Valdez v. City of Los Angeles
In Valdez v. City of Los Angeles (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 1043, the plaintiff failed to name three individuals in his DFEH charge, and the trial court granted summary judgment in their favor on the plaintiff's FEHA claims. (Valdez, supra, 231 Cal.App.3d at pp. 1060-1061.)
In affirming the ruling, the majority in Valdez noted that the federal authority regarding the analogous issue under title VII (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.) was in conflict: "The Ninth Circuit permits a suit against an unnamed party if the party's involvement was likely to have been revealed in the course of the administrative investigation.
The Fourth Circuit takes a more restrictive view, requiring that the party must have been named somewhere in the body of the charge.The Seventh Circuit takes a middle ground in which suing an unnamed party is subject to a balancing of equitable considerations. " (Id. at p. 1061.)
The majority concluded that the rule adopted by the Fourth Circuit "is more efficacious, will lead to more speedy resolution of disputes at the administrative level, and is in keeping with the requirement of exhaustion of administrative remedies." (Valdez, supra, 231 Cal.App.3d at p. 1061.) In contrast, the dissent argued that the plaintiff's failure to name the individuals could be attributed to features of the DFEH charge form. (Valdez, at pp. 1062-1064.)