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California Case Law Update

Author: Amy Chambers

Guest Editor: Terra Davenport

January 8, 2020 11:00am

Loeb v. County of San Diego, Cal. Ct. App., Dec. 16, 2019
Justin Kiluk v. Mercedes Benz USA, LLC, Cal. Ct. App., Dec. 12, 2019
Guo Zhang Chen v. Jane Lin, Cal. App. Dep’t Super. Ct., Nov. 14, 2019

The Johnson & Johnson Cases and the Importance of Experts

Author: Katy Cummings

Guest Editor: Terra Davenport

January 8, 2020 11:00am

On December 16, 2019, Johnson & Johnson (“J & J”) prevailed at trial in Fong v. Johnson & Johnson in California Superior Court, Los Angeles County.  This victory was J & J’s latest in a series of lawsuits which alleged their baby powder products contain ingredients such as asbestos, resulting in the plaintiffs’ medical complaints, including fatal cancers.  This is the third victory in a row for J & J in the high-profile…

Mcdonalds is Lovin It in Court These Days

Author: Po Waghalter

Guest Editor: Terra Davenport

January 8, 2020 11:00am

In a recent ruling, the Court of Appeal reaffirms its finding that a franchisor is not a “joint employer” under the California Labor Code. As such, McDonald’s corporation recently avoided the extension of employer liability for the acts of its franchisee.

California Tort Report

Author: Dan Cortright

Guest Editor: Salayha K. Ghoury

December 2, 2019 1:24pm

Special Needs Student Hit by Car to Receive $28.5M from California School District: Fabian Luciano Sanchez et al. v. Victor Elementary School District et al.
Tesla Sued by Apple Engineer’s Family Following Death Related to Alleged Driver-Assistance Failure: Huang et al. v. Tesla Inc. dba Tesla Motors Inc. et al.

The Ninth Circuit Demands Higher Standards from Arbitrators Disclosing Their Potential Sources of Bias

Author: Alla Policastro

Guest Editor: Salayha K. Ghoury

December 2, 2019 1:16pm

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…

Excessive Jury Verdicts Run Amuck –Don’t Count on California Courts to Clean Up the Mess

Author: Jeremy Freedman

December 2, 2019 1:12pm

In 1771, John Adams foreshadowed the reality of excessive jury awards we routinely hear about in the news. In drafting the Seventh Amendment, John Adams envisioned “the duty of the jury. . . [was] to find a verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”  At that time, a trial by jury was envisioned where the value of the case was over $20 dollars.

California Case Law Update

Author: Alice Segal

Guest Editor: Dan Cortright

December 2, 2019 1:07pm

Presbyterian Camp and Conference Centers, Inc. v. Superior Court
Bakersfield College et al. v. California Community College Athletic Association et al.
Sarun v. Dignity Health

JUDICIAL POWER PLAY: The Limits of Judicial Power and Public Entity Liability Addressed in Quigley v. Garden Valley Fire Protection District

Author: David Kahn

Guest Editor: Raymond K. Wilson Jr.

December 2, 2019 10:00am

Set within in a classic constitutional power struggle between the legislature and the judiciary, the 2019 California Supreme Court opinion in Quigley v. Garden Valley Fire Protection District (7 Cal. 5th 798) held statutory immunities for public entities are affirmative defenses and may be waived if not timely raised. The broad holding categorically overturns a line of cases which held statutory immunities, which shield public entities from liability, is…

A Major Blow to the Practice of “Chalking” Tires to Support Issuance of Parking Tickets

Author: Brian Woolfall

Guest Editor: Danielle Vukovich

November 5, 2019 8:00am

For decades across the country, parking enforcement officers have driven past unmetered parking, such as two-hour parking zones, and chalked car tires.  If the parking enforcement officer came back, in this instance, over two hours later, and any cars with chalked tires remained, the officer would issue parking tickets.  Cities generate a substantial amount of revenue from this practice.

California Case Law Update

Author: Emily Berman

Guest Editor: Danielle Vukovich

November 5, 2019 8:00am

Kim v. United States (9th Cir. 2019) 940 F.3d 484
Romero v. Fullerton Surgical Center LP (Cal.Ct.App., Oct. 15, 2019, No. 6056433) 2019 WL 5156723
Anaya v. General Equipment & Supplies, Inc. (Cal. Ct. App., Oct. 8, 2019, No. B291274) 2019 WL 4945729

Time’s Up for So Cal Stip

Author: Po Waghalter

Guest Editor: Danielle Vukovich

November 5, 2019 8:00am

The end is near in the life of the Southern California Stipulation, aka “So Cal Stip.”  Sometime in August 2019, and unbeknownst to many unsuspecting deposing attorneys, Southern California court reporters united and collectively decided to take a stand against the (infamous) So Cal Stip. All of a sudden, attorneys throughout So Cal were (mostly politely) told by court reporters that they would not comply with the So Cal Stip, and an…

Going the Distance with Requests for Admissions

Author: Christopher Schon

November 5, 2019 8:00am

One of the best discovery tools to get straight to the facts and clear up any ambiguity is requests for admissions. An often neglected benefit in using requests for admissions is their punitive ability to recover cost of proof sanctions. This article examines the procedure necessary to recover cost of proof sanctions.

