Agosta v. Astor, 120 Cal. App. 4th 596 (2004)

Len Agosta, who was employed by Clear Channel Communications, had a series of meetings with N. Arthur Astor before accepting a position as general sales manager of KFSD, Astor’s San Diego radio station. Agosta insisted on receiving something from Astor in writing before giving Clear Channel notice of his intent to resign. After further negotiations, Astor provided Agosta with a document entitled "Compensation Packages." Agosta proceeded to notify Clear Channel of his intent to resign; thereafter, Astor provided Agosta with additional terms, including a termination-at-will provision. Within a month, Astor told Agosta that he was reneging on the agreed terms of employment, including key components of the compensation package; Agosta was "shocked" that Astor had repudiated the deal. Two days later, Astor terminated Agosta’s employment. Agosta sued for fraud and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, among other things. The trial court granted Astor’s motion for summary adjudication on the ground that Agosta’s employment was terminable at will. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that Astor was not entitled to summary adjudication of Agosta’s misrepresentation claims, notwithstanding the existence of the atwill agreement. The Court held that Agosta could seek recovery of fraudulent inducement damages unrelated to the discharge. The Court affirmed summary adjudication of the implied covenant claim given Agosta’s at-will status.