The California Supreme Court issued an opinion regarding the highly contested “Dynamex ABC” test. The court held in Vasquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. the test in Dynamex applies retroactively when determining whether a worker should be classified as an employee or independent contractor for the purpose of wage and hour laws applies retroactively.
The United States Supreme Court refused to hear the case brought by Cal Cartage Transportation Express LLC challenging the appellate court ruling upholding California’s Assembly Bill 5 (“AB5”). Though AB5’s impact on rideshare companies is often dissected, the law also significantly impacts the trucking industry, and can, without careful planning, expose trucking companies to Nuclear Verdicts™.
A nuclear verdict is outrageous and based on fear and anger, not the law. More Nuclear Verdicts™ are being handed down at a higher rate in every state. These verdicts threaten unjust outcomes for defendants around the country. An internet search will produce numerous articles and references to excessive verdicts by California juries, and the question now seems to be how much the next nuclear verdict will be for, not whether there will be another nuclear verdict.
On January 1, 2022, the nation’s first warehouse transparency law will go into effect, permanently changing the quota requirements in the warehouse distribution industry. AB 701 requires warehouse employers provide employees with written disclosures related to distribution quotas. Employees will not be required to fulfill these quotas at the expense of meal or rest breaks.
In another step favorable to workers’ rights, the California Supreme Court recently settled a dispute regarding the pay rate for employees when they are denied meal and rest periods. The Court held that an employee is entitled to the equivalent of his or her overtime pay if the employer does not allow its employees to take breaks.
The central issue in any medical malpractice case is whether the medical provider breached the applicable standard of care. The California state appeals court recently clarified the standard of care for a physician in an unpublished case. Generally speaking, the medical standard of care is defined as the level and type of care that a reasonably competent and skilled health care professional, with a similar background and in the same medical community, would have provided under the circumstances that led to the alleged malpractice. The standard of care is only proven by expert testimony, unless the circumstances are such that the required conduct is within the layperson’s common knowledge.
On November 4, 2021, the Second District Court of Appeal, Division 2, ruled against establishing tort liability for insurers who paid less than what the hospital believed to be the “reasonable and customary value.” This partially published opinion is based on the underlying suit between plaintiffs Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center (collectively “the hospitals”) and defendant Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (“Kaiser”) stemming from alleged underpayment by Kaiser for emergency medical services rendered at the hospitals.
A jury recently awarded $20 million against the City of Exeter in San Luis Obispo County, California in a case involving a 2016 retired police dog which attacked and killed one individual and injured another. The jury verdict fits the mold of the typical Nuclear Verdicts™ plaguing our country. Defense attorneys can utilize methods to prevent these types of verdicts from being handed down if they understand and recognize the mold.
Could a Medi-Cal lien for recovery of advanced medical expenses be pre-empted by federal law? This was the issue recently decided by the Second District Court of Appeal in L.Q. v. California Hospital Medical Center.[i] The case involves the conflict between federal and state law on whether a state’s Medicaid program can legally claim a lien against a beneficiary’s personal injury settlement without violating the anti-lien provision in the federal Medicare Act. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and held the state Medi-Cal lien was valid, allowing recovery of the portion of the settlement proceeds to be attributable to past medical care paid for by Medi-Cal.
Attorneys should be aware of the basic but essential need for timeliness for court filings. In California, a recent case affirmed the importance of diligence and timely filings. In Braganza v. Albertson’s LLC, the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of plaintiff’s motion to continue the hearing for a Motion for Summary Judgment and thus, granted the defense’s motion. Plaintiff’s counsel had sought the continuance on the ground that she needed additional discovery to oppose the motion but did not demonstrate diligence in timely conducting discovery before seeking the continuance.