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Pierre v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

February 16, 2016

BARBARA ST. PIERRE AND LYNN GUILLOTTE, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, Plaintiffs,
v.
CVS PHARMACY INC., MASSACHUSETTS CVS PHARMACY LLC, MASSACHUSETTS CVS PHARMACY INC., AND CVS CAREMARK CORPORATION, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO CERTIFY CLASS (DOCKET NO. 22)

TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN, DISTRICT JUDGE

Barbara St. Pierre and Lynn Guillotte (collectively, Plaintiffs) brought this putative class action against CVS Pharmacy, Inc., Massachusetts CVS Pharmacy, LLC, Massachusetts CVS Pharmacy, Inc., and CVS Caremark Corporation (collectively, Defendants or CVS), alleging that CVS failed to compensate them for their participation in required training sessions. St. Pierre is currently employed by CVS as a pharmacy technician; Guillotte was formerly employed in the same capacity. Plaintiffs now move to certify a class of pharmacy technicians employed by CVS in Massachusetts. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs’ motion (Docket No. 22) is denied.

Background

CVS operates more than 300 stores throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that sell prescription drugs and other assorted merchandise. St. Pierre has worked for CVS as a pharmacy technician (PT), at a store located in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, from approximately March 18, 2011 to the present. Guillotte worked continuously in the same capacity, in the same location, from approximately 1996 to May of 2013. Plaintiffs were paid on an hourly basis.

CVS requires PTs to participate in several different training formats. The only method at issue for the purposes of this motion is training conducted on CVS’s “LearnNet” system, which is an online training platform.[1] PTs are encouraged to conduct LearnNet trainings in the store, while clocked in, but are also able to train at home. According to the affidavits of eight Store Manages and five Pharmacy Managers assigned to different CVS locations throughout the Commonwealth, it is CVS’s policy that employees are to be paid for all time spent in training. When PTs complete online trainings while off the clock, they are responsible for self-reporting their hours. This can be accomplished through a written form, a handwritten note, or a verbal report to the Store Manager or Pharmacy Manager. The affiant managers do not allow unpaid training or any other off-the-clock work, and no PTs have complained to them of improper payment for training time.[2]

Plaintiffs allege in their complaint, in the most general of terms, that they have not been fully compensated for all of their training time. They assert that CVS “promised to compensate Plaintiffs for all hours worked, ” “required Plaintiffs to participate in training sessions on a regular basis, ” “regularly received reports indicating the hours worked by Plaintiffs to complete those trainings, ” and “did not compensate Plaintiffs for all of the time Plaintiffs worked.” (Docket No. 1-1 at ¶¶ 17, 24, 26, 27.) Plaintiffs filed this putative class action in state court in November of 2013, alleging violation of the Massachusetts Wage Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, §150 (count I); violation of the Massachusetts minimum wage law, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151[3] (count II); and breach of contract (count III). Defendants removed the case to this Court pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). In July of 2014, Plaintiffs filed the instant motion to certify the following class: “All employees who worked for CVS as pharmacy technicians in Massachusetts, at any time between November 4, 2007 and the date of final judgment.” (Docket No. 23 at 2.) After a protracted procedural path, the motion is now ripe for review.[4]

Standard of Review

Rule 23(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth the following criteria for class certification:

(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;
(2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class;
(3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class; and
(4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

In addition to the elements set forth in Rule 23(a), a putative class-action plaintiff must also satisfy the requirements of Rule 23(b). In this case, Plaintiffs have elected to proceed under subsection (3) of Rule 23(b), which is satisfied if “the court finds that the questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to other available methods for fairly and efficiently adjudicating the controversy.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3).

The putative class action plaintiff bears the burden of satisfying Rule 23, which “does not set forth a mere pleading standard.” Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 131 S.Ct. 2541, 2551 (2011). The plaintiff must “affirmatively demonstrate” her compliance with the rule. Id. In order to achieve class certification, she must “‘be prepared to prove that there are in fact sufficiently numerous parties, common questions of law or fact, ’ typicality of claims or defenses, and adequacy of representation, as required by Rule 23(a).” Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S.Ct. 1426, 1432 (2013) ...


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