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Case Summaries

Injury & Tort Law

[06/23] Ramos v. Brenntag Specialties, Inc.
In a suit brought by a metal foundry worker who developed interstitial pulmonary fibrosis against a variety of companies that supplied products for use in the foundry's manufacturing process, asserting that the suppliers' products, when used in their intended fashion, produced harmful fumes and dust that were a substantial cause of his pulmonary illness, the Court of Appeals' reversal of the trial court's grant of defendant's demurrer is affirmed where the protection afforded to defendants by the component parts doctrine does not apply when the product supplied has not been incorporated into a different finished or end product but instead, as here, itself allegedly causes injury when used in the manner intended by the product supplier.

[06/23] Gopal v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
In a wrongful death and negligence action in which decedent was admitted to the emergency room at Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and died after she was transferred to another hospital, alleging that, because decedent was not a Kaiser member, she was treated differently than they would have treated a member and that the different treatment caused her death, the trial court's rejection of plaintiffs' enterprise theory of liability--under which the various hospital entities formed a single enterprise, and Health Plan hospital could be held liable for any breach of duty by Kaiser Hospitals or SCPMG because the three entities should legally be treated as a single entity--is affirmed where the court properly rejected the enterprise theory of liability.

[06/23] Terry v. Inc. Village of Patchogue
In a suit arising out of events spanning more than a decade, principally concerning the village-defendants' allegedly wrongful interference with plaintiff's business interests and its maintenance of a police force that plaintiff believes to be unauthorized by law, the District Court's dismissal of the claims are affirmed where: 1) plaintiff's principal brief fails to address adequately the merits of most--arguably all--of the claims dismissed by the District Court; and 2) his remaining claims that may be read to raise contentions related to those claims are without merit or barred by res judicata.

[06/22] Scott v. Yoho
In a suit brought by survivors of decedent who died following plastic surgery by physician-defendant, alleging causes of action for wrongful death, medical malpractice and survivorship, the trial court's denial of defendants' motions to compel arbitration is reversed where: 1) the three arbitration agreements are subject to limited preemptive effect of the Federal Arbitration Act; 2) the 30-day rescission right in Code of Civil Procedure section 1295(c) is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act; and thus 3) the motions to compel arbitration should have been granted.

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Workers' Comp

[06/22] State Compensation Insurance Fund v. WCAB
In an action seeking review of a decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board regarding the medical necessity of proposed treatment requested by an employee of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), involving Labor Code Section 4610.6, which created a new procedure--independent medical review (IMR)--that an injured worker may use to challenge an employer's timely denial, delay or modification of a request for authorization of proposed medical treatment, the Board's decision is reversed where the 30-day time limit in section 4610.6(d), is directory and, accordingly, an untimely IMR determination is valid and binding upon the parties as the final determination of the director.

[05/11] SSA Terminals and Homeport Ins. Co. v. Carrion
In an action brought by a claimant seeking disability benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, an employer/insurer's petition for review of a decision by the Benefits Review Board is denied where: 1) the claimant timely filed his claim against his employer; 2) claimant's knee injury was a permanent, rather than a temporary, disability; and 3) the doctrines of exhaustion and waiver were inapplicable because claimant presented his claim of permanent disability well before the conclusion of the administrative process and neither the employer nor the agency was blindsided by the argument.

[05/02] Matthews v. Liberty Assignment Corp.
In a case dealing with the issue of whether a judgment, based on a structured settlement of an employee's workers' compensation claims against his employer and others, which was agreed upon by the parties and entered as an award in the workers' compensation proceeding, may be assigned by the injured employee, the trial court's denial of a motion for an order approving the assignment of plaintiff's structured settlement payment judgement is affirmed where the assignment was prohibited by statute.

[04/27] Guerra v. WCAB
In a Workers' Comp case in which claimant died from a pulmonary hemorrhage while taking out the garbage at work, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board rejection of a doctor's opinion as speculative and ruling that it had not been shown that claimant's death arose out of and in the course of his employment, is annulled and remanded where the death arose out of and in the course of employment.

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