Taswell v. The Regents of the Univ. of Cal., 23 Cal. App. 5th 343 (2018)

Carl Taswell, M.D., alleged he was retaliated against for his whistleblowing activities regarding patient safety at the brain imaging center during his employment with the University of California, Irvine. Prior to commencing his civil action, Taswell filed an internal complaint for whistleblower retaliation and initiated a grievance procedure pursuant to the university’s academic personnel manual, but Taswell’s grievance was denied. The trial court granted the Regents’ motion for summary judgment on the grounds that his retaliation claims were barred by res judicata and/or collateral estoppel (based upon the adverse decision on the grievance he had filed) and because Taswell had failed to exhaust judicial remedies by challenging the administrative decision by filing a writ petition in court. The Court of Appeal reversed the dismissal, holding that neither res judicata nor collateral estoppel barred Taswell’s claims, nor did his failure to challenge the adverse administrative decision by way of a writ petition.