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Doty v. Watkins and Shepard Trucking, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

April 5, 2019

TOM DOTY, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
WATKINS AND SHEPARD TRUCKING, INC., a Montana corporation, and DOES 1-10, inclusive, Defendant.

          INDIA LIN BODIEN LAW OFFICES OF INDIA BODIEN, ESQ., CRAIG J. ACKERMANN, BRIAN DENLINGER, ACKERMANN & TILAJEF, P.C.ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF TOM DOTY

          KASEY D. HUEBNER, MILLS MEYERS SWARTLING, MATTHEW C. KANE, AMY E. BEVERLIN, MCGUIREWOODS LLP ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENDANT WATKINS AND SHEPARD TRUCKING, INC.

         STIPULATED MOTION AND ORDER STAYING CASE PENDING (1) WASHINGTON SUPREME COURT'S RESOLUTION OF CERTIFIED QUESTION IN SAMPSON v. KNIGHT TRANSPORTATION, INC. AND (2) NINTH CIRCUIT'S DECISION IN INTERNATIONAL BROTHERS OF TEAMSTERS, LOCAL 2785 v. FMCSA

          RONALD B. LEIGHTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         RECITALS

         WHEREAS, on or about February 25, 2019, Plaintiff TOM DOTY (“Plaintiff”) filed the operative putative Class Action Complaint for Unpaid and Wrongfully Withheld Wages (the “Complaint”) in this action in the Superior Court of the State of Washington in and for Pierce County [Dkt. #1-1 (Exh. A)];

         WHEREAS, on March 28, 2019, Defendant WATKINS AND SHEPARD TRUCKING, INC. (“Defendant”) removed Plaintiff's above-described state court action to this Court [Dkt. #1] invoking the subject matter jurisdiction of this Court under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), which the parties agree is properly invoked in this action;

         Plaintiff's Putative On-Duty, Not-Driving Claims

         WHEREAS, in his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges, inter alia, that in Carranza v. Dovex Fruit Co., 190 Wash.2d 612 (2018) (“Carranza”), the Washington Supreme Court “held that employers who pay agricultural workers on a piece-rate basis must compensate the workers on a separate hourly basis for time spent performing activities that are outside the scope of the piece rate picking work” and that “Defendant's piece-rate compensation system is virtually indistinguishable from the piece rate scheme in Carranza” [Dkt. #1-1, ¶ 16];

         WHEREAS, in his Complaint, Plaintiff further alleges that, in Sampson v. Knight Transportation, Inc., 2018 WL 2984825, at *8-9 (W.D. Wash. June 14, 2018) (Coughenour, J.), the court “recogniz[ed] that while … non-productive time claims were previously denied [class] certification” and the grounds that such claims were not cognizable under Washington law, the court's prior holdings were “called into question by the Washington Supreme Court's recent ruling in Caranza [sic]” [Dkt. #1-1, ¶ 16];

         WHEREAS, based upon Plaintiff's interpretation of Carranza and Sampson, the Complaint asserts causes of action for (1) Violations of RCW 49.46.020, 090 for Failure to Pay Minimum Wage for All Hours Worked, (2) Violation of RCW 49.52.050(2) for Failure to Satisfy Wage Obligations Assumed Through Contract, and (3) Double Damages for Willful and Intentional Withholding of Wages Pursuant to RCW 49.52.050, 070 stemming therefrom [id., ¶¶ 39-52];

         WHEREAS, in support of his Second and Third Causes of Action, Plaintiff alleges that “Defendant paid its truck drivers on a piece-rate scheme under which it did not compensate truck drivers separately and hourly, or at all, for … non-driving tasks as required under Washington law, ” including, but not limited to, “all detention time and time associated with pre and post-trip inspections, ” and asserts that “Plaintiff seeks relief on a class-wide basis for unpaid wages for … all work performed” [id., ¶¶ 2-3; see also id, at ¶¶ 13, 16-17, 42, 47];

         WHEREAS, in Sampson, 2018 WL 2984825, at *8, currently pending but stayed in this District, the plaintiffs similarly contend that the defendant's piece-rate compensation scheme violates Washington's Minimum Wage Act (the “MWA”) because “drivers are not paid minimum wage for the time they spend conducting pre-trip inspections, completing paperwork, loading and unloading the truck, and refueling”;

         WHEREAS, in Sampson, 2018 WL 2984825, at *9, the Court recognized that “[c]ourts in this district … have previously held that Plaintiffs' on-duty, not driving claim are not cognizable under Washington law, ” but it reasoned that “these prior holdings are called into question by the Washington Supreme Court's recent ruling in [Carranza], ” on the grounds that the Washington Supreme Court's “interpretation of the MWA would seem to apply to all employers, ” not just agricultural workers;

         WHEREAS, the district court in Sampson “conclude[d] that the law underlying Plaintiffs' on duty, not driving claim is not clearly determined, and that the Washington Supreme Court is in a better position than this Court to answer this question, ” see id., and therefore certified the following question to the Washington Supreme Court: “Does the Washington Minimum Wage Act require non-agricultural ...


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