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California Tort Damages

Practical advice on evaluating and proving damages recoverable for a wide variety of personal injuries, and discussion of the kinds of injuries for which damages are and are not recoverable.

Practical advice on evaluating and proving damages recoverable for a wide variety of personal injuries, and discussion of the kinds of injuries for which damages are and are not recoverable.

  • Bodily injury
  • Assault & battery
  • Infliction of emotional distress
  • Wrongful death & survival actions
  • Wrongful life & birth
  • Emotional distress
  • Defamation & invasion of privacy
  • Malicious prosecution & abuse of process
  • False arrest & false imprisonment
  • Vehicles & injury to personal property
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages
  • Reimbursement claims & medical liens
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Practical advice on evaluating and proving damages recoverable for a wide variety of personal injuries, and discussion of the kinds of injuries for which damages are and are not recoverable.

  • Bodily injury
  • Assault & battery
  • Infliction of emotional distress
  • Wrongful death & survival actions
  • Wrongful life & birth
  • Emotional distress
  • Defamation & invasion of privacy
  • Malicious prosecution & abuse of process
  • False arrest & false imprisonment
  • Vehicles & injury to personal property
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages
  • Reimbursement claims & medical liens

1

Bodily Injury

  • I. INTRODUCTION
    • A. Scope of Chapter 1.1
    • B. Statutory Measure; Reasonableness 1.2
    • C. Terminology
      • 1. Damages; Detriment; Actual Damages 1.3
      • 2. Special, General 1.4
      • 3. Economic, Noneconomic 1.5
      • 4. Future Damages; Reasonable Certainty 1.6
      • 5. Quotient Verdicts 1.7
    • D. Choosing Plaintiffs
      • 1. Competent Adult; Spouse 1.8
        • a. Medical Expense 1.9
        • b. Earnings 1.10
        • c. Care of Injured Person 1.11
      • 2. Incompetent Person; Guardian or Conservator 1.12
      • 3. Minor; Parent or Guardian 1.13
        • a. Effect of Settlements 1.13A
        • b. Prenatal Injury 1.14
        • c. Effect of Comparative Fault 1.14A
        • d. Medical Expense 1.15
        • e. Earnings; Services to Parents 1.16
        • f. Minor's Personal Care 1.17
      • 4. Injured Person's Estate 1.18
      • 5. Injured Person's Employer 1.19
  • II. MEDICAL EXPENSE
    • A. Standards of Proof
      • 1. Past Expense 1.20
      • 2. Future Expense
        • a. Reasonable Certainty 1.21
        • b. Medical Monitoring 1.22
    • B. Particular Services and Supplies
      • 1. Medical Doctors and Other Practitioners 1.23
      • 2. Hospitals; Other Institutions 1.24
      • 3. Nursing and Attendant Care 1.25
      • 4. Physical Therapy 1.26
      • 5. Psychotherapy 1.27
      • 6. Rehabilitation; Retraining 1.28
      • 7. X-Rays; Laboratory Tests; Other Diagnostic Procedures 1.29
      • 8. Drugs; Medication 1.30
      • 9. Prostheses; Aids to Function; Equipment 1.31
      • 10. Modified or Special Vehicles or Dwellings 1.32
      • 11. Travel Expense 1.33
    • C. Witnesses and Exhibits
      • 1. Medical Bills; Receipts; Treatment Records 1.34
      • 2. Injured Person 1.35
      • 3. Doctors; Other Practitioners 1.36
      • 4. Stipulation 1.37
      • 5. Request for Admission 1.38
      • 6. Economist 1.39
      • 7. Family Member or Other Provider of Services 1.40
      • 8. Accident Reconstruction and Other Experts 1.40A
  • III. LOST EARNINGS; IMPAIRED EARNING CAPACITY
    • A. Standards of Proof
