Litigation Topics: Miscellaneous

Collateral Source Rule in Personal Injury Cases Clarified by California Supreme Court

Court Rules that Key is Actual Amount Paid, as Opposed to Amount Billed

One of the most important issues in any case is the amount of damages an injured party can recover. In the personal injury context, this issue is central. Over the years, a controversy has raged over how to measure the recoverable amount in a personal injury lawsuit.  Should the inured person’s recovery for medical expenses by measured by the amount billed by a caregiver, or the amount actually paid for treatment?

Court Rules Credit Card Customers Can Zip Their Lips About Home Zip Codes

We’ve all been there.  Waiting in line to pay and get out of the store, sliding our credit card through a machine, when a clerk at the cash registers asks us for our home zip code.  What if we refuse?

Court Has Discretion Whether Or Not to Appoint a Referee, Despite Parties Pre-Dispute Agreement

If parties agree to refer their dispute to a referee rather than go to court, must the judiciary comply with their agreement?  Or does the court have discretion to reject the reference, in effect requiring the parties to litigate despite their agreement to the contrary?

The California Supreme Court has ruled that despite the parties' contract, the court retains discretion under Section 638 of the Code of Civil Procedure.  According to the justices, a trial court can independently review the matter and decide for itself whether a reference to a referee is appropriate.

California Supreme Court Rules that School District May be Sued for “Negligent Hiring”

The California Supreme Court has ruled that a school district may face liability if it negligently hired a known child abuser and then allowed the person to closely interact with students as a counselor without adequate supervision.

California Supreme Court Rules that Lawyer Advertising is Protected by Anti-SLAPP Statute

In an important decision protecting free speech, the California Supreme Court has ruled that a lawyer who mentions a company’s allegedly defective product in an advertisement directed at potential clients may invoke the state’s powerful “anti-SLAPP” statute and get the case dismissed. The statute is so named because it is designed to protect people against “strategic lawsuits against public participation” – hence the acronym “SLAPP."

Email Liability: What Happens If You Forward A Message That Contains Defamatory Information

The court of appeal has offered simple, straightforward advice in an email defamation case. In ruling on a claim that a person’s reputation was harmed when the defendant forwarded an email containing defamatory information, the court held there was no liability unless the defendant “materially contributed” to the content of the defamatory material.

Bond Requirement for Preliminary Injunction Can Be Waived

If a party obtains a preliminary injunction, it does not become effective until that party posts a bond. This requirement is set forth in section 529 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The purpose of the bond requirement is to make sure that if damages are suffered while an injunction is in place, compensation will be available to the injured party if and when the injunction is lifted.

Court Expresses Skepticism Over Use of Non-Compete Clauses to Protect Trade Secrets

The fact pattern is all too familiar. In a technical industry, an employee signs a “non-compete” clause and then changes employers and begins to compete against his or her old firm. Litigation ensues and one of the claims is that the employee agreed not to compete with “trade secrets” learned during employment with the first company. The former employer sues the employee and the new employer and asks for an injunction to prevent the employee from working for the new company and/or from using trade secrets in his new job.