Skip to Content (Press Enter)

Skip to Nav (Press Enter)


Subscribe to California Appellate Tracker

Thank you for your desire to subscribe to Severson & Werson’s Appellate Tracker Weblog. In order to subscribe, you must provide a valid name and e-mail address. This too will be retained on our server. When you push the “subscribe button”, we will send an electronic mail to the address that you provided asking you to confirm your subscription to our Weblog. By pushing the “subscribe button”, you represent and warrant that you are over the age of 18 years old, are the owner/authorized user of that e-mail address, and are entitled to receive e-mails at that address. Our weblog will retain your name and e-mail address on its server, or the server of its web host. However, we won’t share any of this information with anyone except the Firm’s employees and contractors, except under certain extraordinary circumstances described on our Privacy Policy and (About The Consumer Finance Blog/About the Appellate Tracker Weblog) Page. NOTICE AND AGREEMENT REGARDING E-MAILS AND CALLS/TEXT MESSAGES TO LAND-LINE AND WIRELESS TELEPHONES: By providing your contact information and confirming your subscription in response to the initial e-mail that we send you, you agree to receive e-mail messages from Severson & Werson from time-to-time and understand and agree that such messages are or may be sent by means of automated dialing technology. If you have your email forwarded to other electronic media, including text messages and cellular telephone by way of VoIP, internet, social media, or otherwise, you agree to receive my messages in that way. This may result in charges to you. Your agreement and consent also extend to any other agents, affiliates, or entities to whom our communications are forwarded. You agree that you will notify Severson & Werson in writing if you revoke this agreement and that your revocation will not be effective until you notify Severson & Werson in writing. You understand and agree that you will afford Severson & Werson a reasonable time to unsubscribe you from the website, that the ability to do so depends on Severson & Werson’s press of business and access to the weblog, and that you may still receive one or more emails or communications from weblog until we are able to unsubscribe you.

Defendant fired plaintiff wrongfully in 2018 thereby disentitling plaintiff to stock options he would otherwise have held in 2020 when defendant went public with an IPO, guaranteeing a profit on exercise of the stock options.  This decision holds that plaintiff's breach of contract damages need not be measured as of the date of breach (2018) but may properly be measured… Read More

Civil Code 1566, 1567, and 1570 establish a right to rescission in cases in which a person’s consent to a transaction was obtained by “menace”:  threats of confinement, of unlawful violence to the person or his or her property, or of injury to a person’s character.  This is effectively the civil version of extortion.  So, Tran could state a claim… Read More

The trial court erred in sustaining defendants' demurrer to the class action allegations of the complaint in this case which sought actual and punitive damages for the defendants' misuse of the Ellis Act to evict tenants from rent-controlled units and then to list units in the same building on AirBnB for tenancies of up to three years.  The decision holds… Read More

This decision affirms a $7 million judgment, including $6 million in punitive damages, against an employer for firing plaintiff in violation of Lab. Code 1102.5(c) (which prohibits adverse employment action in retaliation for a refusal to work reasonably perceived to violate a local, state or federal rule or regulation) and 232.5 (which prohibits retaliation for reporting working coinditions).  Plaintiff was… Read More

Gov. Code 818 immunizes governmental agencies from liability for damages imposed primarily for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant.  This decision holds that section 818 bars a claim for treble damages under CCP 340.1(b) for a childhood sexual assault resulting from the defendant's concerted effort to hide evidence relating to such assaults.  Section 340.1 imposes… Read More

In this case, plaintiff obtained a UIM arbitration award for the entire $1 million umbrella policy limit due to emotional distress plaintiff suffered from seeing the underinsured motorist hit her mother who was crossing the street with her.  Before the arbitration award, plaintiff made a 998 offer for a penny less than the umbrella policy limits, which the insurer refused. … Read More

Plaintiff wanted to give her cat "a good death."  She alleged an actionable fraud claim against the defendant vet for promising to give the cat a painless death, thereby getting plaintiff to agree to an intracardiac injection.  Plaintiff suffered damage from her reliance on that representation when her cat suffered a long and painful death instead.  Plaintiff also stated a… Read More

Plaintiff mother sued for negligent infliction of emotional distress.  She was on the telephone with her daughter while the daughter drove a car at an intersection where her vision of on-coming traffic was obscured by defendants' negligent maintenance of vegetation on adjoining property.  That mother heard the crash on the phone was insufficient in itself to allow her to sue. … Read More

Husband's divorce attorney violated the federal Wiretapping Statute (18 USC 2511) when he filed transcripts of conversations between wife and her child which husband had surreptitiously taped on a recorder hidden in the child's backpack.  Husband couldn't vicariously consent on the child's behalf to recording the conversations since the child was not in husband's custody at the time of the… Read More

This case denies American Pipe tolling of the statute of limitations on claims for statutory penalties under the Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (Civ. Code 1786.50).  The act clearly states that statutory penalties cannot be recovered in a class action, so that affected consumers could not reasonably rely on the pendency of a prior class action to protect their right… Read More

Heirs who filed a medical malpractice wrongful death suit lack standing to challenge the constitutionality of MICRA's limits on noneconomic damages (Civ. Code 3333.2) and attorney fees (B&P Code 6147).  Plaintiffs' attorney had not withdrawn or moved to withraw due to the statutory limits on attorney fees.  Moreover, there is no constitutional right to an attorney in civil litigation.  Plaintiffs… Read More

Under CCP 340.1(b), a plaintiff may obtain treble damages against a person whose cover up is found to be the cause of a sexual assault on a child through a concerted effort to hide evidence relating to childhood sexual assault.  This decision holds that the treble damage provision does not apply retroactively.  The statute espressly makes the lengthened statute of… Read More

This decision holds that there is a constitutional limit on aggregate statutory damage awards even if the statutory damage per violation passes constitutional muster.  An aggregate damage award may exceed due process limits in extreme situations—that is, when they are “wholly disproportioned” and “obviously unreasonable” in relation to the goals of the statute and the conduct the statute prohibits.  Constitutional… Read More

In these individual lawsuits arising from VW's emission defeat devices, the district court erred in reducing the juries' punitive damage awards to 4 times actual damages.  Reprehensibility here was high--a years-long intentional deceit that defeated the fuel-economy and reduced emissions goals of car buyers.  The high reprehensibility plus relatively low actual damages warranted punitive damages of more than 4 to… Read More

This decision reverses a judgment for the employee in a suit for unpaid overtime wages because of a botched special verdict question regarding the employer's affirmative defense that the employee was an exempt executive under Wage Order No. 5.  The question asked only if the employee spent more than 50% of her time on exempt duties.  The question overemphasized the… Read More

This decision reverses a punitive damage award against a supplier of talc to the manufacturer of Old Spice talcum powder.  Defendant did not contest the jury's verdicts finding that plaintiff contracted mesothelioma from the asbestos in the talcum powder and that defendant was negligent in failing to detect and warn consumers about its presence in the product.  However, there was… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that neither party prevailed in this action against a subcontractor and its bonding company.  The plaintiff city won on liability but was awarded only nominal damages though it had sought $3.4 million.  The trial court could properly conclude that the win on damages was not a total victory for the… Read More

An award of punitive damages was excessive where it equaled the full value of the only asset that the defendant was shown to own.  It is plaintiff's burden to produce evidence demonstrating the defendant's financial condition--including both assets and liabilities.  Here, plaintiff failed to present evidence of liabilities or show that defendant had more than a minimal annual income.  Proof… Read More

1 2 3 4