Deloitte Auditors Can’t Seek Overtime as a Class

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge decided to decertify a class of auditors suing their former employers at Deloitte & Touche, finding the overtime claims too individual in nature.
     James Brady represents a class of unlicensed accountants seeking overtime from Deloitte. Companies in California must pay overtime to employees who work more than 40 hours a week, unless those workers meet exemptions for professionals, executives or administrators.
     Though the Northern District of California previously certified the class, the 9th Circuit stayed the ruling while it considered a similar overtime case against PricewaterhouseCoopers.
     In Campbell v. Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the federal appeals court said unlicensed accountants were ineligible for the professional exemption.
     After the 9th Circuit lifted its stay against the Deloitte auditors, Deloitte moved to decertify.
     U.S. District Judge Susan Illston granted the motion last week, finding that the auditors cannot exhibit a common thread among class members.
     “The court finds that plaintiffs have not demonstrated that common issues predominate,” Illston wrote. “The voluminous and conflicting evidence in the form of class member declarations and deposition testimony shows wide variation in the job duties and work experiences of class member, and plaintiffs have not shown that this inquiry is amenable to common proof.”
     Illston disagreed that unlicensed accountants do not fulfill the requirements of exemption under California certification laws.
     “The court concludes that plaintiffs have not shown that the requirements of Rule23(b)(3) are met,” she wrote. “Although there may be some common questions of law or fact, plaintiffs have not demonstrated that common questions of law or fact predominate and that a class action is a superior method of adjudication.”
     The court would hold a case management conference April 20, 2012.

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