Monplaisir et al v. Integrated Tech Group, LLC et al, No. 3:2019cv01484 - Document 254 (N.D. Cal. 2021)

Court Description: ORDER DENYING 128 MOTION TO CERTIFY CLASS. SIGNED BY JUDGE ALSUP. (whalc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/3/2021)
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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 8 PAUL MONPLAISIR, et al., Plaintiffs, 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 No. C 19-01484 WHA v. INTEGRATED TECH GROUP, LLC, et al., Defendants. ORDER DENYING CLASS CERTIFICATION 13 INTRODUCTION 14 15 A prior order compelled most members of a nationwide FLSA collective to arbitrate their 16 wage-and-hour claims. Plaintiffs then sought to certify a class of California employees. The 17 arbitration order also binds putative class members, so the proposed class lacks numerosity. 18 Certification is DENIED. 19 STATEMENT 20 Prior orders detail the facts here. Briefly, plaintiffs, Paul Monplaisir, Jacky Charles, and 21 Sterling Francois, and their fellow employees install cable and telecommunications equipment 22 across the nation for defendants Integrated Tech Group, LLC and ITG Communications LLC. 23 The complaint alleges that defendants made employees work significant portions of their day 24 off-the-clock, including trainings, pre-shift work, meal periods, driving time, and more. 25 Additionally, defendants allegedly pressured employees to alter or underreport time and 26 systematically undercalculated their pay. Plaintiffs sued in March 2019. An August 6 order 27 conditionally certified a nationwide FLSA collective (Dkt. No. 76) and around three hundred 28 eighty employees joined by, or slightly after, the January 9, 2020, deadline (Dkt. No. 164). A 1 March 2 order, however, compelled many of them to arbitrate their claims (Dkt. No. 167). 2 Undaunted, plaintiffs had moved to certify a class of California employees (Dkt. No. 128). 3 But a problem emerged. Despite full briefing and a hearing, the putative class size 4 remained unknown because the parties’ dueling motions targeted different groups. Defendants 5 targeted the nationwide FLSA collective for arbitration. Plaintiffs’ class certification motion, 6 however, shifted to California employees, of unknown count, potentially sidestepping the 7 arbitration order. 8 United States District Court Northern District of California 9 Seeking clarification, a March 6 order held plaintiffs’ motion in abeyance and directed discovery to determine the putative California-class size, how many putative members had 10 been compelled to arbitrate, and how many remained free to proceed with the class (Dkt. No. 11 168). Discovery, slowed by the initial COVID-19 shutdowns, appeared to reveal 238 putative 12 California class members, only 16 of which had not agreed to arbitrate (Dkt. No. 197). 13 Plaintiffs challenged the completeness of the proffered employee list and raised several 14 formation defects arising from the presence of blue-ink handwriting on many agreements 15 which appeared to post-date the largely black-ink terms and signatures. A June 2 order 16 requested supplemental briefing (Dkt. No. 199) but cautioned that we would not revisit issues 17 that were raised or that could have been raised in opposition to defendants’ motion to compel 18 arbitration. When disputes of fact remained, a June 22 order requested further briefing (Dkt. 19 No. 205), and a July 20 order requested answers to specific questions via sworn declarations 20 (Dkt. No. 214). 21 Before the deadline for response, however, the parties informed us of a potential class 22 and collective settlement, brokered by wage-and-hour mediator Jeffrey A. Ross (not to be 23 confused with San Francisco Superior Court’s Judge Jeffrey S. Ross). Following extensions to 24 gather settlement-administrator bids, amidst the continued COVID-19 shutdowns, the parties 25 moved for preliminary approval of a settlement on behalf of the 384 member FLSA collective 26 and the 284 member putative California class. A November 7 order, however, denied approval 27 as the proposal, detached from the merits, lined counsel’s pockets and unfairly burdened a 28 subset of plaintiffs (Dkt. No. 236). 2 The parties’ deferred supplemental declarations soon followed, but questions again 1 2 remained. A December 15 order directed limited depositions and further briefing to clarify the 3 timing, origin, and purpose of the blue handwriting on the arbitration agreements and to better 4 develop the law on point (Dkt. No. 242). The parties have now done so. Nearly fifteen months 5 after plaintiffs moved to certify the California class, the time has come for decision. Given the 6 full briefing on this and the motion to compel arbitration, a pre-COVID in-court hearing, and 7 more than enough supplemental briefing, certification turns on the single issue of numerosity 8 and may appropriately, and finally, be decided on the papers. ANALYSIS 9 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 Numerosity, such that joinder of all putative members would be impractical, guards the 11 door to class certification. Rule 23(a)(1); Abdulla v. U.S. Sec. Assocs., Inc., 731 F.3d 952, 12 956–57 (9th Cir. 2013). No specific count warrants a class. Gen. Tel. Co. of the Northwest, 13 Inc. v. EEOC, 446 U.S. 318, 330 (1980). But Rule 23 doesn’t set forth a pleading standard; 14 plaintiffs “must affirmatively” demonstrate “that the[y] are in fact sufficiently numerous.” 