June 24, 2011

Summary of June 22, 2011 conference report for civil cases

The following is our summary of the Supreme Court’s actions on petitions for review in civil cases from the Court’s conference on Wednesday, June 22, 2011. The summary includes those civil cases in which (1) review has been granted (not including grant-and-transfers), (2) review has been denied but one or more justices has voted for review, (3) the Court has ordered depublished an opinion of the Court of Appeal, or (4) the Court has denied a Court of Appeal’s publication request.

Review Granted

LeFiell Manufacturing Co. v. Superior Court, S192759—Review Granted—June 22, 2011.

Labor Code section 4558 provides an exception to the workers’ compensation exclusive remedy rule for employees injured as a result of the employer knowingly having removed or having failed to install a point of operation guard on a power press. This is an action by an employee who was injured by a power press against the employer for damages under section 4558, negligence, and products liability, and by the employee’s spouse for loss of consortium.

Two questions are presented. The first is whether an employee injured while operating a power press can plead additional tort claims that do not meet section 4558’s heightened pleading requirements of (1) knowledge and (2) an affirmative act on the part of the employer. The second question is whether the injured employee’s spouse may seek loss of consortium damages under section 4558.

The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Three, held in a published opinion, LeFiell Manufacturing Co. v. Superior Court (2011) 193 Cal.App.4th 1413, that section 4558 allows the injured employee to plead no tort causes of action requiring a lesser standard of proof than that set forth in the statute. Thus, the trial court should have sustained the defendant’s demurrer to the negligence and products liability causes of action. However, the court held the injured employee’s spouse can assert a claim for loss of consortium dependent upon the pleading and proving of a power press injury.

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)




Court of Appeal Publication Request Denied


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