Brown v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 2018 WL 5629874 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018)

Terri Brown brought a representative action against her employer, Ralphs Grocery Company, under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”), alleging wage and hour violations. In 2009, Brown filed a notice with the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (“LWDA”) as required under PAGA and also filed her complaint alleging PAGA violations. When Brown filed a second amended complaint alleging new violations of the Labor Code, Ralphs successfully moved for judgment on the pleadings on the ground that the 2009 LWDA notice was deficient. In March 2016, Brown amended the 2009 notice and filed a third amended complaint. Ralphs successfully demurred on the ground that the PAGA claims were barred because the 2009 notice was deficient and the 2016 notice and third amended complaint were filed more than five years after the expiration of the statute of limitations. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that part of the 2009 notice was adequate but that Brown’s later-added PAGA claims did not comply with the applicable notice requirements and were time-barred. See also Atempa v. Pedrazzani, 27 Cal. App. 5th 809 (2018) (employees had standing to recover civil penalties under PAGA from individual owner/president/secretary/director of employer).