Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

AUBLE v. PACIFIC GAS & ELEC. CO.

April 28, 1999

RANDY AUBLE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PACIFIC GAS & ELECTRIC COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Infante, United States Magistrate Judge.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY
  ADJUDICATION THAT PLAINTIFF IS NOT ENTITLED TO EXPECTANCY
  DAMAGES

I. INTRODUCTION

Defendant Pacific Gas & Electric Company ("PG & E") moves for partial summary adjudication that Plaintiff Randy Auble is entitled only to reliance damages on his claims for fraud and violation of California Labor Code § 970, pursuant to Rule 54(b), Fed.R.Civ.P. Plaintiff opposes the motion. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion for partial summary judgment is GRANTED.

II. BACKGROUND

On February 10, 1998, plaintiff Auble filed a complaint against defendant PG & E alleging claims for violation of California Labor Code § 970, fraud and promissory estoppel. Defendant PG & E removed this action to federal court, alleging that plaintiff's promissory estoppel claim is preempted by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a). On April 8, 1998, plaintiff filed a motion to remand this case back to state court, contending that his complaint did not state any grounds for federal jurisdiction. In an order filed June 15, 1998, Judge Fogel denied the motion to remand, holding that any claims, including at least plaintiff's promissory estoppel claim, seeking to enforce PG & E's prior promises to bridge plaintiff's seniority are preempted by section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act. See Order Denying Motion to Remand. Following a settlement conference in this case, the parties consented to trial and the entry of judgment by the undersigned magistrate judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 73.

In early 1996, plaintiff was offered a lineman position with PG & E, which he declined. In December 1996, PG & E advertised for a lineman position. This time, plaintiff contacted PG & E and was told that the defendant was interested in hiring him as a lineman in Coalinga, California. Plaintiff inquired whether his previous seniority with PG & E would be bridged if he accepted the Coalinga position. An employee of PG & E researched plaintiff's question, and erroneously told him that all seniority would be bridged if he accepted the lineman position in Coalinga.*fn1 Prior to accepting the position, plaintiff also asked the manager of the Coalinga facility, Ray Beasla, if he would be able to bridge his seniority. Mr. Beasla confirmed that plaintiff's seniority would bridge.

In February 1997, plaintiff resigned his position in Oregon and moved to Coalinga, California for the PG & E lineman position. Since plaintiff was the most senior lineman at Coalinga, he received all benefits thereof, including field promotions and assignments based on seniority, and had preference for overtime work.

The terms and conditions of plaintiff's present employment are governed by a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") between PG & E and I.B.E.W., Local 1245 ("Local 1245"). Under the terms of the PG & E-Local 1245 CBA, laid-off employees have preferential re-hire rights, but are considered terminated and lose this preference if they refuse a re-hire offer. Approximately three months after plaintiff relocated, PG & E informed him that its previous interpretation of the CBA was erroneous, and that he was not entitled to bridge his seniority because of his refusal of the 1996 re-hire offer. PG & E requested that Local 1245 enter into a Letter Agreement to bridge plaintiff's seniority despite the provision in the CBA. Local 1245 agreed to the request for all purposes except for demotion, promotion, transfers and layoff. Since plaintiff is not entitled to have his seniority bridged, he became the most junior lineman and the first person to be terminated should PG & E experience any workforce reductions.

Plaintiff alleges that PG & E either knowingly or recklessly misrepresented his ability to bridge his seniority, while PG & E contends that it simply made a mistake in interpreting the CBA.

Defendant now moves for partial summary adjudication that plaintiff is entitled only to damages proximately caused by his reliance on PG & E's allegedly fraudulent promise that his seniority would bridge on his tort claims for fraud and violation of Labor Code section 970. Defendant contends that plaintiff is not entitled to recover "expectancy" or "benefit of the bargain" damages, i.e., what he would have received had PG & E's representations about bridging his seniority had been true. Plaintiff opposes the motion, contending under California law he is entitled to recover out-of-pocket damages in addition to benefit of the bargain damages on these two claims.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Rule 56(c), Fed.R.Civ.P. No disputes of fact exist ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.