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Krauss v. Wal-Mart, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 19, 2019

HOPE KRAUSS, aka DEONTE KRAUSS, individually and on behalf of all those similarly situated, Plaintiff,
WAL-MART, INC., a Delaware corporation; WAL-MART ASSOCIATES, INC.; and DOES 1 through 50, inclusive, Defendants.



         Plaintiff Hope Krauss (“Plaintiff”) brings this putative class action against her former employer, Defendants Walmart, Inc. and Wal-Mart Associate, Inc. (collectively “Walmart” or “Defendants”), for violating California's labor laws. First Amended Compl. (“FAC”), ECF No. 10. Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's claims. Mot. to Dismiss (“Mot.”), ECF No. 14.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion.[1]


         Plaintiff Hope Krauss, a resident of California, worked as a full-time associate in the produce and meat departments at Defendants' Walmart Supercenter in West Sacramento, California, from September 16, 2017 to October 22, 2018. FAC. ¶ 3. Plaintiff contends Walmart committed a litany of California Labor Code violations-each one, primarily hinging upon the allegation that Walmart did not pay her all that she was owed. See generally FAC. Plaintiff claims Walmart (1) required her to work off the clock and during meal and rest breaks without compensation; (2) inaccurately recorded the amount of time she worked; (3) refused to compensate her for overtime hours; (4) failed to reimburse her for necessary business-related expenses; (5) and generally withheld funds she was entitled to upon her termination. FAC ¶¶ 4-9. Moreover, she alleges Walmart committed at least two of these violations-failure to pay wages due upon termination and failure to provide accurate wage statements-knowingly and intentionally. FAC ¶¶ 40-43.

         On November 29, 2018, Plaintiff filed her Complaint in Sacramento County Superior Court. Id. ¶ 1. Walmart removed the case to federal court on May 10, 2019, alleging jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”). Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1, at 2; 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). Plaintiff later filed an amended complaint, ECF No. 10, alleging eight violations of the California Labor Code and a claim under California's Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”). Id. ¶¶ 53-58; Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200 et. seq. Plaintiff asserts each claim as an “aggrieved employee” and on behalf of other current and former Walmart employees under the California Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”). Id. ¶¶ 59-63.

         Walmart moves to dismiss the First Amended Complaint, in its entirety, for failure to state a claim. Mot. at 2. Plaintiff opposes the motion. Opp'n, ECF No. 17.

         II. OPINION

         A. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Courts must dismiss a suit if the plaintiff fails to “state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6). To defeat a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must “plead enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). This plausibility standard requires “factual content that allows the court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “At this stage, the Court “must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint.” Id. But it need not “accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Id.

         B. Judicial Notice

         Generally, when deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, the Court “may not consider materials outside the complaint and pleadings.” Holland v. TD Ameritrade, Inc., No. CIV S-10-2110-GEB, 1012 WL 592042, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 22, 2012). However, Federal Rule of Evidence 201 allows a court to take judicial notice of “a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it (1) is generally known within the trial court's territorial jurisdiction; or (2) can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot be questioned.” Id.

         Defendants ask this Court to take judicial notice of Plaintiff Hope Krauss's wage statements for purpose of assessing Plaintiff's Sixth Cause of Action. Mot. at 2. Defendants contend that judicial notice is appropriate because these wage statements form the basis of Plaintiff's inaccurate wage statement claim. Id. Plaintiff has not opposed this request. Rather, Plaintiff relies on this exhibit in her Opposition. Opp'n at 10. Because Walmart's wage statements “can be accurately and readily determined” as an official wage statement and because Plaintiff does not dispute this request, the Court will take judicial notice of the existence of Walmart's wage statements.

         C. Analysis

         1. Failure to Provide Meal Period and Rest Breaks

         An employer must provide an employee with a thirty-minute meal period for every five hours of work. See Cal. Lab. Code § 512(a). An employer cannot require an employee to work during meal period or rest breaks. Id. at ยง 226.7(b). Moreover, an employer shall pay an additional hour of pay ...

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