Abdullah v. U.S. Security Associates, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 09-27-2013
  • Case #: 11-55653
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Paez for the Court; Circuit Judge Watford and District Judge Kobayashi
  • Full Text Opinion

A district court properly certifies a sub-class under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 if the sub-class has a "question of law or fact common to the class" and that question "predominate[s] over any questions affecting only individual members."

Muhammed Abdullah and several former and current employees (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) of U.S. Security Associates, Inc. (“USSA”) filed suit against USSA, a private security guard company. Plaintiffs alleged that while working for USSA, they had missed meal periods. At the start of the employer-employee relationship, USSA required each of its employees to sign an “on-duty meal period agreement” as a condition of employment. The agreement stated that because security guards were sometimes required to work alone, it was not possible for employees to receive the meal breaks required by law, and that employees would be paid for the time and allowed to eat on the job. Plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit, alleging that USSA had a “policy of requiring employees to work through their legally mandated meal periods.” Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23, the district court certified the class and seven sub-classes. One of the sub-classes was identified as the meal break sub-class, made up of employees who were not provided a meal break during their shifts and were not compensated for the loss of that meal break. USSA challenged the district court’s certification, alleging that Plaintiffs did not establish “questions of law or fact common to the class” as required under Rule 23(a)(2) or that “the questions of law or fact common to class members predominate[d] over any questions affecting only individual members” as required by Rule 23(b)(3). The Ninth Circuit held that the district court had not abused its discretion in determining that the sub-class had sufficient commonality under Rule 23(a)(2), nor did the district court abuse its discretion in finding that the claims would “prevail or fail in unison” under Rule 23(b)(3). AFFIRMED.

Advanced Search