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Case Summaries


[08/11] Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. US
In a suretyship case concerning a denial of 28 U.S.C. section 1581(i) relief to challenge plaintiff’s liability under a surety contract on the grounds that, because it knew of its potential protest grounds in time to file its protest administratively within the time period provided in 19 U.S.C. Section 1514(c)(3) it could not bring a Section 1581(i) lawsuit, judgment of the trial court is reversed where its determination that the suretys claim accrued prior to the end of the protest period was erroneous.

[07/26] Cape Flattery Limited v. Titan Maritime, LLC
In an action for gross negligence in defendant’s salvage of plaintiff’s vessel, judgment of the district court denying defendant’s motion to compel arbitration under the FAA is affirmed where: 1) federal, not English, arbitrability law applies; and 2) under federal arbitrability law the dispute is not arbitrable.

[06/16] Oswalt v. Resolute Industries, Inc.
In an admiralty case, involving products liability claims against a manufacturer of a heater that caught fire on plaintiffs boat during repairs performed by defendants employee, the district court’s rulings are affirmed in part where it properly granted summary judgment to manufacturer-co-defendant on employer-co-defendant’s inadequate warnings claim, but vacated in part where it erroneously granted summary judgment on the design defect claim. Further, the court properly held employer liable on manufacturers implied warranty claim and properly awarded damages for loss of use and surveyors fees.

Insurance Law

[08/26] Harlick v. Blue Shield of California
In an appeal from a judgment of the district court granting summary adjudication in favor of defendant in an action for coverage under an ERISA plan, judgment is reversed where although plaintiff’s insurance plan does not require defendant to pay for the care plaintiff received at a residential treatment facility for her anorexia, the California Mental Health Parity Act does.

[08/23] Aroa Marketing, Inc. v. Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest
In an action alleging defendant’s breach of its duty to defend or indemnify, judgment of the trial court is affirmed where it correctly interpreted an insurance contract provision that specifically excluded coverage for “personal and advertising injury” arising out of “any violation of any intellectual property rights” as precluding coverage for the underlying litigation.

[08/22] Seabright Ins. v. US Airways
In a dispute involving the scope of an independent contractor’s liability under Privette v. Superior Court, judgment of the appeals court vacating summary judgment in favor of defendant is reversed where the Privette rule applies when the party that hired the contractor fails to comply with workplace safety requirements concerning the precise subject matter of the contract, and the injury is alleged to have occurred as a consequence of that failure.

Commercial Law

[09/01] Sterling Merchandising, Inc. v. Nestle, S.A.
In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiff’s claims for federal Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. sections 12-27, and Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. section 1-7 antitrust violations, judgment is affirmed where plaintiff lacked standing because it failed to demonstrate that it had suffered a cognizable antitrust injury related to defendants’ entrance into the ice cream distribution market in Puerto Rico.

[08/31] City Sanitation, LLC v. Allied Waste Services of Massachusetts, LLC
In an appeal from a judgment of the Bankruptcy court approving a proposed settlement, judgment is affirmed where: 1) the disputed claims are commercial tort claims; 2) the bankruptcy trustee had exclusive standing to pursue and settle such claims; 3) the appellant, by failing to comply with Bankruptcy Rule 8006, waived its theory of abandonment; and 4) the court’s approval of the proposed settlement was within its discretion.

[08/31] Flagship Theatres, LLC v. Century Theatres, Inc.
In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court granting defendants’ motion for summary judgment in an antitrust action, judgment is reversed where the court erred in concluding that plaintiff could not show antitrust injury and could not show that defendant had market power in the market in which its movie theater competed with defendant’s.

Injury & Tort Law

[09/02] Samuels v. Holland American Line – USA, Inc.
In an appeal from a judgment of the district court granting summary adjudication to defendant in plaintiff’s tort action alleging breach of a duty to warn, judgment is affirmed where defendant-cruise liner did not have a duty to warn plaintiff-passenger of the dangers of a nearby beach because the conditions were open and obvious, and where there was no evidence of particularly hazardous conditions or of prior accidents on subject beach where plaintiff’s injury occurred.

[09/01] Stinnett v. Tam
In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court reducing the jury’s $6,000,000 noneconomic damage to $250,000, Civil Code section 3333.2, judgment is affirmed where reduction was neither a violation of plaintiff’s federal and state equal protection rights nor a violation of her right to a jury trial under article I, section 16 of the California Constitution.

[08/31] Duick v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court denying defendant’s motion to compel arbitration of plaintiff’s causes of action including intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and false advertising, judgment is affirmed where putative contract is void on account of fraud in the inception.

Property Law & Real Estate

[08/31] Coffill v. Coffill
In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiff’s action seeking to rescind two mortgages encumbering titles to her properties and other equitable relief for failure to state a claim, judgment is reversed where the court erred in concluding, without evidentiary hearing or basis, that delegation of power of attorney was effective as judicially corrected for what it saw as apparent scrivener’s error.

[08/30] Hacienda Ranch Homes, Inc. v. Superior Court (Elissagaray)
In a petition for a writ of mandate seeking to vacate the trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment in an action to quiet title, petition is granted where there is no evidence that real-parties-in-interest ousted cotenants to establish adverse possession under a claim of right.

[08/30] Charter Communications Properties v. County of San Luis Obispo
In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court affirming the determination of the fair market value of a television cable franchise, California Code of Regulations Title 18 Rule 21(d)(1), based on an anticipated term of possession longer than the remaining years of the stated term of each franchise agreement, judgment is affirmed where the Assessment Appeals Board, in compliance with Rule 21, found clear and convincing evidence of a mutual understanding between the County and the owner of franchises that the reasonably anticipated terms of possession of the franchises were longer than their stated terms of possession.

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