Del Grace was a probationary school teacher in Beaumont. A California statute says that if a school district isn't going to rehire a probationary teacher, it's got to tell the teacher by May 15th. Otherwise the teacher's deemed rehired.
The school board met at a board meeting on May 3 to figure out what teachers, if any, would be laid off. Ms. Grace attended the meeting. That that meeting, in open session, the board elected to lay of twelve teachers, who were identified (for privacy reasons) by their employee number. Ms. Grace's number was one of those numbers, and she saw it. Shucks for her.
On May 11, the school district sent Ms. Grace an e-mail asking if she could attend a meeting later that day. Ms. Grace responded by asking the purpose of the proposed meeting. At which point the school district said it was "to provide you notice that the district will not be offering you a contract for next school year."
Ms. Grace responded that she's prefer not to have such a bummer of a meeting. The district said no problem, it'd happily send her a certified letter instead, and Ms. Grace said that's what she would prefer. So out went the certified letter later that day.
Ms. Grace never claimed the certified letter, and it was thus returned to the district. Ms. Grace then sued, alleging that she was automatically rehired because she hadn't been given notice of her termination by May 15th.
The trial court disagreed. The Court of Appeal affirms.
Common sense prevails.