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Case Summaries

Civil Procedure

[06/19] Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., San Francisco Cty.
In a suit brought by plaintiffs, most of whom are not California residents, against Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS) in California state court, alleging that the pharmaceutical company's drug Plavix had damaged their health, the Supreme Court of California's judgment concluding that BMS's 'wide ranging' contacts with the State were enough to support a finding of specific jurisdiction over the claims brought by the nonresident plaintiffs, is reversed where California courts lack specific jurisdiction to entertain the nonresidents' claims.

[06/16] Hilliard v. Harbour
In an elder's suit alleging defendants took or assisted in taking his property for wrongful use, with intent to defraud, or by undue influence, in violation of Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.30(a)(1)(2), a provision of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, the trial court's judgment sustaining defendant's demurrer without leave to amend is affirmed where plaintiff lacked standing to bring this individual action.

[06/15] Irrera v. Humpherys
In a suit brought by a graduate student at a music school, alleging a claim of retaliation for complaining of sexual harassment by a teacher, the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted, Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), is vacated in part where, at this stage in the pleading, it was error to dismiss.

[06/15] Ryan v. Rosenfeld
In an appeal involving Code of Civil Procedure section 663, which allows an aggrieved party in a civil case to move the trial court to vacate its final judgment, the Court of Appeals' decision dismissing the motion under section 663 is vacated where, pursuant to the holding in Bond v. United Railroads (1911) 159 Cal. 270, 273, an order denying a motion under section 663 is appealable even if it raises issues that could have been litigated via an appeal of the judgment.

[06/15] The Rossdale Group v. Walton
In a suit alleging a violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Civil Code sections 1750 et seq, the trial court's dismissal of the suit by granting a motion for judgment on the pleadings with prejudice is reversed where neither standing nor jurisdiction was implicated by defendant's motion.

[06/13] BPP Illinois v. Royal Bank of Scotland Grp. PLC
In a suit brought by a group of hotel-related businesses, along with their investor and guarantors, alleging fraud claims against a bank and its subsidiaries, the district court's dismissal of the fraud claims is affirmed where the because plaintiffs failed to list their cause of action in a schedule of assets in their now-concluded bankruptcy proceeding, they are barred on judicial estoppel and timeliness grounds.

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Civil Rights

[06/19] Ziglar v. Abbasi
In a putative class action against two classes of federal officials brought by men of Arab or South Asian descent who, following the September 11 terrorist attacks, were detained for periods of three to six months in a federal facility in Brooklyn and later removed from the U.S., alleging violations of Bivens, the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. section1985(3), which forbids certain conspiracies to violate equal protection rights, the Second Circuit's judgment affirming in most respects the District Court's decision to allow claims to proceed against the Warden-defendants but reversal as to allow claims to proceed against the Executive Official-defendants is reversed in part and vacated and remanded in part, where: 1) the limited reach of the Bivens action informs the decision whether an implied damages remedy should be recognized here; 2) a Bivens-type remedy should not be extended to the claims challenging the confinement conditions imposed on respondents pursuant to the formal policy adopted by the Executive Officials in the wake of the September 11 attacks; 3) the Second Circuit erred in allowing the prisoner abuse claim against Warden Hasty to go forward without conducting the required special factors analysis; and 4) petitioners are entitled to qualified immunity with respect to respondents' claims under 42 U. S. C. section1985(3).

[06/15] Irrera v. Humpherys
In a suit brought by a graduate student at a music school, alleging a claim of retaliation for complaining of sexual harassment by a teacher, the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted, Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), is vacated in part where, at this stage in the pleading, it was error to dismiss.

[06/15] Filler v. Kellett
In a civil action under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 arising out of the alleged malicious prosecution of plaintiff for assault against his then-wife, the prosecuting attorney-defendant's appeal of her motion for absolute prosecutorial immunity is dismissed where there is a lack of jurisdiction.

