In the News

Case Summaries

Injury & Tort Law

[04/26] Daniels v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc.
In a suit brought by homeowner-plaintiffs who fell behind on their loan payments, allegedly at the behest of their lender, against the lender and several other entities to prevent a non-judicial foreclosure sale of their home and to collect monetary damages, the trial court's judgment in favor of defendants is reversed where: 1) when a lender acquires by assignment a loan being administered by a loan servicer, the lender may be liable to the borrower for misrepresentations made by the loan servicer, as the lender's agent, after that assignment; and 2) a loan servicer may owe a duty of care to a borrower through application of the factors of Biakanja v. Irving (1958) 49 Cal.2d 647, even though its involvement in the loan does not exceed its conventional role.

[04/25] Milward v. Rust-Oleum Corp.
In a toxic tort case involving plaintiff's exposure to benzene from paints and other products manufactured by defendant, the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendant following the evidentiary ruling is affirmed where the district court's ruling was a supportable exercise of its discretion.

[04/20] Yamada v. Nobel Biocare Holding AG
In the attorneys' fee portion of an underlying dental implants product defect class action , the district court's order awarding class counsel more than $2.3 million in attorneys' fees, which the district court awarded based on the terms of a settlement agreement, California Code of Civil Procedure section 1021 under the substantial benefit theory and the private attorney general theory under section 1021.5, is vacated where: 1) defendants did not waive their due process argument; 2) the district court's use over defendants' objection of ex parte, in camera submissions to support its fee order violated defendants' due process rights; but 3) the district court's discount of the lodestar for lack of success was not erroneous.

[04/19] Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corp.
In a case involving alleged manufacturing and design defects in an aircraft engine, brought by the wife of a pilot who was killed as a result of serious injuries and burns he suffered when his plane crashed, the District Court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants is reversed where Abdullah v. American Airlines, Inc., 181 F.3d 363 (3d Cir. 1999), which held that federal law preempts the field of aviation safety, does not extend to state law products liability claims because: 1) Congress must express its clear and manifest intent to preempt an entire field of state law; and 2) the Federal Aviation Act, the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, and the regulations promulgated by the Federal Aviation Administration reflect that Congress did not intend to preempt aircraft products liability claims in a categorical way.

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Workers' Comp

[04/22] Travelers Cas. & Surety Co. v. WCAB
In an insurer's action seeking seeks to set aside the decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) finding that a worker sustained a psychiatric injury resulting from a sudden and extraordinary employment condition within the meaning of Labor Code section 3208.3(d), the Board's decision is annulled where the accident was not extraordinary within the meaning of section 3208.3 and remanded with instructions to deny worker's claim for psychiatric injury.

[03/22] CA Ins. Guarantee Assoc. v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd.
In an action challenging the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board denial of a Legislatively-created insurance guarantee's motion to be dismissed from the underlying workers' compensation cases on the ground that it was authorized to pay only covered claims from which the Legislature expressly excluded any claim to the extent it is covered by any other insurance, Ins. Code sections 1063.1(c)(9) and 1063.2(a), the Board's decision is annulled where the underlying compromise and release agreement did not relieve the primary underlying insurer of its several liability for third party claims.

[01/05] King v. CompPartners, Inc.
In a suit arising out of plaintiff's injury at work, alleging professional negligence, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and seeking general, special, exemplary, and punitive damages, the trial court's sustainment of defendants' demurrer without leave to amend is: 1) affirmed in part as to the demurrer, where the claims are preempted by the Workers Compensation Act (WCA) and the defendants did not owe plaintiffs a duty of care; but 2) reversed as to denial of leave to amend the complaint.

[11/06] Eastern Ass'n Coal Corp.v.Dir. Office of Workers' Comp. Programs
In a workers' compensation action challenging an administrative law judge (ALJ)'s grant of black lung benefits to Arvis R. Toler, the petition for review is denied where the ALJ did not contravene the Black Lung Benefits Act, 30 U.S.C. sections 901-945 or the principles of finality and separation of powers.

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