      • 1. Earnings Loss and Impairment 1.41
      • 2. Lost Earnings
        • a. Past Loss 1.42
        • b. Future Loss 1.43
      • 3. Impaired Earning Capacity 1.44
    • B. Specific Losses
      • 1. Employed Person
        • a. Regular Salary; Wages 1.45
        • b. Commissions; Bonuses 1.46
        • c. Tips 1.47
        • d. Overtime Pay 1.48
        • e. Lost Benefits 1.49
        • f. Sick Leave; Vacation Time 1.50
        • g. Lost or Delayed Promotions, Increases, and Opportunities 1.51
      • 2. Self-Employed Person 1.52
        • a. Sole Proprietor 1.53
        • b. Partner 1.54
      • 3. Unemployed Person 1.55
      • 4. Minor
        • a. Employed and Employable Youth 1.56
        • b. Young Child 1.57
      • 5. Homemaker 1.58
    • C. Witnesses and Exhibits
      • 1. Employment Records 1.59
      • 2. Statement From Employer 1.60
      • 3. Income Tax Returns 1.61
      • 4. Injured Person 1.62
      • 5. Employer; Coworker 1.63
      • 6. Economists and Other Experts 1.64
      • 7. Medical Testimony and Reports 1.65
  • IV. SERVICES
    • A. Family's Loss 1.66
      • 1. Nature and Extent of Services 1.67
      • 2. Cost or Value 1.68
    • B. Personal Care 1.69
  • V. PAIN AND SUFFERING
    • A. Standards of Proof 1.70
    • B. Permissible Claimants 1.71
    • C. Terminology
      • 1. Pain 1.72
      • 2. Suffering 1.73
      • 3. Emotional Distress 1.74
      • 4. Psychogenic Injury 1.75
    • D. Computation; Argument 1.76
    • E. Witnesses and Exhibits
      • 1. Injured Person 1.77
      • 2. Doctors; Medical Personnel 1.78
      • 3. Family Members; Coworkers; Friends 1.79
      • 4. Medical Records 1.80
      • 5. Photographs 1.81
  • VI. OTHER ELEMENTS OF RECOVERY
    • A. Alternative Forms of Detriment 1.82
      • 1. Fact of Injury 1.83
      • 2. Disfigurement 1.84
      • 3. Disability 1.85
      • 4. Impaired Enjoyment of Life 1.86
      • 5. Susceptibility to Future Injury or Harm 1.87
      • 6. Aggravation of Preexisting Condition 1.88
      • 7. Exposure to Additional Harm 1.89
      • 8. Shortened Life Expectancy 1.90
      • 9. Lost Chance for Survival or Recovery 1.91
    • B. Punitive Damages 1.92
    • C. Treble Damages 1.93
    • D. Interest
      • 1. After CCP §998 Settlement Offer 1.94
        • a. Judgment More Favorable Than Offer 1.95
          • (1) Offers by Multiple Plaintiffs 1.95A
          • (2) Offers to Multiple Defendants 1.95B
        • b. Sexual Harassment Damages 1.96
      • 2. On Damages Certain; Jury Discretion 1.97
      • 3. Postjudgment 1.98
    • E. Attorney Fees 1.99
      • 1. Public Interest Issue (Private Attorney General) 1.100
      • 2. Common Fund Doctrine 1.101
      • 3. FEHA Actions 1.102
      • 4. Worker's Action Against Uninsured Employer 1.103
      • 5. Defendant's Tortious Conduct Was Felonious 1.104
      • 6. Cross-Complaint for Implied Indemnity 1.105
      • 7. As Sanction for Discovery Abuse 1.106
    • F. Expert Witness Costs 1.106A
  • VII. FACTORS AFFECTING RECOVERY
    • A. Economic Trends 1.107
    • B. Discounting to Present Value 1.108
    • C. Effect of Tax Laws 1.109
    • D. Assignment of Damages on Dissolution of Marriage 1.110
    • E. Causation 1.111
  • VIII. TAX CONSEQUENCES
    • A. To Plaintiff 1.112
      • 1. Tax Benefit Rule (Medical Expense) 1.113
      • 2. Wage and Benefit Payments 1.114
      • 3. Interest and Periodic Payments 1.115
      • 4. Attorney Fees and Costs 1.116
      • 5. Workers' Compensation and Other Employment Benefits 1.117
      • 6. Discrimination 1.118
      • 7. Wrongful Termination 1.119
    • B. To Defendant 1.120
      • 1. Timing of Income and Deductions 1.121
      • 2. Penalties and Disclosure 1.122

