FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 60CV-16-3025]
HONORABLE CHRISTOPHER CHARLES PIAZZA, JUDGE.
Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull PLLC, by: E.B. Chiles IV,
Joseph R. Falasco, and Sarah E. DeLoach, for appellant.
Holleman & Associates, P.A., by: John Holleman, Timothy
A. Steadman, Jerry Garner, for appellees.
DAN KEMP, Chief Justice.
Inc., appeals the Pulaski County Circuit Court's order
certifying a class action lawsuit filed by Koppers employees
Kelvin Trotter, Nathane Davis, Lonzo Allen, and Ken Piggee,
individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated
(collectively referred to as employees). Koppers contends
that the circuit court failed to provide any reasoning
supporting class certification, precluding meaningful review
and requiring reversal. Alternatively, Koppers contends that
employees did not meet their burden of proving the
requirements for class certification. We remand the case with
instructions to enter an order that complies with Arkansas
Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (2018).
operates a crosstie-treatment plant in North Little Rock,
Arkansas. While working at the plant, employees must wear
protective clothing and equipment provided by Koppers.
Employees start each workday by clocking in at one of two
bathhouses, taking off their street clothes, putting on
("donning") specified uniforms and personal
protective equipment, and walking to their workstations. At
the end of the shift, employees walk back to the bathhouses,
remove ("doff") their uniforms and protective
equipment, change back into their street clothes, and clock
filed suit against Koppers pursuant to the Arkansas Minimum
Wage Act (AMWA), Ark. Code Ann. §§ 11-4-201 et seq.
for unpaid overtime. They claimed that Koppers violated the
AMWA by failing to compensate them for time spent donning and
doffing their uniforms and protective equipment and walking
to and from their workstations. After filing their complaint,
employees moved to certify a class of
[a]ll individuals who were, are, or will be employed by
Defendant as hourly paid employees at the Koppers plant in
North Little Rock, Arkansas, at any time within the three
years prior to the filing of this Complaint through the date
of the final disposition of this action, and who were, are,
or will be required to perform donning and doffing
removed the case to federal court based on diversity
jurisdiction. After the case was removed, employees amended
their complaint to add the current manager and a former
manager of the North Little Rock plant as defendants. The
addition of these defendants destroyed diversity, and the
case was remanded to the circuit court.
remand, Koppers answered and denied that employees were
entitled to compensation for unpaid overtime. Koppers
asserted that for each shift they worked, employees were paid
for five minutes of time for putting on their uniforms and
personal protective equipment, five minutes of time for
walking to their workstations, and ten minutes of time for
walking from their workstations to the bathhouses and
changing out of their uniforms and personal protective
equipment. Koppers also asserted that employees could not
meet the requirements for class certification.
discovery and briefing, the circuit court held a hearing on
the motion for class certification. The circuit court took
the motion under advisement and made no rulings from the
bench. Subsequently, the circuit court notified the parties
that it had decided to grant the motion. Employees
submitted a proposed order, and Koppers objected to the form
of the proposed order on several grounds, including that it
contained "factual statements, legal reasoning, and
legal conclusions [that] were never announced by the
court." Koppers stated that the court had
"not relayed any findings of fact or conclusions of law
to the parties, other than its indication that it would
certify a class." Koppers submitted its own proposed
order that it contended "reflects the decision to grant
November 21, 2017, the circuit court entered an order
granting employees' motion for class certification:
Having considered the submissions of the parties and the
arguments of counsel, the court finds that the requirements
of Arkansas Rule of Civil Procedure 23 are satisfied and
therefore GRANTS the motion for class ...