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Due process prevails.  A common mistake is pleading damages (other than as limited in Family/PI/wrongful death cases) according to proof without providing the defendant with a number of possible damages.  The result is a default but no money to the plaintiff.  The law states a default judgment cannot exceed the type and amount of relief sought in plaintiff’s operative pleading.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 580, subd. (a).)  A similar problem occurs in an accounting action seeking…
The Court held that a broker must disclose that the seller’s neighbor told him he planned to remodel and his remodeled house would overlook the seller’s pool and interfere with the view.  This case case also found expert broker testimony is not always necessary to find breach of a broker’s duty care.  The Court stated that a layman (the jury) can also decide if a fact requires disclosure.  This will save at least $5,000 in…
January 1, 2017, Civil Code § 1938 was expanded to require: A Certified Access Specialist (CASp) report can reduce the  minimum statutory damages and allow for a stay of the lawsuit pending a mediation session with the court.  Effective January 1, 2017, revised Code Section 1938 also requires: A commercial property lessor shall state on every rental agreement whether or not it was inspected by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) and if there have been…
The trial court research attorneys s are now happier!  No longer can an amended pleading be filed the morning before the demurrer hearing!  As of 2018, amended Code of Civil Procedure §472 now provides: (a) A party may amend its pleading once without leave of the court at any time before the answer, demurrer, or motion to strike is filed, or after a demurrer or motion to strike is filed but before the demurrer or…
The moral fiber of our society continues to degrade.  The following is an attorney ethics issue and as a reminder attorney’s are held to a higher standard. After a trial on a sexual harassment claim  resulting in an $8,080 jury verdict, and a $7,000 costs award, Plaintiff’s counsel was upset he was not awarded the $133,000 of attorneys fees he requested on the FEHA claim and Labor Code 218.5 and appealed the attorney fee award…
A homeowner’s liability insurer does not have duty to defend a lawsuit after the insured intentionally pruned trees on another’s property without permission. The intentional act of hiring a contractor to prune is not an “accident” within the meaning of the policy’s coverage provision, even if the insured mistakenly believed the trees were on the boundary of her property. While the insured’s negligent supervision of the contractor, or tree damage resulting from a malfunction of…
In California while recreational cannabis is all the rage after January 1, 2018, the California. Medical marijuana laws under California’s “Compassionate Use” Act still provide some benefits.  Including: Patients with valid medical marijuana ID cards are exempt from paying state sales and use tax applicable to recreational marijuana sales. Medical marijuana patients can, with a doctor’s recommendation, possess and grow as much marijuana as is consistent with their reasonable needs. Recreational marijuana use has strict quantity limits (possession…
Intimate Sexual Contact Alone Does Not Constitute Minimum Contacts. A California woman conceived a child in Connecticut but filed a paternity and child support suit in California against the father living in Connecticut.  The trial court denied his  man moved to quash service of summons based on lack of personal jurisdiction. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding  the man’s knowledge that the mother resided in California and the foreseeability that unprotected sex may lead to birth…
In an article by Sanford Gage, who is a very good mediator, 9,000 California settlement decisions were analyzed over 41 years comparing rejected pretrial settlement offers and actual trial results. Sixty-one percent of the time, the plaintiffs obtained an award that was the same or worse than the result the plaintiff would have achieved by accepting the defendant’s pretrial settlement offer. The defendant decision error was only 24 percent, and where there was insurance, the…
In law school you are taught “if you are a defendant remove the case to the Federal Court”.  University of Connecticut law professors Alexandra Lahav and Peter Siegelman studied 30 years of data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts supporting that directive. According to the law profs, the winning rate for plaintiffs in civil litigation in federal courts declined drastically and steadily between 1985 and 1995, from about 70 percent to 30 percent.…