California Labor &
Employment Law Blog

Feb. 22 2011

Court Follows Logic of Brinker in Denying Class Certification

Topics: Class Actions, Court Decisions, Wage & Hour Issues

Another California court has followed the logic of Brinker, in holding that employers need only provide their employees the opporunity to take a lunch break and need not ensure that such breaks are taken. In Tien v. Tenet Healthcare, class certification was denied in a case alleging claims for failure to provide meal and rest breaks. The court held that individual issues predominated over common issues because the evidence demonstrated there could be numerous individualized reasons why a meal or rest break was not taken on a given day, and the mere fact that time records revealed missed breaks was not enough to establish liability. Even though the Brinker and Brinkley cases are pending review by the California Supreme Court on the issue of what it means to “provide” a meal period, the Court of Appeal held that the trial court was permitted to follow the logic and reasoning of these cases in determining the propriety of class certification.

The Tien case is another in the line of recent cases showing a trend of courts in following the logic of Brinker/Brinkley. In the meantime, California employers continue to await the California Supreme Court’s definitive ruling on the issue.

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For over 20 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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About the Editor

Robin Largent has a regular presence in California state and federal courts and has been lead defense counsel and appellate counsel for large and small California employers in litigation (and arbitration) ranging from individual discrimination and harassment claims to complex wage and hour representative and class actions. She also leads the firm’s appellate practice, having substantial experience and success handling appeals, writ petitions, and amicus briefs in both state and federal court on issues such as class certification (particularly in the wage and hour arena), manageability and due process concerns associated with class action trials, exempt/non-exempt misclassification issues, meal and rest break compliance, trade secret/unfair competition matters, and the scope of federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.
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