Defendant’s negative net worth does not render punitive damage award reversible

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

Between 2006 and 2010, ArvinMeritor, Inc., attained $3 billion in sales revenue each year and had an annual cash-flow profit of $111 million, a primary business being manufacturing brake shoes. Its lowest annual profit during this period was $95 million. However, as of 2010, it reported a negative “net worth” of $1.023 billion; the company’s […]

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Insufficient showing of third-party beneficiary status to compel arbitration of claim of nonsignatory to arbitration agreement

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Epitech, Inc., v. Kann (filed April 16, 2012) 2012 DJDAR 4768), defendant Kann filed a petition to compel arbitration after a corporation’s short term creditors brought suit against defendant, a financial advisor the corporation had retained to assist it in getting long-term financing to pay its short-term debts. Suit followed the corporation going bankrupt. […]

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Amendments to revocable trust must follow procedure specified in trust instrument to exclusion of statutory method

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

Dissents appear in published opinions of the California Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District about as frequently as meteors crash to Earth. King v. Lynch (filed April 10. 2012) 2012 DJDAR 4516) is such a cosmic event. The court majority affirmed the trial court’s invalidating amendments to a trust, even though those amendments comply with […]

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Brinker: Clearing up some uncertainty in rest & meal period/ wage & hour class actions

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

The California Supreme Court gave readers a “two-fer” when it issued its long-awaited opinion in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court (filed April 12, 2012) 2012 DJDAR 4615. As the court noted in its unanimous opinion, it granted review “to consider issues of significance to class actions generally and to meal and rest break class […]

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Summary adjudication of employment harassment claims reversed because aggregate of evidence may factually support a claim

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Rehmani v. Superior Court (Real Party: Ericsson, Inc)(filed March 29, 2012) 2012 DJDAR 4177, the Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District granted Rehmani’s petition for writ of mandate and overturned the Santa Clara Country Superior Court’s summary adjudication of Rehmani’s claims of workplace harassment based on national origin and religion. At issue in the […]

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Arbitration clause in employment contract superseded that in earlier agreement and made wrongful termination claim not subject to arbitration

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In the morass of paperwork accompanying the start of employment, an employer may ask the employee to sign multiple documents discussing arbitration: an employee handbook, an employer alternative resolution policy statement, and/or the contract of employment may be among the many documents. Which executed document concerning arbitration controls if their content differs? This question is […]

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Contractor Licensing Law revisited: triable issue whether contracting entity and licensed entity are one and the same

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

Since the California Legislature amended Business & Professions Code section 7031, subdivision (e), to narrow the doctrine of substantial compliance with contractor licensing requirements, a contractor attempting to recover for construction work performed may no longer avoid the harshness of the bar against recovery by claiming lack of licensure was merely a matter of form. […]

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Off-campus molestation: vicarious liability of school district for supervisory employees’ negligence in hiring and supervising offending school counselor

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

We all too frequently read about public school teachers developing sexual relationships with their young, impressionable students. Are the schools themselves vulnerable to lawsuits brought by students and their parents when such conduct occurs away from the school environment? In the discussion that follows, a path of relationships, as determined by the California Supreme Court, […]

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Where party fails to prove insurance coverage or that alleged insurer waived right to contest coverage, party is not entitled to jury instruction on bad faith

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

Erica Howard suffered severe injuries as a result of a car accident when she was being driven home from a New Year’s Eve party by Paul Peterson, who had become intoxicated at the party put on by Donald DeWitt. The location of the party was an apartment complex, where DeWitt served as the on-site manager. […]

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Bar of Workers’ Compensation claim based on personnel action includes migraines as manifestation of claimed psychiatric injury

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

Labor Code section 3208.3, subdivision (h), states that an employer is not required to compensate an employee for a psychiatric injury substantially caused by a lawful, nondiscriminatory, good faith personnel action. What about such a claim of injury in the form of migraine headaches? In County of San Bernardino v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (filed […]

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