Ninth Circuit OKs Preemptive Decertification

Remember Countrywide? They had external home loan consultants, or HLCs, whom they classified as "outside sales" exempt. A couple of HLCs filed a class action. Countrywide filed a motion to decertify the class before plaintiffs moved for certification. The trial court granted Countrywide's motion, essentially refusing to certify the class. The Ninth Circuit affirmed:

We first address Plaintiffs’ argument that a defense motion to deny class certification “brought outside the context of a plaintiff’s motion actually seeking certification is procedurally improper per se.” Although we have not previously addressed this argument directly, we conclude that Rule 23 does not preclude a defendant from bringing a “preemptive” motion to deny certification.
The court then upheld the trial court's decision not to certify the class. For the second time in one day (see my post on Wells Fargo here), the court rejected the notion that a uniform policy of classifying certain employees as exempt was enough to certify the class.

The case is Vinole v. Countrywide Home Loans and the opinion is here.