In Hawkins v. Taca International Airlines, S.A., ___ Cal.App.4th ___  (Jan. 27, 2014), the California Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division Four) affirmed the ruling of the Los Angeles County Superior Court (Judge Stern) sustaining the demurrers of defendants without leave to amend.

Plaintiff filed a class action for wage and hour violations (including unpaid overtime and unpaid expense reimbursements) against her former employer.  After the class was certified, however, the defendant employer defaulted.  Around this same time, Plaintiff amended her complaint to assert a claim under Labor Code Section 2810 against defendants on the theory that they were responsible for her employer’s wage and hour violations.   That statute states that “section 2810 authorizes the employees of a services contractor [in certain industries] to sue the party hiring the contractor if the hiring party knowingly pays a contract price insufficient to permit the contractor to comply with the law in performing the contract.” The defendants demurred, arguing that Plaintiff (who had never seen the relevant contracts and had not information concerning their contents) failed to alleged any facts to show that they knowingly entered into underfunded contracts.  Plaintiff appealed.

The appellate court affirmed, finding that Employee’s complaint fails to allege sufficient facts to state a cause of action that airliner knowingly entered into underfunded contracts in violation of Labor Code Sec. 2810.  The court determined that Plaintiff had the ability to determine to obtain the contracts prior to suing the defendants.  Furthermore, Plaintiff was required to make more than conclusory allegations in the Complaint: “it cannot be that a plaintiff employed in the industries covered by section 2810 who has not been paid the wages he or she is owed can state a claim under the statute against every entity who entered into a contract with the employer simply by utilizing a pair of scissors and a paste pot and transferring the language of the statute to a form complaint.”