Key Decisions

November 2013 – Employees May Have Been Managing Agents

(filed under: Key Decisions | November 20, 2013)

Employees May Have Been Managing Agents

Davis. v. Kiewit Pacific Company
(Cal. Ct. of App., 4th Dist.), filed September 18, 2013, published October 8, 2013

Lisa Davis sued Kiewit Pacific for gender discrimination, hostile work environment harassment, retaliation, and failure to prevent harassment, gender discrimination, or retaliation.

The trial court granted Kiewit’s motion for summary adjudication on Davis’s claim for punitive damages, concluding there were no triable issues of material fact whether a managing agent of Kiewit had engaged in or ratified any oppressive, malicious and/or fraudulent conduct against her.

At trial, a jury found Kiewit liable. However because of the summary adjudication, it could not consider punitive damages.

Davis appealed, asserting the trial court erred by granting Kiewit’s motion for summary adjudication.

The Court of Appeal reversed, concluding there was a triable issue of material fact for determination by a jury as to whether Kiewit personnel involved in the matter qualified as managing agents.

The court found that declarations stating particular people were not managing agents were conclusory and failed to negate evidence suggesting particular employees were managing agents.