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Slack v. Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

July 9, 2018

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

          ORDER DENYING PARTIES' MOTIONS ON THE SCOPE OF THE OVERTIME CLASS AND REQUESTING JOINT STATUS REPORT ON PROCEDURE FOR AMENDING CLASS CERTIFICATION

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on the parties' motions and responses regarding the overtime claim dispute (Dkts. 295, 297, 298, 300). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the file and hereby rules as follows:

         I. PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On March 1, 2007, the Washington Supreme Court issued its decision in Bostain v. Food Express, Inc., 159 Wn.2d 700 (2007). The court concluded that a “Washington-based” driver was entitled to overtime under Washington's Minimum Wage Act (“MWA”), RCW Chapter 49.46, even if the driver worked some of his or her hours out of state. Id. at 724 (“The overtime provisions of RCW 49.46.130 apply to all hours worked by a Washington-based truck driver engaged in interstate transportation, whether within Washington State or outside the state.”). The court also warned that “[e]mployers will need to identify those employees who are subject to Washington's MWA and keep track of total hours.” Id. at 719.

         On July 18, 2011, Plaintiff Troy Slack (“Slack”) filed a class action complaint against Defendant Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC (“Swift”) in the Pierce County Superior Court for the State of Washington. Dkt. 3 at 4-17. Slack alleged that he was a resident of Washington and worked for Swift. Id. ¶ 3.1. He also alleged that his base terminal was located in Washington. Id.

         On September 9, 2011, Slack filed an amended class action complaint adding Plaintiffs Richard Erickson, Jacob Grismer, and Scott Praye. Id. at 20-34. The new plaintiffs alleged that they worked for Swift and that their base terminal was in Washington. Id. ¶¶ 3.2-3.4.

         On October 12, 2011, Swift removed the matter to this Court. Id.

         On May 16, 2012, Plaintiffs Richard Erickson, Jacob Grismer, Scott Praye, and Slack filed a second amended class action complaint adding Plaintiffs Gary Roberts, Robert Ulrich, Henry Ledesma, Timothy Helmick, Dennis Stuber, Eric Dublinski and Sean Forney (collectively “Plaintiffs”). Dkt. 29. Relevant to the instant motion, Plaintiffs alleged a class as follows:

All current and former Washington based employees who at anytime worked in excess of 40 hours in a week and whose duties include or have included participating in orientation and training as well as independently driving freight trucks while being paid under a mileage based compensation system.

Id. ¶ 4.1. Plaintiffs asserted numerous claims, including a claim that Swift failed “to compensate Plaintiffs for their employment in excess of 40 hours per week at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay at which they were employed, or the reasonable equivalent thereto, ” in violation of the MWA. Id. ¶ 8.3.

         On June 28, 2013, Plaintiff moved to certify the class and proposed an initial definition of “Washington-based driver” as applied to the overtime claim 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; . . . .

Dkt. 40 at 8. In support of this definition, Plaintiffs asserted as follows:

The above criteria allow for relatively easy identification of the class members using Swift's own work records. Swift's management personnel and named Plaintiffs have agreed that drivers assigned to a Washington terminal are assigned specific position numbers or codes which are used by Swift's central payroll department. Corporate representative Sarah Koogle, the payroll project leader for Swift, testified that she was able to use a position code as “selection criteria of identifying drivers who were - work-or based out of a Washington location” for the last four years. Whether a driver exceeded forty hours of drive-time in any given week can be determined by ...

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