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Johnson v. City of Loma Linda

Supreme Court of California

August 24, 2000, Decided

No. S074261.


 [*65]   [**876]   [***319]  KENNARD, J. 

In Westlake Community Hosp. v. Superior Court (1976) 17 Cal. 3d 465, 484 [131 Cal. Rptr. 90, 551 P.2d 410], we held that unless a party to a quasi-judicial administrative agency proceeding challenges the adverse findings made in that proceeding, by means of a mandate action in superior court, those findings are binding in later civil actions.

Does that holding [****2]  apply to a city employee's discrimination claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) ( Gov. Code, § 12900 et seq.) and under title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) (42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.), when the employee fails to have the city's final adverse finding judicially reviewed and set aside? The answer is "yes" as to claims under California's FEHA but "no" as to claims under Title VII of the federal act.

We also hold that a trial court's summary judgment based on the defense of laches must be reviewed de novo.

Our account of the facts is taken from the record before the trial court when it granted defendant's motion for summary judgment. ( Flatt v. Superior Court (1994) 9 Cal. 4th 275, 279 [36 Cal. Rptr. 2d 537, 885 P.2d 950].) ] We review the trial court's decision de novo, considering all the evidence set forth in the moving  [***320]  and opposition papers except that to which objections  [*66]  were made and sustained. ( Code Civ. Proc., § 437c [****3]  , subd. (c); Artiglio v. Corning Inc. (1998) 18 Cal. 4th 604, 612 [76 [**877]  Cal. Rptr. 2d 479, 957 P.2d 1313]; Ann M. v. Pacific Plaza Shopping Center (1993) 6 Cal. 4th 666, 673 [25 Cal. Rptr. 2d 137, 863 P.2d 207].)

From January 1991 through July 1993, plaintiff Barry Johnson was the assistant city manager for defendant City of Loma Linda (the City). In 1992, City Manager John Bernardi asked plaintiff to look into a complaint of sexual discrimination made by a female senior planner against community development director Dan Smith. After an investigation, plaintiff concluded the allegations were well founded and, on September 8, 1992, sent Smith a letter of intent to terminate his employment. Thereafter, Smith and the City entered into a settlement, and Smith was suspended for 30 working days.

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24 Cal. 4th 61 *; 5 P.3d 874 **; 99 Cal. Rptr. 2d 316 ***; 2000 Cal. LEXIS 6119 ****; 2000 Cal. Daily Op. Service 7139

BARRY JOHNSON, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. CITY OF LOMA LINDA et al., Defendants and Respondents.

Prior History:   [****1]  Superior Court of San Bernardino County. Super. Ct. No. SCV22266. Walter Blackwell, Judge.

Court of Appeals of California, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two. No. E020480.

Disposition: The judgment of the Court of Appeal is affirmed.


title vii, administrative mandate, administrative finding, superior court, writ petition, quasi-judicial, employees, laches, merits, judicial remedy, Personnel, exhaust, personnel board, reasons, arbitration, administrative agency, administrative remedy, required to exhaust, summary judgment, plurality, pursuing, binding, res judicata, discriminatory, prerequisite, challenging, termination, asserting, decisions, administrative decision

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Supporting Materials, General Overview, Judgments, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Opposing Materials, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Substantial Evidence, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Affirmative Defenses, Laches, Writs, Common Law Writs, Mandamus, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Labor & Employment Law, Remedies, Damages, Backpay, Hearings, Reviewability, Exhaustion of Remedies, Justiciability, Exhaustion of Remedies, Administrative Remedies, Environmental Law, Administrative Proceedings & Litigation, Judicial Review, Healthcare Law, Business Administration & Organization, Healthcare Litigation, Actions Against Healthcare Workers, Hospital Privileges, Restrictions, Civil Rights Law, Procedural Matters, Federal Versus State Law, Exhaustion Doctrine, Section 1983 Actions, Scope, Government Actions, Business & Corporate Compliance, Discrimination, Labor & Employment Law, Discrimination, Contractual Relations & Housing, Fair Housing Rights, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Civil Actions, Jurisdiction, Agency Adjudication, Decisions, Pensions & Benefits Law, Governmental Employees, County Pensions, Factual Determinations, Res Judicata, Preclusion of Judgments