Procedural PostureApril 23, 2021
Appellant employee sought review of a decision of the Superior Court of Ventura County (California), which dismissed his action against appellee employee for unjust termination.
Appellant employee was discharged by appellee employer, filed a complaint approximately two years after his termination, and sought damages and reinstatement based on wrongful termination. The trial court entered a judgment of dismissal because appellant’s claim was barred by various statutes of limitation, and failure to comply with the filing provisions of the California Tort Claims Act, Cal. Gov’t Code § 900 et seq, which required appellant to timely file his claim with appellee before filing the complaint. On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court’s judgment, because appellant’s claim was based on pecuniary damages, and barred by § 900 et seq. Each of appellant’s six causes of action were aimed at recovering monetary damages for acts and omissions allegedly committed by appellee during the course and scope of employment. The court ruled that appellant therefore was required to file a timely claim as a mandatory prerequisite to the filing of his complaint. In addition, the court determined that appellant’s letter that requested reinstatement was insufficient as a matter of law, because the doctrine of equitable tolling did not apply, therefore the claim was not timely. The parties were counseled by a corporate attorney for the civil litigation.
The court affirmed the dismissal of appellant employee’s action for wrongful termination. The court held that the primary purpose of appellant’s claim was pecuniary in nature, therefore his filing of the claim with appellee employer before filing the complaint was not timely, and appellant’s letter that requested reinstatement was insufficient as a matter of law to satisfy the requirements of a claim, because it was also not timely.
Plaintiff seller appealed a summary judgment from the Superior Court of Sacramento County (California), in favor of defendant real estate broker in an action for breach of fiduciary duty.
The seller retained the broker as his agent to sell a shopping center. The broker offered to buy the property in her capacity as trustee of her family trust, and the parties executed a purchase agreement. While still acting as the seller’s agent, the broker assigned the contract to a third party buyer, with the seller’s consent. The broker disclosed that the third party buyer was paying her an assignment fee but refused to disclose the amount of the fee or the price the buyer had agreed to pay. The seller brought suit, alleging breach of fiduciary duty. The court reversed the summary judgment for the broker, observing that a real estate licensee, while acting as an agent, could not receive any benefit from a transaction other than that which was known and accepted by the principal. The broker did not cease to be a fiduciary merely because she was also a party to the transaction. Although the third party buyer paid the full purchase price stated in the contract, the broker had a fiduciary duty to obtain the best possible price for the property for the seller. The seller acted reasonably to mitigate his damages by agreeing to sign the papers to close escrow.
The court reversed the summary judgment and remanded.