2

Loss of Consortium

  • I. NATURE OF CAUSE OF ACTION 2.1
  • II. PLAINTIFFS
    • A. Spouse; Domestic Partner 2.2
    • B. Cohabitant 2.3
    • C. Parent 2.4
    • D. Child 2.5
  • III. DAMAGES
    • A. Recoverable 2.6
    • B. Limits on Recoverable Damages 2.7
  • IV. BRINGING THE ACTION
    • A. Statute of Limitations 2.8
    • B. Showing Seriousness of Injured Spouse's Injury 2.9
    • C. Stating Separate Causes of Action; Joinder 2.10
    • D. Pleading Damages 2.11
    • E. Proving Damages
      • 1. Preparing for Deposition 2.12
      • 2. Witnesses 2.13
      • 3. Showing Impairment of Relationship 2.14
  • V. FACTORS AFFECTING RECOVERY
    • A. Insurance Policy Limits 2.15
    • B. Effect of Worker's Compensation Lien 2.16
    • C. Effect of Preverdict Settlement 2.16A
    • D. Comparative Fault and (Equitable) Indemnity 2.17
  • VI. TAX CONSEQUENCES 2.18

3

Wrongful Death

  • I. INTRODUCTION
    • A. Scope of Chapter 3.1
    • B. Measure of Wrongful Death Damages 3.2
    • C. Who May Recover: Qualified Survivors 3.3
      • 1. Spouse; Domestic Partner 3.4
      • 2. Child; Issue of Deceased Child 3.5
      • 3. Putative Spouse; Putative Spouse's Child; Stepchild 3.6
      • 4. Parent 3.7
      • 5. Minor Who Lived With Decedent 3.8
      • 6. Grandparent, Sibling, or Other Intestate Heir 3.9
      • 7. Heir by Disclaimer 3.10
      • 8. Personal Representative 3.11
    • D. Limits on Damages
      • 1. Excessiveness; Foreign Law Limits 3.12
      • 2. Medical Malpractice Liability 3.13
      • 3. Future Detriment: Discounting to Present Value 3.14
    • E. Procedural Considerations
      • 1. Joining All Qualified Survivors 3.15
      • 2. Meeting Time Requirements 3.16
      • 3. Apportioning Lump-Sum Award 3.17
      • 4. Reducing Damages for Comparative Fault 3.18
      • 5. Recovering Prejudgment Interest 3.19
    • F. Death During or Before Birth 3.20
  • II. RECOVERABLE ELEMENTS
    • A. Financial Support; Contributions 3.21
      • 1. By Spouse 3.22
      • 2. By Child 3.23
      • 3. By Parent 3.24
      • 4. By Other Survivor 3.25
    • B. Loss of Services 3.26
      • 1. By Spouse 3.27
      • 2. By Child, Parent, or Other Survivor 3.28
    • C. Society, Comfort, Care, Protection, Companionship, and Consortium 3.29
      • 1. By Spouse 3.30
      • 2. By Child 3.31
      • 3. By Parent 3.32
      • 4. By Other Intestate Heir 3.33
    • D. Training and Advice 3.34
    • E. Funeral and Burial Expense 3.35
    • F. Prospective Gifts From Decedent 3.36
    • G. Other Elements 3.37
  • III. NONRECOVERABLE ELEMENTS
    • A. Detriment Suffered by Decedent Before Death 3.38
    • B. Decedent's Medical Expenses 3.39
    • C. Survivor's Grief, Sorrow, Anguish, and Mental Suffering 3.40
    • D. Decedent's Prospective Savings; Expectancy of Inheritance 3.41
    • E. Punitive Damages 3.42
  • IV. FACTORS AFFECTING DAMAGES
    • A. Date of Fatal Injury 3.43
      • 1. Survivor's Marital Status; Remarriage 3.44
      • 2. Survivor's Prejudgment Death 3.45
    • B. Predeath Personal Injury Judgment
      • 1. Decedent's Damages Recovery 3.46
      • 2. Defense Judgment 3.47
    • C. Decedent's and Survivor's Life Expectancies
      • 1. Using Mortality Tables 3.48
      • 2. Decedent's and Survivor's Ages and Health 3.49
    • D. Decedent's Earning Capacity 3.50
    • E. Decedent's Moral Character and Habits 3.51
    • F. Decedent's Disposition Toward Survivor 3.52
    • G. Decedent's Obligation to Support 3.53
    • H. Value of Decedent's Estate; Amount of Survivor's Inheritance or Death Benefits 3.54
    • I. Survivor's Reduced Support Expenses 3.55
    • J. Survivor's Wealth or Poverty 3.56
    • K. Federal Law Limitations; DOHSA and ERISA Preemption 3.57
    • L. Decedent's Felonious Killer Excluded 3.58
  • V. PROVING DAMAGES
    • A. Witnesses and Exhibits 3.59
    • B. Closing Argument 3.60
  • VI. TAX CONSEQUENCES 3.61

4

Survival Actions

  • I. NATURE OF SURVIVAL ACTIONS
    • A. Survival Action Situations 4.1
    • B. Relationship to Wrongful Death Actions
      • 1. Persons Entitled to Recover 4.2
      • 2. Nature of Recoverable Damages 4.3
  • II. BRINGING THE ACTION; JOINDER WITH RELATED ACTIONS
    • A. Persons Entitled to Bring or Continue Decedent's Survival Action 4.4
    • B. Substitution; Filing New Complaint 4.5
    • C. Statute of Limitations 4.6
    • D. Joinder; Related Causes of Action 4.7
    • E. Causes of Action That Survive
      • 1. Decedent's Causes of Action 4.8
      • 2. Causes of Action Against Decedent 4.9
  • III. PERSONAL INJURY DAMAGES
    • A. Damages That Survive Death
      • 1. Punitive Damages 4.10
      • 2. Medical and Related Expenses 4.11
      • 3. Loss of Earnings 4.12
      • 4. Expenses of Personal and Substituted Services 4.13
      • 5. Effect of Plaintiff's Death After Verdict or Judgment 4.14
    • B. Damages That Do Not Survive Death
      • 1. Pain, Suffering, Disfigurement; Emotional Distress 4.15
      • 2. Other Nonrecoverable Damages 4.16
  • IV. TAX CONSEQUENCES 4.17

5

Wrongful Life and Birth

  • I. IMPAIRED CHILD
    • A. Child's Cause of Action: Wrongful Life
      • 1. Liability 5.1
        • a. Health Care Provider or Service 5.2
        • b. Parent 5.3
      • 2. Damages
        • a. Extraordinary Expense 5.4
        • b. Impaired Earning Capacity 5.5
        • c. Pain, Suffering, and Emotional Distress 5.6
        • d. Shortened Life Expectancy 5.7
        • e. Punitive Damages 5.8
      • 3. Argument Relating to Damages 5.9
    • B. Parents' Cause of Action: Wrongful Birth
      • 1. Liability 5.10
      • 2. Damages
        • a. Extraordinary Expense 5.11
        • b. Emotional Distress 5.12
  • II. UNWANTED, UNIMPAIRED CHILD
    • A. Child's Cause of Action 5.13
    • B. Parent's Cause of Action
      • 1. Liability 5.14
      • 2. Damages 5.15
  • III. TAX CONSEQUENCES 5.16

