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Sargeant v. Taxi

Supreme Court of Nevada

June 1, 2017


         Appeal from an order granting summary judgment and an order denying class certification in a Minimum Wage Amendment case, Nev. Const, art. 15, § 16. Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County; Michael Villani, Judge.

          Leon Greenberg Professional Corporation and Leon M. Greenberg and Dana Sniegocki, Las Vegas, for Appellant.

          Holland & Hart LLP and Anthony L. Hall and R. Calder Huntington, Las Vegas; Holland & Hart LLP and Ricardo N. Cordova, Reno, for Respondent.



          PICKERING, J.

         Appellant Michael Sargeant filed a class-action lawsuit against respondent Henderson Taxi seeking back pay and equitable relief under the Minimum Wage Amendment of the Nevada Constitution, Article 15, Section 16 (MWA). In response to Sargeant's motion to certify the class action, Henderson Taxi produced an agreement that resolved an earlier-filed grievance for wage adjustments under the MWA brought by the union that represented Henderson Taxi cab drivers. Based on the grievance's resolution, the district court denied class certification. Thereafter, the district court granted Henderson Taxi's motion for summary judgment against Sargeant. We affirm.


         The district court granted summary judgment against Sargeant, in part, because Sargeant did not file a substantive opposition to the summary judgment motion. The summary judgment order recites:

Not only did the opposition not include any facts contradicting the fact that the Union settled any minimum wage claims Henderson Taxi's drivers may have had prior to the settlement, none were presented at oral argument either. Further, at the hearing on Henderson Taxi's Motion, [Sargeant's] counsel conceded that if this Court construed its prior order as holding Mr. Sargeant's right to bring any legal action as alleged in his complaint was extinguished by the Union's grievance settlement with Henderson Taxi, nothing would substantively remain in this case to litigate as a settlement had occurred and judgment would be proper.

         The appellate appendix does not include a transcript of the oral argument on the summary judgment motion, copies of most of the exhibits to the motion, including the charge Sargeant filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) protesting the union's resolution of its grievance against Henderson Taxi, or Henderson Taxi's reply. Although we review an order granting summary judgment de novo, Wood v. Safeway, Inc., 121 Nev. 724, 729, 121 P.3d 1026, 1029 (2005), to the extent these omissions impair meaningful review of the summary judgment proceedings, we presume the omitted materials support the district court's decision. See Cuzze v. Univ. & Cmty. Coll. Sys. of Nev., 123 Nev. 598, 604, 172 P.3d 131, 135 (2007).

         The district court's description of Sargeant's opposition to Henderson Taxi's motion for summary judgment is accurate. The opposition did not comply with NRCP 56(b), which requires "a concise statement setting forth each fact material to the disposition of the motion which the party claims is or is not genuinely in issue, citing the particular portions of any pleading, affidavit, deposition, interrogatory, answer, admission, or other evidence upon which the party relies." And the opposition offered no facts or legal authority to counter Henderson Taxi's arguments that (1) under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the union was '"the exclusive representative for all taxicab drivers employed by the Company in accordance with the certification of the National Labor Relations Board Case # 31-RC-5197'" (quoting the CBA § 1.1); (2) "[w]hen Yellow Cab[1] was issued, the Union exercised the right granted to it by the CBA and the NLRA [(National Labor Relations Act)] to negotiate and resolve 'matters of wages, hours, and other conditions of employment'" by grieving and then resolving Henderson Taxi's payment of MWA wages (quoting CBA § 2.1 and citing 29 U.S.C. § 158(d)); (3) there existed a "bona fide dispute as to whether Henderson Taxi's cab drivers were owed minimum wage for any period of time prior to the issu[ance] of the Yellow Cab decision and what the statute of limitations was when the Union filed its Grievance, " making it permissible to settle the accrued claims (citing Chindarah v. Pick Up Stix, Inc., 90 Cal.Rptr.3d 175, 180 (Ct App. 2009)); and (4) if Sargeant believed the union acted against the interest of its members in resolving the MWA grievance it lodged against Henderson Taxi, Sargeant's recourse lay in a breach of duty of fair representation claim against the union (citing and then distinguishing 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett, 556 U.S. 247, 249 (2009)).

         In opposing summary judgment, Sargeant focused not on his i individual claims but on his then-pending motion for partial reconsideration of the earlier order denying class certification (and on the battle over fees and costs he saw coming). Thus, Sargeant confined his opposition to the argument that he did not know about the union's grievance or its resolution when he filed his complaint and moved for class certification. In his opposition, Sargeant stated that: (1) the motion for class certification "was predicated upon there being no union involvement with defendant's 'settlement' payment conduct"; (2) if judgment was to be entered, it should be entered in Sargeant's favor for $107.23 (this being the sum due Sargeant under Henderson Taxi's settlement with the union); and (3) Henderson Taxi should interplead any funds not yet distributed pursuant to the settlement with the union.

         Henderson Taxi presented a properly supported motion for summary judgment that Sargeant did not meaningfully oppose. And, on appeal, Sargeant does not reraise the issues he raised in district court to oppose summary judgment. On this record, we affirm summary judgment in favor of Henderson Taxi. See Schuck v. Signature Flight Support of Nevada, Inc., 126 Nev. 434, 437, 245 P.3d 542, 544 (2010) (noting that, in general, a party may not seek reversal of summary judgment based on theories not presented to the district court).[2]

         CLASS ...

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