Defendant owned several automobile franchises in West Seattle.?? ?On September 26, 2007, it announced to its 150 employees that it would be closing its doors on October 7 if a buyer were not found, and suggested the employees start looking for new jobs.?? By October 5 only 30 employees were still reporting to work and the business shut down. ?The former employees filed a class action alleging the defendant failed to give the 60 days? notice of business shutdown that the WARN Act requires. The employer moved for summary judgment ?on the basis that the 120 employees who stopped reporting for work following the announcement of business closure had ?voluntarily departed? their jobs and therefore fewer than the statutorily required? 50 ?employees ?suffered? an? employment loss when the business actually closed.? ?Judge Pechman agreed with the defendant but the Ninth Circuit reversed.
The panel held 2-1 that an employee who leaves because of a business closure announced on less than 60 days? notice has not ?voluntarily? departed his or her job. ?Judge Rymer concurred in the case holding? but ?did ?not? join ?Judge ?Smith?s broader analysis? of the statute.??? Technically,? hers is? the?controlling opinion for the case.?? District Judge Ceybull dissented and agreed with Judge Pechman?s statutory analysis.?Collins v. Gee West Seattle LLC, No. 09-36110 (1/21/11) (N.R. Smith, Rymer, Cebull (D. MT.))