In Jones v. Farmers Ins. Exch., ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Nov. 26, 2013), the California Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division Three) reversed the Los Angeles County Superior Court court’s order denying class certification.

Plaintiff filed a class action complaint on behalf of himself and similarly situated employees against Defendant alleging wage and hour violations.  The trial court denied Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification on the ground that common issues of law or fact did not predominate over individual issues, that class certification would not provide substantial benefits to litigants and the courts, and that Plaintiff could not adequately represent the class.

The appellate court reversed, concluding that common issues did, in fact, predominate and class certification would provide substantial benefits to litigants and the courts.  “Plaintiffs’ theory of recovery is that [Defendant] applied a uniform policy to all putative class members denying them compensation for work performed at home before the beginning of their scheduled shifts. The existence of such a policy is a factual question that is common to all class members and is amenable to class treatment.”

The court also concluded, however, that Plaintiff could not adequately represent the class because he failed to submit a declaration “stating that he understands his fiduciary obligation to the class . . . [or that he was] willing and able to serve as an adequate class representative . . . .” Therefore, the court remanded the action to the trial court with directions to allow Plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint naming a suitable class representative, and to grant the motion for class certification if the court approved a class representative.