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Case Summaries

Criminal Law & Procedure

[10/17] People v. Warmington
In a criminal action, seeking to reduce defendant's 2003 felony embezzlement conviction after he stole a TV from his employer, Walmart, and returned it for a gift card, the trial court's order denying his petition for redesignation to a misdemeanor is reversed where embezzlement under Penal Code section 503 is eligible for redesignation.

[10/17] US v. Preston
Conviction on two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child is reversed where the cumulative effect of improper witness testimony, prejudicial propensity evidence, and prosecutorial misconduct in commenting on the defendant's decision not to testify, witness vouching, and misstating evidence in summation rendered defendant's trial fundamentally unfair and prejudiced the outcome.

[10/17] Ganek v. Leibowitz
In a Bivens action, brought against defendant FBI agents and federal prosecutors for alleged constitutional violations in searching plaintiff investment fund owner's Manhattan offices, the district court's denial of qualified immunity is reversed where a corrected search warrant affidavit would have supported probable cause, the corrected warrant would have issued, and plaintiff cannot plead defendants' actions caused him preventable constitutional harm.

[10/17] People v. Lewelling
Conviction of a San Francisco Sheriff's deputy under Penal Code section 149, after using physical force to remove a disabled patient from San Francisco General Hospital, is reversed. The court held that the trial court's instructions to the jury on section 149 were inaccurate and misleading and prejudiced defendant's conviction.

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Elder Law

[10/12] Stewart v. St Joseph Health
Issuing a peremptory writ of mandate directing the Superior Court to vacate an order granting summary adjudication of the plaintiff's causes of action for elder abuse, fraudulent concealment, and medical battery and substituting an order denying the motion as to these causes of action because of errors in the determination of duties owed and because issues of material fact existed.

[08/23] Mahan v. Charles Chan Insurance Agency, Inc.
Reversing and remanding the trial court's dismissal of the claims of elder abuse relating to a series of choices relating to insurance and a trust fund held by an elderly couple suffering from mental and physical decline because the dismissal applied improper logic in reasoning that since the trust beneficiaries, the couple's children, were not 65 years old they could not bring an Elder Abuse Act claim, but the claim adequately alleged the deprivation of the property of an elder.

[06/16] Hilliard v. Harbour
In an elder's suit alleging defendants took or assisted in taking his property for wrongful use, with intent to defraud, or by undue influence, in violation of Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.30(a)(1)(2), a provision of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, the trial court's judgment sustaining defendant's demurrer without leave to amend is affirmed where plaintiff lacked standing to bring this individual action.

[06/14] Hutcheson v. Eskaton Fountainwood Lodge
In an elder law case seeking damages for elder abuse, fraud and negligent infliction of emotional distress, the trial court's denial of a motion by the nursing home-defendant to compel arbitration is affirmed where: 1) admission of decedent to the residential care center for the elderly was a health care decision; and 2) the attorney-in-fact who admitted her, acting under the Power of Attorney Law (PAL), Prob. Code section 4000 et seq., was not authorized to make health care decisions on behalf of the principal.

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Workers' Comp

[10/13] American Cargo Express, Inc. v. Superior Court
In a workers' compensation action, arising after the California Self-Insurers' Security Fund (SISF) assumed the workers' compensation obligations of Mainstay Business Solutions and sued it and its clients to recover costs and liabilities, the trial court's grant of SISF's motion on the pleadings is affirmed where Labor Code section 3744, subdivision (c) authorizes SISF to bring such an action in superior court.

[09/15] Ly v. County of Fresno
In a labor & employment action, brought by three Laotian correctional officers alleging racial discrimination in employment actions and retaliation after complaining about them, the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendant county is affirmed where the denial of plaintiffs' separate workers' compensation claims bar their claims in this action on res judicata grounds.

[07/28] Baker v. Workers Compensation Appeals Board
Affirming the decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board that the Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund benefits commence at the time the employer's obligation to pay permanent disability benefits begin.

[07/21] Chugach Management Services Zurich American Insurance Co. v. Jetnil
Denying the petition for review of the award of disability benefits under the Defense Base Act and the application of a judicially-created 'zone of special danger' doctrine to a local national injured while employed by a government contractor overseas.

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