todd-quackenbush-222-copy-300x183California law requires that landlords make residential rental properties habitable, that is, livable for tenants. In other words, the landlords must ensure that rented houses and apartments are safe.  The sections of California law that deal with the subject of habitability are Civil Code 1941.1 and Health and Safety Code 17920.3. Since almost any kind of damage to the structures of the rented residential property or any infestation by pests could make the property unsafe if the damage is not repaired or if the pests are not removed, it is not possible for the legal code to list every possible safety hazard that constitutes grounds for a landlord/tenant lawsuit. In general, the most serious hazards are the ones that have to do with insect infestations and toxic mold. If your landlord has allowed the property you rent to become unsafe, contact an attorney dealing with habitability issues.

Is Your Rented Apartment or House Habitable?

Anyone who has lived with a roommate knows that “sufficiently clean” can be a subjective measure. California law is clear, though, that landlords must ensure that rented properties are safe before a tenant suffers a serious injury or illness because of the poorly maintained property.  These are some problems that can be the basis for habitability disputes.

jeremy-wong-298986-copy-300x200Title 22 specifies the standards according to which California nursing homes must adhere. Many of the standards aim to preserve the patient’s level of health and independence, even when it means more work for the nursing home staff. For example, it stipulates that patients must get enough exercise to preserve their mobility.  In practice, this means that nursing home staff should provide walking assistance to patients who can walk with assistance rather than transporting them in wheelchairs. Likewise, it prohibits feeding tubes for patients who are capable of oral feeding, even if they require assistance with feeding. In general, it requires nursing homes to provide patients with the kind of health maintenance care that it would be difficult for them to get outside the nursing home. Therefore, when a nursing home unjustly evicts a patient, and the patient loses the state of health that she had been able to maintain while living at the nursing home, it could be a case of elder abuse. This issue is at the center of a lawsuit currently being argued in California courts.

Details of the Case

A nursing home in Sacramento, California sent a patient to the hospital for a psychological evaluation after she reportedly began behaving aggressively at dinner and throwing table utensils. Physicians at the hospital examined the patient and determined that she was fit to return to the nursing home; in fact, they did not find anything wrong with her. They sent her back to the nursing home, but it refused to re-admit her. According to California law, nursing homes are required to reserve a patient’s bed for seven days when a patient is hospitalized. Likewise, the nursing home did not give her advance notice before she went to the hospital that they would not let her back in when she returned, which is also a violation of the rules.

milind-kaduskar-87650-copy-300x300Why are people so afraid of bed bugs? Unlike mosquitoes, bed bugs cannot transmit malaria.  Unlike termites, bed bugs cannot destroy the wooden structures in your house. Unlike bees, bed bugs do not transmit deadly venom. Despite the dangers they do not pose, bed bugs are among the most troublesome pests found in the United States. Eradicating them from your apartment and possessions and preventing future infestations can be a herculean task, but in rental properties in California, it is a landlord’s legal obligation to deal appropriately with bed bug infestations. If you are renting a residential property, and your landlord has failed to take adequate measures to remove the bed bugs, despite your repeated requests, consult an attorney who works with landlord-tenant law cases related to habitability.

Recent Bed Bug Lawsuits in California

In the past year, courts in the State of California have issued several rulings in favor of tenants who complained of bed bug infestations in their rented apartments and houses. Here are some recent California cases involving bed bugs.

parker-byrd-139348-copy-300x200With the rise of the freelancer economy, workers, employers, and lawmakers have all faced questions of who is truly an employee versus and independent contractor. For the past few years, employers have erred on the side of classifying workers as independent contractors. It saves them money since they do not have to offer health insurance, other benefits, or pay taxes on those workers. However, it puts the contractors at a distinct disadvantage since they pay additional taxes and are forced to purchase their own health insurance policies. They also miss out on important employee rights, including workers’ compensation insurance. Not to mention, many freelancers face difficulties saving for retirement without employer-sponsored plans.

This year, a case made its way to the California Supreme Court posing an important question regarding how workers can and should be classified. The court took a worker-friendly approach, which will make it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors.

If, under California’s new rule, you believe your employer is misclassifying you as an independent contractor, contact a San Francisco employment attorney at Brod Law Firm.

mike-wilson-175347-225x300As rents in certain areas of the country skyrocket, more and more tenants are asking why there is not some – or a better – form of rent control. As of right now, most landlords can increase the rent as much as they like as long as they give proper notice. One of the reasons for this in California is the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which was passed in 1995. The Act imposes limits on the kind of rent control policies cities can adopt. However, a measure to repeal the Act may be headed to the next November ballot in California.

