Recent Cases ii Defense Comment Summer 2019 INSURANCE; BAD FAITH; UNINSURED MOTORIST Case v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. (2018) 30 Cal.App.5th 397; 241 Cal.Rptr.3d 458 FACTS: Plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident with an uninsured motorist. Plaintiff was in the course and scope of employment at the time of her accident and filed a workers’ compensation claim the day after the accident. She filed a claim against State Farm for uninsured motorist benefits. The claim proceeded for some time and State Farm refused to settle the claim, contending that it was entitled to an offset for workers’ compensation benefits paid “or payable” to plaintiff and that matter had not been determined. Plaintiff demanded arbitration; State Farmdelayedthearbitrationsomewhat,butultimately settled the UM matter for $35,000. Plaintiff then sued State Farm for bad faith for its delaying tactics and failure to pay. The trial court granted summary judgment for State Farm on the bad faith claim. APPELLATE COURT DECISION: Affirmed. State Farm was entitled to an offset for workers’ compensation benefits “payable” to plaintiff. It was clear that in plaintiff’s demand for UM benefits, she was making a claim for some medical expenses that might be payable under workers’ compensation. Very late in the game, the parties were notified by the workers’ compensation administrator that those particular payments were not “payable” under workers’ compensation and, therefore, plaintiff was not“eligible”toreceivethosepaymentsunderworkers’ compensation. All of this meant that there was a “genuine issue” as to what benefits were payable, and State Farm was entitled to wait until that matter was finally resolved before making the UM payment. The trial court correctly decided that summary judgment should be granted in favor of State Farm. DUTY; FORESEEABILITY; UNIVERSITY’S DUTY TO PROTECT STUDENTS; IMMUNITY Regents of the University of California v. Superior Court (2018) 29 Cal.App.5th 890, 240 Cal.Rptr.3d 675 FACTS: This case arises out of the previously decided California Supreme Court case of Regents of the University of California v. Superior Court 4 Cal.5th 607 (2018). In that case, the Supreme Court held that a university owes a duty to protect students from violence. The case was, however, remanded to the Court of Appeal to determine exactly what that duty was, whether it was breached, and whether immunities applied to UCLA. The underlying facts of the case showed the following: Damon Thompson was a student at UCLA. Early on, he exhibited mental problems. He complained of hallucinations and exhibited symptoms of paranoia. He claimed that other students were threatening or insulting him. He repeatedly was sent by UCLA and UCLA professors for expert counseling at the psychiatriccenter. Hewasmovedoutofhisdormitory (where he had been complaining) and placed in another dormitory, but he continued to complain. He wasplacedonmedication(psychotropicdrugs),which he took for a while but then stopped. He continued to complain that other students were insulting him or callinghimstupidoranidiot. Hewasinchemistryclass with a fellow student (Rosen). He stabbed Rosen with akitchenknife,causingsevereinjuries,andRosensued UCLA, resulting in the previously decided Supreme Court decision indicating that UCLA did have a duty to protect students from violence. APPELLATE COURT DECISION ON REMAND: Again, the Appellate Court was given the task by the CaliforniaSupremeCourtofestablishingwhattheduty wasandwhetheritwasbreachedandwhethercertain immunitiesapplied. TheAppellateCourtfirstdecided that the duty owed was one of ordinary, reasonable care. The Court rejected the contention of UCLA that the duty should be that owed by a psychotherapist (Tarasoff) and that since Thompson had never indicated that he planned to harm a specifically identified student (and only threatened “generally” to take actions on his own), no duty was owed. The Appellate Court rejected this theory, citing that in accordancewiththeSupremeCourtdecision,aspecial relationship existed between the University and its students and that ordinary negligence principles applied in establishing the parameters of the duty. Whether the duty was breached in this case is a triable issue of fact. There is quite a bit of evidence on this issue and the matter is returned for a decision on those points. Furthermore, the University is not entitled to any immunities, especially the immunity for failure to involuntarily confine a person, which did not occur in this case. COMMENT: Universities are big communities. The previous Supreme Court decision said that a special this case continued on page iii