California Supreme Court Watch

May 13, 2020
Grande v. Eisenhower Medical Center, S261247.

#20-121 Grande v. Eisenhower Medical Center, S261247. (E068730, E068751; 44 Cal.App.5th 1147; Riverside County Superior Court; RIC1514281.) Petition for review after the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment in a civil action. The court limited review to the following issue: May a class of workers bring a wage and hour class action against a staffing agency, settle that lawsuit with a stipulated judgment that releases all of the staffing agency’s agents, and then bring a second class action premised on the same alleged wage and hour violations against the staffing agency’s client?

Review granted: 5/13/2020

Opinion filed: Judgment affirmed in full: 6/30/2022

See the Court of Appeal Opinion.

See the Petition for Review filed by Intervener Flexcare, LLC.

See the Petition for Review filed by Eisenhower Medical Center.

See the Oral Argument.

See the California Supreme Court Opinion.  (Grande v. Eisenhower Medical Center (2022) 13 Cal.5th 313.)

“The core of this dispute concerns privity. Judgments bind not only parties, but also ‘those persons “in privity with” parties.’ (Armstrong v. Armstrong (1976) 15 Cal.3d 942, 951.) Questions about privity typically arise when a litigant attempts to use a judgment against someone who was not party to that judgment. (See DKN Holdings LLC v. Faerber (2015) 61 Cal.4th 813, 826, fn. 9 (DKN Holdings).)

This case does not present a typical privity question. Because the nurse was a party to the initial judgment, the judgment can be used against her whether or not she was in privity with some other party. But for claim preclusion, the affirmative defense asserted by the hospital, that is not enough. Instead, we have frequently explained that claim preclusion can be asserted only by a party in the first action or someone in privity with a party in the first action.”

“There is no such privity here because of the hospital and staffing agency’s different legal interests. Nor can preclusion be based on a claimed indemnification or agency relationship between those litigants. We will thus affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal.”

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye authored the opinion of the Court, in which Justices Corrigan, Liu, Kruger, Groban, Jenkins, and Guerrero concurred.