Dangerous Conditions

Delayed Discovery — Suspicion of Wrongful Cause

By on October 26, 2015 - Comments off

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Rosas v. BASF Corporation (Second District, May 21, 2015) — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 15 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 5042, 2015 Daily Journal D.A.R. 5570

A worker at a food flavoring plant filed an action against several manufacturers of diacetyl, a chemical used in food manufacturing. The plaintiff alleged that as a result of his workplace exposure to the chemical he developed a severe lung disease known as bronchiolitis obliterans. The defendants moved for summary judgment, contending that the two-year statute of limitations had run on the plaintiff’s claim, because even though he had been experiencing symptoms since as early as 2000, and had shared his suspicions with his doctors in 2003 that his exposure to diacetyl had been making him sick, he did not file suit until October of 2008.

The plaintiff opposed the motion on the basis of delayed discovery, arguing that until November of 2006 when his condition was diagnosed as having been caused by diacetyl, he was unaware of the cause of his injury. The plaintiff also contended that because of his physicians’ earlier inability to determine the cause, he was under no duty to further investigate. The trial court granted summary judgment, but the court of appeal reversed, finding that the evidence could support a legitimate inference that a reasonable person in the plaintiff’s situation would not have suspected a wrongful cause for his lung disease:  Read the rest »


Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress — Extreme or Outrageous Conduct

By on September 21, 2015 - Comments off

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Wilson v. Southern California Edison (2nd Dist., February 9, 2015) 234 Cal.App.4th 123, 184 Cal.Rptr.3d 26.

A woman filed a complaint for damages against Southern California Edison Company, contending that stray voltage generated by a neighboring substation owned by the utility entered into her home, causing her to sustain electrical shocks.  Asserting, inter alia, a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant knew of the stray voltage entering the home, which the defendant had previously owned, but had failed to properly operate, maintain, or control the substation, and failed to maintain the safety of the residents living next to the substation. The plaintiff further alleged that that the level of stray voltage was dangerous, as evidenced by physical injuries she suffered, and that Edison’s decision to put the property on the market, its failure to eliminate the stray voltage, and its failure to warn caused her extreme emotional distress due to her physical injuries and fear of harm to herself and her children.

Following a substantial jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff the defendant appealed, contending that there was no substantial evidence that it engaged in any extreme or outrageous conduct directed at the plaintiff, and therefore she could not recover on her IIED claim. The court of appeal reversed and remanded the judgment on the IIED claim, holding that the evidence was insufficient to establish extreme or outrageous conduct by the defendant: Read the rest »


Public Entities: Recreational Trail Immunity

By on October 21, 2014 - Comments off

Montenegro v. City of Bradbury (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 924, 155 Cal.Rptr.3d 732

A woman who sustained injuries after falling over a protruding tree trunk while walking along a pathway beside a roadway, filed suit against the city.  The plaintiff alleged that the exposed tree root and inadequate lighting created a dangerous condition of public property. The city moved for summary judgment, contending that the pathway was a “recreational trail” within the meaning of Government Code section 831.4, subdivision (a), which provides that public entities are not liable for injuries caused by the condition of trails used for certain recreational purposes, including “hiking” and “riding, including animal and all types of vehicular riding,” or for access to such recreation. Read the rest »