Christian v. Furmanite America, Incorporated

Filing 25

ORDER signed by District Judge Troy L. Nunley on 2/13/2017 DENYING 18 Motion for Class Certification. (Michel, G.)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 SCOTT CHRISTIAN, an individual, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, 13 Plaintiff, 14 15 16 No. 2:15-cv-00946-TLN-DB ORDER v. FURMANITE AMERICA, INCORPORATED, Defendant. 17 18 This is a putative class action alleging violations of the California Labor Code and other 19 20 associated California wage-and-hour requirements. The matter is before the Court on Plaintiff 21 Scott Christian’s (“Plaintiff”) motion for class certification. (ECF No. 18.) Defendant Furmanite 22 America, Incorporated (“Defendant”) opposes the motion. (ECF No. 19.) The Court has 23 carefully considered the record and the parties’ briefs. For the reason set forth below, Plaintiff’s 24 motion is hereby DENIED. 25 26 I. BACKGROUND Defendant is a large industrial company that provides a variety of services in the 27 machining, piping, and engineering fields. (First Am. Compl. (“FAC”), ECF No. 16 at ¶ 5.) 28 Plaintiff was a technician for Defendant and worked as an hourly employee. (ECF No. 16 at 1 1 ¶¶ 9–10.) Plaintiff alleges that he was not allowed to take a second meal break to which he was 2 entitled on days when he worked for more than ten hours. (ECF No. 16 at ¶¶ 13–15.) Plaintiff 3 also alleges that all other technicians worked similar hours and were not allowed to take a second 4 meal break. (ECF No. 16 at ¶ 16.) 5 Plaintiff brought this lawsuit as a putative class action pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal 6 Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF No. 16 at ¶ 22.) Plaintiff now moves to certify the class. (ECF 7 No. 18.) 8 II. 9 DISCUSSION A putative class must clear two hurdles prior to certification. First, the class must satisfy 10 the four prerequisites of Rule 23(a): numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of 11 representation. Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a); Hanlon v. Chrysler Corp., 150 F.3d 1011, 1019 (9th Cir. 12 1998). Second, the class must fit within at least one of the three categories of class action 13 enumerated in Rule 23(b). Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b); Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 14 345 (2011). The party seeking certification bears the burden of showing that those requirements 15 are met. See Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S.Ct. 1426, 1432 (2013). 16 Plaintiff seeks certification under Rule 23(b)(3). (See ECF No. 18 at 9:26 –10:1.)1 “To 17 qualify for certification under [Rule 23(b)(3)], a class must satisfy two conditions in addition to 18 the Rule 23(a) prerequisites: common questions must ‘predominate over any questions affecting 19 only individual members,’ and class resolution must be ‘superior to other available methods for 20 the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy.’” Hanlon, 150 F.3d at 1022 (quoting Fed. 21 R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3)). These requirements are commonly known as predominance and superiority, 22 and they are independent prongs of Rule 23(b)(3). See, e.g., Zinser v. Accufix Research Inst., 23 Inc., 253 F.3d 1180, 1189–93 (9th Cir. 2001) (treating predominance and superiority separately); 24 Dei Rossi v. Whirlpool Corp., No. 2:12-cv-00125-TLN, 2015 WL 1932484, at *11 (E.D. Cal. 25 Apr. 28, 2015) (“The second prong of the analysis under Rule 23(b)(3) also requires a finding that 26 1 27 28 In the FAC, Plaintiff indicates that he also seeks to prosecute this case as a class action under Rule 23(b)(1). (ECF No. 16 at ¶ 22.) But Plaintiff does not contend in his motion that this class is suitable for certification under Rule 23(b)(1), nor does he even cite Rule 23(b)(1). (See ECF No. 18 at 9:26–10:1.) Thus, even assuming Plaintiff still seeks certification under Rule 23(b)(1), he has not shown that certification under that subsection is warranted. 2 1 ‘a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the 2 controversy.’”) 3 Here, Plaintiff has not shown that a class action is superior. The superiority inquiry 4 “necessarily involves a comparative evaluation of alternative mechanisms of dispute resolution.” 5 Hanlon, 150 F.3d at 1023. That inquiry is guided by four factors housed in Rule 23(b)(3), which 6 the Court “must consider”: (1) the class members’ interests in individually controlling their cases, 7 (2) the extent and nature of any preexisting litigation involving class members, (3) the pros and 8 cons of concentrating the litigation in the particular forum, and (4) the likely difficulties in 9 managing a class action. Zinser, 253 F.3d at 1190–92 (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3)(A)–(D)). 10 But Plaintiff has not argued that the superiority requirement is satisfied, nor has he equipped the 11 Court to evaluate the four factors of Rule 23(b)(3). He simply argues that certification is proper 12 under Rule 23(b)(3) because a common legal issue will predominate. (ECF No. 18 at 11:22– 13 12:2.) That is only one half of the relevant standard. See Dei Rossi, 2015 WL 1932484, at *11. 14 Accordingly, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that certification is warranted. Zinser, 253 F.3d at 15 1192. The Court need not address whether the prerequisites of Rule 23(a) are satisfied or whether 16 Plaintiff is correct that a common legal issue will predominate. 17 18 III. CONCLUSION Plaintiff has not attempted to show that class resolution would be superior to other 19 available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of this case. Consequently, Plaintiff’s 20 motion for class certification (ECF No. 18) is hereby DENIED. 21 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: February 13, 2017 23 24 Troy L. Nunley United States District Judge 25 26 27 28 3

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