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McIntyre’s Civil Alert. Organized Succinct Summaries

CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL

Arbitration
Ruiz v. Moss Bros. Auto Group, Inc. (2014) _ Cal.App.4th_ , 2014 WL 7335221: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of a petition to compel arbitration. The Court of Appeal concluded that Moss Bros. did not present sufficient evidence to support a finding that an electronic signature on its proffered arbitration agreement was the act of Ruiz. (See Civil Code section 1633.9; Evidence Code section 1400.) (C.A.4th, December 23, 2014.)
Bower v. Inter-Con Security Systems, Inc. (2014) _ Cal.App.4th_ , 2014 WL 7447677: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of a petition to compel arbitration of a putative class action alleging failure to provide meal and rest breaks and other claims. The Court of Appeal observed that the rules regarding waiver of arbitration are similar under both Federal law and California law. The trial court properly ruled that Inter-Con waived its right to compel arbitration by engaging in class-wide discovery, and properly inferred from Inter-Con’s actions that it made a tactical decision to resolve the matter on a class-wide basis in the judicial forum when the class size appeared to be small. (C.A. 1st, December 31, 2014.)
Montano v. The Wet Seal Retail, Inc. (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2015 WL 84677: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court rulings denying defendant’s petition to compel arbitration and granting plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery responses. The trial court properly ruled that plaintiff could not waive her PAGA claims (see Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC (2014) 59 Cal.4th 348), and therefore the arbitration agreement’s nonseverability provision made the entire agreement void and unenforceable. The trial court was not barred by Code of Civil Procedure section 1281.4 from ruling on the discovery motion, because that motion was decided after the petition to compel arbitration was denied. (C.A.2nd, January 7, 2015.)

Civil Procedure
Hardy v. America’s Best Home Loans (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 7247385: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order granting a motion for judgment on the pleadings. Because only California law claims were alleged in the current state court action, California law applied when ruling on the effect of a prior federal court dismissal of an action alleging both federal and state law claims. Under California law, collateral estoppel did not bar the state court action because the prior dismissal for failure to prosecute was not a final decision on the merits. (C.A. 5th, December 22, 2014.)
J.B.B. Investment Partners, Ltd. v. Fair (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 7421609: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s ruling granting a motion for a judgment under Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6. A settlement agreement cannot be enforced under section 664.6 unless it is signed by all of the parties. Defendant Fair’s printed name at the end of an email, on the document sought to be enforced as a settlement, was neither an electric signature as required the California Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (Civ.Code, § 1633.1 et seq.), nor did it constitute a signature under contract law. (C.A.1st, filed December 5, 2014, published December 30, 2014.)
Mesa Shopping Center-East, LLC v. O Hill (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 7335226: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order denying defendant’s motion to vacate the plaintiff’s dismissal of the action without prejudice. Because the court action and an arbitration proceeding were not separate proceedings, Code of Civil Procedure section 581 did not allow plaintiffs to dismiss the court action after the arbitrator had issued a interim award in favor of the defendants. The case was remanded for the trial court to rule on attorney fees. (C.A. 4th, December 23, 2014.)

Construction

Pittsburg Unified School District v. S.J. Amoroso Construction Co., Inc. (2014) _ Cal. App.4th _ , 2014 WL 7250115: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of the contractor’s motion for preliminary injunction regarding retention funds.
A public entity owner that has entered into an agreement providing for a retention may unilaterally determine, before any judicial determination has been made, that a contractor has defaulted on its obligations under the construction agreement and draw on funds or securities held in a retention account. (C.A. 1st, December 22, 2014.)

Settlement
J.B.B. Investment Partners, Ltd. v. Fair (2014) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2014 WL 7421609: See summary above under Civil Procedure.

Torts (Indemnity)
State Ready Mix, Inc. v. Moffatt & Nichol (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2015 WL 109869: The Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s order sustaining a demurrer, without leave to amend, to a crosscomplaint for indemnity and contribution. State was sued for preparing a bad batch of concrete used to construct a pier. State cross-complained against the civil engineer. The cross-complaint was barred by the economic loss rule. (Aas v. Superior Court (2000) 24 Cal.4th 627, 643.) State could not seek equitable indemnity or contribution for damages caused by the breach of its own contract. (Stop Loss Ins. Brokers, Inc. v. Brown & Toland Medical Group (2006) 143 Cal.App.4th 1036, 1041-1044.) (C.A. 2nd, January 8, 2015.)

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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