CHP Reveals Cause of I-5 Police Car Crash

Investigators have released new information on Sunday’s fiery crash involving a San Diego police patrol car.

According to California Highway Patrol investigators, the crash occurred after a police officer traveling south on Interstate 5 near Palm Avenue drifted onto the right shoulder and struck a sign.

The on-duty officer then turned to the left, hitting a gray Dodge Challenger according to the CHP.

The force of the impact pushed both cars into the center divide.

The patrol car burst into flames. Both drivers were able to get out of their vehicles and were treated for minor injuries officials said.

The names of the SDPD officer or additional victim involved in the crash have not been released. SDPD Officer Dan Lasher gave some details about the officer’s condition to NBC 7 San Diego Sunday.

“He was conscious and talking at the scene, but they were talking about a possible head injury, so he was taken to a local hospital to be checked out,” Lasher said.

CHP investigators said it’s not known why the patrol car drifted onto the right shoulder.

Driverless car crashes into elderly man on bench

 

An 82-year-old man suffered serious injuries Thursday when an unoccupied car rolled out of a convenience store parking lot in Alpine and crashed through the nearby bus stop where he was sitting.

The 1996 Volkswagen Jetta began rolling through the lot at Tavern Road and Alpine Boulevard about 11 a.m., shortly after the driver pulled up to a gas pump at the Circle K and got out to pay the clerk, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The runaway sedan rolled down a driveway and over a curb, then smashed into the bench on which Alpine resident Sidney Griffin was seated, CHP public- affairs Officer Brian Pennings said. The car came to a stop in the adjacent roadway, with Griffin underneath it.

Medics took the victim to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, where he was admitted in serious but stable condition, Pennings said.

It was not immediately clear why the vehicle began rolling on its own.

Police are searching for a man that sexually assaulted a woman at Historic Mission in Oceanside

Police are searching for an unknown man who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman on the grounds of a historic mission in Oceanside last month.

According to investigators, the sexual assault happened on Mar. 18 around 3:30 p.m. outside the Mission San Luis Rey on Mission Avenue.

Police say a man grabbed a female victim, fondled her and allegedly attempted to drag her into some nearby bushes. The woman fought back, striking the suspect, and was able to run away.

Three weeks later, police say the suspect is still at large. On Wednesday, officials released a composite sketch of the man.

Investigators describe him as a Hispanic man in his 30s, approximately 6-feet-tall and 200 pounds. He has brown or black shoulder-length hair, a moustache, a large mole on his neck and a tattoo of a snake on the back of his left forearm.

The Oceanside Police Department is asking anyone with information on this case to contact detectives handling the case at (760) 435-4824 or (800) 78-CRIME.

Safeway Grocery Settles Claim of Employee With Disability

On November 2, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported a settlement regarding a food services employee on disability leave for a job injury at Safeway Grocery.

Initially Safeway followed the law, Americans with Disabilities (ADA), which requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees with a disability; as such Safeway allowed the employee to work in a different position that did not require heavy lifting as she did in her previous assignment. However, Safeway unilaterally decided to place the employee on unpaid leave indefinitely, making the argument that the employee had exceeded what they deemed an allowable time lime and, therefore, could no longer enjoy the position with modified duty.

The Federal Disability Lawsuit was settled by Safeway because of a legal discrimination claim brought against it. The requirement of reasonable accommodation includes, but is not limited to, the employer reassigning an employee with a disability to another position, unless it can be established this would cause a significant expense to the employer and/or substantial difficulties associated with the same. There is no time limit provided the employee has a qualifying disability.

For additional information on employee related issues, you are invited to view our web site at www.spitalaw.com

Friend: Murdered woman texted ‘help’ after leaving with Marine

The preliminary hearing for the Marine sergeant accused in the murder of his wife has started. The woman’s body was discovered near a lake last year. According to a friend of the victim, the woman texted the word “help” shortly after leaving on a dinner cruise with the suspect.

During the testimony, the friend said the victim was reluctant to go on the cruise with her estranged husband, but decided to go with him after his pregnant girlfriend assured her it was fine. The girlfriend claimed that she could not accompany him due to her pregnancy. She is also a suspect in the woman’s murder case.

Discrepancies in the suspect’s narrative about what happened to the victim during their outing led the friend to report the woman as missing. Further investigation led to the discovery of BDSM paraphernalia in the suspect’s home. Authorities allege the victim was forced to participate in sexual behavior prior to being killed.

 

 

 

CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT RULES EMPLOYER MUST PROVIDE SEATS FOR EMPLOYEES

In a unanimous opinion, NYKEYA KILBY vs. CVS PHARMACY, INC., Case # S215614, on April 4, 2016, the Supreme Court of California held an employer must provide suitable seating for its employees as long as it is reasonable to do so in the particular work environment. In other words, the employer must provide seats for their employees:

  1. When the tasks being performed at the location the employee works (physical layout of work place) reasonably permit individuals to be seated;
  2. Utilizing a seat does not interfere with him/her performing any of the tasks that may require standing;
  3. And, it is the burden of the employer to establish the unavailability of suitable seats, rather than the obligation of an employee.

