Plaintiff Moves to Compel Discovery in AT&T Employment Class Action

A former AT&T Mobility Services LLC retail store employee has filed a motion to compel discovery and for sanctions in his Eastern District of California underpayment suit. Last week’s filing asserts that AT&T is sandbagging the plaintiff’s legitimate efforts to obtain information relevant to his motion for class certification, which is due in December.

The August 2019 putative class action arose from the mobile carrier’s alleged failure to pay the plaintiff and members of the putative class all wages owed and failure to pay meal and rest period premiums wages at the regular rate. Specifically, and according to the former worker, AT&T improperly paid him “meal and rest period premiums at his base hourly rate rather than his regular rate.”

The lawsuit seeks relief from various labor law violations including failure to pay overtime wages, all wages due at termination of employment, and violation of the California Business and Professions Code. The plaintiff also seeks civil penalties under the California Labor Code’s Private Attorney General Act (PAGA).

The lawsuit was reportedly filed in state court then removed to federal court in Fresno, California in January 2020. The plaintiff filed a second amended pleading that summer, which AT&T moved to dismiss or in the alternative, stay. The motion was fully briefed in September 2020 and is still pending before the court.

The instant motion accuses AT&T of engaging in delay tactics that frustrate the ex-worker’s ability to prosecute the case. According to the filing, AT&T asked for and was granted numerous requests to push back discovery deadlines for the production of documents like a class contact list and certain payroll and wage policies.

The plaintiff claims however, that now, the company “has taken the indefensible position that Plaintiff is not entitled to class discovery in this action.” The motion asserts that the discovery the plaintiff requests is probative to his class certification bid and that AT&T’s defenses, like privacy and undue burden, are meritless. The filing also requests that the court assess $8,280 in sanctions in view of the defendant’s “particularly egregious” conduct and refusal to produce the relevant discovery.

The plaintiff and putative class are represented by Bradley/Grombacher LLP and Law Offices of Sahag Majarian II, and AT&T by Paul Hastings LLP.