Notification Requirements Following Unauthorized Disclosure of Computerized Data Stored by Insurers.

In a recent new bulletin, the California Insurance Commissioner addressed the issue of notice requirements after a breach of security information or improper disclosure of personal information by insurers, insurance producers, and other interested persons. Continue reading

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California Court Finds that Delegation Clauses within Arbitration Agreements Can Be Enforceable

By Steven Markowitz 

In the aftermath of the United States Supreme Court case, AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion, (2011) 131 S. Ct. 1740 (“Concepcion”) California courts have begun revising state law regarding the enforceability of contractual arbitration clauses, including in the employer-employee context.  Continue reading

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California Supreme Court to Determine if Elder Abuse Can Occur on an Outpatient Basis

Currently pending before the California Supreme Court is the case of Winn v. Pioneer Medical Group, Inc.(2013) 216 Cal.App.4th 875 wherein the Court will determine if a health care provider can commit neglect within the meaning of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act when it fails to refer a patient to a specialist if the care is outpatient, or if an action for neglect must allege a custodial relationship. Continue reading

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Can an Employer Deduct Sleep Time From Hours Worked?

Security guard employees frequently raise issues before the courts. The job often requires long shifts, no breaks, and on-call hours. This can result in many questions for employers seeking to comply with employment laws. Currently pending before the California Supreme Court is the issue of whether security guards must be compensated for nighttime on-call hours, or if the employer may deduct sleep time. Continue reading

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Engineers May be Liable to Third Parties Absent Privity

Engineers may be held liable for damage they proximately cause to third parties as a result of their negligence. This is true even if the engineer does not have a contractual relationship with the third party. Continue reading

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Applicable Statute of Limitations in Fraud-Based Claims Against Attorneys

The Court of Appeals recently considered whether a plaintiff’s fraud claims against its attorney were barred by the statute of limitations, and specifically, what statute should be applied when two statutes appear to be applicable. In Prakashpalan v. Engstrom, Lipscomb and Lack (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 1105, the Plaintiffs brought suit against their former law firm and its individual attorneys alleging multiple counts of professional negligence and malpractice, fraud, conversion, and breach of fiduciary duty. The Plaintiffs’ claim for fraud alleged that the Defendants failed to provide an accounting of $100 million in settlement funds to the 93 plaintiffs named in the suit and that a certain sum was unaccounted for which was converted by the Defendants. The Defendants demurred to the fraud claim on the grounds that it was barred by the statute of limitations as the conduct complained of occurred fifteen years prior. The trial court held that they were not barred pursuant to the delayed discovery rule, as the Plaintiffs did not discover the facts giving rise to the conduct until 2012. However, the Defendants claimed and the trial court agreed that those causes of action were barred because it could not proceed with a defense unless all of the clients receiving settlement funds waived the attorney-client privilege. On appeal, the Court considered what statute of limitations should apply to the fraud claims. Continue reading

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Jury Awards Plaintiff $326,000 for Emotional Distress Claim Against Insurer Resulting From Bad-Faith Denial of Claim

A Los Angeles County jury recently awarded a plaintiff a large judgment for a bad faith denial of insurance benefits and emotional distress claim following the insurance company’s failure to provide benefits under its policy. In White v. GEICO Indemnity Company, the plaintiff Panorea White owned an automobile insured by the defendant GEICO. In July of 2010 she was involved in an accident causing damage to her vehicle and repairs estimated at a mere $3,500. GEICO denied the plaintiff’s first-party claim, alleging that White made a material misrepresentation in reporting the accident and that the damage to the vehicle was inconsistent with the accident report. GEICO denied coverage to the other party involved in the accident, resulting in a lawsuit being filed against White. That suit was defended by GEICO under a “reservation of rights” clause and was settled. Due to GEICO’s denial of her claim, White was forced to purchase a new, replacement vehicle. However, she could not afford the payments on both her old and new vehicles, and her new vehicle was repossessed. Continue reading

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