Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc., 2012 WL 4098995 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012)

Plaintiffs Maria Ayala, Rosa Duran and Osman Nuñez sought to certify a class of newspaper home delivery carriers in a lawsuit brought against Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc. (“AVN”), alleging that AVN had improperly classified the carriers as independent contractors rather than employees in violation of California labor laws. The trial court denied class certification on the ground that there were numerous variations in how the carriers performed their jobs and that, therefore, common issues did not predominate. The Court of Appeal reversed in part and held that because all of the carriers perform the same job under virtually identical contracts, the variations constituted common evidence that tended to show AVN’s lack of control over certain aspects of the carriers’ work – and that the carriers were entitled to class certification on the independent contractor/employee issue. However, the Court affirmed denial of class certification of the carriers’ claims for missed meal and rest breaks and unpaid overtime. See also Tien v. Tenet Healthcare Corp., 209 Cal. App. 4th 1077 (2012) (denial of class certification for claims of missed meal and rest periods, waiting time penalties and pay stub violations affirmed in wake of Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004 (2012)).