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A 72-foot diseased tree fell on a sleeping child’s tent, in a campground within a 499-acre public wilderness park, owned by San Mateo County. The county claimed immunity as a matter of law for the allegedly dangerous condition of its property under Government Code section 831.2, “natural condition immunity,” which states: “Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for an injury caused by a natural condition of any unimproved public property, including but not limited to any natural condition of any lake, stream, bay, river or beach.” The court of appeal upheld the trial court’s denial of the county’s motion for summary judgment. There are triable issues of fact as to whether the property was “unimproved.” The heavily wooded park has trails. Its campsites are cleared of trees. The campground area has amenities including paved roads, telephones, restrooms (with electricity, sinks and flush toilets), showers, dedicated parking areas, a dumping station and a store. Plaintiffs’ campsite had two picnic tables, a fire pit, and a metal food locker. A professional land surveyor determined there were 34 man-made improvements within 126 feet of where the tree stood. View "County of San Mateo v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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FilmOn filed suit against DoubleVerify for trade libel, slander, and other business-related torts, alleging DoubleVerify falsely classified FilmOn's websites under the categories "Copyright Infringement-File Sharing" and "Adult Content" in confidential reports to certain clients that subsequently cancelled advertising agreements with FilmOn. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's grant of DoubleVerify's motion to strike pursuant to the anti-SLAPP statute. The court held that the trial court properly found DoubleVerify engaged in conduct in furtherance of its constitutional right of free speech in connection with an issue of public interest. View "FilmOn.com v. DoubleVerify, Inc." on Justia Law

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Defendants David Hernandez and D&H Trucking appealed from a $3.3 million personal injury judgment entered against them after plaintiff sustained serious injuries from a car accident with Hernandez's truck. The Court of Appeal affirmed and held that a reasonable trier of fact could find by a preponderance of the evidence that it was reasonably certain plaintiff would need four future shoulder surgeries. View "David v. Hernandez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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K.C. (Mother) was born in California. She was deported from Mexico to the United States. San Diego Police Department officers responded to a call regarding a female (Mother) who might be unfit to care for her two children. On their arrival, the officers found A.C., then six years old, and E.C., then 15 months old, sitting on the ground with Mother. Mother appeared manic and confused about her detention and expressed irrational beliefs (e.g., she could communicate telepathically). Based on their belief Mother was gravely disabled and unable to care for herself and her two children, the officers detained Mother pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 5150 and transported her to a San Diego County mental health facility for evaluation. Her children were transported to the Polinsky Children's Center (PCC). Mother appealed juvenile court orders that ultimately terminated parental rights to her sons. She contended the court erred by concluding it had subject matter jurisdiction over her children's cases under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). Mexico was the children's home state; although the court sent two e-mails to Mexico courts inquiring whether they declined to exercise jurisdiction over the children's cases in favor of California's assumption of jurisdiction, Mother argued the court erred by not verifying and authenticating on the record that those e-mails were sent to the correct e-mail addresses and appropriate judicial authorities in Mexico and that those e-mails were actually received by those authorities. She further argued that, in any event, the court could not exercise subject matter jurisdiction because there is no evidence showing that the children and at least one parent had significant connections to California other than mere physical presence or that there was substantial evidence available in California concerning the children's care, protection, training, and personal relationships. Finding no reversible error with the juvenile court’s orders, the Court of Appeals affirmed. View "In re A.C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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A taxi driver reported to police he had driven defendant to locations in Marin County. Defendant attempted to pay the $73.53 cab fare with a prepaid debit card, but the charge did not go through. When police searched defendant, they located a prepaid Visa card with defendant’s name and another individual’s name on it. A week later, defendant attempted to purchase dinner. A restaurant employee contacted police because he remembered defendant from an earlier incident when she attempted to purchase food using a stolen credit card. When the police searched defendant’s car, they located several credit cards with numbers removed or altered. Several cards had defendant’s name on them. Defendant pled guilty to two felony counts of access card forgery, misdemeanor petty theft, and a second-degree burglary charge in exchange for dismissal of other counts and other cases. Defendant later sought resentencing, to reduce her felony convictions for access card forgery to misdemeanors under Penal Code 1170.18(a). The trial court denied the petition as to the access card forgery charges, but granted it as to the petty theft conviction. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting defendant’s argument that exempting access card forgery from Proposition 47 relief violated her equal protection rights under the U,S, and California Constitutions. View "People v. Bloomfield" on Justia Law

