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United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
January 12, 2022, Argued and Submitted Pasadena, California; March 18, 2022, Filed
[*572] M. SMITH, Circuit Judge:
Plaintiff Cesar Moreno appeals the district court's dismissal of his lawsuit against his former employer, Defendant UtiliQuest. Moreno alleges that UtiliQuest promised him that if he convinced all of his fellow employees to "sign away" their union [**4] rights, they would each receive a ten percent raise. Once Moreno obtained signatures from his co-workers releasing their union rights, UtiliQuest gave him a ten percent raise. Moreno soon learned, however, that UtiliQuest did not give any other employees the promised raise. Moreno contends he was terminated after confronting his supervisors about UtiliQuest's breach of its promise.
Moreno brought various claims related to his termination, but the district court dismissed them because it found that they were preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), 29 U.S.C. § 151 et seq. Moreno also appeals the dismissal of his wage and hour claims, but as his appeal was pending, the Superior Court of California entered judgment on a final settlement precluding these claims. We affirm the district court's dismissal of Moreno's complaint.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Moreno worked for UtiliQuest as a Field Technician from 2007 until 2018. At the time he was terminated, Moreno was a Lead Field Technician "responsible for supervising the work of field technicians" on job sites. Moreno alleges that in June 2017, UtiliQuest's management asked him to collect signatures from "all other employees" to "release their [union] rights" in exchange for a ten [**5] percent raise "in their hourly pay per year" for all who signed. Moreno and the other employees each signed "the union release" in June 2017. UtiliQuest gave Moreno a ten percent raise but did not give a raise to his fellow [*573] employees. On multiple occasions, Moreno complained to his managers about his co-workers not receiving the promised raises. He alleges that UtiliQuest retaliated against him because of his advocacy on behalf of the other employees. On February 13, 2018, Moreno contends that someone in Human Resources falsely accused him of taking money from other employees in exchange for providing them with overtime hours. On February 28, 2018, Moreno's manager fired him without explanation.
Moreno brought several state law claims related to his termination. Moreno also asserted wage and hour-related claims against UtiliQuest after his termination. He contends that UtiliQuest did not provide him with compensation for travel time between his home and the first and last job sites for the day. Moreno also alleges that the nature of his job responsibilities, together with UtiliQuest's policies, prevented him from taking an "uninterrupted 30 minute meal break."
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
29 F.4th 567 *; 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 7110 **
CESAR ANTONIO MORENO, an individual, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. UTILIQUEST, LLC, a Georgia Limited Liability Company, Defendant-Appellee.
Prior History: [**1] D.C. No. 2:20-cv-03156-AB-MRW. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Andre Birotte, Jr., District Judge, Presiding.
settlement, employees, termination, preemption, misrepresentation, preempted, promised, contends, alleges, concerted activity, ten percent, district court, whistleblowing, retaliation, concerted, parties, courts, notice, cause of action, final judgment, class action, state court, fellow, rights, opt
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Federal & State Interrelationships, Federal Common Law, Preemption, Constitutional Law, Supremacy Clause, Federal Preemption, Business & Corporate Compliance, Unfair Labor Practices, Employer Violations, Interference With Protected Activities, Labor & Employment Law, Organizing & Voting Interference, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Protected Activities, Right to Organize, Judicial Review, Torts, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Actual Fraud, Elements, Wrongful Termination, Public Policy, Exceptions, Tort Exceptions, Public Policy Violations, Choice of Law, Governmental Interests, Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Record on Appeal, Preclusion of Judgments, Full Faith & Credit, Full Faith & Credit Statutes, Judgments, Res Judicata, Governments, Courts, Judicial Precedent, Appellate Jurisdiction, Final Judgment Rule, Special Proceedings, Class Actions, Appellate Review, Standards of Review