[06/14] Retail Digital Network LLC v. Prieto
In an action challenging, on First Amendment grounds, California Business and Professions Code section 25503(f)-(h), which prohibits alcohol manufacturers and wholesalers from providing anything of value to retailers in exchange for advertising their alcohol products, the district court's summary judgment in favor of the Acting Director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is affirmed by an en banc court where: 1) thirty years ago, in Actmedia, Inc. v. Stroh, 830 F.2d 957 (9th Cir. 1986), this Circuit rejected a First Amendment challenge to the same California and Professions Code provision; and 2) the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc., 564 U.S. 552 (2011) did not modify the Central Hudson test that been applied in Actmedia.

[06/12] Sessions v. Morales-Santana
In a case challenging the Immigration and Nationality Act's framework for U.S. citizenship from birth by a child born abroad, when one parent is a U. S. citizen and the other a citizen of another nation, the Second Circuit's decision reversing the BIA and holding unconstitutional the differential treatment of unwed mothers and fathers in section 1409, is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded where: 1) the gender line Congress drew is incompatible with the Fifth Amendment's requirement that the Government accord to all persons 'the equal protection of the laws'; and 2) because this Court is not equipped to convert section 1409(c)'s exception for unwed U.S.-citizen mothers into the main rule displacing sections 1401(a)(7) and 1409(a), it falls to Congress to select a uniform prescription that neither favors nor disadvantages any person on the basis of gender.

[06/12] US EEOC v. CONSOL Energy, Inc.
In an EEOC suit on behalf of an employee, alleging that employer-defendant violated Title VII by constructively discharging the employee instead of accommodating his devout Christian religious beliefs, the district court's award of compensatory damages and lost wages and benefits, but not punitive damages, is affirmed where: 1) defendant is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law: 2) the evidence presented at trial allowed the jury to conclude that defendant failed to make available to a sincere religious objector the same reasonable accommodation it offered other employees, in clear violation of Title VII; and 3) there is no error in the host of evidentiary rulings challenged by defendant in its motion for a new trial, nor in the district court's determinations regarding lost wages and punitive damages.

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Consumer Protection

[06/15] The Rossdale Group v. Walton
In a suit alleging a violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Civil Code sections 1750 et seq, the trial court's dismissal of the suit by granting a motion for judgment on the pleadings with prejudice is reversed where neither standing nor jurisdiction was implicated by defendant's motion.

[06/08] Williams v. American Honda Finance
In a putative class action brought by a borrower-plaintiff against an auto loan financier that repossessed plaintiff's car after she defaulted on the loan and sent her two notices in connection with its efforts to sell the car and collect any deficiency owed on the loan--a pre-sale notice and a post-sale notice--alleging that each of the two notices violated the Uniform Commercial Code and Massachusetts consumer protection laws, three questions are certified to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court pursuant to Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rule 1:03.

[06/02] Full Spectrum Software, Inc. v. Forte Automation Systems, Inc.
In a medical software services contract dispute between two businesses, alleging claims are for breach of implied contract and violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A, the district court's judgment in favor of plaintiff is affirmed where: 1) the evidence in the record suffices to sustain the jury's verdict and chiefly concerns the scope of the Massachusetts catch-all consumer protection statute, chapter 93A; and 2) plaintiff had a right to have its chapter 93A claim for damages tried by a jury in federal court.

[05/11] Dreher v. Experian Information Solutions
In an appeal of a class action judgment, hinging on whether the decision of credit reporter-defendant to list a defunct credit card company, rather than the name of its servicer, as a 'source of . . . information' on an individual?s credit report -- without more -- creates sufficient injury in fact under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for purposes of Article III standing, 15 U.S.C. section 1681g(a)(2), the district court's judgment in favor of plaintiffs is vacated where when an individual fails to allege a concrete injury stemming from allegedly incomplete or incorrect information listed on a credit report, he or she cannot satisfy the threshold requirements of constitutional standing.

[05/10] Pyskaty v. Wide World of Cars, LLC
In an action arising out of plaintiff's purchased of a purportedly defective 'certified pre?owned' BMW from auto dealer-defendant, alleging violations of the Magnuson?Moss Warranty--Federal Trade Commission Act (MMWA), 15 U.S.C. section 2301 et seq., and New York State law, the district court's dismissal of the amended complaint -- on grounds that the value of plaintiff's MMWA claims did not amount to $50,000 and that she could neither amend her complaint to add a claim for punitive damages under the MMWA, nor rely on the value of her state?law claims, to meet the jurisdictional threshold -- is reversed where the value of plaintiff's MMWA claims, as pled, exceeds $50,000.

