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A California appeals court reversed a trial court’s dismissal of a 2018 battery lawsuit filed by a fired Hollywood graphics engineer, ruling his claims were not preempted by the state’s workers compensation exclusivity rule.
In a decision filed Thursday, the California Court of Appeals, Second District, ruled Iman Sadeghi, former vice president of engineering at Pinscreen Inc., sufficiently pleaded claims for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Mr. Sadeghi said that on Aug. 7, 2017, the day he was fired by Pinscreen, he was accosted and physically restrained after a supervisor instructed workers to stop him on his way out of the building and forcibly retrieve his company laptop.
Mr. Sadeghi said in the lawsuit that he suffered eye injuries and a dislocated shoulder in the incident.
The trial judge ruled Mr. Sadeghi, who worked on the movie “Tangled” at Walt Disney Animation Studios, failed to plead his case for battery, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress and that the civil claims should have been barred by the state’s workers comp exclusivity rule.
The appeals court overturned the lower court, citing an exception to the exclusivity rule that addresses workplace injuries caused by “willful and unprovoked” physical acts of aggression by employees. It also noted that the injuries did not occur in the course of his employment.
The court ruled that Mr. Sadeghi sufficiently pleaded his claims for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress but not for invasion of privacy.