Christopher Renfro filed suit against numerous defendants primarily for injuries he allegedly sustained after being exposed to agricultural chemicals while employed as a truck driver.
He sued his former employer, Young’s Commercial Transfer, Inc. (YCT), as well as a host of other defendants who were involved in the application of the chemicals. These other defendants are Lakeland Aviation, Inc.; Erik J. Hansen; H&G Farms, Inc.; J.G. Boswell Co.; J.G. Boswell Tomato Co-Kings; and J.G. Boswell Tomato Co-Kern.
He contended that during his employment, YCT on multiple occasions sent him to pick up loads of tomatoes in an area where the Applicators were applying agricultural chemicals to fields via an airplane. YCT allegedly should have known of the Applicators’ crop-dusting activities. Renfro claimed his exposure to the chemicals caused multiple injuries, including injuries to his nervous system and internal organs, vision impairment, and memory loss.
YCT was represented by one law firm, and the Applicators were represented collectively by another firm. In addition to the personal injury-related claims, Renfro alleged various labor and employment-related causes of action.
The trial court granted YCT’s demurrer to Renfro’s third amended complaint, Renfro was allowed leave to amend only as to his non-personal injury causes of action. Renfro failed to file a fourth amended complaint within the time allowed. motions were brought by ex parte application. The court entered judgments of dismissal for the defendants, and Renfro appeals from both judgments.
The Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal in the unpublished case of Renfro v. J.G. Boswell Co.
A plaintiff’s failure to file an amended complaint within the time specified by the trial court after a demurrer is sustained with leave to amend subjects the action to dismissal “in the court’s discretion under section 581, subdivision (f)(2).”
Rule 3.1320(g) affords a plaintiff 10 days’ leave to amend their complaint following a ruling on a demurrer unless otherwise ordered. Section 1013, subdivision (c), provides, as relevant here, that service by Express Mail is deemed complete at the time the notice is deposited for pick up and extends any period of notice by two court days. As such, Renfro had 10 days plus two court days from April 10 – the date the order was deposited in the mail for delivery via Express Mail – to file his fourth amended complaint. The deadline was therefore April 24.
Rule 3.1320(h) authorizes a section 581, subdivision (f)(2), motion to be made by ex parte application.