LA sanitation truck drivers not provided proper meal breaks. $26 million settlement.


Class action brought on behalf of sanitation truck drivers for the City of LA for failure to provide meal breaks required by Labor Code. Settlement followed bench verdict and appeal.

The Case

  • Case Name: Jose Gravina v. City of Los Angeles
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles County Superior Court / BC 356014
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, December 05, 2011
  • Date of Settlement: Thursday, July 17, 2014
  • Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, July 26, 2006
  • Type of Case: Class Action, Labor Code Violation
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. John S. Wiley, Jr.
  • Plaintiffs:
    Jose Gravina
  • Defendants:
    City of Los Angeles
  • Type of Result: Bench Verdict

The Result

  • Settlement Amount: $26,000,000 settlement after bench verdict and appeal.
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Class action case with an average award of approximately 1,200 class members and an average award of $15,000 per person.

  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Punitive Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: Two bench trials.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Law Office of Matthew L Taylor by Matthew Livingston Taylor, Rancho Cucamonga.

    Law Offices of Michael D Myers PC by Michael David Myers, Rancho Cucamonga.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Liebert Cassidy Whitmore by Brian Walter, Los Angeles.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    This is a class action case brought on behalf of sanitation truck drivers employed by the City of Los Angeles. The action was certified as a class action to pursue a single cause of action for failure to provide meal breaks required by Labor Code sections 512 and 226.7.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That City of Los Angeles failed to provide meal breaks required by California state law.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That City of Los Angeles is a charter city and exempt from statewide meal break laws. Further, that their employment policies did not violate state law.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Plaintiffs claimed one hour of wage for each day in which they were denied a proper meal break. This is the damages formula set forth under state law (California Labor Code section 226.7).



Additional Notes

The settlement in this case followed two bench trials, one on liability and one dealing with damages for a sample plaintiff. This second trial found damages in the amount of slightly over $8,300 for the sample plaintiff. Following entry of judgment, defendants appealed the matter, and the Court of Appeal (2nd District, Division 1) entered a 3-0 decision upholding all of the rulings of the trial court dealing with applicability of the statewide meal break statutes to the plaintiffs in the case. (Case B241411).

Following the decision of the Court of Appeals, the parties reached the terms of a proposed settlement. Under the terms of the settlement, City of Los Angeles agreed to pay $26,000,000 to settle the claims involved in this lawsuit. Each of the class members will share in the common settlement fund in a ratio based on the number of working days the class member worked for the defendant between 2004 and 2013. 

Under the terms of the settlement, the city also agreed to an injunction to stop the disputed employment practices at issue in the lawsuit. This settlement was approved by the trial court on July 17, 2014, and a judgment was entered that day based on the stipulated settlement.

There were no settlement offers nor settlement demands prior to the trial and appeal.