Monday, February 19, 2018

Terris v. Co. of Santa Barbara

Campbell v. Regents of University of California (2005) 35 Cal.4th 311 holds that public employees must pursue appropriate internal administrative remedies before filing a civil action against their employer.  Labor Code section 244 does not require a litigant to exhaust administrative remedies before bringing a civil action.   Here we hold section 244 applies only to claims before the Labor Commissioner.  It has no effect on the Campbell rule.
Plaintiff Shawn Terris appeals a summary judgment in favor of her former employer, defendant County of Santa Barbara (County), in her wrongful termination action.  We conclude, among other things, that:  1) Terris did not exhaust her administrative remedies on her claims that the County terminated her job to discriminate against her in violation of sections 1101, 1102, and 1102.5; [[2) there are no triable issues of fact on Terris’s claim that she was terminated because of her sexual orientation (Gov. Code, § 12940, subd. (a), Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA));]] but 3) the trial court erred by awarding the County costs on the FEHA cause of action.  We affirm in part and reverse in part.

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Friday, February 2, 2018

Kenny v. Wal-Mart Stores

The panel vacated the district court’s order remanding a putative class action to California state court because the district court exceeded its statutory authority in remanding sua sponte based on a non-jurisdictional defect, and because Wal-Mart did not waive its right to remove the action to federal court; and remanded to the district court for further proceedings.

Plaintiff filed the putative class action in California state court, challenging Wal-Mart’s policy requiring employees who have suffered workplace-related injuries to submit to drug and/or urine testing. Wal-Mart removed the case to federal court based on jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”). The district court sua sponte remanded the action to state court, concluding that Wal-Mart had waived its right to remove the case by filing a demurrer in response to plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) in state court.

The panel held that the district court lacked authority under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) to remand sua sponte based on a non-jurisdictional defect.

The panel noted that a defendant “may waive the right to remove to federal court where, after it is apparent that the case is removable, the defendant takes actions in state court that manifest his or her intent to have the matter adjudicated there, and to abandon his or her right to a federal forum.” Resolution Tr. Corp. v. Bayside Developers, 43 F.3d 1230, 1240 (9th Cir. 1994). The panel held that the district court erred in concluding that Wal-Mart waived its right to remove the case when the FAC did not reveal a basis for removal pursuant to CAFA. The panel also held that Wal-Mart’s choice to file a demurrer, rather than another form of responsive pleading, to plaintiff’s indeterminate FAC did not amount to a waiver of its right to remove. The panel further held that where Wal-Mart removed the case before plaintiff opposed the demurrer and before any hearing was held, clearly Wal-Mart did not manifest an intent to litigate in state court.

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

O'Malley v. Hospitality Staffing Solutions

A negligent undertaking claim could not be subjected to dismissal on summary judgment where it was possible for a reasonable trier to fact to find that a hotel had assumed a duty to have an employee check on a guest and there was a dispute as to whether it was reasonably foreseeable that the guest was incapacitated and needed assistance.

O'Malley v. Hospitality Staffing Solutions - filed Jan. 31, 2018, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 574

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