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Case Summaries
Admiralty

[09/20] Keller Found. v. Tracy
The Benefits Review Board’s (Board) determination that the injuries petitioner incurred in part during his employment were not covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), is affirmed where: 1) he was not an “employee” as defined by the LHWCA and did not satisfy the status test during his assignment; 2) petitioner’s injuries as a worker in foreign ports do not satisfy the situs test for coverage; and 3) the ALJ and the Board correctly ruled that petitioner has not shown that he is entitled to equitable estoppel.

[09/04] Price v. Stevedoring Services of Am., Inc.
In a longshoreman’s petition for review of the Benefits Review Board’s (Board) decision, challenging the maximum rate of compensation, the rate of interest on his past due compensation, and the award of simple rather than compound interest, the Board’s decision is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded where: 1) neither the Board’s decision nor the Director of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs’ (Director) litigating position interpreting the Longshore Act is entitled to Chevron deference; 2) the Board correctly determined that the ALJ properly applied the maximum rate of compensation for 1991, when the petitioner became disabled; but 3) the Board erred in awarding simple interest on petitioner’s past due payments at the section 1961 rate.

[07/20] Messier v. Bouchard Transportation
In plaintiff’s suit against his former employer, a tugboat operator, seeking maintenance and cure for contracting lymphoma while working as a seaman for the defendant, the district court erred in granting summary judgment for the defendant in concluding that the disease did not “manifest” itself during the plaintiff’s service, as plaintiff’s illness indisputably occurred during his service and thus, he is entitled to maintenance and cure regardless of when he began to show symptoms.

[07/06] Greenpack of Puerto Rico, Inc. v. American President Lines
In a suit for damages resulting from a delayed delivery of perishable food items from Costa Rica to Puerto Rico, the district court’s dismissal if the complaint as time-barred by the statute of limitations in the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), Pub. L. No. 521, ch. 229, 49 Stat. 1207 (1936), reprinted in 46 U.S.C. section 30701 note (2006) is affirmed.

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Injury & Tort Law

[10/04] Koch v. Cristie’s Int’l PLC
In a civil RICO conspiracy and common law fraud action alleging defendants falsely attributed bottles of wine to Thomas Jefferson’s collection, judgment for defendants is affirmed, where plaintiff’s claims were time barred, because: 1) although plaintiff was on notice of his alleged claims in 2000, he did not investigate his claims until 2005 or enter into a tolling agreement with defendants until 2008 so the statute of limitations had run on both the RICO and fraud claims, and 2) the doctrine of equitable tolling was not available where plaintiff was not reasonably diligent in investigating his claims.

[10/03] Payne v. Jones
In excessive force and battery action against defendant police officer and defendant-city, judgment for plaintiff is affirmed in part and vacated and remanded in part, where: 1) the denial of defendant police officer’s request for continuance was not an abuse of discretion because the district court’s decision was neither arbitrary nor prejudicial to his defense; 2) the punitive damages award is vacated as excessive and the case is remanded for a new trial on punitive damages, unless plaintiff agrees to accept a reduced punitive damages award totaling $100,000, and 3) the judgment is affirmed in all other respects.

[09/26] Sachs v. Republic of Austria
In plaintiff’s suit against the Republic of Austria, the Austrian national railway, and others, for personal injuries she sustained while attempting to board a moving train in an Austrian city, the district court’s dismissal of the complaint for lack of subject matter is affirmed where the commercial activity exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act do not apply to this case.

[09/26] County of Sacramento v. Superior Court of Sacramento County
A county’s petition for a writ of mandate directing the trial court to set aside its denial of a motion to dismiss a suit against the county, arising from an alleged failure of the county public conservator to warn a care facility adequately about a conservatee’s history of violence, is granted, and the trial court’s order vacated where under the plain language of Welfare and Institutions Code section 5358.1, civil liability does not attach to a conservator for the actions of a conservatee.

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