LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – California’s 2nd District Court of Appeals has ruled that a couple who filed a complaint against the city of Pasadena following a mesothelioma diagnosis failed to comply with the Government Claims Act.
The court issued its decision June 26, writing that the act requires a claim be made within six months of “the date upon which the cause of action would be deemed to have accrued within the meaning of the statute of limitations which would be applicable thereto."
Sandra Reyes Jauregui and Mario Reyes Jauregui initially filed a complaint in Superior Court of Los Angeles County against the city of Pasadena after Sandra Jauregui was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Sandra Jauregui was diagnosed with mesothelioma on Sept. 25, 2015. The couple did not present a claim to the city until Aug. 22, 2016, nearly 11 months later. They also did not file a late-claim application.
The city demurred to the Jaureguis' complaint, maintaining that they had failed to comply with the claim presentation requirement of the Government Claims Act by not presenting their claim to the city within six months of the date of Sandra’s mesothelioma diagnosis.
The Jaureguis opposed the demurrer, maintaining that their claim was timely because under the applicable statute of limitations, their cause of action never accrued. As a result, they argued that the six-month claim period never started to run.
On Feb. 21, the city sought an immediate stay of all proceedings and a peremptory writ of mandate directing the trial court to set aside and vacate its order overruling the demurrer and to enter a new order sustaining the demurrer.
In its opinion, the 2nd District Court of Appeals detailed an analysis of the term “accrual” and determined that the Jaureguis were required to file their claims against the city of Pasadena “not later than six months after the accrual of the cause of action.”
The court determined that as used in Government Code section 901, the date on which a cause of action would be deemed to have accrued within the definition of the statute of the limitations would be the date on which the cause of action was first actionable.
As a result, the appeals court determined in its opinion that the date “upon which the cause of action would be deemed to have accrued within the meaning of the [applicable] statute of limitations is the date on which a plaintiff discovers or should reasonably have discovered that she had suffered a compensable injury.”
The appeals court determined that date was no later than the date Sandra Jauregui was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Because the Jaureguis presented their claim to the city more than 10 months after Sandra Jauregui was diagnosed, they failed to comply with the claim presentation requirement. As a result, the appeals court granted the city’s writ of mandate and ruled the lower court should have sustained Pasadena’s demurrer because the Jaureguis’ action against the city was barred.