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When people are injured by defective products while using them in a reasonably foreseeable manner, they may have the right to recover compensation to cover their losses. However, the alleged defect must have been the direct or proximate cause of an injury for liability to attach. In Shih v. Starbucks Corp., Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B299329, the court considered a case in which the plaintiff’s injury was fairly attenuated from the alleged product defect to determine whether liability should attach.[1]

Factual and procedural background

Tina Shih when to a Starbucks restaurant with a friend. Both ordered cups of tea, and Shih went to retrieve them from the pickup counter when they were ready. Shih noticed that the restaurant had placed the teas inside of double cups instead of using sleeves around the cups. She stated that while they were hot, she carried both drinks back to the table where her friend was seated. After placing the cups of tea on the table, Shih sat down. She took the lid off of her drink and bent forward to take a sip instead of picking it up to take a drink. As she leaned forward, her chair moved backward beneath her, causing her to lose her balance. Shih grabbed the edge of the table to regain her balance, which caused her cup of tea to spill. Shih suffered second-degree burns from the beverage spill and filed a lawsuit against Starbucks for negligence and product liability.

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California-Car-Accident-AttorneysPeople in California must use reasonable caution when they drive to try to prevent accidents and injuries to others traveling around them. However, when drivers are confronted with sudden and unexpected dangers, they are not expected to use the same degree of caution that they would in calmer situations. In Abdulkadhim v. Wu, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B298091, the court reviewed a case in which a man was forced to suddenly change lanes to avoid colliding with a stopped vehicle on the interstate when the man traveling behind him subsequently collided with the stopped vehicle.{1]

Factual and procedural background

Jasim Al-Kuraishi was driving his vehicle on Interstate !0 near Rosemead on Oct. 11, 2014, at 1:00 am. He was traveling in the westbound lane going approximately 70 mph. Tommy Wu was traveling in front of Al-Kuraishi in the same direction when Wu saw a vehicle that was stopped in the lane in front of him about 20 to 30 car lengths ahead. Wu changed lanes by moving into the high-occupancy vehicle lane and passed the stopped vehicle while traveling between 40 and 50 mph. After he passed the vehicle and was about 400 feet in front of it, he saw Al-Kuraishi’s vehicle crash into the stopped car in his rearview mirror. The force of the collision caused Al-Kuraishi’s vehicle to travel into a different lane, and his car was struck by a second vehicle in that lane that was also traveling around 70 mph. Wu stopped his vehicle after witnessing the collision and called 911. When the paramedics arrived, Al-Kuraishi was pronounced dead at the accident scene.

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California-Car-Accident-AttorneysPeople in California must use reasonable caution when they drive to try to prevent accidents and injuries to others traveling around them. However, when drivers are confronted with sudden and unexpected dangers, they are not expected to use the same degree of caution that they would in calmer situations. In Abdulkadhim v. Wu, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B298091, the court reviewed a case in which a man was forced to suddenly change lanes to avoid colliding with a stopped vehicle on the interstate when the man traveling behind him subsequently collided with the stopped vehicle.{1]

Factual and procedural background

Jasim Al-Kuraishi was driving his vehicle on Interstate 10 near Rosemead CA on Oct. 11, 2014, at 1:00 am. He was traveling in the westbound lane going approximately 70 mph. Tommy Wu was traveling in front of Al-Kuraishi in the same direction when Wu saw a vehicle that was stopped in the lane in front of him about 20 to 30 car lengths ahead. Wu changed lanes by moving into the high-occupancy vehicle lane and passed the stopped vehicle while traveling between 40 and 50 mph. After he passed the vehicle and was about 400 feet in front of it, he saw Al-Kuraishi’s vehicle crash into the stopped car in his rearview mirror. The force of the collision caused Al-Kuraishi’s vehicle to travel into a different lane, and his car was struck by a second vehicle in that lane that was also traveling around 70 mph. Wu stopped his vehicle after witnessing the collision and called 911. When the paramedics arrived, Al-Kuraishi was pronounced dead at the accident scene.

