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Logan v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

June 13, 2018

MICHAEL L. LOGAN, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD CO., a Delaware Corporation, Defendant. and GREGORY NEAL GONZALES, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS AND MOTION FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

          THOMAS O. RICE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         BEFORE THE COURT is Defendants BNSF and Union Pacific's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF No. 35) and a corresponding Motion for Judicial Notice (ECF No. 36). This matter was submitted for consideration with oral argument and a telephonic hearing was held on June 7, 2018. The Court has reviewed the record and files herein, and is fully informed. For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF No. 35) and Motion for Judicial Notice (ECF No. 36) are granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs Michael Logan and Gregory Gonzales, personally, and on behalf of others similarly situated, brought separate suits against Union Pacific Railroad Company and BNSF Railway Company, respectively. Nos. 4:17-CV-5193; 2:17-CV-0394-TOR. The Court consolidated the two cases, finding both cases involve identical issues of law and nearly identical issues of fact. Nos. 4:17-CV-5193, ECF No. 30; 2:17-CV-0394-TOR, ECF No. 30 at 4. In both suits Plaintiffs allege that Defendants failed to provide ten-minute rest periods to employees for every four hours of work as required by Washington Administrative Code § 296-126-092, and thus conclude Defendants must pay hourly and separate wages for the missed rest periods pursuant to Title 49, Chapter 12 of the Revised Code of Washington. Nos. 4:17-CV-5193, ECF No. 1-1 at 9-14, ¶¶ 12, 25-38; 2:17-CV-0394-TOR, ECF No. 1-1 at ¶¶ 1, 24-37.

         Defendants filed a Motion for Judicial Notice (ECF No. 36) and a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF No. 35), arguing the state law requiring rest periods is preempted by federal law as applied to railroad employees. Plaintiffs oppose the Motion. ECF No. 38. This Motion is now before the Court.

         REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

         Defendants request the Court take judicial notice pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 201 of:

1. Order entered on April 10, 2018 in Sumlin v. BNSF Railway Company, 5:17-CV-2364-JFW (KKx) (C.D. Cal. 2018), publicly available on the court's docket at entry number 66.
2. The Federal Railroad Administration's Hours of Service Compliance Manual-Freight Operations (Dec. 2013), publicly available on the website of the United States Department of Transportation at https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L04876.
3. The Federal Railroad Administration's Operating Practices Compliance Manual (Nov. 2012), publicly available on the website of the United States Department of Transportation at www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L04093.
4. The Federal Railroad Administration's Hours of Service Compliance Manual-Freight Operations (Dec. 2013), publicly available on the website of the United States Department of Transportation at www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L04876.
5. The Federal Railroad Administration's Operating Practices Compliance Manual (Nov. 2012), publicly available on the website of the United States Department of Transportation at www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L04093.
6. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries' web page entitled Rest & Meal Periods: What Are the Rest Break and Meal Period Requirements for Adult Workers?, publicly available on the website of the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries at https://www.lni.wa.gov/WorkplaceRights/Wages/HoursBreaks/Breaks/.

ECF No. 36 at 2. At the hearing, Plaintiffs stated they did not oppose the Motion for Judicial Notice, but dispute the precedential effect of the district court opinion.

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 201, “[a] court shall take judicial notice if requested by a party and supplied with the necessary information.” Fed.R.Evid. 201(d). “A judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to reasonable dispute in that it is . . . capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.” Fed.R.Evid. 201(b). Judicial notice is appropriate for “materials incorporated into the complaint or matters of public record.” Coto Settlement v. Eisenberg, 593 F.3d 1031, 1038 (9th Cir. 2010); see also Reyn's Pasta Bella, LLC v. Visa USA, Inc., 442 F.3d 741, 746 n.6 (9th Cir. 2006) (“We may take judicial notice of court filings and other matters of public record”). On motions for judgment on the pleadings, a court may take judicial notice of records and reports of administrative bodies. United States v. 14.02 Acres of Land More or Less in Fresno Cty., 547 F.3d 943, 955 (9th Cir. 2008) (quotation marks and citation omitted). Accordingly, the Court grants Defendant's request for judicial notice (ECF No. 36).

         DISCUSSION

         Defendants argue the Washington law regulating rest-periods is preempted by federal law as applied to railroad employees. Defendants put forward three arguments in favor of preemption. First, Defendants argue the rest-period claims are barred by field preemption, reasoning federal law occupies the field of hours of work and rest for railroad employees, and that Washington's rest-period laws intrude into this field. ECF No. 35 at 11-17. Second, Defendants argue the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) expressly preempts Plaintiffs' rest-period claims because the Washington law relates to railroad safety as applied to railroads. ECF No. 35 at 22-26. Third, Defendants argue the Adamson Act preempts Plaintiffs' rest-period claims because the Washington law mandates additional ...


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