Case: Cruz v. Dollar Tree Stores

3:07-cv-02050 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Filed Date: April 11, 2007

Closed Date: 2011

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On April 11, 2007, two individuals, both store managers of Dollar Tree Stores, filed this class action lawsuit against Dollar Tree in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs alleged that they were improperly classified as exempt managers and denied wages for overtime. On August 6, 2007, another plaintiff filed a substantially similar class action in California Superior Court, which Dollar Tree then removed to the same federal district court (Runnings v. D…

On April 11, 2007, two individuals, both store managers of Dollar Tree Stores, filed this class action lawsuit against Dollar Tree in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs alleged that they were improperly classified as exempt managers and denied wages for overtime. On August 6, 2007, another plaintiff filed a substantially similar class action in California Superior Court, which Dollar Tree then removed to the same federal district court (Runnings v. Dollar Tree Stores, Case No. 3:07−cv−04012−SC). U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti was assigned to both cases. On August 30, 2007, Judge Conti signed a Related Case Order after finding that the two cases were similar. On November 20, 2007, the court signed a Joint Stipulation and Proposed Order for Consolidation of Actions signed by counsels for the parties. The Cruz case is designated as the leading case.

In their First Amended Complaint filed on July 27, 2007, the plaintiffs in the Cruz case claimed that the class members were harmed because Defendant illegally designated them as exempt employees and denied them overtime wages in violation of the California Labor Code and the Fair Labor Standard Act. For the violations, the plaintiffs asked the court for damages, injunctive relief and restitution.

On January 19, 2008, Dollar Tree filed motions for summary judgment in both actions. On July 8, 2008, in an unpublished order, the court found that triable issues of fact remain as to whether the plaintiffs' employment positions with Dollar Tree are exempt under both the California Labor Code and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Therefore, Dollar Tree's motions for summary judgment were denied.

On March 25, 2009, the plaintiffs moved for an order certifying the following class: "All persons who were employed by Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. as California retail Store Managers at any time on or after December 12, 2004." Starting the class period from December 12, 2004, ensures that any eventual awards to Dollar Tree Store Managers ("SMs") in this case will not overlap with the awards that resulted from a previous settlement. The plaintiffs alleged the class consisted of at least 655 members. Dollar Tree contended that the number was likely to be less, and that there were currently 273 SMs in California.

On May 26, 2009, in an unpublished order ("the Original Certification Order"), the court certified a class of "all persons who were employed by Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. as California retail Store Managers at any time on or after December 12, 2004, and on or before May 26, 2009," and appointed Plaintiffs as class representatives. The class consisted of 718 store managers ("SMs") who worked in 273 retail locations.

On June 18, 2010, in the wake of two Ninth Circuit decisions regarding employment class actions -- In re Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Overtime Pay Litigation, 571 F.3d 953 (9th Cir. 2009) ("Wells Fargo I"), and Vinole v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 571 F.3d 935 (9th Cir. 2009) -- Dollar Tree moved for decertification of the class, arguing that changes in the law made continued class treatment inappropriate. On September 9, 2010, in a published order ("the Partial Decertification Order"), the court granted in part and denied in part Dollar Tree's motion for decertification.

As explained in the Original Certification Order and the Partial Decertification Order, Dollar Tree required its SMs to complete weekly payroll certifications indicating whether they spent more than fifty percent of their actual work time each week performing seventeen listed duties that Dollar Tree believes to be "managerial" in nature. The certification form stated that SMs "may not spend more than a total of 35% of his/her actual work time each week receiving product, distributing and storing product, stocking product and cashiering." Each SM was required to certify "yes" if he or she spent the majority of his or her time performing the seventeen duties and "no" if he or she did not. The payroll certification form further stated that if the SM responds no, "s/he must immediately provide an explanation to both Payroll and Human Resources. No salary or wage will be withheld because of non-compliance." The form provided a space for SMs to write an explanation.

In its Partial Decertification Order, after reviewing the Ninth Circuit's decisions in Wells Fargo I and Vinole and examining subsequent district court reactions, Judge Conti decided that, with a modification of the class definition, this case could proceed as a class action. The court held that Dollar Tree's payroll certifications provided common proof of how SMs were spending their time. The court reasoned that this common proof -- which was lacking in other cases where classes were decertified after Vinole and Wells Fargo I -- would obviate the need for much individual testimony from SMs concerning how they spent their time.

