Yau v. Santa Margarita Ford, Inc., 2014 WL 4198060 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014)

Eddie Yau, a service manager for Santa Margarita Ford, alleged he was terminated after complaining to his general manager and the owner of the Ford dealership that fraudulent warranty repair claims were being submitted to Ford.  Yau alleged that his termination implicated state statutes proscribing theft and fraud.  The trial court sustained defendants’ demurrers, but the Court of Appeal reversed in part, holding that Yau’s allegations were of sufficient “public” importance to support a claim of public policy violation – even though Yau “reluctantly complied” with the allegedly illegal directions of his supervisor when he signed warranty claims he believed were “suspicious.”  The Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal of Yau’s claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress on the ground that it was barred by the exclusivity provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act.  See also Hager v. County of Los Angeles, 2014 WL 4078248 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014) (sheriff’s deputy properly obtained verdict in whistleblower lawsuit even though his may not have been the “first report” of wrongdoing, but evidence did not support $2 million economic damages award); Thomas v. County of Riverside, 2014 WL 4056546 (9th Cir. 2014) (lower court improperly disregarded evidence of multiple adverse employment actions that a jury might conclude deterred protected speech);Shaw v. Superior Court, 2014 WL 4102480 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014) (whistleblower asserting Health & Safety Code § 1278.5 claim is entitled to a jury trial); Van Asdale v. International Game Tech., 2014 WL 3973388 (9th Cir. 2014) (prevailing Sarbanes-Oxley plaintiffs are entitled to post-judgment interest at the rate set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1961 rather than 26 U.S.C. § 6621).