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Pharmaceuticals

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Personal Injury

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Medical Devices

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Product Liability

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Case Summaries

Professional Malpractice

[12/06]
In plaintiff's medical malpractice suit against a county hospital and others, the court of appeal's reversal of trial court's grant of defendants' motion for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff failed to comply with the Government Claims Act because her claim was never presented to or received by a statutorily designated recipient as required by section 915, is reversed and remanded where neither section 915(a)'s specific requirements for compliance, nor section 915(e)(1)'s provision deeming actual receipt to constitute compliance were satisfied, and therefore, the court of appeal erred in holding that there was "substantial compliance."

[11/29]
In plaintiff's medical malpractice suit against her former physician, arising from their nine-month affair, the judgment of the Appellate Division is affirmed but modified where the punitive damages were improperly charged as a matter of law, because there is no evidence the physician willfully caused plaintiff's "transference" or harm.

[11/20]
In plaintiff's suit against a lawyer who had served as a court-appointed discovery master and the lawyer's firm, alleging various theories of conspiracy arising from an underlying will contest, district court's dismissal of the suit is affirmed where: 1) the district court did not err in certifying the ruling as a partial final judgment; and 2) the court-appointed discovery master was entitled to absolute quasi-judicial immunity.

[11/20]
Following a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff in her malpractice suit against the hospital, appellate division's denial of the hospital's motion to set aside the verdict is affirmed, where although a party has an absolute right to poll the jury and a court's denial of that right mandates reversal and a new trial, it was not unreasonable for the trial court to conclude that the request had been withdrawn or waived in light of the nature of counsel's response to the judge's inquiry.

[11/19]
In a brokerage firm's suit against its clients to recover $70,000 in commission, appellate division's grant of the firm's motion for summary judgment is affirmed where: 1) the firm has established its entitlement to the commission as a matter of law, as the statements and conduct cited by the sellers do not raise a material issue of fact as to whether the broker was acting as a dual agent in the transaction; and 2) the seller's claim that the firm and the broker breached an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing is without merit.

[10/30]
A law firm and "of counsel" constitute a single, de facto firm, and thus a law firm cannot recover attorney fees under a prevailing party clause when, as a successful litigant, it is represented by "of counsel."

[10/12]
In plaintiffs' suit against Safeway, Inc., under Business and Professions Code section 25602.1, seeking damages for their son's death in a car accident, trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of Safeway because there is no evidence that Safeway "furnished" or "caused alcohol to be furnished or given" to the minor within the meaning of section 25602.1.

[10/09]
In plaintiff's professional negligence action against her accountant and representatives of brokerage firms, trial court's order denying arbitration is reversed in part and affirmed in part where the FAA does not preempt application of the CAA to an arbitration agreement in which the parties have agreed to be governed by California law, but the FAA does preempt when they have not so agreed.

[09/24]
In a medical negligence action, a hospital's request for a writ of mandate directing the trial court to vacate its order compelling interrogatory responses and production of documents concerning information held solely by the hospital's institutional review board, is granted where: 1) the Board is a medical staff committee whose records are exempt from discovery under Evidence Code section 1157; and 2) the express language of section 1157 does not limit its protections to committees composed solely of licensed practitioners.

[09/19]
Defendants' convictions for various crimes arising out their involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme, are affirmed where: 1) defendants' various challenges to the district court's management of the case, evidentiary rulings, jury instructions, sentencing calculation, and other rulings are meritless; 2) defendant's arguments that a district court may not undermine a jury's nullification power by explicitly instructing the jury that it has a duty to return a guilty verdict if it is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of a defendant's guilt is without merit; and 3) there was no error in the district court's loss calculation methodology and none in its mathematical application of this methodology, which produced an intended loss amount within the range contemplated by U.S.S.G. section 2B1.1(b)(1)(J).

[09/18]
An El Salvadorian citizen's petition for review of or an order of removal is granted where the petitioner's right to be presented in the proceedings by retained counsel, established under 8 U.S.C. section 1362, was violated when his attorney failed to appear at a scheduled merits hearing before an Immigration Judge because his license to practice law had been temporarily suspended. Further, a petitioner so denied his right to counsel in an immigration proceeding is not required to demonstrate actual prejudice in order to obtain relief.

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