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Case Summaries

Injury & Tort Law

[01/17] Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox
Liability for a defamatory blog post involving a matter of public concern cannot be imposed without proof of fault and actual damages.

[01/15] Cracchiolo v. Eastern Fisheries, Inc.
Summary judgment for defendants on plaintiff’s wrongful death claim alleging that the deceased fell and drowned after slipping from an obviously hazardous place on a pier at a fishery while attempting to return to the commercial fishing boat on which he was working, is reversed and remanded, where the duty of care issue cannot be decided on the undisputed facts in this summary judgment record.

[01/15] Estate of Barabin v. AstenJohnson
In an action alleging that occupational exposure to asbestos from the dryer felts provided by defendants caused plaintiff’s mesothelioma, the district court’s judgment is vacated and remanded for a new trial where: 1) the district court failed to make findings of relevancy and reliability before admitting into evidence certain expert testimony; 2) this error resulted in prejudice to the defendant; 3) a reviewing court has the authority to make Daubert findings based on the record established by the district court, but here, the record was too sparse to determine whether the expert testimony was relevant and reliable.

[01/14] Daimler AG v. Bauman
Defendant, a German public stock company, is not amenable to suit in California for injuries allegedly caused by conduct of its Argentinean subsidiary that took place entirely outside the United States.

Workers’ Comp

[01/15] City of Sacramento v. WCAB
The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board properly granted reconsideration and rescinded the judge’s findings and award and returned the matter to him for a new permanent disability rating based on the agreed medical examiner’s findings, where: 1) the examiner performed the assessment here and determined that claimant’s plantar fasciitis resulted in a 7 percent whole person impairment equivalent to a limp with arthritis; and 2) petitioner-city has shown no error in that assessment and no error in the board’s decision based on that assessment.

[12/31] Vasquez v. Franklin Management Real Estate
The trial court’s dismissal of plaintiff-employee’s claims for constructive discharge in violation of public policy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, which alleged that defendant-employer violated the Labor Code by assigning plaintiff tasks that required extensive use of his vehicle and refusing to reimburse him for mileage is reversed and remanded, where: 1) plaintiff did not assert facts sufficient to support the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim; but 2) plaintiff should have been permitted leave to amend his claim of constructive discharge in violation of public policy.

[12/18] Porter v. Board of Retirement
In a dispute involving payment of disability retirement to plaintiff by defendant, the trial court did not err in relying on Government Code section 31646.1 to find workers’ compensation benefits did not qualify as “compensation” within the meaning of section 31724′s statement that a disabled worker’s retirement becomes “effective on the expiration date of any leave of absence with compensation to which he shall become entitled under the provisions of Division 4,” and thus, plaintiff is not precluded in this case from receiving temporary total disability concurrently with her disability pension under the County Employees Retirement Law.

[12/10] Auqui v. Seven Thirty One Limited Partnership
The determination of the Workers’ Compensation Board, finding that plaintiff had no further causally-related disability and no further need for treatment, was not entitled to collateral estoppel effect in plaintiff’s personal injury action because there was no identity of issue.

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