United States District Court, C.D. California
CLODOALDO ANTEMATE, an individual, for himself and all members of the putative class, and on behalf of aggrieved employees pursuant to the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”), Plaintiff,
ESTENSON LOGISTICS, LLC, a Nevada limited liability; and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
S. Fischer, United States District Judge
affirmative defense to its alleged failure to pay weekly
overtime compensation to the class of employees came on for
trial before the Court sitting without a jury on May 9-10,
2017. The Court, having heard live testimony and having duly
considered the evidence, the credibility of the witnesses,
and the contentions and arguments of counsel, makes the
following findings of fact and conclusions of law in
accordance with Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Estenson Logistics, LLC (Estenson) provides logistic
transportation services for its customers (such as Home
Depot), transporting merchandize from vendors to
customers' distribution centers, and from the
distribution centers on to customers' retail stores. Tr.
Estenson employs both “route drivers” and
“yard hostlers.” Tr. 18:5-17, 94:18-95:1,
Route drivers primarily transport freight from a
customer's facility to a final destination. Tr. 94:18-22.
During the relevant time period, route drivers were paid
based on activity. Tr. 108:10-13.
hostlers primarily shuttle empty and loaded trailers within
the confines of a distribution center. Tr. 18:15-17,
94:23-95:1, 197:3-7. Yard hostlers are paid by the hour. Tr.
certified class includes 103 yard hostlers employed by
Estenson in California from May 30, 2010 through the present.
See June 15, 2015 Order (Dkt. 72).
Plaintiff Clodoaldo Antemate worked as a yard hostler for
Estenson from November 27, 2009 through May 31, 2013,
primarily at Estenson's Home Depot Rapid Deployment
Center (RDC) in Tracy, California (the Tracy RDC). Tr.
The Nature of Estenson's Business
merchandise that customers ship to Estenson's California
distribution centers comes from all over the world, arriving
through California's seaports, rail lines, and highways.
Tr. 10:23-11:3; 12:15-13:17, 201:10-202:1, 255:6-256:14;
Shipping containers arriving at the Tracy RDC from a seaport
primarily contain products coming from China. Tr.
257:12-258:12. Shipping containers arriving at the Tracy RDC
by rail mostly contain merchandise from the east coast of the
United States. Tr. 258:6-16. Estenson also transports freight
from Nevada to the Tracy RDC. Tr. 10:23-11:3.
Estenson's customers ship their merchandise to
Estenson's distribution centers with the understanding
that the merchandise will be transported to a final
destination outside the distribution center, such as a
customer's retail location.
125:24-126:6, 217:19-218:3, 218:21-219:25.
When a trailer full of products is brought to a distribution
center, Estenson's customers unload the products and
consolidate them with products from other incoming shipments
for distribution to retail locations. Tr. 13:18-17:8,
201:21-202:1, 202:17-203:2. Items shipped to a distribution
center on a single trailer will be transported to many
different stores on many different trailers. Tr. 16:10-17:2.
Merchandise remains in the Tracy RDC for processing for
approximately three days before being sent to its final
destination. Tr. 17:20-22.
Estenson Represents to Yard Hostlers That They Are Classified
as Non-exempt Employees Entitled to Overtime
offer letter Estenson issues to each yard hostler at the time
of hiring states that “[t]his position is classified as
a non-exempt position; therefore, it is eligible for
overtime.” Tr. 268:14-269:4; Ex. 9.
Estenson tells yard hostlers that they are non-exempt. Tr.
Estenson's employee manual states: “The non-exempt
status of our drivers is intended to be an additional benefit
to the total rewards package offered through employment with
[Estenson].” Tr. 135:2-7; Ex. 590 at 31. It further
states that “[n]on-exempt employees . . . are paid an
overtime rate based on the state location.” Tr.
136:2-7; Ex. 590 at 23.
Estenson pays its yard hostlers daily overtime for
hours they work over eight hours each day. Tr. 106:16-21.
Estenson does not pay its yard hostlers
weekly overtime for hours they work over forty hours
each week. Tr. 144:7-145:2.
Plaintiff understood the yard hostler position to be
non-exempt and that he would be entitled to overtime
compensation. Tr. at 266:14-23, 267:20-21; Ex. 9.
Estenson Advises Yard Hostlers They May be Asked to Drive
on the Road
The job description for the “Yard Jockey / Spotter
Position” states that the “Duties and
Responsibilities” of yard hostlers include
“[o]ccasional local delivery.” Tr. 116:3-22,
146:13-147:1, 166:14-23; Ex. 556.
Estenson informs yard hostlers that they may be called on to
perform local deliveries, which include driving on highways.
Tr. 56:6-15, Tr. 58:4-18.
Local deliveries are deliveries that can be completed in one
work shift so that the driver does not have to be away from
home overnight. Tr. 56:16-17.
Plaintiff understood that yard hostlers could be pulled from
their yard hostling work to perform local deliveries. Tr.
261:16-22. Plaintiff also signed several form documents
during his employment that reference route driving work.
See Ex. 554.
When Estenson hired Plaintiff, Estenson gave him a fuel card
to fill up the truck he was using to bring trailers into the
Tracy yard facility. Tr. 242:3-16. Estenson told Plaintiff to
keep the fuel card because there were instances when ...