By Brendan O'Brien
Feb 4 (Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Monday
decertified a class of Domino's Pizza drivers in Minnesota who
had claimed the company wrongfully withheld gratuities from
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 1,600
drivers did not all have the same circumstances in common,
citing the 2011 Supreme Court ruling in Wal-Mart Stores v.
In 2005, the pizza chain implemented a $1 per delivery
charge in Minnesota. The charge was increased to $1.50 in 2008.
Matt Luiken and Jon Sandquist, along with fellow delivery
drivers, accused Domino's of forcing them to share tips with the
company in violation of the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act.
The class was certified by a federal court in Minnesota in
November 2011. It included delivery drivers who worked in the
state from March 6, 2006, to Feb. 28, 2010.
In its ruling on Monday, the 8th Circuit noted that some
drivers alerted customers to the charges, while others did not.
Disclosure of the charge also varied by the method of
ordering. If the customer ordered online, they received a notice
that a delivery charge was applied to their bill, the 8th
Circuit decision said.
By the end of 2009, Domino's began printing on some boxes:
"any delivery charge is not a tip paid to your driver. Please
reward your driver for awesomeness." By the middle of 2010, the
notice was placed on all boxes.
The variety of transactions "made it unreasonable for some
customers to construe the delivery charge as a payment for
personal services, thereby preventing one-stroke determination
of a class-wide question," the appeals court wrote, remanding
the case back to the lower court.
Attorneys representing the pizza delivery drivers and
Domino's Pizza were not immediately available for comment.
The case is in the United States Court of Appeals For The
8th Circuit, No. 12-1216.
For the delivery drivers: Michelle Drake, Matthew Morgan,
Matthew Helland and Paul Lukas of Nichols Kaster; and Richard
Paul of Stueve Siegel Hanson.
For Domino's Pizza: Juli Ann Lund, Philip Sechler, David
Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, Collin Callahan, Daniel Katz and Jared Lee
Hubbard of Williams & Connolly; and Tracey Holmes Donesky,
Calvin Hoffman, Kristin Berger Parker and Wendy Canaday of
Leonard, Street and Deinard.
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook