Monday, January 7, 2019

Nisei Farmers League v. CA Labor & Workforce Dev. Agency

Plaintiffs Nisei Farmers League and California Building Industry Association filed this action in the trial court challenging the constitutional validity of Labor Code section 226.2, a recently enacted law articulating wage requirements applicable where an employer uses a piece-rate method of compensating its employees.  The complaint was brought against the state labor agencies and agency officials responsible for enforcing the wage law (defendants).  In their complaint, plaintiffs alleged among other things that provisions of section 226.2 were so uncertain as to render the statute void for vagueness.  Other constitutional challenges to the validity of section 226.2 were premised on allegations that the statute would be applied retroactively.  Defendants demurred to the complaint, arguing that the wording of section 226.2 was not unconstitutionally vague and that the other constitutional challenges asserted in plaintiffs’ complaint were without merit because the statute was not retroactive.  The trial court agreed with defendants’ analysis, sustained the demurrer without leave to amend, and entered a judgment of dismissal.  In doing so, the trial court also declined to grant plaintiffs’ request for declaratory relief relating to an affirmative defense created by the statute.  Plaintiffs appeal from the judgment.

Based on our review of the pertinent issues, we conclude that plaintiffs failed to allege an adequate basis for finding the statute to be facially unconstitutional.  We also conclude that denial of the declaratory relief requested was appropriate.  Thus, the demurrer was properly sustained without leave to amend.  For these and other reasons more fully explained below, the judgment of the trial court is hereby affirmed.

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