Ericksen Arbuthnot has prevailed on an appeal of a defense verdict in favor of its client in a wrongful termination case. In Elizondo v. Staff Resources, Inc. the plaintiff claimed that her employer, a cardiologist, threatened her life and terminated her after she reported the threat to law enforcement. Plaintiff alleged that Ericksen’s client, a Professional Employer Organization, was her co-employer with the cardiologist.
Plaintiff, a medical biller, argued at trial that Ericksen’s client’s decision to place her on administrative leave while investigating the alleged threat was a constructive termination of her employment and done in retaliation for her reporting the threat to police. After a three week trial, the jury returned a defense verdict after finding that no threat took place and that defendants did not terminate Plaintiff. After denying Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial based on alleged misconduct by a juror during deliberations, the trial court entered judgment in favor of defendants.
Plaintiff appealed the judgment arguing that the trial court erred in denying her motion for new trial and erred when it excluded from evidence statements by Plaintiff’s co-worker which Plaintiff argued showed the threats took place. Plaintiff also appealed a ruling by the trial court dismissing her allegation that defendants violated Labor Code section 1102.5, a statute prohibiting employers from retaliating against an employee who discloses information to law enforcement.
The Court of Appeal for the Sixth District affirmed the judgment in favor of Ericksen’s client and awarded costs on appeal. It found that any error by the trial court did not prejudice Plaintiff and that her allegations of jury misconduct were not supported by the evidence she presented in her motion for new trial.
Steve Dollar and Nathaniel Lucey handled the case in the trial court and Nathaniel Lucey handled the matter in the Court of Appeal. Mr. Lucey can be reached at 408.286.0880 or .