Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The date upon which the cause of action would be deemed to have accrued within the meaning of the Government Claims Act's, Gov. Code, 810 et seq., statute of limitations is the date on which a plaintiff discovers or should reasonably have discovered that she had suffered a compensable injury. The trial court overruled the City's demurrer to a complaint, arguing that the real parties in interest failed to comply with the claim presentation requirement of the Act by not presenting their claim to the City within six months. The Court of Appeal held that the parties in interest presented their claim to the City more than 10 months after the date upon which the cause of action accrued and thus failed to comply with the claim presentation requirement. Accordingly, the court granted the City's petition for writ of mandate. View "City of Pasadena v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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A freightliner driven by petitioners' employee struck a vehicle, causing serious injuries to the passengers, real parties in interest Matthew and Michael Lennig. The Lennings filed suit against the employee and petitioners, seeking punitive damages. The Court of Appeal granted the petition for writ of mandate and held that petitioners' admission of vicarious liability did not bar recovery of punitive damages. The court held, however, that there were no triable issues of fact which, if resolved in the Lennings' favor, could subject petitioners to punitive damages. View "CRST, Inc. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Court of Appeal reversed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the City, holding that the trail immunity in Government Code section 831.4 does not immunize a dangerous condition of a commercially operated, revenue generating public golf course that causes injury to pedestrians on an adjacent trail. Plaintiff and his mother filed suit against American Golf for negligence and the City for a dangerous condition of public property after plaintiff was injured by an errant golf ball on a walkway the City contends is a trail. The Court of Appeal explained that a public golf course cannot assert a trail immunity defense when the golf course is adjacent to a trail abutting a public street; the golf course is a commercially operated, revenue-generating enterprise; the golf course has a dangerous condition that exposes people outside it to a risk of harm from third parties hitting errant golf balls; and the dangerous condition of the golf course caused harm to a user of the trail. The Court of Appeal rejected the City's warning sign and assumption of risk defenses, as well as claims of immunity afforded by Government Code sections 830.6, 820.2, and 815.2, subdivision (b). View "Garcia v. American Golf" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The First Appellate District reversed an award of $9,577,000 as the present cash value of plaintiff’s future medical and rehabilitation care expenses in an action for medical malpractice against Contra County Costa, arising out of injuries plaintiff sustained at birth. The trial court erred in excluding evidence that health insurance benefits under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA),124 Stat. 119, would be available to mitigate plaintiff’s future medical costs. Plaintiff suffered irreversible brain damage in utero while his mother’s pregnancy was being managed by a physician employed by the County. Plaintiff has a very low verbal IQ and will never be a functional reader. He has serious language communication difficulties, significant behavioral problems, and has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Plaintiff’s theory at trial was that he sustained his injury because the doctor breached the applicable standard of care by failing to schedule his delivery prior to 37 weeks’ gestation. The County did not appeal with respect to liability. View "Cuevas v. Contra Costa County" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal granted the writ application of the employer, City of Jackson (City), after the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (Board) disregarded the apportionment determination of the qualified medical evaluator (QME) on the ground the determination was not substantial medical evidence and directed the workers’ compensation administrative law judge (ALJ) to make an award of unapportioned disability. The QME concluded that the employee’s disability - neck, shoulder, arm, and hand pain - was caused by cervical degenerative disc disease, and that the disease, in turn, was caused in large part by heredity or genetics. The QME thus assigned causation 49 percent to the employee’s personal history, which included, but was not limited to, the genetic cause of the degenerative disease. The ALJ agreed with the QME’s apportionment, but the Board did not. The Board concluded the QME could not assign causation to genetics because that is an “impermissible immutable factor[].” The Board also concluded that by relying on the employee’s genetic makeup, the QME apportioned the causation of the injury rather than the extent of his disability. Finally, the Board concluded the QME’s determination was not substantial medical evidence. After review, the Court of Appeal disagreed with each of the Board’s conclusions, annulled its order, and remanded with directions to deny reconsideration. View "City of Jackson v. WCAB" on Justia Law

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Shantel Jackson filed suit against former boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr., alleging, inter alia, claims for invasion of privacy, defamation, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiff's claims were based, either entirely or in part, on Mayweather's social media postings about the termination of Jackson's pregnancy and its relationship to the couple's separation and his comments during a radio interview concerning the extent to which Jackson had undergone cosmetic surgery procedures. Mayweather filed a special motion to strike under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, (the Anti-SLAPP statute). The trial court denied the motion. The court concluded that the challenged causes of action arose from protected activity under section 426.16, subdivision (e)(3); the statements concerned an issue of public interest; and Jackson failed to demonstrate a probability of prevailing on her cause of action for defamation and most aspects of her causes of action for invasion of privacy. Accordingly, the court reversed with respect to Jackson's causes of action for defamation and false light portrayal and her cause of action for public disclosure of private facts based on Mayweather's comments about cosmetic surgery. The court affirmed in all other respects. View "Jackson v. Mayweather, Jr." on Justia Law

