As Meleski vs. Estate of Hotlen, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. C080023 shows, plaintiffs who prevail at trial may also recover their costs in addition to the policy limits in cases in which the insurance companies refuse reasonable settlement offers. Parties are encouraged to resolve their legal disputes through settlements. When they fail to do so, the parties that refused to settle for reasonable amounts may be ordered to pay the costs of the parties that prevail.
“…it has properly been said that when a child is endangered, it is not beyond contemplation that its mother will be somewhere in the vicinity, and will suffer serious shock.” (Prosser, Law of Torts (3d ed. 1964) p. 353.)
As part of my continuing series of famous case law that came from the California Court system, I wanted to discuss what is probably one of the most cited authorities throughout the United States on personal injury law as it relates to claims for emotional distress. This is the California Supreme Court decision of Dillon v. Legg (1968) 68 Cal.2d 728.
Facts of the Case: This was an auto accident claim where an infant child was killed. At the time of the accident and the death of the child, both the child’s mother and sibling were present and witnessed the child die. However, there was arguments as to whether just the sibling rather than the mother was in “close proximity” to the accident scene itself at or near the time of the child’s death. The trial court granted a “summary judgment” against the mother on her claims of negligent infliction of emotional distress but, sustained the claim of the sibling. It went up to the California Supreme Court to decide the scope of this tort of negligently causing another person emotional distress and who should be able to make this claim and under what circumstances.