The Supreme Court today denied review of an unpublished opinion of the Fourth District Court of Appeal adhering to La Sala v. American Savings & Loan Association (1971) 5 Cal.3d 864 and its minimum standards for dismissing a yet-to-be-certified class action where the lead plaintiff is determined to be unsuitable to continue to represent the class.
In Andrade v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., the lead plaintiff accepted his share of a settlement in a related class action which addressed the claims of only part of the class that he had sought to represent. The defendant brought a motion to dismiss, and another putative class member simultaneously sought to intervene or join the suit as class representative in an amended complaint. The class urged the trial court to follow La Sala, which held that, if a court concludes that the plaintiff can no longer represent the class, "it should at least afford plaintiffs the opportunity to amend their complaint, to redefine the class, or to add new individual plaintiffs, or both, in order to establish a suitable representative." However, the trial court chose not to follow La Sala, and dismissed the action, holding that putative class members have no right to intervene in or amend the pleadings in an action which has not yet been certified. On appeal, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's order in full, and remanded with instructions to file the proposed first amended complaint.
The petition for review sought to make it significantly easier for defendants to obtain dismissals of class actions before a certification hearing and without any adjudication on the merits of the cases. A letter brief joining in the request for review was filed on Dollar Tree's behalf by the California Employment Law Council, an employment defense organization headed by the law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP.
Any current or former retail store workers at any California Dollar Tree store can get more information by contacting us here. We'll be posting copies of the Supreme Court briefs on our website dollartreeclassaction.com within the next few days.