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Case Summaries

Injury & Tort Law

[07/25] Manzari v. Associated Newspapers Ltd.
In an action alleging defamation by a pioneer in the online adult entertainment industry and famous under her professional name, Danni Ashe, the District Court's order denying the media defendant's motion to strike a complaint pursuant to California's anti-SLAPP statute is affirmed where at this stage in the litigation, plaintiff had presented sufficient evidence to move forward with her claim that Daily Mail Online employees acted with actual malice when they published an article implying that she was an HIV-positive sex worker.

[07/22] Santos v. Kisco Senior Living
In a suit arising out of an incident of suspected theft from an elder care facility, brought by the facility employee who was arrested on suspicion of the theft, the trial court's judgment to plaintiff and denial of defendants' motion for JNOV on false arrest and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims, is reversed where: 1) the immunity provision of Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, Weld. and Inst. Code section 15634, protects mandated reporters from liability for conduct that is integrally related to a report of suspected elder abuse; and 2) the undisputed evidence establishes that defendant's acts in this case constituted such conduct.

[07/22] Cox v. Super. Ct.
In a case in which prisoner-plaintiff filed a civil complaint against real parties in interest, officials and employees of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), seeking monetary damages, and simultaneously filed a petition for relief from the government claims filing requirement, the trial court's judgment deeming the civil complaint to be a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which it then denied, is vacated where real parties in interest concede that the trial court erred.

[07/18] Cornwell Entertainment, Inc. v. Anchin, Block & Anchin, LLP
In a suit brought by a well-known novelist, her spouse and her corporation against their former business managers, alleging negligent performance of professional services, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty, the District Court's decision to reverse a jury's $51 million award is: 1) affirmed in part where a) plaintiffs have not made the case that the District Court erred in the choice-of-law analysis it performed in rejecting the Chapter 93A claim, b) the District Court did not err in denying their post-trial petition for an award of equitable forfeiture, and c) the Court did not abuse its discretion in denying portions of plaintiffs' Rule 50(b) motion; and 2) reversed in part where the District Court erred in accepting the defendants' argument that any statements they made to the DOJ regarding Cornwell's campaign contributions were subject to a qualified privilege and thus could not support the claim of fiduciary breach.

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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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