Ninth Circuit Reverses Denial Of Class Cert. in Wal-Mart Assistant Manager Case
Paperboys Are Employees, not Contractors

Alan II Not Published

In Alan v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc. (2006) 131 Cal.App.4th 886, the Supreme Court reviewed the dismissal of an appeal and considered a discreet issue: Did the Statement of Decision and Minute Order dated January 2, 2003, trigger the 60-day period within which to notice an appeal under California Rules of Court, rule 8.104. They concluded that it did not, and so the case was remanded to the Court of Appeal for a review on the merits. On remand, in an unpublished opinion, they still ruled against the plaintiffs. Alan v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc. (2008 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 829).

As explained in Massachusetts Mutual, we will not disturb a trial court ruling on class certification which is supported by substantial evidence unless (1) improper criteria were used; or (2) erroneous legal assumptions were made. (Massachusetts Mutual, supra, 97 Cal.App.4th at p. 1287.)

In this case, we conclude that the trial court finding that Alan did not make a sufficient showing of class-wide damages is supported by substantial evidence and that the trial court did not use improper criteria or make erroneous legal assumptions. As noted by the trial court, Alan's exhibits failed to show commonality as to damages. Alan failed to present sufficient evidence that purported class members knew of the alleged service concealment or relied upon it and then suffered damages as a result of the reliance. Without awareness of the alleged concealment and a detrimental change of position because of the alleged concealment, there can be no injury. Thus, there are no facts showing a common injury. In conclusion, the trial court finding that commonality does not exist with respect to damages is supported by substantial evidence.

DISPOSITION The order is affirmed. Defendant Honda is awarded costs on appeal.

You can download the full text of the two earlier opinions in Alan v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc. here: the 2005 opinion and the Supreme Court opinion are still posted. Last week, the Supreme Court denied a request to publish. We last talked about it in January, 2007.

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