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Wilson v. Tesla, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

September 9, 2019

BRIAN WILSON, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
TESLA, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER RE: PLAINTIFFS' RULE 60(B) MOTION RE: DKT. NO. 63

          JACQUELINE SCOTT CORLEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiffs Brian Wilson, Carrie Hughes, and Katia Segal filed this wage and hour class action against their employer, Tesla, Inc. and Tesla Motors, Inc. alleging that Tesla misclassified them as exempt employees and failed to provide them overtime, rest and meal breaks, wage statements, and final wages. While the case quickly settled with no motion practice, there is has been considerable motion practice regarding Plaintiffs' efforts to obtain preliminary and final approval of the class action settlement. After repeated go round of hearing and briefing to resolve issues with the parties' settlement and Plaintiffs' efforts to obtain approval of said settlement, the Court granted final approval of the class action settlement and entered judgment in Plaintiffs' favor. (Dkt. No. 56.) Plaintiffs have now filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court's order on attorneys' fees and costs and the class representative incentive award under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1) and (6). (Dkt. No. 63.) After carefully considering Plaintiffs' motion, the Court concludes that oral argument is unnecessary, see Civ. L.R. 7-1(b), VACATES the September 12, 2019 hearing, and DENIES Plaintiffs' motion for relief from judgment.

         BACKGROUND

         Brian Wilson filed this action under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. § 1715, in June 2017 asserting seven claims for relief: (1) failure to pay overtime wages in violation of the FLSA; (2) failure to pay minimum wage in violation of California Labor Code section 1194; (3) failure to pay overtime in violation of California Labor Code sections 519 & 1194; (4) failure to provide meal breaks in violation of California Labor Code section 226.7 and IWC Order No. 4-2001; (5) failure to provide rest breaks in violation of California Labor Code section 226.7 and IWC Order No. 4-2001; (6) failure to provide proper wage statements in violation of California Labor Code section 226(a); and (7) unlawful business practices in violation of California Business & Professions Code section 17200 et seq. (Dkt. No. 1.) Prior to Tesla's appearance, Plaintiff amended the complaint to add Plaintiff Hughes and add a claim for failure to pay final wages in violation of California Labor Code sections 201 and 202. (Dkt. No. 10.)

         The parties engaged in an early mediation in November 2017 and resolved the dispute with the terms finalized in May 2018. (Dkt. No. 22-1 at ¶ 13.) On the same day Plaintiffs filed their motion for preliminary approval, they filed a second amended complaint adding Plaintiff Segal, adding a PAGA claim, and withdrawing the FLSA claim. (Dkt. No. 21.) The Court subsequently denied the motion for preliminary approval based on numerous issues with the notice and settlement. (Dkt. Nos. 24, 30.) Plaintiffs then filed a renewed motion for preliminary approval. (Dkt. No. 29.) The Court held a hearing on August 30, 2018 and raised additional concerns regarding notice and ordered Plaintiffs to file a new notice by September 13, 2018. (Dkt. No. 31.) Plaintiffs addressed the Court's concern and the Court granted the renewed motion for preliminary approval on September 26, 2018. (Dkt. No. 33.) When Plaintiffs failed to file their motion for attorneys' fees and costs by the deadline set by the Court's Order and failed to otherwise comply with portions of the Court's Order, the Court ordered Plaintiff to file a status report. (Dkt. No. 36.) The Court then held a status conference at which the parties apprised the Court of numerous issues which had arisen. (Dkt. No. 42.) In light of these issues, the parties submitted a modified settlement agreement and notice for the Court's approval. (Dkt. No. 43.) The Court granted the stipulation to modify the Settlement Agreement and Notice and set the Final Approval Hearing for April 4, 2019. (Dkt. No. 44.) Plaintiffs filed their attorneys' fees motion on January 11, 2019. (Dkt. No. 29.) Additional issues arose requiring yet another status conference and the motion for final approval was finally filed on March 21, 2019. (Dkt. Nos. 50, 51.)

         The final approval hearing was held on April 4, 2019. (Dkt. No. 52.) Because Telsa advised the Court at the final approval hearing that it had not sent notice to the relevant authorities as CAFA requires, see 28 U.S.C. § 1715(b), the Court could not issue its final approval order until 90 days after such notice was provided. See 28 U.S.C. § 1715(d). On April 9, 2019, Telsa provided notice to the relevant authorities in accordance with Section 1715(b). (Dkt. No. 53.) On July 8, 2019, the Court filed its order granting final approval of the class action settlement and granting in part and denying in part Plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees and costs and incentive awards for the class representatives (hereafter “the Order”). (Dkt No. 56.) The Court entered judgment in Plaintiffs' favor the same day. (Dkt. No. 57.)

         Two days after the Court issued its Order, Plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to file a motion for reconsideration under Local Rule 7-11. (Dkt. No. 58.) The Court denied the motion as procedurally improper because Local Rule 7-11 governs administrative motions during the pendency of an action and the action had been terminated and judgment entered in Plaintiffs' favor. (Dkt. No. 59.) The Court advised Plaintiffs that there were two ways to seek substantive reconsideration of an order following entry of judgement: (1) Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) (motion to alter or amend a judgment), or (2) Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) (motion for relief from judgment). (Id.) Plaintiffs thereafter filed the now pending motion for reconsideration under Rule 60(b)(1) which Defendant does not oppose. (Dkt. No. 63.)

         DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Framework

         Rule 60(b) provides for reconsideration only upon a showing of: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud by the adverse party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied; or (6) any other reason justifying relief. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b); School Dist. 1J v. ACandS Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993).

         Plaintiffs contend that relief is appropriate under Rule 60(b)(1) for mistake and (6) to prevent manifest injustice. A “mistake” under Rule 60(b)(1) includes where “the district court has made a substantive error of law or fact in its judgment or order.” Bretana v. Int'l Collection Corp., 2010 WL 1221925, at *1 (N.D. Cal. 2010) (citing Utah ex. Rel. Div. of Forestry v. United States, 528 F.3d 712, 722-23 (10th Cir. 2008) (“Rule 60(b)(1) motions premised upon mistake are intended to provide relief to a party ... when the judge has made a substantive mistake of law or fact in the final judgment or order.”)). Rule 60(b)(6) is known as a catch-all provision which allows relief “only where extraordinary circumstances prevented a party from taking timely action to prevent or correct an erroneous judgment.” United States v. Alpine Land & Reservoir Co., 984 F.2d 1047, 1049 (9th Cir. 1993).

         A Rule 60(b) motion is not a vehicle for plaintiffs to reargue issues previously decided by the court. See Am. Ironworks & Erectors, Inc. v. N. Am. Const. Corp., 248 F.3d 892, 899 (9th Cir. 2001) (finding that denial of Rule 60(b) motion was not an abuse of discretion where parties “simply reargued their case”); Garcia v. Biter, 195 F.Supp.3d 1131, 1133 (E.D. Cal. 2016) (“A motion for reconsideration may not be used to get a second bite at the apple.”) (citation omitted); United States v. Westlands Water District, 134 F.Supp.2d 1111, 1131 (E.D. Cal. 2001) (“A motion for reconsideration is not a vehicle to reargue the motion or to present evidence which should have been raised before.”).

         B. Analysis

         Plaintiffs raise five issues with respect to the Court's Order; none warrants relief under Rule 60(b)(1) or (6). Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate either that the Court made a mistake of fact or law in its Order or that there are otherwise extraordinary circumstances which justify relief so as to ...


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