Riddell, Inc. v. Superior Court

If the issues in a insurance coverage declaratory relief action overlap the issues in the underlying litigation against the insured, the insurer cannot, over the insured’s objection, take discovery on the overlapping issues or litigate them in the declaratory relief action.  If the issues in a declaratory relief action over insurance coverage overlap the issues…

David v. Hernandez

Trial court properly excluded defense expert’s proposed testimony that plaintiff was under the influence of marijuana at the time of auto accident at issue, since hospital tests did not indicate an active concentration of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in plaintiff’s blood when he was hospitalized after the accident.  The trial court did not…

Rhule v. WaveFront Technology, Inc.

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by allowing plaintiff to withdraw two mistaken admissions, but assessing him more than $8000 in attorney fees allegedly incurred by defendant as a result of the withdrawn admissions. The trial court allowed plaintiff to withdraw two mistaken admissions, but assessed him $8,125 in attorney fees allegedly incurred by…

Tucker Ellis, LLP v. Superior Court

The attorney-work product privilege in documents prepared by a law firm’s employee-attorney while representing the law firm’s client is held by the law firm, not the employee-attorney who prepared the documents.  Nelson, an attorney, formerly employed by Tucker Ellis, a law firm, wrote emails (in his capacity as a Tucker Ellis employee) to a consultant…

Zubillaga v. Allstate Indemnity Co.

Summary judgment for insurer on bad faith claim is reversed due to a triable issue as to whether insurer’s dispute about the claim amount was genuine since the insurer had not updated its medical expert’s opinion based on new evidence of the extent of the insured’s injuries.  Allstate was not entitled to summary judgment on…

Wendell v. GlaxoSmithKline

Plaintiff’s experts on the issue of whether defendant’s drug had caused a rare blood cancer should not have been excluded under Daubert, since the experts were highly qualified doctors who based their opinions on their experience with this and similar diseases, medical literature, and similar proper material.  In this case, plaintiff’s decedent contracted a rare…

Cross v. Superior Court

The psychotherapist-patient privilege may not be raised in opposition to producing patient records in a Medical Board investigation, but to protect the patient’s privacy rights the subpoena must be carefully tailored to request only records that are relevant and material to a compelling state interest, such as avoiding over-prescription of controlled substances. B&P 2225(a) provides…

Cuevas v. Contra Costa County

To reduce a damage award in a medical malpractice case, the defendant may introduce evidence of collateral source payments to plaintiff for medical care including Obamacare and private medical insurance benefits that has already received or likely will receive in the future. Civ. Code 3333.1, part of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act,  allows the…

McDermott Will & Emery, LLP v. Superior Court

No matter how the attorney receives another party’s inadvertently produced privileged material, the attorney owes a duty to notify the privilege holder and await a court’s resolution of any dispute over existence or waiver of the privilege; failure to do so may lead to disqualification.  The trial court did not abuse its discretion in disqualifying…

Phillips v. Honeywell International, Inc.

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting a letter, containing a remark showing callous indifference to worker death from asbestos, because the letter showed the employer was on notice of the risks of asbestos early, and prejudice from the callous remark was avoided by a jury instruction limiting consideration of the letter…

Behunin v. Superior Court

Attorney-client privilege does not shield communications among plaintiff, his attorney, and a third party public relations firm whom plaintiff hired to smear defendants in an attempt to induce a favorable settlement.  Steiner represented Behunin in litigation Behunin brought against Charles and Michael Schwab.  To pressure the Schwabs to settle the litigation, Steiner hired Levick Strategic…

Lemke v. Sutter Roseville Medical Center

Defendant hospital’s report to Board of Registered Nursing regarding plaintiff, a registered nurse, and her allegedly improper monitoring of a patient to whom she had given narcotics, was absolutely privileged under Civ. Code 47(b) and therefore could not be the subject of a viable defamation claim.  Statements made to an “appropriate regulatory agency” are absolutely…