Ninth Circuit Upholds Use of "Preemptive" Motion to Deny Class Certification

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In most lawsuits seeking to certify a class action, the motion to determine whether a class can be certified is brought by the plaintiff(s). But not always. In a new case issued July 7 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Vinole v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., (Case No. 08-55223), the Appellate Court found that the District Court had properly considered and granted the defendant?s motion to deny certification.

The Vinole action was brought by a proposed class of current and former Home Loan Consultant employees of Countrywide, who claimed they were misclassified as exempt employees and thus not paid overtime and other wages. While Countrywide applied a uniform wage exception to these employees and therefore contended it was not obligated to pay them overtime, Countrywide also presented evidence that it had no control over what the employees did on a daily basis and did not monitor their work performance. As a consequence, Countrywide contended that these employees were exempt from overtime under California and Federal law.

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