Adamov v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Filing 32

ORDER signed by Judge Lawrence K. Karlton on 10/22/13 ORDERING Defendant's motion to transfer this case to the Central District of California is DENIED; Defendant's un-opposed motion to strike the Complaint's requests for injunctive relief and for punitive or exemplary damages is GRANTED; and Defendant's motion to strike Paragraphs 1, 4, 9 and 18 of the Complaint is DENIED. (Becknal, R)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 13 YURY ADAMOV, individually, and on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated current and former employees of PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, No. CIV. S-13-1222 LKK/AC ORDER 14 Plaintiffs, 15 v. 16 17 18 19 PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS, LLP, a Limited Liability Partnership, and DOES 1-100, inclusive, Defendants. 20 21 Plaintiff is a former Attest Associate of Pricewaterhouse- 22 Coopers LLC (“PwC”). He has filed this putative class action 23 lawsuit against PwC alleging violations of California labor laws, 24 including failure to pay overtime wages. 25 represent are similarly situated Attest Associates who were 26 employed by PwC after the class notice went out in Campbell v. 27 PwC, 2:06-cv-2376 (E.D. Cal.) (Karlton, J.). 28 1 The class he seeks to 1 A. II. STANDARDS Motion To Transfer Venue. 2 The transfer statute provides: 3 For the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought. 4 5 6 7 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).1 8 prevent the waste ‘of time, energy and money’ and ‘to protect 9 litigants, witnesses and the public against unnecessary The purpose of the transfer statute “is to 10 inconvenience and expense * * *.’” 11 Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 616 (1964). Whether to grant a venue transfer is within the broad 12 13 discretion of the district court, id., § 1404(b), which 14 adjudicates motions for transfer “according to an 15 ‘individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and 16 fairness.’” 17 (9th Cir.) (quoting Stewart Org. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 18 (1988)), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 928 (2000); CFTC v. Savage, 611 19 F.2d 270, 279 (9th Cir. 1979) (“weighing of the factors for and 20 against transfer involves subtle considerations and is best left 21 to the discretion of the trial judge”). 22 discretion is guided by the factors specified in 28 U.S.C. 23 § 1404(a) and relevant case law: (1) the convenience of the 24 parties; (2) the convenience of the witnesses; and (3) the 25 1 26 27 28 Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 495, 498 The district court’s The parties are in agreement that this case could have been brought in the Central District of California. The case is properly brought wherever the defendant “resides.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1). The defendant “resides” wherever it is subject to the court’s personal jurisdiction with respect to this action. Id., § 1391(c)(2). 2 1 interests of justice. Id. § 1404(a). 2 Specific factors the district court may consider are 3 plaintiff’s choice of forum; … the respective parties’ contacts 4 with the forum; … the contacts relating to the plaintiff’s cause 5 of action in the chosen forum; … the differences in the costs of 6 litigation in the two forums; … the availability of compulsory 7 process to compel attendance of unwilling non-party witnesses; 8 and … the ease of access to sources of proof.” 9 at 498-99; see also Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Comm'n v. NFL, “the Jones, 211 F.3d 10 89 F.R.D. 497, 499 (C.D. Cal. 1981), aff'd, 726 F.2d 1381 (9th 11 Cir.) (listing and applying factors), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 990 12 (1984). 13 served by transferring or retaining the case, the court looks to, 14 among other things, the need to conserve scarce judicial 15 resources. 16 Cal.2013) (Mueller, J.). 17 In determining whether the interests of justice are best See Irving v. Lennar Corp., 2013 WL 1308712 (E.D. The burden is on the party seeking transfer to show “by 18 particular circumstances that the transferor forum was 19 inappropriate.” 20 moving party merely to show that it prefers another forum nor 21 will transfer be ordered if the result is merely to transfer to a 22 forum equally convenient or inconvenient. 23 645–46. 24 B. 25 The rule governing the striking of pleadings provides: 26 27 28 Savage, 611 F.2d at 279. It is not enough for a Barrack, 376 U.S. at Motion To Strike. The Court may strike from a pleading * * * any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(f). The court does not grant such a motion 3 1 “unless it is clear that the matter to be stricken could have no 2 possible bearing on the subject matter of the litigation.” 3 v. Schwarzenegger, 2007 WL 662463 at *18 (E.D. Cal. 2007) 4 (Karlton, J.). L.H. 5 III. ANALYSIS – MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE 6 The court has considered the factors applicable to this 7 motion. 8 case is the need to avoid duplication of judicial effort. 9 case, as alleged in the Complaint, is the same case as Campbell However, the factor that overwhelms all others in this This 10 v. PwC, 2:06-cv-2376 (E.D. Cal.) (Karlton, J.). 11 this case consists of those Attest Associates who would be in the 12 Campbell class except that they were employed after the class 13 notice was given in Campbell. 14 essence, put the Campbell case into the hands of two different 15 federal judges, wasting scare judicial resources and increasing 16 the chances of inconsistent decisions.2 17 The class in Transferring this case would, in Accordingly, the motion to transfer will be denied. 