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Under Privette v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 689 (Privette), an independent contractor's employee generally may not recover tort damages for work-related injuries from the contractor's hirer. Plaintiff filed suit against Evergreen and two of its contractors for general negligence after he was injured at work when he drove a maintenance van into a shipping container. Plaintiff was employed with PCMC, which had been hired by Evergreen. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendants based on the Privette doctrine. The court held that defendants met their burden as the moving parties on summary judgment and plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of material fact. View "Alvarez v. Seaside Transportation Services LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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ZL provides email archiving, eDiscovery, and compliance support to businesses nationwide. Glassdoor operates a website on which people may anonymously express opinions regarding employers. Individuals representing themselves as current or former ZL employees posted anonymous reviews on Glassdoor‘s website criticizing ZL‘s management and work environment. ZL filed a complaint against those individuals, naming them as Doe defendants and alleging libel per se (Civil Code 45) and online impersonation (Penal Code 528.5) to the extent any of them was not a ZL employee. ZL served a subpoena on Glassdoor, requesting identification and contact information for defendants. Glassdoor objected, arguing: violation of the First Amendment and California Constitution privacy rights; the posted statements were “protected opinion, patently hyperbolic, not harmful to reputation,” or uncontested statements of fact; Glassdoor‘s reputation would be harmed by disclosure; and, ZL was obligated to make a prima facie showing the statements were libelous before it could compel disclosure. The court denied ZL’s motion to compel. More than a year later, the court dismissed the action because of ZL‘s failure to serve the defendants. The court of appeal reversed. While an author‘s decision to remain anonymous is protected by the Constitution, a reasonable fact finder could conclude all of the reviews contained statements that declared or implied provably false assertions of fact, providing a legally sufficient basis for a defamation cause of action. View "ZL Technologies v. Doe" on Justia Law

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In 2009, Dessel, Dessel’s daughter (Seal), and Cummings purchased land in Fieldbrook containing a small and dilapidated residence with a carport, planning to remodel the residence, converting it to a vacation rental. Cummings made a downpayment of $80,000, and the seller agreed to carry a note for the balance of $120,000, to be due in full in June 2015. The parties committed to make monthly interest-only payments to the seller of about $700 and to pay all insurance and property taxes. After disputes arose, Cummings sought partition of the property. The court ordered partition by the appraisal method: each half-owner could bid to purchase the other half-owner‟s interest, with the minimum bid set by appraisal. The court of appeal affirmed. While the trial court erred when it ordered partition of the property by appraisal because the parties had not agreed to that method, as is required by the statute, the defendants have not shown the error was prejudicial. View "Cummings v. Dessel" on Justia Law

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A jury convicted defendant Antwaren Roberts of attempted murder and related offenses arising out of an incident in which he shot Krystal Sharkey with a handgun. It also found that Roberts committed the crimes for the benefit of a criminal street gang within the meaning of Penal Code section 186.22. In the published portion of its opinion, the Court of Appeal addressed Roberts's contention that the California Supreme Court's recent decision in California v. Elizalde, 61 Cal.4th 523 (2015), precluded admission of certain un-Mirandized statements Roberts made during custodial booking interviews in which he admitted gang membership. Although the interviews occurred years before the crimes with which Roberts was now charged, when he was under arrest for other crimes, the Court concluded a Miranda violation does not evaporate with the passage of time such that the statements become cleansed and admissible as to future misdeeds. Accordingly, the Court reversed the jury's findings as to the gang enhancement. In all other respects the Court affirmed the judgment after addressing Roberts's additional contentions in the unpublished portion of the opinion. View "California v. Roberts" on Justia Law

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Allegheny, through its agent, posted three bonds for the release of three defendants. Under Penal Code section 1305.4,1 a surety may move to extend a defendant's appearance period by 180 days upon a showing of good cause. The trial court granted an extension of 174 days, but denied a second extension motion. In this appeal, Allegheny argued that it was entitled to an extension for the remaining six days. The Court of Appeal held that more than 180 days had passed by the time of the hearing on Allegheny's second motion for extension and thus the trial court lacked the authority to order a further extension and properly denied the motion. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "County of Los Angeles v. Allegheny Casualty Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law