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company-car-accident-lawyerPeople who are injured in California accidents that are caused by the negligent actions of company drivers may be able to hold the employers vicariously liable to pay damages for the losses that they have suffered. However, employers are not liable under the coming and going rule for employees who are commuting to or from their jobs. If an exception applies, an employer may still be liable for the negligent actions of its employee while he or she is commuting to and from work. In Savaikie v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B291120, the California Court of Appeals considered whether the required vehicle use exception to the coming and going rule applied.[1]

Factual and procedural background

Wyatt Savaikie was a 14-year-old boy who was crossing the street in a crosswalk in Santa Clarita, California on July 16, 2015, when he was struck and killed by Ralph Steger. Steger was a volunteer who provided pet therapy to patients at Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. He had just completed his volunteer shift and had stopped at his bank before he hit Savaikie with his vehicle. Savaikie’s parents filed a lawsuit against Steger, the City of Santa Clarita, Southern California Edison, and the County of Los Angeles. The state of California was dismissed as a defendant, and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals was added. They argued that Kaiser was vicariously liable for Steger’s actions as his employer. They settled with all defendants except Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. Savaikie’s brother, Michael, witnessed the crash and filed a claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress against the defendants.

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forklift-accident-injury-attorneys-CaliforniaIn California, people who have been seriously injured by defectively designed products may be entitled to recover damages in a product liability lawsuit. The courts may instruct the jury about the tests that they should apply when evaluating an alleged design defect. However, as Verrazono v. Gehl Co., Cal. Ct. App. Case No. A152318 shows, the court is not always required to provide the instruction proposed by the plaintiff.[1] Some cases involving serious injuries from products will not provide the basis for the recovery of damages. (Note: for a full discussion on workplace injuries and how they can involve various types of claims including work comp, personal injury and product liability, click here).

Factual and procedural background

In 2012, Gary Verrazono was operating a rough terrain forklift at the Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma County. It tipped over, seriously injuring him. He then filed a lawsuit against Gehl Co., the manufacturer of the forklift, alleging that the forklift had a design defect because it lacked a non-removable door and a seatbelt system with more than two points. He also alleged that the forklift should have contained an interlock system that would have prevented its operation without the operator wearing the seatbelt. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defense.

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work-injury-claims-attorney-Los-AngelesPeople who are injured at work because of the negligence of a third party other than their employers may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits while also filing negligence lawsuits against the third party. However, if the victims are employed by an independent contractor that is hired by the negligent third party, the ability to recover damages through the third-party claim may be limited by the Privette rule unless an exception applies. In Horne v. Ahern Rentals, Inc., Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B299605, the appeals court reviewed a wrongful death claim against the hirer of the independent contractor for which the victim worked.[1]

Factual and procedural background

Ruben Dickerson was employed by 24-Hour Tire Service, a company that had contracted with Ahern Rentals to provide tire repair and tire change services for almost 10 years. Ahern Rentals was a company that rented forklifts and heavy machinery to construction businesses. Dickerson had been employed by 24-Hour Tire service for more than a decade before the date of his accident. He was killed on Nov. 24, 2015, while he was changing the tires on a forklift while on the premises of Ahern Rentals. His surviving family members recovered workers’ compensation benefits from 24-Hour Tire Service’s insurance provider. They subsequently filed a personal injury claim against Ahern Rentals, alleging that the company was negligent in its failure to provide a level surface for the tire replacement work.

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Many people in California enjoy going to amusement parks and waterslides. When people are injured on a ride or waterslide, they may have grounds to recover damages through personal injury lawsuits. However, it has previously been unclear the type of duty owed by the operator of a waterslide to its customers and whether operating a waterslide should be viewed as offering a service or offering a product. In Sharufa v. Festival Fun Parks, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. H044064, the appeals court considered these questions when it handled an appeal from a summary judgment order in a claim for injuries related to a waterslide accident.[1]

Factual and procedural background

Sean Sharufa went to a theme park called Raging Waters that was operated by Festival Fun Parks. While there, he went down a waterslide on an inner tube. During his descent down the slide, he fell out of the inner tube and onto his stomach. When he hit the splash pool at the bottom of the slide, his feet hit the bottom of the pool with sufficient force to break his pelvis and hip.

