Narouz v. Charter Communications, LLC, 591 F.3d 1261 (9th Cir. 2010)

Hani Narouz filed a complaint against Charter Communications in which he alleged causes of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, as well as statutory violations of the California Labor Code for failure to pay wages, provide meal periods, maintain accurate itemized wage statements, and unfair competition under Business & Professions Code § 17200. The wage claims were asserted as a putative class action on behalf of Charter’s non-exempt employees. Following extensive discovery and a mediation, Narouz settled his individual claims. After settling his own claims, Narouz filed a motion to certify the class for settlement purposes, which was denied by the district court because it could not “ascertain a class.” Narouz subsequently appealed the denial of class certification, and the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court, holding that when a class representative voluntarily settles his or her individual claims but specifically retains a personal stake in a putative class action, he or she retains jurisdiction to appeal the denial of class certification. The Ninth Circuit also held the district court erred by failing to certify a class for settlement purposes. See also Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. ___, 130 S. Ct. 1181 (2010) (“nerve center” approach used to determine company’s principal place of business for purposes of establishing diversity in removed case).