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Watchtower Tagged With $4K per Day Discovery Sanction

For most, a $4,000 discovery sanction is a stiff penalty.

As a daily sanction, however, it could get out of hand quickly. Tallied over a year, that's about $1.46 million for non-compliance with a court order.

For the Watchtower and Jehovah's Witnesses, a $4,000-a-day sanction might feel like religious persecution. But to a California appeals court, it was just about right for the defendant in a child molestation case.

Talcum Powder Case Dissolves in California

One case to rule them all?

That's a big question after a judge overturned a $417 million jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson. The Los Angeles judge said the plaintiff did not prove the company's talcum powder product caused her ovarian cancer.

Eva Echeverria, who died after the verdict, is one of thousands of plaintiffs suing Johnson & Johnson in talc powder cases across the country. She had the largest jury award of them all, but the reversal casts a long shadow on the plaintiffs' bar.

Some things are just not okay. An Uber driver making unwanted, lewd, sexually harassing comments to riders, male or female, underage or not, just shouldn't happen. As a result of an Uber driver doing so to a 16-year-old rider, the company is now facing a lawsuit.

The teen alleges that, earlier this year, her driver pulled over on the side of a California highway and asked her if she wanted to get in the front seat. She felt pressured into saying yes. He then proceeded to ask her about her virginity, and commented on the fact that he had an erection -- even after finding out she was only sixteen. She was shocked and afraid by the questions and comments, and the lawsuit against Uber followed.

Recently, a line of cases have all been filed against Apple and other device makers as a result of auto accidents caused by smartphone-induced distracted driving. Following a federal decision in a similar case against Apple out of Texas, a California court rejected the theory that device makers are liable for distracted driving accidents caused when drivers are using their devices.

In sustaining the demurrer, the court explained that:

The chain of causation alleged by plaintiffs in this case is far too attenuated for a reasonable person to conclude that Apple's conduct is or was a substantial factor in causing plaintiffs' harm.

Suit Revived to Make Glassdoor Identify Anonymous Review Posters

A state appeals court ruled that a company may compel an online review site to identify its anonymous critics.

In the case against Glassdoor, a website for jobseekers and others to post information about employers, California's Second District Court of Appeal said the First Amendment does not protect anonymous posters from making libelous statements in the guise of opinion.

"On the contrary, where an expression of opinion implies a false assertion of fact, the opinion can constitute actionable defamation," said Acting Presiding Justice Maria Rivera in ZL Technologies v. Does 1-7.

West Hollywood Club Liable for $5.4M After Bathroom Assault

Here Lounge in West Hollywood is on the hook for $5.4 million in damages to a woman who was sexually assaulted in the club's bathroom, despite the club's policy of posting guards outside of the bathrooms. This number is an affirmation of the lower court's decision back in 2014.

No Defamation in 'Farce' American Hustle Lawsuit

A seemingly harmless comment in the movie American Hustle led to a highly-publicized defamation suit in California. The suit has temporarily come to a resting place following a recent ruling. The ruling shows that, when it comes to defamation, context is everything.

The plaintiff Paul Brodeur made headlines when it was revealed that he'd sued the producers and distributors of American Hustle alleging that Jennifer Lawrence's character damaged his reputation. In the movie, a husband and wife are having an argument over whether or not microwave ovens denude foods of all their nutritional value. The character Rosalyn said she'd read an article by Brodeur that microwaves did exactly that. Brodeur sued, arguing that this suggested to audiences that he'd made a scientifically unsupportable argument.

Father of 2015 Paris Attack Victim Sues Social Media

The father of one of the victims who fell in the Paris attacks in late 2015 is suing Twitter and other social media platforms for their role in bringing the attacks about. Specifically, he has accused the defending parties of "providing material support for terrorism."

The defendants have responded by claiming that the Communications Decency Act shields them from liability associated with user posts. But in this delicate case, who will -- or should -- win?

California Diesel Amendments Impact Truckers, Big and Small

California Superior Court Judge Mark W. Snauffer has ruled against recent amendments that eased up on heightened diesel regulations in favor of industry little guys, causing controversy in a county that is highly reliant on transport of goods and the diesel engines used to get them to and fro.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has responded negatively to the ruling, describing it as "deal[ing] a profound blow to ... smaller fleets, small farmers and independent owners."

CA Assumption of Risk Doctrine Applies to Thrillseekers

Personal injury attorneys intuitively understand that the potential payout for injured plaintiffs is inversely related to both the dangerousness of the plaintiff's personal conduct at the time of the injury and the foreseeability of his injury. In a recent California case, the Third Appellate District drew a line in the sand in favor of defendants.

It's just another reminder that those engaged in anything more dangerous than a simple job run the risk of losing certain premise liability suits against landowners in California. As you might have guessed, this has its fans as well as its detractors.