Dismissal of Class Allegations at Pleading Stage Disallowed - Again


Another California appellate decision has restricted the ability to challenge class action allegations at the pleading stage, reiterating that the determination of class suitability in most instances should be made at the time of a motion for class certification.

In Gutierrez v. California Commerce Club, Inc. (published August 23, 2010), the class representative filed suit alleging the defendant unlawfully denied meal and rest breaks to hourly, non-union employees. After a challenge to the third amended complaint, the trial court sustained the demurrer to the class action allegation without leave to amend, observing that the plaintiffs had failed to “notify the court who is in the class, what they do, how they are related and why plaintiffs are the proper persons to represent this all-inclusive class.”

Division One of the Court of Appeal reversed, finding the trial court’s dismissal of the class premature and that the allegations of the operative complaint adequate to move beyond the pleading stage.

In so concluding the class could proceed, the court observed:

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