CEB

Continuing Education of the Bar

One of the ways to revoke a will is by mutilation or destruction. But is ripping up or burning a will sufficient to revoke it? By itself, no. For destruction of a will to effect its revocation, there must be a union of intent and act. Intent alone and destruction alone are insufficient. See Prob C §6120(b). Under Prob C §6120(b), a will can be revoked by being burned, torn, canceled, obliterated, or destroyed, with…
Interrogatories are powerful—they allow you to ask questions and then use the answers at trial. But you’re limited as to who you may serve with interrogatories. Here are the four main categories of who can be served with interrogatories. You may serve any party. The rules is clear that you can only serve interrogatories on parties. CCP §2030.010(a). That usually means the adverse party, but you may also serve them on any other party. CCP…
The recent earthquakes in California brought attention to the ShakeAlert system, which is intended to detect significant earthquakes quickly enough to send alerts to people before the shaking arrives. This system is in its infancy, but there’s hope it will eventually give the public precious seconds to take cover.  But will it also give rise to governmental liability? According to officials, the ShakeAlertLA app didn’t send alerts for the recent big quakes, but it functioned…
The general rule is that you need an expert witness to testify when the subject is “sufficiently beyond common experience that the opinion of that expert would assist the trier of fact.” Evid C §801(a). When it comes to a person’s sanity, you don’t always need an expert. Under Evid C §870, there are three categories in which a lay witness may testify on the sanity of a person: Testimony of an intimate acquaintance. Under…
The testimony of an expert in support of a motion for summary judgment or for summary adjudication of issues is usually presented through a declaration under penalty of perjury. CCP §2015.5. Here are five do’s and don’ts for these expert declarations. DO include the expert’s qualifications. The expert should first state what type of expert he or she is, and give enough information about his or her background to qualify as an expert in that…
The following is a guest blog post by Michael W. Sullivan of Michael Sullivan & Associates LLP, an aggressive workers’ compensation defense firm with offices throughout California. Mr. Sullivan is a bar-certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law. An employee who suffers residual effects from an injury and can’t return to work is entitled to a supplemental job displacement benefit. The benefit comes in the form of a nontransferable voucher, and often is simply referred…
The usual discovery requests don’t always get you what you need. Sometimes you’ll do better seeking a public record under the California Public Records Act (Govt C §§6250–6276.48).  Requests for information from state agencies can be invaluable in some cases. For example, in County of Los Angeles v Superior Court (2000) 82 CA4th 819, an action for false imprisonment by three former county jail inmates against Los Angeles County, plaintiffs’ counsel, who was unsuccessful in…
The cottage food industry—small batch food production from home—is growing, as are the related laws and regulations. Here’s what those who want to get in on the trend need to know. The Homemade Food Act, effective in 2013, is intended to stimulate the development, at the neighborhood level, of homemade low-risk food products. See Stats 2012, ch 415, §1; Govt C §51035. Before its enactment, existing law prohibited food stored or prepared in a private…
When a parent who pays child support loses a job or lands a much higher paying job can you get the child support order modified? Short answer: Maybe. When evaluating a request for modification of an existing support order, the court generally focuses on whether there’s been (Marriage of McCann (1996) 41 CA4th 978, 982) a reduction or increase in the supporting spouse’s ability to pay, or an increase or decrease in the supported party’s…
Sometimes a witness needs documents to refresh his or her recollection. This can lead to a tough choice for attorneys. There’s a big downside to letting your witness review a document while testifying: The opposing attorney may be entitled to receive copies of documents used to refresh recollection even if they’re otherwise privileged. Evid C §771. For example, in Kerns Constr. Co. v Superior Court (1968) 266 CA2d 405, 410, the defendant’s employee prepared reports…