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Monday, February 28, 2011

Hodge v. AON: Court of Appeal Holds Against Claims Adjustors in Long-Running Misclassification Battle

In Hodge v. Superior Court (AON Insurance Services) (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 278, the Court of Appeal held that the defendant in a wage case has no right to jury trial when the plaintiffs dismiss their Labor Code claims and proceed only with a claim under the Unfair Competition Law.

On remand, the Hodge plaintiffs tried their adjuster misclassification case to a judge (Hon. Ronald M. Sabraw, Ret.), who held that defendants did not violate the UCL in classifying the class members as exempt employees.

The Court of Appeal affirmed:
Hodge contends the judgment in his current case must be reversed because the facts surrounding his employment, when examined in light of the administrative/production dichotomy” (see generally Bell II, at pp. 826-827), support only one conclusion as a matter of law: he was not an “administrative” employee as defined by Wage Order No. 4. After hearing the evidence, the trial court found “the test announced in Bell II [is not] the appropriate standard for determining the exempt/non-exempt status of Plaintiffs.” We agree with the trial court that the Bell II dichotomy is not workable under these facts and further find no error in the trial court's decision.

Hodge v. AON Insurance Services (2/24/11) --- Cal.App.4th ----, 2011 WL 653646.

I will not discuss the holding at length, because I believe that the Supreme Court is very likely to grant review and hold pending its decision in Harris v. Superior Court, which raises the same issue and has been pending in the Supreme Court for approximately two years.

The opinion is available here.

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