Trigger-claim Under California Government Code Section 910.8

In Green v. State Center Community College Dist. (1995) 34 Cal.App.4th 1348, the appellate court outlined the "legal standard to apply in determining whether correspondence" is a claim as presented: "To be sufficient to constitute a trigger-claim under Government Code section 910.8, the content of the correspondence to the recipient entity must at least be of such nature as to make it readily discernible by the entity that the intended purpose thereof is to convey the assertion of a compensable claim against the entity which, if not otherwise satisfied, will result in litigation." (Id. at p. 1358.) For example, in Phillips v. Desert Hospital Dist., supra, 49 Cal.3d 699, an attorney's letter stated, "This letter will serve to advise you that this office intends to commence an action against Desert Hospital" and stated the date of the alleged medical negligence. (Id. at p. 703.) The Court held this letter was a claim as presented because it disclosed the plaintiffs had a claim which, if not satisfactorily resolved, would result in their filing a lawsuit. (Id. at p. 710.) In contrast, in Green v. State Center Community College Dist., supra, 34 Cal.App.4th 1348, the letter referred to an accident involving the plaintiff, recited the attorney had been retained to represent the plaintiff, and directed the putative defendant to send all further correspondence relating to the matter to the attorney. The Court of Appeal in Green held this did not constitute a claim as presented because "there is nothing in counsel's . . . letter to the College remotely implying that a demand was being made . . . or that counsel would initiate litigation if appellant's demand was not satisfied." (Id. at p. 1359.)