Ricardo Bermudez Vaquero, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., A Wisconsin Corporation; Stoneledge Furniture, LLC, a Wisconsin Limited Liability Corporation, Defendants-Appellants.
Submitted May 24, 2016 [*] Pasadena, California
from the United States District Court for the Central
District of California Percy Anderson, District Judge,
Presiding, No. 2:12-cv-08590-PA-MAN
Kevin Lilly and Scott M. Lidman, Littler Mendelson, P.C., Los
Angeles, California, for Defendants-Appellants.
Michael D. Singer and Jeff Geraci, Cohelan Khoury &
Singer, San Diego, California; Kevin T. Barnes and Gregg
Lander, Law Offices of Kevin T. Barnes, Los Angeles,
California; Raphael Katri, Law Offices of Raphael A. Katri,
Beverly Hills, California; Michael Rubin, Altshuler Berzon
LLP, San Francisco, California; for Plaintiff-Appellee.
Before: Susan P. Graber and Ronald M. Gould, Circuit Judges,
and Wiley Y. Daniel, [**] Senior District Judge.
panel affirmed the district court's order granting class
certification under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 to a plaintiff
representing a class of former and current sales associates
of Stoneledge Furniture, LLC, alleging violations of
California's minimum wage and hour laws.
panel held that plaintiff established commonality, as
required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a), and the district court
permissibly concluded that plaintiff pleaded a common injury
capable of class-wide resolution. The panel also held that
plaintiff established the predominance of class claims, as
required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3); and the district court
permissibly ruled that individual claims did not predominate
in this case. Finally, the panel held that class
certification did not alter the parties' substantive
rights, and the district court did not violate the Rules
Enabling Act in certifying the class.
GRABER, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Stoneledge Furniture, LLC, pays its sales associates only on
commission but, it is alleged, requires sales associates to
do many tasks that are unrelated to sales. Plaintiff Ricardo
Bermudez Vaquero, a former sales associate, asserts that this
policy violates California's minimum wage and hour laws.
He sued Stoneledge Furniture and its parent company,
Defendant Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., on his own
behalf and also moved to represent 605 former and current
sales associates as a class. The district court granted class
certification under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. We
affirm that decision in this interlocutory appeal.
Furniture is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ashley Furniture
Industries. At the time the district court granted class
certification, Stoneledge operated 14 retail furniture stores
in California and employed about 600 sales associates, who
primarily sold furniture and accessories to Stoneledge's
customers. Stoneledge paid its sales associates on
worked as a sales associate at Stoneledge from 2010 to 2012.
He alleges that Stoneledge requires sales associates to
perform many tasks unrelated to sales, for example, cleaning
the store, attending meetings, and carrying furniture.
According to Vaquero, Stoneledge does not pay its sales
associates for such work, beyond what they earn in
commissions, and this policy violates California wage and
initially filed this action in state court in California and
sought class certification. Under the Class Action Fairness
Act of 2005, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2), Defendants removed
the case to federal court, and Vaquero moved to be named a
class representative. He asked to represent four subclasses,
three of which were derivative of the first: (1) a class of
all California sales associates employed from August 24,
2008, to the present who were paid less than minimum wage for
non-sales time worked; (2) sales associates who were not
provided with itemized wage statements; (3) former sales
associates who were not paid all wages due at separation; and
(4) sales associates who were subject to unlawful business
practices. Vaquero introduced pay plans and policies, along
with declarations from putative class ...