Supreme Court of California Justia
Citation 46 Cal. 4th 969, 209 P.3d 923, 95 Cal. Rptr. 3d 588

Arias v. Super. Ct.

Filed 6/29/09 (this opinion should precede the companion case, S151615, also filed 6/29/09)
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA

JOSE A. ARIAS,
Petitioner,
S155965
v.
THE SUPERIOR COURT OF
Ct.App. 3 C054185
SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY,
Respondent;
San Joaquin County
Super. Ct. No. CV028612
ANGELO DAIRY et al.,
Real Parties in Interest.
____________________________________)

We hold that an employee who, on behalf of himself and other employees,
sues an employer under the unfair competition law (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et
seq.) for Labor Code violations must satisfy class action requirements, but that
those requirements need not be met when an employee‘s representative action
against an employer is seeking civil penalties under the Labor Code Private
Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Lab. Code, § 2698 et seq.).
I
Jose A. Arias sued his former employer, Angelo Dairy, and others. In the
first through sixth causes of action of the First Amended Complaint, plaintiff on

1


behalf of himself alleged violations of the Labor Code, labor regulations, and an
Industrial Welfare Commission wage order.
In the seventh through eleventh causes of action of the first amended
complaint, plaintiff asserted claims on behalf of himself as well as other current
and former employees of defendants. We summarize those causes of action below.
The seventh and eighth causes of action alleged breach of contract and
breach of the warranty of habitability on the ground that defendants provided
residential units in a defective and dangerous condition.
The ninth cause of action alleged violations of the unfair competition law
(Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq.), based on defendants‘ failures to credit
plaintiff for all hours worked, to pay overtime wages, to pay wages when due, to
pay wages due upon termination, to provide rest and meal periods, and to obtain
written authorization for deducting or offsetting wages.
The tenth cause of action sought enforcement under the unfair competition
law (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq.)1 of penalties provided for in the Labor
Code (Lab. Code, §§ 203, 226).
The eleventh cause of action alleged, under the Labor Code Private
Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Lab. Code, § 2698 et seq.), that defendants had
violated the Labor Code, labor regulations, and an Industrial Welfare Commission
wage order by failing to pay all wages due, to provide itemized wage statements, to
maintain adequate payroll records, to pay all wages due upon termination, to
provide rest and meal periods, to offset proper amounts for employer-provided
housing, and to provide necessary tools and equipment.

1
Unless otherwise indicated, all further statutory citations are to the Business
and Professions Code.
2



The trial court granted defendants‘ motion to strike the seventh through
eleventh causes of action (brought on behalf of plaintiff and other employees) on
the ground that plaintiff failed to comply with the pleading requirements for class
actions. Plaintiff petitioned the Court of Appeal for a writ of mandate. That court
held that the causes of action brought in a representative capacity alleging
violations of the unfair competition law, but not the representative claims under
the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, were subject to class
action requirements. It issued a peremptory writ of mandate directing the trial
court to issue a new order striking the representative claims alleged in the seventh
through tenth causes of action, but not the eleventh cause of action. We granted
plaintiff‘s petition for review.
II
Plaintiff contends the Court of Appeal erred in holding that to bring
representative claims (that is, claims on behalf of others as well as himself) under
the unfair competition law, he must comply with class action requirements.2 We
disagree.

2
In a ―representative action,‖ the plaintiff seeks recovery on behalf of other
persons. There are two forms of representative actions: those that are brought as
class actions and those that are not. (See Kraus v. Trinity Management Services,
Inc.
(2000) 23 Cal.4th 116, 126, fn. 10; Residents of Beverly Glen, Inc. v. City of
Los Angeles
(1973) 34 Cal.App.3d 117, 129.) A party seeking certification of a
class action bears the burden of establishing that there is an ascertainable class and
a well-defined community of interest among the class members. (Washington
Mutual Bank v. Superior Court
(2001) 24 Cal.4th 906, 913.) If the trial court
grants certification, class members are notified that any class member may opt out
of the class and that the judgment will bind all members who do not opt out. (Cal.
Rules of Court, rule 3.766(d); see Fireside Bank v. Superior Court (2007) 40
Cal.4th 1069, 1083; Fogel v. Farmers Group, Inc. (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 1403,
1421.) A class action cannot be settled or dismissed without court approval. (Id.,
rules 3.769(a), 3.770(a).)
3



The unfair competition law prohibits ―any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent
business act or practice . . . .‖ (§ 17200.) Before 2004, any person could assert
representative claims under the unfair competition law to obtain restitution or
injunctive relief against unfair or unlawful business practices. Such claims did not
have to be brought as a class action, and a plaintiff had standing to sue even
without having personally suffered any injury. (Former §§ 17203, 17204, added
by Stats. 1977, ch. 299, § 1, p. 1202; Kraus v. Trinity Management Services, Inc.,
supra, 23 Cal.4th at p. 126, fn. 10; Stop Youth Addiction, Inc. v. Lucky Stores, Inc.
(1998) 17 Cal.4th 553, 561; see Corbett v. Superior Court (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th
649, 680-681.)
In 2004, however, the electorate passed Proposition 64, an initiative
measure. Proposition 64 amended the unfair competition law to provide that a
private plaintiff may bring a representative action under this law only if the
plaintiff has ―suffered injury in fact and has lost money or property as a result of
such unfair competition‖ and ―complies with Section 382 of the Code of Civil
Procedure . . . .‖3 This statute provides that ―when the question is one of a

3
Sections 17203 and 17204 currently provide, with the Proposition 64
amendments shown in italics and strikeout type, as follows:

―§ 17203. Injunctive Relief — Court Orders
―Any person who engages, has engaged, or proposes to engage in unfair
competition may be enjoined in any court of competent jurisdiction. The court
may make such orders or judgments, including the appointment of a receiver, as
may be necessary to prevent the use or employment by any person of any practice
which constitutes unfair competition, as defined in this chapter, or as may be
necessary to restore to any person in interest any money or property, real or
personal, which may have been acquired by means of such unfair competition.
Any person may pursue representative claims or relief on behalf of others only if
the claimant meets the standing requirements of Section 17204 and complies with
Section 382 of the Code of Civil Procedure, but these limitations do not apply to

(Footnote continued on next page.)
4


common or general interest, of many persons, or when the parties are numerous,
and it is impracticable to bring them all before the court, one or more may sue or
defend for the benefit of all.‖ This court has interpreted Code of Civil Procedure
section 382 as authorizing class actions. (Washington Mutual Bank v. Superior
Court, supra, 24 Cal.4th at p. 913; Richmond v. Dart Industries, Inc. (1981) 29
Cal.3d 462, 470; City of San Jose v. Superior Court (1974) 12 Cal.3d 447, 458.)
Plaintiff contends that because Proposition 64‘s amendment of the unfair
competition law requires compliance only with ―[s]ection 382 of the Code of Civil
Procedure‖ (§ 17203, see fn. 3, ante), and because that statute makes no mention
of the words ―class action,‖ his representative lawsuit brought under the unfair
competition law need not comply with the requirements governing a class action.
At issue is whether, as amended by the voters‘ passage of Proposition 64,
17203‘s language stating that to bring a representative action under the unfair
competition law a private plaintiff must ―compl[y] with Section 382 of the Code of

(Footnote continued from previous page.)

claims brought under this chapter by the Attorney General, or any district
attorney, county counsel, city attorney, or city prosecutor in this state.‖

―§ 17204. Actions for Injunctions by Attorney General, District Attorney,
County Counsel, and City Attorneys

―Actions for relief pursuant to this chapter shall be prosecuted exclusively
in a court of competent jurisdiction by the Attorney General or a district attorney
or by a county counsel authorized by agreement with the district attorney in actions
involving violation of a county ordinance, or by a city attorney of a city having a
population in excess of 750,000, or by a city attorney in a city and county or, with
the consent of the district attorney, by a city prosecutor in a city having a full-time
city prosecutor in the name of the people of the State of California upon their own
complaint or upon the complaint of a board, officer, person, corporation or
association or by a person acting for the interests of itself, its members or the
general public who has suffered injury in fact and has lost money or property as a
result of such unfair competition.

