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Case Summaries

Injury & Tort Law

[06/29] Marks v. Scottsdale Ins. Co.
In an injury claim, alleging that defendants were negligent in connection with plaintiff's accidental shooting while defendants were hunting on club grounds, the district court's grant of summary judgment to insurer-defendant on the issue of whether it owes coverage to co-defendant is affirmed where the policy at issue does not cover club members for their personal recreational activities but only for liability arising from some official action of the club or actions undertaken on behalf of the club.

[06/26] Fernandez-Salicrup v. Figueroa-Sancha
In a case under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 and analogous provisions of the Puerto Rico Civil Code's torts statute, that plaintiffs' Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when plaintiff was unconstitutionally arrested and subjected to excessive force during an incident at a high school, the district court's judgment is: 1) affirmed as to exclusion of expert witness testimony, grant of summary judgment in favor of Supervisory Defendants, and dismissal with prejudice of Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment excessive force claim against Rosado; and 2) reversed as to dismissal of the Fourth Amendment unconstitutional arrest claim against Rosado where plaintiff provided just enough evidence to establish a genuine dispute over two key material facts.

[06/26] Hambrick v. Healthcare Partners Medical Group
In a class action alleging causes of action for violation of the unfair competition law, Bus. & Prof. Code section 17200 et seq., common law fraudulent concealment, and violation of the false advertising law, section 17500, on the basis of that defendant does not fall within the literal definition of a "health care service plan" as defined in Health and Safety Code section 1345(f)(1), and it operated as a health care service plan without obtaining the license required by the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975 and without meeting the regulatory mandates required of health care service plans, the trial court's dismissal of the action is affirmed where: 1) the court acted within its discretion in invoking the abstention doctrine as to the statutory causes of action but not as to the common law cause of action for fraudulent concealment; but 2) plaintiff failed to plead a claim for fraudulent concealment, and she has failed to demonstrate how she could amend the operative complaint to cure the defect.

[06/22] Navarrete v. Meyer
In a case involving claims for violation of Vehicle Code section 21701 and civil conspiracy, arising from allegations that defendant, a passenger in a vehicle, told the driver to drive at an unsafe speed over a road defendant knew had unusual conditions that would cause the car to become airborne, resulting in a fatal accident, the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendant is reversed where the evidence raises triable issues for a jury as to whether to impose joint liability on defendant for her conduct on the night in question on a theory of concert of action or conspiracy, and also as to whether she unreasonably interfered with the safe operation of a vehicle within the meaning of Vehicle Code section 21701 to support a cause of action.

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Workers' Comp

[05/28] South Coast Framing, Inc. v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Bd.
In a case in which the family of decedent was awarded workers' compensation death benefits after he died from the combination of drugs prescribed following a fall at work, the Court of Appeal's judgment overturning the award is reversed where there was sufficient evidence that the drugs prescribed for the work injury contributed to the death.

[05/13] Lozano v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Bd.
In a writ of review brought by the widow and children of a deceased firefighter after the WCAB denied reconsideration of the decision of the workers' compensation judge finding that the cancer presumption of Labor Code section 3212.1 did not apply to petitioner's claim, the decision of the WCAB is annulled where an amendment to the Labor Code section 3212.1, enacted by Senate Bill 1271 on February 19, 2008 and effective on January 1, 2009, which would extend the cancer presumption to firefighters like the one in this case, is applicable to the claim for workers' compensation benefits filed on November 3, 2009, because the amendment effected a procedural change, and accordingly the presumption is properly applied in the post-enactment adjudication of this claim.

[01/29] Ogden Entertainment Services v. Workers Compensation Appeals Board
In this case, respondent Ritzhoff sustained numerous orthopedic injuries and injuries to his psyche while working as a banquet server for defendant-petitioner. The decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (the Board) denying the petition for reconsideration and adopting the decision of the workers' compensation judge finding Ritzhoff totally permanently disabled is annulled and the case is remanded with directions for new proceedings, where the due process right of defendant to cross-examination of Ritzhoff was violated.

[01/06] Schultz v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board
Decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board denying benefits to plaintiff-employee is annulled, where: 1) under the "going and coming rule," workers' compensation benefits are generally not available for injuries suffered by an employee during a local commute to a fixed place of business at fixed hours, because the injury does not occur during the ordinary course of employment; 2) under the premises line rule, the ordinary course of employment is deemed to commence when an employee enters the employer's premises; and 3) the premises line rule applies to an employee injured in a single-car traffic accident if the employee was a civilian working on a secure Air Force base not generally open to the public, the employee entered the base in his personal vehicle after passing a guard gate using a security pass, the employee had travelled one mile inside the base when the accident occurred, and the employer had multiple locations on the Air Force base between which the employee travelled sometimes in his own vehicle to perform work.

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