California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Unfair Competition

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Complaint Alleging Violation Of UTSA, Unfair Competition Was Not Subject To Dismissal Under Anti-SLAPP Law

World Fin. Group, Inc. v. HBW Ins. & Fin. Services, Inc., 172 Cal. App. 4th 1561 (2009) WFG filed a complaint against its direct competitor, HBW, and six of its agents for alleged breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, conversion, unfair competition, interference with prospective economic advantage and unjust enrichment. In response, HBW filed … Continue Reading

Employee May Not Recover Penalties As Restitution Under Unfair Competition Law

Pineda v. Bank of Am., N.A., 170 Cal. App. 4th 388 (2009) Jorge Pineda filed this class action against Bank of America for unpaid wages and for “waiting-time” penalties under Labor Code § 203. Although Pineda gave the bank two weeks’ advance notice of his resignation, the bank failed to pay him his final pay … Continue Reading

California Overtime Requirements Apply To Work Performed By Non- Resident Employees

Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., 547 F.3d 1177 (9th Cir. 2008) Three Oracle instructors (all non-residents of California) filed this class action to recover allegedly unpaid overtime under California law for work they performed while in California. Two of the instructors were residents of Colorado and one was a resident of Arizona; all of them worked … Continue Reading

Administrative Employee’s Overtime And Meal Period Claims Were Properly Dismissed

Combs v. Skyriver Communications, Inc., 159 Cal. App. 4th 1242 (2008) Mark Combs sued his former employer, Skyriver Communications, and Skyriver’s former interim CEO, Massih Tayebi, for violations of the California Labor Code, the Unfair Competition Law and the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004. Combs, who was employed as the manager of capacity planning … Continue Reading

New Employer May Have Misappropriated Trade Secrets And Interfered With Prior Employer’s Business

San Jose Constr., Inc. v. S.B.C.C., Inc., 155 Cal. App. 4th 1528 (2007) Richard Foust was a project manager for San Jose Construction (“SJC”) for 4½ years before he became dissatisfied with his job and accepted a position at a higher salary with South Bay Construction (“South Bay”), one of SJC’s competitors. Foust believed that … Continue Reading

Company Failed To Prove Trade Secret Misappropriation By Former Employee

Yield Dynamics, Inc. v. TEA Systems Corp., 154 Cal. App. 4th 547 (2007) Yield Dynamics, which develops and markets software products designed to facilitate the fabrication of microchips, sued its former employee, Terrence Zavecz, and two business entities of which he is a principal for breach of contract, violation of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and related claims. … Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Granted In Meal/Rest Period Case

White v. Starbucks Corp., 497 F. Supp. 2d 1080 (N.D. Cal. 2007) (Walker, J.) Steve White, a former store manager for Starbucks, claimed the company had failed to (1) pay overtime wages in violation of Labor Code §§ 201 and 204 and Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 11070(12)(A); (2) provide meal and rest periods in … Continue Reading

Staffing Company Was Entitled To Injunction Against Former Employee Who Took Trade Secrets

ReadyLink Healthcare v. Cotton, 126 Cal. App. 4th 1006 (2005) ReadyLink obtained an injunction against Jerome Cotton, a former employee, prohibiting Cotton from soliciting ReadyLink employees and customers and from using or disclosing ReadyLink’s trade secrets and confidential information. ReadyLink fired Cotton for stealing ReadyLink records containing proprietary and confidential information. During a search of … Continue Reading

Airline May Have Unlawfully Rescinded Job Offers To HIV-Positive Applicants

Leonel v. American Airlines, Inc., 400 F.3d 702 (9th Cir. 2005) Walber Leonel and two other individuals applied for flight attendant positions with American Airlines. Plaintiffs were interviewed in Dallas and received conditional offers of employment, contingent upon their passing background checks and medical examinations. Although none of the applicants disclosed his HIV-positive status or … Continue Reading