5


Civil Procedure,‖ imposes a requirement that the action be brought as a class
action. To resolve the issue, we examine the statutory language to determine the
intent of those who enacted it.
The general principles that govern interpretation of a statute enacted by the
Legislature apply also to an initiative measure enacted by the voters. (Robert L. v.
Superior Court (2003) 30 Cal.4th 894, 900.) Thus, our primary task here is to
ascertain the intent of the electorate (Professional Engineers in California
Government v. Kempton (2007) 40 Cal.4th 1016, 1037) so as to effectuate that
intent (Nolan v. City of Anaheim (2004) 33 Cal.4th 335, 340).
We look first to the words of the initiative measure, as they generally
provide the most reliable indicator of the voters‘ intent. (Bernard v. Foley (2006)
39 Cal.4th 794, 804; Hsu v. Abbara (1995) 9 Cal.4th 863, 871.) Usually, there is
no need to construe a provision‘s words when they are clear and unambiguous and
thus not reasonably susceptible of more than one meaning. (People v. Leal (2004)
33 Cal.4th 999, 1007; People v. Gardeley (1996) 14 Cal.4th 605, 621.) That,
according to plaintiff, is true here.
A literal construction of an enactment, however, will not control when such
a construction would frustrate the manifest purpose of the enactment as a whole.
(People v. Gonzalez (2008) 43 Cal.4th 1118, 1126; Horwich v. Superior Court
(1999) 21 Cal.4th 272, 276; Faria v. San Jacinto Unified School Dist. (1996) 50
Cal.App.4th 1939, 1945.) ―The intent prevails over the letter, and the letter will, if
possible, be so read as to conform to the spirit of the act.‖ (Lungren v. Deukmejian
(1988) 45 Cal.3d 727, 735.) In determining the purpose of an initiative measure,
we consider the analysis and arguments contained in the official election materials
submitted to the voters. (E.g., Professional Engineers in California Government v.
Kempton, supra, 40 Cal.4th at p. 1050; Robert L. v. Superior Court, supra, 30
Cal.4th at p. 901.)
6

A thorough review of the Voter Information Guide prepared by the
Secretary of State for the November 2, 2004, election at which the voters enacted
Proposition 64 leaves no doubt that, as discussed below, one purpose of
Proposition 64 was to impose class action requirements on private plaintiffs‘
representative actions brought under the Unfair Competition Law.
The official title and summary of Proposition 64, prepared by the state
Attorney General, told the voters that the initiative measure ―[r]equires private
representative claims to comply with procedural requirements applicable to class
action lawsuits.‖ (Voter Information Guide, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 2, 2004) official title
and summary, p. 38.) And the ballot measure summary, prepared by the Secretary
of State, informed the voters that a ―yes‖ vote meant that a ―person pursuing
[unfair competition law] claims on behalf of others would have to meet the
additional requirements of class action lawsuits,‖ while a ―no‖ vote meant that a
―person could bring such a lawsuit without meeting the additional requirements of
class action lawsuits.‖ (Id., ballot measure summary, Prop. 64, p. 6.) Similarly,
the analysis by the Legislative Analyst told the voters that under then existing law,
―persons initiating unfair competition lawsuits do not have to meet the
requirements for class action lawsuits,‖ but that passage of Proposition 64 would
change that by imposing ―the additional requirements of class action lawsuits‖ on a
private person‘s action brought under the unfair competition law on behalf of
others. (Voter Information Guide, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 2, 2004), analysis by the
Legislative Analyst, pp. 38-39.)
In light of this strong evidence of voter intent, we construe the statement in
section 17203, as amended by Proposition 64, that a private party may pursue a
representative action under the unfair competition law only if the party ―complies
with Section 382 of the Code of Civil Procedure‖ to mean that such an action must
7
meet the requirements for a class action. (See Fireside Bank v. Superior Court,
supra, 40 Cal.4th at p. 1092, fn. 9.)
We turn now to the next issue — whether class action requirements must
also be satisfied when an aggrieved employee seeks civil penalties for himself and
other employees under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 for
an employer‘s alleged Labor Code violations.
III
In September 2003, the Legislature enacted the Labor Code Private
Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Lab. Code, § 2698 et seq., Stats. 2003, ch. 906,
§ 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2004). The Legislature declared that adequate financing of labor
law enforcement was necessary to achieve maximum compliance with state labor
laws, that staffing levels for labor law enforcement agencies had declined and were
unlikely to keep pace with the future growth of the labor market, and that it was
therefore in the public interest to allow aggrieved employees, acting as private
attorneys general, to recover civil penalties for Labor Code violations, with the
understanding that labor law enforcement agencies were to retain primacy over
private enforcement efforts. (Stats. 2003, ch. 906, § 1.)
Under this legislation, an ―aggrieved employee‖ may bring a civil action
personally and on behalf of other current or former employees to recover civil
penalties for Labor Code violations. (Lab. Code, § 2699, subd. (a).)4 Of the civil
penalties recovered, 75 percent goes to the Labor and Workforce Development

4
An ―aggrieved employee‖ is defined in the Labor Code Private Attorneys
General Act of 2004 as ―any person who was employed by the alleged violator and
against whom one or more of the alleged violations was committed.‖ (Lab. Code,
§ 2699, subd. (c).)
8


Agency, leaving the remaining 25 percent for the ―aggrieved employees.‖ (Id.,
§ 2699, subd. (i).)
Before bringing a civil action for statutory penalties, an employee must
comply with Labor Code section 2699.3. (Lab. Code, § 2699, subd. (a).) That
statute requires the employee to give written notice of the alleged Labor Code
violation to both the employer and the Labor and Workforce Development
Agency, and the notice must describe facts and theories supporting the violation.
(Id., § 2699.3, subd. (a).) If the agency notifies the employee and the employer
that it does not intend to investigate (as occurred here), or if the agency fails to
respond within 33 days, the employee may then bring a civil action against the
employer. (Id., § 2699.3, subd. (a)(2)(A).) If the agency decides to investigate, it
then has 120 days to do so. If the agency decides not to issue a citation, or does
not issue a citation within 158 days after the postmark date of the employee‘s
notice, the employee may commence a civil action. (Id., § 2699.3, subd.
(a)(2)(B).)
Here, plaintiff‘s eleventh cause of action seeks civil penalties under the
Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 for himself and other
employees of defendants for alleged violations of various Labor Code provisions,
several labor regulations, and an Industrial Wage Commission wage order.
Defendants challenge the Court of Appeal‘s holding here that to bring this cause of
action, plaintiff need not satisfy class action requirements.5 The court relied on
these four reasons: (1) Labor Code section 2699, subdivision (a), states that

5
Actions under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 may
be brought as class actions. (See Amaral v. Cintas Corp. No. 2 (2008) 163
Cal.App.4th 1157, 1173.) At issue here is whether such actions must be brought as
a class action.
9