The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act

There are a few significant provisions with the Act that many tenants believe are harmful in today’s real estate market. The Act bans cities from using rent caps on any unit built after February 1995. This a majority of apartments in California’s major cities cannot be rent controlled. All of the new development going up in cities like San Francisco can have exceedingly high rents and there is little local governments can do about it.

hogarth-de-la-plante-17754-copy-300x179On Monday, April 30, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) vehicle was parked on the right shoulder of I-80 in Fairfield. It was struck from behind by a white Mitsubishi Mirage prior to 3:40 p.m. The Mitsubishi driver and two passengers, one seated in the back and the other in the front passenger seat, were all seriously injured and taken to a local hospital. The CHP officer suffered moderate injuries. The accident is currently under investigation. If the Mitsubishi driver is found to be at fault, then the injured parties may file a personal injury claim against the driver and their insurance policy.

If you were injured in a crash in California, do not hesitate to ask for legal help. The personal injury lawyers at Brod Law Firm have years of experience handling car accident claims. By calling us, you obtain an experienced and knowledgeable advocate who will fight hard for your right to compensation. Contact Brod Law Firm today online or by calling (800) 427-7020.

Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents

petra-cigale-128139-unsplash-copy-300x200The U.S. is dealing with a large outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 associated with romaine lettuce, and a few states, including California, have been hit particularly hard. The initial announcement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding an outbreak of E. coli took place on April 10. As of the initial announcement, 17 individuals in seven states had been affected. Their illnesses had developed between March 22 and 31. Of those individuals, six had been hospitalized. One individual had been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a type of kidney failure and one of the more severe potential side effects of an E. coli infection. Since April 10, the outbreak has worsened.

Information as of April 25

The CDC reports that, as of April 25, 84 cases of E. coli infection have been linked to romaine lettuce produced in or around Yuma, Arizona. Individuals affected are spread across 19 states. There have been no deaths, though 42 people have been hospitalized and nine have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. California has had 13 residents affected by the foodborne illness. The only state hit harder is Pennsylvania with 18 infected individuals.

jeremy-wong-298986-copy-300x200San Diego has become well-known around the country for being a safe and family-friendly city. The area has been enjoying a decreasing crime rate in recent years. However, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan says the work is not finished. Stephen’s office is focusing on reducing incidents of elder abuse, recognizing it when it happens, properly investigating it, and prosecuting it when necessary.

San Diego County’s “Blueprint”

In March, the county D.A.’s office launched an initiative against elder abuse, which has been on the rise in the previous five years. The D.A.’s office has compiled information and tools that they are referring to as a “blueprint” designed to help key professionals identify elder abuse and effectively question those affected by it, including seniors who may be suffering from dementia.

matthew-hamilton-135738-copy-300x200On March 7, Gregory Lopez answered Brenan Brock’s request for a ride on the Uber app. As Lopez drove down I-5 in Orange County around 1 a.m., his 2016 Jeep Compass ran out of gas. Lopez attempted to coast to the right shoulder, but the vehicle came to a full stop in one of the highway lanes. Brock was put in the position of having to get out of the vehicle and help Lopez push the Jeep to the side of the road. Brock, now exposed on the highway, was struck by Jonathan Tavita. Brock suffered such devastating injuries that physicians were forced to amputate both of his legs. Brock filed a lawsuit against Uber, the Uber driver, Uber’s insurance carrier, Hertz, and Tavita in April alleging negligence and negligence infliction of emotional distress.

Uber Crashes

While ridesharing programs like Uber and Lyft are growing in popularity, so are the number of accidents the Uber and Lyft drivers are involved in. Ridesharing drivers are not professional drivers in the sense that they do not have any specific or additional training than what is required to obtain a normal driver’s license. They are just as likely to be careless or reckless behind the wheel as any other driver. It comes as no surprise, then, that many passengers have experienced accidents that caused them injuries like Brock’s.

david-klein-407116-unsplash-copy-240x300In early March, a video was released showing a 5-year-old dangling from a chairlift at Bear Mountain Ski Resort. The young child slipped from the chairlift shortly after it started moving. The child’s ski instructor caught her by her hoodie. During the time she was dangling from the lift, the child was choked by her the hoodie and her helmet. Thankfully, the young girl was able to safely drop to a tarp. She suffered bruising to her neck.

From initial reports, it appears at least two things went wrong. The night before, rain in the area froze, causing ice on the equipment. The child’s parents believe the lifts were not properly cleaned in the morning before being put to use. Also, when the child, her sibling, and the instructor got on the chairlift, the safety bar was not brought down. Bear Mountain officials are investigating the accident to determine what went wrong and how to prevent similar occurrences.

Ski Resorts are Not Liable for All Injuries