Anti-SLAPP Alive and Well in Humboldt County Superior and California Supreme Courts

Imagine you’ve been sued for commenting on a proposed piece of legislation, a political candidate’s qualifications, something that was said or occurred in a prior lawsuit, or a matter of public interest, generally.  Each of those topics certainly feels like an area where you should be able to exercise your First Amendment right to speak your mind, but now you have to spend money to defend yourself in court.  Thankfully, California has a law that not only protects your rights by giving you the opportunity at a very early stage in the proceedings to ask the court to dismiss your case, b


Even the Smallest Victims Have Rights

The statistics on childhood victimization rates are staggering even before one considers the problem inherent in counting the victims—i.e., underreporting by the victims themselves. According to the Crimes Against Children Research Center, 1 in 12 children have experienced sexual victimization, including sexual assault or rape. In addition to physical injuries, the psychological injuries can be life-altering. Abused children may become prone to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or other psychiatric disorders lasting well into adulthood.


Live Streaming Comes to the Court of Appeals

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit announced that live video streaming would be available for upcoming en banc cases scheduled to be argued on December 9-11, 2013.  This session of the Court took place at the James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco. The Ninth Circuit has made the the video recordings available for the public to view at the Court’s website.


Crab Season Opens Under New Trap Limit Laws

As the holiday season approaches, so does California’s Dungeness commercial crab season. Set to open in Central California, south of the Mendocino-Sonoma county line, on November 15, and in early December northern portions of the state, the 2013-2014 season will be the first commercial crab season under the new trap limit laws. While in previous seasons, the number of crab pots commercial crab fishermen could fish was not limited by law, new statutes and regulations now assign each California commercial Dungeness crab permit a maximum number of traps that may be used.


A New Federal Courthouse for Humboldt County

On July 8, 2013 developers and officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new federal courthouse construction.  The new courthouse will be located in the Airport Business Park in McKinleyville and along with the new courtroom will also provide office space for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the Probation Department, the District Clerk, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S.


A Plaintiff's Practical Guide to Motions In Limine

Every plaintiff’s attorney has a “love/hate” relationship with motions in limine. On the one hand these motions serve the vital function of preventing defendants from introducing irrelevant and prejudicial evidence. On the other hand defendants use these same motions to try to handcuff plaintiff’s counsel and sabotage the plaintiff’s case. This article briefly discusses how plaintiff’s attorneys can use such motions to achieve their goals while preventing or limiting the damage done by defendants.

What is a Motion in Limine?


You've Been Served! Now What?

Medical care providers often receive subpoenas for patient records.  They also receive subpoenas to appear at a deposition, hearing or trial and testify about patient treatment.  What medical providers may not know is that contradictions in California and federal law exist about when it is permissible to disclose information pursuant to a subpoena.  Inexperienced providers run the risk of violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA") if they simply and quickly produce records or testify in response to a subpoena.


Protecting Your Property from Encroaching Trees

Tree branches or roots extending over a property boundary may be a nuisance, especially in a damp climate like Humboldt County.  Remedies for such nuisance are available to neighboring landowners, including the right to cut off branches or roots at the boundary line, the right to recover damages, and the right to compel removal by the owner or occupant of the land on which the tree grows.  However, neighbors are required to act reasonably toward each other, which includes not causing foreseeable injury to a neighboring property (for example, cutting so much of the root system back that the


Successful Defense of Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

On September 17, 2012, the medical malpractice case of Householter v. Doctor Does 1-3 and their medical group commenced jury trial in the Humboldt Superior Court, Judge John T. Feeney presiding.  The plaintiff was represented by James Zito, Esq. and the defendants were represented by the Eureka, California law firm Janssen Malloy LLP.


California Lawsuits - Suspended Companies

A California Corporation or Limited Liability Company (“LLC”) can be suspended for a number of reasons, including the nonpayment of taxes under California Revenue and Taxation Code or for their failure to file updated information under the Corporations Code.

When a corporation or LLC is suspended, it loses its rights and privileges under California law.  Thus, the company cannot legally operate until revived (reinstated) with the Secretary of State.


Raising the Standard of Proof in Tort Cases?

In a recent article in TRG Personal Injury Litigation News(March 2012), Kelly Kirkland argued that a clear and convincing standard of proof should be adopted in tort cases where large damage awards were at stake.  In other words, the more seriously injured the victim, the more difficulty the ability to recover.  According to the article, an increased standard of proof is necessary because the outcome of these suits . . . affect . . . the distribution of existing wealth. A necessary predicate to Mr. Kirkland's proposal is that a tort crisis exists.  The problem is that Mr.