15 Comcast v. Behrend, 569 U.S. 27, 33 (2013). Thus, while most findings of fact are left for 16 trial, a trial court must make the requisite findings to support class certification. Cf. Berger v. 17 Home Depot, 741 F.3d 1061, 1066 (9th Cir. 2014) (reviewing factual findings supporting 18 denial of class certification for clear error). 19 The proposed class fails for lack of numerosity. The order compelling arbitration, as the 20 law of the case, binds putative class and collective members alike. Our updated record 21 demonstrates nothing untoward about the blue marks on class members’ arbitration 22 agreements. And, plaintiffs have forfeited their present formation defenses to arbitration, 23 having been on notice of the relevant facts before moving for class certification. The 24 remaining objections fail on the merits. This whittles our putative class from 238 members to 25 sixteen, too few to proceed under Rule 23. 26 1. 27 The previous order compelling arbitration found defendants’ form agreement, to the 28 extent challenged, not unconscionable and thus enforceable. As the law of this case, these ORDER COMPELLING ARBITRATION APPLIES. 3 United States District Court Northern District of California 1 standard agreements will be enforced against putative California-class members just as they 2 were against the nationwide collective. See Milgard Tempering, Inc. v. Selas Corp. of 3 America, 902 F.2d 703, 715 (9th Cir. 1990). 4 2. 5 The primary dispute concerns the origin of the miscellaneous blue marks on the THE MISCELLANEOUS MARKS ARE INNOCUOUS. 6 arbitration agreements. Each agreement consists of five pages, four of terms and one of 7 signatures. The first page includes blanks to fill in the employee’s name and the location of the 8 arbitration. Newer forms also include a blank for the date, but older forms employed 9 “[DATE]” to reference the date on which a new employee completed the entire new-hire 10 packet, which included the arbitration agreement. Black ink appears to be the norm, so most 11 signatures on the agreements are in black ink. But some are in blue. In some cases, both 12 ITG’s and the employee’s signatures are in blue ink. In others only one is. Some agreements 13 include highlighting. More include the employee’s name in either blue or black ink in the top 14 right corner. Most filled-in employee names are in black ink, but again, some are in blue. And 15 many agreements with black signatures nevertheless have the arbitration location filled with 16 blue ink (Dkt. No. 172; Rivera Tr., Dkt. No. 248-2 at 71:21–72:5). 17 Plaintiffs alleged subterfuge, that defendants added the blue-in signatures and terms to 18 shore-up the deficient agreements in preparation for this litigation and their motion to compel. 19 The undersigned took this allegation seriously, ordering the several rounds of supplemental 20 discovery. Careful review of our updated record, however, reveals no impropriety by 21 defendants. To be sure, corporate counsel has work to do on defendants’ procedures for 22 gathering employee assent to arbitrate — at deposition, defendants’ human resources 23 supervisors openly admitted that the blue marks likely post-date the original signatures on the 24 forms. But they offered consistent and innocent explanations. Defendants’ candor, the 25 obviousness of the suspect marks, and the reasonableness and consistency of the explanation 26 story assuage the initial concerns, as follows. 27 To start, defendants’ director of human resources, Gissel Rivera, admitted that her 28 human-resources administrators added the large print, blue or black ink, names to the top right 4 1 of most of the arbitration agreements to aid in alphabetizing the agreements in preparation for 2 defendants’ motion to compel arbitration here (Dkt. No. 241 at 6; Rivera Tr. at 64:24–65:15). 