[05/08] Ford Motor Warranty Cases
In a petition for writ of mandate in an underlying Code of Civil Procedure section 404.1 coordination action involving 470 civil cases, alleging Ford breached warranties with respect to cars equipped with the DPS6 transmission, and in which the coordination judge refused to add to the coordination proceeding 467 substantively indistinguishable cases in the same counties, the petition is granted where: 1) a trial judge's order declining to add cases to a coordination proceeding, like the coordination motion judge's original order, is subject to our independent review; and 2) the trial court erred in refusing to add the cases to the proceeding.

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Ethics & Disciplinary

[08/18] US v. Harmon
Convictions against defendant, an attorney convicted of money laundering while representing a client charged with receiving stolen property, are affirmed where: 1) the prosecutor's failure to correct a grand jury witnesses' false testimony as to his motives for cooperating and failure to disclose impeachment evidence to the grand jury do not constitute structural error requiring automatic reversal; and 2) the prosecution's ex parte request that the district court decide in camera whether the government witness's informant activity needed to be disclosed at trial was not improper.

[05/15] In re Aranda
In an order to show cause why disciplinary or other corrective measures should not be imposed on a lawyer, based primarily on his numerous defaults in several appeals in the Court of Appeals, the lawyer is publicly reprimanded from practice before the Court for eighteen months, both for his misconduct in those appeals and for his failure to properly respond to the order to show cause.

[04/29] Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar
Disciplinary sanctions imposed by the state bar, pursuant to Cannon 7(C)(1), on a candidate for judicial office, who mailed and posted online a letter soliciting financial contributions for her campaign, are affirmed over a First Amendment challenge, where Cannon 7(C)(1) is narrowly tailored to serve the State's compelling interest.

[03/20] Lisker v. Monsue
Plaintiff was convicted of second-degree murder, served over twenty-six years in custody, and was released in 2009 after a federal judge determined that falsified evidence had been introduced at trial and conditionally granted a writ of habeas corpus. The state then dismissed the charges against plaintiff, who subsequently filed this action against defendants, two police detectives, who plaintiff alleges fabricated police reports, investigative notes, and photographs of the crime scene during their homicide investigation. The district court's order denying absolute witness immunity to defendants is affirmed, where: 1) defendants' notes, investigative reports, and photographs of the crime scene were analogous to the sorts of documentary and physical evidence that fall outside the protection of absolute immunity; 2) policy interests behind absolute immunity for testimony do not apply to the investigative materials in this case; and 3) defendants plainly acted in an investigative capacity in producing the notes, reports, and crime-scene photographs, and qualified immunity provided sufficient protection for these activities.

[03/10] In re Peter S. Gordon
For Attorney Gordon's misconduct in this Court, this Court's Committee on Admissions and Grievances recommended that Gordon be disciplined. This Court adopts the Committee's findings of fact and recommendations, with certain exceptions, publicly reprimands Gordon, and suspends him from practice before this Court for two months, where the Committee found clear and convincing evidence that Gordon engaged in misconduct warranting the imposition of discipline, including but not limited to delayed filings, a lack of candor at the Committee's hearing, and causing unnecessary expense to the public.

[03/05] Yousefian v. City of Glendale
In this action alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution, plaintiff was arrested by defendant police officers for an alleged assault on his father-in-law. After plaintiff's arrest, his wife met with one of the police officers and gave him drugs which she purported to have found in plaintiff's car. Soon thereafter, the police officer and plaintiff's wife began a sexual relationship, and plaintiff was charged with assault, elder abuse, and two counts of drug possession. The drug charges were eventually dismissed for lack of probable cause, and a jury acquitted plaintiff the remaining charges, and after conducting an internal investigation, the City of Glendale terminate the police officer for conduct unbecoming of an officer. Summary judgment in favor of defendants is affirmed, where: 1) notwithstanding plaintiff's self-defense claim, there was probable cause to arrest and prosecute plaintiff for assault and elder abuse; 2) because the police officer's relationship with plaintiff's wife began after all of the evidence related to the altercation had been collected and documented, the officer's later misconduct did not undermine the existence of probable cause; and 3) plaintiff failed to demonstrate a Fourth Amendment seizure with respect to the drug possession charges.

