Parris v. Superior Court, 109 Cal. App. 4th 285 (2003)

Cynthia Parris and Willie Lopez filed a class action lawsuit against Lowe’s H.I.W., Inc., alleging violations of California’s wage and hour laws regarding allegedly unpaid overtime compensation that was owed to employees who were compelled to work “off the clock.” Parris and Lopez then filed a motion for leave to communicate with potential class members prior to class certification and to compel discovery of the names and addresses of potential class members. The trial court denied both motions. The Court of Appeal issued a writ of mandate, compelling the trial court to vacate its orders denying the motions, on the ground that pre-certification communication such as that sought in this case was protected by the First Amendment and the California Constitution. The Court further held the trial court should have engaged in a balancing procedure regarding the request for names and addresses whereby it weighed the potential abuses against the rights of the parties, including the potential class members.