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In California, elder abuse and neglect are unfortunately common. One type of elder abuse involves the financial exploitation of the elderly. When a nursing home or its staff misappropriated funds from elderly residents, they have grounds to file lawsuits against the facility and the employee. In Arace v. Medico Investments, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. E071194, the appeals court reviewed the trial court’s award of attorney’s fees and legal costs in a case in which the plaintiff did not receive economic damages or non-economic damages for one cause of action. It also looked at whether an award of economic damages for neglect was proper when the jury did not award non-economic damages for the same cause of action.[1]

Background of the case

Grace R. Miller, who was born in 1927, lived at a residential care facility named Foremost Senior Campus from March 2010 to April 2014. The care facility was owned by Leonard Crites, and Elizabeth Colon was an employee who worked at the facility. Crites purchased Miller’s home in 2010 for $66,000 and promised her that she could live at Foremost Senior Campus for life without charge. Medico bought Foremost Senior Campus in May 2012 in a short sale and kept Colon as the administrator. Medico was not informed that Crites had promised Miller to live for free at Foremost Senior Campus for life.

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Some Californians work for subcontractors who contract with contractors to perform work at construction sites in the state. When an employee of a subcontractor is injured while working at the construction site, the contractor that contracted with the worker’s employer to perform services will only be liable for the injuries when specific situations apply. The California Court of Appeal considered whether the trial court erred in its jury instructions and a denial of the defendant’s motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict in the case of Alaniz v. Sun Pacific Shippers, Cal. Ct. App., Case No. B290013[1].

Case background

Jesus Alaniz was an employee of Navarro Trucking. Navarro Trucking subcontracted with a company named Sun Shippers to transport mandarin oranges from the company’s orchard. Alaniz brought some empty fruit bins to Sun Pacific’s orchard sometime in February 2012. When he arrived, he was told to park at an area where a forklift could unload the bins. Alaniz parked his truck and climbed onto the back of the trailer to move bins so that Roberto Reynosa, an employee who was driving the forklift for a different subcontractor named J. Antonio Rosa Lule, could unload them from the trailer’s north side. Alaniz tried to pull a stack of fruit bins closer for Reynosa to reach and fell off the trailer. When he fell, Reynosa accidentally drove over his leg. Reynosa asked Alaniz if he wanted Reynosa to drive him to the doctor, but Alaniz continued to work instead. He sought medical care four hours after his accident and had to have surgery on his leg and shoulder.

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When people are injured in accidents because of the negligence of others, they are entitled to recover damages for their economic and noneconomic losses. However, in cases involving multiple defendants, the jury may allocate different percentages of fault to each defendant. The defendants will then be responsible for paying their percentage of fault for the noneconomic losses. In Schreiber v. Lee, Cal. Ct. App., Case No. A149969, the California Court of Appeal considered a case involving multiple defendants and the apportionment of fault when the plaintiff settled with some of the defendants before trial for more than what the jury awarded to the plaintiff at trial.[1]

Factual and procedural background

Stephen K. Lee built a three-unit apartment building with the units above garages. When he constructed the building, he installed skylights in the floors of the decks of the apartments to allow light into the garages. Marthe Schreiber had lived in one of the units since 1980. Because she was concerned that the skylight in her deck’s floor was unsafe, she had never walked on it. She installed flower boxes around its perimeter to keep visiting children off of the skylight. In 2013, Schreiber was working with her employee to plant flowers in the boxes around the skylight. She tried to hand the worker a six-pack of flowers by reaching across the length of the skylight. When she did so, she lost her balance and fell through the skylight, suffering serious injuries.

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