Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. v. Pena
This class action was brought by hourly workers in California food production and processing plants who allege that they were not paid in compliance with California wage and hour law. In particular, they claim they were denied the meal and rest breaks that California law requires: breaks were not offered at the times they were required, and those breaks that were offered were too short. The workers initially filed their case in state court, but their employer, Taylor Farms, removed the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act. After several years of litigation, the district court granted in part and denied in part the motion for class certification, and certified subclasses relating to the workers’ meal break claims.
Taylor Farms appealed the grant of class certification, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision in a brief, unpublished decision. Taylor Farms then sought review in the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the district court should not have considered a spreadsheet summarizing noncompliant meal breaks identified in Taylor Farms’ time records produced in discovery. Taylor Farms has asked the Supreme Court to use this case to address the question whether the same admissibility standard applicable at trial applies at the class certification stage.
Public Citizen served as co-counsel for the workers in the Supreme Court. The opposition to the petition argued that the question raised by Taylor Farms is not actually present in this case and that there is no conflict among courts of appeals as to the question presented by Taylor Farms. In February 2018, the Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari.