Hernandez v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., 189 Cal.App.4th 751 (2010)

Rogelio Hernandez worked as a non-exempt employee at Chipotle Mexican Grill. In this putative class action, Hernandez alleged that Chipotle violated California wage and hour law by failing to ensure that its employees took their meal breaks. The trial court granted Chipotle’s motion to deny class certification and to strike the class allegations on the ground that individual issues predominated over common issues and class treatment was not superior to individual actions. The trial court determined that individual inquiry was required to determine Chipotle’s alleged liability because “even if an employee’s time record indicated a break was missed, that in and of itself did not establish that Chipotle failed to provide, authorize or permit the employee to take a meal or rest break.” The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding the trial court had applied the proper legal analysis (predicting a similar result from the California Supreme Court in the still pending Brinker/Brinkley cases) and finding substantial evidence that individual issues predominated. See also Villacres v. ABM Indus., Inc., 2010 WL 4142264 (Cal. Ct. App. 2010) (PAGA claim filed after settlement and dismissal of wage and hour class action was barred by res judicata).