Wage and hour class actions continue to be filed against employers in great numbers, with the potential exposure in those cases often enormous. A company’s first and often best opportunity to successfully defend a class action is to defeat certification of the proposed class.
Through thoughtful and comprehensive pre-certification discovery and investigation, along with the development of inventive, case-specific strategies, Epstein Becker Green has successfully opposed class certification for many clients. For example, in November 2018, we defeated certification in a wage and hour class action brought in California against an ambulance industry client. Following a 2016 California Supreme Court decision that held that security guards did not receive compliant rest periods where they had to carry communications devices with them during rest periods, two emergency medical technicians (“EMTs”) working for our client’s subsidiary filed a putative class action alleging that they and approximately 3,300 other California EMTs and paramedics have never received compliant rest periods for the same reason.
In response to the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, Epstein Becker Green developed creative arguments against certification. A California superior court agreed with our arguments and denied class certification. Accordingly, unless the court’s decision is overturned on appeal, rather than a lengthy trial involving thousands of employees and substantial potential exposure, our client will be trying a two-plaintiff case with limited potential recovery.