Lazar v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County

909 P.2d 981 (1996)

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Lazar v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County

California Supreme Court
909 P.2d 981 (1996)

Facts

Andrew Lazar (plaintiff) worked at a restaurant-equipment company in Long Island, New York—a job he had held since he joined the workforce. Lazar had a home and a family in Long Island. The vice president of Rykoff-Sexton, Inc. (Rykoff) (defendant), a California company, began recruiting Lazar to work for Rykoff. Lazar was hesitant to leave his role due to his job security. Rykoff promised Lazar a secure job, regular raises, bonuses, advancement, a long-term relationship with the company, and a position at the head of a department as soon as the current head retired. Rykoff presented the company as financially strong and profitable. In reality, Rykoff was not a growing company and Rykoff was planning a merger that would make Lazar’s position futile. Rykoff promised Lazar stability but intended only to treat Lazar as an at-will employee. Rykoff never intended to give Lazar any pay increase. Lazar moved his family to California based on Rykoff’s representations. Two years after starting the job, Rykoff failed to pay Lazar wages he was owed. Shortly thereafter, Lazar was fired. Lazar brought suit against Rykoff for fraud. The trial court found in favor of Rykoff. The appellate court reversed the decision. Rykoff appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Werdegar, J.)

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