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Is the trial court’s denial of new trial, reversible because appellant court finds court’s express statement of reasons for denial legally inconsistent, even though absent that statement the judgment would have been affirmed?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

One lesson I learned from 29 years on the bench was to take care not to say too much when making a ruling. This can be difficult, because conscientious people tend to explain the reasoning behind a conclusion reached. David v. Hernandez (filed 5/22/14) 2d Civil No. B245342 demonstrates the trouble with saying too much. […]

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May deficiency in special verdict on essential elements required to establish liability be satisfied by trial judge inference and the finding affirmed on appeal as harmless error?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In what it described as a “first impression case,” the Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Six, affirmed the trial court’s inferring necessary findings from a defective special verdict because the defect constituted “harmless error.” The very first sentence of the court’s opinion in Taylor v. Nabors Drilling USA, LP (filed 1/13/14) B241914 gives this […]

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Does employer owe preconception duty-of-care to child of employee for harmful work environment, and is “duty” necessary to prove strict liability?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In El sheref v. Applied Materials, Inc. (filed 1/27/14) H038333, the father of the plaintiff minor worked as an engineer at defendant’s semiconductor manufacturing facility. Father’s duties included working with tools containing mercury and ethylene glycol and being exposed to ionizing radiation. Defendant provided information, training, and medical advice to employees to assess and reduce […]

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Real Estate Recovery Program provides recovery for broker’s fiduciary breach if factual findings supporting judgment state conduct constituting deliberate fraud

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

California Business & Profession Code section 10471 is a “remedial statute intended to protect the public from loss resulting from unsatisfied damage awards against licensed real estate personnel.” (Doyle v. Department of Real Estate (1994) 30 Cal.App.4th 893.) It is punitive in the sense that an agent’s license is immediately suspended if the state pays […]

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Does the idiopathic cause of injury fail to “arise out of” employment thus not constitute compensable injury under Workers’ Compensation Law?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

The California Supreme Court currently has before it a petition for review in the case of Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant v. WCAB (Orrala) (#S199077, filed December 30, 2011). This petition follows the denial of Petition for Writ of Review in the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District on December 21, 2011. This case involves […]

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Appellate Review: Are Some Cases Getting Decided Less on Principles of Limited Review and More Based on Expediency of Result?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In my previous “career” as a justice on the California Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, where I served for 21 years, I found there were times in deciding cases that the temptation arose to dispose of matters based on my instincts of the merits of a case rather than the standard of appellate review […]

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The Stretching of California’s Anti-SLAPP Statute: Are Appellate Tribunals Becoming Triers of Fact?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Tamkin v. CBS Broadcasting, Inc.(filed March 1, 2011) 2011 DJDAR 3285, CBS writer Sarah Goldfinger had offered to purchase a home from sellers represented by real estate agents Scott and Melinda Tamkin, husband and wife. Goldfinger cancelled the transactions based on the expense it would take to remedy problems revealed by a home inspection. […]

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