California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Defamation

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Common Interest Privilege Does Not Shield AT&T From Potential Defamation Claim

SDV/ACCI, Inc. v. AT&T Corp., 522 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2008) SDV/ACCI (a consulting and staffing service company) and its principals sued AT&T after one of AT&T’s employees sent several e-mails in and outside the company stating that SDV/ACCI would no longer be providing services to AT&T because SDV/ACCI was having “financial difficulties.” The district … Continue Reading

Former Employer’s Claims Were Properly Dismissed Under Anti-SLAPP Statute

Nygård, Inc. v. Uusi-Kerttula, 159 Cal. App. 4th 1027 (2008) After quitting his employment with Nygård, Timo Uusi-Kerttula gave an interview about his work experiences to a Finnish magazine. Nygård then sued Timo and the magazine for a variety of claims, including breach of contract and defamation. The trial court granted defendants’ motion to strike … Continue Reading

Release Enforced As To Defamation And Overtime Claims – But Not Claim Under USERRA

Perez v. Uline, Inc., 157 Cal. App. 4th 953 (2007) On the day that Brian Perez, a captain in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, returned to work after duty with the Reserves, his employment with Uline, Inc. was terminated. He was presented with a “Severance Agreement and Release,” offering him severance in the amount … Continue Reading

Defamation Claims Of University’s Former Head Coach Were Properly Dismissed Under Anti-SLAPP Law

McGarry v. University of San Diego, 154 Cal. App. 4th 97 (2007) Following the termination of Kevin McGarry’s employment as head coach of USD’s football team, two university officials allegedly commented to the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper about the reasons for the termination. In response to these statements, McGarry sued the university and the … Continue Reading

Employee’s Defamation Claim Was Properly Dismissed, But Court Improperly Instructed Jury On Remaining Claim

Raghavan v. Boeing Co., 133 Cal. App. 4th 1120 (2005) Krishnan Raghavan sued Boeing for defamation, among other things, based upon a written reprimand that Raghavan received in which he was accused of (1) failing to disclose all relevant information concerning a business trip he had made to Russia in April 2001 and (2) providing … Continue Reading

Non-Profit Organization’s Motion To Strike Company’s Defamation Action Should Have Been Granted

Fashion 21 v. Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, 117 Cal. App. 4th 1138 (2004) Fashion 21, a nationwide retailer of women’s clothing, purchased garments from manufacturers and sewing contractors that allegedly exploited their employees by refusing to properly pay them or provide them with clean and safe facilities in which to work. The … Continue Reading

E-Mail Messages Accusing Individual Of Stealing Copyrighted Material And Plagiarism Were Only “Opinion”

Franklin v. Dynamic Details, Inc., 116 Cal. App. 4th 375 (2004) Bryan Franklin and Franklin-Choi Corporation (FCC) sued Dynamic Details, Inc. (DDi) and Jim Axton for defamation and tortious interference after Axton sent three e-mail messages to companies with which Franklin and FCC did business; the e-mail messages accused Franklin and FCC of plagiarism and … Continue Reading

Court Upholds $775,000 Jury Award Against Employees Who Libeled Former Employer And Company Executives

Varian Med. Sys., Inc. v. Delfino, 113 Cal. App. 4th 273, 6 Cal.Rptr.3d 325 (2003) Varian and two of its executives, George Zdasiuk and Susan B. Felch, sued two former employees, Michelangelo Delfino and Mary Day, after Delfino and Day used Internet bulletin boards to post more than 13,000 derogatory messages about Varian and the two executives. … Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Affirmed In Favor Of Employer That Made Erroneous Statements About Former Employee

Noel v. River Hills Wilsons, Inc., 113 Cal. App. 4th 1363 (2003) Brandon J. Noel sued his former employer, River Hills Wilsons, Inc. (Wilsons), and a Wilsons manager, Shelly Santillan, for defamation arising from Santillan’s erroneous statements to a background investigator (Choice- Point) retained by Noel’s new employer (GTE) that Noel left Wilsons because of … Continue Reading

Employer’s Anti-SLAPP Motion Against Employee Was Properly Denied

Du Charme v. IBEW, Local 45, 110 Cal. App. 4th 107 (2003) Frank Du Charme sued the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 45 and Cecil Wynn, the individual who was assigned to operate Local 45 after it was placed in trusteeship in conjunction with an investigation into its financial operations. Among other things, … Continue Reading

Union’s Anti-SLAPP Motion Was Properly Denied

Rivero v. AFSCME, AFL-CIO, 105 Cal. App. 4th 913 (2003) David Rivero was a supervisor of janitors at the International House at UC Berkeley before his employment was terminated when he refused to accept a demotion to dishwasher and pot scrubber in the International House’s kitchen. Rivero sued his union, the AFSCME, for libel, slander … Continue Reading

Union Comments Made About Employer During Labor Dispute Were Not Defamatory

Steam Press Holdings, Inc. v. Hawaii Teamsters & Allied Workers Union, 302 F.3d 998 (9th Cir. 2002) During the course of a labor dispute, union president Mel Kahele told a number of employees of the company (Steam Press Holdings, Inc.) that the owner of the company, Michael Drace, was “making money” and “hiding it in … Continue Reading

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