Skip to content
Name: People v. Christiansen
Case #: B238361
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/31/2013

Conflict of interest conviction reversed because defendant was not a public official or employee under Government Code section 1090. From August 2004, defendant was an employee of a school district; she became an independent contractor consultant to the district via a June 2006 contract. Commencing in February 2007, defendant assigned her interest in her 2006 contract to a company she owned; the district consented. Contracts between the district and either defendant’s company or a company with which it dealt, followed. Based on these contracts, defendant was convicted of four counts of conflict of interest in violation of Government Code section 1090. She appealed. Held: Reversed. Section 1090 prohibits a public official or employee of a governmental entity from having a financial interest in any contract entered into by the entity. Applying common law concepts, the word “employee” in section 1090 does not include independent contractors. At all relevant times, defendant was an independent contractor. Civil cases that have applied section 1090 to independent contractors do not extend to criminal prosecutions.