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Case Summaries

Injury & Tort Law

[06/21] Monster, LLC v. Beats Electronics, LLC
In a petition for writ of mandate in an underlying tort action in which Monster alleged that Beats Electronics engaged in fraud to deprive them of interest in the company, and the headphone manufacturer filed cross-claims for breach of contract and argued that the court, rather than a jury, could determine the amount of damages, the petition is granted where defendant is entitled to a jury trial on the issue of attorney's fees.

[06/20] Zhu v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd.
In a case involving an in-home caretaker injured while traveling between worksites, the court annulled an earlier appeal dismissing the action and remanded for a new decision, where the facts of the case qualified for the required vehicle exception to the going and coming rule.

[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.

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Labor & Employment Law

[06/21] Husman v. Toyota
In the case of a Toyota executive manager who alleged that they were terminated on account of his employer's sexual orientation and statements about the company's commitment to diversity, the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant is: 1) reversed where sufficient evidence had been submitted to establish that prejudice was a substantial motivating factor in the termination; but 2) affirmed where plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of material fact to support his retaliation and common law tort claim.

[06/19] Guido v. Mount Lemmon Fire Dist.
In an action brought by two firefighter captains under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, brought against a political subdivision, the district court's summary judgment in favor of defendants is reversed where a political subdivision of a State need not have twenty or more employees in order to qualify as an employer subject to the requirements of the ADEA.

[06/15] Kao v. Joy Holiday
In an employment action alleging breach of contract and violation of federal and state statutes regulating wages and overtime pay, the trial court's judgment against plaintiff is reversed where plaintiff is entitled to compensation under the wage statutes, making an equitable remedy unnecessary.

[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.

[06/07] Tartaglia v. Dep't of Veterans Affairs
In a petition appealing a final order of the Merit Systems Protection Board, which upheld his removal from employment with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Board's decision is vacated where it abused its discretion when it upheld petitioner's removal.

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Workers' Comp

[06/20] Zhu v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd.
In a case involving an in-home caretaker injured while traveling between worksites, the court annulled an earlier appeal dismissing the action and remanded for a new decision, where the facts of the case qualified for the required vehicle exception to the going and coming rule.

[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.

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