Published on:

In California, companies that hire independent contractors to perform work are only liable to the independent contractors’ employees in limited circumstances. In Alaniz v. Sun Pacific Shippers, LP, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B2920013, the California Court of Appeals reviewed a case in which an employee of an independent contractor was injured while he was working on the premises of a company to determine whether the jury instructions that the court gave were accurate or if they introduced prejudicial error against the defendants.[1]

Factual and procedural background

Jesus Alaniz was an employee of Navarro Trucking, which was contracted with Sun Pacific Shippers to deliver empty orange and apple bins to an orchard owned by Sun Pacific. In Feb. 2012, Alaniz delivered a truckload of bins to the orchard. A man named Roberto Reynosa, who as an employee of a different independent contractor named J. Antonio Rosa Lule, drove a forklift with the responsibility of unloading the bins from Alaniz’s truck.

Published on:

California employers are liable for their employees’ negligent actions while they are operating in the scope and course of their jobs and injure or kill others. However, employers are not liable for the negligence of their employees when the workers are commuting to or from their jobs with limited exceptions. In Bingener v. City of Los Angeles, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B291112, the court looked at the exceptions to the coming and going rule to determine whether the employer of a negligent worker who struck a pedestrian while commuting to work fell under an exception to the coming and going rule or whether the rule applied, absolving the employer of liability.[1]

Factual and procedural background

Kim Rushton was a 68-year-old man who worked as a chemist in a water lab for the City of Los Angeles to test water samples for organic molecules. Rushton had been employed in his job for more than 20 years. He received medical treatment for several medical conditions, including occasional seizures, neuropathy in his feet, and tremors that were controlled with medications. In Dec. 2014, Rushton fell at his job and remained off from work until Feb. 2015 because of his fall-related injuries. He was allowed to return to work on Feb. 2, 2015, with restrictions on kneeling, squatting, and bending. He was also restricted from sitting or standing for longer than four hours. The doctor did not place any restrictions on his ability to drive, however. On Feb. 20, 2015, Rushton was given an injection of steroids to ease his back pain.

Published on:

sexual-abuse-attorneySexual abuse is a prevalent problem in youth sports. Many people have heard about the pervasive sexual abuse that was perpetrated against Olympic gymnasts by a gymnastics doctor. In Brown v. USA Taekwondo, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B280550, the court considered whether organizations could be held to be responsible for the sexual assaults and abuse that are perpetrated by coaches that are certified through the organizations.

Factual and procedural background

Brianna Bordon, Kendra Gatt, and Yazmin Brown were teenagers who took taekwondo lessons from Marc Gitelman, who was certified by USA Taekwondo to coach athletes who wanted to try to be selected for the Olympics. All three girls were 15 or 16 at the time. Gitelman sexually abused all three girls, and he was subsequently arrested and convicted of several felonies.

Published on:

California-Car-Accident-AttorneysPeople who negligently entrust their vehicles to others whom they know or should have known are unfit to drive may be liable to pay damages to accident injury victims that are caused by the negligence of the drivers. In Ghezavat v. Harris, Cal. Ct. App., Case No. A154405, the court looked at whether the defendant should have been allowed to supplement the jury instruction on negligent entrustment and whether he could have been found to negligently entrust the vehicle when he was a co-owner who did not have control of the vehicle.

Factual and procedural background

John Harris was a 32-year-old man who was driving a Toyota Tacoma truck on Nov. 7, 2011. While he was driving, he suffered a grand mal seizure, lost control of the vehicle, and struck a car that was occupied by Mahin Dowlati and Ellie Pirdivari. Dowlati and Pirdivari were killed in the accident, and their family members filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both John Harris for negligence and David Harris, his father, for negligent entrustment.

Published on:

Under California law, emotional distress is a recognized category of injury that people can suffer and for which they can recover damages when it is negligently or intentionally inflicted by others. In Crouch v. Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana Inc., Cal. Ct. App. No. G055602, the court considered whether statements made by the plaintiff’s grandmother amounted to intentional infliction of emotional distress and whether the grandmother’s employer was liable for the resulting damages.

Factual background of the case

Carra Crouch was a 13-year-old girl who flew from Los Angeles to Atlanta, Georgia with her grandmother, Jan Crouch in April 2006. Jan Crouch worked for Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, and she was in charge of a telethon that was scheduled to occur in Atlanta. Carra was planning to visit her cousins, Nathan and Nick. While they were in route, Carra received a message from a man named Steve Smith, a 30-year-old man who worked for Trinity Christian Center. Carra had previously been introduced to Smith by her two cousins, and Smith told her he hoped that he would get to see her during her visit.

Published on:

Residential-Accident-Claims-Attorney-Los-Angeles-300x200When people are injured in California while they are lawfully visiting the premises of others, the property owners or operators may be liable to pay damages. However, the property owners or operators must have known or reasonably should have known about the existence of the hazardous condition. In Jones v. Awad, Cal. Ct. App. No. F077359, the court considered whether a homeowner could be liable for a step that did not meet city building codes when the homeowner had purchased the home after it had been built.