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Ethics & Professional Responsibility

[04/18] McDermott Will & Emery v. Super. Ct.
In defendants' petition for a writ of mandate directing the trial court to vacate both its order finding real-party-in-interest did not waive the attorney-client privilege as it applied to an e-mail inadvertently turned over during discovery, and the court's order disqualifying a law firm from representing defendants in the underlying lawsuits, the petition is denied where, regardless of how the attorney obtained the documents, whenever a reasonably competent attorney would conclude the documents obviously or clearly appear to be privileged and it is reasonably apparent they were inadvertently disclosed, the State Fund rule requires the attorney to review the documents no more than necessary to determine whether they are privileged, notify the privilege holder the attorney has documents that appear to be privileged, and refrain from using the documents until the parties or the court resolves any dispute about their privileged nature.

[04/13] The Urban Wildlands Group v. City of Los Angeles
In an environmental action, challenging defendant city's finding that a project was exempt from formal environmental review, the trial court's grant of mandatory relief to plaintiff under Code of Civil Procedure section 473(b) is reversed where: 1) such relief is limited to default, default judgments, and dismissal; and 2) the trial court's grant of judgment to defendant after plaintiff counsel failed to prepare and lodge the administrative record as stipulated does not fall within either category.

[03/24] Jacoby & Meyers v. The Presiding Justices
In a putative class action challenging on First Amendment grounds New York's rules, regulations, and statutes prohibiting non?attorneys from investing in law firms, alleging that the infusions of additional capital which the regulations now prevent would enable plaintiffs to improve the quality of the legal services that they offer and at the same time to reduce their fees, expanding their ability to serve needy clients, the district court's dismissal of the complaint is affirmed where plaintiffs fail to allege the infringement of any cognizable constitutional right.

[12/29] Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County
In an action that implicates the public?s interest in transparency and a public agency?s interest in confidential communications with its legal counsel, the Court of Appeal?s judgment concerning whether billing invoices are privileged is reversed where invoices for work in pending and active legal matters are so closely related to attorney-client communications that they implicate the heart of the privilege rule.

[10/28] Bundy v. U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada
In a petition for a writ of mandamus to force the district court to admit an attorney it had previously denied admission pro hac vice in the high-profile criminal trial of Cliven Bundy, the District Court's denial is affirmed where it did not abuse its discretion, as there are a litany of reasons for denying the attorney's pro hac vice status.

[10/25] Agricultural Labor Relations Bd. v. Superior Court
In an administrative law action challenging the trial court's order that communications between the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and its general counsel, concerning whether to seek injunctive relief against Gerawan Farming, Inc. over complaints of unfair labor practices, must be disclosed under the Public Records Act, Government Code section 6251, the order is reversed where the Board's internal communications concerning its prosecution of Gerawan Farming are protected by attorney-client privilege.

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Injury & Tort Law

[06/19] Zubillaga v. Allstate Indemnity Co.
In a first party insurance bad faith action arising out of an automobile accident brought against an insurer alleging breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, the trial court's grant of summary judgment is reversed where plaintiff demonstrated triable issues of material fact regarding whether defendant's decision she did not need expensive epidural steroid injections, was made without a good faith investigation and without a reasonable basis for a genuine dispute.

[06/16] Hilliard v. Harbour
In an elder's suit alleging defendants took or assisted in taking his property for wrongful use, with intent to defraud, or by undue influence, in violation of Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.30(a)(1)(2), a provision of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, the trial court's judgment sustaining defendant's demurrer without leave to amend is affirmed where plaintiff lacked standing to bring this individual action.

