establishes on the face of the pleadings that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., Inc., 896 F.2d 1542, 1550 (9th Cir. 1989). In other words, the standard of review is “functionally identical” to the Rule 12(b)(6) standard. Cafasso v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1054 n.4 (9th Cir. 2011). “Dismissal [of claims] can be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.” Conservation Force v. Salazar, 646 F.3d 1240, 1242 (9th Cir. 2011) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted).

         DISCUSSION

         Defendants argue that (1) Plaintiff's third claim for relief is barred by Labor Code Section 514's exemption on overtime claims; (2) Plaintiff's first, second, third, and fourth claims for relief are preempted by section 301 of the LMRA; and (3) Plaintiff's fifth, sixth, and seventh claims for relief fail to state a claim because they are derivative of claims which are otherwise subject to dismissal. The Court addresses each argument in turn.

         A. Requests for Judicial Notice

         As a preliminary matter, the Court addresses the parties' requests for judicial notice. (Dkt. Nos. 34 & 37.) Defendants request judicial notice of two CBAs between Sysco San Francisco and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 853, effective November 2, 2013 through November 1, 2015, and November 2, 2015 through November 1, 2019, respectively, (Dkt. Nos. 34-1 & 34-2); as well as a minute order of the San Diego County Superior Court sustaining defendants' demurrer in Jason Simon v. Sysco Corporation et al., No. 37-2014-000 12263-CU-OE-CTL, dated August 4, 2016 (Dkt. No. 34-3). Plaintiff has not objected to Defendants' request. A court may take judicial notice of a CBA in evaluating a motion to dismiss. See, e.g., Densmore v. Mission Linen Supply, 164 F.Supp.3d 1180, 1187 (E.D. Cal. 2016) (internal quotation marks omitted); Jones v. AT&T, No. C 07-3888 JF (PR), 2008 WL 902292, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 31, 2008) (“the Court may take judicial notice of a CBA in evaluating a motion to dismiss.”). The court may also “take notice of proceedings in other courts, both within and without the federal judicial system, if those proceedings have a direct relation to matters at issue.” See United States v. Black, 482 F.3d 1035, 1041 (9th Cir. 2007). The Court thus GRANTS Defendants' Request for Judicial Notice.[2] (Dkt. No. 34.)

         Plaintiff requests judicial notice of (1) the complaint filed in this action in the Superior Court for the County of Alameda (Dkt. No. 37-2); (2) an order filed in Lopez v. Sysco Corporation et al., No. 15-cv-04420-JSW, (N.D. Cal. Jan. 25, 2016) granting plaintiff's motion to remand and denying defendants' motion to dismiss as moot (Dkt. No. 37-1); (3) a copy of the CBA filed in that same Lopez action (Dkt. No. 37-3); and (4) an order filed in the Lopez case upon remand to the Superior Court of the County of Alameda, Lopez v. Sysco Corporation et al., Case No. RG15782744, (Jul. 14, 2016) overruling defendants' demurrer (Dkt. No. 37-4).

         “A judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to reasonable dispute in that it is either (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.” Fed.R.Evid. 201. For the reasons noted above, the Court may take judicial notice of the requested pleadings and court orders. See Black, 482 F.3d at 1041. Further, to the extent that Plaintiff requests judicial notice of the fact that the CBA in the Lopez action is identical to the CBA in this action-a fact which ...


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