Slip and fall at a large public arena venue. Severe Injuries that included surgeries on the right leg and two surgeries on the achilles tendon. Large loss of earnings damages claimed in addition to substantial non economic damages. Liability in dispute-- Arena owner contended that inspections performed by arena staff exceeded the industry standard. MSJ on liability on calendar at time of mediation.
Plaintiff homeowner sued a public electric utility for intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and nuisance, after suffering electrical shocks caused by the intrusion into the home of stray electrical voltage generated by one of the utility’s substations. Primary issues involved whether, under Pub. Util. Code, § 1759, tort claims involving stray voltage are within the exclusive authority of the California Public Utilities Commission, and whether the evidence supported the claims and damage awards.
Parents’ son died after being struck by a rental car. Parents sued the rental car company for wrongful death and negligence, alleging that the driver to whom the company had rented the car had suffered DUI convictions within the prior 48 months, that such information was readily available from an electronic driver’s license check, and that the rental agency should have known the driver’s driving record and declined to rent a vehicle to him. However, plaintiffs alleged, the company had adopted a corporate policy of not performing electronic driver's license checks because the cost exceeded the cost of paying for losses caused by accidents involving such drivers. Primary issue involved whether, even though a rental car company has fully complied with the requirements of Veh. Code, §§ 14604 and 14608, and the rental driver does not appear impaired or otherwise unfit to drive at the time of rental, the rental car company has a duty to conduct an electronic search of the driving records of their customers before entrusting a vehicle to them.
Plaintiff suffered traumatic brain injury when struck by a roller coaster at an amusement park and sued (among others) the entity that had purchased the assets of the manufacturer of the roller coaster in bankruptcy. The issues centered on whether the purchaser could be held liable on plaintiff’s products liability and negligence claims, including whether the bankruptcy purchase constituted a consolidation or merger, whether the asset purchase agreement was negotiated in good faith, whether the purchaser had assumed the manufacturer’s liabilities, and whether the purchaser could be deemed the manufacturer’s successor in interest.
After her daughter died from a drug overdose while residing at a private drug treatment facility, mother sued various defendants associated with the facility for wrongful death. Issues included whether tort liability could be premised on the failure to perform, or the negligent performance of, a contractual duty of care, and whether the facility had a special relationship with the daughter giving rise to an independent duty of care.
While accompanying defendant on an off-road motorcycle ride, plaintiff lost control of her bike in unexpectedly rough terrain and suffered a paralyzing spinal injury. Plaintiff sued defendant for negligence, alleging that when plaintiff became hesitant, defendant urged her to continue, assuring her that the trail where she later fell would be flat. Issues included whether the defendant’s conduct increased the risks inherent in off-road dirt bike riding, or whether he engaged in reckless conduct outside the range of activities generally involved in dirt bike riding, such that the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk did not apply.
After discovering toxic mold in his apartment, residential tenant sued landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability and negligence. Primary issues concerned whether landlord had constructive notice of the condition and a concomitant duty to inspect the premises, based on the tenant’s reports of objective precursors of mold, including water intrusion on the bathroom walls and poor ventilation.
The minor plaintiff suffered a stroke and paralysis after being bitten by a rattlesnake on the grounds of a juvenile detention facility at which he was detained. He sued the county that operated the facility as well as several facility employees for negligence. Issues included whether plaintiff’s claims against certain employees qualified under Gov. Code, § 840.2,1 as claims for liability for a dangerous condition of public property, and whether the claims against other employees (for negligent training regarding the facility’s policy for snake protection) were viable.
Decedent’s survivors filed claims for wrongful death and medical negligence against a hospital and its personnel, alleging (based on an expert declaration) that the hospital and its personnel prematurely declared the decedent dead of a heart attack and placed her in the morgue, where she woke up, damaged her face in struggling unsuccessfully to escape, and ultimately froze to death. Primary issue was whether the survivors’ observation of the decedent’s injuries when they viewed the body at the hospital put them on inquiry notice of the alleged series of events, such that the action was barred by the applicable statute of limitations.
Plaintiff sued her former spiritual advisor, whom she believed to be a Buddhist monk (he had been defrocked), for sexual assault. Issues included sufficiency of the evidence to support the claims and the award of damages.
Hon. Thomas L. Willhite, Jr. (Ret.)
915 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1900 Los Angeles, California 90017