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Case Summaries

Injury & Tort Law

[08/26] Tribeca Co. v. First American Title Ins.
In a lawsuit initiated after defendant refunded a $1 million deposit to a real estate investor out of an escrow account that plaintiff had opened, claiming it was entitled to the deposit and asserting claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and negligence, the trial court's judgment in favor of defendant is affirmed where: 1) defendant failed to prove its entitlement to damages; 2) the actual depositor did not lose title to his funds; 3) plaintiff was not entitled to liquid damages; 4) the escrow account did not give plaintiff control over actual depositor's money; 4) the single party instructions did not apply to actual depositor's money; and 5) there was no error in the trial court's finding of ne negligence or breach of fiduciary duty.

[08/26] McMillin Albany LLC v. Super. Ct.
In a writ of mandate petition in an underlying action against the builders of plaintiffs' homes for recovery of damages allegedly resulting from defects in the construction of the homes, alleging eight causes of action, including strict products liability, negligence, and breach of express and implied warranty, the writ is granted compelling the trial court to vacate its order denying the motion to stay of litigation until real parties complied with the statutory nonadversarial prelitigation procedures of the "Right to Repair Act," which applies to construction defect litigation involving certain residential construction.

[08/25] Xcentric Ventures, LLC v. Borodkin
In a suit for malicious prosecution, the district court's grant of summary judgment and judgment on the pleadings in favor of defendants, and Fed. R. Civ. P. 2(b)(6) dismissal of defendant, are affirmed where: 1) plaintiff could not prove an element of its malicious prosecution claims under California law; and 2) the underlying claims were brought or continued without factual or legal probable cause.

[08/24] Alamo Recycling v. Anheuser Busch Inbev Worldwide
In a suit brought by operators of recycling centers where beverage containers sold in California may be redeemed for their California Redemption Value, against companies that sell or distribute beverages containers in California, contending that defendants knowingly and "falsely" label beverage containers sold both inside and outside California with "CA CRV," "California Redemption Value," or similar labels when, in fact, under California law, only containers purchased inside California may be redeemed in California, and alleging common law tort claims against defendants for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, strict products liability, interference with prospective economic advantage and business relations, and breach of express warranty, the trial court's judgment of dismissal is affirmed where the injunctive and compensatory relief plaintiffs seek cannot be awarded by a California court because it would violate the "dormant" commerce clause of the federal Constitution.

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Workers' Comp

[07/22] Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board
In a writ of review challenging the failure of the WCAB to address its claim that the hearing officer failed to adjudicate a deceadent's widow's petition to determine her entitlement to special death benefits under the public employees' retirement system (PERS), Gov. Code section 21537, 21541, the decision of the WCAB upholding the finding of its hearing officer that there was an industrial cause for the death of decedent and the award of a workers' compensation death benefit to widow, is annulled and the matter is remanded with directions to join the PERS Board as a defendant and calculate the coordinated death benefits within each board's purview.

[06/29] Angelotti Chirporactice, Inc. v. Baker
In a suit claiming Senate Bill 863, which was enacted to combat an acute "lien crisis" in its workers' compensation system, violated the Takings Clause, the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution, the district court's judgment is: 1) affirmed as to dismissal of plaintiffs' claims under the Takings Clause and Due Process Clause challenging California Senate Bill 863; 2) vacated as to the grant of preliminary injunction; and 3) reversed as to denial of defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' Equal Protection Clause claim.

[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.

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