United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER RE: DEFENDANT'S (1) MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS
A MATTER OF LAW AND (2) MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL AND
DECERTIFICATION RE: DKT. NOS. 560, 561
ILLSTON United States District Judge.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., has filed a renewed motion for
judgment as a matter of law and a motion for a new trial and
decertification. Dkt. Nos. 560, 561. These motions came on
for hearing on April 7, 2017. Having considered the arguments
presented in the papers and at the hearing, the Court DENIES
both motions, as to all the litigated claims. The Court
GRANTS the motion for judgment as a matter of law with
respect to the claims that were not tried (First, Second,
Third, and Sixth Claims).
facts of this case are recited in numerous prior orders,
including the Court's May 28, 2015 order granting in part
and denying in part plaintiffs' motion for partial
summary judgment. See Dkt. No. 211. Plaintiffs are
truck drivers in California previously employed by Wal-Mart
for some period of time between 1993 and the present. Dkt.
No. 73, Fourth Amended Complaint (“FAC”)
¶¶ 3-6. Plaintiffs initially filed this case in
Alameda County Superior Court on October 10, 2008. Dkt. No.
1. Wal-Mart removed the case to this Court under the Class
Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2), in November
a three-year stay pending a final decision by the California
Supreme Court in Brinker Restaurant Corporation v.
Superior Court, Case No. S166350, class certification in
September 2014, and motions for partial summary judgment
brought by both parties, this case went to trial on October
27, 2016. Upon a stipulation by the parties to modify the
class period, the class definition at the time of trial was:
“All persons employed in California by Defendant in the
position of Private Fleet Driver at any time from October 10,
2004 to October 15, 2015.” Dkt. Nos. 406, 535 at 13.
went to trial on their minimum wage claims, alleging that
Wal-Mart violated California minimum wage law by failing to
pay class members the minimum wage for eleven tasks. Trial
lasted for sixteen days. Before the close of trial, Wal-Mart
filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law, which the
Court denied without prejudice. See Dkt. No. 502.
November 23, 2016, the jury returned a verdict in
plaintiffs' favor on four of the eleven tasks at issue,
finding that class members were paid less than the minimum
wage by Wal-Mart for some or all hours worked for: performing
pre-trip inspections; performing post-trip inspections;
taking 10-minute rest breaks; and taking 10-hour layovers.
The same jury rejected plaintiffs' claims for time spent
fueling the tractor; washing the tractor/trailer; weighing
the tractor/trailer at an independent weigh station;
performing adjustments after weighing the tractor/trailer at
an independent weigh station; undergoing Department of
Transportation (“DOT”) roadside inspections;
meeting with a driver coordinator; or waiting at a vendor or
store location. Dkt. No. 529.
jury accepted the damages calculations set forth by
plaintiffs' expert witness Dr. G. Michael Phillips and
awarded damages to the class as follows:
Performing Pre-Trip Inspections: $2, 971, 220
Performing Post-Trip Inspections: $2, 971, 220
Taking 10-minute Rest Breaks: $3, 961, 975
Taking 10-hour Layovers: $44, 699, 766
Dkt. No. 529 at 3. These figures reflect the testimony that
Dr. Phillips provided at trial regarding the class
members' damages for each respective task for the October
10, 2005, to October 15, 2015 time period. See Dkt.
No. 497, Tr. at 1524:1-13, 1528:24-1529:15, 1532:25-1533:6,
discussed at trial, the Court also submitted to the jury
questions relevant to the calculation of civil penalties. For
this purpose, the jury found that Wal-Mart intentionally
failed to pay minimum wage to class members during pay
periods from October 10, 2007, to October 15, 2015. Dkt. No.
529 at 4. The jury accepted the calculations of
plaintiffs' expert Edward Garcia and found that Wal-Mart
failed to pay minimum wage to class members for 103, 221 pay
periods from October 10, 2007, to October 15, 2015. See
id.; Dkt. No. 492, Tr. at 1859:11-20, 1860:10-19.
Court delayed entering judgment until the parties had the
opportunity to brief the issues reserved for the Court. On
January 25, 2017, the Court issued an Order granting in part
and denying in part plaintiffs' post-trial motion. Dkt.
No. 554. The Court granted plaintiffs' motion for
restitution under the California Unfair Competition Law in
the amount of $5, 861, 147. Id. at 8. The Court
denied plaintiffs' motion for liquidated damages and for
civil penalties under California Labor Code sections 1194.2
and 1197.1 respectively. Id. at 12, 17. The Court
entered judgment that same day. Dkt. No. 555.
filed the instant motions on February 22, 2017. Motion for
Judgment as a Matter of Law (“Mot. for JMOL”)
(Dkt. No. 560); Motion for New Trial and Decertification
(“Mot. for New Trial”) (Dkt. No. 561).
Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law
Rule of Civil Procedure 50(b) provides:
If the court does not grant a motion for judgment as a matter
of law made under Rule 50(a), the court is considered to have
submitted the action to the jury subject to the court's
later deciding the legal questions raised by the motion. No
later than 28 days after the entry of judgment . . . the
movant may file a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of
law and may include an alternative or joint request for a new
trial under Rule 59. In ruling on the renewed motion, the
court may: (1) allow judgment ...