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New Cases of Interest - March 25, 2013
Nalwa v. Cedar Fair, LP (2012) 55 Cal.4th 1148. This is a case which involved the question of whether a bumper car ride offered at an amusement park comes within the scope of the primary assumption of risk doctrine, so that when plaintiff, who fractured her wrist at the entertainment park on a bumper car ride, could or could not recover from the amusement park.
The court held that the primary assumption of risk doctrine did apply to bumper car collisions, and that the existence of safety regulations governing amusement park rides does not alter the primary assumption of risk doctrine. Defendant had a limited duty of care under the primary assumption of risk doctrine which was a duty not to unreasonably increase the risk of injury over and above that which is inherent in the particular activity essential to bumper car rides, the risk of low speed collisions. The risk of injuries the court found was inherent from the nature of the activity and when the plaintiff chose to participate in the activity, the primary assumption of risk doctrine applied. In making this determination the court found that the primary assumption of risk doctrine was not limited to sports activities, but applied to other forms of recreational activities as well.
Young v. CBS Broadcasting, Inc. (2012) 212 Cal.App.4th 551. This case involved a news report in which the defendants, a media broadcaster, in its programing dramatized allegations against the plaintiff of theft and battery while she served as the conservator for an elderly woman. The plaintiff then sued for defamation. Defendant brought an anti-SLAPP motion which the trial court granted in part and denied in part. The court of appeal directed the trial court to grant the SLAPP motion in its entirety. The court found that the news media broadcast was privileged and that plaintiff was acting as a public official for purposes of the defamation action in that she was a court appointed conservator. As a court appointed conservator, the plaintiff became an agent of the state with the power to interfere in the personal interests of another citizen to whom she was not related. Plaintiff was then unable to demonstrate that the media report was made with actual malice and as a consequence plaintiff was unable to demonstrate that she was likely to succeed on the merits, requiring the granting of the SLAPP motion.