Court of Appeal Reminds Litigants That Settling With Named Plaintiff Does Not Necessarily End Putative Class Action

If a defendant in a putative class action settles with the class representative prior to class certification, does the defendant nonetheless have to respond to pre-settlement discovery requests to identify absent class members? According to the California Court of Appeal in Pirjada v. Superior Court, 2011 WL 6144930, Case No. B234813 (Cal. App. Dec. 12, 2011), the answer is no, although the appellate court left open the possibility that the trial court could require some form of notice to protect the interests of absent class members.

Putative class representative Obaidul Pirjada ("Pirjada") brought a purported class action on behalf of all security guards who had been employed in California by defendant Pacific National Security, Inc. ("Pacific National") during the preceding four years, alleging violations of the California Labor Code and the California Business and Professions Code. Pirjada propounded discovery requesting, among other things, the names and addresses of all putative class members. Pacific National did not object or respond to the discovery requests.

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