Reversing a $15 million judgment against an employer in a class action for alleged unpaid overtime, the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, has held that the trial court’s trial management plan, which used sampling evidence to prove class liability, denied the employer due process by preventing it from defending against over 90% of class claims. Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, Nos. A125557 & A126827 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 6, 2012). The Court found the plan “was fatally flawed” and concluded the lower court’s adherence to it denied the employer due process. The Court reversed the judgment and ordered the class to be decertified.
This is the first decision to analyze thoroughly the employer’s due process rights in a class action. It provides employers and their counsel a guide to trial procedures that raise due process red flags and may be able to provide authority for employers (and courts) when developing trial management plans in class actions. However, the case does not necessarily preclude the use of statistical sampling or representative testimony as a way to try class action litigation. Duran’s significance may depend on its probable resolution by the California Supreme Court, and its interpretation by other California courts. For a detailed analysis of the case, please review, "Due Process Concerns Sinks Overtime Class Action against Employer, California Court Rules."