The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying class certification in this wage and hour case.  Though the employer had a uniform policy that afternoon rest breaks should be tacked onto the end of the noon meal break rather than taken later in the day, the employer presented evidence that the trial court believed, showing that actual practice for many work crews was to take a separate mid-afternoon rest break.  So the issue of who had been denied a rest break became an individual issue.  A uniform policy alone does not establish the predominance of common issues if it is not a means of establishing class-wide liability.  The trial court also did not abuse its discretion in finding plaintiff’s trial plan inadequate as it merely proposed a two-phase trial of liability and damages with the latter determined by a special master.  It did not show how the court would handle the employer’s affirmative defenses or identify those entitled to pay for travel to the worksite on company buses and compute the pay they were entitled to.  The trial court also did not abuse its discretion in finding the named plaintiff an inadequate class representative as he had a unique and distracting individual claim for wrongful termination and credibility issues in having failed to disclose on an employment application a prior conviction for marijuana and lewd acts with a minor.  The trial court was not required to allow the plaintiff further time to find a substitute class representative as plaintiff had delayed long in asking for the chance after learning of the named plaintiff’s convictions.

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 2 (Lui, P.J.); September 28, 2018; 27 Cal. App. 5th 832