Civil Procedure and Employment
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing can file an action on behalf of an employee. Last month, the Sixth District Court of Appeal published a decision addressing the issue of whether am action filed on behalf of an employee could proceed using a fictitious name because revealing the employee's identity could jeopardize the safety of his family members in India. A video discussing the case is above and my summary of the case is below.
New Civil Procedure and Employment Decision
Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County (2022) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2022 WL 3136002: The Court of Appeal granted a writ petition directing the trial court to vacate its order denying plaintiff's motion to proceed using a fictitious name and to reconsider the motion based on the views expressed in the Court of Appeal's opinion. Plaintiff asked that the real party in interest—the affected employee—be referred to as John Doe, in part because revealing his identity could jeopardize the safety of his family members in India. The trial court understood what interests it needed to balance. It considered the public's right to access court proceedings. It also considered whether an important interest would be prejudiced if the employee were required to publicly disclose his identity. But, the trial court erred when deciding whether an overriding interest justified anonymity because it expressly declined to consider the employee's concern about safety of family members in India. Retaliatory harm to family members—wherever they are located—is precisely the kind of interest that may justify allowing a party to litigate under a pseudonym. The fact that the family members were geographically distant did not render the concern irrelevant as a threshold matter. A party seeking anonymity has the burden to show that geographically distant family members are at risk. The trial court's task is to consider the evidence produced on that point and assign it the appropriate weight. (C.A. 6th, August 5, 2022.)
I still take a few select civil cases where I represent plaintiffs or defendants in business, insurance bad faith, personal injury, real property and wrongful death actions. Using my experience as a California civil trial lawyer since 1980, and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates since 1995, my goal is to get each client the best possible result. My clients get the benefit of big firm experience with small firm attention and reasonable rates. To discuss a potential case, email me at [email protected], or call me at (619) 990-4312.
I also help attorneys and their clients by serving as a mediator, arbitrator and referee at ADR Services, Inc., handling cases in the areas of business, commercial, employment, insurance bad faith, insurance coverage, landlord-tenant (commercial and residential), legal malpractice, medical malpractice, personal injury, real property and wrongful death. To schedule an ADR matter with me, contact my case manager at ADR services, Haward Cho, [email protected], (213) 683-1600.
Until my next blog post, stay safe and healthy.
Monty A. McIntyre, Esq.
Master Lawyer Mentoring™
Civil Trial Attorney
Mediator, Arbitrator & Referee
California Case Summaries™
CA Civil Trial Attorney Since 1980
ABOTA Member Since 1995
Past President San Diego County Bar Assn., SD ABOTA Chapter
Phone: (619) 990-4312. Email: [email protected]