Ninth Circuit Affirms $55 Million Class Action Judgment Against Wal-Mart for Failure to Pay California Minimum Wages

On January 6, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a published opinion affirmed a $55 million California minimum wage judgment in favor of a class of Wal-Mart, Inc.’s California truck drivers, in Ridgeway v. WalMart, Inc., Ninth Cir. Nos. 17-15983, 17-16142.  Following a 16-day trial in 2016, a jury found that Wal-Mart failed to pay minimum wages required by California law to its California-based truck drivers for time they spent engaged in pre- and post-trip inspections, rest breaks, and during mandatory “layover” periods, during which Wal-Mart exercised control over the drivers by prohibiting them from returning home without management permission.  The 11-year class period covered the time from October 2004 to October 2015. 

After Wal-Mart appealed, Altshuler Berzon LLP was brought in by the class and trial counsel to defend the verdict on appeal.  The Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment against Wal-Mart in its entirety, rejecting Wal-Mart’s numerous arguments, which challenged the trial court’s jurisdiction, partial summary judgment and class certification decisions, and jury instructions, and raised other arguments under California and federal law.

You can read the Court’s decision here.