COSTA MESA, Calif., July 6, 2012 – Overhill Farms, Inc. of Los Angeles has prevailed with a ruling in Los Angeles Superior Court that denied class action status to a lawsuit filed by several of the company’s former employees.
Overhill Farms was represented by Mark J. Payne of Rutan & Tucker, LLP, one of California’s largest full-service business law firms that has been serving clients for over 100 years. The lawsuit was filed July 1, 2009 by former employees of the frozen food company shortly after they lost their jobs for using invalid social security numbers in connection with their employment.
They claimed that Overhill Farms did not pay employees for the time it took them to put on and remove protective clothing required for their jobs and washing their hands before and after working, along with other alleged violations of labor regulations. The company denied the allegations.
The plaintiffs sought to represent several thousand current and former production workers, and filed a motion to certify the case as a class action and to appoint themselves as representatives of the class. Judge David L. Minning denied the plaintiffs’ motion and dismissed their class allegations. In his ruling, Judge Minning said that the plaintiffs could not adequately represent the interests of other employees, in part because their lies to their employer cast serious doubt on their credibility.
The court also found insufficient evidence of companywide policies that affected the alleged class. For example, the court found that the plaintiffs had not shown “a classwide policy requiring class members to perform work prior to the start of their scheduled shift.”
A member of Rutan’s Employment and Labor Department, Payne handles a wide variety of employment-related litigation and counseling on behalf of the Firm’s employer clients, including class actions; wrongful discharge, discrimination, harassment and retaliation; executive compensation and related disputes; workplace investigations; and compliance with the many workplace laws and regulations that apply to employers. He also has extensive experience with unfair competition and protection of trade secrets, helping companies in a variety of industries to protect their information assets and resources through the use of effective policies, enforceable agreements and, when necessary, litigation.
“We congratulate our client and are pleased that Rutan could help Overhill Farms achieve its goal of defeating the class allegations in a complex case with so much at stake,” said Kim Thompson, Rutan’s managing partner.
About Overhill Farms
Overhill Farms, Inc. (www.OverhillFarms.com) is a value-added supplier of custom high quality prepared frozen foods for branded retail, private label foodservice and airline customers. Its product line includes entrées, plated meals, bulk-packed meal components, pastas, soups, sauces, poultry, meat and fish specialties, as well as organic and vegetarian offerings. The Company’s capabilities give its customers a one-stop solution for new product development, precise replication of existing recipes, product manufacturing and packaging. Its customers include prominent nationally recognized names such as Jenny Craig, Inc., Safeway Inc., Panda Restaurant Group, Inc., Pinnacle Foods Group LLC and American Airlines, Inc. The Company also sells frozen foods under the Boston Market brand, under an exclusive license from Boston Market Corporation.
About Rutan & Tucker LLP
Rutan & Tucker is California’s largest full-service law firm headquartered in Orange County, California with offices in Costa Mesa and Palo Alto. In addition to labor and employment law, other primary practice areas include business and real estate litigation, corporate and securities law, intellectual property, real estate, municipal and government agency law, land use law, bankruptcy, condemnation and property valuation, environmental law, and taxation and estate planning. Detailed information about the firm is available at www.rutan.com.