Is the Government Liable When Earthquake Warnings Go Wrong?

The recent earthquakes in California brought attention to the ShakeAlert system, which is intended to detect significant earthquakes quickly enough to send alerts to people before the shaking arrives. This system is in its infancy, but there’s hope it will eventually give the public precious seconds to take cover.  But will it also give rise to governmental liability? Continue reading

Timing for Presenting a Government Claim Is Critical

Before suing a public entity, a party generally must notify the government of its claim within a specified period of time. This is called “presenting” the claim. The rules around preparing and presenting a claim are strict and detailed. Here are some common questions with answers to help get your timing right. Continue reading

4 Tips for Drafting an Effective Settlement Demand Letter

The following is a guest blog post by Anderson Franco, who practices landlord-tenant, personal injury, and general litigation throughout the Bay Area.

Before filing a lawsuit, a plaintiff should always consider whether to try for settlement. If settlement is the goal, then a settlement demand letter becomes a key negotiation tool. A settlement demand letter explains to the opposing party why they should pay money to settle the case immediately rather than litigating through the court system. Continue reading

12 Actions Cities Can Take to Mitigate Tort Liability

Cities get sued. A lot. One of the most common kinds of lawsuits against a city arises from injuries caused by an allegedly dangerous condition of city property (like a sidewalk, road, or trail in a city park). Although it may not always be possible to avoid lawsuits based on the dangerous condition of city property, there are actions a city can take to at least make them easier to defend. This list may also be useful to plaintiff’s counsel going on the offensive.  Continue reading

The Benefit of an Effective Medical Expert: More Money

get bigger verdict when using effective medical expert witnessThere’s a definite correlation between the size of personal injury verdicts and the effectiveness of testimony by medical experts. Well-prepared and well-presented medical testimony carries weight and convinces triers of fact. The recent $289 million verdict against Monsanto may be an example. Continue reading

Are Landlords Liable for a Tenant’s Biting Dog?

tenant's vicious dogWhen a tenant’s dog bites someone, the injured party may want to go after the deeper pocket of the landlord. Whether this will be successful or not depends on what the landlord knew. Continue reading

How Far Does a Landowner’s Liability Go?

Couple crossing a street from shopping to the parking lotLandowners’ duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition has a pretty far reach, but the California Supreme Court recently curbed it. Continue reading

Can Opinion Come In Under the Business-Records Exception?

Here’s a common evidence question: Are opinions admissible when they’re in business records? The answer is generally “yes,” as long as the statement of opinion is in a writing that qualifies otherwise for the business-records exception to the hearsay rule. Continue reading

Establishing Credibility in Plaintiff’s Opening Statement

In a personal injury case, plaintiff’s counsel should approach the opening statement to the jury with one primary goal: establishing credibility. If the jury believes you, it will be much more likely to rule for your client. Here’s a sample opening statement that shows how you can get right out of the gate with credibility. Continue reading

Using the “Black Box” in a Car Accident Case

One of the key parts of liability testimony in a car accident case is the chronology of the accident: the parties’ conduct before the impact, the impact, and conditions after impact. The parties are most likely to dispute the first part, making the car’s “black box” a potentially helpful source of evidence (but with its own pitfalls). Continue reading