Labor - Other Labor
MAURICE A. LEITER
KRISTIN S. ESCALANTE
THOMAS D. LONG
STUART M. RICE
GEORGE F. BIRD
VIEW HEIGHTS CONVALESCENT HOSPITAL
AMADA ENTERPRISES INC.
10/25/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: CONSOLIDATION OF 20STCV07994 AND 20CMCV00227) OF 10/25/2022
10/25/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: CONSOLIDATION OF 20STCV07994 AND 20CMCV00227)
10/20/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER: ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: DISMISSAL (SETTLEMENT)) OF 10/20/2022
10/20/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER: ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: DISMISSAL (SETTLEMENT))
9/22/2022: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice
8/11/2022: Order to Show Cause re: Dismissal (Settlement)
7/26/2022: Notice of Settlement
7/8/2022: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice
3/4/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)
2/17/2022: Case Management Statement
1/28/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE)
1/14/2022: Case Management Statement
1/14/2022: Case Management Statement
1/14/2022: Proof of Service by Mail
1/14/2022: Proof of Service by Mail
1/14/2022: Case Management Statement
11/30/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE)
11/29/2021: Proof of Service by Mail
DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement) scheduled for 12/05/2022 at 08:30 AM in Compton Courthouse at Department B Not Held - Vacated by Court on 10/25/2022[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketUpdated -- Edwin Aiwazian (Attorney): Organization Name: Lawyers for Justice, PC[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCase reassigned to Spring Street Courthouse in Department 1 - Hon. Stuart M. Rice[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketThe case is placed in special status of: Consolidation Required[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCase numbers 20STCV07994, 20CMCV00227 are related; case number 20STCV07994 is the lead case.[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketMinute Order (Court Order Re: Consolidation of 20STCV07994 and 20CMCV00227)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Consolidation of 20STCV07994 and 20CMCV00227) of 10/25/2022; Filed by: Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCase numbers 20STCV07994, and 20CMCV00227 consolidated; case number 20STCV07994 is the lead case.[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement) scheduled for 12/05/2022 at 08:30 AM in Compton Courthouse at Department B[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketMinute Order (Court Order: Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement))[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketUpdated -- Proof of Personal Service: As To Parties changed from View Heights Convalescent Hospital (Defendant) to View Heights Convalescent Hospital (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: Paulina Campos (Plaintiff); As to: View Heights Convalescent Hospital (Defendant); Service Cost Waived: No[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: Paulina Campos (Plaintiff); As to: Amada Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant); Proof of Mailing Date: 10/01/2020; Service Cost: 110.00; Service Cost Waived: No[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCase Management Conference scheduled for 03/10/2021 at 08:30 AM in Compton Courthouse at Department A[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by: Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCase assigned to Hon. Maurice A. Leiter in Department A Compton Courthouse[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketComplaint with Demand for Jury Trial; Filed by: Paulina Campos (Plaintiff); As to: Amada Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant); View Heights Convalescent Hospital (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Paulina Campos (Plaintiff); As to: Amada Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant); View Heights Convalescent Hospital (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Paulina Campos (Plaintiff); As to: Amada Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant); View Heights Convalescent Hospital (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Case Number: *******0227 Hearing Date: April 13, 2021 Dept: A
Campos v. Amada Enterprises, Inc.
Defendant’s Motion for Determination of a Jury Trial is GRANTED. The jury demand in Plaintiff’s complaint is stricken.
In the complaint, Plaintiff alleges a single cause of action under the Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (“PAGA Act”), codified at Labor Code ;; 2698, et seq. Plaintiff seeks civil penalties pursuant to Labor Code section 2699, subd. (a), (f), and (g), and attorneys’ fees and costs.
Plaintiff demands a jury trial. Defendant moves for a determination that a jury trial is not permitted in a PAGA action. Plaintiff opposes.
“Under California law, the right to a jury trial in a civil action may be afforded either by statute or by the California Constitution . . . .” Nationwide, supra, 9 Cal. 5th at 296-97.
There is no express statutory right to a jury trial in the PAGA Act. Instead, the language of the act makes clear that it is the court, not a jury, that is to determine whether to impose civil penalties, and if so, in what amount. For example, section 2699, subd. (e)(1) provides: “[W]henever the Labor and Workforce Development Agency . . . has discretion to assess a civil penalty, A COURT is authorized to exercise the same discretion . . . to assess a civil penalty.” (Emphasis added.) Similarly, subdivision (e)(2) provides in relevant party: “In any action by an aggrieved employee seeking recovery of a civil penalty available under subdivision (a) or (f), A COURT may award a lesser amount that the maximum civil penalty amount . . . if, based on the facts and circumstances of the particular case, to do otherwise would result in an award that is unjust, arbitrary and oppressive, or confiscatory.” (Emphasis added). Such language “clearly indicates that the amount of civil penalties is intended to be determined by the court,” and not by a jury. (Nationwide, supra, 9 Cal. 5th at 299 [interpreting similar language in the UCL].) The court concludes that there is no statutory right to a jury trial for these claims.
