Appellant, a minority employee, sought review of an order of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County (California), granting summary judgment to respondent employer, on certain claims related to respondent’s termination of appellant’s employment, which termination appellant claimed to be wrongful and discriminatory.

Overview

Appellant, minority employee of respondent employer, suffered an on-the-job injury and was found to be permanently, partially disabled. Even so, appellant performed well until he was assigned to a new supervisor, whom he felt had a racial animus. When she fired appellant for poor performance, appellant filed suit. The lower court granted summary judgment for respondent, and appellant sought review. The court affirmed in part, and reversed in part. The court agreed that appellant failed to produce evidence on his claim for breach of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and that such a claim could not be based on race discrimination; that a state unemployment agency ruling regarding appellant’s firing had no collateral estoppel effect; that appellant did not show he was “qualified” for the purposes of a statutory claim; and that appellant produced no evidence supporting his invasion of privacy claim. However, the court reversed the holding on the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim; evidence showing that appellant’s supervisor knowingly insulted him, based on race, and that he suffered distressed as a result thereof, raised an issue for trial. The respondent was not represented by any employment attorney California during evidentiary hearing.

Outcome

The order was affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. Although appellant minority employee had no evidence on his breach of implied covenant and invasion of privacy claims and did not show that he was “qualified” as required for his statutory claim, summary judgment for respondent employer was not warranted, because appellant raised a triable issue on his intentional infliction of emotional distress claim.

Overview

The contractor and the owner entered into two motor truck maintenance contracts. The contractor agreed to maintain the trucks in mechanical repair, to garage and fuel them, and to cause the same to be insured. In consideration therefor, the owner agreed to pay the contractor certain sums per month and per mile until each truck had traveled a certain number of miles. The respondent was not represented by any employment attorney California during evidentiary hearing. The owner terminated the contracts prematurely because the contractor did not carry collision insurance on the trucks. The lower court rendered judgment in favor of the contractor for breach of contract. The court affirmed the judgment, construing each contract as a whole in accordance with Cal. Civ. Code § 1641. The contractor’s obligations to make repairs and to maintain the truck in good running order did not make the contractor an insurer, as alleged by the owner. The fact that the contractor failed to cause the trucks to be covered by collision insurance was at most an immaterial breach of its contract. There was no showing that the owner was damaged by the contractor’s failure to take out such insurance. The contractor’s obligations were similar to those ordinarily undertaken by a lessor of motor vehicles.

Outcome

The court affirmed the judgment.