United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on the parties' submissions
regarding the impact of a Washington Supreme Court Advisory
Opinion on this Court's Class Certification Order, which
denied Plaintiff Michael Brady's (“Mr. Brady”
or “Plaintiff”) Motion for Class Certification.
Dkt. ## 80-85. After consideration of the parties'
briefing, the Opinion from the Washington Supreme Court, the
record and pleadings in this case, and this Court's
previous Orders, this Court declines to amend its prior Class
Certification Order. Based on the record before it, the Court
finds that Mr. Brady still has not met his burden to show
that common issues of law or fact predominate to make class
action the superior vehicle.
the Court will not disturb its prior Order denying class
certification. This Order also concludes with a deadline for
the parties to issue another joint statement on a schedule
for trying Mr. Brady's individual claims.
September 2013, Plaintiff Michael Brady filed an Amended
Class Action Complaint in state court seeking unpaid wages
for meal breaks that Defendants allegedly withheld from
employees. Dkt. # 1. In response, Defendants sought removal
to a federal venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d).
Id. Mr. Brady later moved this Court to certify a
class. Dkt. # 23. Mr. Brady moved to certify the following
Class 1: All former and current hourly-paid AutoZone
store employees who worked more than five hours in a day but
did not receive a meal break within five hours of the start
of their shifts, for the period of September 25, 2010, to the
date of the Class Notice.
Class 2: All former and current hourly-paid AutoZone
store employees who worked more than five hours after the
conclusion of a meal break but did not receive a second meal
break within five hours after the conclusion of the first
meal break, for the period of December 12, 2009, to the date
of the Class Notice.
Id. Mr. Brady relied primarily on establishing a
classwide basis for liability through the use of certain
AutoZone time-card data, which would track whether an
employee punched out after a period of five hours. See,
e.g., Dkt. # 23 at 10-13. After a thorough review of the
relevant law and record before it, the Court concluded that
Mr. Brady had failed to carry his burden under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) to show that (1) common questions
of law and fact predominated over questions affecting
individual members, and (2) that a class action was superior
to other means to adjudicate the controversy. Dkt. # 62. The
Court expressly denied the notion that Washington has adopted
a strict liability approach to the taking of meal breaks, as
Mr. Brady suggested. Id. at 9. In doing so, the
Court found that class certification would be inappropriate
considering the individuality component and unique fact
scenarios associated with each potential violation of the
meal break statute. Id. at 11. Accordingly, the
Court denied Mr. Brady's motion for class certification.
Brady sought review of this denial in the Ninth Circuit Court
of Appeals, but that court would not permit Mr. Brady to
appeal the decision. Dkt. ## 63, 67. Instead of moving
forward with his individual claims, Mr. Brady moved to
certify two questions to the Washington Supreme Court: (1)
whether monetary damages are available for violations of WAC
296-126-092; and (2) whether a plaintiff must show the reason
for why he did not receive a timely meal break in order to
prove a violation of WAC 296-126-092. Dkt. # 68.
Court granted Mr. Brady's motion to certify in part, but
certified two different questions for the Washington Supreme
1. Is an employer strictly liable under WAC 296-126-092?
2. If an employer is not strictly liable under WAC
296-126-092, does the employee carry the burden to prove that
his employer did not permit the employee an opportunity to
take a meaningful break as required by WAC 296-126-092?
Dkt. # 73. The Washington Supreme Court ruled that the answer
to the first question was “no, ” because
employees may waive their meal breaks. Brady v. AutoZone
Stores, Inc., 188 Wn.2d 576, 582 (2017). As to the
second question, the Washington Supreme Court stated that
“an employee asserting a meal break violation under WAC
296-126-092 can meet his or her prima facie case by providing
evidence that he or she did not receive a timely meal
break.” Brady, 188 Wn.2d at 584. Once this