Overview

HOLDINGS: [1]-Choice-of-law issues were not a basis for denying class certification on predominance and/or commonality grounds because California law should apply to all members of the former employee’s proposed class; the members were all California residents whose claims arose exclusively from work performed within the state; [2]-A class action was the superior method for resolving the claims because the case involved hundreds of class members with claims based on the same unlawful policies and practices; consolidation of the claims would conserve judicial resources; [3]-The commonality element was satisfied because common questions existed pertaining to the legality of the employer’s failure to pay for non-productive work time, as well as whether the employer sufficiently relinquished control over class members during meal and rest breaks and during time spent in sleeper berths. Parties’ litigation lawyer Los Angeles appeal.

Outcome

Former employee’s motion for class certification granted.

Procedural Posture

Defendant corporation filed a motion for summary judgment in a suit filed by plaintiff corporation alleging unlawful restraint of trade, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1, tortious interference with prospective business relationships, and unfair competition.

Overview

An employee resigned as general manager with defendant corporation and signed a handwritten agreement which imposed post-employment restraints upon the activities of the employee to avoid interfering with the business of defendant. The employee accepted employment with plaintiff corporation and, within the next several months, hired 10 employees previously employed with plaintiff. Plaintiff filed suit alleging unlawful restraint of trade, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1, tortious interference with prospective business relationships, and unfair competition. The court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment because: (1) plaintiff failed to show that the restraints imposed upon the employee by the agreement fit into any categories of business activities deemed to be per se unreasonable under § 1; (2) the agreement did not have a significant anticompetitive effect in the telecommunications industry and therefore was not unreasonable; and (3) plaintiff failed to meet its burden of demonstrating a reasonable probability of a contract arising to support its allegation of intentional interference with prospective business relationships.

Outcome

The court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment in plaintiff’s suit for unlawful restraint of trade, tortious interference with prospective business relationships, and unfair competition.

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