CALG’s Rex Heinke, Susan Horst, Jessica Weisel, and Kirstin Ault won a potentially case-winning writ petition earlier this month in the California Court of Appeal’s First District on behalf of a law firm seeking dismissal of a former employee’s suit alleging unfair business practices, constructive termination, defamation, and a litany of other claims. The law firm argued the plaintiff had failed to bring the suit to trial within 5 years of filing the complaint, as required by California law, but the trial court held the 5 year period had been stayed for several months while it resolved disputes over allegedly stolen documents.

CALG came into the case after the motion to dismiss was denied, less than two weeks before trial was scheduled to begin. CALG’s writ petition led the Court of Appeal to immediately stay the trial, and after further briefing, the appellate court ruled in the law firm’s favor. It held that proceedings in the case had not been completely stayed for much of the time the trial court had thought, and thus five years and six months had passed since filing the complaint. The Court of Appeal directed the trial court to either vacate its order denying the motion to dismiss or show cause why it should not be reversed.

The trial court elected to vacate its own order and request briefing on issues raised in the motion to dismiss it had not previously decided. Following that briefing and argument, handled by CALG, the trial court entered an order dismissing the case for failure to bring to trial within 5 years.

The result was a complete victory for CALG’s client, in contrast to the full trial the client faced before retaining CALG.

The case is Shannon B. Jones Law Group, Inc. v. Superior Court, First App. Dist., Case No. A155257.