Procedural PostureMay 10, 2021
Plaintiff an individual real estate appraiser filed a complaint against defendant California Office of Real Estate Appraisers, claiming that defendant violated a confidentiality clause in the stipulation by which an administrative disciplinary action against him was settled. The Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco, California, sustained the defendant’s demurrer without leave to amend, and plaintiff appealed.
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Plaintiff specifically alleged that the settlement agreement expressly provided that the complainants would be notified only of the outcome of the proceeding, not the results or findings of the investigations or contents of the stipulation, that defendants represented the stipulation was a private reproval, entirely confidential, and that defendants breached the stipulation by publishing letters to complainants. Plaintiff’s complaint for damages sounded in both contract and tort. The appellate court found that: (1) a settlement agreement was a contract; (2) plaintiff’s claim of breach of a settlement agreement was not subject to immunity under Cal. Gov’t Code § 821.6, and (3) Cal. Gov’t Code § 821.6 did not provide a defense to a claim of breach of mandatory duty under Cal. Gov’t Code § 815.6.
The judgment of the superior court was reversed and the matter was remanded.