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Case Summaries

Injury & Tort Law

[04/30] Shields v. Hennessey Industries, Inc.
In consolidated actions alleging that the defendant's machine for shaping brake linings that were manufactured by others and that contained asbestos fibers that were dangerously released into the air by the normal action of the defendant's machine, the trial court's judgment on the pleadings in favor of the defendant is reversed, where the plaintiffs pleaded viable causes of action for negligence and strict liability for purposes of overcoming a motion for judgment on the pleadings.

[04/30] Gregg v. Ham
In a homeowner's suit against a bail bondsman and others alleging civil rights violations under 42 USC section 1983 and various state law tort claims, stemming from the bail bondsman's efforts to apprehend a fugitive in and around the plaintiff's home, the jury's verdict and damages award in favor of the plaintiff are affirmed, where: 1) the qualified immunity defense does not apply to bail bondsmen, so the district court’s jury instruction on that defense could not be erroneous; 2) there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's conclusions that the plaintiff's consent to enter her home was involuntary and that she was in reasonable fear of bodily harm; and 3) the district court did not err by denying the defendant's Rule 59 motion for a new trial or remittitur on damages.

[04/30] Bush v. Horizon West
In an action in which one plaintiff sued the operators of a skilled nursing facility for elder abuse based on their alleged neglect in providing her care and treatment at the facility and the plaintiff's daughter sued the same defendants for negligent infliction of emotional distress based on her alleged observation of the harm they caused her mother through their neglect, the trial court's denial of the defendants' motion to compel arbitration is affirmed, where: 1) CCP section 1281.2(c) was not preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act; 2) the parties did not agree that section 1281.2(c) would not apply; 3) the daughter was not bound by the arbitration agreement; and 4) there was no abuse of discretion in the trial court's determination that there was a possibility of conflicting rulings.

[04/27] Cole v. Town of Los Gatos
In a personal injury suit in which one of the defendants was a city, summary judgment in favor of the city is reversed, where the evidence before the trial court raised numerous issues of fact concerning the existence of a dangerous condition of public property and a causal relationship between the characteristics of the property and the plaintiff's injuries, so the city was potentially liable under Government Code section 835.

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