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Curtis v. Irwin Industries, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

January 25, 2019

Carl Curtis, an individual; Arthur Williams, Plaintiffs-Appellants
v.
Irwin Industries, Inc., a California corporation; Does, 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued and Submitted October 9, 2018 Pasadena, California

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California No. 2:15-cv-02480-ODW-E Otis D. Wright II, District Judge, Presiding

          Michael A. Strauss (argued) and Aris E. Karakalos, Strauss & Strauss APC, Ventura, California, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

          Ronald J. Holland (argued), Ellen M. Bronchetti, and Christopher M. Foster, DLA Piper LLP, San Francisco, California, for Defendant-Appellee.

          Before: Sandra S. Ikuta and John B. Owens, Circuit Judges, and Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr., [*] District Judge.

         SUMMARY[**]

         Labor Law

         The panel affirmed in part the district court's dismissal of a wage-and-hour suit and remanded in part.

         Plaintiffs worked for a company that conducted operations on oil platforms located off the coast of California, on the Outer Continental Shelf. The panel held that plaintiffs' claim for overtime pay was preempted under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act because California overtime law does not apply to an employee working under a qualifying collective bargaining agreement; therefore, plaintiffs' right to overtime existed solely as a result of their CBAs.

         The panel remanded to the district court to review meal and rest period and minimum wage claims, as well as derivative claims, and address issues of preemption under § 301 and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, as well as issues of California labor law.

          OPINION

          IKUTA, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Carl Curtis brought a putative class action lawsuit against his former employer, Irwin Industries (Irwin), alleging that Irwin denied him overtime pay, failed to give him meal and rest periods, and failed to pay him minimum wage for the 12 hours he was off duty.[1] Curtis's claim for overtime pay is preempted under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. § 185, because California overtime law does not apply to an employee working under a qualifying collective bargaining agreement, Cal. Lab. Code § 514, and Curtis worked under such an agreement. We remand Curtis's remaining claims to the district court to address in the first instance.

         I

         Curtis is a former employee of Irwin, a company that conducts operations on oil platforms located off the coast of California, on the Outer Continental Shelf.[2] While working for Irwin, Curtis was regularly scheduled to work seven 12hour shifts in a seven-day period, with twelve hours on duty, followed by twelve hours off duty.

         As a member of United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, Local 1945 (Union), Curtis was subject to two collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) between the Union and Irwin: the National Master

         Agreement by and between Irwin's Operations Group and the Union, and the National Master Agreement by and between Irwin's Maintenance and Construction Group and the Union. Both agreements include detailed provisions regarding wages, overtime, and hours, as well as provisions requiring employees to grieve and arbitrate disputes concerning the application and terms of the CBAs.

         Without using the dispute-resolution provisions of the CBAs, Curtis filed a putative class action complaint against Irwin in California state court. The complaint was based on Curtis's theory that his 12 off-duty hours counted as "hours worked" for purposes of California labor laws, see Cal. Lab. Code § 510, because, as a practical matter, he was unable to leave the oil platform during that time. Curtis relied on a recent California Supreme Court case holding that security guards were "entitled to compensation for all on-call hours spent at their assigned worksites under their employer's control." Mendiola v. CPS Sec. Sols., Inc., 60 Cal.4th 833, 836 (2015). Extending Mendiola's reasoning from on-call hours to off-duty hours, Curtis argues that Irwin violated various California wage and hour laws by failing to recognize his 12 hours of off-duty time as "hours worked." Specifically, the complaint alleges that Irwin denied him overtime pay for the 12 hours he was off duty, see Cal. Lab. Code § 510, failed to give him meal and rest periods for that period, see ...


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