Plaintiff scientist claims he was promised forgiveness of a $200,000 housing loan, which defendants reneged on.
Against CHLA and USC, jointly and severally, on counts for (1) conversion, (2) breach of oral contract, (3) promissory estoppel, and (4) statutory wage act violation.
Judge Latin further held that USC’s and CHLA’s conduct in concealing documents and critical information from Dr. Simerly for years supported statutory waiting time penalties. The total amount of the recovery to Dr. Simerly was $352,106, which included the $200,000 forgivable loan, which the arbitrator found was a wage, pre-judgment interest, and costs. In addition, Judge Latin further held that, because the award included a recovery under the wage act, Dr. Simerly was entitled to attorney’s fees in the amount of $1,431,755.50, which represented the full requested lodestar, together with a 1.5 multiplier.
Elliott & Associates by James F. Elliott, Los Angeles.
Law Office of David Pourati, APC by David Pourati, Beverly Hills.
Donald Brosnan, Santa Rosa.
Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt LLP by Linda Savitt and Eric Schwettmann, Encino. (For respondent Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.)
Carlson & Jayakumar by Jehan Jayakumar, Keith Carlson, Andrew E. Saxon, Ryan Kennedy and Nima Jalali, Newport Beach. (For respondent USC.)
Plaintiff/claimant, Richard Simerly, Ph.D., a neurobiologist, was jointly employed by Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (“CHLA”) and University of Southern California (“USC”). Dr. Simerly was orally promised an interest-free $200,000 forgivable loan in the form of a housing subsidy toward the down payment of a home upon relocation to California. The loan was to be forgiven after ten years of employment.
Dr. Simerly performed by working for ten years but defendants did not forgive the loan. The case was initially filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court (“LASC”) against CHLA. During the litigation in LASC, plaintiff uncovered facts establishing USC’s liability, so plaintiff named USC a respondent in an arbitration pursuant to a mandatory arbitration agreement. The parties stipulated to consolidate proceedings in arbitration.
That plaintiff was orally promised an interest-free $200,000 forgivable loan in the form of a housing subsidy toward the down payment of a home upon relocation to California.
Defendants/Respondents contended that there was no breach of contract and no promise of a forgivable loan. They also contested that any such loan forgiveness would constitute a wage.