In The News2017-03-14T03:38:48-05:00

Legal News

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[09/04] Court calls man’s prison term of up to 216 years ‘excessive’

[09/04] Judge sides with Brady on ‘Deflategate,’ NFL appeals

[09/04] Judge: Suspect’s confession OK in California pier shooting

[09/04] Husband of jailed Kentucky clerk says she won’t resign;…

[09/04] Drone crashes into stands during US Open match; no injures

[09/04] Court calls man’s prison term of up to 216 years ‘excessive’

Case Summaries

Injury & Tort Law

[08/15] Constand v. Cosby

In an appeal of a District Court order unsealing certain documents that reveal damaging admissions he made in a 2005 deposition regarding his sexual behavior, the District Court’s order is vacated but the appeal is dismissed where resealing the documents would not provide defendant with any meaningful relief, and thus this appeal is moot.

[08/10] US v. United Healthcare Ins. Co.

In a qui tam action alleging that defendant Medicare Advantage organizations submitted false certifications in violation of the False Claims Act, the District Court’s judgment dismissing without leave to amend qui tam relator’s third amended complaint is remanded with instructions to afford relator leave to file a proposed fourth amended complaint.

[08/05] Ace American Ins. Co. v. Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co.

In an equitable subrogation suit by an excess insurer against the primary insurer of a film set, on which a film industry worker was seriously injured, alleging that the injured worker initially offered to settle his case within the limits of the primary insurer’s policies, and that the primary insurer unreasonably rejected those settlement offers, and as a result the excess insurer was required to contribute to the eventual settlement, the trial court’s sustainment of defendant’s demurrer is reversed where because the excess insurer alleged it was required to contribute to the settlement of the underlying case due to the primary insurer’s failure to reasonably settle the case within policy limits, the lack of an excess judgment against the insured in the underlying case does not bar an action for equitable subrogation and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing.

[08/03] Aldana v. Stillwagon

In a negligence suit against a paramedic who was involved in a collision while driving to the location of another accident, the trial court’s dismissal of the suit as time barred, on grounds that the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) limits the time to file suit against a health care provider for professional negligence to one year from the date the injury is discoverable, Code Civ. Proc., section 340.5, rather than the two-year limitations period for general negligence, section 335.1, is reversed where defendant was not rendering professional services at the time of the accident, thus the automobile collision remains a ‘garden-variety’ accident not resulting from the violation of a professional obligation but from a failure to exercise reasonable care in the operation of a motor vehicle.

[08/02] Doe 2 v. Superior Court (Avongard Products)

In a suit brought by a film industry visual special effects (vfx) provider for libel, alleging defendant’s anonymous emails to a film producer and a film industry executive harmed its reputation, the trial court grant of plaintiff’s request to conduct special discovery that would reveal defendant’s identity is vacated where: 1) under Krinsky v. Doe 6 (2008) 159 Cal.App.4th 1154, First Amendment protection for anonymous speech requires a libel plaintiff seeking to discover an anonymous libel defendant’s identity to make a prima facie showing of all elements of defamation; and 2) plaintiff failed to make a prima facie showing that defendant’s emails are provably false and defamatory statements of fact or that the emails caused plaintiff to suffer actual damage.

[07/29] Yhudai v. Impac Funding Corp.

In a homeowner’s suit against his lender and other parties alleging causes of action arising from the nonjudicial foreclosure sale of his residence, the trial court sustainment of the defendants’ demurrer to plaintiff’s second amended complaint without leave to amend and dismissal of the case with prejudice are affirmed over plaintiff’s numerous meritless challenges.

[07/25] Manzari v. Associated Newspapers Ltd.

In an action alleging defamation by a pioneer in the online adult entertainment industry and famous under her professional name, Danni Ashe, the District Court’s order denying the media defendant’s motion to strike a complaint pursuant to California’s anti-SLAPP statute is affirmed where at this stage in the litigation, plaintiff had presented sufficient evidence to move forward with her claim that Daily Mail Online employees acted with actual malice when they published an article implying that she was an HIV-positive sex worker.

[07/22] Santos v. Kisco Senior Living

In a suit arising out of an incident of suspected theft from an elder care facility, brought by the facility employee who was arrested on suspicion of the theft, the trial court’s judgment to plaintiff and denial of defendants’ motion for JNOV on false arrest and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims, is reversed where: 1) the immunity provision of Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, Weld. and Inst. Code section 15634, protects mandated reporters from liability for conduct that is integrally related to a report of suspected elder abuse; and 2) the undisputed evidence establishes that defendant’s acts in this case constituted such conduct.

[07/22] Cox v. Super. Ct.

In a case in which prisoner-plaintiff filed a civil complaint against real parties in interest, officials and employees of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), seeking monetary damages, and simultaneously filed a petition for relief from the government claims filing requirement, the trial court’s judgment deeming the civil complaint to be a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which it then denied, is vacated where real parties in interest concede that the trial court erred.

[07/18] Cornwell Entertainment, Inc. v. Anchin, Block & Anchin, LLP

In a suit brought by a well-known novelist, her spouse and her corporation against their former business managers, alleging negligent performance of professional services, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty, the District Court’s decision to reverse a jury’s $51 million award is: 1) affirmed in part where a) plaintiffs have not made the case that the District Court erred in the choice-of-law analysis it performed in rejecting the Chapter 93A claim, b) the District Court did not err in denying their post-trial petition for an award of equitable forfeiture, and c) the Court did not abuse its discretion in denying portions of plaintiffs’ Rule 50(b) motion; and 2) reversed in part where the District Court erred in accepting the defendants’ argument that any statements they made to the DOJ regarding Cornwell’s campaign contributions were subject to a qualified privilege and thus could not support the claim of fiduciary breach.