―[n]otwithstanding any other provision of law‖ an aggrieved employee may bring
an action against the employer ―on behalf of himself or herself and other current or
former employees‖; (2) similar language in former section 17204 of the Business
and Professions Code, which authorized ―any board, officer, person, corporation or
association or by any person‖ to bring an action ―acting for the interests of itself,
its members or the general public‖ (see fn. 3, ante), permitted a representative
action that was not brought as a class action; (3) unlike the current version of the
unfair competition law‘s section 17203 (see fn. 3, ante), the Labor Code Private
Attorneys General Act of 2004 does not expressly require that representative
actions comply with Code of Civil Procedure section 382; and (4) a private
plaintiff suing under this act is essentially bringing a law enforcement action
designed to protect the public.
Defendants and their amicus, the National Chamber Litigation Center, Inc.,
contend that the Court of Appeal‘s statutory construction leads to ―absurd‖ results,
is not supported by the statute‘s legislative history, and violates the due process
rights of defendants as well as aggrieved employees not named as parties to the
civil action. We address these arguments below.
A. “Absurd Results” Claim
Defendants criticize the Court of Appeal‘s holding that a representative
action seeking civil penalties under subdivision (a) of Labor Code section 2699,
which is part of the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, need not
satisfy class action requirements. According to defendants, that holding leads to
absurd results. In support of their argument, defendants point to a difference in
language between subdivision (a) and subdivision (g) of Labor Code section 2699.
Subdivision (a) states that ―[n]otwithstanding any other provision of law‖
an aggrieved employee may bring a representative action against the employer for
civil penalties based on violations of Labor Code provisions that expressly provide
10
for a civil penalty. In contrast, subdivision (g), which allows an aggrieved
employee to bring a representative action against the employer to recover civil
penalties for violations of any Labor Code provision that does not expressly
provide for statutory penalties, does not contain subdivision (a)‘s
―[n]otwithstanding any other provision of law‖ language.
Defendants read the Court of Appeal‘s decision as holding that class action
requirements do not apply to actions under Labor Code section 2699, subdivision
(a) only because class action requirements are ―provisions of law‖ and subdivision
(a) says that it applies regardless of, or notwithstanding, ―any other provision of
law.‖ Defendants then argue that because Labor Code section 2699, subdivision
(g) does not contain subdivision (a)‘s ―[n]otwithstanding any other provision of
law‖ language, it follows that actions under that subdivision must comply with
class action requirements. According to defendants, to conclude that subdivision
(g) actions must satisfy class action requirements but subdivision (a) actions need
not is ―absurd‖ and therefore the Court of Appeal‘s statutory construction must be
wrong. We disagree.
Defendants‘ argument assumes that class action requirements apply
generally to any form of representative action unless the Legislature affirmatively
precludes their application by inserting ―notwithstanding any other provision of
law,‖ or words to that effect, in the statute authorizing the representative action.
This assumption is incorrect. For example, this court construed the unfair
competition law, before its amendment in 2004, as authorizing representative
actions that were not class actions (see, e.g., Kraus v. Trinity Management
Services, Inc., supra, 23 Cal.4th at p. 126, fn. 10; Stop Youth Addiction, Inc. v.
Lucky Stores, Inc., supra, 17 Cal.4th at p. 561) even though that law contained no
language affirmatively expressing a legislative intent to preclude application of
class action requirements.
11

Moreover, there is a more reasonable and persuasive explanation for the
Legislature‘s failure to include the words ―notwithstanding any other provision of
law,‖ or similar language, in subdivision (g) of Labor Code section 2699. That
subdivision says that no action may be brought for any violation of the Labor
Code‘s posting, notice, filing, and reporting requirements, but the subdivision
contains an exception for such requirements when they involve statutorily
mandated payroll or workplace injury reporting. Given that structure — a general
prohibition subject to a specific exception that in turn was tied to specific statutory
requirements — the addition of the words ―notwithstanding any other provision of
law‖ would have made the entire provision ambiguous and confusing because
those additional words could be read as being inconsistent with, and therefore
nullifying, the express exception incorporating other provisions of law. An intent
to avoid this potential confusion and possible misinterpretation, rather than an
intent to impose class action requirements, is the likely explanation for the absence
of the words ―notwithstanding any other provision of law‖ in subdivision (g) of
Labor Code section 2699.
Defendants also argue that if the ―[n]otwithstanding any other provision of
law‖ language in Labor Code section 2699, subdivision (a) exempts representative
actions brought under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 from
class action requirements, it must also exempt those actions from all other
provisions of law, including statutes of limitation and pleading requirements set
forth in the Code of Civil Procedure. Not so. ―The statutory phrase
‗notwithstanding any other provision of law‘ has been called a ‗ ―term of art‖ ‘
[citation] that declares the legislative intent to override all contrary law.‖ (Klajic
v. Castaic Lake Water Agency (2004) 121 Cal.App.4th 5, 13, italics added.) Thus,
by virtue of subdivision (a)‘s ―notwithstanding‖ clause, only those provisions of
12
law that conflict with the act‘s provisions — not, as defendants contend, every
provision of law — are inapplicable to actions brought under the act.
B. Legislative History Claim
Defendants argue that the legislative history of the Labor Code Private
Attorneys General Act of 2004 reveals a legislative intent that any lawsuit under
the act be brought as a class action. Defendants point to statements in certain
committee reports that an employer need not be concerned about future lawsuits
that assert the same issues because ―an action on behalf of other aggrieved
employees would be final as to those plaintiffs . . . .‖ (Sen. Com. on Judiciary,
Analysis of Sen. Bill No. 796 (2003-2004 Reg. Sess.) as amended Apr. 22, 2003,
p. 8; see Assem. Com. on Judiciary, Analysis of Sen. Bill No. 796 (2003-2004
Reg. Sess.) as amended May 12, 2003, p. 6 [―Because there is no provision in the
bill allowing for private prosecution on behalf of the general public, there is no
issue regarding the lack of finality of judgments against employers, as there has
been with respect to private [unfair competition law] actions.‖].)6 Arguing that, as
to aggrieved employees other than those named as parties, a judgment would be
final only if the action were brought as a class action, defendants contend the

6
We note that the preclusive effect of judgments depends not on whether the
action is brought on behalf of the general public, but on whether those sought to be
bound by a judgment are named parties, are in privity with named parties, or are
members of a class certified under class action procedures. (See 7 Witkin, Cal.
Procedure (5th ed. 2008) Judgment, § 468, pp. 1131-1132 [a person who is neither
a party nor in privity with a party is not bound by a judgment in an action even if
the person is vitally interested in and directly affected by the outcome of the
action]; see also Fireside Bank v. Superior Court, supra, 40 Cal.4th at pp. 1078-
1079.) In any event, the statements that defendants have quoted from the
committee reports in question do not suggest that the Legislature intended to
require that representative actions under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General
Act of 2004 be brought as class actions.
13


