In Faulkinbury v. Boyd & Assoc., Court confirms the broad discretion given to trial courts considering certification

After weeks in the doldrums, a California Court of Appeal finally got around to issuing an opinion related to class actions.  Unfortunately, it isn't very exciting.  In Faulkinbury v. Boyd & Associates, Inc. (June 24, 2010), the Court of Appeal (Fourth Appellate District, Division Three) reviewed an order denying class certification of meal period, rest break and overtime (regular rate calculation) claims.

The Court confirmed what is, by now, a fairly well-established set of standards for appellate review of certification rulings:

Trial courts have discretion in granting or denying motions for class certification because they are well situated to evaluate the efficiencies and practicalities of permitting a class action. (Sav-On, supra, 34 Cal.4th at p. 326.) Despite this grant of discretion, appellate review of orders denying class certification differs from ordinary appellate review. Under ordinary appellate review, we do not address the trial court's reasoning and consider only whether the result was correct. (Kaldenbach v. Mutual of Omaha Life Ins. Co. (2009) 178 Cal.App.4th 830, 843.) But when denying class certification, the trial court must state its reasons, and we must review those reasons for correctness. (Linder v. Thrifty Oil Co. (2000) 23 Cal.4th 429, 435-436 (Linder).) We may only consider the reasons stated by the trial court and must ignore any unexpressed reason that might support the ruling. (Id.; see also Bufil v. Dollar Financial Group, Inc. (2008) 162 Cal.App.4th 1193, 1204-1205 (Bufil).)

Slip op., at 7.  The majority of the opinion simply confirms that, in the face of evidence apparently in conflict, the determination of which evidence to credit is left to the trial court.

The Court did reverse the trial court as to the overtime claim.  The Court found that the issue of whether certain payments should be included in the calculation of the regular rate is an issue well-suited to class-wide determination.

Get back to work.