Search This Blog

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back from Hiatus - Ready to Catch Up

I'm back from hiatus and ready to catch up on some recent developments.

In Life Technologies Corp. v. Superior Court (7/14/11) 197 Cal.App.4th 640, the plaintiff in a discrimination and wrongful termination action sought detailed information regarding certain of his former co-workers, including:
(a) The names of all employees terminated during a two-year period, November 1, 2008 to June 28, 2010.

(b) The department each worked for when terminated.

(c) The date of termination.

(d) The age of each at termination.

(e) The reason for termination.

(f) Whether severance benefits were offered.

(g) Whether offered severance benefits were accepted.

(h) A description of any offered severance benefits.

(i) A detailed explanation of reasons for any failure to offer severance benefits.

(j) The identity (including name, address and telephone number) of all former Applied Biosystems employees still employed by LTC after the RIF.

(k) Whether the terminated employees were former employees of Appelera or Applied Biosystems.
Slip op. at 4. The trial court (San Mateo Superior, Judge Joseph C. Scott) granted the plaintiff's motion to compel, and the Court of Appeal granted the defendant's writ application. The Court held that the information sought "implicates significant privacy rights of the third party employees/former employees." Slip op. at 6. The Court distinguished Pioneer Electronics, Crab Addison, and Lee v. Dynamex because the potential witnesses were not class members. Slip op. at 8. The Court concluded:
We therefore conclude the trial court abused its discretion in ordering further answers to the challenged special interrogatories. The court failed to evaluate, with regard to each category of information requested by Joyce, whether a compelling need for the information outweighs the third parties' privacy interests, taking into consideration whether less intrusive means exist for Joyce to obtain the information he seeks. (See Britt, supra, 20 Cal.3d at pp. 855–864, 143 Cal.Rptr. 695, 574 P.2d 766; Harding Lawson Associates v. Superior Court, supra, 10 Cal.App.4th at p. 10, 12 Cal.Rptr.2d 538; El Dorado Savings & Loan Assn. v. Superior Court, supra, 190 Cal.App.3d at p. 346, 235 Cal.Rptr. 303.) The court also failed to provide sufficient notice to the third party employees/former employees affording them a simple, reasonable means of objecting to the disclosure of their personal information, and failed to provide for the protection of any such information ultimately ordered disclosed. (See Alch, supra, 165 Cal.App.4th at p. 1418, 82 Cal.Rptr.3d 470; cf. Code Civ. Proc., § 1985.6, subds. (b)–(f).)
Slip op. at 10. The opinion is available here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.