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Class Action Defeated; Remaining Claims Dismissed for Failure to Bring Them to Trial Within Five Years

Our client DHL Express (USA), Inc. was sued in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleged to be a joint employer with another trucking company. The plaintiff asserted claims for unpaid minimum wage and overtime, wage statement penalties, waiting time penalties, meal period premiums, rest period premiums, and unfair competition. Through two amendments to the complaint, an additional 15 individuals were added as plaintiffs and putative class representatives. Two of the plaintiffs withdrew following aggressive discovery and damaging deposition testimony. The remaining 14 plaintiffs moved for class certification, which was argued in June 2011. The court denied class certification as to the plaintiffs’ meal period, rest break, and split shift claims. The plaintiffs’ remaining claims were partially certified, with the class period confined to a period of less than four years. We filed a motion for summary judgment as to the partially certified claims, which resulted in the court dismissing the wage statement and waiting time penalty claims against DHL.

Shortly before trial was to have commenced we obtained dismissal of the plaintiffs’ remaining wage claims by successfully arguing that the plaintiffs failed to comply with Code of Civil Procedure section 583.310, which requires that cases be brought to trial within five years of filing. The court held that none of the plaintiffs’ equitable defenses or any of the exceptions to the rule requiring dismissal were applicable. The plaintiff appealed but the appellate court affirmed. It held that pursuit of private mediation does not toll the five year deadline for bringing cases to trial. 

Castillo v. DHL Express (USA), Inc., 243 Cal.App.4th 1186 (Cal. App. 2015).

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