6

Emotional Distress

  • I. PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS
    • A. Scope of Chapter 6.1
    • B. Establishing Genuineness of Claim 6.2
  • II. CIRCUMSTANCES SUPPORTING LIABILITY
    • A. Impact (Unwanted Contact) 6.3
    • B. "Physical" Injury or Disorder 6.4
    • C. Fear for Own Safety; Zone of Danger 6.5
    • D. Fear of Future Illness 6.6
    • E. Nuisance; Trespass; Uninhabitability; Fraud 6.7
    • F. Bystander's Perception of Loved One's Injury 6.8
      • 1. Close Relationship 6.9
      • 2. Presence and Awareness
        • a. Presence at Time of Injury 6.10
        • b. Personal Contemporaneous Perception 6.11
        • c. Awareness of Injury-Producing Event and Injury 6.12
      • 3. Distress Related to Relationship 6.13
      • 4. Defenses
        • a. Defendant Not Liable to Primary Victim 6.14
        • b. Employer's Immunity 6.15
    • G. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED)
      • 1. Nature and Elements of Recovery 6.16
      • 2. Factors Affecting Liability
        • a. Outrageous Conduct by Defendant 6.17
        • b. Conduct Directed at Plaintiff 6.18
        • c. Severe Emotional Suffering 6.19
      • 3. Defenses
        • a. Statute of Limitations 6.20
        • b. Privilege 6.21
        • c. Underlying Cause of Action Untenable 6.22
        • d. Employer's Immunity 6.23
    • H. Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED)
      • 1. Nature and Elements of Recovery 6.24
      • 2. Factors Affecting Liability
        • a. Foreseeability of Injury 6.25
        • b. Plaintiff a "Direct Victim" 6.26
        • c. Preexisting or Special Relationship 6.27
        • d. Outrageous Conduct 6.28
        • e. Serious or Severe Distress 6.29
      • 3. Defenses
        • a. Statute of Limitations 6.30
        • b. Distress Not Caused by Invasion of Personal Interest 6.31
        • c. Privilege 6.32
      • 4. Particular Situations
        • a. Breach of Statutory Duty 6.33
        • b. Breach of Contract 6.34
        • c. Misrepresentation 6.35
        • d. Damage to Real or Personal Property 6.36
        • e. Product Defects 6.37
        • f. Attorneys' Professional Negligence 6.38
        • g. Malpractice in Criminal Cases 6.38A
        • h. Insurance Bad Faith 6.39
  • III. DAMAGES
    • A. Characteristics of Emotional Distress 6.40
    • B. Physical Injury or Symptoms 6.41
    • C. Special Damages 6.42
    • D. Punitive Damages 6.43
  • IV. PLEADING 6.44
  • V. PROVING EMOTIONAL DISTRESS
    • A. Witnesses
      • 1. Plaintiff 6.45
      • 2. Family and Friends 6.46
      • 3. Coworkers 6.47
      • 4. Medical Professionals 6.48
    • B. Exhibits
      • 1. Medical, Employment, and School Records 6.49
      • 2. Photographs 6.50
      • 3. Plaintiff's Financial Records 6.51
  • VI. TAX CONSEQUENCES 6.52

7

Assault and Battery

  • I. LIABILITY
    • A. Assault
      • 1. Defined 7.1
      • 2. Elements of Cause of Action 7.2
    • B. Battery
      • 1. Defined 7.3
      • 2. Elements of Cause of Action 7.4
        • a. Intention 7.5
        • b. Harmful or Offensive Contact 7.6
    • C. Defenses
      • 1. Statute of Limitations 7.7
      • 2. Self-Defense; Reasonable Force 7.8
      • 3. Consent 7.9
      • 4. Immunity 7.9A
  • II. DAMAGES
    • A. General Rule 7.10
    • B. Maximizing Recovery 7.11
      • 1. Medical Expense 7.12
      • 2. Lost Earnings 7.13
      • 3. Impaired Earning Capacity 7.14
      • 4. Emotional Distress 7.15
        • a. Plaintiff's Testimony 7.16
        • b. Other Lay Witness Testimony 7.17
        • c. Expert Testimony 7.18
      • 5. Punitive Damages 7.19
  • III. TAX CONSEQUENCES 7.20

8

Defamation

  • I. LIABILITY FACTORS
    • A. Defining "Libel" and "Slander" 8.1
    • B. Need to Plead and Prove Special Damage
      • 1. Libel: Per Se and Per Quod 8.2
        • a. Natural and Probable Interpretation 8.3
        • b. Examples of Libel Per Se 8.4
      • 2. Slander: Per Se and Per Quod 8.5
    • C. Publication; Republication 8.6
    • D. Employers' and Coemployees' Liability 8.7
  • II. DAMAGES AND OTHER RELIEF
    • A. Damages
      • 1. General Damages; Per Se Presumption 8.8
      • 2. Special Damages 8.9
      • 3. Nominal Damages 8.10
      • 4. Punitive (Exemplary) Damages
        • a. Recoverability 8.11
        • b. Proving Amount 8.12
      • 5. Plaintiff's Proof 8.13
      • 6. Defendant's Proof 8.14
    • B. Injunctive Relief 8.15
    • C. Declaratory Relief 8.16
    • D. Removal From Elected Office 8.17
    • E. Attorney Fees 8.17A
  • III. FACTORS RESTRICTING RECOVERY
    • A. General Defenses
      • 1. Consent; "Ministerial Exception" 8.18
      • 2. Privilege 8.19
      • 3. Truth of Facts; Nonactionability of Opinion 8.20
      • 4. Statute of Limitations 8.21
      • 5. Anti-SLAPP Law 8.22
      • 6. Examples of Anti-SLAPP Cases 8.22A
      • 7. Plaintiff's Bad ("Libel-Proof") Reputation 8.23
      • 8. Incremental Harm Doctrine 8.24
    • B. Single-Publication Rule
      • 1. Statutory Basis 8.25
      • 2. Applicability 8.26
    • C. Defendant's Correction or Retraction
      • 1. By Newspaper or Broadcaster
        • a. Forestalling General and Punitive Damages 8.27
        • b. Plaintiff's Notice and Demand for Correction
          • (1) Service 8.28
          • (2) Sufficiency 8.29
        • c. Defendant's Correction; Sufficiency 8.30
      • 2. Persons Not Protected by CC §48a 8.31
      • 3. Effect of Correction When CC §48a Not Applicable 8.32
      • 4. Court-Ordered Retraction 8.32A
    • D. First Amendment Restrictions
      • 1. Public Figure's Need to Prove "Actual Malice" 8.33
        • a. Proving "Constitutional Actual Malice" 8.34
        • b. Defining "Public Figure" 8.35
        • c. Defining "Matter of Public Concern" 8.36
      • 2. Private Figure's Need to Prove Fault 8.37
      • 3. Need to Prove Actual Injury 8.38
        • a. For Nominal Damages 8.39
        • b. For Presumed (General) Damages 8.40
        • c. For Punitive Damages 8.41
  • IV. CONFLICT OF LAWS 8.42
  • V. APPELLATE REVIEW 8.43
  • VI. INJURIOUS FALSEHOOD
    • A. Distinguished From "Personal" Defamation 8.44
    • B. Slander of Title 8.45
    • C. Trade Libel: Disparagement of Quality 8.46
    • D. Recoverable Damages 8.47
  • VII. TAX CONSEQUENCES
    • A. Compensatory Damages 8.48
    • B. Punitive Damages 8.49
    • C. When Personal and Nonpersonal Injury Claims Involved 8.50