However, the court narrowed the class to include only those SMs who certified "no" on a payroll certification form at least once during the class period. The court reasoned that, in order to prove liability with regard to the SMs who always certified "yes," the plaintiffs would need to show that these SMs were not truthful when completing their payroll certifications. Such credibility determinations would require individualized inquiries that would overwhelm the common issues in the case. By narrowing the class, the court sought to avoid this problem.

The Partial Decertification Order resulted in a class consisting of 273 members and defined as "all persons who were employed by Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. as California retail store managers at any time on or after December 12, 2004, and on or before May 26, 2009, and who responded 'no' at least once on Dollar Tree's weekly payroll certifications." The class definition has not been altered further.

Judge Conti subsequently reviewed motions from the plaintiffs and Dollar Tree addressing trial management issues, reviewed and denied a motion for reconsideration of the Partial Decertification Order filed by the plaintiffs, and held a May 27, 2011 hearing to discuss trial management issues. These developments, along with the Ninth Circuit's decision in Marlo v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 639 F.3d 942 (9th Cir. 2011) ("Marlo II"), made the court increasingly concerned that individualized issues will predominate over classwide issues if this case proceeds to trial as a class action. The court thus decided to entertain further briefing from the parties regarding the propriety of continued class treatment.

After the Supreme Court's decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2541 (June 20, 2011), on July 8, 2011, Judge Conti found that continued class treatment was not appropriate in this case and decertified the class. After the decertification of the class, many of the plaintiffs' other motions and claims unraveled quickly. The court first dismissed their bifurcation and first pre-trial motion, and then their claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act. On December 9, 2011, the parties jointly moved to voluntary dismiss the case. The court agreed and dismissed the case with prejudice.

Summary Authors

Xin Chen (7/30/2011)

Megan Brown (11/7/2016)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5798134/parties/cruz-v-dollar-tree-stores-inc/


Judge(s)

Conti, Samuel (California)

Spero, Joseph C. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Allen, Kevin Robert (California)

Bainer, Matthew Roland (California)

Bissen, Eileen Marie (California)

Cole, Scott Edward (California)

DeSario, Molly Ann (California)

Edgar, Donald S. (California)

Fietz, Jeremy R. (California)

Grady, J. Rex (California)

Judge(s)

Conti, Samuel (California)

Spero, Joseph C. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Allen, Kevin Robert (California)

Bainer, Matthew Roland (California)

Bissen, Eileen Marie (California)

Cole, Scott Edward (California)

DeSario, Molly Ann (California)

Edgar, Donald S. (California)

Fietz, Jeremy R. (California)

Grady, J. Rex (California)

Hicks, Steven Matthew (California)

Lin, Carrie S. (California)

Vigil-Gallenberg, Rosa I. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Berman, Beth Hirsch (Virginia)

Eltanal, Rossana S. (California)

Gannon, AnnaMary Elizabeth (California)

Hernaez, Alex (California)

Johnson, Krista Stevenson (California)

Links, Robert David (California)

McClain, Maureen E. (California)

Vandall, Matthew P. (California)

Zaletel, Robert Louis (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

3:07-cv-04012

Docket

Runnings v. Dollar Tree Stores

July 18, 2011

July 18, 2011

Docket

3:07-cv-02050

Docket

May 3, 2012

May 3, 2012

Docket
1

3:07-cv-02050

Complaint for Damages, Injuntive Relief and Restitution

April 11, 2007

April 11, 2007

Complaint
5

3:07-cv-02050

Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and Memorandum

May 9, 2007

May 9, 2007

Pleading / Motion / Brief
16

3:07-cv-02050

Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss

June 8, 2007

June 8, 2007

Pleading / Motion / Brief
19

3:07-cv-02050

Order Granting Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Fraud Claim

2007 WL 1880380

June 29, 2007

June 29, 2007

Order/Opinion
23

3:07-cv-02050

First Amended Complaint for Damages, Injunctive Relief and Restitution

July 27, 2007

July 27, 2007

Complaint
25

3:07-cv-02050

Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint and Memorandum

Aug. 9, 2007

Aug. 9, 2007

Pleading / Motion / Brief
35

3:07-cv-02050

Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss

Aug. 31, 2007

Aug. 31, 2007

Pleading / Motion / Brief
34

3:07-cv-02050

Related Case Order

Aug. 31, 2007

Aug. 31, 2007

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5798134/cruz-v-dollar-tree-stores-inc/

Last updated July 18, 2022, 3:08 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
19

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti granting 5 Motion to Dismiss Fraud Claim without prejudice (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/29/2007)

