Singh v. Southland Stone, U.S.A., Inc., 186 Cal.App.4th 338 (2010)

Gurpreet Singh moved from India to California to work as a general manager for Southland Stone. After Singh resigned and returned to India, he filed suit against Southland and its president (Ravinder S. Johar), alleging various contract and tort claims. The jury awarded Singh more than $980,000 for past and future noneconomic damages, economic damages, unpaid wages and punitive damages. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment in part (as to the denial of the breach of contract claim and the award of $6,800 in wages whose payment defendants conditioned upon Singh’s signing a release), but otherwise reversed the judgment. The Court reversed the judgment on the claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (because Singh was employed at will) and the claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (because it was barred by the exclusive remedy of the Workers’ Compensation Act) and ordered the trial court to enter judgment for defendants on those claims.

The Court reversed the judgment and ordered a new trial on the claims for promissory estoppel, misrepresentation to induce relocation for employment, false promise, intentional misrepresentation and concealment because the special verdict findings were inconsistent. The Court also held the damages awarded appeared to be duplicative.