Maes v. JPMorgan Chase Bank et al

Filing 52

ORDER denying 49 Joint MOTION for Determination of Discovery Dispute - Plaintiff's Motion for Discovery of Identity of Class Members. Signed by Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin on 3/5/13. (Dembin, Mitchell)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 DANIEL MAES, on behalf of himself and on behalf of all 12 persons similarly situated, 11 Plaintiff, 13 14 v. 15 JP MORGAN CHASE, et al., 16 Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Case No. 12cv782-JAH (MDD) ORDER ON JOINT MOTION TO DETERMINE DISCOVERY DISPUTE - DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANTS TO IDENTIFY CLASS MEMBERS [ECF NO. 49] 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 Before the Court is the joint motion for determination of a discovery dispute filed on February 12, 2013. (ECF No. 49). The dispute regards Plaintiff’s request for contact information for all putative class members and aggrieved employees. The Court held a hearing on March 1, 2013. For the following reasons, Plaintiff’s motion is DENIED. History of the Dispute On October 31, 2012, the parties filed a joint motion to determine a discovery dispute regarding Defendants’ responses to two interrogatories. (See ECF No. 26). Interrogatory No. 5 required 28 12cv0782 1 Defendants to state the job duties performed by all class members 2 during the relevant period. Interrogatory No. 6 required Defendants to 3 identify all putative class members and aggrieved employees. 4 Regarding Interrogatory No. 5, Defendants asserted, among other 5 things, that the job titles of the employees who would be part of the 6 putative class are structural only and there are no specific job 7 descriptions or duties assigned to the various titles. Consequently, it 8 was not possible to describe all of the job duties performed by potential 9 class members. Regarding Interrogatory No. 6, Defendants asserted 10 that discovery of the identities of putative class members was 11 premature and there was an insufficient basis to require it. (Id.). 12 On November 26, 2012, the Court held a conference in chambers 13 regarding four pending discovery disputes including the dispute over 14 Interrogatories Nos. 5 and 6. (ECF No. 37). Following the conference, 15 the Court issued an Order requiring a further response from 16 Defendants regarding Interrogatory No. 5. Regarding Interrogatory 17 No. 6, the Court declined to require Defendants to produce contact 18 information for putative class members pending their supplemental 19 response to Interrogatory No. 5. (ECF No. 38). 20 On December 17, 2012, in advance of a case management 21 conference, Defendants filed a notice regarding their compliance with 22 the Court’s Order for supplementation of their answer to Interrogatory 23 No. 5. (ECF No. 43). Plaintiff disputes that the response to 24 Interrogatory No. 5 is sufficient and, consequently, is pressing for a 25 ruling regarding Interrogatory No. 6 in the instant joint motion filed on 26 February 12, 2013. (ECF Nos. 48, 49). 27 28 2 12cv0782 Legal Standard 1 2 Prior to certification of a class, some discovery regarding the class 3 may be appropriate. See Vinole v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 571 4 F.3d 935, 942 (9th Cir. 2009)(“Our cases stand for the unremarkable 5 proposition that often the pleadings alone will not resolve the question 6 of class certification and that some discovery will be warranted.”). 7 Discovery likely is warranted where the requested discovery will 8 resolve factual issues necessary for the determination of whether the 9 action may be maintained as a class action. Kamm v. California City 10 Development Co., 509 F.2d 205, 210 (9th Cir. 1975). Plaintiff carries 11 the burden of making either a prima facie showing that the 12 requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a) to maintain a class action have been 13 met or “that discovery is likely to produce substantiation of the class 14 allegations.” Mantolete v. Bolger, 767 F.2d 1416, 1424 (9th Cir. 1985). Analysis 15 16 Defendants supplemental response to Interrogatory No. 5 17 describes a system wherein employees who carry identical job titles 18 may have very different job duties even within the same office. 19 Defendants also provided an extensive list of the possible job duties 20 within the various job titles. (See ECF 43-1 at pages 5-12). Plaintiff 21 has presented no evidence that the supplemental response is 22 incomplete or inadequate. The Court finds that no further 23 supplementation is required except as provided at Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(e). 24 25 Interrogatory No. 6 called upon Defendants to identify all class members and aggrieved employees.1 Plaintiff’s counsel conceded that 26 27 In addition to class allegations, Plaintiff brought a claim pursuant to the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) under California law. Cal. 28 Labor Code §§ 2968 et seq. Under California law, a PAGA action need not meet the procedural requirements of a class action. Arias v. Superior Court, 1 3 12cv0782 1 Plaintiff cannot meet the burden of showing a prima facie case for class 2 certification at this time. Plaintiff has offered no evidence that the 3 discovery sought likely would substantiate the class allegations. 4 Applying Mantolete, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s motion to compel a 5 response to Interrogatory No. 6. 6 Assuming that Plaintiff did meet the burden under Mantolete of 7 showing that the requested discovery likely would substantiate the 8 class allegations, the Court would have authorized some discovery. As 9 the Court explained at the hearing, the discovery would have been of 10 some percentage of the potential class. See, e.g., Murphy v. Target 11 Corp., 2011 WL 2413439 (No. 09cv1436 S.D. Cal. June 14, 2011). The 12 parties confirmed at the hearing on this matter that the putative class 13 contains approximately 83 potential members. Defendants assert that 14 58 of the potential class members have arbitration clauses in their 15 employment agreements rendering them ineligible for membership in 16 the class. (ECF No. 49 at ECF pp. 27-28). Counsel for Plaintiff 17 confirmed at the hearing that Plaintiff has the contact information for 18 eight potential class members that worked in the same office as 19 Plaintiff. According to Plaintiff’s counsel, the eight potential class 20 members have not been contacted based upon a concern that such 21 contact might be viewed as improper. Counsel for Defendants, 22 however, disclaimed any such concern. 23 24 Plaintiff has the contact information of roughly 10% of the entire class and as much as roughly 30% of the class if the arbitration clauses 25 26 46 Cal.4th 969 (2009),The federal courts in California, even within this District, are split on the issue. Compare Ivey v. Apogen Technologies, 27 Inc.2011 WL 3515936 (S.D. Cal. 2011) with Williams v. Lockheed Martin Corp., Case No. 090cv1669, ECF No. 134 (S.D. Cal. May 24, 2012). Until 28 such time as class certification in this case is resolved, the Court will not differentiate the causes of action for discovery purposes. 4 12cv0782 1 in the employment agreements are determined to be valid. Plaintiff 2 has at least as much, if not more, contact information than would have 3 been authorized by the Court. It would be grounds to deny the motion 4 that Plaintiff has the information that the Court would have otherwise 5 authorized. See Taylor v. Waddell & Reed, Inc., 2012 WL 5574876 (No. 6 09cv2909 S.D. Cal. April 27, 2012). The Court finds that Plaintiff 7 should be able to determine the feasibility of proceeding with a motion 8 for class certification with the information available to him. Conclusion 9 10 For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s motion to compel Defendants 11 to respond to Interrogatory No. 6 and identify the class members and 12 aggrieved employees is DENIED. 13 14 DATED: March 5, 2013 15 16 Hon. Mitchell D. Dembin U.S. Magistrate Judge 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5 12cv0782

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