“[E]ven when the language and legislative history of a statute indicate that the Legislature intended that a cause of action established by the statute is to be tried by the court rather than by a jury, if the California constitutional jury trial provision itself guarantees a right to a jury trial in such a cause of action, the Constitution prevails and a jury trial cannot be denied.” (Id. at 315.) The Constitution guarantees the right to a jury trial only for “actions comparable to those legal causes of action in which the right to jury trial existed at the time of the first Constitution’s adoption in 1850 and does not apply to causes of action that are equitable in nature.” (Id. at 314-315.) “In determining whether the action was one triable by a jury at common law, the court is not bound by the form of the action but rather by the nature of the rights involved and the facts of a particular case – the gist of the action. A jury trial must be granted where the gist of the action is legal, and where the action is in reality cognizable at law.” (Id. at 315-16.) The right to a jury trial is “not strictly limited to those cases in which it existed” at the time of the first Constitution; instead, the court must consider whether the case is of “like nature” or of the “same class” as the common law action at law. (Id. at 315.)
To make this constitutional determination, the court must examine both the nature of the action and the remedy sought. (See, e.g., DiPirro v. Bondo Corp. (2007) 153 Cal. App. 4th 150, 180.)
Although the order has no value as precedent or authority, the court finds the reasoning in then-Judge Wiley’s order in Espinosa v. Bodycote Thermal Processing, et al., BC501617 relevant and helpful, and thus the court grants the request for judicial notice and considers it here. (See Jordache Enterprises, Inc. v. Brobeck, Phleger& Harrison (1988) 18 Cal. 4th 739, 748 n. 6 [court may consider another trial court’s order when it is relevant to and helpful to the dispute.) The court finds the reasoning in Justice Wiley’s order persuasive adopts the same reasoning here. As Justice Wiley ably explains, the nature of a PAGA claim is private assistance to a regulatory agency, which type of action did not exist in pre-1850 common law courts of law.
Plaintiff provides no authority for the proposition that anything comparable to a private attorney general action existed at common law in 1850. The court does not find a private attorney general action to be of the same nature as an action in which the government seeks to impose penalties directly. The court also notes that Plaintiff’s citation of and reliance on the Court of Appeal’s decision in Nationwide Biweekly Administration, Inc. (2018) 24 Cal. App. 5th 468 is wholly improper as the decision was reversed by the Supreme Court and is non-citable.
The court next considers the nature of the remedy that is sought. The court recognizes that in certain contexts the imposition of civil penalties could be a legal remedy. Here, however, the court has the discretion to determine the amount of the penalties to be imposed, based on the facts and circumstances of the particular case. “[T]his is the kind of calculation traditionally performed by judges rather than a jury and does not require a jury trial for that purpose in a civil action.” (DiPirro v. Bondo Corp. (2007) 153 Cal. App. 4th 150, 182). Further, the penalties here are not meant to be compensatory. (Id. at 183). Under such circumstances, a trial by jury is not guaranteed under the Constitution. (Id. at 184; see also Nationwide Biweekly Administration, Inc. v. Superior Court of Alameda County (2020) 9 Cal. 5th 279, 321-22 (citing approvingly and relying on that portion of the DiPirro decision.)
Finally, Plaintiff does not argue that it has the right to a jury trial on liability, with civil penalties to be decided by the court. Thus, the court does not have to reach the issue of whether the liability issues present legal issues that could be severed and tried before a jury, with any penalties to be determined by the court.
In sum, the court grants the motion. The demand for a jury trial is stricken.
Case Number: *******0227 Hearing Date: February 04, 2021 Dept: A
# 4. Paulina Campos v. Amada Enterprises, Inc., et al.
Case No.: *******0227
Matter on calendar for: Motion to strike
Plaintiff Paulina Campos brings this PAGA action alleging Defendants’ failure to pay overtime, provide meal periods, provide rest periods, pay minimum wages, timely pay wages upon termination, timely pay wages during employment, provide complete and accurate wage statements, keep complete and accurate payroll records, and reimburse necessary business-related expenses and costs.
The Complaint alleges a sole cause of action for violation of California Labor Code ; 2698, et seq.