9

Invasion of Privacy

  • I. INTRODUCTION
    • A. Categories of Privacy Invasions 9.1
    • B. Constitutional Privacy Protection 9.2
    • C. Relation to Defamation 9.3
  • II. LIABILITY FACTORS
    • A. Placing Plaintiff in False Light
      • 1. Elements 9.4
      • 2. Defenses 9.5
    • B. Disclosing Personal Information
      • 1. Elements
        • a. Common Law 9.6
        • b. Statutory: Medical Information; Federal Acts 9.7
      • 2. Defenses 9.8
    • C. Intruding on Solitude
      • 1. Elements
        • a. Common Law 9.9
        • b. Statutory: Wiretapping and Eavesdropping 9.10
        • c. Trespassing to Photograph or Record 9.11
      • 2. Defenses 9.12
    • D. Misappropriating Name or Likeness
      • 1. Elements
        • a. Common Law: Right of Publicity 9.13
        • b. Statutory: Living Persons 9.14
        • c. Statutory: Deceased Personalities 9.15
      • 2. Defenses 9.16
  • III. DAMAGES AND RELIEF
    • A. Mental Suffering, Emotional Distress, and Physical Consequences 9.17
    • B. Injury to Reputation 9.18
    • C. Medical and Psychiatric Expenses; Other Damages 9.19
    • D. Statutory Damages 9.20
    • E. Punitive Damages 9.21
    • F. Injunctive Relief
      • 1. Intrusion 9.22
      • 2. Misappropriation of Name or Likeness 9.23
  • IV. PROVING DAMAGES
    • A. Witnesses
      • 1. Plaintiff 9.24
      • 2. Plaintiff's Friends and Coworkers 9.25
      • 3. Expert Witnesses 9.26
    • B. Documents 9.27
  • V. TAX CONSEQUENCES 9.28

10

Malicious Prosecution

  • I. LIABILITY FACTORS
    • A. Nature of Cause of Action
      • 1. Purpose; Pleadings 10.1
      • 2. Other Torts Compared 10.2
    • B. Persons Who May Recover 10.3
    • C. Persons Who May Be Liable
      • 1. Participants in Underlying Action 10.4
      • 2. Attorneys 10.5
      • 3. Entities; Principals; Insurers 10.6
    • D. Immunities From Liability 10.7
    • E. Insurance Coverage 10.8
    • F. Elements of Cause of Action
      • 1. Commencing or Continuing Prior Proceeding 10.9
        • a. Criminal Prosecution 10.10
        • b. Civil Proceedings
          • (1) Civil Actions; Ancillary Proceedings 10.11
          • (2) Administrative Proceedings 10.12
          • (3) Arbitration Proceedings 10.13
      • 2. Lack of Probable Cause
        • a. General Standard 10.14
        • b. Standard for Attorneys 10.15
      • 3. Malice 10.16
      • 4. Favorable Termination of Prior Proceeding
        • a. By Judgment or Decree 10.17
        • b. By Dismissal 10.18
        • c. By Settlement 10.19
        • d. Effect of Appeal 10.20
      • 5. Injury or Loss 10.21
    • G. Defenses
      • 1. Statute of Limitations 10.22
      • 2. Advice of Counsel 10.23
      • 3. Attorney's Reliance on Information From Client 10.23A
      • 4. Presumption From Conviction or Judgment 10.24
      • 5. Privilege 10.25
      • 6. Anti-SLAPP Law 10.25A
      • 7. SLAPPback Claims 10.25B
      • 8. Equity 10.26
  • II. RECOVERABLE DAMAGES
    • A. Generally 10.27
    • B. Litigation Costs and Attorney Fees
      • 1. Incurred in Underlying Proceeding
        • a. Attorney Fees
          • (1) Recovery for Reasonable Fees 10.28
          • (2) Proving Amount and Reasonableness 10.29
        • b. Other Litigation Costs 10.30
      • 2. Costs, Fees, and Interest in Malicious Prosecution Action; CCP §998 10.31
    • C. Loss of Social Standing; Creditworthiness 10.32
    • D. Loss of Earnings or Business Profits 10.33
    • E. Mental and Emotional Distress 10.34
    • F. Injury to Reputation 10.35
    • G. Bodily Injury 10.36
    • H. Punitive Damages 10.37
    • I. Detriment Arising From Arrest or Imprisonment 10.38
    • J. Apportioning Damages 10.39
    • K. Duty to Mitigate 10.40
  • III. FUNCTIONS OF JUDGE AND JURY 10.41
  • IV. REPRESENTATION BY FORMER ATTORNEY 10.42
  • V. TAX CONSEQUENCES 10.43

