Archives: California

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California Supreme Court to Tackle Labor and Insurance Issues

The California Supreme Court has five civil cases scheduled for its April calendar, each addressing important questions of labor and insurance law.   Independent Contractors or Employees – Class Actions: In Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc., S206874, the court will address the determination of whether and when common issues dominate in a class action in … Continue Reading

The Perils of Small Errors: California Supreme Court Publishes Lower Court’s Foreclosure Opinion

  In its second noteworthy action during Wednesday’s conference, the California Supreme Court granted a request to publish an August 2013 opinion from the Appellate Division of the Santa Clara County Superior Court in The Bank of New York Mellon v. Preciado. Preciado carries noteworthy lessons about the perils of small errors in foreclosure cases. Certain … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court To Consider Causation in Workers Comp for Medication-Related Injuries

In Wednesday’s conference, the California Supreme Court agreed to review South Coast Framing v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, an unpublished decision from Division One of the Fourth District. South Coast Framing poses an interesting question: how does the legal standard for causation in a workers’ comp matter apply when an injured worker apparently dies as a … Continue Reading

Coming Soon – The Jurisdictional Implications of Social Media Posts

In the second significant order to come off the civil side of the California Supreme Court’s docket in the wake of Wednesday’s conference, the Court entered a “grant-and-transfer” order in Burdick v. Superior Court (Sanderson), granting the petition for review and shipping the case back to the Fourth Appellate District, Division Three. Ordinarily, G&T orders don’t … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Potentially High-Stakes Employment Issue

    During its Wednesday conference, the California Supreme Court agreed to answer an issue certified for its decision by the Ninth Circuit: what standard should an employer use to determine whether employees are entitled a “suitable seats” during their working hours pursuant to California law? The question arises from two consolidated cases, Kilby v. … Continue Reading

California Confirms Preemption by FAA Over State Rule Barring Employee Waiver – Mostly

In Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno (Sonic II), the California Supreme Court addressed an employee’s waiver of access to an administrative hearing, in this case a Berman hearing, in an arbitration agreement imposed as a condition of employment. The unanimous court concluded that a categorical rule prohibiting such waivers is preempted by the Federal Arbitration … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Rejects Erosion of One Final Judgment Rule: “Final Means Final”

On October 3, 2013, the California Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Kurwa v. Kislinger, S201619, confirming that under settled California practice, as codified in Code of Civil Procedure section 904.1(a), to be appealable a judgment must dispose of all causes of action pending between the parties. The Court rejected arguments submitted by the California … Continue Reading

Don’t Panic – The Fall of Pendergrass and Restoring the Full Fraud Exception to the Parol Evidence Rule May Not Be as Bad as You Think.

In Riverisland Cold Storage, Inc., v. Fresno-Madera Prod. Credit Ass., S190581, the unanimous California Supreme Court recently overturned the widely criticized Pendergrass rule, thus restoring the full breadth of the fraud exception to the parol evidence rule. In 1935, the Court limited the fraud exception to the parole evidence rule – holding that evidence of a promise that … Continue Reading

Primary Assumption of the Risk – 20 Years Later, Nalwa Confirms the Vitality and Breadth of Knight.

Implicitly marking the 20th anniversary of its seminal decision in Knight v. Jewett, which established the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk, the California Supreme Court confirmed both the continuing vitality and breadth of that decision in Nalwa v. Cedar Fair (2012), S195031. In Knight, a plurality of the Supreme Court held that a … Continue Reading

Daily Journal Interview with Marston on New California Opinion on Expert Testimony

Special Counsel Hall R. Marston recently published an article in the California Daily Journal on Sargon Enterprises v. USC (pdf), a new California Supreme Court opinion setting out Daubert-like standards for admissibility of expert testimony.  Anticipating interest in the article, the paper’s editorial staff arranged a video interview (subscribers only) for Hall to address the … Continue Reading

A Potential Liability Trap for Settling Joint Tortfeasors

Late last month, the California Supreme Court raised the stakes for defense counsel negotiating settlements in multiple defendant cases, abolishing the common-law “release rule” in Leung v. Verdugo Hills Hospital [pdf]. Leung has gotten a good bit of attention in the news and the blogs, including stories in The Wall Street Journal, Findlaw, Plaintiff Magazine [pdf] … Continue Reading

Self-Contradictory Testimony Does Not Necessarily Create A Triable Issue of Fact Requiring Denial of Summary Judgment

It is not uncommon for a deposition witness testifying regarding critical events to make somewhat inconsistent statements under direct- and cross-examination.  For decades California trial courts have denied summary judgment motions on the ground that such inconsistencies create triable issues of fact that must be resolved by juries.  The lower courts cite two California Supreme … Continue Reading

California Plaintiffs’ Bar Seeks to Overturn Landmark Howell Decision On Medical Special Damages

Last August, the California Supreme Court issued one of those once-in-a-generation opinions that cut a wide swath across many areas of tort law. A 6-1 opinion, Howell v. Hamilton Meats held that personal injury plaintiffs are limited to recovering, as medical special damages, the amount plaintiff’s private health insurer actually paid plaintiff’s medical provider in full satisfaction of … Continue Reading

Products Liability Law Ebbs as California Supreme Court Issues Definitive O’Neil Opinion

The California Supreme Court has issued a resounding and conclusive opinion rejecting the surging liability theory that a product manufacturer may be held liable for harmful defects in products made by third parties unless the manufacturer’s own product contributed substantially to the harm, or the manufacturer participated substantially in creating a harmful combined use of … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Hears Argument in Pivotal Asbestos Product Liability Case

The California Supreme Court heard oral argument in O’Neil v. Crane Co. The Court’s decision will likely define an important area of strict products liability law in California – specifically, it will expand or limit the duty of product manufacturers to warn about the hazards of replacement parts made by others that are subsequently incorporated by … Continue Reading

A Claim for Medical Expenses Is Limited to the Rate Negotiated by Plaintiff’s Insurer – So Rules The California Supreme Court in Howell

  Adding its voice to a continuing national debate, the California Supreme Court has adopted the minority rule and held that tort damages for past medical expenses are limited to those amounts actually paid and accepted as full payment for the services provided, when such amounts are determined by an existing agreement with the plaintiff’s … Continue Reading