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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cornejo v. Lightbourne: Government Claims Act Presentation Not Required for Whistleblower Protection Act Claim

Cornejo v. Lightbourne (10/22/13) --- Cal.App.4th ---, addresses a number of issues arising under the California Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). Cal. Gov. Code § 8547 et seq.

The Government Claims Act (Cal. Gov. Code § 900 et seq.) ordinarily requires a plaintiff to present a claim to a public entity before suing the entity in court, but WPA actions are not subject to this requirement. Slip op. at 5-10. State Personnel Board (Board) proceedings under the WPA fulfill every function of the Claims Act's presentation procedure, eliminating the need for the presentation procedure. Slip op. at 9. 

Because the presentation procedure does not apply in WPA cases, the Claims Act's six-month limitations period also does not apply. Slip op. at 11-12. 

A WPA plaintiff may initiate an independent judicial action after the Board's executive officer issues initial findings on a submitted administrative complaint without needing to appeal the initial findings to the Board, and such findings have no preclusive effect on any such judicial action. Slip op. at 12-13. 

The opinion is available here

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