Nathan Berkeley is an Associate in Tyson & Mendes’ San Diego office. His practice focuses primarily on business litigation, personal injury, and professional liability. Mr. Berkeley has represented organizational and individual clients throughout California for more than eight years.
Prior to joining Tyson & Mendes, Mr. Berkeley primarily represented lenders in actions to enforce defaulted commercial and consumer obligations. Mr. Berkeley has prepared and argued numerous successful dispositive motions. As a primary handling attorney, Mr. Berkeley has extensive experience in all aspects of pre-trial litigation work.
Mr. Berkeley received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington where he double majored in Political Science and Communication before earning his J.D. from California Western School of Law. He is licensed to practice in all California state and federal District Courts and in Washington state.
In his spare time, Mr. Berkeley enjoys golfing, skiing, and hiking. Since 2015, Mr. Berkeley has served as a board member for Pug Rescue of San Diego County.
RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL – CIVIL ACTIONS
Mason v. Farm Credit of Southern Colorado, 419 P.3d 975 (Col. Sup. Ct.)
Between 2008 and 2011, Zachary Mason entered into several loan agreements with Farm Credit of Southern Colorado (“Farm Credit”) wherein he granted Farm Credit a perfected security interest in some of his crops, farm equipment, and other personal property. After he defaulted on the loans, Farm Credit filed a lawsuit, in 2012, on various claims based in contract and tort.
EVIDENCE – EXPERT OPINION
Doe v. Good Samaritan Hospital (2018) 23 Cal.App.5th 653
Facts and Background
While admitted to the psychiatric unit at Good Samaritan Hospital, plaintiff (an adolescent) alleges he was sexually assaulted by his roommate. In response, plaintiff brought the an action against the hospital, alleging it was negligent in placing plaintiff in the same room as his alleged offender and limiting surveillance to 15-minute intervals.
DUTY TO DEFEND
ACE American Insurance Company v. DISH Network, LLC, 883 F.3d 881 (10th Cir. 2018)
In April of 2009, four states sued DISH Network, LLC for alleged violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”) and Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) when DISH initiated residential telephone calls with automated and/or pre-recorded messages.
Many states provide limited to no checks on a plaintiff’s ability to plead and seek exemplary or punitive damages in the initial stage of litigation. For example, in California plaintiffs are met with no initial bar in pleading punitive damages. While there are effective tools to combat a frivolous prayer for punitive damages, its initial inclusion in a complaint can often provide unwarranted leverage to a plaintiff.
Like a majority of states, Colorado affords plaintiffs the opportunity to seek exemplary or punitive damages where an injury is attended by circumstances of fraud, malice, or willful and wanton conduct. (CO Rev Stat § 13-21-102.) The general purpose of punitive damages is punishment where the court seeks to deter against the commission of similar offenses by the defendant or others in the future.
PRODUCTS LIABILITY – COLORADO SUPREME COURT RULES REGARDING APPROPRIATE TEST TO DETERMINE DEFECTIVE DESIGN
Walker v. Ford Motor Co., 2017 CO 102, 406 P.3d 845 (R’Hrg denied 12/18/17)
Plaintiff motorist brought a products liability action based on strict liability and negligence claims against an automobile manufacturer alleging the driver’s seat was defectively designed. After the trial court instructed the jury to apply either the consumer expectation test or the risk-benefit test to determine whether the seat was defectively designed, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the motorist in the amount of nearly $3 million dollars.
In the wake of a longstanding split between Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal and Third District Court of Appeal in how to assess insurance coverage, the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in Sebo v. American Home Assurance Co., 208 So.3d 692 (Fla. 2016), will likely have a substantial and enduring impact on insurance coverage in Florida. The decision to seemingly adopts the “concurrent cause doctrine” as the standard for settling insurance disputes in situations where covered and uncovered causes of a harm are independent of each other and the loss would not have occurred but for the joinder of the two. The Florida Supreme Court reasoned the competing “efficient proximate cause doctrine” was inefficient in settling disputes where there was no reasonable way to distinguish the insured’s property loss.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Michael Grunwald of Politico authored an article examining the venal beginnings of America’s fastest-growing city, Cape Coral, Florida. Entitled “The Boomtown That Shouldn’t Exist,” Mr. Grunwald’s describes Cape Coral’s city planning as non-existent, calling it the “least natural, worst-planned, craziest-growing piece of an unnatural, badly planned, crazy-growing state.” He goes on to describe Cape Coral as “a precarious civilization engineered out of a watery wilderness, a bewildering dreamscape forged by greed, flimflam and absurdly grandiose visions that somehow stumbled into heavily populated realities.”