Vondjidis v. Hewlett Packard Corp., 168 Cal. App. 4th 921 (2008)

Alexander Vondjidis was employed by Hewlett Packard at HP’s Athens, Greece office in the 1970s. He purchased shares through HP’s employee stock purchase plan and left HP in 1978. Although HP was aware of Vondjidis’s home address in Athens (the address was listed in HP’s personnel records), HP listed its Athens office (which closed in 1982) as Vondjidis’s shareholder address of record. In 1993, HP transferred Vondjidis’s shares to the State of California as unclaimed property. When Vondjidis learned of the transfer in 2001, he sued HP for breach of contract, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion and fraud. HP obtained summary judgment on the ground that it was immune from liability under California’s unclaimed property statute. The Court of Appeal reversed the summary judgment, holding that HP was not entitled to immunity because HP knew of the owner’s location (which had not changed since he left HP) and despite that knowledge transferred the shares to the state. The Court also held that HP was not entitled to summary judgment based on the applicable statute of limitations.