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Monday, March 3, 2014

Hawkins v. Taca Int'l Airlines: Court Dismisses Labor Code Section 2810 Contractor Claim as Too Speculative

Arlette Hawkins filed a class action complaint against her former employer (Sereca) and a number of airlines (the airline defendants), alleging that they violated Labor Code section 2810, which prohibits labor contracts that fail to "include funds sufficient to allow the contractor to comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws or regulations governing the labor or services to be provided."

The airline defendants demurred to the section 2810 cause of action, arguing that the plaintiff failed to state any facts to support the allegation that they knew or should have known that their contracts were underfunded. The plaintiffs argued that they had not been able to obtain the contracts, the terms of which were known to the airline defendants. The trial court sustained the demurrer without leave to amend.

The plaintiff appealed, and the Court of Appeal affirmed, holding:

The record did not demonstrate that the plaintiff had attempted to obtain the contracts from the airline defendants in formal discovery. Had she done so, she would have known whether the contracts complied with section 2810. 

To state a cause of action, the plaintiff had to do more than merely "parrot" the language of the statute. Further, the plaintiff's admission that she had not seen the contracts at issue indicated that her claims were merely speculative. Finally, the complaint alleged that Sereca "had the ability to pay all wages" earned by the class members, contradicting the allegation that the contracts violated section 2810.

Hawkins v. Taca International Airlines, S.A. (1/27/14) --- Cal.App.4th ---, is available here

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