3 4 otherwise black-ink agreements. Human-resources supervisor Jessika Quesada described how 5 defendants’ human-resources administrators presented the arbitration agreements to new 6 employees at orientation: 7 8 9 10 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Our primary concern thus lies in the blue handwriting filling in terms and signatures of 12 13 14 [W]e present it to the new hire in a new hire packet. They’re given their new hire packet upon arrival. We give them 30 to 40 minutes for them to review the entire new hire packet, fill everything out, then we usually come back to the training room, and we go over page by page the new hire packet. So we literally put on a projector, connect my laptop, show them a blank new hire packet just like you did earlier, go page by page explaining every single page of the new hire packet paragraph. Once we finish going over each page, they turn in their new hire packets, and one by one, I would review the entire new hire packet with the new hire standing in front of me. Anything that was missing information or that wasn’t clear was — I would ask the new hire right there in front of me, “Hey, you missed an e-mail,” or, example, “You missed a phone number.” “Hey, on this page, you didn’t put your initial,” et cetera. 15 Ms. Quesada explained, however, that some forms came back incomplete. In those cases, a 16 human-resources administrator might complete the form with the new hire. 17 18 19 20 21 22 Once we finish [other orientation tasks], I then take all of those files back to my office, fill out, make sure that I sign everything I needed to sign, review the I-9 documents, scan the new hire packet, and submit it to corporate. So any arbitration agreement that is filled out was filled out in the presence of the employee. If something were to change, or if something needed to be filled out later, then one of two things would happen. We either go back to the class to give them the arbitration agreement or whatever file in the new hire packet is missing anything so they can fill it out, or if something was changing, we’d reissue a new agreement or a new policy or a new memo with whatever those changes are. 23 When pressed by opposing counsel, Ms. Quesada again acknowledged the possibility that 24 forms might remain incomplete, but explained how that would have been handled: 25 26 27 28 The expectation of the admins is that they were following the process that they were trained to do. If they did not have the employee in front of them and there’s a blank line on the arbitration agreement, then it should have remained blank. We do not add terms to documents if the employee is not physically present or there to do it themselves. 5 * 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 * * Our general practice was to review as much as we could in the class with the employee there so that we wouldn’t have to come back and interrupt the trainer in the middle of their training class, et cetera. So, yes, we review everything as much as we could. That doesn’t mean that we don’t miss things. (Quesada Tr., Dkt. No. 248-1, 54:18–58:22). Ms. Rivera confirmed these ordinary procedures: So prior to having a new hire class, sometimes the [human resources] admins print the new hire packet first. Sometimes it’s a large class and they want to go through and make sure everything is printed ahead of that time. When they do that, sometimes they will fill in the information that’s required, for example, the location. If not, then another way could be after the admin conducts orientation and they take the packets back out of the training room and into the admin office, and they’re going through the document and they see that there’s an area that’s missing, then they can fill that in and re-present that arbitration agreement to the employee. 13 (Rivera Tr. at 59:8–20). Like Ms. Quesada, Ms. Rivera acknowledged that, on occasion, 14 submitted new-hire arbitration agreements would be “missing some information,” but 15 explained that: 18 [I]f there is anything that’s going to be added to the arbitration agreement, like an additional name or a location, it needs to be presented back to the employee in order for us to do that. So we have to go back and find the employee or back to the orientation class to get that corrected. 19 (River Tr. at 16:10–17:20). Based on her experience, Ms. Rivera rejected the notion that a 20 human-resources administrator would, contrary to her guidance, unilaterally add terms to an 21 arbitration agreement after the fact: 16 17 22 23 24 It’s certainly not the expectation that ITG would have or that ITG advised any admin. And I think that’s noticeable in the fact that we’ve submitted other arbitration agreements where the information has been missing. 25 Ms. Rivera also confirmed that she has never disciplined anyone for submitting an incomplete 26 arbitration agreement (Rivera Tr. 30:1–3, 50:4–8). 