The Court of Appeal issued a writ of mandate directing the trial court to vacate its order denying CRST's motion for summary adjudication and entering a new order granting summary adjudication in favor of CRST on the punitive damages issue. The Court held there is no evidence that the CRST fleet manager (Marge Davis) was a "managing agent" within the meaning of the punitive damages statute (Cal. Civ. Code § 3294(b)) because she had no authority to change or establish corporate policy.Trial Court Erred By Failing To Certify Class Action For Unpaid Rest PeriodsBartoni v. American Med. Response W., 11 Cal. App. 5th 1084 (2017)Current and former employees of an ambulance service company sued their employer for unpaid meal and rest periods.
And the punishment is quite severe.To begin with, where the stockbroker is liable for financial elder abuse, the court shall award to the senior citizen their compensatory damages, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, and all other remedies otherwise provided by law.What are the “other remedies otherwise provided by law?” If the stockbroker has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice, in addition to the actual damages, the senior citizen may recover punitive damages under Cal. Civ. Code §3294 for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant. In addition to punitive damages, Cal.
The trial court granted the motion, and Davis appealed.Applicable LawUnder California law, an employer may be held liable for punitive damages for the malicious acts or omissions of employees with sufficient discretion to determine corporate policy, such as officers, directors or managing agents. Cal. Civ. Code § 3294(b). Managing agents are employees who “exercise substantial independent authority and judgment in their corporate decision-making so that their decisions ultimately determine corporate policy.”
Benefit Health & Accident Ass’n, 325 F.2d 785,787 (9th Cir. 1963) which stated, “A District court need not consider punitive damages in determining the amount in controversy when such damages are unavailable as a matter of state law,” you don’t count punitives in this type of case. The court noted that Trahan’s wage and hour claims were inherently tied to employment contracts Trahan and the class had with U.S. Bank, and according to Brewer v. Premier Golf Props., 86 Cal. Rptr. 3d 225, 235 (Ct. App. 2008)(review denied Mar. 18, 2009); and Cal. Civ. Code § 3294(a), “such claims cannot support punitive damages under California law.” Just as quick as one crawfish is devoured at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, Trahan stipulated in his oral argument that “in the light of these authorities, despite what is currently alleged in his complaint, he cannot, and will not attempt to, collect punitive damages or pursue a conversion claim in this case.”
The answer is, in all probability: not as often as it was before.In California, a corporate defendant can only be subject to punitive damages if a corporate officer, director or managing agent committed, authorized, or ratified the wrongful conduct. Cal. Civil Code, § 3294(b). Everyone knows who the officers and directors are, but the meaning of "managing agent" has been open to debate.In 1999, the State Supreme Court, in White v. Ultramar, Inc. (1999) 21 Cal.4th 563, held a managing agent is someone who makes "corporate policy."
35 U.S.C. § 284 (allowing jury to determine reasonable royalty rate as damages in a patent infringement action).Section4411.This Section addresses punitive damages.It appears to be a blend of (1) the UTSA, and (2) California’s laws on the availability of punitive damages, including arequirement that the willful and malicious conduct be proven by clear and convincing evidence.See Cal. Civil Code § 3294(a).However, as the Judicial Council notes, “No reported California state court case has addressed whether the jury or the court should decide whether any misappropriation was ‘willful and malicious,’ and if so, whether the finding must be made by clear and convincing evidence rather than a preponderance of the evidence.”