Wednesday, November 30, 2005

C.D. Cal. Publishes Opinion Certifying 23(b)(2) Class Alleging Labor Law Violations

Judge Consuelo B. Marshall in Wang v. Chinese Daily News, Inc.,--- F.R.D. ----, 2005 WL 3148239 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 20, 2005) just published an opinion from last January certifying a group of plaintiffs seeking both injunctive and monetary relief as a Rule 23(b)(2) class. Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, filed the suit alleging multiple labor violations by Defendant Chinese Daily News, Inc. pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the California Business and Professions Code § 17200 et seq. and the California Labor Code. The case is interesting because of its thorough analysis of each of the requirements for class certification under Rule 23(a) and its analysis of the case both under Rule 23(b)(2) and Rule 23(b)(3). The (b)(3) damages class analysis was offered solely as an alternate ground for certification in the event an appellate court disagrees with the court's certification under Rule 23(b)(2).

In this case, numerosity was questioned by the defendant because the plaintiffs numbered only 160 employees of the defendant. The court however had no difficulty finding the numerosity requirement satisfied. The propriety of certifying the class under Rule 23(b)(2) was also questioned given the fact that plaintiffs sought significant monetary damages (unpaid overtime, statutory penalties, attorneys' fees, and costs) in addition to injunctive relief. The court thought differently, holding that the monetary relief sought did not predominate over the signficance of the injunctive relief sought. Thus, Rule 23(b)(2) certification was deemed appropriate, although in light of the presence of substantial monetary damages claims, the Court ordered that notice and an opportunity to opt out be given to class members consistent with Rule 23(c)(2)(B).


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