JESUS SILVA RODRIGUEZ & RIGOBERTO ZEPEDA LOA, Plaintiffs, v. RCO REFORESTING, INC. & ROBERTO OCHOA, Defendants., No. 2:16-CV-2523 WBS DMC, 2019 WL 331159 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 25, 2019)
Plaintiffs Jesus Rodriguez and Rigoberto Loa brought this action against defendants RCO Reforesting, Inc. (“RCO”) and Roberto Ochoa, asserting various wage and hour and employment law claims under federal and state law. Before the court is the parties’ Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement and Entry of Stipulated Judgment.
Defendants employed plaintiffs as temporary forestry workers pursuant to the H-2B visa program. Plaintiffs allege that defendants had a policy of not paying plaintiffs for overtime work and not reimbursing plaintiffs for their travel and visa costs, which reduced their pay to below minimum wage. Plaintiffs further allege that defendants failed to provide plaintiffs with legally mandated meal and rest periods, itemized wage statements, and reimbursements for necessary protective gear. These practices allegedly violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 216 et seq., the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (“AWPA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1801 et seq., and various provisions of California law.
Plaintiff filed their original complaint on October 22, 2016. After the court granted Rodriguez’s motion to amend his complaint to add Loa, plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint on April 17, 2017. Shortly thereafter, plaintiff filed a motion to conditionally certify a FLSA collective action and provide notice to potential opt-in plaintiffs.  After the court denied plaintiffs’ initial motion without prejudice, plaintiffs filed another motion to certify a FLSA collective action and the court granted that subsequent motion. The court ordered defendants to produce the contact information of all potential class members, approved an opt-in period of six months, and authorized notice to all prospective class members.
Accordingly, the court approves of plaintiffs’ request for attorneys’ fees
Allen v. State, 2019 CO 6 
This case concerns whether a water court has jurisdiction to consider a claim for inverse condemnation alleging a judicial taking of shares in a mutual ditch company. The water court dismissed plaintiff-appellant Sam Allen’s inverse condemnation claim, concluding that his claim was “grounded in ownership and the conveyance of that ownership, not use,” and therefore the claim was not a water matter within the exclusive jurisdiction of the water court. The court agrees and thus affirm the water court’s dismissal order.
GOLETA AG PRESERVATION, Plaintiff & Appellant, v. GOLETA WATER DISTRICT, Defendant & Respondent., No. 2D CIV. B277227, 2019 WL 337814 (Cal. Ct. App. Jan. 28, 2019)
Goleta Ag Preservation (Goleta Ag) is an unincorporated association. Its members are farmers who are customers of the Goleta Water District (District). They use untreated and minimally-treated water to irrigate commercial agriculture.
Goleta Ag appeals from the trial court’s order denying a petition for writ of mandate that would have directed the District to retroactively reverse its rate structure for 2015 through 2020, and would have invalidated the ordinance that adopted it (Ordinance 2015-4, the ordinance). Goleta Ag contends the District used defective notice procedures to implement new tiered water rates and drought surcharges. It also contends these charges force agricultural customers to subsidize the cost of urban conservation, in violation of the procedural and substantive requirements of Proposition 218. (Prop. 218, as approved by the voters, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 5, 1996), Cal. Const., article XIII D, § 6, subds. (a)(1) and (b)(3)).1
We conclude that Goleta Ag members received timely notice of the proposed charges, they lack standing to challenge notice to others, and the District’s rates and drought surcharges for agricultural customers reflect the cost of service attributable to the parcels upon which they are imposed, as required by Article XIII D, section 6, subdivision (b)(3). The affirms.
LUCARIA TENORIO, et al., Plaintiffs, v. GABRIEL GALLARDO, et al., Defendants. Additional Party Names: Hardeep Kaur, Kern Cty. Cultivation, Inc., Manuel Gallardo, Nazar Kooner, Pawan S. Kooner, Silvia Gallardo, No. 116CV00283DADJLT, 2019 WL 338220 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 28, 2019)
This multi-party lawsuit alleges that defendants acted in concert to employ plaintiffs and other farm workers to perform seasonal agricultural work in and around Kern County in 2014 and 2015. Plaintiffs allege that this employment violated various federal and state labor laws, including failure to pay all wages due, failure to provide timely meal periods, failure to provide complete wage statements, and operating as an unlicensed farm labor contractor. Default Judgment for the Plaintiff.
PHILMAR DAIRY, LLC; ARCH DIAMOND, LLC; MOONSTONE DAIRY, LLC; & HENDRIKA DAIRY, LLC; Plaintiffs, v. ARMSTRONG FARMS & RANDY ARMSTRONG, Defendants, & RANDY ARMSTRONG, Counterclaimant,, No. 18-CV-0530 SMV/KRS, 2019 WL 355285 (D.N.M. Jan. 29, 2019)
Plaintiffs are dairies located in Portales, New Mexico. Defendant Armstrong Farms, owned by Defendant Randy Armstrong, is a farm near Dell City, Texas, that orally agreed to sell Plaintiffs approximately 9,232 tons of hay for the 2017 growing season. Over eight months, Plaintiffs incrementally paid Defendants for the hay whenever Defendants presented them with invoices for it. Defendants then incrementally delivered it to Plaintiffs.  Plaintiffs paid $1,352,391.46 in total for the hay. Defendants stored the hay on open-air stack lots on their farm until delivery.  Defendants claim that when Armstrong negotiated the contract with Plaintiffs’ representative, Aaron Douma, Douma orally agreed that Plaintiffs, upon payment for the hay, would assume the risk of loss for it while Defendants stored it on their farm.  Plaintiffs disagree. They argue that Douma neither discussed nor agreed to those terms.
From May 2017 through February 2018, Defendants delivered approximately 6,585 tons of hay to Plaintiffs.  Defendants claim that on August 23 or 24, 2017, a fire on part of the farm destroyed some of the stored hay. Plaintiffs nevertheless continued to pay for hay, and Defendants continued to deliver it to them, after the fire.  Defendants did not notify Plaintiffs of the fire until at least one week after the fire.  Plaintiffs never received 2,647 tons of hay, a loss Defendants attribute to the fire. Defendants refused to refund the payment for the missing hay.
Plaintiffs motion for summary judgment was denied.