Committed to Justice in Los Angeles and Beyond

Celebrity dentist Sherri L. Worth has been temporarily prohibited from practicing dentistry in California. The state dental board suspended Worth’s license this month, based on allegations that she put her patients in danger. On February 2, Worth’s attorney and Deputy Attorney General Shannon Brubaker signed a Stipulated Interim Suspension of License to “save time and expense.” Through this, Worth has waived the right to a hearing and is prohibited from practicing dentistry until the suspension is terminated.

dentist chair

According to the Dental Board complaint, seven patients alleged that Worth committed incompetence, numerous acts of negligence and gross negligence, fraud, excessive treatment, and over-diagnosis. Examples include billing over $11,000 for two patients’ laser surgeries that were never performed, falsifying dental records, performing expensive restorations to already healthy teeth, and Photoshopping a digital x-ray to cover up two defective crowns. Worth’s actions, the board claims, demonstrated “a gross lack of clinical skill and diagnostic ability” and rendered her an immediate danger to patients.

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A plaintiff appealed from the judgment entered against her after the trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the ground that the two-year statute of limitations had expired. The incident in which the plaintiff was injured occurred in July 2010. She did not name the defendant in her initial complaint. On June 24, 2014, a year after settling with the other defendants, she amended her complaint to identify “Doe 1” as the defendant. She contended that she had no “actual knowledge” of the defendant’s identity or involvement until May 2013, and thus the statute of limitations was tolled under the law of “relation back.” Concluding that the woman did have actual knowledge, the appeals court affirmed the judgment.

office space

The plaintiff was a tenant in a building in which she maintained an office. On the morning of July 13, 2010, she was summoned because a burst water pipe had caused flooding in her office. Over a period of about an hour, she, her two sons, the building owners’ “maintenance guy,” and three or four of the defendant’s workers arrived at the building. They all began to move items out of the plaintiff’s office and into an empty office. In the course of doing so, someone moved four or five plastic carpet mats, which allow rolling desk chairs to move freely without damaging the carpet underneath, from the office to a concrete walkway outside the building. She slipped and fell on the wet carpet mats while removing her personal belongings from the office. She injured her back in the fall.

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slingAppellant F.G. sued her landlords A.N. and N.Z. for negligence after she allegedly tripped on the metal “nosing” of a step and fell down a stairway in a common area of her apartment building. The trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment, finding they lacked actual or constructive notice of any dangerous condition on the property and therefore did not breach their duty to exercise ordinary care. The appeals court reversed, concluding the record contained triable issues of material fact regarding whether the stairway constituted a dangerous condition and whether defendants had actual or constructive knowledge of such condition.

At her deposition, F.L. testified that on the morning of November 25, 2011, she left her apartment and started to walk down the stairway leading out to the front of the apartment building. As F.L. was stepping off the second or third step from the top of the stairway, her left foot caught on the metal strip or “nosing” at the edge of the step, causing her to fall and injure herself. F.L. had lived at the apartment building for approximately three years prior to the accident, and never had any problems with the stairway before her fall. She had never complained nor was she aware of anyone else complaining about the stairway.

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smart phoneA Texas couple recently sued Apple, Inc. in Santa Clara Superior Court. The suit claims that the iPhone’s FaceTime app caused the death of their 5-year-old daughter, Moriah Modisette, who was killed in a car crash due to a distracted driver using FaceTime. The child’s parents, James and Bethany Modisette, claim that Apple has failed to use “lock-out” technology to stop FaceTime from being used by drivers: “Apple has consistently and continuously failed to implement a safer, alternative design that would lock-out and prevent use of FaceTime while driving.” The suit alleges negligence and wrongful death, among other causes of action.

Moriah Modisette was killed on Christmas Eve 2014 when her parents’ Toyota Camry was hit from behind by a Toyota SUV driven by then 20-year-old Garrett Wilhelm. The lawsuit indicates the Camry had stopped for traffic when it was hit by Wilhelm’s SUV traveling at 65 mph on Interstate 35. His car allegedly rolled over the driver’s side of the Camry. While both James and Moriah were critically injured, Moriah did not survive the crash: she died of soon after being airlifted to a Fort Worth hospital. James, Bethany, the couples’ other daughter, Isabella, and Wilhelm were all taken in an ambulance to a Denton hospital.