Defendant Amada Enterprises, Inc. moves to strike the PAGA cause of action or, in the alternative, portions of it. Plaintiff opposes.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies the motion.
Any party, within the time allowed to respond to a pleading, may serve and file a notice of motion to strike the whole or any part of the pleading. (C.C.P., ; 435(b)(1); Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 3.1322(b).) The grounds for moving to strike must appear on the face of the pleading or by way of judicial notice. (C.C.P. ; 437.) The court may, upon a motion or at any time in its discretion and upon terms it deems proper: (1) strike out any irrelevant, false, or improper matter inserted in any pleading; or (2) strike out all or any part of the pleading not drawn or filed in conformity with the laws of California, a court rule, or an order of the court. (C.C.P., ;; 436(a)-(b); Stafford v. Schultz (1954) 42 Cal.2d 767, 782 [“matter in a pleading which is not essential to the claim is surplusage; probative facts are surplusage and may be stricken out or disregarded”].)
Defendant requests judicial notice of the California Labor & Workforce Agency (“LWDA”) on-line docket for LASC case number *******0227 (Exh. 1), and the charge to LWDA dated May 29, 2020 (Exh. 2.).
The request is GRANTED pursuant to Evidence Code ; 452(h) and because the LWDA letter is referenced in the Complaint at Paragraph 17. The Court may take judicial notice of material documents referred to in the allegations of the complaint (See, e.g., City of Port Hueneme v. Oxnard Harbor Dist. (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 511, 514.)
The Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) was enacted to remedy systemic under-enforcement of worker protections. (Lab. Code, ; 2698, et seq.) A PAGA action is subject to a one-year statute of limitations. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 340(a).) Proper notice of alleged Labor Code violation, to employer and to Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA), is a condition for a lawsuit under PAGA. (See Lab. Code, ; 2699.3; see also Caliber Bodyworks, Inc. v. Superior Court (2005) 134 Cal.App.4th 365, 374-376.) An employee may bring a civil lawsuit if LWDA either notifies the employee and employer that it does not intend to investigate or fails to respond within 60 days. (See Lab. Code, ; 2699.3(a)(2).) “The evident purpose of the notice requirement is to afford the relevant state agency, the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, the opportunity to decide whether to allocate scarce resources to an investigation, a decision better made with knowledge of the allegations an aggrieved employee is making and any basis for those allegations. Notice to the employer serves the purpose of allowing the employer to submit a response to the agency [citation], again thereby promoting an informed agency decision as to whether to allocate resources toward an investigation.” (Williams v. Superior Court (2017) 3 Cal.5th 531, 545-546.)
Nothing in the notice requirement statute “indicates the ‘facts and theories’ provided in support of the ‘alleged’ violations must satisfy a particular threshold of weightiness beyond the requirements of nonfrivolousness generally applicable to any civil filing. (See Code Civ. Proc., ; 128.7.)” (Williams, supra, 3 Cal.5th at 545-546.) In fact, “PAGA’s standing provision . . . contains no evidence of a legislative intent to impose a heightened preliminary proof requirement. Suit may be brought by any ‘aggrieved employee’ . . . defined as ‘any person who was employed by the alleged violator and against whom one or more of the alleged violations was committed. If the Legislature intended to demand more than mere allegations as a condition to the filing of suit or preliminary discovery, it would have specified as much.” (Id. at 546.)
Defendant argues that the PAGA letter is merely a string of legal conclusions and only recites California law. Defendant cites to federal cases that found PAGA letters to be insufficient where they only listed the statutes allegedly violated or recited the statutory requirements.
The Court finds that the letter here is factually sufficient under California law. It is not merely a recitation of the law or its requirements. For each violation, the letter provides factual allegations for the relevant time period. For example, in the reimbursement claim the letter states that the costs include, but are not limited to, the use of a personal cell phone for business-related purposes and the use of a personal vehicle for business-related purposes. (RJN, Exh. 2.) The PAGA letter in this case is adequate to put Defendants and LWDA on notice for potential investigation of Plaintiff’s claims.
Defendant’s argument that Plaintiff cannot obtain civil penalties for meal and rest break violations is without merit. The PAGA statute provides civil penalties for violations of Labor Code ;; 226.7 and 512. (Lab. Code ; 2699.5.)
Defendant’s argument regarding the right to a jury trial was not raised in the notice of motion. The Court does not address it at this time.
Plaintiff’s counsel admits that the stated date of the PAGA letter is incorrect; it was submitted a few days earlier. This error is inconsequential for purposes of this motion.
The motion to strike is denied.
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