The court of appeal in Stenehjem v. Sareen, 226 Cal.App.4th 1405 (2014) recently revisited the question of when aggressive or belligerent pre-litigation negotiations cross the line from “veiled threats” to criminal extortion. Once determined to be the crime of extortion, the statements are not protected speech under the litigation privilege in Civ. Code section 47 or under the anti-SLAPP statute in Code Civ. Proc. Section 425.16. But how do you know in advance where that line is?
The process for recovering fees based on contract (Civil Code section 1717) has always been a bit confusing, especially when comparing the language of that statute with the statutes (CCP sections 1033.5 and 1034) and rules (CRC 3.1700 and 3.1702).
Moua v. Pittullo, Howington, Barker, Abernathy, LLP (2014) Cal.App.4th
[summary judgment affirmed in case where client did not follow attorney’s settlement advice]
Plaintiff rejected a settlement offer from her former spouse in a family law case, after her lawyers (Pittullo) had “strongly” and repeatedly advised her to take the settlement due to low chances of her prevailing.
Sayers Properties III, Inc. v. Rankin, 2014 WL2192362 (Cal.App.1st District)
Plaintiff sued defendants for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty arising out of defendants’ representation of plaintiff in a construction defect case, which lasted over seven years. After the court granted the defendants’ nonsuit motion, defendants sought their attorneys’ fees as the prevailing parties pursuant to the attorney-client fee agreement, in the amount of $843,245.27 (2,324.5 hours of attorney and paralegal time spent defending the construction case).
Does waiting a whole year before moving to compel arbitration constitute a waiver? Not according to the Court in Gloster v. Sonic Automotive.
“How long do you estimate this trial will last, Counsel?”
The plaintiff in California Crane School v. National Commission for Certification of Crane Operators responded:” 4-6 weeks.” The Court granted in limine motions, reducing plaintiff’s case and told the parties they had 12 days to present their case and have the jury deliberate and come to a verdict.
If you settle a case with payments over time, you will want to be aware of the ruling in Purcell v. Schweitzer.
Defendant owed $85,000 on a promissory note. Plaintiff sued. The parties settled with defendant agreeing to pay a total of $38,000 in 24 installments. The settlement provided that if defendant failed to make a payment on time, the entire $85,000 would be due. A stipulated judgment to this effect was part of the settlement. The stipulated judgment asserted that a judgment of $85,000 would be neither a penalty nor a forfeiture. Defendant waived the right to appeal from the stipulated judgment as well as any right to contest or set it aside.
When can you appear by telephone via court call and is it a good idea?
Effective January 1st, the Rules of Court were amended. Rule 3.670 makes it clear that the Legislature has adopted a policy favoring telephonic appearances and encourages all courts to uniformly permit them.
This is the third in our series of recent case reports:
California Civil Code section 1747.08 (Song-Beverly Credit Act of 1971) prohibits retailers from requesting or requiring as a condition of accepting a credit card as payment that the cardholder provide “personal identification information” that is then recorded in some fashion. In Pineda v. Williams Sonoma (2011) 51 Cal.4th 524, 527-528, the Supreme Court held that a person’s ZIP code constitutes “personal identification information” within the meaning of CC section 1747.08.
Homeward designated CT Corp. System as its agent for service of process. Ramos filed suit against Homeward and sent his process server to Homeward’s Irvine branch office. The process server asked for the person in charge, handed her the summons and complaint–despite her statement that she was not authorized to accept service–and then mailed a copy to the Irvine office addressed only to Homeward, as he had not obtained the woman’s name.