June 29, 2007

June 29, 2007

RECAP
38

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti granting 25 Motion to Dismiss (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/18/2007)

Sept. 18, 2007

Sept. 18, 2007

RECAP
45

STIPULATION ANDN ORDER OF CONSOLIDATION. Signed by Judge Samuel Conti on 11/20/07. (tdm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/20/2007)

Nov. 20, 2007

Nov. 20, 2007

RECAP
47

STIPULATION AND ORDER Extending Deadline to Hold an ENE Session and a Pre-Session Telephone Conference. Signed by Judge Samuel Conti on 11/26/07. (tdm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/27/2007)

Nov. 27, 2007

Nov. 27, 2007

RECAP
71

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti denying (48) Motion for Summary Judgment in case 3:07-cv-02050-SC; denying (36) Motion for Summary Judgment in case 3:07-cv-04012-SC (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/8/2008)

July 8, 2008

July 8, 2008

RECAP
74

Notice of Reference and ORDER Re Discovery Procedures Motion Hearing set for 10/10/2008 09:30 AM in Courtroom A, 15th Floor, San Francisco.. Signed by Judge Joseph C. Spero on 9/16/08. (fj, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/16/2008)

Sept. 16, 2008

Sept. 16, 2008

RECAP
76

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFFS' SPECIAL INTERROGATORY NO. 1;re 74 Order Set Hearings. Signed by Hon. Joseph C. Spero on 10/10/2008. (ls, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/10/2008)

Oct. 10, 2008

Oct. 10, 2008

RECAP
78

ORDER REAFFIRMING CLERK'S NOTICE OF JULY 30, 2008 re (80 in 3:07-cv-04012-SC) Joint Letter. Signed by Judge Samuel Conti on 10/15/08. (tdm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/15/2008)

Oct. 15, 2008

Oct. 15, 2008

RECAP
81

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE Order to Show Cause Hearing set for 12/12/2008 10:00 AM. Show Cause Response due by 12/10/2008.. Signed by Judge Samuel Conti on 12/5/08. (tdm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/5/2008)

Dec. 5, 2008

Dec. 5, 2008

RECAP
82

ORDER WITHDRAWING ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE. Signed by Judge Samuel Conti on 12/5/08. (sclc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/5/2008)

Dec. 5, 2008

Dec. 5, 2008

RECAP
83

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti granting Ex Parte Application (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/12/2008) (Entered: 11/12/2008) (tdm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/5/2008)

Dec. 5, 2008

Dec. 5, 2008

RECAP
86

ORDER Granting Substitution of Counsel for Defendant Dollar Tree Stores (tdm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/7/2009)

Jan. 7, 2009

Jan. 7, 2009

RECAP
91

STIPULATION AND ORDER OF PARTIES REGARDING DISCOVERY HEARING. Signed by Judge Joseph C. Spero on 03/02/09. (klh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/2/2009)

March 2, 2009

March 2, 2009

RECAP
93

ORDER denying administrative motion to file under seal materials in connection with Plaintiffs' motion for class certification (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/9/2009)

March 9, 2009

March 9, 2009

RECAP
99

ORDER permitting documents to be filed under seal (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/30/2009)

March 30, 2009

March 30, 2009

RECAP
101

ORDER denying request for amended administrative motion to be filed under seal (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/1/2009)

April 1, 2009

April 1, 2009

RECAP
107

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti in case 3:07-cv-02050-SC; granting (124) Motion to Certify Class in case 3:07-cv-04012-SC (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/26/2009)

May 26, 2009

May 26, 2009

RECAP
108

STIPULATION AND ORDER Extending Time for Submission of Notice to the Class to 6/25/09. Signed by Judge Samuel Conti on 6/11/09. (tdm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/11/2009)

June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009

RECAP
113

ORDER re: Notice to the Class (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/2/2009)

July 2, 2009

July 2, 2009

RECAP
135

ORDER re: attorney communication. Signed by Judge Samuel Conti on 11/10/2009. (sclc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/10/2009)

Nov. 10, 2009

Nov. 10, 2009

RECAP
148

ORDER Requiring JOINT Proposed Order; Vacating Hearing (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/17/2010)

March 17, 2010

March 17, 2010

RECAP
150

ORDER after Case Management Conference (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/25/2010)

March 25, 2010

March 25, 2010

RECAP
172

ORDER GRANTING UNOPPOSED REQUEST TO CONTINUE HEARING ON DISCOVERY CONFERENCE RE; MOLLY KUEHN RE: MESSER DEPOSITION NOTE. Discovery Hearing re-set for 4/30/2010 at 09:30 AM in Courtroom A, 15th Floor, San Francisco. Signed by Judge Joseph C. Spero on 4/21/2010. (klh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/22/2010)

