A New Dawn for California Class Actions

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“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” The California Supreme Court could have been channeling Mark Twain when it rejected, emphatically, the unbridled use of statistical sampling to prove liability in a class action wage/hour case. In a unanimous decision, California’s high court in Duran v. U.S. Bank National Association, No. S200923 (May 29, 2014) gave the heave-ho to the kind of “trial by formula” that has become a feature of modern-day wage/hour litigation. At the same time, the court restored some sanity to class action litigation generally.

FACTS OF DURAN -

This class action was filed against U.S. Bank on behalf of 260 business banking officers (BBOs) who claimed they were denied overtime pay and meal/rest breaks. Liability turned on whether the bank misclassified the BBOs as exempt under the “outside salesperson” exemption, which applies to someone who spends more than 50% of the time on sales activities outside the branch.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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