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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tien v. Tenet Healthcare: Court of Appeal Affirms Class Certification Denial on Brinker Analysis

The fun thing about waiting for the California Supreme Court to decide Brinker is that we get to talk about lots of different opinions from the Court of Appeal on the same issue. In Tien v. Tenet Healthcare Corp. (2/16/11) --- Cal.App.4th ----, 2011 WL 523611, the Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court order denying class certification based in part on the same issues to be decided in Brinker.

The plaintiffs, hourly employees of Tenet, filed suit for missed meal periods, missed rest periods, waiting time penalties, and check stub violations. The trial court (LASC, Judge West), granted class certification in part on the meal period, waiting time penalty, and check stub claims. Slip op. at 2. After the Court of Appeal issued Brinker and Brinkley, the trial court granted Tenet's motion for reconsideration and denied certification on all issues. Slip op. at 4.

The Court of Appeal affirmed, finding that substantial evidence supported the trial court's decision and following the Brinker rationale on meal and rest periods. Slip op. at 5-6. The Court held that the trial court did not err in relying on Brinkley, and the plaintiffs had an adequate opportunity to brief the issues. Slip op. at 6-7. Finally, the Court held that the trial court did not erroneously rule on the merits of the case by adopting Brinker and Brinkley over Cicairos. Slip op. at 8-9.

The opinion is available here. I assume that the Supreme Court will grant review and hold pending Brinker, as it has done with a number of other cases.

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