[07/14] Janice H v. 696 North Robertson, LLC

In a case against the owner and operator of a successful West Hollywood bar and dance club, brought by a patron-plaintiff seeking damages for defendant’s failure to use reasonable care to protect her from a sexual assault in a unisex bathroom stall, the trial court’s entry of the jury’s award of $5.42 million in compensatory damages to plaintiff are affirmed over defendant’s challenges that: 1) it did not owe or breach a duty to plaintiff and did not cause plaintiff’s injury; 2) the court abused its discretion by erroneously admitting irrelevant and prejudicial evidence; and 3) the jury’s noneconomic damages award was excessive and punitive in nature.

[07/14] SRM Global Master Fund Ltd. P’ship v. Bear Stearns Cos.

In a suit brought by a registered private investment fund, asserting that Bear Sterns Companies and its auditors made material misrepresentations in violation of SEC Rule 36 10b?5 and Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and engaged in common law fraud, the District Court’s dismissal of the complaint is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff’s Section10(b) and Rule 10b?5 claims as time?barred, as the class action tolling rule set forth in Am. Pipe & Constr. Co. v. Utah, 414 U.S. 538 (1974), does not apply to 28 U.S.C. section 1658(b)(2), the five?year statute of repose that limits the time in which plaintiffs may bring claims under Section 10(b) and Rule 10b?5; 2) plaintiff’s Section 20(a) claims fail to state a primary violation of Section 10(b); and 3) plaintiff’s common law fraud claims fail because New York law does not recognize holder fraud claims and plaintiff failed adequately to plead reliance.

[07/08] Commonwealth of Virginia ex rel. Hunter Labs. v. Commonwealth of Virginia

In a settled qui tam action against multiple medical laboratory businesses, alleging that the medical laboratories had submitted false claims to the Commonwealth of Virginia for Medicaid reimbursement, in contravention of the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (VFATA), the District Court’s award to the relators of a share of the settlement proceeds is vacated where the District Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the qui tam action.

[07/08] Aponte-Davila v. Municipality of Caguas

In a ‘slip-and-fall’ negligence suit invoking the federal courts’ diversity jurisdiction, the District Court’s dismissal for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction is reversed where plaintiff had not abandoned his Texas domicile while receiving medical care in Puerto Rico, and, that in any event, defendant had reinstated his Texas domicile before suit was filed.

[07/07] Brooks v. Clark County

In a bail enforcement agent’s claim that a courtroom marshal used excessive force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment, when executing a judge’s order to remove a disruptive individual from her courtroom, the District Court’s denial of a motion to dismiss is: 1) affirmed in part as to denial of the marshal’s absolute immunity defense to the bail enforcement agent’s claim for damages; and 2) reversed as to the District Court’s denial of the marshal’s qualified immunity defense.

[07/05] Doe v. Hesketh

In a case brought under Masha?s Law, 18 U.S.C. section 2255, which provides a civil right of action in federal district court to victims of several federal crimes, including sexual exploitation of a child and various child pornography offenses, the District Court’s dismissal of the complaint is reversed where a restitution award for a criminal offense does not bar a later-filed civil claim by a victim under section 2255 based on that same offense.

[07/01] Popescu v. Apple Inc.

In a labor and employment action, alleging that plaintiff employee was wrongfully terminated by his employer, Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood (Constellium), after defendant Apple convinced Constellium to terminate plaintiff in retaliation for his resistance to allegedly illegal, anti-competitive conduct by Apple, the trial court’s sustainment of defendant’s demurrer is reversed where: 1) the trial court erroneously interpreted Reeves v. Hanlon, 33 Cal. 4th 1140 (2004), as requiring plaintiff to allege or prove Apple interfered with his at-will employment contract with Constellium in order to bring a claim for intentional interference with contractual relations; and 2) plaintiff alleged the required elements of intentional interference with prospective economic advantage by alleging that Apple’s wrongful act interfered with his economic relationship with Constellium.

[07/01] Brooks v. Mercy Hospital

In a civil procedure action, brought by a state inmate contending that defendant negligently overmedicated him and provided substandard medical care, the trial court’s grant of defendant’s demurrer on statute of limitation grounds is reversed where Grasso v. McDonough Power Equipment, Inc., 264 Cal.App. 2d 597 (1968) dispositively holds that state inmates serving life sentences with the possibility of parole are eligible for a two-year tolling provision set forth in Code of Civil Procedure section 352.1.

[06/28] Paret-Ruiz v. US

In a civil action, following the reversal of plaintiff’s prison sentence for drug conspiracy after four years imprisonment, the district court’s judgment following a bench trial is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff did not submit a timely claim at his earlier forfeiture proceeding, barring his Federal Torts Claim Act claim; 2) plaintiff’s constitutional takings claim is barred by his failure to comply with 18 U.S.C. section 983 ; and 3) plaintiff failed to prove the malice element of malicious prosecution required under Puerto Rico law.

[06/23] Ramos v. Brenntag Specialties, Inc.

In a suit brought by a metal foundry worker who developed interstitial pulmonary fibrosis against a variety of companies that supplied products for use in the foundry’s manufacturing process, asserting that the suppliers’ products, when used in their intended fashion, produced harmful fumes and dust that were a substantial cause of his pulmonary illness, the Court of Appeals’ reversal of the trial court’s grant of defendant’s demurrer is affirmed where the protection afforded to defendants by the component parts doctrine does not apply when the product supplied has not been incorporated into a different finished or end product but instead, as here, itself allegedly causes injury when used in the manner intended by the product supplier.

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