Smith v. Farmers Group, Inc. (May 14, 2018, B266242) 2018 WL 2192426

Plaintiff, a district manager for defendants sued Farmers Insurance for various claims, most of which were dependent on the existence of an employer-employee relationship. The trial court granted summary adjudication in defendants’ favor on nine causes of action, finding that plaintiff was an independent contractor—not an employee—and plaintiff’s written agreement expressly precluded oral modifications. After plaintiff dismissed the remaining causes of action, the court entered judgment for defendants.

On appeal, plaintiff contended that (1) the trial court proceedings were riddled with procedural errors, (2) collateral estoppel precluded defendants from asserting that he was an independent contractor, and (3) the court erred by summarily adjudicating his employment and contract claims. The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 3, affirmed. Due to the numerous deficiencies in plaintiff’s opening brief and arguments on appeal, it concluded that plaintiff failed to carry his burden to affirmatively demonstrate error. The court also concluded that defendants were not collaterally estopped from asserting plaintiff’s independent-contractor status.

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