11

Abuse of Process

  • I. INTRODUCTION
    • A. Defining "Abuse of Process" 11.1
    • B. Distinguishing Malicious Prosecution 11.2
  • II. ESTABLISHING LIABILITY
    • A. Elements of Cause of Action 11.3
      • 1. Defining "Process" 11.4
      • 2. Ulterior Purpose; Improper Use 11.5
    • B. Illustrative Situations 11.6
    • C. Defenses
      • 1. Statute of Limitations 11.7
      • 2. Privilege 11.8
      • 3. Anti-SLAPP Law; SLAPPback Claims 11.8A
  • III. DAMAGES AND OTHER RELIEF
    • A. Compensatory Damages 11.9
    • B. Punitive Damages
      • 1. Proving Malice 11.10
      • 2. Effect of Advice of Counsel 11.11
    • C. Injunction 11.12
  • IV. PROCEDURAL CONSIDERATIONS
    • A. Pleading 11.13
      • 1. Joining Causes of Action 11.14
      • 2. Joining Attorney as Defendant 11.15
    • B. Trial Strategy and Proof
      • 1. Proving Abuse 11.16
      • 2. Proving Motive and Malice 11.17
      • 3. Proving Damages 11.18
  • V. TAX CONSEQUENCES 11.19

12

False Arrest and False Imprisonment

  • I. LIABILITY FACTORS
    • A. Defining the Tort 12.1
    • B. Distinguishing Related Torts 12.2
    • C. Permissible Claimants 12.3
    • D. Persons Liable
      • 1. Police Officers, Private Persons, and Others
        • a. For Arresting or Detaining 12.4
        • b. For Imprisoning 12.5
        • c. For Aiding Arrest or Imprisonment 12.6
      • 2. Employers 12.7
      • 3. Attorneys 12.7A
    • E. Pleading 12.8
    • F. Defenses
      • 1. Statute of Limitations 12.9
      • 2. Government Claims Presentation 12.10
      • 3. Public Employee and Entity Immunities 12.11
      • 4. Merchants' Defense 12.12
      • 5. Amusement Park Defense 12.13
      • 6. Privilege: Reporting Potential Criminal Activity; Probable Cause 12.14
      • 7. Actions Taken at Request of Police Officer 12.15
      • 8. Workers' Compensation Exclusivity 12.16
  • II. DAMAGES
    • A. Foreseeable Detriment 12.17
      • 1. Loss of Liberty 12.18
      • 2. Emotional Suffering 12.19
      • 3. Physical Injury 12.20
      • 4. Loss of Income 12.21
      • 5. Attorney Fees and Costs 12.22
    • B. Punitive Damages 12.23
    • C. Determining Compensability Period 12.24
  • III. PROVING DAMAGES
    • A. Witnesses 12.25
      • 1. Plaintiff 12.26
      • 2. Family Members 12.27
      • 3. Coworkers 12.28
      • 4. Experts 12.29
    • B. Exhibits 12.30
  • IV. ARGUMENT
    • A. Plaintiff 12.31
    • B. Defendants 12.32
  • V. FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIONS 12.33
  • VI. TAX CONSEQUENCES 12.34

13

Vehicles and Other Personal Property

  • I. INTRODUCTION
    • A. Scope of Chapter 13.1
    • B. Statutory Basis for Recovery 13.2
    • C. Plaintiff's Duty to Mitigate 13.3
    • D. Payments From Independent Sources 13.4
    • E. Burden of Proof 13.5
  • II. MOTOR VEHICLES
    • A. Damages Elements Summary 13.6
    • B. Diminished Value; Cost of Restoring Value
      • 1. Destroyed (or Lost) Vehicle
        • a. Market Value 13.7
        • b. Special Value; Unique Vehicle 13.8
      • 2. Fully Restorable Vehicle 13.9
        • a. Repair Costs 13.10
        • b. Diminution in Value 13.11
      • 3. Partially Restorable Vehicle 13.12
    • C. Loss of Use 13.13
    • D. Loss of Profits From Prospective Sale 13.14
    • E. Lost Business Profits 13.15
    • F. Out-of-Pocket Expenses 13.16
    • G. Emotional Distress 13.17
    • H. Punitive Damages 13.18
  • III. OTHER ITEMS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY 13.19
    • A. Jewelry 13.20
    • B. Apparel 13.21
    • C. Paintings, Books, and Papers 13.22
    • D. Mechanical or Electronic Equipment 13.23
    • E. Pets 13.24
  • IV. TAX CONSEQUENCES 13.25

14

Punitive Damages

  • I. LIABILITY FACTORS
    • A. Nature; Purpose 14.1
    • B. Requirements
      • 1. Tortious Conduct
        • a. Breach of Noncontractual Obligation 14.2
        • b. Breach of Statutory Obligation 14.3
        • c. Intentional Tort 14.4
      • 2. Clear and Convincing Evidence of Punishable Conduct 14.5
        • a. Malice 14.6
        • b. Oppression 14.7
        • c. Fraud 14.8
      • 3. Actual Damages 14.9
        • a. Evidence Supporting Amount 14.10
        • b. Reasonable Relation to Actual Injury 14.11
        • c. Due Process Limitations on Punitive Damages 14.11A
    • C. Constitutionality of Punitive Damages 14.12
  • II. PERSONS ENTITLED TO RECOVER
    • A. Injured Individual 14.13
    • B. Spouse or Family Member 14.14
    • C. Personal Representative or Survivor 14.15
    • D. Public Entity 14.16
  • III. POTENTIAL DEFENDANTS' IMMUNITIES AND DEFENSES
    • A. Estates and Survivors 14.17
    • B. Public Entities and Employees
      • 1. California 14.18
      • 2. Federal 14.19
    • C. Employers
      • 1. Statutory Prerequisites 14.20
      • 2. Corporation's Imputed Knowledge 14.21
      • 3. Causes of Action
        • a. Discrimination or Harassment 14.22
        • b. Firing Contrary to Public Policy 14.23
    • D. Insurers: Causes of Action
      • 1. First Party Bad Faith 14.24
      • 2. Third Party Bad Faith 14.25
      • 3. Uninsured Motorist 14.26
    • E. Product Manufacturers or Suppliers 14.27
    • F. Attorneys: Malpractice 14.28
    • G. Health Care Providers: Medical Malpractice 14.29
    • H. Religious Corporations 14.30
    • I. Nonprofit Corporations' Officers and Directors 14.31
    • J. Conservatorship 14.31A
  • IV. PROCEDURES
    • A. Before Trial
      • 1. Pleading; Statement of Damages 14.32
      • 2. Summary Judgment 14.33
      • 3. Discovery 14.34
      • 4. Arbitration 14.35
    • B. During Trial
      • 1. Motion for Protective Order 14.36
      • 2. Application for Bifurcation 14.37
      • 3. Proving Defendant's Financial Condition 14.38
      • 4. Jury Instructions; Special Verdict 14.39
      • 5. Argument
        • a. By Plaintiff 14.40
        • b. By Defendant 14.41
    • C. After Verdict
      • 1. Motion for New Trial or Remittitur 14.42
      • 2. Assessing Interest on Punitive Damages 14.43
      • 3. Collecting Punitive Damages Judgments; Insurance Coverage 14.44
      • 4. Giving Notice of Judgment Against Health Care Service Plan or Insurer 14.45
      • 5. Avoiding Discharge in Bankruptcy 14.46
  • V. TAX CONSEQUENCES
    • A. Deductibility by Defendant 14.47
    • B. Taxability to Plaintiff 14.48

