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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Nov 12 by Ralph L. Jacobson

Seeking punitive damages in California drunk driving accident cases

In motor vehicle personal injury or wrongful death cases where the responsible driver was allegedly intoxicated, the injured plaintiff may want to consider seeking an award of punitive (or exemplary) damages against that driver. While the defendant’s insurer bears no obligation to pay such damages, sometimes the presence of such a claim can create a…

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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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Apr 09 by jason

Is traffic violence sufficiently prosecuted?

A year ago, 17 year old Hanren Chang was hit and killed by a drunk driver while crossing Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco. Hanren, a student at Lowell High School, was walking home after celebrating her birthday earlier that night. Her death was one of 21 tragic fatalities by pedestrians in San Francisco in 2013,…

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Sep 25 by jason

3 foot passing bill (finally) signed into law

After multiple vetoes by Gov. Jerry Brown, the “Three Feet for Safety Act,” requiring vehicles to provide a buffer of at least three feet when overtaking a cyclist, has finally been signed into law. Last year, GJEL’s own Bill Dullea testified in front of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee about the importance of legislation…

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Sep 17 by Ralph L. Jacobson

California Spousal Privilege and Related Concerns

Assume the following factual scenario: a serious car accident occurs, injuring the plaintiff. Just after the accident, the insured defendant called her husband and discussed, in detail, the now highly contested facts of how the incident occurred. During litigation, plaintiff’s counsel notices the deposition of defendant’s husband. Will plaintiff’s counsel be able to elicit, by…

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Aug 22 by Ralph L. Jacobson

Stadium death sparks civil suit against New England Patriots

Nobody said running a multi-million dollar professional sports franchise would be easy. On top of issues surrounding players’ criminal activities, and their alleged drug use improprieties, have come ex-player lawsuits against the NFL arising from concussion injuries. Then there is the occasional stadium customer disaster: just this month, a fan died after he fell from…

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