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McIntyre’s Civil Alert. Organized Succinct Summaries

CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL

Arbitration
Garrido v. Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2015 WL 6451011: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying a motion to compel arbitration. The trial court denied the motion because the agreement’s class waiver provision was improper under Gentry v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal.4th 443 (Gentry). After the trial court’s ruling, however, the California Supreme Court ruled, in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC (2014) 59 Cal.4th 348, 364, that Gentry’s rule against employment class waivers was preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act. The Court of Appeal held that the arbitration agreement was not subject to the FAA, despite language saying that it was, because Section 1 of the FAA clearly exempts from FAA coverage employment contracts entered into by truck drivers engaged in interstate commerce. Because the arbitration agreement was not subject to the FAA, the ruling in Gentry applied, and the trial court properly denied the motion to compel arbitration. (C.A. 2nd, October 26, 2015.)

Civil Procedure (anti-SLAPP, default judgments, jurisdiction)
Buchanan v. Soto (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2015 WL 6768745: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying defendant’s motion to vacate entry of default and default judgment, and to quash service of summons. The trial court properly concluded that it had specific jurisdiction over defendant because he had purposefully availed himself of doing business in the state, the controversy at issue arose from or was related to the defendant’s forum-related contact, and assertion of jurisdiction would be reasonable. The Court of Appeal concluded that service by publication was proper because, on the record provided, substantial evidence supported the court’s finding that plaintiff made reasonable, good faith and diligent efforts to attempt to locate defendant and personally serve him with the summons and complaint in the fraudulent conveyance action. (C.A. 4th, November 6, 2015.)

Evidence
Uspenskaya v. Meline (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2015 WL 6510915: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s ruling denying defendant’s motion to admit evidence, during a personal injury trial, of the amount that a third party had paid to purchase liens from medical providers who had treated plaintiff (with no medical insurance) on a lien basis. The third party assignee, MedFin Managers, LLC (MedFin), purchased the lien from the medical providers at a discount, but plaintiff remained liable for the total bill. Defendant argued that the MedFin payment should have been admitted as evidence of the reasonable cost of treatment provided plaintiff. The Court of Appeal concluded that, because defendant proffered no evidence to show that the MedFin payments represented the reasonable value of plaintiff’s treatment, the probative value of that evidence was substantially outweighed by the probability that it would create a substantial danger of undue prejudice as well as a danger of confusing and misleading the jury. The trial court’s exclusion of the evidence under Evidence Code section 352 was proper. (C.A. 3rd, October 28, 2015.)

Insurance
Underwriters of Interest Subscribing To Policy Number A15274001 v. ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Company (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2015 WL 6437698: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s summary judgment for defendant in an action where plaintiff sought equitable contribution from defendant for the costs of defending Pacific Trades Construction & Development, Inc. under a comprehensive general liability policy. The trial court erred in concluding defendant’s “other insurance” clause could be used to deny coverage. The courts have repeatedly addressed—and rejected—arguments by insurers that an “other insurance” clause in their insuring agreement permitted them to evade their obligations by shifting the entire burden associated with defending and indemnifying a mutual insured onto a coinsurer. (C.A. 4th, October 23, 2015.)

Real Property (CEQA, landlord-tenant)
Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (Logan) (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2015 WL 6470455: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of a writ petition making a CEQA challenge to the City of Berkeley’s (City) approval of a project. Property owners obtained permits from the City to build a large home on a large lot in the Berkeley hills, finding the project was exempt under two different categorical CEQA exemptions. The Court of Appeal originally reversed the trial court, finding that the project presented unusual circumstances, triggering an exception to CEQA’s categorical exemptions and requiring the preparation of an environmental impact report (EIR). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a potentially significant environmental effect was not alone sufficient to trigger the unusual circumstances exception, and remanded to the Court of Appeal. On remand, the Court of Appeal concluded that sufficient evidence supported the City’s conclusion the project was categorically exempt from further CEQA review. (C.A. 1st, filed September 23, 2015, published October 15, 2015.)

Torts (causation, damages, product liability)
Brady v. Calsol, Inc. (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2015 WL 6598715: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s summary judgment for defendant Calsol. Plaintiffs were diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, allegedly caused by exposure to Safety-Kleen 105 Solvent during the course of their employment. They sued various defendants including Calsol, Inc., a distributor of mineral spirits for the ultimate manufacturer, Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc. Calsol filed a motion for summary judgment based on the raw material or component parts doctrine, and the trial court granted the motion. The Court of Appeal reversed, ruling that the component parts doctrine requires a showing the mineral spirits supplied to Safety-Kleen were not inherently dangerous (Artiglio v. General Electric Co. (1998) 61 Cal.App.4th 830, 839.), but Calsol failed to make that showing. As a result, there remained a dispute of material fact as to whether mineral spirits were inherently dangerous. (C.A. 2nd, filed October 10, 2015, published October 30, 2015.)

Monty A. Mcintyre

Monty A. McIntyre follows his passions for the law and serving others by serving as a mediator, arbitrator and motion referee to help individuals, businesses and lawyers obtain rapid, reasonable resolution of disputes. He is also the Publisher of McIntyre’s California Civil Law Update and can be reached at 619-990-4312 or monty.mcintyre@gmail.com.

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About the Author: Monty A. McIntyre follows his passions for the law and serving others by serving as a mediator, arbitrator and motion referee to help individuals, businesses and lawyers obtain rapid, reasonable resolution of disputes. He is also the Publisher of McIntyre’s California Civil Law Update and can be reached at 619-990-4312 or monty.mcintyre@gmail.com.

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