statements in question show a legislative intent to apply class action procedures to
actions brought under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004. We
are not persuaded.
The above quoted comments from the committee reports were simply
responses to a concern expressed by those opposing the proposed legislation that
the proposed legislation would allow employees to sue as a class without satisfying
class action requirements. Because the committee report comments do not refer to
class actions, they are insufficient to support the conclusion that the Legislature
intended to impose class action requirements on representative actions brought
under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004.
C. Due Process Claim
Citing the principle of statutory construction that when possible a statute
must be construed to avoid constitutional infirmity (Berglund v. Arthroscopic &
Laser Surgery Center of San Diego, L.P. (2008) 44 Cal.4th 528, 538; Myers v.
Philip Morris Companies, Inc. (2002) 28 Cal.4th 828, 846-847), defendants urge
us to construe the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 as requiring
that all actions under that act be brought as class actions. Not to do so, defendants
argue, would render the act unconstitutional as violating the due process rights not
only of defendant employers but also of nonparty aggrieved employees who are
not given notice of, and an opportunity to be heard in, a representative action that
is not brought as a class action.
Underlying defendants‘ arguments are concerns pertaining to the
application of collateral estoppel, an aspect of the doctrine of res judicata.
Collateral estoppel precludes relitigation of issues that were necessarily decided in
prior litigation, but it operates only against those who were parties, or in privity
with parties, to that prior litigation and who are thus bound by the resulting
judgment. The party seeking the benefit of the doctrine, by contrast, need not have
14
been a party to the earlier lawsuit. (See Vandenberg v. Superior Court (1999) 21
Cal.4th 815, 828 [―Only the party against whom the doctrine is invoked must be
bound by the prior proceeding.‖].)
Unfairness may result from application of collateral estoppel when, for
example, various plaintiffs in separate lawsuits against the same defendant assert
claims presenting common issues. Because collateral estoppel may be invoked
only against a party to the prior lawsuit in which the issue was determined, and
because in our example the defendant would be a party to every lawsuit while each
of the various plaintiffs would be a party in only one lawsuit, the defendant would
in later lawsuits be bound by any adverse determination of the common issues,
while none of the plaintiffs would be similarly bound by prior determinations in
the defendant‘s favor. Thus, ― ‗[o]ne plaintiff could sue and lose; another could
sue and lose; and another and another until one finally prevailed; then everyone
else would ride on that single success.‘ ‖ (Fireside Bank v. Superior Court, supra,
40 Cal.4th at p. 1078, quoting Premier Elec. Const. Co. v. N.E.C.A., Inc. (7th Cir.
1987) 814 F.2d 358, 362.) This process, which is now commonly referred to as
―one-way intervention,‖ is potentially unfair to the defendant, who could face the
― ‗terrors of an open-ended lawsuit that cannot be defeated, cannot be settled, and
cannot be adjudicated.‘ ‖ (Fireside Bank v. Superior Court, supra, at p. 1080.)
Because of this potential for injustice, ―in dicta we have gone so far as to attribute
to defendants a due process right to avoid one-way intervention.‖ (Id. at p. 1083.)
Defendants here assert that unless the Labor Code Private Attorneys
General Act of 2004 is construed as requiring representative actions under the act
to be brought as class actions, defendants in those actions will be subjected to the
unfairness flowing from one-way intervention, thereby violating their
constitutional right to due process of law. We disagree.
15

As we will explain, a representative action brought by an aggrieved
employee under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 does not
give rise to the due process concerns that defendants have expressed, because the
judgment in such an action is binding not only on the named employee plaintiff but
also on government agencies and any aggrieved employee not a party to the
proceeding.
An employee plaintiff suing, as here, under the Labor Code Private
Attorneys General Act of 2004, does so as the proxy or agent of the state‘s labor
law enforcement agencies. The act‘s declared purpose is to supplement
enforcement actions by public agencies, which lack adequate resources to bring all
such actions themselves. (Stats. 2003, ch. 906, § 1 [Legislature‘s findings and
declarations].) In a lawsuit brought under the act, the employee plaintiff represents
the same legal right and interest as state labor law enforcement agencies —
namely, recovery of civil penalties that otherwise would have been assessed and
collected by the Labor Workforce Development Agency. (Lab. Code, § 2699,
subds. (a), (f); see pp. 8-9, ante.) The employee plaintiff may bring the action only
after giving written notice to both the employer and the Labor and Workforce
Development Agency (Lab. Code, § 2699.3, subd. (a)(1)), and 75 percent of any
civil penalties recovered must be distributed to the Labor and Workforce
Development Agency (id., § 2699, subd. (i)). Because collateral estoppel applies
not only against a party to the prior action in which the issue was determined, but
also against those for whom the party acted as an agent or proxy (7 Witkin, Cal.
Procedure, supra, Judgments, § 462, p. 1122; see Taylor v. Sturgell (2008) ___
U.S. ___ [128 S.Ct. 2161, 2173]; Zaragosa v. Craven (1949) 33 Cal.2d 315, 318;
Rest.2d Judgments, § 41), a judgment in an employee‘s action under the act binds
not only that employee but also the state labor law enforcement agencies.
16

Because an aggrieved employee‘s action under the Labor Code Private
Attorneys General Act of 2004 functions as a substitute for an action brought by
the government itself, a judgment in that action binds all those, including nonparty
aggrieved employees, who would be bound by a judgment in an action brought by
the government. The act authorizes a representative action only for the purpose of
seeking statutory penalties for Labor Code violations (Lab. Code, § 2699, subds.
(a), (g)), and an action to recover civil penalties ―is fundamentally a law
enforcement action designed to protect the public and not to benefit private
parties‖ (People v. Pacific Land Research Co. (1977) 20 Cal.3d 10, 17). When a
government agency is authorized to bring an action on behalf of an individual or in
the public interest, and a private person lacks an independent legal right to bring
the action, a person who is not a party but who is represented by the agency is
bound by the judgment as though the person were a party. (Rest.2d Judgments,
§ 41, subd. (1)(d), com. d, p. 397.) Accordingly, with respect to the recovery of
civil penalties, nonparty employees as well as the government are bound by the
judgment in an action brought under the act, and therefore defendants‘ due process
concerns are to that extent unfounded.
As defendants point out, there remain situations in which nonparty
aggrieved employees may profit from a judgment in an action brought under the
Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004. This is why: Recovery of
civil penalties under the act requires proof of a Labor Code violation (Lab. Code,
§ 2699, subd. (a), (f)), and for some Labor Code violations there are remedies in
addition to civil penalties (see, e.g., Lab. Code, §§ 98.6 [lost wages and work
benefits], 226.7 [one additional hour of pay]; Murphy v. Kenneth Cole
Productions, Inc. (2007) 40 Cal.4th 1094, 1114). Therefore, if an employee
plaintiff prevails in an action under the act for civil penalties by proving that the
employer has committed a Labor Code violation, the defendant employer will be
17
bound by the resulting judgment. Nonparty employees may then, by invoking
collateral estoppel, use the judgment against the employer to obtain remedies other
than civil penalties for the same Labor Code violations. If the employer had
prevailed, however, the nonparty employees, because they were not given notice of
the action or afforded any opportunity to be heard, would not be bound by the
judgment as to remedies other than civil penalties. (See Taylor v. Sturgell, supra,
___ U.S. at p. ___ [128 S.Ct. at p. 2176].)
The potential for nonparty aggrieved employees to benefit from a favorable
judgment under the act without being bound by an adverse judgment, however, is
not unique to the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004. It also exists
when an action seeking civil penalties for Labor Code violations is brought by a
government agency rather than by an aggrieved employee suing under the Labor
Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004. Because an action under the act is
designed to protect the public, and the potential impact on remedies other than
civil penalties is ancillary to the action‘s primary objective, the one-way operation
of collateral estoppel in this limited situation does not violate the employer‘s right
to due process of law. (See People v. Pacific Land Research Co., supra, 20 Cal.3d
at pp. 18-20.)7

7
We recognize that in People v. Pacific Land Research Co., supra, 20 Cal.3d
at page 18, this court noted that the parties bringing the action — the Attorney
General and a district attorney — were not members of the group of individuals
they were representing. In an action brought under the Labor Code Private
Attorneys General Action of 2004, by contrast, the aggrieved employee plaintiff
brings the action ―on behalf of himself or herself and other current or former
employees‖ (Lab. Code, § 2699, subd. (a)), and thus is a member of the group
being represented. By itself, however, the distinction between public
representatives who are not members of the group they represent and employee
plaintiffs who are members of the group is not controlling. The controlling
considerations are that any direct financial benefit to those harmed by the
(Footnote continued on next page.)
18


DISPOSITION
The judgment of the Court of Appeal is affirmed.
KENNARD, J.
WE CONCUR:

GEORGE, C. J.
BAXTER, J.
CHIN, J.
MORENO, J.
CORRIGAN, J.

