Not a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Scott v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

February 13, 2019, Argued; April 1, 2020, Decided

Nos. 17-2208-cv, 18-359-cv

Opinion

Chin, Circuit Judge:

Plaintiffs-appellants are seven named plaintiffs representing six putative classes under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) (the "class plaintiffs"). Plaintiffs-appellants also sue on behalf of themselves and 516 individuals who opted in to a conditionally certified collective action (the "collective plaintiffs") pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (the "FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). Class plaintiffs are current and former "Apprentices" of defendants-appellees Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. and Chipotle Services, LLC (together, "Chipotle") who allege that Chipotle misclassified them as exempt employees in violation of the labor laws in six states. Collective plaintiffs are current and former Chipotle Apprentices who allege that Chipotle misclassified them as exempt employees in violation of the FLSA. As a result of Chipotle's purported misclassification, [*3]  plaintiffs-appellants contend that they were unlawfully denied overtime wages required under state and federal law.

On March 29, 2017, the district court denied class plaintiffs' class certification motion on the grounds that class plaintiffs failed to meet the predominance and superiority requirements of Rule 23(b)(3). Scott v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No. 12-cv-8333, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62902, 2017 WL 1287512, at *3-8 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 29, 2017). In the same decision, the district court granted Chipotle's motion to decertify the collective action on the grounds that collective plaintiffs failed to establish that opt-in plaintiffs were "similarly situated" to the named plaintiffs as required for collective treatment under the FLSA. 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62902, [WL] at *8-9.

On appeal, class plaintiffs principally argue that the district court relied on erroneous law and clearly erroneous facts in determining that common questions of law or fact did not predominate. Collective plaintiffs contend that the district court erred in decertifying the collective action because it relied on an erroneous view of the law -- namely, that the FLSA's "similarly situated" inquiry "mirrors" the Rule 23 analysis in rough proportion to the number plaintiffs who have chosen to opt-in. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the district [*4]  court's order denying class certification, vacate the district court's order decertifying the collective action, and remand for further proceedings.

Read The Full CaseNot a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.

2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 10185 *; 954 F.3d 502

MAXCIMO SCOTT, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, JAY FRANCIS ENSOR, CHRISTINE JEWEL GATELEY, KRYSTAL PARKER, STACY HIGGS, EUFEMIA JIMENEZ, MATHEW A. MEDINA, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL, INC., CHIPOTLE SERVICES, LLC, Defendants-Appellees.1

Prior History:  [*1] ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK.

Appeal from an opinion and order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Carter, J.) in this hybrid class and collective action brought on behalf of employees of a national restaurant chain who claim they were denied overtime wages because they were misclassified as exempt employees. The district court denied the employees' motion for class certification and granted the employer's motion to decertify the conditionally certified collective action. The employees appeal, contending that the district court erred in (1) denying class certification on the basis of a lack of predominance and superiority, and (2) granting decertification of the collective action on the ground that the named plaintiffs and opt-in plaintiffs are not similarly situated.

Scott v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62902 (S.D.N.Y., Mar. 29, 2017)

Disposition: AFFIRMED IN PART and VACATED IN PART.

CORE TERMS

district court, similarly situated, collective action, employees, opt-in, exempt, Apprentices, predominance, named plaintiff, class plaintiff, ad hoc, primary duty, plaintiffs', managerial, courts, tasks, overtime, analogy, factors, decertify, class certification, class action, sliding scale, disparate, clearly erroneous, similarities, defenses, salary, question of law, class member

Business & Corporate Compliance, Wage & Hour Laws, Scope & Definitions, Overtime & Work Periods, Labor & Employment Law, Exemptions, Executives & Professionals, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, Questions of Fact & Law, Exemptions, Abuse of Discretion, De Novo Review, Clearly Erroneous Review, Special Proceedings, Class Actions, Certification of Classes, Prerequisites for Class Action, Predominance, Prerequisites for Class Action, Remedies, Class Actions, Adequacy of Representation, Superiority, Typicality, Commonality