California Law Rules the Roost in First Party Insurance Claims

Author: Jeremy Freedman

November 5, 2019 8:00am

California’s Supreme Court recently set the stage for voiding all choice of law provisions in insurance contracts where the insured either resides or is insured in California and makes a first party claim. This is especially true where the law of another state would bar coverage for the insured. To wit, the California Supreme Court has made it clear – California has a strong public policy to avoid forfeiture of coverage.

New California Civil Code Section 5986 “Saws Off” Branches Decision Which Allowed Dismissal Of HOA Defect Lawsuits Not Approved By Homeowner Vote

Author: Robert Bernstein

Guest Editor: Salayha K. Ghoury

September 30, 2019 10:00am

A 2018 decision from California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal held that the homeowner’s association (“HOA”) for the Branches residential development could not proceed with a construction defect lawsuit against the project’s developer.  They reasoned the HOA failed to comply with a Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R) requirement compelling it to obtain approval of a majority of members before pursuing litigation or arbitration.

California’s AB5 – A Bump in the Road or a Brick Wall For the Gig-Economy?

Author: Robert Bernstein

Guest Editor: Salayha K. Ghoury

September 30, 2019 10:00am

On January 1, 2020, AB5 will be the law of the land in California. The law is codified as California Labor Code, Section 2750.3. The new law provides significant protections to workers by classifying many who were previously deemed independent contractors as employees, and by placing the burden to prove that a worker is not an employee on the employer.  The law has the potential to create major changes in the labor market…

California Case Law Update

Author: Danielle Vukovich

Guest Editor: Ashley Kaye

September 30, 2019 10:00am

Churchman v. Bay Area Rapid Transit District (2019) No. A151698 2019 WL 4050993
Pitzer College v. Indian Harbor Insurance Company (2019) No. S239510) 2019 WL 4065521

California Employees Cannot Recover Back Pay Under the California Private Attorneys General Act

Author: Brian Woolfall

Guest Editor: Salayha K. Ghoury

September 30, 2019 10:00am

A recently issued decision by the California Supreme Court analyzed whether a plaintiff employee may seek to recover unpaid or underpaid wages from his or her employer in an action brought pursuant to the California Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) (California Labor Code §§2698 et seq.).  The answer: No.

“Rogue Juror” Acting as Expert Found to be Prejudicial to Plaintiff

Author: Wendy Skillman

Guest Editor: Jeremy Freedman

September 3, 2019 10:00am

I attended law school in Massachusetts and our professors continuously reminded us that California likes to stand alone on many legal issues. No Surprise. This was illustrated again in Nodal v. Cal-West Rain, Inc. (2019) 2019 WL 323856). Unlike in Federal Court or most other state courts, California allows juror affidavits to impeach a verdict pursuant to California Evidence Code §1150 if the affidavit shows objectively ascertainable…

A Game of Chance: Special Verdict Form Drafted by Plaintiff’s Counsel Results in Defense Verdict

Author: David Kahn

Guest Editor: Jeremy Freedman

September 3, 2019 10:00am

In a very favorable case for public entity defendants, the Second District Court of Appeal recently upheld a defense verdict for the Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”). (Fuller v. Dept. of Transportation (2019, WL 3933563).  The appeal brought by plaintiff challenged the verdict primarily on grounds the special verdict form drafted by plaintiffs’ counsel was inconsistent with and not supported by the evidence because the jury did in…

Late Expert Designation- Fatal or Flawed?

Author: David Ramirez

Guest Editor: Jeremy Freedman

September 3, 2019 10:00am

In the recent case entitled Du-All Safety, LLC v. Superior Court of Alameda County, (2019) 34 Cal.App.5th 485, the Second District Court of Appeal addressed under what circumstances a party may “supplement” its experts by identifying additional experts to testify on subject matters in which the party had not previously designated an expert.

Shopping Center Owes No Duty to Enhance Security to Prevent Random Assault on Patrons

Author: Brian Johnson

Guest Editor: Jeremy Freedman

September 3, 2019 10:00am

Summary of the Ruling
In a decision filed June 24, 2019, a California appellate court held: (i) a shopping center owner’s general knowledge of the possibility of violent criminal conduct on its premises is insufficient alone to create a duty to provide protection against foreseeable third-party criminal acts; (ii) a prior burglary, broken window and assault were insufficient to support finding that third-party criminal conduct was sufficiently…

California Court Outlines Insurance Issues for Car Rental Companies

Author: Alice Segal

Guest Editor: Jeremy Freedman

September 3, 2019 10:00am

In the recently decided Second District case, Adhav v. Midway Rent A Car, Inc, the Court of Appeal evaluated California’s insurance law to rule on the claims of fraudulent business practices brought by two rental car customers.  Plaintiffs Ashish Adhave and Cullen Dickson (“Plaintiffs”) asserted they were overcharged for rental insurance when they were forced to pay the rental car company more than it paid to obtain the general…

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