April 22, 2010

April 22, 2010

RECAP
184

ORDER GRANTING IN PART, DENYING IN PART MOTION TO COMPEL (JOINT LETTER BRIEF) re (178 in 3:07-cv-02050-SC) Letter filed by Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., and (238 in 3:07-cv-04012-SC) Letter filed by Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. Signed by Judge Joseph C. Spero on 06/09/10. (klh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/9/2010)

June 9, 2010

June 9, 2010

RECAP
232

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti granting in part and denying in part (188) Motion to Decertify in case 3:07-cv-02050-SC; granting in part and denying in part (246) Motion to Decertify in case 3:07-cv-04012-SC (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/9/2010)

Sept. 9, 2010

Sept. 9, 2010

RECAP
253

ORDER Granting Limited Extension of Discovery Deadline. Signed by Judge Samuel Conti on 10/28/2010. (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/28/2010)

Oct. 28, 2010

Oct. 28, 2010

RECAP
254

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti denying Motion for Summary Judgment; denying Motion for Summary Judgment; denying Motion for Summary Judgment; denying Motion for Summary Judgment; denying Motion for Summary Judgment; denying Motion for Summary Judgment; denying Motion for Summary Judgment; denying Motion to Dismiss; denying Motion to Dismiss (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/19/2010) (Entered: 11/19/2010). Signed by Judge Samuel Conti on 11/19/2010. (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/19/2010)

Nov. 19, 2010

Nov. 19, 2010

RECAP
271

STIPULATION AND ORDER Status Conference set for 6/10/11 is continued to 6/24/2011 10:00 AM in Courtroom 1, 17th Floor, San Francisco before Hon. Samuel Conti.. Signed by Judge Samuel Conti on 1/18/11. (tdm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/18/2011) Modified on 1/18/2011 (tdm, COURT STAFF).

Jan. 18, 2011

Jan. 18, 2011

RECAP
282

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti granting in part and denying in part (259) Motion to Dismiss in case 3:07-cv-02050-SC (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/8/2011)

March 8, 2011

March 8, 2011

RECAP
294

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti granting (287) Motion for Leave to File in case 3:07-cv-02050-SC (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/31/2011)

March 31, 2011

March 31, 2011

RECAP
302

ORDER granting Defendant's Objection to Plaintiffs' Declaration. Signed by Judge Samuel Conti on 04/27/2011. (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/27/2011)

April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011

RECAP
320

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti decertifying class in case 3:07-cv-02050-SC (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/8/2011)

July 8, 2011

July 8, 2011

RECAP
321

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti denying (277) Motion to Bifurcate; denying (290) Motion for Pre-Trial Order No. 1 in case 3:07-cv-02050-SC (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/18/2011)

July 18, 2011

July 18, 2011

RECAP
325

STIPULATION AND ORDER Dismissing Plaintiffs' FLSA Allegations Without Prejudice. Signed by Judge Samuel Conti on 9/27/11. (tdm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/27/2011)

Sept. 27, 2011

Sept. 27, 2011

RECAP
328

STIPULATION AND ORDER DISMISSING CASE (tdm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/9/2011) (Entered: 12/09/2011)

Dec. 9, 2011

Dec. 9, 2011

RECAP
329

NOTICE of Change In Counsel by Maureen E. McClain (McClain, Maureen) (Filed on 5/11/2012) (Entered: 05/11/2012)

May 11, 2012

May 11, 2012

PACER
330

Declaration of Molly A. DeSario REGARDING CERTIFICATION OF COMPLIANCE WITH PROTECTIVE ORDER filed byMiguel A. Cruz, John D. Hansen, Robert Runnings. (DeSario, Molly) (Filed on 5/23/2012) (Entered: 05/23/2012)

May 23, 2012

May 23, 2012

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Equal Employment

Special Collection(s):

Private Employment Class Actions

Post-WalMart decisions on class certification

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 11, 2007

Closing Date: 2011

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All persons who were employed by Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. as California retail store managers at any time on or after December 12, 2004, and on or before May 26, 2009, and who responded "no" at least once on Dollar Tree's weekly payroll certifications.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., Private Entity/Person

Defendant Type(s):

Retailer

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Form of Settlement:

Voluntary Dismissal

Issues

Discrimination-area:

Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)

Pay / Benefits