California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Breach of Contract

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California Court Confirms Kevin Spacey Must Pay $31 Million to House of Cards Producers

The Los Angeles County Superior Court has confirmed an arbitrator’s October 2021 award of $31 million to be paid by actor Kevin Spacey to producers of the Netflix show House of Cards for Spacey’s alleged breach of contract.  As we previously reported, the producers alleged that Spacey was responsible for millions of dollars in costs … Continue Reading

May 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted May 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Former UCLA Physician Can Proceed With Whistleblower Claims Former Employee Adequately Alleged Disability Under The ADA California Resident May Rely Upon Labor Code § 925 … Continue Reading

California Resident May Rely Upon Labor Code § 925 To Challenge Non-Compete

LGCY Power, LLC v. Superior Court, 75 Cal. App. 5th 844 (2022) California resident Michael Jed Sewell worked as a sales representative and sales manager for LGCY Power, which is headquartered in Salt Lake County, Utah. In 2015, Sewell signed a “Solar Representative Agreement,” which included noncompetition, nonsolicitation and confidentiality provisions as well as Utah … Continue Reading

March 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted March 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: California Relaxes Standard For Proving Whistleblower Claims At-Will Employee Can Proceed With Labor Code § 970 Claim Doctor Proved Age/Race/Gender Discrimination Former Owner of Company Is … Continue Reading

Former Owner of Company Is Enjoined From Soliciting Customers

Blue Mountain Enterprises, LLC v. Owen, 74 Cal. App. 5th 537 (2022) Gregory S. Owen transferred his ownership interest in several real estate and construction-related firms to Blue Mountain Enterprises, LLC, as part of a joint venture with Acolyte Limited. Owen became Blue Mountain’s CEO and he agreed to a post-employment non-solicitation provision, which precluded … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Publishes Opinion Upholding Customer Non-Solicitation Covenant

Despite California’s general hostility towards post-termination restrictive covenants, the California Court of Appeal, in a recently published opinion, Blue Mountain Enters., LLC v. Owen, 74 Cal.App.5th 537 (1st Dist. Jan. 10, 2022), affirmed that a post-termination customer non-solicitation agreement was enforceable under California Business & Professions Code § 16601. Under most circumstances, contractual provisions that … Continue Reading

Court Rejects Netflix’s Challenge to Poaching Injunction

In the latest blow against Netflix’s aggressive recruiting practices, a California appellate court has affirmed a trial court’s injunction against Netflix and in favor of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (“Fox”), thus permanently barring the streaming giant from poaching Fox executives by inducing them to breach their fixed-term employment contracts. Netflix challenged the injunction, which … Continue Reading

House of Cards: What Employers Can Learn From Kevin Spacey’s Alleged Missteps

Kevin Spacey’s legal troubles have taken a costly turn as the production companies behind Netflix’s House of Cards recently asked a California court to confirm an arbitration award of almost $31 million against Spacey for breach of contract. In 2017, eight House of Cards crew members came forward to accuse Spacey of sexual harassment and … Continue Reading

November 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Ninth Circuit Resurrects California’s Anti-Arbitration Statute In-House Counsel’s Claim For Breach Of Oral Promise Of Contingency Fee Was Barred By Statute Employee Can Proceed With … Continue Reading

In-House Counsel’s Claim For Breach Of Oral Promise Of Contingency Fee Was Barred By Statute

Missakian v. Amusement Indus., Inc., 69 Cal. App. 5th 630 (2021) Former in-house counsel Craig Missakian sued his former employer, Amusement Industry, Inc., based on an alleged oral promise to pay him a bonus and a share of recovery from real estate litigation that was pending in New York, which ultimately settled for $26 million.  At … Continue Reading

January 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Bank Employee Who Was Harassed By A Customer Can Proceed With Sexual Harassment Claim Laid-Off Employee Was Not Discriminated Against On The Basis Of Age … Continue Reading

November 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Court Affirms $4.26 Million Jury Award For “Self-Published Defamation” Court Affirms Dismissal Of Trade Secrets Claim Brought Against Apple Employer Gets No Relief From $1.6 … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Upholds FINRA Class Action Waiver Provision

Laver v. Credit Suisse Secs. (USA), LLC, 976 F.3d 841 (9th Cir. 2020) Christopher Laver filed a putative class action against Credit Suisse, alleging breach of contract and other state law claims.  Credit Suisse responded with a motion to dismiss in favor of arbitration premised upon FINRA’s Employee Dispute Resolution Program, which among other things … Continue Reading

Dean Of Theological Seminary Was A “Ministerial Employee”

Sumner v. Simpson Univ., 27 Cal. App. 5th 577 (2018) Sarah Sumner was the dean of the A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary and was employed pursuant to a written employment agreement. Her employment was terminated by Robin Dummer in his capacity as acting provost of the university on the ground that Sumner had been insubordinate. Sumner … Continue Reading

Viacom Sues Netflix for Employee Poaching

Viacom, like Fox before, asserts the streamer is knowingly interfering with contracts. Viacom has filed a lawsuit alleging that Netflix induced one of its employees to break contract to join the streaming giant. The case, lodged in Los Angeles Superior Court last week, continues to explode the issue of the legality of fixed-term employment contracts.Read … Continue Reading

Urging Other Employees To Quit And Sue Employer Is Protected Conduct Under Anti-SLAPP Statute

Bel Air Internet, LLC v. Morales, 2018 WL 1045222 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Bel Air Internet sued two of its former employees, Albert Morales and Flavio Delabra, for encouraging their fellow employees to quit and sue the company for alleged employment violations rather than sign a release of claims as Bel Air had requested. Bel … Continue Reading

Employee Is Not Entitled To Attorney’s Fees For Breach Of Contract Claim

Shames v. Utility Consumers’ Action Network, 2017 WL 2807920 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Michael Shames filed this lawsuit against the Utility Consumers’ Action Network (“UCAN”), alleging various causes of action stemming from the termination of his employment. Although his amended complaint alleged UCAN’s breach of contract for its failure to pay him multiple bonus payments, … Continue Reading

Foreign National Who Worked For Travel Tour Company Was An Employee, Not An Intern Or Exempt Manager

Kao v. Joy Holiday, 2017 WL 2590653 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Ming-Hsiang Kao was employed by Joy Holiday (a travel tour company) initially performing IT-related duties and then eventually as its office manager. While he was still in Taiwan, Kao worked with Jessy Lin (one of the owners of Joy Holiday) as a tour organizer. … Continue Reading

Employee’s Breach Of Contract Claim For Unpaid Stock Options Must Be Retried

Ryan v. Crown Castle NG Networks, Inc., 2016 WL 7217274 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Patrick Ryan sued his former employer for breach of its alleged promise to grant him lucrative stock options as a condition of his employment. When Ryan tried to exercise the option to purchase 25,000 shares 11 months after his resignation, the … Continue Reading
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