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Court of Appeal of California, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two
April 26, 2018, Opinion Filed
[**297] MILLER, Acting P. J.—Plaintiff and appellant Sadie M. Curry brought a class action case against defendant and respondent Equilon Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Shell Oil Products US (Shell). Curry's causes of action included (1) failure to pay overtime compensation; (2) failure to pay for [*293] missed break periods; and (3) unfair business practices (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200). The trial court found Shell was not Curry's employer and therefore granted Shell's motion for summary judgment. Curry contends the trial court erred in its finding and by granting summary judgment. [***7] We affirm the judgment.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Prior to May 2003, Shell owned approximately 365 service stations in California. Shell operated some of the stations itself, with its own employees. Prior to May 2003, Shell changed its business model. Shell no longer operated its own service stations with its own employees. Instead, Shell offered leases and operating agreements to entities that sought to run Shell's service stations. The leases provided that the operators/lessees (Operators) had a lease interest in the service stations' convenience stores and carwash facilities. Operators retained all the profits from the convenience stores and carwash facilities.
The operating agreements were known as “Multi-Site Contractor Operated Retail Outlet Agreements” (MSO Contract). Under the MSO Contract, Operators operated the stations' fuel facilities for Shell in exchange for compensation from Shell.1 Shell owned the gasoline that was sold to customers. Shell received all the revenue from the fuel sales. Shell unilaterally set the fuel prices. Operators were required to complete daily gasoline price surveys from competing gas stations, submit that information to Shell, and [***8] then change the fuel prices as directed by Shell. Shell reimbursed Operators for the labor expenses associated with operating the fuel portion of the service station.
In addition to the daily price surveys, Shell required Operators to perform various tasks for the purposes of maintenance, safety, accounting, and maintaining Shell's brand standards. The tasks were set forth in the “MSO Site Operations Manual,” [**298] which was produced by Shell. Although Shell required Operators to conduct certain tasks, “operator[s] always maintained control over the daily work of [their] own employees.”
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23 Cal. App. 5th 289 *; 233 Cal. Rptr. 3d 295 **; 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 466 ***
SADIE M. CURRY, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. EQUILON ENTERPRISES, LLC, Defendant and Respondent.
Subsequent History: Review denied by Curry v. Equilon Enters., 2018 Cal. LEXIS 5055 (Cal., July 11, 2018)
Prior History: APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County, No. RIC10014774, Sharon J. Waters [***1] , Judge.
Curry v. Equilon Enterprises, LLC, 22 Cal. App. 5th 772, 231 Cal. Rptr. 3d 834, 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 366 (Apr. 26, 2018)
station, employees, fuel, tasks, hiring, wages, manuals, gas station, triable issue of fact, trial court, undisputed, independent contractor, exercise control, terminate, working conditions, cause of action, recruited, convenience store, misclassified, inspections, supervised, leases, Site, service station, wage order, benefits, training, entity, high court, facilities
Labor & Employment Law, Employment Relationships, Independent Contractors