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Case Summaries

Injury & Tort Law

[04/28] Prather v. Sprint Communications, Inc.
In a False Claims Act suit brought the U.S. Government against Sprint Communications, the district court's order denying appellant's Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a)(2) motion to intervene as of right is affirmed where: 1) although his appeal is not moot, he did not have a significantly protectable interest in the government's False Claims Act suit; and 2) his prior filing of a related, but jurisdictionally barred, qui tam action did not entitle him to any award under the False Claims Act.

[04/26] Salvati v. The American Ins. Co.
In an insurance dispute involving the issue of whether the plaintiff in a wrongful death action, who reached a settlement with the defendants and their primary insurance carrier, can recover the amount exceeding the primary policy limits from the defendants' excess insurer, the district court's grant of defendant's motion to dismiss, on grounds that the settlement agreement did not trigger the excess policy because the agreement was not accompanied by a court judgment, is affirmed on alternate grounds, where plaintiff has not presented a plausible argument that the settlement agreement triggered the excess insurer's duty to indemnify.

[04/25] Lewis v. Clarke
In a personal injury suit brought against an employee of a tribal casino, who was involved in an auto accident while acting in the scope of his employment, the Supreme Court of Connecticut's judgment granting defendant's to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction is reversed where: 1) in a suit brought against a tribal employee in his individual capacity, the employee, not the tribe, is the real party in interest and the tribe's sovereign immunity is not implicated; and 2) an indemnification provision cannot, as a matter of law, extend sovereign immunity to individual employees who would otherwise not fall under its protective cloak.

[04/21] General Refractories Co v. First State Insurance Co.
In a dispute involving the rightful allocation of asbestos-related losses under thirty-year-old excess insurance policies, and to decide which of two companies, a historical manufacturer of asbestos-containing products and its insurer, will bear costs associated with a staggering number of asbestos claims, the district court's judgment that the policy is ambiguous is reversed where the phrase 'arising out of' asbestos, when used in a Pennsylvania insurance exclusion, unambiguously requires 'but for' causation.

[04/21] Kwan v. SanMedica Int'l
In a suit alleging that defendants made claims concerning its product, SeroVital, that were unsubstantiated, the district court's ed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) dismissal of plaintiff's second amended complaint is affirmed where: 1) pursuant to the holding in National Council Against Health Fraud, Inc. v. King Bio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 107 Cal. App. 4th 1336, 1344 (Cal. App. 2003), the panel held that the district court did not err in concluding that neither the Unfair Competition Law nor the Consumer Legal Remedies Act provided plaintiff with a private cause of action to enforce the substantiation provisions of California's unfair competition and/or consumer protection laws; and 2) the district court did not err in concluding that the second amended complaint failed to allege facts that would support a finding that defendants' claims regarding its product, SerioVital, were actually false.

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Labor & Employment Law

[04/26] Snyder v. Dep't of the Navy
In an appeal of the Final Decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board affirming the decision of the Department of the Navy to furlough petitioner for six days between July and September of 2013 as a result of the federal government sequestration of 2013, the Board's decision is affirmed where there is no reversible error.

[04/25] Lewis v. Clarke
In a personal injury suit brought against an employee of a tribal casino, who was involved in an auto accident while acting in the scope of his employment, the Supreme Court of Connecticut's judgment granting defendant's to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction is reversed where: 1) in a suit brought against a tribal employee in his individual capacity, the employee, not the tribe, is the real party in interest and the tribe's sovereign immunity is not implicated; and 2) an indemnification provision cannot, as a matter of law, extend sovereign immunity to individual employees who would otherwise not fall under its protective cloak.

[04/21] NLRB v. Pier Sixty, LLC
In petition for enforcement of an order of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and an employer's cross?petition, the NLRB's decision is affirmed where: 1) employer has not shown the existence of an 'extraordinary circumstance' that requires us to waive the ordinary rule against considering arguments not presented to the Board as required by 29 U.S.C. section 160(e); and 2) employer violated Sections 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(3) by discharging the employee since employee's conduct was not so 'opprobrious' as to lose the protection of the NLRA.

[04/21] Pan Am Railways, Inc. v. US Dep't of Labor
In a petition for review, in an underlying Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) whistleblower retaliation action, of an agency decision resulting in the statutory maximum award of punitive damages against a railroad, the petition is denied where substantial evidence supported the ALJ's rejection of the railroad's affirmative defense and the ALJ's decision to impose punitive damages.

[04/19] Featherstone v. S. Cal. Permanente Med. Group
In an action brought by a former employee against her employer, alleging defendant refused to rescind her resignation in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Gov.Code section 12940 et seq., and public policy, the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants is affirmed where: 1) defendant's refusal to allow plaintiff to rescind her resignation was not an adverse employment action under the FEHA.; and 2) plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant employees who accepted and promptly processed her resignation knew of her alleged temporary disability at the time they took those actions.

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Workers' Comp

[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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