Archives: Jurisdictions

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Illinois Supreme Court Holds State’s Contractual Obligations Are Implicitly Conditional on Appropriations

A state employee union enters into a contract with the State calling for certain wage increases. Ultimately, the legislature refuses to fully fund the increases, and they aren’t paid. Is the State in breach of contract, or are its contractual obligations implicitly conditional on the legislature appropriating the money? In a ruling with significant potential … Continue Reading

California Limits Ability to Skirt Privilege Using Public Records Request

In Ardon v. City of Los Angeles, the unanimous California Supreme Court narrowly interpreted a statutory waiver included in the California Public Records Act to exclude “inadvertent” disclosures.  In responding to a public records request, a governmental agency can withhold documents under several exemptions, including that the documents are privileged under the Evidence Code, if … Continue Reading

Florida Supreme Court to Decide If the Disclosure of an Attorney’s Referral of a Client to a Doctor is Privileged or Discoverable

On May 15, 2015, in Worley v. Central Florida Young Men’s Christian Ass’n, 163 So. 3d 1240 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015), Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal held that information regarding a law firm’s referral of its client to a physician was discoverable. Briefing of this case in the Florida Supreme Court was completed on … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Unanimously Strikes Down Chicago Pension Reform Act

This morning, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated opinion in Jones v. Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, unanimously striking down Public Act 98-641, the pension reform bill for the City of Chicago. For a detailed summary of the underlying facts and court rulings, see here and here. For our report on … Continue Reading

Florida High Court Reaffirms “Four-Corners Rule” for Determining the Sufficiency of a Complaint

This post updates the blog post dated May 13, 2015. On March 17, 2016, the Florida Supreme Court decided Santiago v. Mauna Loa Investments, LLC, No. SC13-2194 (review granted May 22, 2014), by quashing the Third District’s decision which improperly considered documents outside the complaint in determining the complaint’s sufficiency to state a cause of … Continue Reading

Florida Supreme Court to Examine Whether Relation-Back Doctrine Applies to New Causes of Action

The Florida Supreme Court will review two district court cases that apply the relation-back doctrine (when an amended pleading relates back to an original pleading) and decide whether the doctrine applies to new causes of action. See Palm Bch. Cnty. Sch. Bd. v. Doe, No. SC13-1834; Kopel v. Kopel, SC13-992. The doctrine can be found … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Whether Res Judicata Applies Following Voluntary Dismissal on Remaining Claims

One or more claims are dismissed on the merits. Subsequently, the plaintiff takes a voluntary dismissal without prejudice on the remaining claims. Does res judicata bar any attempt by the plaintiff to later reinstate the dismissed claims? The Illinois Supreme Court debated that question during its January term, hearing oral argument in Richter v. Prairie … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Health Insurance Coverage for Police Pension Recipients

Section 10 of the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act provides that under certain circumstances, police officers receiving a line-of-duty disability pension are entitled to receive fully paid health insurance coverage for themselves and their families. Section 10 has been a recurring interest of the Illinois Supreme Court over the past few years, see here and … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Holds Plaintiffs Entitled to Costs as of Right After Settlement

Last week, a divided California Supreme Court handed down its decision in DeSaulles v. Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, holding that as long as a settlement agreement involves a payment of money from defendants to plaintiff – no matter how small in relation to the plaintiff’s demand – the plaintiff is a “prevailing party” … Continue Reading

When Is a Stay Not a Stay? – Defining the 5-year Limit to Bring a Case to Trial

In Gaines v. Fidelity National Title Ins. Co., S215990, a divided California Supreme Court (5-2) upheld the dismissal of this case for failure to bring the matter to trial within five years, as required by Code of Civil Procedure § 583.310. In doing so, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower courts and rejected plaintiff’s argument … Continue Reading

Real Estate Bubble 2.0 – The California Supreme Court Weighs In

The California Supreme Court recently issued two opinions resulting from the aftermath of the 2009 real estate crash. It addressed both the statutory protections for a homeowner after a short sale (i.e., a sale for less then what is owed on the mortgage) and their ability to sue for wrongful foreclosure. In both cases, the … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether Occupational Disease Disability Pension Triggers Health Insurance Benefit

Section 10 of the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act provides that when a covered employee sustains a “catastrophic injury,” the employee is entitled to the additional benefit of having his or her health insurance premiums, as well as those of his or her partner and/or dependent children, paid by the employer. Is Section 10 triggered … Continue Reading

