The assumption of risk bumper car case was discussed here. A doctor seriously injured her hand when she was hit from both the rear and the front.  Head on collisions violated the park’s bumper car rules. In that discussion, the intermediate court had refused to extend the “no sports duty rule” to a non-sport

Last Thursday, the California Supreme Court handed down its decision in Howell v. Hamilton Meats.  The ruling favors those who cause injury to others (such as people who get into accidents while texting) over their victims. The Court decided that it is those who cause injuries, and not their victims, who will benefit from the health insurance that the victim has paid for.

I attended the oral argument before the Supreme Court back in May.  I wrote about that here.  Today, Gary Simms, who argued the case for Rebecca HowGary Simms, Appellate Specialistell, provided me his perspective on the Court’s decision.  

Q: Were you surprised by the 6-to-1 decision against the plaintiff?

A: Unfortunately, I wasn’t surprised by the result. The Court is deeply conservative (six Republican appointees) and predictably anti-plaintiff in most personal-injury cases, so I knew from the outset of being retained for the Supreme Court briefing that I would face a very uphill battle. I was working at the margins; in other words; three justices would never vote for my position, and I knew it. I expected to get Justice Pro Tem Klein’s vote, though, and she very clearly signaled it at oral argument. I hoped to get three other votes, but I knew it would be difficult.

Q: Were you surprised by the new Chief Justice’s vote with the majority after she had taken the opposite view in her Court of Appeal opinion in King v. Willmett very shortly before she was appointed to the Supreme Court?

A: Yes, but after the oral argument, I sensed that she would flip-flop, so I was only mildly surprised. I can only speculate why she reversed her position. But I think the most likely reason was that she knew her vote would not change the outcome, so she chose to join the majority to make it unanimous. (Because Justice Klein was sitting pro tem by designation, her dissent does not matter in that regard; all the permanent Justices joined in the majority opinion.) This allowed the Chief Justice to establish herself as being a collegial and open minded consensus-builder. That’s a very important quality for a Chief Justice. And perhaps


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When someone is injured during a sports activity, the one who caused the injury will likely raise a defense called "assumption of risk". The wrongdoer argues that he’s not to blame because the law didn’t require him to protect the participant from the particular risk of harm involved in the claim. Whether the doctrine applies

Proposition 213 became law in 1996.  That law says that an uninsured driver who is injured in an auto accident  may not recover certain damages due her, even though the accident was entirely the fault of the other driver.  The damages the innocent driver is prohibited from collecting are her non-economic damages, which include pain

Waivers signed by parents, releasing liability for future negligent acts committed against minor children in recreational and related settings, are generally enforced by judges in California as discussed here. Interestingly, a clear majority of courts in other states have held that a parent may not release a minor’s prospective claim for negligence.

And when the

California is a "comparative fault" state. This means that if a victim is partially at fault for the accident, the jury will be asked to determine the percentage of the blame that lies with the defendant, and the percentage that lies with the victim. The victim will be entitled to collect only that percentage of the