Palma v. U.S. Industrial Fasteners, Inc.

36 Cal. 3d 171, 203 Cal. Rptr. 626, 681 P.2d 893 (1984)

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Palma v. U.S. Industrial Fasteners, Inc.

California Supreme Court
36 Cal. 3d 171, 203 Cal. Rptr. 626, 681 P.2d 893 (1984)

Facts

Richard Palma (plaintiff) was injured when a truck owned by U.S. Industrial Fasteners (Fasteners) and others (defendants) was negligently driven and ran over Palma. Palma sued Fasteners for negligence, and Fasteners moved for summary judgment with affidavits attesting that the truck driver, a former employee, had stolen the truck and was not a permissive user, and therefore Fasteners was neither negligent nor liable. The trial court denied the motion. Fasteners petitioned for a writ of mandate alleging the trial court abused its discretion denying summary judgment. Fasteners prayed for an alternative writ of mandate and, upon return thereof, issuance of a peremptory writ of mandate commanding the trial court to set aside its order and enter a new order granting summary judgment. No alternative writ was issued, but the appellate court wrote on the cover of the petition “writ issue as per order,” and the clerk issued a peremptory writ ordering the trial court to grant summary judgment, which it did. Palma appealed and argued that it had inadequate notice of the appellate court’s writ in the first instance and that special circumstances created a duty and presented a question of fact regarding how the truck was secured and the foreseeability of harm. Fasteners argued res judicata or law-of-the-case precluded reconsideration of the merits of its motion for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Grodin, J.)

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