Sali v. Corona Reg’l Med. Ctr., 2018 WL 2049680 (9th Cir. 2018)

Marilyn Sali and Deborah Spriggs sued Corona Regional Medical Center on behalf of seven putative classes of registered nurses who were allegedly underpaid their wages; not paid for all overtime hours worked; and not provided accurate wage statements, among other things. The district court denied class certification on the grounds that plaintiffs could not satisfy the predominance requirement of FRCP 23(b)(3); the typicality requirement of Rule 23(a) because plaintiffs failed to submit admissible evidence of their injuries; Spriggs was not an adequate class representative; and plaintiffs’ counsel could not adequately serve as class counsel. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court and held that “at this preliminary stage,” plaintiffs were not required to submit admissible evidence in support of their motion to certify the class: “By relying on formalistic evidentiary objections, the district court unnecessarily excluded proof that tended to support class certification.” The Court further held that despite what the district court characterized as plaintiffs’ attorneys’ “lax approach” in gathering and preparing declarations, they could adequately serve as class counsel. Finally, the Court held that the district court’s determination that individual questions predominated was based on multiple errors of law.