LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – The 2nd Appellate District Court of California ruled that a class of workers cannot "bring a lawsuit against a staffing company, settle that lawsuit, and then bring identical claims against the company where they had been placed to work."
Administrative Presiding Justice Elwood Lui delivered the opinion of the court April 16 with associate justices Victoria M. Chavez and Brian M. Hoffstadt concurring.
The case came to the court from the Superior Court of Los Angeles County.
"This wage and hour putative class action involves the relationship between a temporary staffing company (GCA Services Group Inc. (GCA)), its employees (appellants Andrew and David Castillo), and its client company (respondent Glenair Inc.). The Castillos were employed and paid by GCA to perform work on site at Glenair. Glenair was authorized to and did record, review and report the Castillos’ time records to GCA so that the Castillos could be paid. The Castillos characterize GCA and Glenair as joint employers," the decision states.
The Castillos brought claims against both Glenair and GCA after being fired from Glenair. They argued that Glenair is an agent of GCA and can therefore be held responsible for each other's actions.
The Castillos were parties in a previously settled class action case involving the same wage and hour claims against GCA, Gomez v. GCA Production Services Inc. in San Bernardino County Superior Court.
In the settlement provision of Gomez, a res judicata claim preclusion states the "operation of the final judgment shall have, fully, finally and forever settled and released" any and all of the claims against GCA and Glenair.
The 2nd Appellate Court argued the res judicata claim is applicable because the present claims "[are] on the same cause of action as the prior proceeding."
The Superior Court of San Bernardino County ruled in Gomez that class members "who did not timely exclude themselves from the settlement" thereby released their claims against the parties, the opinion states.
Because the Castillos did not remove themselves from the settlement in a timely fashion, any claims arising against GCA and Glenair that are similar to those in Gomez cannot be re-adjudicated, the court ruled.