That Other Case Related To Murphy
Review Denied in Best Buy

Albertson's Cert Denial Upheld

The Court of Appeal has affirmed an Alameda County Superior Court order denying certification in a misclassification claim brought on behalf of 900 Albertson's grocery managers, Dunbar v. Albertson's Inc.

Plaintiff Maurice Dunbar, a grocery manager for defendant Albertson's, Inc., seeks overtime compensation and other relief on the theory that defendant erroneously classified him as an executive employee exempt from the overtime wage laws. He appeals from the order denying his motion for certification of a class of defendant's grocery managers to pursue these same claims. He contends that the order must be reversed because the court failed to apply proper criteria, and neglected to perform necessary analysis, in deciding whether common questions were predominant in the case. We find no error in the court's determination of the matter and affirm the order.

The opinion is unpublished, but makes for interesting reading and, of course, reenforces the emerging rule that certification is within the trial judge's very broad discretion.

[Further comment] As one colleague pointed out today, this language provides very clear advice to the moving party in a certification motion:

It is not sufficient, in any event, simply to mention a procedural tool; the party seeking class certification must explain how the procedure will effectively manage the issues in question, and plaintiff has failed to do so here. (See Block v. Major League Baseball (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 538, 545 [court not required to consider subclasses when not given “a concrete proposal describing how such subclasses would be defined, how they would be administered, or how they would help the court deal with the complexities inherent in the proposed class”]; see generally Sav-On Drug Stores, Inc. v. Superior Court, supra, 34 Cal.4th at p. 326 [party seeking certification bears burden of establishing predominance of common questions]; Frieman v. San Rafael Rock Quarry, Inc., supra, 116 Cal.App.4th at p. 34 [moving party bears burden of demonstrating that substantial benefits will result from class certification].)

At the same time, this language may prove quite persuasive in overcoming the old objection seeking to exclude ANY "merits-based" discovery.



If you agree the case contains good advice, you should send a letter requesting publication. I know several firms are doing just that.

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