ACA Benefits and MediCal Service Discounts Admissible at Trial as Evidence of Market Value of Future Medical Benefits

In a case certified for publication by the first Appellate District, division one (Contra Costa County), the appellate court determined the trial court erred in ruling that evidence of future ACA benefits is inadmissible.

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Hands Off!

On January 1, 2017 a new law regarding the use of cell phones goes into effect, all with hope it will reduce vehicular accidents. Before its enactment, the law only proscribed handheld cellphone calls or handheld texting. The new law makes all handheld use of a cellphone while operating a vehicle illegal. No more handheld cellphone selfies, and no more handheld GPS searches.

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Code of Civil Procedure, §998 Revisited

After SHCP’s August 14, 2015 blog entry discussing Statutory Offers, Assembly Bill No. 1141 was signed into law by Governor Brown. AB 1141, effective January 1, 2016, amends CCP, §998 to equalize the treatment of expert witness costs awarded to a prevailing party. AB 1141 states, “This bill would clarify that this provision [CCP, §998] requires a plaintiff to cover only expert witness costs that arose postoffer.” AB 1141 will result in both parties being exposed to the same expert fee penalties for turning down a statutory offer and not doing better at trial.

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Reptile Within

Callaghan, a licensed concrete subcontractor, acted as owner-builder for his home improvement project, which included construction of a pool/spa. To minimize noise, the pool equipment was to be installed in an underground vault. The property did not have natural gas service so propane lines were run to the house and backyard. Callaghan did not know installing a propane fueled heater underground is dangerous.

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Minor’s Compromise

A minor’s compromise is always required for settlement of a minor’s claim/lawsuit according to California law. You may have heard of the “below $5,000.00” exception, purportedly allowing for settlement of a minor’s claim/lawsuit without a minor’s compromise hearing. That is not only wrong, it is a dangerous cost-cutting method of attempting to settle a minor’s claim. The “below $5,000.00” exception has arisen from attorneys misconstruing the option which allows a judge to order minor’s settlements below $5,000.00 be managed by the minor’s parents without further supervision of the court.

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Small, Henstridge, Cabodi & Pyles recently had the privilege of participating in a mock mediation for habitability claims developed by The Travelers Insurance Company=s large loss claims department in Denver, Colorado. The participants included several major law firms in California as well as a number of experienced claim representatives.


Assumption of the Risk Doctrine Still Alive and Well in California

Summer is fast approaching which means families will be flocking to amusement parks and carnivals throughout the state.  A recent California appellate case entitled Griffin v. The Haunted Hotel, Inc. (2015) WL 7355112, affirmed the age-old Assumption of the Risk Doctrine in California tort law.
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Attorney’s Fees Clause- A Second Thought

It may be wise to think twice before including prevailing party attorney’s fees clauses in standard residential and/or commercial lease agreements.  Under established law, each party to an agreement is responsible for paying its own attorney’s fees unless provided by statute or the language of the contract.  The attorney’s fees clause is usually standard language in all real estate lease agreements we encounter.

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Request for Admissions Denial Danger

A perplexing California Fourth Appellate District case regarding denial of Request for Admissions, Grace v. Mansourian has just been ordered published.  The case involved a defendant who had a good faith belief that the traffic light was “green,” while other “witnesses” and the traffic investigation disagreed.  Verdict for plaintiff, who recovered costs for proving matters denied by defendant’s Request for Admissions denials.

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