Court of Appeal Upholds Denial of Meal/Rest Class Action

The Court of Appeal gave a mixed bag of coal and presents to H.F. Cox, Inc. The court held that class certification should have been granted on an overtime claim and on whether a vacation policy violated California law. However, the court upheld the trial court's decision to deny certification on a meal and rest break claim.
The opinion is interesting because the overtime claim appears to involve a lot of individual issues regarding whether each truck driver was exempt under federal or state exemptions for truckers. But the court found no substantial evidence of individual issues.
The vacation claim is interesting because the plaintiffs should not win on the merits, because the trucking company's policy of paying a flat sum of vacation pay (rather than basing it on the plaintiffs' actual pay, is probably quite legal. So, class certification may be a hollow victory, since the defendant can bring a motion for summary judgment.
The meal period claim should warm the hearts of defense attorneys. The court had no trouble finding there substantial evidence of individual issues regarding whether and to what extent employees took meal breaks. There was no argument over whether they must be affirmatively "provided" or forced.
There was also a claim for off-the-clock work, for which certification was denied. Again, the court of appeal found substantial evidence that individual issues predominate.

The opinion, Bell v. Superior Court, is here.