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California Case Summaries Civil™.

Organized Succinct Summaries of Some New California Civil Cases

CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT

Civil Code

Scher v. Burke (2017) _ Cal.5th _, 2017 WL 2589509: The California Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeal’s holding that Civil Code section 1009(b), which limits the circumstances in which courts may find implied dedication of private coastal property section 1009, unambiguously bars all public use, not just recreational use, from developing into an implied public dedication. (June 15, 2017.)

Civil Procedure

Ryan v. Rosenfeld (2017) _ Cal.5th _, 2017 WL 2589515: The California Supreme Court vacated the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of an appeal from a motion to vacate a judgment under Code of Civil Procedure section 663. An order denying a motion under section 663 is appealable even if it raises issues that could have been litigated via an appeal of the judgment. The rule announced in Bond v. United Railroads (1911) 159 Cal. 270, 273 is still valid. (June 15, 2017.)

Weatherford v. City of San Rafael (2017) _ Cal.5th _, 2017 WL 2417763: The California Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s judgment of dismissal of plaintiff’s action under Code of Civil Procedure section 526a because plaintiff had not paid property tax. The California Supreme Court ruled that, for a person to have standing to sue the government for wasteful or illegal expenditures under section 526a, it is sufficient for a plaintiff to allege she or he has paid, or is liable to pay, to the defendant locality a tax assessed on the plaintiff by the defendant locality. (June 5, 2017.)

Employment

Augustus v. ABM Security Services (2017) _ 2 Cal.5th 257: The conclusion of the decision, previously published on December 22, 2016, was modified to state: “California law requires employers to relieve their employees of all work-related duties and employer control during 10-minute rest periods. The trial court’s summary adjudication and summary judgment orders were premised on this understanding of the law. Rightly so: Wage Order 4, subdivision 12(A) and section 226.7 prohibit on-duty rest periods. What they require instead is that employers relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time, and relieve their employees of all duties—including the obligation that an employee remain on call. A rest period, in short, must be a period of rest. We accordingly reverse the Court of Appeal’s judgment on this issue. The matter is remanded to the Court of Appeal for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.” (June 8, 2017.)

CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL

Arbitration

Hutcheson v. Eskaton Fountainwood Lodge (2017) _ Cal. App.5th _, 2017 WL 2570672: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying a motion to compel arbitration. The Court of Appeal ruled that admission of decedent to a residential care center for the elderly was a health care decision, and the attorney-in-fact who admitted her, acting under the Power of Attorney Law (Prob. Code, section 4000 et seq. (PAL)), was not authorized to make health care decisions on behalf of the principal. Because the attorney-in-fact acting under the PAL did not have authority to admit the principal to the residential care facility for the elderly, her execution of the admission agreement and its arbitration clause were void. (C.A. 3rd, June 14, 2017.)

Laymon v. J. Rockcliff, Inc. (2017) _ Cal.App.5th _, 2017 WL 2242954: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order denying arbitration under two arbitration agreements and compelling arbitration under one arbitration agreement. Two sets of plaintiffs filed two materially identical class action lawsuits against several real estate brokers (broker defendants) and a group of title companies and other service providers (service provider defendants) alleging improper conduct by the broker defendants in getting unreported payments from the service provider defendants. Each of the broker defendants represented one or more of the plaintiffs in connection with the sale of his or her home. Defendants brought motions to compel arbitration based upon three arbitration agreements, a Residential Listing Agreement (RLA), the 2007 version of a form Residential Purchase Agreement (2007 RPA), and the 2010 version of a Residential Purchase Agreement (2010 RPA). The Court of Appeal ruled that the plaintiffs who executed the RLA were required to arbitrate their claims, and because every plaintiff initialed an arbitration clause either in the RLA or the 2007 RPA they were required to arbitrate. The Court of Appeal also ruled that the trial court’s order compelling arbitration under the 2010 RPA was not appealable. (C.A. 1st, filed May 23, 2017, published June 9, 2017.)

Attorney Fees

County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors v. Superior Court (2017) _ Cal.App.5th _, 2017 WL 2692842: The Court of Appeal reconsidered this case regarding the confidentiality of attorney invoices after the case was remanded to the Court of Appeal from the California Supreme Court decision in Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors v. Superior Court (2016) 2 Cal.5th 282 (Los Angeles County). Applying Los Angeles County, the Court of Appeal ruled that the superior court erred when it ordered California Public Records Act (PRA) disclosure of invoices related to pending matters. Invoices related to pending or ongoing litigation are privileged and are not subject to PRA disclosure. The Court of Appeal ruled that the matter should be remanded to the trial court for a hearing as to whether fee totals related to concluded matters must be disclosed. The conclusion in Los Angeles County that information in billing invoices is sometimes subject to PRA disclosure appears to be limited to fee totals. Billing entries or portions of invoices that provide any insight into litigation strategy or legal consultation, reveal the substance of legal consultation, or reveal clues about legal strategy, are privileged. The trial court erred in ordering portions of invoices other than fee totals disclosed. (C.A. 2nd, filed June 5, 2017, published June 22, 2017.)

Monster v. Superior Court (2017) _ Cal.App.5th _, 2017 WL 2665193: The Court of Appeal granted a writ petition ordering the trial court to reverse its order providing that defendant, who had won a summary judgment against plaintiff’s fraud claims re its interest in Beat headphones, could have its motion for attorney fees (under Civil Code section 1717) for its contract cross-complaint claims determined by the court by a motion and not by a jury trial. The Court of Appeal ruled that plaintiff had a right to have a jury determine the amount of attorney’s fees resulting from its alleged breach of the two relevant agreements and nothing in section 1717 withdrew that right. Defendant did not pursue a motion for fees under section 1717 (or Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5 c) (5)(A)) as the prevailing party on plaintiff’s fraud claims, but instead elected to seek its fees as damages on its cross-claims for breach of contract. Because the fees are part of the relief sought, they must be pleaded and proved at trial, as any other item of damages. (C.A. 2nd, June 21, 2017.)

Civil Procedure

Hupp v. Solera Oak Valley Greens Association (2017) _ Cal. App.5th _, 2017 WL 2705626: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s ex parte order dismissing the first amended complaint under Code of Civil Procedure section 391.7 as to all claims brought by or for the benefit of plaintiff’s son Paul, on the ground he had been declared a vexatious litigant. However, because plaintiff had not been declared a vexatious litigant, the judgment of dismissal was reversed as to all claims solely personal to her. (C.A. 4th, June 23, 2017.)

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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Filed Under: Featured StoriesPractice Management

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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