United States District Court, S.D. California
ELIZABETH BARKER and YADIRA ESQUEDA, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
U.S. BANCORP Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION [DOC.
NOS. 56, 64, 65, 66]
Cathy Ann Bencivengo United States District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' motion for
class certification. The motion has been fully briefed, and
the Court deems it suitable for submission without oral
argument. Accordingly, the motion of Defendant U.S. Bancorp
(“USB”) [Doc. No. 66] for oral argument is
denied. As discussed below, Plaintiffs' motion for class
certification is denied as well.
operates bank branches located within grocery stores in
California. Plaintiffs Elizabeth Barker and Yadira Esqueda
are former In-Store Branch Managers (“IBMs”) at
these in-store banking locations. USB classified Plaintiffs
and other IBMs as exempt employees, meaning that were not
paid overtime. Plaintiffs allege that their exempt
classification was improper because they spent more than half
of their time performing non-managerial duties similar to
those of a “Universal Banker, ” which is a
operative first amended complaint (“FAC”),
Plaintiffs sought to represent a Rule 23 class consisting of
“all persons currently or formerly employed by USB in
California as an [IBM] or any other similar position at any
time since four years preceding the filing of this
complaint.” [Doc. No. 20 at ¶ 16A.] The FAC
asserts two claims under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”) which are not relevant to this motion,
as well as various claims on behalf of the putative Rule 23
class for California labor code violations attributable to
USB's alleged misclassification of IBMs as exempt
employees. Plaintiffs now move for certification of a Rule 23
Legal Standard for Class Certification
class action is an exception to the usual rule that
litigation is conducted by and on behalf of the individual
named parties only.” Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v.
Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 348 (2011) (internal quotation
marks omitted). “Parties seeking class certification
must satisfy each of the four requirements of [Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure] 23(a) . . . and at least one of the
requirements of Rule 23(b).” Briseno v. ConAgra
Foods, Inc., 844 F.3d 1121, 1124 (9th Cir. 2017).
“Rule 23(a) states four threshold requirements
applicable to all class actions: (1) numerosity (a class so
large that joinder of all members is impracticable); (2)
commonality (questions of law or fact common to the class);
(3) typicality (named parties' claims or defenses are
typical of the class); and (4) adequacy of representation
(representatives will fairly and adequately protect the
interests of the class). Amchem Prods, Inc. v.
Windsor, 521 U.S. 591, 613 (1997) (internal quotation
marks, brackets, and ellipses omitted). In considering class
certification, district courts must engage in “a
rigorous analysis” to determine whether “the
prerequisites of Rule 23(a) have been satisfied.”
Dukes, 564 U.S. at 350-51 (citing Gen. Tel. Co.
of the Sw. v. Falcon, 457 U.S. 147, 161 (1982)).
here contend that in addition to satisfying these four Rule
23(a) requirements, class certification is warranted under
Rule 23(b)(3). Rule 23(b)(3) “requires that common
questions of law or fact found under Rule 23(a)(2)
‘predominate over any questions affecting only
individual members, and that a class action is superior to
other available methods for fairly and efficiently
adjudicating the controversy.'” Torres v.
Mercer Canyons Inc., 835 F.3d 1125, 1132 (9th Cir. 2016)
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3)). “For purposes of [the
predominance] analysis, an individual question is one where
members of a proposed class will need to present evidence
that varies from member to member, while a common question is
one where the same evidence will suffice for each member to
make a prima facie showing or the issue is susceptible to
generalized, class-wide proof.” Id. at 1134
(citing Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo, 136 S.Ct. 1036,
1045 (2016)) (internal quotation marks and brackets omitted).
“What matters to class certification is not the raising
of common ‘questions'-even in droves-but, rather
the capacity of a classwide proceeding to generate common
answers apt to drive the resolution of the
litigation.” Id. at 1133 (quoting
Dukes, 564 U.S. at 350) (emphasis in
original; internal ellipses omitted).
their motion, Plaintiffs propose the following class
definition, which they claim is a narrower class than the
class defined in the FAC:
current and former U.S. Bank In-Store Branch Managers who, at
any time since July 23, 2011, were: (1) employed in
California; (2) classified as exempt from overtime; and (3)
for at least one workweek, spending [sic] over 50% of their
time performing the same duties as non-exempt In-Store
(a) Being accountable for sales and service activities for
in-store branch locations;
(b) Proactively seeking new customers through in-store
marketing and ...