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California Supreme Court to Decide Whether Comparative Fault Principles Apply to Intentional Tortfeasors

October 15, 2018

B.(B.) v. County of Los Angeles
S250734—Review Granted—October 10, 2018

The Supreme Court has granted review to consider whether a defendant who commits an intentional tort may invoke Civil Code section 1431.2, which limits a defendant’s liability for non-economic damages “in direct proportion to that defendant’s percentage of fault,” in order to have his liability for damages reduced based on principles of comparative fault. The Court of Appeal in this case ruled that Civil Code section 1431.2 applies in all tort cases, including cases in which the plaintiff asserts an intentional tort claim. The Court of Appeal expressly disagreed with some older Court of Appeal opinions that had held section 1431.2 inapplicable in intentional tort cases.

This issue is of enormous significance in tort litigation seeking compensation for alleged injuries, and the Supreme Court’s agreement to hear the issue will likely generate extensive amicus curiae briefing in support of both sides of the issue. Amicus briefs in this case will be due 30 days after all of the parties’ briefs have been filed or were due to be filed in the Supreme Court. Because review was granted very recently (October 10), anyone interested in submitting an amicus brief will have several months to do so.

More Information

For more information, please contact David M. Axelrad, Curt Cutting and H. Thomas Watson .

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