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Slack v. Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

November 20, 2013

TROY SLACK, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
SWIFT TRANSPORTATION CO. OF ARIZONA, LLC, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION

BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Troy Slack, Eric Dublinski, Richard Erickson, Sean P. Forney, Jacob Grismer, Timothy Helmick, Henry M. Ledesma, Scott Praye, Gary H. Roberts, and Dennis Stuber's ("Plaintiffs") motion for class certification (Dkt. 40). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants in part and denies in part the motion for the reasons stated herein.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On September 9, 2011, Plaintiffs filed an amended class action complaint in the Pierce County Superior Court for the State of Washington. Dkt. 1, ¶ 5. Plaintiffs assert six causes of action: (1) violation of Washington state minimum wage laws; (2) violation of Washington state laws regarding payment of wages less than entitled; (3) failure to provide meal and rest breaks as required by Washington law; ( 4) willful refusal to pay wages, in violation of Washington law; ( 5) violation of Washington State Consumer Protection Act; and ( 6) unpaid wages on termination, in violation of Washington law. Id., ¶ 7.

On October 12, 2011, Defendant Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC ("Swift") removed the matter to this Court. Id.

On June 28, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification. Dkt. 40. On August 2, 2013, Slack responded. Dkt. 57. On August 23, 2013, Plaintiffs replied. Dkt. 82.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The facts are straightforward. Plaintiffs are truck drivers employed by Swift. Swift assigned Plaintiffs and other drivers to one of two terminals in Washington: Grandview or Sumner. Plaintiffs allege that they were not fully compensated, according to Washington law, for the hours that they were employed.

III. DISCUSSION

Plaintiffs move the Court to certify a class under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a) and (b). Dkt. 40. Plaintiffs' proposed class is as follows:

All current and former Swift employee interstate drivers who were assigned by Swift to a Washington position and/or terminal after July 18, 2008; and,
(1) Who were paid by the mile and worked in excess of forty hours in a week; or,
(2) Who participated in and completed Swift's new driver Orientation Program in a Washington location; or,
(3) Who participated in and completed Swift's student/mentor Intruck Training Program before November 12, 2012, while assigned to a Washington position and/or terminal; or,
(4) Who participated in Swift's Per Diem program for mileage-based drivers.

Id. at 8.

Swift attacks the commonality and typicality elements of Rule 23(a) and contends that Plaintiffs have failed to propose an adequate trial plan. Dkt. 57 at 9. Specifically, Swift argues that certification is not possible for eight reasons: (1) Plaintiffs' claims cannot be certified because determining who is subject to Washington laws is not tied to terminal assignment; (2) there is no common evidence of class-wide ...


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