Daily Labor Report®

Walgreens Faces Cashier Seating Class Suit Despite Settlement

Jan. 10, 2019, 5:48 PM

Walgreen Co. has to face class claims that the store didn’t provide suitable seating for its cashiers because those claims weren’t part of a worker’s 2014 settlement, the Ninth Circuit said.

Walgreens agreed to settle nine wage and hour actions for $23 million in 2014. The settled claims dealt with the retailer’s alleged failure to provide work breaks, accurate wage statements, overtime pay, and business expense reimbursements, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said Jan. 9 in an unpublished ruling.

The trial court that oversaw the settlement issued an order in 2017 blocking Dolores Zamora’s Private Attorney General Action in California state court.

Zamora’s suit was foreclosed by the broad claim release she signed in 2014 and because she chose to not bring her seating-related claims then, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California said.

But the Ninth Circuit rejected that reasoning.

Though Zamora’s seating action cites to the same section of the California Labor Code as the previous wage and hour claims, the two suits don’t share the same underlying facts, the court said.

The equitable doctrine of res judicata doesn’t apply for a similar reason, the court said. Res judicata is only applicable where the same claims and same facts are at play, the court said.

The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court’s injunction and awarded costs to Zamora.

The Karasik Law Firm represented Zamora. Jones Day represented Walgreens.

The case is Zamora v. Walgreen Co., 9th Cir., No. 17-56049, unpublished 1/9/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Porter Wells in Washington at pwells@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

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