Category Archives: Statute of Limitations

Fourth District Issues Limitations Opinion Regarding Internal Workers’ Compensation Fraud Investigations

English: Image is similar, if not identical, t...

English: Image is similar, if not identical, to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation patch. Made with Photoshop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Court of Appeal for the Fourth District today issued an opinion in California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation v. State Personnel Board (Moya), Case No. Cite as D061653, __ Cal. App. 4th __ (4th Dist. April 26, 2013).  The court considered whether the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act, Gov. Code § 3300 et seq., excepts internal workers’ compensation fraud investigations from the one-year limitations period established in section 3304, subdivision (d)(1).  The court concluded that it does and affirmed the judgment.

Judges & Attorneys

Presiding Justice Judith McConnell delivered the opinion for the court, with Associate Justices James A. McIntyre and Joan Irion concurring.

Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court of Imperial County, Judge Donal B. Donnelly.

Michelle L. Hoy and Rudy E. Jansen for Real Party in Interest and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Alicia M. B. Fowler, Senior Assistant Attorney General, and Chris A. Knudsen, Deputy Attorney General, for Plaintiff and Respondent California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

By CHARLES H. JUNG

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One Year Statute of Limitations Applies to Waiting Time Penalty Claim Where Wages Not Sought

Wait Time = Batman
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Hon. Howard R. Lloyd today issued an unpublished opinion today confirming that a one year statute of limitations pursuant to Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 340(a) applies to a plaintiff’s claim for waiting time penalties.  Pinheiro v. ACXIOM Information Security Services, Inc., 2010 WL 3058081 (N.D. Cal. August 03, 2010) (Slip Op.)

Plaintiff argued that a three year statute of limiations applied, citing Cortez v. Purolator Air Filtration Products Co., 23 Cal.4th 163, 999 P.2d 706, 96 Cal.Rptr.2d 518 (2000), in which the plaintiff sought both unpaid wages and waiting time penalties.  The court rejected this argument and granted defendant’s motion to dismiss this claim without leave to amend.

Plaintiff Carla Pinheiro was an employee of defendant Aerotek, Inc. (Aerotek), an employment agency. She alleges that she was assigned to work as a temporary customer service representative for defendant Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories, Inc. (Quest). The gravamen of Pinheiro’s complaint as to Aerotek is that Aerotek wrongfully terminated her employment (Sixth Claim for Relief) and failed to timely pay her final wages in violation of California Labor Code sections 201-203 (Seventh Claim for Relief). Plaintiff also asserts a claim against Aerotek under California Bus. & Prof.Code section 17200 (Eighth Claim for Relief) based upon the alleged failure to timely pay her final wages.

Aerotek moved to dismiss Pinheiro’s seventh and eighth claims for relief concerning the alleged failure to timely pay her final wages.

The Court found that, based upon the law as it currently stands, plaintiff’s seventh and eighth claims for relief as to Aerotek should be dismissed.

Cal. Labor Code §§ 201-203 COA

At issue was whether Pinheiro’s claim for waiting time penalties is subject to a one-year statute of limitations (Aerotek’s view) or to a three-year limitations period (Pinheiro’s position). The court held that the one-year statute of limitations under Cal.Code Civ. Proc. § 340(a) applies, and plaintiff’s seventh claim for relief therefore is time-barred. See McCoy v.Super. Ct., 157 Cal.App.4th 225, 68 Cal.Rptr.3d 483 (2008) (holding that in action seeking only waiting time penalties, and not wages, the one-year statute of limitations under Cal.Code Civ. Proc. § 340(a) applies). Cf. Ross v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, Case No. C07-02951 SI, 2008 WL 4447713 *4 (N.D. Cal., Sept. 30, 2008) (concluding that the three-year statute of limitations period under Cal. Labor Code § 203 applied where plaintiff sought unpaid wages, as well as waiting time penalties). Plaintiff’s cited authority, Cortez v. Purolator Air Filtration Products Co., 23 Cal.4th 163, 999 P.2d 706, 96 Cal.Rptr.2d 518 (2000), in which the plaintiff sought both unpaid wages and waiting time penalties, but the Court held that this “does not compel a contrary conclusion.”

Cal. Bus. & Prof.Code § 17200 COA

The court held that remedies under California Labor Code § 203 are penalties, and not restitution, and therefore cannot be recovered under the UCL. In re Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Wage & Hour Litig., 505 F.Supp.2d 609, 619 (N.D. Cal.2007); Tomlinson v. Indymac Bank, F.S.B., 359 F.Supp.2d 891, 895 (C.D. Cal.2005).  The court dismissed the 17200 claim as to Aerotek without leave to amend.

Alison Marie Miceli, Michael James Grace, and Graham Stephen Paul Hollis for Plaintiff.

Jonathan Morris Brenner, Caroline McIntyre, and Alison P. Danaceau for Defendants

By CHARLES H. JUNG

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Sixth District Reverses Grant of Summary Adjudication of UTSA Claim on Equitable Estoppel Grounds

Applied Materials
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In Insyst Ltd. v. Applied Materials, Inc., 2010 WL 2892712 (Cal. Ct. App. Jul. 22, 2010) (unpublished), the California Sixth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s grant of summary adjudication of plaintiff’s misappropriation of trade secrets cause of action. The trial court granted summary adjudication based on the lapse of the statute of limitations. The Court of Appeal reversed on equitable estoppel grounds. Defendant “effectively concedes that in its motion it presented no evidence of plaintiff’s conduct after December 2002 apart from the filing of the complaint on July 30, 2004. Instead, in its reply defendant simply challenged plaintiff to present evidence of its diligence, arguing that plaintiff made no showing of diligence. This is not how a party should be able to obtain a summary adjudication.”
By CHARLES H. JUNG

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