27 28 Put simply, defendants admit to adding most, if not all, of the questioned marks on the arbitration agreements. Defendants’ human-resources administrators presented the arbitration 6 1 agreements to new employees as part of the new-hire packet and, though they would review 2 the forms for completion, blanks would remain at times. In those cases, human resources 3 would ask the employee to complete the agreement, complete the agreement with the employee 4 present, or present a completed agreement for the new employee’s approval. Each way, 5 defendants sought each new employee’s consent to the complete agreement. More important 6 for our purposes, in no case did defendants unilaterally add terms to the agreements after the 7 fact. United States District Court Northern District of California 8 Plaintiffs offer little to refute this. To start, they do not contest Ms. Rivera and Ms. 9 Quesada’s innocuous explanations for the varying ink colors, that the human resources 10 department simply used both blue and black pens (Dkt. No. 241 at 7–8, 14–15). Nor do 11 plaintiffs point to any, and this order discerns no, testimony by either of plaintiff’s witnesses, 12 Clark Brown and Devaughn Cherrington, refuting defendants’ assertion that completed 13 agreements were presented to new employees for their approval (Dkt. Nos. 248-3, 248-4). 14 Rather, plaintiffs focus on the admitted fact that defendants’ fired one human-resources 15 administrator, whose signature does appear on some of the arbitration agreements, for 16 falsifying her timecard. But they do not develop this point into a credible charge that 17 defendants falsified the arbitration agreements. 18 Plaintiffs next attempt to impeach Ms. Rivera with her earlier testimony that defendants 19 used a single form of arbitration agreement throughout our relevant time period. But plaintiff 20 points only to a minor change in the arbitration agreements, from denoting the effective date 21 with “[DATE]” to the current blank space. This fails to convince. As Ms. Rivera clarified, 22 aside from this minor update, the agreement, “word for word on every paragraph[,] is exactly 23 the same as it’s been since January 5, 2017” (Rivera Tr. at 72:2–5). 24 Last, plaintiffs make much of a discrepancy which actually appears to confirm the telling 25 above. Defendants recently produced versions of the arbitration agreements for Mr. Brown 26 and Mr. Cherrington, apparently different from those originally submitted last March (Dkt. No. 27 172-2 at 132, 221). Both Mr. Brown and Mr. Cherrington’s “new” versions lack their name in 28 large print in the top right corner, and Mr. Brown’s “new” version lacks the blue-ink name and 7 1 arbitration location on page one, present in the original submission (Dkt. Nos. 248-8, -9). But 2 an email produced along with Mr. Cherrington’s “new” version showed that defendants’ local 3 human-resources administrator initially submitted the incomplete agreement before the 4 corporate human-resources office asked for it to be completed. It appears the original, 5 incomplete agreement, made its way to defendants’ online database, from which it was 6 recently gathered, whereas the completed version was only ever saved in Mr. Cherrington’s 7 personnel file in Florida. In other words, defendants again admitted to the differences and later 8 completion of forms, consistent with their explanations above that the forms would be 9 completed with or by the employee (Rivera Tr. at 39:16–40:10; Quesada Tr. at 49:4–50:24). United States District Court Northern District of California 10 Again, defendants’ procedures leave much to be desired, but they evince no malfeasance. 11 3. 12 Even so, formation defects might linger in defendants’ procedures for gaining employee 13 assent to arbitrate. But into such matters this order will not speculate. For plaintiffs, we now 14 confirm, forfeited such arguments long ago. With the original motion to compel, plaintiffs 15 might have taken discovery into defendants’ procedures for gathering employee assent to 16 arbitrate and raised any resulting formation defects, including lack of mutual assent, 17 consideration, or other. And, even after the original submission of arbitration agreements 18 along with their motion to compel, defendants produced another batch of arbitration 19 agreements on September 11, 2019. The very first of these agreements, for employee Abdul- 20 Hugg Abdullah, included the employee’s name written in blue across the top right and the 21 location for the arbitration in blue, despite his name and signature block in black. The next, for 22 employee Raul Vega, included his first name in black ink in the “Employee” fill-in-the-blank, 23 but his last name in blue. A few pages further, agreements for Gary Galves and Alexander 24 Figueredo included highlighting (albeit black and white) on the first and last pages. Indeed, 25 this production included signed agreements for Clark Brown and Devaughn Cherrington, 26 whose testimony regarding defendants’ arbitration-agreement procedures plaintiffs now offer 27 in support of their formation defenses, and Mr. Cherrington’s name was not filled in on the 28 first page of his agreement (Dkt. No. 252). MOST FORMATION DEFENSES HAVE BEEN FORFEITED. 