California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: breach of contract

New Employer Was Not Liable For Interfering With Contract Between Employee And Her Former Employer

Powers v. Rug Barn, 15 Cal. Rptr. 3d 292, 117 Cal. App. 4th 1011 (2004) Fred Powers and Suzanne DeVall were partners in a company called Earth Tapestries, which was engaged in providing consulting, design and sales related to textiles and home furnishings and products. Another company, Rug Barn, expressed an interest in entering into … Continue Reading

County Employee May Plead ERISA And, Alternatively, Breach Of Contract Claims In The Same Complaint

Coleman v. Standard Life Ins. Co., 288 F. Supp. 2d 1116 (E.D. Cal. 2003) Floyd Coleman, who was employed as a probation officer for the County of Sacramento, sued Standard Life Insurance Company after it denied him long-term disability benefits for his knee condition and chronic back pain. Coleman sued for a violation of ERISA … Continue Reading

Airline Was Not The Joint Employer Of Service Workers For Purposes Of FMLA/CFRA

Moreau v. Air France, 356 F.3d 942 (9th Cir. 2003) Stephane Moreau worked as the Assistant Station Manager for Air France at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Moreau requested a 12-week leave of absence under the Family Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act to assist his ill father in France. Air France … Continue Reading

Newspaper Columnist May Have Been Terminated In Violation Of Public Policy

Ali v. L.A. Focus Publication, 112 Cal. App. 4th 1477 (2003) Najee Ali, who worked as the community affairs columnist for L.A. Focus Publication, was terminated after he expressed support while a guest on a local radio program for Antonio Villaraigosa, a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, and criticized United States Representative Maxine Waters … 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

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

Good Cause Was Not Required To Terminate Independent Contractors Of Insurance Company

Appling v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 340 F.3d 769 (9th Cir. 2003) The State Farm agents in this case alleged that the company had terminated them in breach of their independent contractor agreements. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of State Farm, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that the termination … Continue Reading

Audio Recording Engineer’s State Law Claims Were Preempted By Federal Labor Law

Levy v. Skywalker Sound, 108 Cal. App. 4th 753 (2003) Robert M. Levy worked as an audio recording engineer for Skywalker Sound in Marin County beginning in 1995. When Levy was hired, he was told that the scoring stage was a “non-union room” and that his position at Skywalker Sound would not be a union … Continue Reading

Claims For Severance Benefits Were Not Preempted By ERISA

Winterrowd v. American General Annuity Ins. Co., 321 F.3d 933 (9th Cir. 2003) Three commissioned sales employees were laid off after their employer’s parent company was acquired by American General Corporation. As commissioned salespeople, the employees were not eligible for severance benefits under the employer’s Job Security Plan. However, the employees were offered and did … Continue Reading

Fraud Claims Relating to Employee Stock Options Were Preempted By Federal Law

Falkowski v. Imation Corp., 309 F.3d 1123 (9th Cir. 2002) This class action litigation arose from a merger in which Imation Corporation, a publicly traded company, acquired Cemax-Icon, a closely held company in the medical information management business. A year after the merger, Imation sold the Cemax subsidiary to Eastman Kodak Company. The plaintiffs are … Continue Reading

Employee Permitted To Proceed With Breach Of Contract Action Involving Stock Options

Alexander v. Codemasters Group Ltd., 104 Cal. App. 4th 129 (2002) Craig Alexander alleged breach of contract against Codemasters (a United Kingdom-based computer game company) for its failure to provide Alexander (a former executive with the company) with options to purchase 35,000 shares of Codemasters’ stock at an exercise price of $3.25 per share. In … Continue Reading

Subcontractor Could Not Recover On Quantum Meruit Theory After Admitting Existence Of Contract

Valerio v. Andrew Youngquist Constr., 103 Cal. App. 4th 1264 (2002) Andrew Youngquist Construction (a general contractor doing business as Birtcher Construction Services) solicited bids from subcontractors to build the Brenden Theater complex in Vacaville. Birtcher awarded Valerio the painting subcontract on the condition that he submit a performance bond. Valerio began working on the … 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

Employee Who Failed To Mitigate His Damages Is Not Entitled To Judgment In His Favor

West v. Bechtel Corp., 96 Cal. App. 4th 966 (2002) Plaintiff, a former engineer who worked for Bechtel Corp. for more than 30 years, sued the company for age discrimination and breach of contract. At trial, plaintiff received a jury verdict of $101,852.27 for lost salary and emotional distress damages. The Court of Appeal reversed … Continue Reading
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