Is plaintiff’s initial statutory offer to settle extinguished regarding expert costs incurred after that offer yet before a second one, where judgment met or beat either offer?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Martinez v. Brownco Construction Company, Inc. (published opinion file June 10, 2013) S200944, Gloria Martinez offered to compromise her loss of consortium claim concerning serious injuries suffered by her husband, co-plaintiff Raymond, via two settlement offers pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 998. In August 2007, she offered by way of a […]

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Can the alleged reckless failure of outpatient treating medical professionals to refer elder’s case to vascular specialist constitute elder abuse?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Winn v. Pioneer Medical Group, Inc. (published opinion filed 5/24/13) B23712, the 83-year-old patient of the defendant medical group died in January 2010 from blood poisoning after emergency vascular surgery was unsuccessful in stemming her long-term vascular impairment. She had been treated by defendants for about 10 years, and she was under their sole […]

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Unpaid Interns – Is An Individual’s Agreement to Work for Free Enough?

Posted by Mark Kruthers on

California has long prohibited employees from waiving their right to be compensated for services performed for an employer. As many companies know, even if an employee signs a settlement agreement releasing all claims for monies owed, that agreement is not binding with respect to undisputed wage claims. Likewise, employees who voluntarily agree, in writing, to […]

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Can pay, based on hours worked with no guaranteed minimum, be deemed a “salary,” making employee exempt from overtime?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

California Labor Code section 515, subdivision (a), sets forth the requirements for determining whether an employee may be classified as exempt from pay requirements including those with respect to overtime: (1) the primary job duties are executive, administrative or professional), (2) the work involves the regular exercise of discretion and independent duties, and (3) the […]

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Is the full amount billed for medical care admissible at personal injury trial to prove past medical, future medical or general damages?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

The recent appellate opinion in Corenbaum v. Lampkin (filed 4/30/13) 2013 DJDAR 5591 answers “no” on all counts. The California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Three, determined that only the actual amount paid for past medical care (here, as is typical, the discount rate paid by the medical insurer) is relevant and admissible. […]

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When may an attorney represent in a new action a party adverse to former client he represented in previous actions?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

The short answer is the attorney may represent the new client against his old client when the new case does not involve matters substantially related to the prior representations. A “substantial relationship” exists where ” the attorney had a direct professional relationship with the former client in which the attorney provided legal advice and services […]

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What are the risks of filing an appeal as a tool to force settlement?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Kleveland v. Siegel & Wolensky, LLP (filed 4/17/13) 2013 DJDAR 4961, the appellate court answered this question with a stinging rebuke: where there was no arguable merit to the initial probate petition and appeal, the court awarded attorney fees and sanctions totaling more than $60,000 against the appellant’s attorneys in the later appeal of […]

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When should a “negligence per se” jury instruction be given and what is the impact of the giving or not giving?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

There is a popular notion that if a party has violated a statute, legal liability necessarily flows from that violation. Not always so. Spriesterbach v. Holland (filed 4/9/13) 2013 DJDAR 4567 discusses some of important nuances concerning this subject. Plaintiff rode his bicycle on a sidewalk in the direction opposite the direction of vehicular traffic […]

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New Regulations and Court Decisions Spotlight The Interactive Process

Posted by Micah Nilsson on

Determining whether an employee’s physical or mental impairment should be considered a “disability” under the law has always been challenging for employers.  Recently amended California regulations establish that employees have an increasingly light burden to demonstrate they are disabled. The regulations effectively encourage employers to spend less time figuring out if an employee is disabled […]

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Does a third party’s criminal conduct of throwing concrete down onto a freeway relieve truck manufacturer’s duty to design windshield to protect against such flying objects?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Collins v. Navistar, Inc. (filed March 29, 2013) 2013 DJDAR 4169, a juvenile was throwing chunks of concrete from a freeway overpass onto the freeway, hitting a number of vehicles. One such vehicle was that of plaintiff’s deceased spouse, William Collins; a two and a half pound chunk penetrated the windshield and hit William […]

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