CASE LAW ALERTS

Case Law AlertsThe Labor and Employment Law Section is offering members a new FREE “electronic alert service” that will allow Section members to receive brief notices as soon as the courts issue new decisions on labor and employment law cases or grant reviews.

These alerts will be offered virtually contemporaneously with publication or announcement of these new decisions and reviews. See below for a recent sample case alert:

 Murray v. Alaska Airlines (SC S162570 8/23/10) Whistleblower/Administrative Process/Collateral Estoppel

The doctrine of collateral estoppel, or issue preclusion, is firmly embedded in both federal and California common law. It is grounded on the premise that “once an issue has been resolved in a prior proceeding, there is no further fact-finding function to be performed.” (Parklane Hosiery Co. v. Shore (1979) 439 U.S. 322, 336, fn. 23.) “Collateral estoppel . . . has the dual purpose of protecting litigants from the burden of relitigating an identical issue with the same party or his privy and of promoting judicial economy, by preventing needless litigation.” (Id. at p. 326, fn. omitted.)

We granted the request of the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, to answer the following question of California law pertaining to collateral estoppel: Should issue-preclusive effect be given to a federal agency’s investigative findings, when the subsequent administrative process provides the complainant the option of a formal adjudicatory hearing to determine the contested issues de novo, as well as subsequent judicial review of that determination, but the complainant elects not to invoke his right to that additional process, and the agency’s findings and decision thereby become a final, nonappealable order by operation of law? (See Murray v. Alaska Airlines, Inc. (9th Cir. 2008) 522 F.3d 920 (Murray v. Alaska).)

The Ninth Circuit has furnished the following statement of facts and procedural history (substantially reproduced here with minor nonsubstantive and stylistic modifications) to more fully explain the context in which the question arises. (Murray v. Alaska, supra, 522 F.3d at pp. 921-922.)

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S162570.PDF


Members who subscribe to this service will also receive immediate alerts on legislation and more. On a within-thehour basis and as they are published, members will access new California Supreme and Court of Appeal, Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court decisions, as well as new statutes. Section member and Court of Appeal attorney Phyllis Cheng will provide you with a flash headline subject alert, a very brief excerpt and relevant links on matters that could affect your practice.

To subscribe, go to Change My E-mail List Preferences in your State Bar Profile, select and then be sure to click on "Update Subscriptions" at the bottom of the screen.

Even if you do not subscribe to this free service, do not forget to read Phyllis Cheng’s column on cases pending before the California Supreme Court in the California Labor & Employment Law Review.

 

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