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CSV Hospitality Management LLC (CSV) filed a petition for a workplace violence restraining order against Jermorio Lucas. At the time of the hearing on CSV’s restraining order request, Lucas was living at the Aranda Residence, a residential hotel that provides supportive housing to formerly homeless individuals.

CSV submitted affidavits from four of its employees in support of the petition. The employees alleged that Lucas had been very aggressive and confrontational towards other tenants and Aranda Residence employees. For example, janitors Nelson Yee and Pedro Caamal stated that Lucas frequently subjected them to verbal abuse while they were working. He would also stalk them and take photos and videos of them without their consent. Caamal stated that during one such incident, Lucas forcefully pushed him into a window. Yee reported that Lucas had also confronted him at two local businesses when Yee was off duty.

Lucas filed a response to the petition. He denied all of the allegations against him. He stated that he recalled only one disagreement with Caamal, which involved a dispute over coronavirus social distancing protocols. He complained that Yee had addressed him with a racial slur and had harassed him, frequently watching him when he left the bathroom after showering. He indicated that he took Yee’s photograph in order to complain about him to the property manager.

The trial court granted a temporary restraining order and set the matter for an evidentiary hearing. Both parties were represented by counsel. At the hearing, only Yee and Lucas provided testimony consistent with their affidavits. Lucas then testified, answering questions posed by his attorney. He denied the allegations that Yee had leveled against him, asserting that Yee was harassing him and that he had repeatedly asked Yee to leave him alone.

Lucas’ counsel requested an opportunity to cross-examine Yee and any of the other witnesses. The trial court refused to allow Lucas’s counsel to cross-examine Yee concluding that the hearing was not a court trial, and there was no authority to allow cross-examination at such a hearing. The trial court then granted a three-year workplace violence restraining order. Lucas appealed, and the Court of Appeal reversed and remanded in the published case of CSV Hospitality Management v. Lucas – A163345 (October, 2022).

Code of Civil Procedure Section 527.6 authorizes a person who has suffered harassment to obtain an injunction to prevent further harassment. Section 527.8, subdivision (a) provides the same right to an employer for any employer, whose employee has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from any individual, that can reasonably be construed to be carried out or to have been carried out at the workplace.

Injunctive proceedings under section 527.8 are intended to parallel those under section 527.6, which are procedurally truncated, expedited, and intended to provide quick relief to victims of civil harassment.

However, the Court of Appeal went on to say that although “injunctive proceedings under section 527.8 are truncated, respondents are still afforded the right to present their case.”

In the context of civil harassment orders, our courts have observed that “the procedure for issuance of an injunction prohibiting harassment is self-contained. There is no full trial on the merits to follow the issuance of the injunction after the hearing provided by Code of Civil Procedure section 527.6, subdivision (d). That hearing therefore provides the only forum the defendant in a harassment proceeding will have to present his or her case. To limit a defendant’s right to present evidence and cross-examine as respondents would have us do would run the real risk of denying such a defendant’s due process rights, and would open the entire harassment procedure to the possibility of successful constitutional challenge on such grounds.”

The workplace violence restraining order was reversed. The trial court was directed to issue an order terminating the restraining order, reinstating the prior temporary restraining order and setting the matter for a new hearing within the time period proscribed under section 527.8.