(Footnote continued from previous page.)

employer‘s unlawful conduct is ancillary to the primary object of the action, and
that a defendant employer is no more disadvantaged by the proceeding than if the
action had been brought by a state labor law enforcement agency. (See People v.
Pacific Land
, supra, 20 Cal.3d at pp. 17, 19.)
19



CONCURRING OPINION BY WERDEGAR, J.
I concur in the judgment. I write separately because I disagree with the
majority‘s nonliteral interpretation of Proposition 64 (Gen. Elec. (Nov. 2, 2004)),
which forecloses a variety of representative actions the measure clearly permits.
Unlike the majority, I do not believe we would frustrate the voters‘ intent by
enforcing the measure according to its plain language.
The unfair competition law (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq.) (UCL), as
amended by Proposition 64, requires persons who wish to pursue claims on others‘
behalf to ―compl[y] with Section 382 of the Code of Civil Procedure . . . .‖ (Bus.
& Prof. Code, § 17203, italics added.) The majority construes the italicized
language ―to mean that such an action must meet the requirements for a class
action.‖ (Maj. opn., ante, at pp. 7-8.) The problem with this conclusion is that the
UCL, even as amended by Proposition 64, does not refer to class actions. Instead,
it refers to Code of Civil Procedure section 382. Section 382, which also does not
refer to class actions, long predates that modern procedural device. Borrowed
from New York‘s 1848-1849 Field Code (see Comrs. on Practice and Pleadings,
Code of Civ. Proc. of the State of N.Y. (1850), § 610, p. 249), the language of
section 382 entered California law in 1850 with California‘s first civil practice act
(Stats. 1850, ch. 142, § 14, p. 429) and was reenacted in 1872 with its current
designation as part of our original Code of Civil Procedure. Since then, section
382 has been amended only once, in 1971 (Stats. 1971, ch. 244, § 12, p. 375), to
1


delete a reference to compulsory joinder. The statute remains ancient in language
and intent, without significant intervening legislative attention.
Section 382 actually codifies not class action procedure but the common
law doctrine of virtual representation. (Weaver v. Pasadena Tournament of Roses
(1948) 32 Cal.2d 833, 837.) Under the doctrine, a person who was not a party to
an action was deemed to have been virtually represented, and thus bound by the
judgment, if his or her interests had received adequate representation by a party.1
(See, e.g., Bernhard v. Wall (1921) 184 Cal. 612, 629.) The modern law of class
actions evolved out of virtual representation. In 1948, we held that the doctrine, as
codified in section 382, provided courts with sufficient authority to use the class
action procedural mechanism. (Weaver v. Pasadena Tournament of Roses, supra,
at pp. 836-837.) Over time, encouraged by the adoption in 1966 of rule 23 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, class actions multiplied and began to displace
other types of multiparty representative actions. California courts, lacking any
other statutory basis for class actions,2 simply continued to cite section 382 as
authority and, when specific guidance was required, looked to federal decisions

1
California‘s Code Commissioners, in recommending section 382 to the
Legislature as part of the 1872 Code of Civil Procedure, offered the examples of
an action by a joint association composed of many individuals, an action by one
stockholder on behalf of all against a corporation to compel an accounting, an
action by one person on behalf of many claiming title to property from a single
source, and an action by one partner on behalf of others to redress an indivisible
injury to the partnership. (Code commrs., notes foll. Ann. Code Civ. Proc., § 382
(1st ed. 1872, Haymond & Burch, commrs.-annotators) pp. 242-244.)
2
The Legislature in 1970 filled this void only incompletely with the
enactment of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act. (Civ. Code, § 1750 et seq.; see
id., § 1781.) Lacking further legislative guidance, the Judicial Council has
adopted rules governing some aspects of class action procedure, such as notice, but
not the standards for class certification. (See Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.760 et
seq.)
2


applying rule 23. (E.g., Green v. Obledo (1981) 29 Cal.3d 126, 146; Vasquez v.
Superior Court (1971) 4 Cal.3d 800, 821; Daar v. Yellow Cab Co. (1967) 67
Cal.2d 695, 708-709.) Today, its history largely forgotten, section 382 is
commonly but inaccurately described as setting out the requirements for class
certification.3 The majority adopts this shorthand description, as did the Attorney
General and the Legislative Analyst in the ballot pamphlet. (See maj. opn., ante, at
p. 7, citing Voter Information Guide, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 2, 2004) official title and
summary, p. 38; id., ballot measure summary, Prop. 64, p. 6; id., analysis by the
Legislative Analyst, pp. 38-39.) In a non-UCL case I, too, have described the
statute in the same way. (Fireside Bank v. Superior Court (2007) 40 Cal.4th 1069,
1092, fn. 9.) The common shorthand, however, is not accurate. Even today, more
remains of section 382 than just a makeshift citation for the proposition that
California law authorizes class actions.
What remains of section 382 is best understood by reference to Taylor v.
Sturgell (2008) __ U.S. __ [128 S.Ct. 2161] (Taylor), in which the United States
Supreme Court comprehensively examined the federal courts‘ use of virtual
representation, the common law doctrine section 382 embodies. Taylor‘s basic
holding is that a judgment‘s binding effect is to be determined not under common

3
Three of the criteria for virtual representation set out in section 382 —
common interest, numerosity and the impracticability of joinder — have found
their way into the modern jurisprudence of class actions. (See Fed. Rules Civ.
Proc., rule 23(a)(1)-(2), (b)(1)(B), 28 U.S.C.) But, as section 382 was never
intended to codify class action procedure, it says nothing about other important
requirements such as the existence of common questions of law, the typicality of
claims, the ability of the named plaintiff to provide fair and adequate
representation, the superiority of a class action over other methods of adjudication,
the likely difficulties of managing a class action, and the requirement of notice.
(See id., rule 23(a)(3) & (4), (b)(3), (b)(3)(D), (c)(2)(B).)
3


