Articles Posted in California

In this tough legal economy, 4,364 applicants took the February California bar examination. Approximately 42% of the applicants passed the exam.

California has a tough bar. The pass rate has floated between 33 and 40 percent for the last 10 years.

The key to passing the California bar? Not having failed it before. The pass rate for the California bar was 53% for those taking the bar for the first time. Another leading indicator? Go to an accredited law school. Only 27% of those at non-ABA accredited law schools pass the exam which makes you question the wisdom of having law schools in California that are not ABA accredited.

I wrote on Sunday about the awful motorcycle accident in California that killed six people this weekend.

I predicted the hit-and-run driver who fled the scene would be found. But 72 hours later, no one has been taken into custody. How could that be? Apparently, there is one problem that we would not have in Maryland: the proximity to a safe haven in Mexico. It is now being reported that authorities plan to meet today with Mexican officials to look over border surveillance video to see if a 4-door Gold Honda Civic with California plates crossed over.

Hopefully, that haven will not be so safe, but it certainly complicates the efforts of law enforcement officers. If we find him, the driver will likely face felony hit and run and gross vehicular manslaughter charges in California.

A San Mateo County jury ordered the California Department of Transportation to pay a 17-year-old girl injured in a pedestrian accident $12 million. As is the case in too many pedestrian accident cases, the plaintiff’s injuries were catastrophic: she sustained a brain injury that put her in a permanent vegetative state. No matter what the facts are, it is just an unbelievable tragedy that happens far too often.

Plaintiff’s attorneys’ case rested on the premise that uncontrolled intersections with designated crosswalks are more dangerous than unmarked crosswalks because they give pedestrians a false sense of confidence that they can cross.

These pedestrian cases against state entities are tough and few accident lawyers will take them. Plaintiff’s lawyers, in this case, deserve a lot of credit.

State Farm has the highest market share among California car insurance companies at 12.9 percent, according to 2008 statistics released by the California Department of Insurance. The Automobile Clubs came in second at 8.9% of the California market. Together, these companies collect over $4 billion in insurance premiums in California alone.

The California State Automobile Association garnered third place with 6.8% of the market, followed by Mercury and Allstate. Interesting, GEICO, which is a powerhouse in so many jurisdictions, including Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., has just over 1 percent of the California market.

If you have been injured in a car accident in California and need an accident lawyer, call 800-553-8082 or get a free consultation on line.

Doctors at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center committed medical malpractice when caring for a baby with meningitis, a Los Angeles jury found on Friday, causing the child a permanent brain injury. The jury awarded $7.3 million in damages. The award will pay for past and future medical care, the medical malpractice attorneys for the child told the Associated Press.

A Hydroxycutt class action lawsuit has been filed against Iovate Health Sciences, the makers of weight loss dietary supplement Hydroxycutt, in federal court in California. The plaintiffs’ Hydroxycutt lawyers allege, among other things, that the manufacturer misrepresented the product as safe and effective in its advertisements.

The San Jose Mercury News reports on a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against the San Mateo Medical Center. Plaintiff alleges that his heart was permanently damaged after the center left a broken catheter in his heart and, even more seriously, that the hospital covered up the mistake. Although Plaintiff did not know about the catheter’s break -which is the size of a drinking straw – until July 2008, it was clearly visible on x-rays and scans more than two years before. The first operation to remove the catheter was unsuccessful. Open heart surgery was required during which a heart valve was destroyed and had to be replaced with a valve from a pig’s heart. To make matters worse, the plaintiff has cancer.

I do not know what happened here and I think medical malpractice cover-ups do happen. But this is actually a rare sighting for medical malpractice lawyers. The vast majority of doctors and hospitals accused of medical malpractice were trying to do the right thing… but didn’t.

The Los Angeles Times writes this morning about a tragic case in Los Angeles at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Medical Center where an official Los Angeles County assessment has acknowledged for the first time that a woman who died shortly after writhing in pain for nearly an hour on the hospital’s waiting room floor would not have died if she had received proper medical care.

The vast majority of medical malpractice cases in Los Angeles occur when doctors who are largely good doctors and good people with good intentions but medical mistakes were made. This is something very different. The only reason this woman’s family has a potential wrongful death medical malpractice case is that a security camera videotaped a janitor mopped around the victim while a triage nurse dismissed her complaints.

Sad but true: video cameras and phones are helping make more and more medical malpractice and nursing home claims.

In the insurance law class that I teach, we are often discussing the fine line between accidental acts covered by insurance and intentional acts that are generally not covered in most policies. The reality is that coverage in most states is interpreted very broadly and, as a result, acts that we all agree are intentional in the vernacular are not intentional in the insurance law context. The San Diego Injury Lawyer Blog has an excellent post about a recent California case where the insured’s son threw someone into the shallow end of a pool at their home and fractured the victim’s clavicle.

The son was charged and later pled nolo contendre to a misdemeanor so, obviously; it was a little more than negligence because battery – by definition – is an intentional tort. The court does an end-run around this – as most courts do – by finding that the son did not intend or expect the consequence. Obviously, in the world of torts, this does not negate an otherwise intentional act.

The classic case on this premise in the torts context is the one we all remember from law school: Garratt v. Dailey, 279 P.2d 1091 (Wash. 1955). In that case, a 5-year-old boy who pulled a chair out from under his aunt committed a tort if he knew that the likelihood of his action was that she would fall to the ground. Obviously, the insured in this case knew that the person he threw in the pool would land in the pool and that there was not consent for the act.

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