In Williams v. Super. Ct., ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Dec. 6, 2013), the California Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division Eight) vacated the Los Angeles County Superior Court court’s order decertifying a class and ordered the court to recertify it.

Plaintiff brought a class action against defendant Allstate Insurance Company claiming that it failed to pay overtime wages to its auto field adjusters. In December 2010, the trial court certified the class, finding that evidence in the record “supports a class of Auto Field Adjusters with respect to off-the-clock claims.” In July 2011, however, following the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, the trial court allowed Allstate to file a decertification motion, which it granted on the grounds that a “trial in which Allstate presents evidence of affirmative defenses to more than 200 individuals would be unmanageable,” making class certification inappropriate.

The appellate court found that the trial court abused its discretion in granting the decertification motion. Dukes did not establish an absence of commonality as to plaintiffs’ claim that employer required class members to work “off the clock” at the beginning and end of each work day. Because an employer who knew, or should have known, of overtime work may be liable for overtime wages as a matter of state law, a pattern or practice of employees working off-the-clock in order to complete their daily work can sustain a common question of fact or law that supports commonality for class certification.