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Gutierrez v. California Commerce Club, 187 Cal. App.4th 969 (2010)

The Appellate Case

In the case of Gutierrez v. California Commerce Club, Inc., two individuals, Sergio Gutierrez and Hector Salazar, filed a class-action lawsuit against California Commerce Club, Inc. They alleged that the club had an unlawful policy of denying meal and rest breaks to certain hourly, non-union employees, which included them and others similarly situated.

They argued that this practice violated the California Labor Code section 226.7 and Wage and Hour Order No. 10-2001. They also claimed that the club’s practices were unlawful business practices under the Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code S 17200).

However, the trial court initially dismissed the action, sustaining the club’s demurrer (a legal objection) without leave to amend. The club had argued that the complaint was vague, ambiguous and unintelligible with respect to the group of employees whom Gutierrez purported to represent. Additionally, it contended that Gutierrez had failed to state facts to constitute any cause of action.

This decision was reversed on appeal, with the appellate court noting that in most wage and hour disputes, the suitability for class action should not be determined on demurrer. In simpler terms, the appellate court decided that the trial court was too hasty in dismissing the case, and that it should have allowed the plaintiffs to provide more information about the group of employees they represented and the injuries they suffered.

Is It Illegal, or Just Unfair?

Legal cases can be lengthy, complicated, and confusing, but you don’t have to take on the system all by yourself. If you believe someone has violated your individual rights, or the rights of a large group of people in your community, we can help you find the right course of action.

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