I tell students in my upper-year class on pretrial practice that California has a longstanding mandatory five-year dismissal rule that compels trial courts (with limited exceptions) to get rid of lawsuits that have been around for that long. I also tell them, however, that in the modern era, with fast-track rules and modern case management techniques, that this statute is rarely applied, since neither courts nor litigants generally let cases linger for incredibly long periods like they used to in the old days.
But "rarely" doesn't mean "never". As this opinion demonstrates.
I'm not sure why the plaintiff wasn't more careful. I'm not sure why the trial court let the case linger for so long. But both things transpired. And, as a result, a litigation that may well have had merit -- a wage-and-hour class action against DHL -- gets dismissed.
It doesn't often happen. But when it does, it's devastating.
Especially when it happens to you.