On January 30, 2018, Nick Jurkowitz argued an important case of first impression before the California Court of Appeals 2nd District. The case involved a medical doctor, wrongly terminated from her residency program, who filed a lawsuit against the residency program and her program director alleging numerous violations, including violations of civil rights based upon violence and discrimination. The residency program moved to compel the action to arbitration, and the superior court granted the residency program’s petition for all causes of action, except two: the Ralph Civil Rights Act and the Tom Bane Civil Rights Act. The superior court interpreted those statutes as not permitting them to be moved under these circumstances to arbitration. The residency program appealed the superior court’s ruling.
Fenton Law Group, seeking to protect the right of the physician to litigate the civil rights violation in superior court rather than arbitration, successfully argued that, under both Federal and State Supreme Court holdings, the resident’s causes of action need to be litigated in superior court. The case involves complex federal preemption law issues, as well as California statutory interpretation issues, and could have a sweeping effect on residency and employment law cases throughout the state of California. The papers were prepared by Nick Jurkowitz and Alexandra de Rivera.