15

Restrictions on Recovery

  • I. SCOPE OF CHAPTER 15.1
  • II. COMPARATIVE FAULT
    • A. Negligence
      • 1. Bodily Injury; Property Damage 15.2
      • 2. Wrongful Death
        • a. Decedent's Fault 15.3
        • b. Survivors' Fault 15.4
    • B. Strict Product Liability 15.5
    • C. Plaintiff's Contributory Willful Misconduct 15.6
    • D. Intentional Misconduct 15.7
  • III. PROPOSITION 51 (FAIR RESPONSIBILITY ACT OF 1986)
    • A. Modified Joint and Several Liability 15.8
    • B. Roles of Trier of Fact and Trial Judge 15.9
    • C. Distinguishing Economic From Noneconomic Damages 15.10
    • D. Calculating Damages Reductions
      • 1. Fault of Plaintiff, Decedent, or Spouse 15.11
      • 2. Preverdict Settlements 15.12
      • 3. Postverdict Settlements 15.13
      • 4. Workers' Compensation 15.14
    • E. Particular Situations
      • 1. Strict Product Liability 15.15
      • 2. Premises Liability (Nondelegable Duty) 15.16
      • 3. Employer's Respondeat Superior Liability 15.17
      • 4. Vehicle Owners' and Entrusters' Liability 15.18
      • 5. Misrepresentation 15.18A
      • 6. Injury Aggravated by Medical Malpractice 15.18B
  • IV. PRIOR PAYMENTS
    • A. By Defendant; Advances 15.19
    • B. By Plaintiff's Insurer (Under Uninsured Motorist and Other Coverages) 15.20
    • C. By Alleged Tortfeasors (Prior Settlements) 15.21
    • D. By Collateral Sources 15.22
  • V. FAILURE TO MITIGATE DAMAGES
    • A. Reduction for Failure to Mitigate; Avoidable Consequences Doctrine 15.23
    • B. Need to Accept Surgery or Other Treatment 15.24
  • VI. DAMAGES LIMITATIONS IN PARTICULAR SITUATIONS
    • A. Plaintiff Injured Committing or Fleeing From Felony 15.25
    • B. Uninsured or Intoxicated Plaintiff Injured in Motor Vehicle 15.26
      • 1. Wrongful Death Claimant 15.27
      • 2. Person Suing Vehicle Supplier (Product Liability) 15.28
      • 3. Insured Driver in Uninsured Vehicle 15.29
      • 4. Uninsured Driver in Employer's Vehicle 15.30
      • 5. Undocumented Alien Unable to Obtain Insurance 15.31
      • 6. Person Suing for Injury Caused by Dangerous Condition of Property 15.32
    • C. Public Entity Defendant 15.33
      • 1. Periodic Payment of Judgment 15.34
      • 2. Reducing Judgment for Collateral Source Payments 15.35
    • D. Parent's Liability for Minor's Conduct
      • 1. Negligent Driving 15.36
      • 2. Willful Misconduct 15.37
      • 3. Defacing Property 15.38
      • 4. Discharging Firearm 15.39
    • E. Federal Law Violations 15.40
    • F. Medical Malpractice; MICRA 15.41
      • 1. Ceiling on Noneconomic Damages 15.42
        • a. Loss of Consortium Damages 15.43
        • b. Wrongful Death Damages 15.44
        • c. Survival Action Damages 15.45
        • d. Causes of Action Exempt From Ceiling: Battery; Elder Abuse; EMTALA 15.46
        • e. Causes of Action Subject to Ceiling 15.47
      • 2. Collateral Source Evidence
        • a. Defendant's Right to Introduce 15.48
        • b. Reimbursement Rights of Benefits Furnishers 15.49
      • 3. Periodic Payment of Future Damages 15.50
        • a. Calculating Payment Schedule 15.51
        • b. Interest on Future Damages 15.52
      • 4. Punitive Damages
        • a. Procedural Prerequisites 15.53
        • b. Causes of Action Affected 15.54
        • c. Proving Substantial Probability 15.55
      • 5. Plaintiff's Attorney Fees
        • a. Statutory Limits 15.56
        • b. Fees From Periodic Payments 15.57
      • 6. Expert Witness Fees 15.58