8 United States District Court Northern District of California 1 Plaintiffs, then, had nearly five months to take discovery into the origin, timing, and 2 purpose of these blue marks, pursue related formation defenses in discovery, and seek 3 supplemental briefing before our February 20 hearing on the motion to compel. They might 4 still have raised the issue before the March 5 hearing on the instant class certification motion. 5 And yet, plaintiffs waited to raise the blue-marks as an issue until the parties’ May 26 joint 6 statement regarding numerosity of the putative California class and until a June 18 7 supplemental brief to raise the issue of consideration (Dkt. No. 202 at 6). Additionally, though 8 plaintiffs mentioned issues of assent in the May 26 statement, they failed to articulate such 9 arguments until the June 18 supplemental brief (Dkt. Nos. 197 at 6–7; 202 at 5–6). The June 2 10 order already made clear that this order would not consider “issues that were raised, or could 11 have been raised,” in the original motion to compel or the motion for class certification. 12 Having failed several times over to timely assert these formation defenses, and the undersigned 13 now satisfied after several months of supplemental discovery that the blue ink reflects no 14 impropriety, plaintiffs have forfeited such defenses. See United States v. Jacobo Castille, 496 15 F.3d 947, 952, fn. 1 (9th Cir. 2007) (en banc). 16 4. 17 Plaintiffs’ last remaining challenge to the 222 signed arbitration agreements, the 18 contention that one employee did not actually sign his agreement, does not square with the 19 evidence. They argue that putative class-member Robinson Azema’s “signature” on his 20 arbitration form is just a zero with a strike through it, i.e., not a signature but the “null sign” 21 (Dkt. No. 172-2 at 53). In response, defendants submitted several other forms signed by Mr. 22 Azema, each including a similar, broad circular mark ending in a more-or-less straight-line 23 headed to the bottom-left (Dkt. No. 203-5). As far as an objective observer would discern, the 24 mark — used in circumstances indicating assent and being reasonably consistent with his 25 others — manifests Mr. Azema’s assent. See Palmquist v. Mercer, 43 Cal. 2d 92, 98, 272 P.2d 26 26 (1954); Serafin v. Balco Props. Ltd., 235 Cal. App. 4th 165, 173 (2015). Regardless, 27 plaintiffs provide no testimony from Mr. Azema that his mark did not manifest his assent. LAST REMAINING FORMATION DEFENSES FAIL. 28 9 1 5. OBJECTION TO THE CLASS LIST FAILS. Plaintiffs offer a single challenge to the completeness of defendants’ 238-person class- 2 member list, the testimony of one allegedly-missed California employee, Francisco Borges, 3 who says he worked for ITG in Florida from April 2016 to July 2016 and in California from 4 July 2016 to January 2017 (Dkt. Nos. 202-2; 207-2). They cite, but do not actually submit, an 5 earlier interrogatory response from defendants which allegedly included Mr. Borges as a 6 California employee between July 2016 and May 2017 (Dkt. No. 207-1). 7 Defendants respond that Mr. Borges, whom they have documented as Francisco Borges 8 Chirino, worked for them in Florida until his termination (without possibility of rehire) in June 9 2016 (Dkt. No. 206-4). Ms. Rivera, the human resources director, says that defendants have no 10 pay records for Mr. Borges Chirino after June 2016 — records that would exist if Mr. Borges 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Chirino had indeed continued working for defendants. Ms. Rivera also says that if Mr. Borges 12 Chirino had transferred to California, as he alleges, documents would reflect that transfer. No 13 such records exist. In fact, the only transfer record for Mr. Borges Chirino reflects a move 14 from Miami to Jacksonville, Florida (Dkt. No. 206-3, -4, -5). 15 The preponderance of the evidence herein presented leads to the conclusion that Mr. 16 Borges Chirino did not work for defendants in California, much less during the relevant time 17 period. The objective records place him in Florida. And, other objective records, which 18 19 20 competent testimony establishes would exist to document Mr. Borges Chirino’s allegations, do not appear. True, defendants’ old discovery response indicates Mr. Borges Chirino did work for ITG during the class period. But, plaintiffs’ interrogatory asked defendants to specify 21 nationwide workers, not just California ones. So, this evidence does not actually place Mr. 22 Borges Chirino in the putative class. 23 Against the objective evidence, plaintiffs offer only Mr. Borges Chirino’s bare statements 24 that he worked in California. The evidence not presented speaks the loudest. Where in the 25 spacious and heavily populated state of California did Mr. Borges Chirino work? No one just 26 magically appears in California for work and then magically returns to Florida in the evening. 