- Article | 3.30.23
After jamming the courthouse system with thousands of lawsuits, plaintiff attorneys are out of time to get their claims filed before Florida's new tort reform legislation is signed into law by Governor De Santis. After its signing, HB 837 will make it more difficult for Floridians to file lawsuits. In anticipation of this changing climate, it is estimated that Florida plaintiff firms have filed hundreds of lawsuits in anticipation of the bill's signage last week. The bill calls for wide-ranging tort reform and the new revisions in the area of civil litigation arena are significant. Many plaintiff firms are unhappy with the changes and some have even publicly stated that they plan to make the litigation process as difficult as possible for defense attorneys moving forward.
- Article | 3.6.23
On January 30, 2023, at the eleventh hour, Governor Hochul vetoed legislation known as the Grieving Families Act. The defense bar has waited with some degree of anxiety to see if Bill S74A would pass her desk, and when it did not, a collective sigh of relief was heard among many. Despite heavy pressure from the plaintiff bar and others, Governor Hochul expressed concern about the potential negative impact of the bill on the economy as well as healthcare costs.
- Case Updates | 2.6.23
Florida House Bill 85 would decrease the time in which an action could be brought by a homeowner for construction defects. Proponents of the bill say that reducing potential liability for insurance companies, builders and other construction professionals will ultimately drive down costs and provide more affordable housing options in the state. Opponents argue that if passed into law this legislation would significantly undercut homeowners rights and impair their ability to seek a remedy for latent defects that only appear years after building is complete. Similar bills proposed during the 2022 legislative session inspired much debate, but did not pass.
- Case Updates | 1.17.23
Contractors in the State of Washington have been watching closely a case involving prelien notice by subcontractors. On December 6, 2022, the Washington Court of Appeals, Division Two addressed the issue in the decision of Velazquez Framing LLC v. Cascadia Homes, Inc., (2022) Case No. 56513-7-II. In this matter, a second-tier subcontractor’s failure to provide prelien notice to the general contractor prevented enforcement of its lien. The court held that allowing an unknown subcontractor to file a lien against a general contractor's property when the general contractor was not aware of the second-tier subcontractor’s hiring or participation in the project is against legislative policy to protect both laborers and owners.
- Article | 11.16.22
Beginning on January 1, 2023, California will go one step further in combating the pervasive problem of sex trafficking in hotels and motels by imposing liability on owners for failing to identify and report sex trafficking activity when supervisors knew or should have known it was occurring on their property. As a result, hotel owners and operators should work to ensure staff receive proper training and set clear policies and procedures for employees to report activity.
- Article | 11.14.22
Insurance industry professionals should take notice of a recent bill passed by the California legislature that will impact time-limited insurance settlements moving forward. On September 28, 2022, SB 1155 was signed into law by Governor Newsom. This bill adds Chapter 3.2 entitled "Time-Limited Demands" to the California Code of Civil Procedure (sections 999-999.5).
- Article | 10.21.22
Any legal practitioner in California and beyond can attest to the court reporter shortage. Even before the onset of the pandemic, the court reporting industry was experiencing an increasing shortfall of court reporters available compared to the number of courtrooms and depositions needing the services of one.
- Case Updates | 10.7.22
In a highly anticipated decision, the Court of Appeal clarified an issue on agency which is important to hospitals in California that host doctors working as independent contractors. In the Franklin v. Santa Barbara Cottage Hosp., 2d Civil B311482 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 8, 2022) decision, the court clarified that a hospital cannot be held liable for the acts of an independent contractor working at the hospital. Key documentation was pivotal in this decision, as the patient had executed paperwork formally recognizing the independent relationship. In addition, the hospital did not retain any ability to control how the physician chose to treat his patients, or the manner in which he performed operations or other procedures. He was also not an ostensible agent as the patient, not the hospital, had selected the doctor in question for his surgery.
- Article | 10.6.22
In a decision causing quite a stir among medical professionals, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided to change a twenty-year-old rule regarding venue for medical malpractice actions. On August 25, 2022, the Court adopted amendments to Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure 1006, 2130, 2156, and 2179, which govern venue in medical malpractice actions. Prior to this decision, medical malpractice cases could only be brought in the county where the medical care or treatment occurred.
- Case Updates | 9.19.22
In Ryck v. Superior Court of San Francisco County (2022) 81 Cal.App.5th 824, the California Court of Appeal held that the San Francisco Superior Court abused its discretion when it denied a motion to transfer venue from San Francisco to San Diego, where the motor vehicle accident at issue in the case occurred. Although most witnesses were located in California, the trial court relied on the fact the Legislature statutorily provided for remote testimony through July 1, 2023 as the primary basis for maintaining the case in San Francisco. In a published decision, the Court of Appeal reversed, ruling that the remote testimony rules may not be used as a basis to maintain a venue that does not further the interests of justice, which is the key consideration in change of venue motions.
- Case Updates | 7.8.22
After decades of debate, the reform of medical malpractice claims in California is finally coming to fruition. Legislators and interested parties on both sides of the MICRA debate have reached a compromise and agreed to a deal that will avert a planned ballot measure in the upcoming election. On May 23, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the measure into law. Practitioners are wise to be reminded that this law goes into effect for cases filed next year. This is notable because plaintiff lawyers will be holding off filing their cases if possible so as not to blow the statute of repose. Brace yourself for a slew of new filings in 2023.
- Article | 6.21.22
- Article | 5.31.22