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Tyus v. Wendy's of Las Vegas, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

April 30, 2017

LATONYA TYUS, an individual; DAVID HUNSICKER, an individual; LINDA DAVIS, an individual; TERRON SHARP, an individual; COLLINS KWAYISI, an individual; LEE JONES, an individual; RAISSA BURTON, an individual; JERMEY MCKINNEY, an individual; and FLORENCE EDJEOU, an individual, all on behalf of themselves and all similarly situated individuals, Plaintiffs,
v.
WENDY'S OF LAS VEGAS, INC., an Ohio corporation; CEDAR ENTERPRISES, INC., an Ohio Corporation; and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Gloria M. Navarro, Chief Judge United States District Judge

         Pending before the Court is the Joint Motion for Certification of Question of Law to the Nevada Supreme Court, (ECF No. 78), filed by Plaintiffs Raissa Burton, Linda Davis, Florence Edjeou, David Hunsicker, Lee Jones, Kwayisi, Jeremy McKinney, Terron Sharp, and Latonya Tyus (collectively “Plaintiffs”), and Defendants Wendy's of Las Vegas, Inc., and Cedar Enterprises, Inc. (collectively “Defendants”). For the reasons discussed below, the Court DENIES the Joint Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arises from a class action brought by Plaintiffs regarding Nevada's Minimum Wage Amendment (“MWA”) to the Nevada Constitution. In 2006, Nevada voters approved the MWA, which “guaranteed to each Nevada employee . . . a particular hourly wage.” (Am. Compl. 4, ECF No. 3). Plaintiffs were employees of Defendants, who are owners and operators of Wendy's Restaurants in southern Nevada. (Id. ¶ 1). Plaintiffs allege that Defendants paid employees “below the upper-tier hourly minimum wage level” in violation of the MWA. (Id. ¶ 2).

         Plaintiffs filed the instant action in this Court on May 9, 2014. (See Compl., ECF No. 1). On March 12, 2015, Defendants filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, (ECF No. 43), and on April 20, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 48). In the Court's Order on these Motions, a question of law interpreting the MWA was certified to the Nevada Supreme Court. (See Order 11:1-5, ECF No. 71). On October 27, 2016, the Nevada Supreme Court answered the certified question. See MDC Rests., LLC v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of State in & for County of Clark, 383 P.3d 262, 265 (Nev. 2016).

         In light of this ruling, Plaintiffs filed a Renewed Motion to Certify Class, (ECF No. 76), on December 15, 2016, and Defendants filed a Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 77), the next day. However, on the same day that Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment, the parties filed a Joint Motion for Certification of a Question of Law, (ECF No. 78), asking the Court to certify an additional question:

What constitutes “health benefits” offered by an employer for purposes of paying below the upper-tier minimum hourly wage rate under Nev. Const. art XV, sec 16(A)?

         (Joint Mot. for Certification of Question of Law (“Joint Mot.”) 3:25-27, ECF No. 78).

         The parties also filed a Stipulation and Order for Temporary Stay of Briefing Deadlines (ECF No. 80). In the Stipulation, the parties ask the Court for a temporary stay on briefing deadlines until determination of their Joint Motion. (Stip. 1:27-2:3). However, the parties aver that if the Court were to deny the stay, the parties request that “the Court extend the time in which Plaintiffs may respond to Defendants' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment.” (Id. 2:4-5). The Court did not issue ruling on the Stipulation, and the parties have not filed any subsequent briefing.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A.Joint Motion to Certify Question

         Pursuant to Nevada Rule of Appellate Procedure 5, the Nevada Supreme Court may answer questions of law certified to it by a United States District Court upon the certifying court's request:

if there are involved in any proceeding before those courts questions of law of this state which may be determinative of the cause then pending in the certifying court and as to which it appears to the certifying court there is no controlling precedent in the decisions of the supreme court of this state.

         Nev. R. App. P. 5(a); see also Volvo Cars of N. Am., Inc. v. Ricci, 137 P.3d 1161, 1163-64 (Nev. 2006). A certifying court may invoke Rule 5 upon its own motion or ...


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