Myles M. Mattenson
ATTORNEY AT LAW
5550 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Suite 200
Woodland Hills, California 91367
Telephone (818) 313-9060
Facsimile (818) 313-9260
Email: MMM@MattensonLaw.com
Web: http://www.MattensonLaw.com
Sportsfishing And The Parent-child Relationship!

      Myles M. Mattenson engages in a general civil and trial practice including litigation and transactional services relating to the coin laundry and dry cleaning industries, franchising, business, purchase and sale of real estate, easements, landlord-tenant, partnership, corporate, insurance bad faith, personal injury, and probate legal matters.

      In providing services to the coin laundry and dry cleaning industries, Mr. Mattenson has represented equipment distributors, coin laundry and dry cleaning business owners confronted with landlord-tenant issues, lease negotiations, sale documentation including agreements, escrow instructions, and security instruments, as well as fraud or misrepresentation controversies between buyers and sellers of such businesses.

      Mr. Mattenson serves as an Arbitrator for the Los Angeles County Superior Court. He is also past chair of the Law Office Management Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Mr. Mattenson received his Bachelor of Science degree (Accounting) in 1964 and his Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola University School of Law in 1967.

      Bi-monthly articles by Mr. Mattenson on legal matters of interest to the business community appear in alternate months in The Journal, a leading coin laundry industry publication of the Coin Laundry Association, and Fabricare, a leading dry cleaning industry publication of the International Fabricare Institute. During the period of May 1995 through September 2002, Mr. Mattenson contributed similar articles to New Era Magazine, a coin laundry and dry cleaning industry publication which ceased publication with the September 2002 issue.

      This website contains copies of Mr. Mattenson's New Era Magazine articles which can be retrieved through a subject or chronological index. The website also contains copies of Mr. Mattenson's Journal and Fabricare articles, which can be retrieved through a chronological index.

      In addition to Mr. Mattenson's trial practice, he has successfully prosecuted and defended appeals on behalf of his clients in various areas of the law. Some of these appellate decisions are contained within his website.


Sportsfishing And The Parent-child Relationship!

Twenty-four  persons,  with varying degrees  of  fishing  skills,
boarded  a sportsfishing boat for a day of ocean fishing off  San
Clemente  Island.  One fellow's line became hopelessly  entangled
in  kelp.   A deckhand approached to assist in freeing his  line.
The  unlucky  fisherman  backed up and handed  his  pole  to  the
deckhand;  however, while doing so, the line "slingshotted"  back
over  the  rail  toward a still more unlucky fisherman,  who  was
struck  in  the  eye with the sinker, causing a partial  loss  of
vision.

The  injured fisherman sued the offending fisherman, and was  met
with  the  defense  of  assumption of the  risk.   The  defendant
fisherman claimed he had no duty to the injured fisherman.

In  determining whether a duty should be imposed on a participant
in   a  sporting  activity,  the  court  considers  whether   the
imposition of the duty "might chill vigorous participation in the
implicated activity and thereby alter its fundamental nature."

The trial court determined that the doctrine of assumption of the
risk  should  prevail  in sport fishing.   The  Court  of  Appeal
affirmed, noting that:

           "a  danger of injury from a hook or sinker flying
     toward   a   participant  is  an   inherent   risk   in
     sportsfishing,  and imposing the specter  of  liability
     regarding   the  danger  would  chill  or   alter   the
     sport. . . .  Hooking and catching fish require a great
     deal  of  knowledge, physical skill, and attention.   A
     participant who worries whether he is hooked on a  fish
     or  kelp,  and what method should be used to deal  with
     the  line  in either instance, will not be an effective
     fisherman, and may be inclined to give up the sport."

The court noted that the assumption of risk doctrine applies also
to  figureskating, "a `teamless' sport where one participates  in
close  proximity  with others so engaged.  Sportsfishing  is  the
same type of close-proximity endeavor."

An individual throwing a discus, however, owes a duty of due care
to  check  the field before throwing because another  participant
who has completed a throw and is retrieving his discus should not
assume  the  risk  that the next participant will  throw  without
looking towards the landing area.

The  plaintiff  argued that since assumption of  risk  cannot  be
invoked  in  hunting  accidents, it  should  not  be  invoked  in
accidents  involving  sportsfishing.  The court  noted,  however,
that the doctrine cannot be invoked in hunting accidents "because
of  the  special nature to others posed by the sport of hunting."
The  court  also  observed that the plaintiff  made  "no  showing
sportsfishing  has attained a similar status.   Although  fishing
carries  with  it  certain  dangers,  it  does  not  involve  the
potentially mortal danger involved in hunting."

