August 19, 2015 – The State Supreme Court announced today that it will review a lower court’s ruling on what discovery may be taken – and when – by a plaintiff in an action under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”). In Williams v. Superior Court (described in detail here), a former Marshalls employee alleged that he and other workers at the chain of retail stores suffered violations of the California Labor Code. In his quest to collect civil penalties from his former employer, at the outside of discovery, Mr. Williams requested names and contact information of all non-exempt employees, both at the store where he had worked – and at each of Marshall’s more than 120 other stores throughout California.
The Court of Appeal ruled that Williams was immediately entitled to information about workers at the store where he had worked. Before he would be given information about workers at any other store, though, he would have to give a deposition and provide some proof of the merits of his claims.
Williams is challenging this ruling, having filed a petition for review by the California Supreme Court on June 25. The Court granted the petition, — meaning, among other things, that litigants and courts can no longer cite or rely on the Court of Appeal’s opinion. We’ll continue updating readers on this case, which will significantly shape the course of future PAGA litigation.