Court Denies City’s motion to Decertify the Class in the Donning & Doffing Suit against LAPD

by | Aug 13, 2009

Court Denies City’s motion to Decertify the Class in the Donning & Doffing Suit against LAPD

Federal Central District Court Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank denied the motion made by the attorneys for the City of Los Angeles asking the Court to disband or ‘decertify’ the class of over 2,000 LAPD Officers who are part of the lawsuit seeking overtime pay for pre and post shift time spent donning, doffing and performing associated tasks related to the LAPD required uniform components and special protective gear. The lawsuit, Nunez et. al. v. City of Los Angeles, is being litigated for the large group of LAPD Officers, Sergeants and Lieutenants by Goyette & Associates along with Silver, Hadden, Silver, Wexler & Levine.
Attorneys for the City and LAPD made the motion to argue that the class of over 2,000 LAPD peace officers, who are members of the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) union and who joined the lawsuit, should be decertified or disbanded based on factual differences between the class members. Specifically, the City contended that the class members should not be considered ‘similarly situated’ to the five named Plaintiffs because of alleged differences in the location of the donning & doffing (at work versus at home), and differences in how some of the defenses being asserted by the City apply to the class members.
 The Court found, however, that the published case law cited by the City was distinguishable because it mostly involved decertification cases in which the employees were subject to different policies, enforced by different supervisors, which varied from store to store or office to office. Conversely, the Court found that the Plaintiffs and class members in the Nunez case were subject to one consistent LAPD policy: that pre and post shift time spent donning, doffing and performing activities associated with the required uniform and protective gear was not compensated by LAPD. The Court relied on decertification cases cited by Goyette & Associates and Silver, Hadden, Silver, Wexler & Levine which established that some factual differences between Plaintiffs and class members did not necessarily support class decertification, since the claims by class members did not have to be identical to those of the named Plaintiffs. Rather, the class members had to be ‘similarly situated’ to the named Plaintiffs.
With the Nunez class of over 2,000 LAPD peace officers intact, the lawsuit now moves forward to final motions regarding liability, and then likely on to the trial set for late January of next year. A ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal on a peace officer donning & doffing case from Arizona is expected in the coming months and may or may not affect the Nunez litigation. The Nunez lawsuit against LAPD is one of various donning & doffing class actions which Goyette & Associates is litigating for peace officers in California.

Papers used by a Sacramento Wage Claim Lawyer

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