[06/13] BPP Illinois v. Royal Bank of Scotland Grp. PLC
In a suit brought by a group of hotel-related businesses, along with their investor and guarantors, alleging fraud claims against a bank and its subsidiaries, the district court's dismissal of the fraud claims is affirmed where the because plaintiffs failed to list their cause of action in a schedule of assets in their now-concluded bankruptcy proceeding, they are barred on judicial estoppel and timeliness grounds.

[06/13] Norman v. Elkin
In a communications company's partnership dispute, arising out of the transfer of partnership assets without compensation, the district court's judgment is: 1) affirmed on alternative grounds the decision to enter summary judgment in defendant's favor on the claim of fraud; and 2) vacated as to judgment in defendant's favor on plaintiff's remaining claims where the District Court erred in concluding that tolling of the statute of limitations is categorically inappropriate when a plaintiff has inquiry notice before initiating a books and records action in the Delaware courts.

[06/12] Microsoft Corp. v. Baker
In a putative class action alleging a design defect in defendant's Xbox 360 video game console, in which the District Court struck plaintiffs' class allegations from the complaint and denied permission to appeal that order under Rule 23(f), the Ninth Circuit's judgment, holding that it had jurisdiction and that the District Court's rationale for striking plaintiffs' class allegations was an impermissible one, is reversed where Federal courts of appeals lack jurisdiction under section 1291 to review an order denying class certification (or, as here, an order striking class allegations) after the named plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed their claims with prejudice.

[06/12] In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) Products Liability Litigation
In consolidated multi-district litigation arising from contamination of groundwater in Orange County, California from various oil companies' use of the gasoline additive MTBE, the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants on res judicata grounds as a consequence of earlier consent judgments entered in California state court resolving similar suits against defendants brought by the Orange County District Attorney, is vacated and remanded where the record does not sufficiently establish that the Orange County District Attorney and the Orange County Water District-plaintiff were in privity.

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Legal Malpractice

[05/26] Corona-Contreras v. Gruel
In action alleging breach of contract and legal malpractice, the district court's decision remanding the case to state court is reversed where the court exceeded its authority under 28 U.S.C. section 1447(c) in sua sponte ordering a remand based on a procedural defect in the removal from state court.

[04/19] Broadway Victoria v. Norminton, Wiita & Fuster
In a suit for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty arising from defendants' representation of plaintiff in an earlier breach of contract action, the trial court's judgment in favor of defendants is affirmed as to the grant of nonsuit on plaintiff's breach of fiduciary claim because plaintiff did not adduce any evidence in support of that claim beyond the evidence offered in support of its malpractice claim for professional negligence.

[03/15] ECC Capital v. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips
In an appeal from a judgment confirming a final arbitration award of attorneys' fees, expert fees, and costs against plaintiffs and in favor of defendants as the prevailing party in an underlying arbitration of legal malpractice claims, the award is affirmed over plaintiff's meritless or forfeited arguments that the trial court erred in confirming the arbitrator's interim award denying its claims because the arbitrator violated mandatory disclosure rules governing arbitrations, and that the trial court erred in confirming the final award because defendant's engagement agreement was illegal, defendant obtained the award by fraud, and the arbitrator limited plaintiff's rights to take discovery and present evidence at the arbitration on the issue of defendant's conflict of interest.

[03/02] Flake v. Neumiller & Beardslee
In a legal malpractice case, in which former counsel moved to withdraw from representing a client, alleging another attorney had agreed to handle--and was already handling--postjudgment motions, and that the other attorney would also handle the appeal of an adverse judgment, and the client sued former counsel for malpractice more than one year after the motion to withdraw was made, but less than one year after the motion was granted, the trial court properly summary judgment to former counsel is affirmed where, based on the one-year statute of limitation provided by Code of Civil Procedure section 340.6, the client could not have had an objectively reasonable expectation that former counsel was continuing to represent him after the motion to withdraw had been served.

[02/10] Jones v. Whisenand
In a suit against plaintiff's former attorney for legal malpractice and civil rights violations allegedly committed in the course of civil commitment proceedings under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), Welf. & Inst. Code, sections 6600 et seq., the trial court's judgment sustaining defendant's demurrer is: 1) affirmed in part where the trial court properly sustained defendant's demurrer to plaintiff's cause of action for legal malpractice; and 2) reversed in part as to the SVPA proceedings against plaintiff that are still pending, raising the possibility that he may be able to comply with the favorable termination requirement in the future.

