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Victory Against Metzger Law Group Upheld by California Supreme Court


Poole Shaffery 's recent victory in the California Court of Appeal was recently affirmed by the California Supreme Court in Treatt USA, Inc. v. Superior Court of Santa Clarita, review denied January 13, 2016, S230545.

In a one page order, the California Supreme Court denied en banc the petition brought by the plaintiffs, Hector and Martha Linares, to review the appellate court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of Poole Shaffery 's client, Treatt USA, Inc. ("Treatt"), based on the statute of limitations defense.

Poole Shaffery filed a writ with the California Court of Appeal to overturn the trial court's denial of Treatt's summary judgment motion. In the underlying summary judgment motion, Poole Shaffery argued that the two year statute of limitations for personal injury claims barred the Linares' lawsuit. Mr. Linares alleged that he developed obliterative bronchiolitis (also called bronchiolitis obliterans) as a result of occupational exposures to food flavoring chemicals including diacetyl and acetyl propionyl, 2,3-ptenaedionyl ("acetyl propionyl") during his employment at a food flavoring manufacturing plant in California. Poole Shaffery produced evidence showing that Mr. Linares was repeatedly told of the potential causes of his lung injury based on medical records dated between August 2007 and April 2009. However, the Linares did not initiate their lawsuit until June 2012, almost five years after his doctors first told him about the potential causal link between his injury and occupational exposures to diacetyl and acetyl propionyl.

In their petition for review to the state supreme court, the Linares essentially framed the decision by the Court of Appeal as one which raised an important question of law regarding what inferences can be drawn from information communicated in a foreign language. However, Poole Shaffery argued that the Court of Appeal did not reach its holding based on inferences or assumptions drawn from information communicated to Mr. Linares in a foreign language. Rather, the Court of Appeal correctly found that Treatt satisfied its burden that the only legitimate inference to be drawn from Mr. Linares' medical records was that he was aware of, or reasonably should have been aware, of the potential causal link between his injury and occupational exposures to diacetyl and acetyl propionyl, and that the plaintiffs failed to produce any evidence that Mr. Linares did not, or could not reasonably have understood, otherwise.

According to the most recent statistics published by the Judicial Council of California, less than 6.5% of civil writ proceedings filed in 2014 were decided by written opinion (that is, not summarily denied) in the Second District.

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