law doctrines but instead under the established rules of res judicata and collateral
estoppel, which typically require that a person, to be bound, must have been made
a party, received service of process, and had a full and fair opportunity to litigate.
(Taylor, at p. __ [128 S.Ct. at p. 2171].) Taken together, these rules form what the
high court has called a general ―rule against nonparty preclusion.‖ (Id., at p. __
[128 S.Ct. at p. 2172].) To encourage clarity in determining the preclusive effect
of judgments on nonparties, the high court instructed the lower federal courts not
to use the term ―virtual representation.‖ (Id., at p. __ [128 S.Ct. at p. 2178].) In so
doing, however, the court observed that to discard the term was ―unlikely to
occasion any great shift in actual practice‖ or any significant ―change in outcomes‖
(ibid.) because the term encompasses six categories of valid, established
exceptions to the rule against nonparty preclusion (ibid.; see also id., at pp. __-__
[128 S.Ct. at pp. 2172-2173]).
The propriety of any given representative action obviously depends on
whether the nonparties assumed to be represented will in fact be bound by the
judgment. Of the six categories of exceptions to the rule against nonparty
preclusion identified in Taylor, supra, __ U.S. __, __-__ [128 S.Ct. 2161, 2172-
2173], three might well, but for today‘s decision, support non-class representative
actions under the UCL: (1) preclusion because a person has agreed to be bound by
the determination of issues in an action between others; (2) preclusion based on a
variety of pre-existing substantive legal relationships arising from the needs of
property law, such as the relationships between preceding and succeeding owners
of property, bailee and bailor, and assignee and assignor; and (3) preclusion
because a nonparty was adequately represented by someone with the same interests
who was a party, as in properly conducted class actions and in suits brought by
trustees, guardians, and other fiduciaries. (Taylor, at pp. __-__ [128 S.Ct. at
pp. 2172-2173].)
4
Taylor‘s third exception to the rule of nonparty preclusion — cases in
which a nonparty was adequately represented, as in ―properly conducted class
actions‖ (Taylor, supra, __ U.S. __, __ [128 S.Ct. 2161, 2172], italics added) —
will undoubtedly comprise the vast majority of multiparty actions brought under
the UCL. The consumers on whose behalf UCL actions are brought typically have
no relationship with the representative plaintiff other than the fact that they
purchased the same product or service from the defendant. Still, actions brought
under the first (consent) and second (relationships based on property law)
exceptions to the general rule of nonparty preclusion, and actions brought under
the third exception by ―trustees, guardians, and other fiduciaries‖ (Taylor, supra, at
p. __ [128 S.Ct. at p. 2173]), fall squarely within the language and intent of section
382, remain valid under federal law (see Taylor, at pp. __-__ [128 S.Ct. at
pp. 2172-2173]), and might well be invoked as the basis for non-class
representative actions under the UCL. One can easily imagine, for example, an
action by a homeowners‘ assocation on behalf of its members — a type of
representative action California courts have consistently held to be proper under
section 382 even without class certification. (E.g., Del Mar Beach Club Owners
Assn. v. Imperial Contracting Co. (1981) 123 Cal.App.3d 898, 906-908; Raven’s
Cove Townhomes, Inc. v. Knuppe Development Co. (1981) 114 Cal.App.3d 783,
793-794.)
The majority, by simplistically construing Proposition 64‘s reference to
―Section 382‖ (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17203, as amended by Prop. 64) as requiring
class certification in every instance, forecloses these other possibilities. I
acknowledge that the practical difference between the majority‘s construction of
Proposition 382 and my literal one is small. As I have explained, the vast majority
of representative plaintiffs in UCL actions cannot hope to comply with section 382
5
except through class certification. Thus, my disagreement with the majority
affects very few cases.
Nevertheless, strict fidelity to the language of voter initiatives is important.
The specific language of an initiative measure typically represents ― ‗a delicate
tightrope walk designed to induce voter approval . . .‘ ‖ (Ross v. RagingWire
Telecommunications, Inc. (2008) 42 Cal.4th 920, 930, quoting People v. Galambos
(2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 1147, 1152) — a balance that judges too easily upset by
reading their own policy preferences into a measure‘s language. Thus, ―the
initiative power is strongest when courts give effect to the voters‘ formally
expressed intent . . . . ‖ (Ross, supra, at p. 930.) The majority‘s only justification
for giving Proposition 64 a nonliteral interpretation is that the voters were told —
albeit not in the text of the statute on which they were asked to vote — that the
measure would compel representative plaintiffs to meet the requirements of class
actions. (See maj. opn., ante, at p. 7, citing Voter Information Guide, supra,
official title and summary, p. 38; id., ballot measure summary, Prop. 64, p. 6; id.,
analysis by the Legislative Analyst, pp. 38-39.) The majority reasons that ―[a]
literal construction of an enactment . . . will not control when such a construction
would frustrate the manifest purpose of the enactment as a whole.‖ (Maj. opn.,
ante, at p. 6.) I agree with the principle but not its application. In this case, to
interpret Proposition 64 literally would not frustrate the voters‘ intent, given the
expected rarity in UCL cases of constitutionally permissible representative actions
other than class actions. To prefer language in ballot pamphlets to the formal,
operative text of an initiative renders the initiative process susceptible to bait-and-
switch tactics. To do so even once without the plainest compulsion sets a
potentially dangerous precedent.
Accordingly, I cannot join the majority in construing Proposition 64
according to its subjective, court-declared ―spirit‖ rather than its ―letter‖ (maj.
6
opn., at p. 6) without a better reason to believe the voters did not really intend to be
bound by language they voted to enact. Nevertheless, I agree with the majority
that the Court of Appeal correctly struck plaintiff‘s representative claims under the
circumstances of this case because plaintiff cannot otherwise ―compl[y] with
section 382‖ (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17203) and, thus, satisfy Proposition 64.
WERDEGAR, J.
7
See next page for addresses and telephone numbers for counsel who argued in Supreme Court.

Name of Opinion Arias v. Superior Court
__________________________________________________________________________________

Unpublished Opinion


Original Appeal
Original Proceeding
Review Granted
XXX 153 Cal.App.4th 777
Rehearing Granted

__________________________________________________________________________________

Opinion No.

S155965
Date Filed: June 29, 2009
__________________________________________________________________________________

Court:

Superior
County: San Joaquin
Judge: Carter P. Holly

__________________________________________________________________________________

Attorneys for Appellant:

California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., Blanca A. Bañuelos and Michael L. Meuter for Petitioner.

Worksafe Law Center, M. Suzanne Murphy; The Impact Fund, Brad Seligman, Jocelyn Larkin; Asian
Pacific American Legal Center, Julie A. Su, Yungsuhn Park; Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Anel
Flores; Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center, Matthew Goldberg; Neighborhood Legal Services of
Los Angeles County, David Pallack, José Tello; The Watsonville Law Center, Dori Rose Inda; National
Employment Law Project, Laura Moskowitz; California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation and Julia L.
Montgomery for Garment Worker Center, Inquilinos Unidos and Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund as
Amici Curiae on behalf of Petitioner.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Attorneys for Respondent:

No appearance for Respondent.

Barsamian, Saqui & Moody, Saqui & Raimondo, Michael C. Saqui; McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard,
Wayte & Carruth and Anthony P. Raimondo for Real Parties in Interest.

Law Offices of Steven Drapkin, Steven Drapkin; O‘Melveny & Myers, Scott H. Dunham, Ryan W.
Rutledge; National Chamber Litigation Center, Inc., and Robin S. Conrad for Employers Group, California
Employment Law Council, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America and California
Restaurant Association as Amici Curiae on behalf of Real Parties in Interest.

1


Counsel who argued in Supreme Court (not intended for publication with opinion):

Blanca A. Bañuelos
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.
20 N. Sutter Street, Suite 203
Stockton, CA 95202
(209) 946-0609

Anthony P. Raimondo
McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte & Carruth
5 River Park Place East
Fresno, CA 93729-8912
(559) 433-1300

Steven Drapkin
Law Offices of Steven Drapkin
11377 W. Olympic Boulevard, Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA 90064-1683
(310) 914-7909

2


Petition for review after the Court of Appeal granted a petition for peremptory writ of mandate. This case presents the following issues: (1) Must an employee who is suing an employer for labor law violations on behalf of himself and others under the Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code, section 17203) bring his representative claims as a class action? (2) Must an employee who is pursuing such claims under the Private Attorneys General Act (Lab. Code, section 2699) bring them as a class action?

Opinion Information
Date:Citation:Docket Number:Category:Status:Cross Referenced Cases:
Mon, 06/29/200946 Cal. 4th 969, 209 P.3d 923, 95 Cal. Rptr. 3d 588S155965Review - Civil Original Proceedingclosed; remittitur issued

AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION v. S.C. (FIRST TRANSIT) (S151615)


Parties
1Arias, Jose A. (Petitioner)
Represented by Blanca A. Banuelos
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.
20 N. Sutter Street, Suite 203
Stockton, CA

2Arias, Jose A. (Petitioner)
Represented by Michael L. Meuter
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.
3 Williams Road
Salinas, CA

3Superior Court Of San Joaquin County (Respondent)
222 East Weber Avenue
Stockton, CA 95202

4Angelo Dairy (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by Anthony Peter Raimondo
McCormick, Barstow, LLP
5 River Park Place, East
Fresno, CA

5Angelo, Luis (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by Anthony Peter Raimondo
McCormick, Barstow, LLP
5 River Park Place, East
Fresno, CA

6Garment Worker Center (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Mary Suzanne Murphy
Weinberg Roger & Rosenfeld
171 Twelfth Street, 3rd Floor
Oakland, CA

7Garment Worker Center (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Anel Malissa Flores
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
1102 Crenshaw Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

8Garment Worker Center (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Matthew David Goldberg
Legal Aid Society-ELC
600 Harrison Street, Suite 120
San Francisco, CA