[12/01] Foxen v. Carpenter
In a suit against plaintiff's former attorneys, who had represented her in a personal injury action, the trial court's decision sustaining defendants' demurrer to plaintiff's operative first amended complaint, on the basis of the statute of limitations, is affirmed where all of plaintiff's causes of action are time-barred as a matter of law.

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Professional Malpractice

[03/10] Yale v. Bowne
In a case arises from a claim of attorney malpractice in the preparation of an estate plan, in which the jury found that attorney-defendant had breached the standard of care in failing to properly implement plaintiff's express instruction to maintain her assets as her separate property in the trust document which defendant prepared for her and her then husband, the trial court's judgment is affirmed over defendant's appeal regarding fault, where the trial court correctly gave the comparative fault instruction requested by defendant.

[02/14] Samara v. Matar
In a suit for dental malpractice, alleging a dentist had negligently performed oral surgery on plaintiff and the dentist's principal and employer, was vicariously liable for the dentist's negligence, the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the employer, after finding in favor of dentist, concluding plaintiff's claim for vicarious liability was barred under the doctrine of claim preclusion--a ground not raised in employer's motion--and plaintiff could not show employer independently caused her any injury, is reversed where neither claim preclusion nor issue preclusion applies in this case.

[11/21] Horiike v. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Co.
In property law and real estate action, arising from of a dispute between a buyer and seller of a luxury residence while both were represented by defendant Coldwell Banker and its associate licensees, the trial court's entry of nonsuit is reversed. The Court held that an associate licensee, functioning on the behalf of a dual agent in a real property transaction, owes the buyer an equivalent duty of disclosure to the agent under California Civil Code section 2079.13, subdivision (b).

[10/31] Drexler v. Petersen
When the plaintiff in a medical malpractice action alleges the defendant health care provider misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose a preexisting disease or condition, there is no injury for purposes of Code of Civil Procedure section 340.5 (which provides that a plaintiff in an action for medical malpractice must file the action within three years of the date of injury or one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury, whichever occurs first) until the plaintiff first experiences appreciable harm as a result of the misdiagnosis, which is when the plaintiff first becomes aware that a preexisting disease or condition has developed into a more serious one.

[10/28] Bigler-Engler v. Breg, Inc.
In a negligence and strict liability action arising from injuries suffered by plaintiff's as a result of her use of a medical device that was manufactured by defendant and prescribed by a medical doctor, alleging medical malpractice, design defect, and failure to warn, the trial court's judgment in favor of plaintiff is reversed in part where: 1) the jury's verdict as to several claims was not supported by the evidence, including plaintiff's intentional concealment claim and her strict products liability claim; 2) in light of the reversal of plaintiff's intentional concealment claim, the jury's punitive damages award must be reversed; and 3) the jury's award of noneconomic compensatory damages and punitive damages are excessive.

[10/04] Markow v. Rosner
In a suit for professional negligence and loss of consortium after doctor-defendant's treatment rendered plaintiff quadriplegic, the trial court's judgment finding both doctor and hospital defendants negligent is: 1) reversed as to the hospital, where under the circumstances, plaintiff knew or should have known that doctor was not hospital's agent, plaintiff's belief to the contrary was not objectively reasonable, and hospital's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict should have been granted; and 2) affirmed as to doctor over his claims that the evidence was insufficient to support the jury's finding he was negligent, the special verdict was hopelessly inconsistent and warranted a new trial, the award of future economic damages was excessive, and plaintiffs were not entitled to costs under Code of Civil Procedure section 998.

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Sanctions

[05/17] Kinney v. Clark
In a vexatious litigant-plaintiff's appeal from a post-judgment award for attorney fees and costs defendant incurred in a prior appeal while attempting to enforce an earlier award for attorney fees and costs against plaintiff, in underlying residential real estate litigation, the defendant's motion to dismiss is granted where the appeal is frivolous. Monetary sanctions are imposed on plaintiff for filing of frivolous appeal.

