Developments of Interest

New Cases of Interest - October 21, 2019

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Voris v. Lampert (2019) 7 Cal.5th 1141.  In this case the California Supreme Court holds that a conversion claim is not an appropriate remedy for nonpayment of wages, in that conversion calls for a tort remedy, which is not appropriate for a wage nonpayment claim, that sounds in contract.

Benton v. Benton (2019) 39 Cal.App5th 212.  This is a SLAPP matter.  This case deals with the appealability of the denial of a SLAPP motion.  While generally a ruling on a SLAPP motion may be immediately appealable, there are exceptions.  If the speech involved is commercial speech, the denial of a SLAPP motion based on the exemption contained in CCP § 425.17 is not immediately appealable.  In this case with the trial court denying the defendant’s anti-SLAPP motion on the ground that the commercial speech exemption under CCP § 425.17 applied there was no appellate jurisdiction given in order to appeal and the appeal had to be dismissed.

Jeffra v. California State Lottery (2019) 39 Cal.App.5th 471.  This is another SLAPP action involving a lawsuit by an employee against the defendant employer.  Employee had worked as an investigator and alleged that the employer forced him to retire after he filed a whistleblower complaint with the California State Auditor.  The employer filed an anti-SLAPP motion contending that the plaintiff’s complaint arose from protected activity, namely, the employer’s investigation of possible misconduct by the employee.  The trial court, and the court of appeal, found that the complaint arose from nonprotected retaliation, not protected investigation.  While the employer’s investigation was protected activity, the employee had made necessary showing of a probability of prevailing on the merits of his claim.  

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