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James v. Shapiro

James v. Shapiro
06:29:2006

James v. Shapiro


Filed 6/28/06 James v. Shapiro CA2/2


NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL REPORTS





California Rules of Court, rule 977(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 977(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 977.







IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA



SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT



DIVISION TWO










PAULETTA JAMES,


Plaintiff and Appellant,


v.


ROBERT SHAPIRO et al.,


Defendants and Respondents.



B179194


(Los Angeles County


Super. Ct. No. BC306470)



APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County.


Maureen Duffy-Lewis, Judge. As to Shapiro, affirmed. As to Christensen, reversed and remanded.


Law Offices of James K. Autrey, James K. Autrey; Law Offices of Michael F. Baltaxe and Michael F. Baltaxe for Plaintiff and Appellant.


Kirtland & Packard, Mark E. Goldsmith, Robert K. Friedl and Holly M. Brett for Defendants and Respondents.


_________________________



At issue in this appeal is whether a legal secretary may sue her former law firm for wrongful termination in violation of public policy after she reported that a partner was defrauding clients by submitting inflated legal bills. Because obtaining money through fraudulent legal bills violates Penal Code section 484, and because that statute inures to the benefit of the public and represents a substantial and fundamental public policy, we hold that she may sue.


Pauletta James (James) appeals the summary judgment entered in favor of respondents Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro (Christensen) and Robert Shapiro (Shapiro) on her causes of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. We conclude that the trial court erred when it ruled that (1) James could not identify a public policy sufficient to support her cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and (2) the intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action is barred by the exclusivity provision of the workers' compensation scheme. However, James failed to show that the trial court erred when it ruled that Shapiro was not her employer.


We affirm the summary judgment entered in favor of Shapiro. We reverse the summary judgment entered in favor of Christensen and remand for further proceedings. On remand, the trial court shall consider Christensen's motion for summary adjudication regarding punitive damages.


FACTS


The complaint


James alleged: Christensen and Shapiro's â€





Description A decision regarding wrongful termination in violation of public policy.
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