Court Grants LG’s Motion To Dismiss Labor Suit

On Monday, United States District Judge the Honorable Gonzalo P. Curiel of the Southern District of California issued an order granting LG Electronics’ motion to dismiss without prejudice a putative class action labor suit that was filed against it.

In June 2020, plaintiff Taijin Park brought this suit against LG Electronics asserting various violations of the California Labor Code (CLC) and unfair business practices under the Unfair Competition Law (UCL); the plaintiff averred state labor law and wage violations from his employment with the defendant.

The plaintiff claimed that he “is an individual who, during the time periods relevant to this complaint, was employed by Defendant LG U.S.A., Inc…located in Calexico, California.” Accordingly, he stated that he was “employed in a non-exempt position from approximately May 2014 to February 17, 2020.” Furthermore, the plaintiff proffered that he and the putative class “were ‘not paid for all hours worked in violation of the California Labor Code; not paid for missed meals and/or rest periods in violation of the California Labor Code; not paid for overtime wages at correctly computed rates in violation of California Labor Code; not paid for all unused accrued vacation wages in violation of the California Labor Code; and not provided with accurate itemized wage statements in violation of the California Labor Code.” Additionally, the plaintiff also contended that these violations constituted violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law.

LG Electronics has moved to dismiss the entire complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Specifically, to state a claim for relief under the CLC, the court noted that “a plaintiff must allege facts to meet the threshold requirement that he or she is an employee covered by the provisions.” Moreover, these purported violations must “have some connection to California” “other than the location of the employer.” However, the court stated that plaintiff Park “has not alleged facts that indicate whether or not he worked or lived in California during his employment with LG, nor has he alleged that any of the unlawful conduct referred to in the Complaint occurred in California.” Specifically, the court argued that the only factual claim that suggests a California connection “is the statement that his employer, LG Electronics, U.S.A., Inc., is located in Calexico, California.” However, the court contended that while he could have lived or worked in California, “or other relevant events occurred in the state, the Court cannot supply necessary facts where Plaintiff has failed to do so.” The court added that it cannot “infer that Plaintiff performed work in the state from the Complaint’s assertion that Plaintiff’s claims are typical of the claims of the class of California employees he purports to represent…as that is a legal conclusion, rather than a factual allegation.” Consequently, the court found that plaintiff Park has not averred that he worked or had a relationship with the state of California beyond the fact that LG Electronics is located in California. As a result, Hon. Curiel concluded that the complaint has not plausibly alleged a claim under CLC or UCL. Therefore, LG Electronics’ motion to dismiss was granted.

Additionally, while LG Electronics asked the court to deny the plaintiff leave to amend claiming the plaintiff could not amend to allege facts granting him California labor and wage law protections, the plaintiff claimed he worked in California. The court found that the plaintiff “could conceivably cure the deficiencies in the complaint,” therefore, the court has granted the plaintiff leave to amend the complaint.

The court has vacated the hearing scheduled for November 27.

LG Electronics is represented by Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP. The plaintiff is represented by Schwin Law, PC.