18 IV. ANALYSIS – MOTION TO STRIKE 19 A. 20 The Complaint requests injunctive relief as well as punitive Requests for Injunctive Relief and Punitive Damages. 21 2 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Defendant argues that judicial resources will not be duplicated because the Central District has already decided a case addressing wage and hour issues for accountants. See In re KPMG Wage & Hour Litigation, 2012 WL 5416939 (C.D. Cal. 2012) (Wilson, J.) (granting partial summary judgment to KPMG). However, the fact that the Central District has decided a wage and hour case involving accountants employed by a different accounting firm does not show that judicial resources will not be duplicated. Most importantly however, it is not a valid reason for splitting this one case between two different judicial districts, thus risking inconsistent decisions arising from what is, in effect, one case. 4 1 or exemplary damages. 2 relief, and plaintiff does not oppose the motion. 3 these requests for relief will be stricken from the Complaint. Defendant moves to strike these claims for 4 B. 5 This lawsuit was filed on June 19, 2013. Accordingly, Statute of Limitations. All parties agree 6 that – any possible tolling issues aside – the longest 7 limitations period applicable here is four (4) years. 8 Accordingly, on its face, the limitations period for this case 9 cuts off any plaintiff whose claim arose prior to June 19, 2009. 10 The Complaint, however, asserts claims for putative class 11 members employed after July 23, 2008, the date notice was given 12 for class members in Campbell. 13 to include in this lawsuit everyone shut out of the Campbell 14 class. 15 limitations period should be tolled from July 23, 2008 to June 16 19, 2009. 17 including such persons by filing his complaint at any time during 18 the four-year period from July 23, 2008 through July 23, 2012. 19 He waited, however, to file until June 19, 2013. In other words, plaintiff wants However, nothing in the complaint asserts that the Plaintiff could have accomplished his goal of 20 In his Opposition Brief, plaintiff asserts that the 21 limitations period is tolled, apparently because the Campbell 22 class period is open-ended. 23 open-ended. 24 2002, until the time when class notice was given.” 25 Class Certification Order (ECF No. 557) at 2. 26 that class notice was given on July 23, 2008. 27 28 That is incorrect – the class is not The Campbell class period extends “from October 27, Campbell, Both sides agree Plaintiff’s legal basis for arguing that tolling is, even now, on-going, is Crown, Cork & Seal Co., Inc. v. Parker, 462 5 1 U.S. 345, 353-354 (1983): 2 We conclude … that “the commencement of a class action suspends the applicable statute of limitations as to all asserted members of the class who would have been parties had the suit been permitted to continue as a class action.” Once the statute of limitations has been tolled, it remains tolled for all members of the putative class until class certification is denied. At that point, class members may choose to file their own suits or to intervene as plaintiffs in the pending action. 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Crown, 462 U.S. at 353-354. Plaintiff’s reliance on Crown is 10 misplaced. 11 class.” 12 arises after “the time when class notice was given,” July 23, 13 2008. 14 First, Crown applies only to “asserted members of the The Campbell class does not include anyone whose claim Second, plaintiff’s reading of Crown is grossly overbroad. 15 Crown was a case where class certification was denied, and 16 accordingly it made sense to toll the limitations period up until 17 that time. 18 period is tolled in all cases until class certification is denied 19 – even cases were class certification is never denied. 20 But it does not state or imply that the limitations Plaintiff can however, rely upon the standard for granting 21 motions to strike. 22 is clear that the matter to be stricken could have no possible 23 bearing on the subject matter of the litigation.” 24 662463 at *18. 25 defendant seeks to strike are plainly relevant to the lawsuit, 26 even if the class the allegations refer to is not as broad as 27 those paragraphs assume. Such motions “should not be granted unless it L.H., 2007 WL This standard is not met here, as the paragraphs As another court has noted (although in 28 6 1 an FLSA proposed collective action), “[d]efendants' concern is 2 that the proposed definition is overbroad,” not that it is 3 “redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous,” the bases 4 for striking a pleading under Rule 12(f). 5 v. Crunch, LLC, 2013 WL 4082137 at *7 (N.D. Cal. 2013) (Orrick, 6 J.) (emphasis added). 7 Adedapoidle-Tyehimba Accordingly, defendant’s concerns are more appropriately 8 addressed in the class certification process. 9 defendant will have the opportunity to assert that the class At that point 10 should exclude those persons whose claims arose after July 23, 11 2008 and before June 19, 2009. 12 argument that unless plaintiff can make an adequate showing that 13 those persons should be included – and nothing plaintiff has done 14 or argued thus far makes such a showing – the class should be 15 defined so as to exclude them. 16 It will then be able to make its IV. CONCLUSION 17 For the foregoing reasons: 18 1. 19 20 Defendant’s motion to transfer this case to the Central District of California is DENIED; 2. Defendant’s un-opposed motion to strike the Complaint’s 21 requests for injunctive relief and for punitive or exemplary 22 damages is GRANTED; and 23 3. Defendant’s motion to strike Paragraphs 1, 4, 9 and 18 24 of the Complaint is DENIED. 25 IT IS SO ORDERED. 26 DATED: October 22, 2013. 27 28 7

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