Last week a California federal judge shot down a motion for class certification in an overtime suit against Lockheed Martin Corp., saying that the proposed class of industrial security representatives was too diverse in their actual duties to be certified.
Judge Michael M. Anello wrote the order denying class certification. He based his decision primarily on the plaintiffs’ inability to meet the FRCP Rule 23(b) requirement that common issues predominate.
Basically, plaintiffs argued all putative class members were public- safety employees who were entitled to overtime. Judge Anello wasn’t convinced. He found that the plaintiffs hadn’t put on evidence that all the putative class members were engaged in the same type of work. He then focused on defendant’s argument that each putative class member had different job duties depending on which project they were assigned to in denying certification.
The lesson is, do your discovery on Rule 23 criteria early and thoroughly. Plaintiffs have the burden and, if you forget that fact, the judge will happily remind you.
Bill Daniels is a trial lawyer and shareholder with the law firm of DANIELS LAW in Sherman Oaks, CA. A graduate of Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, he is a former member of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles Board of Governors, a founding member of Loyola’s Civil Justice Program and a past president of the Encino Lawyers Association. Since 2007, he has been named a Southern California “Super Lawyer” by Los Angeles Magazine. Mr. Daniels focuses his practice on serious personal injury, insurance and employment. For information, visit our website at www.daniels.legal or contact us through e-mail: Info@danielslaw.com.