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Early one evening in July 2015, 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle was shot and killed on Pier 14 in San Francisco. The bullet hit Steinle from behind, piercing her aorta. She quickly collapsed to the ground and screamed for help. Her father performed CPR on his daughter before paramedics arrived. Kathryn died two hours later at the hospital. The shooter, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, was arrested roughly an hour after the shooting and charged with murder. The Steinles filed suit for wrongful death and negligence against various government officials in May 2016.


Lopez-Sanchez was charged with first-degree murder on July 6, 2015. The defendant admitted in an interview that he fired the lethal shot, but that he found the gun under a bench after taking sleeping pills from the trash. He also said that he was aiming to shot sea lions and hit Steinle accidentally. Lopez-Sanchez pleaded not guilty to the charges. The trial is scheduled for February 17, 2017.

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Kimberley Cady and her daughters filed suit for negligence against their former therapist, Helen Cooper, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) based in Pasadena. The trial court granted Cooper’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the complaint was precluded by the one-year statute of limitations prescribed by the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). The plaintiffs appealed. The California Court of Appeal for the second district affirmed, holding that apart from the MICRA issue, the lower court’s ruling was appropriate because the disclosure was permissible under the litigation privilege rule codified in California Civil Code section 47(b).


The appeals court first recounted the evidence, which showed that during the dissolution of Cady’s marriage, the family court appointed therapist Vivian Carlson to make an assessment regarding custody. Cady authorized Cooper, her former therapist, to release information to Carlson to develop a parenting plan.

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At the beginning of this month, a fire broke out in an Oakland warehouse known as the Ghost Ship at roughly 11:30 p.m. The Fruitvale neighborhood warehouse had been converted into an artist collective and housing units. The Ghost Ship was hosting a concert promoted by an LA record label. Thirty-six people were killed in the fire, making it the deadliest fire in Oakland history and the deadliest California fire since the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.


Several factors interfered with the escape process and led to the eventual fatalities. There were no sprinklers in the building, and firefighters on scene did not hear smoke detectors. The building was cluttered with wooden furniture and art. There was also a “makeshift, one-way stairwell” composed of wooden pallets that connected the first and second floors. Oakland Department Chief told reporters, “It was like a maze, almost.”

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Shortly after unknown individuals removed a snow grate in front of a door at Whiskey Creek Restaurant in Mammoth Lakes (the restaurant), plaintiff Edgar Ward Jones walked out the door and fell through the opening in the deck. Jones sued defendant Whiskey Creek Restaurants, Inc. (the owner) for negligence and premises liability. Greg Alexander was the sole shareholder of the owner.

mammoth mountain

The owner moved for summary judgment, arguing there was no evidence it breached any duty of care owed to Jones or that any breach proximately caused an injury to him. The trial court granted the motion, finding that video evidence showed the snow grate was removed 9 to 10 seconds before Jones fell through the opening, giving the owner insufficient time to protect Jones. The trial court also explained that foreseeability is a crucial factor for determining the scope of the duty of care. Since there was no evidence the snow grate had ever been removed by third parties before, the trial court held the removal of the grate was not sufficiently foreseeable to impose a duty on the owner to take additional preventative measures. The California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District affirmed.

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A former student claiming she was raped by three Culver City High School football players recently filed suit. The lawsuit, which was filed last month in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses the Culver City United School District of negligently failing to supervise the victim and her attackers. The victim’s mother sued on behalf of the victim (who is identified as “A.S.” in court filings).


The alleged incidents occurred between December 4 and December 22, 2013, when A.S. was a freshman. The attack was allegedly recorded and then shared with fellow students. A.S.’ family filed suit roughly four months after reporting the attacks to school officials.

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This month, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated 37 lawsuits alleging exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer causes cancer. The lawsuits were consolidated in Northern California, where two of the initial lawsuits alleging herbicide caused cancer were filed. farm and sky

The active ingredient in Roundup–glyphosate–has become the most heavily used agricultural chemical in world history. A study published this winter revealed that Americans have applied 1.8 million tons of glyphosate since it was first introduced into the market in 1974. That’s equivalent to the weight of water filling nearly 2,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools and spraying the herbicide on every cultivated acre of land on the planet. Its mass spraying has led to the explosion of resistant weeds, which have evolved to survive despite being sprayed.

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