Jeffrey I. Ehrlich wins reversal in Ninth Circuit of summary judgment against paralyzed shipyard worker

Richard Thompson was rendered a paraplegic when he lost his balance and fell through a defectively-constructed scaffold at the San Diego shipyard of National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (“NASSCO”). NASSCO obtained summary judgment against Thompson in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The district court granted NASSCO’s motion on numerous grounds, finding that there was no evidence that NASSCO had furnished unsafe equipment, and no evidence that furnishing the unsafe equipment affirmatively contributed to Thompson’s injuries. The Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded, rejecting all of the district court’s findings.

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Ehrlich Law Firm wins reversal of summary judgment in sexual-harassment suit against LAPD

LAPD Lieutenant Corina Smith claimed that the LAPD had submitted her to a hostile work environment and retaliated against her. The City moved for summary judgment. Smith’s trial counsel submitted a lengthy opposition, but many of the opposition declarations failed to contain a proper jurat under Code Civ. Proc. section 2015.5 (because they failed to indicate that they were either signed in California, or under penalty of perjury under California law.)

The Court of Appeal reversed, finding that the City had failed to show that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. (Smith v. City of Los Angeles B209861 (unpublished).

Ehrlich Firm wins reversal of summary judgment in case by kindergartener who was sexually molested at elementary school

AC was taken from the multipurpose room at an elementary school by a school employee, led onto a stage that was part of the room, and molested. The stage area was effectively screened from view because the school had been using the area to store cartons of books. The trial court granted summary judgment to the district on the ground that the stage could not constitute a dangerous condition on public property, and that there was no proximate cause.

The Court of Appeal reversed, finding that the manner in which the stage had been maintained created triable issues of fact about whether it was dangerous, and that the district had not negated proximate cause as a matter of law. (AC v. Pomona Unified School Distr. (2010) B.215607 (unpublished.)

Ehrlich Law Firm wins reversal of summary judgment for insurer on health-care rescission case

After the Nazaryetan family’s twins were born with severe brain injuries, Blue Shield rescinded the policy to avoid having to pay for the cost of their care. It claimed that the family had misstated their health history on their application form. The trial court granted Blue Shield’s motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeal reversed, finding that whether or not Blue Shield’s underwriting practices were reasonable and designed to resolve all questions on the application was a factual issue that could not be resolved on summary judgment. (Nazaryetan v. California Physician’s Service (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 1601.)

Ehrlich Law Firm wins reversal of judgment in favor of McDonalds in suit by cashier shot at drive-through window

Jeanette Thompson was a 16-year old cashier working at a McDonalds’ franchise store in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles. She was pulled through the window at the drive-through and shot. In her suit, she claimed that McDonalds’ Corporation controlled the design of the drive through, and failed to install proper protective features.

The trial court granted summary judgment for McDonalds’. The Ehrlich Law Firm obtained a reversal, and the matter will now be proceeding to trial. Thompson v. McDonalds’ Corp., 2009 WL 1653443 (2d District, Unpublished)

Ehrlich Law Firm convinces U.S. District Judge to reconsider summary judgment

Ehrlich Law Firm convinces U.S. District Judge to reconsider summary judgment for insurer in $8.2 million bad-faith lawsuit, allowing case to go to trial. Lexington Insurance withdrew its defense of an obstetrician in a medical-malpractice lawsuit, and refused to settle the claim within its $1 million policy limits, resulting in an adverse judgment of $8.2 million. In the resulting bad-faith lawsuit, the district court granted summary judgment to Lexington in May 2009.

Ehrlich Law Firm wins affirmance of bad-faith claim against insurer

In May 2002, Darrel Prindle murdered his ex-wife, Jessica, and shot her sister and her sister’s children. The survivors filed a lawsuit against Jessica’s estate for negligently failing to warn them of Darrel’s prior threats and dangerous behavior. Jessica’s homeowner’s insurer, Travelers, refused to defend the estate in the lawsuit, and refused to settle it for the $100,000 policy limits. The estate later settled with the plaintiffs, who obtained a judgment against it in excess of $7 million, and then assigned its rights to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs then sued Travelers on the assigned claims. Travelers sought summary judgment arguing that the plaintiffs’ bad-faith claim was defective because they had failed to file a timely claim against Jessica’s estate.

In a published decision, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of the summary judgment motion, holding that Travelers was estopped to assert the failure to file a timely probate claim, by virtue of its refusal to defend. In re: Estate of Prindle, 173 Cal.App.4th 119 (3d Dist. 2009). The Ehrlich Law Firm then successfully opposed Travelers’ petition for review in the California Supreme Court.

Ehrlich Law Firm retained to oppose summary judgments in $100 million insurance dispute

Ehrlich Law Firm retained to oppose 10 summary-judgment motions filed by primary and excess insurance carriers who had issued policies to the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, in a dispute involving the $34 million judgment obtained against the Coliseum by the Oakland Raiders pending in the Northern District of California.

Ehrlich Law Firm defeats insurer’s summary-judgment motion in $20 million bad-faith dispute

Ehrlich Law Firm defeats insurer’s summary-judgment motion in $20 million bad-faith dispute. June 2006 – The Ehrlich Law Firm was retained by Shernoff, Bidart & Darras to oppose a summary-judgment motion in a bad-faith lawsuit against an insurer arising from its refusal to defend its policyholder, who was ultimately hit with a $20 million judgment. The trial court denied the motion, and the case settled for a confidential amount on the eve of trial in July 2006.