Procedural Posture

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Appellant employee sought review of an order from the Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco (California), which granted summary judgment in favor of respondent employer in appellant’s action for breach of contract, fraud, and wrongful termination.

Overview

Appellant employee entered an employment contract with respondent employer. When respondent terminated appellant, appellant filed an action for breach of contract, fraud, and wrongful termination. A trial court granted summary judgment for respondent, and appellant sought review. The court reversed the trial court’s order. The court determined that implicit in the employment agreement, and within the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, was the understanding that an employer could not expect a new employee to sever his former employment and move across the country only to be terminated before he demonstrated his ability to satisfy the job requirements. Further, respondent’s conduct was governed by the doctrine of promissory estoppel. The court found that a managing director’s reference to disparaging remarks made by appellant could not support good cause, and that the managing director did not state that appellant was terminated for inappropriate attire. Appellant’s deposition testimony stated that the managing officer told him that he did not know why appellant was terminated. Because this was a disputed issue of fact, it could not be resolved by summary judgment.

Outcome

The litigants during pretrial discovery retained business attorneys to prepare for jury trial. The court reversed a trial court’s order granting summary judgment for respondent employer in appellant employee’s action for breach of contract, fraud, and wrongful termination because there was a disputed issue of fact as to whether appellant was terminated for good cause. The employment agreement implicitly contained an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and respondent’s conduct was governed by the promissory estoppel doctrine.

Procedural Posture

Appellant daughter appealed the order from the Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco (California), which dismissed respondent San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) from appellant’s action for her father’s death in an earthquake because respondent SFHA had governmental immunity under Cal. Gov’t Code § 818.6.

Overview

Appellant daughter claimed that her father’s death in an earthquake was caused by the failure of respondents, the San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) and building owners, to inspect the home in which her father had lived. The trial court dismissed respondent SFHA from the action after respondent SFHA argued that appellant’s lawsuit was improper under Cal. Gov’t Code § 945.4 because there was a material variance between appellant’s written claim filed pursuant to Cal. Gov’t Code § 910 and her complaint. On appeal, the court affirmed. There was no material variance between appellant’s claim and her complaint because the additional details in appellant’s claim were merely elaborations on the facts stated in her claim. Respondent SFHA, however, had governmental immunity. Although appellant claimed that state tort law immunity under Cal. Gov’t Code § 818.6 was preempted by the federal duty to inspect found in § 42 U.S.C.S. § 1437f, there was no conflict because respondent SFHA could comply with the federal law while maintaining its state law immunity, which was absolute even where a duty to inspect was deemed to be mandatory.

Outcome

The court affirmed the order dismissing respondent San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) from appellant daughter’s action which sought to recover from respondent SFHA for her father’s earthquake-related death because the state tort law immunity granted to respondent SFHA was not preempted by the federal duty to inspect.