David Ramirez - Senior Counsel

David Ramirez is an AV rated Senior Counsel in Tyson & Mendes’ San Diego office. His practice focuses primarily on general liability, commercial and residential construction, and insurance litigation. Mr. Ramirez’s extensive litigation experience includes representing individuals and businesses across all California state and federal district courts.

Mr. Ramirez has successfully resolved a variety of cases involving complex business, construction defects, insurance coverage, and class action disputes. Recently, Mr. Ramirez successfully completed a three-month long, multi-million-dollar trial which resulted in a unanimous defense verdict on behalf of his client. Mr. Ramirez also successfully settled a number of cases on behalf of developer/builder entities as well as subcontractors, material providers and suppliers.

Mr. Ramirez earned his J.D. in 1988 from University of San Diego School of Law. He is licensed to practice law in California and is a member of the San Diego Defense Lawyers. He was named one of the “Top Lawyers in San Diego” for Complex Litigation by San Diego Magazine from 2013 to 2017; “Top Lawyers in Southern California” for Litigation by Los Angeles Times for 2013, 2014 and 2015; and “Top Lawyers in California” for Litigation by American Lawyers Media for 2013 and 2014.

In his free time, Mr. Ramirez enjoys spending time with his family. He is also an avid oenophile, having served at wine judging and other events.

Recent Posts

A Challenge to the Privette Doctrine Defense – the Retained Control Doctrine Carves out an Exception

The Privette Doctrine arises from a 1993 California Supreme Court case entitled Privette v. Superior Court (1993)5 Cal.4th 689, which provides that a higher-tiered party such as an owner or general contractor is not liable for injuries sustained by employees of a lower-tiered party such as a subcontractor on a construction project. There are, however, a number of exceptions to the Privette Doctrine. One of these exceptions is known as the “retained control doctrine.”

Court Rules Insurer May Not Pursue Subrogation Rights of Suspended Corporation

In the recent case of Travelers Property Casualty Co. v. Engel Insulation Inc. (2018 WL 6259032; November 30, 2018), The Third District Court of Appeal ruled a Complainant in Intervention could not maintain an affirmative action against subcontractors to recover attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in defending its suspended insured in an underlying action.

Product Defects and The Risk-Benefit Test

In the recent case of William Jae Kim, et al. v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al. (2018 WL 4057248), the California Supreme Court affirmed the Second Appellate District Court of Appeal decision which previously affirmed the trial court judgment after a jury found for defendant in a product liability case. Plaintiffs claimed the pickup truck was defective because its standard configuration did not include a particular safety feature, known as vehicle stability control (“VSC”), that they claimed would have prevented the accident. Thus, at issue was whether evidence of industry custom and practice may be introduced in a strict products liability action.

Establishing Professional Standards of Care Requires Expert Opinion in California

In the recent case entitled Webster v. Claremont Yoga (2018 WL 3913660), a yoga participant alleged she was injured when an instructor adjusted her posture and brought a resulting negligence suit. The Second District Court of Appeal affirmed expert opinion was required to rebut defendant yoga instructor’s expert’s declaration that the instructor’s conduct in adjusting a yoga participant’s posture during class was consistent with standard of care in the yoga industry, because a lay person’s common knowledge did not include the conduct required of a yoga instructor in a particular situation.

Think Again Before You Sign a Waiver of Liability

In Willhide-Michiulis the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed a mountain ski area was not liable for a snowboarder’s injuries caused by a collision with a snowcat[1] and snow-grooming tiller. The severely injured plaintiff snowboarder argued the ski resort was grossly negligent and thus liable for her injuries despite the liability waiver she signed as a requisite to her season-pass agreement. The Third Appellate District Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of the defense stating the operation of snow-grooming equipment on a snow run is an inherent risk of snowboarding and as a result there was no gross negligence. Willhide-Michiulis v. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area LLC (June 27, 2018; 2018 Daily Journal D.A.R. 7020)

Contractor Licenses

In a recent decision entitled MP Nexlevel of California, Inc. v. CVIN LLC (2018 WL 3358395), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals took a pro-contractor stance on the issue of the scope of contractor licensing.  The matter arose from a dispute over the scope of a California specialty contractor’s license. The issue was whether the subcontractor’s performance of certain work was outside the scope of its license constituting a breach of contract and, thus, resulting in the contractor not being entitled to payment for its work (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 7031(a)).

Insurance Law: Liberty Surplus Ins. Corp. v. Ledesma & Meyer Construction Co., Inc.

In the recent case of Liberty Surplus Ins. Corp. v. Ledesma & Meyer Construction Co., Inc., (2018) 418 P.3d 400, the California Supreme Court ruled an insurance company must provide liability coverage to its corporate insured against claims of negligent hiring, retention, and supervision of its employee, who allegedly sexually assaulted a minor. This decision is “of exceptional importance to injured parties, employers, and insurance companies doing business in California,” wrote the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in an order certifying the issue to the California Supreme Court.

Courts will Allow Clarification of an Ambiguous CCP 998 Offer to Compromise in Consideration of the Offer’s Validity

In past rulings, courts have held parties to a strict standard when setting forth the terms and conditions of a California Code of Civil Procedure Section 998 Offer to Compromise (“998 Offer”).  However, in a recent Court of Appeal decision, Prince v. Invensure Insurance Brokers (2018, WL 2276603), the Fourth District Court allowed the party to clarify the terms of an otherwise ambiguous 998 Offer.  The Court reasoned such clarification encourages reasonable settlement offers to be accepted and hence, if the 998 offer is denied after the clarification occurs, then the offering party is entitled to post-offer costs.

The Privette Doctrine Applied to Passive Conduct of the Property Owner

In the recent case of Delgadillo v. Television Center, Inc., (2018) 20 Cal.App.5th 1078, the California Court of Appeal, Second District recently examined and refined the Privette doctrine.   Starting with Privette v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 689, the Courts have explained the limitations of a homeowner’s liability for work performed on the premises by the employee of a contractor.  The Privette Doctrine generally holds property owners and general contractors are not liable for injuries to employees of independent subcontractors absent an affirmative act or omission causing injury.

No Coverage Where Negligence is Inseparable with Professional Service

In the recent matter of Energy Ins. Mutual Ltd. v. Ace American Ins. Co. (2017 WL 3476705), the First District Court of Appeals found that a professional services exclusion barred coverage for wrongful death and other claims blamed on pipeline inspectors’ failure to identify and properly mark a gas pipeline that was ruptured during construction of another pipeline, resulting in injuries and damages.

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