District Court (E.D. Cal.) certifies a collective action of grape farm workers

United States District Court Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill (Eastern District of California) granted a motion to certify a collective action of grape farm workers pursuant to he Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 210 et seq.  Gomez v. H & R Gunlund Ranches, Inc., 2010 WL 5232973 (E.D.Cal. Dec 16, 2010).  The Court applied the more common two-stage certification approach used in FLSA actions.  The Court rejected the defendant's argument that the plaintiffs were obligated to provide evidence that other would opt-in if given the opportunity to do so.  The Court then issued instructions on required revisions to the proposed notice, including removal of all references to state law claims.  The Court refused to grant the defendant's request to limit the plaintiffs' ability to communicate with opt-in Plaintiffs.  The Court also refused to preclude additional notice through Spanish language media, noting that maximizing notice was beneficial and rejecting the argument that such media, often used in class actions, would somehow constitute a violation of professional responsibility rules.