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LA to Pay $14 Million to Settle Fatal Venice Beach Case

Venice Beach is a destination vacation for millions of people, but it became a bitter, final destination for traveler Alice Gruppioni.

She died there five years ago when a man drove onto the boardwalk and plowed her down. The City of Los Angeles decided this week to pay her survivors about $12 million to settle their claims.

Ending three lawsuits with the settlement, the city will pay up to $2 million more for others injured in the tragedy.

The California Supreme Court issued a ruling in the highly watched Liberty v. Ledesma matter, and it may have insurers across the state upset. The case reached the California Supreme Court thanks to the Ninth Circuit's certifying the question to the state's high court.

In short, the court held that when an employee intentionally inflicts harm on a third party, an employer's insurer may actually have to cover the loss as an accident. The case that brought this issue to the court's attention involved the rape of a minor by a school employee. That employee had been hired by his brother-in-law, the school's owner, despite being on the sex offender registry.

The tragedy at the Ghost Ship warehouse may now be a distant memory to some people, but the cases over the deadly fire continue on in the courts.

Recently, in the civil case being fought out in the Alameda County court, the City of Oakland lost a significant issue on demurrer. The city had claimed that it could not be held liable because its duty to shut down the warehouse could not be triggered without an inspection, and an inspection never happened. That argument, the court explained, fell short.

While there are plenty of suspected origins for the old rhyme "good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite," one California Landlord is learning one of the lesser known reasons why bed bugs should be avoided: Million dollar jury awards.

After several months of living through a bed bug infestation that left a young boy permanently scarred, a family was recently awarded just under $1.6 million by a jury. The landlord and management company were found liable as a result of the infestation causing the young boy's scarring, and the family extreme distress.

With all that we know now about the dangers of concussions, when cases involving youth athletes suffering permanent injury make headlines, all the money in world likely isn't enough to compensate the youths for that sort of loss.

For one Southern California former high school football player and his family, a recent $7 million settlement related to his permanent, concussion-injury, may help ease some of the financial burden.

Yelp Defamation Case Heard by California Supreme Court

Attorney Dawn Hassell made it to the California Supreme Court the hard way.

After getting a bad Yelp review, Hassell sued her former client for it and obtained a default judgment. It included a $550,000 award that the attorney could frame and hang on a wall.

But it got complicated when she tried to force Yelp to remove the post. That led to a Supreme Court showdown over Hassell v. Yelp, Inc.

A recent ruling of the California supreme court is likely sparking even more controversy among California's universities' administrators over what should be done to protect students from violence.

The court ruled that when a university is aware of a threat or foreseeable violence towards a student, it has a duty to protect and warn, and can be held liable for injuries that result. In the case at bar, the state high court remanded the matter to the appellate court to allow the case to move forward to trial if it finds triable issues of material fact.

A case that has been working its way through the California courts for most of the last decade is making headlines again as another big defendant, 7-11, decided to settle before the judge issues his ruling. The lawsuit, filed by the nonprofit group Council for Education and Research on Toxics, seeks to hold coffee makers liable for not warning consumers about the presence of acrylamide in coffee, which, according to California's legislature, is on the list of cancer causing agents.

As part of the relief requested by the lawsuit (which was tried to the bench last year and is still awaiting a decision), in addition to the fines and penalties under the law, the plaintiffs want the court to order defendants to put up written warnings that their coffee contains cancer causing agents.

Coffee shops might want to start diversifying their tea and non-coffee offerings.

Negligent Undertaking: In Re. Didn't Really Check the Hotel Room

Priscilla O'Malley checked into a hotel room, but her husband started to worry when she didn't answer her phone.

After making many calls, he contacted the hotel clerk to find out if his wife was alright. A hospitality worker went to check, but he didn't see her inside.

Mrs. O'Malley, lying alone on the floor of the darkened room for the next 10 hours, had suffered a brain aneurysm. In O'Malley v. Hospitality Staffing Solutions, an appeals court said the hospitality service might be liable for her injuries the during that time.

Court: No Duty to Businesses for Economic Loss From Gas Leak

Judge John Wiley, Jr. gets rave reviews for being a "very thorough," intelligent," "gentleman and a scholar."

So it was with respect when an appeals court reviewed the judge's invitation to review his ruling in the Southern California Gas Company Gas Leak Cases. After all, it was about a leak of 190,000 metric tons of methane that put 15,000 residents out of their homes.

"The legal issue here -- the existence of a duty of care -- is significant and of widespread interest," said the California Second District Court of Appeal.