Martinez v. Rite Aid Corp., 63 Cal. App. 5th 958 (2021)

Following two prior trials, which resulted in reversal of the judgments by the Court of Appeal, this wrongful termination/discrimination case was tried for a third time in 2018.  The jury awarded Maria Martinez $2 million on her wrongful termination claim against her former employer (Rite Aid) and $4 million on her claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress against Rite Aid and her former supervisor, Kien Chau.  The Court of Appeal largely affirmed the verdict in favor of Martinez, noting that Rite Aid was inappropriately challenging on appeal some of the same jury instructions it had proposed during the trial, thereby forfeiting its objections.  The Court did order that the past economic damages award be reduced by $140,840, which was the amount of wages Martinez earned from post-termination employment.  The Court rejected Martinez’s argument (based upon Villacorta v. Cemex Cement, Inc., 221 Cal. App. 4th 1425 (2013)) that wages earned from an “inferior job” may not be used to mitigate damages.  See also Felczer v. Apple, Inc., 63 Cal. App. 5th 406 (2021) (post-judgment interest on an award of prejudgment costs begins to run on the date of the judgment or order that establishes the right to recover a particular cost item, even if the dollar amount has yet to be ascertained).