Court Should Not Have Dismissed Self-Represented Employee’s Claims
Anthony Nuño, an assistant college professor, represented himself in this lawsuit against California State University, Bakersfield, in which he alleged harassment, retaliation and discrimination based upon his race and sexual orientation. The trial court sustained defendants’ demurrer and granted plaintiff additional time to file an amended complaint. After plaintiff failed to timely file an amended complaint, defendant filed an ex parte application for dismissal with prejudice, which was heard and granted by the trial court while plaintiff was out of the country attending a conference. The Court of Appeal reversed the dismissal, holding that the trial judge and the defense-prepared minute order were ambiguous as to exactly when plaintiff was required to file an amended complaint and “lulled plaintiff into a false sense of security about the deadline for filing the [amended] complaint.” Cf. Wood v. Superior Court, 46 Cal. App. 5th 562 (2020) (plaintiff who alleged gender identity discrimination claim under the Unruh Civil Rights Act had no attorney-client relationship with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing).