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Appellate Court Update for March 2023


March 2023


An arbitration agreement, like any contract, requires the mutual consent of the parties. An elderly man suffered a stroke and entered a skilled nursing facility (SNF) following lengthy hospitalization and rehabilitation. After he died 9 years later, his survivors sued the facility for elder abuse and neglect. The SNF moved to compel arbitration. The trial court found he lacked the capacity to consent to arbitrate and waive his right to a jury trial. The Court of Appeal held the elderly man’s deficits in mental functions constituted substantial evidence to support the trial court’s finding that he lacked capacity to enter into the arbitration agreement.

Pemilady Algo-Heyres, et al. v. Oxnard Manor, LP

Second District Court of Appeal, case no. B319601

February 28, 2023

Uber/Lyft employment contracts

A state appellate court has ruled that drivers and couriers for Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, and other private rideshare and delivery companies are considered contract workers rather than employees. In November 2020, California voters approved Proposition 22, to protect app-based drivers. The Court of Appeal held that part of Proposition 22 was unconstitutional because it intrudes upon the Legislature’s exclusive authority to regulate workers’ compensation. Petition for review by the state Supreme Court appears likely given the statewide importance of the subject-matter.

Castellanos v. State of California, et al.

First District Court of Appeal, case no. A163655

March 13, 2023

MICRA applies to ambulance collision

Plaintiff was injured when the ambulance in which he was being transported collided with another vehicle. The Court of Appeal held California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) Civil Code §§340.5 et seq. applied to Plaintiff’s injuries and Plaintiff’s complaint therefore should have been filed within one year of injury.

Lopez v. American Response West

First District Court of Appeal, case no. A161951

March 15, 2023

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