Court Dismissed Lawsuit Due To Teacher’s Failures To: Present A Claim And Timely Sue

CATEGORY: Client Update for Public Agencies
CLIENT TYPE: Public Employers
DATE: Jun 05, 2024

In September 2021, John Sandy Campbell, a Resource Specialist Teacher, sued her former employer, the Los Angeles Unified School District, alleging racial discrimination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and retaliation for whistleblowing in violation of Labor Code sections 1102.5 and 1106.

The District argued that Campbell had no case because: 1) she had not complied with the Government Code’s claim presentation requirement; and 2) the statute of limitations barred her FEHA cause of action.  The trial court sided with the District and dismissed the case without leave to amend.

The California Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court.  A person suing a public entity for damages must timely present a written claim to the entity before filing suit.  Campbell argued that she substantially complied with the claim presentation requirement.  The Court said that the fact that Campbell noted that she previously submitted various racial discrimination and whistleblower complaints was not substantial compliance.  Campbell’s complaint also failed to plead compliance with the claim presentation requirement.

Campbell’s FEHA claim was time-barred.  She received a Right to Sue notice dated October 9, 2018, that advised that she had one year to file a civil action.  But Campbell did not sue until September 2021, making her suit very untimely.  The Court dismissed the case and awarded the District costs.

Campbell v. Los Angeles Unified School District, 2024 Cal.App. LEXIS 326.

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