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Statutes of Limitations (CALIFORNIA)

Personal Injury - 2 yrs.* [Cal.C.C.P. § 335.1]    

Wrongful Death - 2 yrs.* [Cal.C.C.P. § 335.1]        

Med Mal - 3 yrs. after injury or 1 yr. after discovery, whichever comes first [Cal.C.C.P. § 340.5]

Property Damage - 3 yrs. [Cal.C.C.P. § 338]

Written Contracts - 4 yrs.[Cal.C.C.P. § 337]

Oral Contracts - 2 yrs. [Cal.C.C.P. § 339]

Contracts for Sale (goods) and Breach of Warranty - 4 yrs. (from tender of delivery) [Cal.Com.Code § 2725]


*”Discovery rule” applies (the accrual date of a cause of action is delayed until Plaintiff is aware of the injury and its negligent cause) [Jolly v. Eli Lilly & Co., 751 P.2d 923 (Cal. 1988)]



Statutes of Repose (CALIFORNIA)

Products - None

Construction of Real Property (patent deficiencies) - 4 yrs. (may sue within 1 yr. if injury occurred during 4th year) [Cal.C.C.P. § 337.1].

Construction of Real Property (latent deficiencies) - 10 yrs. [Cal.C.C.P. § 337.15]




Claims Against Public/Gov. Entities (NOTE: “sovereign immunity” rules may apply) (CALIFORNIA)

Against All Public Entities - Must present claim within 6 mos. if personal injury, death or damage to personal property (within 1 yr. for all other actions) [Cal.C.C.P. § 911.2].  Suit within 6 mos. from the claim rejection (or 2 yrs. from the accrual of cause of action if no rejection notice was issued) [Cal.C.C.P. § 945.6]




Comparative Negligence (CALIFORNIA)

Pure comparative (Plaintiff can recover even if 99% at fault) [Li v. Yellow Cab Co., 532 P.2d 1226 (Cal. 1975)]




Made Whole Doctrine(MWD) (CALIFORNIA)

Recognized/applied.  Subrogation and reimbursement rights are limited by MWD [Progressive West Ins. Co. v. Yolo County Superior Court, 135 Cal.App.4th 263 (Cal. App. 2005)].  MWD may be modified by contract language but only where the language is clear and specific [Sapiano v. Williamsburg Nat. Ins. Co., 33 Cal.Rptr.2d  (Cal. App. 1994)].




Economic Loss Doctrine (ELD) (Assuming No Injury to Person or Damage to “Other Property”) (CALIFORNIA)



In negligence actions against product manufacturers there is no recovery for economic loss alone [Seely v. White Motor Co., 403 P.2d 145 (Cal. 1965)].  But note that, in a product liability case by homeowners against window manufacturers, the product was the windows and not entire houses (therefore, homeowners were not barred by ELD from recovering for damage to other parts of their homes) [Jimenez v. Superior Court, 58 P.3d 450 (Cal. 2002)]. 


ELD most likely does not apply in cases involving professional malpractice liability for negligence in the rendition of his professional services (architects who designed condominiums sold to purchasers must have known that such purchasers would suffer from any negligence by architects in performance of their professional services; and therefore thus purchasers’ negligence action was allowed) [Cooper v. Jevne, 128 Cal.Rptr. 724 (Cal. App. 1976)].  In addition, where a special relationship existed between the parties, Plaintiff may recover for loss of expected economic advantage through the negligent performance of a contract although the parties were not in contractual privity [J'Aire Corp. v. Gregory, 598 P.2d 60 (Cal. 1979)].


Whether Defendant will be held liable for damage to a third person not in privity is a matter of policy and involves the balancing of various factors: (1) extent to which the transaction was intended to affect Plaintiff; (2) foreseeability of harm to him; (3) degree of certainty that Plaintiff suffered injury; (4) closeness of the connection between Defendant’s conduct and the injury suffered; (5) moral blame attached to Defendant’s conduct; and (6) prevention of future harm [Biakanja v. Irving, 320 P.2d 16 (Cal. 1958)].


Certificate/Affidavit Of Merit Requirements (Claims Against Licensed Professionals) (CALIFORNIA)

For claims against architects, engineers, and land surveyor, Plaintiff must file an affidavit that he has reviewed the facts and has consulted with an expert and received an opinion from the expert [Cal.C.C.P. § 411.35]



Landlord/Tenant Subrogation (CALIFORNIA)

Case-by-case determination, depends on parties’ reasonable expectations in light of the lease terms [Fire Ins. Exchange v. Hammond, 99 Cal.Rptr.2d 596 (Cal. App. 2000)]. 




Reimbursement of Deductible(s) (CALIFORNIA)

Auto and Property - Pro rata (must include in subro demand)


MedPay - No direct subrogation allowed (only reimbursement rights against Insured). PIP - No subrogation allowed and/or no such coverage available.


Liability of Parents (CALIFORNIA)

$25,000 for willful misconduct (but Insurer is only liable for $10,000) [Cal.Civ.Code § 1714.1].  For graffiti/vandalism - court costs, atty fees, costs of removal, costs of repair/replacement of defaced property, law enforcement costs [Cal.Gov.Code § 38772].  Any civil liability of a minor driver is imposed upon the person who signed/verified the license application [Cal.Vehicle Code § 17707].


Joint Liability (CALIFORNIA)

In any actions for personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death: (1) Joint and several liability for economic damages (Plaintiff may recover all damages from any Defendant regardless of Defendant’s individual share of liability); and (2) Several liability for noneconomic damages (Plaintiff can recover from each Defendant only that Defendant’s share of fault) [Cal.Civ.Code §§ 1431; 1431.2]. 



Independent Cause of Action for Intentional or Negligent Evidence Spoliation (CALIFORNIA)

No tort for intentional spoliation by a party when the spoliation victim knows or should have known of the alleged spoliation before the trial [Cedars-Sinai Medical Center v. Superior Court, 954 P.2d 511 (Cal. 1998)].  However, a tort may be available where there was an express promise to preserve the evidence and the spoliation victim relied on that promise [Cooper v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 99 Cal.Rptr.3d 870 (Cal. App. 2009)].  No cause of action for intentional spoliation by a third party [Temple Community Hospital v. Superior Court, 976 P.2d 223 (Cal. 1999)].  No tort for negligent spoliation by a first party or third party [Forbes v. County of San Bernardino, 123 Cal.Rptr.2d 721 (Cal. App. 2002)].



Conflicts of Law (CALIFORNIA)

Torts - Court must decide whether the laws of the states involved differ in any way; if they do, Court must then assess interest of the two states in having their respective laws applied, and if Court determines that the two states’ interests conflict, Court must determine which state’s interest would be impaired to greater degree if its law were not applied [Kilroy Industries v. United Pacific Ins. Co., 608 F.Supp. 847 (C.D. Cal. 1985)].  Contracts - When the action involves claims of residents from outside California, Court may analyze the governmental interests of the various jurisdictions involved to select the most appropriate law [Washington Mutual Bank, FA v. Superior Court, 15 P.3d 1071 (Cal. 2001)]



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