LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – A recent California Court of Appeals Second District, Division Seven ruling was a partial win for a former truck driver who sued his old company for alleged labor code violations.
Gabriel Cortez had originally filed the suit as a putative class action against Doty Bros Equipment Co. An appeal of former court decisions was mostly denied by the court on Sept. 6, but it was not a total loss for Cortez.
“We had lost entirely in the trial court so the fact that we preserved some part of our case, obviously we were happy about that,” Cortez's lawyer, Eric Kingsley, told Legal Newsline.
“Originally we thought it was going to be an either-or proposition.”
The class action lawsuit was dismissed by the Los Angeles Superior Court on March 23, 2015, under the belief that under the collective bargaining agreement, Cortez was not able to file a class action.
But the appeals court found some of Cortez's claims are not subject to arbitration, as the trial court had found. His allegation that Doty Bros failed to pay his wages in a timely manner after his separation from his employment and his unfair competition claim are not subject to the arbitration provision in a collective bargaining agreement.
Cortez worked as a truck driver for the company between 2008 and 2013. His complaints were that the company violated the law with regards to overtime pay and meal periods. He has also accused the company of not adhering to record keeping requirements of the labor code.
“We are preparing a petition for review to the California Supreme Court,” Kingsley said. “If it is denied, then we have to go back to the trial court and determine the order of proceeding.”