Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's entry of judgment for Gursey in an action alleging that plaintiffs had been damaged because they could not collect the additional money they would have been entitled to had Gursey purchased an insurance policy with the limits they had requested. The court held that plaintiffs did not incur actual damages until they became entitled to the benefits of the underinsured motorist policy. Consequently, plaintiffs' causes of action against Gursey accrued less than two years before they filed this action, and the trial court erred in holding that plaintiffs' claims were time-barred. View "Lederer v. Schneider" on Justia Law

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In 2005, 81-year-old Novak was injured when the van in which he was a passenger suffered a tire blowout and collided with a power pole. Novak sued for strict product liability and negligence for failure to warn that tires degrade with age and should be replaced even if the tire shows good tread depth. Novak was disabled as a result of the accident and had to use a motorized scooter. Six years after the blowout, Novak was injured when a car collided with his scooter in a crosswalk. Novak died days later. A defense judgment in the tire blowout case was reversed for evidentiary and instructional errors. The action was not retried. Novak’s daughter filed a wrongful death action against Continental Tire and an auto mechanic, based on the 2005 tire blowout and extending that fault to her father’s death. The court of appeal affirmed a defense judgment. Novak’s scooter being struck by a motorist who failed to yield was not a foreseeable consequence of defendants’ failure to warn that tires on another vehicle, driven years earlier by another motorist, were prone to blowouts. The connection is too attenuated to show the later accident to be within the scope of the risk created by defendants’ conduct. The driver in the crosswalk accident was the superseding cause of Novak’s death. View "Novak v. Continental Tire North America" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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A commercial landlord who leases space to an operator of a health studio does not owe a duty under Health and Safety Code section 104113 or the common law to acquire and maintain an automated external defibrillator (AED) at the space or ensure that the operator does so. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment for defendants in an action alleging negligence per se and negligence based on defendants' failure to maintain an AED on the premises of a boxing club. The court considered the Rowland v. Christian, (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108, factors and held that defendant did not owe a duty to the gym's patrons to provide an AED on the premises nor a duty to require as a condition of the lease that the gym provide an AED on the premises. View "Day v. Lupo Vine Street, LP" on Justia Law

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A commercial landlord who leases space to an operator of a health studio does not owe a duty under Health and Safety Code section 104113 or the common law to acquire and maintain an automated external defibrillator (AED) at the space or ensure that the operator does so. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment for defendants in an action alleging negligence per se and negligence based on defendants' failure to maintain an AED on the premises of a boxing club. The court considered the Rowland v. Christian, (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108, factors and held that defendant did not owe a duty to the gym's patrons to provide an AED on the premises nor a duty to require as a condition of the lease that the gym provide an AED on the premises. View "Day v. Lupo Vine Street, LP" on Justia Law

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While a public entity may be liable for injuries caused by dangerous conditions of public property, the entity may avoid liability through the affirmative defense of design immunity. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's judgment, holding that Caltrans established, as a matter of law, the affirmative defense of design immunity. The court rejected plaintiff's contention that a public official’s approval of a design does not constitute an exercise of discretionary authority under Government Code section 830.6 if the official admits that he or she never actually considered whether to utilize the safety feature the plaintiff asserts would have prevented his or her injuries. Rather, the court held that the evidence established the shoulder that was actually constructed was the result of or conformed to a design approved by the employee vested with discretionary authority, which provided a basis for concluding any liability for injuries caused by the absence of rumble strips was immunized by section 830.6. View "Rodriguez v. Department of Transportation" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Edison, alleging claims related to the flow of electricity due to neutral-to-earth voltage (NEV) that came from Edison's electrical substation and flowed onto plaintiff's property. On retrial, the jury found in favor of plaintiff and awarded her damages on her nuisance claim, but the trial court denied plaintiff's motion for attorney fees. Both parties appealed. The Court of Appeals held that, based upon the evidence presented at trial, the court could not conclude as a matter of law that the harm plaintiff suffered did not outweigh the public benefit of Edison's conduct. The court held, however, that the trial court erred in admitting irrelevant evidence related to stray voltage incidents involving prior owners or tenants of the house or other properties, and that the admission of that evidence was prejudicial to Edison. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment and remanded for retrial of the nuisance claim. The court dismissed as moot plaintiff's cross-appeal. View "Wilson v. Southern California Edison Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the city after he fell over a retaining wall located beside a recreational trail and sustained serious personal injuries. The Court of Appeal held that the city was immune from liability under the trail immunity statute, Government Code section 831.4, subd. (b)1. The statute provided that a public entity was not liable for an injury caused by a condition of any trail used for recreational purposes. In this case, they city was immune from claims that warnings or guardrails were required to protect against falls from the trail over the concrete retaining wall, or that the trail should be relocated to a safer location, because these claims concerned the location and design of the trail. Accordingly, the court affirmed the trial court's judgment. View "Arvizu v. City of Pasadena" on Justia Law

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The Foxes filed suit against 18 defendants in February 2017, claiming that Ms. Fox, age 81, sustained personal injuries as a result of her exposure to asbestos and asbestos-containing products, from approximately 1954-1963. Out of concern for Ms. Fox’s declining health, the Foxes moved for trial preference under Code of Civil Procedure 36(a). Ms. Fox now suffers from stage IV lung cancer, metastasized to her femur, clavicle, and spine, and from asbestosis, asbestos-related pleural disease, severe coronary artery disease, and anemia. She receives chemotherapy treatments every three weeks and is in partial remission but the side effects have been severe. Her attorney stated: “[f]or [Ms. Fox] to effectively participate and assist in her trial, so that her interests will not be prejudiced, it is imperative that the trial be held as soon as possible.” The Foxes submitted medical records confirming Ms. Fox’s medical diagnoses. Only two of 18 defendants opposed the Foxes’ motion and did not offer substantive argument. The trial court denied the motion. The court of appeal directed the superior court to schedule a trial within 120 days. On this record, the absence of more specifics about Ms. Fox’s prognosis was insufficient reason to deny the request for calendar preference. View "Fox v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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Real party filed suit against Klean, a voluntary drug abuse treatment facility, alleging that Klean was negligent for the injuries he suffered after smuggling heroin into his room and injecting it late one night. The Court of Appeal granted Klean's petition for writ of mandate after the trial court denied its motion for summary judgment. The court held that the Drug Dealer Liability Act did not preclude a user of an illegal controlled substance subject to the Act from pursuing a common law claim. Nonetheless, the court held that there was no basis in common law to impose liability on Klean, the unlocked drug treatment facility real party voluntarily entered, for failing to prevent him from consuming drugs he smuggled into the facility. The court also held that the undisputed facts established that Klean was not negligent in failing to discover real party earlier, in order to seek medical treatment for him. View "Klean W. Hollywood, LLC v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The question this appeal presented for the Court of Appeal centered on whether Labor Code section 4656(c)(2)1 precluded respondent, Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (the Board), from awarding respondent, Kyle Pike, temporary disability payments for periods of disability occurring more than five years after the date of the underlying injury that Pike suffered while working for San Diego County. The Court concluded the plain language of the statute indicated the answer to this question was, "Yes." Section 4656(c)(2) provided, "Aggregate disability payments for a single injury occurring on or after January 1, 2008,[2] causing temporary disability shall not extend for more than 104 compensable weeks within a period of five years from the date of injury." (Italics added.) Accordingly, the Court annulled a Board order affirming a workers' compensation administrative law judge's order that awarded temporary disability benefits for periods of disability occurring more than five years after Pike's injury. View "County of San Diego v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd." on Justia Law