How Filing A Fictitious Business Name Statement Can Win A Lawsuit

In California, a corporation's fictitious business name is any name other than the corporate name stated in the articles of incorporation.  Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17900(b)(3).  A corporation that regularly transacts business in California for profit under a fictitious business name is required to file a fictitious business name statement within 40 days from the time that it commences to transact that business.  Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17910.  A corporation that fails to do so may not maintain any action upon or on account of any contract made, or transaction had, in the fictitious business name in any court of California until the fictitious business name statement has been executed, filed, and published as required.  Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17918.  That should be reason enough to comply with the law, but a recent Court of Appeal decision provides another good reason. 

As an employee of YRC, Inc., Vaiula Savea received wage statements.  The wage statements, however, were in the name of YRC Freight.  California Labor Code § 226(a)(8) requires an employer to provide with an accurate statement that includes "the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer".  Mr. Savea decided to sue YRC, Inc. for statutory damages, civil penalties, attorney fees, and costs.  YRC successfully demurred and Mr. Savea appealed.  The Court of Appeal in affirmed, wisely reasoning:

"Here, YRC Freight was YRC's actual, recorded fictitious business name in California at the time it issued the wage statements of which Savea complains.  YRC had a valid fictitious business name statement and renewal recorded in San Bernardino and Sacramento Counties, and YRC Freight was the company name it used 'to transact all regular business in California . . . .'  Because YRC properly listed its 'name' on its wage statements, there was no violation of section 226, subdivision (a)(8)."

Savea v. YRC Inc., 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 331.