Alla Policastro is Senior Counsel in Tyson & Mendes’ Los Angeles office. Ms. Policastro’s practice focuses on defense of general liability and personal injury matters on behalf of individuals and businesses. Ms. Policastro’s decade of litigation experience has revolved around high exposure and catastrophic personal injury cases in the insurance and hospitality industries. Ms. Policastro also has significant experience defending leading insurance carriers against first-party claims.
Ms. Policastro is a seasoned litigator who regularly achieves desired results for clients from the pre-litigation stage to trial. She has an exceptional track record for resolving high exposure cases through negotiations and mediation even in the most adverse of circumstances. Most recently, Ms. Policastro successfully resolved a double wrongful death and catastrophic injury case involving five separate claimants, all while avoiding any personal exposure to her client. In another high exposure automobile personal injury action, Ms. Policastro obtained a dismissal for a waiver of costs for her client. In the same action, she prevailed on a highly contested Request for Determination of Good Faith Settlement. Ms. Policastro regularly obtains favorable results through motion practice. Most recently, she prevailed on a Motion to Strike Punitive Damages in an automobile personal injury case involving exceptionally aggravating circumstances.
Ms. Policastro graduated cum laude from University of California, Irvine with dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Criminology, Law, and Society. While completing her undergraduate degrees, Ms. Policastro had the privilege of spending a semester studying law at the Universiteit Leiden in the Netherlands, one of Europe’s top law schools. In conjunction with her Political Science studies, Ms. Policastro spent a semester in Washington D.C. as an extern for the National Peace Corps Association. While there, she undertook efforts to lobby legislators to increase safety standards for members overseas. Ms. Policastro earned her J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. While completing her studies, Ms. Policastro received the Wiley W. Manuel Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service in 2007 and 2008 for her commitment to advocacy on behalf of low-income client in unlawful detainer and habitability actions. Ms. Policastro is licensed in all California State Courts and U.S. District Court – Central District of California.
Ms. Policastro spends her free time with her husband, two daughters, and their adorable Goldendoodle. She enjoys traveling, live theater, and attending the ballet.
More and more often, we are seeing plaintiffs seeking punitive damages in their lawsuits. These plaintiffs throw around buzzwords such as “malicious,” “vile,” “reprehensible,” and “fraudulent” in support of their punitive damages allegations. These allegations can expose defendants to liability not covered by their insurance policies. It can expose corporate defendants to fishing expeditions into their business records and proprietary materials.
A cornerstone of our legal system is the high bar of neutrality set for judges and other judicial officers on the bench. Judges are expected to disclose any affiliations and information which could be perceived as creating bias. Now, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is signaling the same for arbitrators by holding them to higher disclosure standards. In Monster Energy Co. v. City Beverages, LLC. (9th Cir. Oct. 22), the Court held that…
In Lewis v. Ukran (2019 B290128) Cal.App.5th, the California Appellate Court has finally taken a definitive position regarding the burden of proof for discounts and inflation for future damages awards and the burden rests on the party asking for the economic adjustment.
Thee Sombrero, Inc. v. Scottsdale Insurance Company (2018) 28 Cal.App.5th 729
In November, the California Court of Appeals expanded the potential basis for property damage claims when it held that property damage and loss of use claims can be based on intangible damage to property.
Thee Sombrero, Inc. (Sombrero) owned a commercial property in Colton, CA. Sombrero obtained a conditional use permit (CUP) allowing its lessees to operate the property as a nightclub. Crime Enforcement Services (CES) provided security services at the nightclub. In 2007, due to non-permitted property modification by CES, there was a fatal shooting at the nightclub. Following the shooting, the CUP was revoked and replaced with a modified CUP, which allowed the property to be operated only as a banquet hall. Revenues from operation of the property as a banquet hall were significantly lower than revenues when it was operated as a nightclub.
The “going and coming” rule states while employers are generally liable for the tortuous or negligent acts of their employees which are committed while the employee is in the course and scope of employment, when the employee is commuting to and from work, his employment has been “suspended” such his liabilities are not imputed to his employer. However, this “rule” is so rife with exceptions that treating it as a hard and fast rule can lead to some missed opportunities or costly pitfalls. Here, we look at some of these exceptions and their effects.