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Karubian v. Security Pacific National Bank

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Karubian (plaintiff) sued Security Pacific National Bank (defendant) in a class action case.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Even if the plaintiff does not receive notice of eligibility in a class action lawsuit the 5-year deadline will still apply.

    Facts.

    Plaintiff brought a class action lawsuit against the defendant in 1975 and according to California law, the class cases must be brought within 5 years of filing. In 1976 the attorney for the class put the case on the courts calendar by filing an issue at memorandum, However, the plaintiff switched attorneys twice, and in 1979 the clerk for the court indicated the case was ready to be brought to trial through a notice of eligibility, which triggered the plaintiff’s obligation to file a certificate of readiness, and it usually took 6 months to move from the list to trial. The notice of eligibility was accidentally sent to the plaintiff’s original attorney and the plaintiff new attorney never filed a certificate of readiness and the case never moved to trial after he filed the certificate late.

    Issue.

    Whether even if the plaintiff does not receive notice of eligibility in a class action lawsuit the 5-year deadline will still apply.

    Held.

    Yes. Even if the plaintiff does not receive notice of eligibility in a class action lawsuit the 5-year deadline will still apply.

    Discussion.

    The 5-year deadline is a strict deadline and is in place for the efficiency of the calendar process. While it may be extended if trying the case in the 5-year period is impractical it will not be extended solely because the plaintiff did not receive notice of eligibility. Here, because the plaintiff was not diligent in filing the notice and the should have known of the 5-year deadline, the case cannot proceed to trial.


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