Attorneys’ Fee Awards Can Exceed Fees Actually Billed

John Cu 
John Cu
July 24, 2014

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).

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You Can’t Camp Out in a Trial Courtroom

Michele Trausch 
Michele Trausch
May 25, 2014

“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.

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No Liquidated Damages for Missing Settlement Payment

Michele Trausch 
Michele Trausch
April 27, 2014

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.

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No In Camera Review of Bills and Time Entries

John Cu 
John Cu
February 28, 2014

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.

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Actual Knowledge Won’t Cure Defective Service of Process

Michele Trausch 
Michele Trausch
February 21, 2014

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.

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Consequences for Late Responses to Requests for Admission

Michele Trausch 
Michele Trausch
February 19, 2014

St. Mary v. Superior Court (Schellenberg) 14 CDOS 1242 (1/31/14)

Lisa St. Mary gave her life savings to a company based on a radio ad she had heard; the company promised to invest in renovating real property. St. Mary lost her investment, the company went bankrupt, and she sued its principals for fraud.

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