The California Supreme Court has made it more difficult to classify workers as independent contractors. Businesses now have the burden of establishing the classification of their workers by applying the “ABC Test” if they want to prove the workers to be independent contractors and not employees. This case involves delivery drivers who sued Dynamex Operations…

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The right to recover costs in a civil action is determined by statute. Generally, the prevailing party is entitled as a matter of right to recover its costs. Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1032(b). In this case, the Appellate Court discussed whether mediation fees could be recovered as costs when mediation was voluntary, not court-ordered….

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Issue by: BlakeWard New Prime Inc. v.Oliveira Supreme Court ofthe United States (Decided on 1/15/2019) TheFederal Arbitration Act requires courts to enforce private arbitrationagreements. However, a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has expanded a keyexception to this general rule. Indeed, Section 1 of the Act already includedan exception that no provision within the Act should…

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In a case where the defendant is deceased, California Probate Code §§550 through 555 allow actions “to establish [a] decedent’s liability for which the decedent was protected by insurance” and limits the liability of the decedent’s insurer’s liability to covered damages within policy limits. The California Court of Appeal recently held that the decedent’s insurer…

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Is travel time spent in an employer-provided vehicle loaded with equipment and tools under an optional and voluntary Home Dispatch Program compensable? The California Court of Appeal finds it is not. Plaintiffs are class representatives of current and former employees of Pacific Bell Telephone Company who install and repair video and internet services in customers’…

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The Second Appellate District, Division Four, in Olive v. General Nutrition Centers (GNC), Inc., B279490 (11/02/18), was confronted with the question whether a plaintiff who was awarded in excess of $1 million on one claim, but did not prevail on significant other claims whereby he sought as much as $23 million, was the “prevailing party”…

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California Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (e), states that summary judgment may not be denied solely on the basis of the credibility of the moving party’s witnesses. However, summary judgment may be denied at the court’s discretion if the only proof of a material fact offered in support of the summary judgment is…

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In Jae Kim v. Toyota Motor Corporation, 6 Cal. 5th 21 (2018), the California Supreme Court broke with 40+ years of court of appeal precedent barring manufacturers from using evidence of their compliance with industry custom and practice to prove their designs were not defective. The Court held that such evidence is not inadmissible, but…

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A prominent law firm, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (Sheppard), failed to inform the world’s largest PVC pipe manufacturer, J-M Manufacturing (J-M), that it had an ongoing relationship with a municipality that was a party to a whistleblower suit the firm was hired to handle. The California Supreme Court held that an engagement agreement (including…

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Plaintiff Pearl Rangel allegedly worked for PLS Check Cashers from September 2012 to August 2014. Employees of PLS filed a California state court action alleging several violations of the California Labor Code. The complaint did not assert any federal claims and made no mention of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“ FLSA”). A settlement was…

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