The Guide is an invaluable online tool for litigation and transactional attorneys. The Guide provides for more than 70 common law causes of action:

- Each action’s elements;
- The most recent state and federal cases that cite the actions’ elements;
- The applicable statute of limitations for each action; and
- Defenses to each cause of action.
- AND, The Guide is updated annually.

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Negligence, Willful Misconduct

1 Elements and Case Citations

Willful misconduct is an aggravated form of negligence.  “Unlike negligence or even gross negligence, ‘[w]ilful misconduct involves a more positive intent actually to harm another or to do an act with a positive, active and absolute disregard of its consequences.’”

“In addition to the requirements for negligence, Plaintiff must allege three elements:

‘(1) actual or constructive knowledge of the peril to be apprehended,
(2) actual or constructive knowledge that injury is a probable, as opposed to a possible, result of the danger, and
(3) conscious failure to act to avoid the peril.’”

Berkley v. Dowds, 152 Cal. App. 4th 518, 528 (2007).

CALIFORNIA STATE COURTS

Supreme Court of California:  Calvillo-Silva v. Home Grocery, 19 Cal. 4th 714, 728-30 (__), partially disapproved on other grounds, Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 25 Cal. 4th 826, 854 n.19 (2001). 

California 1st District:  Manuel v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., 173 Cal. App. 4th 927, 939-40 (2009).

California 2d District:  Berkley v. Dowds, 152 Cal. App. 4th 518, 528 (2007); Acosta v. Glenfed Development Corp., 128 Cal. App. 4th 1278, 1294-95 (2005). 

California 3d District:  Charpentier v. Von Geldern, 191 Cal. App. 3d 101, 113 (1987).

California 4thDistrict:  Carter v. Prime Healthcare Paradise Valley LLC, 198 Cal. App. 4th 396, 412-13 (2011); Morgan v. Southern Pacific Trans. Co., 37 Cal. App. 3d 1006, 1011-12 (1974).

California 5th District:  Chappell v. Palmer, 236 Cal. App. 2d 34, 36 (1965) (discussing distinction between gross negligence and willful misconduct).

California 6th District: None.

CALIFORNIA FEDERAL COURTS

United States Court of Appeal for the 9th CircuitDazo v. Globe Airport Security Servs., 295 F.3d 934, 941 (9th Cir. 2002).

Central District:  Jhaveri v. ADT Sec. Serv., No. 2:11-cv-4426-JHN-MANx, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38100, at *10 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 6, 2012).

Eastern District:  Galvan v. Mimms, No. 1:11-cv-00326-SAB, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67099, at *12-13 (E.D. Cal. May 10, 2013); Robinson v. United States, 175 F. Supp. 2d 1215, 1230-31 (E.D. Cal. 2001).

Northern District:  Singh v. United States, 718 F. Supp. 2d 1139, 1147-48 (N.D. Cal. 2010).

Southern District:  Oppenheimer v. Southwest Airlines Co., No. 13-CV-260 - IEG (BGS), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85633, at *3-4 (S.D. Cal. June 17, 2013).

2 Issues and Defenses to Claim for Negligence - Willful Misconduct

(1)  Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 431.30(b)(2) (pleading affirmative defenses), and other standard defenses.  See Chapter 1 for all defenses.

(2)   Statute of Limitations:  Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 335.1 (two years).

(3)  Pleading with Specificity:  A claim for Willful Misconduct must be pleaded with specificity.  Charpentier v. Von Geldern, 191 Cal. App. 3d 101, 114 (1987) (“A plaintiff must allege specific facts establishing the[se] three essential elements. . . .”); but see Oppenheimer v. Southwest Airlines Co., No. 13-CV-260 - IEG (BGS), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85633, at *3-4 (S.D. Cal. June 17, 2013) (complaints in Federal Court are governed by Federal pleading standards, and it need not be pleaded with specificity).

(4)  See Affirmative Defenses for Negligence (Ch.48) & Gross Negligence (Ch.49).