Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Serv., Inc., 2014 WL 3965240 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014)

Colin Cochran filed this putative class action on behalf of himself and 1,500 similarly situated customer service managers who were not reimbursed for expenses pertaining to the work-related use of their personal cell phones.  The trial court denied class certification to the putative class based upon a lack of commonality because “individualized inquiries of the class members’ cell phone plans and payments are necessary to determine liability.”  The Court of Appeal reversed on the ground that reimbursement is always required regardless of whether the employees incurred an extra expense that they would not otherwise have incurred absent the job.  “Thus, to be in compliance with [Labor Code] section 2802, the employer must pay some reasonable percentage of the employee’s cell phone bill.”  The Court conceded that “[d]amages, of course, raise issues that are more complicated.”  See also Hendershot v. Ready to Roll Transport, 2014 WL 3956777 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014) (trial court improperly considered the merits of defendant’s affirmative defenses in concluding that putative class lacked numerosity).