Plaintiff leaves country during medical leave, so school district terminates him. $1.2M. Tulare County.


School janitor takes five-week leave for diabetes, leaves the country.

The Case

  • Case Name: Oscar Mayorga v. Porterville Unified School District
  • Court and Case Number: Tulare County Superior Court / VCU278118
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, August 02, 2021
  • Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, April 10, 2019
  • Type of Case: Employment, Wrongful Termination
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Nathan Ide
  • Plaintiffs:
    Oscar Mayorga, age in 60s.
  • Defendants:
    Porterville Unified School District
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $1,280,000
  • Economic Damages:

    Past: $242,000

    Future: $78,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $576,000

    Future: $384,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 2 weeks
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 1/2 days
  • Jury Polls: 12-0

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Law Offices of Tanya Gomerman, APC by Maria Bourn and Michael Brooks, San Francisco.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Weakley & Arendt, PC by James Arendt, Fresno.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Scott Barer, human resources.

    Antonio Avalos, economics.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Stephanie Rizzardi, economics.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff worked for Porterville Unified School District since 1998 as a custodian. During his employment, he was diagnosed with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. In or around May 2017, he spoke to his medical provider about his medical condition and the two agreed a medical leave was appropriate.

    During plaintiff's five-week medical leave, defendant discovered that plaintiff was out of the country and demanded he return to work within less than 24 hours. Defendant then invoked an automatic resignation process and terminated plaintiff's employment.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That plaintiff was terminated in violation of the California Family Right Act, which allows employees to take protected leave because of their disability.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That plaintiff automatically resigned pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement.

Additional Notes

Defendant made no settlement offers.