Attorney Did Not Act Unethically By Contacting Other Employees Of Company

Snider v. Superior Court, 113 Cal. App. 4th 1187 (2003) Quantum Productions, Inc. sued its former sales manager, David Snider, for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, interference with contractual relations and unfair competition after Snider resigned his employment with Quantum and formed a competing company. Quantum filed a motion to disqualify Snider’s attorney, … Continue Reading

Large Grocer May Have Made Unlawful Deductions From Employees’ Bonus Plan

Ralphs Grocery Co. v. Superior Court, 112 Cal. App. 4th 1090 (2003) David Swanson, a former store manager at a Ralphs grocery store, filed a class action against Ralphs for alleged violations of the California Labor Code and the Unfair Competition Law (Business and Professions Code Section 17200). Swanson alleged that Ralphs had violated the law by making … Continue Reading

Employer Was Properly Enjoined Under The Unfair Competition Law

Herr v. Nestlé U.S.A., Inc., 109 Cal. App. 4th 779 (2003) Richard Herr alleged age discrimination in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) against his former employer, Nestlé, and obtained a jury verdict in the amount of $5,163,600. Herr also successfully asserted a claim under the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) in … Continue Reading

Corporate Agents Were Not Personally Liable For Unpaid Overtime Or Tortious Acts

Reynolds v. Bement, 107 Cal. App. 4th 738 (2003) In this class action lawsuit brought by shop managers and assistant shop managers of Earl Scheib, Inc., the managers asserted that the officers and directors of Earl Scheib were personally liable for unpaid overtime in that they were “employers” within the meaning of Industrial Welfare Commission … Continue Reading

Former Employees Were Properly Enjoined From Destroying Misappropriated Computer Files

Dodge, Warren & Peters Ins. Serv., Inc. v. Riley, 105 Cal. App. 4th 1414 (2003) James W. Riley and several of his co-workers were terminated from Dodge, an insurance brokerage firm, after Dodge learned of their intention to obtain copies of documents maintained in Dodge’s files and computer storage media before opening their own competing … Continue Reading

Disgorgement Of Profits Is Not An Appropriate Remedy In Individual Unfair Competition Claim

Korea Supply Co. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 29 Cal. 4th 1134 (2003) Korea Supply Company (KSC) sued Lockheed Martin for violation of California‘s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and for interference with prospective economic relations after Lockheed Martin’s predecessor, Loral Corporation, was awarded a contract to provide military equipment to the Republic of Korea. KSC alleged … Continue Reading

Petition For Certiorari Granted

Kasky v. Nike, Inc., 27 Cal. 4th 939 (2002), cert. granted, 537 U.S. 1099 (2003) Marc Kasky sued Nike, Inc. on behalf of the general public of the State of California under Business and Professions Code sections 17204 and 17535 alleging that Nike—in response to public criticism and in an effort to induce consumers to continue to buy its products—made … Continue Reading

Individual May Pursue A Class Action For Violations Of Unfair Competition Law

Corbett v. Superior Court, 101 Cal. App. 4th 649 (2002) The plaintiff in this non-employment case filed a class action seeking an injunction against a bank and a car dealership, alleging violations of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, the Unfair Competition Law (UCL), fraud and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. This action arose from … Continue Reading

Court Rejects The “Inevitable Disclosure” Of Trade Secrets Doctrine

Schlage Lock Co. v. Whyte, 101 Cal. App. 4th 1443 (2002) J. Douglas Whyte was employed as a vice-president of Schlage where he was responsible for sales to The Home Depot (which alone accounts for 38 percent of Schlage’s sales) and other “big box” retailers such as HomeBase and Lowe’s. Whyte signed a confidentiality agreement … Continue Reading

Court Upholds Unfair Competition Claims Arising From False Statements About Working Conditions

Kasky v. Nike, Inc., 27 Cal. 4th 939 (2002) In a 4-3 decision, the California Supreme Court upheld claims filed against Nike pursuant to California Business & Professions Code Sections 17204 (unfair competition) and 17535 (false advertising). Acting on behalf of the California consuming public, plaintiff alleged that Nike had made false and misleading statements … Continue Reading
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