Magana Cathcart & McCarthy

Richard Bisetti Cases of Note

Products Liability:

Automobile which caught fire after being rear-ended, causing severe burn injuries to occupants.

Cotton gin was not properly guarded, causing worker’s arm to be amputated when she was operating the machinery.

Avocado packing machine which was defectively designed, causing worker’s arm to be amputated.

Laminating machine which had no guards, causing worker’s hand to be crushed and burned.

Printing press cases– three different cases involving crush injuries to hand and arm while operating improperly guarded printing presses.

Escalator which did not have any guard or other device to prevent a child’s finger from becoming caught between the moving steps and the side wall.

Amtrak: Represented an elderly plaintiff who inadvertently opened an exit door on a train at night, and fell from the train because the exit door was not latched or locked in any fashion when the train was moving.

Medical Malpractice: Represented mother of son who committed suicide while hospitalized in the psychiatric unit of a hospital, when they took a group of patients on an outing to a major visitor attraction site, without adequate supervision.

Medical Malpractice and Insurance: Represented widow and child of an actor who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after taking drugs, which had been prescribed to him by his internist, and using a hand gun, which had been given back to him by his psychiatrist. Subsequently represented the widow in an action against the life insurance company which had refused to pay the life insurance benefits.

Published Cases

  • Mercury Insurance Group v. Superior Court (1998) 19 Cal 4th 332. The plaintiffs were injured in an automobile accident caused by two other drivers, one who was insured, and the other who had no insurance. The case against the insured driver would be pursued in the Superior Court before a jury. The injured parties’ insurance policy required that an uninsured motorist claim must be pursued through arbitration with no right to a jury trial.   This could lead to conflicting results. The case recognized the authority of the Court to consolidate the case against the insured driver and the uninsured driver into one action in the Superior Court, with the right to a jury.

  • Vinnick v. Delta Airlines (2001) 93 C.A. 4th 859. Plaintiff was injured while sitting in her seat on an airplane which had not yet left the gate, when a piece of luggage being stowed in the overhead compartment by another passenger fell onto her. A lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court alleging, in part, that the airline was negligent in allowing this passenger to attempt to place luggage in an overhead compartment which had already been closed by a flight attendant because it was full. The airline argued that plaintiff could not bring an action under the state’s negligence statutes because airline safety was preempted by federal law. The Court of Appeals disagreed and held that plaintiff’s negligence claim against the airline was not preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act and that Congress did not intend to preempt state negligence claims based on injury caused by falling luggage.

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