27 Where in California did Mr. Borges Chirino live? Simply, the bare assertions devoid of 28 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 1 supporting detail do not overcome the objective evidence that Mr. Borges Chirino did not work 2 for ITG in California during the class period. Plaintiffs’ sole challenge to the class list fails. 3 6. 4 Plaintiffs last contend that defendants waived arbitration by engaging in settlement 5 discussions over the previous summer, but bear the burden to show that defendants knew of the 6 right, acted inconsistent with it, and prejudiced plaintiffs. Richards v. Ernst & Young, 744 7 F.3d 1072, 1074 (9th Cir. 2013). True, defendants knew. And, perhaps they acted 8 inconsistently with their desire to individually arbitrate their employees’ wage and hour claims 9 by engaging in settlement negotiations. But this did not prejudice plaintiffs, as plaintiffs DEFENDANTS DID NOT WAIVE ARBITRATION. 10 engaged in these negotiations to avoid the order compelling them to arbitrate their claims. This 11 order discerns no prejudice that would unravel the previous order to compel. 12 7. 13 This order now, at last, turns to the matter of numerosity. As a matter of fact, this order THE PUTATIVE CLASS LACKS NUMEROSITY. 14 accepts defendants’ submission of evidence and finds the putative class includes 238 members 15 (before subtraction for arbitration) (Dkt. Nos. 172-1; 197 at 2). The parties have engaged in 16 discovery on the matter; plaintiffs deposed witnesses; and defendants rate as the appropriate 17 source for this information (via their employee records). Moreover, as discussed above, 18 plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate the class list remains incomplete. 19 Next, this order finds 222 of the 238 putative class members agreed to arbitrate with 20 defendants (Dkt. Nos. 172 (all attachments); 197 at 2; 203-4). As discussed above, plaintiffs 21 have forfeited all but one raised formation defect, which failed on the merits. This leaves 22 sixteen putative members, too few to proceed here as a class. “While there is no bright-line 23 rule as to how many class members are required to be sufficiently numerous, various courts 24 have found that the numerosity factor is satisfied if the class comprises 40 or more members 25 and have found it not satisfied when the class comprises 21 or fewer.” Californians for 26 Disability Rights, Inc., v. California Dep’t Transp., 249 F.R.D. 334, 346 (N.D. Cal. 2008) 27 (Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong). 28 11 CONCLUSION 1 Of the 238 putative class members, only sixteen did not agree to arbitrate. The proposed 2 3 class lacks numerosity. Class certification is DENIED. The remainder of the case shall proceed as follows: 4 5 The remaining of the sixteen California employees who have not been compelled to 6 arbitrate may intervene in this lawsuit as individual plaintiffs with counsel of their 7 choosing. Plaintiffs’ counsel shall give prompt notice of this right (and the deadline for 8 intervention) by first-class mail to these employees by MARCH 26. 9 United States District Court Northern District of California 1. 2. The remaining putative class members and FLSA collective members may pursue 10 individual arbitration to vindicate their claims for relief. The limitations clock has, 11 however, restarted. Plaintiffs’ counsel shall provide prompt notice of this right by first- 12 class mail to these employees by MARCH 26. 13 3. To prevent future snafus, all motions to intervene are due and counsel shall specify the population of all plaintiffs herein by MAY 13 AT NOON. 14 15 4. The non-expert discovery cut-off date shall be JUNE 10. 16 5. The last date for designation of expert testimony and disclosure of full expert reports 17 under FRCP 26(a)(2) as to any issue on which a party has the burden of proof 18 (“opening reports”) shall also be JUNE 10. 19 6. The last date to file dispositive motions shall be SEPTEMBER 9. 20 7. The final pretrial conference shall be held on DECEMBER 1 AT 2:00 P.M. 21 8. A jury trial shall begin on DECEMBER 13 AT 7:30 A.M., in Courtroom 12, 19th Floor, 22 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, California, 94102. Counsel shall please bear 23 in mind, however, that the COVID-19 pandemic has already significantly disrupted in- 24 court proceedings in this District and it remains foreseeable that the schedule will again 25 need to change as circumstances require. That being said, counsel shall also be 26 prepared to try the case as planned unless and until directed otherwise. 27 IT IS SO ORDERED. 28 12 1 Dated: March 3, 2021. 2 3 WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 13