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Pennsylvania Benefits Corporation: A New Way of Doing Business

Case Summaries

Criminal Law & Procedure

[05/25] Leider v. Lewis
In a taxpayer action seeking injunctive and declaratory under Code of Civil Procedure section 526a alleging claims of elephant abuse at the Los Angeles Zoo in violation of Penal Code section 596.5, the Court of Appeals' judgment is reversed where: 1) the Court of Appeal's earlier decision did not establish law of the case, and did not bar defendants' new argument that the claim for equitable relief is precluded by Civil Code section 3369; and 2) the 'as otherwise provided by law' exception in section 3369 does not permit equitable relief in a taxpayer action seeking to restrain 'illegal' public expenditures under Code of Civil Procedure section 526a.

[05/24] Fahie v. People of the Virgin Islands
In a petition for writ of certiorari to review a Virgin Islands Supreme Court's decision in a criminal matter in which petitioner was identified as the sole-shooter in a murder by a co-defendant that reached a plea deal with the government, the Court of Appeals holds: 1) the Court does have jurisdiction; 2) the V.I. Supreme Court's ruling on the 'aiding and abetting' instruction was proper; and 3) certiorari was improvidently granted on the harmless error question.

[05/23] Woodfolk v. Maynard
In a 28 U.S.C. section 2254 petition for writ of habeas corpus relief from sentence and conviction of attempted murder, the district court's denial of the petition is vacated and remanded to address the merits of petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claim.

[05/23] US v. Martinez-Lantigua
Conviction of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute at least 15 kilograms but less than 50 kilograms of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. sections 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), and 846, are affirmed where: 1) because the entire drug deal was captured on video and audio -- which show defendant inspecting the drugs with his own hands -- there was sufficient evidence to convict; and 2) defendant's claims that there were errors at his trial are without merit.

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Elder Law

[05/15] Kindred Nursing Centers, L.P. v. Clark
In a consolidated action brought by two family members holding powers of attorney for two decedents against a nursing home, alleging the substandard care had caused their deaths, the Kentucky Supreme Court's decision, that the arbitration agreements between the plaintiffs and the nursing home were invalid because neither power of attorney specifically entitled the representative to enter into an arbitration agreement, is reversed where the Kentucky Supreme Court's clear-statement rule violates the Federal Arbitration Act by singling out arbitration agreements for disfavored treatment.

[05/15] Kindred Nursing Centers, L.P. v. Clark
In a consolidated action brought by two family members holding powers of attorney for two decedents against a nursing home, alleging the substandard care had caused their deaths, the Kentucky Supreme Court's decision, that the arbitration agreements between the plaintiffs and the nursing home were invalid because neither power of attorney specifically entitled the representative to enter into an arbitration agreement, is reversed where the Kentucky Supreme Court's clear-statement rule violates the Federal Arbitration Act by singling out arbitration agreements for disfavored treatment.

[04/19] Tepper v. Wilkins
In a suit among siblings on behalf of plaintiff's 88-year-old mother, claiming plaintiff's siblings' actions individually and while serving as trustees of mother?s revocable living trust constituted financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult, the trial court's judgment, sustaining defendant's demurrer without leave to amend and dismissing plaintiff's elder abuse action on standing grounds, is affirmed where: 1) the cause of action for elder financial abuse belongs to mother as the real party in interest; and 2) the court did not err in sustaining the demurrer without leave to amend.

[03/14] Jarman v. HCR ManorCare
In a patient's suit against a nursing home facility, alleging claims for violations of patient's rights pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 1430, elder abuse, and negligence, all arising out of the care he received at the nursing home, the trial court's judgment awarding plaintiff damages but denying punitive damages, is: 1) reversed in part where he trial court erred by striking the jury's finding defendant acted with malice, oppression or fraud, and remanded to the trial court with directions to conduct further proceedings to establish the amount of punitive damages plaintiff is entitled to recover as a result of defendant's 382 violations of his rights; and 2) otherwise affirmed.

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Workers' Comp

[04/26] City of Jackson v. WCAB
In a workers' compensation case, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board's decision disregarding the apportionment determination of the qualified medical evaluator (QME) on the ground the determination was not substantial medical evidence and directing the workers' compensation administrative law judge (ALJ) to make an award of unapportioned disability, is annulled where: 1) apportionment may be properly based on genetics/hereditability; 2) the QME properly apportioned disability; and 3) the QME's opinion Is based on substantial medical evidence.

[03/29] Marin Community Services v. WCAB
In a writ proceeding seeking to set aside the decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) holding that firefighter-petitioner was entitled to the benefit of the rebuttable presumption under Labor Code section 3212.1 that his cancer arose out of his employment, the WCAB's decision is affirmed where: 1) the WCAB's determination that petitioner was an employee of Marinwood was based on a reasonable interpretation of the relevant statutes; and 2) the WCAB's determination that the extension of the cancer presumption ran from the date petitioner last worked as a firefighter for any agency was based on a reasonable interpretation of the relevant statute.

[03/29] Ramirez v. WCAB
In a workers' compensation writ proceeding, seeking review of worker-petitioner's independent medical review on the ground the underlying utilization review was based on an incorrect standard, the order of the administrative law judge (ALJ) taking the matter off calendar is reversed and remanded for further proceedings where: 1) this is not a proper ground for appeal of a utilization review determination because it goes to the heart of the determination of medical necessity; 2) the independent medical reviewer is in the best position to determine whether the proper standard was used to evaluate the medical necessity of the requested treatment, and the statutory scheme requires the independent medical reviewer to use the proper standard in determining medical necessity; and 3) the Legislature's plenary power over the workers' compensation system precludes any separation of powers violation, and the process afforded workers under the system affords sufficient opportunity to present evidence and be heard.

[03/24] Co. of Riverside v. WCAB
In a workers' compensation case involving a sheriff, the findings by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board are affirmed over a County's challenge where: 1) plaintiff's the application for adjudication of claim was timely filed; and 2) Labor Code section 5500.5(a), did not bar liability on the County?s part.

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