The underlying case arose when an employee at CVS was advised she had to stand while performing her duties and functions, which included operating a cash register, organizing and stocking shelves with products, as well as in front of and behind the sales counter, and cleaning the register. It is not questioned that certain functions, such as gathering shopping baskets, vacuuming, and removing trash are active duty tasks that cannot reasonably be performed while seated. In a companion case, a bank teller performing duties at his/her station, such as cashing checks, accepting deposits,  and processing withdrawals should be contrasted with the duties away from his/her window-counter, the latter including such tasks as escorting customers to the safe deposit boxes in the bank vault or assisting customers at an ATM machine.

The defense tried unsuccessfully to distinguish “standing” from “seated” tasks. However, the court stated:

“There is no principled reason for denying an employee a seat when he spends a substantial part of his work day at a single location performing tasks that could reasonably be done while seated merely because his job duties include other tasks that must be done standing.”

……

“Courts should look to the actual tasks performed, or reasonably expected to be performed, not to abstract characterizations, job titles or descriptions that may or may not reflect the actual work performed. Tasks performed with more frequency or for a longer duration would be more germane to the seating inquiry than tasks performed briefly or infrequently.”

The reasonableness standard allows for more flexibility; hence, an employee would be entitled to a seat if the duration and frequency of the seated task is not negligible (those tasks that are performed briefly or infrequently). Even when employees are not engaged in the active duties of their work but are required to stand at a specific location, an adequate number of suitable seats must be available in reasonable proximity to the work area for employees to use as long as it does not interfere with the performance of their tasks and duties.

Rather than utilizing an employer’s business judgment as to whether the work must be performed while standing, the Court concluded it is rather an objective inquiry that takes into consideration, but is not based solely upon, an employer’s reasonable expectations regarding customer service and the employer’s role in setting job duties. As such, however, it does not allow employers to arbitrarily define which are “standing” tasks.

Do you or someone you know work at a designated location with a suitable seat? If not, the next question is why not?

 

Driver in Santaluz Stroller Crash Faces Multiple Charges

A woman in North County is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter, failure to stop at a red light, and failure to yield to a pedestrian.  The suspect is believed to have ran a red light at an intersection while the victim was pushing a 14-month old toddler in a stroller. The woman pushing the stroller suffered serious injuries and later died at the hospital. The toddler was hospitalized in intensive care for several injuries, including a broken rib and skull fracture.

Stories like these are difficult to hear. Unfortunately, these types of tragedies occur on a daily basis. Although no amount of monetary compensation can undo tragedy, our San Diego personal injury lawyers understand that financial compensation can help you pick up the pieces and begin your road to recovery.

Is a University Liable for Violence on the Campus?

The California Court of Appeals was scheduled  to hear oral argument on Friday, August 7, 2015 in a case filed in 2010 by Katherine Rosen against her attacker and UCLA, which is governed by the Regents of the University of California; at the time she was a UCLA student who was stabbed and had her neck slashed during a class in an unprovoked attack by a fellow student. In the criminal case against the defendant, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and placed in a psychiatric hospital, Patton State Hospital, for an indefinite period of time.

In the civil action the plaintiff argued the university failed to properly respond to warnings about the potentially violent behavior of the defendant. This was in contrast to the defense arguments that it was a random act of violence. Proponents of civil liability contend a university owes a duty to provide a safe environment to and protect its students from others on the campus, particularly those who get treatment from the college for mental health conditions. It is a sad reality that acts of cruelty that are plainly brutal and  inhumane have become a national scourge.

Intoxicated Passenger Unable to Collect from Taxi Service

A taxi company and its driver were sued for wrongful death (negligence) when a passenger who was intoxicated exited the cab, and then within a half an hour walked into heavy traffic and was killed by a drunk driver.

On March 11, 2015, a Santa Barbara Court jury concluded the decedent’s mother could not collect even though the municipal law required a taxi driver to  allow a passenger to exit only at a curb.

The Plaintiff’s lawyer argued the taxi cab was a common carrier and owed a higher standard (duty) of care to ensure the safety of its customers. The outcome was not based upon a lack of negligence by the defendants, and/or any one of them, however, but their neglect was deemed not the proximate cause of the death of the passenger. In other words, the conduct was not a substantial factor causing the death of the passenger in both time and location.

It is noteworthy that the 78 year old driver of the vehicle that struck and killed the victim was arrested and charged with felony hit and run. His blood alcohol was three times the legal limit, he entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to one year in the County Jail and three years’ probation. His insurance carrier paid the family who settled for policy limits of $30,000.

The case is:  Quintanar v. Absolute Cab LLC., et al. (Santa Barbara Super. Ct., originally filed May 13, 2014).

 

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