LTL Defeats Class Certification in Wage & Hour Class Action

Los Angeles, CA — May 2012

Lee Tran & Liang (“LTL”) is proud to announce that it defeated class certification against a wage & hour class action lawsuit brought against its client, a Southern California chain of nursing care facilities. The plaintiff was represented by an experienced class action law firm. The case was presided over by Judge Mary Strobel of the Los Angeles Superior Court.

The suit was brought in early 2011 by a former employee of LTL’s client and alleged various wage and hour violations on behalf of a class of persons employed as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), and Registered Nurses (RNs). Plaintiff’s motion for class certification was initially held in February 2012, and at that time, the Court denied certification as to the theories regarding failure to pay overtime, failure to provide first meal breaks and failure to provide rest breaks. In the days leading to the Brinker decision, Plaintiff added the claim that LTL client failed to provide timely breaks for those working double shifts. The Court ordered further briefing regarding this issue, pending the highly anticipated California Supreme Court’s decision on Brinker (Brinker Restaurant Corp., v. Superior Court).

The California Supreme Court finally handed down its decision on Brinker on April 16, 2012. In its decision, the Court clarified that the word “provide” means that “an employer must relieve the employee of all duty for the designated period, but need not ensure that the employee does no work.” As a result, on May 11, 2012, Judge Strobel in the present case ruled that the issue whether or not LTL client violated the Labor Code provision concerning the timing of the second meal period, requires an individual inquiry as to whether the employee was offered a chance to take a break before the second shift began. As such, the Court found that the plaintiff did not meet the commonality requirement, and thus denied class certification.

“We could not be happier for our client,” stated partner K Luan Tran, who was the lead partner on this case, with the support of associate Caleb Liang. “The Brinker decision and subsequent ruling by Judge Strobel in our case are great victories for our corporate clients and we intend to vigorously defend them no matter how complex and difficult a matter may be.”