Wrongful Death - A Measure of Damages

When a  loved one has died due to the negligent or careless conduct of another, the lawsuit that may follow is termed a wrongful death action.  This posting will focus on the concept of reasonable compensation for the non-economic aspects of the loss of a loved one.

In a wrongful death action, the applicable jury instruction states provides that reasonable compensation should be awarded for the loss of love, companionship, comfort, affection, society, solace, or moral support.  This is non-economic damage.


Real Estate Fraud Reports Up in California

According to the US Treasury Department, mortgage fraud reports across the country jumped 88% in the second quarter of 2011, with California registering more reports of suspected mortgage fraud per-capita than any other state (see the data from the Treasury Department here).  Much of this increase in reporting is attributed to banks discovering suspicious activity when reexamining loans made during the housing boom (see article from the LA Times


New Jury Instructions Help Create Fairer Trials

Whether you love jury duty or hate it, starting in January, judges must advise that you decisively cannot text or tweet about it.  California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law last week requiring judges to admonish jurors that they are prohibited from conducting research, disseminating information, and conversing via electronic and wireless communications.  2011 Cal. Legis. Serv. Ch. 181 (A.B. 141) (WEST).  The risks for bias or confusion of the issues are simply too high.


Megan Yarnall Admitted to Oregon State Bar

Janssen associate attorney Megan Yarnall was recently admitted to the Oregon State Bar after passing the Oregon bar exam last winter. The Janssen Law Firm represents clients in personal injury, civil and criminal defense, estate planning, and other matters throughout Northern California, including  Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity, Mendocino, and Siskiyou Counties. Occasionally, our clients encounter matters requiring representation beyond California's northern border into Oregon.


The Importance of Allowing Class Actions

In one of the first class actions in which I was ever involved we sued an insurance carrier that had a policy which cheated its insureds out of fairly small amounts.  During discovery we turned up a memo that discussed bonuses to the employees with the slogan “A penny a patient.”  The idea was that, since the insurance carrier had over 20 million patients, if it could find a way to save (cheat) the patient out of one penny, that saved the company $200,000.

Of course who’s going to fight with a major insurance carrier over one penny?  No one.


Times-Standard - 2010's Biggest Trial Verdict

Journalist Matt Drange of the Eureka Times-Standard covered the Lavender v. Skilled Healthcare jury trial, writing in depth in a three part series the stories underlying the class action law suit against Skilled Healthcare.  Drange noted that it was the longest civil trial in Humboldt County history, and the $677 million verdict was the largest trial result in the United States in 2010.


Skilled Healthcare Settlement Approved by Court

Settlement in Skilled Healthcare suit has been approved by court and praised by nursing home reform advocates.

On December 1, 2010, the Times Standard interviewed The Janssen Law Firm's Lead Trial Lawyer Timothy Needham about the Humboldt County Superior Court's Final Approval of the Settlement in the Skilled Healthcare Lawsuit.   The $677 million dollar jury verdict was the largest award ever given by a Humboldt County Jury.


SMS SOS: Think Before You Text

Text messages are becoming an increasingly common form of communication, even in remote areas like Humboldt County, and this can have a profound effect on both civil and criminal lawsuits.  “Smart” phones and overall increases in phones’ data capacity are creating both headaches and treasure troves for litigation attorneys.   As a cell phone user, you should know that if you are thinking of filing a lawsuit, or may have to defend against one, your text messages could be available to the opposing party and/or the court.  This may even include messages you have deleted from the phone.


Skilled Healthcare class action lawsuit continues

On July 6, 2010, the Janssen Law Firm and attorneys from two other firms received for their clients the largest jury verdict in the United States this year.  The case is Lavender v. Skilled Healthcare Group, Case No. DR060264, Superior Court of California, Humboldt County.  The plaintiff class is represented by W. Timothy Needham, Michael Crowley, Amelia Burroughs and Patrick Griego of the Janssen Law Firm from Eureka, by Michael Thamer from Callahan, and by Chris Healey and Aaron T. Winn of the Luce Forward firm from San Diego.


Skilled Healthcare LLC Lawsuit

On July 6th, 2010 a Humboldt County jury returned a verdict in excess of $670 million dollars against Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc., Skilled Healthcare LLC and 22 subsidiaries located throughout California for violating the state minimum staffing requirements.  The plaintiff class was represented by members W.


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