Sunday, November 24, 2013

In re Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Overtime Pay Litigation case brief

In re Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Overtime Pay Litigation case brief summary
527 F.Supp. 2d 1053 (N.D. Cal. 2007)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiffs, current and former non-California home mortgage consultants (HMC), filed a motion for Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 class certification in multidistrict litigation against defendant employer to pursue claims for restitution under California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq. Plaintiffs also moved for collective action certification pursuant to29 U.S.C.S. § 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

CASE FACTS
Plaintiffs claimed that defendant violated FLSA overtime requirements Plaintiffs sought damages under FLSA and restitution under UCL which provided for such recovery predicated on an alleged violation of FLSA. Plaintiffs presented the common questions of whether HMCs were properly classified as "exempt," whether defendant's conduct emanated from California, whether defendant willfully failed to comply with FLSA, and whether defendant acted in good faith in classifying HMCs as exempt. The court found that plaintiffs satisfied the requirements of Rule 23(a) and (b)(3).

DISCUSSION

  • Although defendant's declarations raised serious questions regarding individual variations among HMC job duties and experiences, the court found that common factual and legal issues related to defendant's uniform policies nonetheless predominated. 
  • Case management techniques tipped the balance in favor of class treatment. 
  • Conditional certification under § 216(b) was appropriate because plaintiffs showed that defendant's policy and practice related to HMC compensation was uniform for all putative class members. 
  • Concurrent certification was proper because defendant did to show substantial opposition to class treatment.

CONCLUSION
The court granted plaintiffs' motion to certify pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3) but denied the motion to certify pursuant to Rule 23(b)(2) and Rule 23(c)(4)(A). The court also granted plaintiffs' motion to certify a collective action under the FLSA.

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