In every employment case it is important to name as a defendant the proper employer or employers. Of course, prior to discovery, it is sometimes difficult to ascertain which, out of a myriad of interwoven entities, are the proper defendants.
In the recent case of BBA Aviation v Superior Court (Engen) (190 Cal.App.4th 421) the California Court of Appeals held that an employee simply didn’t set forth enough information to be able to establish jurisdiction over an out-of-state parent corporation. The parent corporation claimed it was merely a holding company, and had nothing to do with the plaintiff’s termination. In accepting this explanation, the Court of Appeals made a wide assortment of factual findings without an appropriate factual record, precipitously closing the door to Mr. Engen’s desire to make sure he named and sued all the correct corporate actors.
Although it is unfortunately too late to do much for Mr. Engen, for the rest of us, here are some cautionary factors to consider when determining whether to sue a parent or holding company: