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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Valencia v. SCIS: Federal Airline Deregulation Act Does Not Preempt Meal and Rest Period Claims

In Valencia v. SCIS Air Security Corporation (10/16/15) --- Cal.App.4th ---, the defendant, SCIS, provided security services to airlines for their in-flight catering operations. The plaintiff, a former SCIS employee, filed a putative class action against SCIS, alleging failure to provide meal and rest periods, along with other wage and hour violations. The trial court granted SCIS's motion for summary adjudication in part, holding that the plaintiff's claims for missed meal and rest periods were preempted by the federal Airline Deregulation Act (ADA). The Court of Appeal reversed, holding as follows:

The ADA does not preempt the plaintiff's meal and rest period claims. The Court distinguished Northwest, Inc. v. Ginsberg (2014) __ U.S. __, 134 S.Ct. 1422, 1428 (ADA preempts customer's claim that airline violated state contract law by canceling frequent flyer program). 

Instead, this case is analogous to People ex rel. Harris v. Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc. (2014) 59 Cal.4th 772 (discussed here) (Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA) does not preempt Unfair Competition Law (UCL) claims based on alleged independent contractor misclassification) and Dilts v. Penske Logistics, LLC (9th Cir. 2014) 769 F.3d 637 (discussed here) (FAAAA does not preempt truck drivers' meal and rest period claims). ADA and FAAAA use the same statutory preemption language, and precedent in one is instructive for the other.

The court remanded for reconsideration of the plaintiff's motion for class certification.

The opinion is available here.

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