16

Reimbursement Claims and Liens

  • I. INTRODUCTION
    • A. Scope of Chapter 16.1
    • B. General Considerations
      • 1. Identifying Potential Claims 16.2
      • 2. Attorney's Duties to Client and to Lien Claimant 16.3
      • 3. Compromising the Claim 16.4
      • 4. Attorney Fees 16.5
  • II. CLAIMS BASED ON CONTRACT PROVISIONS
    • A. By Plaintiff's Automobile Insurer
      • 1. Medical Payments 16.6
      • 2. Property Damage Payments 16.7
    • B. By Treating Doctor or Hospital 16.8
    • C. By Health Care Plan 16.9
  • III. CLAIMS BASED ON STATE STATUTES
    • A. Medi-Cal 16.10
      • 1. Duty to Notify DHS 16.11
      • 2. Attorney Fees and Costs 16.12
      • 3. Compromising the Claim 16.13
    • B. County Services to Indigents and Children 16.14
    • C. Hospital Lien Act 16.15
  • IV. CLAIMS BASED ON FEDERAL STATUTES
    • A. Medicare 16.16
    • B. Medical Care Recovery Act: Injured Service Personnel 16.17

Selected Developments

January 2018 Update

We updated all of the citations in the book and reviewed developments for relevant changes. Among the changes we found were the following:

Bodily Injury

Damages for future loss of earnings must be reasonably certain. See §1.6 for discussion of Atkins v City of Los Angeles (2017) 8 CA5th 696. Damages are available for future medical expenses plaintiff is reasonably certain to need. See Markow v Rosner (2016) 3 CA5th 1027, cited in §1.6.

For a recent case discussing valuation of medical services when plaintiff’s bill is assigned to a third party, see §1.20 for discussion of Moore v Mercer (2016) 4 CA5th 424.

A couple of recent cases analyzed when evidence of future damages is sufficient to a reasonable degree of medical certainty. See §1.21 for discussion of Markow v Rosner (2016) 3 CA5th 1027 and David v Hernandez (2017) 13 CA5th 692.

The court in Atkins v City of Los Angeles (2017) 8 CA5th 696 analyzed when expert testimony on future economic damages is sufficient. See §1.43 for discussion.

For a recent case on impaired earning capacity, see Licudine v Cedars-Sinai Med. Center (2016) 3 CA5th 881, cited in §1.44.

The Judicial Council adopted a new jury instruction on prejudgment interest for past economic loss. See §§1.94, 3.19, 14.34 discussing CACI 3935. On prejudgment interest, see discussion of Flethez v San Bernardino County Employees Retirement Ass’n (2017) 2 C5th 630, in §1.97.

Wrongful Life and Birth

See §5.11 for discussion of special damages for medical monitoring in Doe v Xytex Corp. (ND Cal 2017) 2017 US Dist Lexis 43623.

Emotional Distress

Recovery of emotional distress damages for trespass or nuisance are discussed in Hensley v San Diego Gas & Elec. Co. (2017) 7 CA5th 1337. See §6.7.

Vehicles and Other Personal Property

Damages recoverable for vehicle damage depend on the language of the insurance policy covering the vehicle. See §13.6 for discussion of Baldwin v AAA N. Cal., Nevada & Utah Ins. Exch. (2016) 1 CA5th 545.

Punitive Damages

For a recent case analyzing when fraud might arise from statements and conduct designed to mislead, see §14.8 for discussion of Tenet Healthsystem Desert, Inc. v Blue Cross (2016) 245 CA4th 821.

Three recent California cases discuss the constitutional ratio of punitive to compensatory damages and have been added to the text. See §14.11A for discussion of Nickerson v Stonebridge Life Ins. (2016) 63 C4th 363; Pulte Home Corp. v American Safety Indem. Co. (2017) 14 CA5th 1086; and Bigler-Engler v Breg, Inc. (2017) 7 CA5th 276. Note that the Nickerson case disapproved Amerigraphics, Inc. v Mercury Cas. Ins. Co. (2010) 182 CA4th 1538, to the extent it is inconsistent with Nickerson.

Restrictions on Recovery

In CRST, Inc. v Superior Court (2017) 11 CA5th 1255, the court held that an employer that is vicariously liable may be liable for punitive damages if the employer was aware of an employee’s unfitness and employed him or her anyway. See §15.17.

Reimbursement Claims and Liens

An attorney or personal representative of a Medi-Cal recipient must notify DHS within 30 calendar days of filing an action on a recipient’s behalf. See §16.11.

The legislature made some changes in the rules regarding calculating reimbursement of attorney fees and litigation costs in cases involving Medi-Cal recipients. See §16.12.

About the Second Edition Authors

PAUL PEYRAT, legal writer and educator, was the author of the predecessor of this current volume. For CEB, he has also authored California Tort Guide, now in its third edition, California Workers' Damages Practice, now in its second, and chapters and parts of other CEB books. Based in Sonoma, he is a managing editor and 40-year contributor to the monthly publication California Workers' Compensation Reporter. He received his B.A. in 1955 and his J.D. in 1958 from the University of Minnesota.

THE HONORABLE MARY E. WISS currently has a civil assignment at the San Francisco Superior Court. Before her appointment to the bench, Judge Wiss was a sole practitioner in San Francisco, specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, medical negligence, and product liability law. She is a past president of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association and of Queen's Bench. Judge Wiss frequently lectures for CEB on torts, evidence, and trial practice topics. She received her B.A. in 1972 from the University of San Francisco, her M.S. in 1976 from the Lone Mountain College, and her J.D. in 1981 from the University of San Francisco School of Law.

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