Factual and procedural background of the case

Theresa Jones visited Clyde and Julia Awad’s home in Dec. 2014. While she was there, she left the home through a door to the garage. Outside the door, there was one step that she had to take before she got to the floor of the garage. The step had a piece of carpet attached to it, and there was a welcome mat placed on top of the carpet. As Jones stepped down onto the step, she slipped and fell, injuring her wrist and humerus. Jones said that when she stepped on the rug, it felt like there wasn’t anything underneath it. She said that she believed that it must have slipped, causing her to fall. The Awads’s son was in the garage at the time of Jones’s fall. He testified that he did not see her fall but that the welcome mat was not easily moved and that it was still in its normal position after Jones’s fall.

Published on:

Many nursing homes ask residents or their agents to sign arbitration agreements. These agreements state that any disputes between the resident and the nursing home must be handled through the arbitration process. Nursing homes use these types of agreements because arbitration generally favors the companies instead of the plaintiffs, and the homes can avoid the publicity of a trial when arbitration is compelled. However, as the case of Lopez v. Bartlett Care Center, LLC, Cal. Ct. App. No. G056427 shows, some arbitration agreements are unenforceable and may be thrown out by the court, leaving the parties to litigate through the court process.

Factual and procedural background

Irene Lopez was admitted to the Bartlett Care Center, a skilled nursing facility, on Oct. 5, 2016. She had a history of dementia, diabetes, end-stage renal disease, muscle weakness, and other medical problems. Irene Lopez had a brief stay in the hospital at the end of October and was readmitted to the nursing home on Nov. 4, 2016, where she remained until Jan. 15, 2017.

Published on:

When people are injured while they are on the property of others, they may have legal grounds to file lawsuits when their injuries were caused by dangerous conditions about which the property owners knew about or should have reasonably known about. If a person is injured by a dangerous condition that exists on public property, the municipality, governmental agency, or another governmental body that owns the property may likewise be liable to pay damages. However, it may be more difficult to prove that a condition on public property is dangerous than a condition on private property. In Huckey v. City of Temecula, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. E070213, the court considered whether a plaintiff had met his initial burden of proving that a condition that existed on a public sidewalk was dangerous.

Factual and procedural background of the case

Charles Huckey was helping a real estate agent named Valentina N. who had an open house in the area of Rancho California Road and Meadows Parkway in Temecula on Dec. 12, 2015, somewhere between the times of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Huckey picked up some of Valentina’s signs, which he was carrying underneath his arms as he walked on the sidewalk close to the northeast corner of the intersection when he tripped over a raised area and fell, striking his head, hands, and arms. Huckey filed a lawsuit against the city of Temecula, alleging that the city had negligently failed to repair a dangerous condition that caused his injury. The city filed a motion for summary judgment and asked the court to dismiss Huckey’s lawsuit.

Published on:

work-injury-claims-attorney-Los-AngelesPeople who are injured while they are working are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits through their employers’ insurance carriers. Doctors are able to request specific medical services for injured workers. When employers either change the requests or deny them, the modifications or denials undergo a utilization review by medical experts. In Allied Signal Aerospace vs. Workers Compensation Appeals Board, Cal.Ct. App. Case No. B293080, the California Court of Appeal considered an employer’s petition for review of a decision that was made by the appeals board concerning a utilization review for a woman whose doctor had requested heavy housecleaning assistance.

Factual and procedural background

Maxine Wiggs was an employee of Allied Signal Aerospace who suffered an industrial injury that was cumulative in nature from May 3, 1997, to May 30, 1998. The injury required her to undergo six surgeries between 1998 and 2012. By 2012, Wiggs had to take multiple narcotic and opioid medications to manage her pain. She had three more surgeries from 2014 to 2017. Wiggs requested home health care services. On Oct. 22, 2012, the parties agreed that a registered nurse named Irene Mefford would conduct an in-home assessment of the need for housekeeping services and would write a report and submit it to Wiggs’s doctor for his review.

Published on:

sexual-abuse-attorneyThe victims of sexual abuse committed against them in schools may file lawsuits against the perpetrators, administrators, and the school district when the school knew or reasonably should have known about the risk that the perpetrator posed to others. When these cases go to trial, plaintiffs may have to rely on earlier misconduct to show that the school district had notice. In D.Z. v. Los Angeles Unified School District, Cal. Ct. App., Case No. B283799, the California Court of Appeals reviewed whether the trial court should have admitted evidence of other prior misconduct on the part of a teacher to show that the Los Angeles Unified School District had notice that the teacher had a propensity to commit sexual abuse of students.[1]

Procedural and factual background of the case

D.Z. was a 16-year-old girl who was expelled from her previous high school because she reportedly threw a book at the school’s dean. She was subsequently enrolled at Miguel Leonis High School in Sept. 2010, a school within the Los Angeles Unified School District for at-risk students. The school consisted of four classrooms with the principal’s office central to each one. The principal was able to see into the individual classrooms through open doors. There were only 130 students at the school, so the setting was more intimate, and the students were able to develop closer relationships with their teachers than students were in larger schools.

Contact Information