PALMDALE – A $40 million dollar lawsuit brought against the City of Palmdale by four former lifeguards has been dismissed with prejudice by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Amy D. Hogue.
“The City is pleased that the court agreed with the City that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit was inappropriate and dismissed the matter,” said Palmdale City Attorney Matthew Ditzhazy. “It should be noted that any alleged injuries these employees may have sustained were fully covered under the workers’ compensation system. This lawsuit was an attempt to do an end-run around that system and the court agreed with the City that was what it was and dismissed the case. The City wishes all its former lifeguards nothing but the best in their future endeavors.”
Jon Rambus, Alec Calzada, Lauren Flores and Meredith Gross (through her guardian) were suing the City of Palmdale and five then-employees of the City for intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.
The former lifeguards claimed they suffered physical and emotional injuries while participating in pre-service training in early June of 2010 prior to the start of the swimming pool season at the City’s pools.
They claimed the “military-type” training, which was conducted by City staff, had them participating in unnecessary and excessive exercise for extended periods of time without breaks. They also claimed they were unable to leave the pool area until the completion of training because they were in fear of losing their jobs.
City attorneys said the plaintiffs’ claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress were barred by the exclusive remedy doctrine of California’s workers’ compensation law.
“This lawsuit was an unnecessary waste of staff time and taxpayer money as it was clearly a workers’ compensation matter,” said Deputy City Attorney Noel Doran. “The workers’ compensation system was put in place precisely for situations like this, so that employees would be adequately protected while employers are insulated from unnecessary personal injury lawsuits.”
City attorneys also claimed there were no facts to support any claims of false imprisonment.
Read more on the City’s response to the allegations here.