[04/18] Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger
In an appeal of sanctions awarded by the district court when defendant's bad faith behavior was discovered after the settlement of an underlying product liability suit, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision affirming the full award--which represented the entire sum plaintiffs had spent in legal fees and costs since the moment, early in the litigation, when defendant made its first dishonest discovery response--is reversed where, when a federal court exercises its inherent authority to sanction bad-faith conduct by ordering a litigant to pay the other side's legal fees, the award is limited to the fees the innocent party incurred solely because of the misconduct--or put another way, to the fees that party would not have incurred but for the bad faith.

[04/10] Inland Counties Regional Center v. Super. Ct.
In a petition for writ of mandate filed by a company that helps coordinate care and services for individuals with developmental disabilities, arising out of the trial court's order of contempt -- which it entered against petitioner after petitioner failed to comply with the court's order to assess the competency of real party in interest to stand trial on criminal charges -- the petition is granted where the contempt order was unjustified

[04/04] US ex rel. Hayes v. Allstate Ins. Co.
In a qui tam suit under the False Claims Act (FCA) against numerous insurance and trucking companies, alleging defendants have been systematically and intentionally noncompliant with their obligations under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act to reimburse Medicare for certain payments made on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries, the district court's dismissal of the complaint as a sanction is affirmed where: 1) the FCA's first?to?file rule is not jurisdictional; and 2) the district court did not err by imposing the sanction of dismissal.

[03/23] Lindsey v. Conteh
In a litigation brought by minority shareholders of a wireless company seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a preliminary injunction to remove a director and prohibit him from voting his shares in the corporation, in which defendants contend that the referee, stipulated to by the parties to rule on all discovery related matters, erred in imposing monetary sanctions due to both procedural and substantive defects, the trial court's judgement is affirmed where the referee's order, filed with the trial court, is appealable because the language of the reference, expressly made under Code of Civil Procedure section 638(a), and the actions of the parties, the referee and the court, indicate that the reference was a general reference, making the referee's order appealable once filed with the court.

[02/01] Van v. Language Line Services, Inc.
In an employment appeal brought by plaintiff challenging the trial court's order sanctioning her and finding her in contempt for disobeying a court order by refusing to attend a deposition noticed by defendant and engaging in other discovery violations related to her deposition, the orders of contempt and sanctions are reversed where there was no prior court order which plaintiff disobeyed and no determination as to whether plaintiff had a substantial justification for not attending her deposition or whether she had a valid objection to the various deposition notices served by defendant.

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Sentencing

[06/19] People v. Sivongxxay
In the automatic criminal appeal in which defendant was found guilty and sentenced to death for first degree murder, robbery, and attempted robbery, with special circumstances enhancements, the Court of Appeal's decision is affirmed in its entirety where: 1) the defendant's valid waiver of a jury trial right is satisfied if they appreciate the nature of the right and the consequences of its waiver; and 2) no additional right to be advised of the specific charges, enhancements, allegations, or other issues to which the waiver may apply is required.

[06/19] US v. Burden
Life sentences for convictions of racketeering, violent crimes in aid of racketeering, and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base and five kilograms or more of cocaine, are vacated where the district court erred when it implicitly hinged the defendants' life terms of supervised release on the need for retribution--an imperative that is relevant to fashioning a term of incarceration, but not a term of supervised release.

[06/19] People v. Brooks
In response to a petition for rehearing filed after the issuance of the court's prior opinion in a criminal case involving kidnapping, torture, and murder charges that resulted in the death penalty, the court: 1) vacated the jury's finding that the murder was committed while defendant was engaged in the commission of kidnapping due to the trial court's failure to instruct on the independent felonious purpose rule; but 2) affirmed the judgment in all other respects, including the sentence of death.