Florida Supreme Court to Decide Whether the Litigation Privilege Can Bar a Malicious Prosecution Claim

The Florida Supreme Court will resolve a conflict between the Third and Fourth Districts regarding whether the litigation privilege can be used to bar a claim for malicious prosecution. See No. SC15-1477. In the case before the Court, the Fourth District held that “the litigation privilege cannot be applied to bar the filing of a … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Limits Scope of Misconduct Sufficient to Bar Unemployment Benefits

The Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act provides that benefits may be denied when an employee is terminated for a “deliberate and willful violation of a reasonable rule or policy” of the employer. Last week, in a unanimous opinion by Justice Burke in Petrovic v. The Department of Employment Security, the Illinois Supreme Court held that misconduct … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Rejects Privilege Claims on Hospital Credentialing Materials

Every medical facility has dozens of files consisting of papers submitted in conjunction with physician applications for credentials to practice in that facility. Are such documents privileged from discovery in a medical malpractice lawsuit claiming, in part, that the facility was negligent for renewing the defendant’s credentials? Late last month, a unanimous Illinois Supreme Court … Continue Reading

Sharply Divided Illinois Supreme Court Abolishes “Public Duty Rule” Protecting Government Officials from Tort Suits

A long-standing common law principle called the “public duty rule” holds that local government entities and their employees owe no tort duty of care to individual citizens to provide governmental services such as police and fire protection – such duties are owed to the public as a whole. In the closing days of its January … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court In 2015: A Year In Transition

Originally published on Law360, Feb. 4, 2016. Posted with permission. 2015 was a year of transition for the California Supreme Court as two new justices appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, Justices Mariano-Florentino Cuellar and Leondra R. Kruger, took office in early January. Because the new justices replaced Republican appointees, there has been widespread speculation that … Continue Reading

Florida High Court to Decide Whether Attorneys’ Fees Limitation in Claim Bill Is Constitutional

The Florida Supreme Court has accepted review of Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A. v. State, No. 4D13-3497, 2015 WL 4269031 (Fla. 4th DCA July 15, 2015), which will require it to decide whether a claims bill* that awarded $15 million to a minor plaintiff, but limited attorneys’ fees to $100,000, when the law … Continue Reading

Florida Supreme Court to Resolve Conflict Regarding Whether a Proposal for Settlement Must Reference Attorneys’ Fees When There Is No Fee Claim Pled

The Florida Supreme Court will review the First District’s decision in Borden Dairy Co. of Alabama, LLC v. Kuhajda, 171 So. 2d 242 (Fla. 1st DCA Aug. 14, 2015), which certified conflict with the Fourth District’s decision in Bennett v. American Learning Systems of Boca Delray, Inc., 857 So. 2d 986 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003). … Continue Reading

Florida Appellate Court Confirms That Pedestrian May Be Responsible For Collision With Vehicle

On December 2, 2015, the Second District Court of Appeal, in Panzera v. O’Neal (Case No. 2D14-4302), held that the plaintiffs did not present any admissible evidence to support their negligence claim against the defendant-truck driver and his employer or to refute the conclusion that the decedent-pedestrian caused the highway collision. Accordingly, the court affirmed … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Sides With Chicago Board of Education in “Do Not Hire” Union Dispute

This morning, a majority of the Illinois Supreme Court sided with the Chicago Board of Education in a dispute with its teachers union, holding in The Board of Education of the City of Chicago v. The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board that the Board of Education was not required to participate in mandatory arbitration over … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Rejects Broad Construction of Judge Challenge Statute

A litigant files suit, litigates for several years, and then, prior to trial, exercises her right to voluntarily dismiss the action without prejudice. Not long after, she refiles the action and is assigned (apparently by chance) to the same judge. The litigant attempts to exercise her statutory right to one automatic substitution of judge under … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Clarify When Workers’ Comp Settlement Eliminates Contribution Claim from Third-Party Tortfeasor

According to Section 2 of the Contribution Act, when a party settles a claim in good faith against one tortfeasor, the finding of good faith automatically discharges that tortfeasor from any liability for contribution to another tortfeasor. (740 ILCS 100/2.) On the final day of its November term, the Illinois Supreme Court allowed a petition … Continue Reading