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While assigned to fight a wildfire, plaintiff and appellant Rebecca Megan Quigley was severely injured when a water truck ran over her as she slept at the fire base camp. She sued, inter alia, defendants-respondents Garden Valley Fire Protection District, Chester Fire Protection District, and their employees Frank DelCarlo, Mike Jellison, and Jeff Barnhart for damages, claiming she was injured as a result of their negligence, a dangerous condition of public property, and defendants’ failure to warn. The trial court granted nonsuit against plaintiff’s complaint on the bases that defendants were statutorily immune from liability and the firefighter’s rule prevented plaintiff from recovering. Because the Court of Appeal agreed defendants were immune from liability for plaintiff’s injuries, it affirmed the judgment. View "Quigley v. Garden Valley" on Justia Law

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Rowe, age 12, suffered catastrophic injuries during a family camping trip at San Mateo County Memorial Park, when a tree fell on his tent as he lay sleeping. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) owns and maintains an electricity distribution line that serviced a nearby restroom, and has a license permitting it to enter the park to inspect and maintain its equipment and vegetation near its power lines, including near Rowe's campsite. Rowe’s family paid an entrance fee to the county, but paid nothing to PG&E. The county paid PG&E for electricity. Civil Code section 846 confers property owners with immunity from liability arising from the recreational use of their property, with an exception applicable when permission to enter the premises for a recreational purpose “was granted for a consideration.” The court of appeal concluded that the consideration exception applies to PG&E even though Rowe’s fee was not paid to PG&E. Payment of consideration for permission to enter premises for a recreational purpose abrogates section 846 immunity of any nonpossessory interest holder who is potentially responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries, including a licensee or easement holder who possesses only a limited right to enter and use a premises on specified terms but no right to control third-party access. View "Pacific Gas and Electric Co. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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Escobar was an employee of O’Donnell, a sub-subcontractor of Bayside, which was a subcontractor of Oltmans, the general contractor on a Menlo Park construction project. Escobar sued Oltmans and the property owner, alleging that Oltmans negligently cut and left unsecured a skylight opening in the building under construction, through which Escobar fell while installing scaffolding that O’Donnell was erecting for Bayside. Oltmans filed a cross-complaint against the subcontractors, alleging a right to contractual indemnity and breach of Bayside’s contractual obligation to provide certificates of insurance certifying that Oltmans was covered as an additional insured under liability policies the subcontractors were obligated to obtain. The subcontract provided indemnity to Oltmans for injury claims arising out of the scope of the subcontractor’s work “except to the extent the claims arise out of, pertain to, or relate to the active negligence or willful misconduct” of Oltmans. Reversing the trial court, the court of appeal ruled in favor of Oltmans. Under such a provision the general contractor is precluded from recovering indemnity for liability incurred as a result of its own active negligence but may be indemnified for the portion of liability attributable to the fault of others. The court noted the same question arises as to the meaning of Civil Code section 2782.05, which renders unenforceable an indemnity provision “to the extent the claims arise out of, pertain to, or relate to the active negligence or willful misconduct of that general contractor.” View "Oltmans Construction Co. v. Bayside Interiors, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this writ proceeding, Daniel Ramirez sought review of his independent medical review (pursuant to his workers' compensation claim) on the ground the underlying utilization review was based on an incorrect standard. In effect, he sought review of his utilization review with this the Court of Appeal. The Court concluded this was not a proper ground for appeal of a utilization review determination because "it goes to the heart of the determination of medical necessity. The independent medical reviewer is in the best position to determine whether the proper standard was used to evaluate the medical necessity of the requested treatment, and the statutory scheme requires the independent medical reviewer to use the proper standard in determining medical necessity." Ramirez made no claim that the independent medical reviewer did not use the proper statutory standard, nor did he state a proper ground for review of his independent medical review, which was appealable only for the nonsubstantive reasons. Ramirez also challenged the constitutionality of the independent medical review process, claiming it violated the state Constitution’s separation of powers clause, and state and federal principles of procedural due process. The Court concluded that the Legislature’s plenary power over the workers’ compensation system precluded any separation of powers violation, and the process afforded workers under the system afforded sufficient opportunity to present evidence and be heard. View "Ramirez v. WCAB" on Justia Law