Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mukthar v. Latin American Security Service (Cal. Ct. App. - May 8, 2006)

This is an excellent opinion by Justice Flier. It's short (ten double-spaced pages) and yet, even within such confined limits, is sufficiently comprehensive to seem clearly and unassailably correct. Which is something that I rarely feel.

Justice Flier reverses a grant of summary judgment entered against a 7-11 cashier who was punched in the face by a patron and who subsequently sued the security service that was contractually obligated to have a security guard present but whose guard was inexplicably absent from his post. Justice Flier's well-written opinion is replete with statements that just totally ring true to me. Here's but one example:

"We disagree with the trial court that it is conjectural whether a 'security guard could have prevented the attack on the Plaintiff.' The issue is whether it is a question of fact whether the woman would have struck Mukthar in the face, if an armed, uniformed security guard, equipped with a baton and handcuffs, would have stood next to Mukthar. (There is no dispute about the fact that the guard’s station was at the door, where Mukthar was standing when he was struck.) We think the inferences are not evenly balanced on this issue. It is more likely than not that the woman would not have hit Mukthar in the face in the close proximity of an armed guard who had the ready means at hand to respond physically to violence. Be that as it may, it is not for us to decide this question of fact, which is consigned to the trier of fact."

Doesn't this paragraph seem both relevant and completely right?! It does to me, anyway. Justice Flier also does a very good job of distinguishing facially adverse precedent quickly and persuasively.

A great example of a short, but comprehensive and well-argued, opinion. Great job.