(CN) – Countrywide loan consultants were unable to convince the 9th Circuit to certify a class action accusing the lender of ducking labor laws by misclassifying home loan consultants as “outside salespersons.”
A group of external home loan consultants said the improper classification meant they were exempt from labor protections under California law. This allowed Countrywide to shirk its duty to pay them premium overtime and other wages, the consultants claimed.
They appealed two aspects of the district court’s ruling for Countrywide. First, they said U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw abused his discretion by considering Countrywide’s motion to deny class certification before the plaintiffs had filed their motion for certification. Second, they challenged his conclusion that their claims were not similar enough to merit class-action status.
A three-judge panel of the Pasadena, Calif.-based appeals court rejected both arguments and upheld Sabraw’s ruling.
“A defendant may move to deny class certification before a plaintiff files a motion to certify a class,” Judge Callahan wrote.
The court added that the record supports the conclusion “that individual issues predominate over common issues.”