PAGA Judgment Is Mostly Affirmed In Employee's Favor

Thurman v. Bayshore Transit Mgmt., Inc., 2012 WL 604037 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012)

Leander Thurman sued Bayshore for alleged violations of the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 ("PAGA") and the Unfair Competition Law and, following a bench trial, a judgment was entered imposing civil penalties, including unpaid wages, against Bayshore in the total amount of $358,588 and awarding Thurman restitution in the amount of $28,605. Both sides appealed, and the Court of Appeal generally affirmed the judgment except it reversed the trial court's award for missed meal periods after July 2003 because Thurman's complaint contained judicial admissions that defendants had provided meal periods as required since that date. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's orders denying a continuance of the trial; denying Thurman's motion to certify the case as a class action; denying PAGA penalties under a wage order (as opposed to a statute); reducing defendants' civil penalties by 30 percent because they had attempted to comply with the law; awarding underpaid wages as part of a civil penalty; and permitting PAGA penalties for missed rest periods. See also Bridgeford v. Pacific Health Corp., 202 Cal. App. 4th 1034 (2012) (unnamed putative members of a class that was never certified are not bound by collateral estoppel, and PAGA claims should not have been dismissed); Pickett v. Superior Court, 203 Cal. App. 4th 887 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012) (two related PAGA cases were not "one action" for purposes of a Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 170.6 peremptory challenge to the judge).

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