Perhaps  the  judges  should have rented  the  movie  "Jaws"  and
watched it in chambers!

In an area of California known as Butte County, a Court of Appeal
was  moved  to shout, "Enough already!!"  The Court was presented
with a case in which the plaintiff sought to recover damages  for
emotional  distress allegedly occasioned by his father's  attempt
at suicide in his presence.  The son successfully intervened.

On  Bastille Day in 1992, (the day of July 14 is of no moment  in
this  country,  but  it's  of  great importance  in  France)  the
defendant  father  killed his wife, the plaintiff's  mother.   He
then telephoned his son and announced:

          "`I just blew your mother's head off and I'm going
     to   blow  my  head  off.'  [The  son]  and  his   wife
     immediately  drove  the short distance  to  defendant's
     home  and  found  defendant in  the  driveway  `with  a
     shotgun  pointed  [at] his chin, and the  butt  on  the
     ground  with [a] stick in the trigger mechanism  area.'
     Plaintiff observed his mother in a parked car  `slumped
     over the driver's side to the passenger's side, with no
     face.'   Plaintiff asked defendant if he was  going  to
     kill  himself  in  front of his son and daughter-in-law
     and  defendant responded:  `You're God damned  right  I
     am.   I'm  not going to jail.'  Plaintiff pleaded  with
     defendant  not  to shoot himself.  He kept  talking  to
     defendant   and  edged  closer.   When  defendant   was
     distracted,  plaintiff  `lunged  for  the  gun.'   They
     wrestled  for control of the weapon and it  discharged,
     very slightly injuring plaintiff's wife.  Defendant was
     subdued and taken into custody.  He was later convicted
     of  murdering his wife and sentenced to prison.   As  a
     result  of  the July 14 incident, plaintiff alleged  he
     developed posttraumatic stress disorder."

The  plaintiff  and  his siblings thereafter settled  a  wrongful
death  claim against the defendant for the death of their mother.
The Court of Appeal notes that the "settlement stripped defendant
of all his assets."  In this second action, the son claimed to be
a  direct  victim  of  the  father's conduct  and  sued  him  for
additional  damages, claiming negligent infliction  of  emotional
distress.

The  Court  of Appeal essentially observed that, for the  son  to
recover as a direct victim, he must show that his father breached
a  duty  to  prevent  his  adult child from  suffering  emotional
distress, and commented as follows:

           "Heartache  and  emotional pain are  an  inherent
     staple   of  the  parent-child  relationship.   Neither
     parent  nor  child will always live up to  the  other's
     expectations.  A parent may be distressed, for example,
     when  his child fails at school or gets in trouble with
     the  law.  The child may be distressed when his  parent
     is  fired  from  a  job or so mismanages  the  family's
     finances  that  they  are evicted for  failure  to  pay
     rent."

           "These  are  examples  of conduct  which,  though
     essentially self-destructive, cause emotional  distress
     to   members   of  the  transgressor's   family.    The
     experience  of  emotional trauma is certainly  not  the
     only    defining   characteristic   of    the    family
     relationship,  but it is one of them.   Indeed,  it  is
     often  the  price to be paid for being a  member  of  a
     close family unit.  Only in families that are not close
     are   the  members  sufficiently  indifferent  to   one
     another's  personal  failings  not  to  feel  emotional
     distress."

The court concludes:

           "It  is the duty of the family members . .  .  to
     weigh  the risk of emotional trauma against the benefit
     of  saving  a  loved one's life.  Having  weighed  that
     risk, the family member . . . may decline to go to  the
     scene.  But having elected to go, the relative must  be
     prepared not only to rejoice in a rescue but to  endure
     the emotional burden of a tragedy as well."

The  moral  of  the  story?  If you take  your  son  or  daughter
fishing,  be  careful  out  there!  And,  no  weapons  on  board,
please!!


[This column is intended to provide general information only  and
is  not intended to provide specific legal advice; if you have  a
specific  question  regarding the  law,  you  should  contact  an
attorney  of your choice.  Suggestions for topics to be discussed
in this column are welcome.]


Reprinted from New Era Magazine
Myles M. Mattenson  1998-2002