9Garment Worker Center (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Julia Louise Montgomery
California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
2210 "K" Street, 2nd Floor
Sacramento, CA

10Garment Worker Center (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Laura Meredith Moskowitz
National Employment Law Project
405 Fourteenth Street, Suite 1400
Oakland, CA

11Garment Worker Center (Amicus curiae)
Represented by David Pallack
SFV Neigborhood Legal Services
13327 Van Nuys Boulevard
Pacoima, CA

12Garment Worker Center (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Doris Adrianne Roseinda
The Watsonville Law Center
521 Main Street, Suite H
Watsonville, CA

13Garment Worker Center (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Brad S. Seligman
The Impact Fund
125 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA

14Garment Worker Center (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Julie Ann Su
Asian Pacific American Legal Center
1145 Wilshire Boulevard, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA

15Inquilinos Unidos (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Mary Suzanne Murphy
Weinberg Roger & Rosenfeld
171 Twelfth Street, 3rd Floor
Oakland, CA

16Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Mary Suzanne Murphy
Weinberg Roger & Rosenfeld
171 Twelfth Street, 3rd Floor
Oakland, CA

17Employers Group (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Steven G. Drapkin
Attorney at Law
11377 W. Olympic Boulevard, Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA

18Employers Group (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Scott H. Dunham
O'Melveny & Myers, LLP
400 S. Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA

19California Employment Law Council (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Steven G. Drapkin
Attorney at Law
11377 W. Olympic Boulevard, Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA

20California Employment Law Council (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Scott H. Dunham
O'Melveny & Myers, LLP
400 S. Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA

21Chamber Of Commerce Of The United States Of America (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Steven G. Drapkin
Attorney at Law
11377 W. Olympic Boulevard, Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA

22Chamber Of Commerce Of The United States Of America (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Robin S. Conrad
National Chamber Litigation Center, Inc.
1615 "H" Street, N.W.
Washington, DC

23Chamber Of Commerce Of The United States Of America (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Scott H. Dunham
O'Melveny & Myers, LLP
400 S. Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA

24California Restaurant Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Steven G. Drapkin
Attorney at Law
11377 W. Olympic Boulevard, Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA

25California Restaurant Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Scott H. Dunham
O'Melveny & Myers, LLP
400 S. Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA


Opinion Authors
OpinionJustice Joyce L. Kennard
ConcurJustice Kathryn M. Werdegar

Disposition
Jun 29 2009Opinion: Affirmed

Dockets
Sep 4 2007Petition for review filed
Jose Arias, petitioner Blanca Banuelos, Michael Meuter, counsel c/a rec req
Sep 4 2007Forma pauperis application filed
Sep 13 2007Received Court of Appeal record
one file jacket
Sep 21 2007Answer to petition for review filed
Angelo Dairy, et al, RPIs Anthony Raimondo, counsel
Oct 5 2007Reply to answer to petition filed
Jose Arias, petitioner Blanca Banuelos, Michael Meuter, counsel (late filing permitted)
Oct 10 2007Petition for review granted (civil case)
Votes: George, C.J., Kennard, Baxter, Werdegar, Chin, Moreno and Corrigan, JJ.
Oct 17 2007Certification of interested entities or persons filed
Angelo Dairy et al., RPIs Anthony Raimondo, counsel
Oct 18 2007Certification of interested entities or persons filed
Jose Arias, petitioner Blanca Banuelos, counsel
Nov 1 2007Request for extension of time filed
for petitioner to file the opening brief on the merits, to 12/10/07.
Nov 5 2007Extension of time granted
On application of petitioner and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the opening brief on the merits is extended to and including December 10, 2007.
Dec 10 2007Opening brief on the merits filed
Jose A. Arias, Petitioner Blanca A. Banuelos, Attorney
Dec 18 2007Request for extension of time filed
counsel for RPI requests extention of time to 2-8-08, to file the answer brief on the merits.
Dec 24 2007Extension of time granted
On application of real parties in interest and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the answer brief is extended to and including February 8, 2008.
Dec 24 2007Received:
Letter from O'Melveny & Myers LLP, dated December 21, 2007, on behalf of the Employers Group and the California Employment Law Council requesting clarification of the scopy of issues presented for review.
Dec 31 2007Received:
Letter requesting clarification of the issues it must address in its brief. Angelo Dairy, Real Party in Interest Anthony P. Raimondo, Counsel
Jan 9 2008Received:
Letter re clarification of issues. Angelo Dairy, RPI Anthony Raimondo, counsel
Jan 10 2008Received:
Letter re clarification of issues Employers Group, Calif. Employment Law Council, amicus curiae applicants Scott Dunham, counsel
Jan 30 2008Letter sent to:
Mr. Anthony P. Raimondo, counsel for Angelo Dairy, Real Party in Interest, and Mr. Scott H. Dunham, counsel for Employers Group, Amicus Curiae, in response to their letters of January 8, 2008, requesting clarification of the issues before the court.
Feb 1 2008Request for extension of time filed
for real parties in interest to file the opening brief on the merits, to 3-10-08
Feb 4 2008Extension of time granted
On application of real parties in interest and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the opening brief on the merits is extended to and including March 10, 2008.
Mar 11 2008Answer brief on the merits filed
Angelo Dairy, et al., RPIs Anthony Raimondo, counsel timely per CRC 8.25b
Mar 11 2008Request for judicial notice filed (granted case)
Angelo Dairy, et al., RPIs Anthony Raimondo, counsel
Apr 1 2008Reply brief filed (case fully briefed)
Jose Arias, petitioner Blanca Banuelos, Michael Meuter, counsel
Apr 16 2008Application filed
by RPIs for permission to file a "reply brief"
Apr 18 2008Opposition filed
to application to file reply brief. Jose Arias, petitioner
Apr 22 2008Filed:
Withdrawal of application to file reply brief. Angelo Dairy, et al., Real parties in interest
Apr 25 2008Order filed
The application of real parties in interest for permission to file an additional reply brief is hereby ordered withdrawn pursuant to written request.
May 2 2008Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
Received Employers Group, Inc., California Employment Law Council, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America and California Restaurant Association, in support of real parties in interest, by Steven Drapkin and Robin S. Conrad, Counsel *** CRC 8.25(b)
May 2 2008Application to appear as counsel pro hac vice (granted case)
for Robin S. Conrad, counsel for Employers Group, California Employment Law Council, Chamber of Commerce of the United State of America, & California Restaurant Association, in support of real parties in interest
May 2 2008Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
by Garment Worker Center, Inquilinos Unidos and Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund, in support of plaintiff and petitioner, Jose A. Arias by M. Suzanne Murphy, Counsel
May 9 2008Motion filed (non-AA)
Motion/Application by the Real Parties in Interest, to treat this and another pending case, S151615, as companion cases for arugment and decision, Anthony P. Raimondo, Counsel
May 12 2008Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
The application of Employers Group, California Employment Law Council, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, and California Restaurant Association for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of real parties in interest is hereby granted. An answer thereto may be served and filed by any party within twenty days of the filing of the brief.
May 12 2008Amicus curiae brief filed
Employers Group, California Employment Law Council, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, and California Restaurant Association, by Steven Drapkin, Counsel
May 12 2008Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
The application of Garment Worker Center, Inquilinos Unidos, and Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of petitioner is hereby granted. An answer thereto may be served and filed by any party within twenty days of the filing of the brief.
May 12 2008Amicus curiae brief filed
Garment Worker Center, Inquilinos Unidos, and Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund, by M. Suzanne Murphy, Counsel
May 14 2008Application to appear as counsel pro hac vice granted
The application of Robin S. Conrad of the District of Columbia for admission pro hac vice to appear on behalf of Amicus Curiae Chamber of the United States of America is hereby granted. (See Cal. Rules of Court, rule 9.40)
May 14 2008Request for judicial notice filed (granted case)
Employers Group, California Employment Law Council, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, and California Restaraunt Association, non-parties, by Steven Drapkin and Robin S. Conrad, Counsel
May 21 2008Response to amicus curiae brief filed
Luis Angelo, et al., real parties in interest Anthony Raimondo, counsel Response to amicus curiae brief of Garment Worker Center, et al.
May 27 2008Request for extension of time filed
for petitioner to file response to amicus brief of Employers Group, et al. Extension requested to June 11.
Jun 2 2008Extension of time granted
On application of petitioner and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the response to the amicus curiae brief of Employers Group, et al., is extended to and including June 11, 2008.
Jun 11 2008Response to amicus curiae brief filed
Jose Arias, petitioner Blanca Banuelos, Michael Meuter, counsel Response to amicus brief of Employers Group
Aug 25 2008Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
Southwest Eyecare, Inc. [late] ~Attorneys Kenneth R. Pedroza and Daniel S. Belsky
Sep 10 2008Application to file amicus curiae brief denied
The application of Southwest Eyecare, Inc. for permission to file an untimely amicus curiae brief in support of real parties in interest is hereby denied.
Jan 21 2009Notice of substitution of counsel
For RPI's : Anthony P. Raimondo of McCormick Barstow et al. in place of Anthony P. Raimondo and Michael Saqui of Saqui & Raimondo
Mar 11 2009Order filed
The motion of real parties in interest Angelo Dairy, Luis M. Angelo, Maria D. Angelo, and Joe Angelo to make this case a companion to Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1756, AFL-CIO et al. v. Superior Court (S151615) is granted.
Mar 11 2009Case ordered on calendar
to be argued on Wednesday, April 8, 2009, at 9:00 a.m., in Los Angeles
Mar 17 2009Received:
RPIs' supplemental authorities for oral argument
Mar 18 2009Note: Mail returned and re-sent
returned from: Anel Malissa Flores, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles 8601 Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90003-3319 resent to address from State Bar website, now noted in case: 1102 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90019
Mar 20 2009Request for judicial notice granted
Real Parties in Interest Angelo Dairy, Luis M. Angelo, Maria D. Angelo, and Joe Angelo's Request for Judicial Notice filed in this court on March 11, 2008, is granted. The Request for Judicial Notice of Amici Curiae Employers Group, California Employment Law Council, Chamber of Commerce of the United State of America, and California Restaurant Association filed in this court on May 14, 2008, is granted.
Mar 23 2009Filed:
Letter from Anthony Raimondo, counsel for real parties in interest Angelo Dairy et al., requesting to share 10 minutes of argument time with amici curiae Employers Group et al.
Mar 25 2009Order filed
The request of counsel for real parties in interest in the above-referenced cause to allow two counsel to argue on behalf of real parties at oral argument is hereby granted. The request of real parties in interest to allocate to amicus curiae The Employers Group et al. 10 minutes of real parties' 30-minute allotted time for oral argument is granted.
Mar 27 2009Filed:
Additional Authorities w/letter attached
Apr 8 2009Cause argued and submitted
Apr 6 2009Received:
Notice from RPIs that attorney Michael Saqui is not involved in this case.
Jun 26 2009Notice of forthcoming opinion posted
Jun 29 2009Opinion filed: Judgment affirmed in full
The judgment of the Court of Appeal is affirmed. Majority Opinion by Kennard, J. -----joined by George, C.J., Baxter, Chin, Moreno and Corrigan, JJ. Concurring Opinion by Werdegar, J.
Jul 31 2009Remittitur issued

