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Edwards v. Lake Elsinore Unified School District

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Second Division

October 30, 2014

LORI EDWARDS, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
LAKE ELSINORE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT et al., Defendants and Respondents.

[CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION[*]]

APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County No. RIC10018494. Mac R. Fisher, Judge.

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COUNSEL

Lori Edwards, in pro. per., for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, Mark W. Thompson and Brooke E. Jimenez for Defendants and Respondents.

OPINION

CODRINGTON J.

I

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Lori Edwards (Edwards) appeals from the trial court’s ruling denying her petition for writ of mandate, challenging Edwards’s classification and payment as a substitute teacher for the 2007/2008 school year. Edwards contends that, because she provided teaching services during the entire school year, she was a permanent employee and therefore was unlawfully deprived of a retroactive salary increase (backpay) for the 2007/2008 school year. Edwards also contends the trial court erred in finding her writ petition barred by the three-year statute of limitations.

We conclude Edwards’s writ petition was not barred by the statute of limitations because the limitation period was tolled while Edwards was

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pursuing internal administrative remedies. Nevertheless, we conclude the trial court did not err in denying Edwards’s petition on the grounds the Lake Elsinore Unified School District (School District) did not misclassify Edwards as a substitute teacher and was not required to pay Edwards backpay. The judgment is affirmed.

II

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The School District hired Edwards as a certificated employee in July 2003. She was hired as an elementary school teacher for the 2003/2004 school year. After teaching for two consecutive school years, Edwards became a permanent employee. Edwards continued teaching until she voluntarily resigned in July 2006.

On January 8, 2007, Edwards applied for reemployment with the School District. On May 24, 2007, Edwards acknowledged receipt of a School District notice entitled, “Initial Notification of Reasonable Assurance of Employment.” Edwards filled out and signed the bottom portion of the notice, acknowledging she received the notice and was requesting employment as a substitute teacher. On May 24, 2007, Edwards also completed and signed a form entitled, “Permissive Election and Acknowledgment of Receipt of CALSTRS[1] Defined Benefit Plan Membership Information.” On this form, Edwards stated her position title was “Substitute Teacher.” In addition, on May 24, 2007, Edwards filled out a form entitled, “LAKE ELSINORE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT Substitute Employee Management System Certificated Substitute Employee Profile, ” which specified the subjects, grades, and teaching locations Edwards was requesting.

The School District Personnel Services division issued a notice on June 8, 2007, stating that the School District had employed Edwards as a certificated substitute teacher, effective June 8, 2007. The notice does not indicate to whom it was provided. Edwards began substitute teaching on August 11, 2007. The School District called her the day before she began teaching and told her to report to the classroom of elementary school teacher Maria de Los Angeles Guillen. Guillen was a categorically funded employee, who was on medical leave for an indefinite period of time. Edwards taught in Guillen’s classroom during the entire 2007/2008 school year. Edwards submitted signed substitute time sheets to the School District throughout the 2007/2008 school year. The time sheets each state ...


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