[06/12] People v. Wilford
Sentence and convictions of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, Pen. Code section 245(a)(4), battery with serious bodily injury, section 243(d), resisting an officer, section 148(a)(1), and corporal injury to a cohabitant, section 273.5(a) are: 1) reversed as to sentence for corporal injury to a cohabitant conviction where the trial court prejudicially erred in answering the jury's question regarding lesser included offenses and his sentence for these counts violated due process; but 2) affirmed as to sentence and conviction on all remaining counts where the court's error in responding to the jury's question regarding count 1 was harmless.

[06/09] US v. Gonzalez-Rodriguez
Sentence for conviction of possession of a machine gun in violation of 18 U.S.C. sections 922(o) and 924(a)(2) is affirmed over defendant's challenges to the reasonableness of his 33-month incarcerative sentence.

[06/08] US v. Simon
In a criminal sentencing case in which the district court applied U.S.S.G. section 2X1.1, which generally covers inchoate offenses like attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy, and under which defendants may receive enhancements as if they had completed the felony, even if they only intended the conduct, defendant's sentence for conviction of conspiracy to commit robbery under the Hobbs Act, and other federal offenses, is affirmed where a Guideline other than section 2X1.1 expressly covers an inchoate offense only if the Guidelines themselves so indicate.

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Workers' Comp

[05/22] Southern Ins. Co. v. WCAB
In an action involving a workers' compensation insurance policy that was issued based on the express representation that the covered employer's employees did not travel out of state, and after an employee was injured out of state, the insurer notified the employer that it was rescinding the policy because of the employer's misrepresentation and returned the premium, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board's decision affirming an arbitrator's decision that, as a matter of law, the insurer could not rescind the policy and that the policy was in effect, is annulled where: 1) contrary to the arbitrator's ruling, a workers' compensation insurance policy may be rescinded; and 2) the arbitrator and the appeals board did not address and determine whether rescission was a meritorious defense to the employee's claim.

[04/26] City of Jackson v. WCAB
In a workers' compensation case, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board's decision disregarding the apportionment determination of the qualified medical evaluator (QME) on the ground the determination was not substantial medical evidence and directing the workers' compensation administrative law judge (ALJ) to make an award of unapportioned disability, is annulled where: 1) apportionment may be properly based on genetics/hereditability; 2) the QME properly apportioned disability; and 3) the QME's opinion Is based on substantial medical evidence.

[03/29] Marin Community Services v. WCAB
In a writ proceeding seeking to set aside the decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) holding that firefighter-petitioner was entitled to the benefit of the rebuttable presumption under Labor Code section 3212.1 that his cancer arose out of his employment, the WCAB's decision is affirmed where: 1) the WCAB's determination that petitioner was an employee of Marinwood was based on a reasonable interpretation of the relevant statutes; and 2) the WCAB's determination that the extension of the cancer presumption ran from the date petitioner last worked as a firefighter for any agency was based on a reasonable interpretation of the relevant statute.

[03/29] Ramirez v. WCAB
In a workers' compensation writ proceeding, seeking review of worker-petitioner's independent medical review on the ground the underlying utilization review was based on an incorrect standard, the order of the administrative law judge (ALJ) taking the matter off calendar is reversed and remanded for further proceedings where: 1) this is not a proper ground for appeal of a utilization review determination because it goes to the heart of the determination of medical necessity; 2) the independent medical reviewer is in the best position to determine whether the proper standard was used to evaluate the medical necessity of the requested treatment, and the statutory scheme requires the independent medical reviewer to use the proper standard in determining medical necessity; and 3) the Legislature's plenary power over the workers' compensation system precludes any separation of powers violation, and the process afforded workers under the system affords sufficient opportunity to present evidence and be heard.

[03/24] Co. of Riverside v. WCAB
In a workers' compensation case involving a sheriff, the findings by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board are affirmed over a County's challenge where: 1) plaintiff's the application for adjudication of claim was timely filed; and 2) Labor Code section 5500.5(a), did not bar liability on the County?s part.

[03/23] People v. Riddles
Conviction of workers' compensation insurance fraud in violation of Insurance Code section 11760(a) and restitution order are affirmed where: 1) a workers' compensation insurer may recover, as restitution under Penal Code section 1202.4, the premiums it would have earned in the absence of misrepresentations by an insurance applicant; and 2) the court did not err in imposing a fine.

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