Briefs
Dec 10 2007Opening brief on the merits filed
Jose A. Arias, Petitioner Blanca A. Banuelos, Attorney
Mar 11 2008Answer brief on the merits filed
Angelo Dairy, et al., RPIs Anthony Raimondo, counsel timely per CRC 8.25b
Apr 1 2008Reply brief filed (case fully briefed)
Jose Arias, petitioner Blanca Banuelos, Michael Meuter, counsel
May 12 2008Amicus curiae brief filed
Employers Group, California Employment Law Council, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, and California Restaurant Association, by Steven Drapkin, Counsel
May 12 2008Amicus curiae brief filed
Garment Worker Center, Inquilinos Unidos, and Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund, by M. Suzanne Murphy, Counsel
May 21 2008Response to amicus curiae brief filed
Luis Angelo, et al., real parties in interest Anthony Raimondo, counsel Response to amicus curiae brief of Garment Worker Center, et al.
Jun 11 2008Response to amicus curiae brief filed
Jose Arias, petitioner Blanca Banuelos, Michael Meuter, counsel Response to amicus brief of Employers Group
Brief Downloads
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amicus brief - final 5-1-08.pdf (333885 bytes) - Brief for Amici Curiae: Employers Group, California Employment Law Council, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America
If you'd like to submit a brief document to be included for this opinion, please submit an e-mail to the SCOCAL website
Nov 10, 2009
Annotated by Margaret McLeester

An employee, Jose A. Arias, sued his former employer under the unfair competition law (Bus. & Prof. Code, §17200 et. seq.) and the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Lab. Code, §2968 et. seq.). The defendants moved to strike the causes of action brought by the plaintiff on behalf of the plaintiff and other current and former employees of defendants for failure to comply with class action pleading requirements. The Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeal, holding:

(1) plaintiffs must meet class action requirements to bring representative claims under the unfair competition law; and

(2) plaintiffs need not meet class action requirements to bring representative actions under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004.

(1) Representative Actions Under Unfair Competition Law Must Meet Class Action Pleading Requirements Due to Amendment by Proposition 64

Proposition 64 amended the unfair competition law to require plaintiffs bringing representative claims to have suffered injury in fact and to comply with Section 382 of the Code of Civil Procedure. By requiring compliance with Section 382, the electorate intended to impose class action pleading requirements on any representative action brought under the unfair competition law. Although Section 382 makes no mention of the words “class action,” the electorate’s intent to impose class action requirements was clearly indicated in the official election materials submitted to the voters. The materials unequivocally state that passage of the initiative measures would impose class action procedural requirements on all representative claims.

(2) Representative Actions under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 Need Not Comply with Class Action Pleading Requirements

In order to achieve maximum compliance with the state labor laws, aggrieved employees, acting as private attorneys general, are permitted to recover civil penalties for Labor Code violations. In such an action, the plaintiff need not satisfy the class action requirements to bring a representative claim because the aggrieved employee is suing as a proxy or agent of the state’s labor enforcement agencies. As a result of the plaintiff’s government proxy identity, due process is not offended when the judgment for civil penalties binds the employee, the state labor agencies, and all nonparty aggrieved employees – as these parties would be bound if the government had brought the action for civil penalties. In actions to recover remedies other than civil penalties, the employer will be bound by an adverse judgment from the civil penalty suit, just as the employer would be if the government had brought the action. In contrast, when the employer prevails, non-party employees will not be bound by the judgment with respect to remedies other than civil penalties because they were not given notice of the action or afforded an opportunity to be heard. This does not violate the employer’s due process of law.

Nov 10, 2009
Annotated by Margaret McLeester

CONCURRING OPINION BY WERDEGAR, J.

Judge Werdegar’s concurring opinion rejects the majority’s approach to the extent that it equates Section 382 of the Code of Civil Procedure and all the class action pleading requirements of Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 23. Section 382 predates the class action device and is a codification of the common law doctrine of virtual representation. Although Section 382 became the grounds for class actions in California, it does not specify all the requirements contained in Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 23. In some situations, non-class representative actions under the unfair competition law could exist even after Proposition 64’s amendment. These actions could meet Section 382 without meeting all the requirements for class actions. This category of actions would be very small, and the concurrence notes that there is little practical difference between these two interpretations. In this case, the plaintiff cannot comply with Section 382’s requirements, and Judge Werdegar concurs in the judgment.