California Municipal Law Blog

How to Effectively “SLAPP” Back

by on July 4, 2016

posted in Damages,

SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation” and is perfectly named. The whole point of the lawsuit is to intimidate people into submission. The goal is not necessarily to win the case; it is to make life so difficult and expensive that the defendant just gives up and goes away. Many states, starting with California, have enacted protections against such lawsuits, recognizing that they infringe on someone’s freedom of speech and right to participate.  ... Continue Reading

tags: Defenses, Lawsuits, Motion to Strike, SLAPP,

Summary of Important New Laws Affecting Local Agencies in 2016

by on January 28, 2016

posted in CEQA, Damages, Elections, Employee Benefits, Employment Law, Ethics, Legislative Updates, Medical Marijuana, Proposition 215, Public Records Act, Water, Zoning,

The following laws are effective January 1, 2016, unless otherwise provided.  These legislative changes were selected as those of importance and/or interest to public agencies.  ... Continue Reading

tags: 2016 Legislative Session, California Legislature, New laws,

Howell and Uninsured Plaintiffs

by on October 19, 2015

posted in Damages,

A new case came out from the 4th District Court of Appeal applying the Howell rule to uninsured plaintiffs. Bermudez v. Ciolex. The plaintiff in this case was an uninsured pedestrian.  His medical bills were $450,000, none of which were paid.  He requested $691,000-984,000 in future medical expenses. Defense counsel argued the necessity and reasonableness of past medical expenses and suggested that past medical expenses should be $135,000. He did not provide a number for future medicals. The special verdict form awarded $460,431 in past medicals and $425,000 in future medical expenses. The total ... Continue Reading

tags: Bermudez v. Ciolex, Damages, Howell, medical bills, uninsured pedestrian,

State Supreme Court Expands Government Liability for Dangerous Condition of Public Property

by on August 17, 2015

posted in Damages, Public Works, Recent Court Decisions, Streets and Sidewalks,

A car driving along a road is sideswiped by another car, causing it to veer into a median and hit a tree.  Tragically, all but one of the car’s occupants is killed; the sole survivor is seriously injured.  Although the driver of the other car was clearly at fault, the city that maintained the tree is sued under the theory that the tree’s placement in the median was a “dangerous condition of public property.”  Can the city be held liable? Yes, says the State Supreme Court.  In Cordova v. City of Los Angeles, the Court held that local agencies may be liable for a dangerous condition of ... Continue Reading

tags: automobile accident, causation, city trees, medians, negligence, Public Beautification Programs,

Hanif, Howell, and Medical Factoring in Personal Injury Lawsuits

by on October 23, 2014

posted in Damages,

Overview In a run-of-the-mill personal injury lawsuit, a plaintiff will seek medical treatment from a provider. The provider will bill $x and that number forms the basis for damages in a lawsuit. For example, if the plaintiff has surgery and the surgery costs $20,000, then $20,000 is the number shown to the jury.  The jury uses that number to come to a total damages award.  (By law, payments made by an insurance company cannot be presented to the jury.) Factoring companies have entered the personal law arena by making it profitable to increase the medical bills thereby increasing the jury verdicts.  ... Continue Reading

tags: Damages, Evidence, Hanif, Howell, Jury, Medical Factoring, Personal Injury,