Huffman v. Interstate Brands Companies, 121 Cal. App. 4th 679 (2004)

After Interstate Brands demoted Daniel Huffman from a district sales manager to a division sales manager, he filed a lawsuit alleging age discrimination and wrongful demotion in violation of public policy. At trial, the judge allowed Huffman to testify about the injury to his knees that occurred when he had to load and deliver bakery products in the job to which he had been demoted; two years after the demotion, Huffman had bilateral knee replacement surgery. Interstate Brands objected to Huffman’s introduction of evidence about his knee injury on the ground that the exclusive remedy for such injuries was provided by the Workers’ Compensation Act. The jury awarded Huffman $699,000 in economic damages and $2 million for emotional distress attributable to the demotion and the pain and suffering from the knee injury and knee replacement surgery. The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment, holding that the exclusive remedy for Huffman’s knee-related pain and suffering was provided by the Workers’ Compensation Act.