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McIntyre’s California Civil Law Update

Organized Succinct Summaries

U.S. SUPREME COURT

Employment
Lawson v. FMR LLC _ U.S. _ : Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the whistleblower protections in 18 U.S.C. section 1514A protect not only employees of public companies but also the employees of privately held contractors and subcontractors. (March 4, 2014.)

9th CIRCRUIT COURT OF APPEAL

Class Action
Baumann v. Chase Investment Services Corp. _ F.3d _ (9th Cir. 2014), 2014 WL 983587: The Court of Appeal reversed the district court’s order denying a motion to remand back to state court. The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 does not provide a basis for federal jurisdiction for an action brought under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004. (March 13, 2014.)

CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL

Arbitration
Lane v. Francis Capital Management LLC (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 935292: The Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part the trial court’s order denying a motion to compel arbitration. Labor Code section 229 applied and plaintiff could pursue one of his causes of action in court. The remaining causes of action were ordered to arbitration because the arbitration agreement was not unconscionable. (C.A. 2nd, March 11, 2014.)

McArthur v. McArthur (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 930789: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of a motion to compel arbitration. The motion was properly denied because plaintiff was not a signatory to the trust amendment containing the arbitration agreement. (C.A. 1st, March 11, 2014.)

Sanchez v. Carmax Auto Superstores California, LLC (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 842200: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order denying a motion to compel arbitration. In a de novo review of the agreement, contrary to the findings of the trial court the Court of Appeal ruled that the arbitration agreement was not substantively unconscionable. (The reviewed provisions included: discovery, the arbitration request form, the standard of proof, a requirement that the arbitrator’s decisions be given full force and effect in litigation of non-arbitrable claims, precluding the arbitrator from requiring just cause for discharge, not requiring findings of fact, and requiring that the arbitration be confidential and not open to the public.) (C.A. 2nd, filed February 6, 2013, published March 3, 2013.)

Civil Procedure
Brown v. American Bicycle Group, LLC (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 945565: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment for defendant. The trial judge was not required to disclose his ownership interests in various insurance related companies, since none of those companies was a party to the case or insured the defendant. There was no violation of plaintiff’s due process right to an impartial judge. (C.A. 4th, March 11, 20014.)

Mark Tanner Construction, Inc. v. Hub International Insurance Services, Inc. (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 906283: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment for defendants. Plaintiffs failed to adequately challenge either the legal bases or the factual findings of the trial court’s rulings. Because plaintiffs failed to carry their burden to demonstrate error the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment. (C.A. 3rd, March 10, 2014.)

Saffie v. Schmeling (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 987862. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment for defendants. The claim against the seller’s broker failed for the fundamental reason that plaintiff did not identify anything about the seller’s broker’s statement itself that was false or inaccurate, as required for liability under section Civil Code section 1088. (C.A. 4th, March 7, 2014.)

Class Action
Carter v. City of Los Angeles (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 984155: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s approval of a settlement of a non opt-out class where the settlement was for injunctive relief only and all statutory damages claims were released. The class action alleged that the City of Los Angeles violated the Americans With Disabilities Act and other statutes. The Court of Appeal ruled that non opt-out class certification should have been denied under Rule 23(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (C.A. 2nd, filed February 26, 2013, published March 13, 2014.)

Employment/Labor
Esparza v. County of Los Angeles (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 855042: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order sustaining demurrers without leave to amend in an action by former public safety officers who were not hired as deputy sheriffs with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Several causes of action were barred by the legislative immunity afforded to the County pursuant to Government Code section 818.2. The remaining causes of action were barred by collateral estoppel based upon final rulings in a related federal action. (C.A. 2nd, filed February 6, 2014, published March 5, 2014.)

Sanchez v. Carmax Auto Superstores California, LLC (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 842200: See summary above under Arbitration.

Evidence

Seahaus La Jolla Owners Association v. Superior Court (La Jolla View LTD., LLC) (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ ,
2014 WL 948494: The Court of Appeal granted a petition for writ of mandate directing the superior court to vacate its order denying assertion of the attorney-client privilege and compelling discovery, and to enter a new order issuing a protective order and denying the motion to compel. Meetings between homeowners association counsel and homeowners were held to accomplish the purpose for which the association’s lawyers were consulted. The common interest doctrine applied and protected the confidentiality of these communications. (C.A. 4th, March 12, 2014.)

Insurance
North Counties Engineering, Inc. v. State Farm General Insurance Company (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 970063: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s directed verdict finding that State Farm had no duty to defend. The trial court erred in not looking for evidence to support plaintiff’s claim that there was a duty to defend. The Court of Appeal ordered that on remand judgment be entered determining that State Farm had a duty to defend. (C.A. 1st, March 13, 2014.)

Real Property
Property Reserve, Inc. v. Superior Court (Department of Water Resources) (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 978309: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order permitting the state to enter onto private property to conduct environmental studies related to a proposed tunnel to transport water from the north to the south in California, and affirmed the order denying access to conduct geological activities. Eminent domain authority must be exercised in strict conformity to the constitutional protections and procedures that limit its operation. If a condemnor intends to take private property or intends to perform actions that will result in the acquisition of a property interest, permanent or temporary, large or small, it must directly condemn those interests, and pay for them, in a condemnation suit that provides the affected landowner with all of his constitutional protections against the state’s authority. (C.A. 3rd, March 13, 2014.)

Torts
Mata v. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 794338: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court judgment for defendants. The trial court erred in finding it had no subject matter jurisdiction, under Public Utilities Code section 1759, to determine whether PG&E and a contractor were negligent in failing to keep adequate clearances between PG&E’s power lines and surrounding vegetation. The trial court was not precluded by section 1759 from determining the negligence claims. (C.A. 1st, February 28, 2013.)

 

Monty A. Mcintyre

Monty A. McIntyre follows his passions for the law and serving others by serving as a mediator, arbitrator and motion referee to help individuals, businesses and lawyers obtain rapid, reasonable resolution of disputes. He is also the Publisher of McIntyre’s California Civil Law Update and can be reached at 619-990-4312 or monty.mcintyre@gmail.com.

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About the Author: Monty A. McIntyre follows his passions for the law and serving others by serving as a mediator, arbitrator and motion referee to help individuals, businesses and lawyers obtain rapid, reasonable resolution of disputes. He is also the Publisher of McIntyre’s California Civil Law Update and can be reached at 619-990-4312 or monty.mcintyre@gmail.com.

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