Jul 21 by GJEL

7 Massive Class Action Lawsuits of the Past Two Decades

It has been a big year for class action lawsuits. Most recently, thousands of Toyota drivers have sued the Japanese auto giant for injuries and loss of investment resulting from unintended acceleration, and victims of the BP Gulf oil spill disaster are lining up to take on the British oil conglomerate in court. Both of those budding class action battles pale in comparison to the legal storm about to engulf WalMart, which is being sued for gender discrimination by more than a million women in potentially the largest class action suit ever. To put this in perspective, we decided to round up a list of other massive class action titans over the past two decades.

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Mar 01 by GJEL Staff

How to claim a free cab ride on St. Patrick’s Day

Public festivities present a great opportunity for communities to come together and collectively turn the page after experiences like the flooding that forced evacuations in San Jose last month. Whether you enjoy eating green macaroni and cheese, running half marathons, or raising a toast to friends at an authentic Irish pub, there will be no shortage of ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this month in San Jose.

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May 24 by GJEL Staff

4 Powerful Legal Documentary Films

People who follow the news in the United States are not strangers to disturbing legal stories that often dominate the headlines. From the Casey Anthony trial that concluded last month, to the Scott Peterson verdict years before, and even the controversial O.J. Simpson murder case nearly 20 years ago, it’s often difficult to avoid the day’s most followed legal stories. But there are thousands of legal stories that go unnoticed each year by much of the general public, or are nearly forgotten years later. In the four following examples, documentary film makers have exposed and revitalized those stories to create powerful documentary films discussing a variety of troubling legal issues. We’ve compiled the trailers for the films Hot Coffee, Capturing the Friedmans, Deliver Us From Evil, and Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, along with short descriptions and reviews.

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Feb 03 by Ralph L. Jacobson

The ‘rescue doctrine’ in California: whose fault counts?

As common law doctrines evolve, sometimes their rationale, and proper application, can get lost; that can be because of just one “less than thoughtful” reported appellate decision. One example is an appellate decision in the 1990s limiting the application of the “rescue doctrine” in California. Five years afterwards, another court took a more serious look…

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Aug 24 by Ralph L. Jacobson

California’s doctrine of primary assumption of the risk: what, when, and how far?

California’s “primary assumption of the risk” doctrine was first set forth in Knight v. Jewett (1992) 3 Cal.4th 296. That case involved a plaintiff’s claim for personal injuries sustained when the defendant knocked her over and stepped on her finger while they were playing touch football. At issue was how the courts should apply the…

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Dec 04 by Ralph L. Jacobson

Public access to court records vs. litigant privacy: leveling the playing field

Pursuant to Rule of Court 2.550(c) and its predecessor, California court records have long been “presumed to be open” to the public, absent exceptions for confidentiality required by law. But even ten or fifteen years ago, accessing civil court records in California and elsewhere was an arduous task. It took a great deal of effort…

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May 20 by Ralph L. Jacobson

The legal liability of a social host in California

It happens more than it should. Someone (here we will call her Ms. H.) invites some friends, maybe a lot of friends and maybe their friends as well, to a social gathering, where food and drink, lots of drink, is provided. Something bad happens, either to one of the guests at the party, or maybe…

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