Wasito v. Kazali, 2021 WL 3878379 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021)

Subiono Wasito and Enny Soenjoto (plaintiffs) were employed as resident managers of a motel owned by the Kazali family. When the Kazalis closed the motel for renovations, plaintiffs were told their employment was being terminated. After plaintiffs demanded their unpaid wages, the Kazalis paid the unpaid salaries, but not the annual bonuses, despite conceding they were owed. Before trial, the Kazalis made a Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 998 offer to pay plaintiffs $300,000 in settlement. After the Section 998 offer expired after 30 days, the Kazalis sent plaintiffs checks in the amount of $75,876.90 for the unpaid bonuses, including interest and penalties. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury awarded plaintiffs less than $2,200 (after the trial court adjusted the jury award). Both sides sought to recover their costs, and plaintiffs sought and recovered $66,700 in attorney’s fees because they were the “prevailing parties.” The trial court denied the Kazalis’ motion to recover their costs on the ground the Section 998 offer violated Labor Code §§ 206 and 206.5 because the Kazalis withheld undisputed compensation while attempting to settle all claims. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment. See also Reddish v. Westamerica Bank, 2021 WL 3827308 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) (trial court’s order that the parties share the costs of depositions is not appealable under the collateral order doctrine).