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McIntyre’s Civil Alert.Organized Succinct Summaries.

CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT

INSURANCE (CUMIS COUNSEL)
Hartford Casualty Insurance Company v. J.R. Marketing, LLC (2015) _ Cal.4th _ , 2015 WL 4716917: The California Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal ruling that Cumis fees that were excessive, unreasonable, and unnecessary could not be recovered by the carrier from Cumis counsel. In this case, the commercial general liability carrier initially refused to defend its insured against a third-party lawsuit. Compelled by a court order, the insurer subsequently provided independent counsel (Cumis counsel), under a reservation of rights, to defend its insured in the third-party suit. The court order required the insurer to pay all “reasonable and necessary defense costs,” but expressly preserved the insurer’s right to later challenge and recover payments for “unreasonable and unnecessary” charges by counsel. The Supreme Court concluded that, under the circumstances of this case, the insurer could seek reimbursement directly from Cumis counsel. If Cumis counsel, operating under the court order, sought and received from the insurer payment for time and costs that were fraudulent, or were otherwise manifestly and objectively useless and wasteful when incurred, then Cumis counsel would have been unjustly enriched at the insurer’s expense. (August 10, 2015.)

TORTS (GOVERNMENT TORT CLAIMS)
Cordova v. City of Los Angeles (2015) _ Cal.4th _ , 2015 WL 4758177: The California Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal ruling that affirmed a trial court summary judgment for defendant on the basis that the allegedly dangerous condition (magnolia trees planted in the center median on Colorado Boulevard) did not cause the conduct of the third-party driver that caused the accident. The California Supreme Court ruled that Government Code section 835 did not require the plaintiffs to show that the allegedly dangerous condition caused not only their decedents’ fatal injuries, but also the third-party conduct that precipitated the accident. (August 13, 2015.)

CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL

ATTORNEYS
Coldren v. Hart, King and Coldren, Inc. (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2015 WL 4640041: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order disqualifying counsel for defendants on the basis that there was an unwaivable actual conflict between the two defendants. The Court of Appeal ruled that plaintiff lacked standing to object to defendants’ choice of counsel, and also found that there was no actual conflict between the two defendants, because plaintiff’s action was a direct action not a derivative action. (C.A. 4th, filed July 13, 2015, published August 5, 2015.)

EDUCATION
Newark Unified School District v. Superior Court (Brazil) (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2015 WL 4594095: The Court of Appeal granted a writ petition. In order to harmonize Government Code section 6254.5 with Evidence Code section 912, which has been construed not to effect a waiver of the attorney-client and work product privileges from an inadvertent disclosure, the Court of Appeal construed section 6254.5 to not apply to the inadvertent release of privileged documents. (C.A. 1st, July 31, 2015.)

EMPLOYMENT
Connor v. First Student, Inc. (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2015 WL 4768123: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the basis of the holding in Ortiz v. Lyon Management Group, Inc. (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 604 (Ortiz). The Court of Appeal reversed because it disagreed with the analysis in Ortiz. The Court of Appeal found that nothing in either the Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA, Civil Code section 1786 et seq.) or the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (Civil Code section 1785.1 et seq.) precluded the application of both acts to information that relates to both character and creditworthiness, and concluded that the ICRAA was not unconstitutionally vague as applied to such information. (C.A. 2nd, August 12, 2015.)

EVIDENCE
Newark Unified School District v. Superior Court (Brazil) (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2015 WL 4594095: See summary above under Education.

TORTS
Doe v. San Diego-Imperial Council (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2015 WL 4600256: The Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s ruling sustaining a demurrer without leave to amend to a complaint alleging childhood sexual molestation, because plaintiff failed to file a certificate of merit as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 340.1. The tolling provisions of Insurance Code section 11583 did not relieve plaintiff of the requirement of filing a certificate of merit. (C.A. 4th, July 31, 2015.) Soto v. BorgWarner Morse TEC Inc. (2015) _ Cal.App.4th _, 2015 WL 4323186: See summary above under Punitive Damages.

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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