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Swamy v. Title Source, Inc.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

November 10, 2017, Decided; November 10, 2017, Filed

No. C 17-01175 WHA

Opinion

ORDER RE MOTION FOR CONDITIONAL CERTIFICATION AND FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER

INTRODUCTION

In this action for unpaid wages, plaintiff moves for conditional certification and for a protective order. Defendant opposes. For the reasons herein, Plaintiff's motion for conditional certification is Held in Abeyance. His motion for a protective order is Denied.

STATEMENT [*2] 

Defendant Title Source, Inc., is a national real estate valuation company that works with lenders to evaluate properties and refinance loans. To complete property valuations, Title Source hires appraisers who work remotely and inspect properties in their geographic region (Dkt. No. 29 ¶¶ 26-27).

From May 2013 to May 2017, plaintiff Som Swamy worked as a Title Source appraiser, driving to various locations in the San Francisco Bay Area to conduct physical inspections of his assigned properties and write reports on them, which he forwarded to his manager electronically. Swamy alleges that he worked approximately fifty hours per week on average during his employment with defendant, except during weeks when he was not working due to sick leave or vacation. Swamy further alleges that Title Source did not pay him or other appraisers overtime wages, and kept no records of their work hours (id. ¶¶ 28-33).

In April 2017, Swamy brought a putative collective action under the FLSA, alleging that he and other appraisers were misclassified as exempt employees and were not paid overtime despite working more than 40 hours per week. Additionally, Swamy brought a putative class action on behalf of a class [*3]  of California appraisers alleging violations of California wage and labor laws (Dkt. No. 19).

Shortly after Swamy filed suit, Title Source's CEO, Jeff Eisenshtadt hosted four conference calls with Title Source staff appraisers during which he informed them of, and discussed this lawsuit with them (Dkt. No. 76 at 7). Swamy contends that the phone calls "were conducted for the purpose of intimidating and dissuading the potential Class Members from pursuing their FLSA rights," and seeks a protective order prohibiting Title Source from having any further communication with its staff appraisers regarding this lawsuit, and additionally seeks to send a corrective notice to all putative class members (id. At 8).

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2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186535 *; 2017 WL 5196780

SOM SWAMY, on behalf of himself and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. TITLE SOURCE, INC., Defendant.

Prior History: Swamy v. Title Source, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89990 (N.D. Cal., June 12, 2017)

CORE TERMS

certification, notice, collective action, staff, personal jurisdiction, protective order, lawsuit, corrective, employees, argues, potential class member, putative class member, communications, misleading, joining, parties, class action, discovery, contends, courts, opt-in, opt